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Exercises in Everydayness

• Sandra Unger

At the turn of the new year, it is the time to think about resolutions, or things that we want to change in our lives. In this sermon, we learn about four exercises that will bring real change, the kind of change that will impact every aspect of our lives.

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This is the time when we typically make resolutions regarding how we will change our lives. But statistics show that very few actually change anything.

Why don’t resolutions work? One of the reasons they doing world is related to the story that shapes the way we live. Self story. If we want to change our actions, we must change our self story. We tell ourselves stories that shape our actions. For instance, if you eat unhealthy foods, you most like tell yourself a story that you are, in fact an unhealthy eater. And this story operates without your conscious knowledge. These stories tell us what we believe to be true about ourselves and the world.

Our life story is related to the everydayness of our life, the sleeping, eating, working, and relating that we do without fanfare or flair. In this new year, we need exercises that will shape our everyday story. In this sermons, Sandra introduces four such exercises.

The first exercise is Sit Down. Matthew 11:28-29 records the words of Jesus telling us to come to him and rest. This is about sitting in stillness, instead of trying to accomplish things. This also applies to our sleep patterns. We are created to rest and get the appropriate amount of sleep.

The second exercise is Shut Up. James 3:5-8 speaks about the evil nature of the tongue. Instead of speaking, we need to learn to listen, to lean in, and seek to understand what others are saying.

The third exercise is Stand Up. James 1:22-24 addresses the importance of being doers of the word. This is not about doing works in our own efforts. We are called to do God’s work by God’s power.

The fourth exercise is Speak Out. Proverbs 31:8-9 challenges us to use our voice for the sake of those who are powerless and have no voice. We speak up “with” those in need, that is, we do it in relationship with or alongside them. This stands in contrast to speaking up “at” others.

Some are better at the first two, while others are thrive on the second two. We must all learn the balance of all four in order to grow in what God has for our lives.

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Topics: Discipleship, Disciplines, Simplicity


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Focus Scripture:

  • Romans 12:1-2

    So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 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. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

  • Matthew 11:28-29

    Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

  • James 3:5-8

    So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

  • James 1:18-20

    You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.

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