Sermon 08/23/20: Solid Habits Make Good Anchors (Pentecost XI)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 08/23/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

THE FIRST HYMN: The Haven of Rest [Live]

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Bill & Gloria Gaither – Rock of Ages [Live] ft. Vestal Goodman, The Martins

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Solid Habits Make Good Anchors
Text: Hebrews 6:19-20, Luke 16:10, 6:48-49
Series: Tiny Habits for Growing Christians
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Sermon audio at Wesley Church – a different version of the same sermon.


Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Hebrews 6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz’edek.

Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

Luke 6:47 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”


Ben Speer, Wesley Pritchard, Terry Blackwood – I’m Standing On the Solid Rock [Live]

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!


I’ll ask you a question and ask you to ponder it. What percentage, would you think, of your day, do you spend those hours living as if you were an atheist?

Now, I’m not implying that you want to be an atheist. I’m not implying that that’s your intention. I’m implying how much of the day goes by where what you do … it doesn’t matter if God is alive or not. What part of your day goes by where the Lord is no part of that day? Now, I understand you’re busy driving the tractor, you’re busy washing the dishes, you’re busy doing whatever it is that you have to do. But what part of the day is God with you while you’re doing that?

That’s the whole idea behind the first tiny habit that I talked about last week, and it seemed to make so much sense to me that we ought to talk about it again today. Because in Proverbs 3 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” How would you add that to your life as a habit to in every way acknowledge him?

Well, one way could just be that if every time you came into a new place, you declared, “Jesus Christ is Lord over this place!” – that’s the tiny habit – you would make yourself aware that God is there and Jesus Christ is in charge. In all your ways, acknowledge him. We can take a scripture and turn it into a habit so that we are living by it. And we’re talking about how we could do that.

And the first part of tiny habits is what B.J. Fogg calls an anchor because anything that God tells you to do, you can make it into a tiny habit. But you’re going to start with an anchor.

Now, this is an anchor. See the really heavy part? It drags along the bottom of the ocean. But the little part that’s like the cross part that sticks out that is resting on, sooner or later, it will catch on some irregularity in the surface underneath the water, and it’s going to start to cause that anchor to tip to a different position.

And here’s the picture of that position. It’s going to cause that hook to turn, so that it begins to dig itself in. All of a sudden, now, you will have your anchor in the solid ground, and it will hold you steady even in a storm. Now that’s an anchor but you know what does the same thing? This thing (a mooring post embedded in concrete on the dock), it’s kind of an anchor, too, because if you tie what you want to live to something that is solid and immovable as that, it’s not going to move. You can tie up what you do, what you think, how you pray. You can tie it to something that is solid and immovable and Jesus says very plainly that leads directly to a blessing.

In Hebrews, we find the actual term anchor used. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. A hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf… Jesus goes into the holy of holies in heaven to pray for you and me. He is our anchor, he is our haven of rest, and he himself talked about tying up to something solid.

This is from Luke. Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like. He is like a man building a house who dug deep and lay the foundation upon rock, tied the building to the rock and when a flood arose, when the storm came, when the stream broke against that house – friends there are always going to be storms – those storms could not shake it because it had been well built, it had been secured, and fastened to the rock. Which Jesus says is what he tells us to do.

Now here’s the opposite. This is a boat where the anchor failed. You know why the anchor failed? It was actually a hurricane. But when a boat loses its connection to something that is immovable, the rock, it becomes adrift and the storm just carries it along its way. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation fastened to nothing against which the stream broke and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great. An anchor will hold you in place.

In Tiny Habits, there’s three steps A, B, C. And the first step, A, is to find an anchor. Because the new thing that you want to do, the new behavior, the way of living that’s different than what you’ve always done before, the way that’s more in accord with what Jesus said but it’s different from you’ve always done before. It’s very, very helpful if you tie that boat up to a solid rock, to an anchor, which will hold the new habit in place by connecting it with an old habit.

We have many routines, don’t we? Do you ever find yourself driving and you’re not thinking and instead of turning to go toward the grocery store, you turn on the road to go home because you’re driving on automatic pilot? Do you know what that is? You have a habit. You have a routine and if you’re not paying attention, your routines take over. So when you want to change something that you do, look at your routines for an anchor. For something you automatically do.

Since I’ve started taking blood thinner I no longer shave with a razor. I still walk into the bathroom and want to reach for the razor. Why? Because for over 50 years I’ve been reaching for that razor first thing when I walk in as a part of the taking a shower routine in the morning. But if you connect the new thing that you want to do … let’s say flossing one tooth … with a habit that you already do … like shaving … after you shave, it’ll be easy to move on to the new thing, which is the floss one tooth.

You’ve heard what is my habit every morning. If I could connect everything I need to do with drinking coffee, it would happen automatically. The blue cup. It was my father’s and he died in 2003, and I’ve been drinking coffee out of it since a few weeks after that. It feels like it connects me to him. It’s an anchor, and I’ll be honest with you, when I forget and leave it over here I have to drink my coffee at home out of something else … and it’s just not the same. It’s just not right.

There are times I have pulled on some clothes and actually come over here to get the blue cup because it’s the only right way to have coffee and so consequently, you’ve heard me say this before, I do my morning devotions with the coffee in the blue cup, because you start with something that’s an anchor. Start with something that’s a sure thing. Start with something that makes it easy and then you tie the new habit to follow it. I always do that after the first sip of coffee, which is my prayers or reading a chapter in scripture. I do that after the second sip of coffee. Or praying for your neighbors. Well, I do that after the third sip of coffee. But if you start with something that’s already a habit you can add to that habit and the anchor will help you be certain to keep doing the new thing that you want to do.

Last week I mentioned to you that I take my watch off before I take a shower and set it on top of my pillbox. When I get out of the shower it’s automatic: Go put your watch on. Oh, and take your pills. Well, yesterday I didn’t put it on the pillbox and I didn’t take my pills. If you connect the thing that you want to do … If you connect the thing that Jesus Christ wants you to do … to something you’re already doing … You’ll find that because you have an anchor, the new habit will be much easier to become a part of that habit. To where, now, for me reading scripture while I drink coffee out of that blue cup, it’s automatic. And in fact, I could add another tiny behavior, tiny habit, to it because it’s become natural and automatic.

But why? Because I tie the new behavior to an anchor, an existing and powerful habit for my life. And this is my new habit: In every setting, to declare that Jesus is Lord over that place. And the anchor here is the going into that new place. In the mornings, I will walk across the street to the church. I can tie to that behavior that’s automatic this new prayer, which makes Jesus Lord. I’m announcing that Jesus is Lord over this new place.

When I get in the car and go to the store, the store becomes the place where Jesus is Lord. When I get in the car after the store, and I come back home, when I come into my home, Jesus is Lord over this new place, my home. When you connect the habit to an anchor, something you already do, you’re anchoring the new habit into the anchor that is the old habit. So if you want to change something, make it part of your routine. Look for part of your routine that is so strong that you wouldn’t not even think of skipping it, and then connect that new behavior to the old behavior which is automatic.

Little things that we do can add up. And little changes in what we do can create a great difference. If you’re flying an airplane from one side of the country to another, and you make the tiniest little adjustment in your course, when you get to the other side of the country, you’re going to be miles and miles and miles in a different direction. Little tiny things matter. And if we begin to focus on them, we can adjust and change our lives. And of course, in the current time of this pandemic, we are prevented from doing the great big things that are our preference. But we’re still able to do the little things. And I think that can make all the difference.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, help us to have the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change but the courage to change the things we can. And help us also to understand, Lord, that one of the ways we make something impossible to do, one of the ways we make change impossible, is when we make it this great big task that would take an army, that would take a bulldozer, that is beyond our ability as simple human beings. But help us, Lord, instead, to focus on those little tiny changes which are well within our powers to make. Help us tie them, Lord, to the anchors of current habits. But even more, Lord, help us to tie our tiny little changes to what your scripture asks us to do, so that as we are people who live out your scripture, we might see the blessings of the promises that you make flowering all around us. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.

VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple-makers.

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One Response to Sermon 08/23/20: Solid Habits Make Good Anchors (Pentecost XI)

  1. Gerri Molina says:

    It seems that each week the sermon tells me or shows me something I can use in the week to come. Loved today’s sermon and music selections!

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