Lone Survivor

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (MSG)

 

We should train hard to strengthen our spiritual life so here are four priorities that are essential for the development and maintenance of a sound spiritual life…

 

Priority #1: Decisiveness

 

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 1 Timothy 4:7

 

Priority #2: Dedication

 

Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. 1 Timothy 4:8 (MSG)

 

Priority #3: Discipline

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

 

Priority #4: Destination

 

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (MSG)

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

Haunted House

Haunted houses are always portrayed as scary, run-down buildings, but we want the Holy Ghost to haunt our church.

 

So how do we know if the Holy Spirit is at work in a church?

 

  1. There is a visible expression of peace

 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

 

Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. Ephesians 2:16-18 (The Message)

 

  1. There is evidence of shared life

 

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44

 

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 2:2-3 (NLT)

 

  1. There is a high level of participation in the community

 

They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Acts 2:45-47

 

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:6-8

 

  1. There is evidence of growth

 

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47

Simply the Best Materialistically

It is better to have less of what doesn’t matter and more of what does matter.

 

Three thoughts on how to live simply…

 

Thought #1: Don’t be afraid to throw things out

 

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Luke 18:22-23

 

Why do we hold onto things?

  1. Fear
  2. Sentiment

 

Thought #2: Be mindful to buy less.

 

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Psalm 119:36-37

 

 

Thought #3: Be willing to give more.

 

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

 

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Small Fry Gets Super-Sized

Here’s what we learn about Jesus at this meal…

 

Fact #1: Jesus believes that no one is insignificant

 

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Luke 19:5-7

 

 

Fact #2: Jesus always had time to talk

 

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. Luke 19:1

 

Fact #3: For Jesus mission is the priority.

 

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9-10

 

Here’s what Jesus wants us to learn from this meal…

  1. We are to see everyone as important to God
  2. We should take the time to listen to others
  3. We must be concerned with our God given mission

RSVP

Most of us have been involved in enough weddings to know that invitations go out and then an RSVP is sent back. Well in this case, all the RSVP’s have come back – the seating arrangement has been planned – but no one is turning up. How would you feel if that was your wedding?

 

So here are the three excuses that we need to be aware of in our own life…

 

Excuse #1: POSSESSIONS

 

“But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’” Luke 14:18

 

Excuse #2: WORK

 

“Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’” Luke 14:19

 

Excuse #3: FAMILY

 

“Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’” Luke 14:20

 

God’s Answer to the Excuses…

 

The offer of GRACE to others

 

“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:21-24 (NLT)