Drawing Near:


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Today we are focusing on our commitment to godliness and standing strong against the enemy who wants to defeat and destroy us. We do this by submitting to God and asking for the Holy Spirit's guidance and strength in resisting the devil and drawing near to the Father who loves us as his beloved children (James 4:7-8). As we begin, let's use an upbeat song that calls on us to focus on what we have in the Lord. Let's sing "I'm Trading My Sorrow" with Hillsong Worship:

We join with Nehemiah and remind each other that despite all the challenges we face in our world right now, we can find joy in the Lord!

This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Entering into the Word:

Since our strategy to resist the evil one begins with submitting our hearts to the Lord (James 4:7-8), let's sing "Here's My Heart Lord" with Lauren Daigle:

The text for our lesson is 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT:

Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

The apostle Paul disciplined his body like an athlete because he wanted to live the principles he preached and do so with passion and endurance. He did not want to be disqualified from the prize because he didn't live the principles he taught. Instead, Paul lived a life of intentional godliness, seeking to bring others to Jesus and live consistently for Jesus. Phil Ware expands on these ideas in his message on intentional godliness:

Jesus calls us to be on our personal mission or to be training for that mission. But, are we ready to go? Let's confess that we are willing to go wherever Jesus calls us or leads us to go. Lord Jesus, "If You Say Go," then we will go! We not only make this commitment as we sing it with the Hallal singers, but we also intend to live it out boldly in our daily lives:

Sharing The Supper:

One way we draw near to the Lord is through our sharing the Lord's Supper — a time of remembrance, victory, and power the early church celebrated at least on each Sunday, the day of Jesus' resurrection (Acts 20:7). While The Supper reminds us of Jesus' death, we also rejoice in his victory over sin, death, and hell, for us. Let's share The Supper today with Robert Reagan, a long-time leader, minister, and mentor of leaders and missionaries in Asia:

Closing with a Blessing:

As we approach the end of today's ToGather.church, let's pledge to live with intentional godliness. Let's offer ourselves to God, withholding nothing, and trusting that the Holy Spirit will empower us to become more like Jesus! We ask for the Spirit's guidance as we sing "Spirit Lead Me":

Godliness is a value that has eternal implications!

We conclude today with the assurance that we are God's beloved children. We can draw near to God because he loves us and wants us near. He claims us as his beloved children who bring him joy, just as Jesus did (Luke 3:21-22). Let's join with Phil as he reminds us of these truths and offers a closing blessing:

Let's enter this week, praying this blessing over each other. Please read this out loud as we link our hearts together in this blessing around the world!

May we live this week in the assurance that we are God's precious children and demonstrate to the world the love and purity of our Savior, Jesus! Amen.


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