Sunday’s message stressed the point that we don’t want to give Christ our leftover time, service, and money - He comes first in all things!
If you were not able to be with us, I gave a very practical message with seven key areas to help you grow spiritually in 2019. I want to encourage you to spend some time reviewing and then committing yourself to a plan of action.
1. Prayerfully write a purpose statement for your life with a few short and long range goals (See 1 Cor. 9:23-27).
Your goals should be written in light of helping you to be a better steward in the following areas: Spiritual (morals/character development), relationships (marriage, family, extended family), ministry (how does God want me to serve Him?). Career, finances, intellectual, and physical well-being.
2. Put in place a regular, daily time in the Word and prayer, including some time to memorize Scripture.
This is the year to read through your Bible! Use apps like biblegateway, or biblehub, or many others.
3. Work on developing godly character qualities, especially in areas where you are weak.
This goes with your goals in area one. Start with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
4. Develop a habit of reading solid Christian books that help you grow spiritually.
Aim to read a couple books a year. Don’t read just to turn pages, but read for life change!
5. Get together with a few people where you can deepen your relationships, encourage each other, and be encouraged in the Lord (Heb. 10:24-25).
You need one or two close trusted friends who can ask you hard questions to hold you accountable.
6. Ask God how He wants you to be serving Him in light of your gifts and start serving somewhere (1 Peter 4:10).
7. Set some financial goals to help you become a better steward of the resources that God has entrusted to you. Real lasting change only comes through disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness!
There’s a story about a student who was walking across a college campus and saw a bird bath under a bush. He writes, “the bush and the ivy covered it up so I could hardly see it. It was a very unusual birdbath. The thing that struck me was it was very ornate, carved from a single piece of marble, a very delicate a lovely work of art. It had a slender fluted column and a large carved basin on the top. Obviously it had required a lot of work. Someone had invested months in that project. But this unusual lovely object had fallen into disuse. The bowl was now full of stagnant water. Even the birds had abandoned it, and the gardeners had allowed it to become overgrown. I went away from that encounter thinking about the one who had made it. The hours, perhaps the years, the effort, the dedication and energy that he or she had invested in that now forgotten birdbath. As I was walking away I asked from my heart - please Lord, don’t let me make birdbaths. Don’t let me invest my life where it does not count and spend my time and energy on things that are valueless in your eyes.
Press on, Pastor Brian