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encouragement from steve wise

Wednesday, January 20 2021

Dear Friends,

“Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

Perspective!  In art, it refers to drawing solid 2-dimensional objects on a 2-dimensional surface to give the impression of height, width, depth, and position in relation to other objects.  In geometry, perspective deals with the relation of 2 figures on the same plane. More general usage relates to a particular point of view or attitude toward someone or something. 

Basically, perspective refers to the way we see things. Its Latin root means “to look through” or “to perceive.”  It has to do with gaining understanding.  We sometimes use it to refer to the ability to understand what is important and what is not.  Keeping things in perspective helps us handle fear, failure, or frustration.  It can help us deal with anxiety, apathy, and anger. 

Today, I needed some perspective.  An email from my 90-year-old father sure helped.  It contained a video chronicling all a person born in 1900 would have experienced in their lifetime.  At 14 years of age, the world went to war for the first time.  In 4 years of war, 22 million people died.  The Spanish Flu haunted their late teens and early twenties - killing 50 million people in 2 years.  At 29, the stock market crash began the Great Depression.  Unemployment reached 30%.  From the ages of 39 to 45, World War 2 claimed the lives of 75 million people.  Polio killed an half a million people per year during the first 55 years of their lives.  Small Pox killed over 300 million during their lifetime.  From the age of 55 to 75, they experienced “hot” war in Viet Nam (4 million killed) and “cold” war with the Soviet Union.  How did our great-grandparents or grandparent or parents do it?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  I do know there is no question they understand what we are going through. The video encourages us to take a perspective of gratitude toward them and our present situation. 

The writer of Hebrews gives his readers some perspective in the passage above.  Hebrews 11 – “the Hall of Faith” – details the acts of faith by some of the great (and not so great) Old Testament characters.  Most of these great demonstrations of faith came during extremely difficult circumstances, often over long periods of time, and sometimes ended badly (from some perspectives).   These were far from perfect people but they were faithful.  These “witnesses” and other “saints” in the crowd cheer us on as we enter the stadium of life.  The writer urges us to fix our eyes on Jesus – i.e. get some perspective – as we run the race set before us.  Jesus endured the cross for the joy of saving us.  If we consider what He endured for us because of His great love for us, we will gain strength and encouragement.  These are indeed trying times.  So much is beyond our control.  But this we can control – where we fix our eyes!  Let us fix our eyes – and our perspectives -  on Jesus.  

Things to Know

* This Week’s Worship – We will meet at our normally scheduled times (8, 9:30, 11am). Child Care and Children’s Church will be provided.  Adult Bible Studies are allowed to meet if they desire (Contact Justin Lewis in order to coordinate).  The 9:30 and 11:00am three services will be livestreamed – here.

* Our teaching series - “Not Just Another Saturday! We will continue our 5 week study of WPC’s Code statements.  This week: We seek to love and live like Jesus. I encourage you to take a listen to our previous weeks here.

Your friend

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 02:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, January 06 2021

Dear Friends,

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”

- Colossians 3:12-14

Adjusting my expectations! Of the many lessons the last almost 11 months, perhaps the most important has been about adjusting expectations. From the moment I heard news of the storm of February 6, few things if any have gone according to plan. This call from Paul to put on the “new self” has everything to do with unmet expectations and our response to them.

The distance between our expectations and reality is disappointment and frustration. It creates fear and hostility. We fear we will not get something we want or lose something we have. Hostility arises to defend what we have or to take what we want. Acting out of this fear and hostility damages others and our own souls.

Paul, instead, encourages us to live out our true identity as God’s holy and beloved sons and daughters. Living out this identity involves responding to disappointing and frustrating relationships, events, and circumstances. We reflect the character of our Father when we respond out of a compassionate heart with kind words and actions, a concern for the well-being of others, a helpful use of our strength, a willingness to wait, seeking to help one another, extending grace to others, and learning how to love in even the most difficult people in the most difficult situations.

Things to Know

* This Week’s Worship – We will meet at our normally scheduled times (8, 9:30, 11am). As with last week, due to a lack of available volunteers because of infections and/or quarantines, we will not have Child Care, Children’s Church, or Sunday School for children or adults. All three services will be live action and the 9:30 and 11am services will be livestreamed – here.

* Wednesday Nights – We are postponing our Wednesday night dinners until January 20 (we were originally going to start January 3) We will only have a family dinner that night. Children and adult programs will resume on February 3rd.

* Our teaching series - “Not Just Another Saturday!” We will continue our 5 week study of WPC’s Code statements. I would encourage you to take a listen to last week’s teaching on “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing. You can see that here: livestream.

* Thank you for your faithfulness always, but particularly in the month of December. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of our covenant partners, our budget is in good shape at this point. We have also gotten closer to our stewardship goal.

Your friend

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 02:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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