Summary: A sermon about the importance of accountability groups.
Remember back in grade school P.E. class when the gym teacher had all the students see how many sit-ups they could do?
In third grade it was the day for the sit-up test during physical fitness week. (Some kids were conveniently "sick" that day.)
I remember our class walked into the gym and one of the second graders from the class before us was still going strong.
He ended up doing more than 700 sit-ups and his face was beet red when he finished.
I did around 90 and the next day my stomach muscles were so sore I could hardly breathe.
I've always wondered how that other kid felt the next the day!
I share that story because unwittingly that day was my introduction to core training, and core training is all the rage today.
Why is this?
Well, strong core muscles make it easier for us to do many things, such as swing a golf club, get a glass from the top shelf and bend down to tie our shoes.
Strong core muscles are also important for athletes, such as runners, as weak core muscles can lead to more fatigue, less endurance and injuries.
Weak core muscles can also leave us susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.
Strengthening our core muscles may help improve back pain.
Experts say that when we have developed strong core muscles we are ready to go on and begin to strengthen the other muscles in our body.
This morning, I’m going to be introducing a new ministry plan within our church, that, if we are intentional in carrying it through—could very well change our lives and the effectiveness of our witness, strengthening not just our core, but helping us move on to other important aspects of our faith, ministry, witness and lives as individuals and Christ’s Church.
But, before I do that, I’d like to ask us all a few questions.
How is it with your soul?
Are you growing in your relationship with God or are things becoming stagnant?
Are you finding yourself becoming more in-love and loving toward God and other people or do you find your love growing cold?
I think these are good questions to ask ourselves, especially as we seek to live through this pandemic, time of civil unrest and isolation.
You know, if things are healthy in our core—that is, in our relationship with Jesus Christ then our ability to not only cope but also to live through these difficult times successfully, triumphantly and fruitfully are great!!!
Because if our core is strong, we can grow in other areas as well.
But if our core is weak, I’m afraid this is going to be a most miserable season indeed.
Christianity is a relationship.
It is a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
And when we are in a relationship with God it changes our lives, just as all relationships—good and bad—change our lives in one way or another.
But not only is Christianity a relationship it is also a commitment.
Think of it in terms of a marriage.
If we were to get married and then, as soon as we say “I do” say, “Okay, now I’m going to go off and do my own thing.”
Is that really a marriage?
Of course not.
The marriage begins after we say: “I do,” and continues as we live in relationship with the one we have married—the one we have made a commitment to.
And it’s not always easy.
It takes work on the part of both partners.
David Brackett told me, this past week, that he will often run into college students who will say, “I just don’t feel close to God anymore.”
And David will ask them, “Well, how much are you working on it?
If you are going to have a close relationship with God you are going to have to work on it.”
And it’s true.
And just like a marriage, there will be times when our relationship falters a bit, or doesn’t feel as strong as it once did.
In the case of a marriage it might be due to an illness or the distraction of children and running them to ball games and all over the place.
And often, we don’t realize that the relationship has been drifting apart until we suddenly wake up and say, “Hey, wait a minute.
Something is wrong here.”
And our relationship with God is similar.
Things may be going along well, and then we become distracted.
And as we all know, there are a lot of distractions in our world.
We may get busy with other things.
We may stop worshiping on a regular basis.
Our prayer life may take a back seat.
We might stop reading our Bible.