The New Year is time to dream big and name what is most important. I've landed on this one simple thought...If there is one thing that I could give every person at McLane Church, it would be a personal, creative, daily time with God that drew each person into his Word, a prayer dialogue, and a deeper love relationship with Him. Actually, I'd give it to every human on the planet...(... that is the "dream big" part of the New Year's thinking!)
This gift would have to be "personal" because each person needs something different. Some people don't know anything about the Bible. Their relationship with Christ and love for God would quickly flourish if they did some work at learning more about this wonderful book. I've "been there, done that," and it energized my spiritual life in wonderful ways.
But some people know a ton about the Bible. For them, following Christ is all about "study". It can become a litmus test for spirituality and begin to separate them from those who don't "study" the Bible. After the Bible begins to make sense and truth begins to align with every day life, it can become addictive....and addiction can become a weakness. We forget how to love God; we just study Him. I remember when my 'study' had grown dry and I realized I wanted (and needed) to feel a deep passion and love for God that far surpassed "study". I regret that my approach to God became my approach to people. I studied people and only "loved" those who passed my litmus test. But love covers everything; the good, the bad, and everything in between. At some point, study becomes less important than love.
This gift that I desire to give every person at McLane would have to be "creative" because we humans become undisciplined, bored and deterred very easily. It would need to be "daily" because we need God so very much.
This time with God would have to include the Bible, God's word, because it gives us easy and direct access to the foundation of Truth. Without it, we simple don't have a way to be successful. This time would also need to have intentional prayer...the use of words, thoughts, and a heart open to hear God's words to us. And the measure of success would be a growing heart...growing in love toward God and what God loves...people.
If we all did this at McLane Church, we would all be Spirit led and when we are Spirit led, all kinds of good happens...things like the "Fruit of the Spirit"...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Wow! How cool is that?! ( Gal. 5:22-26) We would crucify the sinful nature and keep in step with the Spirit.
So, if I could give you, a fellow Small Group Leader, one thing this New Year, it would be a personal, creative, daily time with God that would draw you into his Word, a prayer dialogue, and a growing, passionate love relationship with Him. If you had that, you would be fulfilled in everything you do; including giving this gift to those you influence and lead. The Holy Spirit can tailor-make this gift for you. If we at church can be part of His plan for making this happen for you, please don't let anything stand in the way...I would love to help you have this perfect and most important gift. Any resources, time, creative thinking, even doing this with you or becoming your encourager...Seeing each of us opening this daily gift would bring me the greatest joy.
I love each of you. May we all be Spirit led in 2010.