Wednesday, April 11, 2012


A few years ago, a group of Southern California pastors met in small groups to discuss and share with one another how we keep ourselves vibrant and spiritually alive. One of the pastors particularly intrigued me. Only 35 years old, this man ministers to more than 10,000 people every Sunday morning. I was interested in what he had to say about maintaining his spiritual vitality. Every morning he sits at his desk and writes across the top of a sheet of paper the letters A-C-T-S. The A stands for adoration; the C stands for confession; the T stands for thanksgiving; and the S stands for supplication.

Under the letter A he writes down all the things he can think of about the majesty, greatness, and glory of God. He does what Jesus taught us to do in the Lord's Prayer, which is to turn our thoughts to God first: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name" (Matt. 6:9). Then he begins to contemplate the majesty of God, the greatness of His being, the love of His heart, the mercy He has manifested toward him--listing all those qualities as he goes. That is what the psalmist did: "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name" (Ps. 103:1).

Next he turns to confession, under C. "I write down the sins that I am aware of committing yesterday," he said. "If it is Monday morning, and in my preaching Sunday I exaggerated in an illustration--I said it was a nine-car pileup when there were only six--I do not write that I exaggerated, but that I lied to the people. If I inadvertently kept some change that was given to me by mistake, I do not write down that I kept some money yesterday. I want to be hard on myself. I want to put it down in the worst possible way so I will face in myself these tendencies. I write, 'I stole some money.'

"Next," he said, "I turn to thanksgiving, under T, and I begin to give thanks that I am forgiven for these sins. One by one I cross them out and write, 'forgiven, forgiven.'

"Then under S for supplication, I pray and ask God for the strength not to do it again, but to be honest, careful, and thoughtful."

No wonder that young man is being greatly used of God. My heart was delighted that such a young preacher would have such integrity. That is what we see here in Paul--thorough, ruthless honesty.

From Transformed Lives, Discovery Series booklet

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