Summary: In a world of Extreme life, we as Christians can live Extreme also
EXTREME LIVING Attitude is Everything
(All my sermons use illustrations from Sermon Central and all Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted)
In our world there seems to be a need to take things to another level. When I was younger I enjoyed sports, now there is EXTREME sports. Our world is inundated with EXTREME things; extreme home make-overs, extreme foods, extreme video, extreme fitness, and extreme guitar. My Space even has an extreme section. But, extreme living is not new. I believe the Bible can teach us how to live EXTREME lives and if you have your Bible with you today please turn with me to Nehemiah chapter 8, verse 10.
Neh 8:10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
The strength we have is the joy of the Lord? The verse actually say that our rock, strength, fortified place, stronghold or defense is gladness or rejoicing in Jehovah or the Lord. It means that if we are living EXTREME lives, nothing in this world is to BIG or too DIFFICULT for us to handle, because we have the Lord.
Max Lucado tells of this kind of joy, let me read this to you:
“I have everything I need for joy!” Robert Reed said. His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He can’t bathe himself. He can’t feed himself. He can’t brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. Strips of Velcro hold his shirts together. His speech drags like a worn out audiocassette. Robert has cerebral palsy. The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But it didn’t keep him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian University, from which he graduate with a degree in Latin. Having cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from teaching at St. Louis Junior College or from venturing overseas on five mission trips. And Robert’s disease didn’t prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal. He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. There he rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language. Then he stationed himself daily in a park, where he distributed brochures about Christ. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa. I heard Robert speak recently. I watched other men carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. I watched them lay a Bible in his lap. I watched his stiff fingers force open the pages. And I watched people in the audience wipe away tears of admiration from their faces. Robert could have asked for sympathy or pity, but he did just the opposite. He held his bent hand up in the air and boasted, “I have everything I need for joy.” His shirts are held together by Velcro, but his life is held together by joy.
That is the kind of JOY we need to live EXTREME lives, nothing on the outside having control of us, but the inner peace and joy of the Lord our Savior and our King. So HOW do we go about allowing this to happen?
I. JOY COMES FROM BEING IN THE LORD’S PRESENCE
The first thing is to understand that JOY comes from being in the presence of the Lord. I think that King David understood this simple fact.
Ps 16:5-9 The Living Bible The Lord himself is my inheritance, my prize. He is my food and drink, my highest joy! He guards all that is mine. 6 He sees that I am given pleasant brooks and meadows as my share! What a wonderful inheritance! 7 I will bless the Lord who counsels me; he gives me wisdom in the night. He tells me what to do. 8 I am always thinking of the Lord; and because he is so near, I never need to stumble or to fall. 9 Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy.
God Himself is our prize! BUT HOW? Verse 8 tells us HOW! I am always thinking of the Lord. Every thought of David’s was filtered through the Lord. David said that Jehovah counseled him and gave him wisdom and told him what to do. This is the secret to EXTREME living, knowing that if we are always thinking of the Lord He will counsel us and give us wisdom and tell us what to do. AND, all of us would like to have someone to tell us what to do, wouldn’t we? Is it not FEAR that keeps us from having Joy? And isn’t that FEAR driven by not knowing what we need to do?