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Perhaps the most meaningful takeaway of helping lead two men's retreats in the past month is seeing men take stock of their lives.

It is very hard with the demands of our every waking moment to give ourselves the permission to pause long enough to take stock. Yet this is precisely what Jesus did and prescribed for his disciples to do – take time apart to focus on God and take stock of our lives in light of that focus. It's what Jesus did for 40 days at the beginning of his ministry; it is what Jesus would call his disciples to do after a strenuous day; it is what we practice in miniature on every Sunday's sabbath. We take stock – inventory of what is fundamental for our lives.

Taking the Next Step is our our opportunity in three short weeks to pause long enough to take stock of God's generosity in our lives which in turn beckons us to assess how grateful and how generous we will be in response. In the healthy spiritual life, greater gratitude leads to greater generosity.

Unanimously, the men at Bridgeport last weekend agreed how valuable that time away was for their souls and their priorities. As Alan Johnson said, "Now it's time for us to proselytize other men to come and have this experience." That's what happens when one takes stock of the grace in one's life. As we sing in the camp song, " … you want to pass it on."

See you in the grateful place this Sunday,

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Matt Gaston
Lead Pastor