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Monday, February 28, 2011

Are you satisfied? (Sermon notes)

Subject: “Are you satisfied?” February 27, 2011

Text- Philippians 4:13-15

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.  Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only..." (New International Version, ©2010)

This epistle was written during Paul’s imprisonment, and he has a right to grumble. He has been beaten, shipwrecked, talked about, and imprisoned (still). He is waiting for his trial before Cesar. He has a full cup of disappointment. He finds something to rally himself in the service of the Savior.

Many of us have a countenance like lemonade. We frown up on everything in life.

Are you satisfied with the Savior?

Paul finds something to propel him forward in the face of failure. What keeps him with joy on the insides? To do this he (we) needs to have been sincere in what he (you) started.

We need to come into service with a sincere heart. Some of us come into church service with insincerity, and ultimately find dissatisfaction with the Savior. We become dissatisfied to the point that we have come to.

We need to be sincere in the service to the Lord!

Salvation is the birthing pool of sincerity.

We need complete commitment to the call of the Gospel.

Paul is not sorry for serving the Lord.

In Chapter 1, verse 7, Paul is commending the Philippians for laboring with him in this journey. Despite his circumstances, he still finds satisfaction with the Savior.

And that is what we need to find...despite steel mills closing, spouses going on, children who stray from our teachings.

“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough!”

Personal success is not the only measure of satisfaction.

How can we find satisfaction in the light of a dissatisfying circumstance?

We must have high standards, and a lot of it is right here in Philippians:

Philippians (King James Version)

2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus..."

2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth..."

3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death..."

3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before..."

Do you still have joy in the midnight hour or in the midst of your sorrow?

Is it worth it to work for God? Or, are you working for your own appetite?

In my poverty, I am filled with fullness. We need a spiritual diet.

The context of Paul’s epistle is set in suffering.

From the Greek: 4:13

panta            ischuw                          en           tw         endunamounti        me               [cristw]

(panta)       (ischuO)                       (en)          (tO)    (endunamounti)        (me)            [(christO)]       

ALL         I-AM-beING-STRONG     IN          THE    One-IN-ABLING       ME             ANOINTED  
                                                                                 one-invigorating                           Christ

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (King James Version)

Panta means - in every way

Iscuw meaning - I endure

What Paul is saying here is that IN EVERY WAY, I ENDURE! [And I’m still standing].

And this is what qualifies m and us for the promises of Jesus. When you reach your bottom, HE is still able to fill you up!

Ilus.: A runner: You cannot get your second wind, until you have expended your first wind, and continue on.

We come to the church and serve God in our limitation, rather than in expectation of the manifestation of God in our lives!

Psalm 42, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.." (NIV)

In Philippians 4:13, the word for Christ is not actually in the greek text Why? We are referred back to John 15:5, where Jesus says very clearly, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (NIV)

You can do nothing unless you abide in me. Christ has been Paul’s supplier through it all. Although he is suffering on the outside, he is praising him on the inside.

The psalmist says, (Psalm 51:12), “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (NIV)

Paul is an authorized user and point of release of God’s power. He is not in this for, for him own benefit, or by himself!

Paul’s anointing is not his own. Aaron was anointed with oil. Sampson was anointed by the Lord, he shook.

Once you get qualified for anointing power, it does not leave you. It stays in you.

Are you qualified, anointed AND appointed?
When trouble is all around, call on HIM!

Illus.: A lesson we can learn from March Madness, the game of keep away. When the victory is clearly in sight, and time is running out, the players pass the ball around to run the clock down. In “old school” parlance this was called “keep away.” Now it is called “four corners.”

Don’t let the devil steal your joy, play keep away.

Friday, February 25, 2011


A few weeks ago in class, a question was posed about forgiveness and the people of Rwanda. I know we have many other, newer tragedies to capture our attention, but have you considered the Rwandans lately? How do Christians in Rwanda go about forgiving their neighbors (and sometimes relatives) for genocide?

When we American churchgoers talk about forgiveness, it’s because someone sat in our favorite seat, or got more attention than we did, or missed our birthday, or didn’t say “Good Morning” properly, and a whole host of other trivialities.

Has someone ever said to you, "Well, you know I've forgiven you. But I'll never forget the time you ..."

If so, what did that relationship feel like afterwards? Was trust truly restored? Did you feel the warmth and intimacy of true friendship and a restored relationship? Did you still get that warm fuzzy feeling when you spent time with this person? Probably not.

Why is such counterfeit forgiveness so incredibly unsatisfying and disheartening?

It is because this is not the forgiveness that Christ teaches us to have for one another?

When someone claims to forgive you, but continues to remind you of your wrong over and over again, it is easy to have ongoing feelings of guilt and shame. If the person you wronged constantly brings up your past offense and keeps you at a "distance," it is amazingly hard to let your guard down and be yourself around that person because of the sense of ultimate rejection and a feeling of impending doom that you will offend them again.

This is the opposite of the cheerfulness, blessedness, liberation, and joy we have knowing that when God forgives us, he removes our sin "as far as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12) Compare the phony forgiveness to the sweetness of our loving relationship with "Abba Father" who grants us the gift of repentance and then runs to his wayward children to lavish forgiveness on us and restore us into his family.

This is not to say that some of us haven’t had terrible things done to us, but, what about forgiveness? Some of us have been molested, lied about, persecuted. But, easy or hard, Christ has commanded us to forgive.

Today, we will find ourselves in Matthew 18. Jesus has just finished speaking about how to deal with sin in the church, and is about to launch into a parable about an unmerciful servant. Do you think this was intentional? Are you ever struck by how these stories and parables are ordered? Could Jesus have foreseen that His followers might have a problem with un-forgiveness? That we’d have trouble showing even the smallest mercies to each other. Anyway, between these two tasks, Peter stops Jesus to ask Him a question, beginning in verse 21.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Now, I don’t think Jesus was telling Peter to keep a little notebook, and count out nearly 500 offenses for a particular person. I think he is using what we call a hyperbole, an exaggeration to make a point. We all know some people who keep score and keep tabs of offenses in their heads so they can catch people “breaking the rules.”

I think what Jesus is saying is, that we need to forgive as many times as it takes. We can’t possible keep score. How many times has God, our Father forgiven us? For me, way too many times to count, but He keeps bringing me back, welcoming me into His arms.

What we are looking for is a restored relationship. There is a phrase that Pastor (McNeal Stewart, III) brought up in Bible study this week, Relational Justice. We are trying to get back to that place of equanimity, give and take, giving and receiving aid and support. All with no strings attached. Because, Jesus isn’t saying we should become someone else’s doormat or punching bag, either.

So what are we called to do?

First of all, we worship God and thank him for his amazing forgiveness.

Secondly, we pray for the grace to never say such harmful and unforgiving words to anyone ourselves.

And lastly, we are called to persevere in relationship with someone who claims to "forgive" us, but who consistently brings up our past offense, tells others about it, and keeps us at arm’s-length. We look for opportunities to bless them, share Christ with them, and prayerfully strive to help deliver them from their bitterness and un-forgiveness towards us and the rest of the world.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How do we display our faith?

Are we supposed to be ramming people and knocking them over for the Lord? Are we supposed to be in your face? Can we strongarm people into accepting the love of Christ?

Okay, I'm a nerd. I could use some of those post-it notes for Christ. I could go around sticking them on people I know need it. Maybe stick an appropriate scripture on their desk, or jacket, or maybe sneak in and put it on their computer screen!

I once had an acquaintance who liked baking bread and giving it away as gifts. Sounds pretty simple, but he like sticking religious sayings on cards in them. Imagine my surprise the first time I cut into one of these. Somehow it felt like being judgment against my faith, or at least my demonstration of my faith. There were weeks when I got no bread, and weeks when I got 2 or 3 loaves.

There are a couple of scriptures that come to mind here, they are about faith and works as written by Paul and James:

Galatians 2:16 - "Yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in/of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in/of Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law."

Romans 3:28 - "For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law."

James 2:24, 26 - "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone... For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead."

Now, I’m no expert, but what I think the Bible is trying to teach us is that it’s not all about, or at least not only about what you do. We all know people who do great works for show (or the need to shine), and not out of love or caring. I cannot truly judge another person, their motives or their heart, that is God’s work.

The lesson here, I think it that while we cannot ever judge the quality or sincerity of another’s faith, we can judge the quality of their works and the consistency of their work(s). And, if we, ourselves, have faith, then we should be and feel compelled to do good works.

Yes, for some of us, it might be would be a great deal easier for people to tell that we are Christian by our special uniform, dress, or something else we can put on. But, that’s just not how it works. It doesn’t matter how many crosses I may wear, or how long I pray in public, but the burning issue is, “Do I show love for God’s people?”

It really isn’t just what you do; it’s who you demonstrate yourself to be and the evidence that you give of Whose you are!

Who do you belong to, and can anybody (everybody) tell?

(Daily audio Proverbs added, see tabs to right)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Willingness vs. Willfulness- Part 1

Will we always be willful 2-year olds, who struggle and throw tantrums when the world does not bend to our desires?


Will we willing participants in God’s grand design?

It is deeply embedded within our human nature to try to persevere, to push on through with true grit and determination. There are times when we have to be forceful to get things done. But, when the pursuit our goals start to run amok and remain unchecked by love and sanity, they can be terrible (can I say un-Godly) forces to reckon with.

Many times, this is the way we approach God, what He is doing and what He wants to accomplish in and through our lives. It is also how we frequently approach our brothers and sisters.

Jesus left us with but 2 commandments. Most of us couldn’t recite the 10 if our very existence depended on it. He said to love God and love each other. That’s all we have to remember to do, but daily, we show little evidence that we can do either effectively. We seem to have particular difficulty with the second, especially when we aren’t getting our way. You know what we say, “My way or the highway.” “I’ll just take my toys and go home.”

Today, I want to focus on God’s love. We’ll save the interpersonal issues for another day….

God is love and He wants us to love Him. Not just demonstrating it by our abstention from sin and wrong-doing; not just by being obedient and following the rules. He wants us to depend on Him, earnestly and deeply. And we already know that we cannot change our willful minds and deceitful hearts all by ourselves or in our own strength.

We can gird up our loins (whatever that means), grit our teeth and promise one more time that we will act as like good little, compliant Christians. We promise that won’t spurn God’s love by acting as if He has not given us grace, mercy and salvation freely, and of His own choosing. But, if we try to take this approach, we miss the point of God’s love.

We become the willful 2-year old self that stubbornly slogs into church week after dreadful week, when we have fallen off the wagon or wandered into our favorite sin, and ask our brethren to forgive us, so that we can work our way back into God’s grace. And, we’d like to think better of ourselves. We’d like to think that we don't actually commit sin, but rather it catches us by surprise.

Week after dreadful week...

Since the Fall of Mankind (in Genesis), God has wanted to restore and renew His connection with us. Notice, I didn’t say to us because that would be one-sided. God wants a relationship with us. And, we have responsibilities in this relationship just like we do in any other.

We must make a conscious effort to move back toward God. After all, it is not God who has moved away...it is us. We have become mired in some kind of spiritual inattentiveness and practicing a outward appearance of worship. And although we’d like to say we don’t believe in the Prosperity Gospel, we want a God who will show up when we want, do as we ask and go back into hiding until it is convenient for us to call on Him again.

The world has much to show us and offer us, enticing us into temporary satisfaction and gratification. Our attention is pulled in so many directions- all away from our Father, our “first love” (Rev 2:4).

God wants to love us and our job is to willingly accept this. We cannot make God love us, although we certainly can make ourselves a little more loveable. We cannot earn “salvation points” by doing good deeds for short periods of time.

How many of us have made New Year’s resolutions? How long have we been able to keep them? And even if we did for a short period of time, it was hard work- and usually not pleasant. Ever wonder why this is? It is because we usually choose things that go against our natural tendencies. And we labor to distraction trying to stick to diets, getting up early to go to the gym, etc; trying to make it a habit.

God’s Love is not like this.

Paul says that it should bring us unspeakable joy, and peace beyond all understanding and comprehension. (Phil 4:7) Does Paul sound like the God of our ancestors want us to suffer? Now, don’t misunderstand me, we will suffer. We will suffer loss, pain, death of loved ones, economic misfortune. We will suffer if we tithe…or don’t. We will suffer if we come to Bible study...or don’t. Matthew reminds us that it rains on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45)

But we serve a God of magnificent, overwhelming and infinite love. We serve a God who is love. Who wants to meet us…where we are. Who wants to establish a relationship with us.

What’s my point?
Since we cannot willfully force or make God love us (even though He does), make Him do things for us, or give us what we want when we want it…what if we tried to willingly let Him come into our hearts and minds to let Him give us love?

God wants to take up residence in every atom of our being, every dark corner of our living, and every moment of our existence.

Will you let Him?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Toxic Thoughts...two-step program

We all have continually-playing loops inside our heads.
The voices may change a little, but if we look back and listen very carefully, we can find the original voice.
It may have been a parent, a sibling, a school bully...
It may now have a different sound or a different face, but it carries with it the same old message...
"I will never be good enough."
"I am a fraud, they will all see through me."
"I’m going to screw this up."
"What was I thinking when I started this project?"

My personal one is, “You can do better.”
It sounds so innocent, innocuous and motivating... "You can do better.”
But this innocent statement was not accompanied by love; there was no specific goal, no end in sight, no reward. “You can do better.” The stick with no carrot.
But I digress…

We are hard-wired to repeat our internal messages over and over.
These need to be replaced with the truth. The truth is the living and active Word of God. God has prepared our hearts to be transformed by His Word. We must each identify and reject toxic thoughts, and replace them with the inerrant truth of God’s word.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to carefully guard our thoughts because they are the source of true life.["Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."](KJV)

Proverbs 27:3a, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..."(KJV)

2 Corinthians tells us that our weapons have divine power...

["For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ...2 Cor 10:3-5](KJV)

The Greek word used here is dounimas, translated into our word dynamite.
Our thoughts are like dynamite!
We have the power to demolish strongholds.
Stronghold is from the Greek word acamora, meaning a prisoner locked in by deception.

People, we, run the risk of not becoming what God intends because we are locked in a prison of lies and deceptions

The scripture tells us to take captive every thought, and make it obedient to Christ! And, we must carefully guard our minds.

We must stop replaying the same old recordings that are simply not true.

The battle in the spirit world can be won or lost in your mind. You have a choice.
You must make a conscious choice. Isn't it interesting how we so easily wander, slide or fall into our favorite sins unconsciously? Not thinking, just reacting, following our baser nature and instincts?

We must make a conscious choice to reject what is harmful and embrace what is true.
You see it’s a two-step process. Simply putting aside that which is painful leaves a void, a vacuum which will be filled ultimately with the same old garbage.

Secondly, we must embrace what is true- what we know and can see to be true, and what God Word says is true.

Aren't you tired of the same old, same old? But we cannot do this alone. It requires God's help.

Jeremiah 12:3 says, God I want YOU to test my thoughts, and set the bad ones apart, and destroy them!
[But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. Jer 12:3] (KJV)

Identify and discard toxic thoughts, caste them out of your thinking pattern. Send them off to the slaughterhouse.

When you hear the toxic loop being loaded up, reject it with all haste, and all the power that God has given you! Replace that toxic input with God’s truths!

Phil 4:7-9, it is the power of God that guards our hearts and minds.
[And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.] (KJV)

So, when those seeds of self-doubt and self-loathing start to sprout, douse them with the power that God has given you. Meditate on the good things, and God's truth, and let these things infuse your heart.

That's My King!- Dr S.M. Lockbridge

That's My King! from Albert Martin on Vimeo.

Who do you serve?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

God Wants You!

God wants to use you.

He wants to use what you have, as you are...right now, today.

We have to stop focusing on we would or could be if only...

What our church would be if only God had given us a bigger building, more parishioners, more money...

God has and continues to do remarkable things in our lives and in the life of the Body of Christ.

I implore you to pray, take an honest look at your life.

Look at what you DO have, find out what God wants you to DO in the Body of Christ.

I don't think Jesus did all that work on Calvary so that we can sit in the pews on Sunday to be entertained!

I believe God wants to take our "little bit" (which by the way is from Him) and add it to His "everything" and work miracles in and through us.

Stop waiting for the sky to open or the seas to part for God to move in your life.
He has already given us a great deal.

We frequently sing the song, but I don't think most of us listen to the words or letting move in our hearts..."If He doesn't do anything else for me, He's done enough."

Has He done enough? What are you doing?

God has pulled us here together to do a great work for Him.

Why are you standing around, or worse, standing in the way?

Acts 3:6

"Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (New International Version, ©2010)

"Then Peter said, silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (King James Version)

What I DO have...What I DO have...I give to you...

What has God already given you, that you are letting go to waste?

Where is your faith that God will help, support and guide you?

Look at your corner of the Kingdom?

There is work to be done!

There are lives to impact and souls to save.

What's your part?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daily Audio Bible Gadget Added

Trying to add a little more functionality and usefulness to the blog.

If you look over to the right, you will see that I have added a new gadget. I have added a one year daily bible reading. And the best part is, they read it to you.

Leave a comment, let me know what you think...

How do you view Tithing?

How we view our giving is important. Whether we are talking about tithing, offering, capital campaign, whatever... We are covenanted, having promised, to support our place of worship and the ministries generated from it.

This video is funny, but sadly it is also true:

1. The non-giver. Doesn't give but gives the appearance of giving. Perhaps God will give him the appearance of salvation, rather than the real thing.

2. God as an investment. Prosperity thinking all the way. Hear the actor when he says, "Do I love Him?...Whatever." Fortunately we serve a God who loves us anyway.

3. The clueless giver, counts everything and anything as a tithe. Come on, a "smile...boom-shaka-laka-tithe." I wonder if this works for the IRS? Don't get me wrong, making someone else smile is important and wonderful, but it doesn't help pay the bills. When was the last time you were behind in your bills, and smile got you off the hook?

4. Excuse-giver. Yes, we all have bills and obligations. But listen carefully as this gentlemen says hat he must first take care of what he wants (not just his needs) before he can even consider tithing.

5. Manipulator- I will give more, when I get more. I'll throw in a few more Benjamins when the choir starts singing songs I like and when the pastor starts talking about what I want to hear. And what I want to hear is that everyone should be more like me.

6. Pageant-giver. Now, anyone who knows me knows that this is my biggest bug. Every Sunday I have an internal struggle about this. The church that I grew up ion took up offering all at once. There was a separate receptacle to receive the tithes, but everyone went to put their money in together. That is not our current situation. The tithers are called forth separately. This by itself has no impact on whether I tithe or not, and if you really want to know you can ask me....but, every single Sunday I ask myself , and usually the poor soul sitting next to me, "Is it more important that I actually tithe (or make any other contribution), or is it more important that I be seen doing it?" But I digress...

We are here to help further the Kingdom of God. We have bound ourselves to a particular house of God, a particular church family in the Body of Christ. Just like our nuclear families we are responsible for taking care of it, seeing to its upkeep, and helping it not become irrelevant in reaching out to the dying world. Just like our nuclear families, we do not (should not) run away from home over minor disagreements. We don't leave the body, we pull closer into the Body for prayer and encouragement. We do not stop contributing to the electric bill because someone slighted us. We stand by our convictions, and we demonstrate the love of Christ to those who are hurting.

We are to be a shining example to the world around us. The world is in need of Christ's light, living water, and love...and we are His Body.

Leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I know this one....

Recently, our Pastor, Rev McNeal Stewart 3rd, did a series on The Church.
This video asks the question, "What is Church?

What is Church? from Contrast Films on Vimeo.

What is your answer?
What is church?
How do we make it what Christ intended?

Comment, or start a conversation...

See sermon notes below if you can't give a better answer than the people in the video clip...

The Church IS the Body of Christ!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Campground of God

February 6, 2011

Psalm 146

E. Kant- we can never really know something in its essence.

Not knowing exactly what God is, gives us no excuse for not knowing what He does.
We should not put our "mess" on God's shoulders. Some of the things in our life which are messed up, or not right, we messed up on our own. Some peop-le bring suffering on themselves.

God puts us in Hos camp, the Church...His Body. The material expression of the doing power of God! Perhaps we are not doing enough.

This Psalm reflects that the church is a camp and not a club. Clubs practice exclisivity, whereas the church should be practicing inclusivity. The Hebrew word for stranger is gyer, meaning a stranger wandering in the world. Similar to the English word, goer.

We should be welcoming to strangers. We are all strangers wandering through this world. The Church is not tryuly God's house unless it welcomes strangers, warms the weary by the power of God's love.

"Good ground" is a place where God's purpose can meet His people.

A camp is:

1. A place we can get some rest - welcome the weary traveller from the world

2. A place to get connected to resources
- when RVs pull into campgrounds, they connect to an outside power source to get fueled up for the journey ahead
3. A place where we can reach out. The church is open to anybody.

4. Continuing the RV metaphor...The church should be able to unhitch the trailer and lighten oour load

The church is a place and has a purpose.

God not only frees us from the evil that resides in the world, but also from the evil tha resides in us!

If we don't like being shaken up by God's plan, then God's campground, the church is probably not the place we should be.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Importance of the Body of Christ, part 2

January 30, 2011

The Importance of the Body of Christ, part 2

Colossians 2:17-9

We are blessed by what we are a part of, but we have a responsibility.
All Christians are connected to the body; no “going rogue.” “We act as a body.”
A body is a living organism- something that is doing and producing; not just existing. Without purpose, we are like a boat tossed by the winds of chance.

You receive real substantial grace that works in your life. “soma tu Christu”- the body owned by Christ. Chaos can enter into the Body of Christ when it is disorganized and disenfranchised. Disconnection leads to discontentment.

Look back at Calvary to see how much He cares. He gave Himself up for us.
If the body does not share in the benefits, then there is no reason to stay connected.

There is real consequential distribution of wealth at work in the Body of Christ. This works from the top down. Blessings given back to us from God…30, 60, 100 fold.
We must be connected to the Body to activate this promise. God wants to share (with you) in the wealth and work of the Kingdom.

The Spirit drives us into the world, not away from it. After Jesus’ baptism, He was driven into the Wilderness to be tempted. We come here (to church) to get our mojo, and this drives us into the world. “Be in the world, but not of it!” ... because we exist beyond this world.

Verse 17- “of things to come” speaks of future focus.
We have a hope beyond this present condition.
God is able to move you

Verse 17- prepositional focus on the future
Maximize your Christianity, not just by having the hands of Christ, but also the eyes of Christ.
The eyes of Christ focused on Christ’s future…past the Cross to a secure crown
Get focused on coming out, not on your current circumstance.

Verse 17- vision has something to do with the way the body of Christ functi0ons.
We are to learn to discern between light and darkness. This requires a discernment of spirit and circumstance.

There are two ways to deal with spiritual silence

(1) Learn to focus on the future, not circumstance.
a. eg. Lot and Lot’s wife. Don’t look back
b. The children of IsraelĂ  look toward the Promised Land
c. Put our effort and energy into what is getting ready to happen
d. Too many of our eyes are focused on the “right now”
e. The devil can blind us with “right now” silence

(2) Isaiah 40:31, “They shall mount up…
a. Higher perspective gives good sight
b. Learn to get “on top” of your problems
c. The higher you can put yourself, the smaller the problem looks
d. Wings of Spirit to get above our circumstance, trials and tribulations
e. Learn to have “eagle eyes”
f. Look down on problems, rather than at them
g. We relate to the world from heavenly perspective and bring our gifts together for common goals and problems

In the corporate world, different areas or divisions of a company are connected by a common goal. They all stay focused on what they are called to do. Focus on your house, your division…
Fix your house so that you might serve as an example to others.

A good body is not disjointed, disconnected, distracted or disaffected.

“Big Bad Wolf”…huffing and puffing so that others are not focused on what they are not doing!

If you aren’t producing, are you really a part of the Body of Christ?

We need to do a better job of distinguishing “worship service” from “in His service”
We are His workmanship. He will strengthen me for the journey.

We are here to fulfill the Great Commission…
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-21- New International Version, ©2010)