Summary: A sermon on the last 4 of the 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People
Louis Evens went to Africa. While in Africa he visited a doctor who gave up a fine practice in America to be a missionary. The doctor invited Evens to observe a major surgery. Louis noticed the obvious strain of the surgery afterwards. Here is part of their conversation: Evens- “How many times a week do you do this kind of procedure?” Doctor- Sometimes, several times a day. Evens- How much would you receive for this surgery in the United States? The doctor told him the price. Evens- How much will you get here? Beads of perspiration still in his face, lips purple the doctor said, “A few dollars, a smile of gratitude, and the blessing of God. Man, this is really living!” This doctor is highly effective, not because he is making a lot of money, but because he is helping many people and helping to grow the Kingdom of God. Are we that effective and fulfilled?
Last Sunday night we talked about 3 of the 7 habits of highly ineffective people. This is a take on Steven Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People but in reverse. Last week:
1. Highly ineffective people are not good time managers
2. Highly ineffective people have a losing attitude
3. Highly ineffective people stop growing
Tonight we are going over the last 4 and learn how to be more effective and not ineffective.
4. Have no plan for their lives
“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” John 6:15-21, NIV. Notice 3 things in these verses
1. The control Jesus exercised. People wanted to plan His life for Him. Sound familiar? When that happened, he withdrew again to a mountain by himself. Note the word 'again'. Spending time with God was something He did regularly. Do we?
2. The criticism Jesus evoked. When the crowd wants to make us 'King', it's hard for our egos to walk away. But Jesus did. Others couldn't impose their will or agenda on Him. Why? Because He was committed to doing the will of God and nothing else.
3. The communion Jesus enjoyed. He emerged from a night of prayer empowered to walk on the water and subdue the storm. If we want to succeed in life, there's only one source we can go to for strength and guidance: God. Do we want to take control of our lives? That's how it’s done!
Now wait a minute, we are not Jesus. We do not have that clearly a defined mission like dying on the cross for the sins of mankind. This is true but we need a mission, we need goals and plans for the Kingdom of Christ. Spending time with God through His Word and prayer will help us to have a plan.
Are Unwilling to change
Many times people will cling to an unsatisfactory way of life rather than embrace healthy change. We’d rather die with the old than live with something new and different. “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:16, NIV.
As we look at the Gospels and the NT we see a classic resistance to change. Many Jews were impressed with Jesus. Yet, most resisted change and did not become Christians.
Edward Skidmore- Years ago a Christian Church in Albuquerque hired a church growth expert from California. I remember his presentation to the church board while I was a Youth Minister there. He gave many suggestions, but his biggest recommendation was that the church was located in a part of town that had no growth potential left. He urged them to sell their property and move to a part of town where growth was happening. Well, they owned their property free and clear. They’d been there a good while. The truth is, they weren’t interested in any solution that involved major change of any kind. Since they didn’t like the advice they were given, they began to question the church growth expert’s qualifications. (Never mind the fact that he had helped other churches.) In the end, they chose to do nothing the consultant had suggested. Sure enough, today that church is in decline --- barely able to keep the doors open. That was precisely what the Consultant warned would happen if they were unwilling to change. Like a knowledgeable Consultant, God always knows the changes we need to make. He knows exactly what will make things better … and He knows exactly what will make things worse.