Archive | October 2012

Not a Fan #5: Living Life Undistracted

Living Life Undistracted

1 Corinthians 7:29-35

Now let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short, so husbands should not let marriage be their major concern. Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God’s work. Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away. In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man can’t do that so well. He has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be more devoted to the Lord in body and in spirit, while the married woman must be concerned about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.

I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

Men are notorious for being distracted. Most of us could qualify for having ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder. In fact, I heard about a guy who was so distracted over one thing and another that he had to have his wife tell him almost everything. One day his wife came into the room and said, “Here’s the sweater you asked me to find.” He said, “Are we going somewhere, or am I cold?” That would be funny if it wasn’t so close to home. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a room and asked myself what I am doing there. I knew that I came there for a reason, but it was beyond me what it was because I became distracted by something else. Just ask my wife…I will stand in in our home stupefied because I forgot what I needed or where I was heading.

It is hard to remain focused isn’t it? Life for many consists of rabbit trails rather than highways. They are always on the move, but not really getting anywhere. The distractions of life dictate their decisions and control their schedules.

HERE’S A SNAP-SHOT OF MY LIFE: I make a lot of plans, but get very little done. The phone rings. I need something at the store. Here’s a classic scenario: I simply want to check my email. In moments, however, I get caught in the web of the internet following a story, looking up something, blogging, reading other people’s blogs, checking the weather, looking to see if the Mountaineers are any closer to a championship, or just catching up on the news…and I never get around to checking the email. The kids need to be dropped off, and then they need picked up. Something needs cleaned or repaired. A stack of books are begging to be read. Even making lists of things that need to be done is a distraction.

The problem is that it all seems important, or at least necessary. Our lives are filled with the urgent, and we have no time for the eternal. We have tended to a million little things and left undone the big things. We have filled the day with things that do not ultimately matter and left undone the things that do matter. We have done what seemed necessary and neglected what was essential. Days turn into months and months into years, and our lives have become trivialized by distractions.

How do we escape this ruthless cycle of distractions which keep us from what life was meant to be? Let me suggest a few things.

move from pragmatism to passion.

Pragmatism is doing something because it gets results or it works.

Passion is the craving of a heart that wants to experience the fullness of life no matter what the cost. Passion is fire in the belly.

move from being fractured to being focused

We are all tempted to be controlled by the tyranny of the urgent.

If you can begin each day in the Word you can see the big picture for the day.

If you begin each day with prayer & meditation you can focus on what’s important. But if you just start the day running you will never stop running.

Drop unimportant things, even if they disappoint some people, so that you can do the important things. Focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. The problem is that the main thing gets crowded out by a lot of things that are not even related to the main thing.

Tim Allen, star of the television sitcom Home Improvement, said in a Reader’s Digest article:

“How much of the day are you awake? You think, ‘I gotta get the dry cleaning, I gotta get going, and this and this.’ All of a sudden it’s dinnertime. And then there is a moment of connection with your spouse or your friends. Then you read and go to bed. Wake up, and it’s the same all over. You’re not awake, you’re not living, you’re not experiencing. We start early medicating ourselves. We start kids early on TV and video games and so on. It’s daunting how many possibilities there are in life for every one of us. But rather than face that I may be a failure or a success. . . people find diversions.”

We need to be focused instead of fractured.

move from wandering to living life on purpose.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

There is a purpose for your life and it is important to discover that purpose and not let a thousand little distractions rob you of it. I think of the disciples sleeping in the garden when Jesus needed them to be with him. He had warned them of the importance of prayer. He told them it was the only way they would be delivered in the time of trial and temptation. But they missed their purpose in those moments. They chose sleep over vigilance. It is no wonder that within a few hours Peter betrayed his Lord and the rest of them ran when they could and should have stood.

In her book, A Practical Guide to Prayer, Dorothy Haskins tells about a noted concert violinist who was asked about the secret of her mastery of the instrument. She said,

“There are many things that used to demand my time. When I went to my room after breakfast, I made my bed, straightened the room, dusted, and did whatever seemed necessary. When I finished my work, I turned to my violin practice. That system prevented me from accomplishing what I should on the violin. So I reversed things. I deliberately planned to neglect everything else until my practice period was complete. And that program of planned neglect is the secret to my success.”

I like the idea of planned neglect. She had a purpose, and she put that purpose first and deliberately neglected other things. She was a violinist and she never forgot it. She was a violinist first, and everything else came after that.

What would happen in your life if…(you fill in the blanks)

“There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.”   – Fredrick William Faber

  • Let me ask you a few questions:
  • What is your main purpose in life?
  • What is your second most important purpose in life?
  • What is your third most important purpose in life?
  • Does the way you are living your life truly reflect those goals?

Three Truths to Take With You…

  • Time is Short – Our Most Precious Commodity is the moment that passes us by.
  • The Eternal MUST OUTWEIGH the Urgent
    • Because time is short
    • Because eternity hangs in the balance
  • Make: PASSION…FOCUS…PURPOSE a priority in your life.
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Not a Fan #3: Are We Following the Rules or the Redeemer?

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Theme Verse: Luke 9:23-27

Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Review:

  • FOLLOWING IS A CHOICE
  • FOLLOWING IS A COMMITMENT
  • FOLLOWING IS A COURSE

Are We Following Jesus or Following the Rules?

The Pharisees and Scribes would have had Everyone Convinced that they were Completely Committed Followers. The only question is, what are they following?

That’s a good question for us to ask today. “What are you following?”

Matthew 23 – Pulling the Curtain Back on the Faithfully Faulty

The Prognosis: The Faithfully Faulty are often Dedicated and Devoted

  • The Pharisees went through incredibly intense training and study
  • The Sadducees were raised in a family of religious leaders to become leaders.
  • There is no question that these men were devoted and dedicated
  • The problem is that you can be devoted and dedicated, and still be wrong.

Jesus levels a pretty heavy accusation on the Sanhedrin referring to centuries before, when the Jews killed the messengers of God because they didn’t want to hear what God had to say when it went against their personal desires.

2 Chronicles 36.15-16 : But the Lord God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of his messengers, sending them time and time again, for He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising His words, and scoffing at His prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against His people that there was no remedy.

The Problem: The Faithfully Faulty have a Faulty Focus: Outside Vs. Inside

23.25-26: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed  and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup,  so the outside of it  may also become clean.

Illustration: You might spend hours cleaning the outside of a toilet, but you are not likely to drink the water in the bowl…right? Why? What if at your favorite restaurant you kept getting bowls that were sparkling on the outside, but the inside didn’t look like it had seen the sink?

  • If Your Focus is on the External, then it is on the Temporal
    • These could be people who are not really saved.
      • They know enough about how to act that they are convincing
      • They know enough about what to say that they sound convincing

Listen, there could be a real danger for some of you here. You can spend time in church with believers, singing the songs and reading the Scriptures, but not really make the decision to be saved…to become a follower of Christ. You know all the stuff and may do all the right stuff, but you are LOST! It’s time for you to stop playing a game at the cross and come to Jesus.

Matthew 7:21-23 (HCSB)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day MANY will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we (DIDN’T I) prophesy in Your name, didn’t we (DIDN’T I) drive out demons in Your name, and didn’t we (DIDN’T I) do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’

    • These may be the Believers who Wear their Christian Masks
      • Don’t watch the wrong stuff…where people can see
      • Don’t drink the wrong stuff…where people can see
      • Don’t eat the wrong stuff…where people can see
      • Don’t listen to the wrong stuff…where people can hear
      • Etc…

Revelation 3.1 – To the angel of the church in Sardis write: “The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says: I know your works; YOU HAVE A REPUTATION FOR BEING ALIVE, BUT YOU ARE DEAD.

Notice the number of times Jesus uses the word: HYPOCRITE in Matthew 23 = 8x  (vvs. 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29)

People tell me that they can’t stand the hypocrites in the church…neither can I. But I’m not at church for the hypocrites, for the people who disappoint, discourage, and mislead…I’m here for the ONE who LOVED me so much that HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON for ME, that I could have ETERNAL LIFE through my FAITH in HIM. (John 3.16)

  • If Your Focus is on the Internal, then it is on the Eternal

The Promise: The Faithfully Faulty can Become the Faithful Follower

As With Moving from Fan to Follower…It Requires a Choice

  • The Pharisees…and other Faithfully Faulty
    • Choose Rules over Relationship
    • Choose Law over Love
    • Choose Guilt over Grace
    • Miss what Really Matters

Galatians 2:16 (HCSB)
16 yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.

  • Being a Follower Means…
    • Choosing Relationship that empowers us to follow the Rules
    • Choosing Love, that fulfills the Law
    • Choosing Grace that is the Answer for Guilt

Invitation:

An invitation is given to people who have been selected by a person to attend or participate in an event, celebration. The invitation often comes with an RSVP for those who would choose to attend. Attendance may not be mandatory, but you can’t experience the benefits if you are not there.

  • You are invited to…STOP PLAYING GAMES AT THE CROSS
  • You are invited to…JOIN JESUS ON THE JOURNEY OF LIFE
  • You are invited to…BECOME A FAITHFUL FOLLOWER

Not A Fan #2– “Nick At Night: From Fan to Follower”

Not a Fan Series – Message #2 – LWCC09232012

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Nick at Night: From Fan to Follower

September 23, 2012

Review: In the Last Message…

We Discussed the Children’s Game: Follow the Leader

We Discussed the command: “Go, clean your room.”

We Considered some of Jesus’ COMMANDS

We Looked at the Verse: Luke 9.23

WE EXAMINED THE SERIES THEME VERSE: Luke 9:23-27

Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

  • FOLLOWING IS A CHOICE
  • FOLLOWING IS A COMMITMENT
  • FOLLOWING IS A COURSE

In this message we consider…the progress of changes in the life and relationship of a Jesus Fan on the way to becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Christ.

–It’s D.T.R. time With Jesus (Define the Relationship)–

Nicodemus: Moving from Being a Fan to being a Follower

John 3: A Fan in Secret – Seeking Jesus at Night

John 3:1-2 (HCSB)
1 There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Him at night…

· Notice He Comes At Night – A Secret-Agent Believer

  • WHY DID HE COME AT NIGHT?
    • He’s close, but he doesn’t want to seem too close
    • He might be wondering, what if people see?
    • He might be concerned that following Jesus interferes with his life.
      • One Reason I love the book of John is the encounters people have with Jesus
      • Meeting Jesus changed the lives of those who encounter Him.
      • My own encounters with Jesus leave me and my relationship with Him changed

John 7: A Fan in Transition – Stand Up for Jesus

John 7:50-52 (HCSB)
50 Nicodemus—the one who came to Him previously, being one of them—said to them, 51 “Our law doesn’t judge a man before it hears from him and knows what he’s doing, does it?”
52 “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you?” they replied. “Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

  • Standing up for someone takes courage and character
  • It also involves a connection to the person on SOME level
    • Perhaps just a surface level as another human
    • Perhaps on a deeper level as a colleague or neighbor
    • Perhaps even deeper as a friend
    • Perhaps really deep as a family member
  • Nicodemus STANDS UP for Jesus…The DTR is Changing
    • Suddenly the choice to follow Jesus may be interfering in life

John 19: A Follower in Devotion – The Cost

John 19:38-42 (HCSB)
38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus—but secretly because of his fear of the Jews—asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took His body away.
39 Nicodemus (who had previously come to Him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about 75 POUNDS OF MYRRH AND ALOES. 40 Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the aromatic spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 There was a garden in the place where He was crucified. A new tomb was in the garden; no one had yet been placed in it. 42 They place Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation and since the tomb was nearby.

  • A Fan might be willing to pay some price, but limited
  • A Completely Committed Follower doesn’t measure the cost
    • 75 POUNDS of ointment and spices was a costly investment
    • Consider:
      • Matthew 26:6-7 (HCSB)
        6 While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had a serious skin disease, 7 a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table.
      • John 12:3 (HCSB)
        3 Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil—pure and expensive nard—anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
    • The tomb was an Expensive Gift
      • Matthew 27.60 tells us this tomb was actually Joseph’s new tomb he had just had dug from the rock.

STANDING UP

Joseph and Nicodemus were secret believers, but after seeing the horrible treatment of Jesus, they decided that it had gone far enough and they were going to stand up, show their loyalty, and take care of Jesus’ body for burial. Today, many treat the Bible and Jesus with similar horrible treatment. Now is the time for believers to step forward. Now is the time to come forward and testify to what God has done for you. Now is the time to join “that courageous and faithful band who are not afraid to stand up and be counted!” — Life Application Bible Commentary

So, Are You Ready to Move from

  • FAN
    • Secret Faith
    • Avoiding Faith
    • Budget Faith

 

  • TO FOLLOWER
    • Shared Faith
    • Confident Faith
    • Costly Faith