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Summary: In this sermon, I cover the second six of twelve shared goals for all Christians.

Introduction:

A. One day a woman was driving through a snowstorm just outside of Denver, Colorado.

1. She was completely lost and struggling under the hazardous weather conditions.

2. She was relieved when she happened upon a snowplow.

3. Since she was lost she decided to follow the snowplow as close to the machine as she could while it removed snow from the road.

4. At times the blowing snow almost cut off her view, but she just kept following the huge truck.

5. After some time, the snowplow stopped and the driver got out and came back to her car.

6. The snowplow driver said, “Lady, where are you trying to get to by following me?”

7. The lady replied, “I’m trying to get to Denver.”

8. The snowplow driver replied, “Well, you’ll never get there following me! I’m just plowing this parking lot!”

9. Here’s the lesson for us: Before we let others lead us, it would be helpful to know their direction and destination.

B. As your spiritual shepherds, we want you to have the confidence that we are leading you in the right direction and the right destination.

1. We believe it is important for us to have spiritual direction for our lives that comes not from our thinking, but from the Word of God.

2. Periodically, we believe it is important for us to renew and restate our goals and directions.

3. It is next to impossible for us to move forward together and hold each other accountable if we don’t review what we are all about every once in a while?

C. So, in order to clarify our goals and be reminded of God’s expectations for us, we have made the bookmark that we made available last week.

1. As I said last week, I would encourage each of us to take the bookmark home and keep it in a prominent place – put it on the refrigerator or keep it where you do your daily devotional.

2. Then, when each of us see the bookmark, we can be reminded of our shared goals.

3. Feel free to take as many as you need and to share them with others as well.

D. If you were here last week, then you know that last week’s sermon covered the first six of the twelve shared goals.

1. What I will be doing in today’s sermon is to briefly touch on the second six shared goals listed on the bookmark.

2. As I mentioned last week, these 12 shared goals are not a perfect list, but hopefully they help organize and direct our hearts and lives toward pleasing God and being faithful to Him.

3. Before we move on to the second six of the twelve shared goals, let’s recite the first six.

4. God wants us to strive toward these shared goals (please say them with me)

a. Believe Wholeheartedly

b. Worship Regularly

c. Fellowship Devotedly

d. Serve Willingly

e. Pray Fervently

f. Give Generously

Now, Let’s talk about the second six of Our Shared Goals

A. The seventh shared goal is Study Diligently

1. I intentionally started the second six shared goals with this one, because the shared focus on God’s Word is not only an extreme privilege, but is a sacred responsibility.

2. It is impossible to overemphasize the important place that God’s Word must have in each of our lives.

3. The importance of studying God’s Word diligently isn’t just for spiritual leaders, but is necessary for every follower of God.

4. As a spiritual leader, I’m challenged by the example of Ezra, the OT spiritual leader.

a. The Bible says this about Ezra: He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given…For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. (Ezra 7:6, 10)

b. How did Ezra become well versed in the Law of Moses?

c. It didn’t just happen overnight or by an immediate download from the cloud, rather it came from the fact that he devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law.

d. Ezra’s ability to live and teach God’s Word came from diligently studying it.

5. But the privilege and responsibility of studying diligently isn’t just for spiritual leaders, but involves every follower of God.

a. I chose Acts 17:11 to convey this shared goal because I’m always so encouraged by the Bereans.

b. Acts 17:11 says: Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

c. The Bereans examined the Scriptures every day to make sure the things Paul was teaching were true.

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