Diane and I were both off the Sunday after Christmas, and we made our way to Appleton Alliance, that megachurch on Hwy 41 with huge windows showing what looked like a great children’s ministry. Because of that, I thought it would be a good place for the budding Children’s Ministry Director from Edgewood (my sweetie) to steal some ideas…and I was right. And her husband got a couple of ideas too, which you will see in a moment.
We did get a tour of their terrific kid’s ministry, but for now I’ll just tell you about the worship service we enjoyed: the speaker was their Executive Pastor, Brian Dainsberg, who gave a great message on the most underlined passage of the Bible from Amazon Kindle. Apparently Amazon can track what is most underlined from all those millions of people with a Kindle or Kindle App. Big brother, anyone?
Anyway, do you know what the most popular passage of the Bible is, at least according to Kindle users? It’s from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6 and 7, which says,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
Here’s the thing: Apparently people around the world, when they turn to the Bible, are especially drawn to a passage on anxiety. And that’s not too surprising, is it? For we are an anxious people, and this is something that Jesus spoke to in His most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
Mat 6:25, 31 – 32 (ESV)
Of course, Jesus’s answer to anxiety is simple and beautiful: seek first God’s Kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things would be added (verse 33). In other words, focus on serving the King and advancing His cause, and you can trust that God will provide all you need. Amen.
Brian closed his message with a little twist on a famous sermon from Jonathan Edwards on happiness, where the great New England preacher gave three reasons Christians should be happy. Brian turned them into three reasons we should never be anxious, so when trouble comes in the New Year, and you’re tempted to gnaw your nails off, think about these three wonderful (and absolutely Biblical!) truths:
We should never be anxious…because:
- Our bad things will turn out for good.
- Our good things can never be taken away from us.
- The best things are yet to come.
With these things in mind, it really will be a Happy New Year…not to mention an extremely Happy Forever.
Friday: January 9, Matthew 7