Friday, December 31, 2010

Moving on from the status Quo

Last year about this time my old pastor(i miss him so much) came to me and asked if I would like to-do a Teen sunday and he asked if i would like to preach.......

Well at that question my eyes got big and I said to him HAHA me why me....

In pastor daves words..... Well Erin you are the youth pastor and people want to hear from you.... so for about 4 weeks i felt so sick but I know that this was something I had todo.

I had never preached before....Yes I do Wednights and stuff like that but not Sunday Monding please give us money sing holy holy holy preach.....So who would I go to but my daddy...One of the best preachers i hope...

That is my dad Pastor Don one of the best i know...This is us on christmas day.... HEHE

Anyways back to my story.... So I worked with my dad and i prayed god layed something on my heart. the Sunday came and i did my thing...if was so amazing God was there that day in such a great way....

Well one of the things that I like to do each dec 31st is clean out my e-mails and i came acrosse that serman that i did that Sunday....

I had to read it and man is it all about moving forward and not living like everyone wants you to be....It is a great NEW YEARS message...So I wanted to share it with all of you...

I pray that this year you will move out of the status quo. That you will stand up for God and for the great things he has in store for you and your family....

Here is the surman i hope god speaks to you like he did to me today...

Moving On from the Status Quo

Philippians 3:12-3:16
the other day I was watching CSI
In this episode of “CSI” the star quarterback was murdered at his 10-year high school reunion.
The episode was about attitudes, reputations, and grudges.
One of the saddest aspects of the show was that some of the people had never grown up since graduating 10 years before.

They were as immature as ever, and in one case it lead to murder.
And as I watched this show, a question kept running through my mind: would those classmates see each other for who they were back in high school, or would they see them for who they were now?

I was thinking this because in spite of the fact that they thought they were pretty cool in high school, the fact of the matter was that they were really rather immature people, and that carried over into college and then some; Obviously not in height or number of living hair follicles, but at least in terms of character and wisdom.

Truth is, we don’t want to be seen as the same immature person we had been all those years before, we really want to be seen as people growing and maturing in our lives and careers
Unfortunately, as exampled in this episode - many of the people still do the same stuff they did in high school: getting drunk, doing drugs, and getting into trouble.
And unfortunately, for some, this continues to be their lifestyle.
Now, my guess is that I’m not the only one here today that wants others to see me as mature. I think that all of us want to be seen as mature in one way or another.

Many of us would rather not be thought of as mature in terms of growing old. And we can probably all think of people who are “old” but they’re not “mature.”

They’re adults but they act like selfish and self-centered children who don’t know any better.
And the question that we have to face as we look at ourselves in the mirror of our soul is this:

Am I maturing in Christ or am I stuck in the same old ruts I’ve been in for years?
If someone were to look at me, would they see that I’ve grown up a bit, especially in my character?
That’s a tough question, because for many of us, the answer may not be something we want to acknowledge
I think all of us have areas of our life where we would like to be more “grown up.”

I don’t know what that is for you – but you know. And even if it’s never been at the front of your thinking, you can find something in your life.

So what can we do about it?
What can we do to become people who are characterized by maturity instead of living in the ruts of life?

Well, I think it lies in the idea that we need to develop a discontent with the status quo, or the current status of our spiritual life.
In other words, getting the mindset
- That where I’m at in my spiritual life isn’t good enough any more.
- That no matter how long I’ve lived and no matter how long I’ve had Jesus in my heart, there is always more of Christ to grasp.
- Maybe you’ve had the Christ-filled life that some in all congregations have;

o Like a gentleman I went to church with in Rochester; Harry Evens. Even before his death at 78 he would have told you that at 78 years old and walking with Jesus for about 70 of them, there was still more of Jesus to grasp.
- Or maybe you’re a baby in the faith – you’ve just given your life to Jesus recently.

o The good news is that you’ve just entered a journey that can be filled with the wonder of God doing marvelous things in your life. And I’m certain that there are some here in this congregation with the same testimony.
- Or it could be that maybe you invited Jesus into your life a number of years back, but you’ve never really understood what it means to mature in that faith and become a person who wants more of God.
No matter where you fall in those categories, or if you’re in a completely different category, my hope is that you will walk out of here today wanting more.

That you’ll walk out of here determined that starting today, you’re going to seek Christ and the maturity in character He wants to give to all who want it.
And if I were to give you the one thing that I want you to take away from here today, it would be this:
Spiritual maturity is not in the ruts, it’s in the reaching.
It’s in the reaching for Christ.
Now it’s important to understand that as we seek maturity, we gain a couple side-benefits:
First, we start to get all that Christ has for us.
We hear Him better, and we’re better able to experience the blessings He has in store for us, we’re better able to handle the hard times as well as appreciate the good times.
A second side-benefit is that as we actively seek maturity in the faith, we get this incredible thing that I’ve been talking about, and that is maturity in character.
But it begins by seeking maturity in Christ.

Please understand the point of all this is that gaining all that Christ has for you and gaining maturity in faith and character is impossible by maintaining the status quo of going through the same old routine of life you’ve been in.
You can’t live in a state of spiritual whatever; where we just say that God’s okay as long as He keeps His distance and doesn’t bother me and hope to get all the great things God has for you.
It just doesn’t happen.

- These things are promised to those who reach for them.
- For those who want them so badly they’ll do whatever it takes to get them.
The words of God through Paul in the book of Philippians are a great wake-up call for us when it comes to growing up and becoming mature.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: by no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward- to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision- you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it Philippians 3:12-16 (The Message)

What does Paul mean when he says that he hasn’t achieved “these things?”
He’s talking about how he hasn’t yet achieved the full experience of Christ – His power, death, and resurrection.
But here’s the point of Paul’s words.
Paul says that he’s not going to live in the ruts of his spiritual life. He’s going to reach for the things of Christ. He’s going to continue reaching for spiritual maturity.
And he says this isn’t just something he’s going to put on his to-do list or that this is his New Year’s Resolution.
He says that this is his focus in life. Reaching for maturity in Christ is his reason for living.
He also says that the reaching isn’t for the faint-hearted. He says here that he’s straining to get hold of these things.

It’s not just like opening the cupboard and reaching for a cup on the top shelf and it’s too high so you have to get a chair (or for some of us, a step-ladder).
This kind of straining involves setting aside everything else for the greatness of knowing Christ.
Paul says that he’s working toward that day when he would be all that Jesus wants Him to be. He’s going to do whatever it takes to reach that goal.
And it’s important to understand that this is something that Jesus Himself wants for you.
Look back at verse 12 –
But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.
This isn’t the empty ramblings of the youth leader who’s expected to say these kinds of things. It’s the heart of Jesus Himself.

So can you really pass this off as just some nice religious talk on a Sunday?
I mentioned a couple side-benefits we gain when we seek spiritual maturity – it helps us mature in character and it gives us access to all that Christ has for us.
But there’s another reason for seeking maturity. Let me read verse twelve again, but from the English Standard Version –

…but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Why should we bother with this?
- Because Christ made us His own!
- And remember what it cost Him – His very life!

And we stand here and sit here thinking that God has no right to intrude into our personal lives?
How stupid can we be!
You and I will never have a friend who cares for us like Jesus.
We’ll never have a family member who loves us as deeply as Jesus.
And in spite of the fact that we turn our backs on Him, He chose to die for us, making us His own.
Knowing that, knowing that; can you continue to push Him aside, saying that you have no need or use for Him outside of these walls?
Or that He just needs to keep His distance until a time when we really need Him to bail us out of some bad situation?God forgive us for that!

We move on from the status quo by:
1. Refusing to live in the past.
Paul is writing this from prison, and yet he’s got his mind focused not on his past, or even his present circumstance. He’s focused on what’s ahead.

I want to encourage you to get past the thinking that it’s too late for you because too much time has passed or because maybe you’ve done something in the past that you think will disqualify you from what Jesus wants for you.
If that’s you, then let me remind you of something:
Jesus offers forgiveness for anything you’ve done.
You just have to ask for it. The Bible says that if we confess our sins to God, He forgives them and He cleans us up. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. Jesus brings forgiveness.
Whatever the reason, refuse to live in the past.
The second way to move on from the status quo is by…
2. Living to the level you’ve already know.
Do you understand that you are responsible for the truth you already possess?
It’s like Mark Twain and a quote he made,
“It’s not the parts of the Bible that I DON’T KNOW that bother me – it’s the parts that I DO know”

If you’ve been walking with Jesus for any appreciable length of time, and you have access to a Bible, then you have no excuse for not living up to what you already know.
One of my jobs as a youth leader is not only to help my teens grow in maturity, it’s also to do what I can to take away any excuses they may be clinging to in order to make a commitment to follow Christ wholeheartedly.

You know what God expects of you, and if you don’t know, you have the Bible to help you find out. And then you need to live up to what you already know, with the help of God.
Here’s the third way of moving on from the status quo of our spiritual life, and that is by…
3. Striving for more of Jesus.
This is basically admitting to yourself that the status quo of your spiritual life isn’t good enough. You want more of Jesus and what He offers you.
And so you ask God to give you the motivation and the strength to do whatever it takes for you to get it.
It’s excepting that where you are now is not good enough anymore.

We move from the status quo of our spiritual life by refusing to live in the past, living up to what we’ve already attained, and by striving for more of Jesus.

Why is this so important, anyway?
Why should you bother with this?
Why should you even bother with the idea of straining for the things of Christ when you might be just comfy where you are?
Because God has more for you.

The great thing about maturity in Christ is that it’s not just for adults. It’s available to anyone who wants it, regardless of age.
Children can be mature in Christ – at least as mature as they can be at their age.
I’ve known children who are spiritually more mature than a lot of adults I’ve known.

Truth is - We live in a real greedy society.
And it’s not just here in America. Greed is part of every society in the world.
What do you thinks would happen if we, the people of God, got greedy for something else?
What would happen if we decided to get greedy for the things of God?
What do you think would happen if we got greedy
- for more of Jesus –
- more time in the Bible –
- more time in prayer for others and the church as well as ourselves –
- greedy for the kingdom?

Do you realize how uncommon that kind of thinking is, even among followers of Jesus?
Most people are greedy - But not for the things of God.
Listen to me; can you imagine what God would do in the midst of individuals and this church if we got serious about being greedy for the things of God above ourselves?
It’s unthinkable,

Ephesians 3:20-21(English Standard Version) says this –
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen

What if churches all across Ortonville and Oakland County became infected with people who were greedy for the things of God?
Can you imagine the impact that would have?
- People would see that Jesus is real – not just some religious figure we talk about on Sundays and give lip-service to the rest of the week.
- They would see that Jesus is really here to bring help for the here and now and hope for the hereafter.
- They would see that the Word of God is living and active, and that the Holy Spirit is moving in the lives of those who take it in through reading and study and meditation and hearing and memorizing.
- They would see that God is alive and active in the lives of His people.
- And the Holy Spirit can use those things to draw people to Himself, and as we see that happening, guess what else happens?
- We get even more excited about Christ and what He has for us. And so we get even more greedy for the things of God.

So why aren’t we doing that?
Why not believe that God can do His thing through every individual here and let it ripple throughout Lake Louise, causing us to be a people who are caught up with striving for maturity in Christ and the blessings it brings?
You know we’re at the beginning of a new year.
Let me ask? What if this church – everyone who comes here - get’s greedy for God?
What kind of an impact do you suppose you’d have on your community?

Could you see it?
- Class rooms filled to capacity with people, young and old, wanting, no needing, to know more about God.
- Children running around these grounds with happy hearts because they just finished their Bible quizzing classes.
- Teen’s – in the church - in this neighborhood witnessing to un-churched people of how God is real in their lives.
- Multiple Sunday services:
o Altars filled as people, young and old alike seeking forgiveness of sins, sanctification of their hearts and lives, healing of body and relationships
o Prayer teams praying throughout each service for God’s glory
o Praise and Worship teams leading and inspiring those here to engage in worship
- Small Group ministries
- Wednesday Caravan classes packed to the max
- Care teams scouring the neighborhood
- Community helps programs meeting the needs of those in this community
And the list can go on and on and on…

But– the truth is – none of this can or will happen if you’re stuck in the rut!
So what’s the desire for Lake Louise?
I want to close this service this morning with a song. I would like you to ask the Lord a single question –
“Lord, am I living my life for You – or am I stuck in a rut?
Am I stuck in the rut of sin, or contemptment, or selfishness, or greed, or laziness?
What ever rut are you in – the answer is here this morning at the altar of prayer.

Let me tell you; God will forgive and restore you if you come to Him and ask for forgiveness.
Do you believe that?
God WILL lift you out of the rut and put you back on high ground – if you confess and allow Him to change you from the inside out!
And if you are one who wants to be part of Christ’s plan for Lake Louise Church of the Nazarene – I invite you to come and gather at the altar for a prayer of commitment for the New Year.
I believe that not only CAN God do it here at Lake Louise, I believe He WANTS to do it.
So let’s invite Him in to do it right now as the song plays – come.

(After song is done)
I believe that not only CAN God do, I believe He WANTS to do it. So let’s invite Him to do it right now.

Let’s pray.

This song played in the background when we were praying....

Happy New Years everyone..... I hope you will find tons of love, great health, and hope this year...

Till Next Time.....

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