Sermon:  Inner Space

Summary:  In order to follow Christ, we need to tend to our inner life, which the Bible calls 
the "heart" or the "mind," because God is concerned with our inner life, which is what he 
sees and is what we have a tendency to overlook.  Ignoring our inner life leaves us vulnerable 
to the pull of the world and it stresses.

Know:  The most important thing that we can do is to take time to order our inner life, even 
though there doesn't appear to be any immediate benefit to it

Feel:  The potential benefit of taking time out to order our inner life, that it is not a waste of 
time nor it is an optional feature

Do:  Reflect and discuss the inner life and what it is, and evaluate what parts of the inner life 
may be susceptible to the pull and stresses of the world. 

Text:  Rom 12:2; Prov 4:23

Scripture Reading:  Prov 4:23

1.  I want to spend some time on inward space
	- I recently read a book entitled "Ordering Your Private World" which serves as 
	  the inspiration for this sermon series
2.  Inward space important - Ask Jack Jorgenson who visited old timer in woods
	a.  The old timer invited him in to dinner
	b.  Served him with beautiful china that daughter gave to him, looked dirty
		- Jack asked - "Are these clean?"
		- "Yep, they are as clean as soap and water could get them"
	c.  Ate, and the meal was simply delicious.
	d.  Old Timer sat dishes down at door way
		- Old timer called out, "here soap, here water!!"
		- Two mangy hunting dogs came licked the plates clean
3.  We need to be as concerned about our inner space as the space in dishes
	a.  We are often focused on outer space, we can see it
	b.  But inner space is even more important
	c.  Reasons:
I.  God says it is important
	A.  We might not recognize the phrase "inner life," but it is in scripture
	B.  Several passages tell us that it is of utmost importance to God
		1.  Old Testament:  Ps 51 - God doesn't want sacrifices, but a 
		      contrite "heart"
		2.  New Testament
			a.  Rom 2:28-29 - True circumcision is of the "heart"
			b.  Rom 12:2 - Transformed by the renewing of your "mind"
			c.  2 Cor 10:5 - Taking every "thought" captive to the 
			     obedience of Christ
		3.  Jesus
			a.  Matt 23:25-28 
				- Clean outside, but inside is dirty
				- Like whitewashed tombs
				- Clean inside so that outside can be clean
			b.  Mt 15:18 - Not what goes in that defiles a man, but what 
			     comes out, it comes from the heart
		4.  This is why Jesus gave the Holy Spirit
			a.  Rom 8:11; Jas 4:5 - Spirit lives in us, we a temple for Him
			b.  Tit 3:5 - Holy Spirit renews us
			c.  Eph 3-5 - Spirit empowers us in the inward man
	C.  God has always been concerned with the inner person
		1.  God does not want a pretty external façade
		2.  God does not want a vessel clean on outside and dirty on inside
	D.  We should be concerned about it because God is concerned about it
		But also….

II.  It is easy to ignore
	A.  ILL:  Dad's Garage
		1.  Cracked, leaned to one side - Ground washed away underneath
		2.  What he didn't do
			a.  Repaint it and fill in the cracks
			b.  Try to straighten it
			c.  Reform windows and doors where they not look crooked
		3.  What he did do:  Hire someone to fix the foundation
		4.  No one sees or notices what is underneath
			a.  Can ignore it long time with no apparent consequence
			b.  Can look great on outside, but be a mess on the inside
			c.  Isn't until too much stress on it and lean that see problem
			d.  IF ignored it will COLLAPSE with just a gust of wind
	B.  This is our culture
		1.  It prizes external things - tangible success and its symbols
			a.  Designer clothes, big house, fancy car, memberships
			b.  All the while, the ground is washing away underneath
			c.  Stress of accumulation begins to form cracks
			d.  Study cited stress as the number one killer in America
				70-80% of all illnesses are related to stress
		2.  Most of us have been taught to manage our external world
			a.  Bank accounts, jobs, goals, etc.
			b.  It is what is readily seen 
		3.  But the external focus has left a gapping hole which can 
		     collapse under stress
		4.  Many Americans are feeling this whole, and are searching
	C.  People want spiritual things, but not at church.  Why?
		1.  Explosion of books, workshops, resources on "Christian" 
		     spiritual formation - What does that tell you?
			a.  Even Christians are craving something deeper
			b.  Christians wanted more than Christian veneer!
		2.  Emptiness of accumulation has plagued Christians, churches 
		     and ministries along with unbelievers
			a.  Mega-churches, marketing style ministry, CEO ministers
			b.  Church leaders suffer stress illness like people in world!
			c.  Marriage have same problems, divorce rate not any 
			     better, Christians just as stressed
			d.  Is it any wonder people not turn to the church?
				- Churches didn't look a whole lot different 
				- It was same stuff with a Christian veneer
	D.  (Rom 12:2) - Do not be conformed to world, transformed
		1.  The Message Paraphrase:  "Don't become so well-adjusted to your 
culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll 
be changed from the inside out."
		2.  This is saying - Tend to your inner world
		3.  To ignore it will eventually be devesating…
III.  It is the source of life
	A.  Lk 12:23 - Life is more than food and the body more than clothing
		1.  Jesus is speaking to people obsessed with externals
		2.  Life is not about just externals  
	B.  (Prov 4:23) - Guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life
		1.  Passage tells me 2 things
			a.  My heart is like a life giving spring
			b.  The spring needs to be guarded from pollution
		2.  I did not really understand that this meant for a long time
			a.  External world was easy - Could see, touch, measure
				- Involves my work, accomplishments, possessions
				- It is visible, on the surface
			b.  Inner world is harder - What is it?
			c.  Gordon MacDonald - ""choices and values can be determined, 
where solitude and reflection might be pursued…a place for conducting worship and confession, 
a quiet spot where the moral and spiritual pollution of the times need not penetrate."
		3.  Guarding your heart means not letting the world penetrate
			a.  It is more than moral behavior
			b.  On a deeper level, it involves not thinking like the world 
	C.  ILL:  Wall Street Journal features Jerald Maxwell in a series
		1.  Founded successful company, considered financial genius 
		2.  He was fired - Went into depression, contemplated suicide
			a.  Self Confidence was gone, joy was gone
			b.  Felt like failure, defeated, worthless
			c.  Had an emotional breakdown
			d.  Led to marital and family problems - destroyed both
		3.  Can envision the problem using either metaphor
			a.  Did not guard the spring of his heart - It was polluted
				- Did not act "immorally"
				- However, his thinking was like the worlds
			b.  Spent life tending to the surface, and hole underneath 
			     formed and collapsed under the stress
				- He managed his outer world well
				- His inner world was a mess, left a gaping hole
				- Gust of wind came along and destroyed him
		4.  Because he ignored his inner life, he was destroyed
			a.  He was at the mercy of external forces
			b.  A closely guarded spring would have been untouched
	D.  Truly, our heart, our inner world is the a spring of life
		1.  We need to tend to it and guard it
		2.  How do we do this?  The rest of this series will deal with this
		3. This lesson is just an introduction
		4.  We will be looking at various parts of our inner world in the 
		     weeks ahead and how to tend to them:
			a.  Motivation
			b.  Use of Time
			c.  Wisdom and Knowledge
			d.  Spiritual Strength
			e.  Restoration & Renewal

1.  Christianity is more than just coming to church, but changing inwardly (Invitation)
2.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, take stock of the five parts of your inner world 
3.  Interrogate yourself on these - How are you ordering these inward parts of your life

Small Group Notes:  Inner Space

Summary:  In order to follow Christ, we need to tend to our inner life, which the Bible calls 
the "heart" or the "mind," because God is concerned with our inner life, which is what he 
sees and is what we have a tendency to overlook.  Ignoring our inner life leaves us 
vulnerable to the pull of the world and it stresses.

Open (choose one)
- What metaphor describes your typical day?  A daytimer, an alarm clock, Cell Phone, A 
junkyard, Tickle-Me Elmo
- What is the most difficult thing for you to keep ordered or organized?

Explore: Matt 23:25-28; Rom 2:28-29; 12:1-2; Prov 4:23

1.  In your own words, what are these passages of scripture teaching?

2.  Why is the inner, private life of a person so important?

3.  Identify some potential pollutants to the spring of the heart.  Discuss each of these.  
How can these pollutants affect "life?"  (Are they merely moral behavior, or could they also 
include how you think?  Explain)


4.  In what ways has your life during the past year illustrated this sentence? -  "Our outer, 
or public life is easier to deal with.  It is much more measurable, visible, and expandable."

5.  Thinking of the metaphor of the leaning building, what might be described as a "collapse" 
experience in your life?  Can you think of an something that could become powerful enough 
to become a "collapse" experience in your life?

6.  Which surface or public things in your life are screaming for your attention?  Which are 
the ones you have given in to?

7.  Reflect on the 5 parts of your inner life, Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on how you are 
ordering each of these parts of your inner life.
	Use of Time, 
	Wisdom and Knowledge, 
	Spiritual Strength, 
	Restoration and Renewal.  

8.  Which part of your inner life needs the most ordering?