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Your Spiritual Journey – Introduction

To start us off this morning, I need everyone to stand up.  I need everyone to stop moving for ten seconds… Become completely motionless when I say go. Ready…. Go.

Ok thank you, you can all sit down. That was a good effort, but you all did terrible. Not one of you came anywhere close to being completely motionless. For example, almost everyone of you continued breathing. Your lungs expanded and contracted with air several times. I saw you. So you were not motionless.

Now some of you went the extra mile and you held your breath. Very good – but still, you were a far cry from being motionless. While you were standing there, your blood was flowing through your veins and arteries at a speed of about 1 foot every second. That’s a lot of motion!

Also, if you had breakfast this morning, you had food moving through your digestive track at about 2 miles per hour. So while you thought you were standing still, the breakfast within you was on the move.

But that’s not all. Every atom and every molecule of your body is in constant motion. The nature of atoms is that they are always moving, vibrating, colliding with each other. In fact, its the movement of atoms that cause us to feel heat. When something gets hotter, it means that it’s atoms are moving faster. When something get colder, it means that it’s atoms are moving slower. So as long as there is some heat, there is some movement. That means, that unless your body temperature has dropped to -459º Fahrenheit, (which is what they call absolute zero), if you are not that cold, then the atoms in your body are still moving.

The fact is, we simply cannot remain motionless. It’s physically impossible. We are always moving. Even if we discount all those tiny motions that happen within our body that we just talked about, we are still in motion.

For example, scientists tell us that the earth’s continents are slowly drifting apart. It’s pretty hard to measure, but they figure that North America moving at a rate of about 2 to 4 inches every year. And actually in 2011 when Japan had that large earthquake – it moved Japan about 8 feet closer to our west coast. That’s amazing! That’s some serious motion.

And not only are our continents moving – the entire planet is in motion. You know how the sun comes up every morning and goes down every evening? That’s because the earth is spinning in an easterly direction at about 1000 miles per hour. Not only that, the earth screaming through space in an orbit around the sun at about 67,000 mph. That’s a lot of movement!

But the sun is moving too… Our entire solar system is rotating within our galaxy at a speed of about 500,000 mph. And if that still doesn’t blow your mind, our galaxy is not only rotating, but it is also moving away from other galaxies at a rate of about 1.2 million mph.

That means, that in those ten seconds that you tried to remain motionless, you actually moved the distance between here and Cuba. And you thought you hadn’t moved!

The fact is, from the day you are born to the day you die, you are always moving. You’re never standing still.

And that’s what we want to talk about for the next several weeks. Just like we are always physically moving, we are also always spiritually moving. From the day we are born to the day we die, we are on a spiritual journey. Everyone of us. It doesn’t matter if we are a Christian, or an atheist, or a muslim, or a hindu, or a whatever else. We’re all on a spiritual journey. The difference, of course, is where our journey leads us. (And we’ll get into that a little bit later.)

But all of us are on a spiritual journey. We’re either moving towards God or away from Him. There’s no standing still in this journey.

So over the next few weeks I want you to consider your spiritual journey. Where are you right now? What direction are you heading? Are you moving towards God? Or are you moving away from God?

And you know, we’re all at different points in our spiritual journey. Some of you have just started out, others have been on this journey for a long time. Some of you have gotten lost along the way and you’re not even sure where you are.

And that’s why over the next few weeks we want to help you do three things. We want to help you….

#1. Understand where you are.
You know when you go into the big malls and you have no idea how to get to the store that you want to shop at… So you go up to the big map and you look for… what? The big red star that says “YOU ARE HERE”. Well, that’s what we want to help you find – the YOU ARE HERE in your spiritual journey. That’s the first step.

The second thing we want to help you do is to #2. Know where you are going. On any journey, its important to know where you’re trying to go. I have song at home on my computer called “First Class – Wrong Flight”. You’ll have a great time getting there – but you’ll end up not being where you want to be. So we want to help you know where your going in your spiritual journey. What’s your goal? Where are you trying to end up?

And finally, we want to help you #3. Take steps to get there. After you know where you are, and you know where you want to be, the next question is – how do I get there? And that’s what we want to help with. That will probably be the bulk of our discussion over the next few weeks. How do we move closer to our end goal? What’s the next step in my spiritual journey? And hopefully, we can help move you along…

So I hope I’ve peaked your interest a little bit this morning. I’m pretty excited for this. I realize I haven’t fully explained everything yet – and some of you still have no idea what I’m talking about – but you will. I think this is going to be very good.

To help guide us along in this process, I’ve got a little handout that I’d like you to take a look at. It’s called “Your Spiritual Journey”. And inside, there are seven descriptive terms of where you might be in your spiritual journey.  The seven terms are “Not interested, curiously seeking, searching assertively, faith commitment, experiencing new life, growing in community, and making disciples.” You might think of these as seven phases of your spiritual journey. (And do remember that this is only a guide – it’s not a hard and fast “this is how it is for everyone. It’s just a guide to get you thinking.)

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So underneath each of those terms are a few statements that go along with it. For example, under “Not Interested” it says…

Aware, but not very interested.
“Ok for you, but it’s not for me.”
Negative view of Christianity.
Believe all religions are the same.
Have an indifferent attitude towards spiritual things.

If those phrases seem to fit you, then you might identify with that category (you might be in that phase of your spiritual journey) – that you are ‘Not interested’ in a relationship with God. Does that make sense?

Great. So what I want you to do right now, is to read through those descriptions, take a few moments to chat about them with the people around you, and then fill out the questions on the back page. There is just three of them there. I’d like to you anonymously fill out those questions and then I’ll have you hand them back in after a few minutes. I’m going to give you about five minutes to do this.

[Discussion Time]

Did everyone fit neatly under one category? Probably not – probably most of you could identify with two or three categories, right? That’s just fine, because, like I said, this is just a guide. Your spiritual journey is unique. You don’t fit neatly in a box. But I hope that gives you a quick idea of where you are in your spiritual journey – and we’re going to talk about this in more detail later.

But for now, if you can pass your handout to the center isles, the guys will collect those from you.

Now so far, this hasn’t been much of a sermon. It’s just been me talking and you filling out a form. We haven’t even cracked open a Bible yet, and I’m sure not going to let you go without giving you something from God’s Word, cuz that’s kinda why we’re here. There is a Scriptural basis for this whole Spiritual Journey thing…

So open your Bibles to Philippians chapter 3. And let’s look briefly at what Paul says about his spiritual journey.
You know, before we read this, if Paul had filled out one of these forms, which category do you think he would fit in? Where would he be on his spiritual journey? Probably in the last phase, right? Making disciples?

Because, really, what do you think – Does this describe Paul?
Crave intimacy with God through spiritual disciplines.
Share their faith effectively.
Mentor others spiritually.
Give generously.
Serve their community.
Understand the centrality of the Gospel in their lives.

I’d say that describes Paul pretty well. So does that mean his journey was over? That He had finally arrived? No.

Paul says in verse 12:

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Phil 3:12

Paul is saying, “My journey is not over. I haven’t arrived yet. I’m still pressing on.” Paul still had further to go in his spiritual journey. As long as he was on this planet, he would be short of perfection. He had further to go. More to grow.

That’s the case for all of us too. Regardless of where we are in our spiritual journey, all of us have further to go. We can’t be content staying where we are. Because remember, you never stand still in your spiritual journey – you are either moving towards God – or away from Him. We gotta keep moving forward. And that’s what Paul focused on.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Phil 3:13-14

I think often we lose sight of the end of our journey. We lose sight of our heavenly prize. We get distracted by all the normal stuff of life, and we forget that this physical life – all that we have – is all going to disappear one day. All of our possessions will be burned up. All the money in our bank account will disappear. Our careers will be over. Our RVs and boats will be gone. All that will matter on that day, is how we ran the race. How we lived our spiritual lives. This spiritual journey is pretty important stuff.

That’s why the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 12, verse 1:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

I think most of us have experienced times where we feel stalled out in our spiritual journey. Like we’ve plateaued. Or we’ve backslid. Or we’ve just gotten completely confused and lost. And that’s why I’m excited to do this series. I feel that there are many of us here who need a fresh start. We need get back on track and start moving forward again in our journey with God. It’s time to take the next steps. To move to the next phase.

And this passage gives us the key to moving forward in our journey. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus. Ignore the distractions, lose the sin that weighs us down – and focus on Jesus. He is our Creator. He is our Saviour. He is our Risen Lord.

Our spiritual journey is all about preparing us for eternity with God. I don’t want to be ill-prepared when I reach eternity. I want God to complete His work in me. I want to reach the end of the race. I want to finish my journey.

I don’t know all the details of your spiritual journey. I don’t know if you’re moving forward or sliding backwards, whether you’re stalled out or you’re just completely lost. But God knows. He knows exactly where you’re at and He knows exactly how to get you to where you need to be.

And I trust that through these next few weeks as we work through this material here, and as God works in your life, that God will lead you to take the next steps in your spiritual journey.

Jump down in Hebrews chapter 12 to verse 12 & 13. This is the follow up to the verse that we just read about stripping off the weights and running our race with endurance. It says…

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
Hebrews 12:12-13

This is our prayer for all of you in these next few weeks. We want you to take a new grip with your tired hands, to strengthen your weak knees. And we want to help you mark out a straight path in your spiritual journey.

And of course, while we’re going to do our best to help you along, it’s going to be God that will lead you. I think most of you are familiar with the “Footprints in the Sand” poem. The basic idea is that a man has a dream where His journey through life is represented by footprints in the sand. And there is two sets of footprints, because God is walking with Him in his journey. But when the man looks back at the hardest times in his life, he sees only one set of footprints and He assumes that God left him during those times. Well, God assures him that he never left him – the single set of footprints was when God carried him.

Well, I found a comic on the internet that takes that a little further.


Now I don’t know how theologically correct that idea of God dragging us through life is, but it sure seems sometimes like we need to be drug along. I think, actually, that’s the job of the church. We’re instructed in Hebrews chapter 10 to spur each other on. In other words, to give each other a good swift kick in the pants when we need it.

So that’s what I hope will happen over these next few weeks. If you’re stalled out, or your lost and confused, or even if you’ve been going the wrong direction, I hope that together, we can drag you through the sand – get you back on track, to strengthen you, to encourage you, and to mark out a straight path for your feet.

Does that sound good to you? It sure sounds good to me. I know that’s something I need. If that’s your desire too, then let me show you a cool prayer from Psalms that we can pray together.

Psalm 25:4-5 says…

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.
Psalm 25:4-5a

Let’s pray that prayer together this morning.

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