Faithlife Sermons

The Attentive Life

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This morning we are continuing the sermon series Simply -Living the Uncluttered life… We are going to be looking at the Attentive life…
When it comes to beauty… woman have us men beaten hands down! There are some men out there that are the exception to the rule… but for the most part women excel in this department. Beauty is a big deal.
The beauty industry is worth an astounding $382 billion dollars …globally… the average women will spend $15000.00 on beauty products in her life time
Woman are experts when it comes to beauty they know exactly how much make-up to apply - the right amount of foundation, eyeliner, lip stick … Woman are conscious about having their nails perfectly manicured… Pam will come back from a manicure and she have these works of art on her nails. When a nail breaks its a big deal. Have to go back and get it fixed…
Finding a good hairstylist for woman is like a man finding a good mechanic.... Once you found one you are never going to move….
.... When it comes to clothing women know exactly what matches and what doesn’t…Some of us men would be committing fashion crimes every day if it wasn’t for our wives…
Beauty doesn’t just happen – it is the result of paying attention to the details….
When talking about the attentive life… we looking at the spiritual man… the inner life… there is beauty that happens in the inner life…but it doesn’t just happen it takes attentiveness and mindfulness … paying attention to the details.
Last week we looked at 1 Peters 2 We saw this template for spiritual formation…Peter tells us to prepare our minds for action… set our hope fully on Christ and his coming…and to walk with obedience… as you read on to chapter Peter continues with this theme…of spiritual formation…
In 1Peter chapter 3 he deals with mindfulness… We should be (subject to) or mindful of those in authority over us... Be mindful of other believers (love the brotherhood), Be mindful of those in the work place - master servant relationships - Be mindful in our marriages…He then brings attention to the inner life..
Peter is addressing women who might be married to an unbelieving husband…that it not so much her words but her person that will bring him to Christ. Peter say we can live in such a way that we won’t even have to say one word… that others will see the inner beauty… of a life surrendered to Christ.
1 Peter 3:3–4 ESV
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
There is nothing wrong with taking care of the outer man… and we should .... but here… Peter is making a point... that we ought spend time being transformed from the inside out…the word adorn is the word speaks of the order that is found in the context it’s speaking of putting order into the private world..
Peter tells us to put into order... the hidden person of the heart”
How do we develop an attentive heart? How to we put order in to the inner Kosmos.
I want us to turn to 1 Samuel 16 where we find 3 specific areas mindfulness. The book of Samuel’s records the history of Samuel, Saul and David. and the Bible is an honest book it records everything the good the bad and and the ugly.
Samuel the prophet had recently had this confrontation with King Saul and announced to him that God had rejected him as King… we find Samuel grieving the failure of Saul.. his emotions are raw whenGod appears to him.
1 Samuel 16:1–2 ESV
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’
T/s We put the inner world into order by paying attention to three things.. attentive to what is influencing your life.


1. Be attentive to what is Influencing your life.

Samuel is God’s prophet —but he was not immune to feelings of insecurity and failure. The reason that Israel desired a king in the first place was because Samuels own sons had failed.… when Samuel became old he made his sons the judges of Israel… his sons did not walk in his ways but turned after gain., they took bribes and perverted Justice.
When there was a leadership gap, the people asked for a king… they asked to be like all the other nations around them... They went from being nation being led by God theocracy to a monarchy a nation being led by a man… And things did not go well… when Saul became King Power went to his head and his whole life became one of trying to hold onto it… Samuel is in mourning he is dealing with failures of Saul…Samuel is grieving… failures. God asks Samuel.
- How Long will you grieve over Saul?
• Grieving is natural and appropriate response… A relationship lost, an opportunity gone, a personal failure.... Even God grieved over making Saul king…
In the ancient middle eastern culture mourning, could last between 7- 70 days.. depending who it was…;It was visible… some tore their clothes, walked barefoot and others covered their head.... some shaved their heads… There was no doubt that someone was grieving… it is healthy to grieve… but the idea is that Grieving lasts for a season
• The attentive life pays attention to who or what we grieving. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are grieving …
•. God didn’t say why are you grieving but how long are you going to grieve? Don’t you know that I rejected Saul?
• The problem with Grief is it can immobilize us.. something happened 20 years ago and we still haven’t moved on… we are still dwelling on something…
· Students from Strayer University set up a chalkboard on the sidewalk in New York City for one day. At the top of the board was written, "Write your biggest regret." They provided a supply of colored chalk and set up a video camera to record people writing on the board.
· The chalkboard attracted many people walking by and was soon filled to overflowing with written regrets that were poignant and thought-provoking.
· Burning bridges
· Never speaking up
· Not being a good husband
· Should have spent more time with family
· Staying in my comfort zone
· Not saying "I love you"
· Never applying to med school
· Not making the most of every day
· Not being a better friend
As the board filled up with so many different stories, they noticed that almost these regrets had one thing in common. Nearly all of them involved the word "not." They were about chances not taken. They were about words not spoken…
We need to know that God is always moving. Doing new things in the earth. God finished creation he moved on to building a nation. moved on to redeeming mankind… filling people with is spirit...,
· God is always moving and breathing on different things… Sometimes God anoints a certain thing that we are doing for a season… Then he is going onto something new…
• The problem with Samuel is that he got stuck… Living his life from his grief…and it influenced his life…
• Even though Saul was Samuel’s discovery… Samuel had to make the choice… He had to let go of Saul and follow after God...
Letting go is never easy...
• We become attached to people, places and things…
• We must make a choice… If what God did yesterday does not move with the spirit today… we must make a choice! To stay with the old --- or to move with the new.
Jonathan Edwards taught that
“ the task of every generation is to discover in which direction the Sovereign Redeemer is moving, then move in that direction.”
God has an answer for our Regrets.
1. Fill your Horn with oil and Go -- Oil is Symbolic of the Holy Spirit… We never going to go wrong when we chose to go with God’s spirit… \The horn was the container for the oil....likewise every believer is a container of the Holy Spirit… Bible tells us to be sober and vigilant… to be filled with the Spirit and not drunk with wine…
Romans 8:14 ESV For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
2. Get up and Go“God can’t steer a parked car” … You must be moving. God says head towards Jesse’s house… He has no idea who he is going to be anointing… he has a direction... He is just walking with the God’s anointing… … His gas tank is full and he is moving...
3. Take a Risk.
There is a difference between faith and presumption… Hebrews 11 you find the Hall of faith … each one of those who walked by faith were risk takers… Many of them only saw the promises on the Horizon but they walking towards the things that God promised
Samuel’s response to God’s command was, ‘How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me’ (1 Sam. 16:2).
There could hardly have been a more awkward situation: anointing a man to be king when there already was a king. If Samuel were to make an unexpected journey, especially one to a location outside of his normal judicial circuit, it would likely be reported to the king. Saul would then certainly view Samuel’s actions for what they were—a threat to Saul’s own claim to the throne. Moving out of our comfort Zone involves a level of risk..
God says to Samuel… I am going to provide for myself a King… Listen often we make it about our journey and our agenda…Go says… I am going to provide for myself
— When was the last time you took a risk? When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort Zone....
t/S Samuel is being influence by God to go to Jesses house… lets look.
1 Samuel 16:3–5 ESV
And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
T/s We put the inner world into order by paying attention to three things. 1. Be attentive to what is influencing your life.

2. Be attentive to what is Leading your life.

We often hear the words leadership and influence being used interchangeably… But there is a difference. Influence is what is behind you…influence is like jumping into a stream and the power of the water moves you forward… leading is what is up ahead it’s what is directing your life… it’s the coordinates of your GPS…
What is your approach to life… are you governed by the clock or the calendar? Are you the kind of person that has every hour of the day scheduled… or are you just looking to the calendar... as long as the big things are taken care… The rest will take of itself… We all have an approach to life…
We have seen that Samuel is being led by God to the house of Jesse…but notice God didn’t give Samuel the whole picture… He says do this one thing… Invite Jesse to come and worship me… and I’ll will lead you from that point… I will show you what to do next..When you look back on your life it’s really straight A-B.. 10 years ago I would have never believed you that we would be living in Northern CA..
God says to Samuel to do one thing and that is to consecrate your selves and then worship me by bringing a sacrifice..
A sacrifice in the OT was the way that you approached God… The sacrificial system was God’s gracious means to enable his people to move from uncleanness or defilement to cleanness as the basis upon which to approach God who is Holy. With Sacrifice comes with consecration…
Consecration means preparing your heart… Consecration and worship always go together!!
After Saul, had defeated the Amalekites… instead of destroying everything he saved all the best spoils of war. He did what Kings do after they win a battle…. He pervaded king Agag through the streets as a trophy his victory... He did what any King in the surrounding nations would have done…
He kept the best of the sheep and oxen and fatten calves and lamb and destroyed the worthless stuff. When Samuel goes to find Saul he is Carmel one of the holy sites about to offer a sacrifice. Now it was never the rol of a king to make a sacrifice that was reserved for the priesthood…. And when Samuel arrives Saul is caught red handed and he knows.
The first words out of Sauls mouth is that I have performed the commandment of the Lord... One of the big problems with Saul is that he never returned to the Lord. He never acknowledges his sin… David did some terrible things… but he was man after God heart… when he strayed he returned to the shepherd of his soul
Samuel says to Saul if you were obedient.,. then what is the bleating of sheep in my ears and lowing of oxen I hear? Saul says the people spared the best to sacrifice to the Lord… He shifted the blame and didn’t take personal responsibility!
The problem with Saul is that he is delusional… He really thought he was obedient... Samuel says Saul … Dose the Lord take delight in Sacrifice more than obedience.?
Obedience is greater than Sacrifice... disobedience is like the sin of witchcraft... because you rejected the word of the Lord… the Lord has rejected you...
Saul made the mistake of thinking that Worship was consecration… You can’t replace… worship for Consecration… consecration is getting your heart right…
Whenever God was going to do something with the people of God we find them taking time to get their heart right… and set aside some time to seek God…
In Exodus 19:10 Before Moses receives the 10 Commandments he tells people to consecrate themselves for three days…and on the third day He would come down the mountain and give the law…
Before Joshua and Israel cross over the Jordan into the promised land — Joshua tells the people to consecrate themselves because the Lord was going to to wonders among them...
When the church in the book of was growing, we told the word of God increased and multiplied… When the Christians gathered to pray and worship… God opened the doors… the Apostle Paul do be set apart as a missionary work… this was going to take the church from being localized all the way from Jerusalem to Rome…
We must take note what happened in the church in Antioch… They had consecrated themselves… They were worshipping and fasting…
Acts 13:2 ESV
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
When set aside time for seeking God… We are more apt to hear what God has to say… If we are always rushing and busy about life… we are not going to be listening…our minds are occupied with other things… …
The Church Father Origen said that. Only the Spirit can search everything. The human soul cannot do this, which is why it needs to be strengthened by the Spirit if it is ever going to penetrate the depths of God.
Life in the Spirit means keeping in step with the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and always being open to his gifts and empowerment.
T/s. After Samuel and the people have consecrated and. Worship. Samuel discerns who God is calling to be the new king of Israel.
1 Samuel 16:6–7 ESV
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
T/s Ingression
T/s We put the inner world into order by paying attention to three things.
1. Be attentive to what is Influencing your life.
2. Be attentive to what is Leading your life.

3. Be attentive to what you are Pursuing

Samuel is faced with discerning who God was calling to be King… He had just finished grieving a bad decision… Notice that he goes to his default… response… His natural tendency to pursue the outward qualities of a King… Eliab had all the qualities of a King.... Surely this is the Lord’s anointed...
God reminds Samuel of the choice of King Saul that God doesn’t look at outward beauty… he looks at the condition of the heart… We are often impressed by what is on the surface. The Hebrew translated as the “outward form literally the “eyes.”
God specializes in using the least and the foolishness of the word to confound the world…
Jesse parades each one of his sons before Samuel.. Jesse has Abinadab come and pass before Samuel… The lord hasn’t chosen this one… Shammah.... neither this son… Seven of the sons of Jesse go before Samuel… Samuel asks are these all your sons… and Jesse responds I have one son left but he is keeping the sheep....
1 Samuel 16:11 ESV
11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.”
David is the youngest and the most unlikely candidate in the house of Jesse…
David was misunderstood by his family..
• His own father did not include David as a candidate to be considered as King.
• His brothers found him annoying and conceited… The oldest brother Eliab said to David. ‘I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle
· Samuel had learned something about God… God Searches the hearts of man… He is the discerner of hearts...
Isaiah 55:8–9 (ESV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
What mattered was David’s heart, and only God could judge that. The Lord removed all suspense from the situation with his word to Samuel: “Anoint him; he is the one.” And immediately the spirit came upon David and the Spirit stayed with him through his life.
We’re willing to put an incredible amount of effort into pursuing something that’s important to us. Before buying a new gadget, we’ll read reviews, research the manufacturer’s reputation, and consult our tech-savvy friends...
What about pursing the beauty of the inner life?
Layton Ford who is Billy Graham’s brother in-law — Wrote a book entitled the attentive life and he tells that there are several qualities of the attentive life…
These are things that we can literally start doing today. Layton talks about….
1. Being fully Present in the Moment… each moment stands alone an individual frame in itself an opportunity to be aware of God working around us.
2. Looking long enough - C.S. Lewis once stood in a dark tool shed to look for something. As he looked he noticed a beam of light with dust motes dancing and floating in it. As he looked more closely the scene changed. He saw that could see the light coming through an opening above the door… he could see outside the shed…he saw green leaves and blue sky… and millions of miles away the Sun.... He realized that there are two ways of looking at life… “looking along the beam and looking at the beam...” If you look long enough you will find new realities.
3. looking freshly at what is familiar...
4. Being Available - willingness to listen to God.
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