Summary: Discipleship requires preparation: How prepared are you?
"Mamma" said a little child, "my Sunday School teacher tells me that this world is only a place in which God lets us live a while, that we may prepare for a better world. But mother, I do not see anybody preparing. I see you preparing to go to the country, and Aunt Elsie is preparing to come here; but I do not see anyone preparing to go there. Why don’t they try to get ready?"
Preparation. Everyone enjoys the finished product, the nicely iced cakes and finished pastries. The finely served dinner, the beautifully built home, the well raised family. How many enjoy the preparation, the work that went into the finished product?
Mark tells us there is a time of preparation before the reality of anticipation, before the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare the way." In Exodus 23:20, God sent an angel ahead of the Israelites to prepare the way to the promised land, in Mark 1:2, we read God sent a man to prepare the way to the promised one.
Lets be honest with ourselves tonight, for the most part we don’t like the preparation work. We would rather take be on the trip than packing for it. We would rather be living in the house than building it. We would rather be in revival than preparing for it.
Life requires preparation, and it is in the preparation we will either become win or lose. It has been said that all is well that begins well.
I want to look at three areas of preparation. They come from Bob Rotella’s book, Golf is not a game of perfect where he points out the pre-shot preparation of Tom Kite and then I want to relate them to your Christian life.
Kites pre-shot routine is this: (1) Assessment: "Am I evaluating correctly?" (2) Alignment: "Am I lined up correctly?"
(3) Attitude: "Am I visualizing correctly?"
Lets look at Assessment and answer some questions for ourselves. God told the children of Israel that he was sending a messenger ahead to prepare the way. And John came with that message. We need John’s in our lives to point the direction for us, pastors, teachers, parents, friends.
Tom Kites assessment includes...
Finding the target Assess the distance factor the wind--trajectory and Selecting the club -- decisiveness is critical. And for each of us, to make it to a higher level we need to ask this question so we can find the target: 1. Where do I need to Go?
The way to answer this is to 1. Seek God’s will 2. Know your heart.
3. Find your gifts 4. Ask your friends 5. Seek the opportunities set before you.
2. We need to ask, How far out is my goal? John the Baptist came to prepare the way but when he began he had no timetable for when the Lord would come. I like what St. Francis of Assisi said, "Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
3. For you to go to the higher level, you need to ask, what are the conditions?
Read Luke 14:28-32
The situation will determine the strategy you will use in getting to a higher level.
4. What will it take to get there?
To reach the goal set before you, there are three P’s you are going to need.
1] Preparation: and this comes through the preparation within you.
2] Process: following a strategic process before you
3] People: surrounding yourself with great people.
After a period of assessment, then comes the alignment, and you need to ask, Am I lined up correctly? I have 10 questions to rate yourself on your alignment from 1-10, 1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest.
1. Do I practice my spiritual disciplines in a consistent manner?
2. Is my family in good shape
3. Am I free from financial pressure?
4. Do I get enough physical rest and exercise?
5. Do I have clarity on God’s calling and am I obediently pursuing it?
6. Have I established replenishing patterns in my life?
7. Have I surrounded myself with "eagles in my area of ministry or work?
8. Have I experienced my "train wreck" yet?
9. Have I prioritized my ministry to complement my spiritual gifts?
10. Do I have prayer partners to provide essential support for me?
Finally, what is your attitude? Maintaining the right attitude is easier than regaining the right attitude. Lets look at a couple of attitude indicators.
1. What is your attitude about yourself? When it comes to believing in themselves, some people are agnostics. Consider John the Baptist, would he had been successful if he did not believe in himself, that he was called of God to prepare the way? If he had not, we would never had known his name.