Summary: One thing, that I have not really stressed, all that much in my ministry – sure I mention it occasionally – but usually, only in passing – and it is the essential truth, that I want to talk about for the next 3 weeks - >>>>> okay, here it is - steward

“Where Is My Heart?”

Recovering A Vital Truth – part one

Back in the early 1980’s I was stationed in Yorktown Virginia and would occasionally make the 4 hour trip back home to Maryland. I remember coming back home one time, it was starting to get dark, I was on I-495 bypassing Washington DC – moving right along making good time. Then all of the sudden things weren’t looking too familiar, some thing didn’t feel right, but I convinced myself it was still okay – after all it was night time and things just look at little different at night.

SO I kept on driving looking for even one a familiar landmark, that would show me that I was about to be in good old Virginia – I didn’t see any… But I keep on going…

And after being uncomfortable like this for about 30 minutes – I saw a sign on the right side of the road, that finally convinced me once and for all that I was heading in the wrong direction, “Welcome To Maryland” a state I had left over an hour earlier.

Needless to say, I got off at the very first exit and turned around, so much for breaking my best time from Baltimore to Yorktown.

Listen - the old Turkish proverb I mentioned 2 weeks ago is sound advice; “No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road turn back…”

And my friends, that is exactly what I am doing today – for 9+ years I have been taking a wrong road in my role as a pastor and teacher of God’s people. For nearly 10 years I have, for the most part, avoided and left out a vital part – an essential ingredient in the spiritual growth of individuals and of churches…

NOW, I am much too sharp, to just leave it out – SO what I did was to convince myself that I was actually doing the right thing, in avoiding this topic… I’ve never done a series on it – I don’t think I’ve even done a entire sermon on it…

But over the past 6 months – God has slowly gotten me to understand that I was headed in the wrong direction… He started making me feel uncomfortable – convicting me… I began to feel that something was NOT right.

In early October myself and 5 other leaders from Central took a trip to Louisville, Kentucky to go to a Leadership Conference at Southeast Christian Church. It was an awesome trip. I sat in a church that seats 10,000 people – and who each year brings 1,000+ people to Christ and gives over 2 million dollars to missions. I was blown away as I walked through a 770,000 square foot facility – and I stood in a visitor center the size of a football field. We were there Friday through Saturday evening…

And it was during the Saturday morning session – that God used Bob Russell to help me begin to see – that I was going down the wrong road. In his message that morning, he talked about the very subject, I had been leaving out all these years…

BUT understand – I’m not the always sharpest knife in the drawer – so God needed to give me another prod, in order to get me going, in order - to get me to realize that I needed to turn around and head in the right direction…

On April 12th of this year – God once again pulled out the ‘cattle prod.’ I was over in Alpharetta, having lunch with Chris Stovall, the minister over at the new church we support called Lifepoint. Chris & and I get together a couple times a month now – to share ideas and most importantly - to pray together and develop some kind of accountability.

We were sitting in Applebee’s (eating salads, aren’t you proud) and sharing about our respective churches – both of us are totally stoked about the opportunities God has given to us.

While, I was talking about the work here – Chris asked me if he could, in his words, “Be bold with me…” You see, Chris wanted to know if he could shoot straight with me… And I said, “yeah man, go for it… that’s why I am here…that’s what we are supposed to be about…”

AND Chris just - like Bob Russell – 6 months earlier, brought up the exact same topic I had essentially - been leaving out during 9+ years of ministry. AND let me tell you – as I sat in Applebee’s that Thursday, I had a “Welcome to Maryland” experience.

So much so that I determined right then and there – that at the very next off ramp I would turn around and start heading in the right direction. So much so, that - I decided that the series I planned on kicking off today – April 29th, on “Restoring Balance to our Lives” - a series I am totally stoked about, because I know I need to balance my life a little better – and because I know God is going to use those messages to bring a bunch of new people to central. But because of my “Welcome To MD” experience, I decided right then and there to push it back a full 3 weeks.

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