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Summary: Three prayers essential to guarding it so that you never lose it.

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SERIES: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It

(freely adapted from Craig Groeschel’s It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get it and Keep it)

“GUARDING IT: How to Keep It Once You Have It”

SELECTED SCRIPTURE

OPEN

This morning, we finish up our series: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It. The first message was “What is it?” We defined it this way – “It is what God does through a rare combination of certain qualities found in his people.” Those qualities are: 1. A passion for his presence 2. A deep craving to reach the lost

3. Sincere integrity 4. Spirit-filled faith 5. Down-to-earth humility 6. Brokenness

Our second message began a study of the traits that marked churches that had it and for us to learn how we can develop those traits in our congregation The first trait was a God-given, God-breathed vision and we said that “You Can See It Clearly.” The second trait was the importance of teamwork and we said that “We Experience It Together.” The third trait was innovation and we said “You’ll Do Anything For It.” The fourth trait was about sharing the gospel because ‘You Want Others to Have It.” The fifth message was about failure being necessary to success and we said that “You Fail Toward It.” And the sixth message was about sharing it with others because when you have it, “You Share It With Others.”

Last week, we asked the questions, “Do You Have It and Does It Have You?” We looked at what Jesus had to say about losing you first love for Him and how to rekindle it. This morning, we’re going to talk about, “Guarding It: How to Keep It Once You Have It.”

Guarding it, once you have it, is a lot like boiling water. First, both take heat of a sort. Boiling water takes physical heat, while it takes the heat of spiritual passion. Second, as soon as you remove the heat, both stop boiling. It disappears. Third, to get back either one, you have to repeat step 1: do what you did at first – apply heat. And fourth, once you’ve got the water boiling and the it flowing, if you want to keep it, you have to keep on applying heat.

The apostle Paul says in Gal. 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in

me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

How do we continue to live in a way that shows that we died to our old self and that now Christ lives in us? Craig Groeschel, in the book from which this sermon series was adapted, gives three heartfelt but dangerous prayers that we can pray daily. Once we have the passion, the fire, the purity, the hunger for God, we can offer these requests to God and He will honor our requests.

Prayer Number One:

STRETCH ME

When you become comfortable in your relationship with God, you’ll lost it. By comfortable, I mean complacent, lazy, and distracted.

In many ways, comfort is an enemy of faith. Heb. 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” So Jesus pleaded with His followers in Mk. 13:33, knowing that the time was short, for them to always “be on guard! Be alert!” That’s why we constantly want to ask God to stretch us.

In his book, Groeschel tells that while he was swimming with his kids, he met another dad who was a swimming coach. After some casual conversation, the coach-dad asked Groeschel, “How long do you think you can hold your breath underwater?” Groeschel, excited about a little competition, said, “I don’t know. Maybe a minute.”

The coach-dad challenged Groeschel to give it a try and so underwater he went. He recounts that as the seconds ticked by, he could feel his lungs tighten. Panic started to set in. But he decided that drowning was better than losing. So he stayed under for a while longer.

The coach-dad smiled and said, “Impressive! You stayed under for one minute and twelve seconds!” Groeschel felt pride over his accomplishment.

But the coach-dad said, “What would you say if I told you that I could help you double your time?” Groeschel expressed his doubts. The coach-dad said, “If you pay attention, I’ll teach you something that will inspire you to do even more than you’ve ever done before.”

The coach-dad explained to him a calming technique that was sure to increase his time. He assured Groeschel, “You cn do much more than you realize. Your body can survive underwater for several minutes. Your mind doesn’t believe that. Your greatest limitation is your mind. You must silence your mind. Take four deep breaths. Slide slowly into the water. Close your eyes. Remain perfectly still. When your lungs tighten, don’t worry. You still have a lot more time. When you think you can’t go on, open your eyes. Focus on something. Count slowly to twenty. When you get to twenty, count again.”

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