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The Way - wk 2

The Way  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:45
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Last week we started a new series that we are calling “The Way.” The name of the series comes from Jesus proclaiming “He is the way!” When we do things our way, they always seem to go bad. At the very least, they don’t go as well as we hoped they would. Sometimes we even find ourselves saying, “There has to be a better way.”
Jesus is the better way. He is the only way. After doing things my way for a long time I may wake up one day and think to myself, “Who am I becoming? Why am I racing to become someone I don’t even like? All this work I am doing is just making me more and more tired. I try to serve more, but just become exhausted and burned out. I try to be a better person, but it just wears me out and makes me not even care. There has to be a better way.
You might even go so far and then realize that the WAY you are doing the work of God is actually destroying the work of God in you. Jesus doesn’t want you to pile on all sorts of burdens in the name of serving Him. In fact, He says that if you are carrying heavy burdens you should come to Him and He will give you light burdens. Tether yourself to Him and walk in step with Him and the work you do for Him will be easy to bear.
My hope and prayer is that God would speak to each one of us in a special way today. Even though I don’t know what He wants you to get out of our study today, I know without a doubt this entire topic is targeting me. That’s one reason why I have titled today’s message, “Walking Slow.”
There is a church joke that reminds me of how I tend to rush, especially when I read bible verses. I have to actively tell myself to read slowly and pause every now and then. The joke is about a church that will read through certain scriptures together out loud.
The person leading the reading had been disturbed by a lady who would read too fast. So when he stood up to begin the scripture reading he said...
We shall now read the 23rd Psalm in unison. Will the lady who is always ‘by still waters’ while the rest of us are ‘in green pastures,’ please wait a minute while we catch up?
The movie clip I showed in the beginning was of a guy who was in a rush to get to work. How many of you have ever felt exactly like that guy? You are in a hurry and stuck in traffic. Then the next lane starts moving. If you manage to move into that lane, the moment you do it shuts down and the lane you were in begins to move. It’s even worse when you notice people on the side of the road walking and gaining ground on you.
When it comes to driving, I have always struggled with patience. I’ve always tried to be a good and patient driver, but I still manage to attract bad drivers. I am usually the guy that gets cut off, or pulled out in front of and have to avoid frustrating situations. When we lived in OKC I remember complaining to Amy about it and she didn’t believe me. Then one day we were going somewhere and I got cut off multiple times and I think someone even gave me the California wave and she said, “Wow, you really do get cut off a lot.
Was it bad luck, or was God trying to teach me something? I decided on the latter and just focused on not being in a hurry when I drove. Maybe God was trying to teach me to slow down and not be in a hurry when I drove. Only recently have I realized that I was wrong. What God was teaching me has nothing to do with driving. He wasn’t trying to tell me to slow down when I drive, He was telling me to slow down. Period. In fact, that’s probably one reason He brought Amy and me together.
The other day, we went out to eat for Amy’s birthday and I walked up to the restaurant door to open it for Amy and when I turned around she was barely past my pickup. I asked, “Why are you walking so slow?” After we ate, we ran to Walmart and I kept finding myself asking, “Why are you walking so slow?” That is a common theme between us. I have gotten used to reminding her to get out of my truck when we stop, otherwise she will sit there for quite some time before exiting while I impatiently wait for her to be able to lock the doors.
Why are you walking so slow? Life is like that. Always pressed to be somewhere. Always in a rush to get something done. Always fighting to find a place for something on the schedule. I don’t know about you, but for me, I almost always feel rushed. Do you ever feel a little overwhelmed? Anxious about all that you have to do? Have you ever found yourself saying, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!”?
When something comes up you feel as though you must squeeze it into the schedule. You go to checkout in Walmart and start scanning for the fastest line. You multitask yourself to the point of impossibility. When Macayla and her boyfriend, John, came to visit a couple of weeks ago, he told us that he is good at multitasking. He can “walk, chew gum, and drive at the same time.
Maybe you don’t struggle with being rushed, but sometimes you still feel disappointed in life. Like something is missing. You don’t feel rushed, but you are too busy for the things that you love. Or the people that you love. If that is you and you like motivational tag lines, write this down…

The greatest enemy to the life that you want may be the life that you’re living.

I don’t know why this is such a hard subject for me to face. It could be the culture that we live in. We live in a country that is always racing from one place to another. In this place, people are used to being instantly gratified with wants and needs, so if you work with the public they will often expect what they purchase right away. If you work for larger companies they want their reports done yesterday. As much as we may feel that pressure out here, in Western Oklahoma, it is a fraction of the pressure people feel in larger cities.
Maybe it’s not a cultural pressure, but one of personality. Being impatient could be what makes us feel rushed. Maybe you don’t like having incomplete items on your to-do list. Maybe you simply don’t have patience for people who aren’t as adept at certain things as you might be. You were taught how to do things efficiently, so inefficient people are just in the way.
Maybe you just despise “slow.” You are always busy. No time for rest. You will rest when you are dead. The devil doesn’t take a day off, so I will slow down when I get to heaven.
Whatever the reason, you are busy. You have places to be, a job to do, bills to pay, a kitchen to clean, kids to raise, yards to mow, dinner to cook, clothes to buy, then wash, then not wear, then buy more, pictures to take, posts to make, and favorite shows to watch. You DON’T have time for family meals, deep conversations with friends, rest on the weekends, reading God’s Word, reflecting on it, seeking God in prayer… There just isn’t enough time.
Could the life you are living be the greatest enemy of the life that you want?
Let’s talk about “The Way.” What did The Way do? Jesus is The Way. Jesus’ ministry lasted about 3 years. In that short amount of time, Jesus embraced a world changing mission from His Heavenly Father. He recruited a team of 12 men, and trained and taught them Kingdom values. He faced all sorts of hatred and persecution from the Pharisees, He resisted the temptations of the devil, He healed all sorts of sick people, loved all sorts of hurting and broken people, He preached God’s Word fearlessly, He fulfilled 351 Old Testament prophecies.
There is one thing Jesus never did. He NEVER. ONCE. RAN. Jesus was busy, that’s a lot to squeeze into 3 years, but He never rushed. He never said, “Ah! Guys, we aren’t gonna make it to the next scheduled stop! We are running behind and need to make up lost time. What? Thomas is late again? Leave him. He’ll just have to catch up.
Jesus. Never. Once. Ran. Verse 14 in Chapter 2 of Mark says… As He WALKED along…
Mark 2:14 NLT
14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.
The implication in this verse is that if Levi followed Jesus, who was not in a rush, then Levi should’ve been living a life that was not rushed. In other words, if WE follow an unrushed Jesus, we should be living an unrushed life.
When I put myself in this verse it makes me wonder, would I be walking out ahead of Jesus and looking back asking, “Why are you walking so slow?” I don’t know if anyone else in here is like me, but for me, a person who turns to look at the people he loves and asks, “Why are you walking so slow?” This realization stings.
If you find yourself always rushed, stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted trying to get it all done, or always falling short in the process, Jesus is reaching out to you to stop walking ahead of Him, and instead walk WITH Him. Tie yourself to His yoke. You may remember this from the verse in Matthew we read last week. Let’s look at the way it is translated in the Message version of the Bible. To those of us who are rushing, burning ourselves out, and doing life OUR way, this is a beautiful call to slow down and walk WITH Jesus…
Matthew 11:28–30 (MSG)
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I love the imagery and emotion here. Jesus says “Get away with me and you will recover your life. Walk with me, watch how I do life.” Don’t just believe the way Jesus believed… Live the way Jesus lived. He walked.
Just think about the way that Jesus lived. To a culture of rushing people, it may seem crazy. He only lived for 33 years. If I knew my life would be that short, I would probably be even more inclined to rush. He didn’t. He waited 30 years to start His public ministry. He was baptized, God publicly affirms Him and says He is well pleased with Him before Jesus even does any public miracles.
Jesus was commissioned to go out and change the world, so what’s the first thing He does? He takes a sabbatical. The spirit leads Him out into a dry place for 40 days. He draws close to God and is strengthened by God. Think about His first miracle. He could heal very bad illnesses and raise people from the dead, but for His first miracle He turns water into wine! He’s at a wedding and they run out of the party juice, so He turns water into wine and keeps the celebration going.
Later, a Synagogue leader named Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet pleading for Him to save his dying daughter. So Jesus started walking with him to their house. Along the way, there were crowds of people with them. You can imagine that it wouldn’t be a quick trip even if Jesus wanted to hurry. Then Jesus suddenly stops. Someone had just touched His robe. He finds the woman who had done so and speaks to her, loving and reassuring her that the years of suffering she had endured was now over. While He was spending time with this woman, messengers arrived to inform them the little girl had died. Jesus said, “don’t be afraid,” and they continued walking until they reached the house and He healed the girl, raising her from death.
Even when He wasn’t walking, His transportation wasn’t what you might think. He’s the son of God, He could ride anything! He could ride a white tiger if He wanted too. Or at least a fast horse. Instead, He rode an animal famous for walking and not being in a hurry. A donkey. How many donkeys do you see on race tracks? I remember Eeyore was always either sitting down or slothing around.
If we follow Jesus, and Jesus wan’t in a rush, then why are we rushed? Why are we always running? It seems like we are always either running from something or to something else. Running from our past, from failure, insecurity, or some emotional pain. Then we run to the better future, success, security, or something that will fix or replace the pain. Running to a better financial opportunity. Running to a happier marriage. Running to something that I like or enjoy.
Regardless of why we are in a rush, the problem remains the same. We run around chasing a life that leaves us empty. Even if you get everything you want, you are still chasing a life that leaves you empty. What if the greatest enemy to the life you want, the life you have been called to, is the life that you are living?
If you are like me you are probably thinking, “But I don’t feel like I am chasing anything. That can’t be it. There’s just not enough time. I’m not in a rush, I’m just busy!” If that is you, you should probably write this down...
You have time for what you choose to have time for.
The solution is not MORE TIME. The solution is more of what matters most. The reason you don’t have time for what matters is because you are MINDLESSLY spending your time on what doesn’t! We don’t even realize how much time we waste on things that don’t matter. Think about the last time you went out to eat and everyone was staring at their phones instead of having a conversation with each other. Maybe you enjoy watching TV, so everything that you WANT to be important is put on hold for your favorite show.
Let’s put some numbers together to help us see the potential. In 2020, social media users spent an average of almost two and a half hours online. That’s almost 900 hours in one year! When you break it down, it is just under a third of a typical work day. In 2016, a study found that about 73% of Americans binge watch TV for an average of 5 hours at a time, and a total of about 35 hours per week. It’s as if TV is a second full time job! And that was several years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was even higher today.
It’s sad to think about all of the important things that get sacrificed for mindless entertainment. When I think about what matters most, like time with my family or time with God, that I sacrifice for things that hold no significant value it makes me shudder. Especially when I am spending time with Amy and I don’t even allow myself the time to walk slowly with her.
What if the greatest enemy to the life you want is the life you are living?
So what do we do? I don’t know. Probably nothing? Isn’t that the point? It’s probably time to slow down. Instead of running, maybe it’s time to walk. God wants us to be STILL and know who He is. He leads us beside still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures. If you don’t slow down, God may make you slow down. Who is God? Why would He slow down for people, even in the middle of what seemed to be an emergency? Love. He loves people.
When asked what is the greatest command, Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor. What is love? Love is patient. Love takes time. Love and hurry are incompatible. Hurry doesn’t have time. How can we love if we are always in a hurry? For me, it’s time to walk slowly. Here is the prayer I am going to keep praying until it really sets in with me every day…

God, help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and love people deeply.

How did Jesus walk? He walked slow enough to love people deeply. He didn’t let hurry take His love from someone who needed it. So how did He do it?


Be present in the moment.

Jesus listened to people. He saw the needs of people who were often not even looked at by other people. He hurt with people. He celebrated with people. He was present in the moment. He also chose to spend His limited time on what was important…


Choose what’s important. Eliminate what’s not.

Walking slowly with Jesus instead of walking ahead of Him helps me see what is important in life. It helps me say “NO” to things that don’t matter and “YES” to what does. It may even be a good thing that I really enjoy that I realize isn’t the most important at this moment. It even helps to know that a “NO” for now doesn’t mean a “NO” forever. Jesus saved the little girl too! But it didn’t stop Him from walking slow enough to show love to the woman who needed it.
When Jesus walked, He was always present in the moment, He chose what was important, and He could always sense God’s presence and recognize His voice…


Sense God’s presence and recognize His voice.

Walking slowly, maintaining an ever present connection to God. Consistently choosing what was important. Always present in every moment. Every person Jesus loved, every miracle Jesus did, He did as He walked…
The WAY you walk matters. Walking slowly enough to experience Jesus fully, and love people deeply.
Where was Jesus walking? Day by day. Step by step. Jesus was walking toward the cross. He was walking toward His calling. He was focused on the single most important thing to Him. You. Knowing that He would be giving up His life for you.
Let’s pray.
God, help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully and love people deeply.
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