Each Pastor shares a verse that has greatly impacted their lives and ministries.

Doesn’t seem too different so far, does it? We are, um, starting next Sunday, a series called the upside down life. It’s a series on the greatest sermon that was ever written by the greatest preacher that ever lived. It’s Jesus sermon on the Mount. We’re calling it the upside down life because it really is the presentation.

Of life that is upside down from what people culturally understand the values of life to be really excited about the series. And we’ll be starting that, as I said next Sunday morning, today, we’re going to have something a little different in that I’ve asked, um, all of our pastors to come and take three to five minutes to share a life.

And ministry of averse that has impacted their life and ministry. I just want you to hear from them. Now. One of them is not here. Don is away, Don preached last Sunday, but seven of us will be here. Jerry Costello, who is our campus Pastor down at Collingswood is doing this via video. He’ll be the first one, but then we’ll be hearing from our other pastors.

They’ll introduce themselves just by name. If you don’t know who everybody is. Uh, and then they’re going to share the verse. It will be up on the screen so you can see the verse they’re sharing and they’ll be sharing for three to five minutes. I think after four of us, there’s a, a song. Um, uh, if we’re getting tiresome, we can break it up and you can sing and then we’ll come back and have the remaining three.

But the first one of us that is going to share this morning is Jerry. Uh, as he shares on video this morning,

Good morning, breedings from Collingswood. Mark asked that, uh, that I share the verse that has most shaped my life and ministry. And I believe I can argue rather convincingly that of necessity. The verse that is most shaped my life would be the verse that is most shaped ministry or service to the body of Christ.

As soon as somebody asks that question, which is kind of a strange question, your favorite verse? Well, it’s like asking what’s your favorite food? Well, yes. Um, but, but when somebody asks the question, poses that question, favorite verse or life verse impacting verse, my mind immediately always goes to, uh, Colossians chapter three.

And I think the one verse would be. Verse three of chapter three for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. My mind goes back immediately to, um, the first time I, that, that, that verse washed over me. I was in my early thirties. Um, I was embracing God’s grace, understanding after living a very legalistic life, understanding that there is more to this life in Christ than what I had believed.

I remember reading Paul reading Colassians in particular and I taking a long time in chapter two, reading it again and again, and allowing it to wash over me and wrestling with the notion. That maybe it’s true. Maybe that what Paul is saying is actually what he means. Maybe it really is as good as it sounds than it is too good to be true.

And yet it is true. Paul had just said at the end of chapter two, that, um, we’ve died to the spirits of this world. And then why do we still submit ourselves to these regulations? Don’t handle don’t taste on touch and. And the reason that we do is because we believe there, there is wisdom. There’s an appearance of wisdom, and we believe that following these rules denying ourselves, certain things will help us in this battle against our flesh.

And yet. He lets us know categorically, but that’s not where the answer lies and they are of no value. He says in, in fight and battling the flesh. And then he goes on in chapter three. It says if then you’ve been raised with Christ, seek the things above where Christ is seated at God’s right hand. Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life is appears, you also will appear with him in glory. I memorized that struck me as a young man, as that washed over me that I have died. And now my life is hidden with Christ in God and Christ. Where is he? He’s seated at the father’s right hand, waiting for a day when he will appear.

And during this time, where am I? Paul says seated there with him, that I am there in that place where he is. And this is my hope in this life. It’s that mystical yeah. Union. And that I have with him, that I am found in him that I exist right now in him. And then hope that I might have over the battling, my flesh battling the things that were against me.

It’s found in this, that I am his, I am found in him. I am hidden in him. I think as I approach life, that truth has changed my life as a young man, it changed the direction, the course of my family’s life, my children, my wife, like my relationships with them set us as a family on a course that would lead us to where we all are.

Now, it’s this the simple truth that I’m in Christ that you are in Christ. It’s where I run back to again and again, as I still deal with, um, overcoming the flesh in my life, it’s where I run, not to what I have to do, but to who I am and where I am in Christ. And I hope that it’s, that that truth resonates in everything that I say and everything that anybody would hear me say, the truth is our hope is that we are in Christ.

This is where life is to be found. And this is in a very real though mystical, but very real sense where I am aware off where you are right now in Christ seated at God’s right hand.

Um, I’m passing Jared. That’s the first time I ever introduced myself as that Mark made sure I went first in case I mess up as the new pastor. I got a couple more veteran pastors coming in behind me, saved my salvation. Um, the verse I chose this morning, um, it’s Exodus 14, 14. It says the Lord will fight for you.

You need only to be still. Um, God really spoke this verse into my life about when I was a freshman in high school. Um, some, a lot of, you know, my brother and my dad got in a really, really bad accident car accident. And my life was kind of just flipped around and I was just like, wow, what, what is going on?

How can I get through the day? There’s all these things I have to face. I got to go. Do these things and face these questions at school and at home and all these things. And this is right as the Israelites are coming out of Egypt, they’ve just escaped. And God leads them right up to the red sea and they start to panic.

They start to lose their minds. They start to question God, they start to question their leader, Moses, and like, God, why did you lead us out here? Why did you lead us out here to die in the desert? Why can’t we be. Back in Egypt, at least we got fed there and Moses kind of just gives them this word that the Lord will fight for you.

You need only to be still. And this just spoke so much in my life. I remember reading through this story and just saying like, wow, like I serve and follow a God. Who will fight for me. I don’t have to go face those questions today. I’ll have to go face those people, or even the fight to get out of bed in the morning.

Now the Lord’s going to be there right with me. And God has continually used this in my ministry, um, to, to remind me and continually bring me to places to say, cause my stubbornness says, now I’m going to fight. I’m going to go out. I’m going to do this myself. And God says, no, just, just be still, just be still.

And let me fight for you. Let me be God in your life. Um, and he’s used that in very impactful ways. And my ministry. So that’s my verse this morning.

There’s a mic here. Hi, good morning. Start off. As Jared said, um, my verse that I really love and kind of where God has led us to is Joshua 2314. Um, and it says, now I’m about to go the way of all the earth, you know, with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord, your God gave you has failed.

Every promise has been fulfilled. Uh, not one has failed. Um, I just loved God’s faithfulness in this and that God’s truth. And God’s promises in our lives always are going to come true are always are being fulfilled. Um, Joshua is bout to die and here in the verse, we can see it’s not anything new to anyone he says, I am now I’m about to go the way of the earth, right?

I’m there. I know this is coming I’m at the end. I am older. I’ve gone through so much of life up until this journey and I feel that God’s been faithful. And now I am about to go. I’m ready to go home. I’m ready to leave. I’m ready to pass this on. And it tells us here. It says, but before I go, he says, right, there’s these promises, but I want you to know something before I go, I need to, to convey something to you, I need to share something to you and I need to speak something into your life from God.

And he gathers all of his leaders at this time right together. And he says, I want you to remember who God is. Right. As a nation, they came out of the Exodus. Right. They were slaves for years and years and years, and God led them out of the Exodus, right. He, even to the point where he blessed the nation so much that it sells us in scripture, that they were able to, they robbed the Egyptians of all of their gold and jewels that they were just, God blessed him so much that the gypsum gave these things to them to start their nation.

And then we see them, they wander through the desert after their sin. After their doubt when they get to the edge of the promised land, Joshua Caleb, they go in there, the two of the 12 that, that bring back a great report. And, and they’re right there on the edge. And everybody else says, no, we can’t.

They’re just too big, too strong. And, and, and they’re pushing, and God then says, you know what, we’re going to going to have you wander, but I’m going to provide for you in this, right? I’m not gonna leave you my promises that I will be there for. You are going to continue. And God led them through that. And he.

It brings them also then into the promised land, where they had years of Wars, 32 Wars, 31 Kings defeated, and yet God was still there still fulfilling his promise that he would give him this land, that he would lead them to it, that he would take them to this point. And these victories were of such a nature that.

They knew God was leading and God was faithful. Right. They were such victories that you had to turn your eyes to the Lord. Right? Why would you think that marching around a city would allow it to fall? Right? That’s not what happens. I’ve I’ve walked around this place a bunch of times just praying and talking has it’s still standing.

So it was never my intention to make it fall, but, you know, right. But God was faithful and his promises were true. And this is a new chapter for the nation of Israel that we’re coming to this point, right? Moses has already gone and Joshua is about to go. And he says, I need you to remember this right.

God’s promises are here for you. God has fulfilled them along this way, along this journey. That was crazy that we would have not taken that we didn’t want to take. Right. As Jared said, we got to the edge of the red sea and they started to complain, right. We just might as well go back. They fed us.

The job of conquering, the promised land was over and it tells us in the verse that now they get to rest in verse one of this chapter, it says, and they get to rest. My family has been on a journey for four years now. And, and this is a verse that stuck out about halfway through these four years. Um, we adopted our son, Luke on November 20th, this past year of 2020, um, after a four-year journey.

And we’re just thankful for God’s promises. We have some highs and lows through that journey, right? Sometimes we’re art. God, we see you working so much. And then something comes and it’s like, all right, God, I know you’re there, but I don’t see how this is going to end this way. And halfway through these four years, uh, I truly believe that the Lord gave this verse to my wife for us.

This was posted above my kitchen sink. One day when I came home. I was doing dishes cleaning up, helping in this verse was on a little note card posted there, surrounded by other verses, as my wife has started to do is just posting, verses all over the house, just as reminders of who God is. And I, I read this and I was like, Oh, that’s a good one.

And then every time I continued to read it as I went back and, and just knowing after that, talking to my wife and just hearing how God gave this to her, this promise that Luke would be ours. This promise that he gave us that he was at the end of this, no matter how long this is going to take, whether this is going to be four years, five years, whether it’s going to be another three months, we knew that he was going to be ours.

So we felt this from the spirit that the Lord said, my promises never fail. And I am promising this to you. And we held on to that verse through our adoption. We held onto that verse as, as we got good news, as we got some bad news. It was a good time, whereas it was a bad time. And our family held onto this.

We knew that promises of God come true. We know that he is faithful in our journey and he desires to be faithful in others. And as we’ve gone through ups and downs, as I said, we knew, and every time we met with our social work and she said, do you have any questions? Do you have anything? We said, no, we know where this is ending.

And we were able to share with her here and there, that this is where we feel God leading us. This is where God is taking us this faithfulness. Now, if we jump back to Joshua, right, God’s promises have been fulfilled for the nation of Israel, right? The promise that they now have the promised land and they’re now having a time of rest, but this doesn’t mean slacking off.

This doesn’t mean relaxing on our faithfulness. Right. We have Luke in our lives, but this doesn’t mean that God is not still at work. This doesn’t mean that I get to Slack off and Sarah, God, your promises are done. They came true for us. No more. Right. This is where I continue to step in that faith. This is where it is.

Israel. The nation continued and needed to go. And that’s what Joshua was saying here, saying, I’m not going to be here. I’m going away, but you need to know of the promises. You need to remember the faithfulness of God. You need to be continually faithful to what the Lord is going to do now in your nation.

I’m not here anymore to continue to bring this back. Moses, isn’t here any more to continue to bring us back to this point, but we need your faithfulness. To be true. We need your faithfulness and God desires that in each of our lives, God desires us to remember the promises that he has for us to remember what he did before us remember that his promises never fail, that they will always come to pass.

And we’ve seen this in ministry. We’ve seen this. In our church recently, as we’ve opened back up, we just see God’s promises and his faithfulness bringing back. We see the children’s ministry continue to grow right now, where we’re maxed out on space and in our pre-K class, which we are so thankful and blessed that this week, God raised up eight volunteers out of nowhere just to come and serve.

And we are blessed as we continue to see his faithfulness. And I want to leave us with the fact or the thought. That God is still active in the world. God is still having promises for our lives. He desires us to continue to be faithful to him, continue to go to him, continue to focus on him, continue to spend time with him and remember that his promises never fail.

I don’t know which one do you use? One says my name on it. The other one says somebody else’s name. Do you want me to be Randy or pastor Mike right now? Kit. I’ll be Randy. Have a much better voice. No comment on that, please. Okay. Uh, Luke, uh, five 16. Um, I’m really excited because we did not talk about all the verses we were going to do as pastors.

And there’s been a really neat theme, um, of stillness of presence that God is to us, of remaining in him. Um, and this one is. No deviation from that theme, Luke five 16, but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed great verse. Great stand-alone verse makes a great like back of the shirt or for your idea of how you’re going to do, uh, your prayer time or devotion time this next year.

But if you have context of it, it’s a completely different verse up until this point, Jesus was in the desert tempted. In with Satan. And then he wandered over to the synagogue. He began teaching such teaching. Did he give that they actually guided him to a cliff and attempted to throw him off of it? And it says Jesus made his way through the crowd and walked on back what he was doing, which is just a weird biblical.

Thing that these people that were going to murder him, he just kind of wandered through them and said, no, not now. Um, then they began bringing him sick people and he just began touching them and healing them. And then there were demon possessions. At one point, it says that there were so many demon possessed that came like.

Many demon possessed. Like one is good enough, but many are coming and just flocking to him. And there’s this crowd forming more teaching, larger crowds. The ministry of Jesus is picking up. And this is when we get Luke five 16. He often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. If you’re a, uh, if Jesus had like a small business and this would be like, sales is going great right now, why would you stop?

Uh, if he was a startup, he probably just landed a corporate partner. Everybody is getting healed and they’re like, we’re in for you. Jesus. Let’s do this. If he was an athlete, he’d be a captain. He’d be on the eighth team. This was his moment. People were flocking to him. And if you were a leader, actually before this, he had just appointed a couple M a disciples and brought them in close, and then he withdrew to a lonely place to pray.

And I guess the question is why would he pause now? There’s momentum, earthly momentum, maybe even you could say kingdom of God momentum. Well, I think maybe possibly, because none of us know what it’s like. To have crowds gathered large numbers of crowds of people to be teaching ongoing. And the whole idea of time and scripture is really odd because it doesn’t say like this day, then the next day, it kind of just, it could all have been really tight together.

It could all have had a little bit of gaps, but large crowds of sick and demon possessed people and teaching ongoing, ongoing, ongoing. There’s probably a little bit of exhaustion because he was human, but it’s also possible that he just knew. That has fully God fully, man. He needed to remain connected to his father.

And so he withdrew, I think the gospel Jesus, withdrawaling two lonely paces places and praying is just all over and especially around specific moments. And you could read this and take this passage and say, I want to have a special Kairos moment with God in my life. So I’m going to go away and pray. You could strategically maybe think that that’s how the scriptures work.

And I think it is a good thing to go away and pray, but I think what’s the reality is, is we don’t know what is coming. And so Jesus often withdrew. Jesus made it a practice to do it ongoing, even though he was in the midst of his own ministry, he often withdrew. Um, and I guess the, the thing that I leave you with the question before we just, uh, have a chance to sing again, is, um, what would your prayer life be like?

For me as I’m reading this, I’m thinking, man, the God of the universe sent down in the flesh, Jesus often withdrew to pray. What does it say about my dependence? Um, on myself or on my savior with my prayer life. If I could like categorize how I prayed in the way that I prayed and how long I prayed. What does it say about my own dependence on myself?

What does it say about my remaining with, um, the King who’s given us power. Who’s given us authority. Who’s given us his son. Jesus. So, um, I just want to pray and thank God for the way that he’s reminding us this morning of the need to be settled and, uh, remain in him. Our gracious God, we do. Thank you. We love that.

You ask us to come to you. We love that. You’ve displayed that in, um, Jesus often going to desolate places to pray. Lord, it’s no surprise that even around some of those times where he prayed were really significant moments in his life and God as we, um, I don’t know what’s coming next. We never really have just reminded of, uh, people that are terminally ill.

They often talk about how the people that are well, uh, think that they’re well, but they don’t even know that they’re actually no less guaranteed tomorrow. We are as terminally ill people. So Lord, we don’t know. And we just want to remain in you with what’s next. We want to develop the vision for what’s next out of a settled alone time with you, might it reflect our passion?

Might it reflect the God who invites us, not just demands things of us to get it right, but says, would you come with me? Would you just be away, be alone and just listen to me. We thank you God, for this invitation. We thank you for the chance now to gather and worship you through your word and through song.

We pray these things in your name. Amen. You guys can stand as we sing together.

thank you. It’s an honor this morning to be here with you. It’s um, an honor to hear from the men that we’ve heard from. Um, my favorite thing about serving with these men is not just that they love church or love music or love the ministry. It’s not even first that they love you, which they do, but it’s that they love and know him and the depth of that.

Um, they speak from, and, and the depth of that they live from. And it’s an honor to serve alongside of them. My name is Ben. I’m a grateful believer in the Lord. Jesus Christ. I’m in recovery for co-dependence fear and pride and the various methods of coping and control that have woven their ways into my habits in life.

This is how I introduced myself at celebrate recovery on Thursday night. And it’s the reality of what I walk with in a daily basis. The scripture that has meaning most to my life in ministry right now, just read for you simply this, you know, this song, the Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his namesake. Even though I walk through the darkest Valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff. They comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows, surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell house of the Lord forever since I was very young. Um, I knew that my inside world, uh, the life of my own mind was going to be a struggle. Um, I am not one that has a simple inside world. One of my buddies, one time I was sharing all the things I was wrestling with and, and working through and, and processing and worried about.

And he looked at me and he said, Ben, it’s kinda like Shrek. I’m like Shrek. And you’re like the donkey. Thanks Joe. But in coming to faith in God and reading and understanding scriptures like this, I had to recognize that there’s a distinct difference between my inner life with God. And when I live in my flesh, there’s an urgency difference.

There’s a noise level difference. There’s a belief in my flesh or my false self that says it’s all dependent on me. I have to figure it out. It is as if in my inside life, things are all going to go downhill unless I am extra vigilant to make sure I control and make sure everything happens the way it should.

But there’s an exercise that I do. That’s. Kind of annoying and I may have done it with you that when people tell me they’ve been in the presence of God, And they said, I just felt God’s presence so much. I always follow up with the question. What did it feel like? What was it like right there? Because that’s one of the most fun times to talk about the one we love together.

And it’s like this sense of like, Oh man, I know what he’s like too. And it’s just this beautiful sense over and over and over of hive. I ask that questions of dozens of people who have expressed their deep experiences with God. And they talk about God like this. Yes, there was total peace. When I was with him, he was complete love.

And this phrase that I hear said in various ways, basically this. When I was with him, I knew it was all going to be okay. This place with God, this dwelling, that word is the most meaningful word in this song. For me, the dwelling I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, uh, is very important to me because often where my, I dwell in my own mind and my own emotions and my own fears.

Is a place that is extremely volatile. It’s scared. It’s triggerable. And to know this God, because only when I spend the time to visit and do well with him, can I say the Lord is my shepherd? And in him because of him with him. I lack no thing.

Uh, I thank you for allowing us the chance to just be here together to share our thoughts. And I just want to follow up just briefly on what Ben said about loving, uh, serving with, uh, these guys. They, um, we truly do have a band of brothers. Um, we love each other and I just really, I love Ben. He’s a. He’s an overachiever because pastor Mark asked us if we would share a life verse, something that God’s really used in our lives.

He went with the whole chapter and he got in and out and under four minutes, I think. So, um, Uh, my name’s Scott I’m one of the pastors here. Um, the, um, one of the oldest. So therefore I have a ch uh, shorter memory and one that is, um, shall I say, uh, not like these guys that only have to look back on the last 10 or 15 years of their lives for a verse that really shaped their, their Christian life.

But, but one that has to look back 30 some years. So when pastor Mark asked us to do this, I said, or I thought what was a verse? And I had to look back really far. Um, and then it was one that Jerry picked. So Jerry did a great job. Hope you enjoyed it. And thanks. Uh, we’ll move on to our next one. So then that gave me, it was, I was.

Challenge to think. So what, what is it? What, what was the principle that God used in my life to really shape my life back when I was a fairly young believer. Uh, I was brought up in, uh, a mainline Protestant church, one that was maybe fuller with, uh, liturgy, but, but still yet very God centered. Um, but it was never super personal to me.

And then later, a few years later in, when I was a senior in high school, God got ahold of my life and showed me, um, that there was a personal relationship with Jesus. And, uh, but then, um, as for, for the next few years, um, because I was brought up in, in a, um, an, a church where there was a lot regarding, um, what you do, um, how you do it.

Um, I struggled and came to a place in my life where through some personal, uh, failures, uh, both on the business side and the relational side. God, um, bottom to me. Yeah. Now, and I was looking for this Christian life to, um, do more than just, uh, what it had done and which was leading to frustration. Um, but God used this first, along with some of the others that, uh, that we’ve even heard this morning, but I thought of this shortly after I realized that Jerry had taken Colossians three verse three, I’ve been crucified with Christ and I now no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

The life I now live in the body. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. So what was the, what was the underlying principle spiritual principle there that God led me to this first to say this really changed my life and, and it was really. A pretty simple one, but maybe not so simple, not I, but Christ.

Um, it’s the, the, the fact that Christ lives in us and that we died just like Jerry said earlier that we died and now Christ we’re hidden with Christ and God. Um, so. Let me just move on to just briefly say that I was reading just recently in a, in one of my favorite devotionals that God’s use over the last number of years with about justice thing.

And this is, uh, a dear brother, uh, major Ian Thomas and a book called, um, What did we, what did you anyway here? I’ll the indwelling life of Christ. There’s a wonderful discovery. God wants you to make one that is absolutely basic to an intelligent understanding of the Christian life is the discovery is not only charged with comfort and encouragement for your soul, but is calculated to deliver you from the heartbreak, frustration, and despair, which are the unhappy lot of so many sincere Christians and their earnest endeavors.

To please God, in the energy of the flesh, it’s not a question of improving or being reformed, but of substitution receiving a God given life, a life for which we have nothing to offer an exchange to be crucified with Christ is to be executed judicially with him, to expire to those who expire in this way.

God has given the very life that he restored to the Lord Jesus. When he raised him from the dead. So that we can say, not only I’ve been crucified with Christ, but also it’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. That’s really what, what God has used to, um, really carry me through and, and our family through difficult times trials.

It’s basically that God, it was in us and that we no longer live. We can depend on him. Thank you.

certainly I echo everything that has been said about the incredible privilege of serving with these guys. I want to jump down to a verse that God has used in my life. He actually gave me this verse, the very first year of our ministry here at fellowship. And to put that in a historic context. This month, January is actually 40 years since we started this church in a basement finished basement in Marlton New Jersey.

And so 40 years ago, God laid this verse on my heart. First Timothy four 16, keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching persist in this for by so doing, you will save both yourself and your hearers. This particular verse. Um, God really challenged me with two simple things. He says, keep a close watch on two things.

The first one is yourself. Um, the word keep watch on, or keep close watch. We would also translate, pay attention to focus on, make it a priority, which is a little bit strange. It sounds pretty self-absorbed and narcissistic to make your priority yourself. We all say, well, these are my priorities. God family, church work.

However you define the next few. But I learned early on that the greatest just impediment to my being able to fulfill any of the rest of that verse was going to be making a priority of myself that my own life. Was going to be a lifelong battle struggling between what’s called the flesh, the sinful nature and the spirit God’s spirit in my life.

And I saw an incredible difference there. I saw an angry young man. I saw a self-centered young man. I saw a self ambitious young man when my flesh was in control. I saw a different quality of life. And I saw that when I prioritized Christ being in control of my life, when I paid attention to myself, very different people came out of my life one or the other, the flesh, or the spirit that angry, driven self-centered man can still be seen, is still seen.

Because my flesh, my sinful nature is still very much around. And so still having to keep a watch on myself. Uh, these four decades in giving attention to myself, I found was really essential because the thing that drove me and can still drive me is the sense of. Wanting to be sufficient of not being enough of, of needing to be more.

And the only antidote that I have found to that loud voice in my head that causes me to be an angry person, an ambitious person, a driven person, which is driven by, I gotta be more, I’ve gotta be more is two realities that God is impressed in my heart over and over. The first reality is one. I didn’t want to learn.

I’ve said this before. It is the fact that I am more corrupt self-centered and evil than I ever did believe, but that is answered by God. But the second reality, I am more cherished, valued, and accepted by God than I ever dared hope. As I have learned more of that first, I have come to be stunned with the reality of the second.

And for me, giving attention to me is to let God love me and change me. It is to remind myself over and over through his word. God’s for me, he accepts me. He enjoys me. He likes me. And I’ve found that my greatest prayer, that I pray far more than any other prayer for the people that I love in my life is this

Lord help them to know how much you love with them. It is deliberating reality of my life. Paying attention to me is allowing God to stun me with his love. And the second reality that God has given to me, the second challenge in this, and I’ll be quicker with this one is to watch your teaching. I enjoy leading.

I really enjoy, um, directing things. God made me that way, but my greatest calling I believe, has been to preach. Uh, I believe deeply in the gift of leadership and I’ve tried to grow as a leader, but there have often been times in my ministry, in my life where God has convicted me. You’re reading too much about leading.

You’re paying too much about it. I have never been convicted when I have been drawn to grow as a preacher. To read more widely to study more deeply. And I believe God has constantly reminded me that where at least with my life, the little bit of influence that I’m supposed to make in God’s purposes in my life, through my life, come by keeping a watch on myself and on my teaching on trying to be a preacher.

I’ll close with this. You may be out there and you gonna say, well, if, if you’ve devoted all that energy to preaching, why aren’t you better at it? And I just want to say my response would be this, um, up in Northern Michigan. There’s a guy there, he’s a Christian. Um, but he’s a cantankerous old guy and. He’s not good with people.

And one time we were up there and Marion was telling the story about how someone had asked, how does this guy, how can this guy be a Christian to which Marian’s aunt who had a lovely woman, um, been a missionary in Africa for years. And she just made this statement. We’ll imagine what he’d be like. If he wasn’t a Christian.

And I guess my response would be in regard to my preaching. If, imagine if I hadn’t given attention to it, what it would be like those verse has guided me, give attention to yourself, give attention to your teaching, our purpose in this morning and doing this partly it’s just to get the passengers up there, mind you, who they are for those who don’t know, but it also largely was just.

Hopefully to have you here versus maybe the God will prompt you with, as you think, what are the life verses that God has used in your life? Because he does speak to us along the way, way. Right? All right. We got close. Um, let’s pray together, Lord. Thank you for meeting with us today. Thank you for the incredible practical power of the scriptures.

For decades, some of us have lived out a versus you gave us many years ago and you, you, you bring us back to them over and over. Thank you for the timelessness of your word. Thank you for the sufficiency of its messages. Lord, may we be people that hunger to listen and to learn and Lord, I do thank you for the incredible gift.

To all of us this past, just to serve this body of people in Jesus name. Amen. Now, go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.