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.

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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

fireworks display.

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

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

my needs’.

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

will be.

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

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