Last week I preached the first sermon of a series called “Draw a Circle” here at Weymouth Community Church. The whole “draw a circle” is that revival starts with individuals. Before churches can experience revival, individuals must experience personal revival. We need to draw a circle around us and pray, “Lord, send revival and let it begin in me!” In the first sermon we talked about three indicators that you need revival:
If you do not love God as much as you did at first, you need revival.
If your walk with God is defined by activity rather than intimacy, you need revival.
If you do not sense an urgent need for God’s help, you need revival.
These ideas were taken straight from the letters to church in Revelation 2 and 3. This week we are continuing the “Draw a Circle” series and will be talking about humility. Before we can experience revival we must be humble. C.J. Mahaney defines humility as honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness. The Scripture we will be looking at is James 4:6-10. In this passages James tells us to come close to God, wash our hands and purify our hearts, and to be broken over our sin.
I wanted to share something in this post that I will be sharing in the sermon. Dan Jarvis, lead pastor of Weymouth, came up with twenty reasons not to sin:
1. Sin breaks the heart of my Savior.
2. Jesus died to save me from sin.
3. I’ll feel guilty and dirty if I do it.
4. This won’t really satisfy me.
5. Once I’m done sinning, I’ll wish I hadn’t.
6. My disobedience to God will hurt other people that I love and care for.
7. It will hurt God’s reputation.
8. I will come under the discipline of God.
9. It will rob me of my potential in life.
10. It will waste precious, God-given time.
11. Eventually, someone will find out.
12. God sees everything I do, say, and think.
13. It will keep me from fulfilling the purpose of my life.
14. I have more important things to do than to mess around with sin.
15. This sin will distract me from my spiritual focus.
16. It will rob me of heavenly rewards.
17. The devil wants me to disobey God.
18. There will be real consequences to this, some of which I don’t even realize.
19. God will hold me accountable.
20. I really love God, so, why would I want to disobey Him?
So next time you’re facing temptation or are thinking about committing a particular sin, remember some of these reasons you should NOT do it.
Simple Church defines a “simple church” as a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth. That is what this book is about. How to design a church that is truly simple that makes it easy to move people through a discipleship process. Simplicity is the key to a successful organization. Simple Church contains stories of popular companies such as Google, Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Papa John’s that know this truth; simplicity works. Not only do these companies know this, but also growing, vibrant churches do to! Simple Church tells us about two churches. One is simple and one is complex. One would assume the complex churches would be the growing vibrant church, but that is not so. The simple church is the one that is actually growing and is vibrant. The complex church is struggling and not seeing growth. In Simple Church the writers give four things that are essential to a simple church. Those four things are clarity, movement, alignment, and focus.
Instead of defining each of those and describing how they make up a “simple church” I will let you read the book and find out for yourself. One might be wondering if this “simple church” model actually works. The writers answer that question by providing three churches that are “simple” as examples that the simple church model actually does work. These three churches are Immanuel Baptist Church, Christ Fellowship, and Northpoint Community Church. These three churches are truly “simple churches” and are proof that a simple church model is both possible and effective.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone in church leadership, especially pastors. In the last chapter, the writers gives a call for churches to “change or die.” Too many church are dying because they are complex, busy, and not simple. Simple churches are not dying. It may be hard, but we need ti simplify our churches so we can see more spiritual growth.
Another great church ministry I just read is 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever. You can read my review of that book here. Next book on my list is Humility: True Greatness by C.J Mahaney. After I read it I will post a review here on my blog.
Over the past month God has let me see a few things that have really opened up my eyes to the idea of intentional living. First, I saw a lady give a homeless man on the corner a large drink from Mcdonalds. This may not seem like much, but in a society where we, especially Christians, do not like giving to the homeless man on the corner because they “might but beer or cigarettes” this was eye opening. The lady must have intentionally bought a drink at Mcdonalds to give it to the homeless man. I will spend more time talking about that in a later post. There as been many other things God has let me see that have helped my grasp this idea of intentional living, but the biggest one was a few statements I read in C.J. Mahaneys book Worldliness. If you have read this book you know that each chapter was written by another person and in the chapter on media Craig Cabaniss says, “Glorifying God is an intentional pursuit. We don’t accidentally drift into holiness; rather, we mature gradually and purposefully, one choice at a time. In the Christian walk, we can’t just step onto the right path and figure all is well. Christian discipleship is a lifelong journey consisting of a series of countless steps. Each step maters…” Did you catch that? Glorifying God is an intentional pursuit! If we are going to live the Christian life God calls us to, we must be intentional. There is too many Christians just living life who are “going with the flow.” Those are the Christians who are making no impact on the world around them. If you want to make a difference and as my pastor says, “leave the world differently than you found it” you must live intentionally daily.
If you want to be in shape and be healthy you must exercise. No one who just eats what is in front of them or just sits around all day will be in shape or healthy, but those that are intentional about eating the right foods as well as intentionally going to the gym to excercise will be healthy. It is the same way spiritually. If we want to be healthy spiritually we must be intentional. Paul puts it this way in 1 Timothy 4:7, “…train yourself for godliness.”
I want to share what God has been showing me and teaching me about intentional living so I have decided to post a few blogs specially on this idea. God has really been teaching me this idea of intentionally living for three areas in my life: fighting sin, giving to the needy, and prayer life. Over the next few weeks I will post a blog on being intentional in each of these three areas. Hope they are a blessing and encouragement to you to live an intentional life for God’s glory!
Modesty. A word that has been thrown out of our culture. Men who desire to be pure and honor guys with their eyes are having to fight today more than ever. The following video is an eye-opening look into the heart cry of men who are trying to be pure in a very immodest world. This video is taken from a talk by C.J. Mahaney. C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in its mission to establish and support local churches.