HABITS WORTH HAVING – Celebration (Luke 2:10) ----------------------------------------------- We should live the joy of Christmas all year long. Remember that Jesus came with great joy. God doesn’t promise happiness all the time, but we need to be careful to not be so serious that we lose the joy of knowing Him. Joy is in us even when we are struggling in difficult situations and live in the midst of turmoil. Rather than wait until things are good, we should celebrate in anticipation of what He has for us. It’s all about faith in Who He is. We should enjoy ourselves, lives, the beauty in the world and people. When we follow God, the fruit of the Spirit shows up and joy is a part of that. True joy is from having a right relationship with God. Our obedience is the visible expression of faith, and joy is the reality of our life in comparison with a holy God. Application points: -- Don’t take yourself so seriously that you never enjoy and are not enjoyable. Give yourself permission to enjoy life. -- Fight sadness with celebration. Don’t be alone, and don’t dwell on all that has gone wrong. -- Get together and don’t forget to laugh. Prepare for heaven. There will be much joy! -- Obey God with the intention of enjoying His goodness.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
HABITS WORTH HAVING – Stewardship (Matt 25:14-30) ----------------------------------------------- Our time, possessions, talents and abilities are all gifts from God, and He is the source and the owner of all of them. (Gen 14:22; Ps 24:1). We need to faithfully manage what the Lord has entrusted us with. The parable of the talents shows that God entrusts us by the ability that we have to handle it. The servant who buried the talent put his own thoughts and ideas on the master rather than recognizing the master’s true self. When the servant buried the resource, it wasn’t used for good. It went unused. We need to be faithful and recognize that our God is love, grace, and life. (I Cor 4:2). We should do our very best to be obedient, and should have fun with what we do for the Lord. And we should do our work for the Lord. Our reward is not monetary gain, but is the relationship we have with the Lord and other people. We need to be careful not to live our life in an illusion that we are living with God when we live a life of disobedience. We are to use His resources to help others (I Peter 4: 10-11), and need to consider whether it is what God intended for His resources. He wants us to use our time, money, talents and abilities to accomplish what HE wants. God’s will for us is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, making disciples of all people… to care for widows and orphans, do justice, and love mercy. Application points: --If you want to talk percentage, talk 100% rather than 10%. It’s ALL God’s. -- Steward your time (Ephesians 5:15-16). Care about what God cares about and spend your time accordingly. -- Seward your treasure (I Cor 16:2, II Cor 9:7) Steward your talents. (I Peter 4:10). Use it to serve others. -- Buy stock in the Great Commission. There is a Guaranteed investment return. We need to stop being disciple by the world. Things are either temporal (things) or eternal (people and God). Ultimately, we are here to make disciples.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
HABITS WORTH HAVING – Fellowship (Acts 2:41-47; Heb 10:19-25) ----------------------------------------------- God created a family. He gives us spiritual gifts so that we can build up the body of Christ (Eph 4:11-16), and he gives us the ability to exercise those gifts. Share life on the journey to maturity. As part of His family, we should genuinely care about each other. Rather than say “I don’t need church,” we should want to be together. Jesus calls us His body. We need people and need to be part of the fellowship. It gives us checks, and we can encourage each other and cheer each other along. Application points: -- Make certain you enter the fellowship through faith in Jesus. -- Share life with people who point you to Jesus. Reach out to others, but beware the influence of bad people. -- Invest in the relationships of fellowship so that we all grow. We all have gifts, abilities, and resources to bring. But we need to invest it. Don’t sell ourselves short of what God has put in us. We need to bring our gifts to bear for the body.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
HABITS WORTH HAVING – Gratitude ----------------------------------------------- When people don’t know who to be thankful to, they develop a sense of entitlement and ingratitude. Also, when we dwell on things that are bad, we are grumpy with God instead of thankful. The Bible does not say that we won’t have problems, but it tells us to rejoice in various trials. That is how God forms our character. God is better to us than we think He is, and He is not holding out on us. He knows more about us than we do, and His arms are open wide for a close relationship with us. Focusing on God opens up our generosity. All things good are from God and are for His purpose. God put us here with an eternal focus. You’ve heard “you are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” Actually, if you are earthly minded, you are of no earthly good. We should thank God for specific things. When learn to be grateful, then we can invest in everything God wants us to do. Application points: -- Groom your gratitude. Become intentionally grateful and tell God so. -- Beware the grumbling of ingratitude. If you find yourself grumbling, choose to be grateful instead. -- Thank God for a hard thing and see what happens. God says to be thankful in all things. It stretches our faith.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
HABITS WORTH HAVING – Service (John 13: 12-16) ----------------------------------------------- Our threshold for service is really tied to our pride. We need to lay down our pride and take up our towel. Jesus, the King of Kings, humbled Himself to the extreme when He washed the feet of the disciples. But the message is not about foot washing – it is about SERVING. Service creates the path to an attitude of humility (Phil 2: 3-5). The more power and prestige we have in life, the less we tend to have an attitude of humility and service. (Matt 20: 25-28). God gives us gifts so that we can SERVE. But we need to serve for God’s purpose and serve others without resenting them. When we do it for the Lord, it changes our attitude. To be great, we should live to serve. We are to be His hands and feet for the great commission and to build up the body. Application points: -- Learn to live for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15). The motivation for service is love born of worship and gratitude. -- Find the joy of a gifted serving and non-gifted serving. (It doesn’t matter if you have the spiritual gift of service.) -- -- Joy doesn’t mean easy … or even fun every time. -- -- Don’t wait to “discover” your gift before you serve. There is no shortage of needs. -- Search your heart for hiccups about serving.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Pastor David is starting a GREAT new series called HABITS WORTH HAVING – Building Your Character for Now and Forever (I Tim 4:6-10) ----------------------------------------------- Up to 40% of what we do is out of habit, some intentional and some not. Habits always have a trigger, then a result (the habit), and then a reward. Character is FORGED. We need to Build habits that bring us closer to Christ. We can’t sit back and expect God to make us godly. God calls us to the “Spiritual gym” to build our character. Our character and people we have discipled are the only things that we will take to heaven. To build a new habit, we must be intrinsically motivated. It takes an average of 66 days to build a new habit. We should start with something achievable. We won’t be perfect, so we shouldn’t beat ourselves up. When developing a new habit, there will be a honeymoon phase and a struggle phase, and it will help to have support. It will also help to schedule time for the new habit and to be accountable to someone. Let’s get ready to go to the Spiritual gym to develop new habits. A beginning is to meditate on what God has to say to us, and embrace silence so that we can better hear God. Application points: --Choose what habits need replacing and what habits need building. Figure out what is not forming Christ in you and change that. --Trust God’s empowerment for change … but work hard at it. --Let’s work together to become like Christ (Eph 4:13). Who can you work with for encouragement and accountability?
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Build Your Life (Matt 7:21-27) ----------------------------------------------- Some people want to claim Jesus as Savior but not as Lord because they don’t want to surrender their will to God’s will. We can’t have a Savior without a Lord because He is the same. God wants us to believe in Jesus as the ONLY way to Salvation, and He wants us to do what HE wants. A true Christian will always bear spiritual fruit. We should live a life that stands the test of time. God is judge and He sets the rules. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of doing works for ourselves, but should be careful where the spotlight falls. If we worry about what others think, then we worry about the wrong thing. What are we doing with the time that God has given us? Is our life all that we hoped for? We should listen, obey, and LIVE, investing ourselves in others: serve God and leave the world a better place; have a great marriage; teach our kids to know and love God so that they spend eternity with Him; have amazing friends. We should live to stand now and forever, and seek a life that stands on Jesus as the solid foundation. Here’s how we can do that: -- Live fully surrendered to Jesus. Make sure He sets our agenda and don’t be ashamed that we stand for Him. -- Make sure our salvation shows up and works out. No one should be shocked that we are a Christian. We should give a testimony, tell people how to trust God and share what He is doing in our life, but don’t hog the spotlight. -- We should be intentional. Identify the life and legacy that we would like and then follow God’s way to that reality.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
How to make sure you’re really here (Matt 7:13-20) ----------------------------------------------- We sometimes feel that we should make the rules for our lives and that our opinions should matter a lot to the rest of humanity. Because we in America are so blessed, we begin to think that we are privileged, but we lose sight of WHY: because God is gracious to us. The irony is that Bible-believing Christians are sometimes accused of being egotistical because we say that there is only one way to God, and that Jesus is the only One Who can save us from our sins. It’s not an opinion, it’s what God says. Unbelievers often just don’t see their need for God. Sin is about attitude. We think “It’s about me and what I want,” not about God’s way.” “Sin” comes from an archery term for “missing the mark.” It makes us spiritually dead and only Jesus can bring us to spiritual life. Christianity is the only religion honest enough to say that we cannot save ourselves from the consequences of our sin, but God is loving and gracious enough to offer us life through His Son. That offer is for ALL who put their faith in Jesus for their salvation. We need to trust completely in Christ alone to live. Application points -- Inspect your life to ascertain which road you’re walking. The narrow way is Jesus; the broad way is destruction. -- Trust in Christ alone. -- Beware of false prophets.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Learning Wisdom in Relationships (Matt 7:1-6) ----------------------------------------------- The world believes a lot of ½ truths, like “Do not judge”. Consider how you would feel if people said ½ truths about what you say. In this context, in Greek, “judge” means to condemn, as in eternal judgment, which is Jesus’ job. We need to understand the difference between condemning and discerning. We should apply our energy to deal with our own sin first, and let God do surgery on our hearts so that we walk closer to Him. It really is about our attitude. God deserves our best. You wouldn’t take something precious and throw it to pigs where it will get trampled. Likewise, we shouldn’t allow others to take what was intended for God. Lots of people spout off concerning things they know little about. Our time and resources should go to shine Jesus’ light. If someone attacks us, we should keep being the light of the world and salt of the earth. This does not mean that we become a doormat. It is OK to say somebody “You don’t get to shred me.” We shouldn’t let them trample or control us. When they stop attacking, THEN we can talk. We should show love, forgive, and not condemn. If they don’t want to hear about God’s love, then that is between them and God. Application points -- Start with yourself. Ask God for a “plankectomy.” What is the plank in our own eye? We need to consider whether we are asking for forgiveness or asking Him to excuse it. -- Lose any condemning attitude or spirit. -- Encourage holiness in your fellow Christians (Hebrews 19:19-25) -- Discern whether you need to make changes in your relationships.