Summary: God desires a relationship with us, so first we have to make space for God. The second step is to connect to God. But the problem is we aren’t connected to God or even other people. And if we are, it’s infrequent and usually casual or shallow. That leads
Plugging Into God
In this sermon series, we’re asking you to look at yourself through a new lens, as that of an apprentice of Jesus. An apprentice is someone who is bound to another for a certain amount of time to learn an art or trade in which the master is an expert. To be a disciple of Jesus means to be an apprentice. If you are going to be Jesus’ apprentice only one essential condition must be met: you must spend time with him, in other words, plugging into Him. You can’t do discipleship at arms length or through distance learning. Most Christians don’t think in terms of this lifestyle of apprenticeship…..The sad testimony of modern Christianity is that one can be a Christian without being (an apprentice.) Pro football coaches can tell you immediately who they have apprenticed under. But a disciple is a person willing to be apprenticed by Jesus who learns who He is and what He does….It is learning from Jesus how to live our lives, our whole lives, our real lives as Dallas Willard says,“ as he would live it, if He were I.” (4) 4.
Last week we talked about making space for God. We have lives which are overburdened and overcommitted and our only solution seems to be to speed up. We think if we do then we can get everything done! Technology hasn’t helped. While technology has made our world smaller, it has also made it more complex and sped up it up. You live a much faster lifestyle than your parents or grandparents did. And the way the world is going, your children will live an even faster lifestyle than you. And so we just keep trying to do more and more moving faster and faster, never really learning to prioritize or say no.
The Bible tells us that all this hurrying has dramatic negative effects on us. First, you feel more stress. When you’re always in a hurry, your personal reserves get depleted and your stress goes way up. Second, you lose your joy. The faster you go in life, the less time you have to enjoy it. If you are continually fast paced, you’re not really enjoying anything. Third, when you’re going at a fast pace, you’re less productive. Going fast all the time causes you to lose You can’the ability to think and act creatively. Fourth, I’m going too fast, I can’t connect to other people or even God. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” You get to know God when you slow down, be quiet and become still. The only answer is to make space for God.
Last week we learned four soul training exercises to make space for God in our lives. First was to sleep one day a week until you cannot sleep anymore and can say you are fully rested. If our bodies are tired, then our souls will not have the resources to plug into God. The second soul training exercise is slowing down. Third is silence and solitude. We need to find 5-10 minutes a day to sit in silence alone to get away from all of the noise in around us which drowns out the voice of God. Fourth is fasting from Media. A Media Fast consists of abstaining from all electronic entertainment for a specified period of time: radio, TV, newspapers, iPods, the internet, email, DVD’s, cell phones, and texting.
God desires a relationship with us, so first we have to make space for God. The second step is to connect to God. But the problem is we aren’t connected to God or even other people. And if we are, it’s infrequent and usually casual or shallow. That leads to a feeling of being disconnected from God. We feel disconnected because we fill our lives with so much that we just do not have time for God. We feel disconnected because we don’t want God to be God. We feel disconnected because we are unwilling to give up control of our lives. We feel disconnected because we have an enemy who is hell bent on keeping us from building this relationship with God. We feel disconnected because we isolate ourselves. It is easier to feel alone than it is to feel the pain of our mistakes and shortcomings. We feel disconnected from God because there is a sin in our life that keeps us from God. And the result is when we feel disconnected from God, we are more likely to live as we see fit rather than as God would have us live.
Yet God wants us to be connected to Him. Jesus knew how important it was for us to stay plugged in when he said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5, NKJV God wants us to pursue Him and plug into him as the Psalmist does in Psalm 63:” O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” So how do you plug into God?