Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Get Your Mission

Get Your Mission

Exodus 19:1-6; Acts 1:4-8

Vicktor Frankl, Auschwitz survivor, wrote “Man’s Search For Meaning” – he learned that identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about, and then immersively imagining that outcome, gave hope to the hopeless, even in concentration camps. Frankl discovered that the very last thing anyone can take from you is your freedom of choice. YOU CHOOSE how you will respond to suffering, to enjoyment, to living and dying. Want to find your purpose? Get Your Mission!

To Choose Your Role In Life:

* TREASURE Your Position ~ Exodus 19:1-6

(don’t seek it, BE it)

  • 1/3 God’s people are given a message: specifics are for Israel, principles are for US
  • 4/5 set your priorities; IF keep covenant, THEN treasured “favorite tool-impact wrench”
  • 6 result of proper priorities: holy service

* PLAY Your Position ~ Acts 1:4-8

(what is your position on God’s team?)

  • 4 discovering your gifts
  • 5 Holy Spirit IS the gift; HS is ALSO the giver of gifts (Rom 12:1-8; 1 Cor 12-14; Eph. 4:7-16; 1Pet 4:10-11)
  • 6 identifying your passion; what are we looking towards?
  • 7/8 discerning your call; WHO will you seek? WHAT will you say? WHY would you share? WHERE are you going?

WHEN? Time is NOW: Position → Fruition → Passion → Commission

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Refill Your Spiritual Supply

Refill Your Spiritual Supply

Ps.143:7-12; Mat.6:9-13; 1Pe.2:1-5

My car has a drain; something is using up power, and I haven’t been able to track it down. To keep it running, I have to KEEP IT RUNNING.

Running Low? To Recharge Your Life

* GRASP the WORD ~ Psalm 143:7-12 (hold on for dear life!)

  • 7 what’s the answer?
  • 8 show-look/listen
  • 9 rescue/read to hide
  • 10 teach/study
  • 11 preserve/memorize
  • 12 “for I am Your servant” / meditate

GET (hear- Rom 10.17)
READ (Rev 1.3)
ANALYZE (study- Act 17.11)
STORE (memorize- Ps 119.9-11)
PONDER (meditate-Ps 1.2-3)

* GASP your PRAYER ~ Mathew 6:9-13 (pray like you breathe)

PRAY LIKE THIS:

  • 9a relationship (Our Father…),
  • 9b worship (hallowed be Your name),
  • 10 interruption (YOUR kingdom – we give up),
  • 11 provision (give us this day – we rely),
  • 12 forgiveness
  • 13a protection (lead us),
  • 13b affirmation (Yours is)

* GROW up ~ 1Peter 2:1-5 (move on to maturity)

  • 1 “put away” like taking of filthy clothing
  • 2/3 crave to grow up; beyond want-NEED
  • 4 AS you come – ongoing (fellowship)
  • 5 priests: stand before God for people, and before people for God

The Christian life is like a cross
~ live the VERTICAL: Pray up; get the Word down
~ live the HORIZONTAL: FELLOWSHIP needs commitment of time, energy, resources; WITNESS: not what you DO, but who you ARE

https://youtu.be/BWqlreTCtck ?start=1395&end=3513

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit You Trip

Admit You Trip

Psalms 32:1-5; 1 John 1:5-10

Have you ever tripped, and looked back to see over what you stumbled? There’s a Youtube prank that does this: a bunch of people pretend to trip over nothing, and bystanders are very confused. Tripping or stumbling happens in our spiritual lives as well. What do you do when THAT occurs?

Want To Get Past Your Past?

* Say Your Sin TO Him ~ Psalms 32:1-5

  • 1 maskil=”teaching” LEARN THIS
  • 2/4 teetertotter: weight of unconfessed sin vs freedom of forgiveness
  • 5 David’s conclusion: let sin go, and you let guilt go!

* See Your Sin BY His Light ~ 1 John 1:5-10

  • 5 in case you missed it: light is a metaphor for TRUTH
  • 6/7 teetertotter: darkness of sin vs light of truth
  • 8 addresses wrong idea: that WE are the SOUL alone, not affected by the flesh
  • 9 freedom from sin isn’t found IN us; it’s found in the character of Christ. God forgives because that’s who God IS
  • 10 we’re NOT inherently good people who occasionally do bad things; when we pretend that our occasional actions aren’t sinful, we run from the truth of God; we choose darkness over light

Practical Method: as soon as we recognize we’ve tripped, we practice “spiritual breathing” : we *exhale* by confessing our sin to God, and we *inhale* by willingly surrendering to God’s control.

Lord Jesus, I am a sinner constantly in need of Your grace and the experience of Your forgiveness. Thank You, Jesus, that You died for these sins in my life. Thank You that You have mercy on me. Help me to lose the addiction to sin, and when I fall, prompt me by the Spirit to confess, repent, and hold on to Your grace. All this I ask the Father in Your name, Jesus: Amen.

https://youtu.be/Li-9WPFHB90 ?start=1095&end=2908

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Get Off The Throne

Get Off The Throne

Joshua 24:14-18; 1 Peter 3:13-17; Isaiah 14:13-14

Here we are, Sunday before Christmas starts. We’re focused on the arrival of the Savior in the Manger. But consider what the Savior LEFT: the Throne of Heaven! God is on His throne! PS 47:8; There is ALSO a throne in each of us. Who has the right to be THERE?

To Keep Your Throne Clear for Christ

* Install to Serve Him ~ Joshua 24:14-18

  • 14 respect AND serve are linked: can’t do one without the other
  • 15 CHOOSE: a **human** exercise of will
  • 16/18 they respond IN THE MOMENT: it’s possible to make a commitment one moment, but not count the cost of KEEPING it. Have you done this? What has been the cost of keeping your commitment? Of NOT keeping it?

* Invest to Assert Him ~ 1 Peter 3:13-17

  • 13/14 this is a follow up from verses 8 on; PEOPLE (not just Christians) suffer- SO do what’s right!
  • 15 Sanctify/make holy: INVEST; if you were on a ball team, and you never showed up for practice to learn necessary skills, would you be ready to play? Would you even be SELECTED to play? What are you “making holy” in your life?
  • 16 we are to respect God; we’re ALSO to respect people… as a means of showing God respect as well!
  • 17 not suffering is ideal; if that’s NOT what happens, at least don’t DRAW suffering to yourself by doing what is evil

* Abdicate to Affirm Him ~ Isaiah 14:13-14

Choosing evil isn’t possible when you’re submitted to God. Why? Because evil is that which is OPPOSED to God… and God cannot oppose Himself. But WE can:

  • 13: You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
  • When WE kick God out of the driver’s seat, we do the SAME THING AS SATAN. Don’t DO that! GET OFF THE THRONE

Lord Jesus, I willingly relinquish the throne of my life and invite You to once again take control as Lord of my life.

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Seek The Spirit

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Seek The Spirit

Eph. 5:15-21

For this sermon to make sense, we’ve GOT to understand that the Holy Spirit isn’t a “force” or a “substance”. He’s a PERSON – the Third Person of the Triune God.

Step Three In The Spirit

* Care For Your Conduct ~ Eph. 5:15-18

  • 15 “watch how you walk” what wisdom do you use to make your choices?
  • 16 “to go to market” carefully choose your moment!
  • 17 through THIS don’t become unable to comprehend; “put it together”
  • 18 don’t BLUNT yourself in dumb choices; let yourself be CRAMMED full BY the Spirit

=> problem: when we read verse 18, we see the metaphor of being filled with wine (a substance), and often equate the spirit with that idea. We are not to be filled with the substance of spirit – we are being filled by a person: the holy spirit. Think less of a colander, and more of a manager of a warehouse. The manager notices when the warehouse gets empty, and makes arrangements for fresh goods to be brought in to replenish it

* Keep Being Filled ~ Eph. 5:19-21

  • 19 (power of the participle!) BE speaking the music of the Spirit to each other! (emphasize the positive- pour the goodness of God into people)
  • 20 BE “giving thanks at all times for all things”
  • 21 BE arranging yourselves as if Christ were right here: BECAUSE HE IS!

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. (Isa. 26:3, 9)

Do you want peace, REAL peace? Long for the Leading of the Spirit!

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Profess God’s Power

Profess God’s Power

2Chr. 20:5-9; Phil. 4:10-13

I’m looking for a car for my youngest. I found a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle in Yakima for only $500. She should be thrilled. The problem? NO ENGINE.

You’d be amazed at how many people think to live their spiritual lives in such a condition: they might have all the externals in place, but there’s no MOVEMENT because they don’t know how to turn it ON.

To Take Your Second Daily Step

* Plead God’s Power ~ 2Chr. 20:5-9

  • 5/6 GOD alone has the power
  • 7/9 God uses that power for our benefit (He hears and saves)

* Learn That Process ~ Phil. 4:10-13

  • 10/11 I have learned: this is a PROCESS; we learn IF we pay attention (“you learn something new every day” NOT AUTOMATIC)
  • 12 “secret”=INITIATED/shown the mystery; without this secret, it is very difficult to be content, because you focus on your circumstances which you can’t control
  • 13 IN HIM (en, not dia) there is POWER; when we are IN CHRIST (not the other way around), we are IN POWER, because Christ IS the power for Godliness

The difference is understanding that we don’t ADD Jesus to us (that way is failure, because we are still trying to control; Jesus is an additional tool in that scenario). We MERGE ourselves INTO Jesus; “I must decrease, He must increase” = I can’t; HE CAN

Profess Step Two: Lord Jesus, I am powerless. I have no ability in myself, apart from Your intervention in my life, to live my life in a way that is pleasing to You. I acknowledge that “I can’t.” But, I believe in You, Lord. I believe that You are the source of all power I invite You to live Your life in and through me today. Thank You that I can trust You to bring Your power into my life as I find myself IN You. Make me the kind of person You created me to be.


Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit Your Need

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit Your Need

John 15:1-9

Every year, we remember what God does for us, from the beginning of the plan (Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem) to the end (His return). Through it all, we see the example that Jesus gives as He lived. As we move through Advent, this year we’ll be looking at specific steps that will help us live the Christian life every day.

Have you found the Christian life to be frustrating? Try saying “I can’t…”

Parts of Your First Step

* Produce Produce! ~ John 15:1-2

  • We are EXPECTED to bear fruit! But HOW? Three possible ways to do this:
  • Plan A. keep the Law; (spoiler alert: doesn’t work)
  • Plan B. cling to grace/justification by faith (because plan A doesn’t work), or
  • Plan C. mix A and B (which is just A repackaged)

* Profess Powerlessness! ~ John 15:3-6

  • 3 Jesus’ word cleanses us (like a branch end must be clean to be grafted)
  • 4 focus is US being IN Jesus, not Jesus being IN us! Difference? We are to come into HIS presence; we enter into HIS Kingdom; HE CALLS THE SHOTS IN HIS OWN HOME
  • 5 this means we are powerless; (cf Matt. 5.6 abject poverty of spirit)
  • 6 look at the difference: a branch on its own has no life CANNOT bear fruit; a branch connected to the Vine has life (but not its own) – and THAT Life makes us able to produce!

* Persist and Preserve! ~ John 15:6-9

  • 7 “and my words remain” far too often, Christians focus on “ask whatever”, and forget the necessity of REMAINING in Christ and RETAINING His Word
  • 8 Farmers: how do you KNOW when a crop is ready for harvest? Don’t you INSPECT the fruit? We give ribbons at the county fair for brag-worthy crops; that’s our goal, too: to be blue-ribbon servants all for God’s glory (GOD is the Grower; we’re the Grafted)
  • 9 Don’t just visit: STAY because of LOVE

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability… (Deuteronomy 8:17-18a)

Apply step 1: Dear Father, I come to You today to acknowledge that I am powerless. I am fundamentally powerless – period! I am also powerless over the effects of my separation from You. Apart from Your intervention in my life today, I do not have the ability to be Yours.


Pastor Ed Backell

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