Saturday, February 12, 2011

Creative Investments


God has given you the power to create your passion.

This morning I want to lead you to Re-Discover Your Passion and Re-Invigorate Your Life. We have a limited time, so let’s get to it.

Proverbs 26:20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.

Without regard as to how much wood is used to start a fire, it will eventually go out unless more wood is added thereunto.

A car cannot run forever on only one tank of gasoline.

Every battery carries a limited amount of energy and will become dead and useless unless re-charged by a higher source of power.

This principle of stored energy is also true for humans. A body needs food and water without which it weakens and loses capacity to sustain life. According to some figures, each year more than 18 million people die from starvation of the body however, I fear even a greater number of people suffer from spiritual starvation each day. The alarming difference between physical and spiritual starvation is most often that of choice.

Either by ignorance, neglect or by outright choice, many live in a severely weakened spiritual state, almost comatose and with little or no ability to respond or make any meaningful spiritual contributions to life. Perhaps you have known someone who stopped recharging themselves spiritually, quit putting wood on the fire of their spiritual passion, or allowed themselves to avoidably run out of gas and are now looking for a place to pull over, or are sitting on the roadside of God’s will for their life.

A life with no spiritual investment or re-investment will weaken and eventually lose capacity and potential for continued participation. How does a person know when this is happening to them, their spouse, children or church? Yes, it can happen to individuals, families, communities, nations and even to a church.

We are designed to live life on stored energy which we cannot borrow from the future. Without energy – we go nowhere in life.

There are some indicators which we can use to gauge our current capacity and our stored energy levels. Let’s discuss three of the top ten signs a person is spiritually running out of gas. Then we will discover one simple fix. First, let’s look at these energy level indicators. One indication of need is:

· It’s been a long while since you filled your tank.

o Old gasoline turns into a sticky varnish like substance

o Un-replaced batteries tend to corrode

o Even wood rots and crumbles into dust after a while

· You’ve come a long, hard or fast way since you filled your tank. (Distance – Difficulty – Speed, all 3 determine depletion rate)

o The farther and faster you go, the more often you have to fill up.

o The demands on energy dictate the consumption and the frequency with which we must recharge.

o Wood burns more rapidly on a bigger fire. (But produces a greater heat which often meets greater needs)

· You are dangerously close to shutting down

o Slowing down – looking for a place to pull over

o Left with no reserve of energy to access – lack of motivation

o Growing colder by the moment – losing vision

Don’t be fooled into thinking you are ok simply because things are happening around you.

· It could be the other batteries in the bunch that are providing the power you’re witnessing

· You might be riding on someone else’s bus

· Or warming by someone else’s fire

This can happen with your career; marriage; family; friends; community involvement or church commitment. However today we are specifically discussing our personal spiritual strength and the contribution we are making to God’s overall plan.

When we take inventory today, let’s take inventory of our own lives. However we must also realize that taking inventory is just the beginning.

Many of you may already know that you are running on empty but simply don’t have the energy, the motivation or the vision to do anything about it. Oh, you might have energy, motivation or vision for some other things, but not for the things of God, where God placed you, in what you know God has called you to … not like the energy, motivation and vision you used to have.

Take the person who has plenty of energy and motivation for things which they should not be doing … it’s not that they lack passion – it’s just misplaced passion and misplaced potential. Remember, today we are focusing on God’s will and how your life benefits His Kingdom plan.

Perhaps you have never found, or cannot now find passion which you know you should have but don’t have. It’s just not in your heart!

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

Let me clear something up for you … It can be a dangerous thing to follow your heart … as a Believer in Jesus and the Bible, we embrace the responsibility to lead our heart and we do this by way of investment.

Have you ever heard someone say: “I don’t want to, but I want to want to”? This is often the testimony of someone who has let their fire go out. But, good news!

You can lead your heart to want to even when you don’t want to You don’t have to live life without energy, motivation, vision and passion for your marriage, family or future, and especially concerning your personal relationship with Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

What can you do to invigorate or re-invigorate your life? It takes only one step and you can take it today. What step? What can you do? How can you lead your heart, obtain or regain energy, motivation, vision and passion?

Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

A few days ago I was traveling on the road and stopped to eat at a restaurant. There was a talk show was on the television facing my table and the host was interviewing the actress Jennifer Anniston. She had evidently just returned from the Super Bowl, which was her first time to attend a pro ballgame. She decided to go with friends but had no care or connection to the process or the outcome – she had always been indifferent to football other than thinking some of the players were cute.

When asked what she thought of the game now … she was pumped. (For those of you in other parts of the world who aren’t familiar with the American slang, “Pumped” – in this sense it means “really excited”, “full of energy”, “Passionate”!) At any rate:

Her body language revealed how excited she was about the game and even though she still did not know the names of the players, (she referred to Brett Favre as that guy who retired and came back to play again) … nonetheless – she was pumped.

The reason she gave the drastic change stemmed from the pre-game advice she received from her friend, Adam Sandler, with whom she recently co-starred. She said that Adam had told her that in order to enjoy the game she needed to place a bet on one of the teams – which she did.

Now she didn’t know the players, had never followed or even seen a pro football game, and really didn’t care anything about it … until she made an investment. Then - all of the sudden – her passions came alive. She began to care and got involved in both the process and the outcome.

How did she go from not caring to caring? How did she go from low energy to high energy? How did she go from cold to hot? What connected her to the game, its process and the final outcome? – It was her investment!

(Some of you might be having a hard time with me quoting Jennifer Anniston to prove the point here in church today, but believe me when I tell you – the principles of God’s Word are true and work without regard as to where you make your investments.)

In conclusion – I challenge you to do two things with me this morning:

1. Take inventory of your stored energy levels.

a. How long has it been since you were filled with passion for the purpose.

b. How far, fast and hard has the journey been?

c. How close are you to shutting down or just quitting? Are you looking for a place to pull over or stop?

2. Make an investment.

a. Lead your heart and begin your new adventure today

b. God has given you the power to create your own passion

c. Re-Discover a passion for God’s will and Re-Invigorate your life

It needs to be an investment of something you really care about. Money – time – attention … … what are you protecting, what are you holding back on God … give God your best and He will do the rest! Make an investment of the things you value most - You know …

Your life won’t change without you!

Make an investment and Create your passion for God’s will …