Contentment. That's not a word that our world is familiar with. Bigger, better, faster. It doesn't even have to come with a big price tag: if it's better than what I have, I want it. Did you hear about the three winners from the most recent big Powerball drawing? Of course, they are forced to split a $564 million prize (or $101 million each if they take a one time payment)....almost not even worth playing. All sarcasm aside, the three winners were from Texas, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. It wasn't a very long time before those who didn't win began to post threats and abusive comments on the internet.
There is definitely something to be said about the dangers of gambling and making sure that an occasional game doesn't become an addiction, but what really is sad is that those who lost really thought they missed out on a chance to be content. I won't even reprint some of the things said about the winners. It's so foolish to think that you can only be truly happy if you make it rich. But people don't just look for contentment in wealth: the perfect house, girl-friend/boyfriend, job title, power, etc. You can run after all of these things and even achieve "great" things; but unless you know The Secret then you'll never find true contentment.
That's what Paul talks about in his letter to the Philippians: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:12) Come on Paul, what's the secret? Some great investment tip? A ten step process to a happier, more successful you? Of course not! It has nothing to do with the things of this world. If you want true contentment then you don't have to look any farther than Christ: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
Are you struggling with finding contentment in your life? Is nothing going the way you had hoped? Or maybe you have succeeded at everything; and yet you still feel that hollowness and emptiness. Want the real secret to contentment? Let the joy of forgiveness and the peace with God fill your heart and mind. After all, earthly treasures and successes last only for a little bit, but God's promises last forever. Amen.
As soon as Jesus entered his public ministry he was tempted by the devil. Several of Satan's fierce temptations are recorded in Matthew chapter 4. In fact, the first verse says, "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted" (Matthew 4:1). This wasn't the only time Jesus was tempted. The writer to the Hebrews makes the point that Jesus was "tempted in every way, just as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus really took on human nature. These temptations were real.
What tempts you? Where does Satan find success pressing your buttons? We commonly refer to our sins as weaknesses and mistakes. But they are more than mistakes. The term "sin" literally means to "miss the mark" of perfection. We all have certain temptations that threaten our relation to Jesus. We all commit sins. Our personal guilt is far more destructive than anything terrorists can throw at us. Our "missing the mark" is more serious than contracting a deadly disease or losing a job. Satan is real and so is his daily assault on our connection with Jesus.
It's good we know the rest of the story. Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are "yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). We have One who was always successful in handling temptation. Jesus not only didn't commit sin, he didn't even think about it. This is our rescue! God the Father put our many sins on his Son, and he looks at us as if we had never "missed the mark." This the message of the Lenten season. Resisting temptation isn't easy. Our failures drive us to Jesus' cross and forgiveness. In Jesus we live to fight another day. "So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed" (John 8:36).
Friday & Saturday, March 20 & 21
Wintergreen Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Cost is: Lodging $79/$89 (make choice below) | Meals: $36 | Honorarium: $50
ALL COSTS (Lodging, meals and Honorarium) payable to St. Paul’s—give to Dan Schoeffel
Call Wintergreen Resort direct at 800-648-4765 to reserve your room. A credit card is required to HOLD the room but you still pay St. Paul’s for the room.
J.A.M. stands for Jesus in the Afternoon for Me. J.A.M. is a Wednesday after-school program for children in grades 1-5. All are welcome to attend especially those who do not have a church home or Sunday school.
Children gather in St. Paul's fellowship hall after arriving from their school (they can get shuttled by bus from their school to St. Paul’s--Ask your child’s bus driver for details). The sessions begin with a snack, free time (games), a Bible lesson (beginning around 3:50), singing and craft. Children are to be picked up at 5:00 p.m. You can register your child when you bring them or by clicking the link below to our online registration form.
J.A.M. is FREE and a fun way for your child to learn valuable lessons for life and bring them closer to God.
For more information click on the link below to the J.A.M. handbook or call St. Paul's church and school office 783-2552 extension 0.