This Is the Year we Pivot

I believe there is a greater gulf between the church and the average unchurched American than there has ever been before. Ever.

And today, nearly a year into this pandemic, I believe many churches and Christians are:
…standing in the same place they were a year ago – great, if it is the right stance!
…sharing the same message as a year ago – awesome, if it’s the right message!
…sharing it in the same way as a year ago – and that’s where the problem is.

We need to pivot! Not change our stance or message, but the direction or way we share it.

But first we must consistently check a couple things: Is our stance Jesus’ stance? Is our message Jesus’ message?

We can’t afford to major on the minors. Matthew 23:24

On some level you have to believe God is involved in leading you to a local church body, your spiritual family. Don’t just embrace the friendships, but the wisdom and instruction too!

The basis to begin with as our stance & message is John 3:16-17.
– God loves us so much,
– He chose to send His Son to die for our sin,
– Faith in Him is all it takes for salvation,
– Condemnation is not part of God’s plan,
– God wants to save the whole world!

Our stance is a balance of grace and truth.

Our message is Jesus as our salvation!

How do we pivot? What does that look like? What is going to work?
– Alternative ministries
– Lifestyle evangelism, think long-term
– Listening to people’s heart not just their anger
– Keeping the focus on Jesus, not on proving you are right
– Maintaining a balance of truth and grace.

If there is no truth then there’s no need for grace.
If there is no grace then there’s no need for truth.

This Is the Year of Purpose

Resolutions are usually about what we do, like with our hands.
Real change begins in the heart.
Those things we settle in our heart are the real deal!


Matthew 3:1-8

HOW WAS JOHN SO CERTAIN OF HIS PURPOSE, HIS CALLING?

For one, his parents knew – and they told him. Luke 1:13-17, 76-79

If you have Godly parents or grandparents, listen to them!

But John also had to know for himself.

1. He received His understanding of his life purpose from God,

2. confirmed by Godly people in his life, and

3. then, and only then, determined how to walk that out


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW YOUR PURPOSE?

1. When you don’t know your purpose, anything and everything is a potential distraction, detour or dead end!

2. When you know your calling, nothing can stop you from fulfilling it!

3. Only people with purpose make a real difference!

KNOWING YOUR PURPOSE ISN’T ENOUGH
Do. Act. Commit. Consistently.
Lives are at stake. Families are struggling. Eternity is in the balance.
Some people use their “purpose search” as an excuse to not move on.

DID JOHN EVER DOUBT HIS PURPOSE?

Sure. And when he doubted, he went to the source of his calling! And Jesus answered his doubts! Matthew 11:2-5


HOW DO I KNOW AND BEGIN TO FULFILL MY PURPOSE?

  • Ask!
  • Expect confirmation!
  • Do what you know!

This Is the Year I Love Like Jesus

So exactly how did Jesus love so well?

Has Anyone Ever Seen Eros Without Agape?

Without agape, eros becomes merely physical. Like David with Bathsheba, in 2 Samuel 11.

We go through many chapters in our married life. Without agape, those non-eros chapters loom as the premature ending to the book – the marriage. Only agape can span the whole book!

The danger to an eros relationship without agape is when you lose your looks or your ability to have sex. Then what do you have?

Eros alone won’t cause a 20-something young lady to do what Larissa Murphy did. Read her story here.

Ever Seen Philio Without Agape?

Without agape, philio easily becomes cliquish, and often turns into favoritism or manipulation

It often devolves into liking only those who look and act like you, or only those who like doing what you like to do.

Isaac & Rebekah, even though a family, are good examples because they each chose the son most like them, and that they could get the most from. Genesis 25:19-28

That is philio without agape! Loving those like you that you can get something out of!

Read Maximilian Kolbe’s story – this is agape-based philio!

Ever Seen Storge Without Agape?

Without agape, storge devolves into all manner of family dysfunctions.

There ends up being more emphasis on appearances, often even making fake memories, rather than making a true family!

But Agape is:
Selfless, without expectation, sacrificial
Unconditional, regardless of the past
Is not earned or deserved
Driven by the belief that there is something bigger than oneself
A willful choice, an exercise of the will

And true philio, storge and eros are the fruit of agape! Great romance, and great friendships and great families are the result of a heart full of and acting out of Goldy love!

John 15:13

Romans 12:1

But the greatest love is when we give up our time, energy, labor, money to see someone come to Jesus!

This is the Year I Listen to God

As Christians we have a responsibility to listen to God

Jeremiah 33:3

Rude and Mean
God is so demanding of how we live our lives, what we do with our money, our relationships, right?

God is God, Not Just a Wise man
More and more people today just don’t get that Christianity is not a belief system, or a list of ideals that you pick and choose.


Christianity is the belief that God created everything and is sovereign, sent His Son to bring us back to Him through His own sacrifice, because He desperately wants relationship with us, He wants to be involved in our lives, He wants to help us and guide us, warn and protect us, etc.


Isaiah 30:21

Listen to God. Don’t feel your way!

“The Lord told me” is no substitute for ”The Bible says.”

Voddie Baucham

Our feelings are not the earmark of God’s direction. We confuse emotion with God’s leading. But motion can be a counterfeit, a cheap copy of how the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth and God’s will.

Remember when Jesus was 12 in Luke 2:41-52. Mary and Joseph FELT like Jesus was close by. They felt. They didn’t know. Jesus said they should have KNOWN!


How to hear God more clearly
– Increase your regular intake of His Word
– Decrease your intake of things opposed to His Word
– Increase the time you spend talking to AND listening to God
– Expect confirmation

This is the Year I Go Deeper

Luke 8:4-8

According to Jesus, the author of the parable, the seed is the Word of God – verse 11

*Note: The full explanation of this parable given by Jesus is found in verses 9-15.


Scenario 1. Those for whom the seed didn’t change their week.

The length of impact of the Word of God on their lives is so minimal because their time investment is minimal.

Scenario 2. Those for whom the seed didn’t change their life.

They still fall to the same temptations, still use the same coping mechanisms, still believe what they’ve always believed.

Scenario 3. Those for whom the seed didn’t change their heart.

Luke 12:34

Scenario 4 is the hope in Luke 8:15!

It’s the difference in liking Jesus’ words, or the ideas of His plan, and embracing the Truth.

Am I interested in hearing something I like, something that makes me think or feel deeply, or do I want to hear something that changes me?


How much Jesus do we want?

1. Till, go deeper, break your ground open.

2. Weed and feed – rid your life of temptations, back away from your coping mechanism.

Jesus didn’t die to fulfill all our desires. He died so we could be free from our desires!

And don’t forget to feed your spirit with the Words of Jesus, bible study, podcasts, sermon notes, etc.

3. Check your focus. What do you live for?

This Is the Year I Fall in Love with Fishing

When Fishermen Don’t Fish from In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado


Luke 5:1-6

Go deeper, Jesus knows where the catchable ones are!

Sometimes the fish are deeper and shallow fishing just won’t reach them!

Let down your nets

That’s more than an invitation, more than just pointing the way, it’s bringing them in!

Don’t give up


Steps for successful fishing
-Acknowledge you have someone in your life
-Pray for them and yourself
-Invite
-Fast – skip a meal
-Invite
-Be an example
-Invite
-Introduce them to other Christians
-Invite
-When they show up, don’t leave them alone – be their host!
-Discreetly ask others to engage them
-Jump on opportunities to share: scripture, social media post, sermon points, songs, videos, etc

1 Corinthians 3:6

Jesus said if we follow him, he’ll make us fishers of men, and if we aren’t fishing for men, maybe we aren’t doing a good job of following Jesus.

Dave Gibson

For More Peace

“We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Romans 12:18

Denying someone your presence is like the ultimate punishment. Isn’t that God’s final judgment, after all? That’s what hell is: the total absence of God’s presence. That’s what you do when you give someone the silent treatment. You are saying to them, “You are not worth a relationship with me.” The gospel, by contrast, sends us into the world to love people as we have been loved, to love people who will sometimes offend us. That means before we resort to ending relationships, we walk the messy road of confrontation.

J. D. Greer

Remember, we don’t know someone else’s pain.

Luke 6:27-38

James 3:18

Peace that produces goodness is the result of the focused effort by those determined to plant seeds of peace in the midst of conflict!

This Is the Year

Just one tick on the clock and it’s 2021. But this year we desperately hope it means more!!!

2021 is a new opportunity, not a guarantee.

Note these miracle opportunities in the Bible…
“Take up your bed…” Mt 9:6, Mk 2:11, Lk 5:24, Jn 5:8
“Go wash in the pool…” John 9:7
“Dip seven times…” 2 Kings 5:10
“Bring the full tithe…” Malachi 3:10
“Fill the jars with water.” John 2:7
“Roll the stone aside.” John 11:39
“Go down to the lake and throw in a line.” Matthew 17:27
“Go and sin no more.” John 8:11

“This is the year…” is not a statement. You have to complete the sentence!

Some dreams need to be allowed to die. Others need to be kept alive and protected with all you’ve got!

This Is the Year for less talk, more action!
We don’t stop talking. But it’s time for the church to roll up its sleeves!

Why Jesus Said He Came.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

Different Translations: 
“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” NLT
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” ESV
“I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.” BSB


What does a life to the fullness look like?

Matthew 6:31-32

Matthew 7:11

Jesus’s words say no matter the circumstances around you, He has a good for you.


Exodus 6:6-8

Israelites’ Reaction
1. Grumble and complain
2. Build own gods
3. Look back to Egypt
4. Did not trust the promise

Yes, they were delivered from bondage, but wow did they miss it


Our Reaction to the Promise
1. Joy an Love in midst of the struggle
2. Turn to God for peace and rest
3. Remember the grace that brought us out of our past
4. Trust in God and what He has for us.

Look and see what Jesus says first…

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10