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WHEN LIFE DOESN’T FIT                                                                      08.0217SM

PART 2: Simplify

Have you ever longed for the simpler days?

·                    ILL: I remember growing up…with not a care in the world

·                    Days down the street at the grade school playground (Van Buren)

·                    Tree Tag…basketball…when the older high school students…

Fall asleep in the car…

·                    Pulling in the driveway…with one eye open

·                    And letting mom or dad…carrying you to bed…so you didn’t have to walk

·                    Dinner together…around the supper table

·                    Homemade cookies…summer time lunch

·                    Swimming at Woodson pool…

·                    Bike tag…with the neighborhood kids

·                    Or piling 10 people into a station wagon…for family vacation

The simple days…they’re are nostalgic…aren’t they?

But...as we get older…

We tend to live…crowded, empty lives

·                    Wouldn’t it be nice…to go back to the simpler days?

·                    Is it possible?  I mean…

·                    How do we restore simplicity to a life that’s become complicated?

Turn with me…to Isaiah 5

Isaiah 5:8 (NASB)

Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!

In other words…

·                    Woe to those who add so much to their lives…that there is no more room

·                    Their plates are so full…their lives are no longer simple

·                    Their lives have become too complicated

And look at the consequences…

·                    “You have to live alone in the midst of the land.”

·                    You’re life is full of lots of activities

·                    But there’s little…if any…life found…in those activities

Does that not sound like the culture we’re living in today?

·                    And…that was written over 2,700 yrs. ago

Look at what else Isaiah says…

Isaiah 5:9-10 (NASB)

9In my ears the LORD of hosts has sworn, "Surely, many houses shall become desolate, even great and fine ones, without occupants.  10"For ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath of wine, and a homer of seed will yield but an ephah of grain."

10 acres of energy expended…will produce very little!

·                    All the busyness of our activities…will produce very little…if any fruit!

·                    That’s what you call…a wasted life!

The words from the old “Eleanor Rigby” song by the Beatles are true, I guess…

“Ah, look at all the lonely people”

Loneliness is…

·                    An emotional state in which a person experiences a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation.

·                    More than the feeling of wanting company

·                    A feeling of being cut off, disconnected and alienated from other people.

There are lonely people…all around us…

·                    They look normal…they even act normal

·                    But on the inside…they are desperately lonely

·                    There are lonely husbands…no longer connected to their wife and children

·                    There are lonely wives…who yearn to connect to their husbands

·                    There are lonely children…and lonely teenagers

·                    Mom and Dad are there…and they’ve got their list of rules to follow

·                    But there’s no relationship

·                    From your parents side…you’re still growing up

·                    But from your side…you’d just like for someone to listen

Talk about life not fitting…

·                    This is one of the greatest tragedies of our day!

·                    To live with someone…but to never really connect to them!

ILL:

Lonely people will watch endless streams of talk shows…

·                    Just to hear someone talk

·                    They’ll enter into destructive relationships…

·                    Thinking…any companion is better than none!

·                    Or they’ll pour themselves into their jobs and work long hours

·                    Because the loneliness is killing them…on the inside

You can have all the money in the world…and still be lonely!

·                    I believe…the loneliness in our nation is at epidemic proportions…

·                    Not because…we don’t have access to family and friends

·                    Not because…we don’t have things to do

·                    Not because…we’ve lost our ability to communicate

·                    But because…we’re a people who’ve become way to busy!

·                    We no longer slow down…to enjoy the life…we were created to live

·                    So we feel…like this square peg…being fit into a round hole!

But God has a solution…to the world’s loneliness…

·                    There are actually some early warning signs!

ILL: Recent tornado…killing 20+ people…

·                    Sirens went off…but no one heeded

God has put some early warning detectors in place…to guard our lives…

·                    They are not as obvious…as a loud siren

·                    But if we pay close attention…they’re easy to notice

EARLY WARNING SIGNS THAT MY LIFE IS TOO BUSY:

1. When CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS begin to SUFFER

A red alert five-engine alarm should go off…

·                    Any time we sacrifice loved ones for work or a busy schedule

This happens when we’re busy trying to make a name for ourselves

·                    When our main goal in life is to make $…or climb the corporate ladder

Whatever you do…don’t miss this…

·                    This is note worthy enough…to write down:

No amount of success in the marketplace will ever make up for failure at home!

Someone once explained it this way:

The darkest place of a lighthouse is at it’s own base.

·                    This can sometimes be true of…even the best families

·                    You might be well-known in the marketplace…or in your community

·                    But it’s dark…at your house!

Why is it…

·                    We skip over those people who matter most in our life?

·                    Why do we take those individuals we love…for granted?

·                    Guys…we ought to be more appreciative of our wives…shouldn’t we?

·                    Our kids…we only get one go ‘round with them…just one…and they’re gone

Close relationships don’t begin suffering overnight…

·                    At first, they suffer silently, and we almost notice, but we’re too busy!

·                    Then the suffering gets not so silent

·                    Those minor problems…become major setbacks

·                    Verbal assaults flare into family feuds

·                    And loving relationships become “irreconcilable” differences!

Men…ladies…

·                    If the fire has gone out at home…you know something’s not right

We try to keep up with the Jones…don’t we?

·                    We want our kids to have what everyone else has!

·                    If little Johnny has a new gadget down the street…

·                    We want our little Billy to have the same gadget

·                    And we’ll work overtime…to get it!

·                    Why not substitute…new gadgets…for the time we’re not giving them?

But we know that’s not right…we know something’s wrong with that!

·                    Instead of being conformed to the image of Christ

·                    We allow ourselves to be conformed to the image of the world

Here’s what Paul said…Romans 12:2 (AMP)

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

in other words…

·                    Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold

·                    Let God re-make you so that your whole attitude of mind changes!

·                    Then you will prove…in practice…that the will of God…is good…and perfect!

An early warning signal…is…

·                    You’re allowing yourself to be conformed to this world…and it’s standards

I’m reminded of the words of Barbara Bush…a few years back:

“The health of this great country will not be primarily determined by what happens in the White House, but rather by what happens at your house.”

As your pastor…can I give you a little insight…

The health of our church will not be determined by what happens here at this church the four hours you spend here each week (and that’s including AWANA on Wednesday night), but rather, what happens in your house the other 164 hours during the week.

EARLY WARNING SIGNS THAT MY LIFE IS TOO BUSY:

2. When there is DIMINISHED JOY.


We ended last week…talking about joy…

·                    If there’s a thud…back into the kiln

·                    If there’s singing…God knows you’re ready to move up

Nehemiah 8:10b (NASB)

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Joy is my STRENgTH.

·                    Joy is like your barometer

·                    It indicates how strong you are in a situation

·                    It measures how healthy you are…on the inside

·                    If there’s no joy…then the Bible says…we’re weak

·                    If there’s joy…then there is strength

If you want to know how you’re doing…look at your level of joy!

·                    Is your reservoir full or is it empty?

APPL:

A joyless life…can strike…at the most unexpected moments…can’t it?

It’s those layers of silent compromise that finally startle us…

·                    It’s like discovering…an advanced cancer…in our bodies!

·                    You feel ill for a while

·                    But you never thought anything about it

Then one day…you realize that…

The joy that once caused even the simplest of activities in your marriage to sparkle…has lost its luster.

·                    It can happen to you as a father…mother…student…an employee

·                    It can happen…within virtually…any role you play

·                    Your church service…church attendance…church involvement

·                    Those things no longer hold the excitement they once did

·                    You think…getting a fresh start somewhere else…will change that

·                    But the problem…is often…not with the church…it’s with you

Ministry becomes nothing more than fulfilling a role for you…it’s no longer fulfilling to you!

Over time…all these areas begin to add up…

·                    Joyless relationships…joyless work…joyless living

·                    And all the sudden…life becomes complicated

·                    You start fighting…and locking horns…with the people you once loved

·                    And it really comes down to one simple thing: You’ve lost your joy

YS…the devil’s main target…is not your salvation…

·                    It’s not your family…or your career…our your belongs…

·                    It’s not your salvation…your eternal destiny…or your soul…

·                    He can’t touch those things

·                    It’s your joy…that he’s targeting!

I’m going to talk about this…in a series some day…

·                    But…if JC is your Lord and Savior

·                    Then your salvation is not based on your performance or effort

·                    You couldn’t work your way into heaven…if you tried

·                    The work, has, already been done!

·                    Jesus accomplished that on the cross

·                    All you have to do…is enjoy it!

We confuse salvation…with a list of things to do…or not to do…

·                    But salvation is spelled, “DONE”

YS…the enemy can’t steal your salvation…

·                    So he attempts to steal the joy of your salvation

·                    Because if he can steal the joy of your salvation

·                    Then your soul will begin to wither

·                    And without any joy…it doesn’t take much!

Sure…you remain a Christian…

·                    But you’re one of those joyless, weak Christians

·                    You remain converted…but you’re no longer contagious

·                    Redemption may have flowed to you, but it’s not flowing through you

When David’s life…was messed up…and joyless…he prayed…

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Ps. 51:12)

·                    The devil tries to steal your joy so that you will defeat yourself

The devil can’t steal your marriage…

·                    He’ll steal the joy of your marriage

·                    Then hopes you’ll bail out on the marriage all by yourself

The devil can’t steal your gifts…

·                    So he’ll steal your joy of using your gifts

·                    And you will disqualify yourself…on your own

The devil has no authority to steal your ministry…

·                    So he’ll steal the joy of serving

·                    And you’ll withdraw from ministry opportunities…on your own

Do you know why we feel like giving up sometimes?

·                    Do you know why we get tired of ministry?

·                    Because we’ve lost our joy

·                    And when we lose our joy…

·                    We’re no longer running the race to win…we’re just running!

1 Corinthians 9:23-25 (NASB)

23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

 24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.  25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

What’s Paul saying here?

·                    He’s saying…this race we’re in…this Christian journey we’re on

·                    It’s not an easy journey…it’s not for the faint of heart

·                    Just as a runner has to run…to be a great runner…

·                    There’s a major effort required…on our part

·                    Between the starting line…and finish line…is the distance of our life!

The devil…will try and discourage us…

·                    He’ll remind us…of how long the race is

·                    He’ll remind us…how tiring it can be

·                    How much effort it’s going to require…on our part

·                    At times…it doesn’t seem like the results…are near worth the effort…

So what do we do…

·                    We slow down...

·                    We start asking ourselves: “What am I doing here?”

·                    “Why am I serving so hard?”

·                    We start thinking, “I don’t need this!”

·                    And…along the way somewhere…we lose our joy…

·                    Revelation 12;10 tells us…The devil is the accuser of our brethren.”

·                    John 8:44 tells us, he’s “the father of lies.”

And…if we’re going to maintain our joy…we’re going to have…

Stop believing the lies…satan’s telling you!

·                    He only wants to steal, kill, and destroy our life…future…family…ministry!

Why?

Because it’s his way of getting back out our Savior…who defeated him!

·                    His only chance of revenge…

·                    Is to hurt God…by hurting his children!

That’s how satan works…

·                    He can’t attack the one who holds the keys to sin and death

·                    So he attacks our families…our churches…our future…

But when satan makes a move…God sounds the alarm…

1. When CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS begin to SUFFER
2. When there is DIMINISHED JOY.
3. When acquiring your DREAM requires COMPROMISE.

You may be entering a relationship…

·                    You know God wouldn’t approve of

·                    The Bible says, “Don’t be yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 6:14)

·                    Some of you teenagers know that, but you’re thinking…

·                    But he’s such a hunk!  And he loves me!

If it’s not something you know God would put His seal of approval on, then you need to seriously rethink that relationship!

For those of you who are married…and you’re attracted to another person

·                    And you think you’re falling in love

·                    Protect your marriage…and stay away…don’t put yourself in that position

ILL: I remember visiting with a man…

·                    Who shared with me…he kissed another woman…who wasn’t his wife

·                    I don’t know why he said that to me

·                    I just told him…it was time for him to leave…

That brush up against their body…the touch of her hand…

·                    The sirens should be going off!

·                    Your marriage will be compromised…and so will your faith

ILL: I know of a woman…who left her husband…

·                    Who once…mocked and ridiculed a pastor…for cheating on his wife

·                    She swore she’d never do it…herself

·                    She started out…complaining about her husband

·                    Pretty soon…she’s riding bikes…with another man…

·                    Then they’re meeting in a SS classroom…during the worship service

·                    And before too long…she’s leaving her husband!

And if you see someone…heading off…down the wrong path…

·                    I hope you’re Christian enough…to speak truth into that friend’s life

Everything in your life needs to have God’s seal of approval…everything!

·                    Acquire possessions…resolve problems…get your needs met the right way

·                    Because when you do…you allow God’s very best to come into your life!

·                     

Proverbs 10:22 (NASB)

It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.

If you want Bible blessings…do it the Bible way!

·                    Don’t wait until you’ve allowed your life to get so complicated that you’re at the point of exasperation

·                    God will give you early warning signals to alert you to the choices that are out of His will...way in advance!

·                    When close relationships begin to suffer…

·                    When your joy begins to diminish

·                    When you begin to compromise…stop!

·                    STOP!  And make the necessary corrections!

Leave yourself some space…to move!

What I Need in my life is MARGIN.

·                    Margin is that space between your load and your limit

Isaiah 5:8 (NASB)

Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!

One of the reasons you may live in such complexity…

·                    Is because you’re living a marginless life

·                    ILL: It’s like planting ground cover…that takes over

·                    The crowdedness creeps in unnoticed

·                    And it begins to grow…and aggressively take over

·                    And it eventually takes over our life and demands our allegiance

And it almost always begins with noble aspirations…like…

·                    Building a better life for you and your family

·                    A career…a bigger house…

·                    And then you get that promotion…and there’s a pat on the back

·                    And there’s that element of satisfaction…

·                    You don’t want anyone to think less of you…by not striving further

·                    So you spend time…climbing…to justify your increase

What does it mean to have margin?

If the load you’re carrying…is 120 lbs.

·                    And your absolute limit is 150 lbs.

·                    You have a 30 percent margin

·                    If you are carrying 150 lbs. and your limit is 150 lbs. you are marginless

·                    You’re living life…at maximum capacity!

The same is true  with your money...and budgeting…

·                    If you make $100…and you spend $50…your margin is 50%

·                    If you make $100…and spend $150…you have debt

So…what does a life without margin look like?

A life without margin is a mother who is late for work…

A life without margin…is a man…

A life  without margin…is a student…

ILL:  Every book has margins…

·                    That’s  the white space around the edges of each page

·                    40%-50% of most books…are made up of white space

·                    You’d think…they’d save money and paper…using that space

·                    I mean…that’s so uneconomical…

·                    Can you imagine reading a book…without margins?

APPL: We don’t get upset about  books…without margins…

·                    Yet…we live without them…everyday!

·                    And we wonder why…

·                    No one gets involved in our lives…

·                    No one ever reads our content

Relationships are hard to come by…aren’t they?

·                    Many of you…find that your lives…are sorely missing close relationships

·                    And it’s because…you haven’t allowed for margin…in your life

Here’s what you need to know about your life…

·                    Friendships…and acts of kindness…are only built in the margins

·                    Without them… “we live alone in the midst of the land.”

So how can I build margin into mylife?

Start PRUNING.

Psalm 32:8-9 (NASB)

 8I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. 9Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.

Notice who does the instructing and teaching…

·                    God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.”

·                    It’s God who directs our steps

·                    God works…to shape our hearts…individually…

·                    And He guides us toward lives of fruitfulness…and simplicity!

And look at what we’re cautioned…not to be like…

·                    “Don’t be like the horse or mule that requires a bit and bridle

·                    Don’t wait until you feel the pain…of that  bit…in the top of your mouth

·                    Which eventually forces you to move in the right direction

Don't wait until you hit the brick wall…

·                    Don’t wait until the pain is so great…that you have to move

·                    When you hear God’s voice…allow yourself to be pruned!

God says…if you will…I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go!

PRUNE to God’s IMAGE.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The Bible says that God created us…in Him image (Gen. 1:26)

·                    That means that God has an image of you…already in His mind

·                    Before you were born…He had a blueprint laid out for your future

·                    He’s the Master architect…behind your destiny!

·                    He has wonderful plans for your life…family…faith…ministry

When God created you…

·                    He put that outstanding dream in you…so it would come to pass

·                    Your potential is in seed form…

·                    Your potential is untapped…

·                    There’s untapped energy…untapped strength…undeveloped gifts

·                    But…it’s all there…

There’s only one catch:

·                    In order to fulfill your potential

·                    We must partner…and cooperate with God

Without my WILLINGNESS there is no RELATIONSHIP.

·                    We are invited into a relationship

·                    Not some legalistic…approach to make God happy with us

·                    Read Romans 8

·                    I’m going to preach an entire sermon series on that passage

·                    We are invited into a relationship with God!

He promises to instruct and teach us…in the way we should go!

·                    But we have to do the going!

·                    Which requires…a willingness on our part…to be pruned…to His image!

For you and I to reach our full potential…

·                    Requires honesty about where we are!

·                    It’s allowing Him…to live in and through us…

·                    Not keeping a list of  do’s and  don’ts

If you want to be who God has created you to be…

·                    You must be willing…to pray…what David prayed…

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)

23Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24And see if there be any hurtful (grievous, wicked) way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

Are you willing to get honest with God?

·                    I’m talking ruthlessly honest…

·                    To strip away the masks…and get honest…

·                    We think we can pretend with God…

·                    When it comes to our relationship with God

·                    We can’t pretend…with God

ILL:

Story about the man…looking for a job…during an economic slump…

·                    Went to the zoo…looking to do anything…sweep, clean pens, etc.

·                    Only job…gorilla died day before…needed someone to dress up…suit

·                    Going great…kids were amazed…he was loving his job

·                    Making faces…swinging on monkey bars…etc.

·                    One day…swinging on the swing…swung too far…over into lion, flat on back

·                    Lion…immediately pounced on him…

·                    “Help, I’m not really a gorilla, I’m a man in a gorilla suit!”

·                    “Help!  I’m about to be eaten!  Help!”

At the moment he thought he was about to die…

·                    He heard a muffled voice…from under the lion’s mane…

·                    “Shut up, you fool, or we’ll both get fired!”

APPL: I wonder how many times we come to church…

·                    Wearing our “Christian” costume?

·                    We look like and act like Christians…

·                    But on the inside…we know…our families…are falling apart

·                    We know…we’re not living the life we’re supposed to live

We’re good at pretending…in order to cover up what’s really going on…

YS…Part of pruning involves…God cutting away…

·                    Anything that isn’t reflecting His image…has to be removed

God’s going to prune our lives…and He does…so that…

·                    People will see less of us…and more of Him

·                    But if we…refuse to be polished…

·                    Then we will be reduced to less than what  our potential is

·                    Sure…we might be used…but it’s in a a much lesser role

When God is working on an area of your life…

·                    Be sure to polish it out…

·                    Don’t just settle on knowing there’s a flaw…in that area…

·                    Get rid of what He’s trying to remove

·                    Don’t excuse it…don’t put on that pious mask

What I Need in my life is A SABBATH.

·                    If we’re going to simplify…we’re going to need a Sabbath!

·                    We were not created to live without a Sabbath!

Exodus 20:8-10 (NASB)

8"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  9"Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  10but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner (the stranger) who stays with you.

In other words…

·                    Take one day…out of your seven day week…and…

·                    Make it holy…by not letting distractions…violate it

The Sabbath is not an excuse…to lay around…and be lazy…

·                    This is a holy day…and…

·                    It actually pleases God to see His children…take time to be still

Taking time to BE STILL is vital to restoring SIMPLICITY to my life.

·                    The Sabbath renews…refreshes…and helps us refocus!
Honoring the Sabbath…is a sign of just how devoted we are!

2 Corinthians 11:3 (NASB)

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

When we neglect the Sabbath…

·                    And we just go on with our lives…

·                    We begin to get caught up…in the whirlpool of this world and its busyness

·                    And we end up spinning around…without any direction

That’s what Paul’s saying…happened to Eve…

She allowed her mind to be led astray…from the simplicity and purity of walking with the Lord.

God wants our relationship with Him to be something that is pure and simple…anything else…is not true devotion!

·                    Away from this kind of life…our lives become damaged…and hurt!

When we’re too busy…

·                    Our marriages…and our families…begin to fall apart

·                     

And we begin to burn out…

·                    Much sooner on the inside…than we do on the outside

·                    Much faster…than others see it

·                    And…denial…only exacerbates…the damage

When we don’t heed God’s early warning signs…our lives eventually collapse!

So…how do we stop this from happening?

·                    The Bible says…remember the Sabbath!

·                    One day out of the week…rest…be still…focus on God for an entire day!

During this time…talk with God…

·                    Take a walk

·                    Ask Him questions…listen for His response

·                    Allow Him to search your heart…

Learn to take Sabbath moments…on a daily basis!

·                    Find that place…in the morning…to sit alone…with God

·                    Without the TV…without conversation…without someone else

·                    Just you and God

God not only trims…the bad limbs in our life…

·                    God trims good limbs…to make us more productive

ILL: Trimming an apple tree…with four or five apples…

·                    So that two or three apples…can grow to a good size

Here’s what Jesus said…

John 15:2 (NASB)

"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

YS…God is always working on our lives…WHY?

·                    Because…not one of us…has arrived yet!

It doesn’t matter…how many past accomplishments you’ve had…

·                    No matter how successful you think you are…

·                    God’s not done yet…there’s still more fruit to produce…more work to do

So…don’t get so wrapped up…in how “good” you’ve been…

·                    That you think you’re invincible

·                    1 Cor. 10:12…Take heed, lest you fall…”

REASONS WHY I NEED A SABBATH:

1. It RESTORES my FAITH.

Psalm 23:1-3a (NASB)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul.

How many of you have ever needed your soul restored?

·                    I know I have…lots of times!

·                    But sometimes…my Shepherd has to make me lie down…!

And you need to know…the Shepherd restoring your soul…

·                    Doesn’t necessarily mean physical rest

You can get a good night’s rest…and still wake up…with a restless soul!

·                    You can get up and cook breakfast…and your soul not be in it

·                    You can go to school…and your soul not be in it

·                    You can go to work…and your soul not be in it

·                    You can come to worship God…and your soul not be in it

·                    You can have a quiet time…and your soul not be in it

·                    You can be a parent with responsibilities…and your soul not be in it

And…what we need is…a restoration of our souls…

·                    The restoration of our soul…only happens…

·                    When we spend time…with the Father

2. It REESTABLISHES my FOCUS.

We are struggle keeping the main thing…the main thing!

Making time for a Sabbath…

·                    Takes our eyes off the waves…

·                    And gets them…back on the Savior!

Jesus is the “Author and finisher” of our faith…(Heb. 12:2)

·                    So…wouldn’t it make sense…to keep our eyes on Him?

With our eyes on Him…

·                    Problems that were once exaggerated

·                    Now return…to their normal size

Taking a Sabbath helps me MAGNIFY the LORD rather than my PROBLEMS.

·                    Talk about making life simple!

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

3. It REKINDLES my FLAME.

Sabbath moments are special moments…

·                    They not only warm our hearts

·                    They rekindle our first love for Jesus

Not only do we have a tendency to lose our focus…

·                    We all have this tendency to leave our first love!

In the beginning…

·                    We are madly in love with God…and what He’s done for us

We were inspired to live for Him…and with Him…

·                    We have an excitement about serving…giving…helping…

·                    And there’s this incredible devotion…and desire to worship

But somewhere along the way…the flame goes out…

·                    And we get cranky…and critical…and skeptical…and we become heartless!

And yet…God longs to restore our first love!

·                    To not just go through the motions

·                    But to do everything…out of the fullness of your heart!

You’re no longer…just raising your kids…

·                    You’re doing it with a heart for parenting

You’re no longer just married…

·                    You’re married with a heart for your spouse

You’re not just at home…

·                    You’re  home with a heart to be with your family

You’re no longer just serving…

·                    You’re serving…with all your heart!

God restores the flame so that we have a heart for what He’s called you to do and be!

How do we make life simple again…?

·                    Begin to maintain a Sabbath…and don’t let anything stand in the way!

·                    Guard your day of rest!

·                    Guard those daily moments of restoration

·                    And don’t feel guilty about telling someone no!

·                    Slow your world down a bit

·                    Make your life simple again

ILL:

There was once a sculptor…who began chiseling Abraham Lincoln…from a huge piece of granite…

·                    Every evening…he’d chisel this massive stone

·                    And a cleaning lady…would come along…and clean up his mess

·                    It took months!

Finally…the day came…to present the sculpture…

·                    Hundreds of distinguished guests were invited

·                    People came from all over the nation

And to honor the cleaning lady…he invited her…

·                    After the party…the sculptor…and the cleaning lady were the last to leave

·                    As  they stood there…gazing at the sculpture

·                    She said: “It’s magnificent!  Absolutely magnificent!”

·                    And she said, “I only have one question…”

·                    “How did you know that Mr. Lincoln was in that rock?”

He paused for a moment…and then said:

“I really didn’t sculpt Mr. Lincoln.  I simply chipped away whatever wasn’t Mr. Lincoln.”

INside each of you…is this image of God…

·                    We are all filled with this incredible potential

·                    And when we give our hearts to Jesus

·                    God begins to chip away those…

·                    Bad thoughts…those  habits…that attitude…that lifestyle…

·                    Those pieces of the granite…you’re tightly holding on to

God picks up His hammer…and says…

 “That  has to go…and that…”

And you…say…

“Oh!  But I love that!  Please, not that!”

And God says…

No!  I’m sorry!  It will only reduce your value…if it’s not pruned!

Granted…I love you just the way you are…but I love you too much to leave you that  way!

I want you to trust Me…I know what’s best for your life…I made you!

This morning…I’ve given you some simple truths…to change your life!

·                    Simple truths in here…are sometimes…the most profound!

These are promises…you can cling to…

·                    Promises that will change your life…marriage…outlook on the future!

·                    Everything about you will change!

Begin living these truths…

·                    And I assure you…you’ll begin to enjoy…the life…you were meant to live

·                    You’ll no longer be living…outside your margin

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