Pastor’s Ponderings: May 2018

by John Armstrong

I do not think anyone would take me for a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do try to be somewhat hygienic in my practices. I always wash my hands after handling raw meat. I try to be mindful of cross-contamination in food preparation. I will do my best to avoid shaking hands with people at church if I have a cold, etc. and that includes using hand sanitizer a lot during cold and flu season not only to protect you, but also to try to protect myself. No matter what reasonable steps I take, it seems that at least once a year or so I get a cold. Someone out there is contagious and has passed their germs on to me. I have no doubt that I have done the same thing to some of you. Disease spreads as one person contracts the illness and then passes it along to another through any number of means. What do you normally do when you greet someone who says they are contagious? Usually that conversation does not last very long because people want to avoid getting sick and so they do not hang around sick people.

Now, consider for a moment that you were contagious, but that you had something that was good that not only could be shared, but also should be shared. That does not seem to fit the mold of how we normally think, but it is in fact a present reality. Clear your mind of all thoughts of disease and consider the concept of a contagious Christianity. If you are a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are living in a condition that both can and in fact should be shared. Becoming a Contagious Christian, is a book seeking to encourage believers to share their faith. The Session and Diaconate are currently reading through and discussing this book. We are looking at ways that we can become a more winsome and loving church as we share the gospel with those in our spheres of influence. Now, I want you to notice that I said, “the church” and I want to define what I mean. We are the church, you and I together. The church is a body of believers made up of individual Christians that have been brought together as a local body. The Bible very clearly states that God has commanded His church to go and make disciples. That means sharing our faith with other people who do not know Jesus yet. How do we do that well? How do we go about becoming contagious Christians? It starts with loving the Lord Jesus Christ. As you grow in your knowledge and love of Jesus, your desire to share your relationship with Him will come more and more naturally. It will become a natural outgrowth of who you are as a follower of Jesus. When you love someone, telling others about them is important to you and you become intentional about it. Your Session is getting intentional about this and we hope to lead the church in a more contagious Christianity.



Pastor’s Ponderings: April 2018

by John Armstrong

Last month, I mentioned the old adage, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”
That may trigger in your memory the corollary, “April showers bring May flowers.” Indeed, the
gentle spring rains that we enjoy do bring forth an abundance of flowers and the trees bursting
forth with their blossoms followed by beautiful greenery. It is the time of year when we enjoy
seeing the cold dead of winter give way to the vibrant life of spring. Last month, I made the
connection between Christ who is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb who was
slain that we see in Revelation 5. This month we begin with the celebration of the resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. There is no more important event in history than Jesus’
death and resurrection. The resurrection marks the victory of Jesus over death, Hell, and the
grave. It is serves as the ultimate validation of the Father on the ministry of the Son. In light of
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we can understand what Paul is saying in
2Corinthians 1:20, For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through
him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
The death and resurrection of Jesus breaks the power of death and brings us life and freedom
to live that life. We were dead in trespasses and sins just like the land of Narnia under curse of
the White Witch when it was always winter, but never Christmas. The land lay dead under the
snow and ice. For those whose faith and trust are in Jesus, there comes a spiritual spring that
will never know the death of winter. That is exciting to know that we live in the time of eternal
life when we live in Christ. Jesus and the blessings that are ours as we are united to Him are
like the rains of spring bringing forth flowers and fruit, plenty and abundance. I encourage you
to join me this month in being an observer of the coming of spring. Come back for a moment to
that old adage, “April showers bring May flowers.” Indeed, let us pray for the Lord to send the
showers of heaven to rain down upon us even as He says in Isaiah 45:8  “Shower, O heavens,
from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation
and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have
created it. O Lord, work these things in our hearts, bring forth the fruit of salvation and
righteousness in our hearts and in our church. You have called us to be your people and you
have begun a good work in us. Lord, bring your good work in us to completion for your glory.
Make that good work manifest in us, so that, we would bear forth a good witness to Jesus
Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.


Pastor’s Ponderings: March 2018

by John Armstrong

There is an old adage about the weather in March that says, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Well, what do you think? It is weather. Sometimes that is true and sometimes not. For example, the forecast on this 28th day of February calls for rain and high wind for the first three days of March. That seems somewhat lion-like to me. What is important is how I am reminded by the adage …in like a lion and out like a lamb… of our Savior who is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb.

In the book of Revelation chapter 5 you will find Jesus referred to as both the Lion and the Lamb.

 

Rev. 5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

 

Rev. 5:6   And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,

12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

I can hardly ever get through reading that chapter without tears coming to my eyes. Oh, how I long to be in that multitude participating in the glorious worship in heaven. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! I want you to think about that as we go through this month together. We will end the month with commemorating the death of Christ, the Lamb who was slain, on Friday,

March 30th. How fitting that indeed the month will go out like a lamb. The Lamb that was slain and whose blood ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and made them a kingdom and priests to our God. Let that soak in for a while. If you want to meditate on something worthy today, and this month, meditate on this.

What are you facing today that will not shrink to insignificance in the presence of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah? He is our God and He has given Himself as a Lamb to the slaughter that our sins would be paid for and our guilt removed and more than that, that we be brought into reconciled relationship with our heavenly Father and be able to come boldly to the throne of grace as dearly loved children. I don’t know what troubles you are facing today, but I can tell you that in light of what is ours in

Christ, you need not fear. Our Savior is a Lamb slain for us, and He is Lion who rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven and is coming again in power to bring His kingdom to its full consummation. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sing, that makes me want to fall down in worship before the Lord. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”



Pastor’s Ponderings: February 2018

by John Armstrong

You’ve heard the old cliché that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That is simply not true,
you can teach an old dog new tricks, it just may take a little more time and patience, but they
can learn. Learning has a lot to do with desire to learn. There has to be a perceived benefit to
learning. I’ve seen people who had no interest in learning, all of a sudden become very
attentive students when they find out they’re going to get something they want from the
learning.
There are people out there that are unteachable. They are unteachable because they don’t
want to learn beyond simply acquiring knowledge. I think it is important to think in terms of
what it means to learn. We think of learning as gaining or acquiring knowledge, but is that all
there is when we are talking about being teachable? As Christians, we need to always be
thinking of how our learning impacts our life as disciples of the Lord Jesus. If we look at it from
the perspective of “the teacher” in Ecclesiastes, learning simply for the sake of acquiring
knowledge is just so much vanity. I know the commandments, but if I don’t do them of what
good are they? None, in fact they serve to condemn me. So, we have to ask ourselves, why are
we learning? To what end are we learning? We start to get somewhere when we see that
learning must serve a purpose to be worthwhile. Here is where I want to change our definition
of what it means to learn. I want us to define learning as acquiring knowledge for the purpose
of changing our practice. In other words, taking what we learn and putting into practice in our
daily lives.
Now, this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. Taking knowledge and applying it so
that our behavior changes. With regard to the things of the Lord, we are squarely in the realm
of the Holy Spirit’s work. We need the Holy Spirit applying what we’ve learned to make lasting
and true change in our lives. It is a process; we must have the Holy Spirit opening our minds
and our hearts to learn and be changed. We certainly participate in this process, we are not
passive, we must respond by putting what we’ve learned into practice. That can be
uncomfortable, that can challenge our idols, that will mean the status quo of our lives has to
change. Growing is a difficult and often painful process. As Christians, that is what we are
called to, but we praise God that He has not left us alone in the process. He is there, He is
working, it is His power and strength that brings about the change. In all of it, He is faithfully
working out His decree.
My prayer for myself is, Lord make me teachable, change me, grow me in grace that I may
follow Jesus more faithfully. I pray that for you as well. To be unteachable is a sad place to be,
because it is a place of unwillingness to change. It is a place of resistance to the Lord. Give us
teachable hearts, O God!


Pastor’s Ponderings: January 2018

by John Armstrong
 
Howdy, and welcome to 2018! Now, cue music to Mission Impossible: Dun-dun- da-dah, dun-
dun-da- dah, dun-dun- da-dah, dun-dun- da-dah, Dadahda-Dadahda- Dadahda-Da- dum… (of
course you have to provide the timing and tune 🙂 ). I have a mission for you. Actually, Jesus
has a mission for you, you personally and the church corporately. Your mission is to go and
make disciples (Matthew 28:19).
So, what is this going to look like at Faith Church and in your life for 2018? Let me share with you what I’m thinking it will look like. I’ve been praying pretty consistently for several years now for us as a congregation to grow in “depth and breadth.” Depth and breadth is a great preacher hook, it is memorable. By “depth” I mean that we grow in depth as disciples, as individuals growing in grace as we are serving the Lord. The key here is growing deep in our love for Jesus and our becoming more like Him as the Holy Spirit works
sanctification in us. Thus, equipped as individuals and as a church together, we are then capable of and ready for growth in breadth. By “breadth” I mean that we grow in numbers as new disciples are added to the church. I hope you can see the connection between these two.
The more we love Jesus, the more we become like Jesus, the more apt we are to attract those that the Lord is calling to Himself. The Lord will build His church, certainly we must never forget that. However, the Lord will use means to build His church and many times and most times that is by disciples inviting others to meet Jesus and bringing them into the church. That is how
the church grows in breadth.
 
OK, we’ve defined depth and breadth as I have been using them in my prayers. Now, here is
the mission, should you choose to accept it. Should you choose not to accept it? Well, suffice it
to say, that is not a biblical option. We’ll leave it at that. The mission I want you to consider
and ultimately to execute is first, to pray and read your Bible. Get involved in discipleship
opportunities in the church. We begin with asking God to grow us in depth and then putting
ourselves in the way of grace by pursuing the disciplines of grace. So far so good, but here
comes the tricky part. For some of you this will sound easy, for others, it will sound like
climbing Mt. Everest. By God’s grace we pray for growth in breadth (that is not too hard). The
hard part is being the means that God will use to bring people into the church. That means you
will have to make yourself vulnerable and invite someone to come with you. If you are praying
about it, don’t be surprised if someone just kind of falls into place for you to invite. As your
pastor, I’m asking you to set a goal this year of trying to bring at least one person into the
church. What would that look like if we each brought one? Think about it, that is more people
hearing the Gospel, that is more people worshiping and serving the Lord. Let’s pray together in
2018 that the Lord would work mightily through us to grow Faith Church in depth and breadth.


Pastor’s Ponderings: December 2017

by John Armstrong
 
What do you want for Christmas? Some of you are longing for someone to ask that question of
you. As a boy, I always had a ready answer. In fact, I used to make elaborate lists from my
diligent studies of that ancient marvel that came in the mail called the Sears and Roebuck
Christmas Catalog. J.C. Penny put one out too. I consumed them both and had an easy
familiarity with these most treasured publications. As a man, I don’t miss those three-inch-
thick marketing magazines that filled so many hours of my childhood. Today, I dread people
asking me what I want for Christmas. When people ask that question, they are of course
seeking to find out your material desires so they can get you something, either that or they are
making idle small talk because they can’t think of anything else to say.
When I think back to all the Christmases I can remember, there are a couple of gifts that I
remember receiving, but, by and large, the memories are of happy time spent with family.
Now, as a maturing adult, when I think of what I want for Christmas, it is time with family and
friends that I want for myself. My desires have shifted. No longer am I concerned so much
with what I want for me, but what I want for others. I like to think I can call this maturity, not
being focused on me, but rather being focused on others. There are things I want and those
things are usually what I want for others. Those are usually reflected in my prayers. My desires
for others are things like, growth in grace, a deepening knowledge and hunger for Christ, the
satisfaction of using and growing in the use of spiritual gifts. Those are things that last for
eternity. Those are things worth praying for.
So, let’s do a little thought experiment. What is Christmas? If an alien from outer space were
to land in your backyard and ask you what this Christmas thing is all about, what would you
say? I think an outsider would be hard pressed to get any kind of real understanding of what
Christmas is all about by just observing our society. We celebrate Christmas to commemorate
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnation. He came to save us from our sins and
give us life. How would an outsider come to that understanding by just observing? [You might
take a little tangent here to Romans 10:14-17.] When I stop and think of what Christmas is
really all about, I find myself wanting more of Jesus. I want to be more like Him. I want less of
the trappings and trinkets this world has to offer. What can you give me that will not perish,
spoil, or fade? The things of this world can be really nice and I’m not saying you should
appreciate them and enjoy them appropriately. However, the things of this world can also
become idols and let’s face facts, there is a whole lot of idolatry that goes on this time of year.
Understand this, God will not share His glory with another, He will not tolerate our idolatry. So,
let’s bring this home. Santa Claus ain’t coming to town, and truth be told, if he were, there is
nothing he could give me that I can’t live without. All he has to offer are the things of the world
which perish, spoil, and fade. Therefore, my prayer this year and every year is going to be,
Heavenly Father, give me more of Jesus! At Christmas, we celebrate the first coming of Jesus.
Christ has come! Give me more of Christ, it is the one thing I truly need. You need Him too, so
join me in prayer for yourself and for your loved ones and friends that indeed, this year we will
celebrate the coming of Jesus with more of Jesus. Lord make it so for your glory’s sake, we pray
in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.


Pastor’s Ponderings: November 2017

by John Armstrong
 
It is almost time for Thanksgiving! I’m not sure I’ve really gotten started with the new school
year. Time flies by quickly for each of us. People say it seems to go faster and faster the older
you get. I know it goes by plenty fast enough when you are busy. I hope you remember that I
spoke about the Reformation in the October Tapestry. I plan to do so again. Of course, the
difference is that last month we were coming up to the 500 th Anniversary of the Reformation. In
this November issue of the Tapestry we are now moving forward from 500 years to a place only
known to the Lord. As with every endeavor, whether it be getting out of bed in the morning or
going to school, or work, or church, or wherever, we are heading into an unknown future. None
of us knows what the next moment will bring.
For some, the thought of not knowing what is coming, and not being able to control it, is
terrifying. For others, an unknown future is exciting and full of potential. It all depends upon
how you approach it. Will you approach with fear or will you approach with faith?
Approaching the future with faith is what the Scriptures call us to do. Scripture cautions us not
to be presumptive about what the future holds.
Prov. 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
James 4:13   Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a
town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what
tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and
then vanishes.
We are not to take the future for granted, but we are not to fear either. Here is good news.
Matt. 6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is
thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?…34 “Therefore
do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the
day is its own trouble.
Why are we to not be anxious? What is that based on? It is based on the character of God that
does not change. There are challenges today in this fallen world, and there will be challenges
tomorrow. Face them as they come, not in fear, because we have a God who loves us and will
guide, provide, and sustain us. Also, you need not borrow tomorrow’s trouble, it will come in
due course. One of my favorite hymns has this stanza: “Be still, my soul; your God will
undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know His
voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”
We’ve seen what the first 500 years of the Reformation has brought, what will the next 500 years
bring for us? Does that question leave you a little unsettled? I hope so. Look at it, it assumes
passivity. God has not called us to be a passive people, we are called to action. The
Reformation came about because people took action. They went back to the original sources and
rediscovered the Scriptures and translated them into our common languages so everyone could
have access to the Word of God. That is our heritage as reformed people. Now, we are called to
continue in that reformation heritage taking the Good News of Jesus Christ out into the world
beginning here in Frederick. As we think about that we are to remember that we are but a mist
that today is here and then vanishes. Let us step out in faith and not fear. Our time is short, so let
us be faithful with that time, as the Lord allows. Semper Reformata!


Pastor’s Ponderings: October 2017

by John Armstrong
 
It’s here, the 500 th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses on the Castle Church door
in Wittenburg, Germany. That simple act of inviting an academic debate ended up being the
opening salvo of the Protestant Reformation, arguably the most influential event in Western
history in the last 500 years. So, what? How does that make any difference in my life today? I
could list out all kinds of ways the Reformation has changed the world you live in. We will be
talking about a number of these as I begin preaching a short series on the Reformation in mid-
October and November.
Recently, I had a chance to visit an aviary where a staff member was trying to get a waddling
(real term) of four ducks to stop following him and to get back in their little pond. He tried
herding them into the pond, but they would not go. Instead they would fly a short way away and
then regroup in order to follow the man. Sensing his opportunity, the man said, “You can lead
ducks to water, but you cannot make them swim.” I, of course, could appreciate the sentiment
and would have said the same thing, but I didn’t want to steal his opportunity. He took the
opportunity to modify the old idiom, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it
drink.” I really can’t think of a more poignant idiom than “you can lead a horse to water, but you
cannot make him drink.” Now, some of you may be wondering why I think that is sad and I’ll
tell you. Ask any pastor about their work and how that relates to the idiom of leading a horse to
water… or we would be more biblical to shift metaphors and talk about leading sheep to pasture.
You can lead the sheep to green pastures, but you cannot make them eat. The job of the pastor is
to care for and feed the sheep. As a pastor, I cannot make you feed upon the life-giving Word of
God. That is something you must want to do for yourself. It is my responsibility to present it to
you clearly and faithfully. It is my responsibility to appeal to your sensibilities in order for you
to desire the Word and to have it change your life. Now, you know, or you should know, I have
no power to make that happen. We are entering the realm of the Holy Spirit’s work. He is the
one who changes hearts. It is my calling to teach you stand upon the Word of God alone,
trusting by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, all for the glory of God alone. If those
things are true of you, you can say you are a Christian and more than that, you are reformed.
Understand, you need not be reformed in your theology to be a Christian. However, we believe
and we teach, without apology, the reformed faith which we believe is most faithful to the
Scriptures. We believe this is the faith once delivered to the Saints. Therefore, here we stand.
Are you reformed? Being a member of a Reformed church doesn’t make your reformed. The
Christian Education committee which is now the Committee on Discipleship Ministry has, since
its inception, been concerned about how we provide opportunities to ensure that our children
have the best preparation and that our adults are constantly steeped in Bible-centered, Christ-
centered, Gospel-centered teaching that is solidly reformed. Now, we come back to the idiom,
you can lead sheep to pasture, but you cannot make them eat. Let me say this one thing in
closing. Do not starve at the banquet. Feed and drink deeply, avail yourself of the marvelous
advantages that are yours because of the Reformation.


Pastor’s Ponderings: September 2017

by John Armstrong
 
“Where are we going?” “When are we going to get there?” “Are we there yet?” If you have
ever taken a long car trip with children, you may have heard these questions, over and over
again. They are questions you would expect people to ask. Of course, “are we there yet,” is a
little irritating because the answer is obvious. However, there is a time and a place to ask the question “are
we there yet”. Every organization whether it be a family on vacation or at home, a
company in the market place, or a church serving its community, every organization needs to be
asking some basic questions. Who are we? What is our purpose? Where are we as an
organization headed? When are we going to reach our goals? How are we going to get there and
how will we know we’ve arrived? This is not only true for organizations it is true for individuals
as well. We in the church do well to keep this in mind, because the church is the body of Christ.
People who trust by faith in Jesus Christ, come together as individuals to make up the church.
I’m talking about you and me and I’m talking about our need as a church to grow in discipleship.
I have just finished the preaching series on the “one another” passages. The point of the series
was to get us focusing on the areas where we need to grow as a congregation. Growth in love,
humility, unity, and encouragement. I could say the series was about the places where you need
to grow as a disciple of the Lord Jesus and I would be completely accurate, but the truth is we all
need that growth so I’ll speak in terms of “we,” just keep in mind, you are included.
Over the Summer months the Session has been praying and preparing for strategic planning that
we plan to do this Fall. It is our intention, the Lord willing, that we will have an updated
Strategic Plan in place for implementation at the start of 2018. We are asking you to join us in
prayer for Faith Church. Pray for a clear vision and a strong desire to see the kingdom of God
advancing in our hearts and in the hearts of those to whom we have the opportunity to share the
gospel. There are a lot of great things we are involved in as a church. I’ve said many times and
will continue to say it, this is a generous church. My prayer is that God will grow us in our
generosity not only with our financial resources, but also with our resources of time and talents.
The more we know Jesus, the more we will want to know Him and follow Him. Growth in
Christlikeness, Lord make it so here that we would be a church marked by love, humility, unity,
and encouragement. I’m sharing my desires as your pastor. These are things the Lord is laying
on my heart. It is my prayer that you too will be moved by the Lord to desire these things as
well. May He lead and guide us to that place He would have us to be for His glory. May He
show us the evidence of His work in our lives that we would be encouraged to walk as disciple-
making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Pastor’s Ponderings: August 2017

by John Armstrong
 
I do not set out to offend people, it just happens sometimes. Sometimes it is because I’m
offensive and that is on me (it is my sin). Other times I’m offensive because of the gospel. So, if
people are offended by my speaking the gospel, then it is not me that is offensive, but the gospel.
If we are rightly proclaiming the gospel in whatever venue, it is offensive. Why is that? The
Scriptures tell us the gospel is offensive because it is received by faith and not by works. That is
the basic message of Romans 9:30-33, What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not
pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel
who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32
Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have
stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
 
When you let that soak in a little bit, you have to ask yourself, “Am I offended by the gospel?”
All of us struggle some with the gospel and accepting our salvation by grace alone through faith
alone. Our natural bent is to try and earn it. We want to be good enough and there is no way we
can be. Therefore, the offense. If you are going to get over that offense in yourself, you need to
grow in grace as a disciple, trusting the Lord more and more, resting in the truth of His Word.
That is the work of the Holy Spirit maturing you in Christ. As that happens, you will find that
you are more offensive to others because of the gospel. This is not to say that you will be
offending everyone all the time. On the contrary as you become more and more like Jesus you
will, in many ways, be more attractive. Remember many found Jesus worth dropping all and
following and yet when He taught them the gospel many of those same people went away
offended. If you are going to be offensive this is the way to do it. When we are offensive
because of the gospel, ours is an offense of love and truth that is shared in word and deed for the
sake of the kingdom of God. We don’t set out to offend people, we set out to speak the truth in
love to them so that by God’s grace they may be saved and grow in grace too. So, why am I
mentioning this? Really, I want you to focus on this whole growth in grace thing and how the
Holy Spirit works that in us. The Spirit will do this through the means of grace. One of the
means of grace is studying God’s Word and seeking to apply it to your life along with other
brothers and sisters in Christ, something often referred to as discipleship. You need it and I need
it. I need to be discipled. I need others to hold me accountable and to encourage me in the Lord.
I need people who know me well enough to speak to specific things in my life. That takes an
investment of time and intimacy. If you want that kind of thing in your life, come talk to me and
let’s see if we can’t make that happen.