Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lessons Learned

We had the first of four Sunday evenings at the building summer series this past Sunday.  We've done this for several years now.  It sure makes for a longer day for me, but it always brings back great memories of some special Sunday evening assemblies from the past.  The singing is always good and fun - we actually use those things called song books, and I keep it laid-back and pretty non-traditional.  I enjoy sharing some thoughts in a more personal, and somewhat challenging, way then I would on Sunday morning.  Our theme is "Lessons I've Learned Lately," and I've asked some other guys to kick it off each night with a short sharing of something in their life that fits that theme.  Steve Holloway did an awesome job sharing how he has learned lately the importance of priorities.  I gave a brief overview of some of the life-changing lessons that God put on my heart through the years - as a way of introducing one of three major lessons I plan to share in this series.
So, for those who are interested - a little FYI high points from what I shared:
Some of the things that have been part of my spiritual/preaching journey - in chronological order from earliest years to the present (again - just some):
1. Preaching is about the message not me (Fear of looking and/or sounding like an idiot)
2. It's more important to be honest and transparent than to fear being wrong!  I lived in fear of being asked questions I was supposed to have the answers to but not knowing the answers.
3. The joy of seeking, learning, and discovery!  I love revealing or making things understandable!
4. Worship is my life not a day, place, or event on Sunday.  I discovered that in college (early '70s) but I couldn't defend it or prove it for several years (i.e. 3 books written).
5. It's okay, if fact necessary, to ask "How come?" or "Who says?"  Prove it to yourself!
6. I must not only preach Jesus to others, I must be Jesus to others!  True about all spiritual leaders.
7. If I am going to truly be like Jesus, I must develop the compassion and humility of Jesus.  (Early to mid '90s and scary to the bone)
8. (Late '90s) We can rise no higher spiritually than our level of thankfulness.  It is the key to all spiritual grow and to developing a true prayer life.
9. The biblical preeminence of seeking God!  It is what God wants to see in the heart of everyone!
10.  First of the BIG THREE I'm sharing this summer - and it is an extension of seeking:  A relationship with God is more important than being right!  God takes care of the "being right" (i.e. righteousness) when we have a relationship with him, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Consider the personal confession of David in Psalm 23 and Paul's in Acts 17:24-28.  We must be able to describe our relationship with God the same way.  The real life-changing part of this is coming to understand that it really is possible and not just theory.  A relationship with God is (and happens) the same as any relationship.
There are four parts of any relationship: 1) Desire: want it; 2) Sharing:  communicate, talk, pray - remember the words of "My God and I"?; 3) Presence: time together enough to develop a sense of his presence (he is also present when his people are present - see 1 Jn.3:16-24); and Effort:  relationships must be built, worked on, fed, fostered, for love to grow.
Has this one hit you yet?

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