Mind Growth                              Text: Proverbs 1:5  

School days are back for many this week. If an opinion poll were taken of parents, children, and educators I wonder if the majority are ready for school to begin or would prefer a little more vacation. Many parents would vote school, while many children and their teachers would vote vacation! There was a time when August was thought of as the last month of a three month summer vacation, and not the first month of the school year.  There is a lesson we all can learn by the changes of the new school calendars.  Time marches on and things change constantly for the young and old alike. Those of us who have been out of school since the days when the school year began in September probably know this, but there is still time to learn many more valuable lessons.  Someone once said, “You learn something every day if you pay attention.”  Daniel Boorstin defined education as learning what you didn't even know you didn't know.  Surely we don’t know everything there is to know (yet). Even though we think we are all grown up; there is always room for our minds to grow.  “The purpose of learning is growth and our minds unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we continue to live.” ~Mortimer Adler  So as you send your children off to continue their education this week, think of things you can do every day to continue your own.  Wise men (and women) continue to learn as long as God allows them to continue to live. A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste. Pay attention and you are sure to learn something you didn’t even know you didn’t know.

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Anticipation                                    Text Revelation 19:7

The wedding day finally arrived for a happy couple. Everyone was concerned about the bride and focused all their attention on her.  She was a bit nervous and asked those who were attending to her needs if there was not some way she could see the groom for just a minute to console her. Despite the age old custom of the couple not being able to see each other before the ceremony, her attendant agreed. The bridesmaid ran down the hall and knocked on the door where the groom was waiting.  One of his attendants opened the door.  He heard the young lady’s request and laughed. The groom had just made the exact request to see the bride. The groom said, “I just can’t wait another minute to see her.”  Sometimes the groom tends to be forgotten. But grooms look forward to wedding days just as much as brides.  As the church, we are the Bride of Christ and are looking towards the wedding day with hopeful anticipation.  We have been promised to Christ. I promised your hand in marriage to Christ, presented you as a pure virgin to her husband. II Corinthians 11:2   Oh what a wedding day it will be for us!  This week I was reminded by this post from a friend that Jesus is looking forward to the day just as much as we are. “Jesus is just as excited to be united with His Bride, as His Bride is to be united with HIM!!!!!!”  In Isaiah 62:5 we find, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Jesus is readying Himself for the wedding, as should we all. The great thing about waiting on our wedding day is that we can be consoled by our Groom anytime. We simply have to call His name and Jesus answers always.

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Totally & Hopelessly Devoted                     Text: matthew 10:22

Totally is defined as the whole, complete, absolute, or chief.  Totally committed comes to mind. There is no half way in and half way out in such a commitment.  This is the case in successful marriages.  Both the husband and wife have to consider their mate’s needs above their own. The devotion to one another should come second only to one’s devotion to God. Olivia Newton John sang these words about devotion to a true love, “Hold on to the end, that’s what I intend to do.  I’m hopelessly devoted to you.”  Holding on the end in any committed relationship isn’t always easy.  How many of us can sing these words to God and it be totally true? Are we hopelessly devoted to Him above all else? Is He chief in our lives? Does He alone make us whole and complete, or are we making an effort to have other things fill us?  With God there is no half way in and half way out; for in Revelation 3 we find those who are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, will be spit out of His mouth.  In the same chapter we also find that those who overcome to the end will He grant the right to sit in His throne room.  He is a jealous God and wants every bit of us to belong totally to Him until the very end.  There is absolutely no hope and no way to endure to the end without total devotion to God in everything we do every day of our lives.  Commit yourself totally to the relationship you have with your Lord and Savior.

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Just A Twinkle in His Eye                 Text: Jeremiah 29:11 

There is a saying we sometimes hear that lets us know something happened a little before our time; “You were just a twinkle in your dad’s eye then.” Just a twinkle doesn’t seem like much does it?  However, if we are speaking of our Heavenly Father a twinkle is huge.  He knew each of us and the plans He had for us from the foundation of the earth. God has a way of bringing His plans for His people together in His perfect time. He has brought this body of believers together from all walks of life to Word of Life Church.  As we approach the sixteenth anniversary, there will probably be stories told of things that happened to help us become who we are as a church long before many of us were actually here. We will listen, laugh, and perhaps cry a little as we hear of the goodness of God bringing us to where we are today. Isn’t it amazing that there was a time when Word of Life was just a twinkle in God’s eye? He knew the plans He had for us!  There was a time when this church was just a twinkle in our Pastor’s heart.  God revealed to him the plans He had for Word of Life to be born. The road wasn’t always easy, but aren’t you glad Pastor held on to God’s promises? The journey from birth, to toddler, to child, to teenager was a great adventure that we can all look back on and cherish, but we have a feeling that sixteen is going to be especially sweet. You do know what the age sixteen usually brings to mind don’t you?  A license to drive!  Look out world, we are about to get our license and go to all the places that God sends us without hesitation.  This great adventure we are embarking on was once just a twinkle in the eyes of God our Father, but now He is entrusting us to reach our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He knows the plans He has for all of us.

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Sticking to My Story                  Text: Revelations 12:11 

How many of you have a story to tell of your first visit to Word of Life Church?  How many of you are visiting for the first time and the story is being written in your mind as you read these words?  I know God’s timing is perfect and He brought me here on August 27th, 2000 at the exact moment I was supposed to come.  I believe each of you also came to WOLC at God’s perfect time for you.  My story is similar to many, not so unique, but it is special to me and forever stuck in my mind.  I got up on a Sunday twelve years ago, looked in the phone book for a church, and found one listed on 1984 Cliff Gookin. I called and asked what time services were and told the person on the other end of the phone I would be there.  Just speaking those words felt so right and I still remember the joy I had driving here for the first time.  At that point in my life I felt I was in a dark deep pit with no way out, so any joy was uncommon for me.  I have heard many tell they can remember the exact words of the first sermon they heard here. No offence to Pastor and his amazing gift to bring the Word, but I can’t.  What I remember is the presence of God I felt in this place like I had never known before.  My healing and deliverance didn’t come instantly that day, but the knowledge that this is where God had divinely placed me for those things to come did.  Everyone’s story is different.  This church has been known as many things to many people.  My favorite is that Word of Life Church is known as is a hospital where the hurting can be healed.  No, Word of Life Church is not my salvation, healer, or deliverer, but this is the place God chose for me to find all those things in Him.  As we begin our sixteenth year may we each remember our stories of what this church has meant to us and our families, but even more so let us look ahead to the role we are each called to play in helping the hurting find salvation, healing, and deliverance here in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.