September 2016 Newsletter
FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK – SHARPEN THE SAW
This has been an exciting year for our family. After moving down to Snow Shoe, PA back in January, we purchased a home (our first!) over the summer and moved in about a month ago. Before moving in we spent a month fixing up our new place. One of the lessons that was reinforced several times over was the importance of having the right tools. Let’s just say the previous owners loved wallpaper. Steph and I opted for paint rather than 80’s wallpaper so that meant we had to get the old stuff off. I was very thankful that we had a “steamer” to aid in the process and let me tell you, that tool saved me a lot of time. As I neared completion of this job, however, there was a lot of wallpaper in small spaces. These spaces were too small for the steamer head to fit over and create the necessary seal for it to work effectively. This slowed the job down considerably. What I didn’t realize, however, was that there was a smaller tool that helps precisely in those small spaces. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I knew we had that tool (I guess next time I should look in the box). The funny thing is, right before I finished up, Steph and I found the smaller head!!! Needless to say I was a little irked, but I got over it pretty quickly.
This little lesson reminded me of a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes: “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). In other words, if the blade gets dull, sharpen it. Simple proverb, but it can be enormously helpful and useful.
Did you know that in our Christian walk, God has given us all the tools we need? That’s right, God has given us all the spiritual resources we need to grow and be more like Jesus. He has given us means of grace such as the Word, prayer, the fellowship of believers, and service. All of these are gifts that God has given us for our benefit and to bring glory to His great name. But, here’s the key – we need to use them! Let me take a few moments to run through these spiritual resources.
The Word: The Bible says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). In short, God’s word is powerful! The Bible is a great gift to the church as it offers us the means to know God and to grow in Christ-likeness. We should strive to follow the example of the Berean believers in Acts 17:11: “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily.” Dear friends may we follow their example and be a people of the Book.
Prayer: Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). All too often, we know the power of prayer and our need for prayer, but we allow our busy lives to get in the way. May it never be! The Bible says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3). If you truly love the Lord, there will be a desire in your heart to commune with Him and call upon His name. God has given us this invitation, and we must take Him up on it.
Fellowship: The Bible says, “And let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). It’s easy to drift away from the church, isn’t it? In fact, it happens all the time to professing believers. But God has designed things in such a way that we need one another, within the Body of Christ. We need one another’s prayers, encouragement, love, and support. This is what the Church is all about. As the apostle Paul reminds us, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Service: Jesus set the example for us in this regard: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). We are servants of the Most High God, and we must do all that we can to be faithful servants. In our own pride, we often approach relationships from the perspective of “what have you done for me lately?” rather than the “what can I do for you?” approach. However, every Christian should have a burning desire to “spend and be spent” (2 Corinthians 12:15) for King Jesus. We must desire to use our spiritual gifts (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4) in service to God and for the good of the church.
Just to summarize, God has given us all the tools we need to succeed in our Christian walk. We have these amazing spiritual resources at our disposal, but we need to take advantage of them! Brethren, may God find us faithful.
Pastor Daniel Stegeman
Mountain Top Alliance Church