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Sunday October 19th, 2014 • Message by Pastor Rich Doebler

Acts 13:22. After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

If you want to be God’s man or woman…

  • If you want to follow the Lord, obey him, and do his will…
  • If you want to fulfill his plan or purpose for your life…
  • If you want to join with him in doing his work—at this time, in this place…
  • Then there are some basic things you GOTTA be…basic things you GOTTA do.

Gotta be CALLED. Our church is called out of this world, into God’s family, to his purpose.

Gotta be CHALLENGED. God stretches us and prepares us for “such a time as this…”

Gotta have HEART. The determination, commitment, and courage to live for God in times like this…

  1. There are no shortcuts!

In today’s culture, we like the quick-and-easy approach. Time-saving devices. Modern conveniences. We can’t live without things our parents never even heard of. We gotta have our smart phones, tablets, iPods, and Wi-Fi. We gotta stay connected! Even when we’re on vacation, we’re checking our email and uploading pics to Facebook.

16-yr-old Philippa Grogan says: “I’d rather give up, like, a kidney than my phone. How did you manage before? Carrier pigeons?”

14-yr-old Cameron Kirk reckons he spends “an hour, hour-and-a-half on school days” hanging out with his 450 Facebook friends; maybe twice that on weekends. [The Guardian]

A recent study found that 56% of Americans own smart phones—among 25-34 yr-olds it is 81% (or 4 out of 5); 35% of Americans own other cell phones; and only 9% own no cell phones. Pew Research.

Our culture is into convenience. We want instant everything. We eat fast-food. We microwave. We live in the fast lane.

The problem with all this is that this attitude spills over into our spiritual lives! We think we can take a shortcut on the way to spiritual growth and maturity.

Question: Can you do spiritual growth and maturity on your smart phone? Is there an app for that?

Turns out, there IS an app for that!

A quick search on the Google Playstore shows apps such as:

  • Spiritual Warfare Prayer (“Combat the enemy’s plots, plans and ploys. Declare your inheritance, Use your authority!”);
  • Spiritual Journey Guide (“Whether you are new to your own spiritual journey or want to help others on their spiritual journey this Journey Guide can help you with your next step. Download the guide today and get started on your spiritual journey today.”);
  • Christian Spiritual Warfare Weapons (“launch offensive and defensive weapons in the spiritual realm. This Christian app will… help you win your spiritual battles and lead a more victorious Christian life.”);
  • Go Tandem/Bible Engagement App (“Life is busy. And as a result, our spiritual lives are often neglected. But that doesn’t have to be the case. With goTandem: Bible Engagement App, you’ll receive customized content from the Bible based on your unique spiritual needs, designed specifically to move you closer to Jesus on a daily basis.”); and my personal favorite…
  • Shut up, Devil! (“Puts the power of the Word of God in your pocket to help you resist the devil, whenever and wherever he attacks.”).

There are dozens and dozens more, but despite all those apps, the truth is there are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity and victory:

  • You can’t become a spiritual giant in three easy steps.
  • You can’t develop a disciplined life at a weekend retreat.
  • You can’t plant spiritual seeds and expect an instant harvest overnight.

It takes years to grow an oak tree! And it takes time and discipline to grow a man or a woman of God, who the Bible says, “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season” (Psalms 1:3). It takes time to put down deep roots, deep roots by streams of water, roots deep enough to produce fruit even in the hard times.

So when I say you gotta have heart, it’s important to remember that there are no shortcuts. Developing a “heart” for God takes time and commitment.

David spent years in training—leading a herd of sheep before he was tapped for the job of leading God’s people. See Ps 78:70-72:

70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

  1. “Heart” is about what’s inside.

1 Sam 16:7. …The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

“Heart” is about your innermost being. Your soul. Your attitude. Your commitment…drive…motivation… determination…courage…passion…conviction and beliefs.

When I say you gotta have heart, you might interpret that in a number of ways: You gotta have…passion, courage, drive or motivation, determination, conviction.

The dictionary says the heart is the organ in your chest that pumps blood through your veins and arteries… [or it is] thought of as the place where emotions are felt. It says you can have a cold heart, a soft heart, a bad heart, a black heart, a full heart, or a pounding heart; it says you can lose heart, learn by heart, take something to heart, or get to the heart of the matter.

Someone has said: the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. The Bible says the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9); it says that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5); and it says that sinners have futile thinking and darkened hearts (Eph 4:17-18).

But the Bible also tells us that God set eternity in our hearts (Eccl 3:11); it tells us to love the Lord with all our heart (Mark 12:30), and it says to seek him and praise him with a whole heart (Ps 111:1; 119:2).

Our hearts should be after God’s heart! Heart. Passion. Drive. What motivates you? What energizes you? What compels you?

The Bible describes David as a man who was “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). It wasn’t that he was perfect, but he was passionate. He was passionate for God. Fully committed. He wanted to honor him, praise him, and serve him with “all his heart.” (Ps 9:1)

Is God your #1 passion and desire? Are your top priorities to please God and do his will?

David was a man after God’s own heart.

  • HCSB: …a man loyal to Me, who will carry out all My will.’
  • CEV: …the kind of person who pleases me most…
  • MSG: …He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.

The beat of David’s heart was in rhythm with God’s heart beat. Their hearts beat as one. Their hearts were aligned. The desires of David’s heart were in synch with God’s desires. He wanted what God wanted. He dedicated himself to following God and obeying God. His heart was synchronized with God’s heart.

Did you ever hear a singer who couldn’t seem to follow the beat? The instruments were following the beat, but the singer couldn’t seem to hear it. So he was going too fast and getting ahead of the band. Or he was lagging behind. The band is together on the downbeat, but the singer is offbeat. It’s a painful thing when musicians aren’t together. It’s also painful when we ignore God’s music (his plan) and try to go it alone, singing our own tune with our own rhythm (our plan).

What is true for the individual is also true for a congregation. What energizes and motivates us as a church? Is our heart after God’s heart?

Ps 37:4. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The heart of our church will be satisfied if we “delight” ourselves in the Lord! Do we? Is our heart after God’s heart?

The pastors and elders have been asking themselves that question recently and, while there are many ways to express our desires, we boiled them down to four foundational truths that should energize our hearts and spark us to action:

  1. God is alive. He is active, moving and working in us. He does miracles! His power is real.
  2. People are important. God cares about people. He loves the world—and calls us to love others too. That’s why we work on our relationships and connections.
  3. Life is a journey. We’re changing. We’re being transformed, one step at a time. We’re not yet perfect, but we’re making progress.
  4. Better things are coming. 1 Pet 1:3 says, “we live with great expectation.” (NLT) We expect God’s Spirit to do awesome things among us.

If these things were not true, we could just take our Bibles and go home. Or we could just shrivel up and die. But these are the inner attitudes and passions that compel us to keep going! It’s our heart!

We gotta have heart—a heart for God: the passion and courage to follow him wherever he takes us; the commitment to serve him no matter what the cost; the determination and dedication to keep going and never quit.