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Satisfied

It was not good enough that he would be a king of Narnia.  He wanted to be the king.  It was not good enough to enjoy the bounty of the forest around him and eat of the generosity of the forest animals, Edmund, a character from CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Edmund wanted the White Witches’ Turkish delight.  His choices to fall to the temptation of power and selfishness, led him to betray his brothers and sisters and led to many good animals being turned into stone. And instead of ruling as king of his castle, he became a prisoner in the castle and was left alone, afraid and full of guilt over what he had done.  It was only through the grace showed to him by Aslan was he forgiven and restored back to his family and his throne.

It is hard to believe but it is almost the end of the year.  We have been working through Psalm 1 as the lense that we can put on to see clearly what is happening in the world around us.  Let’s take one more look through the glasses of Psalm 1. Here is the last lesson from Psalm 1.

You and I live in a world that is marching towards destiny

Our world has a beginning and an end, there is an eternity.  Judgment is coming. We will give an account for every word, whether it is good or worthless.  There is a holy, righteous God who is the judge. You see if there is no eternity then the game is get as much pleasure and comfort in the here and now, because that would be all we have, but there is an eternity.  The world around us says that is not true, the Bible is wrong. There is no God who judges. There is nothing after you die. Live for the moment. The world says everything is OK. If you think I am making this up, here is an example.  How many of you saw the movie Zootopia? It is about a cute little bunny that leaves the country to become a cop in a big city. One of the characters in the movie is a pop singer who sings the theme song of the movie. Do you remember what the name of the song is? “Try Everything”. Try, everything? Really? Everything? I won’t know if its good or bad until I try it and decide for myself.  That is a worldview that says, there is no eternity, you are in charge and you can decide what is right for you. Just need to try it and see. Psalm 1 slams the door on that worldview and says

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”  

We obey God’s word because that is the way of the righteous and we want to stand in the day of judgment.  We hear all around us a different message that tells us to try everything, do what you want right now, you are in control, and there are no consequences that really matter.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  

The world offers a “try everything” worldview as its Turkish delight, where you can be king or queen of your kingdom but Psalm 1 says if you follow that path your life will amount to chaff, which the wind will blow away.  You will want more but will never be satisfied. You can’t play enough video games, or eat enough food, or have enough toys, or have enough friends, or watch enough TV or have a long enough summer to fill that void in your heart.  There is only one place where your heart can find delight, find peace and be satisfied.

We were not made to figure out life on our own.  To go around looking for things to satisfy the longings of our heart.  We have been given Psalm 1 because it has the recipe on how to be satisfied.  Has the counsel of this world influenced you? Are you drawn to things on your device, TV, movies that are not honoring to God?  Do you look to relationships-parents, teachers, friends, classmates, for your identity? Is your comfort more important than obeying right away with a happy heart?  Do you honor yourself instead of loving your neighbor? All of this will leave you empty. The call from Psalm 1 is to delight in God’s word and to sink your roots deep in the wisdom of the Bible.

You are not on this earth to serve yourself and do what you think is right.  Here it is,

you were given life and breath to give glory to God.

That should move and motivate you. God knows what is best for you. You were created to depend on Him and His word, not yourself and your own understanding.  He is the only one who can satisfy your heart. As we close the book on Psalm 1, we should stand back and be in awe of the stunning wisdom of the bible. How a Psalm written over 1,000 years ago still applies to every one of us, every day, every minute and every fiber of your life and mine.  My challenge to you starting now and into this summer is to spend the time delighting in God’s Word and then follow it, obey it, and I assure you, God will be glorified in your life and you will be satisfied.

Worldview

I grew up on a farm.  My mom loved horses so I grew up riding them and taking care of them.  We spent so much time with our horses that I could go out to the pasture and jump onto my horse bareback with no bridle and just by using pressure from my legs and hands could ride him around.  At least until he got tired of it and just stopped and ate grass. I don’t recommend doing that on just any horse, you may get more of a ride than you bargained for.

One time we rented out our pasture and barn to another horse.  This horse was not raised like ours. We thought it was OK to put our horses together though.  We thought our 4 horses would influence this 1 horse, but right away there was trouble. Fighting, biting, kicking.  You could go to the pasture and call our horses and they would usually come down to you, now they would run away. We didn’t need much of a latch with our horses but now we had to get a heavy lock as this new horse was constantly trying to push on fences and gates to get out.  The last straw was during a severe storm, our horses would always come into the barn but the new horse freaked out and started running around the pasture wildly. Our horses did the same and he charged the fence and ran right through it, severely injuring himself. In a severe thunderstorm with rain pouring down and wind blowing, we had to catch the horses, calm them down and bring them to the shelter of the barn.  My mom called up her friend and there was a horse trailer there to take that horse away. We had had enough.

Last week was the start our of review of Psalm 1.  We are allowing Psalm 1 to be our lens to look at our lives and the culture around us.  Last week was our first statement.  You and I live in world of right and wrong, good and bad, true and false. We do not live in a world of relativism where you and I get to decide what is right or wrong.  No, God decides and we must humbly submit to our creator.

Here is statement #2 you and I are under the influence of everything and everyone around us.  We live in a world of ideas that affects our character, our mind, and our heart. It is like if I asked everyone to talk at the same time.  If you were standing here, how would it sound? All these voices would be bombarding you. You could not escape it. That is what is happening to you and I every day.  All these ideas, all these voices, coming at us from all sides. Music, TV, apps, games, magazines, books, friends, teachers, even the principal.

Everyone has an idea about God and how He works in this world.  These ideas about God and how He works is called a worldview.

Let’s think about how this works.  First, everyone has a worldview, everyone has an idea about God and how He works in this world, so that means that every TV show you watch was written by someone with a worldview, everything you see on the computer has a worldview, every app on your phone or tablet, every song you hear, every book you read, every person you talk to, everything and everyone has an idea about God.  Everything and everyone has a worldview. Even if you don’t believe in God, that is still an idea about God. It’s a worldview.

Have you ever thought about the worldview of the people who create things that you and I spend our time doing?  For example, have you ever wondered what the creator of Minecraft’s worldview is?

The TV and movies that we watch show a worldview.  I often see programs that show children who talk back to their parents with no consequence, they make it look clever to have sarcastic put-downs of one another, to be critical of one another, and finding ways to avoid work.  Wearing all the right clothes, having a boyfriend or girlfriend, being popular and successful becomes what these shows promote as the most important thing to go after. All these come from a worldview.

 We spend time on social media apps where it gives you a platform to make everything about you and how people respond to you.  You begin to measure your self-worth on who likes you and how many likes you get. You begin to seek satisfaction in others and judge God’s goodness to you by how many online friends you have and how quickly they respond to you.  Let me tell you, that is a very dangerous place to live. You are seeking from the creation only what the creator can give. What I mean is if you are looking for things in people, things that they cannot truly give you, when you should be seeking those things from God.  He can satisfy you with the love and acceptance that we all are looking for. You will not find that on Instagram or Snapchat.

Even your friends have a worldview.  Every friend you have speaks and acts from their worldview.  What they believe or don’t believe about God will directly impact how they live their life.  Psalm 1 says:

Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

   Nor stands in the path of sinners,

   Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

We must be aware of the counsel of the people and things around you.  Their influence on our lives. Each of them calls to you, this is the way to think, you must desire this, this is what you should do.

Just like our horses were influenced by that 1 horse, we are under the influence of the things and people around us.  It is like having all these people whispering into your ear giving you counsel on what you should do, what you should wear, what you should say, what you should think, who should be your friends.  Do this, do that.

Psalm 1 alerts us to the subtle but progressive and growing influence of that counsel.  The more time you spend with them, the more comfortable you become with them. It later becomes the place where your mind is living.  You first walk, then stand, then sit. It is a gradual but growing influence on your life. Psalm 1 warns us about what we allow to influence ourselves.  What you choose to spend time doing, will put you under its influence.

Statement #3 is you and I live in a world where our choices and behaviors come from a worldview.  What this means is that everyone has a worldview, and that view of the world will result in what they choose to say, to think and to do.  What ideas you believe will be directly linked to how you think and how you act.

Here is what Psalm 1 says about that.  Verse 1 talks about the scornful. Another name for this person is a scoffer or mocker.  This person is not passive, they are not neutral. They hold a worldview (whether they are aware of it or not) that has captured their heart.  They hear about God, but they laugh at that idea. It is so far from anything they think is true. The heart of a true believer is not passive either.  They find delight in truth. They desire to know that truth, to be a student in it, to be mastered by it.

The scornful, the mocker has a worldview.  The true believer has a worldview. You are committed to a worldview and so am I.  Does your worldview look more like the mockers or is it like a true believer?

If you think there is no god, like a mocker, and you want to live a life of your own desire and your own comfort, then there will be a set of behaviors that follow.  If you delight in God’s will and His way, those desires will lead you to live in a way that pleases God. You can say you know God, but if your choices and actions are following your own heart, honoring yourself and not others, then you are really living more like the scornful.  Your life is showing you what your true worldview is.

Just like how my families horses were influenced by just one horse, we all must be careful about what we are listening to, looking at, and spending time with.  These are planting ideas and thoughts and desires that will shape our lives. Our worldview should be shaped by God’s word and we should be wanting to allow the Bible to change our heart to desire Him more and more.  To honor others above yourself. We cannot do this on our own no matter how hard we try. We need Christ to change our hearts.

Truth

How many of you wear glasses or contacts?  Why do you wear them? It is because something is lacking in your vision and the glasses, with the lenses in them, corrects the problem.  Without those glasses you see blobs. You don’t see rightly.

We have worked our way through Psalm 1.  I realize that it has taken us until April to get through 6 verses.  I guess you could say, it is about time we made through the whole Psalm.  I like to think of it more like making haste slowly.

What I would like to do with the few chapels that we have remaining is to step back and review the big ideas from Psalm 1.  I would like us to hold Psalm 1 up and put it on like a pair of glasses to look at the world through its lens. To correctly see the world around us. Let’s look through the lens of Psalm 1 and let’s see how it views the culture that we live in today.  For each chapel coming up, I will give one or two statements that summarize truth from Psalm 1. Today is statement #1. Here it is:

You and I live in a world of right and wrong, good and bad, true and false.

We do not live in a world of relativism.  I know that’s a big fancy word so here is what I mean.  Relativism is an idea that what I believe to be true for me and what you believe to be true for you can both be true, even if those ideas do not agree.  It is an idea that nothing is for sure. Nothing is absolutely true. It just depends on what you think is right. It’s relative. For example, if I decide to cross the street anywhere I want, and you decide to cross the street only at the crosswalk, it is fine, we both are OK. No one got ran over. You are right and so am I.  It is relative to each person. How about this example? When a teacher asks for quiet, most people are quiet but some whisper, both are basically doing the right thing. Right? Or saying you have read a book when you have read most of the book, or glancing at someone else’s paper on a test but answering most of the questions on your own, or not saying the bad word, but only thinking it in your head or mouthing it without any sound, or looking at something inappropriate on a device but just real quick, and on and on.  

We see the world around us telling us that there is no absolute truth, no real right, and wrong. You can decide. If a lot of people are doing it, it is fine. The teacher steps out of the room and tells everyone to be quiet, what sometimes happens? A few people start talking and then more and more people join in. If someone else is doing it then it must be Ok. Right? It is relative.

Psalm 1 annihilates relativism.  

You would only have to read Psalm 1 to know that the idea that nothing is absolutely true and it just depends on what you think is right, is absolutely wrong.  Here is why.

First, Psalm 1 tells us there is a God.  We all have come to a Christian school because we all believe that right?  So that is really not that big of a deal, right? Psalm 1 tells us, not so fast.  There is a difference between knowing that there is a God and actually believing that there is a God.  One is knowing the facts in your head and the other is having it in your heart. If this was no big deal then why do the first two commandments talk about it? No other gods but God, commandment 1 and don’t have idols, commandment 2.  Those commandments tell us don’t replace God with anything else. God knows our heart and how we so much want to be like God. Wasn’t that the temptation of Adam and Eve? The sneaky snake said, eat this and you will be like God. We all must admit, we are all tempted in that same way.  We all want to be kings and queens of our lives. We want the control to say, or think or do whatever we want and have it be totally fine. No problems. Guess what that is? Relativism. Truth depends on me and how I want things to be. So relativism isn’t just out there in Hollywood or in news reports or the world outside of these walls.  No, it is a very real struggle that you and I face every day. Here is the point,

there is a God and it’s not you.

  Second, Psalm 1 tells us that God is the one who created everything.  There is a mom that comes to school every Thursday to the kitchen and makes goodies for a program called Fed by Bread.  That’s why it smells so good on Thursday. She is the creator of that bread. She takes the ingredients in just the right amounts and follows precise steps so that she gets delicious bread.  It would not be that way if she grabbed a bunch of flour and threw in sugar and oil and water and dumped in yeast mixed it up and threw it in the oven. Same ingredients but very different results.  The one who creates it defines how it is made and what it can and cannot do. The bread can’t stand up and say, “hey, I wanted to be a steak”. God created us which means he has defined how we are to live and when we follow His design, we can enjoy life.  If we try to be something we are not, for example, try to be God, its like bread trying to be steak, it is absurd and a complete waste. We are to obey our creator and follow Him as He has told us how to live.

 Third, since God created everything, it means He decides what is truth.  In fact, He is the truth. As much as we want truth to depend on us, it cannot because we are not the creator.  God tells us what is true. What is right. What is wrong. It does not depend on what people think. Or how popular it is.  There is a right way to use the mind God gave you and a wrong way, right way to respond to a parent and a disobedient way, a right way to use your time and a wasteful way, a good use your energy and a bad use, a right way to use your money and a wrong way.  

When I talk back to my parents, roll my eyes at my teacher, gossip about a classmate, that is wrong.  Even if it makes me feel good. Or no one sees me do it. Or others think its funny. None of that matters.  What is wrong and what is right is defined by God. Not you. Not me. Again, we must all be honest and realize that we don’t like that.  We want right and wrong to depend on what we think. How others react. If we get caught or not.

Relativism is everywhere.  The idea that there is no absolute truth is everywhere.  Including your heart and mine. Let us not forget truth #1 of Psalm 1, You and I live in a world of right and wrong, good and bad, true and false.  We must see the world around us and our hearts through the lens of Psalm 1. Otherwise, we see distortions and can believe them to be the real thing.  In order to know the truth, we must be lead by our great guide who gives us the Bible to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Eternity

Today we are going to talk about something that we don’t talk about a lot.  We certainly don’t talk about it enough and that is eternity.  Forever.  We use these words often in our daily living but we have reduced this amazing truth down to mean things it really doesn’t.  We may think chapel feels like an eternity.  A school weeks lasts forever.  Trust me.  Those things aren’t even close to forever.    

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Meet Joree Jackson

Meet Joree Jackson. Joree has been at ACA since preschool and is poised to graduate from ACA in the spring of 2018. For the past fourteen years, Joree has worked hard to distinguish herself as one of ACA’s best and brightest young leaders, embodying the highest ideals of Annapolis’ mission and vision to graduate students who are:

  • Servant-hearted imitators of Jesus
  • Wise, virtuous, and eloquent lovers of truth, goodness, and beauty
  • Passionate about learning and prepared for life
  • Leaders who are broad-minded, well-rounded, and socially graceful

We are extremely proud of Joree’s many achievements as a student of Annapolis, but we are most proud of the person that she has become. We think you’ll agree.

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Hope

One of the most important parts of any plant is its roots. The roots are where a plant finds its stability. As the roots grow deeper and wider, the plant is able to grow taller and be able to withstand the wind because it has such a solid base. A plants roots also draw in the nutrients and energy that the plant needs to grow. The better and more nutritious the soil, the better the nutrients that the roots can draw up to the plant itself.

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Sowing and Reaping

I know not everybody grew up on a farm so I will give you a quick lesson on farming.  When you eat an apple, that apple was not born at the local grocery store.  It was grown on a tree.  That tree didn’t just show up either.  That tree grew from a seed.  An apple seed to be more precise.  It took years and years for it to go from a seed to a sapling, to a full grown tree.  If I gave an apple to you and you ate it down to its core and you gave me the seeds and I planted them and something started growing from that seed, you would not come up to me and say, your grapefruit tree is growing.  Right?  Why not?  Because there is a law of nature.  You don’t plant a peach pit and get strawberries.  There is a consistency between what is planted, what is grown and what is harvested.  An apple seed will grow an apple tree from which you will be able to harvest apples from.

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New Life in Christ

The Bible is a Truth to be obeyed or given adherence to.  So, what happens when we don’t obey?  It usually doesn’t end well!  Obeying creates safety for us that God provides because of his great love for us.

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Calling

I grew up on a farm and one of the things I hated the most was during the summer was when my mom would make a list of chores for me to finish before I could do anything else.  The thing that I wanted to do more than anything else was to go fishing but I knew I had to do chores first.  Of all the chores that my mom could write down, the worst ones were cleaning.  This wasn’t vacuuming or dusting, no it was cleaning up after animals.  You see we had a fair number of chickens and horses and they would spend their nights in the coop or stall and they would make their mess inside.  Someone, usually me, had to keep these buildings clean.  It was a hot, dirty, smelly job.  In the 1500’s, people would look at someone who did those kinds of jobs and think, only people who work in the church are really doing the work of God. Today I am going to talk briefly about an idea that Martin Luther brought forward during the reformation that was completely revolutionary for its time.  It was the idea of calling.  He insisted that the farmer shoveling manure and the maid milking her cow could please God as much as the minister preaching or praying.

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Meditate

Who do you think talks to you the most?  Your teacher?  Your parents?  Your annoying brother or sister who won’t be quiet?  I think the answer may surprise you.  The person who talks to you the most is you.  No one talks to yourself more than you do.  It is helpful if you keep the conversation in your head and not talk to yourself out loud because people may think you’re a bit weird. God created you and me to try to make sense out of life.  We are constantly trying to figure out what in the world is going on and we do that by talking to ourselves.

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