desperate for God every day

30 11 2006

Today I’m going to post some of the notes from my sermon last night.  It was my first time to preach in “big church”.  I’m not a preacher, but my Pastor asked me to speak and I believe it was God’s will.  It really helped me to grow, both in overcoming my fear of speaking in front of people and also in seeking after more of God.  The sermon really convicted me, and I pray that it helps you.

I’ve taken out some of the introductory text, since it was just for that service.  I realize this isn’t in “proper” sermon form (compared to what’s standard), but I wrote it out as I got it.  I didn’t speak it exactly as it is written here, but I think it turned out fairly close.

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God wants to speak to us tonight.  So listen for what He is trying to say to you.  He desires a closer, more intimate relationship w/everyone here, whether you’ve been saved 30 years or a few weeks.  The Holy Spirit is trying to draw us closer to God & to reveal more of Him to us.

Tonight I’m going to speak on hunger and desperation for God.  We should be hungry to know God more.  But not just a little hungry — not like you want a burger from Wendy’s after church but don’t want to bother driving across town.  I mean a hunger like you haven’t eaten in a few days, where you’re getting desperate for about anything.  (It may be a bad strategy to mention food in a sermon… but stay w/me — I have a purpose in this.)

The parallel is that we can have a casual hunger after God & think everything is all good.  If someone asked us if we wanted to know God more, we’d say yes, & we’d mean it.  But how much do we want more intimacy w/God?  Enough that we’ll get up earlier in the morning to pray more?  Enough that we’ll fast sometimes?  Enough that we’ll give up some of our entertainment so we’ll have more time for God?  Enough that we’ll spend time building relationships w/our neighbors & co-workers even if they aren’t as cool as our friends, so we can lead them to Jesus?  You get the idea…

It’s easy to say, “I want more of God.”  But how much do we mean that?  Are you desperate?  Do you need to hear from God like you need food or air?  We sing a song that makes those comparisons — we sang it this past Sunday, actually.  It’s called Breathe :

This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

I’m desperate for You
And I’m lost without You

[Jesus’ meat is to do the will of His Father — John 4]

We have to surrender everything to be w/Jesus.  That doesn’t mean He will take every dollar you have or make you move away, but you would if He asked b/c you’ve given it all to Him.  (That’s why we’re called stewards.  We don’t own it.)

[examples of the Kingdom of God being everything to us : pearl of great price; buying a field w/a treasure — Matthew 13]

We so take air for granted.  Just suppose the U.S. was running out of breathable air b/c of all the pollution.  Would you sell all you have so you could go to a country w/fresh air?  Of course!

I want to share an example of desperation that taught me a lot.  In the past, I had prayed for my brother several times, that he might have opportunities to get saved.  I meant it, and it was important to me.  But when he had his motorcycle wreck and was about to die, when he was perhaps just a few feet away from the gates of hell, I got desperate.  I didn’t have the mentality of saying a prayer and hoping it happened sometime — I was going to pray until God answered me, and I would not be denied.  There was no procrastination, no other priorities.  I approached the throne of God boldly, and I prayed until I got an answer, and then I had peace about it, even before anything could be seen.  And now my brother is healed and is interested in God.

Have I maintained that fervor every day since then?  Unfortunately, no.  That’s why God has been convicting me about it, and now I’m sharing it to try to help you.  We should have desperation for knowing God more and also for the lost.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and while our situation isn’t as dire as my brother’s was, we still have family & friends that may be really close to hell and nobody knows it.  What are we waiting on?  Do we care enough to spend time literally crying out to God for them?

The same concept applies to revival, too.  It’s something we want to happen, but are we *really* seeking after it or just hoping it happens sometime?  I must admit that there’s been times when I haven’t been desperate.  I still wanted revival, to see miracles and people saved, but I wasn’t doing much about it.  Revival is not something that just happens — we have to seek after God w/all we have, and then He will send the revival and we’ll see the power of God working all around us.  I know we have a good thing going here — our church is growing and we’ve had some great services (like last Sunday), but there is so much more of God, and He wants to do even more than we can ask or think.  Have you ever thought about that?  More than we can imagine.  Try to imagine revival sweeping through our city, with many churches filled to overflowing b/c of all the people getting saved, and our city’s culture improves so much that people in other cities notice, even giving TV time to the “phenomenon”.  That would be so awesome!  And yet God wants to do *even more* than that!

We should have that kind of hunger and desperation for such a mighty move of God.  I know some people here do.  So why aren’t we seeing all that yet?  It takes a lot of work & discipline.  Just getting “fired up” on Sundays and Wednesday nights isn’t enough.  We have to live the lifestyle where we’re running after God w/all we’ve got.  We’ve got to put aside all the weights and sins that hinder us.  The world is against us, and the devil is against us — we’ve got to keep pushing forward to walk in that kind of victory.

[persistent widow — Luke 18]

We have to renew our mind daily.  I’ve heard someone say our mind doesn’t stay renewed any more than our hair stays combed.  You may have a great time w/God at tonight’s service, then feel far away from Him when you wake up tomorrow.  It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s something we have to deal with.  It’s great to have an encounter w/God, but if we don’t apply it, then it’s of little use to us.  I’m not trying to discourage you w/that.  We need to be aware of it so we can deal w/it.  That’s why daily times of prayer & Bible study & worship are so important.  And I don’t mean just a few minutes of those things, but a lifestyle of it.

We also have to abide in Jesus at *all* times — every hour of every day.  We shouldn’t make a division between sacred and secular things.  All things should be done for the glory of God.  And obviously, if God can’t be glorified in it, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV) … rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.  Notice the emphasis on doing these things at all times.  There is no room for secular in that.  I realize that’s a difficult standard, but be encouraged, b/c God wants to help you.  In fact, He wants to meet w/you tonight to talk about it and to empower you.  And that’s what we need the most — one-on-one time w/God.  We hear great sermons all the time from Pastor, and you can get CDs and DVDs of other anointed ministers, as well as reading helpful books.  All those things are great, in their place, but to have intimacy w/God, we have to spend time in His presence, sharing what’s on our mind and listening to what’s on His mind.

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4 responses

13 12 2006
Good Truth

Reading your sermon notes there is a lot of good truth in here. The only comment I would make is you said that most of us are not in as dire a situation as you were when your brother had his motocycle accident. I would say we are. If we have loved ones, friends, co-workers, whom we care about and who do not know the Lord, then they are already in hell burning unless we do something about it. All too often in our human carnality we respond better to things we can see, feel, touch, hear. So seeing your brother laying in a hospital bed sent you into a ferverent prayer effort to see him saved, however, if we would start to look at the lost through our spiritual eyes and see them as already lost, already in hell, already in anguish…. how would that affect our efforts to see them saved?

13 12 2006
Beppo

When I said our situation may not be as dire, I meant only in that we may not be down to our final minutes, as the doctors had said about my brother. But I agree in that we should look at the people around us with our spiritual “eyes” and see how serious the situation really is. If someone doesn’t know Jesus, then they are getting closer and closer to Hell. We must do what we can to help people find God…

14 12 2006
Good truth

Good point, but if they don’t know Jesus than they are already in hell. We just have a chance to pull them out before they die.

15 12 2006
DisarmingTheHeart

I think there are different definitions of hell here. If you define hell as separation from God (which it is), then yes, you could say they are already in ‘hell’.

But if you define hell as a real, physical place (which it is), as in the place where the rich man was at in Luke 16:22-24, then no, they are not already in hell–just on the road that will lead them there when they leave this world.

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