Scripture Reference: (John 3:3, KJV)
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Good morning and Happy Monday Christlike Ministries NWA Family. I felt like the Lord was directing me to take a break over the weekend, and so I come back to see the title of today’s message…and now I know why. I needed to be fresh to be able to write today’s message.
I am still planning to work to really make sure I stay on time, and consistently writing so we don’t get behind with this series. But, how many of you know when the Lord says “take a break”…it’s a good idea to listen to Him…and take a break?
So. Let’s get into today’s message…and ask the Holy Ghost to help me write a good, solid message that will speak to all of our hearts…Amen!?!
Today’s Message: “Are You Fresh For Everything?”
As I mentioned I was led by the Lord to take a break from writing this past weekend, and even though some of my sleep was interrupted by my daughter (she’s going through another growth phase)…in a strange way (maybe it’s the coffee) I still feel a bit refreshed, and I know that part of that is because I’ve been participating in my challenge. What challenge? I’ve been spending at least 15 minutes a day sitting at the feet of Jesus, and I have to say that I’m not surprised by the results. The truth is, I know better, and I know that in order to properly serve God I have to make myself take my time to sit at Jesus’ feet. I’d become a little too much like Martha…and I needed to be a little more like Mary.
So, it comes as little shock to me that I’m feeling a tad bit renewed, and ready to write this morning.
Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes?
I have to admit that I don’t always have the energy for the mundane tasks. Like most people, doing things like laundry, dishes, and other mundane chores are far down the list of my priorities. Part of the reason I need to take breaks from writing is because it tends to become something I do because I need to get a message written…and it almost becomes like a job. So, in order to remember what this is really for…some times it’s necessary to take a step or two back…and not write at all until God gives me the go-ahead. That’s what this weekend was about, and now that I’ve got the right heart and motive…I feel refreshed and ready to write what will hopefully be a good message.
Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know where it begins—it is hidden away in the depths of our soul. Being born again from above is an enduring, perpetual, and eternal beginning. It provides a freshness all the time in thinking, talking, and living—a continual surprise of the life of God.
It’s funny that the refreshing always comes when we get back to the basics. The basics being sitting at the feet of Jesus. When you sit at the feet of Jesus that’s where the refreshing comes from, and why it’s vital no matter what we do or how we walk with God…there’s never a substitute for sitting at His feet.
We do that by abiding in His Word. As part of the 21 day sitting at Jesus’ feet for at least 15 minutes part of that time is spent reading something from the Word that I’m not writing about. Another way that we get back to the basics is by praying. We can’t have a relationship with God without communicating. In fact, abiding in the Word and praying work together cause often times God will answer your prayers with something in the Word. Another basic thing we do that keeps us seated at the feet of Jesus is a private time of praise and worship.
The basics of Christianity are really quite simple. It’s reading your Bible, praying, and then praising and worshipping God. Of course, adding on regular church attendance is always a good thing to do because the other part of sitting at Jesus’ feet involves gathering in a corporate setting.
Think about it? Do you feel refreshed when you leave church? If you don’t…that’s a pretty good indication that you need to find a new church because if you leave church just as heavy or heavier than you did when you left…that’s a pretty good sign that Jesus isn’t welcome there…and I don’t know about anyone else…but when I find myself in a church where Jesus isn’t welcome…then that means I’m not welcome either.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been sitting in a church, and had the Holy Ghost tell me it’s time to leave. I’ve even been sitting in church with the preacher saying “thus saith the Lord”, and the Holy Ghost spoke to my heart to say “that’s not from Me.”. That’s something else for another day and message, however.
I guess someone reading may need to encouragement to know that it’s okay to get up and leave a church if Jesus isn’t welcome. The best sign that Jesus isn’t welcome in the church is the one I just gave you a minute ago. If you leave just as burdened or more burdened then you came…that’s a pretty good sign that Jesus isn’t there because whenever we encounter God…our burdens should lighten…and we should leave more refreshed then we came.
Staleness is an indication that something in our lives is out of step with God. We say to ourselves, “I have to do this thing or it will never get done.” That is the first sign of staleness. Do we feel fresh this very moment or are we stale, frantically searching our minds for something to do? Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit. Obedience keeps us “in the light as He is in the light . . .” (1 John 1:7).
One of the reasons I took a hiatus from writing at the end of 2013 is because things had kind of become stale. I understand a lot of that had to do with my lack of time at the feet of my Master. When you fail to spend time with Jesus things tend to become mundane, and before you know it you are writing just to write…and while God’s still willing to help…the messages become a little mundane too.
I do the best I can to make sure that I’m not writing from a place of necessity, but a place of worship. However, when I think about things from the perspective of this message, thinking about the story of Mary and Martha, and now the perspective of this message…I can see that guarding against the wrong motive is easier said than done…especially when time at the feet of Jesus is neglected.
Listen, no matter what we do if we do things on our own strength we’re going to fail…even if our intentions aren’t necessarily bad ones to have. How many of you know that wanting to write from the right heart and motive isn’t a bad thing…but when it’s done apart from abiding in Christ…then it’s a task that I’m trying to do with my strength instead of the help of the Holy Ghost.
We need God’s help with EVERY area of our lives…including making sure our heart and motives are in the right place. We get our hearts in the right place by beginning and ending the day at the feet of Jesus…and any point in between when we feel like we’re reaching that “stale” feeling.
Jesus called sitting at His feet a “needful thing”. How many of you know that if Jesus says something is “needful” then it’s something that ought to be something that’s important to us.
The main objective of this ministry is for us to be conformed to the image of Jesus and to achieve that deep, personal, intimate relationship with God we all want…and the main way we achieve that objective is by sitting at the Master’s feet…Amen!?!
Jealously guard your relationship with God. Jesus prayed “that they may be one just as We are one”—with nothing in between (John 17:22). Keep your whole life continually open to Jesus Christ. Don’t pretend to be open with Him. Are you drawing your life from any source other than God Himself? If you are depending on something else as your source of freshness and strength, you will not realize when His power is gone.
We need to guard our relationship with God like we do with our significant others and spouses. There’s a Crowder Band song that starts out by saying that God is jealous for us. In fact, the Bible is clear that our God is a jealous God, and that He wants to be our ONLY God. Can I tell you that we need to be that jealous for Him? We need to be so jealous for God that He is the ONLY God we want.
I love this question, and think that this is a good one to make sure to repeat, and get us to seriously think about. But, in addition to thinking about it…we need to do like the Psalmist and ask God to search our hearts…and show us what’s in them so that we can return what’s in them to God…and then ask Him to help us put the right things in them.
I’ve been in the habit of letting Mr. Chambers get the last word in these messages lately, and I see no reason to change that now. Especially when he says something like this…
Being born of the Spirit means much more than we usually think. It gives us new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything through the never-ending supply of the life of God.
O Lord, breathe on me till I am one with You in the temper of my mind and heart and disposition. Unto You do I turn. Again, how completely I realize my lostness without You!
It’s that time of the series where I ask you an important question…no not the one about whether or not you know Jesus…but the one where I ask if you’re enjoying this series, and if you are to take a moment to let me know.
It just helps me to stay encouraged. I believe that this has been a great series so far, and I expect the excellence to continue. After all, it’s Oswald Chambers. It would just be encouraging to me if some of you would take the time to let me know this series is helping you or speaking to you.
I also would like to know if anyone is doing the 15 minutes at the feet of Jesus a day for 21 Days? I started it, and it’s helped to do like the title of this message and refresh and rejuvenate me. It’s also helped me to know that God likes what I’m doing here.
God bless you and thank you for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA family. I truly love and am thankful for all of you.
Bryan J. Kizer
Pastor/Founder Christlike Ministries NWA