Maximize Your Wisdom
What exactly is wisdom? And how does one actually grow in it?
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Renovation Church!
5 years ago this weekend, we were born.
So thanks for coming to our birthday party today!
(Show the 5 or 6 pictures of the Launch Team in the background as I talk. Just go through them once. )
Before I get into my message, I want to honor a special group of people this morning.
As you could probably surmise, you can’t just start a church from scratch with one or two people. .
Back in 2009, I did 54 meetings where I sat across the table from people at places like Culver’s or Jimmy John’s or you name it, and said, “I’m going to start this church from scratch in Blaine…you should do it with me!”
And a lot of people, took a huge leap of faith…and said yes!
And they helped us get started: They greeted, the worked in Renovation kids, they invited their friends.
And Renovation Church was born.
And, amazingly, the majority of those people are still here today…5 years later… (which is not common in church planting)
In fact, if you were one of our original launch team members, would you just stand, so we could clap for you and honor you this morning?
(Let them stand)
We just want to thank you for your faith and courage!
Because of your faith to believe in our vision to change the world (even when there were just a few of us), hundreds of people have had their lives eternally changed!
We are going to be celebrating all day this morning, and after each service there will be free cupcakes, free beverages, music…a photo slideshow will be going on in the background…and more.
So stick around for a few minutes after each service and grab something to eat to celebrate what God has done.
You’ll get more details in announcements.
(STOP SHOWING PICTURES)
Before I begin, I do want to make one more important announcement myself
Two weeks from today, you need to be in church.
(Put up MOST IMPORTANT SUNDAY slide)
We’re calling it the most important Sunday in the history of Renovation Church.
If you’re out of town for the weekend, come back early.
If you’re sick, put on a mask and come to church J
As we turn the corner on our first 5 years, two weeks from today, on the 19th, we are going to talk opening and specifically on what we think the future of Renovation Church is…and where God is leading us
And it’s going to be pretty exciting.
We’re going to make the biggest announcement in the history of our church.
It is the ONE SUNDAY this year that you simply can’t miss.
WHAT IS WISDOM?
Okay…let’s get into this thing…
We are continuing in our “Maximize” series this morning, where we are looking mostly to the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament for wisdom on how to live life.
ANd today…we’re going to look at the interesting topic of maximizing your wisdom.
How do you get wise? And what IS wisdom?
Is wisdom just knowledge?
It’s not quite that simple.
For instance, think of a brand new CEO in a failing company.
Anyone can be presented with all the facts & numbers (that’s knowledge), but just pure knowledge doesn’t mean you know what to do with the knowledge.
Wisdom goes beyond just knowing facts…or science…or math.
Even if a person knows all the right facts, they could be corrupt morally…and certainly wouldn’t be a wise leader then.
Which is why others say, “No, wisdom isn’t knowledge, it’s living by the right principles. Wisdom is morality. The truly wise are the ones who obey a basic moral code on how to live!”
That sounds nice. Maybe even half-way profound, but it’s not completely true.
You could learn all the knowledge in the world…and even learn the right way to live (from the Bible), and you still wouldn’t necessarily be WISE yet
Which is why still others say: “Wisdom…is just experience.”
The older you are…the wiser you are.
Now, ideally there should be some truth in that.
But wisdom with age is absolutely no guarantee.
Especially without knowledge and morality.
This is why so many scholars say that wisdom is a combination of all 3
(PUT UP WISDOM DIAGRAM) – Keep up until verse
Wise people tend to be able to aptly apply all 3.
Knowledge, The best way to live, and leaning on their experience.
So let me sum up wisdom and wise people for you in two ways
ONE: Wise people tend to be exceptional at developing all 3 of those categories
TWO: Wise people tend to be able to apply those categories to the questions of life that aren’t easily answerable by just 1 or 2 of the categories.
I’ll explain more on that later.
But let’s start with just developing those 3 categories.
Because we should work on developing any sort of wisdom that we can.
The Bible tells us to do this!
(Proverbs 4:5-7) – NIV
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
So wise people make an effort to develop in these 3 categories.
Firstly, in their knowledge.
If you’re in leadership here at Renovation…or at your work…wise people make an effort to grow in their knowledge
Whether that be knowledge of their field…or leadership…or what have you…
Not every person who’s always learning is wise, but every wise person is always learning.
Some of the wisest people I know are always learning.
Always reading books, listening to podcasts on their commute, meeting with other wise people.
You know the big bummer about all that? It takes time.
This is not what we want in our culture …
I think of the song, “Wake Me Up,” (I can never remember know how to say the DJ’s name it’s credited to, but I know Aloe Blacc sings on it…and he’s got an amazing voice)
But he sings, “So wake me up when it’s all over…when I’m wiser and I’m older”
That would be nice, right?
But wise people take the time and the effort to increase in their knowledge.
They also develop their understanding of the second question: How should I live?
It’s one of the most basic questions of life.
What does God ask of me?
What are the BEST and WISEST and RIGHT moral decisions for my life?
And there is a right and wrong.
For the most part, our culture has totally lost sight of this…and it’s making us most unwise.
When you don’t have any sort of moral compass, you have nothing left to even calibrate wisdom on.
And as much as we try and get away from this aspect of wisdom…we can’t run from it.
For example…You know what I most interesting about the whole Adrian Peterson news story two weeks ago?
And I think this is interesting…no matter what you think on the issue…
What’s interesting is this: In a culture that supposedly believes “You can’t tell me how to live, and there is no one truth, or right way, or no one right or wrong….”
How opinionated were people on this issue?!
On either side!!
Why is that?!?
It’s because internally, we know that there must be a right and wrong.
A right way to live. A BETTER and WISE way to do life.
We can’t escape it!
Because we know…If there isn’t…life is pure chaos.
And see, God has given us clear answers in the Bible regarding the second question of wisdom “How should I live?”….and he’s given these to us so that we could live wisely, bring Him honor, and (here’s an interesting one)…bring us joy.
(Proverbs 19:8) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION
To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.
Why? Why are you actually loving yourself if you acquire wisdom?
It’s because wisdom works. And it’s good.
I spent the first 18 years of my life chasing pleasure and success.
And then I met Jesus…did a U-TURN…and have spent the last 14 years attempting to seek God and His ways…His wisdom.
And I can tell you…that it is infinitely better.
If you really want to get wise…learn God’s teachings. Read his bestseller.
If you don’t have a Bible, that Bible under the chair is for you. You may have it.
There’s even a plan in there that’ll help you know where to get started in it.
So you can grow in wisdom.
It won’t be easy…but it’ll be good.
Following God’s ways requires of me things I often don’t want to give: Sacrifice, denial, patience…but wisdom is like an investment that pays off in long dividends.
It’s an investment…and an investment (by definition) is a sacrifice that pays off in the end.
Here’s another way to look at why choosing things like sacrifice and denial could actually be wise:
(Proverbs 10:9) – NIV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This is great because it’s telling us what is the beginning of wisdom!!
Wait, what…the “Fear of the Lord?”
I’m supposed to be afraid of God, and then I’ll be wise?!
It’s unfortunately a phrase that doesn’t translate very well with our English language.
It’s often described as more of a “reverence for God,” but the best way I’ve ever heard it described is that “Fearing the Lord” means fearing to run away from Him.
It means that you trust in His wisdom and His way to live so much, that you fear how bad it would be (in comparison) to be outside of His will.
To do it on your own…without Him.
SO… wise people grow in knowledge… they grow in their understanding of how God wants them to live.
But they also grow in their experience.
How do you do that?
You get older.
That indeed is the basic idea.
And if you’re still young…borrow as much experience from those older than you as you possibly can.
That’s how young people get wise.
They endlessly ask questions to people wiser than them
But as I said earlier, wise people do 2 things:
They develop and grow in those 3 categories (knowledge, how to live, experience), but they ALSO learn how to apply those categories to the questions of life that aren’t easily answerable by just 1 or 2 of the categories.
Some things in life can very simply be found out by being wise in 1 of 3 categories of wisdom
Like answering: Does gravity exist?
Yes. It does. That’s knowledge.
Don’t believe me? Try jumping off your house.
I’m going to make a WISE decision not to because of my knowledge.
But other decisions in life can’t simply be made merely by having knowledge or even by knowing everything the Bible says.
Before you think I’m being blasphemous…let me explain
The majority of decisions that you face aren’t actually specifically addressed by either basic knowledge OR the Bible OR often even experience
For example: Think of some of the most common “big” decisions we all face…from high school onward:
Whom should I date, should we break up, whom should I marry, where should I go to school, what should I major in, should I take that job offer, should I take that job offer in a different state, should we have kids, should we have more kids, should we adopt kids?
And HOW do you answer those questions? How do you make a WISE decision?
“Well, gee honey, Wikipedia says we should have 2.5 kids?”
It goes BEYOND knowledge…beyond mere morality.
And, just knowing what the Bible says on “right & wrong” isn’t ALONE going to help you with deciding if you should move to another state or not.
Unless the move is to Wisconsin…then you know what God thinks
I was also really hoping to insert a joke about their terrible football team here this week…but that didn’t work out
And this is where part 2 of wisdom comes in. The part of wisdom where people can apply the three categories:
So let me give you two examples to this.
Let’s put up our Wisdom Diagram again
(Put up WISDOM CHART) - Keep up until next verse
So, for example, let’s say you just got offered a new job, and you’re trying to decide if it’s wise to take it:
Well, let’s apply the 3 areas of wisdom to it. Because not 1 of the areas will answer this on its own.
So how about KNOWLEDGE:
What do you know about the job?
Is the company growing?
What’s the pay?
Would your boss be nice?
Then, let’s apply the question of “How should you live?” or What does the Bible say?”
Now, again the Bible is not going to comment directly on your company… It doesn’t reference Wal-Mart or McDonalds by name.
But you can apply principles:
Does the company honor God? Does its mission honor God?
What’s the work environment like?
And then finally, the third question of “What have I learned in the past?”
They say they want you to work 70 hours a week…often.
Well, that didn’t go so well for your family at your last job…so maybe despite the good pay they’re offering…it’s not a wise choice.
Or, let’s say you were deciding if you should marry the person you’re dating or not:
Run it through the same filters:
What do you know about them?
Make a pros/cons list.
Do they really have the qualities you’re looking for?
What does the Bible say?
Now…again…the Bible’s not going to address, “Should you marry Edward…or Susie…but it does give principles.”
Like 2 Cor 6 says you should not marry an unbeliever
What have you learned in the past?
From past relationships?
And of course, throughout every decision, you want to always be seeking God.
The best thing you can do is always to ask the wisest of all people.
Wise people are wise enough to turn to those who are wiser than them.
And they ask for wisdom.
In fact, the Bible encourages you to do this:
(James 1:5) – NIV
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
If you’re in a spot, and you don’t know what to do…ask God.
No seriously, ask Him.
Pray about it.
And wait for Him to speak to your heart.
Or through another person.
But listen for God and follow his direction.
Wisdom doesn’t always look like the most obvious choice.
5 years ago, I had people tell me that it would just be safer to go pastor an already established church...or just stay a Youth Pastor
No real need to start a new one.
Maybe even their knowledge told them that…or their experience.
Wisdom isn’t always the obvious choice.
But God is always the X-Factor in wisdom.
What I wanted you to get from this chart…is that so often nowadays…we don’t make decisions like this.
We don’t take the time to gather all of the facts (we just go with our gut….or our emotions)
Oh I’ll marry them because “I FEEL in love”
I’ll take the job because the money is good.
We don’t gather the facts
We don’t consult the Bible…or God
We don’t take a hard look at our past…especially our past mistakes.
Maybe…MAYBE…we do 1 of those things…but rarely all 3.
And our decisions suffer for it.
But I’m telling you…if you study wise people…they do all 3!
And they’re pretty good at applying all 3 even in some sticky situations.
And because of that…wise people….TRULY wise people…are some of the most admired people in our world.
This is why the Bible says:
(Proverbs 3:13-15) - NIV
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
NOTHING you desire can compare with her.
Wealth…you can lose it
Beauty…you’ll get wrinkly someday
Power…someday you’ll be 6 feet under.
The best thing you can do is invest in getting wisdom.
Grow in those 3 areas.
And practice applying all of them in the decisions that aren’t so clear.
And by the way, you do want to actually APPLY the wisdom you get J
Information without application will never lead to transformation
THE MOST IMPORTANT WISDOM (THE GOSPEL)
If you step back from all of this…it seems like the most important part of getting wisdom…is knowing God.
Your relationship with God (the wisest of all) is the beginning of wisdom.
He gives you the greatest of knowledge…teaching you how to live…and knowing Him gives you access to the one who knows ALL!
And I just wonder this morning…in fact…let me ask you…do you have a relationship with Him? Beyond just believing He exists.
Do you talk to Him? Is there a relationship?
Because He wants to have one with you.
So much so that He sent His only Son Jesus for you.
He sent Jesus to die for you on the cross.
This is what Christianity is all about.
Here is the wisdom of God on how life works:
None of us are good enough on our own to merit complete forgiveness by God or to earn our way to be in His presence for heaven for all of eternity.
If you take a good, hard, honest look at your life…we’re not good enough.
In fact, the Bible says:
(Romans 3:23) – NIV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
And what we deserve…what I deserve…for all of my sins…is not a prize…but punishment.
We deserve justice.
Reason with me: This is what we were talking about earlier when I said, “We KNOW, internally, that there must be a right and wrong”
We KNOW that here on earth.
So apply WISDOM to this. Apply your knowledge and experience here…
If you sin…you do something selfish or evil…there are always consequences.
Some are very delayed…but there are ALWAYS consequences.
So, let’s apply what we know:
Why would we think then, that that pattern would not exist on the eternal side of things?
Of course it does.
And God is a logical, organized, and just God.
And sin deserves punishment.
And that punishment is why hell exists.
But God has no desire for you to be there.
It exists. It has to. Otherwise there would be no justice for any sin.
But He does not want you to be there.
So, he sent His son Jesus to die on the cross in your place.
To take the punishment…that you deserved….for you.
And if you believe in that…that Jesus did that for you…you can be forgiven:
In fact, Jesus himself says this:
(John 5:24) – NIV
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
We can cross over from being guilty and from falling short…to being forgiven and spending eternity in heaven with God.
And it’s the wisest decision you can ever make.
To spend the rest of your life following Jesus is the wisest decision you can possibly make with your life.
We stress so much about all of life’s most important decisions: “What do you want to do, where should you live, whom should you marry?”
But the most important decision we need wisdom on is this: What is life all about?
Or, why are you here?
And do you know where you will go after you breathe your last?
Because if this life is just a “blink,” and then billions of more years begin….
Then WISDOM would say…that no other decision you will make will even come remotely close to deciding where you will be for your eternity.
Don’t leave this to chance. It’s too important.
Let me just tell you…not only from God’s Word…but from experience..
God is so in love with you.
He sent His own son for you for goodness sakes.
He wants to be in a RELATIONSHIP with you.
Will you enter into one with Him?
Will you believe that He died for you…and start to follow Him with your life?
I want to give you an opportunity to do that this morning.
In fact, let’s do this: Let’s everybody just bow their heads and close their eyes.
I want this to be a special moment between you and God.
If you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ and believe that He died for you…
If you want to be forgiven…start a relationship with Him…and spend eternity with Him.
I want to give you an opportunity to tell him that you want to become a Christian…which simply means Christ-follower.
If you want to do this…to believe in Jesus and give Him your life…in just a moment, I’m going to ask you to stand up where you are.
This is a way for you to symbolically say, “I believe that THIS is what life is about. From this moment onward, to the best of my ability, I will be a follower of JESUS. I WILL make the WISEST decision I can possibly make…TODAY.
So wherever you are, all across this room right now. If you’d like to become a follower of Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are.
If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s real. That means…it’s TIME. If you feel it in your pulse…in your heart…that’s God. Accept His forgiveness. Start a new life with Him. It’s amazing!
If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at…again, the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
EVERYONE repeat after me with these new believers.
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life. Amen
(you can have a seat)
AMEN!! Let’s just clap and praise God.
If you stood up & gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do 2 things for me
Right after the service today, I want you to go to the back of the room …for just a moment.
In the back there is a sign that says “FOLLOW-UP”
There will be some incredibly nice people there (they have lanyards on) who want to give you some extremely helpful tools to help you get started in your faith
Won’t take you very long. But absolutely go back there.
Also, if you stood up today, we wrote you a letter. It’s under your chair, and we’d love for you to read it before the service is over (announcements & 2 songs).
Let me just pray & thank God!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.