Summary: As our congregation faced the new year of 2008, each person was asked to participate in a 10 week spiritual challenge so that we could grow more like Christ. This is an introduction to the first four spiritual disciplines involved in the challenge
(a copy of the 10 Week Spiritual Challenge can be obtained by emailing Michael Luke)
TITLE: “MEETING THE CHALLENGE: Part One”
OPEN: A. Being a Christian is not easy
--there are some common misconceptions concerning the Christian life
1. Once you become a Christian, God will solve all of your problems.
--1 Pet. 4:12-13 – “ Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as
though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the
sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
2. Becoming a Christian means giving up all fun and following a life of rules.
--Rom. 14:17-18 – “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of
righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way
is pleasing to God and approved by men.”
3. All Christians are loving, perfect people.
--Col. 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one
another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
4. Bad things don’t happen to truly godly Christians.
--2 Cor. 11:24-26 – “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times
I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a
day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in
danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger
in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have
labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have
often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the
pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
5. True Christians always feel close to God
--Ps. 42:1-3 – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul
thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my
food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
B. If you became a Christian so that your life would get easier, simpler, and less challenging, you
joined up with the wrong bunch of folks!
1. The goal of a Christian is to become more like Christ!
2. Rick Warren: “Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted
lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven.”
a. Rom. 8:28-29 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also
predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among
--God’s plan has always been to make you like Jesus Christ.
1). His intention from the very beginning has been to make human beings like Himself.
2). God is not promising that you, too, will become a god
3). God doesn’t want you to become a god
--He wants you to become GODLY.
b. Eph. 4:15 – “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is
the Head, that is, Christ.”
--“God wants us to grow up…like Christ in everything”.
C. Growing to be like Christ is certainly not an easy thing
--It is definitely a challenge
1. Starting next week, we begin our 10 Week Spiritual Challenge
--Starts Jan. 6th and ends on March 15th 2008 (the day before we begin revival services)
2. Our goal in the 10 Week Spiritual Challenge is to provide opportunities for everyone of us to
grow to become more like Christ
--nothing more can be accomplished but nothing less is expected
3. (Briefly cover the 10 Week Spiritual Challenge sheet and covenant)
4. This morning and next Sunday morning, I want to briefly cover the areas where we challenge
ourselves to be more like our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ
I. BIBLE READING
A. Why should we spend time reading the Bible?
--1 Tim. 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
1. Basically, the Bible holds all of the information and inspiration we need to teach us how to be like
2. The Bible is a testimony to Christ