This has been a great week. In many respects, this has been exactly the kind of week I hoped it would be. As families return to the back-to-school grind, we have also enjoyed a great launch of our school year ministries. FAITH Evangelism Orientation went really well Tuesday night. Wednesday night was incredible. People were everywhere! We have over 250 people committed to being part of an Intentional Discipleship group. These are just some of the highlights of the week.
I pray all of this continues Sunday. Sunday, I am preaching from Psalm 73. The message title is “Making Sense out of Successful Sinners.” I believe you will be encouraged and challenged to stay the course in obedience and realize “there are no successful sinners.”
This week our This One Thing Prayer is for College students. We will have special prayer for our College students returning to school. Every day I think about the significance of 19,000+ students being right around the corner from us at the University of Louisiana. We will welcome these students and pray for them as well as students at SLCC, LSU-E, our members who have left Lafayette for college or the military, and other college-age students at various post-secondary educational institutions.
Finally, if we have your e-mail address, I sent you an e-mail Thursday afternoon with the subject line: “Five Challenges from Pastor Steve.” I hope you will take a moment to read that letter.
Don’t miss Sunday!
The Book of Deuteronomy begins with this phrase, “These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel.” More than just a sentence of introduction, “These are the words” was the literal title that this book went by in the Hebrew language. “These are the words” is more than just a mere title though. The phrase, “These are the words” underlines the purpose of the book not only for Old Testament Israel, but this phrase shouts out the purpose of God’s guiding words in our lives.
Near the end of Deuteronomy Moses then said, “Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to follow all the words of this law carefully. For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)
They are your life. Do you believe that? Do you believe that the words of God are your very life?
Renew your commitment today to read God’s Word daily. We can’t very well say that we believe the words of God are our life if we neglect the reading of God’s word.
Renew your commitment today to believe God’s word. As a kid I remember people saying, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” Has the issue of God’s Word been settled in your life?
Renew your commitment today to obey the word of God? Again, we can’t very well say that we believe these words are our life if we pick and choose our obedience to the words of God.
Yesterday, I preached from Deuteronomy. The title Deuteronomy comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible and literally means second law. But, this is not a second law in terms of a new law, but rather the second giving of the law. Remember the generation of Israelites leaving Egypt wandered around in the wilderness for forty years. God did not intend for this. Because of their disobedience, the whole generation had to die off before God would allow them to enter the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy, then, is the preaching of Moses to this new generation. They were indeed in need of recommitting before entering the Promised Land.
We read in Deuteronomy 1:6-7, “You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Resume your journey.”
Challenges to renew our commitments to the Lord are needed from time to time in all of our lives. As kids return to school, this is a great time to think about our spiritual commitments.
At the close of my message yesterday, I challenged our church to renew these five commitments. Perhaps all who read here could benefit from these challenges as well.
1. Priority of Worship and Sunday School
2. Participation in at least 1 area of ministry
3. Personal and Daily time with the Lord through His Word and Prayer
4. Personal Holiness
5. Progress of the Gospel through giving and going
When I was in college, I was invited to attend an “Advance” sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. When I asked about the meaning of an “Advance,” my leader asked if I had ever been on a retreat. When I indicated that I had been on many retreats, my leader told me that an advance was like a retreat, but FCA called them Advances. My leader continued that Christians are never to retreat, but always to advance. As Christians, even when we go on a retreat, we do so in order to advance.
Let’s advance together for the sake of the Gospel.