< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Part I of The Journey

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Part I of The Journey

This is the message I wrote for a church retreat

In our modern world of high-speed travel it’s easy to hop into a car or on a train or plane and race to our destination with little regard for the experience of travel.

My dad worked for United Airlines my whole life and for the first 22 years of my life I flew on an airline pass. My sisters and brother and I were expected to dress up. Girls wore dresses, my mom wore nylons and my dad a suit. We were usually bumped up to first class and the trip was as special as the destination.

Fast forward a couple decades to me going along on some my husband’s business trips to: Singapore, Sao Paulo, Europe or Malaysia. We flew business class because he was on business (and I was a travel agent!) – which was nice – but the attitude of the people boarding the planes was “lets get this LONG flight over.” I remember one lady even changed into a sweatsuit right in the aisle!

Although nowadays, when we think about travel time – it’s usually with impatience to arrive, somewhere a saying became popular: “the journey is as important as the destination.”

If we were to look back over our lives as a journey, then every experience would become significant and every step a bridge from one stage of life to the next. A journey is not just leaving point A and arriving at point B. Much happens in between!

I invite you today to view your life as a journey. There have been and will be roadblocks, maybe a few accidents, hard to climb hills, curving roads that make you a little sick to your stomach, but with God as your navigator you know you’ve been on the best road and will be on the best road. And you know you’ll arrive at your destination!

On our journey we need to live life on purpose. We need to set Biblical priorities. To look for the good in trials so they can be used for our growth and God’s glory.

We need to establish routine habits of worship, prayer, study, fellowship and righteous behavior. We need to get away from temptations and examine our hearts regularly and confess all known sin. Sin interferes with our relationship with God. Personal purity and moral integrity is the standard for Bible believing Christians.

We need to develop a support system. Cultivate deep spiritual friendships. We should chose as our models and friends those who are godly and truthful. All of these things take purposeful thought and then action.

No matter how many years we live on earth, compared to eternity our journey is short! We should live life for God today. Then no matter when our lives end, we will have fulfilled God’s plan for ourselves.

God has given us much direction on how to have a great journey. He tells us in countless ways, everyday that He has plans for us and will never forsake us – if we will just stop, look and listen to Him.

He puts the Holy Spirit into all believers. In a way the Spirit can be likened to our conscious, reminding us to do something right or stop doing something wrong.

The Bible is full of advice about how to live life in such a way that gives us a clear conscience and makes us pleasing to God. Micah 6:8 tells us to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. Isaiah 56:1 tells us to keep justice and do righteousness. Isaiah 33:15 says to walk righteously and speak uprightly, to despise gain of oppressions, not accept bribes or look at evil.

Read the book of Exodus. This book is about going forward. About hoping what you are going to is better then what you left behind. It’s also a book about learning that the only way to be truly free is to put God first in your life and to treat other people justly.

When the book of Exodus was written there were many people who thought there were a large number of gods and goddesses. Others thought there might be one creator-god, but that he was too far away to be concerned with the everyday affairs of people’s lives. The writer of Exodus makes it clear he believes there is one God and that He is a God who comes near to people. Who makes Himself known. One who has a purpose for men’s lives and He makes it known to them.

Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And to that end Paul tells us in (PHIL 4:8) "Finally, Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

John 8:29 is a great goal for our lives: “I always do what is pleasing to Him.”

There’s a saying you may have heard: “Be true in the small things – it is on those who faithfully and ungrudgingly accept the simple duties of life that the world is built. It is never to be forgotten that in the everyday duties of life we make or mar a destiny and we win or lose a crown.”

A true servant of God is someone who helps another succeed. 1 Thess. 5:11 tells us; “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” You can never speak a fine word too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

On our journey we should learn all we can from our personal problems, so that we can fulfill a ministry of comfort, just as Jesus did. We are surrounded by hurting people. We should be approachable and available to them.

And rather than just give personal advice, how much better would it be for Christians to share God’s loving promises.

Our natural tendency when we have a problem is to rush into a quick fix. Do something right away to get rid of the problem.

God tells us clearly in the Bible to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

That’s the first thing a Christian should do in any situation. Being still is asking for God’s direction and then listening to what He says. He may want to teach us something through our trial to tell someone else. Jesus said, “What I tell you in the dark speak in the daylight.” (Matthew 10:27) We are called to love others, comfort them and show them that God loves them.

When we are hurrying and busy, we are only thinking of ourselves. When we stop and let God order and guide our thoughts, they turn first to Him. Thinking of Him first is natural and gives us peace. We were created to be in a relationship with our creator.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home