Not all things that we trust in are reliable. You can probably think about many times where our friends let us down. Or our workplace, even our governments! And especially ourselves. How many times have you let yourself down?
This raises a question. What are we trusting in right now that might be unreliable? If I’m building my life on my success, is that good enough? If I’m building it on the hope that I’m well loved and wanted by people, is that going to satisfy me?
And I don’t think it will. I don’t think it’ll ever be enough. But there is something that can be enough.
So this is our focus today: What is a trustworthy foundation for life?
Conflict is an inevitable part of life. Some conflicts are going to be explosive and ugly. Some will be more subtle and less dramatic but still uncomfortable. Some conflicts are avoided, but the bitter feelings still linger.
On the other hand, some people seem to live conflict free because they possess good skills in handling conflict. So, the way we handle conflicts makes a really big difference.
So, my big question today is: How can we be wise with our conflicts?
I want to make the case today that we need to prioritize peace, but sometimes we need to enter into conflict for the sake of others.
Today I want to talk about money. I want to talk about financial strategy. It’s one of my favorite topics. Partially because it’s about gaining an advantage by using numbers.
I believe if we’re wise with our money, with the way we earn it and spend it, It will make the biggest difference in our lives, to the point that there’s almost nothing we can do that’s more important than getting our finances right. And our Bible passage will show us what it’s like when we get our finances right, and also how to get there.
So my big question today is: what does it mean to be wise with money?
We all struggle with mental health on some level, but one of the great things about being a Christian is that our relationship with God gives us the resources that can help our mental health significantly.
But just to be clear, a relationship with God doesn’t magically fix every mental health problem. Some people still need medication, some people need therapy, and many times some problems can’t be fixed on this side of eternity.
But what I am saying is that a Christian way of thinking can give us the best chance at great mental health. So, my big question today is: How can we improve our mental health? Our proverb today teaches us two things:
Our relationship with our parents makes such a huge difference in our lives. And so today, I want to talk about parents. And when I say parents, I’m talking about people who are FUNCTIONALLY your parents.
So most obviously, it’s usually the mom and dad who made you, but families are complex. If you got abandoned at birth and grew up with loving adoptive parents, I’m talking about your adoptive parents. Not your biological parents. Because God has given you other people to take their place. Parent-figures. You may have both!
I have 2 biological parents that love me dearly but missed out on some key moments of my life! They never gave me the talk about girls (other than stay away from them), and they never taught me to drive. But my mentor did that for me. He is a parent figure to me. So we all have parents or parent-figures that God has placed in our lives to take care of us, believe in us, teach us and love us. Before we go on, I just want to take 10 seconds to think about the people who are functionally your parents. Moms. Dad. Parent figures. God parents. Mentors. Think of their faces.
Alright, now that we have that, I want to make an observation. Most people I know do not have a healthy relationship with their parents. Because on both sides, we simply don’t know how to make these important relationships thrive, especially in families with first generation immigrants because we’re working off such different ideas, beliefs, expectations and standards. That tension is enough to destroy families!
But what can we do about it? Who can we go to for wisdom?
I think the most qualified person to look to is the one who created this whole system of families. God’s creation included the relationship between parents and children and so it reasons that HE knows the ideal design and plan for our relationship with our parents! So let’s look through the book of proverbs to see what God’s wisdom says.
We all have things we treasure. We have things that are important to us, things we value, things that give meaning to our lives. Some people love their home and their possessions. Some people love their freedom. Some people love their career.
Some people love their relationships and families. And some people love to have fun. And these are all good things, so we treasure them and so we base our priorities on the things we treasure. However, we get into trouble when our priorities are not set properly.
So, my question today is: how can we set the right priorities? As it turns out, there is a whole book in the Bible dedicated toward helping us find the right priorities.
Today, we are starting a new series in the book of Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs is a book of patterns, and not necessarily a book of promises. This is an important distinction. It was written to teach us how to think, how to navigate through life and how to set our priorities.
The most foundational idea in the book of Proverbs is that a good relationship with God is the key ingredient to a wise life. When we have a proper relationship with God, it makes all of our priorities fall into place. So, the first priority is to get things right with God. We’ll see this in our main verse today.