Summary: Matthew 6:33 is a foundational verse - about "trickle down spirituality" - this is a revised version of a message first delivered in 1998

Trickle Down Spirituality – The Remake

TCF Sermon

February 8, 2009

I was a little bit embarrassed and a more than a little bit ashamed last week, when Jim Garrett pointed out how weak my anointing to preach was, and the fact that I use powerpoint to cover up this hideous secret.

Of course, he didn’t mention me by name, but it’s not hard to figure out when he talks about who uses powerpoint the most. Add to that Jim Grinnell’s shaming me the week before the last time I preached, and I have a confession to make. It’s been a deep matter of repentance and prayer in my life, and I feel led of the Lord to share with you the prayer that I believe God’s given me to pray each day during the week before I preach.

Lord anoint my powerpoint

Let it speak for you

May I be more like the Jims

With Jesus shining through

Lord anoint my powerpoint

And with each sermon preached

Break through my weak anointing

And use me Lord, to teach

Lord anoint my powerpoint

And borrow Jim’s anointing

Because he’s older and full of it,

So he can spare some, can’t he?

When Chris Place spoke a few weeks ago at our missions conference, and I’d like you to note that he’s using powerpoint, one of his four points, in his acronym IDLE, was distractions. His point was how distractions in life can keep us from remaining visionary and passionate about missions.

This starts by distracting us from our relationship with the Lord. And how when our relationship with the Lord begins to wander or wane, how much we care about missions, how much we care about the great commission, and discipling the nations, naturally diminishes, too.

How true, how true, I thought. I began to think about my role, as a shepherd here at TCF, and what my part is in the great commission, and TCF’s missions vision. What’s more, I began thinking about the regular distractions I must deal with, from just plain busyness, to things like Chris mentioned such as our entertainment culture.

As I thought about this, I realized, my primary role is to help keep the relationships with the Lord, of the flock here at TCF, strong and vital and growing. To be effective in doing that, I must keep my relationship with the Lord strong, vital and ever-growing.

I thought about one of the things I’ve always appreciated about TCF – the reason I began coming to this church 29 years ago next month, and the reason I’ve stayed, long before I was in leadership.

That’s because, even when we recognize the good things about what God’s doing in us and through us, we’re constantly challenged from the pulpit here at TCF. We’re challenged to not rest on our laurels. We’re challenged to keep on keeping on – to persevere in our faith and in our spiritual growth.

And we’re challenged to do better in our spiritual lives, in our growth in Christ, in our personal holiness, in our passion for what God’s doing in us and through us. And I appreciate that Chris did that a few weeks ago. Even complimenting us as a body for what we’re doing and have done, he challenged us to keep doing it, and to do better. Not to take for granted the good things God’s done, and continues to do in us, and through us, as a body of believers.

Chris talked about keeping 1st things first. About the priorities of our lives – keeping the Lord first in our lives. As Chris preached, I thought of Matthew 6:33. I thought of a theme we looked at several years ago based on that passage, and I want to look at some of those ideas again this morning.

Stuart Briscoe, in his little book Time Bandits, wrote about the old westerns, where a group of bandits would rob a stagecoach passing through the plains, and they always seemed to say something like this, as they spoke from behind bandana masks.

“Your money or your life.”

Briscoe wrote:

"Your money or your life? Not a tough choice, is it? You can’t take your money with you. But time bandits (or distractions) want your money and your life."

He pointed out how goals are met, and ambitions are achieved, when we are intentional about deciding which things we will allow to be secondary, and which things will be our top priorities. He wrote about how if you

"Put your finger on an ambition – you’ve got hold of a priority. Leaving aside legitimate activities, I think most people agree that we all have varying amounts of discretionary time. The time left over when we can do what we want rather than what we must. Anxieties, activities and ambitions are (all) pointers to existing priorities. The kingdom of God is the standard, and everything else should be measured by it." Stuart Briscoe

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