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Summary: You are known by the habits you keep.

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WHAT A CHARACTER!

Acts 4:36-37

S: Character Development

Th: Seeing the Unseen Christ: How His Presence Transforms Life

Pr: YOU ARE KNOWN BY THE HABITS YOU KEEP.

?: What?

What habits should we be known by?

What habits should we keep?

KW: Habits

TS: In our adventure of practicing Christ’s Presence, we will discover five habits we need to develop.

The ____ habit we need to develop in order to practice Christ’s Presence is being a…

I. WORSHIPPER

II. LOVER

III. FOLLOWER

IV. TESTIFIER

V. PRAY-ER

RMBC 2/18/01 AM

INTRODUCTION:

ILL Notebook: Clever (this is his girlfriend)

After Bert May took office as mayor of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, an unfortunate inci-dent precipitated some hateful phone calls to his home. One night while he was conducting a city council meeting, his wife answered the phone. "Is this the home of Bert May, the mayor?" a woman’s voice asked. When his wife explained that he was at a meeting and would return her call if she left a name and number, the caller said, "That’s confidential. This is his girlfriend." His wife, knowing this was all a ruse, calmly responded, "Lady, if you don’t leave your name and number, he won’t know which one to call back."

I love that clever response.

You knew that wife was a character.

ILL Personal: Baptizing Sarah James

You may recall a while ago, when I was doing a baptism, one of the ones being baptized was Sarah James.

And, as she came down the steps to be baptized, I said facetiously, “Here is a person with no personality.”

What I really was saying is “what a character!”

1. Have you ever said that someone is a character?

“What a character!”

Who comes to mind when you say that?

Carmen Benner?

Pat Brown?

John Wulf?

Emily Arnold?

We really have a long list at Randall!

When you call someone a character, that kind of statement is never made without reason.

There are distinctive qualities about that person.

You know…

2. Eventually, each of us will be remembered for certain characteristics that could be captured in a phrase or two.

That being so…

What qualities are you building into your life?

What are you doing now to shape the person you are becoming?

Abraham Lincoln was known as “Honest Abe.”

Florence Nightingale was known as “The Lady with the Lamp.”

When we hear the name Enoch, we think of the one who walked with God.

David was known as “a man after God’s own heart.”

John the apostle was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

TRANSITION:

Also…

1. In Scripture, Joseph of Cyrene was also known by a phrase—Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36-37).

(36) Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), (37) sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Barnabas!

Most have us have hard of Barnabas.

His ministry of encouragement was such a normal practice that people just naturally called him the Encourager.

Now that is a pretty decent label!

You know, it is nice when people think well of us.

But there is One that is more important than all others!

2. How do you think Jesus would characterize you?

You see, the most important issue isn’t what people think of you, but what Jesus thinks of you.

ILL Characterizations

Might Jesus say something like:

“Sam—a regular churchgoer, always on time, but shows little interest in me or anything spiritual the rest of the week. Sunday Sam.”

“Delores—a gifted woman—but she’s more tuned into the TV soaps that to my truths in Scripture. Double-minded Delores.”

“Larry—a great sports enthusiast. Enjoys being with people, nice guy, but rarely will he lift a finger to reach out to anyone on my behalf. Lazy Larry.”

“Fred—a hard worker…not much talent but a lot of desire. Oh, how I look forward to those times together in prayer. Faithful Fred.”

What is Jesus thinking about you?

The truth is…

3. YOU ARE KNOWN BY THE HABITS YOU KEEP.

Sometimes, we are not too proud of our habits.

And the best way to keep the pressure off is to focus on the other guy.

We always want to be at least better than someone else.

As Mark Twain said, “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits!”

But you can only avoid your own bad habits for so long.

There is a simple fact in all of this that is good news.

It only takes 21 days to establish a new habit—good or bad.

Now that’s encouraging

We are not stuck, having to stay the same.

Our present patterns can be altered.

We can live a different way.

We can succeed when it looks like we were going to lose.

ILL Notebook: Practice (Rice & Notre Dame)

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