Joe’s “Training Camp” By Pastor Joe

We're revisiting a series of messages called “Training Camp”, just as my Sunday sermons are 20 of my favorite messages presented over the last thirty years. These “ES” articles will be from 20 years of writing on the back of the bulletin. In my journey of faith there have been a few occasions where I had to adjust my thinking on what the Bible says. Nothing dramatic, yet my concepts on Bible issues were slightly skewed. For instance, the Wisemen coming to the manger. We know they came to the home of where Jesus was living. Training camp is just around the corner for your favorite team from Green Bay, so let’s get back into game shape! Here is a great anchor passage for our next season of articles. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.” 1 Timothy 4:8-10. NLT Wow, what a great passage for us to kick off this new season of retraining. As we journey together through these next weeks of training be open to what the Spirit of God speaks into your heart. Reread these thoughts, contemplate what they say and then see how they line up with your understanding of the Word of God. Last week’s message was about the critical need for passion in our lives; passion to ultimately fulfill God’s unique calling for each of us. All of us have a passion for something, for many it’s their favorite football team. For some it's collecting coins. For others it’s that trophy catch. My prayer is the passion that burns strongest in your life is the one sparked by Jesus. In our journey together we’ll learn some new things and solidify foundational concepts that keep us working together as a team. Together is Better! Never forget even Aaron Rodgers, one of the most skilled professional football players, is required to come to training camp. None of you are above spiritual training camp. Most of our favorite teams’ training camps, such as, the green and gold and, of course, the purple and gold start this week. All NFL players are required to attend training camp to learn new plays, new techniques, and verify they are in shape. Ultimately, they need to make sure they are on the same page with their team. The coaching staff is responsible to all the players “fitting” or “firing” them from the position they are assigned to help the team win. God has called us each, uniquely, to a position, to a calling, to a biblical profession. It may not be your full-time occupation but you have a position in the body of Christ. Our spiritual training camp is very important. It may be a little rigorous at moments, we may have to pause and take a break, but in the end it will be better for us working together. Scripture tells us to watch our doctrine. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16 NIV. According to the Word of God it's very important for us to know what we know, and why we believe what we believe. Not only am I going to be held responsible for making sure our doctrine is correct, but you are responsible in your circle of influence, which includes your spouse, your children, your grandchildren. There is a biblical mandate for us to follow. As a young Christian, someone said to me, well if you don't know the answer just say you believe what your pastor believes. That might not be a terrible answer but a better answer is to say, hey let's look into the Word of God and see what it says. An even better answer is to say, please be my guest at church this Sunday and let's learn together. There is always room for walk-ons at Hawthorne Assembly!

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