Sermons

Summary: A final message in this series about stewardship, focusing on being a good manager of our spiritual lives.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Philippians 1:21

Can you imagine a baby ordering a steak? Or a baby walking out of the hospital after she was born? What about a 7 year old playing for the Colts? Can you imagine a basketball team that couldn’t shoot or dribble? Or a symphony orchestra who couldn’t play an instrument?

Yes, this is all ludicrous. But that’s what we’re talking about today. We’re finishing up our series which started a number of weeks ago, as we look at being good stewards with our lives. Today, we’re looking at being good stewards, or good managers of our faith. We’ve looked at goal setting, relationships, money, time and more.

The key is to put Christ at the center of our lives. We are to depend on Him for all of life’s needs. The Apostle Paul said ~

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21

When we mismanage some of these major areas in our lives, we end up suffering a number of consequences. Think about what happens when you mismanage money, think about all of the stress that hits you. When you mismanage a relationship, when that falls apart or breaks, there’s a great deal of pain.

While these are bad enough, when we mismanage our heart and soul, the consequences are unthinkable. There are eternal consequences as to whether we manage or mismanage our spiritual life. And to say we’re managing our spiritual lives is really not a good way to say it, since that gives us more control than we should have . . . Yet, we need to have an active role in our faith development.

So, for the rest of our time, I want to remind you or possibly help you learn for the first time, some basic steps you can do - to make sure your spiritual life is becoming stronger and more vibrant.

Again, it’s coming back to the basics. We can never out grow the fundamentals. Once you learn them, you don’t forget them. As they say, “once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget.”

In our spiritual lives, it’s the same way, we can never out grow the fundamentals. Managing the spiritual life is the same for every person. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve accomplished, we all need the basics.

And sometimes we need a reminder of what those basics are - -

Let’s start with the need for prayer!

Prayer isn’t difficult, although there are those moments when it seems impossible. The words aren’t there, the ‘feelings’ aren’t there, and God feels a million miles away.

Yet, prayer is simply talking. We talk to God about whatever! Prayer is an indispensable aspect of the Christian life. In many respects, the process of becoming a Christian begins by saying a prayer: "Lord Jesus, forgive me of my sins and come into my life as Lord and Savior."

Prayer is an incredible privilege — we can talk to the Creator of the universe at any time about anything at all, and that same Creator has promised not only to listen to our prayers, but to answer them as well.

The Bible tells us about the prayer habits of Jesus.

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed. – Mark 1:35

16 But Jesus would withdraw to desolate places and pray. – Luke 5:16

23 After Jesus had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – Matthew 14:23

12 Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12

I really love these examples of when Jesus prayed. It was early in the morning, in fact, it was still dark and He would go off alone. He would pray alone in the evening, He would even pray all night long.

Some people say you need to do your devotions first thing in the morning. I say just do them. I am not a morning person. It’s really difficult for me to just wake up and be excited about the day! So, for me prayer comes at different times during the day. They can be quick, 10 or 15 second prayers. They can be longer prayers as a situation arises. There are times when I just need to take the time to pray, and maybe walk somewhere and talk to God. There are times where I walk throughout the sanctuary and pray for you. On communion Sunday’s you often see me looking out at all of you. As I see certain faces, people I know have needs, I offer quick prayers for you.

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