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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Thoughts on Spiritual Anniversaries....

Life goal: "To reproduce in myself and others the character of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father." That's was I penned in a discipleship group Kathy & I were leading in 1975. It's mounted in our home, and I still see it everyday. But seeing it again today brought back several memories and I dawned on me that it had been 35 years ago...

Kathy embroidered that life goal, had it framed and gave it to me as a birthday present. It reminds me of her consistent walk with the Lord and our relationship together.  It reminds me that Christ's character is a discipline grown out of our daily walk, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and must be developed in myself and multiplied in the lives of others. God has commanded us to make disciples. 

As Christians, our relationship with the Father is one of worship, awe, obedience; our relationship with others is one of discipleship. Yes, that certainly includes evangelism, it must not just stop there. The motivation for discipleship is obedience born out of love and gratefulness of worship.  Even though I had made commitments for keeping a regular devotional time of prayer some years before, it took on a deeper significance in my life that year. I had read the Scriptures through a few times, but that was the year that I had made a commitment to read through the Bible every year.

That was a big year for what I was learning about  worship as well. God began to burn in my heart what worship was in a class with Dr. T. W. Hunt and I’ve never been quite the same. I had plenty of zeal, just as many other young worship leaders of that day, but lacked some of the biblical depth and knowledge. How I praise God for godly men like T. W. who invested in so many lives! [We were in the preparation process for missionary service and T. W. was a contact person for almost all the music missionaries all over the world.] I began to read and study about what God’s Word taught about  worship, buying books on worship... The more I studied, the more I realized that I didn’t really know much and I had so much more to learn. [By the way, I'm still working on it, 35 years later.]

When I look back over these years, I confess shame in not really growing as much as I should have. [I’m not sure what I thought things would be like 35 years later, but one can be assured that I never dreamed I be teaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. This has certainly a gracious privilege from the Lord.] I am grateful for the mercy and grace of the Father during these years. I confess that I’m a slow learner when it comes to what God has been trying so patiently to teach me. For over 40 years now God has allowed me to serve Him in  ministry, and the questions that haunt me now more than ever are, “Am I being obedient? Am I growing in Him? Am I making an eternal difference in the lives of those around me?” As I ponder these questions on this "anniversary," I commit again "to keep on, keeping on."

Sometimes a funny glance at something you see brings back a flood of memories, and in this case, a time of self-evaluation. As David said in Psalm 139:23-24:

 “Search me, O God, and know my heart;
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.
  See if there is any offensive way in me,
       and lead me in the way everlasting.”


  1. John Newton looked back often on his life as a way to continually preach the gospel to himself. He knew he was unworthy and only a glance in the past gave him a true reflection of God's grace in the present.

  2. Wonderful reminder! The Gospel is Good News!