Reset - Part 1

Reset Your Life Occasionally To Ensure You Life A Godly Life.

Chuck Martin
Aug 1, 2021    40m
Have you found yourself drifting away from a Christian lifestyle? This message reminds us that sometimes we need to reevaluate our lives to make sure we are living a godly life. Pursue a relationship with God as you live a Christian life because blessings are a result of your relationship with Christ. Video recorded at Frisco, Texas.

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Today, we begin a brand-new message series called 'Reset’. And if you're like me, that kind of describes where you are these days. I know in talking with folks, some folks, they haven’t been back to the office for a while, they've been working remotely. I know students are beginning to get ready—(I hate to tell you)—school's right around the corner. Right? We have 'reset' coming, when it comes to our kiddos. And I think personally, if you're like me, many of us these days are feeling the need, the desire for kind of a reset with God, a reset in our family—a reset in how we're living life.

I have a confession to make. I get frustrated with technology. Anybody, anybody else, OK? I enjoy technology, but I don't care to know how it works. I just want it to work. Anybody, anybody feel that, OK? So I have an iPhone seven, and this week—somehow—I don't know how I did it—please, if you do, you can tell me afterwards (but it won't help). I lost my phone icon on my phone. In other words, I flip through all my apps, the phone is NOT there and I'm like, this is the *phone*. I mean, this is—this should never happen, right? And I mean, I couldn't find it. So I Googled, obviously. So ‘how do you find a missing phone icon’? And one of the instructions, or suggestions, was to hit RESET on my phone, which I did. And so I went through, you know, I can follow directions. And so I hit reset on my phone.

What I did not realize then—it reset it to basically the factory settings, which mean all of the folders and organization for all of my apps went away. And so then I'm like, well, nothing's where it should be. Right? You may feel that way about your life the last eighteen months. You're like, nothing…feels like it's where you should be. Right? "Can I just hit reset?" Can we just go back to the way life was...eighteen months ago? Anybody…kind of desire that? Certainly. I think we all do at some point, but we realize that as we move back, in some ways, we realize, that moving forward also gives us an opportunity to live life differently, to evaluate.

And so one of the things I did—I wasn't intending to—this week is, I re-evaluated. How many of these apps do I use? I mean, I just collect them, right? Like a little gold stars in elementary school. It just popped up. Right? And so I went through and I weeded out a whole lot. And my phone is leaner. It is more efficient. And one of these days I'll learn how to really work it a little better. But, if you're like me today, you're saying, God, what would you have me do moving forward so that my life can more reflect Your desire for me? And today we're going to kind of lay the foundation, of what we're going to talk about in this series.

Let me just begin by reminding you of God's will for your life. Do you want to know what God's will is for your life? Jesus put it this way: John, Chapter 10, verse 10, notice what it says: "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy." The thief would be the evil one, "And I have come that you might have life." Jesus came to offer His life. That is a life with God. That is, a quality of life. That is, an eternal life. That is, an assurance in this life that is God's presence with us. "I've come that you might have life." And notice what he says, "and have it," What?, "to the the full." In other words, it is God's desire that you live not only a happy life, but a full life.

And so my question is, as we launch into this today—are you living a full life? If so, what are you *full of* these days (kind of tongue in cheek...)? But really, what is your life filled with these days? Is it filled with the things that God desires for our lives to be filled with? Is it full in a good way? Or is it full of stress, worry, and anxiety? Dare I say depression? You do realize that we're going through a trauma, going through a protracted season of uncertainty—and I'm not today declaring it over by any means (I can't do that). If anything, I realize that we hold our plans loosely. I'm not in charge, God is, right? But what's your life full of these days?

How would you describe your life? Would you describe your life as being abundant, being joyful, being happy? Or do you find yourself being pulled out, being pulled under, being filled in some ways you didn't intend? I'm just curious how many of you were able to go on vacation this summer: raise your hand...the spring…summer? Anybody? Well, a good number. I think we have a good number out on vacation today as well. Earlier this summer, Kim and I were able to go to the beach and, (yeah, great) I mean, therapy, right? Beach therapy. I'm pro beach therapy. And one of the things, whenever you go to the beach, one of the things that that I do is I kind of look, OK, so what are the conditions there at the beach? You know, is it safe to go in the water? Right? And so there on the beach, (this isn't the picture of where we went). But there on the beach, (we went to the Alabama Gulf Coast, which is God's country). But there was a yellow flag, which meant that there was some caution. You need to be aware that there was some, perhaps, undertow. There were some, perhaps, rip currents. Now, had that flag been red, then we don't go in the water. And for those of you who don't know, rip currents are those currents that that tend to pull you out to sea, you may not be aware of. When you get in the shallows, you do a little body surfing, you do a little swimming, and then you look up and you're like, wow, the land seems further out than it was, previously. Right? They can be quite dangerous. And I think for many of us that's kind of an analogy of the season we went through. We feel pulled away by something. We feel pulled away from God. We feel pulled to worry, to anxiety, to stress. We are pulled away from community. And let me just remind you of some of the impact of that in our culture, and in our day, and for us personally. As a matter of fact, I've been reading a series of articles on 'what is the impact coming out of coming out of Covid'? What is the impact emotionally, spiritually? How is that going to impact us as a people? It's interesting. Nature magazine had an article that I read this week that talked about the fact that depression during Covid was up fourfold in America, more than double that in England, and it compared rates of depression and rates of substance abuse. I think we are probably aware that consumption of alcohol skyrocketed during Covid nationally for the year 2020. Sales were up fifty-four percent. Pornography use—a lot of negative things in our culture. A lot of people found themselves in unhealthy ways of coping from the stress of the past year and a half. They were carried out in a negative way, and that includes away from God. So I just want to ask, how are you doing today?

One of the things that that I do from time to time that helps me, is, I think of my life in terms of the gauges on the dashboard. The gauges on the dashboard of your car kind of help you have an idea of how the car is doing. And there are three gauges that I tend to think about. I think tend to think about a physical gauge, which means am I sleeping well, am I getting rest— am I taking care of myself physically? I don't know about where you are in your work life balance or how much stress you're under, but one thing I do know is, I had some sleep disruption during Covid. Anybody else? Anybody have a little anxiety, worry, difficulty sleeping or changing sleep pattern? How about emotionally? Have you found yourself emotionally discouraged or drained? Have you ever made the connection between your intake (we'll talk about your intake of news and negative information) and its impact on you emotionally? Right? What you're watching and listening to? We'll get to that in just a second. Who are you around or who are you not able to be around? OK, and then how are you doing spiritually?

And so, as we hit reset, I think the first thing to do is just say, how are you doing? How are you doing, really? You know, Jesus summarized God's will for us very clearly, and very simply in Matthew Chapter 22 (and that's not the passage we're going to camp out in today). But I want to share with you in Matthew, Chapter 22, a very familiar passage to many of us. Verse 36, "Jesus, teacher, what is the greatest commandment of the law?" In other words, what is God really after in this thing called the Bible? In God's written word? "Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind." That's almost a direct quote from Deuteronomy, Chapter 6. But, He doesn't stop there. He says, This is the first and greatest commandment. In other words, it begins with life—that abundant life that that God desires for us—that ‘life to the full’—begins with being rightly related with God. It means loving God. It begins with God, and experiencing Him. But then, (He says this after 'the first and greatest commandment') look at verse 39, "The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself." And here's what I've discovered—and you probably have as well. My ability to love my neighbor is directly connected to my experience of God's love in my life. That there is a resource that God makes available to me, as I reflect on His love for me and experience and draw nearer to Him, that enables me to have something to give to others. Ok? And so I just want to ask, how are you doing in that?

Well, the Bible refers to the abundant life as the blessed life. And by blessed, I'm not talking financially, I'm talking about blessed, internally. I'm talking about a joyful, contented life. Sermon on the Mount: Jesus began the greatest message He ever gave, describing the blessed life in this way. I just want to draw your attention to it. Look at verse 3, chapter 5, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." And it continues on in verse 4, "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted." To mourn over your sin, is what that implies. "Blessed are the meek." In other words, those who are teachable, "for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those" verse 6, "who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled." And He goes on. Jesus, in this passage, says, ‘you want to live a blessed life’? I mean, that's God's desire for you. But notice what he says—you have to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Here's what Jesus is saying. The blessed life, the abundant life, is not found by pursuing the abundant life in the sense of of external things. It is experienced in your relationship of humility and dependence on God.

This morning, what I want to do is, I want to camp out on one of my favorite Psalms. It's really short— it's Psalm number one. But it describes in amazing ways the abundant life God desires for each of us. Are y'all up for that this morning? We're going to camp out. We're going to walk through it. And I'm telling you, there is some profound truth there. So find Psalm One on whatever device you're on; if you have a written copy of God's word, let's turn there. And let's just pause and pray for just a moment.

Father, I pray, Lord, that not only would you hold the mirror of your truth to our hearts today. But God, that you would first and foremost fill us with hope. God, remind us of your great love. God, remind us of the path that you have created for us to live life in its fullness. And God, in light of that, make each of us ask ourselves, ‘is that my experience so far’? Help us to not only learn from Your Word, not have it go in one ear and out the other—help us to APPLY. We pray in Christ's name, Amen.

All right, let's jump in and look at this together. Notice Jesus began His first, most famous message with, what? Blessed are they. The first Psalm (which in many ways kind of sets up the entire Book of Psalms) begins with "Blessed is the one", And then he gives the negative, "who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord." The word 'law of the Lord' means the Truth of God. It's not just the Commandments of God. The Law of the Lord means scripture. "And who meditates on His Law day and night." And notice the description, he continues, "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water," a beautiful picture, "which yields its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do they prosper. Not so the wicked," verse 4, "They are like the chaff that wind blows away." Lacking substance. Look, it continues, "Therefore, the wicked will see (that literally means the ungodly or those without God) will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous, for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous." I love that. "But the way of the wicked leads to destruction."

This morning, what I want to do is, I want to look at a couple of observations about this text (Psalm One) and we're going to look at the pictures—the analogies, the metaphors, if you will, that that Jesus uses. The first thing, I already mentioned, that I think is obvious, is that happiness or blessing is a byproduct of a of a vital relationship with God. That's what is described: happiness, or blessing, is a byproduct of a vibrant relationship with God. It's internal, not external. One of the ways that we know that, is that so much of our life is pursuit. Thinking if I get this, if I require that, if I achieved that, etc. And certainly, there is a satisfaction in achievement, there's a certain pleasure in acquiring. But if it was true that happiness was external, based on what you had, what you accomplished and what your bank account said, then the happiest people in this planet should live in Hollywood. Right?

How many of you know (better)? And, this may describe you to some degree or another: thinking that as you moved up or acquired more or achieved more or reached certain goals in your life, (although there is a certain fulfillment in that), you discovered that it really wasn't as satisfying as you thought that it might be. Anybody…Anybody? I'll never forget talking to a friend of mine in Houston who made partner in his law firm. He was not a believer in Jesus at that time. And I remember having lunch with him and I was getting to know him. His name is Mark. And I was trying to talk to him about his relationship with Jesus. And he said that, "you may not be aware of it, but I just made partner in my law firm, I'm 38 years old, said I have the corner office. I just bought a brand-new BMW car I always wanted to drive, I have a beautiful wife, I have two kids. How come I'm not happier?" And I said, Mark, let's talk about how God wired you, let's talk about God's offer of life through Jesus. (Mark comes) From a Jewish background. I shared with him how Jesus fit the fingerprint of scriptures being the Messiah, the promised one, and how he could come to know Christ personally. He trusted in Christ and his life began to change.

But he asked a profound question. And, a question that I want to ask you this morning is, OK, if I have all of this, how come I'm not happier? If I have all of this, and I live where I live, and I and all of these things are true of me, how come I don't feel blessed? Well, I've got an answer for that today. God has an answer for that today, and it's in this passage. Here's the deal: 'blessing' is NOT something outside of yourself that you can gain without Jesus. In other words, (if) you think, "if I gain the world now, I'll find this happiness or blessing," Jesus says, 'you can gain the whole world and lose your soul'! C.S. Lewis, put it this way (I love his quote), He said: "Aim at heaven." In other words, aim at God, your relationship with Him, "and you get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you get neither." Right? And I think we all know folks that are moving down the road of success and yet at the same time are not really living a blessed life.

So first thing is, it's a byproduct of your relationship with God. Second thing is, a vibrant relationship is described both negatively and positively in this passage. And I want you to notice, it's interesting, it begins negatively. It says, Blessed is the man who does not do certain things. Look at verse 1, 'blessed is the one who does not'. And notice the verbs, I circled them when I was studying this, "Does not WALK in step with the wicked or STAND in the way of sinners. Or SIT in the company of mockers." And you kind of think, what's with the walk, stand, sit? Matter of fact, I tend to think of sit, stand, walk. Right? It's like a reverse order. I'm like, why? And whenever you see something in scripture like that, causing you to reason, to ponder, what is this saying? What is this describing is genius, Ok? Here's what it's describing when it says WALK in the way or in the company of the wicked. What it is describing is a person who has fellowship with, or the people they hang out with, the influences in their life are not the kind of influences that move them closer to God. OK? And then when he talks in terms of STANDING, standing means that you not only are walking in a certain direction—in this direction is away from God—but to stand means that you stand and you listen—has to do with the intellect—has to do with you taking in information. And my question is, where do you stand? I mean, what are you listening to? What is what is on your news feed? What do you watch when you turn on the television? Do you even turn on the television...should you?

What input is coming into your life? You do realize that via social media—whether that's news, whether that's entertainment—you are being influenced by messages? And, to a degree, I worry about those who (especially during this pandemic) were watching news 24/7, or doing that during this crazy, conflicted political season we went through—24/7! Because, you are being bombarded, you are being shaped. You are in a current. And it is not leading you to an abundant life. I know this, because I've been in the same current. You want to live a blessed life, I can tell you, (and I think many of you, I could get you up here with that testimony, we can share a microphone, and we could talk about how NOT to do that) Right? Many of us are learning how not to do that. Let's talk about how TO do that (live abundantly). Interesting thing. When he talks about, 'you walk, and then you stand there, taking that information—the last one is that you SIT. Now, that's an important word in the Hebrew. To 'sit' somewhere means you are settled there. As a matter of fact, those who were leaders in the culture of his day, they sat with the elders by the city gates. You probably, if you're familiar with scripture, you've probably heard that phrase. That means that was their position. That was their identity. In other words, of the degree to which you take in information, you move in a direction, and then, you settle there. And here's what this is saying. This is saying those who are wicked, and that word 'wicked' is, I think, an unfortunate translation, because we hear the word 'wicked' and we think the most the lowest, the most spiritually debased, the most immoral. Literally, it means without God or God-less. And what this is saying is, if God is not informing how you think, if God is not part of the of the community and the company that you keep, if God is not in how you identify yourself, fundamentally, then you will not live a blessed life.

I know a lot of folks want to kind of identify with Jesus, add Jesus on to whatever their self-identity is. And, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't work that way. So (Psalm One) it begins negatively. But I'm so glad he doesn't end there. Let's look at the positive. Let's describe the blessed person. I love the way he does that. Look at verse two with me, Psalm One, two. And when you begin this, just remember, he said 'blessed is' (so he begins negative). So you want to be blessed? Here's what you do.

Verse 2, "those whose delight is in the Law of the Lord," and again, remember that's not just the commandments of God. That's the revealed truth of God. When you say 'revealed truth of God', that's Old Testament/New Testament fulfilled in the person of Jesus. "And who meditates," interesting thing, "meditates on His law, on His truth day and night." Some of you go, Well, Pastor, I thought that meditation was that eastern thing—that's a bad thing. I slip into that axiom from time to time. No, it's not a bad thing to meditate. We all meditate. You are a meditator. Ok, so here you go, 'I've never meditated a day in my life.' I beg to differ, Ok? To meditate means to mull something over in your mind, to meditate means to reflect on the thing. Any of you kind of have a tape playing in your mind? You find yourself at various points talking to yourself? Anybody? Am I the only one? I mean, I'm famous for that around here. People go, 'are you talking to me?... he talking to you..? Like, I'm talking to me, and I'm my own best friend. So I tend to talk to myself, and think things through, kind of have an inner dialogue going. If you do that, you're meditating. That is literally what the me word means, to mull over. Any of you familiar with cows? You know, I love to paint cows. [Pastor Chuck shows a cow painting he has done]. Many of you know, cows are some of my favorite creatures in the world. They meditate. Now, they don't meditate very deeply, because they're dumb as a brick. But one of the things they do is this; when they eat their grass or their grain, they take it in and it goes into their stomach (this is...I know lunch is coming, but we're a little distance away, with this illustration). And what they do; they have a series of stomachs, and they regurgitate what they just took in, after a period of time, back into their mouth. Yeah, not good. And then they have an expression, something like that (references image on teaching monitor). Kinda like, "...better the first time?" Right? Now, for cows...this is natural. This is what they do. In other words, they get the initial nutrition from eating it, but then they get additional nutrition from what they call 'chewing the cud'. 'Chewing the cud' is to 'reflect on it', 'chewing the cud' means to be thinking about it, and then think about it some more, and then think about it a little bit more. Think about it later in the day. ‘I remember I read that this morning’. That is it. That is, to look at God's truth, to take it in, to make note of it, to think about it in some cases, maybe write yourself a note, 'here's what that said to me'. Remind yourself of it throughout the day. Have it come to mind again. That is meditating on the truth of the Word of God, and that is what God challenges us to do if we want to live a blessed life. Ok, it's not that difficult.

Let's look at a second metaphor. I Love, love, love the second metaphor. It's a metaphor of a tree. And notice, notice what it says beginning in verse three. I love this, "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water." Sound good on 100 degree day?!"Which yields it's fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers." Or, if you will, to live a blessed life you've got to be near the WATER. Now, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what that's saying. The source of this blessed life, the source of a contented, happy, joyful life—it's not you—it's God, to the degree to which you plant your life (in Him), and I love that that word. But notice that it says this person is planted, they don't plant themselves. What does that mean, Pastor, 'planted ' a stream of living water? Was planted, in other words, this person has been intentionally taken and put in a position to grow. God does the very same thing in every one of us who know Jesus Christ personally. There was a time in your life you did not know Him. There was a time in your life you did not have that spiritual life, and God showed you your need. God revealed himself to you. And through faith, you responded and he planted you. He brought life. You didn't save yourself. You responded to a savior. You responded to one who planted you. Ok? And the picture here is, the degree to which you settle in that, and you, this is your role, allow those roots to grow deep in Him... (You go, 'how do you do that?' (scripture) just told us: through meditation, through intentionally connecting with God, who is your life source. And he says, if you do that, then, yeah, you will produce fruit in season. I'm so glad he doesn't say continually. He says in season. What does that mean? It's a picture of life. A fruit tree that produces fruit in season.

What's your favorite fruit? Do you have a favorite? Apple? OK, how about peaches? Peaches are my favorite. All right, how about a peach? Just a Texas peach tree. I mean, that's some good stuff, right? Fredericksburg Peach Tree. Got to love it, right? You realize peach trees don't produce fruit continually, they produce fruit within season, right? They will go through season of there will be no sign a peach is coming. And what's that pointing to? What I'm so encouraged by is, we all go through dry season. We all go through difficulty. We all go through trials. Jesus said, the storms in life come for believers and unbelievers. But those who are rooted in Christ have a life so that the joy returns, so that the fruit returns, so that God does not give up on us. That is what this is picturing, that is what it's describing. And so the question is, are you planted in Him? We produce fruit as we are planted in him. Jesus, put it this way in John Chapter 15. I love, love, love what's written in John 15:5. Jesus said, "I'm the vine, you're the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit," but notice when He says, "apart from me, you can do," What? "Nothing."

Anybody going, 'I need to be re-placed, I need for my roots to go deeper into God because I'm not experiencing the fullness of life God intended.' And I would ask, what are you meditating on, what are you thinking about, where is your heart these days? Are you delighting in the Lord? The word delight means to prioritize. It means it's really relational. Where are you delighting in God? Are you worshipping Him? Are you remembering that He is sovereign, that He is with you, that He is in control? Are you drawing near to Him and saying, Thank you, Lord? That's to delight in Him, that is to worship Him. And then what [the Psalmist] he does is, he gives a conclusion...kind of the opposite of that, and the opposite of that is pretty sobering. Look at what verses 4-6, I think this is pretty staggering. "Not so the wicked", we said that basically means those who are living without or apart from God. Ungodly is a better translation. Some translators have it that way. "They are like the chaff the wind blows away," in other words, they lack substance. You know, folks like that, they blow in, they blow out, not really committed to anything. You can depend on them…maybe…right? But what is the root of their conviction? What is the root of their life? What is the purpose for their life? And they haven't figured that out yet. And never fully committed to anything or anyone really. They're committed to their own happiness, going here, going there, trying to find it. It's a rootless—it is a shallow—it is a superficial life. And if you want to know what superficiality looks like, well Hollywood is great place to look. Unfortunately, it's part of the culture of North Dallas, we care about appearances, and appearances are chaffe. To be a man or woman of godly character, THAT is to produce fruit, in this sense, and he ends with a description of grain, that which is valuable in life, giving that we get bread from it.

There's a difference between chaff and grain. And grain is that which God produces in the life of the believer. And the way to get there, is, just be rooted in Him. That's the way to get there...take in the water, the life-giving truth of God.

You know what that does not look like? That does not look like what I call 'fortune-cookie-Christians'. Do you want to know what a fortune-cookie-Christian is? (I've been one at times.) Here's a 'fortune-cookie-Christian': Now, you may not like it, but I love Oriental food. I love Chinese food, and I've always got to get the fortune cookie, right? I really kind of hate it when they have some trite saying and it's not some true 'fortune'. Right? But anyway, you pull out the little thing and 'Oh, this says you will 'soon', you know, 'meet an important person in your life' or something. Right? Kim [Pastor's wife], on our first date—and it's funny—we went out—I think it was one of our first three dates—we went out for Chinese food and she got a fortune cookie and she didn't...[tell me what it was]. And I said, Ok, so, I told her what my fortune was. She had a fortune that said, 'the love of your life is nearby', or something like that. That was her fortune cookie. As she pulled it out, she looked at it, and she's like, 'no way am I going to tell him that. I don't know him that well'. She might have advanced it on the spot. She told me that afterwards and we had a good laugh. I thought that was genius. Right? But here's the way a lot of people treat God's word. They think it's like a fortune. Well, what's the first one of the day? Let me do a little trite biblical 'pop' for the day. And, really, God's word is never trite, so, poor choice of words. But, you take something out of context. You take something, and oftentimes you mis-apply it, and you go, 'oh, that's a great thought for the day'. Then you go on with your day, and you never think about God. You don't really look at the Word and say, what is it saying? And you don't evaluate your life. 'What does it say to me?' You just kind of go through the motions, just check it off, ok, it's like a fortune cookie. I'm ready; I'm just going to live my life and OK...'when do we go back to church...haven't been in a few weeks. I'm feeling really stressed, really anxious. What happened to my joy? Where are your roots? What are you listening to? Where are you headed? And most importantly, what are you going to do about it?

Let's pray together. God, we thank you for Your Word that speaks so clearly right where we live and God, I think so many of us today recognize the need for a 'reset'. So, Father, I pray in these days we'll do those very things. We will make decisions. We will move in a direction that gives life. And God, we know that that first begins with our surrender to You. As Lord of life, we can't produce fruit apart from You. God, may we take seriously what spiritual nourishment, encouragement and applying your truth on a continuing basis looks like for us. And God. Allow us to have a fresh start to respond to the invitation of Jesus when He says come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and burdened, and I will give you rest. I will give you rest for your soul. May we find that on a continuing basis so that we can live a life as full and not empty? We pray that in Jesus name. Amen.

Recorded in Frisco, Texas.
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Frisco First Baptist Church
7901 Main Street
Frisco, Texas 75034