Sermon Notes

Reflections of Our Heart…Wisdom vs. Knowledge

Reflections of Our Heart…Wisdom vs. Knowledge

Dr. Conway Edwards, Lead Pastor

Bible References: James 3:13-18

What we say is a reflection of what’s in our heart, therefore we must constantly guard and protect it because it reflects how we relate to others. Our behavior and speech demonstrates our wisdom.  Our actions and words must match; saying we are believers of Christ is not enough, we must show it through our daily interactions – how we treat others. Each interaction is our opportunity to model what we see and find in Jesus.

There are two kinds of wisdom; when we reach a decisional fork in the road we consider two paths – wisdom from above, Christ centered, or earthly wisdom, self-promoting. We make this choice daily with every conversation and situation. Every relationship you have affects your heart and how you interact with others, so every time someone hurts us, lies to us or about us, it is internalized and then reflected in our future relationships. God wants to give us heavenly wisdom to guard against hurts, heartaches, jealousies, and greed. This is why it is important to guard and monitor our heart.

Christ provided a model for true spirituality, which we can step into when we accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior. Our acceptance of Jesus Christ makes us righteous, there isn’t anything we can physically do to earn salvation. He is our salvation.  Once accepted, Jesus will radically change our heart and the way we interact and make decisions; God’s purpose for our life will become our ambition. He will give us the heart to serve Him above everything. Christ’s first connection with us was through our heart.

Identifying Heart Issues

What’s in our heart’s desires – shopping, having a great car, promotion and praise at work? We can rest assured that we have a heart issue if we are more excited about earthly things than God’s heavenly kingdom or we choose God when it’s convenient. To be all in for God means He is first, regardless of convenience or popularity.  Our ambitions and heart’s desires will center on Him.  We will chase Him relentlessly because we know how much He loves us. To attain and maintain a whole Christ-centered heart, we must monitor it vigilantly so we’re ready to make wise choices when God removes or adds to our lives.

How Wise Are You?

Ready to grow?  Ask someone you trust to rank your wisdom.  Make it safe for them to help you grow by sharing that you really want to know how you show up in these seven areas on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is more focused on earthly and self serving interests and 5 is focused on more spiritual, Christ centered interests – things that benefit others.  Then choose one area to continue developing and strengthening so you can attain and maintain a wise God centered heart.

  1. Wisdom – Before a person can experience true wisdom from above, s/he must first start with purity.  Pure means “not polluted” with worldly desires.  We want what God wants.
    How often do your actions show the world you want what God wants?
  2. Peaceable – A person who will not antagonize someone to anger.  Their focus is to bring peace to a situation rather than provoke a fight.
    Are you more interested in sharing your opinion without hearing the other person’s heart?  Do your actions create confusion, disharmony, and/or tension?
  3. Gentle – Considerate.  It’s more important to be mindful of how others feel.  It would be unthinkable to minimize another’s feelings.
    How mindful are you of other’s feelings?
  4. Reasonable – A person who can learn from anyone, won’t be defensive, is open to reason, and willing to listen.
    Would others say they’ve seen when you respectfully held a strong position but when new facts came to light you were open and maybe even changed positions?
  5. Full of Mercy – Mercy is kindness or good will towards those we perceive as “miserable or afflicted”(i.e. I won’t emphasize your mistakes).
    Do you make people the butt of your jokes?  Do people regularly hear about their mistakes?
  6. Without Hypocrisy – (Proverbs 28:13) Is a willingness to be vulnerable, to share their weaknesses.  This person recognizes that striving for perfection starts with making Christ the center of his/her life.
    Do others see you using your God given talents and gifts for His service?  Do you model Christ like behaviors?
  7. Righteousness – We’ve achieved this through our acceptance of and steadfast pursuit of Christ.  It’s when we identify our heart’s desire and if it isn’t Christ we fast and abstain from it so we can remain resolute and focused on making God the center of our universe, our passion.
    Would others say you are a passionate follower of Christ based on their interactions with you? 


Pressure Points: Taming The Tongue

Pressure Points: Taming The Tongue

Dr. Conway Edwards, Lead Pastor

Bible References: James 3:1-12, Proverbs 4:23, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 16:23, Psalms 119:11, Joshua 1:8

 

James chapter 3 focuses on the tongue; he reminds us how important and impactful our words are.  They can lift you up or tear down and destroy.  Our words also divulge our maturity.  They can indicate whether someone is a follower of Christ, an infant in Christ, or a mature Christian, just listen to what comes from their mouth.  The only way to control our tongue is to let Jesus Christ control our heart. Paul reminds us that, “[we] can do all things through Him who gives [us] strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

The average person speaks about 16,000 words in a day.   These words matter to God; he keeps a record of our words.  Jesus said, “I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36) We must be careful how we open our mouths. Take every opportunity, when asked about another, to lift them up and share the best about them.  The best of the person is who they are striving to be. When God asks Jesus about us, Jesus tells his Father about the best of us.  If Jesus will do that for us, why not do this for someone else?

In taming our tongue we strive to be like the coach rather than the critic.  As a coach we consider carefully the:

  • Tone that will optimize the recipient’s openness to the message
  • Timing that will best support the recipient’s growth
  • Temperament that optimizes our positive influence of the recipient’s actions & behaviors

Taming the tongue, requires us to:

  • Fill it up: Deposit the word of God; create things that are good and beneficial for others.
  • Zip it up: Bridle our tongue because this can destroy.
  • Lift them up:  Display who we really are, children of a beloved God, by allowing our tongue to only share the best of others.

How are you checking for “weapons of mass destruction” this week (i.e. gossiping, profanity, being silent about the truth)?  Are you “taming your tongue” or falling prey to it?

Pressure Points: Preparation

Pressure Points: Preparation

Dr. Conway Edwards, Lead Pastor

Bible References: James 1:18-25

What type of spiritual gardener are you?  Do you spend unhurried time with the word of God?  Do you breath in the external word to revitalize what He has implanted within you?

Philippians 4:11 teaches us “to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”  We should be joyful in self-contained happiness because everything we need is already within us, implanted by God.

The Blessed person’s emotions aren’t based on external factors.  He knows that God is good regardless of what the situation looks like.  Contentment stems from a calm, stillness directly connected to God’s wisdom flowing through us.  By establishing a daily practice of taking in the “external word” from our bible reading, meditation, prayer and unhurried time focused and communing with God, we revitalize what He has implanted within us.  It’s like infusing the purest oxygen that we need to survive.

By daily hearing, reading, and applying God’s word we prepare ourselves to fulfill His purpose for us. James 1:18-25 directs us to:

  1. Receive the word.  We are meant to be both doers and hearers of God’s word, by actively preparing our hearts to receive the word when it is given.  God provides nourishment that we have to prepare to receive by listening and internalizing.
  2. Reflect on the word.  Meditate on it.  Gaze and look intently upon it.  Memorize it.  Without ardent preparation the enemy can and will easily distract us from our purpose.
  3. Respond to the word.  Demonstrate that we are “doers” of God’s word through our actions.  We need to make it our preoccupation to apply His word throughout our life.  Allow the word to energize and empower us.

How we respond to the word of God is going to determine how we deal with trials.  Are you committed to maintaining your groove with God by ensuring you have two pedals on your bike as you face the trials God places before you?