Weekly Message

Sermon Audio

Your Life Is Divinely Orchestrated.

Rev. Todd Beiswenger

Friends, we know that God has plans for us, plans that are for good. But, that doesn't mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us. In scripture we see several instances where God allowed something bad to happen to one of His people, only for Him to turn it to good.

Sometimes the bad things, the enemies, are sent so that we can pass a test that moves us to the next level. In one famous story, David was a shepherd boy, and what he needed to propel him higher wasn't a friend, but an enemy. Goliath didn't hold David back, he advanced him. God will do the same for you!

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Day of Atonement - How to Approach God

People are generally familiar with the idea of "spring cleaning" where once a year we do a more thorough cleaning of the stuff that has built up over time. That same practice is also good for our spiritual life, and God gives us a ritual called the "Day of Atonement" that tells us how we are to do this yearly repentance. This process is intense as we have to put aside a lot that is dear to us as we approach God and try to replace the things we love with the things He loves.

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Don't Limit God's Power

Why is it with God that we often think that past behavior does not predict future behavior? The Scriptures are full of miracles, but in today's world we tend to rationalize away God's ability to affect our lives. We don't ask Him for help because the doctors say there's no cure, we don't ask Him for the money because we can't think of where it's going to come from... but these are just examples of us putting limits on God's power. He may not communicate with us like in ancient times, but it doesn't mean He doesn't communicate with us.

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You Are Not Alone

It is really detrimental to our health to feel alone. We need other people in order to survive and thrive in life. There are plenty of examples in the Scriptures where God makes the point to tell us that we are in fact never alone. That He is always with us, and that He has sent His angels to be with us as well.

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It's the Simple Things That Save

One of the lesser known miracles of the Bible is a story of how an enemy army commander is saved by the prophet Elisha. The commander is looking for a major display of power, but instead Elisha tells him to wash in the Jordan river. This story is packed full of symbolism that we'll go over, but the point is that repeatedly doing the simple works of the 10 Commandments is what will save us when we feel we have lost our way.

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Death in the Pot

Getting a few basic spiritual concepts right can completely change our life, but we do have to prioritize them properly or else we may lead ourselves unintentionally down the wrong path.

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Blessings of Contentment

I love this week's story because it is a story of a content, peaceful woman, who without asking for anything, gets a major miracle in her life. She gets one thing that she's always wanted: a child. I love it because it isn't a story of good versus evil, it isn't about an evil person who turns good, but it is about a person who is good, and without asking for anything, gets the one thing that makes her life complete.

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All You Need Is Love

Elisha performs another miracle, this time a widow is in debt and her sons are going to be made slaves to pay it off. Elisha has the woman take the little bit of oil she has, and pours it into borrowed jars. The little bit she has fills them all, and she can sell the oil to pay off her debt.

Do miracles like this still happen? Yes, I believe they do. Not in this way, but people who need money will get it. God does provide. He just uses us to do the work. We just need a little bit of love - oil - and it can go a long way.

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The Miracle of Salt

A stream has gone bad... the people can't drink the water, and the water is in fact so bad that the land can't produce crops. This isn't the tale of a modern stream that's been polluted by some manufacturing plant, but the tale of a stream in ancient Israel. The towns people came to Elisha, a powerful prophet, to heal the water. And he did. All he needed was a new bowl and a little salt.

The miracle is about creating a desire to do good things in life. For a lot of us, that means breaking a destructive cycle. Like the stream that has been polluting for years, maybe you've had some bad beliefs handed down to you from parents and grandparents and now is the time to purify those beliefs because you actually WANT to be a good person.

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Letting Go of Control

This may be the most difficult part of walking a spiritual path: letting go of control. We know that we can't just do nothing, but what do we actually have to do? The message here is that we have to learn to manage our own life first, and in doing so letting go of the need or desire to run the lives of others. At some point we've got to apply that to our own life too. The more we let go, the more we can receive from God.

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You Actually Have to Love Others

Last week's message was about being confronted with the truth about ourselves. This week and next will be about amending our life in two areas that will bring us to a happy state. Today the focus is on making sure that our actions are in integrity with our thoughts. We say we want to be a good person, but we can't fall into the trap of thinking good thoughts but not living up to them. We have to make sure that we actually LIVE a good life!

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Am I A Good Person?

Our life is ultimately a course designed to turn us into angels. This is good for us because angels are very happy beings. We also know that they're very good. Thus being good and happiness are tied together. So the question becomes: are you a good person? How do you answer that?

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The God Standard

Perhaps you've heard of the gold standard? The idea was that paper money had value because it was backed by gold. The same thing can be said about you: you have value because you are loved by God. It's the God standard! This is really important because a lot of people struggle with believing they have any self worth. Or if they do, they derive their self worth from other people, possessions, or power. Those things can change though, thus devaluing you. Instead, back yourself with an unchanging currency: God's love.

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Some Things Are Hard To Get Rid Of

Ever feel like you've been fighting the same problems your entire life? And that when you look at your family history, you see that your parents had the same issues, and maybe your grandparents too? I think this is a common thing actually. We pass on more than our physical features to our kids. We pass along tendencies too... and some of these tendencies aren't good. Could be a short temper, or maybe an addictive personality... any number of things really.

Well, if it is any comfort, the Bible at least tells us that this will be the case. The Israelites fell into one particular evil that plagued them for generations. It was hard for them to clear this out of their system just as it can be hard for us to stop a persistent personality failing in ourselves. It's been there a long time, and it doesn't go away easy.

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Does God Use Commitment Devices?

Ever heard of a commitment device? Basically it is a method of ensuring we succeed in an area where we would otherwise fail. A common one is to buy an expensive gym membership as a way of motivating us to go to the gym. I came across one example of a commitment device that was where a general set up his army with their backs to a body of water, thus preventing them from retreating. He was committing them to an attack. And it worked. The story reminded me of God parting the Red Sea for the Children of Israel... and made me wonder, "Does God use commitment devices?" I think He does. And I'll tell you why.

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Honouring Our Soldiers

It is more common for us to honor those who have given their life while serving their country, but it is also important to honor those who have survived. Many have gone to war, but when they've returned they are no longer the same person. Religions teach that it is morally allowable, even honorable, to fight in defense of our country, but we don't often talk about how difficult it is for a person to switch back and forth from "battle mode" to "domestic citizen." It isn't easy. Today's service is in honor of them.

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Palm Sunday - It's All About the Afterlife

For many Christians, this is a familiar story: Jesus comes to Jerusalem and the crowd is ready to annoint him king. But that's not how it actually goes. He doesn't want to be king, at least not an Earthly king. Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world. So what is his kingdom? Heaven. The afterlife. That's what his life here was all about: making sure that our life hereafter is a good one.

The people closest to Jesus never really did comprehend this. They were focused on the here & now, but the Scriptures alert us to their folly and teach us instead that it's really all about the afterlife.

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Ulysses, Sirens & the Bible

Ever heard the story of Ulysses and the Sirens? It's an ancient Greek story, one where the hero ties himself up in order to overcome a temptation. It got me wondering: is there a Biblical parallel to this story? Does God teach the same lesson to us as Ulysses? Or does He teach us something different?

This week I'm going to walk you through my exploration of this and talk about the similarites and differences we find between Ulysses and the Bible

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Mindful Communication Challenge Week 5

Am I Willing?

Over the past four weeks we've been looking at different ways in which we can be a better communicator, but now the question becomes, "am I willing?" Are you actually willing to give up your old ways and adopt new ones?

When we look at the Bible we find a parable about the wedding feast where the father of the groom puts on a great party in celebration of his son's wedding. However, nobody shows up. Everybody has an excuse as to why they won't come. It's a tale for us as well as too often we make up excuses as to why we cannot follow God and be part of something better.

Likewise in order to be a mindful communicator we're going to have to not make excuses as to why our ways are just fine. We've done the course, we've learned the information, but the question remains, "Are you willing?"

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Mindful Communication Challenge Week 4

Is It Useful?

This week we introduce a new filter into the program which is, "Is it useful?" Something can be true, and can even be kind, but not actually useful to say. That's the focus - can we refrain from saying things that aren't actually useful?

This filter is important as we try to bring heaven to earth because the Lord's kingdom is a kingdom of uses. Things only exist if they have a use. There are no frivolous creations! When we speak, we too create, so let's make sure the things we create have a purpose.

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Mindful Communication Challenge Week 3

Is It Kind?

This is the third week of our "Mindful Communication Challenge" series. We're going to take 5 different parables that Jesus gives which describe an aspect of heaven. This week, it's the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

Key to this story is understanding the symbolic meaning of "oil." The wise virgins have it, and the foolish ones don't. Essentially oil represents the highest types of love, and when we look at the Bible we see oil everywhere! It's used in food, it's used for annointing kings, for skin care... and many many other things. This is because we need "oil" in all parts of our life. Therefore love, aka kindness, is also needed everywhere. Do you have enough oil in your life?

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Mindful Communication Challenge Week 2

Is It True?

This is the second week of our "Mindful Communication Challenge" series. We're going to take 5 different parables that Jesus gives which describe an aspect of heaven. This week, it's the parable of the pearl of great price.

In it Jesus says that if we find something truly special and valuable, we'll sell all that we have to get it. When we speak to others, when we speak what is true, we are giving them a pearl of great price. One where they can reorganize their lives around this great pearl. We have to be careful though that we're not giving "our truth" as a means to control somebody, but giving them God's truth in order that they may be free to follow His path.

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Mindful Communication Challenge Week 1

Am I Listening?

This is the first week of our "Mindful Communication Challenge" series. The first step to being a good communicator is to be a good listener, and Jesus tells us the importance of listening with His parable of the Sower. He tells the tale of a sower sowing seeds, but they get scattered on different types of ground. Three of the types aren't any good and yield no crops, but the good ground yield 30, 60, 100 times what was originally sown.

I don't know about you, but I've never thought of listening being able to reap such huge rewards. However, I came across the story that is known as "The Boston Miracle" where violent crime was cut down by 79% over a 10 year period. How did they do this? It started with listening to the gangs, drug dealers and other young men who were perpetrating these crimes. Yes, listening yielded a huge bounty in that community. Believe it or not!

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