Come! A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family,

If you tune in tomorrow morning, you will hear me say this sentence: “There are times when the Father doesn’t want to share you with anyone else.” It’s an implication of the way Jesus uses the word “secret” in Matthew 6:1-18. The Father is eager, jealous even, to be with you. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say He’s desperate (He is not insufficient and has zero needs). However, His heart is incredibly zealous to be with you. Just you. He begs you to “Come!” to Him.

Consider. . .

Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water. . .come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost! . . . Listen carefully to me . . . Pay attention and come to me; listen so that you will live.” (Isaiah 55:1-3, emphasis mine)

The Father’s invitation to “Come!” is to listen carefully to Him. To pay attention to Him. To listen . . . so that we will live!

Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life . . .” (Proverbs 8:34-35)

There are things in secret the Father has for you. There are treasures of wisdom and knowledge and delight that are waiting for those who go to God in the secret places.

West Franklin, I am overwhelmed by a burden to plead with you to spend time with God. Just you and Him. Every day. I am convinced that the only way our church will realize its full identity and purpose and mission is when each of us live our lives out of the overflow of what the Father says to us in secret by His Spirit from His Word. I am convinced you will never – ever find what your heart is truly looking and longing for until you cultivate a rich, joy-filled, honest, and intimate relationship with your loving Father. This is why He sent Jesus! To bring us to Himself! Let’s not waste what Jesus accomplished for us.

Do you spend time with the Father every day? I don’t mean check off a box that you’ve “had your quiet time.” I don’t mean you’ve filled out some blanks on Bible Study page. These things can be helpful, yes. But the real question is, “Are you actually being with God?” Are you cultivating a relationship with Him? Not a ritual. A relationship?

Below are a few suggestions to consider:

1. If you’ve yet to develop this habit, start small. 

If this is new to you, start with 5-10 minutes in the morning or evening. Perhaps read a Proverb a day. There are 31 Proverbs (found in the middle of the Bible close to Psalms). Whatever day of the week it is,            read that Proverb. For instance, today is May 9th. Read Proverbs 9. Do the same thing tomorrow with Proverbs 10. It will take around 5 minutes. Or, start reading a chapter or a smaller section from Mark’s Gospel. Practice this every day for a month. See what God begins to say.

2. Pray before you open your Bible. 

As you walk to wherever you are going to be with God, simply ask the Father to speak to you. Ask His Spirit to meet your spirit from His Word and speak to your heart. Like the psalmist, ask the Father to open          your eyes so that you may behold wonders that He desires to reveal to you in secret.

3. Read the daily Scripture and watch a devotional thought provided by your staff team. 

Your West Franklin staff team has provided a Bible reading plan for our church throughout 2020. May’s reading plan can be found here. On our Facebook page, we also provide a brief, devotional thought                based on the passage we are reading for the day. These are very small and simple ways you can think about the passage and/or learn how to process a particular part of Scripture.

4. Whet your appetite by reading colorful devotionals.

Reading a chapter a day from one of Max Lucado’s books was incredibly instrumental in my life when I became serious about meeting with God every day. He has a gift of making the Scripture come to life and        leaving you wanting more. I also enjoy the devotional works of Jon Bloom, especially his book Not by Sight. If the Bible seems boring and dry to you and/or difficult to understand, try reading one of these                authors every day and allow the Spirit stir in your soul a desire to know more.

5. Write your thoughts in a journal. 

I have found that writing a verse, and/or a thought from a verse that speaks to me is remarkably helpful for remembering it throughout the day. There is something about the action of writing something down        that helps it stay with you. Write a verse down and pray the verse for yourself, your family, friends, etc. Jot down a truth the Father speaks to you from His Word or a meaningful quote from a devotional. Watch        what happens in your mind when you know you need to actually write something down the Father says to you.

When speaking of practicing spiritual things, Jesus made it very plain: “The Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18) The reward is His delight-filled presence. For the good of your own soul, for the good and health of our church, for the supernatural strength to live out the Sermon on the Mount, for the joyful endurance in a pandemic – meet with your loving Father in secret.

Because Jesus Invites Us All,

Pastor Matt

 

Read previous letters to West Franklin here.

Follow West Franklin on Facebook here.

Tune in tomorrow to either YouTube or Facebook at 9 or 10:30 am here.

Listen to a twice-weekly podcast about all things West Franklin here.

Know more about potential plans for re-opening here. Trust me – as soon as I know definite plans, I will get word out ASAP!