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encouragement from steve wise

Wednesday, July 21 2021

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path

- Psalm 119:105

Cleaning out my attic after the tornado of 2020, I ran across several old notebooks from as far back as high school. They contained notes I had taken while reading my bible as a young man. 

In the spring of my junior year in high school, reality confronted me – a car, a girlfriend, and a starting spot on the football team did not satisfy the deeper desires of my soul. I began to ask questions about life, God, and myself. Following the example of my brother, I began to read the Bible. I encountered Jesus in a new way, recognized my need for Him, and began a relationship with Him. I also began to develop the practice of daily bible study in order to spend time with God and get to know Him more. At the time I could not put those words on it, but now I see it very clearly. 

Over the years, I have found this statement from the Psalmist above to be a very accurate reflection of my experience. The study of Scripture has helped to transform me spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, psychologically and socially. Anything and everything good in me and about me is the result of Jesus’ presence and the study of Scripture in my life! It guides me in my darkest moments. It brings clarity to confusion and inner chaos. It teaches, convicts, corrects and trains me for life.

I am excited about our “Journey” together through the Grand Story of the Bible starting on August 15th. The Journey has 3 levels – to use “skier” lingo: green circle, blue square, and black diamond.   Visit MY.WPCS.LIVE/JOURNEY for more »

  1. Sunday Worship – our messages each week will move through the Grand Story of the Bible. Small Groups and Adult Bible studies will be offered to discuss the sermon each week. We hope all of our covenant partners and visitors will participate in this track. If we were skiing, this would be the “green circle” slope for every level of skier. 
  2. Read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year-plan. This plan has 5 readings per week and will cover the entire Bible in a year. We are encouraging groups to form to discuss the readings. If we were skiing, this would be the “blue square” for intermediate skiers and above but also good for beginners to advance and improve.
  3. The Bible Journey – an online, interactive, self-paced study. 6 courses and 45 lessons provide background, insights and applications for the text of Scripture. Lessons take 1-1 ½ hours to complete. This is the “black diamond” slope designed for those more experienced or wanting to go to the next level. 

Please prayerfully consider your level of involvement as the time draws near. 

Your friend,

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 09:25 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 07 2021

“For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” - Hebrews 4:12-13

What is the most powerful weapon in the world? In an age of advanced sophistication, one could argue for a whole host of instruments of destruction. But what if the most powerful weapon in the world is not meant to destroy but to heal? What if it is intended to deal with our fiercest adversary – sin and death – by both convicting and comforting us.

The writer of Hebrews tells us God’s creative and sustaining Word is a double-edged knife: alive, active, and penetrating. It cuts between the most minute of divisions within us – soul and spirit – as a blade can but between joint and marrow. This piercing discerns and reveals our deepest desires and thoughts, motives and meditations. One side is a sharp edge of truth and the other a razor blade of love. It is a surgeon’s scalpel designed to heal us by showing us the truth about God and the truth about ourselves; our need for God and God’s desire for us; God’s grace and truth in Jesus.

The writer reminds us we cannot hide from Him; He knows us better than we know ourselves. And still loves us! We are accountable to Him - which is both terrifying and tender. We must answer to Him, but He considers us significant enough to know us, search us, and hold us accountable. This penetrating Word allows us to stand before Him without fear or pride; humbled and yet healed in soul and spirit, mind and heart.

In order for the Word to penetrate and heal, we must know it.  Starting on August 15, Westminster will begin a year-long Journey through the Grand Story of Scripture to increase our understanding and encourage our growth. We hope all will be encouraged and equipped to engage with Jesus through Scripture in a life-changing way.

We invite you to join us on this Journey along several different tracks:

  1. Sunday Sermons will lead us through the Grand Story of Scripture. 
  2. A reading plan to read through the Bible in a year. 
  3. Small groups based around the sermon or the Bible Journey curriculum.
  4. Bible Journey – a year-long interactive, internet-based, and self-paced for individuals, families, or groups interested in a deeper dive into the Word. This will involve a little over an hour a week. (Interested? contact Justin Lewis.)

These different tracks are not mutually exclusive and will travel at different paces. We hope you will make weekly worship a priority but also add these other spiritual practices to enhance your growth personally and our growth as a community. Imagine the difference this would make in your life and in the life of our church!

Your friend,

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 09:52 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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