1. Ok, tonight, continue with the Spiritual Inventory that _______________ started last week.
a. Last week we took a look INWARD focusing on:
i. Your Relationships with others
ii. Your Priorities in Life
iii. Your Attitude in ALL things,
iv. Finally, Your Integrity.
b. Now, ALL 4 of these deal with your Character. I asked you some hard questions last week.
i. We talked about how our past actions in each of these areas had a negative (or a positive) effect on not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.
1. Some of you worked very hard on these in your groups – this is good.
c. Now, TONIGHT we will look at 4 MORE Character issues in your life
i. We are going to finish the Spiritual Inventory tonight !
ii. We will finalize the list of shortcomings / sins that have prevented God from working effectively in our lives.
1. Just evaluating each area will help us complete our inventories.
2. OK, Let’s get started
3. Last week’s and this week’s lessons are based on Principle #4 and Step #4: which read:
a. Principle #4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
b. Step #4: Make a searching and fearless moral (HONEST) inventory of yourself.
i. Which of course is based on Lamentations 3:40: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”
ii. In addition to Lamentations here, we are also going to take Psalm 139:23-24 to heart:
1. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
HANDOUT HERE: (Small + Larger “Helpful Questions” to consider.)
4. Let’s start with YOUR MIND #1
a. It’s been said: “The most difficult thing to open is a closed mind.”
b. God’s Word has something to say on the subject:
i. In Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
ii. This scripture forces some significant questions to the surface:
iii. First Question: HOW HAVE YOU GUARDED YOUR MIND IN THE PAST ???
1. If you are like most people who struggle with recovery, the way you have guarded your mind is by denying the truth of the pain.
2. The Denial may have protected you from the pain in the short run, HOWEVER, in the long run, your denial only kept you from living and dealing with the reality of your HHH>
iv. Second Question: HAVE YOU FILLED YOUR MIND WITH HURTFUL AND UNHEALTHY MOVIES, INTERNET SITES, TELEVISION PROGRAMS, MAGAZINES, OR BOOKS ????’
1. Your ears & eyes are windows to your soul. Garbage in – Garbage out.
a. John Baker says: “Straight living does not come from crooked thinking.”
i. Proverbs 15:14 “A wise person is hungry for truth, while a fool feeds on trash.”
v. Third Question: HAVE YOU FAILED TO CONCENTRATE ON THE POSITIVE TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE ???
1. Again, John Baker said: “I believe that three of the greatest sins today are: Indifference to; neglect of; and disrespect for the Word of God.”
2. ASK: Are you setting aside a daily time with the Word of God? Remember that the Bible is your “owner’s manual” for life.
5. Alright Now, We’ve looked at how we’ve treated our MINDS, Now, going to look at how we’ve treated our BODIES. #2
a. ASK: Did you know that with proper care the human body will last a lifetime? Think about it !
b. ASK: From Scripture, What do we know about our Bodies?
i. Looking for: “Temple Of The Holy Spirit”
c. OK, Then – ASK: Does scripture tell us about WHO owns our bodies?
i. I Corinthians 6: 19-20 spells it out for us:
1. “Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit that God gave you, and that He lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God, because He Owns It.!” – EVERY PART. REALLY? EVERY PART????
d. Now, this begs a few uncomfortable questions tonight:
i. First: IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU MISTREATED YOUR BODY?
1. Have you abused alcohol? Drugs? Excessive OR Insufficient Food? Unhealthy Sexual Habits?
2. Have you deprived yourself of sleep? OR have you intentionally caused physical pain to yourself, Or so emotionally beaten yourself up that it began to impact you physically? OR have you ever (in a fit of rage), placed yourself at risk or harm from speeding? OR driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.??
3. These are ALL ways of mistreating our bodies.
4. John Baker says that in the depth of his alcoholism he was 60 lbs. overweight. He almost died. He prayed and asked God to help him get his strength back.
a. God answered his prayer and did bless him. Now it’s time for moderation in his diet.
5. It is through our bodies – our flesh – that Satan does his best (or worst) work. BUT THANK GOD THAT THE BELIEVER’S BODY IS THE Temple of the Holy Spirit.
6. God values you so much that he chose to place His Spirit within you.
7. You need to have as much respect for yourself as your Creator does for you.
ii. Second: WHAT ACTIVITIES OR HABITS CAUSED HARM TO YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH?
1. No doubt you’ve heard it said: “People have the right to do whatever they want to do with their own bodies.”
a. Some see this as a sort of “freedom”, however, they become slaves to their own desires, which ultimately causes them great harm.
6. OK, We’ve looked at our Minds, Our Bodies, Now we will look at how we’ve treated our FAMILIES. #3
a. Israel’s leader Joshua is often quoted around Men’s groups for the bold statement he made in the book of Joshua in Joshua 24:15:
i. Regarding his household he said: “If you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey… But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
1. Foundational scripture behind the Promise Keepers Men’s movement.
b. Again, there are some pivotal questions raised for us here:
1. HAVE YOU MISTREATED ANYONE IN YOUR FAMILY? HOW?
a. Emotional abuse isn’t always in the form of Rage, yelling or screaming
b. Sometimes it can be passive/aggressive
i. Like the “silent treatment”
ii. Tearing down someone’s self esteem
iii. Or, Neglecting someone’s emotional needs
c. God designed our Families to be our safety from Life’s storms
d. As much as is humanly possible – you need to provide a safe haven for your family. If that isn’t possible, let CR be your “Forever Family”.
2. AGAINST WHOM IN YOUR FAMILY DO YOU HAVE A RESENTMENT?
a. This can be a difficult thing to admit.
b. It’s easier to admit resentment toward an acquaintance or a stranger THAN TO A FAMILY MEMBER.
c. Denial then comes in like a thick fog. But you need to break through that fog in order to successfully complete your inventory.
3. TO WHOM DO YOU OWE AMENDS ?
a. Don’t worry – you are only going to identify them for today. Later in principle #6 we will begin to work on actually making Amends.
b. All we are looking for here is listing of those relationships where you have had a part in damaging the relationship.
4. WHAT IS THE FAMILY SECRET THAT YOU HAVE BEEN DENYING ?
a. Do you have a “pink elephant” in the middle of your family’s living room that no one ever talks about? Well, that’s that family secret.
b. Jeremiah 6:14 is awesome here. From Today’s Living Bible translation: “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there.”
7. We’ve looked at Minds, Bodies, Families, Now let’s look at how we treat our CHURCH:
a. In Hebrews 10:25 the table is set for us: “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near…”
i. Here are a few more questions to help you with your inventories here:
1. HAVE YOU BEEN FAITHFUL TO YOUR CHURCH IN THE PAST ??
a. Church is sort of like a bank or a a Stock you invest in: The more you put into it, the more interest you gain in it. Not just $ - but “interest” in the sense of caring about it.
2. HAVE YOU BEEN CRITICAL INSTEAD OF ACTIVE IN YOUR CHURCH ??
a. Basic principle: If you don’t like something in your church, then get involved in it so you can help change it. HOWEVER: You should always keep your mouth shut for a while until you gain a much better understanding of it.
b. AXIOM to live by: “Turn your grumbling into SERVICE.”
3. HAVE YOU DISCOURAGED YOUR FAMILY’S SUPPORT OF THEIR CHURCH IN ANY WAY ??
a. Again – not just financially, but every other way
b. Even if you aren’t ready to be involved in your church, encourage your family to do so.
c. They need and probably want the support of the church.
(ASIDE) NEXT SHEETS: Some Helpful Questions as you wrap up your Spiritual Inventory.
OK, We’ve made it through the 8 different areas to help you begin and complete your inventory.
Once again, listen to Isaiah 1:18 “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.” Sayeth the Lord !!!
A few final reminders:
1. Keep your inventory BALANCED – listing your strengths as well as your weaknesses
2. Talk this through with your SPONSOR and/or Accountability Partner. Remember that the road to recovery is NOT to be made alone.
SEGUE into PRAYER
Dismiss to Open Share Groups with: ________________________
Some helpful Questions as you wrap up your Spiritual Inventory:
· Since accepting Christ as your Higher Power, how has God transformed your mind (Romans 12:2) What worldly standards have you given up?
· How have you used Denial to attempt to guard your mind?
· Have you filled (or are you now filling ) your mind with hurtful and unhealthy movies, television programs, internet sites, magazines, or books?
· How have you failed to concentrate on the positive truths of the Bible? (Be Specific)
· What past activities or habits caused harm to your physical health?
· In what ways have you mistreated your body?
· If you have abused alcohol, drugs, foods, or sex, how did they negatively affect your body?
· What have you done to restore God’s Temple ?
· Have you mistreated anyone in your family verbally, emotionally, or physically?
· Who in your family do you hold a resentment against? Why?
· Can you think of anyone to whom you owe amends ? Why? (Don’t worry about actually making amends now. That’s later in principle #6)
· What is the “family secret” that you have kept denying ?
· How have relationships improved since you have been in Recovery? (be specific)
· How would you rate your past participation in your church:
o Very involved
o Semi-active member
o Sideline member
o Attended but was not a member
o Attended inconsistently
o Only went on Holidays
o Never attended
· Prior to working on your recovery, what was your main reason for going to church?
· Have you ever tried to discourage any family members from any church involvement? How? Why?
· How has your commitment to your church increased since starting your recovery? (Give examples)