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Intimacy with the Almighty

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					Intimacy with the
  Almighty
    Staying with Our First Love
   A beautiful paradox
    – Almighty, omnipotent God
    – Who wants us to enjoy intimacy with Him
   The world is working against us in this...
    – Jam packed schedules, financial pressures,
      competing values try to distract
    – Even sincere Christians in successful
      churches struggle to see its importance
        The Ephesian Church
 Revelation 2: 1-4
 John R. Stott:
  “Their first flush of ecstasy had passed.
    Their early devotion to Christ had
    cooled. They had been in love with
    Him, but they had fallen out of love.”
 It   doesn’t have to be that way.
        Intimacy Defined
 Webster:
 – Being intimate: belonging to or
   characterizing one’s deepest nature...
   marked by very close association,
   contact, or familiarity... marked by a
   warm friendship developing through
   long association.
    How Intimacy Develops
 Close   relationships
  – take time to develop
  – require work and dedication to
    maintain
  – require commitment
  – don’t happen naturally, automatically,
    quickly or easily
 Quick-fixformulas make for
 shallow, superficial faith
              Deeper Lives
   Richard Foster:
    “Superficiality is the curse of our age.
     The doctrine of instant satisfaction is
     a primary spiritual problem. The
     desperate need today is not for a
     greater number of intelligent people,
     or for gifted people, but for deep
     people.”
Deepening our Walk with the Lord
    Many elements we can’t plan or
     package...
     – God may allow suffering to deepen us.
     – He might bring unexpected blessing to
       show us His character.
    We often have a definite responsibility
     in the process. James 4:8a
    Our part involves discipline
                     Discipline
   Discipline: the Greek concept simply
    means “to train.” 1Timothy 4:7b-8
    “Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness,
      please! Workouts in the gymnasium are
      useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more
      so, making you fit both today and forever.”
                                            The Message

   Make it a priority, don’t approach it
    casually.
Disciplines for Cultivating Intimacy

   Simplicity - requires re-ordering our lives.

   Silence - asks us to be still.

   Solitude - involves cultivating serenity.

   Surrender - beckons us to let go.
      Where are We Headed?
   You may discover you need to make
    some changes in your life.
 God will not always speed up to walk
  with us. He expects us to slow our pace
  to walk with Him.
 He expects us to provide some
  quietness where His still and small
  voice can be heard.
   Simplicity

Reordering Our Lives
           Defining Simplicity
   The Lord’s great invitation to Intimacy
    – Revelation 3:20
    – Can we hear His knocking?
    – Can we hear His voice over the clamor?
   Definition - Simplicity
    “the arrangement of life around a few
      consistent purposes, explicitly excluding
      what is not necessary to human well-being”
      Seeking His Kingdom
 Consistent Purposes
  - Matthew 6:33
                             Tasks
 By loving God with all
  our heart, soul, and      Priorities
  mind, and by loving
  our neighbor as          Core Values
  ourselves -
  Matthew 22:36-40
         What’s the Problem?
        Symptoms of a Simplicity-Deficient Life

   Most of us say yes to too many things.
   Most of us do not plan well enough ahead or think
    through our schedules to leave time for leisure
    and rest.
   Most of us have too many things on our plate to
    get done in the allotted time.
   Most in America have too much debt.
   Most of us fool ourselves into thinking that
    because we live in a modern world of high-tech
    equipment, we are simplifying our lives.
         What’s the Problem?
             Diagnosis of the Core Problem


   Deceit - 2 Corinthians 11:3
    “My fear is that, as he did with Eve, Satan should
      seduce you away from a simplicity of devotion to the
      Savior.”
                                                     -- Paul

 Do you have too much clutter within to leave
  sufficient room for devotion to Christ?
 Have you begun to get self-impressed or
  sophisticated about your faith?
Prescriptions for a Simpler Life
           In Your Own Personal World


   Is there something you must do
    about your time with God?

   Do you need to say no more often?

   Have you become cluttered in your
    person?
    Prescriptions for a Simpler
               Life
           In Your World of Relationships

   Are the good things keeping you from the
    best?
   Are too many things draining your energy,
    leaving you exhausted–even resentful?
   Are the activities outside your home
    stealing time from those
    within the home?
Intimacy with the
  Almighty
Silence and Solitude


 Essentials for Intimacy
       The List Gets Tougher!
   Is this possible in our noisy, busy world?
               Is this a
                “Let be andtheand
    Swindoll: “Be moreand knowthan
              I am still convinced
              “Cease striving cries,   still,
                                    be traffic!
                 Step noin,” you
                 “Give way
    ever that there is out of heKnow can
               “Stand Silent! and I
               dream???
    move towardthatTake
                   a      am – recognize
                        I I fighting,”
                thatthatamintimate he
                   “Stop a that Iloving
               and knowIlong,God”
             know deeper,God” am
                   “admit am      God” --
                says, “and know that I
                  and at God your
                  with understand High
    relationshiplookour me, without
                            God.”
                     Psalm I am God”
                    that 46:10 NIV politics,
                           stillness, which
    protracted times ofam God.”
                        Psalm 46:10
    includes one God, above
                       Psalm 46:10 TLBall
                   of the rarest of
                       Psalm silence.
    experiences: absoluteeverything.
                    above46:10 Moffat
                      Psalm 46:10 AMP
                        Psalm 46:10 TEV

                     Psalm 46:10 The Message
“As the deer
pants for the
water brooks,
So my soul
pants for Thee,
O God,”

Psalm 42:1
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
    What does Silence Create?
 Makes room for listening
 Gives us freedom to observe
    The Lord is in His holy
 Allows us time to think
   temple. Let all the earth
 Provides space to feel
  Keep silence before Him.
 Lets us broaden our awareness
 Opens us to the entry of peace
               Habakuk 2:20
 Invites us to know our limitedness…
             And God’s vastness
   Silence has a partner…
 Silence means protracted periods of
Solitude… grow deeper in an
  quite where we
 – increasing awareness of the real
   Discover our own thoughts
 – Filter out the non-essentials
               presence of God.
  – Find our own peace
  – Rest and re-group
      Solitude is being alone… away from the
  – Recall the meaning of our unique call
  – Honeconstant pull of other’s demands,
           and craft what we value
  – interruptions, schedules, and expectations.
     Gain perspective
                Time Alone with God….
  – Reinforce our focus
  – Re-acquaint ourselves with our dreams
  – Become more attentive to God
Even Jesus needed solitude…

                       Very He cannot
We need to find God, andearly in the be
found in noise and restlessness. God is
                       morning, while it
                        See how nature –
 the friend of silence.was still dark,
                        – grows up, left
trees, flowers, grass Jesus got in silence;
  see the stars, the moon and the sun,
                       the house and
                       went off We
  how they move in silence… to a need
    silence to be able to touch souls.
                       solitary place,
                       where he prayed.
                              Mother Teresa
                                 Mark 1:35
          Silence and Solitude
         Twin means of God-directed rest

   Since SILENCE is the gateway to depth, it’s
    worth every effort to make it happen.
    – Carve out an hour or two, perhaps an afternoon or
      even a whole day. Refrain from speaking, escape
      from noise, and quiet your soul.

   Since SOLITUDE is the gateway to discovery,
    it is too important to ignore.
    – Use a journal to preserve what you learn in
      solitude.
     Surrender

Intimacy Requires Letting Go
     Getting Close Sometimes
       Means Letting Go…
   God made our hands and our hearts able to
    hold only so much.
   If we hang on to too many things, or the
    wrong things, we can distance ourselves from
    what’s really important.
   Philippians 3:8a AMPLIFIED
   SURRENDER: Letting go of interests that
    keep us at arm’s length from Him.
             Letting Go
Let us lay aside every
encumbrance and the sin
which so easily entangles
us, and let us run with
patience the race that is
set before us.
                Hebrews 12:1
             Running the Race
   Lightening the Load – Heb. 12:1
    – Lighten our load before running the race.
    – Throw off anything that hinders us in the
      spiritual race.
   Shedding “The Sin”
    – Possibly refers to one specific sin, rather
      than generalities – could it be the sin of
      unbelief?
          See: Hebrews 11 & 12
           Focusing on Christ
   Christ Our Example
    – Hebrews 12:2
    – Christ: Ultimate Model of Surrender
         Philippians 2:3-11
   Only truly humble people can surrender.
   Don’t Despair… Compare
    – Hebrews 12:3
Four Areas of Surrender

 Our   Possessions
 Our   Position
 Our   Plans
 Our   People
Intimacy with the
  Almighty
3Do  nothing out of selfish ambition
or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than
yourselves. 4Each of you should
look not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of
Christ Jesus:
     6 Who, being in very nature God,

        did not consider equality with God
        something to be grasped,
     7 but made himself nothing,

        taking the very nature of a servant,
        being made in human likeness.
     8 And being found in appearance as a

        man, he humbled himself
        and became obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
9    Therefore God exalted him to the
     highest place and gave him the
     name that is above every name,
10   that at the name of Jesus every knee
     should bow, in heaven and on earth
     and under the earth,
11   and every tongue confess that Jesus
     Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
     the Father.
                         Philippians 2: 3-11
I count everything loss compared to the
possession of the priceless privilege (the
overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing
worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively
becoming more deeply and intimately
acquainted with Him [of perceiving and
recognizing and understanding Him more
fully and clearly].
                                 Philippians 3:8a
1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
  These are the words of him who holds the
  seven stars in his right hand and walks among
  the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your
  deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I
  know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that
  you have tested those who claim to be apostles
  but are not, and have found them false. 3You
  have persevered and have endured hardships
  for my name, and have not grown weary.
  4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken

  your first love.
                                   Revelation 2:1-4
8Come  near to God and he
will come near to you.



                James 4:8a
2Letus fix our eyes on Jesus, the
author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right
hand of the throne of God.
                       Hebrews 12:2
3Consider   him who endured such
opposition from sinful men, so
that you will not grow weary and
lose heart.


                   Hebrews 12:3

				
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