Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Passion for God I (Connect Group 5)

 Text: Mark 12.30 & Romans 12.11 
The creative force behind all great art, all great drama, all great music, all great architecture, all great writing, is passion. Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without passion. Passion is what energizes life. Passion makes the impossible possible. Passion gives you a reason to get up in the morning and go, "I’m going to do something with my life today." Without passion life becomes boring. It becomes monotonous. It becomes routine. It becomes dull. God created you with the emotions to have passion in your life and He wants you to live a passionate life. “Passion is what mobilizes armies into action. Passion is what causes explorers to boldly go where no man has gone before. Passion is what causes scientists to spend hours, late at night, trying to find the cure for a dreaded disease. Passion is what makes a good athlete and turns him or her into a great athlete where they’re breaking records. You’ve got to have passion in your life.” (Rick Warren) 
One day a man walked to Jesus and said, "Lord, what’s the most important thing in the Bible?" You know what the Great Commandment is. We’ve talked about it many times. Jesus said, "I want you to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Nothing matters more than that. That’s the number one thing in life. I want you to love Me passionately." God doesn’t want you to love Him half-heartedly. He wants you to love Him with all your heart and all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
Sometimes I feel that in our society it’s ok to be passionate about anything except God. It’s not seen as politically correct to be passionate about God. I can be passionate about movies. I can be passionate about sports. I can be passionate about politics. I can be passionate about fashion and clothes. I can be passionate about restaurants (and some of us really are). But I cannot be passionate about God. That’s a no-no. Also, remember that to be passionate about God has nothing to do with either your personality or your age.
Today and next week, as we go through God’s word, we’re going to look at seven passion killers, things that rob our lives of joy. We will look at 3 passion killers this week and 4 in the next session: 
1)    An unbalanced schedule
That means that if you’re either overworked or underworked you’re going to lose your passion for life and lose your passion for God. Life is a series of seasons, the Bible says. There’s a season for everything and there’s a rhythm to life. You need both in your life; both input and output. You need both rest and work. And too much of either will cause you to lose your passion. Too much work will cause you to lose your passion. Too much nothingness leads to boredom which will cause you to lose your passion too, so if you’re not working enough. 
Psalm 127 "It’s senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, fearing that you’re going to starve to death; for God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest." That’s a good verse for your refrigerator door. God wants you to get your proper rest. 
2)     An unused talent. 
An unused talent will cause you to lose your passion for life and your passion for God. 1 Peter 4:10 says"Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So, use your gifts well."  
Be aware that God has given you certain talents, abilities, personality traits and gifts. Those gifts, those talents, that you’ve been given are not for your benefit, they are for the benefit for His Kingdom (others). 
If you don’t use your talents, you’re going to lose your passion. God did not give you special abilities just to sit on them and do nothing about it. God says I want you to use it or you’re going to lose it. 
Let me get really specific. If you are stuck in a job that does not use your talents to any degree you are inevitably going to lose your zeal and zest and passion in life. It’s going to burn you out. Studies have shown that 70% of all people are in a job that does not use their talents. That’s tragic. Because God did not give you talents and then say, "Don’t use them. Just go make some money." There’s something more important than money. That is using what God gave you. God is grieved when He looks and sees you in a job that’s not using your talents. He’s going, "What do you think I gave you your talents for? Just to sit on them?" No. If you do that, you’re going to lose your passion. 
3) An unconfessed sin
This is a big one. Few things rob us of joy, rob our confidence, or rob our passion, more quickly than guilt. Here’s how sin and guilt work in our lives. We don’t walk around thinking, "I have sin in my life. I am a guilty person." No, we rationalize it consciously, so we think, "It’s ok. Everybody’s doing it. It’s no big deal." 
Here’s the truth about us as human beings. We cannot feel enthusiasm and guilt at the same time. You can’t feel guilt and passion at the same time because guilt by its very definition robs you of passion. Psalm 38:4&6 "My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear... I am bowed down and I am brought low."

Conclusion: Today God is inviting us to leave everything that is trying to kill our passion for God. Let’s recognise, confess and seek a passionate relationship with Jesus.

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Connect Group 22 – Be careful with what is inside!

Text: James 3.10-12.   Icebreaker: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12.34). What do you think about this phrase? ...