Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We need to be motivated by what God calls us to do and not by what other people expect us to do. We have to do God’s will even if it doesn’t please people. God’s message is not in sync with the rest of the world.

A Baptist minister and his wife decided to get a new dog. Ever mindful of the congregation, they knew the dog must also be a Baptist. They visited kennel after kennel and explained their needs. Finally they found a kennel whose owner assured them he had just the dog they wanted.

The owner brought the dog to meet the couple. “Fetch the Bible,” he commanded. The dog went to the bookshelf, found the Bible and brought it to the owner.

“Now find Psalm 23,” the owner commanded. The dog dropped the Bible to the floor, leafed through it, found the correct passage, and pointed io it with his paw.

The couple were impressed and bought the dog.

That evening a group of church members came to visit. The minister and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses. The visitors were very impressed.

One man asked, “Can he do regular tricks, too?” “I haven’t tried yet,” the minister replied.

He pointed his finger at the dog. “HEEL!” the minister commanded. The dog immediately jumped on a chair, placed one paw on the minister's forehead and began to howl.

The minister looked at his wife in shock and said, “Good Lord! He’s Pentecostal!

Have you ever been so busy that you’ve had to go to a quiet place to be alone for a little while? Jesus certainly was. He was always busy teaching, preaching and healing. He was always followed by a crowd of people, including the disciples. He was always busy, but he always had time for solitude and prayer. In the reading from Mark 1:29-39, Jesus had a successful day of casting out demons and healing the sick. He ran the risk of exhausting his energy. It’s no wonder, therefore, that he had to be alone and pray.

We do have busy lives. We have enough things to do in our lives-work, home, rest, maybe the odd movie. Jesus was probably the busiest man in history, but he always found time to pray. If he, as busy as he was, could find time to pray, so can we.

In prayer, Jesus allows God to do for him what he did for Peter’s mother-in-law. The reason why Jesus healed people was to proclaim God’s love in human affairs. In order to do this, he had to be in constant fellowship with God through prayer. God had a firm grasp on Jesus and would never let go. Jesus always made time for prayer, and we need to make time for prayer too. Prayer fills our spiritual gas tank. Prayer gives us the energy we need to do God’s work in our world. Prayer refreshes us. Prayer allows God to use his love to warm our hearts and ease our suffering. Jesus knew that prayer could help us get through life. He knew that prayer would give us life. He knew that prayer changes us for the better. Prayer becomes a lifestyle. We must never become too busy to pray. We are special to God, and he loves us so much that we wants regular time with us.

Prayer involves order and discipline. It will stand the test at work. It is decisive for the day. If we neglect prayer, it will cause wasted time that we are ashamed of, temptations, weakness, lack of discipline and discouragement. Prayer will allow our time to be ordered and well-scheduled.

Jesus went to pray in a place that was spiritually similar to a desert wilderness. He was free from distractions so that he could find strength from the God he came to serve. Jesus regularly prayed in a solitary place before his day began so he could commune with his Father and prepare himself for the challenges he would face. Even when our plans are laid out for us, we need to take time to listen to God’s will for our lives.

When his disciples found him, they told him that people were looking for him. Mark’s mention of the whole city suggests a crowd large enough that everyone in Capernaum knew what Jesus had done. The disciples thought that Jesus would build his popularity by attending to the people he had already attracted. Because Jesus knew that his primary purpose was to preach the good news of salvation, he could ignore the expectations of others and concentrate on his mission. He wanted people to hear the word of God and not see his miracles. He knew that his mission was preaching and teaching instead of healing, and he knew that there were more people who had to hear his message. That’s why he moved on instead of staying in Capernaum.

Jesus set a good example for us to follow. He wants us to grow as Christians. If we stop growing, churches become paralyzed and the body of Christ becomes infected with our frustration. Jesus chose risk over security. He did not know how people in other towns would react to his message, but he pressed on because of his mission.

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