Weekday Devotionals

Sermon Notes from Pastor Pete Keirstead's Message: “The Secret.”    

Verse: Phil 4:12 (NIV) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned “the secret” of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Thoughts: As your pastor, more than anything, I want you to spend your days, enjoying the fruit that comes from knowing the secret of contentment.  Any parent wants the same for their children.

For me, the way to look at this series “The Secret” is to look at it as a series of conversations we might have with our kids.  

When my kids were in elementary school, we had the most basic conversation about life.  We talked about healthy decisions for things like personal hygiene, Food choices.  “Brush your teeth daily, whether they need it or not & Don’t go for the donut every day, choose the apple sometimes.”

Like the various ingredients of a cupcake, ALL seven Spiritual growth ingredients are needed. We can’t substitute.   But the ingredients themselves don’t equal contentment.  They prepare us for it. However, like all the  raw ingredients of a cupcake in a bowl, there is a process to turn make something edible.  

Going back to the conversations we have with our kids: As my got kids older, I had more complex conversations about life that require a more mature view of the world. “You’re going off to college & away from my constant supervision.

Today, we are talking about the most complex conversation – and requires true spiritual maturity to embrace.  

So that we are on the same page, let’s review our definition of contentment.

Contentment- the mental, emotional and spiritual state that results from being “ok” with what currently is.  

Can we learn to be “ok” with the Life God has given us even when, like Paul …
“…whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Contentment, no matter what. That’s the secret we are pursuing.

•Two thieves of contentment: Our desires and our insecurities

Nearly any behaviorist will tell you that the human species is motivated by our wants and/or fears.   Go to the animal world, they pursue what they want or need & run from what they fear or dislike.
•What happens when you or I are no longer ruled by what is ruling nearly every other human on the planet?

If everyone in this world is running to desires or from fears, what happens when we have neither?  

We are truly free ?
Completely Spirit Led ?
Our most natural state of being is With the fruit of Contentment in our soul

What did Jesus run from? Nothing
What of this world did He desire? Nothing

•We are Jesus to this world when we have no desires for what this world has to offer and no fear of what it can inflect.

The removal of desire and fear is a multistep, ongoing process.  While it is life long, there are some significant decision points along the way.

Decision points (What I like to call growth opportunities) are true gifts from the Lord. Like a Christmas gift, they tend to come to us wrapped in unexpected packages.  

It is the Lord who leads us to these decision points.    Here’s the kicker.  When we look in the Bible about people who come to a big place of decision, we see a common thread in the examples – some form of significant discomfort.

•Secret Gifts: Adversity - Physical, mental or emotional
 i.e. confusion

•2 Cor. 1:8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him,

•Secret Gifts: Challenge - Significant Next steps
i.e. “follow me” Confronting the fear of uncertainty.   This is our Rooted initiative is not financial.    The rich young ruler?  

•Secret Gifts: Church – We get fully engaged
Serve God by serving people, at personal cost. This is why we have a Dream Team.

•Secret Gifts: Revelation - Our understanding of God gets turned upside down
Me having 6 months of not knowing what I believe.
Spiritual Dry seasons.

I look at the process of unwrapping these secret gifts (our growth opportunities) as unpeeling the layers of an onion.

1st layer to be peeled away comes with our decision to surrender our life & follow Jesus.  While this is a big next step, the decision is often based in desire or fear (what will He do for me or what will He protect me from?)

•John 6:26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.

2nd layer is when we let go of our desires of what He will do for me, and my fears of what he will protect me from.  (Jesus begins to ask us, “will you follow me, even if you don’t get what you want?”).

BTW, there are typically multiple “Even if” moments throughout our life long journey.

My story of my pursuit of a wife.  It was not until I gave up the pursuit that He answered my prayer.
•John 6:58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”… 61 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you?  66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.

•…our expectations are not met?
•… we don’t understand what’s happening and we have more questions than answers?
•…we really want to turn away and desert?

We see an unwillingness to accept God’s confusing plan when Peter rebukes Jesus for saying He would be crucified.
•Matt 16:23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

•Here’s a secret: There is no contentment when we see things from a merely human perspective (motived by desire or insecurity)

•Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way (give up desire), take up your cross (give up your fears/insecurity), and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it….  
•Matt 16:25 But if you give up your life (eliminate Fear/insecurity) for my sake, you will save it.  26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (eliminate desire/ wants). Is anything worth more than your soul?

Follow me for what I can do for you. Follow me even if I don’t DO for YOU.

•John 6:67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”  68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”

•3rd layer “Will you follow me at great cost?”

Jesus was willing to fulfill the will of the father, even for His enemy.
•John 6:70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.

The Apostle Paul’s “secret of contentment” is that:
1.He was engaging with all the growth ingredients
2.Which helped him work through  entire process of leaving behind desires & insecurities.
3.He opened up all the secret gifts from the Lord. (Pealed back all the layers of the onion.)    

We know this because in the 1st chapter of Philippians:

Phil 1:20 …. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.   25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.

Translated, I really don’t care if I live or die – whatever is best for you.

He was not apathetic or depressed.  He was saying,

What can the Devil do to someone who has no desire of anything in this world, nor fear of anything he can inflect? Nothing!

What can God do with this same person? Anything!

Love you all,
Pastor Pete




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