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Summary: ATTENTION: MEN ONLY!!! This message written for a men’s audience will challenge men to finish what they have started and not allow the diversionary tactics of the enemy to prevail. Old Testament characters are used to illustrate spiritual diversion and

Message: FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT & FINISHING THE RACE

MEN’S RETREAT 2004 PASTOR BOB

INTRO: Men are in spiritual crisis these days. Women are more active in Church than ever. Where have all the men gone? Why are Men Missing In Action? M.M.I.A. Let’s face the facts men, we’ve dropped the ball! According to the latest Barna Research, women are leading the way in almost every category of spiritual development.

* 49% of women have read the Bible in the past week, compared to 38% of men who report reading the Bible in the past week. (2004)

* Women are more likely than are men to attend church on a given Sunday (47% to 39%, respectively). (2004)

* Women are more likely than men to attend a Sunday school class at church (25% to 18%) or to participate in a small group (22% to 18%). (2004)

* In general, women pray more often than do men, with 89% of women versus 77% of men reporting that they have prayed in the past week. (2004)

* 66% of women describe themselves as "deeply spiritual" compared to only 57% of men who say they are "deeply spiritual."

* Men are twice as likely to say they are dealing with an addiction.

* 3 out of 4 women (75%) see a closer relationship with God as very desirable for their future, a belief held by only 65% of men. (2000)

* For the latest research on gender differences goto: www.barnaresearch.org

Scripture: "For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness…" 2 Timothy 4 (quickview) : 6,7

Men who didn’t finish well in the Bible:

1) JONAH: (See Jonah Chs. 1-4) The prophet Jonah, though reluctant at first, saw revival take place in Ninevah. Sadly, Jonah was angry at God for showing compassion on the wicked Ninevites. Therefore, he withdrew to the outskirts of the city and pouted under vine. When the vine was gone, Jonah got even more angry. How could this be? He was called, chosen by God; yet he was angry. His life ended in a sad state of depression and isolation. Jonah did not finish well! He was tripped up by anger.

Jonah’s diversion from God: Anger!

2) SAUL: (1 Samuel 10:1 (quickview) ,9) Saul was annointed by Samuel, called by God and even prophesied. Yet he eventually fell into disobedience. Worse yet, he became jealous of a younger more talented soldier by the name of David. Saul’s jelousy drove him to attempt murder. He eventually fell on his own sword and tragically died. (1 Samuel Ch. 31) Saul was known as a very jealous King. Many men today suffer from similar emotions of jealousy and rage. They get sucked into a comparasion trap, (judging self by others).

Saul’s diversion from God: Jealousy.

3)SOLOMON: (1 Kings 2:45 (quickview) ff) Solomon was chosen by his Father David to ascend to the throne in Israel. He was the wisest man ever. He built the Temple. Saw the Lord. Prayed great prayers. Yet Solomon was extremely taken by women. (1 Kings 11:1-2 (quickview) ) Many men today are extremely taken by women and lust. Like Solomon, we have a wrong appetite for women. Having a wrong appetite for women is commonly called LUST. Jesus said, "Anyone who looks upon a women lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:29) Everytime you look at pornography and entertain lustful thoughts about someone you’re not married to, you engage in lustful thoughts and behavior. Most pornographic episodes end in some type of masturbation event. At best, masturbation is a self control issue, at i’t’s very worst masturbation leads to despair. According experts, fully 60% of men who indulge in pornography followed by masturbation, entertain thoughts of suicide. You may not have 1,000 wives and concubines like Solomon, but how many times have you indulged in lustful behavior to the detriment of your soul? Solomon was greatly diverted from serving God by women. Are you? Worse yet, it could lead you down a path of despair that could result in thoughts of taking your own life. Scores of men have been found dead, with a nearby discharge of semen. It’s not worth it Men. If your masturbation habit has got the better of you. Get help! As a Pastor, I have learned how to spot a man who is struggling sexually. He often hides, has bouts of depression and fits of anger. There is shame and disgrace, and he often struggles in his marriage. He almost never stays involved in the Church. He is sporadic and undependable when it comes to serving the Lord. Why? Because He is completely taken by something other than the Lord. He has been diverted! What about YOU?


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