“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast
We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!
Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.
You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.
Wednesday, September 22, “A Longing for Holiness”
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Throughout my ministry, I have been a part of a number of “small groups.” For many years I met several times per month with a good Christian friend named Pete. Pete and I would talk about our lives, our faith, our hopes and dreams, and we would provide some accountability for each other. Before I met Pete, I met with a group of 6 people (including myself). We meet to talk about life and faith, and we prayed for each other and for our church. In Tucson, I met every Monday evening with 3 other men. We would read the Bible, share what was going on in our families, and pray for one another (then we would go and shoot pool). In recent years, I have met with Jerry. Jerry and I talk about what is going on in our lives. We talk about our calling and shared ministry. We discuss challenging matters and help each other to grow in faithfulness and understanding. While each group was different, each of these gatherings provided me with encouragement, support, prayer, and accountability. I have been deeply blessed by these gatherings, and others that came before them.
Have you been (or are you) a part of a “small group” of Christians who encourage and support you in your faith journey? How would you describe those gatherings? What was (or is) the goal of the gatherings?
Last Sunday, I ended my sermon by talking about a small group of Christians who met weekly in John Wesley’s office for prayer, encouragement, study, and accountability for living a holy life. The group was made up of John and Charles Wesley along with two of Charles’ friends. The group spent time worshipping, praying, and studying together. They also spent time visiting prisons and the sick. They did what they could to provide help for the poor. One of my favorite stories about John Wesley has to do with him refusing to get a haircut. In those days, men wore their hair short and then wore wigs in public. However, Wesley broke with convention and wore his hair long to save on haircuts. The money he saved he gave to the poor. Wesley’s group maintained a balance of personal and social holiness!
Today’s passage of scripture from Hebrews 10 says that one of the principal purposes for meeting together in small groups is to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
In what ways does your connections with other Christians spur you on to live out your faith? How are you encouraging others?
In Hebrews 12:14, the author tells us to make every effort to live a holy life! The purpose of Wesley’s small group was holiness. When you think about holiness, is there a person who comes to your mind? Why do you associate that person with holiness? As I think about the question, I am reminded of Rev. Travis Kendall. Travis was a faithful man, full of joy, devoted to the work of God and to his family, who could advise me in faithful living while always making me feel good about where I was on my faith journey.
As you think about your own life, does living a holy life seem attainable?
When we think about living a holy life, it helps to remember that we do not make ourselves holy, God does! God promises to make us holy! So, when the author of Hebrews says that without holiness no one will be able to see the Lord, we can be assured that God will accomplish what God has started in our lives and one day we will indeed see the Lord!
Even so, we have a part in holiness. Our life of faith is a covenantal faith—God made promises to us, we make promises to God. Our promises include acts of piety like worshipping, praying, giving, and reading the Bible. Our promises also include acts of mercy like visiting the sick, providing for the poor, welcoming the stranger. Our promises involve spiritual practices, and as engage in spiritual practices, God meets us in our covenant faithfulness and grows us in holiness. What spiritual practices do you regularly engage in? What spiritual practices are most meaningful to you?
One of the strengths of being in a small group is being able to hold each other accountable to maintaining spiritual practices, and as a result helping each other grow in holiness until that day when God has finished God’s work within you, and you can stand pure righteous and holy before God. Do you believe God will accomplish this in your lifetime?
By the grace of God, I do so believe.
God bless you!
Podcast & Sermon Video Links
“A Longing for Holiness” Sermon Video