Opening Video Illustration: “Devil went down to Georgia”: Charlie Daniels
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7p817ErVsQ – Live 4th of July 2005
This fiddling song catches the essence of our topic today – You and your soul! You have it but the Devil wants it! So How is your soul?
Acts Too – Preview “How is your soul?”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Jesus emphasized the importance of your soul not just in eternity but it’s health in the here and now!
John Orberg states this about our souls: “If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life (Pg 40, Soul Keeping).
How is your soul? One of the most important words in the Bible is this word "Soul."
Listen to some other Bible verses:
Deut. 4:29: “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Deut. 10:12: “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul...”
Psalm 23: 1-3: “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.”
Psalm 42: 1: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?”
What is the soul? How does the Bible describe our souls? We know the Devil wants our soul - - made famous in our Charlie Daniels song – who by the way gave his life to Jesus a few years back!
1. But what really is the soul – your soul – my soul?
a. Dallas Willard explained the soul this way, “What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self. The soul is the life center of human beings.” (Ortberg, John (2014-04-22)- Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 39). Zondervan. Kindle Edition).
i. The soul is the innermost recess of your life – it encompasses you body, mind, heart and even spirit!
b. Boyd argues that we see people who have a strength of soul that simply will not be degraded by the humiliation their body puts them through. He writes of a woman named Patricia who suffered from the effects of diabetes, a heart attack, and two strokes; she went blind, went into renal failure (which required dialysis), and had both her legs amputated all while only in her thirties. She was placed in a nursing home, except for those several times a year when she had to be hospitalized, frequently going into a coma for one or two weeks during those stays. Pat was part of a church in Washington, D.C., that wanted to create a homeless shelter. They could not find anyone with the leadership skills to pull it off, so she volunteered. In between dialysis and amputations and comas, she pulled together the team and got the zoning changes, architectural help, and fund- raising done. She then helped the team figure out the rules for the homeless people who used the shelter, and she recruited and trained the staff who ran it. When Pat died after the shelter’s first successful year in operation, homeless people stood next to U.S. Cabinet members such as Secretary of State James Baker at her funeral. The soul knows a glory that the body cannot rob. In some ways, in some cases, the more the body revolts, the more the soul shines through. People may claim to believe that all you are is your body. But Pat said one time, “The only thing I can depend on with my body is that it will fail me. Somehow my body is mine, but it’s not ‘me.’ ” Greatness of soul is available to people who do not have the luxury of being ecstatic about the condition and appearance of their bodies.
i. We speak of the soul as a source of strength, and yet we speak of it as fragile.
ii. Something about the soul always seems to be at risk.
iii. A soul is something that can be lost or even sold. The selling of a soul has been made into countless operas, books, and country music lyrics, as well as movies.
iv. Have you sold your soul? I heard someone say one time “This company owns me because I sold my soul to them!” Really – some people sell their soul for a career or an idol! Have you sold your soul?
1. If you have by the way Jesus can get it back for you if you ask Him!
2. “How is your soul?”- This question is proposed to each of you in the church today?
a. Your soul: Is it longing after God, is it seeking more of God, is it healthy, is it thirsting for God? Is it committed to God or have you sold it to another one or for a thing?
i. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
1. Yes you can lose it – yes you can sell it – it’s yours to do with what you want!
ii. John Ortberg states, “We each have an outer life and an inner one. My outer self is the public, visible me. My accomplishments, my work, and my reputation lie there. But inside is my soul that part of me that speaks in silence to others but yells at me. It's the inside stuff of real life - what is your soul saying to you - how is your soul? (Is it connected to the breath of life or is it deflated by the things of this world and self?)… My inner life is where my secret thoughts and hopes and wishes live. Because my inner life is invisible, it is easy to neglect. No one has direct access to it, so it wins no applause (John Ortberg – Soul Keeping page 37-38).”
1. How is that inner soul of yours doing – thriving and growing or wilting and dying?
b. Jesus said: Luke 10: 27: He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
i. Jesus addresses the soul again – we need to love God with our soul – did you hear that – your soul – does it love God! Does your soul love the Lord or is it torn apart?
ii. So I am asking again "How is your soul?"
1. I look around and I see "soul" missing from a lot of people's lives. I have heard it said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. What do people see when they look into your eyes? Is your soul healthy and vibrant or is it sick and lost?
2. I also want to add that I see "soul" missing from a lot of so-called Christian lives too - because somewhere along the line of life they gave there's away or sold it to another. For some I can look into their eyes and see that something is missing - I see a hollow look a glaze and I think - what happened to their soul life? What happened to their connection with Jesus? What happened that they lost the real meaning of life?
3. There soul is sick – it’s damaged – it’s unhealthy – it’s withered – their soul – you look into their eyes and it’s hollow – void of the soul!
3. The sick soul or healthy soul – how would you describe yours?
a. Is your soul sick or healthy?
i. Orberg states: “The soul is the capacity to integrate all the parts into a single , whole life. It is something like a program that runs a computer; you don’t usually notice it unless it messes up.” According to Dallas, the soul seeks harmony, connection, and integration. That is why integrity is such a deep soul-word. The human soul seeks to integrate our will and our mind and our body into an integral person. Beyond that, the soul seeks to connect us with other people , with creation, and with God himself — who made us to be rooted in him the way a tree is rooted by a life-giving stream. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 42). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
ii. Your soul is what integrates your will (your intentions), your mind (your thoughts and feelings, your values and conscience), and your body (your face, body language, and actions) into a single life. A soul is healthy — well-ordered — when there is harmony between these three entities and God’s intent for all creation. When you are connected with God and other people in life, you have a healthy soul. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 43). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
b. Is your soul lost?
i. I had always thought that a lost soul referred to the soul’s destination, not its condition. But it’s the condition that is the real problem. If a car no longer works, it doesn’t matter much whether it ends up in a junkyard or the valet parking section of the Ritz-Carlton. We are not lost because we are going to wind up in the wrong place. We are going to wind up in the wrong place because we are lost. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 62). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
c. The disconnect of the soul and it’s unraveling.
i. Therefore, according to Dallas, an unhealthy soul is one that experiences dis-integration, and sin always causes the disintegration of the soul. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 43). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
ii. Our world has replaced the word soul with the word self, and they are not the same thing. The more we focus on our selves, the more we neglect our souls. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 46). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
d. The salvation of your soul is not just about where you go when you die. The word salvation means healing or deliverance at the deepest level of who we are in the care of God through the presence of Jesus. Sooner or later, your world will fall apart. What will matter then is the soul you have constructed. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 48). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
i. Story: It is well with my soul!
1. Horatio Spafford invested most of what he had in real estate. He lived in Chicago and lost everything in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It destroyed his home. They had no insurance. He lost most of his money. In 1873 he put his wife and their four daughters (their son having died of scarlet fever in 1870) on a ship heading to England as he stayed behind to restimulate his business. A few days after the ship departed, he received a telegram from his wife: “Saved alone. What shall I do?” There had been a shipwreck. All four of their daughters perished. Horatio quickly boarded another ship to England, and as it passed over the very same place in the ocean where his daughters had drowned, he wrote these words to as song: When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 48). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
a. It is Well With My Soul:
i. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul
b. Illustration: Beth and I sing the song – Words on power point – I sing along with!
i. How would your soul do in the midst of a tragedy like this? Would it be well or sick?
ii. I think of the disciples of Jesus after His death – His Resurrection and the His Ascension! At His Ascension into Heaven He tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit who He is sending to them so that they can be empowered in this world to be His witnesses of the truth. Somehow as I read this promise from Jesus I see a connection to the empowerment of the soul being connected to the Holy Spirit. I am sure their souls were not happy to see Jesus leave again – but Jesus promised to empower them with His Spirit – it would reach down in on the inside and penetrate their soul – yes even their spirits and Jesus was sending His word through the Spirit to empower them to press through horrendous persecution and oppression from the world as they declare His message of “Good News.” I think of the disciples before the Day of Pentecost – afraid, seemingly running away, depressed, overwhelmed, filled with fear – hiding out in upper rooms. But then Jesus sends the Holy Spirit is Acts 2 – It comes in with the sound of a roaring wind it breaks into the room and fire accompanies this display of the entrance of the Holy Spirit to earth. It enters into all of them and they cannot keep silent they start speaking in tongues. A fire infuses their souls – their spirits become awakened – somehow the Holy Spirit infusion their souls to leave the room and go into the streets where they were no longer afraid but filled with love, hope and power./ Their souls were refreshed and renewed for the mission – their lives infused with power from Jesus. It was a soul inspired – ignited moment of the birth of the church.
iii. Let’s look at the account in Acts 2:
1. Scripture Acts 2: 1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” 14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 22“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’29“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
a. This moment in time – this soul care – spirit filled moment of the Holy Spirit invading – infusing of the church is also available for you and I today – this is what I have been praying for this church and ministry for 6 years – this is what the Lord Jesus wants for this church and for you personally. He wants to unleash His Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and minister to you personally. He wants to impact your souls – with His power and His love.
2. He wants to touch and empower your soul! Who does Jesus does through the Holy Spirit!
The Action Plan for the Soul – Your Soul: In Jan. 2015 we will be do the following and we are encouraging you to jump aboard this time of personal soul care!
Theme: Acts Too! Focus Soul Care ---- Jan/Feb/March
To set the tone for this within our souls I am asking for 21 Days of Prayer and fasting from Jan 4 -25th – I am asking you to fast something that hinders your relationship with the Lord. I am asking for you to practice a spiritual discipline which will strengthen your soul. You could fast food, coffee, pop, TV, Internet, phone, computer, technology or the like – you decide!
During these 21 days we will be focusing on the following soul care needs!
2015 JAN -- Schedule:
Sunday 4th am – 10am “How is your Soul?”
Sunday 4th pm – 5pm: Hearts Ablaze service which will have music for your soul and a time for prayer – personal prayer for you or loved one or even friends. We will have trained prayer teams to personally pray for your needs.
Wednesday 7th – (No classes this night but we will have nursery and kids time in gym) But we will have personal prayer appointment you will need to sign up for during the month of Dec. These soul appointments will be from 7-8:30 pm: Each session will have a personal prayer time with you and for you!
We are calling these prayer sessions “Soul care Appointments”
Here are the different topics of the personal soul care sessions you can sign up for – you need to decide which type of session will minister to your soul – and spirit?
Prophetic Prayer – 15 minute session per person spontaneously receive God’s heart for your life while you receive individual prophetic prayer.
Coaching – 15 minute session - If you are facing a situation and you are looking for guidance and encouragement personally or in ministry along with prayer.
Spiritual Direction – Spiritual directors will guide you along your spiritual journey for more intimate and dependent relationship with Jesus (30 minutes).
Immanuel Prayer – 30 minutes let Jesus meet you in the middle of past pain, hurt, or loss and speak life and healing to you in a deep and meaningful way.
Healing Prayer – 15 min have someone pray for your – anoint you with oil for physical healing from the Lord.
Wise Sage – Needing to ask advice from someone with years of ministry experience. You get to ask Kathy and I questions about life and ministry and receive prayer from us in the end. (30 minutes)
Sunday 11th – 10am: “How is your Soul?” (Part 2)
Sunday 11th – 5pm: Hearts Ablaze service designed to minister to your soul and spirit – we will also have personal pray time available with trained prayer teams.
Wednesday the 14th: from 7-8:30pm (Classes resume; Oasis, Awana’s, U-Turn, Bible Study but we will still have a limited number of soul care appointments available for you to sign up for).
Sunday 18th – 10 am “How is your Spirit?”
Sunday 18th – 5pm: Hearts Ablaze same as above!
Wednesday the 21st: Classes – and “Soul Care Appointments” with Personal prayer time
Sunday 26th – 10am “How is your Spirit?” (Part 2)
Sunday 26th - 5-5:45pm Prayer– 6pm - Congregational Meeting
Our goal is to have prayed for every single one of you through this 21 days of Personal ---- Soul Care!
I have been waiting. I am shy — terribly shy — even in the most boisterous person. I can only whisper, never shout. You may never even notice me. But I am here, waiting. I do not lie on the surface. If you look and listen, patiently, you will know. I speak through your confusion, through your wanting, through your hurt. When you stammer, when you say what you did not mean to say, it was I. When you watch a sunset, or hear a child laugh, or listen to a piece of music that causes you to suddenly become choked up, it is I that causes your eye to fill. When you are addicted, it is I that is chained. When the sun burns up and the universe melts away, I will be here. I will not be ignored. I can be wounded, lost, repulsed, or redeemed. Your circumstances actually matter far less to your happiness than you think. It is my health that makes your life heaven or hell. I am your soul. I am here! (Ortberg, John pg 60-61).
Dallas Willard: “What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become.” (Ortberg, 49)
Ortberg states, “Our problem is that this world does not teach us to pay attention to what matters. We circulate résumés that chronicle what we have accomplished, not who we have become. The advertisements we watch, the conversations we hold, the criteria by which we are judged, and the entertainment we consume all inflame our desire to change our situation, while God waits to redeem our souls.” Ortberg, John (p. 54). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
We are providing an opportunity for you – to care for your souls this Jan 2015 to be ready for a new year – are you going to take the time Are you going to make the effort?
I pray that for the sake of your soul that you use this appointed time to care for your soul!