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Summary: Our text gives us six short takes in scripture. 1- Be joyful 2- Pray continually 3- Give thanks 4- Build fire 5- Test everything

INTRO.- Short takes. What is this? I assume it’s the idea of taking a short look at some subject. It could be a short or brief look at politics. No, we don’t want to go there because it seems that there is nothing short when it comes to politics; not speeches, not conventions, not debates, etc. Ok, then how about sermons.

ILL.- The longest sermon on record was preached by Rev. Robert Marshall, minister of the Birmingham Unitarian Church, Michigan, in 1976. He preached for 60 hours and 31 minutes. The previous record holder was Robert McKee who preached for 52 hours. He said that it took him two-and-a-half years to write the 500,000-word sermon. HAVE NO FEAR. Not from this preacher.

How about short sermons? Now that’s more like it, wouldn’t you say? I believe it’s better to have people leave the church wanting more than wishing for less. But some preachers have never heard of anything like that.

What about short quotes?

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

All diseases run into one, old age.

- William Shakespeare

Love all, trust a few.

- Lewis Carroll

Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.

- Malcolm Forbes

The dumbest people I know are those who know it all.

- Tom Peters

If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.

I think it’s true that there is moral in most things in life: work, socializing, play time, etc.

ILL.- Listen to these. Some time ago I wrote these short quotes. pray much. sing praise. fear not. rejoice greatly. gripe less. bless others. commend often. give thanks. see good. stop evil. praise God. sin not. count blessings. be quiet. speak less. listen more. drink wisely. eat less. fast more. call often. care much. love strongly. hug often. be friendly. walk more. think deeply. laugh loudly. smile broadly. cleanse daily. work hard. hold children. love babies. live holy. admire goodness. speak softly. exercise often. share generously. compliment quickly. breathe deeply. be courteous. open doors. express gratitude. remember others.

PROP.- Our text gives us six short takes in scripture. 1- Be joyful 2- Pray continually 3- Give thanks 4- Build fire 5- Test everything

1. BE JOYFUL

16Be joyful always.

Phil. 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

We’ve heard people say something like, "I just want to be happy." As long as someone is happy they are fine. But I’ve also heard it said that from a Christian perspective that happiness is not our goal, holiness is. And there’s a difference between short term happiness and long term joy.

ILL.- For example, I may buy a new car that has absolutely everything I want on it: leather seats, auto, big engine, classy sporty look, etc. and for a period of time I’m absolutely delighted and filled with joy. But what happens when someone in the Walmart parking lot backs into the right front fender? (like they did my Grand Prix over a year ago) Where is our joy then? Our joy probably went out the window. At least, for a period of time.

Often, when the new wears off something the joy often wears off as well. Therefore, this must mean that we must look deeper into life in order to find true joy.

People who only find joy in material things and in doing things (such as play and pleasure, etc.) will eventually come up dry in the joy department, because those things only last for a period of time. THERE MUST BE SOMETHING GREATER, SOMETHING STRONGER, SOMETHING DEEPER THAN BRINGS US JOY.

ILL. - Max Lucado wrote: Reasons for Joy. “How’s life?” someone asks. And we who’ve been resurrected from the dead say, “Well, things could be better.” Or “Couldn’t get a parking place.” Or “My parents won’t let me move to Hawaii..."

Are you so focused on what you don’t have that you are blind to what you do? You have a ticket to heaven no thief can take, an eternal home no divorce can break. Every sin of your life has been cast to the sea. Every mistake you’ve made is nailed to the tree. You’re blood-bought and heaven-made. A child of God—forever saved. So be grateful, joyful—for isn’t it true? What you don’t have is much less that what you do.

So what is Lucado saying? REJOICE, BECAUSE GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN and it’s far better than anything in this life!

2. PRAY CONTINUALLY

17Pray continually.

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

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