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encouragement from steve wise

Wednesday, June 30 2021

The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

- Jesus, Mark 12:29-31 (ESV)

What is the most important thing to know or to do in order to live a meaningful life? What is the one thing I have to get right? What is the one thing I cannot get wrong? If I were to fail at everything else, what one thing would make my life a success? What one failure would erase every other success? This is not the language of the Pharisee who asks about the greatest commandment. But it is the question behind his question.

Jesus’ answer, though perhaps familiar to us, demands deeper meditation. Notice, Jesus quotes from the Old Testament books Deuteronomy and Leviticus. The first serves as an important Hebrew prayer and focuses on the priority of our relationship with God. The second refers to human relationships. Together they summarize God’s Law and ultimately God’s will for us.

Jesus’ answer reveals God’s design and desire for our lives – a life is worth living. Jesus teaches us all of life is ‘spiritual’ – i.e. related to our relationship with God. Spiritual health and emotional maturity look like this: our emotions, desires, thoughts, and energies directed toward loving God. Social health follows – the increasing ability to love other people well in accordance with God’s will. All flows from a response to God’s love for us in Jesus who will demonstrate His love for us in His death and resurrection.

One important way to love God and learn to love others is by knowing and practicing God’s Word. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, we invite you to take a deeper dive into the Word of God starting this fall.

The Journey will begin in August of 2021 with the goal of encouraging and equipping one another to engage with Jesus through Scripture in a life-transforming way. Our journey will travel along 4 different tracks.

  1. Sunday Sermons will lead us through the Grand Story of Scripture.
  2. A reading plan to read through the Bible in a year.
  3. Sermon-based small groups and small group bible studies will be offered.
  4. Bible Journey – a year-long interactive, internet-based, self-paced, and high-quality curriculum for individuals, families, or groups. This will involve a little over an hour a week. (If you are interested, please contact Justin Lewis.)

We encourage all of our covenant partners and visitors to participate in Track 1 – our Sunday Sermons. We urge everyone to prayerfully consider Tracks 2-4 as they look ahead to the fall. Imagine the difference a deeper relationship with Jesus and a greater understanding His Word would make in your life, your family, our church, and our world.

Your friend, 

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 08:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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