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In this message Adam Tarnow reminds us of the importance of spending daily time in God's Word. Opening up Psalm 119:9-16, Adam teaches us why it's important to read God's word and the secret to staying in God's word.
Resolve to Be Anchored in Truth
Resolve to Deal with Your Baggage
Resolve to Deal with Anger
Resolve to Remove the Myths Around Love and Dating
16 Things to Convince Your Children of Before 16
Resolve to Pursue Peace as Much as Possible
Resolve to Be Diligent to Stay Together
Resolve to Be in God's Word
Resolve to Do Life Together
Good morning, Dallas. How are we doing? All right. My name is Adam. I direct the college ministry here. I'm glad to be with you guys. I want to start off this morning with a confession. There is a pretty dark secret that I carried around for most of my life. In fact, up until my mid‑20s, I carried this secret around with me. I tried to ignore this dark secret. I tried to run from it. I tried to just get it out of my life and just forget about it to no avail. It always stayed right there with me.
I had multiple opportunities every year to confess this dark secret, and I just honestly chose not to. That all changed in my mid-20s. That dark secret that I carried around for so many years was that I never flossed my teeth, and I always lied about it. You guys know how that works. When you're at the dentist, you maybe go a couple of times a year. You're sitting there, and you're already in a very vulnerable and uncomfortable position.
You're in your back, and your mouth is open. Then you have a human talking to you, and then you have to try to answer these questions. That question always came up. This was my opportunity to come clean. It always came up. The dentist or hygienist would always say, "Have you been flossing?" You know, my mouth is open, and I have two options right there. I can go, "Nuh-uh," or I can go, "Uh-huh." I just chose to go, "Uh-huh," because I knew if I said, "Nuh-uh," I was going to be lectured and shamed. I just didn't want to go through that.
For years, I just lied, telling the dentist or hygienist that I had been flossing regularly, and I hadn't been. That all changed in my mid-20s. I was graduated from college, and I was hanging out with some friends. There was a girl in our friend group who was a dental hygienist. One night, we were talking about her job. I just said, "Hey, what is the deal with flossing? Why are you all going out there just shaming everybody for not flossing? Why do you seem to be so obsessed with flossing?"
She just looked at me kind of strange. "What is the deal with flossing? I'll tell you exactly the deal with flossing. Did you know that your mouth is one of the dirtiest parts of your body? There are just thousands of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria create little families. They reproduce, and they get in between your teeth, and they just sit there. Brushing alone is not enough to be able to knock that bacteria out of their home, so you have to floss to be able to get that bacteria out of there."
I'm just sitting there, and this is shocking information for me. I have never heard this. I'm just sitting there going, "Okay." She says, "Adam, let me tell you some more. There are some studies that are starting to come out that are linking flossing with heart disease. In fact, some studies are starting to show that you may live 6.2 years longer if you floss." I was like, "Nobody ever told me I would die if I didn't floss."
This is brand new information in my mid-20s. She's like, "Why did you think we were supposed to floss?" I was like, "I don't know. I just thought if you got food stuck in your teeth and didn't want to use a toothpick, Oral-B and Colgate made this nice little string that tasted like mint or cinnamon, and that's how you got food out of your teeth." I had no clue I would die if I didn't do it. I knew for years the what. I just never knew the why.
I can stand up here right now with full integrity and tell you I am one of the greatest flossers I know. This is true. My current dental hygienist goes to this church. She's a member here. She's probably out in the audience right now. She's the one beaming with excitement going, "That's me. That's me. I've been helping him with all of that."
I have already flossed this morning. How many of y'all can say that? Enjoy dying 6.2 years earlier. Not me. I'm going to live for a really long time because I floss. It completely changed my relationship with flossing when I understood why. I start with all of that this morning because I think the relationship I had with flossing is very, very similar to the relationship a lot of us have with reading God's Word, especially if you grew up in the church or call yourself a Christian or have been in environments like this for a lot of years.
A lot of us know the what when it comes to God's Word. We know that we're supposed to read it. If you guys are anything like me, the what is not always motivating. Sometimes, you need to be reminded of the why, just like how when I found out the why about flossing, it changed my relationship with that habit. For some of us, it's the same thing when it comes to God's Word. We know the what. It's just not very motivating. Sometimes, we need to be reminded of the why. That's what I hope to be able to do this morning.
If you've been around a couple of weeks, we've been doing this series called Resolve. Two weeks ago, Todd kicked it off. We talked about how we're going to resolve to be faithful people. We want to be found faithful followers of Jesus. That's what we want to be. Last week, we talked about community and how we're going to live in community. We looked at Proverbs 13:20. We reminded ourselves that he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. We're going to resolve to be in community.
Today, what we're going to talk about is this other resolution we can make. We're going to resolve to be in God's Word. Here is why this is so important for us, guys. The reason this is so important is that there is something on the line that is so much more than tooth decay or possible link to heart disease. What is on the line is if you and I don't resolve to be in God's Word… We're going to see that what is on the line is the health of our relationship with God.
If the health of our relationship with God is on the line, what we're also going to see is on the line is any hope of change that you and I may have for anything in our life. That's why this subject is so important for every single one of us in the room this morning. Here is what we're going to do. If you have your Bibles, let's open up to Psalm 119. We're going to look in Psalm 119, which is the longest psalm that is out there.
It is really this collection of 22 meditations on the importance of God's Word. There are these 22 sections. All of them are eight verses long, and all of them have this theme about the importance of God's Word. We're going to look at one of these sections today, one of these sections of eight verses, and we're going to see a couple of things.
We're going to be reminded of why it's so important for us to resolve to be in God's Word. There are two reminders that the author of this psalm has for us. What we're going to see at the end of this psalm is this author gives us a secret. He gives us a secret. He's going to just remind us and let us see how we can stay on that path of resolving to be in God's Word.
If you have your Bibles, let's read. We're going to go in verse 9-16 this morning. Here is how it starts in verse 9. "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." The author starts off here right now with this rhetorical question, this philosophical question of, "How can a young person stay on the path of purity?" When we think of purity there, I don't want you to think about being dirty.
What I want you to think about there is how can you stay focused? How can you stay on task? How can you remain a fully devoted follower of God or a fully devoted follower of Jesus? How can you stay on that path? He gives us an answer right there. Do you want to stay on that path? Do you want to be a fully devoted follower of God? Here is how you're going to do that. You're going to do that by living according to God's Word.
He gives us this answer right here. Then he spends the rest of this section kind of unpacking that. Let's keep going here. Let's look at verses 10 and 11. He says, "I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." After he answers this question, he goes and starts to talk about his relationship and his desires.
What he really desires is God. He says, "God, I desire you with all of my heart." He's using this deeply relational language. He's saying, "God, I desire you with all of my heart. Because I desire you, don't let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your Word in my heart so I may not sin against you." It's not so he can be perfect. He knows that if he sins, that's an interruption to his relationship with God.
1._ It's about intimacy; it's not about information._ The psalmist sees right there that if he wants to know God, there is this direct link between knowing God and knowing God's Word. Those two things go hand in hand. They are connected. Because his heart's desire is to know God, he therefore says, "My heart's desire is also to be in your Word. When I'm in your Word, that is how I'm getting to know you. It's about intimacy with you, God. It's not about information about you."
Do you know what the psalmist knows? The psalmist knows things that really all of us inherently know. The psalmist knows that there is a huge difference between knowing about God and actually knowing God. There is an enormous difference between knowing a bunch of information about God and actually knowing God.
Let me just illustrate it in this kind of silly way with this. There are a bunch of us in this room right now. A lot of us are involved in a lot of godly activity. Our weeks are full of a lot of godly activity. You guys are here at church on a Sunday. You're sitting in a row. You're listening to somebody teach about God. That is some activity. Some of you this week are going to meet with other groups of people. You're going to get together with those groups of people. You're going to talk about God.
Before some of you go to bed tonight, you're going to open up a book that is going to tell you different things about God. Tomorrow morning, when some of you drive to work, you're going to listen to music that is about God. All of this godly activity we're involved in can cause some of us to feel like we know God. If you think about all of that activity… If we remove God from all of that activity and put somebody else in there that you don't know, just some random person… Watch what this does.
Let's just use some random person. One of the students I hang out with down at SMU is named Matt Jeffery. He's a great guy. Let's take all of that activity, and let's put Matt Jeffery in there, and let's see what it does. Let's say for the rest of this morning, as I'm standing up here talking, I change my subject matter. My subject matter is now just how great Matt Jeffery is. He's this amazing guy.
He grew up in England. He moved over here in 2002 when he was 7 years old. He has this really cool little accent. He kind of sounds like a little One Direction boy or something like that. He's awesome. He's funny. He's faithful. He's a hard worker. I just kept talking about how great Matt is. Let's say when I'm done, I pray. Then Jon Abel comes out here. "All right, everybody. Let's stand up, and let's sing a song to Matt. 'How great is Matt Jeffery. Sing with me. How great…'" We all go on and sing that.
Then I come back up. I'm like, "We're really glad you guys are here. If Matt Jeffery sounds intriguing, there will be some people up here at the front who would love to talk to you more about Matt Jeffery. You can get to know some more about him. Guess what. We have this class, this thing called Matt Jeffery GroupLink. If you want to go through that, all throughout the week, people get together, and they just talk about Matt. It's amazing."
You get in one of these Matt Jeffery groups, and you're starting to learn more about him. You're like, "Man, I really feel like I'm getting to know this guy. I want to get to know more about him." You ask yourself, "I wonder if there is a book out there about Matt Jeffery." You go on Amazon, and you realize there is a book.
You start reading it. You take this picture, and you put it on Instagram. It looks like this. It's called Matt Calling: Reflections of a Sage, written by Adam Tarnow. You're like, "This is awesome. There are all of these conversations Adam Tarnow had with Matt Jeffery, and he just writes about them." You really feel like you're getting to know him. People in your family are going, "You're becoming a Matt Jeffery freak. This is just kind of weird."
You find yourself driving on the highway. Somebody cuts you off. You just yell, "Matt Jeffery! What are you doing? That's my spot." He becomes your expletive of choice there for a while. You start buying people gifts on his birthday, giving people gifts. "Hey, it's Matt Jeffery's birthday. December 18, 1994. It was a great day. Matt Jeffery was born." You call up Starbucks. "Matt Jeffery's favorite color is blue. Why can't we have blue cups in December."
If you did all of that, if you did all of that activity, would you know Matt Jeffery? No. You would know a lot about him, but you wouldn't know him. What do you have to do to get to know him? You have to be introduced to him, and you have to spend time with him. You have to meet him, and you have to spend time with him. You have to have a conversation with Matt Jeffery.
The exact same thing is true of our relationship with God. We can do all of this activity. We can sing songs. We can listen to the music. We can read the books. We can sit in rows. You can write notes and all of that kind of stuff. All of that activity doesn't mean that you know him. If you want to get to know him, you have to spend time with him.
If you want to stay on that path of purity, then you have to resolve to be in God's Word. It's not about information. It's about intimacy with God. Somebody who wants to know God resolves to read it, and they don't read it religiously. They read it relationally. They don't read it so they can become smarter. They read it so they can grow closer to God.
The first thing I want to point out and remember, the first reason why it is so important for us to be in God's Word, is that it's about intimacy. It's not about information. It's about growing in our relationship with him, not becoming more religious. There's another reason why. Let's keep going. Let's look at verses 12-14. In verse 12, he says, "Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees." He's excited. He's saying, "Praise God. God, as I'm praising you, I want you to continue to teach me your decrees, continue to teach me your Word."
Verse 13: "With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth." He goes around, and he's talking about it. He's talking about God's Word. He wants all of the laws that come out of God's mouth to be on his lips so he can continue to talk about it. Look here in verse 14. "I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches." You take these three verses, and we see the second reason why it is so important for us to resolve to be in God's Word.
2._ Truth is the greatest treasure._ The psalmist… You just feel it there. He has this excitement with God's Word. It fires him up like he just won the Powerball or something. The reason why we can say that that truth excites him or the reason we can say that the truth is the greatest treasure is because the truth is the only resource that is out there that has the power to revamp your life. Think about it this way. It's a new year, so we're all probably thinking about different things we would like to change about 2016 or change about our lives going forward.
Imagine if you just went home today and just spent 30 minutes just writing down everything in your life that you wanted to change. You gave it a real, honest effort, and you wrote everything down on that list that you wanted to change. Imagine you realized that you had the winning Powerball ticket. You just came into this large sum of money. You would probably be fired up.
One of the reasons you would be fired up is because you know it's going to change your life. That money is going to be able to change some of the things on that list. The fact of the matter for all of us is we all have things we want to change, and the truth is money will change some of it.
Money can change the place we live. Money can change the cars we drive. Money can change the clothes we wear. Money can change different things about our kids with education and schools they're going to. Money can bring us security for the future. Enough money can even change some of our body image, if we wanted to. The bottom line is there would be some things on that list we could change if we had money.
I think every single one of us would all agree that money would not be able to change everything on that list. It would get some of it, but it wouldn't get all of it. The truth is for some of us, we have things on our list that we want to change that money isn't even powerful enough for, it's not effective enough for. We all have some relationships that we want to have mended. We have some habits that we want freedom from. We have hearts we want to change.
We have all of these things that are on our list. Even if we had all of the money in the world, it would not change those things. We need something greater than those riches to be able to change it. Do you know what that thing is? That thing is the Word of God. It's the truth. That's why we can say with confidence that truth is the greatest treasure.
Let me give you a couple of examples. If you've been around Watermark for a while, we do this thing called Join The Journey, jointhejourney.com. It's a website. It's a Bible-reading program thing that we do as a church. Anybody who wants to join The Journey… It's not just at Watermark. It's done around the world.
Last year was the eleventh year that we had done Join The Journey. All of those who participated last year read the entire Bible, from Genesis all the way to Revelation. On the last day of the year, on the last reading of the year, there was a devotional, and there was an opportunity to respond and interact with other people who were on The Journey.
On the last day of the year, they asked people, "If you completed this Journey, if you read the whole Bible this year, take a few moments and just tell us how your life changed." There were just dozens and dozens and dozens of comments that were out there. I went through and just picked out a few of them that I wanted to read of people talking about how their lives changed when they encountered the greatest treasure on earth, which is the truth. Listen to this.
Here is one of them. It says, "As a man who came to Watermark in 2011 marked by drunkenness and sexual immorality with a mouth full of poisonous vocabulary, I was in need of a major transformation. Despite joining a Community Group and confessing my sins, I simply didn't see the changes in my life that I hoped would occur." He had things on his list that he wanted to change, and they weren't changing.
"When I joined The Journey in 2012, the Lord used his Holy Scriptures to begin renewing my mind as it promises it will in Romans 12:2, which changed how I live. I am so thankful for The Journey, and I cannot wait to see how the Lord uses it in 2016 to continue the good work he has begun in me, as is referenced in Philippians 1:6."
Let me read you one more. "I started this year having never really read my Bible before, and I was just expecting to read it for face value. It was so much more than that. It really was spending time with God in his living and truthful Word, burying that in my heart, and watching him use that in my everyday life.
It was truly a change of life to see how this book could change my life. It's safe to say I cannot provide an accurate description of what it meant to be a Christian before reading the Bible this year. It seems ridiculous, looking back, that I would claim Christianity without ever reading and taking God's Word to heart. I'm so thankful for God's everlasting Word and his desire to be with and know us. I'm looking forward to another great Journey in 2016."
Isn't that amazing? Those are just two of the dozens and dozens of stories of people talking about, "When I sat there and marveled at the greatest treasure on earth, I realized that this is the truth I've been looking for. This is the thing that can totally revamp my life." It came when they realized, "I want to do this because I want to grow closer to God. This is about intimacy, not about information, and I'm going to savor this because this truth is the greatest treasure the world has ever known."
Those are the two reminders the psalmist gives us as to why you and I should resolve to be in God's Word. Let's look at this last section here, and let's look at this secret that he gives all of us on how we can stay on this path. Let's look at these last two verses. Verse 15: "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees…" Here it is. Here's the secret. "…I will not neglect your word."
He started off this psalm saying, "Hey, how can a young man stay on this path of purity? How can I stay and be a fully devoted follower of God?" He gave us a little glimpse. He said, "It's going to be by living by your Word." In this last section here, the last verse in this section, he says it again. "Here is how you stay on this path. You are determined to not neglect God's Word."
3._ Determination defeats distraction._ It's just determination. I get that in today's on-demand, quick-fix culture, in this culture we live in where we want everything now and don't want to wait for anything, we have lost the art of steadfast determination. Slow is a four-letter word, literally and figuratively, for so many of us. We think it's the worst.
Anything that is slow is the worst, which is why so many of you, in about 20 minutes, are going to turn into monsters when you get back into your cars and try to navigate this parking lot to get out of here. It moves so slowly. We hate it. We hate slow. Here is the deal. Here is the secret. If you see somebody who knows God and seems to marvel at his Word, if you see that, the secret is that there is no secret.
The secret is those who know God well and who treasure his truth… The secret is that there is no secret. It's mostly just hard work. The secret is that our relationship with God is just like every other relationship, which means that quantity is the pathway to quality. You have to spend a lot of time with somebody to get to that point of quality.
The secret for people who know God well is they spend a lot of time with God. That's the secret. The secret is that those who know God well understand that they're never going to stop being busy. Their schedules probably are not going to change. The season of life may change, but it's still going to be busy.
The secret is they've just determined and made the decision, "I'm just going to do it. I'm going to spend time with God." One of the best examples I have that I've seen in my life with this… I'm not trying to be cheesy or anything here, but one of the best examples I've honestly seen of this is my wife, Jackie. She was telling me a story this week about a recent conversation she had. A friend of hers paid her a great compliment.
Jackie was talking to this friend and was sharing some of God's Word with her friend. Her friend looked at her and said, "What Bible study do you do? How do you seem to know so much of God's Word and be able to share it in all of these different situations? It's so helpful. How are you able to do that?" Jackie was telling me this story, and I was just kind of envisioning if I were there because if I were there, I know exactly what I would have said to her friend.
I would have said, "Do you want to know why she knows so much of God's Word? Here is why. She is married to me. She gets this whenever she wants." No, that's not at all what I would have said. What I would have said is, "Do you want to know why? It's years and years and years of consistency." I've been in a relationship with Jackie for about 13 years. We dated for about a year and have been married for 12. We just celebrated 12 years last month.
For 12 years of living with her, here is what I have seen. That alarm goes off. She gets up. She gets that cup of coffee. She comes back into the bed. She props up that pillow. She gets her Bible. She gets her journal. She just reads. Sometimes, she does a Bible study. Sometimes, she just uses the Bible reading plan that she either finds on the Internet or that her friends are doing or that is in the back of her Bible.
She just reads a couple of chapters or maybe just one chapter. Then she opens up her journal. I have no clue what she's writing because she has the worst handwriting in the world. She just writes reflections. She writes prayers. She just does that day after day after day after day. There are certainly seasons or times that she hasn't done that.
We have a couple of kids, so when we had newborns, that all looked different. If kids are sick, that looks different. If she can't sleep that night, that looks different. By and large, I think I can count on one hand how many times over 12 years she has missed one of those times. I would just look at her friend and go, "It's because she does this every single day. She's just determined to be in God's Word." That's what she does.
It makes me think of this little story, this little throwaway story that is found in the gospel of Mark. It's describing Jesus. Just real quickly, I want to just look at these few verses because I think what we'll see in here is something in the life of Christ that is very applicable for us on how we can start to do this. We can try to flesh out what some practical steps are that we can take to make sure we resolve to be in God's Word.
It's found in Mark 1. It's verses 35-37. Here is the setup. Jesus had been doing ministry all day, and he was doing ministry long into the night. Then Mark just writes about what happened the very next day after this long day of ministry. He says, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!'"
Just some quick observations here that will help us that we see here buried in this little story about Jesus. The first observation is that you need to find a time of day that you can control the most. If you read the Gospels, you'll see that when it was light out, Jesus was busy. He was often busy long into the night, healing people, teaching, doing ministry. The time of day that Jesus seemed to be able to control the most was the morning.
At different glimpses in the Gospels, you see, "Jesus got up in the morning. He got up in the morning. He got up in the morning to go and be with the Father, to be with God." For us, the application is… What is the time of day you control the most? Is it the morning? Then that probably should be the time you spend time with God. Here is what is crazy. If it's not the morning, that's okay. God doesn't have office hours.
This is going to be shocking to some of you. If you open your Bible in the afternoon, all of the words are still there. None of them go away. They don't disappear. If it's afternoon, read in the afternoon. If it's at night before you go to bed, read at night before you go to bed. The bottom line is to find that time of day. We all have that time of day when there are few distractions. What is that time of day? Take advantage of that.
The second observation we see here is that Jesus had to put himself in an environment where there weren't a lot of distractions. He had to actually get up and leave his house. That makes sense because we see there at the end that Simon and his companions were going around and looking for him. He knew they were going to come looking for him. He said, "I need to get away. I need to be in an environment where there are few distractions."
You find that time of day that you feel like you can control the most, and you find an environment where there are few distractions. In our house, what it honestly is is to just shut the door. Shut the door. We both play defense for each other on that. When Jackie is in there, I leave. I shut that door. The boys are not allowed to go in there. That's her time. You find that time of day that you can control. What is that environment where there is no distraction?
The third thing we see is that Jesus went off alone. You have to be able to do it alone because you have to be able to talk to God. You have to listen. You have to read. You have to reflect. You have to have no distractions, and you have to be able to do it consistently. I would add a couple of things to that list, and I would say a couple of things I've seen that are helpful for me.
I'm better with a plan. That's why things like Join The Journey are so great. It's just a plan. It just takes away one decision. It just gives you something to read every day. I am always more consistent when I have a plan, and I am always more consistent when I have people in my life who are asking me what I'm learning in God's Word. Those are two things I would add to all of that.
You find that time of day. You find where there are no distractions. You get to be where you're alone. You get a plan. You have people ask you along the way. We do this so we can grow in our intimacy with God. That's reason number one. That's the why. The other reason we do this is that the truth is the greatest treasure that is out there. The way you and I can stay on that path, the way we can do that, is just to be determined. Just make that decision. Say, "I am going to do this. I'm going to do it."
I'll close with this. I love CLIF Bars. Is anybody out there a CLIF Bar fan? I think White Chocolate Macadamia Nut is the greatest flavor they make. You may have your favorite. You would be wrong. I'm right. That's the greatest flavor. I love them. I love CLIF Bars. There is a lot I love about them.
I think they're great. I think they're convenient. I think they taste great. There is this uncanny thing. I don't know if CLIF Bar consumers out there feel the same way. I feel like I just ate a salad when I get done eating those things. I just feel healthy. I feel like I deserve a bowl of ice cream after I eat a CLIF Bar.
There is something great about them. I think I would eat them all day every day if I could, but I don't. Here's the thing about CLIF Bars. CLIF Bars are actually not designed to be a substitute for real, healthy food. They are what is called a supplement. They are designed to be a supplement to a healthy diet. They are not designed to be a substitute for a healthy diet.
If I stood up here and told you guys, "Hey, in my diet right now, I am really healthy. I get 100 percent of my nutrition from CLIF Bars. That's where I get it," you guys would be skeptical of that. You would go, "I don't think that's what those were designed for, and I don't think you're as healthy as you think you are. Those things were not designed to be food; they were designed to be a supplement to something. I don't think that is going to end well for you, Adam, if you're surviving off of CLIF Bars."
Here is why I close with that. I've been around Watermark long enough. I've had enough conversations with people who faithfully sit in rows every week, people who read books, people who listen to the music, people who are a part of the groups. I've been around here long enough. I've seen enough. I've had enough conversations to know that there are a lot of you in here this morning who think you know God, and you don't.
There are a lot of you in here this morning who know a lot about him, but you don't know him. You can answer questions. You know the right answers. You can master the 4B form, and you know all of that stuff. For you, that's just a Scantron. That's just studying for a test. You know exactly how to do that, but you don't know him.
The reason why… My biggest fear when I think about rooms like this, and I think about Watermark and us as a church, is that so many of us are relying and leaning way too heavily on supplements. We do little devotionals here. We listen to a little music here. We read a little book. We podcast a sermon. We listen to stuff. We have conversations every once in a while. We're relying so much on these supplements.
What I want to remind us of this morning, guys, is that there are supplements, and those supplements can be helpful, but there is no substitute. There are supplements, but there is no substitute. If we as a church body want to be effective in this culture, if we want to see Dallas change, if we want to see the world change, we don't need a bunch of smart people to be able to do that. What we need are people who know God and recognize that there is no substitute for time with him.
We're determined. We make that decision. We say, "I want to know him." We do it, and we set aside that time, and we find that environment. We figure out when we can do that. We get alone. We do it not so that we get smarter but so that we get closer. We do it because it's about intimacy and not about information. Then, as we start to get into his truth, we just marvel. We marvel at how amazing it is.
Then we keep making these decisions. We keep being determined to fight off that distraction. Then you know what happens, what is amazing? We start to see change. We start to see change that takes root in our lives. We start to look back. We have stories just like those two that I read. "When I resolved to be in God's Word, my life changed." That's what I want for us, and I think that's what you want for you as well. Let's pray and ask God to help us.
Lord, we thank you. We thank you for your Word. We thank you for your mercy. We thank you for your grace. We thank you, God, that you are still knowable, that we can know you now, that you've given us this gift. You've preserved these writings for thousands of years. You've put your mind in there. We don't have to guess how to stay on this path of purity, God. It's clear. We just spend time with you. God, for us as a church, I pray that we won't be proud of how much we know about you.
I pray that our hearts will remain humble and that we will seek to always know you, that we will spend time with you, that we'll quit waiting for our feelings to change, that we don't feel like spending time with you. We'll quit waiting for the season of life to change or the schedule to change. Lord, we'll just do it because we know what is at stake. It's not information that is at stake, Lord. It's our intimacy with you. That is our prayer. We pray, Lord, that you will help us. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
You know, I know in a room this size, there are a lot of you in here too who are not trying to live off of CLIF Bars. You have a steady diet of God's Word. You too, like my wife, are just consistent. You see how your life has changed and how God is using you to spur others on. I hope you're encouraged in just that reminder that it's worth it. Keep it up. It is worth it to pursue after him like that.
I also know that in a room this size, there are some of you in here whose first step today is you need to be introduced to God. You don't know him yet. There will be some people up here who would love not to talk about a kid named Matt Jeffery. There are people who would love to talk to you about the God of the universe who knows you and loves you and sent his Son Jesus to die for you. If that's you, I would encourage you to come up and chat with us. We'd love to introduce you to this God. You can start that relationship today, start to get to know him today.
Thank you guys so much for coming and spending some of your Sunday with us. We're really glad that you guys were here. You guys have a great week of worship.