White Fields Blog

Sermon Follow-up: Finishing Well

Last Sunday, Nick spoke on the topic of finishing well through the story of Jacob as he came to Egypt in the final days of his life to "live happily ever after" with Joseph and his other sons in the land that Pharaoh provided for them. I mentioned in the service hearing recently that 90% of pastors do not finish well in their ministries. If those of us who are leaders in the church find it difficult to handle the challenges and difficulties that life can bring, it seems that all of us should take seriously the challenge to remain faithful and finish well no matter what may experience.

Like many of you, I watched a portion of the Oscars Sunday evening after church. And, I enjoyed the highlights from a great film last year, Les Miserables. In that movie, the character Fantine  sings "I Dreamed a Dream" as she recounts her many misfortunes and disappointments, summing it all up in the last line with the confession "Oh, life has killed the dream I dreamed." Life certainly takes its toll, doesn't it? That's why the most wise King Solomon wrote, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). No matter what life may bring, it's so important to take inventory of your heart, as you go, and guard it above all else - for it is the treasure of your life to protect! 

A friend of mine, Gary Barkalow, wrote in his book It's Your Call: What Are You Doing Here? "God is not running a job-placement agency or a personal-fulfillment task force in regards to our lives. His intention, as Dallas Willard said, is for us 'to live as a co-worker with God in the creative enterprise of life on earth.' God has set this whole story up, and He must and will speak personally to us regarding our part in it."

The encouragement Gary speaks of, that we should always treasure in our hearts, is that no matter how difficult life may seem, God will use every event - every joy and every sorrow - to bring you along as a dearly loved child. And, He wants to speak personally to you about it all, too, so that you will not lose heart before your life is over! I encourage you, dear friends, to seek God out and remain open to His teaching, no matter what life may bring. Keep your eyes fixed on the prize and remember what the apostle Paul wrote, "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). 

Many blessings this week!

Pastor Jeff

Posted by Pastor Jeff Robinson with

Implications of the Incarnation

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5-11

Being God, Jesus also became human. He didn't stop being God, but he took on human flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) This is the great doctrine of the incarnation. And the implications of the incarnation are great. 

One of the implications of the incarnation is that God met us where we are at, in order to reach us and save us. He came to us to reveal his truth to us, that we might be rescued and redeemed. 

That is the model he gave us for reaching out to others in his name: an incarnational model, in which we go to people and reach out to people where they are at, not just waiting for them to come to us, that they might be saved.

Another implication of the incarnation is that both the spiritual and the material world matters to God. Out of all the religions and philosohies of the world, Biblical Christianity is the only one that properly values both the spiritual amd the material. Our God is the one God to whom matter matters. Eastern religion says that matter is an illusion; it is unimportant. In Western religion - Greco-Roman religion - matter is evil and corrupt. In atheistic thinking, the physical is the only thing that matters - and the point of life is just to do what feels good, if that is all there is to life anyway. Jesus, being God, took on human flesh, he cared for people physically and spiritually, he provided redemption for the soul, through his death on the cross, and for the body, through his resurrection as the first-fruits of those who would be raised from the dead in a glorified body. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

The incarnation means that Christianity cares about evangelism and saving souls AND about caring for people's physical needs, because God became a man, and he cares about our WHOLE lives: both the physical and the spiritual.

Another implication of the incarnation is that because God became a man, he understands you. He knows what you're going through, and you can go to him. Hebrews 4:15-16 says: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Have you been betrayed? He's been betrayed. 

Have you been lonely? He's been lonely. Are you facing death? He's faced death. In fact, he died! Have you had a prayer turned down? He had a prayer turned down! 

The incarnatiom means that he has been here, he knows what it's like, and he is ready and able to for you to turn to him in whatever you're going through.

Posted by Pastor Nick Cady with