My college Bacteriology professor was an expert on dairy products. He knew which types of bacteria would produce different types of cheeses, and other products. He knew the proper balance of milkfat to use in different items. He knew the recipes for just about any milk-related item that was known. Yet he never ate any of it. He was allergic to milk!
This may seem like a crazy idea, yet this man's life is parallel to many of ours in the Christian faith. We know all about God. We know who God is and what God has done and continues to do. Yet we have no intimate, personal knowledge of God. God is an object to be studied and thought about, but not a person to have a relationship with. Does this describe your life? If so then I would like to suggest that you continue your faith journey by getting to know the God who wants to be personally and intimately known by you. As I see it, that is the main message of Christmas, that God, in Christ, has come into our world so that we could have a relationship with God.
Let me share with you two of the best ways to develop our spiritual relationship. First, worship is essential. God is everywhere and can speak to us in any setting, but the best place is in worship. Jesus promised, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20 NRSV). Worship must be a priority in our lives, not only during Lent and as we move toward Easter. It must remain a priority all year long.
A second way that we grow in our faith is with a group of others who are seeking to know Christ better. This could be a Sunday school class or a small group that is focused on learning and growing in faith. Spiritual growth happens best with other people who are also seeking to grow in faith. As we develop relationships with the members of the body of Christ we will develop a personal relationship with Jesus, the head of the body (Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 1:18).
Right now at Sharon we have one adult Sunday school class. I’d love to see one or more new classes get started. There are a variety of small groups going on at Sharon as well. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, or starting a new group, please let me know.
Knowledge "about" something does not make any difference in one’s life. It does not change your identity, transform your life, or bring the "peace that passes all understanding." The knowledge that will make a difference in our lives must be a personal knowledge, which involves a relationship with God. I know that some of you want and need this type of experience, though it may be scary or seem that you don't have time for a small group. I would encourage you to take a chance and make time for this wonderful opportunity. The health and growth of this church and our own faith growth depends on the number of members who are worshipping and participating in groups of people who are focused on spiritual growth.
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