05-22-16 In The Days of the Judges: Prelude

In a week like this when everyone’s going home after their year of college, and high schoolers are finishing up their final exams, and students are graduating at their various levels of education, does that count as winding down from school or winding up for the Summer? 

I dunno...

But I do know that here at First Covenant, we’ll have one last Sunday School class next week (May 29), and then celebrate the launch of Summer with our annual Church Family Picnic the week after that (June 5).  So please mark that on your calendars and make sure to join us for some quality family time with your fellow FCCers, before the weather starts getting too hot and sticky to cook out.  It’ll also be a great Sunday to invite someone new to join you for the service -- so if you’re taking the 3-or-1 Challenge with us this year, make it a point to at least offering the opportunity to the people to whom you’re reaching out.

We’ll also be hosting a Parenting Seminar starting in June, so if you have children, are planning to have children, or know of anyone who might fall into those categories, you may want to take note of that and let the Church Office know that you’d be interested in joining us for the sessions.  It’s a blessing to have children, but it’s also a blessing not to have to figure out how to raise them within a vacuum -- there are others in your church family with whom you can connect and whose wisdom and experiences you can learn from, and the Bible is a phenomenal resource to make use of to figure out how to be the best parent that you can be.  Don’t go it alone...

In our message this week, we began a new series for the Summer months -- a study set “In the Days of the Judges.”  But in pure Pastor Kevin-ish form, we took a week to put the Book of Judges into its context by looking at the last two chapters of the Book of Joshua, which leads directly into Judges.

As the good and wise leader Joshua saw his life winding down and the nation of Israel winding up, he called the people together to remind them that they needed to own their relationship with God.  The couldn’t just coast on remembering what had gone before, but nor could they allow themselves to forget all that God had done for them in order to just hand them their own country.  They couldn’t allow their victorious peace to make them feel so comfortable that they could justify quietly emulating their neighbors instead of standing as beacons of God’s light to their neighbors.

Today, our neighbors don’t follow gods like Ba’al or Zeus (well, Thor’s making a comeback), though many might nonetheless hold markedly different religious views than you do.  But most of your neighbors will follow gods other than Christ, because we in America tend to deify money, or power, or respect, or accolades, or comfort, or personal happiness, or just plain our own sense of control over our own lives.  We’ll sacrifice a great deal of our authentic and life-changing Christianity in order to hold onto one or more of those other gods, and that’s precisely what Joshua was warning us against.

So today, make a decision about which god you’re going to make the one, true priority in your life… because in truth, there can be only one.  Look back at that list -- or make your own list -- and honestly ask yourself which ones you’d be willing to lose significant portions of so that you’d be better able to serve another one.  Whichever one comes out on top, that’s what you’re actually worshiping in your life.

If your God turns out to be Jesus Christ, then I’d encourage you to actively, consciously live like that for the rest of today.  If not, then I’d encourage you to take some time to really stop and think about that...