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morning and Welcome to good news in the morning. I am so glad that you have
tuned into the program today. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Lead Pastor at
Sunnyside Wesleyan Church here in Ottawa. I have been pastoring there for 27
years. One of the things I love to do is show how God’s word that was written a
long time ago, connects with our world right now.
know that some of you who are listening have been followers of Jesus for a long
time, and I know that others of you think of yourself as spiritual, but you are
not really sure of this Christian thing, and I know others of you just curious
how people of faith think. I trust that wherever you are on yours spiritual
journey, that you will find this program interesting and informative, and I believe
that for those of you desire it, God can use a program like this to take you
another step closer to Him.
morning I want to talk to those of you who have just started to walk with
Christ, and those of you who are walking with those who have just started to
walk with Christ. You see we are all on a spiritual journey, but we are at
different places on that journey. It is helpful to know what to expect when you
hit certain stages of your journey. This morning I am looking at beginning with
all start the journey at the same place. The bible says we were dead in our
trespasses and sin. It says that none of us are righteous, not even one of us. However you describe that state, whether it
be, Lost, or Not a Christian, unsaved, we are outside of Christ. That is where
we all start on our spiritual journey.
to start your spiritual journey with Christ we all have to pass through what
the bible sometimes describes as a door.
there are many path to get to the door, but there is only one door by which you
can enter the new life. Some of you searched for a good long while. Some of
you, like me, had your parents point you towards the door. Sometimes hardship
and trouble drive us towards the door. The Spirit of God is constantly nudging
us towards the door. But you must pass through the door in order to enter this
door is not a church door, or a religious door. The Bible describes the door as
narrow.The door is Jesus Christ
himself. To enter into this new life we need to come through Jesus. That means
humbling ourselves and admitting that we have sinned and broken God’s laws, and
that we want a relationship with God, but we can’t do it on our own. We need
Jesus to perform a miracle on our behalf. We need him to take away our sin, and
give us new life.
of you may be saying, I am ready to pass through the door, but how – how do I
do that. The bible talking about Jesus says, to as many as receive him, to them
gave he the power to become children of God.
pass through the door, it is a simple as receiving all of who Jesus is, into
your life. Jesus is our Saviour, for he came to save his people from their sin,
so you receive him as Saviour. Jesus is our good shepherd, so we receive him
into our lives as the one we are going to follow. Jesus is King, so we receive
him into our lives as the one we are going to serve. Jesus also lets us know
that he wants to be our friend, so we receive him into our lives as one with
whom we are going to have a relationship with.
often people receive him through prayer. Praying a prayer like, Lord Jesus I
invite you to come into my life, I receive you as my Saviour, the one who
forgives my sins, I receive you as my shepherd, the one who I will follow, you are Lord and the
one who I will serve and I want to be your friend. I receive all that you are
into my life, and trust you with my life.
words aren’t important but receiving Jesus in faith, trusting him to do what he
said he would do is important. It sets in motion a lot of spiritual realities.
You are forgiven, you are made new, you are given Christ life, you are made a
child of God. You have passed through the door.
we find on the other side of the door is new life. The Bible describes us as
moving from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We are moving
into the King’s territory where he rules and things are different.
through the door that is Jesus, and in doing so we commit ourselves to
following Jesus. We put our lives in his hands.
are many labels for the walk through the door. ----Becoming a Christian, being
saved, but the label I want to use today is being born again. When you walk
through the door you are born again. In John 3 Jesus talks about being born
again. In a dialogue between himself and a religious teach Nicodemus, Jesus say
it is not about being born physically again, it is about being born
spiritually. When you walk through that door, you are a spiritual new born. You
are a babe in Christ.
babies are cute. I love it when they giggle or smile at you. They are great--
until they smear you with projectile vomit. They are awesome but sometimes they
are really smelly. They are wonderful, but sometimes they will keep you up all
night. And the thing you will notice about babiesis that – from their perspective- life is all
hungry -Whaa I am dirty -Whaa. I don’t know what I want Whaa.
the same the spiritual life. New Christians are awesome to be around and they
are messy. It is so great to have them as part of the family – and sometimes
they can make your hair turn grey.
with me to 1 Corinthians 3. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. The
church in Corinth is immature. Paul is frustrated with them because he feels
like they should be further along the path than they are. But in many ways they
are still stuck at the first level of spiritual growth.
for our purposes, overlook Paul’s frustrations and see what he means by infants
Corinthians 3:1–4 (NIV)
and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as
people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave
you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are
still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is
jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like
mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another,
“I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
tells us something about people who are “mere infants in Christ.”They are not living by the Spirit. They need
a special diet, because they cannot handle all of God’s truth. They are still
worldly. They are reacting to situations like they have always reacted to
situations. There is jealousy and there is quarreling, and they are taking
sides on issues that shouldn’t have a side. Paul’s the best, Apollos is the
best- when the reality is that our faith is all about Jesus.
are just some of the things that often happen when people are born again. It is
sometimes just messy.
goal of our spiritual journey is a deep love relationship with God. But usually
at this stage, God is means to my
lifelong desire for security and happiness. God is going to help make me
happy. Life is about me and what I want – and God is going to help me to get
likely our lifestyle is largely reflective of the world’s agenda. Our schedule,
time, money are all built around family work and entertainment. We can’t see
how God relates to any of these.There
is sin, but they don’t really think about it as sin. How we treat people the
people we are in relationship with, how we treat ourselves are often divorced
from the fact that we have come into a relationship with Jesus.
you know what, we all have to start somewhere.
would be pretty crazy for parents to say of their baby, you smell, I’m not
going near you. It would be pretty crazy of the church to look at Newborns in
Christ and say you smell I’m not going near you. But I have seen it done
love being around new Christians – but sometimes it is awkward.
have been part of some really awkward conversations. If before you became a
Christian, your coping mechanism when things go wrong is to go out and get
drunk. After you become a Christian and things go wrong, your coping mechanism
is still going out and getting drunk – and then you call your pastor. – Awkward
you know what, we all have to start somewhere.
are some real challenges and severe dangers in this part of the spiritual
fact that they have changed sides and gone from the kingdom of darkness and
come into the kingdom of light -- you know that the enemy of our souls is going
to try to destroy their faith.
are rampant. Some of those temptations comes from the enemy of our souls, and
other comes from our own desires, and some come from the social network we are
in that doesn’t want us to change.What
we value is in flux. We used to value what the world values, but God is giving
us a different love.
is often a real factor in this stage of the spiritual life. They start hanging
out with Christians, and they look like things are going well, and yet they are
still trying to figure out how to think of themselves in light of who they were
and who they are.
at the same time, often there is something good and wonderful happening on the
inside. People love Jesus. They feel themselves coming alive. There is this
wonder that God loves them. They are getting new insight into what this new
spiritual life means.
me talk to those of you who are at this first stage of the spiritual journey. I
am so glad that you have chosen to follow Jesus. I want you to know that you
can’t make yourself grow, but there are ways to cooperate with God that will
help you to grow.
of your spiritual life as a plant. If a plant is fed the right stuff and
watered the right way it will grow, unless of course you put too much poison
into the pot. Your spiritual life will grow if it is fed, and if you don’t
poison it too much. You don’t have to force yourself to grow, you just have to
cooperate with God.
uses a metaphor of building a house
Corinthians 3:10–11 (NIV)
10 By the grace God has
given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building
on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can
lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
goes on to say you can build well or you can build poorly. But we are all
are constructing your spiritual life. You have the foundation. It is Jesus. He
has saved you, he has forgiven your sins, and he has come into your life. Your
spiritual life rests on him and the work that he did for you on the cross.
is your foundation. Never leave that foundation. Your spiritual life rests on
Jesus. It is about Jesus. You can loose sight of that, and think it is all
about you, but don’t.
Now there are some things that you can do to
cooperate with God, to build well.
first thing is, Learn to pray openly and honestly about what is going on in
is simply talking to God. He can hear you even when you pray silently. But if
you have the place and space it is sometimes helpful to pray out loud. When you
are confused about God or what is going on in your life, pray about it. When
you see something that you are grateful for, thank God for it. When you have
something you need, ask God for it.
build a strong spiritual foundation when you learn to bring your life to God in
prayer. When you are open and honest with God in prayer it makes a difference.
Also listen to those little nudges in your heart as to what is right and wrong.
God has a way of speaking to us. Prayer is meant to be conversation.
next thing that you can do to build well is Bible Study. I usually recommend
that people start with the gospel of John. You can look it up in the index at
the front of the bible. It will tell you the story of Jesus.
most books, don’t try to read from front to back. Some of those books at the
very start of the bible are boring until you figure out what is going on. That
can be discouraging for your spiritual life and for the practice of reading
bible is divided into two parts the Old Testament and the New Testament. You
will also see that from the index in the front of your Bible. Stick with the
New Testament until you are really familiar with it, then you can move to the
there is prayer and there is bible study, and with those two things, ---you
start to ask God, is there anything that I need to change in the way that I am
see God willbegin the task of getting
rid of sin and showing you how to do good. How you live is important. If you
don’t deal with the sin that God points out to you, then that is a way of
poisoning your spiritual life. But remember, God isn’t asking you to deal with
these things to make your life harder, but to make them better. You can trust
him with that.
Let me say a word to those of you who
struggle with addictions. What you are struggling with is really hard. And
I have watched as God has taken some people’s addictions away with a seeming snap
of his fingers. I have watched as others have really had to struggle with their
have come to the conclusion that if Jesus doesn’t immediately remove your
addiction, that there is something really important that he wants to teach you
in the struggle. He wants to teach you about depending on him. He wants to
teach you his ways.
that even when you blow it and you sin, that he is forgiving and merciful. He
wants to lead you into a deep love relationship with himself. So learn to keep short
accounts with God. What I mean by that is if you sin, come back to God quickly
and confess your sin. Simply say, Lord I acknowledge what I did was wrong,
please forgive me.
of Satan’s primary tools is shame. He wants you to wallow in self loathing. But
that is not God’s way. Shame is not from God. Guilt is not from God. God
convicts of sin to let you know that it was wrong, but his desire is that you
walk in freedom from sin and shame and guilt. When you sin, confess your sin to God, and ask
him to forgive you – and he does and he will. Even if you are coming back time
and again, he always is merciful, because he wants what is best for you.
happens in all this is that God is going to show you more and more of your own
heart. He is also going to show you more and more of Himself. When you get to
know who you are and who He is, it leads to humility in you and awe of Him.
you are at this stage I would urge you, if at all possible, to get into a small
group that will nurture your faith. These are sometimes challenging – but I
believe they ae important.
let me speak to you as a fellow Christians who have friends who have just
stepped into the kingdom of God.
don’t love people’s whose lives are messy, then we have not grown as much as we
think we have. New Christians have a way of keeping us real and authentic, and
fresh. So I want you to embrace the mess.
the years, I have come to this conclusion, God will only entrust us with his
new children if we have the capacity and the willingness to love them well. The
last thing new Christians need as struggle in their new life, is judgement from
you. It is God’s job to convict and your job to nurture and encourage.
as new babies have needs, so those who have just been born again have needs as
primary need is to have spiritual friends, or mentors or coaches. This involves
friendship, but friendship where we talk about all of life. Being willing to
listen is important. When life is messy, having someone to listen well is
really important. Don’t jump to quickly to speaking into the issue.
kinds of friendships are where you can read the bible together and search for
answers together and pray together. And these relationship matters. These
relationships may only last for a year or two, or they may last a life time –
but they are really important. I have to ask you – are you willing to enter
into this kind of relationship with one or two people.
you ask God to bring someone like this into your life?
That would mean embracing the mess and disruptions
that sometimes happen. That would mean welcoming them into our small groups and
into our lives. That would mean becoming spiritual friends or coaches or
God has already put someone in your path that is just beginning their walk with
Christ – are you willing to embrace the uncertainty and just walk with them?
morning we have looked at the first part of the spiritual journey. There are
many different paths to get to the door into a life with Christ, but there is
only one door. The door is Christ himself. We pass through that door, by
receiving all of who Christ is into our life. He is the Saviour, he forgives us
our sins. He is the good shepherd, the one we follow. He is the King, the one
whom we serve. He is our friend the one who we walk with. We receive all of
Jesus into our life and he gives us new life.
goal of this journey with Christ is a deep love relationship with the God of
the universe. Where ever you are on the spiritual journey I would urge you to
take one more step towards God. And take someone else’s hand and encourage them
along the way.
Good News in the Morning is sponsored by Good News Christian
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who support us
financially. And now, here is today’s presentation.
Good morning! I’m your host today Brian Wilkie from St. Andrew’s Christian
Church in Rockland. As we begin today, my prayers of the good news of our Lord
Jesus Christ will encourage and strengthen you today.
Who are we, O
Lord, that you care for us?
I’m very much looking forward to the message we can share together in
from God’s holy word, and hope that in every way God will touch you and bless
you. The theme of today is, Why does God Care for us. It’s from a passage in
Psalm 8, and the key phrase is, what is man that you are mindful of him, and
the son of man, that you care for him. But I’ll read you the whole Psalm now
and you’ll see the context in which the psalmist is amazed that God could love
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of
children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider
your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful
of him, the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a
little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with
glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the
works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds, and the
beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that
swim the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
I find that to be a beautiful
psalm considering the glory of God revealed in all his creation. In the worship
of his church. In the heavens and in the stars. And in the beasts of the field,
the fish in the sea, and the birds in the air and all the creatures of the
earth. God has made a marvelous, marvelous creation and yet he has given us a
special place within that creation, which causes us to pause and wonder. How do
we receive such honour from God?
Well, I think that’s a theme very
much worth exploring and so we’re going to take a look at that in a few
But here’s a song which focuses
on the majesty of God, titled simply, Majesty sung in this case by Marantha
from their Decade of Praise album. Would you listen to it with me, and consider
the glory and majesty of our Lord.
1)Majesty, Marantha Music, Decade of Praise,
God is so majestic. so glorious.
There are scenes of worship in the old testament and the new, where the glory
of God that is so great, that people are overcome. They can’t
speak, and there are times, even
when preaching, believe it or not, when I sometimes find myself at a complete
loss for words in consideration of the amazing glory and majesty of God.
That brings forward the question,
who are we? Who are we in this universe? We are now perhaps more than ever,
aware of our smallness in the universe. The scope of even our planet is so much
larger than it seemed in the early days in which scripture was written and the New
Testament was formed. God revealed himself to people without revealing all the
secrets of the universe, without having to first train them in Cosmology. But
we may think we’re the first to recognize how small we are in a universe that’s
billions of light-years across. But in Psalm 8 we have a psalmist, a poet,
perhaps even David himself who is expressing that wonder at how magnificent
creation is. How immense creation is! How tiny we are on this planet earth! And
yet, even in recognition of this tininess, we have this revelation from God
that he cares for us.
We have the intervention of God,
over and over again to help and save people. We shouldn’t be troubled by the
question of why God doesn’t hear our prayers. We should be more interested in
the question of why he does. Why over all the glory and wonder of the universe
does he tune his ear to us on this planet?
Now less we think too little of
ourselves, we do need to recognize that God has made amazing creatures in
humanity. He has made us amazing in so many ways.
I was interested to note from a
scientist who pointed out that for anybody who understands logarithmic scales,
we’re about the mid size of the universe. For instance, as a body, your body is
probably composed of something in the order of 10 to the 27th atoms. That’s
actually in this case 7 times 10 to the 27th . Seven with 27 zeros after it.
But there are 10 to the 24th stars in the observable universe. That means you
are made up of a complexity, that consists of more atoms in your body, then
there are stars in the observable universe. You are wonderfully and marvelously made. It’s amazing that God has created human beings and all
living things to be so immensely complex.
I read that in terms of the
synapses in our brain, the connections in your brain, the complexity of the
organ of thought that God has given you.
There are 10 to the 13th
synapses, which is more than the number of stars in our galaxy. There’s a
thousand trillion, synapses in the human brain. Connections that give
complexity to our thought and our ability to do so many wonderful thoughts and
speculation, to make decisions and to act with our bodies through the impulses
of our brain.
So we are marvelously made. It’s
interesting that when we describe ourselves, we describe ourselves in some very
lofty terms. Of course we call ourselves humanity. In Latin call our species “homo sapiens sapiens” which means wise,
wise man. Homo sapiens-sapiens. We
thinks a lot of ourselves - as the smartest creatures ever to live, and who
knows, in terms of created beings in the material universe – perhaps we are. We
haven’t plumbed the depths of that yet.
However. God, when he made Adam,
gave him a very interesting name 'Adam.' Because it’s derived from the
wordfor what Adam is made of. He’s made
of earth. He’s made of dirt. He’s made of dust. And so his name reflects his
origin. And if you have a science fiction bent, you might
translate Adam as literally, Earthling. Or creature of dust. And so there's a
sense of our identity within the created order. Within the order around us. I
find it amusing sometimes that we use the word 'stardust' so poetically. I’m
remembering a song from the sixties, I think, which described us as a stardust,
"we are golden" as though being made of star dust set us apart from
the rest of creation. But from a cosmological point, God formed earth out of
star dust. That every element that exists, every atom that exists, is formed
out of the waste materials of stars. We are star dust, but star dust is earth
dust. We are part of ordinary creation. And that should humble us a little bit,
but should also help us to recognize the glory of all that God has made.
We need to look at what it means
to be human in God’s eyes, in order to truly understand how much he cares for
us. And we’re going to take a little bit more look at that, but I want Carolyn
Arrends to have a word about who we are as she sings 'This Is Who You Are',
from her album 'Under the Grace'. Would you listen to it with me?
Who you are, Carolyn Arends, Under the Gaze,
This is who we are. We are made
of dust. But we’re also made in the image of God. And that’s a central teaching
of scripture that says so much about what God intends for us.
There’s another source of wonder
about why God loves us so much. Why he cares for us, and that’s expressed in
the psalm when it says, "You made us. You put everything under our feet.
The beasts of the land, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, all creatures."
One might ask in any day, in any age, why God has entrusted us with so much
responsibility? We don’t always seem to exercise that responsibility very well.
We act in selfishness and greed. We act in ignorance and irresponsibility. We
sometimes do things without considering the consequences, and what we do can
have great consequences in the world that has been entrusted to our care.
Why did God entrust us with so
much responsibility? These are great questions, and I’m actually as I prepared
this message, I was wishing that it was being broadcast before the November 3,
Dig and Delve Conference.
This is a conference that happens
annually now in Ottawa that really helps people to engage with the big
questions, and explanations, and understanding of the Christian faith, so that
we’re better able to understand it for our own benefit, and also better able to
explain and reason about the faith to people who have serious questions about
it. That Dig and Delve Conference is one that has a great deal of involvement
from George Sinclair, one of hosts on this radio show, and though it’s a little
bit late to be telling you about this year's conference, I do want to plant a
seed if you have an interest in knowing your Lord better and being able to talk
reasonably to others about your faith, that you keep your eye out for Dig and
Delve when it comes around next year. And look for resources on the Dig and
Delve website as well, because there are great answers to the great questions,
because God has provided so much in his Word and his revelation.
See, when God made us out of
dust, he also made us in his image. He made us capable of a relationship with
him, and he made us capable of the love which completely fills his being. He
made us to love one another. He made us to love him. He made us to walk and
talk with God. To know him intimately. He made us to express his love towards
the rest of his creation, to care for and manage and responsibly use the
creation that he has provided around us.
Creation isn’t intended to be
completely at its own direction, but instead is capable of, and it needs to be,
carefully watched over and stewarded. God set humans in that role. When he set
us in that role he was able to describe us as very good, but we wouldn’t always
describe ourselves that way today. He had an unbroken relationship with the
first humans starting with Adam and Eve. He had a wonderful and close
fellowship with them. And he could count on Adam and Eve to understand his
instructions and to do his will. And then, Adam and Eve decided to disobey.
They decided to go against the will of God to find their own meaning for what
was good and what was evil, and they choose very badly and broke that
relationship with God. They became filled with fear and shame, and they also sowed
the seeds of all the sin that has followed in the wake of that decision. And so
human beings have had a history of anger and rage, a history in fighting and a
history of consuming without any consideration of the world around them. And
that problem has been so strong in our history.
So we still have the question,
why does God care for us? Why does he still care for us after all this time.
And the answer to that question is the gospel itself; that God knows he’s able
to reach us in our need, and even in our sin, in our wickedness; that wherever
we stand in the spectrum of human good and evil, that God is able to lift us up
and bring us to new life.
God cares for us and continues to
care for us because he knows that he, by his power can redeem us. And he, by
working through his son Jesus Christ offering his life on the cross, has
offered everything that is necessary for our redemption. We can be restored! God
cares enough to give everything for us. And he cares with the full optimism of
a God who knows that this night of sorrow can turn into a morning of joy.
And that’s the message that we
are giving on Good News In The Morning week by week and through the internet
every day of the year.
We do pray that you will turn to
this God who cares for you; that you will receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour,
and that he will fulfill in you all that he has purposed for you.
Let me pray
with you right now.
“Almighty God, humanity is such a
mixed thing from our perspective. We have fallen so far. But you are the one who
made us. You are the one who can remake us for eternal life. Thank you, Jesus,
for all that you have given for our salvation and thank you for the promise and
the demonstration through the resurrection that you are able to accomplish all
that you intend to do. Accomplish it in us, through Jesus Christ we pray.
And now as we conclude this
program, here is another song focusing on the majesty and glory of God, which I
think is a great song of praise: 'How Majestic
Is Your Name' based on Psalm 8, and sung by Marantha Music, Decade of Praise.
Rev. Brian Wilkie
Andrew's ChristianCommunity, Rockland, Ontario
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love.Good News In The Morning is produced in the Studios of News Talk Radio 580