We start with the stewards. An army of yellow-bibbed people who direct traffic, find seats, collect money, stand out in the wind and rain and generally serve the event.
Last night we heard about one of the (female) stewards who was mistreated by a car load of 60-somethings using language that won’t be repeated on the blog. Tonight we heard about someone who turned up with a bag full of chocolate biscuits to say “thank you” to the yellow-bibbed army.
And we prayed for Brian. Brian has served New Horizon in previous years but this year he is not able to serve. It’s been a hard year with serious illness and major surgery. He has been able to visit on a couple of evenings and Stephen Cave led us in a prayer tonight for God to touch him.
I know Brian personally. He is the salt of the earth.
It was the turn of some of the young people to tell their New Horizon stories (via video) this evening. New Horizon has served three generations of families.
Twenty three years have gone since the start, but this year there is serious concern among the board about the state of the finances. £100,000 needs to come in over the last three nights of the event. A shortfall would raise the serious possibility that there might not be a future New Horizon.
The mission slot looked at the Muslim world. The spotlight fell on a professional woman in Egypt, an Imam in Morocco, an Indonesian nurse meeting a Christian in Belfast, and a Jordanian who became a Christian after a dream about three crosses. We stood to join in prayer for the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims.
So to Proverbs and the simpletons.
Vaughan Roberts began by encouraging us to ask what kind of fools we are as we look into the mirror of Proverbs. He introduced us to a gallery of four different fools, from chapters 6 and 7.
- The short-sighted fool. This is the person who is too quick to enter into a financial arrangement. The fool rushes in where angels fear to tread.
- The sluggard. Mentioned fourteen times in Proverbs, the sluggard is a comic figure who provokes a laugh. He/she is lazy and full of excuses. But there is a warning for destruction lies in wait and early dreams and promises can come to nothing through laziness.
- The scoundrel. This is the wicked heart, the person who cares only for himself. His mouth is corrupt. He is not to be envied for God will judge him. While we may struggle to see ourselves in this particular, extreme, portrayal, we need to realise that the seeds of the scoundrel lie within each of us.
- The simple. This person is gullible and easily led. One area of warning for the simple is the area of the adulteress: sexual temptation.
Before getting into detail on chapter 7, Vaughan clarified that the Bible is neither anti-sex, nor anti-women. But chapter 7 is the cautionary tale of a young man who strays too close to danger and whose evening ends up in a way that he did not plan.
Wisdom urges us to beware of our weakness; there are places and people we need to stay clear of. When a problem is a little seed, it can easily be plucked up and got rid of. We need to resist the voice that tells us that we are far from danger. The voice of folly tells us to enjoy ourselves; wisdom urges us to take the long view. One moment of madness can lead to a lifetime of regret.
While one act of adultery need not destroy a marriage, recovery is not easy because damage has been done.
For singles, the modern view is that sex is just one more physical appetite. But it is not just recreational, it is relational.
Married couples need to “keep the home fires burning.”
“If there was more courting in marriage, there would be fewer marriages in court.”
Vaughan referred to the safeguard provided by the Covenant Eyes website.
The antidote to all folly is Jesus Christ and his cross. Jesus and his death are dismissed as folly by the world, but they are the height of wisdom.
Whatever kind of fool you are, look to the cross of Jesus and allow that to change your perspective.