Archives For James Dibben

Lean In

James Dibben —  April 15, 2014

20140415-104430.jpgPhoto Credit: Mike Brown

When we think of Jesus being tempted, the only event that comes to mind is his forty days in the desert.

I’m only guessing here, but it seems to me that the biggest temptation Christ must have faced would have been the night before he was crucified. In the face of what God was asking him to do, Jesus was under so much strain that the capillaries in his skin burst resulting in bloody sweat.

Jesus had two choices that night on the Mount of Olives. He could either abandon what God was asking him to do, or he could embrace it. His decision didn’t come quickly. He spent most of the night in prayer. At one point he even asked God if there was some other path that could be taken to avoid the gruesome death he was going to experience.

We have salvation today because in the face of terror Jesus did the unthinkable. Jesus didn’t do what we would have done. Jesus didn’t call down a legion of angels to rescue him. Jesus didn’t turn away from the calling God had on his life.

In the moment of Jesus’ greatest challenge. In the moment of Jesus’ greatest temptation, He leaned into God. Men, this is what Jesus is calling us to do in the face of our greatest challenges.

In our darkest hours, we are to lean into God.

When all seems lost, we are to lean into God.

When things are not turning out the way we want them to, we are to lean into God.

When we pray and pray and pray, and God doesn’t seem to even be listening, we are to lean into God.

We don’t lean in because we know the outcome. We don’t lean in because it’s easy. We don’t lean in because our friends tell us to. We don’t lean in because it will make us feel spiritual. We lean in because Jesus refused to let us die in our sins. We lean in because that’s exactly what Jesus did when he didn’t have to.

It Came From Within

Life isn’t just about our thoughts and actions.

When I was young I tested the boundaries of what I could get away with. When I explored negative behaviors my parents stepped in and corrected me. I learned what I could and could not do. Certain words and behaviors were against the rules. As I grew older I learned how to take control of my words and behaviors.

Every now and then my old words and behaviors slip through the filter I have set up. In a moment of frustration I may say something I know is wrong. When confronted with a tough decision, and the pressure is mounting, I may make a choice that is against what I was brought up to believe was right.

In Matthew chapter 15 Jesus tells us, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.”

Our mouth and our actions are a window into our heart. Inside we may tell ourselves that we are a good person. Jesus would tell us that we just have a sophisticated filter. The things that come out of our mouth are what really lurks deep in our spirit.

In this five week series we will examine four conditions of the heart that are the root of sour attitudes, hurt-filled relationships, and regretful actions: guilt, jealousy, greed, and anger.

Join the rest of the New Life Men in Sunday School Classroom WC104 every Sunday morning at 9:00.

The most Pentecostal thing a church can do is see people saved. – Pastor Todd Blansit

Sunday School Quote of the Week

New Series: On Location

James Dibben —  April 27, 2013

On-Location

Two thousand years ago on the side of a mountain Jesus looked out over a crowd and proclaimed: “You are the salt of the earth.”

He said those words to a group of people who were under the rule and authority of the Roman empire. They must have thought He was crazy. They must have thought: “We aren’t the salt of anything. We just live each day hoping to be left alone. We have no influence. We have no authority. There is no way this is what God wants for us.”

What Jesus was trying to tell them is that their very presence makes a difference. Jesus was explaining that His followers are a preservative for biblical values on the earth. The fact alone that we are all “On Location” where God has planted us gives Him hope for the earth.

In this new series we are going to explore exactly what Jesus meant when he told that crowd they were salt and light to the whole earth.

Join us every Saturday morning at 9:00 AM in WC104 right around the corner from the coffee station.

“Men many spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” – J. Sidlow Baxter

Wednesday night quote of the week #15

5-things-God-Uses-to-Grow-Your-Faith

Don’t we all want amazing out-of-the-box faith? Don’t we want to be the kind of people who believe God has everything under control no matter how bad things look? Can you imagine the kind of peace we would all experience if we had that kind of faith?

This is exactly the kind of faith God wants us to have.

In the beginning it was the lack of trusting God that broke relationship with Him. Ever since then God has been drawing everyone back into a trusting relationship with Himself. God’s desire is to have a relationship of trust with his creation.

Faith and trust are really the same thing in this context.

Trust is the currency of all relationships.

-Andy Stanley

The thing that is the most honoring to me is when the people I love trust me.

“I know dad is 10 minutes late but I’m going to wait right here because he said he would be here and I trust him.”
“I know I haven’t heard from my wife today but I trust her.”

Our faith in God is nothing more than trust. When we trust God in any arena of life we are expressing faith in His power to manage the outcomes in those arenas.

Matthew 8:5-10

5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

As far as I know, this is the only time recorded in scripture where Jesus was amazed by someone’s faith. If big faith is something God loves too see, then we need to be sure to know what He uses to grow our faith.

During this six week series we will explore the five main things God uses to help us have big faith.

I hope you can join us Sunday morning at 9:00 AM in WC104 right around the corner from the coffee station.

We all need a faith lift. – Pastor Barry Young

Wednesday night quote of the week #15

Single people get into trouble when they try to act like married people. Married people get into trouble when they try to act like single people. – Pastor Barry Young

Are you thirsty?

James Dibben —  February 6, 2013

This is a quick review of last week’s Sunday School lesson. We meet every Sunday morning in room WC104 at 9:00 AM. This story takes place in John Chapter 4

Photo Credit: MotleyPrincess

Photo Credit: MotleyPrincess

The woman at the well.

If you have spent much time in church or reading the New Testament you are most likely familiar with this story. If we can read it with new eyes and ears we can learn something with her.

Her personal story is, likely, a lot more complicated than we have all taken the time to examine. We know from the story that she was married five times and was currently living with a man resulting in a minimum of six serious relationships. The scripture doesn’t tell us why she had been divorced so many times but let’s consider some of the possible reasons.

Infertility: In this culture one of the primary responsibilities of a woman was to provide offspring for her husband. If this woman was infertile she would have been considered worthless by all the men of Samaria.

Widow: It is possible that all five of her husbands had died. If that was the case then it is very likely that everyone viewed her as a women who was cursed by God.

Affairs: It is possible that her husbands had left her for other women. If this was the case then she would most likely have some very negative feelings about herself.

We don’t know if she had been divorced five times because of her behavior or because of the behavior of others. What we do know from the story is that she was physically thirsty and that she was also spiritually thirsty. She had tried everything in her power to quench her thirst but life had left her thirsty.

The author of this story, John, gives us some interesting details. He tells us that she came out to the well in the middle of the day. Normally the women of the city would come out early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat. They also came in groups for safety and company. The woman in this story did neither. She came all by herself.

Imagine for a moment as she heads toward the well she passes a few Jewish men. These were Jesus’ disciples. He had sent them into town to get food. She must have been very surprised to see these men. Jews never went into Samaria. The Jews looked down on Samaritans. Samaritans were a mixed race of Jews and other nations as a result of being invaded in 720 BC by Assyria.

After she passed the disciples she would have looked up and noticed a single man sitting at the well. It was no accident that Jesus was sitting there waiting for her. Even John, writing this story years after its occurrence, stats that Jesus “had to go through Samaria” when we know that he did not “have” to do that at all. Normally Jews went around Samaria. Jesus “had to go through Samaria” because Jesus and this woman had a divine appointment.

Little did this woman know she was moments away from a one-on-one conversation with the Savior of the World. That plays would be written and performed about her. That Songs would be written and performed in her honor. That for time and eternity she would be known as “The Woman at the Well.” All she knew was that she was physically thirsty and there seemed to be a thirst that went beyond physical thirst. A thirst she had tried every possible way to quench but life had left her thirsty, and there waiting for her at the well was the Savior of the World.

In Verse Seven Jesus begins the conversation: “Will you give me a drink?”

Jesus said a lot in this one sentence. Jesus was making a statement about her.

“You are worthy to drink after. You are not someone I am afraid to touch. I won’t even go out of my way to avoid you. In fact, I have gone out of my way to have this conversation.”

The woman is shocked He even spoke to her. She knew that the Jews listed Samaritan women just below tax collectors and Samaritan men. She is so surprised by Jesus’ question that she never gives him an answer to his original question. All she can do is ask him why they are even having a conversation at all. There is no doubt that she never even made eye contact once she reached the well. In verse ten Jesus continues the conversation.

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

The woman’s response to Jesus reveals the confusion she was experiencing on the inside. Please do not think of her as being dumb. She was in the presence of Holiness. When someone was in Jesus’ presence they knew there was something different about Him than anyone else. She knew this conversation was about more than just physical water and physical thirst. That is why she brought up Jacob and asked Jesus if He was greater.

Finally, Jesus does something incredibly insensitive. He does something that would get therapists fired. He does something that most people would never put up with. He looks at her and says, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” He reaches right into her most recent wound and rips the scab right off. I bet a thousand different excuses are running through her mind as to why all those marriages didn’t work out, and why she was now living with a man she wasn’t even married to.

The woman does what we do when faced with our sin. She retreated and answered Him: “I have no husband.”

Jesus wasn’t finished: “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Jesus, suddenly, abruptly, painfully and insensitively put her in touch with her thirst. She had tried everything in her power to quench her thirst. Jesus was saying to her, “life has left you thirsty, hasn’t it?” Jesus had something to offer her, but before she could really receive it she had to own up to the fact that her own attempts to quench her thirst had left her thirsty.

This is the lesson for us as well. There is no amount of stuff. No amount of relationships. No amount of work hours. No amount of sales. No amount of drugs or alcohol. No amount of anything that can quench the spiritual thirst we have in our souls for something more. We can try and try and try, but in the end no amount of our own attempts have the potential to quench the thirst we all have for real significance.

Have you ever used stuff to quench your thirst? How have your own attempts left you thirst?

Portions of this post are excerpts from Andy Stanley’s series Defining Moments available at North Point Resources

The smart bomb

James Dibben —  January 30, 2013
Photo Credit: Keith Moyer

Photo Credit: Keith Moyer

Grab your imagination for a moment. Don’t get scared, you can do it. It’s in there somewhere. It’s okay if you haven’t used it in a while. It’s like riding a bike.

You are the smartest dude who has ever lived. God himself has told you so. You have unlimited funds. You manage the greatest kingdom on the earth. Anytime something goes wrong you can just write a check to fix it. If your neighbor needs car repairs, and can’t afford it, you can just toss a few bucks his way. The leadership of your church call you regularly to get solutions to complex problems. Your mom and dad are amazed at how well you manage all your business dealings. You have 700 wives. Okay, maybe that last one is enough to wake you up from this dream.

I have just given you King Solomon’s life. He had all the above and much more. Yes, he even had the 700 wives. He chose those wives in complete opposition to God’s command.

1 Kings 11

1)King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2)They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.

9)The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.

Solomon had decided, in his own wisdom, that it would be wise to marry the wives of foreign kings to help keep peace with other countries. Eventually Solomon came around, but not before the kingdom of Israel went through civil war and ended up divided. In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon laments his attempts to use his own wisdom to gain all the stuff he wanted. At the end of Ecclesiastes he sums up what he learned.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13)Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14)For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

God personally made Solomon the wisest man to ever live. If there was ever a man who could say, “God, thanks for the information but I’ve got it from here,” it was Solomon, yet at the end of his life he knew that even with his wisdom, which was superior to all men on earth, he was a very fallible man.

Wisdom isn’t about knowing everything. Wisdom is about being obedient to God’s commands.