Wednesday, September 12, 2018

So You Want to Lead – 4

So You Want to Lead – 4
Subject: Developing Leaders in the Church
by Rick Welborne

John 13:13-17 (NKJV)
13  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
14  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
16  Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
17  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
I.  Introduction - John Maxwell’s Law of Influence
Maxwell - “The true measure of leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less.”
II. Let’s Look at Ingredients to building Leadership Credibility or Influence
A. Character
B. Competence
--Malphur says that competence is the leader’s capability to perform well in a specific context, having the expertise and ability to get things done.
C. Clarity of Direction 
Kouzes and Posner in their book Credibility says, “We expect our leaders to have a sense of direction and a concern for the future of the organization.  Leaders must know where they are going. They must have a destination in mind when asking us to join them on a journey into the unknown.”
--I often tell new people to come and talk to me about the direction of our church because I tell them that I would not get on a bus unless I knew where it was going. We have a destination in mind.
Prov 3:56 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 

--It answers the question: What will it look like around here when our people become passionate about the Great Commission and making disciples.
D. An Ingredient to building Leadership Credibility or Influence is Communication.

–It is imperative that leaders keep their people regularly informed about what is taking place in their church, business, or family. 

–There are so many ways of getting information to announcements, bulletins, e-mail, web-sites...the idea is to over inform so that your credibility is high.

–My professors over emphasized that too much information is better than too little...I wholeheartedly agree.  

E. An Ingredient to building Leadership Credibility or Influence is Conviction.

–One of the apparent needs in the church and other institutions is leadership with conviction.
Steven Bornstein and Anthony Smith - conviction is the passion and commitment a person demonstrates toward his or her vision. Thus, conviction consists of two key ingredients - passion and commitment.

–Conviction is not a list of the things we abstain from but it is a passion, a commitment to be pro-active for what is important to the Lord, His will.

–Passion is all about how deeply we care or how strongly we feel about our life or the vision God has given us.  

–The other side of conviction is commitment. Passion affects the emotions, whereas, commitment tends to be more rational. 

–It involves the leader’s conscious intentional investment of time and effort to be sure that a vision or cause is realized. The leader’s commitment signals what is important to that leader and what ultimately will get done.

F. An Ingredient to building Leadership Credibility or Influence is Courage.

–Courage supplies the strength to lead in these difficult circumstances, meaning that courageous leaders are strong and unlikely to quit. 

–Courage displays itself in leaders when they are willing to stand up for their beliefs in difficult situations, confront others, admit mistakes (be vulnerable), change their view when wrong, and not quit.

–The payoff is exceptional credibility and influence, because followers like what they see in courageous leaders.

G. An Ingredient to building Leadership Credibility or Influence is Care.

–Everybody wants to know that someone cares about them and have their best interest in mind. When people sense that someone cares, they tend to trust that person.

Acts 20:28-29 (NKJV)
28  Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29  For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

–In the same way, congregations and employees trust leaders who demonstrate their care.

Theodore Roosevelt:   People really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

–Care is the leader’s demonstration of concern for the well-being of his or her followers that flows from love for them. God cares for His people and He wants us to care for them too.

Ex 4:31 (NLT)
31 The leaders were soon convinced that the LORD had sent Moses and Aaron. And when they realized that the LORD had seen their misery and was deeply concerned for them, they all bowed their heads and worshiped.  

John 21:16 (NLT)
16 Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love you." "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said. 

–In 1Peter 5:2 Peter points out that our followers are under our care. Care involves respecting them and having their best interest at heart.
–We need to try to be aware of people’s needs, hurts, and fears and be willing to help them deal Scripturally with these matters.

–When we do, we shouldn’t be surprised that these people trust our leadership and grant us the credibility (influence) that we need to lead them on behalf of our Savior.

H. An Ingredient to building Leadership Credibility or Influence is Composure.

Unfortunately most Christian leaders (except for some Christian counselors) have largely ignored the emotional dimension of leadership in ministry.

–Because of our John Wayne culture - ‘don’t let-em see ya cry’ - mentality we have cultivated men that are not in touch with their emotions.

–Satan has convinced the average male in America that masculinity is all about being emotionally are not supposed to show much emotion except for anger. Our culture is shifting…feminizing our men.

–So what’s the big deal?  This mentality can have a devastating effect on a congregation or a family.

–Because the way leaders handle their emotions creates a culture that sets the mood or climate for a ministry, business, or the home.

Malphur: A healthy composure creates a climate where information is shared, leaders are trusted, learning flourishes, and risks are taken.  An unhealthy emotional composure creates a setting swarming with fear and anxiety.

–Composure is the leader’s consistent display of appropriate emotional health or maturity that sets a positive ministry mood, especially in difficult or crisis situations.

–In light of our discussion, strong, healthy composure builds leadership credibility, while poor composure, or the expression of inappropriate emotions, is the silent killer of credibility...Be angry and sin not!

–To have a composure that leads to ministry credibility and influence, a leader must develop emotional well-being that fosters a positive, healthy ministry culture. One of the most powerful scriptures in the Bible:

John 11:35 (NKJV) 
35 Jesus wept. 

III. Leadership willing to be the Change They Want to See

2 Kings 7:3 (NLT)
3  Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other.
--Be the change you want to see…like these lepers in this story I want us to realize that we bear responsibility in changing whatever we consider to be out of whack in our home, church, or business.

--They were starving, their city was starving, and everything seemed hopeless until they made the decision to do something…Why should we sit here waiting to die…why sit here until we die?

--Now you can make a decision to stay where you are, and if you do, there is not too much I can do to help you but if you are ready for change…be willing to jump in!
A. To be the change you want to see; attitude will be everything.

Rob Ketterling: Attitude is everything. Your posture will send a message that you’re all in or always looking for the next reason to opt out. If, however, you accept the challenge to invest personally, emotionally, and spiritually in accomplishing a shared vision, you can help create movement and achieve extraordinary change.

--In any institution it is easy to sit in the back ground and criticize the decisions and actions of those who are leading. It is not easy to become the change you want to see take place.

--This attitude…this decision is precisely what defines both those who hold organizations back and those who propel them forward.

--Many of us will say we want to see change and change is really what it is all about. Change doesn’t begin out there somewhere…it begins with us individually. We must have the attitude of Jesus.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT)
5  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
7  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,
8  he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
B. The worst thing about those who stay in the background instead of stepping up is that they have so much to offer their families, their churches, or their organizations.

--Let me clarify that we have all been a part of a job, a family, or even a church that we have seen things that needed to be changed…how we react to that is the key…we either help or we hurt the situation.

Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT)
1  Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.
2  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
3  If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
C. The danger in you not being the change you want to see is that you become the creator of disunity. 

--Critics have the ability to stir up trouble but if they would use the same energy for the good of the organization what a difference they could make.

--Think about this…when you complain, undermine, and find an audience to listen to all that you are upset with, you risk causing disunity…this is something that needs to be given much thought especially in the church.

John 17:20-23 (NIV)
20  "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23  I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

--If we selfishly have to prove our point we usually create wreckage for the entirety of those who are involved.

When we think we have to win to win, it usually ends up with division. Don’t try to be right, be righteous!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Trusting our Emotions or Trusting God – 5

Trusting our Emotions or Trusting God – 5
Subject – Battling our Emotions When a Test Comes
by Rick Welborne

1 Peter 4:7-8 (NKJV)
7  But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
8  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NKJV)
1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
5  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8  Love never fails…
13  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

Mark Twain – If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and man.

--Let me give you this example about man’s best friend…I have heard married men and women say about their spouse…they are not only my husband or wife; they are my best friend.

--Let’s compare our spouses to our dogs…men, let’s say we lock our wives and our dog in the trunk of our car for, let’s say, an hour. Who do you think will be glad to see you when you open the trunk?

--The dog will still love you and be loyal to you, while your spouse may have you arrested or not speak to you for the next twenty years, if ever. Human beings struggle more to forgive than dogs do.

--It is obvious that the people we love the most are the ones who can hurt us the most deeply. Our goal is to learn to love people like we have never been hurt. Why is this necessary?

--As surely as you are listening to this message today you can count on the fact that someone is going to break your heart, someone is going to abandon you or leave you. You will be hurt.

--Someone is going to say something that is going to hurt you, someone is going to disappoint you, someone is going to let you down, lie to you, stab you in the back. Someone is going to reject you!

--There’s a really good chance that most of you listening to me today have been hurt and wounded like this. You may be remembering their face now.

--It may have been the mom or dad who walked out when you were a child, the spouse who cheated on you, the sibling who has not talked to you in 20 years, a child who rejected you and your God.

--The truth is, on some level, we all have given our love and our heart to someone who rejected it. We were wounded and felt betrayed. Now you feel the love supply is diminished. I can’t do that again.
--You don’t even know if it is possible for you to love like that again or you have made a conscious or unconscious decision not to put yourself out there again…the risks are too great.

--Let’s face it, any of us can love when everything is going well, when our politics agree, when our theology is the same, when our marriage or our church is in a honeymoon phase. No one lives there all the time.

Matthew 18:7 (NKJV)
7  Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

John 16:33 (NKJV)
33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

--Getting hurt is a part of life…it is inevitable but it does not have to be the end of the story…the end of your story. God does not want us to be walking wounded or part of the walking dead club.

--God intended for us to be healed and whole. He intended for us to be able to love like we have never been hurt. Why? That is what He has done and we are made in His image.

Luke 23:33-36 (NKJV)
33  And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
34  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
35  And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."
36  The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,

1. Stop probing the wounds.

Psalm 38:2-8 (NLT2)
2  Your arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me.
3  Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins.
4  My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.
5  My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins.
6  I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief.
7  A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken.
8  I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. 

--Listen to David anguishing over his foolish sins…he is wounded…his wounds are festered…he is in pain and he is filled with grief…he is almost to the point of dysfunction because he wouldn’t deal with his wounds. 

--My whole life has been a story…Pastor Juan says I am a story teller…I hope he doesn’t mean like my parents did…you are not telling the truth! Of course, I have a story about wounds!

--When I worked at the Paper Mill in Bastrop, Louisiana, much to my distress they put me on the paper machines which meant they needed someone with a strong back and could take heat…very hot!

--One night a roll of paper came off the machines that was defected…this was not paper for notebooks but thick ruff paper for making cardboard boxes. These rolls were about eight feet high.

--My boss (the third hand) told me to take my paper knife and as quickly as I could cut through that paper and let it fall into the opening in the floor which recycled the bad paper thru the machines. Yes, sir.

--We did not have half inch or one-inch-long blades on a fancy handle…the machine shop made these knives for us…four inches long with a water hose for a handle forced over the dull end of the blade. Sharp as razors.

--Each swipe of the blade you were cutting two to three inches of paper…being a manly man I wanted to show my boss and the other guys how fast I could work and how much paper I could cut at one time. I fell.

--On my way to the floor I was trying to get my hands out in front of me to catch myself…the razor sharp knife in my left hand cut my right thumb all the way from the wrist to the nail…ouch. You could see the bone!

--I went to the nurse…she said you definitely need stiches…lots of them but we cannot mess up our safety record so we will have to patch you up here…she put 6 – 7 butterfly bandages on me…right back to work.

--The dust, sweat, and nastiness of the paper mill kept the wound infected…went to the nurse several times…
Mom was a nurse…all of them were probing the wound trying to fix it…only got worse. Bad infection.

--I should have gone to the doctor and received stiches…I can fix this or it will get better over time. I almost lost my thumb it was so bad. So what’s your point Pastor Rick.

--Instead of dealing with our hurts and wounds we keep probing them…we replay bad memories over and over again, we talk to anyone who will listen, we think of ways of getting even. 

--We poke and prod at our gaping wounds and the infection gets so bad that we eventually get bitter. Jesus is waiting for us to come to Him to get free but we stubbornly keep going down this destructive path.

--This is not how God wants us to live, He wants to give us a new beginning, a new story, a fresh start. He wants to heal what has been broken. He wants to reconcile what has been torn apart.

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)
18  "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 

Jensen Franklin – This is about understanding biblical forgiveness and reconciliation and establishing healthy boundaries. Love without limits is not about codependence or irrational thinking, and it is not an invitation to be used as a doormat or a whipping post.

--Biblical forgiveness is more about your spiritual health than it is about letting the other person off the hook. Forgiving them is about freeing you!

2. The bottom line is about healing relationships.

--Unfortunately, the body of Christ is full of parents who are estranged from their own children. Some of us, myself included) have not spoken to family members for more than 20 years. Of course, not by my choice.

--Some grandchildren have never even met their grandparents. Some believers who were abused or misused when they were young still harbor hurt and resentment. This makes it hard to have good relationships now.

--Some (I will dare say many) in the church live with spouses, children, or parents where there is strife, anger, and continual hurt but no one will make the move toward reconciliation because of pride or bitterness.
--Some people have lost loved ones and now are too hurt to figure out how to love the ones that are left. The truth is, the only thing that will heal these relationships is love. Listen to the love chapter…relationships.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (NLT2)
1  If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
3  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud
5  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
6  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 

--One of the reasons your pastor reads these verses at weddings is because there is no place like marriage that tests your willingness to work on relationships. Marriage is tough but you are willing to love…it will be ok!

--Love is such a powerful force. Paul is saying that we place these gifts of power over loving one another and having good relationships. Prophesying, having discernment, moving mountains without love will fail.

--I dare you to take the test…what test, Pastor Rick? Read 1 Cor. 13:4-7 (NLT2) in light of your home and in light of how much you love and see how you do. Many in the church can’t even get 50%...sad. 

4  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud
5  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
6  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 

3. What really matters most.

--When we choose to love God, love ourselves, and love others we can learn to love despite what happened to us way back then…what they did way back then…when we love we can heal generations of hurt.

2 Corinthians 5:18 (NKJV)
18  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

Franklin – It is never wrong to love, it is never out of order to love, you do not compromise when you love, you never lower your standards when you love. 

--Do you remember what Jesus said when He was asked what is the greatest commandment?

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)
37  Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38  This is the first and great commandment.
39  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

--What matters most is that we love like Jesus did…we love like we have never been hurt.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Trusting our Emotions or Trusting God – 4

Trusting our Emotions or Trusting God – 4
Subject – Battling our Emotions When a Test Comes
by Rick Welborne

Genesis 4:1-8 (NKJV)
1  Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD."
2  Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3  And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.
4  Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering,
5  but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
6  So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
8  Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 

--Last week we looked at guilt and sorrow and how God desires for us to be free from our past and from our sin. We can’t live here and now if our emotions are tied to something or someone back then.

--If you are human at all, you have done things, said things, caused things in your past that you are so sorry for, but you must trust that God has the power to set you free and to forgive you.

1 John 1:4-9 (NKJV)
4  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
5  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

--What’s your point, Pastor Rick? No matter what you did back then (I did some stuff) we must know that if we have received Christ and are attempting to love and serve Him…His blood is enough to take care of our guilt.

Ephesians 1:3-7 (NKJV)
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
7  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…

--I have been redeemed by His blood and I am forgiven of all sin and guilt according to His wonderful grace.

--Today, as we continue this series on Trusting our Emotions or Trusting God, I want us to look at the power of desire. Listen to what God told Cain in our text.

Genesis 4:7 (NKJV)
7  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." 

--Sin lies at the door and sin’s desire is for you, but you should rule over it. NIV – you must master it. NLT – You must subdue it and be its master. How is that even possible?

--How many of you know that we are bombarded every day with information that has been created to appeal to our sinful nature and to cause desire. Why is that a dangerous thing?

James 1:12-16 (NIV)
12  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
13  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
14  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
15  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16  Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 

--I see two people in these verses…the person who perseveres under the test and the one who is tempted, enticed, and drug away by his own evil desire.

--Through phones, social media, Netflixs, cable, satellite, computer (whatever the means) this world, this Cosmos has done such a good job of placing sin at the door…not only do we not resist it…we seek it out. 

--So today can we look at what the Lord told Cain and what I truly believe He is telling all of us…Sin lies at the door and sin’s desire is for you, but you should rule over it.

--Today let’s look at three ways to rule over, to master, to subdue these desires, feelings, and emotions. We know these answers but will we find the strength to put them into practice?

1. Stop feeding the beast!

--Why do you call this desire a beast? The Word says that when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. The goal of the beast for you is death…physical and spiritual.

John 10:10 (NKJV)
10  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
--Desire is hungry and desire will not stop until you are enticed into the trap and you are destroyed.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT2)
8  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
9  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

--It did not take long after I was saved to realize that this Christian life was going to be a battle. Sadly, there were many who were in church already who had surrendered to the enemy. God understands my feelings!

--Someone told me…what you starve dies and what you feed grows and gets stronger. They told me a present day parable about a man who had a vicious dog (our sin nature) and a weak dove (our spiritual man).

--His dog was strong because he had fed it and nurtured it for years. He spent hours every day with this dog. This dog received attention from the man to the point he was neglecting everything else. 

--The dove was weak to the point of death…he had not been feeding it or giving water to it. He spent no time with it. One day the man’s eyes were opened to what was happening.

--The man was so afraid that his dog was eventually going to get strong enough to kill him and his dove…what am I to do? It came to him like a revelation. Stop feeding the dog (isolate him) and start nurturing the dove. 

--The dog became extremely violent, began to rebel and fight, but started getting weaker. The man began to feed the dove and carried him everywhere he went on his finger…the dove got strong and beautiful.

--The dog finally got so weak he died and the dove flourished and lived. Now I would like to tell you the flesh will eventually die but that is not true…he will always want to revive and thrive. 

--What you starve dies and what you feed grows and gets stronger…feed your spiritual man. Pastor Rick, I have no control over these desires. Really? I think the Word says something different: Stop feeding the beast!

Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

--God has given us the power to stop feeding the beast…He has given us Holy Spirit and he who has Holy Spirit power has self-control available to them…we must choose to crucify (to kill) our flesh.

Genesis 4:7 (NKJV)
7  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."  NIV – you must master it. NLT – You must subdue it and be its master. 

2. Start feeding your spiritual man every day.

Psalm 37:1-5 (NKJV)
1  Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb.
3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4  Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5  Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 

--Verse 4 is probably one of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible and many times it is quoted out of its context. Many believe that God is obligated to give us the desires of our hearts no matter what those desires are.

--What is David saying here? Don’t worry about evildoers and don’t desire the things they crave. We want so much to be like the world…we want to be accepted by unbelievers…we want to be cool.

--David says to feed our spiritual man:

1. We must trust in the Lord and do good. 

2. Live your life and as you do, feed on His faithfulness (His truth). Feed on His truth, His Word, on Him…eat My flesh and drink My blood! Have communion with Him!

--Here’s what is usually left out when we quote this verse…Delight yourself also in the Lord. To delight yourself in the Lord is to find a high degree of gratification in Him and Him alone.

--When I feed my spiritual man by worshiping Jesus, by singing songs of exaltation to Him, when I thank Him for all He is and all He does, when I magnify Him over my mess…I find myself delighting in Him.

Psalm 69:30 (NKJV)
30  I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. 

--This summer when it seemed like my world was spinning way to fast, and to a great degree, out of control, in the middle of my worship one day I said to the Lord…speak to me what You feel I need to hear the most.

--I felt that the Lord spoke to me this…Rick, I want you to know that I am more than enough in your life.

3. Don’t open the door.

Ephesians 4:27 (NIV) 27 not give the devil a foothold. (NCV) 27  Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.

--Don’t open the door to the devil but daily open the door to Jesus and Holy Spirit.

Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)
20  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.