Thursday, March 26, 2020

Connect Groups – study 06 - Passion for God II

 Text: Mark 12.30 & Romans 12.11 
Mark 12.30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. Romans 12.11 “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in the spirit, serve the Lord.” 
Icebreaker: After last week’s session how passionate do you think you have you been about God this week?
Last week we talked about the first 3 things that kill our passion for Jesus and about how without passion life is boring at best. Today we will look at the following 4 passion killers:
4. An unresolved conflict:
Conflict just drains the passion right out of you. Do you ever start a day and think ‘it’s going to be a great day’ -- you know it?  You just fly out of bed! You’re awake from the moment you get up! You’re ready for the day -- shower, breakfast – and you’re up and running. And then… you’re on the way out the door and you have a fight with your husband or your wife or someone calls you, or you receive a nasty message. All the zip goes out of your doo-dah. When that conflict comes it’s like the air going out of a tyre. That’s what conflict does to us. It takes all the passion out of our lives. Your attitude just goes flat all of sudden. 
5. An unsupported lifestyle:
Sometimes you lose passion for God because you’re not spending time around other people who have a passion for God. You’re not spending time around other Christians. You’re not getting any fellowship. I love this incredibly practical verse in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, just common sense from the Bible. "Two are better than one... because if one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"We need each other. We all fall sometimes. We all stumble at times. So we all need people who will help us up in our lives. 
If you’ve been around Connect for any amount of time you’ve heard what I’m about to say hundreds, if not thousands of times, but I’m going to say it again because it’s so important. This is why you have to be in a small group and this is why small groups are so important. For those of you who have thought many times "Maybe I should do that," then maybe this is the day when you decide, "I’m going to do that!" Do not wait until the crisis comes before you think “Now I need a small group”. You’re not going to have time to get in a group then. We all fall sometimes. We all go through crises in life. So find a small group and get that support system set up in your life; this will help you to keep your passion for God alive, even during the difficult times.
 6. An unclear purpose:
A sure way to kill your passion for life, and for God, is to forget the purpose of your life. If you don’t know your life’s purpose, why bother? Why get up out of bed in the morning? Why put any effort in? Life without purpose is activity without direction; it’s motion without meaning. Life without purpose is trivial, petty, and pointless. 
My guess is that often, we at Connect church, are clear about the purposes of God for our lives. We talk about it all the time. But even so, it’s easy to forget why we’re here on earth. We get distracted by budgets and bills, kids and football and all kinds of other things. We forget the reasons God put us here on earth. Whenever you forget why God put you on earth you’re going to drift toward apathy and lethargy. This drift leads us to think…. Who cares? Why get out of bed if there’s no meaning, if there’s no purpose to my life. Maybe you’ve felt like Isaiah who said in Isaiah 49.4 "I’ve laboured to no purpose and I’ve spent my strength in vain and for nothing."
The truth is that passion and purpose go together. When you have a clear purpose it’s going to give you a lot of passion. But the passion has to flow from knowing God’s purposes for your life. If you’re only living for yourself, that’s a pretty weak purpose and it isn’t going to sustain your passion.  In fact it’s pathetic to say "I’m living for me." That won’t give you a lot of energy to get out of bed in the morning! You need a cause greater than yourself to give life significance and to give life meaning. The more you understand God’s purposes for your life and the more you live those purposes, the more passionate you’re going to be.
 7. An undernourished spirit:
Every day you face all kinds of circumstances which conspire together to shrink your spirit and to shrivel your heart. When you get up tomorrow morning, you’re going to have distractions and disappointments, you’re going to have conflicts and you’re going to have changes and challenges. You’re going to have problems and pressures, you’re going to have frustrations and fears and failures and fatigue. All of these things press in on you, with the consequence that your heart begins to shrivel and your spirit begins to shrink. It is vital that you intentionally nourish your spirit; if you don’t do it nobody else is going to do it for you; so if you don’t take the time and trouble to do it, it’s going to shrivel up. 
Conclusion: In this time when people are facing their human limitations, we have the privilege to be passionate about a God who is eternal and who invites us to an eternal life with Him. Would you like to be more passionate about God and His Kingdom? Would you like to spread the fire of God everywhere you go? If so invite Jesus to bring His fire to your life, so that you may be totally filled with passion for Him and be ready for Him to respond! 

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