SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS #4: FIRST THINGS FIRST
(June 2016 – Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
THE RIGHTEOUS FOUNDATIONS OF CANADA:
On Friday, we celebrate our nation of Canada’s 149th birthday!
- OUR NAME: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.” (Psalm 72:8).
“Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, then premier of NB, was one of the 33 Fathers of Confederation. He was a born-again Christian who started his day with prayer and a chapter of the Bible… When reading Psalm 72:8, the thought occurred to him, “What a splendid name to give Canada!” A letter signed by John A. Macdonald explained to Queen Victoria that the name was a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.” (Faytene Kryskow).
- OUR FLAG: The leaf “for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:2).
- OUR CREST: The motto is in Latin a mari usque ad mare (From sea to sea).
- OUR FOUNDATION: John Cabot planted a Cross on Newfoundland’s shores in 1497 claiming it “For God and for England.”
PRAYER: For the nation of Canada.
SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS QUOTE:
“To live the spiritual life and to let God’s presence fill us takes constant prayer, and to move from our illusions and isolation back to that place in the heart where God continues to form us in the likeness of Christ takes time and attention.” (Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Formations).
“A little boy was watching a sculptor at work. For weeks the sculptor kept chipping away at a big block of marble. After a few weeks he had created a beautiful marble lion. The little boy was amazed and said: Mister, how did you know there was a lion in the rock?” (Henri Nouwen).
- God the Father wants to chip away from us everything that is not the image of Jesus!
“38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But ONE THING is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42).
- How can you tell when you’ve been ignoring that ‘one thing’ in your life?
- Like Martha, you become distracted, frustrated, worried and troubled about many things. Which one are you?
THE BIG IDEA: Three of the key spiritual formations are abiding in Jesus in prayer, abiding in the Word, and abiding in His love.
- First things first – Mary (being with Jesus) then Martha (doing things for Jesus)
- We need to put Jesus first, and then we will have strength to do our work.
KEY TEXT: “ONE THING I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.” (King David, Psalm 27:4).
- David said his #1 desire was to seek the Lord, to see Him and know him more.
- David also says that He wanted, “To inquire in His temple.” What does that mean?
- God has a plan and a purpose for every person, and gives us wisdom and guidance:
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5).
1. ABIDE IN JESUS IN PRAYER:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:1-3).
- Jesus is using a metaphor to describe our relationship with Him.
- Sometimes He needs to prune our lives – remove things that keep us from being fruitful.
- If you cut a branch off of a tree, it will no longer bear fruit. What kind of fruit?
- “But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23. NLT).
- This is what happens when we neglect our personal relationship with 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. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:4-6).
- The first essential spiritual formation is to abide in Jesus.
- If we don’t bear fruit, we will be cast out like a branch and thrown into the fire. Yikes!
- Abiding in Jesus means spending time focusing on your relationship with Him.
- It is sharing your heart with Him, and taking the time to listen to Him, too.
2. ABIDE IN JESUS AND HIS WORD:
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:7-8).
- The second part of spiritual formations includes abiding in the Word.
- “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3).
- As we abide in the Word, we will grow spiritually.
3. ABIDE IN JESUS AND HIS LOVE:
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9).
- If we don’t taste and see that the Lord is good, we won’t have a desire to pray or read our Bibles. We must meditate on His love first.
- “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).
- When we know and believe the love that Jesus has for us, we become more loving.
- “Behold what manner of love the Father lavished on us.” (1 John 3:1). Meditate on it!
- It’s not Mary or Martha – it’s Mary first, then go and love and serve and bless.
QUOTE: “I cannot imagine a greater motivation to pray than that God enjoys having me in His presence. He enjoys my company. He delights in listening to me… It is such a dazzling thought, that the same God who has countless billions of angels worshiping Him sixty seconds a minute, day and night, to whom the nations are but a drop in the bucket, and who knows all about every leaf on every tree in the world, also welcomes my company – because I am very important to Him.” (R. T. Kendall, Did You Think To Pray?).
SONG: What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
- Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/