Here’s an illustrative message that I did tonight for our current youth series “FaceBook” in Velocity… Check it out!
One of the unique features of FaceBook is it’s inbox. For those of you who are FB Gurus, you know that you can send a message to as many of your friends as you want… even if they don’t want you to send them a message they will still get it.
– Anybody ever receive a message in your inbox that went straight to the delete button because it was junk mail?
– Then there are those messages that have some value to them, so you keep them there to maybe to reread another time…
– And then there are those messages that you leave marked unread even after you’ve read them because they are important to you and you want to go back and be reminded of them.
Let’s talk to you about your SPIRITUAL INBOX.
You will receive messages everyday. What will you do with them?
3 Things to Help You Keep a Clean Inbox
1. Delete the Junk Mail – This is the mail you don’t want in your inbox!
God will forgive you… just ask Him. But REPENTANCE means turning away, doing a 180.
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17,18-7:1)
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
This verse shows an amazing definition of why we preach, we strive, we discipline… and we aim towards not living a sin-filled or sinful life. Because we want to please God and make Him happy because of our obedience.
2. Surround Yourself with Good Relationships – This is the mail you keep around to reread and encourage you.
Build up type people not tear down type people. Authentic people who tell you the truth in love.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV)
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22 KJV)
– Monitor your environments. – if you are an alcoholic, don’t hang out at a bar… RUN!
– Monitor your conversation. – a habit of talking crap about people, then THEN SHUT UP AND RUN!
– Monitor your triggers. – if an image or thought turns you on or leads you towards sin, THEN RUN!
3. Spend Time with God – The mail you read and mark unread so you can read again and again!
This is going to look different for all of you. Some people love being outside, some love being around others and they feel close to God, some just serve their butts off and they feel close to God, you need to find how it works for you.
My prayer times go a little something like this…
1. Make a daily appointment with God.
Being completely honest here, I am not perfect at this, I’m good at it… I have a desire to do it, it’s definitely not a ‘have-to’, not a burden, it’s a ‘get-to’ but it’s a discipline I must constantly work on… but I do miss some of my time with God… and… oh yeah… and I feel it!! So the missed appointments with the LORD will result in you having a DIS-appointment in the near future. We make appointments with doctors, agents, friends, whatev… but GOD is the only ONE that matters most and we need to make an appointment with Him before anybody else.
When you spend time with God, you must block out all distractions.
– I bring my iPhone (which doubles as my iPod and leave it on Airplane mode so I don’t get any calls.)
– I bring my Message Bible.
– I bring a personal growth book.
3. Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue.
I usually kick it off with a rockin’ worship song to get my blood flowing and give God thanks for everything.
Psalm 100:4 NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Then I get into three or four worship songs that allow me to feel God’s presence… God shows up when we worship. And I pray for forgiveness, my family, creative ideas, my pastors, and anything else God puts in mind…. and a lot of praying in tongues.
Psalm 22:3 NLT
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel (His people).
Next I read the Message Bible and allow God to speak to me through his word.
Romans 12:2 NIV
… but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may understand what is the will of God…
I then jump into a leadership book or business book.
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.
From here I just stay quiet and listen… listen for God’s still, small voice. It usually shows up in a thought.
1 Kings 19:11-13 ESV
11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Interesting question… “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
And right now, God is asking you an ancient question that he asked Elijah… WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?