Consumerism + Church = Shallow Faith.
American Christianity focuses on the weekly gathering because it is the engine that fuels the machine of corporate church. The consumer church model hopes that it can gather a crowd to sustain its operations, then mold a smaller group of that crowd into a congregation — who are making some attempt to follow Jesus in everyday life — and develop a subset of that congregation into a core who actually are disciples of Jesus.
As church leaders, we need you to come every week, because if you don’t, the offerings will be lower. Despite online giving, there is a statistically significant higher degree of probability that you will give if you show up. And we want you to give for all the right reasons – so we can keep the doors open, the lights on, the staff paid – and we need to do all that so we can continue to exist and hopefully live out our calling to go and make more disciples.
The reason why so many people accuse us of being shallow is that sometimes we are.
Jesus was not shallow.
When we look at the pattern of Jesus’ life, one thing is clear – he regularly practiced solitude and prayer. He was also intimately familiar with Scripture.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Luke 5:16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
He Begins His Ministry With Fasting and Prayer and a Visit From Satan
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him…
Jesus responds to three specific temptations with quotes from Deuteronomy – the Law – the basics, the foundation of it all.
Physical needs “turn these stones into bread”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Pride “cast yourself down”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Power “all these kingdoms”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Jesus makes it clear that his power comes from his spiritual disciplines.
Mark 9: “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. ” (Mark 9:16-19, 25-29 NIV)
You don’t fight demons by being a good person. You don’t beat back Satan with a good attendance record. You don’t resist hard-core temptation with a vague knowledge of Scripture.
Jesus spent 30 years of His life preparing for just over 3 years of ministry.
In the temple Studying Scripture
Prayer, solitude, anonymity
Jesus has been getting ready for this his whole life.
Jesus says “follow me.” To fast out in the wilderness, quoting Deuteronomy to the Devil. To uncertain comfort, but a guaranteed cross. To get up while it’s still dark and practice solitude, silence, and study. To be immersed in Scripture. To have deep communion with God.
You don’t make disciples if you’re not worth following.
Preparation precedes opportunity. You can’t prepare AFTER you get your shot.
Example: walking to my mailbox.
This is not a difference of theology – this is a false prophet
They cited scripture (Jeremiah – “before you were born I knew you”) – pre-existence of souls (spirit-children) – this is important because it attacks the deity of Jesus – Jesus is not a created being. He is not Satan’s brother. He is God.
No one told me they were dropping by.
Have you ever felt your faith or church experience was shallow? Why?
Can you think of a time in your life when you felt like you were growing exponentially in your faith? What made that happen?
One more thing…
Diabetes class – all the stages of grief.
QUESTION: “What is your plan to add exercise to your life?”
Nothing changes unless we make a plan.