Monday, July 29, 2013

Sermon Notes from RVCC
7/21/13

Dear Friends,
 Warmest greetings and extreme humidity from Oklahoma. Although the temperatures here have not been what they are in Oregon for a few days, It is the humidity. Speaking of heat I got an email from Tarri, She is a young lady in the military from RVCC. Right now she is stationed in Afghanistan, where the average temperature is 114 degrees. Please remember her in your prayers along with many of the others over there who are serving to protect us and make a better life for the people of that country. I am a Viet Nam vet but these young people are volunteers and they have my extreme respect.
Sunday David Wise stepped in and shared some thoughts from Luke 6. He began by sharing a story of how when he was younger his brother and sister each got glasses and he was jealous. I think I can remember the few moments I thought glasses were cool. Anyway, although he did get glasses, the problem was not serious and was caused by the fact that he could intentionally shift the focus to a point where he could see things that were not easily seen by most people. You may remember the dot pictures from the ‘90's that as you stared at them 3 dimensional images would appear. If you’re like me you probably had little to no success with them. David was really good at it and that was his main problem. He would do it without thinking about it, no matter what he was looking at. This made the words on a printed page hard to read.
David read from Luke 6:20 thru 26. This is an account of Jesus blessings and woes with which he began a message. This seems very similar to the blessings at the beginning of what is called the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5,6 &7. David looked at it in a little different way than we might have heard it in the past.
First he pointed out that Jesus was speaking to his disciples. There were others there who heard but in verse 20 it says “And lifting up His eyes to his disciples, He said...” Jesus was speaking to those who had decided to follow him. So in the same way if we have set our hearts and minds to follow Him, He is speaking to us.
Then reading on, David said that this passage does not mean what it may appear to say. It doesn’t mean that you will be blessed if you are poor, hungry, sad and nobody likes you; or that you are in trouble if your wealthy, well fed, cheerful and popular. Much more important than the condition is the reason for the condition. The question is; Where is your focus?
David pointed out that if we focus on what is right in front of us, the things that are in the distance will be difficult to see. In the same way if we are looking into the distance the things close at hand will be out of focus and seem unimportant. He illustrated this by pointing out how you can focus a camera on something near or on something in the distance. In the same way if our attention is upon heavenly things we will not be as concerned about things which are valued by others who are not interested in the life of the spirit.
He also mentioned how we can go overboard if we get distracted thinking we must be poor, hungry, sad and unpopular. When he came back from a mission trip to Africa, he felt like they should get rid of everything. Fortunately Natalye had the good sense to tell him he was NUTS. That brought him back to reality and he saw that the things were not the problem. He only needed to be sure his focus was where God wanted it.
In II Corinthians 4:16-18 we can see.
For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.
So this is the challenge for us today. Where is my attention?
I am so thankful for the opportunity to take these sermons and look carefully at them to find the message that is there and share it with each of you. I hope this letter is an encouragement where ever you are to check your focus and make the adjustments that will be to God’s glory.

Let us each endeavor to Be Faithful.
Rick

Phil 4:4-8 

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