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Summary: If we’re going to simply our lives, we need to focus on God’s whatevers and not our own.

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Simple Living: It’s A Matter of the Whatever

2003 Sermon Series

Philippians 4:1-9

November 9, 2003

(Loosely based on "Whatever" by James Masio found in Speaking of Stewardship, Geveva Press)

Purpose: If we’re going to simply our lives, we need to focus on God’s whatevers and not our own.

Introduction...

Taking off the halos...

This message is going to require some heartfelt honesty. So this morning I need to your help. Raise your right hand, grab a hold of the halo you may have brought with you this morning, and take it off, sit it down next to you. I’ll let you know when you can pick it up again....ok....thank you.

Now that we’re really being realy with ourselves, I want us to think about some of the "whatevers" we face in our lives. These "whatevers" are the things that we seem to think about the most. The things that we often focus on.

Here we go...

Thing on these whatevers... (have members of the congregation shout out the responses)

...I’m not ready for winter, but its coming anyway (pause) pastor: think on these things...

...Harvest is just about done, but the beans didn’t turn out so well (pause) pastor: think on these things...

...OK, it’s probably time to get the leaves raked, or can I leave them till Spring...(pause) pastor: think on these things...

...When will my parents ever let up on me? (pause) pastor: think on these things...

...Violence, sex, that’s all I see on television, should I just stop watching? (pause) pastor: think on these things...

...Am I still attractive? (pause) Of course I am ! :-)(pause) pastor: think on these things...

...Do I have enough money to get through this week? (pause) pastor: think on these things...

...Now is the soccer game at 10 or 11? When do the kids have to be at practice? Was it my turn to pick them up from school? Do we need milk? (pause) pastor: think on these things...

It would have been easy for the church at Philippi to focus on all that was troubling. There were a tiny moniority in a seas of unbelievers. They were persecuted, some ostracized from there families, some suffering economic consequences for claiming Christ.

Worse yet, they were divided...all was not well.

Paul could have focused on the physical, but instead he focused on the spiritual. Instead of trying to solve the "whatevers" that people were facing, Paul offered a list of "whatevers" that God would be pleased with.

[explanation - retelling of the text]

1. Simplifying our lives is more than just making a list of priorities, setting a budget, payoff off debt and living frugally. Every book on the subject of living simply will tell you that. God wants us to focus on the spiritual...

We can focus on what’s wrong about live and blame God, or we can consider what is right and give God the glory through what we do with it.

2. Simplying our lives, focusing on God’s whatevers, means we make choices. Temptation is everywhere.

Music - some celebrates life in all of its forms, other music denigrates people and God’s creation.

Books - some leade us into a closer relationship with Christ, others try to bend Christian thought to fit their author’s agendas or worse yet, they have no value whatsoever.

Computers - unparalled communication, unlimited knowledge, and good forms of entertainment...OR...computer operations that use these benefits to swindle and hurt the vulnerable, devalue the human creation through pornography, steadling other’s identities, and the gambling away of people’s money...

We can enjoy all the extravances of human weakness and evil, or we can marvel at God-given human achievement and generosity, and make this world a better place...the choice is ours alone.

3. That’s where the God’s whatvers fit in....

Whatever is true...honroable...just...pure...pleasing...commendaable...if there is any exellance and if there is anything worth of praise...think about these things.

It’s a matter of the whatever.

The decision to set our minds on higher things is not automatic, but is an act of the will. It is a decision we make probably dozens of times everyday, consciously or unconsciously. It is a way of thinking and living, and being and doing.

We are called to think on these things....on God’s whatevers.

Conclusion...

As we choose to guard our hears and our minds in Christ, the healing and redemption in Christ will break in upon us, and our lives will be made more simple just because we have our focus in the right place.

Do you want a more simple life? Make every moment of every day count as you shape your spirit, and our spirit, together in Christ Jesus...

Rejoice in everything that is good and wonderful.

Worry less and dream more. Complain less and laugh more. Hurt others less and forgive others more.

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