Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
I was talking to a guy this week about his work situation pre-virus, and he said, “uh, wait hold on, I can’t remember what it was like. I gotta think about it”
The beginning of March feels like it was 6 years ago, not less than 6 months ago.
But I want you to try and remember, what did your life look like back in early March?
And, more specifically, what did your routines look like?
What was your daily schedule like? Your weekly schedule?
You probably had things in place where you had been doing life a certain way for maybe the last few years even…
And then…everything changed.
Think about how many of our routines have been disrupted.
Which, is the name of our new series we’re starting today: Disrupted.
For many of you, your work life looks completely different now.
You used to get in your car, commute 20 or 30 minutes, maybe more, to work.
Maybe you even had a routine of getting coffee on the way, or listening to your favorite podcast.
You got to work at a certain time.
Actually saw your co-workers face to face.
And drove home at a certain time.
And now, for so many of you, it’s all different.
You work, in your basement…
Your whole life is Zoom, zoom, and more zoom.
Others of you head to work, but you are constantly using hand sanitizer, or wearing gloves, with masks on all day.
Life is different.
In March, many of you had your kids in school.
They got up at the same time every day, got on the bus maybe, came home at the same time.
There was a rhythm and routine to it.
And now, maybe they’re going back, maybe you’re switching to homeschool, maybe they’re going 2 days a week, maybe it’s distance learning.
It’s all quite different isn’t it?
Which means your regular habits and routines are not the same.
And we could go on and on here.
Maybe you used to work out in the mornings when your kids went to school, but now, they’re home.
Or you used to go on a date night every Friday, but now no one will babysit
Or you used to get together with your friends every other weekend, but now, some want to get together and some don’t.
I don’t know if we’ve stopped to think about it enough, but a significant portion of our lives has been…DISRUPTED.
It’s not unlike when a personal crisis hits
Whenever someone experiences a crisis, the first thing to go is routine.
If your immediate family member gets in a serious car accident, or gets seriously ill, and they’re in the hospital for a month….
Your normal routine goes out the window.
You’re at the hospital every day.
Probably not working the same hours
Your normal wake up time and bedtime is different.
Where and when you eat meals is different.
Everything is different.
In a crisis, routine, habits, and discipline are the first things to go.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It just is what it is.
The challenge is…at some point, you have to get back to what you were doing, and if not that, get back to something different…something better.
But as I heard someone say a few weeks ago, our response to 2020 has too often been similar to just pressing the snooze button over and over again.
Oh, it’s not fixed yet? SNOOZE
Is it better yet? SNOOZE
Is it back to normal yet? SNOOZE
But at some point, you have to wake up and live your life, even if it’s different.
And the point of this series is this:
All of us have had our lives disrupted, but too many of us haven’t gotten back to the positive spiritual routines that were keeping us spiritually healthy before everything got disrupted.
And we need to find a rhythm for them again.
We need to get back to our Godly routines…or spiritual disciplines as we call them.
Let’s take a look at the Bible together.
(1 Timothy 4:7-8) – NIV
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Paul is instructing Timothy, who is a young pastor.
In Timothy’s church, too many people had gotten distracted by all sorts of other narratives and ideas floating around town.
Godless myths about what life was about.
Old wives’ tales…rumors…conspiracy theories.
They’re not grounding themselves in the Word of God.
This passage is a strong indictment of our own culture right now.
I might say this every week for the next year…and maybe even then, it won’t be enough:
We are not grounding ourselves, rooting ourselves, in the Word of God right now.
Christians are called to be ROOTED in Christ (Col 2:7)
We’re called to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly” (Col 3:16)
We’re anchoring ourselves in Social Media, podcasts, in news media…almost everything BUT the Word of God.
The Word of God has become an afterthought to us.
And it’s driving us all crazy.
No, the Christian is to be grounded first in God’s Word.
We are Word of God people here at Renovation Church.
Jesus First, Word of God people.
But if we’re going to be people who are grounded in God’s Word, we need to train ourselves to be Godly (to be God-centered) as Paul says in our passage.
And if you’re going to train yourself to grow in your faith, that means you need daily habits & routines
GETTING BACK INTO IT
I’ve been a runner for the past 10 years or so now.
But I’ve had some nagging injuries, which force me to take time off, which then results in me getting out of shape.
And I will tell you the hardest thing is getting out there again, the 1st day.
But from there, it’s a downhill climb in terms of effort.
It’s still hard to lace up your shoes and go running the 2nd day, but a little bit easier than the 1st day.
And the third day is even easier than the 2nd day…and so on and so forth.
And by the time you’ve exercised 4 or 5 times, you have a new habit again.
It might even be harder to skip it than to do it.
But I also find there’s another factor at work here.
The longer it has been since you’ve done something, the harder it is to get back to it.
If you get in the habit of eating healthier, but then something disrupts you from that habit:
Well, if you’ve fallen away from it for one week, it isn’t that hard to get back into healthy eating.
If it’s been 3 weeks, it’s actually kind of hard.
If it’s been 3 months, 6 months, it’s…it’s incredibly hard to starting eating broccoli again
And these factors are at work as you try and bring back your spiritual routines as well.
In fact, if you throw in spiritual warfare, it might be even harder to get back to spiritual routines than any other routines.
But the best thing you can do is start.
So what is it that you need to get back to in your Christian life?
Where you do need to re-start your “training” as Paul calls it?
Is it picking up the Bible again for yourself?
Maybe reading Scripture to your kids again?
Coming to God in prayer?
Is it coming to church again?
This is a TOUGH one for many of us right now.
Due to the fact that we had to do online services for 3.5 months, we ALL fell out of that habit of getting ready for church and coming on Sundays.
I talked a few weeks ago about how we still have a large group of people in our church who aren’t coming on Sundays
And for the group I talked about, it’s not because they have virus concerns, it’s simply because they’ve gotten out of the habit.
So maybe you’re listening to this on our podcast in the middle of the week, and you haven’t gotten back to church yet.
Start your training again.
Training in Godliness…that means being God-centered…making Him #1 in your schedule.
Make next Sunday, Day #1 of your training
Or maybe it’s serving.
We’re going to need hundreds of volunteers again less than a month from now when we start our indoor services on September 27th.
But by then, it will have been over a half a year since many of us have served.
And the temptation will be to not sign up to come back.
And you’ll have plenty of reasons not to.
“I have to wear a mask”
“It’ll be different, or hard, or uncomfortable”
But like anything else, whenever it’s time to start something up again, we’re full of rationalizations. Full.
When I haven’t run in 6 months, I could give you 100 reasons of why I shouldn’t get started again.
The longer you haven’t done something, the more rationalizations you will have.
But we need you.
This community needs you.
People who are coming to hear about Jesus, need you.
Start your training again.
Look how Paul puts this in 1 Corinthians
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27) – NIV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Look at how hard Paul is TRAINING to grow in his faith.
He says, “I beat my body, make it my slave”
In other words, his flesh, his sinful nature, “Doesn’t want to get up in the morning and connect with God…He wants to go back to bed”
“Paul probably had days where he didn’t want to go into another city and tell another angry crowd about Jesus”
But he trained himself to keep connecting with God…so that He knew God so well, God began to move through Him almost effortlessly.
Listen, it’s going to be impossible for you to live the Christian life you want without have spiritual disciplines…without daily habits of you connecting with God.
Living a great Christian life without daily disciplines is like an athlete expecting to play well without ever practicing.
No, the best athletes put in the most work when no one is watching.
What do they always say about Steph Curry, or LeBron James, or even Michael Jordan back in the day?
They’re the first person in the gym…the last to leave.
…working on their game when no one’s watching.
It’s the same with the mature Christian.
In his classic book, “Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life,” Don Whitney says, “I can say that I’ve NEVER known a man or woman who came to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline”
You cannot thrive as a Christian if you are not spending time with Christ
Just as you cannot thrive in your marriage if you are not spending time with your spouse
You cannot thrive in your profession if you do not learn about it and grow in it.
Friends, in your spiritual walk, you cannot keep growing if you’re just living off the fumes of where you were back in March.
Things have been disrupted, I know.
But, it’s time to get back to your training.
So how will you do it?
How will you start your training?
If you’re listening online, and haven’t been back to church yet (again, not talking to those of you who are vulnerable etc. just those who’ve fallen out of the habit)…when will you come back?
Or, if you used to come every week, but now it’s more like once a month?
How will you re-start your training?
Well, I tell you, I’ve never got back into running by running once a month.
I put it on my calendar and say, “I’m going to run on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week, and then I do it”
What if you committed to coming to church for the next 4 weeks…all the way through September 27th (our first Sunday back inside)?
So you could get yourself back into the habit.
Church is such an important training tool because it helps you from drifting from the other habits…like reading Scripture.
How do you want to get back into God’s Word…if you’ve fallen out of the habit?
When can you start back up again?
And by the way, when you get back into a habit, sometimes you have to change it up.
People do this all the time in exercising.
They want to stay in shape, but they grew tired of running last time.
So they start going to the gym and lifting weights instead…
Or they subscribe to some home-exercise-beach-body service or whatever you people do….
It’s okay to try something different!
If you were reading the Bible before bed, try the morning…
If you’ve been using an app to read the bible, try and go back to a regular paper Bible.
If you’ve been reading in a paper Bible, try an app
The YouVersion Bible App has thousands of Bible reading plans to try…or just start with a new book…like 1 Samuel, or Matthew, or a smaller book like Philippians.
There are other great apps like the Read Scripture App that has video introductions of each book of the Bible.
Or a lot of women in our church love the First Five app for Women
If you’re going to train yourself to be Godly again…to get back in a routine, you’ll want a plan
A place to read in the Bible, but also a time of a day, and even a location you’re going to read.
And remember, you’re not just reading to read…
It’s not a check box
You’re encountering the Living God again.
The one who died on the cross and loves you!
The Bible is just one of our best launching pads for you to Encounter God every day.
To surrender yourself to Him anew.
To ask Him to encourage you for the day. To Guide you. To love you.
Remember, all great things come from small beginnings.
Let today be day #1 of you starting, or re-starting another great thing in your life.
God is good. Seek Him.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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