Knowing God--Knowing Ourselves
There is a cancer update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
It was A. W. Tozer who said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Such insight is very helpful; but is it sufficient for us to think about God, or does the Bible call us to examine ourselves as well? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from new book that probes the importance of soul care. The author is Stephen W. Smith, President of Potter's Inn Ministries (http://pottersinn.com).
KNOWING GOD—KNOWING OURSELVES
The voices of church leaders down through the centuries unite in a call for us to enter into times of rigorous self-examination and to know and honor who we really are. This self-knowledge goes hand-in-hand with knowing God. Consider this sampling:
Clement of Alexandria: "If one knows himself, he will know God."
Augustine: "Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee."
Thomas à Kempis: "A humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search for great learning."
John Calvin: "Nearly all wisdom, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: knowledge of God and knowledge of self.
René Descartes: "I hold that all those to whom God has given the gift of reason are bound to employ it in the effort to know him and to know themselves."
Most who have gone before us agree: Knowing our true selves helps us to know the God who really is. Until we plumb the depths to discover who we are, we can never build a foundation from which to truly know God. This journey of knowing ourselves necessitates a slow, steady knowing of God that continues throughout life.
WHO AM I, REALLY? Asking this question honors your soul and your Creator. By sitting with this question, you accept the fact that you are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14). Most of us have not taken the time to wander into our wonder, explore our claylike souls, survey how God made each of us into a "marvel of conception" (Job 10:9). But each of should. Our marvel of conception, our fearfully and wonderfully made souls are unique never to be repeated, never before made. . . .
No journey of self-discovery can begin without God as our companion. By encountering God, Isaiah encountered himself. As we get to know God, we get to know ourselves. When Isaiah had the vision of God being holy, righteous, and filled with glory in the temple, he not only saw a vision of God as he truly is, he also saw himself. He said, "Woe to me! . . . For I am a man of unclean lips" (Isa. 6:5). It was his own realization of his authentic self before such a God as he had experienced.
To know God—and not just to know ABOUT God—is fundamental. I only know about the president of our country. I have never met him. I cannot call him a friend or even an acquaintance. Here's the truth: Life both here and in the world to come is linked to knowing God. Jesus said, "This is the real and eternal life: that they KNOW YOU, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3). Life is about knowing God, which leads to knowing our true selves.
When we choose to know God, we also choose to learn about ourselves—and we might find that we didn't wish to know some of that knowledge at all. Seeing our own selfishness, pride, jealousy, deep-rooted anger, and unspeakable shame is never a fun experience. We must view and deal with the ruin before we can make it to glory on the transformational journey of becoming who we really are.
— Stephen W. Smith, in SOUL CUSTODY: CHOOSING TO CARE FOR THE ONE AND ONLY YOU. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010, pp. 130-32. ISBN 978-1-4347-6472-0. [The author says several times: "This is not a self-help book. He draws on many passages of Scripture and scores of rich quotations from the history of the church to encourage believers to care for their souls.]
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
August 17 Treatment Update
Dear friends and family,
Thanks again for loving us and praying for us during this cancer journey. Longer journal entries and some new pictures are found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam.
Every day we are at the Brown Cancer Clinic for lab tests and treatments to attack the various aspects of the Graft vs. Host Disease. The doctors have lowered the steroid dose more quickly than first planned. This should help with the swelling in my feet, ankles, legs, neck, and face. They are pretty sure that I have a bladder infection of some kind now, possibly a recurrence of the BK virus that I had during the last days of my hospital stay. We'll know more about that after more tests tomorrow. Yesterday I needed a bag of platelets. A chest X-ray yesterday was clear—no problem. Today I needed a growth factor shot because my white blood count had dropped significantly (because of some of the pills I am taking). Every morning requires two infusions, an anti-fungal and an anti-virus drug. Depending on the morning's lab results, my medications are altered slightly nearly every day. In her loving and caring manner, Doris said to one of the clinicians, "Chip is like a human test tube that you fill up in the morning, shake him up a bit during the day, and then bring him back for more."
The LORD is giving us patience and strength for this journey—even some joy. We have people visiting regularly to pray for us, and we have received many beautiful displays of love and kindness. My snazzy new walker arrived yesterday—racing blue, with four wheels, hand brakes, a seat, and a basket. I am all set.
Please keep praying for Doris, our family, my caregivers, and me; and don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Pray that our stem cell drive will provide many, many cancer patients with life-saving options for treatment. God can do this. We have met and surpassed our fund-raising goal ($51,000), and we are about fifty DNA samples short of our goal of 1,800 swab kits. If you would like to swab your cheek and participate, it is not too late.
Resting in His matchless care,