Faithlife Sermons

The Power of Routine

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Spiritual Disciplines
2 Timothy 3:14–17 KJV 1900
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Bible is God’s authoritative Word, showing us clearly who God has been in the history of humanity and what he desires for us individually.
We must read the Bible regularly in order to know what it says.
We can support Scripture’s legitimacy with historical data, its effectiveness and wisdom with proof from historical events and our own experiences. But its holiness as God’s breathed-out message for humanity—that belief is by faith and is confirmed by the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. As soon as someone rejects the holiness and the authority, of the Bible, they will soon wander from the true message of the gospel, as history has proven time and again.
Hold up a compass for everyone to see. Before showing them what the compass says, ask everyone to point to true north without using a tool. Then show them where true north actually is. A ship can start out in the right direction but inevitably gets tossed by the waves and wind, requiring regular checks with the compass in order to get to the final destination. Even with good intentions, we can lose our bearings and need to continually and regularly be reminded of what God’s Word says about him and about us in order to live the life God desires for us.
Talk about and demonstrate a simple Bible reading plan for people to use at home.
Matthew 6:5–13 KJV 1900
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Jesus taught that the most effective prayers are simple and heartfelt.
When we pray, we should talk honestly with God.
Have you ever tried to communicate via walkie-talkie with someone who doesn’t really know how they work? They might not hold down the button long enough before they start to talk, so you miss part of what they are saying. Or, worse yet, they might hold down their button the entire time, cutting off the ability to hear what you have to say at all. It’s not a very effective way to communicate! We tend to treat prayer like a one-way conversation where we talk and God listens, and we are the ones holding down the button on the walkie-talkie the entire time! It’s helpful to know how prayer is supposed to work. Biblical examples of prayer include not only petition and thanksgiving, but also asking questions, listening, and God answering. In order to hear God respond in prayer we have to be listening by reading the Bible regularly and quieting our hearts. You might use a pair of walkie-talkies to illustrate this point.
Jesus encourages us in this passage to not pray lengthy or fancy prayers, thinking our eloquence will get God’s attention. We can pray honestly and simply, just like a child does.
Paul instructs us to “pray continually”
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 KJV 1900
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thess
1 Thessalonians 5:16 KJV 1900
Rejoice evermore.
One way to think about this kind of praying is to have an ongoing conversation with God. To illustrate this ongoing kind of prayer, consider interjecting several short prayers into your sermon (perhaps after every major point). You don’t necessarily need to have everyone bow their heads, close their eyes, and say “Amen,” but you can just naturally include conversation toward God and with God into your message by praying throughout the sermon points/application, giving thanks or making a petition.
One way to think about this kind of praying is to have an ongoing conversation with God. To illustrate this ongoing kind of prayer, consider interjecting several short prayers into your sermon (perhaps after every major point). You don’t necessarily need to have everyone bow their heads, close their eyes, and say “Amen,” but you can just naturally include conversation toward God and with God into your message by praying throughout the sermon points/application, giving thanks or making a petition.
One way to think about this kind of praying is to have an ongoing conversation with God. To illustrate this ongoing kind of prayer, consider interjecting several short prayers into your sermon (perhaps after every major point). You don’t necessarily need to have everyone bow their heads, close their eyes, and say “Amen,” but you can just naturally include conversation toward God and with God into your message by praying throughout the sermon points/application, giving thanks or making a petition.
“It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must pray patiently, believing, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer.”–George Müller
Matthew 4:1–4 KJV 1900
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
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Matthew 9:15 KJV 1900
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
Jesus not only showed us how to fast but promised that his followers would fast as well. Fasting draws us closer to God by starving our flesh and feeding our spirit.
We fast to help us focus on God and the things of his kingdom.
Fasting is about starving our flesh in order to further feed our spirit. We can become so bombarded by daily life and its pressures that we forget we are first and foremost people of God’s kingdom. Fasting helps us focus our attention on God and away from the distractions around us.
“The things in your house work because of electricity. Electricity is an invisible power that gives you visible privileges. It turns the lights on, turns the TV on, turns the toaster on, and turns the oven on; all that stuff is working in your house because you’ve got one invisible power shooting through there called electricity. But none of those things work even though they have access to electricity until you flip on a switch. You’ve got to make a connection before the stuff that’s there works”
“We have as much of God as we actually want.”–A. W. Tozer
“If the better part of wisdom for you, in your health condition, is not to go without food, consider fasting from television, computer, social media, or some other regular enjoyment that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus. Paul even talks about married couples fasting from sex ‘for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer’ ()”
Hebrews 10:23–25 KJV 1900
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
God never intended for us to walk alone. Authentic community in which we deeply know others and are known by others is necessary for a victorious faith life.
To follow God faithfully, we must share our lives with other believers.
American individualism has emphasized a personal relationship with God to the point that many people who call themselves Christians think church is optional. But intentional Christian community is a nonnegotiable part of being a healthy and effective believer. “Christianity is not a religion for solitude and solitary. The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.”–John Wesley
Have you ever seen a real cowboy wearing spurs? Imagine those little spikes getting jammed into your rib cage from the full strength of that cowboy’s legs if you were his horse. Ouch! Yet “spurring one another on” (see v. 24) is exactly what Hebrews says we are to do. Sometimes authentic community can be painful because we must be honest with ourselves and with other people about the junk in our lives—and that’s usually uncomfortable, at least at the beginning. But we all need a swift kick in the pants every once in a while!
The devil is like a lion, looking for someone to devour
1 Peter 5:8 KJV 1900
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
The “first rule of the safari” is this: “always stay with the group!”
The same rule applies to believers. If we become isolated, we weaken ourselves and become more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.
Consider passing out individual candles (like ones used at a Christmas Eve candlelight service) as people walk into the service. At the close of your service, take a moment to light those candles and have people in each row light the candle of the person next to them. Alone we may produce a little flame, but when we shine together, we can light up an entire room. We are better together in the kingdom.
Have a Blessed Week!
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