Monday, July 29, 2019

How To Avoid Spiritual Obesity

PROVERBS 29:19
By mere words, a servant is not disciplined,
for though he understands, he will not respond.

I was sitting around a table with several other pastors, talking about how to disciple our people more effectively. One of the other pastors was lamenting the reality that many in our church had been long-time members with significant biblical knowledge, but their lives weren't reflecting the love of Christ. In frustration he said:

Too many people are 100 verses overweight.

His statement is a great summary of Proverbs 29:19. Head knowledge alone doesn't lead to growth. If more information doesn't lead to greater transformation, it's wasted effort.


James told believers to not just be HEARERS of the Word but to be DOERS.

Jesus didn't tell His followers to "make disciples, teaching them all my commands." He told them to "make disciples, teaching them TO OBEY all my commands."

God's Word teaches us what we need to know, and we must implement it in our daily life! Discipleship requires discipline and discipline requires action. What will be your next step today?
  • What do you need to start doing?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What do you need to do more?
  • What do you need to do less?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Sermon Leftovers From The Fourth Commandmement: Remember the Sabbath.

1) We all face the temptation every day to wear our busyness as a badge of honor. We feel more important when we claim that our "busyness" is an impediment to connection with others.

2) Too many people claim to be "busy" in order to avoid conversation, authenticity, or deeper relationships

3) Much of our busyness is caused by our proclivity to fill the empty spaces of life (waiting in line; riding in planes, trains, and automobiles; bedtime) with technology. Instead of serving us by making us more productive, our gadgets have become our masters. Look around, everyone is bowing to their phone.

4) The deeper reason for our busyness is a desire to prove something to others or ourselves. We take on more and work harder in an effort to prove we are worthy or to disprove the judgment we perceive is directed toward us.


5) The Sabbath command is the only one of ten which demands a repeated ritual. It is a proactive command requiring intentionality and discipline.

6) The Sabbath command is the first of the ten which connects our vertical relationship and our horizontal relationship. God not only expects us to observe Sabbath, He expects us not to violate the Sabbath of others.

7) The Sabbath is a timeless principle that had specific application for Israel.

8) Physical rest requires us to eliminate the unnecessary, unhealthy, and unhelpful; and to intentionally schedule time for rest, reflection, and refreshing.

9) Just as God worked for six days, rested, and invited us to join Him physical rest; Jesus worked on the cross, rested, and invited us to join Him in spiritual rest.

10) When I rest in Jesus, I no longer work to prove myself. I am not a "self-made man". I am who He has made me.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Assumptions and Excuses Will Destroy Your Life

PROVERBS 22:13
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”

This is one of my favorite proverbs because it paints such a vivid mental image for me. I used to imagine a young man, lying in bed and refusing to get up. His father tells him he needs to get out and get a summer job. Having exhausted every possible argument for why he cannot get out of bed, the son exclaims, "There is a lion in the street!"

Today, the mental image has changed slightly. No longer is the son in bed, now he's in the basement playing video games. And he might be 30. And it might be his mother (or even wife) telling him to get out and find a job.

Sluggard-Lifestyle has become an epidemic in 2019.

DISCLAIMER: Men are not the only creatures who behave like sluggards. Women are also capable (although perhaps not as likely) of finding reasons why they shouldn't do what they know they ought to do.
The foundational truth of this proverb is that the sluggard is supposed to be DOING something. Whether it is going to work, visiting a neighbor, or meeting a friend, he has somewhere he is supposed to go and something he is supposed to do. For some reason, he doesn't want to do it.

"THERE IS A LION OUTSIDE!"


Since the sluggard is likely still inside, he doesn't actually know there is a lion in the street. He's making it up. This morning, I can think of two reasons why he would do this.

1) He assumes it's true. Perhaps he heard a rumor or perhaps he is a person who always assumes the worst. Either way, he has painted a picture in his mind and no one will convince him otherwise. He is now paralyzed with fear because he has assumed his doom is imminent. His assumption has destroyed the life he was created to live.

2) He is making excuses. He knows there is no lion in the street. He simply doesn't want to do what he needs to do. This is perhaps the final in a long line of excuses, "I'm really tired", "Nobody there likes me", "It's boring". Excuses are never helpful and always harmful. His excuses are destroying the life he was created to live.

Today is a great day to follow the advice of Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society. SEIZE THE DAY.

Do what you were created to do. Take the path you know God has prescribed for you. Grab responsibility and live up to your potential. Fulfill the duties of the roles God has placed you in. Be proactive. Be intentional. Work hard.

Assume the best. Make no excuses.

There is no lion. Get 'r done!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Your intentions may not be as pure as you think!

PROVERBS 16:2
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Our dogs have a terrible habit. At least three or four times a day, they will begin barking at the neighbor's dog (actually, the neighbor's dog may be starting it). Their barking becomes so intense that they are all at the fence, clawing at it (sometimes even biting it), trying to get through to the other side.

We have a command for them to stop. We say, "Leave it!" If they stop barking and follow us inside, they get a treat. If they don't, we scoop them up (they're quite small), carry them inside, and sentence them to 15 minutes in their cages.

Every time this happens, I feel like Mylie (the smarter of the two dogs) looks up at me and her eyes say, "But master, I was protecting you!"

She believes that her motivation was pure. I know she was simply acting on her beastly instinct.


We do the same thing. We tend to assign ourselves the best motives. Even when we do something we know to be wrong, we justify it by telling ourself that our intentions are good. In conflict, we tend to judge others by their words or actions but want others to evaluate us according to our good motives.

God actually sees our heart. He weighs our spirit. He knows we are often motivated by selfishness, greed, vengeance, anger, etc. The Bible tells us that the mouth speaks (and the person acts) out of the abundance of the heart. If the output of your life is bad, that means the input was bad.

This is a good opportunity to examine your heart. Take a moment to second guess your motives. Don't immediately default to the excuse of "good intentions." Be ruthlessly honest with yourself.

Then...

Ask yourself what it would look like to always be motivated by love. Fill your mind with reasons why you love God. In every interaction, use your energy to discover reasons to love other people. Choose to modify your motivations. Choose love.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

10 Leftovers From The First of Ten Commandments

EXODUS 20:1-3
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.

1) God is a PERSONAL God. "He is the Lord YOUR God". He is not absent, passive or unconcerned. He is present, active and full of compassion.

2) God sets captives free. God's path does not enslave us, it liberates us.

3) Because God is the ONLY God who delivers, He is the ONLY God we should worship.

4) Everyone is devoted to something. The outcomes of your life are determined by the devotion of your life.

5) To be devoted to God is to offer Him the first and best of every part of your life.

6) We offer God our first and best because He gave us His first and best.

7) Too often we are to our self. Self-devotion manifests itself in the pursuit of  POSSESSIONS, PLEASURE, POPULARITY, or POWER.

8) I cannot be devoted to myself and to God.

9) My devotion can be measured by evaluating how I schedule my CALENDAR, how I utilize my CAPABILITIES, or how I spend my CASH.

10) We can change our devotion my moving our treasure. Wherever we invest our treasure is where our heart will move.

A Fool Proof Plan For Personal Protection

PROVERBS 2:11
discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,

Discretion is the practice of making decisions according to a predetermined plan. I show discretion when I choose not to purchase Swiss Cake Rolls because I am following a plan to save money and lose weight.

Understanding is the practice of thinking deeply and investigating carefully before reaching conclusions. When I react without thinking, or when I believe the first thing I hear, or when I assume the worst about a person; I am demonstrating a lack of understanding.

Discretion and understanding will protect you in life. Discretion is best when your predetermined plan is the path God has laid out in His Word. Understanding is most effective when your primary consideration is whether or not something aligns with the truth of Scripture.

Don’t make snap judgments today. Don’t act quickly or without thought. Because you are living in a sinful world, your instincts are sometimes tainted by sin. Instead, choose discretion and wisdom.