Joe Stowell – Wed, Feb. 3 – Moody Founder’s Week 2016 – How do we live in this increasingly dark world?

Joe StowellJoe Stowell teaches at Moody Founders Week 2016.

I didn’t need to drive all the way here from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to tell you that something bad has happened in the world in which we live. And, my read is that there’s a sense that despair is the operational word for many of us Christians who take our world seriously and see no immediate solution to this deepening and dangerous darkness.

How do we live in this increasingly dark world? How do we live winsomely, courageously, victoriously to the glory of God? And I just wanna say that embracing a sense of despair   is not the solution. But there are many of us today who do despair because we feel that we have lost. We have lost the America that we love. When we are bold enough to say that Jesus is the only way, we are called arrogant. When we try to communicate the best way we can about the biblical principles of human sexuality, we’re called bigots. It’s not the world that my grandfather preached in. It’s not the world my dad preached in. My grandfather and dad could get up and talk about sleeping around as a sin, „You shouldn’t sleep around.” Adn, even the pagans who were there would say, „Yeah, we agree with that. But, we’re not gonna stop sleeping around.” Today, you preach that, and people are gonna say, „What planet are you from?”

We feel marginalized. Christianity, today, is the only subculture that is not protected. We’re free game to be mocked in TV serials and movies, denigrated in the classrooms of our universities with no protection. There are Christians who get really angry about this stuff. Maybe some of you felt like that. And, fearful. Fearful for the world your children are going to grow up in. And, confused. And, a sense of despair sinks into our hearts.

Sometimes, that sense of despair is not just in our world politic and the shifting culture around us. Sometimes, it’s within our own hearts, for a family that is broken, health that has betrayed us. And, we look at our own world and the darkness and badness of that world brings despair to our hearts. Well. it’s into that kind of world and the world we just talked about and in the kind of lives that I’ve just spoken about that Paul speaks to this issue in the location of Scripture that will help us. It will help us to navigate this matter winsomely, courageously, victoriously, in ways that glorify God. And, I have to remind you of who he is writing to when he writes the Book of Colossians. He’s not writing to safe Christians  growing up in a compatible culture. He is writing to early Christians who are not only marginalized, but deeply persecuted and killed for their commitment to Jesus Christ. I mean, if you think your world is bad, we’re not there yet.

Let’s look at what he has to say. What do you think? Colossians chapter 1 –

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[e] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

There are four  exhortations to these people:

  1. Walk worthy
  2. In a manner that is pleasing to the Lord
  3. Be strengthened with His might
  4. Be persistent and be joyful.

Now, if I was an early Christian reading this text, I would certainly affirm that those are good things there. But, my guess is that it would put me in just a little bit of tension. Like, how do I get motivated to walk worthy, in  a manner pleasing to Him? When, given my circumstances, I’m kind of feeling that He’s betrayed me and abandoned me, and left me out here vulnerable to a hostile world in which I live? And, how do I get motivated to live by the strength of His power when I feel so weak (for the early Christians) against the power of Rome? For us, I feel so weak against friends who oppose me and lead me astray. I  feel so weak, for my family who is not in sync with me.How can I have that power when I feel so weak? And, why do you ask me to persist when I think „game over”? It’s done. And, the temptation is so prevalent to bail. And, joy? Joy, when despair has gripped our souls. Think of exhorting an Iraqi family with these 4 things, when their father has just been beheaded because of his claims for Christ. Think of how hard it would be for them to get their arms around that. Think of how hard it would be if you were to tell your friend whose husband has just left her with a houseful of kids, for another woman. That shee needed to walk worthy, pleasing, wit strength and power, persisting with joy. Just think how hard that would be. So, I sense the tension in this text for us. But, that’s not the end of the text. You have to keep reading because he grounds these exhortations for an upbeat attitude in the midst of the darkest of times, he grounds it in that great statement, that „by His power, He has delivered us from this dark, wvil domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son!” And with that in perspective, suddenly, there is a ray of hope in the midst of my despair.So, let’s unwrap this a little bit. (Notes from the first 15 minutes, with approx 30 more minutes remaining from this message).

VIDEO by Moody Bible Institute

Erwin Lutzer – Thu, Feb. 4 – Moody Founder’s Week 2016 – The Offense of the Cross

erwin lutzer

Pastor Erwin Lutzer teaches at Moody Founders Week 2016. Pastor Lutzer announceing in this video that he is leaving Moody Bible Church in May 22, 2016.

1 Corinthians 1:

VIDEO by  Moody Bible Institute

Dr. Paul Nyquist – Mon, Feb. 1 ~ Moody Founder’s Week 2016

Moody Bible Institute’s president, Dr. Paul Nyquist teaches at Moody Founders Week 2016.

VIDEO by Moody Bible Institute

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