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Notes from men’s retreat in Motley, MN – Feb 19-21Four ways to spiritual growth…

  1. Embrace the power of the new creation: The journey to maturity begins with the transforming work of the gospel.
    1. Fact: When we turn to the Lord and put our trust in Him, God recreatesus in Christ (Rom 5:12-21).
    2. God does this for us, but we must also join Christ practically in His death and resurrection. How?
      1. Know the truth of the transforming gospel (Rom 6:6).
      2. Consider it to be true (Rom 6:11).
      3. Present your bodily behavior to God in light of this truth (Rom 6:13).
  2. Watch over your heart: Maturity requires us to guard our hearts from distracting influences and invest our hearts in God’s Kingdom (Prov 4:23).
    1. The heart is the center of life – the inner core from which words, behavior, and influence flow.
    2. Four occupations of the heart that cultivate maturity:
      1. Our hearts must determine to follow Jesus. We must resolve to live out the covenant we made with God (Prov 4:23-27; Matt 16:24-28; Luke 14:25-33).
      2. Our hearts must seek God’s face – be fascinated by His loveliness (Psa 27:4-8).
        1. Hearts must overflow with a good theme (Psa 45:1)
        2. Jesus is Lord (Heb 1; Phil 2:1-11; John 1:1-5; Col 1:13-20).
        3. Jesus is good (Psa 23).
        4. Jesus is valuable (Phil 3:1-16).
        5. Find Him in the four Gospels.
      3. Our hearts must be full of the Spirit (Luke 4:1; Gal 4:6; Rom 5:5; Acts 2:1-4; Eph 5:18-21).
      4. Our hearts must forgive offenses (Mark 11:25; Luke 17:1-6; Matt 18:21-35; Eph 4:31-32).
  3. Pray when it counts: Mature men connect with God in prayer (Heb 4:16).
    1. “Come” – Build an altar in your heart and in your schedule.
    2. “Boldly” – God delights in our fellowship (the spotlight); we can have confidence.
    3. Pray the Jesus way (Heb 5:7-10): Raw, heartfelt prayer translates suffering into maturity.
      1. God trains us as sons in the wilderness of trials and resistance (Heb 5:8; 12:1-11).
      2. Prayer connects with God in the wilderness (Heb 4:16 in context). It refuses to let go of God until He provides the breakthrough.
      3. Prayer in the wilderness converts suffering and loss into authority (Exod 4:2).
  4. Build the House of the Lord: Mature spiritual men construct themselves and others through the power of the Spirit (1 Cor 3:10-17).
    1. Build each brick (yourself): “You have need of endurance” (Heb 10:32-39). Tools for endurance…
      1. “Be strong!” Tap the inner resources of the Holy Spirit. Just do it (Josh 1:1-9; Eph 6:10-11).
      2. Vision of the future before God (Heb 10:34-39; 2 Cor 5:1-10).
      3. Consider Jesus (Heb 12:1-3).
      4. Pray in the Spirit, in other tongues (1 Cor 14:4).
    2. Build the house (the church): Put the bricks together. Join with others in healthy relationships.
      1. Key Principles:
        1. We need one another’s exhortations and encouragement. God designed us that way (Heb 3:13).
        2. God’s design is a body. Christ is most glorified through a unified people rather than individuals (1 Cor 12:1-20; Eph 4:1-16).
        3. We simply need one another. We need healthy, covenantal relationships in order to become mature. In fact, having the courage to enter these relationships is a sign of spiritual maturity in itself.
      2. Key practices:
        1. Join with others in concentric circles – from a few close comrades to a broader body. Be a responsible covenant brother in each circle.
        2. Share the Spirit.
        3. Share life.
        4. Share the Word.
        5. Share prayer.
        6. Share weaknesses.
        7. Accept one another.
        8. Correct one another in love.
        9. Encourage one another.
        10. Protect one another.