Ending the Rat Race Mentality

You wouldn’t think that islanders would have a problem with being still. Most people think of us, living in Hawaii, as just hanging loose, going to the beach, sipping drinks with those little umbrellas, and working on our tans all day; but nothing could be farther from the truth. One of the things that the Lord has been speaking to me lately is that of not being anxious, being stress-free, being still and learning to wait on on the Lord. The more cognizant I am of this “Rat Race Mentality” – I see it everywhere I go. It’s not just in Chicago, New York, or L.A. – it’s everywhere. And in most people’s head! Hurry to work, hurry to finish, hurry to go home – hurry, hurry, hurry!! O to hear the Word of the Lord:

“Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle…” Isaiah 23:2

Be still”= literally means: grow dumb and motionless. You might say, “Wow, that sounds attractive, where do I sign-up?” But, “dumb” is simply an old english term for: not talking. This phrase, “Be still” is progressive, i.e. You develop in it and seek to advance in it day-by-day.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The world may think it’s a dumb to pray, but it’s God’s secret to giving His people strength, peace, and power.

How often have you said to yourself, “Yeah, I know I need to slow down and take a break, but it’s pretty hard right now because of my job, family, and…” And the list goes on and on. I was reminded a couple days ago, while I was riding my Harley-Davidson, and having a wonderful prayer time by-the-way, as I heard the Holy Spirit say to me…

“I could put you on your back anytime I want. Guard your time and look up, so that I don’t have to make you.”

As I was up in Olinda I was reminded of the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. When a sheep would continually go wayward, in extreme circumstances, the shepherd would take his rod and break it’s leg. It sounds cruel and impractical, but the newfound relationship that would form between the sheep and the shepherd, from being together all the time, would change the way the lamb sees his shepherd. Sometimes… “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

If you would really like to end this Rat Race routine – The next time you’re getting ready for work, leave a half hour early, and intentionally drive the speed limit in the slow lane. Notice how the people are in such a hurry, passing cars, stressed. Who are these people? Those people are you! You’ve just ended the rat race. It’s not final, it’s something you’re growing into, and need to advance in. It’s something you need to practice each day.

How about this one: Next time you go into the grocery store, take five minutes before you do your shopping and notice how stressed people are. Take a deep breath and walk slow, and see if the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak to you, and pour-out a blessing of peace on you that you haven’t experienced in a long time. These are just a couple of practical ways that you can end the Rat Race Mentality.

Prayer-2-Pray
“Lord, I pray you would forgive me for being so busy. I take time today to be still, and to wait on you. May You give me wisdom to know how to end the Rat Race Mentality in my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!”

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Psychological Procrastination

We’re all familiar with procrastination. “I know I should do it today, but… I’ll do it next week.” But as I was praying, I came up with a term that described the way I feel many times: “psychological procrastination”. This is where you’re at church, or at home, and you begin to think about getting closer to the Lord, or you’re wanting to have a more passionate faith. But then you think within yourself, “I’m not really feeling it right now. I will get closer to the Lord, but just not today. Maybe next week I’ll get something out of church or the sermon.”

And it goes on week after week – a whole year goes by and you’re thinking, “Where has the time gone? My life needs to go to another level!” Here’s the kicker though. We get excited for a day, or week at most, but then gradually decline into our typical ‘mode’, whatever that happens to be for you. But there needs to be a way to really break free from this “psychological procrastination”, so that a change can really take place, and that fruit would follow.

Maybe it’s just being aware that psychological procrastination is taking place, is the first step to change.

The Unexpected Visit

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it one side of the hearth, all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon.”

(via: Pastor David Sumrall, of Cathedral of Praise)

Beach Bum or Battle Ready?

This passage paints a vivid picture in my mind of a soldier who is doing his own thing. While others have their uniforms starched and pressed, ready for the day, I see another soldier who is wearing his bermuda shorts and aloha shirt – totally not ready for service, battle, or even the daily line-up before the commander.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” [Acts 24:5 NIV]

Could it be he has a lamp that’s been neglected and snuffed-out from sin, and thus his sloppiness doesn’t really seem to matter? Jesus isn’t offering a mere suggestion in verse 35, it’s a command! I can just see the commander’s veins popping out from his neck as he shouts to his troops… “BE dressed! Keep your lamps BURNING!”

I wonder what most of us look like in the spiritual-realm? Are we beach bums or battle ready soldiers? The New King James version says, “Let your waist be girded…”. Could it be that we’re so self-absorbed, self-conscious, self-centered, all because we’re walking around with our spiritual pants around our ankles? Our lives must be girded with truth like a soldier’s belt. Can you imagine worshipping Jesus – Sunday morning at your Church – and having your pants down around your ankles? We wouldn’t be worshipping, we’d be worrying! It time to get clothed in Christ [Gal. 3:27] first thing in the morning. It’s time to get into the Word of God [Ps. 119:105], and allow it to get our hearts burning once again for the things of God! Don’t settle for a mediocre life when God has so much more! Christ is coming, and we must be battle ready.

You Can’t Tie a Man Who’s Already Bound

Who is this “Paul” anyway? Sound a little strange? bound

DBR – Daily Bible reading: Acts 19-21

S. SCRIPTURE
The Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” [Acts 21:13 13 NKJV]

O. OBSERVATION
Paul had been beaten, jailed, and ran out of town by those who didn’t want any part of his message. The Christians at Caesarea tried to keep him from going to Jerusalem. In verse 4 it says, “They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem.” So who’s right? I believe that was a test to see just how committed Paul really was. How could Paul be so ready to be bound and to die (vs. 13)? A nugget is hidden away here.

1.Paul Purposed in the Spirit. [Acts 19:21]

2.Paul Goes Bound in the Spirit. [Acts 20:22]

First Paul “purposes”, (or makes a decision); then he experiences the momentum of that decision. This is what catapulted him into a whole new way of thinking and living. He was literally consumed, and driven by the Holy Spirit. Paul wasn’t the kind of Christian that needed to be prodded. He had been prodded once before, and that was enough for him.

A. APPLICATION
As strange as it seems – the Holy Spirit can direct another Christian to be a roadblock on your path in the race you’re running. Am I going to “stick to my guns”, or am I going to go the way of the coward and say,
“Yeah, well it did kinda seem like a crazy idea…” I need to ask myself this morning… “What decision is the Holy Spirit calling me to make?” Do I realize that this morning could be the turning point in my life which catapults me into such a radical commitment to Christ ? Because I’m a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ – bound by His Spirit – I won’tl be affected by anyone that tries to bind me in the flesh.

P. PRAYER
“Father, it’s my prayer this morning that You would open my eyes to the decision, to the commitment, that You are calling me to make today. I long to be in that place of total surrender where nothing ruffles my feathers, and where all I see is souls, and the finsihed line of my faith. I’ll gladly be bound in the Spirit today! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

“Buyer’s Remorse?”

This Devotional takes about half-hour to do. It works individually or in a small group setting. What are we waiting for? Let’s get it started in here!!

Open-up your Bible to: Luke 10:38-42

“But Martha was distracted…” — Luke 10:40a

One of the most incredible privileges that we’ve all received from God is the ability to choose. Have you ever walked into a department store looking for just the perfect outfit? [Us, guys might just pick out a shirt, but definitely not an “outfit”.] But have you ever experienced something that’s called, “Buyers Remorse”? Buyers Remorse is when you spend so much time deciding what to buy, but once you brought it home you realized that it’s not really what you wanted, and you feel miserable. Believe it or not – it’s the same way in the spiritual realm. Many times we find ourselves going through this same exact experience when we choose the wrong thing. Ever been there? I know I have.

:: Pastor Robb’s Thought-Provoking Questions ::

1. Have you ever experienced “Buyers Remorse”? If so, what did you buy?

2. Pastor Ray Berryhill said, “Busy is not better, choosing better is better.” Why is being busy sometimes not such a good thing?

3. What are some of the patterns of busyness that sometimes we find ourselves in?

4.Practically speaking – What are some of the things you do to refuel, relax, and get re-energized?

How to Get Ready for a New Year!

Have you got some New Years’ goals, but aren’t quite sure how to implement them? Join the club. I’ve got a great podcast episode for you:: “How to Get Ready for a New Year. It’s in the iTunes Store, and… it’s FREE!!

UNITED YOUTH CHURCH CHICAGO

If you would listen and review that would be totally awesome!

Pastor Robb