I agree with Hank Aaron that baseball is better than golf. Hank says,
“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.” – Hank Aaron
Some people say you can learn a lot about life from golf. Here are some quotes
ü Every shot counts. The three-foot putt is as important as the 300-yard drive. – Henry Cotton
ü Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies. – Bobby Jones
ü Golf is said to be a humbling game, but it is surprising how many people are either not aware of their weaknesses or else reckless of consequences. – Bobby Jones
ü Show me a golfer who doesn’t have a mean streak, and I’ll show you a weak competitor. – Lee Trevino
ü One reason golf is such an exasperating game is that a thing we learned is so easily forgotten, and we find ourselves struggling year after year with faults we had discovered and corrected time and again. – Bobby Jones
ü The most important shot in golf is the next one. – Ben Hogan
There is an old saying: if a man comes home with sand in his cuffs and cockleburs in his pants, don’t ask him what he shot. – Sam Snead
Why am I using a new putter? Because the last one didn’t float too well. – Craig Stadler
I’ve heard people say putting is 50 percent technique and 50 percent mental. I really believe it is 50 percent technique and 90 percent positive thinking, see, but that adds up to 140 percent, which is why nobody is 100 percent sure how to putt. – Chi Chi Rodriguez
Jordan Spieth’s Interview After Collapsing on Final Day at 2016
Q: Talk about the 12th hole…
Spieth: Well that ball flight was something that’s come up quite a bit for me. I’m not getting around my body enough. I just put a bad swing on it, right at the wrong time. And then probably should have gone to the drop zone where we knew the yardage. It’s kind of tough for me to commit over by the 13th hole. So yeah, just compounded mistakes and a lack of discipline to hit it over that bunker coming off of two bogeys instead of recognizing that I’m leading the Master’s by a couple shots.
Compounded mistakes and a lack of discipline. Words about golf can often relate to our spiritual growth. Today’s message is about the purpose and power of personal spiritual disciplines to grow our faith.
EXAMINE Implementation with personal (spiritual) disciplines (Acts 2:42-47)
Acts 2:42 devotion to disciplines…
“devoted” = προσκαρτερέω / proskarterountes (to be steadfast, diligent, pay close attention; single-minded / verb tense suggests ongoing continuous action).
Ø To what are you devoted?
o This week Wednesday eve watching 2 screens and 3 channels for Orioles, Kobe’s last game which scored 60, and Golden State Warriors win record of 73 games.
o This week seeing family adoption and hearing testimony of young woman profess a man to be her father because while everyone in her life was stepping out, he was stepping up.
o This week our family yard sale realizing how much we accumulate over time.
Starting point devotion for salvation in Christ (Acts 2:37-41)
The opening of Acts is Jesus giving a mission and out of the mission is birthed a church. The church does not have a mission but God gave His mission a church. Peter and the apostles are so devoted to salvation in Jesus that they preach and participate in the birth of a church.
Same is true for us, if we are devoted to salvation in Christ then telling others (Acts 1:8) and participating in the community of believers will be natural outworking.
What about the skeptic of Christianity? Those who are not Christians must deal with the book of Acts. You may discount the 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) that deal with Jesus, but how do you explain the fact that those who were present during Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection – even those who were against him – then became believers, and by the thousands? The book of Acts is not just a history but an apologetic against skeptics.
o And if Acts is true, then so are the Gospels, and so are the NT letters that fit in the same context of Acts. Therefore, your life is at an intersection of whether you are ready to start salvation in Jesus or whether you’ll continue making your own path only the destination will not be the one desired.
o People say all religions are going up the same mountain from a different angle. Not so with Christianity. In Christianity, we can’t reach the mountain apex but God comes down the mountain to reach us.
- What about denominations? Fair enough, but someone is right and someone is wrong, so the key is searching, studying, and applying the Scriptures.
o Our sermon series is reviewing how God works in our life for spiritual growth.
April 3 Instruction with practical teaching (Matthew 7:21-29)
April 10 Interaction with providential relationships (Acts 1-2)
April 17 Implementation with personal disciplines (Acts 2:42-47)
April 24 Investment with purposeful service (Acts 6:1-7)
May 1 Incidents with pivotal circumstances (Acts 9)
Ø So we’re talking about devotion…
Devoted personal discipline with the Scriptures (“apostles’ teaching”) and the Saints (“the fellowship”)
Significant for the early church was their devotion to the apostle’s teaching (2:42). The NT writers were viewed on par with OT Scriptures and carrying equal authority. Luke further describes the importance of the Scriptures in the early church growth in the advancement of “the word”. This phrase is mentioned over 35X in Acts with its purpose to spread the gospel message of Christ to the ends of the earth.
Acts 11:1 “Gentiles also had received the word of God” The word was the apostles’ teaching.
Acts 11:25-26 In Antioch, the first place disciples were called Christians, it was related to the people gathering in devotion to apostolic teaching.
Acts 13:44-49 44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ “ 48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.
Acts 17:13; 18:11; 19:9-10 Paul had learned the word of God from the apostles teaching and then taught others to start and strengthen churches. Paul stayed 18 months teaching the word of God to Corinth. He stayed two years in Ephesus teaching the word of the Lord.
Acts 20:7-12 Paul preaches the word into the midnight hours, which led to a young man falling asleep and falling out a three story window and dies. However, it was ok, God does a miracle to revive him and Paul continues preaching until the next morning! How about that SPBC – I’m ready but you should probably avoid sitting next to windows!
Acts 28:30-31 Acts ends with apostolic teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ going with boldness and without hindrance.
è How do you know you’re committed to apostolic teaching?
o You read and ruminate on the word frequently, if not daily.
- Told person this week – read Mark or wherever, but next step is do so in community.
o You attend and participate in a Bible Group.
o You hear and heed the word of God from public worship gatherings.
- A person I know reads & listens to radio preaching but life says differently.
- Others see conversion and change of your life.
Luke describes the gathering of believers and those devoted to “the fellowship” (2:42). The fellowship gathering has definite article implying distinctive gatherings, hence church membership matters. These early believers enjoyed being with each other. The phrase “together” in reference to the believers is repeated throughout the book of Acts (cf. 1:14; 2:1; 4:24; 5:12; 15:25). They were together after Jesus’ ascension (1:14) and at the beginning of Pentecost (2:1). They were devoted to spending time together (2:42, 44, 46) and the imperfect verb tense in this passage suggests a recurring pattern of gathering as it became a part of their lifestyle.
Our view of church membership must be elevated beyond mere attendance. Going to church is not just a Sunday duty but a life-shaping discipline. The fellowship of those you interact with make a difference in your life. However, this view is often rejected because people do not want others in their business. We are more comfortable with going to church to exchange superficial flattery with one another rather than being devoted in fellowship to one another and exchanging spiritual accountability.
è How can we start to cultivate this devotion in our church?
o Plan & participate in a fellowship gathering outside of church building with your Bible Group.
- Some say, we can’t do that our Group is too big. I say exactly – multiply!
- Some say, we can’t do that our Group is too small. I say exactly – invest & invite!
o Practice fellowship with a meal together with at least 1 other person/family of a different generation. (Yes, I’ve used this as application before. Do it this time… or do it again.)
o Promote your commitment to Sundays. This week NFL schedule came out and some are salivating and already making plan for those specific Sundays… what if you/we treated the Lord’s Day the same way?
- 1Corinthians 14:26 “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”
- Ephesians 5:19-21 “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
- Colossians 3:12-17 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- Hebrews 10:22-25 “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Devoted personal discipline with the sharing of hospitality (“breaking of bread”) and to prayer.
Luke combines characteristic devotions of the early church – apostles teaching & fellowship – because of their interrelatedness. Likewise, two others were breaking of bread & prayers. Luke elaborates on the latter in saying, “all who believed were together and hall all things in common, they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need… attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes…”
In other words, the fellowship gatherings and application of apostolic teaching led to deeply profound hospitality and serving each other with Heavenly Father dependent prayer.
è How can we grow in hospitality and prayer?
o Our gathered hospitality – – – May 15 training seminar 9:30am
o Go the extra mile in relationships.
- Listen longer. Never underestimate how listening communicates value to another person.
– It’s why suicides often have a note so others are forced to listen one last time.
- Love genuinely. Looking people in the eyes and getting involved in another’s life is nothing but a process of time. Our schedules are often full and rightfully so, but we must not be too busy that we do not have time to love someone whom God brings before our day.
– Pay attention to those you encounter each day.
- Give intently. There are ways each one of us are blessed, whether materially or immaterially. Regardless, God’s blessings in your life are intended to be shared with others.
– Examine your time, talents, treasures for how you may give as God gave to you.
– You cannot out-give God.
o Prayer is always more powerful than you realize.
– You may think, well I can’t go on a mission trip so I’m of no use; but you can pray and that is great in kingdom eyes.
– Prayer is work! It takes time & tenacity (focus).
Disciplines… apostles teaching & the fellowship / breaking of bread & prayers
– Spiritual disciplines are personal but not private. Church is a community of accountability.
– Discipline is the key to destiny. Life goals and growth only occur through putting feet to faith.
— salvation — spiritual growth
 See 1 Tim 5:18; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 3:15-16.
 Acts 2:41, 4:29, 4:31, 6:2, 6:4, 6:7, 8:4, 8:14, 8:25, 10:36, 11:1, 11:16, 11:19, 12:24, 13:5, 13:7, 13:44, 13:46, 13:48, 13:49, 14:3, 14:25, 15:7, 15:35, 15:36, 16:6, 16:32, 17:11, 17:13, 18:5, 18:11, 19:10, 19:20, 20:32, 20:38.