Teaching Series
Wisdom That Works
Thursday—How to Gain Velocity

Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: How to Gain Velocity
Preacher: Jenniffer Ogden
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Proverbs 2:1-22  in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: “. . . and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:4).

One of my personal traits that I’m not proud of is my amazing capacity to find the things I value most in life. This might sound like a noble trait, but in my reality it usually revolves around food. 

About a year ago, I was sitting in my lounge chair thinking about food. I like doing that. Stop judging me. 

So I was thinking about the different foods that gave me the most pleasure. As my mind drifted I started going down my personal food memory lane. And then I stopped. A memory sparked, the corner of my mouth produced some drool, and I quickly got on my computer to see if there was any possibilityI could satisfy the craving this memory created. 

The food memory? When I was a teenager I worked in a restaurant called Skippers Fish and Chips. For a few years I was the guy who boned and filleted the cod. Breaded it and cooked it. I also ate it every day I worked there. Which was most days. To my knowledge, the whole fleet of restaurants had walked the plank. I didn’t think there was one left in the world. 

My Google treasure hunt was futile for a few minutes. Then it produced one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen. There it was, near Vancouver, Washington, a Skippers Fish and Chips. 

I’m not ashamed to admit that when I got a call to interview for a church in Portland, I went a day early to enjoy a three piece plate of heaven at Skippers. I’m also not ashamed to admit that I stopped there one more time after my interview. It was worth the extra ten pounds on my bathroom scale. 

When something is important to you, you’ll seek it out. 

Recalibrate: What have you gone out of your way to possess? Was it worth it

Respond: Pray these words: “Jesus, help us to crave the things that will make us more like you. Give us the desires of our hearts.” 

Research: I felt obligated to assign this article: The Craving Brain by Katie Fesler. 

Remember: “For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6, NIV).

Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.

Play a game of Hide and Seek with your child. Invite friends to play. If there are no other children around, enlist the help of your child’s favorite toys. Hide them all over the house and then together go searching. Learn to look for what you love. Rejoice, be thankful, do a happy dance when you find what you are looking for.

Proverbs 2:17 tells of husbands and wives leaving each other. Sometimes that happens and it can be really sad and hard to understand. Have you ever had a friend or even a best friend that you stopped being friends with? How did your friendship change? How did it make you feel to not be friends anymore? It never feels good to lose a friend. What are some things you think make a really good friendship?

I’m going to take what we’ve been discussing over the past two days and put everything in a completely different light for this morning’s topic. We’ve been looking at how to better understand Solomon when he tells us that we are seeking to understand the fear of the Lord. While we can now look at it more like a wondrous respect that causes us to experience fear as a result of pure awe and not like a scary thing that would be found in a horror film, there is still more to be learned about this fear and how it affects us. 

In Proverbs 2:7-8 we learn that the Lord “stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.”

If we go back to my story on Monday when I told you about the bad neighborhood where I lived and how I was afraid of what might be happening outside my window at night, I’d like to further point out that God has an answer for any of us who experience that type of fear. This fear, unlike the one we are told to have for God, is truly scary. But God says that if we walk with Him, the things in the night have far less power than God does! God has a shield that protects us, guards us, and keeps us safe as He watches over us—even when we are faced with the scariest things!

My fears at night always seemed so real because of the potential the shadows had to hurt me. I was afraid of what could be lurking in the night. But if I think about how powerful God is, I also have reason to feel safe even as I tremble at the idea of something as powerful as God being nearby. So much power is a scary thing! But when that power is used to protect you, it’s a good fear to have!

What are some ways God has protected you? How might you begin to live your life in a way that keeps you on the paths of justice? How would knowing that God is guarding you change the way you relate to Him?

I lose just about everything. And most everything, somehow, I eventually find at the bottom of my backpack. You would think that after 22 years of living on God’s Green Earth I would figure this out, but I sadly I am still learning. 

A few years ago I was working at my favorite place on earth, Sunset Lake Camp. One afternoon, I realized that for some reason my keys were not in their usual spot. I went into desperation mode because I needed those keys for my car and to get into different cabins. I searched the offices, my cabin, and my backpack, and still they were nowhere to be found. After some time, I reasoned that they were locked in my car so I called my mom to bring the spare key up to me. My mom lives 45 minutes away and so I was asking her to take nearly two hours out of her day to come get some keys that might be in the car. When she came up to Sunset Lake, we opened the car with the spare key and guess what? No keys! She then looked at me and asked if I had searched my backpack. I rolled my eyes and assured her that I, as a responsible young adult, had thoroughly checked my backpack. She urged me to check again, and so to prove a point I checked again. And guess what? The keys were at the bottom of my backpack.

I wish I searched for wisdom with as much desperation as I search for the things I lose. “Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures” (Proverbs 2:4). I urge you this week to search for wisdom. Maybe that means talking to a teacher or pastor. Maybe it means listening to a good podcast or reading a good book. Regardless of what it is, search for one resource today that you can gain wisdom from.

Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Emily Ellis is a senior studying theology at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.

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