We've chosen to begin the New Year with a biblical wisdom oriented sermon series, and are leaning into Dr. Henry Cloud's book "9 Things You Simply Must Do" for a lot of content, including the title and ideas behind last week's "Dig It Up" message at our three LFC churches. Proverbs is the pure wisdom book of the Bible and would be just right for your devotions this month.
One of Dr. Cloud's chapters we won't cover is one I'd like to briefly pass along today:
"Wise people have this certain quality...In addition to 'Digging it Up' to listen to their heart's desire and getting rid of negative stuff...they do something else. They tend to call on themselves as the first source to correct difficult situations. It does not matter whether they think they are to blame or not. Even if someone else is at fault, they will ask themselves, What can I do to make things better?...and They Make a Move."
"Having confronted many unwise people and urged them to take such active steps, I can tell you the common response: But what if they...Unwise people respond as if what they should do depends on what the other person does. Usually they say something like, But what if they don't listen? Or, worse, They will never listen, as if they know the future they have never tried to effect."
"Wise people just do not think that way. They do what they can and then deal with that outcome just like they dealt with the issue in the first place....They get active and face into it all over again...they do something."
"What is at issue is being responsible in terms of ownership. To own my life means that it is mine and no other person's. I can blame no one for what I do with it. I can blame them for what they do to me, but I cannot blame them for what I do with what they do to me. I am responsible for how I respond..."
"Addicts who take ownership of their addiction do this every day. They admit they cannot do any better, but they can do better at handling not being able to do any better. They get help. Responsibility and ownership means that we have to take control, even of being out of control. No blame, no victims. Unable, but responsible for their inability. (Wise people) take the cards they are dealt and play them well."
"Life gets fun when we begin to feel free to live it. But there is no freedom apart from responsibility and ownership. Think of a house. You are not free to do what you want with it unless you own it...And since we can't be mere guests in our own lives, ownership and responsibility are the only paths to freedom...life as a joyous experience." (Cloud, "9 Things," pages 98-106 selected)
So if wise people ask themselves: What can I do to make this (bad/good/intolerable/potential/career/relationship/parenting) situation better? And then they DO SOMETING...That means it's Your Move!
Our upcoming 'Discovery Courses and Lectures' at Lake Forest are certainly designed to help people who want to gain biblical wisdom decide their NEXT MOVE in spiritual, relational and career growth. Some of the upcoming courses -
THIS SUNDAY NIGHT: 8 Traits of Great Parents of Teens 6:30-8pm (me and Dr. Dave Verhaagen - I can't wait for this - parents of teens, its your move, Dave's material is excellent, come get good new ideas while also having your teen try out RE:Mix youth group at the same time).
Sacred Marriage - What if God designed your marriage with more holiness than only happiness in mind?
DAWG Days - spend a day prayer retreat learning the ancient pathways to God of silence and solitude.
Social Media Dangers for Kids - lets be honest, if a parent hasn't thought about boundaries for their kids in this area, that's foolish. Come get some thoughtful help.
Caring for Aging Parents - my friend and assistant is off doing just this today in a trying situation. This seminar will address the difficulties and privileges of caring for aging parents.
Redeeming Conflict - this pretty much always shows up on my annual review by the elders, "Mike, continue working on handling conflict better." I could totally use this one month class.
There are other LFC Discovery Courses at our various campuses that touch on wisdom issues: "Financial Peace," "Friendship," "A Man and His Work," "She's Got Issues," "So Long Insecurity," and more, including straight up Bible studies.
Friends, it's your move - choose wisely! But DO SOMETHING.