Sunday, August 20, 2006

In my experience, there's no such thing as luck.

Why "Providence" Church? This was briefly addressed in the post decoding the Providence Church logo, but the rationale behind the name is an assertion that God is actively involved in the affairs of this world, involved to the point where He accomplishes His plan(s) using ordinary means and ordinary people.

This is called God's providence. My first sermon at our new location (aka "The Prov") is going to be on the ide of God's providence, beginning with Matthew 6:25-34. (*Click HERE for pictures of today's service or HERE for the sermon.*)

If God provides, how does He? Does He miracle food from the air? He could and has before, but He uses ordinary means. He gets us jobs or inclines the hearts of others to help, ensuring our intersection in the process.

God's activity cannot be "proven" in our particular instance, but it can be proven that God operates providentially, for the Bible tells us so.

The following are some quotes I'm using tomorrow morning in the sermon that I thought you might enjoy having for (further) reflection. If you have some along these lines, please add in the comments section or if you have a good story whereby you are convinced of God's providence.

I'm firmly convinced that God in His providence has brought about the formation and direction of Providence Church, from the people there and in leadership to the donations given and His provision of a place to meet.

Can you with confidence declare God's providence in your life, even when you can't always see the happy ending. We walk by faith, not by sight and often have to take Romans 8:28 by faith, but we can and should because He is faithful.

"I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes--that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens—that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphis over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence —the fall of leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche. He that believes in a God must believe this truth. There is no standing-point between this and atheism. There is no half way between a mighty God that worketh all things by the sovereign counsel of his will and no God at all. A God that cannot do as he pleases--a God whose will is frustrated, is not a God, and cannot be a God. I could not believe in such a God as that." -Charles Haddon Spurgeon in a the sermon “God’s Providence”

"By [providence] the Creator, according to His own will, keeps all creatures in being, involves Himself in all events, and directs all things to their appointed end. God is completely in charge of His world. His hand may be hidden, but His perfect rule extends to all things." -“Providence” in The Reformation Study Bible

"Fate is this Whatever is, must be. But there is a difference between that and Providence. Providence says, Whatever God ordains must be; but the wisdom of God never ordains any thing without a purpose. Every thing in this world is working for some one great end. Fate does not say that. Fate simply says that the thing must be; Providence says, God moves the wheels along, and there they are." -Spurgeon in sermon “God’s Providence”

“Coincidence is God’s choosing to remain anonymous.” -North Garland Baptist Fellowship's marquis message this past week

"God has it in his mind that Joseph shall be governor over all the land of Egypt: how is that to be done? The first thing to be done is that Joseph’s brethren must hate him. O, say you, that is a step backward. Next, Joseph’s brethren must put him in the pit. That is another step backward, say you. No, it is not: wait a little. Joseph’s brethren must sell him; that is another step backward, is it not? Providence is one, and you must not look at its separate parts. He is sold; he becomes a favorite: so far, so good. That is a step onward. Anon, he is put in a dungeon. Wait and see the end; all the different parts of the machinery are one. They appear to clash; but they never do. Put them all together. If Joseph had not been put in the pit, he never would have been the servant of Potiphar: if he never had been put in the round-house, he never would have interpreted the jailor’s dream; and if the king had never dreamed, he would not have been sent for. There were a thousand chances, as the world has it, working together to produce the exaltation of Joseph. Providence is one: it never clashes." -Spurgeon in sermon “God’s Providence”

“The detail of this superintendence of God over his creation is shown, for example, by the fact that God uses evil people to bring to pass consequences that are unintended by them (Is 10:7).” -Paul Helm, The Providence of God

"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face." -William Cowper

“God guides them (even when they do not realize it); he cares for them; and, though their lives have a darker side, even pain and loss and heartache are woven by God together with the times of pleasure and blessing to further his purposes for them.” -Paul Helm, The Providence of God

“Providence is wonderfully intricate. Ah! you want always to see through Providence, do you not? You never will, I assure you. You have not eyes good enough. You want to see what good that affliction was to you; you must believe it. You want to see how it can bring good to the soul; you may be enabled in a little time; but you cannot see it now; you must believe it. Honor God by trusting him.” -Spurgeon in sermon “God’s Providence”

“Even though it may seem to us that all things happen equally to the good and to the evil since we are ignorant of the reasons for God’s providence in allotting these things, there is no doubt that in all these good and evil things happening to the good or to the evil there is operative a well worked out plan by which God’s providence directs all things.” -Thomas Aquinas, Providence and Predestination

“God, the Creator of all things, in His infinite power and wisdom, doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, to the end for which they were created, according unto His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will; to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.” –Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, Chapter 5:1

From the Providence Church Statement of Faith:
IV. Providence ... God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet He does so in a manner that He is neither the author nor approver of sin nor does He destroy the free agency and responsibility of intelligent creatures.


At 20 August, 2006 04:58, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a bit of Spurgeon there, eh? Good chap, that Spurgeon.

I agree wholeheartedly with his first quote (not just the first). After all, God must be in control of absolutley everything or else He is in control of nothing. As the old saying goes: "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost, and all for want of a nail." If just one atom was NOT under God's control, everything could be lost.

At 20 August, 2006 05:22, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that most of us are more impressed with God's miracles than His providence. (In Charasmatic circles especially, one never hears of providence, but miracles are touted to no end.) We like stories such as the parting of the Red Sea, but Joseph's story is not so dramatic. Yet, I think that providence is a much greater display of God's wisdom and power than are miracles. It seems that it might be "easier" to just step into time and suspend or alter natural laws than to coordinate an infinite number of details to bring about an appointed end.

At 20 August, 2006 20:03, Blogger Rev. said...

Checked out the Providence pics. Liked the title, "Sacrament of Announcements." Also liked you playing with the bunny in front of all the kiddos! ;)

Praise the Lord for the new place to worship. May the Lord greatly bless His work at Providence!

BTW, Providence is a wonderful name for the church. I like "The Prov" better than "The Murph." :)

At 20 August, 2006 20:12, Blogger Rev. said...

P.S. (Did you notice, Obi-Wan, that the dude with the crossed fingers has 7 digits?)

At 21 August, 2006 00:08, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Didn't I hear all this in a children's sermon recently? Are you stealing someone's material? ;)

At 21 August, 2006 00:52, Blogger GUNNY said...

Uh ... nothing to see HERE.

At 21 August, 2006 00:59, Blogger GUNNY said...

Rev. wrote ...
"P.S. (Did you notice, Obi-Wan, that the dude with the crossed fingers has 7 digits?)"

Yeah, he's a scary guy. We ran into him in the cantina at Mos Eisley. He doesn't like you either. You just watch yourself. He has the death sentence on twelve star systems.


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