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Jul 08, 2018

First Things First

First Things First

Passage: Proverbs 6:6-9

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Proverbs, Searching for Wisdom

Category: wisdom

Everything in our reach is like a garden: something (or someone) to be tended to, cultivated, nurtured. That’s true of what’s both external and internal to us; it all calls for stewardship. What does it mean to be diligent in our care of such, and moreover, how do we find the strength not to fall into the “sluggardliness” (negligence) we’re always prone to?

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Matthew 11:28-30
Call To Worship: Lamentations 3:21-24
Sermon Title: First Things First
Central Text: Proverbs 6:6-9; 24:30-34; 20:6
Response: based on Psalm 67
Benediction: Ephesians 3:20-21
Post-Service Text: John 19:28-30

07.08.18 Sermon Slides


Schindler's List - Done More


Pre-Service Text: Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Call To Worship: Lamentations 3:21-24
LEADER: 21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
ALL: “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Central Text: Proverbs 6:6-9; 24:30-34; 20:6

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.

Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
but a faithful man who can find?

Response: based on Psalm 67
ALL: Almighty God,
Be gracious to us and bless us,
and make your face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon the earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Empower all the peoples to praise you, O God,
that the nations may be glad and sing for joy.
For you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon the earth.
Enable all the peoples to praise you, O God,
for the earth has yielded its increase
and you, our God, have blessed us.
We ask that you will continue to bless us
so that all the ends of the earth will revere you. Amen.

Benediction: Ephesians 3:20-21
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: John 19:28-30
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Related Scriptures

  • Deuteronomy 6:10-11
  • Deuteronomy 7:6-9
  • Psalm 90:12
  • Matthew 24:45-51
  • Luke 14:25-33
  • Ephesians 5:8-16

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. Who’s the most diligent person you know? What all drives them to be like that--both good and bad?
  2. Why do you not have to be a slouch to be a sluggard?
  3. How does one discern what they are and are not responsible for in terms of care and concern?
  4. How would you counsel someone who felt overwhelmed by all that’s calling for their attention?
  5. How does the Gospel speak both to our failures at diligence and also to our motives to it?
  6. What central things have become peripheral for you--and what peripheral things have become central?


  • "The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping. The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication.. . . You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first." C.S. Lewis

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