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Clarifying Committments

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Clarifying Commitments

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

February 5th, 2006

Jungle Football.

It seems that the animals were bored and restless. Finally, the lion had an idea. “I know a really exciting game that the humans play called football. I’ve seen it on TV.”

He proceeded to describe it to the rest of the animals and they all got excited about it, so they decided to play. They found a clearing, chose up teams and kicked off.

The lion’s team received. They were able to get two first downs and then had to punt. The mule punted and the rhino was back deep to receive. He caught the ball, lowered his head and charged. First, he broke through two rabbits, then knocked over a giraffe and a cow, found daylight and scored. Unfortunately, they lacked a place-kicker, so the score remained 6 – 0.

Late in the first half the lion’s team scored a touchdown and the mule kicked the extra point. The lion’s team led at halftime 7 – 6.

In the locker room, the lion gave a pep talk. “Look you guys,” said the lion, “we can win this game. We’ve got the lead and they only have one real threat. We’ve got to keep the ball away from the rhino, he’s killing us! Mule, when you kick off be sure to keep it away from the rhino.”

The second half began as the mule kicked off, but unfortunately the ball went directly to the rhino. Once again, the rhino lowered his head and before you knew it, he was almost to the goal line. It looked like he was home free. Suddenly, at the 20-yard line, he dropped over and coughed up the ball.

There appeared to be no other animals anywhere near him. The lion went over to see what had happened. And there, right next to the dazed rhino, he saw a small centipede.

“Did you do this?” he asked the centipede.

“Yes, I did,” the centipede replied.

The lion snarled, “Where were you during the first half?”

The centipede answered, “I was putting on my shoes.”

Commitments are a part of our every day life.  Do our commitments reflect our faith?

Four Steps To Clarifying our Commitments

1.      Self Control.

ÿ    Choose only one or two things a year to commit to as a family.

25 All athletes practice strict self-control.

1 Corinthians 9:25

4 And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. 5 Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize.

2 Timothy 2:4-5

but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:

Philippians 3:13b

2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.

Colossians 3:2

2.      Sense of Purpose.

ÿ    Use God’s Word as a guide for defining what your purpose is as a family.

26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.

1 Corinthians 9:26

In "Letters to Rulers of People," Francis of Assisi wrote these words: "Keep a clear eye toward life's end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God's creature. What you are in his sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember, that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received -- fading symbols of honor, trappings of power -- but only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage."

7 Repeat them again and again to your children.

Deuteronomy 6:7

6 Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.

Proverbs 22:6

Talk here about Church as Team.  It is a team and the “game” we are playing has eternal consequences.  Here the winners and losers are defined for eternity.  Jesus is clear about His need for total allegiance.

On sports teams they require allegiance and attendance.  If one player is gone the whole team suffers.  We are a team as well.  When one person is gone it changes the whole community.

Maybe one way to look at the church family and our own families a little differently is this:  we are a part not to get what we can out of it, but instead to give what we can to it.

You see if its about getting what I want – then it doesn’t matter if I’m not there because I get what I want at other places.

            Friendship.

            Affirmation.

            Encouragement.

            Advice. 

But, when I recognize that for this Team to be effective I am important then it matters that I’m here because if I’m not, then who will replace the gifts that God  has given to me to contribute?  All of the sudden the family, the church, doesn’t function like it should.

4 And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

3.      Conserve your energy.

ÿ    Model your faith in the way you live and the way you operate as a family.

I do not fight like a man beating the air.

1 Corinthians 9:26b (NIV)

How many times do we give off mixed signals, like that sign on a railroad station that read: "Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted.”

14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them.

Jeremiah 9:14

A doting mother sent the following note to her son's teacher: "Dear Teacher: If my Archibald is naughty - and he sometimes is - just whip the boy next to him. This will frighten Archibald and make him behave."

5 I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois.

2 Timothy 1:5

4.      Develop the Disciplines

ÿ    Practice Spiritual Disciplines within the context of your family life.

27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

1 Corinthians 9:27

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Romans 12:2

4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.

5 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence.

2 Peter 1:4-5

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