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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Are You Growing

Try to imagine what it would be like if your batting average in life was figured out at the end of every day and the next morning it appeared in bold newspaper headlines for everyone to see. Professional baseball players have that every day. How did Jason Heyward do yesterday? What is he hitting now?

How would you like that? "Yesterday, the batting average of Tim Woodward dropped another five points as he went hitless in four times at bat. He struck out on his visit to the hospital, flied out twice in attempting to find volunteers for that job that needs doing, and his sermon was a pop-up to the infield."

Try it on yourself. "Yesterday, Jon Doe's slump continued as he went 0 for 4. He lost a contract before noon, chewed out his secretary immediately afterwards, grounded out with his teenage son's request for help, and was thrown out of the game for arguing with his wife."

The fact is that no one keeps up-to-date batting averages on us, and in a way, I suppose that is good. But it also means that we can utterly stop growing without ever knowing it. Nobody is measuring us. Nobody is timing us. Nobody is keeping the averages current. One day life slows down and we look around and suddenly realize that we've become stagnant. One man put it this way: "Growth is the only evidence of life; whoever is not busy growing is busy dying."

Scripture backs that up. We are to "grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ." We are told to add the Christian graces to our lives. Paul puts it this way: "I do not count myself to have attained. But forgetting those things which are behind and pressing forward to those things ahead, I push towards the goal..." (Phil. 3:13).

Every one of us should be able to say with the old cowboy, "I ain't what I ought to be, I ain't what I'm gonna be, but thank God, I ain't what I used to be!"

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward