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“What is God currently teaching me?”

This is such a necessary question for those of us who profess to be disciples (or students) of Jesus, but most likely it’s a question that gets overtaken by other questions that seem more urgent and more practical. But this side of heaven, perhaps there is no greater question for us to ask, discern an answer, and then fully cooperate with God who is “working in” us even as we “work out [our] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12-13).

I have spent four of the past five weeks away in a combination of formal and personal study, seeking to really hear from God on this most important question. All of this is part of what our staff calls, “growth plans”, which are intentional steps we seek to grow as leaders, Christ-followers, and ministers. The Elders graciously granted me a sabbatical-type leave to pursue some academic work as part of my growth plan. I truly believe that slowing down, being still, and setting one’s mind on what is above (Colossians 3:2) is like putting the Hubble telescope on our eyes to really see God better by faith, by the Word, and by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Now let me share some of my current answers to the most important question and ask you to pray with me and for me in these areas where God is working in me.

Sin is terrible and wrong because of Who we sin against.

In my seemingly never ending attempts at self-justification, I can easily put a “it’s no big deal” or “no one will know” or “it didn’t hurt anyone” tag line on my sin. However, when I realize that sin is more than what I did (or failed to do) and really about Who I dishonored and grieved, then I know some of what Isaiah felt when he declared in the Lord’s awesome presence, “Woe is me for I am ruined…” This single revelation has brought much needed awareness and repentance into my life.

There are 3 ways to live: inward, outward or God-ward.

When I live inward, I am overly introspective, thinking of myself and how everything—big or small—will affect my world. When I live outward, I am easily swayed by my circumstances, by people’s responses, and by fear of man. But when I live God-ward, I am most aware of God… and living my life before the Audience of One.

God is not just to be chosen and obeyed; He is to be cherished and prized!

We talk about enjoying summer, but we should talk more about enjoying God. This lesson will change everything about how you view worship services and time in God’s Word. Worship is simply the right response to Who God really is. We sing because He has put a song of joy in our hearts, and Scripture is our eyes through which we see our Prize and cherish Him here, now and forever!

Matt

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