Sermons

Summary: how to develop Christian character

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Supposing an important person in the space program phoned to invite us to travel in a spaceship to a space platform - like a house circling in space - how many of us would like to go? What are our reasons for wanting to go - or to stay behind?

Going into space is risky. We aren't designed to live in space. We would be totally dependent on our support systems. We would need to have complete trust in the rocket, the space platform and the ground crew.

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. {2} I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. {3} I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." {4} So Abram left, as the LORD had told him...

(Gen. 12: 1- 4 NIV)

For Abraham and Sarah there were a different set of risks - after all, their bodies were as well suited to life in Canaan as to life in Haran. There were all the uncertainties of a new land - and no maps or tourist brochures! They had to trust God as they moved out of their comfort zone in Haran.

And God calls us to trust him. In what ways are we strongly tempted to stay comfortable where we are in what is less than his land of promise for us? Are we willing to receive God's free gift of forgiveness knowing that it can profoundly change us? Are we open to being changed? In what ways is God calling us to let go and move out of our comfort zone?

INTRODUCTION

1. Leave the _OLD___

Would you like everything new? I am sure we can all think of new things we could do with quite well, thank you very much! Most of us like new things provided we have enough of the security of the old. Having to shift house is a bit of a pain. It is, of course, an opportunity to sift through all our possessions and send a great deal to Sally Anne's - or the dump! The new house is not so bad when we have our own furniture in place and our own pictures on the walls. It begins to "feel like home".

Men who live in the past remind me of a toy I'm sure all of you have seen. The toy is a small wooden bird called the "Floogie Bird." Around the Floogie Bird's neck is a label reading, "I fly backwards, I don't care where I'm going. I just want to see where I've been." -- Harry S. Truman.

2. Follow __GOD_____

We can't all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by. - Will Rogers.

3. God Will Bless __YOUR LIFE__

4. You Have to __OBEY____

Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in '71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn't call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team.

Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory."

HOW TO HAVE YOUR BEST LIFE

1. Leave Your Old Ways

Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good… and moves toward the goal of true maturity.

(Romans 12: 2 Phillips)

A study conducted by The Roper Organization for High Adventure Ministries in 1990 found that the moral behavior of born again Christians actually worsened after their conversions. Examined were incidences of illegal drug use, driving while intoxicated and marital infidelity. The problem can be solved, says one researcher, with a new commitment to accountability and discipleship. -- New Man, November/December, 1994, p. 13

The surrender of one's will to Jesus is essential to a life of joy and victory. Oswald Chambers called this "giving up my right to myself." We hold nothing back-no earthly life, no material gain, no pride-filled position-but simply say, "Jesus, do with my life whatever You want." Many Christians hold back from yielding all to Christ because they fear that it will bring terrible consequences, the death of a loved one or some other great loss.

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