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Healthy Habits Small Group 091910

Healthy Habits Small Group 091910

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Published by Ben Rice

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Published by: Ben Rice on Oct 18, 2010
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Healthy Habits for your HEART, your MIND and your BODY!
God wants us to be healthy in every aspect of our lives – HEART, MIND and BODY – becauseHe wants His church to be healthy and growing and full of love. But in order for you and meto do that, it’s going to require us to develop some good habits, and get rid of some oldones. A lot of times that seems easier said then done, and we tend to get discouragedwhen we don’t see results or success right away. But the Apostle Paul writes:
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” (Philippians 1:6)
And we centered our conversation last week around this idea: In that process of becomingwhat we are to become, WE have a part and GOD has a part. Paul writes later:
“Work hard to show the results of your salvation”
(that’s our part). And when we do that wecan have the confidence of knowing that,
“God is working in you, giving you the desire andthe power to do what pleases him”. (Philippians 2:12-13)
On the practical side we said we needed to develop FOUR HEART HEALTHY HABITS:
Spending time in God’s Word
Spending time in Prayer 
Practicing Generosity, and
Embracing FellowshipAnd we talked about FOUR KEYS to Developing Habits the LAST:
Start doing things DIFFERENTLY.
Don’t try to do it ALL AT ONCE
Don’t Go It ALONE, and
When you get discouraged, DON’T QUIT.We also introduced a very practical system for you to dial in the development of those four healthy habits through CROSSROADS U and our upcoming 4-part Class called ROADIES 201,where we will drill down into each of the FOUR HEART HEALTHY HABITS we talked about lastweek.At it’s core, this series is about MORE than habits and habitual behavior. It’s about CHANGE.Because what marks a follower of Christ is not a better understanding of the Bible, or perfectchurch attendance, or tithing on your gross income rather than your net income, or never 
Use these notes to help youreview Sunday’s message.
cussing, drinking or smoking (or dating women who do).
What marks a follower of JesusChrist is a CHANGED LIFE.
Developing HEALTHY HABITS is not simply about behavior modification. Because being aChrist-follower isn’t about behavior modification. It’s about HEART CHANGE, and doingthings that and propel that heart change forward.You can give your heart to God, and if you don’t do the “work” of working out your salvation, can slip very quickly into old patterns, old habits, and old ways of doing things.By the same token, you can give your heart to God, and never realize that there is actuallywork for you to do. You see, receiving eternal life through Christ isn’t something you can“work” at. But LIVING your life FOR Christ is something that will only happen IF you work at it.
VIDEO CLIP (Secular, Clinical)
– Any kind of a habit is a learned behavior pattern. Your brain learns to create andreplay behavior patterns (see Neural Pathway research).
– Your brain has determined that there is some desirable outcome (“bad or good”) connected to your behavior, and so it repeats that behavior over and over in pursuitof that particular reinforcing outcome.
– Your brain creates and restores patterns. (Example of dog learning to shakehands).
– When it comes to reinforcing behavior, timing really matters. (Example: dog peeingon the rug when you leave the room). For reinforcement to be meaningful, thereinforcement must be associated with the behavior you are trying to reinforce.
Good Habits
– When we teach our brains good habits timing works to our advantage. Thereinforcers are immediate, generally obvious, and they resonate with us in a way that buildsself-esteem, because instinctively we know we’re doing the right thing.
Bad Habits
– The actual consequences of unhealthy behaviors often take a very long time toshow up. But some immediate results may
Instant Gratification
– The behavior feels pleasurable, or it tastes good, or it provides anescape from reality. There’s no way that instant gratification is going to enhance self-esteem. But compared to thinking about far-away consequences of bad habits, instantgratification can often serve as a reinforcer.
Learned Behavior 
– The behavior feels pleasurable, or it tastes good, or it provides an escapefrom reality. There’s no way that instant gratification is going to enhance self-esteem. Butcompared to thinking about future negative consequences, instant gratification canfunction as a reinforcer of a learned behavior.
 Some Familiar Learned Behaviors
– Not just physical actions, like smoking, or nose-picking,but language patterns, thought patterns, attitudes, emotions, self-limiting beliefs… Morelearned behaviors? How about: When behaving in an angry manner causes others to letme have my way (see temper tantrums); when I mope or complain or exaggerate myailments and others give me sympathy; when I act lazy and it gets me out of doing thingsothers want me to do; when I go out drinking and “get lucky” (lol). In any case theimmediate result seems reinforcing, while the destructive personal consequences of thatunwanted behavior may be way off in the future, out of sight, out of mind.
– We can teach our brains the habit patterns we desire. What thebrain finds reinforcing will depend on the comparative values that YOU provide to it.
Negative Values or Positive Values
– You are ultimately the one who decides what value youassign to any particular behavior.
You get to CHOOSE
– Whether you intend to or not, YOU are choosing the values that your brain uses when determining what’s reinforcing. You’re making up your OWN mind aboutwhat matters most. You ARE in control of your own mind. If you honor that power and applyit with intention and with purpose, then you truly ARE in control of who you CHOOSE to be,and how you CHOOSE to behave.
NOW…follower of Christ…against THAT background of purely scientific understanding of howbehavioral patterns develop in our lives, how important is THIS Scripture:
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would chooselife, so that you and your descendants might live!”(Deuteronomy 30:19, NLT)
It begs the question from all of us:
“What are you thinking?”
Ever have one (or several hundred) of those moments in life when you ask yourself, “Whatwas I thinking?” Ever look at your kids when they did something particularly foolish for theumpteenth time and say, “Son, what were you thinking?”I think about that all the time in the context of that Scripture from Deuteronomy. I have thisvivid image of God looking at me after I’ve done something for the hundredth time that IDIDN’T MEAN, INTEND, or WANT to DO and Him saying, “Son, what were you thinking?” It’s inthis very light that the Apostle Paul writes, recorded for us in his letter in Romans:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, whichis good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2, NLT)

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