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Operating System of Your Life


hey everybody it's great to see you guys my name's Steve I'm the lead pastor here and for those of you that maybe this is your first time at church or this church welcome so glad that you're here I want to say hi to those who are watching online and also on Facebook live we launched it last week on Facebook and we had actually hundreds of people from all over the world I have several friends from Croatia back when I was missionaries there who logged in and watched and it was great to see all of you out there and so it's awesome what we're starting this series a new series this week called the unhurried soul and let me tell you a couple stories as we launched I my wife and I had our nieces and nephews a bunch of them over during the Christmas break and and they decided they were gonna watch a really really scary movie and thankfully they didn't watch it at my house they watch it in my mom's house my mom and dad built a little ad you like a mother-in-law suite attached to our house and then when my dad passed away my mom moved in with us and my son and daughter-in-law moved into that house so they decided to watch the movie over there well the girls all got really excited because the boys were freaking out I mean they were so scared they came into the house all kind of cash and were like and like we want to scare them do you guys have any ideas how we can scare the boys because they will freak out big time if we scare them so I told them I said well our houses are actually there's nothing underneath our houses there it's not it's it's connected so you can actually go under our house under their house and pound up from underneath it was really--it and it's so the girls they like that's amazing let's do it so they go and they find the hats you know to go into our house they open up the hatch they peek down they close the hatch and they say not a chance you said no it's underneath the house you don't know you don't know what's underneath your house so I was telling the story to pastor Ben Fleming and Ben told me this story of when he was like nine years old he was playing baseball his backyard and ball rolled over towards the basement of his house underneath his house and he goes to grab it and here's this screeching noise coming from underneath the house it doesn't know what it is they call Phil Phil was the guy that kind of came over and did all the work around their house he kind of diagnosed things he never actually did anything he just can't told him this is the problem I don't if you have anybody like that in your life anyways so Phil got underneath the house Ben's house and he found underneath Ben's house when he was 9 years old 12 wild cats living underneath there the moral of the story is don't look underneath your house now I tell you that story because as we talk about our souls through this series it can fill a little daunting it can feel like we're gonna be asking you to open up the hatch and look under the house and you just don't want to know what's underneath there and so actually that's why a lot of people don't take time to do the sole work that we're going to talk about through this series because of fear because they're afraid of what they might find there many people don't take the time to do so work because we're busy and it's like I just don't have the time Steve I got other things I got to do and and I know you're gonna ask me to make space in my life I just got to tell you I'm super busy right now I've got real real responsibilities at work at home paying the bills putting a roof over our head and I'm just I'm just telling you I can't do that and then another reason I think we are you know kind of less apt to look at our soul is because of just the clutter in our lives do you guys have any clutter in your life I mean after the Christmas holiday I found there's clutter there's this stuff like everywhere now am I get rid of all this cardboard and all this and Abraham Lincoln was a brilliant lawyer but he was also notoriously disorganized and I and I found out that he used to have a bulging file folder that was labeled if you can't find it anywhere else look here I just I feel like maybe that's some of our lives and so it's like okay we're gonna take some time to do soul work and all of this fear responsibilities clutter busyness fight against paying attention to our souls to what I believe is one of the most important aspects of our entire being and this series that we're launching today will start will help us to what Dallas Willard a wonderful teacher of the Bible said to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our life so that's what we're going to talk about and we're using this book as a guide for us this guy by the name of John Ortberg called soul keeping he actually does an interview with Dallas Willard several connections with it Dallas Willard and writes about that in this book which is available at the Rock we're gonna kind of unpack some things that orberg talks about and it's been to be honest one of the most life-giving refreshing things that I've read in a really really long time and and this is this is kind of how he starts his book it's a it's a it's a made-up story and it's super intriguing to me when we think about our souls in this way he writes there once was a town high in the Alps that straddled the banks of a beautiful stream the stream was fed by Springs that were old as the earth and deep as the sea the water was clear like crystal children laughed and played beside it swans and geese swim on it you could see the rocks in the sand and the rainbow trout that swarmed at the bottom of the stream high in the hills far beyond anyone's sight lived an old man who served as keeper of the springs he had been hired so long ago that now no one could remember a time when he wasn't there he would travel from one spring to another in the Hills removing branches or fallen leaves or debris that might pollute the water but his work was unseen one year the town council debated they had decided they had better things to do with their money no one supervised the old man anyway they had roads to repair taxes to collect and services to offer and giving money to an unseen stream cleaner had become a luxury they could no longer afford so the old man left his post high in the mountains the springs went untended twigs and branches and worse muddy the liquid flow mud and silt compacted the creek bed farm wastes turned parts of the stream into stagnant bogs for a time no one in the village noticed but after a while the water was not the same it began to look brackish the Swans flew away to live elsewhere the water no longer had a crisp scent that drew children to play by it some people in the town began to grow ill all notice the loss of sparkling beauty that used to flow between the banks of the streams that fed the town the life of the village depended on the stream and the life of the stream depended on the keeper the City Council reconvened the money was found the old man was rehired after yet another time the springs were clean the stream was pure children played again on its banks illness was replaced by health the Swans came home and the village came back to life the veldt life of a village depended on the health of the stream the stream is your soul and you are its keeper let's pray Jesus as we open up your word today I pray that you would open up our hearts to receive the word that you want to share with us about our souls that we would open up those places in our lives Jesus to your work to your way and help us to not be afraid of that work help us to not be so busy and cluttered with life that we lose sight of the fact that maybe our stream has gotten some silt in it and that we need to care for it that we need to take some time with it at the beginning of this year Jesus that you would show us those places that need some attention in Jesus name amen well I have my smartphone I just checked this morning because super curious about this I have 179 apps on my smart phone I have no idea what what they do I do I use a hundred and seventy-nine apps I mean check it sometime later today just go into the about settings in your phone and look and see how many apps you actually have it will be surprising to you most likely and I was thinking about that I was thinking but my phone is super fast I mean I can't even it doesn't slow down at all I mean I think I could probably put 300-400 apps on my smart phone and it won't slow down here's the problem I think we're trying to do that with our lives and I don't know about you but I haven't gotten an upgrade in my brain or in my soul for quite a long time it's the same one I've got and there and there are listen limitations so we can we keep creating faster processors to hold all the information and make things quicker and all of that but our brains and our souls aren't made for that they're there and so and so as we talked about I talked about this so I think we've been I don't know about you but I feel like I've been filling up year after year my soul with all kinds of activity and and and in knowledge and in busyness and relationships and I'm not saying any of those things are bad but what I but what I found that that a cluttered soul is an unhealthy soul a cluttered soul isn't one that is open to the rhythms of grace that I want to talk about today and eventually what I found in my own life is that if I don't pay attention to the clutter in my soul eventually I will crash like a hard drive crashes back on those old windows 95 machines our souls can't keep up and when I when I use the word soul and in this series we're talking really about the central part of us that influences everything else like our minds and our wills our souls are those are that are that are the things that integrate our mind and our wills our emotions I the Bible talks about our souls as being the part of us that is eternal our perceptions our feelings our desires are wrapped up in all of this I love the idea in the Bible that's expressed my soul longs for God that part of us that longs for things comes from our soul and so integrity is a is a huge soul word where everything is fits together and works together and when our souls are unhealthy we disintegrate we in an integration begins to collapse in our lives and another couple words that are very soul oriented words are hurry and rest I love what Jesus says about the soul in Matthew chapter 11 and I'm gonna use the message translation not because it's the most accurate translation but it's most fun to read translation and and especially when it comes to the couple scriptures I'm gonna unpack today Matthew 11 Jesus is talking about soul and our souls and how how he wants to work in our souls and then he asks us yes this is question and I want you to ask and then whenever you whenever Jesus asks a question in the Bible would you would you let him ask you that question it's not it's not like a rhetorical question like he asked somebody some other time in some other place and some other century it's a question that he's asking you at the beginning of 2019 are you tired are you tired are you worn out are you busy are you burned out are you or is your life so filled with clutter and chaos and and and and your calendar is just packed and there's no space and no room to breathe and you just feel like this is like day after day is a grind am i relating to anybody out there right this is and Jesus saying are are you that person burn down on religion tired of the whole enchilada and I love enchiladas but it's too much come to me Jesus says it's an invitation in this entire series is an invitation it's an invitation to come to Jesus get away with him and you can do this in the busyness of your life I'm not even going to tell you to stop having meetings I hope you can stop having meetings that's not a bad idea but I'm not gonna tell you to like rearrange your calendar like make it less full I just say get away with Jesus and if you do that you'll recover your life your soul your joy your sense of contentment I'll show you Jesus says how to take a real rest everybody take a deep deep breath right now life breath rest walk with me he says and work with me watch how I do it lean into the I love this the unforced rhythms of grace did you say that line with me the unforced rhythms of grace go learn the unforced rhythms of grace unforced you don't though see there's a difference between the rhythms of grace and rhythms of work and and and it will kind of unpack this throughout this series that the rhythms of work is like I'm striving to make ends meet I'm striving to make life matter I'm striving to make relationships work I'm striving I'm doing although I am I in this and eventually you just get worn out and your soul can't keep up and Jesus is kind of is inviting us to come to him get away with him and learn the unforced rhythms of grace I won't lay anything heavy on you I won't lay anything heavy on you he's not gonna you know yeah he's not gonna open up the hatch of your soul and come out of there like you got 12 wildcats and like Phil uh uh yeah I'm not sure what you're gonna do about that see ya that's not he's not gonna do that he's I gotta lay this burden on you to deal with whatever is under the house he's the one that not only if you invite him in to look he's the one that's also going to say and lean into my unforced rhythms of grace life peace how I'm gonna put anything ill-fitting on you keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly it's like religions the opposite isn't it so you come to church and you walk you leave feeling guilty you come to Jesus you walk away feeling light leave that's the right some English teacher is gonna dig me on that one but you you walk away feeling lightly you lock away feeling like a piece rested spending time with Jesus isn't a burden it's life and health and hope to our souls it's an invitation to rest but in the busyness and the craziness and the real responsibilities and the and the chaos and the clutter and the screen time and and the apps and all the things that are filling our lives the social media and all this in an entertainment and all the things that I don't I'm not even saying any of that stuff bad I'm just saying that this the these things will could potentially draw us away from rest and into hurry and into weariness and how do we break away from that Jesus shows us in mark chapter 8 he calls to the crowd to join his disciples and he says this to them anyone anyone who intends to come with me so Jesus has come to me find rest so he says anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead jesus isn't gonna follow you he's not gonna he's like I mean he's gonna go after you but he's not gonna follow you he's not gonna like go where do you want it okay well go there you want to do that okay I'll go let's do that he's gonna he comes to says let me lead can I lead you know it's like that awkward junior high dance who's gonna lead the dance you know I don't know how to dad and they're like that well let Jesus lead let him take the steering wheel you're not in the driver's seat I am don't run from suffering embrace it follow me and I'll show you how this is a lot of liberality in this in this interpretation of the scripture but I enjoy it self-help is no help at all so sacrifice is the way laying down your life for another not trying to strive I that's when I read that I'm linking the self-help I'm just trying to help myself I'm striving and striving and striving Jesus saying self-sacrifice give it give up your striving then take on my yoke it says in another version take on my burden and Jesus says my burden is light my yoke is easy and and my way to saving yourself your true self this is the way and I think there's another slide here I'm trying to yeah what good would it do to get everything you want out of life what good would it do for you to strive and strive to make ends meet to have the deep meaningful relationships and you're working so hard at all of these things that we're trying to add to our life only to find out that you've lost yourself that you've lost yourself in the process the real you what could you ever trade your soul for what's worth trading yourself for because at the end of your life you find that you strove and you strove to try to do all of these things but you don't have a core inner sense of who you are interests a sense of purpose that's that's beyond just the striving that you've tried to have see the soul matters a lot and Jesus wants to restore our soul he wants to restore our soul warburg writes the soul was not made for an easy life the soul was made for an easy yoke which is simply that word yoke is just this idea of the oxen wearing a yoke and Jesus has put my yoke on because this world we'll drive you to the ground it's a heavy burden and it's never enough and Jesus is saying my yoke is easy let me lead you let me guide you let me into the places under your house to show you what's not just to show you what's there but to help you be restored and regain health I wonder I've often wondered especially as everywhere in this series if Jesus showed up at my house and took a look at my calendar or took a look at all my apps what he might say and what kind of decluttering he might do and I don't think of that as like a threat kinda sounds that way is like is but more of an invitation to like here's my life Jesus hears everything going on and why would you take a look at it and would you look at those places that maybe nobody else sees as well what kind of decluttering would you do in my life see we there's a difference between being busy and being in a hurry you know the difference I can be busy I can have a full calendar and I can be and I can be filled with rest because I'm living in the rhythms of God's grace I'm not trying to put on a face I'm not trying to I'm not pretending I'm not trying to you know make a name for myself I'm living in his rhythms of grace full-on unmerited favor and kindness we talked about that the other week of grace upon grace upon grace there's nothing he's just I've just I want to live in that realm and not try to like strive and make my make a way for myself and and and but when I when I want to make a name for myself or when I want to say the exact right thing in front of all of you or if I want to if I want to impress you then I find myself might there's something in my soul that begins to hurry or becomes anxious or becomes this it just starts to kind of you know shake a little bit and I'm like and it's not healthy for my soul it's not healthy for my soul or Brook writes by itself busyness as not lethal being hurried is an inner condition a condition of the soul it means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I am unable to be fully present with God with myself and with other people I'm unable to occupy the present moment busyness migrates to hurry when we let it squeeze God out of our lives see by being hurried or living the schedule that's so cluttered we lose the space the space where we experience God's unfailing love and mercy we lose we lose the perspective on what's important and what's not we lose compassion with those who suffer see whenever we get hurried our blinders go on I only got so much time and so much energy and I don't have any time for anybody else does all I got and we just start focusing on the wrong things space is important I I have found in the last two years journey after losing my son chase I've found that my life is as busy as it's ever been but I found that I have to create margins I call it white space you know like the margins on a book I don't like to read a book that's all the way from that has no margins I like a Bible that has margins in it so I can write in the margins because what's in the margins is the things that God speaks to us what happens in the margins is is deeper relationships and and and deeper connections with people that's what happens in the margins the things that that you that you read or that you see and are filtered through your life happens in the margins and so I want to create margins in my life space in my life some people call blue sky kind of this itis unlimited just I want to live in that space but but you have to create it you have to you have to be intentional about it because life has a way of removing margins we have to create space in our lives for the sole work to be done this happened to me really had to happen after a chase died I was my soul wasn't good and those of you that have journeyed with me know I've been pretty honest about that and at times and in my journey I was it was I was mad I was mad at God and I was mad at everything as mad at myself I was just my soul was I I've told people in the past that my soul was broken into it was like it was maybe shatter it's a better word but it was just you know my soul was torn in two and I and my wife must have recognized that because she started inviting me to date nights and but our date nights ended up being her probing I hate probing in the eye how are you doing Steve I'm fine sir game on yeah see but yeah even are you how are you processing Chase's death and I'm okay I'll be I'll be okay see the the that's one of the problems we know that there's things in our lives that we need to look at that we need to gaze that there things in our souls that we need to to deal with but it's just it's there's so much fear wrapped up in that sometimes that we get that we just we just we just make ourselves busy well we I remember going to McMinn ovens fireside little fireside pub there is kind of where we would end up and and I would open up my soul to my wife and by the by within within an hour of being in this public space I'd be a mess I mean I'd be I mean I remember one couple came up from our church they saw us they came about to say hi to us and they realized I was a mess and it got really awkward like Steve was like weeping over here in the public place and and I was just like she's just probing she's just probing spoken where I don't want it a poke and and it was life to me it was it opened it opened up the hatch to the to the inner places that needed needed work they needed help and and and I'm not saying you have to go to make minimums and do this all in a public place why is everything been public Mike for me I don't understand not like I want it to be but it's like this this would you open would you have the courage through this series to open up the hatches of your homes and welcome the grace filled words of life that Jesus might offer you not Mike he will if you open up see Suzanne when she was probing did it was so much grace and gentleness and compassion and she knew there were lions that she could not cross until I was ready for that heard across those there was things that she could not say until I was ready to hear them and Jesus I it was a model for me of the kind of work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives he's yeah I think we're so afraid that we if we invite Jesus in who man he's gonna find 12 cats and like exercise them you know like it's gonna be deliverance 101 and I'm like I'm not in I'm not for that you know and and it's not that way it's just not that way He loves us and wants to work in us to bring health and restoration with so much grace and mercy and combined and kindness and so would you consider opening up your hearts to his work through this series and by the way we're not looking for we actually wrote in our notes that we're looking for 1% improvement in the health of our souls we're shooting high I know is that like we're trying to go from zero to 60 in four weeks it's like that's what it what's one or two or three things that we might do that we might start to implement habits that we can start practicing in our life that will move our souls toward health and and so I want to give you a couple options this morning as I as I wrap up two options that you can do this week tomorrow today even that will help you habits that will help move your soul towards health in Jesus and here's the option number one super simple super easy all of all the habits that will express to you are not hard to do easy to do even in the busyness of life set aside 15 minutes set aside 15 minutes at the beginning or at the end of your day and take time to reflect say reflect I tell you this is the lost art of busyness as a result of busyness is reflection take time to reflect in just 15 minutes can move you towards health so take set aside 15 minutes being in our end of the day and reflect on the previous 24 hours and ask yourself what two or three moments today did I recognize my soul at work okay so do it today do it tonight tonight reflect back on your day sometimes I pull out my calendar when I do this and I look back as I'll forget what did i do today and I'll look back and I'll see I had this meteor that made it you know and it'll spark something of reflection on how my soul was moved or how maybe fear crept in or how I got anxious and you might reflect tonight on this service and how the Steve was probing and you didn't like it and your soul was uncomfortable and and in reflection is so and then and every time you reflect right just have a little piece of paper or pad or something to just write down what what's going on what are you hearing what do you what's your soul saying what is the Spirit of God saying and take time to reflect 15 minutes beginning or end of each day here's option number two if you don't like that option here's a second option each day set a timer or an alert maybe it's on your watch smartphone laptop for two earth three intervals throughout the day and at each interval kind of do the same thing take five minutes turn your attention to your soul and ask what does my soul need right now I've been doing both of these things by the way these are kind of practices of mine for this option what I do is I have an Apple watch so I has this breed app on it and I thought it was so stupid when I first got it like tells me to breathe I got that one down don't need help with that but then I realized oh wait this it's a reminder and I can set the intervals and how long it lasts for me to reflect and I starts with my breathing because I do I slowed down my heart rate and I I take some deep breaths and I follow the guide that it but then what happens is that I bring the spirit of God into that moment and and whenever it buzzes it just interrupts whatever I'll take a minute take some deep breaths I might even be in a meeting and I won't say anything I won't say excuse me I got to do some deep breaths right now but I'll just I might close my eyes take a couple of deep breaths and what's inevitably happen in these moments is that something and I believe it's the Spirit of God will spark us not spark but he'll make me more aware of what's going on in the moment when this happens in a meeting that happened recently and I was feeling anxiety was starting to rise up in me because of an issue we were talking about and my and my my watch went off and I just I'd say because I had took a couple deep breaths and I would the Holy Spirit to come in and just begin to like it's okay it's all right I've got this Steve don't need to worry don't need to be anxious two minutes later I am more at peace I mean I know this sounds like self-help stuff but it's like it's just it's it's inviting the work of the Spirit the work of Jesus the rhythms of grace to come in so suicide 15 minutes at the end or start of every day or set a timer on your on your watch or on your computer all right well let's finish up I want to come back to the 12 cats for a minute that's a frightening or back to McMinn immense or just would you be willing to open up the hatch and invite Jesus through the next several weeks as we talk about what who we are in him as we talk about acceptance as we talk about significance as we talk about the things that are really important in our lives and for our soul to invite his work and his word to speak into your heart let me finish with a poem that orberg wrote the end of one of his chapters I have been waiting I am shy terribly shy even in the most boisterous person I can only whisper Never Shout you may never even notice me but I am here waiting I do not lie on the surface if you look and listen patiently you will know I speak through your confusion through your wanting through your hurt when you stammer when you say what you did not mean to say it was I when you watch a sunset or hear a child laugh or listen to a piece of music that causes you to suddenly become choked up it is I that causes your eyes to fill when you are addicted his eye that has chained when the Sun burns up and the universe melts away I will be here I can be wounded lost repulsed or redeemed your circumstances actually matter far less to your happiness than you think it is my health that makes your life heaven or hell I am your soul I am here and I am waiting Jesus I think of the disciples right now in this moment who when you were probing the deep things of their hearts there was a point where they were tempted as the crowds were to leave you and you asked them if they were going to leave as well and they responded where else could we go you have the answers to life and I think about that in this moment for us that any of us who might be tempted to run tempted to hide tempted to slam the door shut we open up our hearts instead because we don't know where else we can find lasting life truth that will bring hope and so we run to you today to keep your eyes closed just for another moment and I want to invite anyone who would like to begin a relationship with Jesus today to have a chance an opportunity to respond to say in and just in this a simple way by raising your hand in just a moment that I want to be a follower of Jesus I want to give my life to him today I want to start that relationship I mean I don't know everything about that yet I'm still learning I'm still trying to figure things out but I but what I know is that that my prayer is like the disciples is that where else would I go you have the answers Jesus to life and so I want to follow you and if that's you and you want to make that decision today would you just simply raise your hand up right now and look up at me and I wanted I'm just going to agree with you in prayer and celebrate with you yeah awesome great thank you Jesus thank you Jesus keep your hand up until I see it and I acknowledge you that's great thank you Jesus for your life and your love and your grace and your mercy we receive you and your forgiveness and your kindness and mercy would you show us the way in which you want us to go on this journey of life would you direct us and guide us and Jesus as you told us in in in mark we're going to we're gonna let you lead and we're gonna give you the steering we're gonna let you drive this car we're gonna let you guide us and direct us through this journey and we thank you for new life and fresh starts in Jesus name Amen amen can we celebrate with those that did respond and he's so great a couple things before you take off the PERT seems available over at the prayer wall please if you're like freaking out right now because we're I'm probing don't leave freaked out okay have your minimums moment right over there at the prayer wall okay and it's really dark over there nobody's gonna be watching you safe and allow the Holy Spirit to wash over you okay and so the pro team is available also next week pastor bow Stern is going to be preaching the second part of this message because I'm at winter camp and I am so excited to be at winter camp so if you want to if you want to spend time with me I'm just kidding you're not getting anything anyway you should volunteer to come out and be at winter camp I'm going to be spending time with all the youth but it would be amazing to have you join us and be praying Church I can't tell you the power of prayer in matters be praying for our youth to encounter God to encounter the grace of Jesus Christ and if you pray they will I believe in that I believe in that connection and so anyways god bless you guys have an amazing week and have an awesome awesome time today you

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