Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Start: Start Now, Start New, Start Over
Sermon 2: This One Thing
- Review from last week: Nehemiah’s life taught us three things about how to start right:
- Know where you are!
- Do you regularly pause to “take inventory” of your life and consider where you are and whether you are content with that? If so, describe how that has it benefited you. If not, why not?
- Pay attention to your discontent
- Tell about a time when you experienced the truth that “God shouts to us in our pain.”
- Become willing to seek God’s guidance
- The first big rule in starting is awareness.
Pastor Dale said, “We are not human beings having a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a temporary human experience.” What did he mean by that?
- Paul began as “Saul” but then he came to faith in Jesus, and it changed him so much that people actually gave him a new name – “Paul”. Tell your group briefly about how you gave your life to Jesus Christ and how it has changed you.
- Paul reminisces about how he has changed in his letter to the Philippians. Read about that in Philippians 3:12-21:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
What comments or questions come to your mind as you read this passage?
- The second big rule in starting is: Begin with the end in mind.
Steven Covey lists this as one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in his book by that name. What does it mean to “Begin with the end in mind”? How would that change the way you live?
- Name some of the things that you hope people will say about you at your funeral someday.
- What are you currently doing to help yourself become that kind of person?
Three things Paul did that helped him:
- Become absent-minded about your past.
- What did Pastor Dale mean by that? How do we do this, and why is it important?
- Are there things from your past that you have allowed to continue to have an unhealthy grip on you in your present? How could you change that?
- Become open-minded about your present.
Notice that Paul is straining toward what is ahead and pressing on toward the goal.
- Describe some goals that you are pressing toward in your present.
- Become single-minded about your future.
- What does it mean to be “single-minded”? Describe how that looks in a person’s life.
- Paul said his goal was “to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” What did he mean by that and how did Paul pursue that goal?
- Ruth Bell Graham (Billy Graham’s wife) often referred to herself as being “under construction,” and when she died, she asked people to put on her tombstone, “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.” What are some areas of your life that are still under construction?
- Pastor Dale said that he “gave up religion and fell in love with Jesus.” Why is it important to give up religion? What does that mean?