Summary: A sermon about self centredness. The first in a series of anti-sermons where they tell people to do the opposite of what they are suppose to. Kind of blatant reverse psychology.
The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Christians 1
Live in the Circle of Ineffectiveness
Cardiff Heights Baptist
2 January 2000
I trust everyone had an enjoyable New Years. You know what I
found really incredible was that by the time the Sydney fireworks
were finished, it was time for the Adelaide fireworks to begin.
Close to half an hour worth of fireworks, incredible. Most people
find fireworks to be pretty spectacular but I must confess, I found
my interest beginning to diminish after about fifteen minutes.
I think the fireworks display on the day after the coronation of King
James II in 1685 would have been more to my liking. The display
was organised to be on the River Thames. As the first firework was
lit, an over enthusiastic spark gave premature encouragement to
the rest. One of the most spectacular fireworks collections of the
century was gone inside of a minute. There was a simultaneous
banging and whizzing so great that dozens of spectators jumped
into the river and for hours afterwards the city of London was full of
coachmen chasing their runaway horses. That display is credited
as being the most ineffective fireworks display of all-time.
Tonight we begin a four week series on the Seven Habits of Highly
Ineffective Christians. My answer to Stephen Covey’s book the
Seven Habits of Highly effective people. We will look at a different
habit each week in order that we might become more like that
Now some people will have already picked up on an anomaly in
that there are seven habits of highly ineffective Christians and only
four weeks. That’s because habit number five is to never finish
what you start. So in order to practice what I preach there will be
only four. Now I want to say at the outset that the seven habits we
will be looking at, sorry four habits we will be looking at in no way
exhaust the many ways to become ineffective in the Christian life,
but I believe they represent the very best of the worst.
Of course, if your desire is to become more effective in your
spiritual life, if you yearn for a deeper walk with the God who made
you, if you wish to live a more Christlike way with your family,
friends and those around you, if you seriously desire discipleship, I
suppose you could modify these habits and simply do the opposite
of what we talk about over the next four Sunday evenings. But
before we look at the first habit why don’t we pray.
One of the hardest things we do at this time of year is to make
New Year’s resolutions. And they always seem to be the same
ones year in, year out until we just can’t be bothered any more.
Which coincidentally is habit number six. Well that’s because
whenever we make resolutions they are always to hard like the
ones in Stephen Covey’s book. What we are going to do here is
suggest a few resolutions you could make which are dead easy
and sure fire ways to achieving complete ineffectiveness in your
walk with God.
The first habit of a highly ineffective Christian is that they live in the
circle of ineffectiveness. The circle of ineffectiveness is crucial to
the idea of spiritual poverty. What is the circle of ineffectiveness I
hear you asking? On a side note questioning and curiosity are
definitely not habits of highly ineffective Christians so cut it out.
The circle of ineffectiveness is perhaps best illustrated
Show Diagram http://www.geocities.com/dreamingisdangerous/circle.bmp
To live as ineffectively as possible, put at the centre of your life ‘Me
and my needs’. This must always be paramount. You must never
consider anything in any way other than how it will affect ‘Me and
A Christian living a dynamic Christian life would of course, have
God as the centre circle with ‘Me’ being the smallest. You,
however, must keep God to the side and make the spheres
converge as little as possible, preferably only on Sunday Mornings
or in emergency situations, such as when your flight takes a two
thousand foot plunge while you’re eating a fruit salad.
Likewise, keep ‘Others’ outside your circle. The way you treat
others shows how much you love God. The farther away you keep
them, the farther you will be from him and the more ineffective you
If we are to totally bomb out on the Great Commission we need to
abandon ourselves to the great omission. We need to fail to deny
ourselves. Jesus was talking about denying yourself in the
essential battle of life: the scramble for the throne, the struggle
over who is going to be God. Who is going to occupy the centre
circle. If we are to be a highly ineffective Christian we need to