Teaching Series
Wisdom That Works
Sunday—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 English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse” (Proverbs 2:12). 

Wisdom avoided me when I was a young person. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I avoided wisdom. I was much more interested in the “ways of wicked men” than I was in the ways of righteous ones. At least my choices would have led any reasonable person to that conclusion. 

If it seemed fun, I was all in. The consequences of my choices didn’t weigh into any decision. 

I must have only been about six years old when my friend and I discovered what matches can do. We ended up in a hallway closet fascinated by the fire on the end of the little stick. We also ended up getting our hind ends tanned because we left a blanket in the closet on fire. 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become much better at weighing the consequences for particular actions. I know this because I’ve just made a decision that, say, ten years ago, I would not have made. 

I have a gutter just off the balcony of my second story bedroom deck. The little piece of roof that juts out is narrow and steep, with nothing to hold onto. My gutter is leaking and my construction guy just texted, instructing me to “check to see if the gutter is clogged.” This would have me step over the railing of my balcony onto the small roofed area above my first story deck. I’d have to carefully shimmy over to where the downspout for the gutter is—away from a handhold—about twenty feet from the ground. 

As you and my wife will both be glad to hear, I’ve just contacted my construction guy with a text that read, “You’ll have to come and check it with an extension ladder.”

Good wisdom has the potential to save one from much pain.

Recalibrate: Is there a decision you’ve made recently that is likely a better decision than you would have made ten years ago?

Respond: Pray these words: “Thank you, Father, for increasing wisdom in my life as I walk with you.”

Research: Read The Decision Making Guide: How to Make Smart Decisions and Avoid Bad Ones by James Clear.

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.

Make a meal with your little one. Talk about the food you are preparing and how good it is for you both. Would you give something bad to your child? No, absolutely not! Love doesn’t do that. The Words to Remember this week tell us who God is and what He does: “For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). We get to choose if we listen. Just like our children get to choose if they listen to us or eat the fantastic food we have diligently prepared for them. Choose to listen to God’s wisdom. If you’re not sure what God’s wisdom is, read Galatians 5: 22-24. God’s wisdom will grow good fruit in our lives and in our families no matter what season we are in.

What is the most special thing you own? Why is it so special to you? Some people call their favorite things “treasures.” Proverbs 2:1 tells us, “to receive God’s words and treasure up His commandments.” What are some of God’s special words and commandments He’s given us? Make a treasure box out of something around your house (tissue box, cardboard, etc.), write down different promises from the Bible of pieces of paper, and keep them in your treasure box. Read one every morning this week before you go to school.

“My child, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you…” (Proverbs 2:1).

As of this week, the National Football League (NFL) is entering into its sixth week of the season and already there are teams that seem to be out of contention for the playoffs! In sixteen game season, teams that are 0-5 have no chance of making the postseason. What do you do with what’s left of the fall and winter when you have no shot at making it as a contender? 

You put in your rookies.

With the sudden drop in healthy veteran quarterbacks, and teams sliding into last place early, we are seeing players in their first year getting significant playing time as QB1 under center. But, with nothing to gain, what’s the point of playing? While NFL teams pride themselves on being the best in their division, there is nothing wrong with preparing for the next season right now. While the Redskins, Broncos, and Dolphins are all but eliminated from meaningful football this year, this change in demeanor means a change in purpose and scope. Now new quarterbacks are getting the chance to build trust with their receivers without the pressure of maintaining a playoff pace. Instead, the quarterback merely has to gain the confidence of the team. So in every huddle, there is a chance that Dwayne Haskins of the Washington Redskins is saying the same thing to his team as Solomon said to his readers. I paraphrase it like this:

Follow my lead. Run the play as I call it. Trust that the ball will be there when it’s supposed to be. Catch it when it comes to you. Run the play just like you did when we were in practice and we will be OK. 

It might be a lost season for some teams, but there is plenty of trust to be gained by sticking with it. 

Just like our faith in God. 

Follow His lead. Go where He tells you to go. Trust that He is with you. Be ready to receive His Spirit when it falls upon you. Read your Bible. Put your faith in Him and He promises to keep you protected.

What are some ways you have seen God come through for you even when it seemed like all was lost? How did such a moment change your confidence in Him? How did it change your relationship with Him? How can you find ways to live in that reality even when it seems like you’re outnumbered and lost?

I am the type of person who will push the empty gas tank to the limit. Whenever my mom drives with me, she always reminds me that I need to fill up with gas. And I always respond, “I know, Mom! I just don’t have time!” To which she gently reminds me that I never want to be in a situation where I run out of gas. Of course, I never thought that would happen to me—until it did.

It was my first night working for DoorDash, a company that delivers food from restaurants to your house, and my gas light came on. Even though I should have pulled over to the nearest gas station, I kept taking orders because I figured I could get by with just a little bit of gas. All was fine and dandy until I was driving on the highway and my car all of a sudden came slowly to a stop! Luckily I was near an off ramp and so I sputtered my car as far up the ramp as I could manage. I had officially run out of gas! Instead of heading to my mom’s wisdom, I chose to ignore it and thinkI knew better or that somehow I was an exception. Fortunately enough for me,a couple saw my flashing lights and came to my rescue! I sure learned my lesson; not only do I now always fill my car up when the gas light comes on, but I also realize how important it is to listen to wisdom from those around us. People (like our parents) have many wise things to say. But advice is useless unless we apply it to our lives. What are some wise things people have told you that you can apply to your life?

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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