Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene 400 Stillmeadow Lane York, PA 717.764.4888
God's Big Idea
Session #18 - The One Thing
Sunday January 30th
Movie – City Slickers.
"In the movie City Slickers, Billy Crystal plays a confused, dissatisfied thirty-something character with a vague sense that life is passing him by. Jack Palance—ancient, leathery, wise to the ways of the world ("a saddlebag with eyes") – asks Crystal if he would like to know the secret of life.
"It’s this," Palance says, holding up a single finger.
"It’s one thing," Palance replies. "The secret of life is pursuing one thing."
Somehow this resonates deeply with Billy Crystal’s character. His life is scattered. He is torn between his obligation to his family and his desire for career advancement; between his need for security and his appetite for excitement. He is divided somehow. His life is about many things, and so, he senses, it is about nothing.
So, what is that one thing? Jack Palance can’t fell Billy Crystal. "You have to find it out for yourself."
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about the importance of keeping first things first. (Matthew 6: 25-34 READ)
What do we learn from Jesus sermon?
I. Many PeopleAre In Pursuit of Many Things.
1. Jenni Catron, executive director of Cross Point Church, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN area writes: (jennicatron.tv)
2. "Always striving, always pursuing more . . . perfection, better stuff, more knowledge, greater influences, acknowledgements, validity, acceptance. I’m always striving always pursuing something. Can you relate to this? Maybe you can add a few more things to the list? It’s so easy to find ourselves in the constant pursuit of more, but I’m continuing to realize that I tend to want more of the wrong things."
3. Jesus said: "that’s what pagans do . . . they run after all these things."
4. p. 15 (Radical by David Platt) . . .
"I remember when I was preparing to take my first trip to Sudan in 2004. The country was still at war, and the Darfur region in Western Sudan had just begun to make headlines. A couple of months before we left, I received a Christian news publication in the mail. The front cover had two headlines side by side. I’m not sure if the editor planned for these particular headlines to be next to each other or if he just missed it in a really bad way.
On the left one headline read, "First Baptist Church Celebrates New $23 Million Building." A lengthy article followed, celebrating the church’s expensive new sanctuary. The exquisite marble, intricate design and beautiful stained glass were all described in vivid detail.
On the right was a much smaller article. The headline for it read, "Baptist Relief Helps Sudanese Refugees." Knowing I was about to go to Sudan, my attention was drawn. The article described how 350,000 refugees in western Sudan were dying of malnutrition and might not live to the end of the year. It briefly explained their plight and sufferings. The last sentence said that Baptists had sent money to help relieve the suffering of the Sudanese. I was excited until I got to the amount.
Now, remember what was on the left: "First Baptist Church Celebrates New $23 Million Building." On the right the article said, "Baptists have raised $5,000 to send to refugees in western Sudan."
Five thousand dollars.
Twenty-three million dollars for an elaborate sanctuary and five thousand dollars for hundreds of thousands of starving men, women and children, most of who were dying apart from faith in Christ.
Where have we gone wrong?
What are you in pursuit of? In your spirit, deep down inside, does it feel right to you? Or do you feel like your barking up the right tree?
II. Jesus Points Us to the One Thing . . . Love.
1. love God . . . love neighbor . . . it’s the one thing worthy of your pursuit.
2. Elizabeth Elliott writes: "Love is the way to maturity. Selfishness stunts growth and keeps us in a spiritual playpen."
3. Love God . . . love others. That’s keeping first things first.
Tree Top Ministries Story : printed in Holiness Today -
summarized by Nina Gunter
Floods in Mozambique. Emergency situation. People were told to run for their lives. So in rushing out of their humble dwelling, the Nazarene pastor grabbed his Bible. The family began to run, as did the other families in the community. When the people saw the waters were catching up with them, they were told to go for a tree. Here they were – all perched up in the trees. The pastor saw he had a captive audience . . . took out his Bible and began to preach, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." He then told them how to repent and pray.
Later when the waters subsided, the pastor was walking down the road. A lady stopped him and asked him wasn’t he the pastor who preached in the treetop. Then she told him she was in another treetop, heard him, and prayed and asked God to forgive her. She wanted to know where his church was because she wanted to come and be a part of his church.
Conclusion: Question? So what is the one thing you are passionate about? Are you pursuing that?
1. Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 – Spiritual gifts. Most people are passionate about the things for which they are gifted.
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