“Say not, I will study the Torah with the purpose of being called Sage or Rabbi—or to acquire fortune, or to be rewarded for it in the world to come; but do it for the sake of thy love to God.” This quote from an older Jewish teacher rests upon the desk of my “inner” office and serves as a reminder to me in my studies. I’m not supposed to be digging into the Scripture in order to impress people or to further my kingdom; but rather, I want to develop an intimate relationship with Christ Himself Who directly speaks through His Scripture. My desire is to engage in a conversation with Him, and in particular, to hear His voice. Again, I placed a copy of the quote on my desk so that I would not forget why I am breaking down the biblical passage in front me. Yes, I get excited when I find how a verb tense furthers the message of the text. I so enjoy finding how a specific word was used in the biblical world and how that term adds depth to our understanding. (Yep, you probably already recognized it, but I am a nerd at heart!) But God often confronts me in that study with a caution: “Reggie, remember! You are not studying to express your knowledge before the congregation. You are looking into My Word in order to communicate My knowledge to My people!” And how right He is!
I’m so blessed to be surrounded by so many believers who longingly yearn for God’s authoritative truth. I see it on Sunday mornings in our worship services and in our Sunday School classes. I witness it on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights as you are faithful to gather again. I observe it in the small D-groups that meet during the week. And I recognize it in personal devotions that mark our daily activities. You love the Word! Praise be to Him! But remember, you study not to make more of yourself; you study to make more of Him in yourself! We don’t just try to get through Scripture; we pray that the Scripture will get through us! Indeed, we study for the “sake of our love for God!”
What sweet, great moments we are experiencing right now as a church as we gather to study and as we go to serve! No doubt, gospel conversations are occurring daily. I hear reports from you all, and I am so encouraged. (By the way, when you do have such conversations with individuals, please bring your green ball to Guest Services—or pick up one if you haven’t been able to get one yet—and write on it the initials of the person so we can celebrate and pray with you in this endeavor. We are attempting to have at least 1100 gospel conversations this year!) This coming Sunday, we will baptize in both gathering services, and the next week, we’ll baptize in the blended service. Can I get an “Amen?” Come on, you can do it! In addition, we are seeing the Lord draw others to our church family. Just this past Sunday, there were many visitors who joined us for worship and Sunday School. I was so excited to see those families with us!
Ok, you get the picture . . . God is doing some awesome things! As my old pastor used to say, “He is up to something!” I give thanks that He is allowing us to be involved in that “something.” Let’s give thanks for this privilege, but let’s also pray for continued growth and effectiveness as His Spirit moves among us. Pray specifically for our Men’s Retreat this weekend, for our Puerto Rico Mission Trip as the team returns, and for our services Sunday (and the Super Bowl Mega Men’s Choir that will be singing). Remember, too, bring a can of soup as we support CCA (Christian Community Action). And as almost always,
I will see you Sunday!