The Y Factor - A Study On Ecclesiastes

The Y Factor - A Study On Ecclesiastes

 

Why Am I Here? - Debbie G

Eccesiastes is a fascinating, beautiful piece of writing that is able to capture the frustrations and disappointments that we all feel, from time to time, in life.
The Teacher spills out that life, under the sun, limited to worldly thinking, only comes up empty.
When life is stripped back from all it's camouflage, we find that:

  • Nothing Endures - like a vapor or mist, eventually things fade away
  • Nothing Is Gained- all our hard work can be undone in an instant
  • Nothing Is Permanent -Life is extremely fragile, our time on earth is short lived
  • Nothing Finishes - there is an endless, repetitious  cycle to life on earth
  • Nothing Satisfies - we always need just 1 more thing to be happy
  • Nothing Is New - There are no new ideas just re-inventions of old ones
  • Nothing Is Unforgettable - People in history are soon forgotten. We will become that history.

The Remedy for our wearisome life?
 

Jesus!

  • Jesus- brings the new
  • Jesus- gives us purpose & meaning
  • Jesus - gives us eternity
  • Jesus brings us the answer to Y am I here?

I love Eccelesiastes as it gives us permission to be honest with our feelings but to trust them to a God who knows how best we can find true contentment in this life
Look forward to discovering your real purpose each week
Live life not just under the sun, but above, in The Son and for The Son

Podcast

Why Can't I Have It All? - Mandy

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.....these are a few of my favourite things"
Mandy presented us with a similar list from Ecclesiastes, of "favourite things" we chase after to fill up our big empty lives, and revealed how they come up short in our lives.

  • Laughter, which is healthy for our nervous system can be unfulfilling when it take sthe shape of sarcasm, derision, making fun of, etc
  • Alcohol, which is marketed as a "pick me up" is actually a depressant. It has a negative effect and is more often associated with anger, aggression & domestic violence
  • Projects are exciting in the beginning but can become tedious and boring
  • Water features -occupy many incomes as we spend on the swimming pool, homes by the beach, views of the beach, cruising on the sea
  • Slaves - in the shape of many gadgets which are supposed to improve our lives but usually occupy more time in fixing them and keep us from exercising
  • Herds & Flocks - in the form of food, which has a high profile on our TV screens
  • Money - there is never enough and can cause more trouble than it's worth
  • Entertainment - interferes with quality family time and reduces the time we spend in other relationships
  • Sex - outside of marriage brings endless pain and complications

The question is if having it all brings such misery where can I go to find real fulfillment?
The Teacher in Ecclesiastes knows that only God can bring real fulfillment.
Is Jesus your "Favourite Thing?"

Podcast

Why Can't I Fight Time? - Heather

Who doesn't love the smell of Anzac biscuits cooking? One of my favourite buiscuits!
Amazing that such a yummy biscuit comes from some less than tasty ingredients: salt, baking powder, raw oats.
On their own they taste awful but mixed together with some golden syrup & butter, they are delicious
Heather, teaching from Ecclesiastes 3, showed us:

  • That  God uses some of the awful ingredients in our lives, tough times, disappointments, injustices, to make something yummy out of our lives.
  • When He mixes them together in our lives He helps us mature and keep our eyes on eternity rather than today
  • Each season in our lives, however difficult is to prepare us for heaven.
  • God uses the awful ingredients to create eternal children who will live with Him forever
  • We are foolish when we try to fight time by longing to be in another season or regretting leaving the one we're in.
  • God is with us in all seasons

We are being made for eternity even if it doesn't leave a yummy taste in our mouths.
Look forward to discovering your real purpose each week.
Live life not just under the sun, but above, in The Son and for The Son.

Podcast

Why Is Life Unfair? - Dee

Why is life so unfair?  Dee presented us with the idea that maybe life IS fair.  After all, unfair things happen to all of us!  The truth is that we don’t know why life is unfair.  We don’t know why there is so much pain, hurt, sorrow, heartache and injustice in the world.


So we need to consider what we DO know.  And we DO know that God is fair and will judge every person according to their deeds.  We also know that God is more loving and merciful that our human minds can comprehend.  Everything that happens is according to His sovereign will.  Nothing on earth happens without His direction or permission.  So we need to trust Him.


Dee showed us the perfect example of Job’s trust and faith in God when life was unfair to him.  When Job lost everything he remained obedient and continued to trust in God during his time of extreme suffering.  As did Joseph who also suffered unfairness.   Joseph didn’t become bitter, instead he asked the question, how can I help my situation trusting in God’s purpose and plan?


So what can we do in response to unfairness in our lives?

  • Don’t be a victim.
  • Consider that life is a chance to become a more wise and powerful you.
  • Ask yourself, how can I use my unfairness to help others?
  • Saturate yourself in God’s Word… read your bible!
  • Have a Christlike attitude.
  • Accept unfairness.  Romans 8:18 tells us to consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
  • Remember that God is watching us to see our reactions.
  • Don’t bow to bitterness.  Be better, not bitter!
  • Actions are more important than feelings, so we need to pray for our enemies.

Perhaps most importantly we need to look to the cross.  Christ died and took our punishment.  That doesn’t seem fair and yet it is God’s wonderful plan fulfilled for all of us.  Amen!

Podcast

 

Why Aren't I Satisfied? - Prue

From the words of Mick Jagger, we can’t get no satisfaction!

Prue spoke to us of an unquenchable thirst that God has blessed us with.  Sadly, we often go to the wrong sources in search of satisfaction.  Shopping, family, music, gardening or even the gym may satisfy us – but it’s a temporary fulfillment.

We will always want more and will continue to move the goalpost of our achievements….constantly striving for a little bit more to quench that thirst.  The more we chase a goal, the more we chase the wind.  

We look at the rich and famous, or perhaps even people we know that seem to have it all.  A big house, nice car, flourishing careers or expensive clothes.  But it’s just vapour and cannot quench our unrelenting thirst for satisfaction. 

The truth is we should be dissatisfied with everything under the sun… because we are called to live above the sun with our eyes lifted and fixed firmly on the heavens. 

There is a hole inside of us that is longing to be filled.  But it cannot be filled with anything of this world.  It is a God-shaped hole that can only be filled with God the Father, Jesus the Son and sealed by the Holy Spirit.  Only then will we be truly satisfied. 

When Jesus approached the Samaritan woman at the well, he knows that she is spiritually thirsty.  He lovingly offers her living water and tells her that whoever drinks the water He gives will never thirst.  He offers us all this living water that wells up to eternal life.  Will you drink?

When you do, you’ll see how our unquenchable thirst for satisfaction changes into an unquenchable thirst to know a loving and merciful Father, our God. 

So... Are you thirsty?  Will you drink?

Podcast

Why Are Troubles Good For Us? - Liz

Trouble, hardship, difficulty, distress, irritation, desperation, inconvenience, trial, suffering.  No matter what we call it, it doesn't feel good.  So how can it be good for us?

Through wisdom gained from a difficult season in her own life, Liz spoke to us about God’s hand in our troubles. He is our loving Father who knows our needs perfectly.  The Holy Spirit leads us into suffering so that God can do some serious work in us. So He can reveal our weaknesses and transform our hearts and minds to be more like Jesus.  In the same way, an “irritant” lodged inside an oyster shell transforms into a beautiful, precious pearl.

Troubles teach us lessons that cannot be taught any other way.  Often it's only when we look back we can see the results of God’s work and be thankful.  It's during the depths of our despair that we can grow in genuine trust and faith in God. What a blessing and a priviledge, to know the Creator of the universe intimately.

So what should our response be to troubles in our life?

  • Be aware of our actions, ensuring that they are honouring God always.
  • Thank God for troubles. This is when He is doing His best work in us.
  • Remember that God promises to be with us during hard times.  He is our refuge and ever present help.
  • Dedicate ourselves daily to God through reading His Word and constant prayer.
  • Remember that God is sovereign and nothing happens without His permission.  He is fully aware of what we are going through…. And He is with us and for us.

So, trouble...it has many names.  But there should only be one name on our lips… Jesus.  God’s Son, who perhaps went through the greatest troubles and suffering so that we can be made beautiful in God’s sight.  Because, just like a precious pearl, God makes everything beautiful in its time.

Will you allow God to lead you through troubles and “irritants”.... so that He can transform you into a precious pearl?

Podcast

Why Can't I Do What I Like? - Michelle

As Michelle took us through Ecclesiastes Chapter 8, the teacher seemed to be giving us a masterclass on obedience to authority.

It’s obvious to us all that we can’t do what we like because anarchy and chaos would follow.  We need authority to sustain order in the world.  Yet, all earthly authority seems flawed and corrupt in one way or another.  So why should we submit to a flawed authority?  Michelle described this as the puzzle of authority.

At times, we may feel frustrated by those who have authority over us.  Yet, the teacher encourages us to remain obedient because God commands us to.  Romans 13 says that the authorities that exist have been established by God.

From the moment our children are born, we begin teaching them obedience and to live under our authority.

In the same way, when we are born again in Christ, God begins teaching us obedience and shapes us to live under His authority.  And when we fail, He deals with us tenderly and patiently, showing us mercy and unconditional love.  He is the perfect Father.

The truth is that all earthly authority is flawed.  We can’t make sense of a broken world.  We will all fail in one way or another.  Remember, it was through an act of disobedience in the garden of Eden that sin entered this world.

So what do we do?

We submit to a flawless authority.  One that is limitless, perfect and eternal.  It’s through our submission and obedience to God that we can find true joy and peace.

He loves us.  He has a plan for us.  He wants to know us intimately.

Perhaps Jesus is the ultimate masterclass on obedience.  He was obedient to his death, one that he did not deserve yet it was God’s will that he suffer in our place.

It’s through Jesus’ perfect obedience that we are saved.  Thankyou Jesus!

Podcast coming soon...

Why Do I Do Dumb Things? - Holly

“Earth has its boundaries but human stupidity is limitless.”  Holly showed us that this quote holds true when we ask ourselves why we do dumb things?  And let’s be honest, we ALL do them from time to time!

Holly shared with us many reasons why we do dumb things:-

  • We are overconfident, greedy, lazy, distracted or make wrong assumptions.
  • We foolishly ignore danger or warning signs.
  • We are influenced by other people, who drag us into doing something dumb alongside them.

Remember Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary?  She’s probably best known for choosing to cook and clean rather than sit and have a personal bible study with Jesus!  Does this seem a little foolish… AND familiar?  How often do we use the excuse of busyness to not spend time with God?

So what should we do?

Can you think of anyone who has never done a dumb thing?  Can you think of anyone who is perfect?  There’s just one… Jesus.

Jesus can take all the dumb things we’ve done and are yet to do…and make us pure and blameless.

When we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, we are doing the smartest thing we could ever do.  Our response should be “Yes Lord, I believe”.

Martha went on to do the smartest thing she could ever do.  She believed that Jesus was the Son of God who could raise her brother Lazarus from the dead.  Her response to Jesus was “Yes Lord, I believe”. 

When we are in communion in God, he uses His Spirit to transform us to be more like Jesus… perfect and righteous. No amount of human wisdom can save us from doing dumb things.  Only God can.

We need the gift of grace from our glorious and loving Father.  All we need to do is say “Yes Lord, I believe”.

Perhaps, NOT putting our faith and trust in Jesus is THE dumbest thing we could ever do.

Instead, let’s be smart and boldly declare “Yes Lord, I believe”.

Podcast

Why Don't Things Go My Way? - Rev Trent

“A ship is safe in the harbour, but that’s not what a ship is built for”.

Rev Trent showed us that Ecclesiastes 11 reminds us what we were built for as God’s people.  

Life is not simple.  Sometimes things don’t go our way.  We consistently fail.  Everything is going badly and we simply aren’t coping.  It’s like life conspires to rob us of our joy.

What do we do in the face of failure?  We retreat from the world.  We stay safe in our harbours protected from the weathering storm and fierce winds.  All the while, growing more anxious for what’s to come our way.

But is this what we were built for?  What do we gain from staying safe?

The truth is, God never promised that things would always go our way.  He never promised smooth waters.  He promised to be with us when the waters keep rising and to give us the strength to cope with our failures.  God’s solution is not to fix our problems, but to change our desires and attitude instead.

The only answer to failure is faith and trust in God.

Faith in Him, that He has our best interests at heart.

Trust that He is in control and nothing happens without His permission.

God doesn’t want our hearts to be gripped with anxiety.  He wants us to be free in the knowledge that everything is in His mighty hands.

We are God’s vessels.  We are not called to be safe in our harbours.  We are called to be bold and take risks for God – even through storms and fierce winds.  We may fail, but He is with us.

We will go through rough waters.  And when we do, remember who is in control of the wind and storm.  Remember that God has set eternity in our hearts, like an internal compass, always directing us back to Him.

So, let’s do what we were built to do…. and sail…

Podcast

Why Is God So Good? - Debbie G

Podcast