Summary: The second part of a winter retreat on giving your whole self to God. Workbook and Powerpoint available.
GIVING IT YOUR ALL
[JESUS FREAKS PAGE 96]
-I love this story for so many reasons. And it’s not because people die horrible, torturous deaths you morbid people, but because through the actions of a small group of people, simply saying they will not bow, someone was willing to die on the spot for Jesus.
-this person could see right away what kind of person Jesus turned you into, how He must have been something totally amazing if 39 people were willing to die for Him.
-but the part I want us to focus on is in the middle. These guys were soldiers, they were hardened warriors and they were being tortured by their own government. So here they are slowly freezing to death together and what are they doing? Encouraging each other. Singing. Praising God. Even though their bodies were dying, their souls were very much alive and instead of taking the attitude of why me, oh no, blame someone, they took all the torture and smiled through it all. Their souls were right with God.
-it’s the second part of our key verse for the weekend.
**Mark 12:30 -> 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. (NCV)
-yesterday we talked about your heart, how whatever you focus on, whatever your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be, and if we have love, if we have God at the center of our heart, we should be out living it out, we should be showing that love to everyone.
-well today we talk about your soul, a spiritual part of you that will live on forever if you believe in Christ and have a relationship with Him.
-your soul is your personality, your emotions, the stuff inside of you that science still hasn’t figured out. We’ve managed to find some chemicals in our brains that can affect our emotions, but we can’t find the one part that says I like chocolate and you don’t.
-and I think this is why so many Christians seem to almost neglect this part of their being. You can’t really see it, it’s not like your body, you can see my gut growing, and getting hairy. But in a sense, you can see it. We’ll get there.
-so what are some ways we can be loving the Lord our God with all our souls?
1. ALWAYS PRAYING
-I know you have to have this verse memorized by now, we talk about it all the time:
**I Thess. 5:17 -> 17Pray all the time. (MSG)
-the more time you spend with God, the more you will be like Him and the more you’ll be able to love Him with your soul.
-a few weeks ago at the prayer night we gave everyone prayer knots. If you didn’t get one, here you go [HAND OUT]. There’s a story behind where this comes from. The idea is you choose a small prayer, we chose the Jesus centering prayer, and you say it once for every knot on the rope, and of course, you can use the ropes more than once. So for us, we said do 50 prayers, five times through the rope.
-well the story goes there was a man who wanted to know how to live out that verse, he wanted to pray continually. So he went to a monastery and asked the monks there how to do this. The monks gave him a rope of prayer knots and asked him to pray it 300 times a day for a week. He said it took a few hours every day, but when done the monks asked nothing more of him, told him nothing more, just that he should do the prayer 300 times. After the week, he told the monks he had completed his task, so they told him for the next week he must say the prayer 600 times a day. No reason why, no answer to his questions. But he did it, took almost 5 hours, but he did it. After the week, they told him now, say the prayer 1200 time a day. Basically whenever he was not eating or sleeping, he was saying this one prayer over and over and over. At the end of his time the monks said his lesson was learned, although he said they never really taught him anything. But, when he got home you know what was happening? He was saying the prayer in his head all the time because he had been doing it so much.