1. Back in June in one of my three sermons on Isaiah chapter forty (one of the greatest portraits of our awesome God in all of the Bible), I quoted the following words of A.W. Tozer found in his classic book, The Root of the Righteous:
“Probably the most widespread and persistent problem to be found among Christians is the problem of the lack of spiritual progress. Why, after years of Christian profession do so many persons find themselves no further along than when they first believed?”
“The causes of this lack of growth are many. It would not be accurate to scribe the trouble to one single fault. One there is, however, which is so universal but it may easily be the main cause: failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God. The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God.”
I believe Tozer is spot on with his thoughts. True when he wrote them over half a century ago. Just as true (if not more so) today! How well do you know God? What are you doing to get to know him better? Vital questions to ask yourself today!
2. We live in such an "instant" society. When we want something, we want it NOW! Ordering online shows just how true this is. Consider with me Amazon, one of the largest online retailers in the world. For several years, Amazon has offered Prime members free two-day shipping. So if you order on a Monday ... you are guaranteed delivery on Wednesday. However, when Amazon first offered this service, if you ordered on a Friday, you would receive your shipment on Monday. But that has changed. Now you will receive your goods on Sunday! And since that is still not good enough for many, Amazon has been offering same day delivery (Prime Now) in over two dozen larger urban markets around the country. This desire for instantaneity has sadly infiltrated into our spiritual lives. Therefore we expect spiritual growth to come quickly and with little effort. And when this is not the case, we grow discouraged and do little more than "tread water." The New Testament over and over again tells us that we must "make every effort" (2 Peter 1:5-11) and "train" ourselves for godliness (1 Timoth 4:7). So ... what are you dong to "train" yourself to be godly? You might very well be thinking to yourself ... "Right, John! Like I have any spare time to train for godliness! I am running from the time I crawl out of bed ... get the kids up ... feed them breakfast ... get ready for work ... drop them off at the babysitter's ... and put in a full day at the office .. and then go through an evening routine that is just as hectic as the morning. Where am I going to find the time to do anything else?Isn't going to church a couple of Sundays each month enough?" If I just described your thoughts (and I am guessing I am for many of you), let me suggest a short and a very readable book that just might go a long way in changing your life: Simplify Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed. If you order it and read it, you will not be disappointed!
3. Last Saturday our men's ministries sponsored a night out to the local minor league baseball park to see the hometown Lancaster Barnstarmers play. I took along with me a dear friend, Paul Klawitter, whom I unfortunately don't get a lot of face time with (we see each other probably every-other-year). You see he lives in Dijon, France which is a bit of a "hike" from Lancaster, PA. I first met Paul,who
now serves Encompass World Partners as Sr. Director of International Church Planting, back in 1984. At the time he was an elder at Bon Meade Grace Brethren Church in Coraopolis, PA (near Pittsburgh) and I was a young pastor looking for a new church ministry. We connected over the phone and immediately hit it off. Within two months of that initial phone conversation, I was moving my young family from Philadephia to Pittsburgh for the next chapter of my pastoral ministry career. Even though I served alongside of Paul for a brief six months (he and his wife moved to the Philadelphia area to begin seminary at my alma mater, Biblical Theological Seminary in preparation for their deployment to France), we have kept in touch over the years. Because of our friendship, I believe I am a better man, a better pastor, a better husband and dad. In our Facebook world of shallow relationships, it is so refreshing and necessary to have friends like Paul. I thank God I have a few of these!
4. Finally a quick update on my wife: We saw Sharon's orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday of this week. After discussing with Sharon her progress in the last 6 weeks, checking out her knee and closely examining the x-rays, he told us that he has "a gut feeling" that Sharon's broken femur is healed. But since the x-rays are still not conclusive, he ordered a nuclear medicine bone scan for Sharon for next Thursday, July 28th. We will then go back to see him on August 10th for the results. Hopefully it will confirm what he suspects but cannot completely confirm via the x-rays and clinical evidence alone. Thanks for your prayers.
Thanks for stopping by . . .