Summary: 7 specific ways to break old habits and change for the better

Outline from "First Impressions."

How to Break Out of a Rut!

Do you want to get out of the rut you’re in? Is your life predictable? Do you do the same thing, day after day? Has the excitement gone? Do you feel as though 2005 will be just as dull and monotonous as 2004? Are you just going through the motions?

There’s a wonderful Biblical passage in Mark 10:46-52 that demonstrates the steps one man took

Jesus had been preaching and teaching in the area around the Sea of Galilee. On his way to Jerusalem, he passes through Jericho, where he encounters a blind man named Bartimaeus.

Here are seven steps to change your life!

1 – YOU are Responsibile For Your Own Life! (v-47)

“When he heard it was Jesus... he began to cry (shout) out.”

A. Own up to your own responsibility.

1. When you listen to people talk about their problems, that it’s always someone else’s fault?

2. Teenagers blame their parents,

3. Parents blame their children 4. Workers blame their co-workers or their boss.

ILLUST: Get ready to play the "Blame Game":

You driving 100 mph in a 45 mph zone, you lose control, flip your car on a sharp curve, and critically injure yourself, who is at fault? No, not you, It’s the HIWAY Dept. for not making the degree of banking on the curve great enough to keep you on the road at 100 mph.

You are wearing a shirt that needs to be ironed. Instead of taking it off, you try to iron with it on and guess what? That’s right, you get burned. Shame on you right? No, it is the company who made the iron --they should have warned you that ironing clothes while they are on your body is dangerous.

McDonalds for hot coffee…trying to drive car, eat your Egg McMuffun, you spill hot, hot coffee all over yourself. You’re moron right?

 No, it is McDonalds fault for making that coffee too hot!

OK, one more. You decide that you need to fix your TV. Without unplugging it, you begin your work. Uh Oh! You guessed it. You get fried! Dumb -- right? No, RCA should have told you that you were at risk for electric shock!

B. Things happen you can’t control – but you can control your response. Let me say that again. Things happen you can’t control – but you can control your response.

1. I hear people say all the time, “He makes me so mad” or “She makes me so mad”.

2. Nobody can make you mad. You’re the only person

who can make you mad.

3. People can do things that upset you, but you decide

how you’re going to respond.

C. What did Bartimaeus do and not 1.He didn’t blame someone else 2.He didn’t think that God or anyone else owed him something. 3. He did go to Jesus. He humbled himself and sought help and deliverance.

2 – Believe You Can Change (v-51)

“Lord, that I might receive my sight.”

A. Bartimaeus believed he wouldn’t walk away the same. He believed that he’d be DIFFERENT. 1. So often people pray, “God, if you’ll just change my employer"; “if you’ll just change my husband -wife ...children-- my friend--co-worker--my relative...”

ILLUST: railroads were first introduced to the U.S., some folks feared that they’d be the downfall of the nation! Here’s an excerpt from a letter to then President Jackson dated January 31, 1829:

As you may know, Mr. President, ’railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ’engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed. Martin Van Buren Governor of New York

B. God never promises that he will change your situation. God does promise that he will change you.

1. He’ll change your attitude.

ILLUST: Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts.

All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet.

But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone.

But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

2. He’ll Change your attitude--your perspective, your outlook.

3. Then you can change your attitude toward your situation.

3 – Be specific-what do you need? (:51)

“What is it that I should do for you?”

A. Specific prayers get specific answers.

1. Jesus already knew what the man needed. Jesus wanted the man to say it.

Matthew 7:7 7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matt 18:19 19“Again£ I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

B. How often do we play communication games with each other?

1. Even better, a spouse will say... “I’m so mad at him”. 2. Does he know why you’re mad at him? “Of course he does. He knows what he did!” 3. Again you ask, “How does he know? Did you tell

him?” The usual response, “I don’t have to tell

him. He knows.”

C. We assume that since God knows everything, we don’t

have to tell him.

1. That’s just exactly the opposite of the way God

operates. He wants us to tell him what we need –

exactly what we need.

John 16:24 24Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

2. Jesus will meet your needs when you tell him

what your needs are. Tell Him what you really

want and how you really feel.

D. Notice Bartimaeus’ cry – “Have mercy on me”.

1. He was beggar. Yet -- he didn’t cry out for

food, or clothing, or money or housing.

3. He was given sight that day. He was healed that

day – because he had faith to receive his


4. He needed what only Jesus was offering. And

because of that, he was healed.

4 – Stop Worrying about What Other People Will Say (V-48) “Many charged him that he should hold his

p eace...”

A. What were they telling him? Shut up! Nobody wants

to hear what you have to say! Be quiet. not right

place... -- right time... Nobody’s ever done it

that way before... You can’t do that.

1. We have to quit worrying about what other people

think. Here everyone else was wrong. Everyone

else told him he shouldn’t do it that way.

2. He didn’t care about protocol--what people said--

He needed help and he wasn’t going to be denied.

B. you prayed for something and God hasn’t answered

you yet? Keep Praying. Have a need -- Are you

hurting and don’t have an answer? Keep on calling

out to God.

1. Perseverance – greatest attributes a Christian

can have is persistence perseverance.

2. Jesus tells a parable about the neighbor who

comes at midnight and is rewarded for his


5 – Stop Waiting for Ideal Circumstances (V-46)

“As He went out.... a great number of people...”

A. Remember where he was in the first of this story.

He was waiting beside the road. But look at verse

46. Bartimeaus almost missed his chance.

1. This is the last time Jesus would come to

Jerusalem. If he had missed Jesus, if he had

waited for “more ideal circumstances", he never

would have been healed.

2. Quit waiting for right time. quit waiting for

the right opportunity. It may not happen.

Now is the accepted time…!

6 – Do Something Bold and Dramatic (V-50)

“And he, casting away his garment...”

A. If we’re going to break out of our rut--we have to

do something bold and

amatic. Hebrews 12:1 says, let us lay aside every weight, every sin that so easily entangles us.” Notice those words, lay aside every weight and every sin.

B. We know the sins. But what are the weights?

1. Whatever is keeping you from keeping Jesus

first in your life.

2. Whatever is keeping you from running to Jesus.

3. Whatever is holding you back from surrendering

your life to the LORDSHIP of Jesus so he can

do a miracle in your life.

Bartimaeus took off his coat. He did something

bold, dramatic and different.

ILLUST: When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of England with his well-armed legions, he simultaneously made a bold and decisive move to guarantee the success of his campaign. He marched his men to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover and ordered them to look down at the ships that had brought them across the channel. Every one of them was ablaze! General Caesar had cut off the possibility of a pullback. Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but advance and conquer. And that is precisely what they did.

C. Do it now! How many times do I hear...

1. “When I get older...” “When I get more

time...” “When I get the chance...” “After I

get past this test, or this meeting, or this

problem, or this trouble.”

Rev. Leonard T. Jones, used to always say – “Just do it!” See James 1:22-25 and Luke 10:25ff

7 – Follow Jesus (V-52)

After you’ve followed the six steps above to break out of your rut in 2005, then do what Bartimaeus did – He “followed Jesus along the way”.

ILLUST: Some time ago I recall having read in the "Reader’s Digest" about a company who mailed out some special advertising business post cards with a mustard seed glued to it with the following caption that went something like this: "If you have faith as small as this mustard seed in our (particular product), you are guaranteed to get excellent results and be totally satisfied." -- Signed, The Management

A few months later one recipient of this promotional piece wrote back to the company and said, "You will be very interested to know that I planted the mustard you sent on your advertising card and it has grown into a very healthy bush producing wonderful tomatoes!"

But we need to have faith in the right object, the right person, and in the right God otherwise what we have is presumption but not faith. There are many false prophets and many false gods --all of whom are man made. And if god is manufactured and empowered by man, what kind of a god would that be? Certainly not the god I would want to revere, worship or follow.