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Summary: God’s desire is that we would be transformed into the image of Jesus, bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. This happens as we engage in the spiritual disciplines.

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TRANSFORMATION #1: EXPERIENCING SPIRITUAL GROWTH

OPENING QUOTE:

“How do I grow? What does a spiritually mature person even look like? Will I ever really be any different? … The Christian gospel insists that transformation… really is possible. Never easy. Rarely quick. But possible… It begins to happen anytime people become intensely serious about learning from Jesus how to arrange their lives.” (John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted).

• Why do you come to church? Is it just to sing songs and hear stories?

• Or is it because you believe you can experience a life transformation?

QUOTE: “The desire for transformation lies deep in every human heart… ” (John Ortberg).

• It is no wonder that our favourite stories and movies are tales of transformation.

• The frog becomes a prince. Cinderella becomes a princess. Pinocchio becomes a real boy.

• Why are we so enchanted by these stories of transformation?

• Because they reflect the heart of God, and His desire for our lives to be transformed.

• Are you tired of the status quo? Are you frustrated with where you’re at spiritually?

• Then get ready to learn how to live a transformed life!

OPENING TEXT:

As a pastor, my heart echoes that of the Apostle Paul: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19).

• I long to see you experience the transformed life – growing spiritually!

• How do we experience this transformation? How do we grow? = Spiritual Disciplines.

• Spiritual Discipline defined: “Any activity that can help me gain power to live life as Jesus taught and modeled it.” (John Ortberg).

THE BIG IDEA: God’s desire is that we would be transformed into the image of Jesus, bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. This happens as we engage in the spiritual disciplines.

BACKGROUND INFO: Important things we need to know about the spiritual disciplines.

1. The Spiritual Disciplines help us become more like Jesus:

Before: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.” (Gal. 5:19-21a).

After: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” (Gal. 5:22a). THIS is transformation!

• If you lack the fruit of the Spirit, you’re in need of change and growth.

ILLUSTRATION: In the grocery store, do you always look for the shortest line? If so, you may have ‘hurry’ sickness. Antidote: Pick the longest line, and let someone else go in front of you! Story at the Co-op this past week.

2. The Spiritual Disciplines aren’t a measure of your spirituality:

• Praying or reading your Bible doesn’t automatically make you more spiritual. And it doesn’t affect how much God loves you.

3. The Spiritual Disciplines are tools to help us change and grow:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).

• As we pray, read our Bibles, etc. we are transformed.

4. There are two main categories of Spiritual Disciplines:

 Engagement: intentionally doing things (prayer, Bible study, worship, etc)

 Abstinence: refraining from doing things (fasting, solitude, etc)

A LOOK AT THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES:

There are three main spiritual disciplines we are going to look at in this series:

• Prayer – abiding in Jesus

• Bible reading and study

• Loving, serving and doing good deeds in secret

QUOTE: “Tragically, precious little in this hurried and hassled age promotes such intimacy. We have become a body of people who look more like a herd of cattle on a stampede than a flock of God beside green pastures and still waters.” (Charles Swindoll, Intimacy with the Almighty).

1. PRAYER – ABIDING IN JESUS:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5).

• The first spiritual discipline is prayer – abiding in Jesus.

• If we want to grow spiritually and be transformed – we must spend time with Jesus!

• This is more than just ‘saying our prayers’. You can say your prayers but never pray.

• Prayer is intimate fellowship with Jesus where you spend time with Him.

• “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6).

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