Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Same Old, Same Old? 'Steady As She Goes'? In a Rut? No!

Summary:  There’s a trap we can all fall into if we’re not careful. And that is getting lulled into a sense of “sameness.” If we’re not discerning with spiritual eyes the great things that God is doing continually, we can lose our optimism, our “edge,” and our expectation for great things from the Lord.

2 Peter 3:3-4
  …in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

• If you look at life in this world without spiritual discernment, you can wrongly conclude that it’s pretty much “same old, same old” from day to day.
• It’s an easy trap to become snared in — geting accustomed to things and expecting no change, nothing new, from one day to the next. You go about your regular, everyday routine. You follow habitual patterns and see familiar people and places. Everything seems unchanged from the previous day, week, year. The attitude that says, “…everything goes on as it has” can begin to dominate your thinking and get you into an unproductive “survival” mode, content just to get through each day — "steady as she goes" — with no awareness that God is doing great things all around you.

Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

• I used to be an FAA radar air traffic controller in the 1970s. From time to time during quiet periods, I used to share my faith and have lively spiritual discussions with some of my fellow controllers. One of them in particular showed absolutely no sign of moving towards the Lord. I recall one Sunday morning thinking to myself something like: “He’ll never get saved!” Well, lo and behold! That was the morning he walked into our church service and, at the close, responded to the altar call and came forth and sincerely gave his heart to Jesus Christ! To my embarrassment, I must admit that I had “grown weary” in hoping for this friend to get saved, and I had just about given up. Yet the Lord drew him in and wonderfully saved him! The moral of the story? Don’t give up!
• I have a relative who sells advertising. He understands this truth about not giving up easily. He has one client who declined to buy advertising eight times in a row. But my relative landed him as a client on the ninth try! Don’t give up!
• Don’t get weary in doing well. I’ve planted lots of lawns. The lawn does not come up green and lush the day you plant it. Prepare the ground, add seed and fertilizer, roll it flat, keep it moist, and in a week or two you’ll begin to see little blades of grass come up. Keep watering it and, in another few weeks, you’ll have a lush, green lawn. How did this happen? It was an ongoing process, not simply a matter of tossing some seed out on bare ground and standing back hoping for a crop. From day to day it might have appeared to be “same old, same old.” But no, the building of a good lawn is a process that only shows progress as you look at the longer haul, the bigger picture.

Hebrews 10:36  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

• What may wrongly seem to be “same old, same old” may actually be a God-given space of time for you to be “doing the will of God”, after which you will receive the promise.
• Consider the patriarch Abraham. His wife Sarah was barren, but when Abraham was age 75 and Sarah 65, God promised them a son to be born to Sarah. Abraham continued faithfully “doing the will of God” for another 25 years. And then the miracle child Isaac was born to 90-year-old Sarah!
• Abraham could have watched those additional childless years go by and fallen into the “same old, same old” trap. He could have found himself in a rut mentally and emotionally, losing hope, and just assuming that nothing was going to change. But he didn’t. In fact, he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith,  giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21, KJV). And God did perform it — 25 years later!

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

“Whatever you do” — sharing your faith, raising your family, doing good deeds, working hard at your job to create a good testimony, whatever… — keep it up, knowing that “your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It will bear a harvest, and harvests don’t come overnight.
• Go to your job each day expecting God to help you make a difference. When I was an air traffic controller in the 1970s, I determined to be a good one and to have a blameless testimony on the job. Did I see fruit in people’s lives from one day to the next? Rarely. However, over the course of 3-1/2 years at that job, I made up my mind to do my job well each workday and to share my faith when I could. Over the course of time, three of my fellow controllers came to faith in Christ. It was not because of any one thing I had done, but from several years of performing my job diligently while living my Christian faith before them. I am confident that others were reaching out to them over those years, too, but I was blessed to be one of the main influences in their coming to the Lord. How? — Work hard and well at your job, “do[ing] it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This will strengthen and enhance your personal testimony on the job. And keep at it, not giving up, “because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Proverbs 22:6, KJV  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

• I have four adult children. Thankfully, all of them are actively serving the Lord with their spouses and the six children [2018 edit: 12 children] they have to date. But this happy result did not happen without daily hard work on my wife’s and my part during their youth. We loved them, we trained them, we disciplined them biblically. We imparted spiritual values to them and taught them to love God, to love others, and to love the Lord’s church.
• From one day to the next we didn’t usually see notable progress. Change is normally a gradual, incremental thing, and it was so with our children. If we had been looking for rapid, dramatic growth and spiritual maturing, we would have been disappointed. But … looking back from year to year, we could see wonderful growth in our children. We hadn’t fallen into the “same old, same old” trap and just gotten into survival mode, as can easily happen in a busy, young family.
• Not content just to get through the child-raising years, we found daily opportunities to impart to them the truths and the ways of God. For instance, I read appropriate, age-related bibles through 8 times with my firstborn son, until he came to the point of being responsible for his own bible devotions. As more children were born, I would gather them for group “bible story” each day. My wife homeschooled each of them typically for their first few school years, and she spent time daily training them in biblical character.
• Parents, it will all be worth it! Today they are all serving the Lord and are raising six [2018: now 12] of my grandchildren to serve the Lord.

Romans 10:10  Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

• Let me tell you a heart-touching story of an elderly man getting saved. A group of young people went into a mall in Portland, Oregon, to share their Christian faith with people there. They saw an elderly man sitting on a bench, so they spoke with him, told him about salvation in Jesus Christ, and prayed with him right there to be saved. At that moment, the man’s wife came out of the store in time to see her husband praying to receive Jesus as Savior. She told the young people that she had been praying for her husband for 56 years in the hopes of seeing him saved!
• Keep praying for souls! Don’t be discouraged by what may seem like stubborn resistance.

Mark 4:26-27  He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.”

• Just faithfully, patiently keep doing the things that lead to harvest. God will do the rest, even though we remain unaware of how and where He is working things out.
Scatter seed every chance you can — a kind word, a testimony shared, a Scripture quoted, an offer to pray for someone. Seed has a built-in tendency to work towards bearing a crop.

Remember, the Christian life is NOT “Same Old, Same Old” —

• Your sins are being forgiven, and you can have a clean slate every day with God.
• People are being saved every day worldwide. People are also being saved right here in our church.
• Believers are being water baptized and rising to walk in newness of life.
• All over the world more and more people are receiving heaven-sent power in the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Children are growing in their faith and will be tomorrow’s leaders.
• Is iniquity abounding more and more all around us? Yes, but God’s grace will much more abound!
• There’s a double portion of “manna” awaiting in the last days.
• Jesus said “this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

2 Peter 3:4, 9  They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” … [9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

• Sometimes what man considers to be "slow" and “same old, same old” is the Lord allowing time for His plans and purposes to be fulfilled. Remember the Portland lady praying 56 years for her husband to be saved!
• There are souls to be savedchildren to be raised to serve God … a world in which to be salt and light … people all around you with great needs, for which you know the Solution, Jesus Christ
• It’s not “same old, same old.” Every day is an opportunity for God to work in you and through you to be a meaningful part of the expansion of the kingdom of God on this earth.

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©2014, James H. Feeney.
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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.