Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stretch Sketched

(Cross-posted to YouVersion.com)

Stretch Sketched (Message #1 of s t r e t c h)
Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; www.oursaviorsbaptist.org (My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am
services, I pray they will be useful for you.)

What is "s t r e t c h"? (Philippians 3:10-17)

--- About Stretching ---

static - hold a stretch until your muscle screams - especially good part-way and after exercising. At least 20 seconds.
active - stretching and unstretching repeatedly. Strengthens and lengthens muscles.

Stretching prevents injury, increases blood flow, amplifies your exercise benefits. You will be healthier and you will feel better. Even if you only stretch, even if you don't do any other exercise.

--- About Spiritual Stretching ---

- It prepares you TO DO what you really want TO DO.

It trains you and involves you in things you want to do (in some cases, you may not yet realize you want to - kind of like me and running. I never realized I liked it and still dread it sometimes, but I usually enjoy it while I'm out there doing it.)

- To be most effective, you need both STATIC & ACTIVE stretching.

Static - holding - Sunday mornings - drawing in, listening, learning, small groups during the week
Active - getting into the game - a toe in the water - Awana, Habitat for Humanity, starting small

- Why not stretch?

Why is it difficult to start stretching? Why is it hard to get off the spiritual couch?

1. "I'm not NATURALLY LIMBER."

It's not my body type. It may be reality, but it's not an excuse. So, too, you may be a shy, private person who isn't an outgoing self-confident person who enjoys talking to people.

Remember, not all outreach is about talking. It might be getting to know your neighbors, or volunteering at a food bank or prayer-walking your neighborhood.

You don't get more limber by staying on the couch.

A lot of outreach is not about talking, but instead it's showing (the love of Christ).

2. "I don't know TO DO IT."

I have no clue about how to share Jesus. There's no wrong way to do it, so long as you're not sharing something untrue. Know the simple core of what you believe and how it affected you.

You have a story to tell from your own life. People relate to stories.

3. "It's been a LONG TIME."

When was the last time you talked to anyone about Jesus?

If you can't remember the time you last exercised, you are setting your body on a path to deteriorating (and death), so too if you can't really remember when you last talked to someone else about Jesus. Don't let your faith shrivel.

4. "I TRIED ONCE and FAILED."

Once is enough, thanks. I tried and they started asking questions I couldn't answer. And they started to look at me like I was crazy. That's one cliff-edge I want to stay away from.

Yep, an old "sharing Jesus injury" prevents you from getting out there. But an injury means you change your training regimen, exercising other muscles to accommodate as well as heal the injury.

If God opens the door, walk through it. Even if your conversation hasn't caused a conversion complete with angels and trumpets, you're still planting seeds. Maybe they come back to hear more, maybe they talk to someone else and get independent confirmation/validatation.

5. They're doing it for the WRONG REASON.

Don't lose weight for a high school reunion or a wedding. That's an outside pressure and that adds stress which actually works against you and guarantees it will come back with a vengeance.

Instead, it must come from inside, there must be a long-term plan and a desire for the right reasons. Sometimes it might be slightly external, like a doctor telling you you need to lose weight, but the doctor doesn't come to your house to make sure you do, he trusts you want to keep living.

You can't worry about being shaky or cautious in your faith - the more you share, the more confident you get in your own faith. (Example: the mormon college students who are required to go on a two-year mission - it's not about conversions - only about 2% of interactions are fruitful - it's about asking a young person to spend two years defending their faith)

- The Rewards of Stretching (Philippians 3:10, 15)

1. You'll know CHRIST MORE DEEPLY.

You'll be spiritually more healthy.

2. You'll become more MATURE.

You'll grow up, you'll understand more, you'll love Jesus more. You will be more rewarded in the richness of your faith.

How far can you stretch? All the way around the world.

- The Unstretched Christian

It's not part of your normal life.

The difference between a gun collector and a soldier. There comes a time when you need to fire the gun. It's not about collecting information about Jesus, it's about letting Jesus spill out of you into the world.

- The Stretched Christian

You don't buy a new pair of shoes, sweats, an MP3 player and go out and run 6 miles. You'll hurt so much you never want to run again.

Likewise, you don't buy a big fat "Evangelist's Bible" with all the tabs on the side and go to your neighbor's house, knock on the door, and when they answer, ask "Do you want to go to heaven or hell?"

1. They understand THE NEED.

They understand that a person who doesn't know Jesus needs to know Jesus.

2. They're a CARRIER.

Every time you breathe, you spread Jesus to everyone around you. The mindset that my life is Christ's - so if you get to know me, you get to know Christ.

3. They see EVERYONE SPIRITUALLY.

Every person has a soul and an eternity. Maybe God will give me an opportunity to impact their eternity.

4. They have a PLAN.

They expect to use their lives to share Jesus. God assigned those neighbors to you. Why did God put you on this planet if He didn't expect you to do something to impact eternity?

How am I reflecting Christ? How am I being intentional?

5. They know it takes MORE THAN WORDS.

Jesus healed people, he reached out and helped them with physical needs first. It's not just telling people that Christ loves them, but showing them Christ's love? Physical needs must be met first, this opens up the potential of an opportunity to share.
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