Thursday 10 July
David Parker is the Lead Pastor of Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Southern California. From Monday 7 July to Friday 11 July he will lead the morning Bible teaching sessions at the New Wine Ireland Sligo Summer Conference. Here we bring you summaries of each message!
We have been wrestling with Matthew 10:16 - Jesus sends us into the world as sheep among wolves. Following the good shepherd and seeking to do what He does.
The challenge of the wolfish world requires a certain posture from us. We are followers. We need to be innocent and true, tough and tender. We need to have deep convictions, courageous commitments and compassion. Jesus calls us to a depth of understanding that enables to engage with the world and not be devoured by it… not only survive it but help redeem it.
On our own we are capable of walking but with God we can ride a bike.
Connection - we are meant to do this together, not alone. We need to meet the challenge of connection by
1) Overcoming independence
Independence is not a bad thing, it can be a sign of maturity, but it is the means for something else: freely chosen connectedness (inter-dependence). No wonder the Bible makes marriage the illustration of our relationship with God - freely chosen connection with our creator.
Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought. Think of yourself accurately, not pridefully or independently. Don’t look at others and think, “I don’t need you.
One day we will face the stark reality that we don’t have independent lives. My life is not independent from God or from others so why not freely choose connectedness.
2) Overcoming indifference
Jesus calls us to engagement not indifference. So many coping mechanisms end up isolating us. What a disaster. That choice of compassion is meant to help us overcome indifference. It matters that we do it together. I’m a pastor but I just want to slap people sometimes!
It is a terrible thing when we are indifferent to connecting with people who are different from ourselves!
3) Overcoming in-fighting
What shocks someone who has never been to church before is that they will come in and everyone will love each other. Sadly it is not true. Even in the best of circumstances. Maybe it is in part because of the tension of what we are supposed to be (conviction vs compassion).
The Bible is so honest. It tells us the reality of Paul and Barnabas’ partnership in the Gospel and also their disagreements.
We part company over the smallest things. In the US, first marriages fail at a 45% rate while second marriages fail at a rate of around 70%. It is way easier to deal with the stuff you are in than to re-create it somewhere else. Make sure the reasons for separation are serious enough.