We all know that:
PRACTICE is PRACTICAL
- It shows us where we are weak and can improve
- Makes us stronger
Week 2 of Series:
NO LONGER SPECTATORS
Getting of the sidelines of Faith
We’re leaning to…
Become a PARTICIPANTS in GOD’S MISSION in the world
Last week we focused on Jesus’ GREAT INVITATION to all of us
To join him and leave behind our lives of:
- Saying YES to his invitation
What does PRACTICE have to do with becoming a participant in God’s MISSION?
I think we have OVER MYSTIFIED being a Christian
- We think that it’s something that is almost magic
- Understanding the Bible
- Having Faith
- Sharing your testimony
- These are things that God hasn’t given me the ability to do…
Each of these things actually comes down to PRACTICE…
But instead of:
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Let’s say it a new way…
PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS
In the Christian’s life
1: Practicing Stillness
Statistics about the busyness/stress of modern life:
- The current stress level experienced by Americans is 20% higher than the global average.
- 59% of Americans find it extremely difficult to balance work and their personal schedules
- 74% of parents said they at least sometimes felt too busy to enjoy life
Technology drives our stress/busy lifestyles:
- Average American spends 705 hours on social media each year.
- Average smartphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day
- Average American watches 2,737 hours of TV each year
- Average guy spends 10,000 hours playing video games by age 21
Why are we so busy?
Pastor John Mark Comer‘s book “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” explains the problem in this way:
Our society is built around the twin gods of accumulation and accomplishment. We’ve been marketed to, over and over, creating the notion that the faster you check off your to-do list and the more you acquire, the happier we all will be. Except, our desires are never fulfilled.
Accumulation & Accomplishment
- Call for us to sacrifice:
It’s been said…
If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.
- Accumulation/accomplishment does just that
What is the answer to this?
THE PRACTICE OF STILLNESS
“Be still, and know that I am God.
Every parent teaches their child to listen to “STOP”
- It could be a matter of life or death
Be still is not a “COMFORT” but a REBUKE
- CUT IT OUT!
- STOP FIGHTING!
- STOP IT!
A Rebuke of what?
- A Sign of chaos
- A Sign of pride
We say, “We don’t need God, we can achieve all we want!”
Jesus also tells Chaos to “STOP, BE STILL
- Disciples rowing against the storm
- But their hope was in God to quiet the storm/chaos around them
PRACTICING STILLNESS is recognizing that YOU CANNOT quiet your storms and that Only God is your Refuge
1 God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.
2 Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas,
3 though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil.
Is it difficult to do this?
But PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS
- Learning to trust God and not yourself
2nd practice can only follow the first…
2: Practicing the Presence of God
- Born 1614 in Paris
- He became a monk that was known for his peace and wisdom
A book of his teachings called The Practice of the Presence of God
He talks about something called:
The HOLY HABIT OF THOUGHT
- Forming a constant conversation with God in your heart/head
1 Thessalonians 5
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Paul was speaking about learning to practice God’s PRESENCE
Brother Lawrence says in his teaching…
That in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty. ~ Brother Lawrence
How to Practice stillness and God’s presence
Practice inserting prayer continually in your day
- During repetitive tasks
Practice retreating to a quiet space
- Going on a walk
- Finding a quiet place at work
Practice Memorizing Scripture
- Favorite passages
This IS the pathway of becoming a PARTICIPANT in God’s mission
- To live your true purpose
- To know God more
A Prayer by Paul for the church…
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.