< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Putting God in His Place Part II

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Putting God in His Place Part II

Centering our lives on Christ clarifies our self-understanding and provides us a sense of direction for living. Basically centering our lives on Christ shapes our thoughts, monitors our conversation, questions our attitudes and evaluates our achievements. It helps us sort out the passing from the eternal.

It helps us develop healthy, happy homes, restore relationships, give up destructive habit patterns in both thought and conduct. It takes away our fear of the future. While it won’t keep bad things from happening to us – it will help us deal with those things when they do.

To begin shifting our thoughts from self to Christ we need to pay attention more to our motives and intentions and less to our good appearance and impression. And actually this is probably the biggest stress reliever we could adopt.

Here are some suggestions for centering our lives:

Think small – It’s not all going to be mountain top experiences. Bigger is not always better and louder is not always more true. There is a lot of good to be found in ordinary days and quiet times. We should cherish each day. And resist distractions – our world is full of airplanes flying over, barking dogs, ringing phones, crying babies, beeping computers and blaring TVs – how can we hear God above all that racket? We need to be still sometimes.

Make a faith statement with your living. Thomas R. Kelly said that a centered life is a heaven directed life and our way of life advertises what we believe. Our choices either give credibility to our values or undermines them. And our lives catch people’s attention the most when we are spiritually strong dealing with problems.

Listen to people and events. God can teach us in a thousand ways, but we need to cultivate a willing receptivity to understand His will and purpose. We need to dig in to Scripture. To ask questions of other Christians who may be further along the journey then we are. We need to ask – What is God saying to me here? We can learn something from every person we cross paths with if we let ourselves

Practice God’s presence. This tunes us in to Him. To practice His presence, we may think of Him reading the letter we’re writing to someone, listening to a phone call we make or a conversation we’re having, reading the book we’re reading over our shoulder, sitting in the same room we are, etc.

Be satisfied with enough. It seems like everyone has a problem with money. They either don’t have enough – they have enough, but want more or they worry about keeping what they’ve got! We can trust God to take care of our needs.

Try to act like you think Jesus would in a situation.

And we learn how He would act through Bible study and prayer. God meant prayer to simplify life. It’s like a kid who has a problem, going to his or her dad for either the answer or a solution or just a hug. The kid feels better just going to his dad. Humans have made it more complicated. We are the ones who have divided it into 5 classes, “Adoration, Confession, Petition, Thanksgiving and Intercession.” We tend to stick thees and thous in when we would never say that in a normal conversation – and how often when we are asked to pray in a group do we say – “lets have a short prayer” – Have you ever heard anyone say “lets have a long prayer”? Why do we feel like we need to say “this will only take a second.”?

There are lots of questions people have about prayer – do we need all the answers before we pray? No – I don’t really understand how I can talk on the phone to someone half way around the world, but I do it! And it works!

We work so hard at getting the prayer “just right” so God will be pleased and give us what we want!

But, prayer really is just talking to God. Telling Him what we think, what we’re worried about, what our hopes are for a situation or for the future. Asking for His help – which could be anything from taking the problem away to giving us the strength to live with it!

The more time we spend in prayer and reading the Bible – the more we will begin to see where God is coming from in things. Sometimes just talking to God about a problem organizes it in your mind, calms you down enough to get perspective and helps you see what He might think of the whole thing, which then gives you an idea how to handle it.

Commit to stop dabbling in religion and give your all to God through your church.
Do we come to church on Sunday mornings out of habit? Or to worship God? Do we come to be entertained? Or to Praise His name? Do we come because we think it’s right that our children should go to Sunday School? Or to show them by joyful example how to live their lives?

If we would all just quit dabbling in religion. Quit thinking that just showing up for a little while Sunday mornings was enough, and commit ourselves to jumping in wholeheartedly – we would have a church on fire for God and people would flock here to join us!

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