Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Week 2 - The Great Enemy of the Spiritual Life
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Christmas season is in full swing – sometimes it’s more hustle than bustle.  This week Kent talks about the danger of a hurried life and invites us all to lay down what we are carrying.  If you need encouragement, be sure to tune in and get it! When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom!  GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316  to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION:

I noticed something this year and last – people getting ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving…
What’s that about?
I have a suspicion of what it’s about
We all want joy in our lives

We are dying for joy
We are worn out, stressed out, anxiety-ridden, end of our ropes tired!
You know what TIRED stands for don’t you?
Take Inventory, Re-evaluate Everything, Dummy!
Ok, I made that up…  Ha, and I couldn’t think of a “D”  Ha!

-it might not be the most encouraging thing in the world
But I think it’s why we are all craving Christmas-because Christmas is a time when we all pretend everything is ok
-We manipulate our kids into being nice

-We put up fake trees that will never turn brown-

We put lights up everywhere to brighten every corner-and we listen to nostalgic songs that make us forget we are living in the middle of the great depression
Do you know the problem with the joy or rest we long for with Christmas?
We settle for fake rest over true rest.
and I think it’s because none of us really know how to get rest-Our marriage is hanging on by a thread

-Our kids are out of control normally

-Our internal world is fried
What’s the answer?
ILLUSTRATION:John Orteberg who is an author and Pastor tells a story about a conversation he had with a guy named Dallas Willard – whom I’ve quoted before.
Orteberg had just taken a job at a large well-known church that was known for working its people hard.
Orteberg asked Willard if there was anything he should do as he took the job.
Willard paused after the question, thought, and then said these words, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry, hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life of today” -Dallas Willard
did you hear his response?
It wasn’t you need to do more, be more, give more, it was your need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry.
Reminds me of a story from the Gospels

Luke 10:38-42 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Both Martha and Mary were presented with the same opportunity

They had Jesus the Messiah sitting right in front of them
One chose to sit at his feet, the other chose to be up on her feet.
I want you to notice something, Martha is doing what would be expected – she has guests at her house-it would have traditionally been expected for her to be busy – getting stuff done, cooking, cleaning, setting tables-you’ve seen this at Holiday meals right?
ILLUSTRATION: I always picture my Grandma Crockett on my mom’s side.  The entire time we were all eating ham and turkey, Grandma would be running around making sure every bowl was full, every plate had food, and then when everyone else was done eating she was washing dishes and finally eating after everyone else had finished.
This is how I picture Martha, she’s not doing a bad thing – it’s a nice good thing
But Jesus tells her there is something better 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mary actually is breaking all social and gender norms for her day – and SO is Jesus…
It would have been unheard of to have a female disciple to have “sat at the feet of a rabbi” meant to sit and listen as one of his disciples
Jesus is telling Martha; sitting at His feet and learning from Him is better than any of the other things that are pressing for her attention.
It very much reminds me of this passage that I bring up about 3 times a year because we all need to be reminded so much:

Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
Can I ask you this question: What are you carrying through this world that you need to lay down?
What is it?

-do you feel responsible for the decisions your kids have made and feel lost in it?  You’re carrying this huge burden?

-do you feel like all the jobs at your company are depending on you?  If you don’t keep carrying the ball, then everything might fall apart?

-do you carry the feeling that you’re never enough – you’ve been chasing enough long enough…
We all chose what we carry through the day…  through our lives…
What if you chose to carry Jesus’ burden?
What if you let Him carry the impossible loads you are putting on yourself and you ruthlessly slowed down?
What if you chose to be Mary, sitting at the Rabbi’s feet?
CLOSING: At the communion tables, we have some note cards and pens.  Today, during the next song, I want to invite you to write down whatever it is that you are carrying and to leave it today at the cross and then I want to invite you to pause and slow down, to remind yourself that the speed of Jesus is not the speed of the world.  He needs one thing from you, it’s your attention – it’s your heart and some of you, what you need to lay down, is your heart, because Jesus’ offer for life is specifically for you.  He came to give you new life and freedom in Him!