Reckless and Relentless
SECOND NATURE RECKLESS AND RELENTLESS January 5th, 2020 VIDEO – SECOND NATURE SLIDE 2 – TITLE WELCOME Good Morning! Welcome to Fox Valley Christian Church, where every member is a missionary. INTRO Our youngest daughter Jasmyn was baptized last year on March 31st. That same day she got in a car accident where her, our oldest daughter, my wife’s youngest sister, and our nephew were hit by a truck that ran a red light. God was protecting everyone involved in the car accident that day and everyone went home from the hospital that night. I will never forget that day though. It was one of many things that happened over the course of last year that opened my eyes. From every account, our girls primary focus after the accident was on God. They began to pray while they waited for the emergency responders to get there. When the emergency responders were there and just Jasmyn and her aunt were still stuck in the car, Jasmyn made them stop to pray. On the way to the hospital the girls asked the paramedics if they could pray and when we got there and I had to leave Jaidyn alone in the ambulance with one of the paramedics she proceeded to get his name and ask him to pray with her. The relentlessly pursued God. Some would say that they recklessly pursued God. When an emergency responder is trying to get you out of a car, and you tell them that they have to stop and pray with you … some would call that reckless. Completely unconcerned about any consequence other than pursuing God. I want to pause here for a moment. I want to make this clear. There actions that day are not the result of my great spiritual leadership, instead they opened my eyes to me needing to be a better spiritual leader. The actions of my children that day were because of the way that there mother constantly redirects their focus to God. - If they are scared, she stops and begins to pray with them. If they are concerned about someone at school, she stops and begins to pray with them. If they are hurt, she stops and begins to pray with them. Throughout the years, countless times they have found themselves in situations where mom stops and begins to pray with them. Countless times she has instilled in them that there is no greater power than God. No greater comfort, no greater source of peace, no greater satisfaction. In all things, through prayer and petition, bring your requests to the Lord. (Philippians 4:6) As a result, going to God and pursuing God has become second nature to them. Second Nature – A characteristic or habit in someone that appears to be instinctive because that person has behaved in a particular way so often. SPIRITUAL LEADER Many things have happened over the course of the past year and I could literally spend the entire morning just recapping. Showing you what happened and how the people in my life responded. Specifically, how Jen responded each time. But instead, I want to tell you about this stirring that it created. Questions and realizations that began to surface. Around May last year, I realized a few things throughout all of this. - My wife is a spiritual leader. That is not her title, that is who she is. That is who she has become. I am a spiritual leader by title, but my spiritual leadership is tremendously lacking when compared to that of my wives. How could this be? How did I slip in my spiritual leadership? What is the difference that I am seeing in Jen that I am not seeing in myself? What is the difference in Josh now compared to Josh when he was younger? (I used to have such evidence of spiritual leadership in my life, how had it waned?) To understand this, we must look at a couple things … What is a spiritual leader? How does one become a spiritual leader? What traps await us along the way? WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL LEADER? A spiritual leader is simply this. It is someone that leads people into a deeper intimacy with Jesus. Someone that leads people into a deeper intimacy with God. You can lead people with authority, you can lead with experience and expertise. You can lead through charisma and best practices. But if you are not leading people into a deeper intimacy with God, than you are not spiritually leading them. You might be leading people into healthier practices, better habits, or a renewed mindset. You might lead people into stronger relationships. You might lead people away from addictions. You might lead people to serve more or give more. You might lead people to study. BUT … if you are not leading people into a deeper intimacy with God, than you are not spiritually leading them. 1 PETER 2:9 SLIDE 3 – SCRIPTURE 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. That you may proclaim the excellencies of Him … God. That you may glorify God. That you may give God glory. We proclaim God, so that God is glorified. We proclaim God so that others would draw into a deeper intimacy with Him and therefore give Him glory and praise … so that others would know Him. Being a spiritual leader isn’t about leading others to their best life now, it is about leading others into a deeper intimacy with God. To know Him. SLIDE 4 – TITLE HOW DOES ONE BECOME A SPIRITUAL LEADER? How do I become a spiritual leader? As missionaries … we should all be asking this question. How do I become a spiritual leader? You become a spiritual leader by recklessly and relentlessly pursuing God. You pursue God passionately and you will grow spiritually. When you grow spiritually, you will begin to lead others to spiritual growth. Pause here … I know that there are people that do not like the song Reckless Love. We worship to that song here and it is genuinely one of my families favorite songs. But I have heard that there are people that do not like the song because they believe that describing God’s love as reckless is wrong. Reckless, meaning irresponsible, throwing caution to the wind, marching around blindly without the care of consequences. God’s sacrifice for us was not irresponsible … He knew exactly what He was doing … therefore, people take the song wrong and do not like it. But the way that reckless is being used in that song is the same way that I mean it in this sermon. Reckless Obedience. Reckless meaning careless of consequences. So when we talk about recklessly pursuing God … we are saying that despite the consequences we are going to pursue God. David, in 1 Samuel 6 danced and praised God with abandon. He was a king that was undignified. He was utterly unconcerned about the consequences of his passion for God. He was recklessly pursuing God. We must also choose to be relentless in our pursuit of God. - Failure can’t stop you Public opinion can’t stop you Lack of understanding can’t stop you Uncertainty can’t stop you We must continue moving forward and pursuing God. Relentlessly. The world we live in pursues happiness, pleasure, wealth and all the sorts. And they are pursued with a reckless and relentless passion. The only thing wrong is that the world’s passion is that it is directed toward the wrong person – self. When we choose to pursue God with a reckless and relentless passion, we will change the world. We will grow deep spiritual roots, which will nourish more passion for God and which will lead to maximum impact on others. WHAT TRAPS AWAIT US ALONG THE WAY? Here’s the thing though. There are traps that come along in this process. This was one of the biggest things that I realized this past year as I tried to discover what had happened. How I had slipped in my spiritual leadership and really in my relationship with God. What changed in me? Why had my spiritual leadership waned? I seem to do all the right things. I read, I study, I pray. I serve people. I mentor and disciple people. These sound like attributes of a spiritual leader … and they are … so why had my spiritual leadership lessened? It’s because through the years: - I had become more passionate about studying the Word, than I had about pursuing God. I had become more passionate about reading the Word, than I had about pursuing God. I had become more passionate about finding time to pray, than I had about pursuing God. I had become more passionate about people, than I had about pursuing God. I had become more passionate about serving and giving that I had about pursuing God. These things are not bad … they are the product that we see in a person that pursues God … but if we begin to pursue the product of a relationship with God and not pursue God Himself … we will slip, we will wane. Here is an important question … what is your passion? What is my passion? Some might say, “I have a passion for worship” or “I have a passion for evangelism” or “I have a passion for prayer” or “I have a passion for study.” When we have a passion for A spiritual discipline, it will erode our passion for God. Even though our initial thought was to exercise any of the spiritual disciplines in order to know God on a deeper level, that motive becomes corrupted if doing the spiritual discipline becomes more important than pursuing God. This was the problem that we saw with the Pharisees. Spiritual Disciplines became an outward attempt to make them look spiritual when in actuality their spiritual root system was extremely shallow. As we go into this study on the Spiritual Disciplines, I do not want us to be passionate about a discipline. I want to be passionate about pursuing God and these disciplines then are a means to pursuing Him. They become deep roots in a foundation whose focus is on pursuing God. ROOT SYSTEM I saw this awesome chart when studying spiritual disciplines and I wanted to share this with you. Why? Because some of these jumped out at me and I believe some might jump out at you as well. This is a comparison between attributes you would find in a shallow root system and attributes you would find in a Deepening Root System. SLIDE 5 – LIST SHALLOW ROOT SYSTEM - Behavior Modification Primary focus on people Commitment Aims to build dependence on self DEEPENING ROOT SYSTEM - Transformation Primary focus on God Surrender Aims to build dependence on God - Truth is a solution Accepts accountability Prayer is critical I need God - Angry at what upsets God Makes Disciples Supernatural Expectation - Sin is confronted Freedom Vision is God-centered SLIDE 6 – LIST - Truth is a weapon Rejects accountability Prayer is important God needs me SLIDE 7 – LIST - Angry at what upsets me Makes converts Superhuman effort SLIDE 8 – LIST - Plagued by habitual sin Enslavement Vision is me-centered What does your root system look like? Do any of these jump out at you as warning signs or cautions? They do for me. SLIDE 9 – TITLE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY/SERIES Going into this study we are going to look at spiritual disciplines … spiritual habits that develop strong deepening spiritual roots. Roots that when firmly established allow us to be in a deep relationship with God and to be spiritual leaders; the spiritual leaders that God has created us to be. I want to caution you though that there will be a desire as we go through these different habits to either reject them or to be all consumed by them. Reject them You might reject them because you have tried them before, and you struggle with them. Or you don’t understand them. Or they seem stale and boring. I want to encourage you to be reckless and relentless in your passion for God by pursuing Him through these disciplines. Consumed by them You might go the opposite direction and you might be consumed by them. You might find yourself falling in love with a specific discipline (study, prayer, worship, evangelism, etc.) that you put it ahead of your pursuit of God. You become more passionate about the discipline than you do God. You might find that you have already become consumed by one of these. I want to encourage you as we go through this series to constantly be refocusing and re-centering and remembering that God is the reason. He is the one we are pursuing passionately, and these are just a means to pursue Him.