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Although we would rather avoid it, sooner or later we all face conflict. We argue in our homes, face tensions at work, disagree with our friends, and even harbor unspoken hard feelings toward people in our church.
In 1 Corinthians 6, the Bible gives us a glimpse at a group of people who struggled to get along. Within the church family, members were filing lawsuits against each other and going to public courts to have their disagreements settled. In his letter to the church, Paul makes it clear that this kind of public fighting was an embarassment to the church.
The Bible does not promise that we will never face conflict. Nor does it teach us that it is wrong to argue or fight. It does, however, make us realize that there is a price to be paid for our conflicts, and it calls us to carefully assess our disputes so that we handle them with maturity.
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On Sunday, May 20, Rev. Herm Schutt will lead our morning worship service while Pastor Bill takes time to participate in a Board Meeting at Calvin Seminary, and attend the Moody Pastor’s Conference in Chicago.
During our morning worship service, Pastor Herm will be preaching on 1 Corinthians 11:25-32. We will also be celebrating the Lord’s Supper during our worship service.
Text: Acts 19:21-41
Date: Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012
If anyone understands changes, it is parents. A person’s life changes drastically once they become responsible for another life. Furthermore, mothers witness the constant change that comes from a child growing in their homes. Some people enjoy seeing changes in their lives; while others mourn over changes.
In Acts 19, we see as story of a man named Demetrius, who is unhappy with the changes that occur in his life when the name of Christ becomes known in his city. He makes an effort to start a riot in order to hold on to his comfortable way of life.
Demetrius understood that the Lordship of Christ would change his life.
It is natural to long for stability in our lives, but if we find that stability in anything outside of God, we are basing our hope on something that is temporary. When we face times of significant change, it is helpful to remember that God is the only source of stability that offers lasting reassurance.
What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from teh tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes may wholeheardedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1)
On Sunday, May 6, we will continue our series of sermons on Healthy Attitudes, as we consider how we are called to interact with difficult people. Sooner or later, we find ourselves in situations where we are dealing with people who can be abrasive, unkind, bitter, or disagreeable. Although we would like to believe that with the proper response, we can create a harmonious relationship, our experiences tell us that this is not always realistic.
In Romans 12, the Bible tells followers of Christ to be a blessing to all people, even those who persecute you. We must acknowledge this goes against human nature. When someone is intentionally harming us, we want to respond with revenge, rather than kindness. On Sunday morning, we will explore the Bible’s teachings about responding to difficult people.
Sermon: Healthy Attitudes: Finances
Pastor Bill Sytsma
Listen to Audio: April 29, 2012 AM Sermon
On Sunday, April 29, we will continue our series of sermons on “Healthy Attitudes.” This week, we will consider our attitudes about money. Attitudes about money can vary widely. Some people approach the danger of worshipping money as they are willing to sacrifice almost anything to acquire more. Others are careless in their attitude about money, and they voluntarily allow themselves to be handcuffed with debt. In this sermon, we will consider Christ’s words on money, and consider how our attitude about money can reveal and shape our character.
Scripture Reading: “And he looked up, and saw the rich men that were casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than they all: for all these did of their superfluity cast in unto the gifts; but she of her want did cast in all the living that she had. (Luke 21:1-4 ASV)”
Scripture Background: Jesus is speaking about the teachers of the law, how they like to have the best position, pray at length, and take advantage of widows.
Perspective on money
- A penny saved is a penny earned
- There are people have money and people who are rich
- Money I the root of all kinds of evil
- Wisdom is better than all the riches of the earth
There are two camps or ways of understanding money or finances. There is the perspective that teaches that money is the root of all evil. While the contrary perspective places money as the ultimate end.
While speaking to the Pharisees and teachers of the law Jesus says : “They devour widows, and make lengthy speeches.” We see a contrast of two images, that of the contemptible and corrupt scribes and that of the humble and trusting widow. The test is in seeing what they do. As for the scribes, their actions didn’t match up with their calling. They called people to action and worship, but failed to take care of those who they were called to take care of. The widow though while powerless in public, gives back to the house of the Lord. Jesus praises her because he recognizes that her giving, while it would not add a great difference to the balance sheet, reveals her attitude. Her attitude reveals that while she gives her last mite, she gives in trusting God to continue provisions even though she has lost everything.
Our attitude about money reveals our character.
There are two perspectives on money. The first is that of greed, that of gaining without end, to gain more, a mass more, and horde. The contrary perspective and one not often taken is that money is evil. We must be careful not to fall into these two dichotomies. There is a middle ground. Work is a blessing, and money is too a blessing of God.
The concern is that we must be focused on meeting him in every sphere of our lives. God is not looking for pacification, he wants our entire personage. There is a value to working hard and gaining, but the focus should never be gaining to give a little to God, but gain so I can be used by God.
The purpose of giving is not to give. But to give as a way of drawing us nearer to God. The story is not that the widow was great by giving, but great because she new where her strength truly lay. She drew nearer to God. In all your giving, remember not to be consumed by acquisition, but learn how in your acquisition giving you can meet and commune with God.
Sermon: Eshesians 4:28
Sermon By: Bill Sytsma
Listen to Audio: April, 22, 2012 AM Sermon
Background: The Apostle Paul is sharing how the gospel changes every aspect of our lives.
Verse: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28 KJV)”
This week Sunday morning (April 22), we will continue our series of sermons on Healthy Attitudes. Some people are consumed with their jobs, while others hate their work. Some think of their job as a calling, and others view work as a necessary evil. Come Sunday morning to hear what Ephesians 4:28 tells us about the role of work in our lives.
Do you behave differently in different settings? Do you find that your home life and work life differ? For many people when we think about work we think of a job that pays the bills. Work includes all tasks that we have obligation that take a significant amount of time and energy in which we are contributing to others.
It begins in the garden. If we look in Genesis chapter two Adam and Eve were directed to work in the garden. God made human brings to be productive and do good work. Before sin had entered the world God directed the couple to work. Work was never a result of sin. What happened when sin entered the world, was toil. Work was part of gods creation, but toil is the result of sin.
Have you ever done a lot and felt like you got nowhere? We you a contractor that had any daily issues with a big project that interrupters your progress. Ae you a teacher that is having difficulty engaging students that are purposely offensive. These are example of toil.
How do we approach this toil?
Here are some unhealthy attitudes toward work
Laziness: We live as if work is beneath us. It promotes a view of the self as all important; it’s a me centered world view. It presents us with practical, financial, and spiritual problems. No body wants to hire a lazy person, people won’t rely on you.
Workaholic: This means your work becomes your most significant pursuit. Are you looking for fame in your work. And you sacrificing family, faith, or friends to your work. Remember that any good thing can become an idol. This occurs when you attribute more to an object than it deserves. Where is your ultimate satisfaction found.
Dualism: Attitude of the segregated life. There are different roles we all play. This is not about different situations and difference responses. This dualism can best be articulated as living by two different sets of standards. Remembers that Gods word needs to dominate every realm of your life including work. Do you live by a different set of rules when you are angry? Do you live by a different set of rules when you are making a shady business deal? It’s about serving others and allowing God’s word into every area of your life is lived with consistency. Integrity is the ability for others to see the same person in all settings. Do you live with integrity?
Necessary Evil: You may love your kids? Do you really like changing their diapers? Do you like teaching, but find something grinding about grading papers? how do you about the necessary evils of work? This attitude requires a recognition that work is a participating in God’s kingdom in helping others. Do you live a life that you work, so you can eat, so you can get energy, so you can work? We must let God help us break out of this cycle we work to witness work to love, work to serve the kingdom of God.
Secondary Sources Reading:
Seismic Shifts: The Little Changes That Make a Big Difference in Your Life [Hardcover]
Sermon: Lamentations 3:19-24
 I remember my afflictions and wonderings, bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassionate never fail .
Sermon By Pastor Bill
April 15, 2012
Highland IN New Life Christian Reformed Church
Background: Israel is headed away from home and the temple. The prophet is crying out to God and longing for home.
In this sermon you will learn the limitations to preventing tragedy, however hard we try to prevent it. As an unavoidable circumstance we live in a world infected by sin. Do you remember your wondering, your affliction, your bitterness, your gall?
How do we approach these situations with the right attitude. How do you respond to tragedies; with those moments that cause us to weep; the events that cause long lasting repercussions. In this sermon the pastor articulates that when we face such tragedies and trails of life, no matter how we categorize these times, the times that cause us to take our eyes off God, provide a new opportunity to see Gods grace and instruction as not part of the original plan. The key to a healthy outlook on tragedy is to neither dwell nor forget your tragedy, but to recall, as the scriptures teach that God’s great love will not fail. To hold onto, even if only intellectually, the reality of God’s love, that it may migrate into our hearts. Give God the opportunity to bring his joy in the morning.