Learning To Be Content

Worship Service for August 8, 2021

WELCOME

Good morning, welcome and thanks for joining CrossPointe Community Church’s online Word worship presentation. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May They bless us this day as a result of our choosing to worship.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

As a reminder, we are having in-person worship at 10:00AM on Sundays. Because the numbers in Medina County remain low, vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask, yet. If you are not vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask and sit on the right side of the sanctuary where the chairs are spaced out further. If you wish to sit six feet apart from someone else, make sure that there is one chair between you and them.

SCRIPTURAL CALL TO WORSHIP

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into His presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, He is God!
It is He who made us, and we are His;
We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

Come, Now is the Time to Worship

Brian Robert Doerksen

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship.
Come, just as you are before your God,
Come.

One day every tongue will confess You are God,
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose You now.

Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship.
Come, just as you are before your God,
Come.

©1998 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire) (admin by Mercy/Vineyard Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Blessed Assurance

Fanny Crosby

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

I Love You, Lord

Klein, Laurie

I love You Lord, and I lift my voice
to worship you O my soul rejoice.
Take joy my King in what You hear.
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.

©1978, 1980 House Of Mercy Music (Maranatha! Music
[Admin. by The Copyright Co])
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Our Gracious and Ever-lasting Father, we come before You to worship; to love You with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength. You alone our worthy of our praise for You have done mighty things in Christ on behalf of we Your children. We are truly blessed beyond measure and therefore, we offer You our very selves in the name of Your one and only Son, even Jesus, our Savior and Lord, amen.

OFFERING

For those of you who participate in worship at CrossPointe financially, our mailing address is:

P.O. Box 126, Chippewa Lake, OH 44215.

As we consider God’s call upon our lives to be like Him and give, hear this passage from Matthew 6:19-33:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

OFFERING/PRAYER SONG

Seek Ye First

Lafferty, Karen

Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Allelu, Alleluia.

Man does not live by bread alone,
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God.
Allelu, Alleluia.

Ask, and it shall be given unto you;
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.
Allelu, Alleluia.

©1972 Maranatha! Music (admin. by The Copyright Company)
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Sheri Back

Please join us in prayer.

Our heavenly and almighty father we praise your glorious name and give thanks to you for bringing us all together today to worship you through prayer, Pastor Randy’s message, song and fellowship.

We ask that you continue to give us strength and to guide Pastor Randy, our church, our community, and our country through these days of change and sometimes uncertainty.

Bless us to fully incorporate into our lives Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. Let us recognize and embrace Paul’s teachings that every moment of life is precious and to let no setbacks steal our God given joy which comes from letting Christ live his life through us.

We pray that we can be examples to others in our community that only Jesus gives us the ability to live a life full of contentment. We pray for continued satisfaction for the life you have given us. We pray to be humble and discipline in your teachings. We pray for forgiveness when our path strays from your word. We pray for healing, for peace, above all for love.

In Jesus name, Amen.

SCRIPTURE

How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.

At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:10-19

MESSAGE

Learning to be Content

Randy K’Meyer

An ancient fable is told of a king who was suffering from a mysterious illness and who was told by his advisors that he could be cured if the shirt of a contented man was brought for him to wear. So representatives from the King’s court were sent to search every corner of the kingdom for a contented man. They searched and searched, but alas, when they finally found a contented man, he didn’t own a shirt.

I believe that if the Apostle Paul were to hear that story, he would have silently nodded his approval. For Paul is a man who has learned to be content with what life offers him despite the fact he remains a prisoner.

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11b-14

Before focusing on contentment in particular, let me say something generally about this passage.

I agree with Frank Thielman’s commentary as he reminds us that the overall context of this paragraph has to do with Paul’s appreciation for financial aid given to him by the Philippians. He writes, “The section is basically an expression of thanks to the Philippians for a monetary gift they sent to him through their messenger Epaphroditus.” 1 Thielman then applies this passage to our current situation by challenging us concerning our attitudes toward money.

Certainly attitudes toward money have a direct relationship to being content as we’ll soon see. But I do not believe the application of this passage needs to be so narrow.

On the other hand, I want to point out the danger in applying this text too broadly. “Hmmm,” I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me? According to this verse, I ought to be able to live in the vacuum of outer space without a pressure suit, or to secure financing for my new car even though my credit rating is in the toilet.

Concerning the latter, there was a news story of a man who entered a car dealership in Phoenix, Arizona, a Christian man the reporter pointed out, who when he was turned down for financing pulled out his Bible and quoted Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and who then said, “If you don’t finance this car, I am going to get in my pick-up truck and drive into your nice showroom.” And that’s exactly what he did. After he crashed through the showroom windows and into a brand new car, he exited his truck with Bible in hand, quoting Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He was still quoting scripture as the police hauled him away.

I have also heard teachers and preachers lift this verse off the page and make people feel they are inferior Christians for not having enough faith in Christ. “If you are sick,” they say, “you are denying Philippians 4:13, which says you ought to be able to do all things, including staying healthy, through Christ who strengthens you.”

“If you are poor,” they say, “you are denying Philippians 4:13, which says you ought to be able to do all things, including getting rich, through Christ who strengthens you.”

Well what can we conclude about what is Paul trying to say?

It is clear that Paul is saying that by the power of the indwelling Christ we can learn to be content in all circumstances, positive as well as negative; ‘whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little’ (12) ‘I have learned how to be content with whatever I have’ (11).

Am I stretching it to say for him ‘whether I am free or in prison?’ How about ‘whether I am healthy or sick?’

I firmly believe these verses are cousins to II Corinthians 12:9 where in answer to Paul’s thrice–repeated prayer asking God to remove some sort of thorn (medical ailment) from his side, God answers with “My gracious favor is all you need, for My power works best in your weakness.”

And where Paul goes on to say, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:9b-10).

Fanny Crosby, who gifted the church with thousands of hymns, including This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long, was blinded at an early age when a quack doctor put hot mustard poultices on her eyes. Yet the power of the indwelling Christ enabled her at age 8 to write,

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world,
In Christ contented I will
be. 2

Perhaps a better illustration concerns the Pilgrim Puritan who sat down to dinner only to find that all that his wife had to put on his plate was a piece of bread and some water. His response was to exclaim, “What, all this and Jesus Christ, too!”

Speaking of Puritans, for those of you who are eager to pursue Biblical contentment, you can google and read online the four century old Puritan classic, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs. It is still recognized as the best book ever written on the subject.

In the meantime, I have three points to offer that will help us learn how to cultivate Christian contentment.

1. I know it sounds redundant, but contentment must be learned.

Paul declares” I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am.” If Paul had to learn contentment, then so do we. And there is much to be learned, as Burroughs point out in his book.

For today, I felt led to point out two extremes that need to be avoided in order to find contentment.

One extreme poses that contentedness with much or little is learned when we sit back and let the world take care of us. To be content is to live a hobo-type lifestyle, trusting that God will provide me a place to sleep, something to eat; I don’t need to be ambitious about anything, I am perfectly content in allowing God to take care of me.

However; the Bible in general and Paul in particular condemns laziness. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, he writes, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat” (3:10).

Now, I am confident on saying that none of us are on that wavelength. Our danger is falling prey to the other extreme, the all-out accumulation of wealth.

But again, the Bible warns us time and again about the dangers of pursuing the accumulation of wealth. Paul to Timothy: “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (6:9-10).

Learning to be content implies finding the sweet spot between those two extremes: accumulation for accumulation’s sake on the one hand and being able to provide adequately for the needs of those for whom we are responsible on the other.

In other words, pursuing a promotion at work in order to make more money to
provide for your needs is not always an indicator that you are not content.

But we must be wary because it seems to be true that the more we get the more we want. An ancient Greek Philosopher once said, “Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from few wants.” 3

That can be a difficult lesson to learn, but with the Apostle Paul, we need to learn it.

2. Contentment is learned as we teach ourselves to be grateful for what we have.

As we already noted, this section of Philippians is basically a ‘thank you’ note for the Philippians generosity. Paul writes, “How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again” (4:10).

I talked two weeks ago about the importance of counting our blessings in order to help us better cope with trying times. And the same principle applies when it comes to learning contentedness. For contentment is more a matter of perspective than circumstances!

A Jewish man in Hungary went to his rabbi and complained, “Life is unbearable; there are nine of us living in just one room. What can I do?”
The rabbi answered, “Take your goat into the room with you.”
The man was incredulous, but the rabbi insisted, “Do as I say and come back in a week.”
A week later the man returned looking more distraught than before.
“We can’t stand it,” he told the rabbi, “the goat is filthy and stinks.”
The rabbi said, “Go home and let the goat out, and come back in a week.”
A week later the man returned, radiant, exclaiming, “Life is beautiful.
We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat—only the nine of us.” 4

Here’s a prescription for learning to be content: Set aside some time, just a few minutes, preferably every day, to find things in your life to be grateful about. You will probably start off slow; it may not come easy, you’ll have to give it some thought. But the more you practice this discipline the easier it comes And if you do this on a regular basis, you’ll be surprised at how adept you become in finding all kinds of things to be grateful for. And as you do, you will delightfully discover that you are becoming more and more content.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

3. Contentment is learned by loving and trusting in God more and more for our security and to provide all that we really need to live well.

Last week, I was in NC visiting my daughter Sarah and Nathan and their family. Little Sydney is 3 years old and she was practicing her counting. As of now she can only count to 13, but when she reached her limit we all cheered.

As I got to thinking about it later, it occurred to me that learning how to count might not be the great thing we make it out to be. In fact, perhaps it’s the beginning of many of our troubles.

That little granddaughter of mine has her counting career ahead of her and will probably feel compelled to keep track of countless things during her life. From being able to count her fingers and toes, she will graduate to counting how many A’s on her report card, to counting how many wins and losses on the basketball court, to counting who owes her what and how much. If she becomes an author, she’ll count how many books she sells. If she becomes a pastor, she’ll count how many people attend her church. And like almost all Americans she will keep close count of her money. Until the day we die, we will be busy worrying and counting, counting and worrying.

Don’t get me wrong, we need to keep a balanced checkbook, but could it be that we are so obsessed about counting the numbers because we depend on them for our sense of accomplishment, our sense of security and peace, and, in some cases, our self-worth?

We count out of fear, insecurity, and/or pride.

The problem with all of this counting, this keeping track of the numbers in our lives, is it is seldom an act of faith. The truth is, the things we can count, no matter how many of them we may accumulate, are not worthy of our love or trust.

The author of Hebrews writes, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” (13:5).

In this regard, all we really need to learn is to count to one. Contentment does not depend on what we can count, but on the One we can count on.

Max Lucado tells the story about a man who once went to a minister for counseling. He was in the midst of a financial collapse. “I’ve lost everything,” he bemoaned.
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your faith.”
“No,” the man corrected him, “I haven’t lost my faith.”
“Well, then I’m sad to hear that you’ve lost your character.”
“I didn’t say that” he corrected, “I still have my character.”
“I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost your salvation.”
“That’s not what I said,” the man objected, “I haven’t lost my salvation.”
“You mean, you have your faith, your character, your salvation. Seems to me,” the minister observed, “that you’ve lost none of the things that really matter.” 5

An unknown person much wiser than I wrote, “Contentedness is being free
of the need to accumulate anything other than a right relationship with God.

In his autobiography Just As I Am, Billy Graham recalls a story demonstrating that true contentment is not defined by wealth or fame, but by something else. He and his wife, Ruth, were vacationing on an island in the Caribbean. One of the wealthiest men in the world invited them to his lavish home for lunch. He was 75 years old, and throughout the entire meal he seemed close to tears. “I am the most miserable man in the world,” he said. “Out there is my yacht; I can go anywhere I want to. I have my private plane, my helicopters. I have everything I want to make my life happy, yet I am as miserable as hell.” Billy talked to him and prayed with him, trying to point him to Christ. Then he and Ruth returned to the small cottage they were renting.

That afternoon the pastor of the local church dropped in on them. He a widower, spent most of his time taking care of his two invalid sisters. “I don’t have two pounds to my name,” he said with a smile, “but I am the happiest man on this island.”

Later that evening, Billy Graham asked Ruth, “Who do you think is the richer man?” She didn’t have to reply because they both already knew the answer. 6

CLOSING PRAYER

[I encourage you to pray as you feel led by the Spirit of God].

CLOSING SONG

Before we sing the closing song, in which we sing I love you Jesus, let’s think about what that means. It means:

We admire Jesus more than any other human.
We delight in His words more than the words of anyone else.
We desire His approval more than we desire the approval of anyone else.
We comply with His will more than the will of anyone else.
We love Him more than we love anything else for what He has done for us.

More Than Anything

Christensen, Chris

More than anything,
More than anything,
I love You Jesus more than anything.

More than anything,
More than anything,
I love You Jesus more than anything.

More than anything,
More than anything,
I love You Jesus more than anything.

More than worldly wealth,
More than life itself,
I love You Jesus more than anything.

Nothing in this world can take Your place,
Or ever take Your love away.
Someday I will see You face to face,
Look into Your eyes and say.

More than anything,
More than anything,
I love You Jesus more than anything.

More than worldly wealth,
More than life itself,
I love You Jesus more than anything.

©1989 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

1 Frank Thielman, The NIV Application Commentary, Philippians, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, © 1995] page 234.

2 Fanny Crosby — Hymnology Archive
www.hymnologyarchive.com/fanny-crosby

3 Epictetus, circa AD 100
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2001/april/13005.html

4 ‘Laughter the Best Medicine,’ Reader’s Digest, December 12, 1981.

5 Max Lucado, Traveling Light, [Nashville, Tennessee: Word Publishing, © 2001]. Pages 35-36.

6 Billy Graham, Just As I Am, [New York: Harper Collins, © 1999] https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2001/april/13013.html

Randy K'Meyer

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