Would you open your bibles to Acts chapter 20 Verse 28. If I have a choice I'm with a group of elders where would I start. What what would I say to them as we begin. That's what I'm going to talk to you about right now. Here's a question I've heard many times. “What really do elders do.” Where do I start. It's amazing to me how many men have never had any training for the eldership as one man said to me, “No one ever trained me.” Well once you look at Acts Chapter 20 Verse 28. The great Apostol like farewell message of the Apostle Paul with the elders Verse 28. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you Overseer's it's the only elders we want to care for the Church of God which he obtained with his own blood. Now I want you to notice what Paul says here and remember this is an app a stoic prophetic word. It's really Christ were to us what he wants his shepherds to be. But here's what I want you to notice. Pay careful attention to yourselves. Now normally we run right over that don't we. And we say pay careful attention to the flock of God because that's our job do to care for the flock. But I want you notice that's not the first thing he says the first thing he says is that you've got it. Take care yourself and all of us men have to care for yourselves.

This is part of the gardening ministry and of his whole passages about the protecting gardening watching ministry which is the negative side of the teaching fiti ministry. The point he's making is you can't care for the souls of others if you haven't learned to care for your own soul and so some have called this soul care. And I think it's a very very good term. Notice that the Apostle says the same thing in First Timothy 416. Now I'm going to read some of these verses to you write them down or we'll be here until 1 o'clock in the afternoon because I'm going to give you a number of verses so just write the first down. First Timothy 460 Timothy pay close attention or play close watch on yourself and on the T.G. persist in this for by doing so you will say both yourself and your hears from the false teachers and the disaster in the church. Notice Timothy keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. In other words Timothy if you're going to help a sick church and this was a church in trouble we'll look at it later he says. Timothy you first got to guard your own soul because all the chaos in the church take you down with it. And so our first duty as leaders of the Lord's people is to make sure our own souls are well to care for our own self. And we do have to protect ourselves. We live in a world that particularly the western world that's growing more and more hostile to our faith.

In fact in my lifetime I would say when I first became a Christian my parents were not Christians but my Christian faith and what my parents believe was really not too different. But today what I believe and what I stand for and the ethics in the life I live and what the world thinks is that far apart. You all have seen that the growing gap between our secular humanistic society and what we believe as the people of God is going farther and farther and the hostility against us is growing almost by the hour it seems. Now once you notice the context here is false teachers and the damage they do to the church in spiritual warfare in this hostile environment. The first thing we have to do is care for our own souls. We are on the frontline of battle and Satan will love nothing more tend to take down the leaders just as we saw last night. If they go the church goes with it as a very famous book by Richard Baxter in fact there's a new biography and if you want to know just write me called up good Mr. Baxter and just like we have the book a guppy leadership the life of Robert Chapman. There is a wonderful new biography and it's short on the life of Richard Baxter as a pastor in his church. And when he writes the book reform pastor he doesn't mean reformed theology. He means the pastors needed to be reformed. They weren't doing their work. They were doing very little in fact getting paid. Listen to what Richard Baxter writes. Are you listening Taiki then for the enemy as a special eye on you. You're sure to have his most subtle insinuations excessive solicitations and violent assaults. Take heed to yourselves lest he outwit you.

The devil is a greater scholar than you are and a more nimble disputant. And whenever he prevails against you he will make you the instrument of your own ruin. You have an enemy and his eye is particularly on you and that's why we see many many factors. It's just horrifying the number of pastors falling prey to sexual immorality. It is so discouraging to the Lord's people. We have a church in our area. Five pastors in a row had to leave because of sexual immorality. What must the people think. What must they think about our faith. And what do you think the world thinks that in the Denver Colorado Springs area you may have known this were national news about a very well known nationally known pastor who turns out to be gay and taking very heavy drugs. I mean can you imagine the fun the fun the media had with that you evangelicals are against all this but you're doing it yourself. The disgrace beyond the disgrace. Yes the devil has a special eye on you. Watch your own soul guard yourself. How do we do this. Well real quickly I'll just make a real quick statement here. But then we're going to go on carefully guard what you read it affects how you think carefully guard who you listen to as preachers and teachers and carefully guard who you watch on TV. I've seen a lot of Christians pick up on these pundits on TV and coming into the church the same angry disposition and hostile me disposition bringing it into the church that they had to say to one Christian lady in our church.

Stop looking at those things on TV because you're acting just like them. We're different people. Carefully guard your prayer life carefully guard for unconfessed sins that causes your heart to grow cold and unresponsive to the things of God. Carefully guard yourself from unnecessary waits member. Hebrews 12. One is to lay aside all those weights that so easily encumber us in the Christian life. What is a key way we guard our souls soul care. What's a key way. I just gave it some quickies just to show you there are other things but I want to emphasize one way that we as leaders both men and women because our wives has guarded their own souls to is by continually to grow we guard our souls by maturing and growing and learning. The key to effective pastoral leadership is your own personal growth and Kreiss. You are either growing cries or you are stagnating. You are never standing still. Vellore will not allow that. Here's a fact. The fact is your church will not grow and learn unless its leaders are personally growing and moving forward in the Christian life. Very rarely does a church move above its leaders. It's possible if you're stagnant spiritual the church will become stagnant and CAUCE spiritually if you are living off the past the church will not go forward. In other words effectiveness in leadership is based on one's own growing relationship with price and being excited about the Lord's work. Someone has said this If you live in the past you won't have a future.

Someone else has said when you're through improving through now is this scriptural what I just said to you is that scriptural. Well it's always good to challenge one of the breeds right. Check it out. The great apostle Paul is probably close to a genius. He comes to Bery and they check it out. They don't just hook line and sinker believe what he says. They say they examined the scriptures daily to see if what he was saying was so x 1711 wonderful passage. Let's be Bery and let's check this out. What I just said to you you're either stagnating in your Christian life. You're not any neutral or you're growing maturing and learning and expanding your Christian life. So let's check this out biblical mandate to grow in Christ. Now if you have your bibles you can follow me turn to first Timothy for 7 and 8. First Timothy 4 7 and 8. A marvelous passage of Scripture rather trade. Don't get a fall with silly arguments rather trade. Now you have different translations here exercise discipline yourself mind says train. I think a very exact translation would be exercise. Rather train or exercise your self for godliness morning I came down for breakfast and brother Scott Brown was you know looking like one of these young guys in all his sports uniform. He's going to go and exercise this morning so he's going to exercise. Looks to me he needs to well that's good God it'll it'll probably save it 10 years hopefully save your mind now. But it's more important that we exercise our self to godliness. For awhile bodily training is of some value scarred. It is of value to good man.

You're a good example Godliness is of value in every way. It holds the promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Now I hate to say this but the exercise in the world of your body will do nothing for eternity. I'm sorry. Extend your life your might feel a little better but gaudiness extends into eternity both now and in the future. So really I want to encourage you train yourself exercise yourself discipline yourself for the purpose of Galih just now Paul loves his athletic metaphor and the metaphor here is used for. And it's in the present tense that has the idea of constant training. Timothy is to exercise his spiritual muscles. The problem with many of us is we're not exercising our faith. We're not exercising our mind in spiritual faith. In other words we're to be spiritual athletes and think of all that is involved in the image of an athlete. Self-discipline training program plant well the same thing is true in the spiritual light. You don't read your Bible you don't time Diamond trigger prayer you don't have spiritual responsibilities in the church. Guess what's going to happen. You're going to lose your muscles. You know the amazing thing about the physical body and he uses the physical and the spiritual the physical body will deteriorate very rapidly. So here's a person there have a major operation there bed for three weeks in that three weeks.

It's amazing how the muscles atrophy so after three weeks you can hardly walk but then you start walking every day and you're up and down the hall then you go around the hall then you go outside the building two three weeks all of a sudden your muscles are coming back. And within a month of you exercise. In fact one of my dearest and closest friend just went for this he had a massive major heart operation and he's a pretty strong man. But after the operation he could barely walk around his living room and every day he'd walk a little farther and he had to build those muscles back again. The exact same thing is true of your spiritual life your walk with Christ your knowledge of Christ your authority in the world your faith must be exercised just the way it is you do not drift into godliness. No one drifts into holiness. This is what the great da Carson writes here. People do not drift towards holiness apart from Grace driven efford people to not gravitate towards godliness prayer obedience to scripture faith delight in the Lord. We drift towards compromise and call it tolerance. We drift towards disobedience and call it freedom. We drift towards superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of loss of self-control and call it relaxation. We slouch towards paralysed ness and delude ourselves into thinking that we have escape legalism. We slide towards godless godlessness and convince ourself we have been liberated. And that's why Paul says that Timothy and he says do all of us. Second Timothy 160 fanned the flame of the gift of God Fanny let that fire go. God has given you a gift. I don't know what that gift is some of you actually have several gifts. Fan it fanned it. Use it. Use it consistently in daily.

Let's look now at First Timothy 415 first four for 15. You're right there again speaking to Timothy man probably in his 30s that this time he says to Timothy practice these things immerse yourself in them. Now I really like this so that all may see your progress. Listen very carefully where I just read Timothy. I want everyone in the local church to see your progress. We're either progress spiritually or we are regress spiritually. You are never standing still. Why wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if your wife MEND says says to you one day. Honey you're such a man of growth. You're just always learning about the Lord you just grow in maturity. You're such an example to me rather than your wife say you haven't changed in 30 years. You're the same all irritable grouchy old self many wives that's what they have to say their husbands. What an example to your children when you are growing and learning and going forward not backward. Your children are inspired by you. They're learning from you. What a wonderful thing if the local church sees its leaders going someplace new visions. They're maturing they're changing they're going to conferences like this. They're reading good books they're studying their Bibles. They're men of prayer. Let the whole congregation see your progress. So what the people say and you a Christian going forward expanded Friday or enduring now Bobby Clinton has written a very very important book on mentoring and he claims that he has studied every major character in the Bible and he has studied throughout church history. Christian leaders. And here's what he claims.

I cannot validate this but he says he's done this. He says only 25 percent and well only 25 percent. And well the rest do not and will really. King Solomon didn't end too well. Even David didn't end too well. They did great things in their life but they did not end well. Now I want you to listen to what he says because I really think this is this is the issue. His conclusion we have observed that most people ceased learning by the age of 40. Now I am not an expert in this but I'll tell you it seems in my church that they stop learning by 25. They get done with college and the only thing they know is the newest restaurants or of course newest car some foolish movie. But he says here let's go with him he's the expert. We have observed that most people cease learning by the age of 40. By that we mean they no longer actively pursue knowledge understanding and experience that will enhance their capacity to grow and contribute to others. Most simply rest on what they already know by now. Now please focus. But those who finish well maintain a positive learning attitude all their lives. Let me read that again. I think that's exactly what our passage of Scripture say and the others will say this. But those who finish well maintain a positive learning attitude all their lives. So you're either stagnating or you're growing Douglas Smith. An important article wrote this when leaders are learning and growing everything about them communicates the same opportunity to other people. They're excited. They do things differently.

One of the most profound and unusual experiences people can have on the job is to see their leaders grow how exciting to be in a church when the leaders are growing and they're thinking they're getting new thoughts and they're expanding their minds in the things of God. So my question is this Do those around you see you progressing in the faith. Or are you living off the past. You've learned enough you don't need any more Second Corinthians chapter 4 16 you better look at this especially if you're over 50. You're under 50 you look too but if you're over 50 you better look at this. Here's my philosophy of a.g Second Corinthians 4 16. So we do not lose heart though our outward nature is wasting away. Now if there's anyone who should lose heart is the apostle Paul. He had more problems than all of us here put together. And these Corinthians were a big problem. But he says we don't lose heart. Although the outward nature is wasting away and I can see some of you here are wasting away. You know here's what happens all of a sudden in life what you want to know the difference between being young and old. You know the difference. Here's the difference. If at 9:00 and 10:00 at night your desire is to go out and have pizza with your friends or coffee at Starbucks or go play black basketball. You are young. If at 830 or 9:00 at night your chief thought is to go to bed you're old. All right. We've just categorized all people now. When you get older.

You're my father you know we lived to be 95. And he lived in New Jersey I live in Colorado so a couple of times a year or more I would visit him and one day I went into his bedroom and on his dresser was all these pills a line of pills. And I said to my dead that there are all these pills vitamins. He says I don't know. I just take him every day. One of his friends got so confused about pills and both of them were widowers my mom was dead his friends of his wife was dead. One of his friends got so confused about the pills that he just poured all the pills in a big bowl and every day to get a handful. So my dad said should I do that. I said No Dave they're not MNM. We'll figure this out. That's what happens when you get older. You've got all these pills that take and then you have you know you get hearing aids and you got knee replacement hip replacements and brain replacements every kind of replacement they can do today. Let me tell you the outer man is fading away. It's fading away now. I'm so glad Scott is exercise because it will help him and if he eats right it will help him. But it basically is still going to waste the way can fight it because the Lord built it into the system as judgment on us because the longer lived the more sin we get into. So the Lord said Psalm 90 I'll give you seventy years. If you jog I'll give you 80 years.

Anything over 80 year on bonus to is there anyone here over 80 over 80. OK. You're on bonus days. Let me just tell you that. OK. Now that's the sad news. The outward man is wasting away. But here's the good news. Here's my philosophy of aging our inner nature is being renewed every year. Did someone say no what what is that Jim every day the inner man the man in Christ the new Nature alive unto God because versus before he talks about the life of Christ in us right versus before inwardly every single day were being renewed. Don't tell me the Christian life isn't a positive life that we got the positive thinkers you know they're on television. Turn your scars into stars. Most of that phony baloney stuff but this is real the Christian life is the life of constant transformation into Christ like his second career is free 18. We are to be every day not once a month not once a week or once a year every day being re new and we are to become more Christ like we talked about sanctification sanctification. Ultimately is Christ like this. Our whole Christian life is to be aimed at being like the master because we're disciples right. The disciples are to be like the master. That's our whole goal to be like the Lord Jesus. And it's a daily pursuit a daily pursuit. So I know men in their 80s. I know men in their 90s. I know a man was 102 he just died recently. And every day they're learning their Ridi their Grody. They're excited about the last one to talk about Bible commentaries.

Want to talk about Scripture. This one man 102. He taught our seniors for a number of years and when he got over 100 he said to us you know I think you need a younger man to teach the seniors maybe someone around 9D said we'll look for that I'm serious. 99 he was teaching our series our seniors. And you know when you're with him and talk about all his pills it his backaches want to know what it's a good commentary on Thessalonians. What do you think about the fourth chapter. He's growing. He's progressive that's why he's teaching seniors his daughter told me. Daughter in law told me one day. So what does that do. He says well he he has his comfortable chair is his height high 90s and he's reading and studying and talking to people. I said while this guy this guy doesn't want to stop he's renewed every day. It's real. I Philippians chapter 3 we got to move here. Time goes quickly down here in Alabama. I don't know why Philippians chapter 3 13 to 14. One thing I do forgetting what lies behind straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on towards the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. In other words my dear friends Paul is a man who is always pressing forward looking forward going forward and never backward. It's very easy to look back and say I've had some great successes in life. Looking backwards and say I've had some terrible failures in life and musing on it. Well we have both successes and failures in life.

But remember the Lord never lets anyone drive on the highway looking through the rearview mirror if you do that please let me know so I can get off the highway. You can only look through the front windshield and go forward. That's the only direction the Lord gives you. Moody said this he said when he got to heaven he did not want to say these 40 things I'd dabbled in. Rather he wanted to say this one thing I've done. I love that verse in Luke a 10 42. If you don't know it you should know it well. Great great story of Mary and Martha and Jesus visit them in their home would have loved to been there must have been a beautiful picture and the Lord Jesus says of Mary he says Mary. There's one thing that's necessary and you've chosen the good portion. And it will never be taken from you know Martha. She was a double triple A personality. She's out in the kitchen sipper working for a fantastic meal for the Lord but the Lord would price her fellowship more than are all her work. And Mary went and sat on our Lord's feet and the point of the story is this sitting at the Lord's feet listening to his word. Hearing from him through his word is more important than running around in circles trying to make everything perfect and when the Lord's work often. And this is a big problem that I have to struggle with all time so busy for the Lord I have no time for the Lord. That's actually idolatry.

It really is the Lord would rather our fellowship than all our activities. Actually there's nothing we can do to add to him any way we think it can but it does it. But then I want you to notice what Paul says in Philippians 125. I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith. Another words. Not only was Paul a growing man he is a man helping others progress and noticed for their joy. Want of be sour puss Christians looked like they've been weaned on a deal pickle them baptized and lemon juice. He wants them to be joyous and his. I'm here to for your joy and your progress in the faith and then first Peter Toutou first Peter Toutou like new born infants. Here's the analogy do we have. I think we have a newborn infant where's that baby. Her baby is outside here I think sleepy. Okay. We have a newborn baby a new infant. Isaac Do you ever see a new infant baby infant. What's the one thing they want more than everything else. What yes does not Coke. Of course they want that mother's milk. Like a newborn baby. They want that milk. And they will wake you up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning for that milk. They don't wear watches. Do you ever notice that a baby does not wear a watch. They don't have time like we have time and it doesn't matter day or night when they want that milk.

They will scream like newborn infants here it is here's the analogy long for the pure spiritual male the very sustenance of life for all believers that buy it. You may want so many Illadelph that you grow. Say it again. Into salvation my dear friends you will never in this lifetime grass. All that's involved in your salvation in the substitution a penal sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ you will never grasp all that but we keep growing in it. It's full of infinities and immensities this doctrine. We are to be people that crave the word so that we grow we grow we grow in our salvation. You know there's a there's a horrifying disease called syndrome x where a child may grow from ages 1 to 4 with age 5 and 6 they start growing. One man with disease was 29 years old and had a body of a ten year old. One was an 8 year old girl who only weighed 12 pounds. Well we see that we just you know we cringe we just got all those poor parents what a terrible thing happened. Syndrome X you don't grow well we like little babies really like little children but ultimately you want your children to grow up and leave the home and have all their own family. That's what we ultimately want. We don't want to be around the house and five years of age for eternity. It will seem like eternity if there how terrible when Christians have Syndrome X. They just refuse to grow they will not read their Bibles. They don't want to learn new things. They don't want to change. They don't want fresh vision they like it the way it is.

And then second Peter 318 and Peter 380 but grow but grow but grow in the grace all the wonderful grace of the Lord Jesus and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus of the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Here's a direct charge from the apostles to grow in that marvelous virtues of the grace of our Lord Jesus and the knowledge of our blessed Lord which takes eternity a life long pursued to grow a grace not near to ability grow in grace and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. You know there are so many studies today just of two weeks ago in time magazine that are about five or six pages on this but there are many many many studies on longevity because people are living longer today and people want to know what is science finding out about longevity because people are living now into the 80s and 90s which was a century ago was very rare it happened was very rare at the turn of the 20th century. Get this The average age was 48. Now it's 76 but there has been a lot done in the study of the body and the mind as you age. Here's what they all conclude. You got to exercise the body in the mind. You've got to use the mind. But you know what many people are doing. Are checking now in front of the Gradus time wasting machine and the whole world. It's called television. It's a waste of your brain. This wonderful organ God has given you which can do much more than you think. You all give up. I could never learn Greek or never learn an instrument. What cowards we are.

It has tremendous powers if you will use it or lose it or use it. God wants you to use your brain in the things of God he wants you to use your spirit to expand yourself in serving the Lord in your faith to grow. That's his will for you. Someone has written this. Leaders need to model growth. Encourage it. Praise it. People are to be like trees that grow their entire lives. There's no such thing as a full grown tree the day a tree stumps growing it dies. And so what I said to you earlier is when you're through improving your through your through Hebrews 5 This is a serious warning. Hebrews 5 11 and 12 very serious passage of scripture we need to preach on this more about this. That's the high priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have much to say and it's hard to explain. Verse 11 since you have become dull of hearing or frightened the pants off you for though by this time you ought to be teachers you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the Oracles of God you need milk and nuts solid food. Here is a serious warning about the refusal to grow as a believer. If you are not growing as a believer you are becoming more and more Daul of hearing the things of God. And you have to go back to the very elementary principles of the faith because you can handle divine truth. You're either growing or stagnating. You're not standing still and you will go back much faster than you think your heart will become cold.

You can fake it you do pretty good on Sunday morning but down deep you don't really have much love for the Lord Jesus Christ. I was talking to a missionary 50 some years in South America. Wonderful missionary just died recently and we were having lunch together and I said to him I said Brother we've just come out with biblical eldership in Spanish. He had read it in English and he started laughing. What are you laughing about. He said they will never read that in a thousand years they will not read that. They do not read none of them are growing. None of them are changing. No one is pressing forward. That's why I have now focused on university students in college is our only hope in South America that we get them when they're young and we turn their eyes onto the Christian faith and to grow and mature and learn. Friend of mine did a biblical eldership in the workbooks had his own personal cost in the Czech Republic. Tried to sell it no would buy a single copy. Had a big Easter conference he held it out in the back 3. You can have it free one copy was taken. My friends that's all over the world. That's all over the world. Christians who will not read they refuse to grow. Happy and their self-satisfied. And someone said there is no hope for the self-satisfied man. There is no hope for the self-satisfied man. You're either growing daily or you are going backward you are growing calls you are becoming dull of hearing the things of God. And so we got to go over the basics again. You're not moving on to maturity.

We have to give you milk. We can't give you solid food because you can't take it. Isn't it amazing. Well let me deal with that in a moment. All right so let's look let's look here now. How do we grow. How do we grow. Time is short and so I need to I need to just pick up a little speed here brother Scott. Can I have five extra minutes. We are on the day of grace. There's no question about it here. I'm practical ideas for growth. I've told you to grow you agree. But how do we do it. Number one pray for desire to grow and mature. Now why would you pray for a desire to grow and mature is obvious right. No it's not. Here's why. Since the time of the fall when Adam and Eve fell. Spiritual things became very difficult. Let me give an example. Most of you here if if I don't know what your football team is ours is Denver Broncos. They will watch for hours of the Denver Broncos right for hours. No problem. Do you know a Christian who can read the Bible for four hours. Or pray for more than 20 minutes. Why is it that when we sit down with the very words of God and we start reading we go home I'm so tired. When Nick is really oh it's really hurting now. I think my eyes are bleeding. You know do 10 15 minutes and we're done. We're done. We go OK I've had enough. You know why.

I'm going to tell you why. Because since the fall spiritual things are difficult and so we are spirits lazy people can read a novel I see Christians read a novel a month. They don't read a book or the Bible a month. I see Christians who can spend hours watching movies they can tell you all the new movies are puttering on the Internet that will get you in trouble. But I have no time for God and when they do things for God it's maybe 10 15 20 minutes and they're done they're exhausted. Spiritual things are difficult for us since the time of the fall and Adam and Eve went hiding from God and we've been hiding ever since. And so we need to pray that God will stir our interest by his spirit to learn divine things holy things eternal things that have an interest in doctrine and interest in the Bible. Interest in reading interest in prayer. By the way suicide thing. This is why we have Bible studies and prayer meetings. Most of us can't do this alone. But if we go to a Bible study we're sort of forced to study to go to prayer we were forced into prayer. Nothing wrong with that by the way. No rather. So I see my wife's spinny hours preparing for Bible study on Thursday. My daughter's so many hours that normally they will not do that spiritual as they are. Let's be honest they'll do a little bit but they're not doing as much why Bible study demands it so Bible studies prayer times.

These are good things the sort of cast us into a greater study now we talked about 40 years of age. Here's another quote about 40 years of age. Hope you know 40 years of age you've been picked on Oswald Chambers my utmost for highest writes this very similar to Bobby Clinton saying a great fear has been at work in my mind a great fear has been at work in my mind gonna use it to arouse me to prayer Our point here I came across a man whom I knew years ago a mighty man of God and now ten years have gone. I need him again. Garrulous and unenlightened. How many men seemed to become like that after 40 years of age. The fear of sloth and indulgence has come home with a huge fear and fairly driven me to God to keep me never to forget what I owe him. I next protect your prayer life protect your prayer life my dear friends the first thing to go in a busy life is prayer. I know that I struggled with that myself. Were busy busy busy. And we've got many responsibilities and we just have no time for prayer but prayer is our communion with the Lord. It's our it's our time to speak with him and he loves it when we just come into his presence and speak because he's open to a bold new way that we can come with confidence 24 hours a day. The Lord loves it when we speak to him. And when we don't speak to him. Well it hurts our fellowship. You imagine I go home. I've been gone for a number of weeks and I get home.

My wife is a high got go upstairs I've got a lot to do I've get a lot of phone calls to do right now bunch of things. What do you think my wife Marilyn would think. She'd say what's wrong with that guy. I'm going to have to clip his ears or something I don't talk to her. What do you think the Lord feels when we don't talk to him. We're busy. We're even busy for him well remember what he said to Mary and Martha Martha Martha. You are busy and distracted by so many things you know. Sociologists tell us we live in the age of distractions. Never in human history has it in so many distractions. We've got television got the internet we got football we got sports we've got. It's almost endless to distract us into this and we do that but one thing is necessary. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen that good portion will never be taken from her and that city to Jesus feed not sitting at the TV set next to protect your Bible reading tie your Bible reading time. Let's be Barinas. We examine the scripture so I've given you a message today. Check it out. Oh often when I've spoken in our own church I tell people just because I said doesn't make it true. You're responsible. Check it out. Look in the scriptures yourself. Don't be a dummy. Don't be dull of hearing. You should prize the scriptures outside the giving of his own son for our salvation. The greatest second gift God has given us is his word. The very words of God are in our hands.

It is the tool for growth maturity and going forward. The Bible will challenge you unlike any other book if you will read it slowly and in a meditative way you will be challenged every time you read it and you will either be sanctified by it which is its purpose or you are going to be turned off by it because it goes right to the center of your heart. It tells you what like it is let the word of Christ dwell in you richly let the word of Christ dwell dwell deeply and take up its abode in you richly collages 316 then that wonderful verse again Luke 10 42 I hope you forget it. But one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her. Spending time at the feet of the Lord Jesus just listening to his words. Then read significant books books like Martin Lloyd-Jones atonement and justifications Romans 321 for 21. John stop the cross. These are just significant significant books and there are many others of books over there significant books by brothers and sisters who have grown and are way advanced to us maturity and we can learn a lot from them and then listen to audio messages. I'm going to make a confession to you and my confession is this. I was actually a tape aholic. I'm sorry for much of my life. We have the little cassette we don't even have in the car in those days. I had a tape recorder. It is a miracle I've not been killed in a car. I put my tape recorder.

I've listened to thousands of hours of Bible teaching by great preachers and I've learned so much by listening to audio messages. Now we have podcast today. I'm really encouraged the men in our church. When you're in the car don't just be looking for the police. Listen to the word Godfried of course are so guilty they're always looking for the police go to good conferences conferences like this years ago was the way Christians met each other and was very important conferencing. Also a way to get a good wife her husband that way. Meet other young people go to conferences go as a group. It's a great fellowship together. You seem to get more out of just being together with each other in the conference. Many more things to say here. Let me just close with this. Be really concerned about your ongoing education as a Christian. We got these lovely lovely young people down here and they've been paying attention. They really have. And you go to sleep. You go to sleep. He let those old people go to sleep. You're not going to sleep. That's good. We expect these young people to grow. Don't we. We'd be very disappointed if Mom and Dad didn't teach them. They've got a lot to learn. Why is it that we stop learning good doctors. I have a very good doctor for 30 years. Very close friend. The reason he's such a good doctor. He's always reading the literature goes to conferences. He's not just resting what he learned 45 years ago and in medical school I like him because he's up on the latest literature.

He's growing all the time. If you're a good musician you're learning all the time to expand your music why secretions do we stop growing. Why do we stop learning. Why do we not even care that we're the same old same old for three four decades. Fact We sort of resist grow we resist new phase. We resist hearing what we should be doing. New Vision for the church you're either growing learning expanding your heart in mind or you're just maintaining but the Lord doesn't allow it. You're going backward you're going backward. Before Jesus even said to those who have more will be giving to those who don't have will be taken away. I've actually seen it brothers at one time were men strong in the word and leaders and they backed off. And it seems like they went way back they hardly remember those verses anymore don't have much to say about the Lord. So there is deep responsibility with divine truth. If you're handling divine truth there's responsibility to it. The more light you get the more responsible you are and the Lord wants to add more. He's not stingy man which says if you lack wisdom and if God I'll give it to you abundantly. So ask for more. Say you're not satisfied. You want to know the word more. You want to have greater faith greater prayers greater wisdom in dealing with people. The Lord will give it to you. Let's pray. Lord help us to be growing Christians excited Christians about our faith and about the word Christians that are expanding deepening Maturin going forward.

Greater vision for the world greater understanding of divine truth greater wisdom in heart and mind. We need your help because this is not natural to us. Divine matters are are difficult for us. Worldly matters are easy and pleasant. Give us a heart to grow. Give us a heart that wants to be more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ to these ends we ask your help. A man.