“Training Camp 7” By Pastor Joe
"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 I'm going to leave this verse at the top of the article. This has always been one of my favorite verses even before thinking about this new set of articles relating to training camp. I've had a number of great counselors and teachers, individuals who have helped me to grow my spiritual life, and all of them have said just about same thing about a very critical part of training; keep the Word of God before you on a regular basis. With repetition over the next number of weeks all of us should begin to embrace this passage into our long-term thinking.
How many of us have heard the saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness"? There is no Bible verse with those specific words. Now you can look throughout the scriptures and definitely find a sense of “cleanliness”. The New Testament over and over speaks to spiritual purity which translates over to us, as a 3-part being. Our 3 parts: Body, Soul and Spirit should daily live and operate in purity. Obviously, there are verses, such as Matthew 15:11, which state, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, you are defiled by the words which come out if your mouth”. Nevertheless, Scripture also says your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we should treat our temples with great respect. (1 Cor. 6:19) Never forget, Psalms 139 tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. We then have an obligation to do our very best to keep our temples clean. We also need to keep the place where we gather together to worship the Lord clean. Yes, we must gather with clean hands and a pure heart! We have great individuals from our congregation who regularly clean the church, so let’s help do our part to lighten their load. The church facility always gets extra stressed during our rummage sale. We all need to do a better job of being; firstly, aware of our surroundings, (if you see trash pick it up); secondly, we need to remember who we honor with this facility, (we want to present Jesus with excellence); thirdly, what kind of impression are we leaving for those who visit our fellowship, (often you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression); fourthly, we want this worship facility committed to the advancement of God's kingdom. (It’s a hospital for the spiritually sick.) I've been to churches where the carpet is all torn, there are soiled marks in various rooms, items stuffed down the hallway, classrooms full of old Sunday school material (those materials should go to Love Packages.) Presenting Jesus with excellence is not only for our congregation, but for our community, our visitors and ultimately for the Lord. Ryan Kangas did a great job mowing the grass and now Brad is getting the blessing. We all need to see ourselves as responsible for keeping the outside and the inside of our local fellowship nice and neat. Tommy Barnett says their building is a place for families to come and meet with God. Meaning cigarette butts in our parking lot will happen, kids come inside with dirty feet, our carpet will need cleaning. The number of activities which take place throughout the week results in things getting messy. Let’s rejoice that we have people around who use this wonderful worship facility. Pastor Barnett also said it's not meant to be or look like a funeral home; it's meant to be a birthing center. If you've ever been to a birthing center at the hospital, there's one thing I know for sure, they're always cleaning up because there's always lots of mess. Even as we sing about becoming more aware of God’s presence, let’s also become more aware of this place where we come to worship!