October 6, 2013

Intentional Living

Passage: How to LIVE as a Man of God
Service Type:

Bible Text: How to LIVE as a Man of God | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: How to LIVE as a Man of God
In order to grow spiritually we need to develop a way of living or a pattern for our lives that keep us on track. We need to become intentional in our approach to being with Jesus based on who we are and where we are in the Lord. Balance versus intentionality: we are going to learn how to live life in Jesus with intentionality.
What is off balance about BALANCE?
It is not really the best metaphor for what we should be living in our spiritual life – there are some problems with the concept of balance. This concept as it is often used is becoming difficult and creating problems in that balance can become our priority rather than Jesus being our priority!
It does not define the calling we have in living our life in Jesus – we have been called to a mission and if you have ever been on a military or mission’s trip you know that balance is not the goal but service to the Lord.
It does not speak to people who are suffering- given the level of persecution and poverty and pain that exists in the world we live in. Does balance speak to people who are struggling, how do we go to someone bent over in emotional, relational pain and say to them, what you need is a more balanced life? Actually you need to swing the pendulum to the extreme with Jesus!
Illustration of an unbalanced life is the Apostle Paul – 2 Corinthians 11:23-28
They say they serve Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of how the churches are getting along.
Please note: the answer is not an unbalanced life! The answer is an ordered ABIDNG life! – if Paul was talking to a time management consultant he would be noting a life that is out of balance, but would we have wanted Paul to change? Someone might say I would rather burn out than rust out for Jesus! I am not saying we need nor should we burn out, absolutely not, but the concept of balance can become a hindrance to the CALLING of the Lord and it can hold us back! We have been called to be “SOLD OUT” for Jesus!
2 Corinthians 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
2 Corinthians 4:5-6 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness…
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some…
We can best live in Jesus if we can develop a well order INTENTIONAL plan for living
We need to learn to love the right thing, in the right way at the right time for the right reason
Ordered ABIDNING living – for whatever we are doing, experiencing, living the goal must always be Jesus, more of Jesus!
This requires intentionality! – this does not happen magically, this requires a plan or a pattern of living life.
Develop your personal plan for living intentionally as a believer
Have a plan to arrange your life to grow closer to God – and in order to do this well we need know God and we need to know ourselves. Becoming God aware and Self aware is critical to our success in accomplishing this plan.
The plan must fit you and the stages of your life! – we are all different and one plan does NOT fit all because we are all different in our personality, schedules, developmental stages in life being marriage or single, with or without children, age, career position, etc.
We are all different:
Spontaneity – we don’t want a rigid, overly structured plan, and we may want to have more freedom. These people will struggle more with the concept of a plan, but if live life with intentionality for Jesus then it will happen!
Organized – some of us do need lists, structure and more organization, again the way we live is with intentionality for Jesus!
No wrong or right way
How are we different? We all have different Personality Types or Personal Patterns that help us connect with the Lord. Here are some examples:
Intellectual – some of us tend to be more cognitive and therefore we thrive on:
Read and study
Strengthen your gray matter – it is important that we find a way to strengthen our brains like a muscle, and we need to grow. Therefore we need to be in a classroom, read books, listen to tapes or do whatever will stimulate our growth!
Be warned: we want to be transformed not just informed! The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge can be dangerous.
Extroversion/Relational – we need to interact with people and this interaction causes us to grow in Jesus. We need to learn that we are all different in how we intentionally live and grow with Jesus! We need to be careful to not get isolated or we will dry up and die spiritually. But we can also hinder our growth by spending too much time with people and no time with the Lord, becoming intentional in our pursuit and discipline of being with Jesus is critical
Connecting with community
Love God and love people
Be warned: isolation is very dangerous for relational people
Doing/Serving – we need to serve, do and when we are doing this we are energized, we feel accomplishment and we feel at the end of the day like we have been with Jesus, we have through our serving worshiped the Lord, loved Jesus and we grow! It can be hard to sit still and rest in the Lord but we need to learn to do this
Examples of serving
Appreciate worship
Be warned: God loves when you serve and God loves when you are not serving
Artistic/Creative – the love of music, art and creativity, in the midst of drawing, music, singing, we discover more of Jesus and we feel so close, fulfilled, in love with the Lord. The spirit that is behind the music moves us and how could anyone not want to do one more song, draw one more picture? The danger is forgetting that not everyone is built the same way and we are all different and we all reach the Lord in our unique design made by the Lord! The danger is worshipping the worship rather than worshipping the Lord.
Convicting moments happen in worship
Expression is powerful in the midst of music and art
Be warned: you can become addicted to an “experience fix”
Activism/Passionate – some of us love to be involved in a cause, to make a difference and when we are doing this we feel the pleasure and connection of the Lord in their life (like Beverly)…
Passionate involvement
Serving on steroids
Be warned: our activism can become our passion rather than Jesus
Creationism/outdoors – a walk in the woods, fishing by a stream, diving under water, looking at the mountains, staring at the stars creates an awe and moment in the Lord that fills us and for us this is the music we need, not created by an instrument but by creation that shouts and sings of the Lord and effects our hearts with such passion for the Lord. Jesus spent lots of time with nature!
Experience God in His creation
Be warned: we can substitute love of nature for the love of God
Introversion/Solitude – contemplation with the Lord, and being at a retreat center, getting alone with the Lord and you hear the Lord in the power of the quiet. The elimination of noise and distraction opens you up to the voice, power and spirit of the Lord. It becomes an amazing moment.
Again solitude
Be warned: relational isolation is dangerous
Note: there is no one way or right way, in all these it is important to know yourself to such an extent that you are able to feed your soul in the way that you best feed your soul. For whatever type you are, you take time to be intentional in putting yourself in a position to get fed otherwise you will need up spiritually dead!
Seasons of Life – being a new dad, married, single and we all go through developmental stages and therefore what worked in our 20’s does not work as well as in our 40’s and what will work in our 50’s and in each decade life we learn to adjust and be flexible.
Philippians 4:10-14 …for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need…
There are seasons in life that has challenges and opportunities for growth
There are a variety of ways to hang out with Jesus
It is critical to come up with a real spiritual plan for real people living in a real world that is practical and relevant and spiritual in Jesus! As we plan this we need to be realistic about where we are so you do not end up creating unnecessary frustration. We need to be ruthless in our honest evaluation of where we are and what we can or cannot do at this time so that we will not create an all or nothing scenario that leads to exhaustion or withdrawal.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
What would it look like to do, work, watch TV, and listen to music, live life in the name of Jesus?
Table Discussion:
As you go about living life are you conscious of Jesus? Share examples
How are you living ABIDING in the name of Jesus? Share where you are growing in this and struggling in this…
What do you do to keep yourself on course with Jesus?
What is your personality type (use the descriptors or one of your own) and share how your have learned to be intentional (based on your personality type) in your walk with the Lord?
How do you consciously, intentionally connect with the Lord?

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