Thursday, September 6, 2012

busy world.



Each week at Liberty, students and staff are required to attend Convocation to hear from different speakers from campus or from anywhere in the world. This week I listened to a sermon by someone who works in the same office as I do, but whose message really lit a fire under me! I wanted to share:

To watch him speak (definitely worth your time), just click the link below and click on the sermon titled:


The basic message of the sermon is just what the title says, remaining spiritually strong amidst the craziness that we ALL have in our lives. I have included my notes on the sermon below in case you don't have time to watch the whole thing (which is ironic, because that's the whole point of his message, ha!) Enjoy!!

Scripture: Mark 9
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 14-16When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked, "What's going on? What's all the commotion?"
 17-18A man out of the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn't."  19-20Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here." They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth.  21-22He asked the boy's father, "How long has this been going on?"    "Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"  23Jesus said, "If? There are no 'ifs' among believers. Anything can happen."  24No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, "Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!"  25-27Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: "Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!" Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, "He's dead." But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up.  28After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, "Why couldn't we throw the demon out?"  29He answered, "There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer."
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Basically, Jesus gives the disciples, if you look back to Matthew 10:1, the power to cast out demons if they were continually in prayer and used that prayer to do so. Unforuntately, the disciples had gotten busy doing really wonderful ministry, but they were not praying and engaging with God. They lost the fundamental power they had because they were too busy. [Something we can all relate to].

REALITIES:
1- Power comes only to those who intentionally engage God.
        
2- Past victories do not guarantee spiritual power today.
        - just because you've had a connection with the Lord before, does not guarantee it today
        - it is a choice of your heart to continue to connect TODAY
Everyday we should think, "Where was my spiritual victory today?"

3- Spiritual power is most evidenced when you make your own choice to stand.
        - there is ALWAYS somebody watching you, they just won't tell you they're watching (maybe they will after the fact.. maybe)

4- If you are weak, people will think your God is weak.
        - What happened to the man between when he was CONFIDENT about bringing his son to see Jesus to be healed and when he actually spoke to Jesus??.. He saw weak Christians.

PRACTICAL ADVICE:
1- Use studies, church services, small groups, etc. that you are already involved in to be your personal devotions.
        - we don't need to add yet ANOTHER small group, devotion time, etc. and fill up our schedule; use what you are already involved in and meditate on it and discuss it.

2- Have at least one intentional spiritual discussion every day.

3- Never pray the same way twice. Be authentic.

4- Engage God as you go through your day. At every pause you find yourself idle.
       
5- Do whatever it takes to protect your time with God. Run away from distractions.
        - when you wake up, if the computer/emails are a distraction, do not turn them on until you've spent time with the Lord

6- Do not rely solely on Christian leaders to help you. They can provide encouragement, but just being present and listening to sermons will not suffice for YOUR own personal relationship with the Lord.

7- Celebrate every spiritual victory! (Even, and especially, the little ones)
        - God never "dogged" you for baby steps!

8- Take it one day at a time.. refresh and repent!

9- Find someone who will keep you accountable.

10- Remember: God always loves you, even when you fail.

** You can't become so busy that you just "let it slip" - it's too important.**

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