God’s Dream for My Success

“People aren’t starved for information; they’re starved for meaning.”
– Carey Nieuwhof

God did not intend that we always struggle.
But neither did He intend that we pursue financial gain for selfish purposes.
He intends for us to have life with meaning!

Maybe you’ve heard the story from Matthew 19:16-22 about the rich young man. Jesus was trying to help the young man have meaning!

“If you change your thinking, you will change your actions.
And if you change your actions, you will change your outcomes.
And if you change your outcomes, you will change your life. It is that simple.”
– Michael Hyatt

Scarcity Thinkers (adapted from Michael Hyatt)

…live bound by the fear there will never be enough.
…are stingy with their knowledge, contacts and compassion.
…default to suspicion, so they often find it difficult to build relationships.
…resist challenges, fearing they decrease opportunities and weaken them.
…ask, “How can I get by with giving or doing less?”
…think small and avoid risk at all cost.
…feel entitled.
…are pessimistic about the future, believing they will always have tough times in life.
…live fearful.
Notice most are selfish!


Abundance Thinkers

God is all about abundance!
Psalm 23:5, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Deuteronomy 28:12, John 10:10, Luke 6:38, Matthew 13:12, Luke 9:17

…know there is always more where their last blessing came from!
Philippians 4:19, 1 Chronicles 29:11

…are happy to share knowledge, contacts, and compassion with others.
Galatians 6:7, 1 Corinthians 15:36, John 12:24-25

…have trust as their default, willingly building relationships.
Proverbs 27:17

…welcome challenges, believing they increase their opportunities and make them better and stronger.
Romans 5:3-4

…ask, “How can I give more?”
Acts 4:36-37

…dream big, accepting risk as necessary for all things worthwhile.
2 Timothy 1:7

“Dream a dream so big only God can fulfill it.”
– Tommy Barnett

…are grateful for their abundance.

According to scientific study, a life of gratitude produces increased happiness, better mood, higher satisfaction with life, less materialism, less chance of burnout, better physical health, better sleep and less fatigue, greater resiliency, patience, humility and wisdom!
source

…are optimistic about the future, believing the best is yet to come.
Acts 27:25

…live confident.
Ephesians 3:20-21, Romans 8:38-39, Numbers 23:19


Salvation, the first step to God’s Dream for Your Success!

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

  1. Just believe Jesus is exactly who He says He is, and
  2. Tell someone that you do.

You can tell us by texting 205-476-2911. We have resources to help you with your first steps following Jesus to the life He has always dreamed you would have!

Sponges

Kids learn from us.
Everything trickles down to them.

Which kids learn from me?
My own kids and grandkids, younger siblings and cousins, nieces and nephews, neighborhood kids, even the kids around here that I’m not related to.

As Christians, sometimes we remember to do what is right because we know someone is following us! A grave responsibility: Matthew 18:6

And no one has more impact than a parent! Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 11:19

    1.  Take advantage of every opportunity to teach
    2. Realize you are teaching all the time
    3. Be aware and careful to teach right things

What kids learn from us…

How to swear and gossip and be critical

Dishonesty
Isaac repeated Abraham’s lie of Sarah/Rebecca being his sister – Genesis 12:10-20, 26:6-10
When we lie to our kids they learn to not trust us – or anyone else.
When we lie in front of our kids they learn truth is situational, that it’s ok to lie when it helps you out of a bind.

Inconsistency, promise-breaking and excuses

Our attitude toward sin
Rachel repeated Sarah’s sin of giving handmaiden to her husband – Genesis 16:1-4, 30:3-4
Eli saw his sons’ sinning but did nothing more than talk to them about it, he was responsible and it led to their deaths – 1 Samuel 2:12-14, 22

They learn how to cope, keep their word, solve problems, keep a positive attitude, treat others, empathize, value others.

They learn humility, priorities, punctuality, courtesy, manners, to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry”, what type friends to have, what kind of spouse to pursue, to treat their future spouse with love and respect, to treat their parents with love respect.

They learn to cry, fight and stand up for what they believe in, to serve, that everyone has something awesome to do for Jesus!, giving, to worship and give God credit, how to pray, to listen to and be obedient to God, to trust God.

They learn whether Christianity is a matter of commitment or convenience.

If you are leading your children and teens to follow Jesus, church reinforces what you’re teaching!

And who knows if she is not pressing to her bosom, perhaps a Whitefield, who will thunder out the gospel through the length and breadth of the land?
Charles Spurgeon

Salvation, the first step – Romans 10:9-10


RESOURCES

Dear Parents of Teenagers, Here are 5 reasons you should keep your teens involved in youth group…” (parents of small children should read this, too!)

7 Things Teens Need From Their Parents So They Won’t Abandon God

3 Dangers of a Kid-Centered Family

Four Questions That Transform Dinner into Discipleship

10 Bible Verses to Pray over Your Children

10 Manly Things Every Dad Should Teach His Son How To Do

OTHER SCRIPTURES

Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, Psalms 78:4, Joel 1:3, Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 11:19, Titus 2:4-5, Matthew 18:2-6

 

This Is Best

Why this sermon?

1. Our culture is clueless on sex. We only get a small part of it.

2. Too often the only people talking about sex are the wrong people. Proverbs 29:18

To parents: if you aren’t talking about sex with your kids then your kids have no option but to believe what others tell them.

3. Because we humans resist hearing truth that goes against our grain.

4. Because we have reduced the true beauty of sexuality to a poor copy of its original design. We have made sex about a moment or a feeling.

5. Because this year at 29:11 we aren’t talking about what we can get by with. We are talking about the dream, what’s best, amazing and fulfilling!

So, what does the church say?

“Church of England Affirms Sex is Only for Heterosexual Marriage”

2 Corinthians 2:15-16

Truth is perceived differently by those who are being made free by the truth and those who reject the truth!

What does the Bible say? A whole lot!

Mark 10:6-9

A few more scriptures: 1 Corinthians 6:16, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, Matthew 5:28, Ephesians 5:3, Job 31:1, James 1:14-15

What does secular study say?

“So, just having sex, in the absence of a thriving relationship, is unlikely to be very pleasurable, nor will it translate into increased marital satisfaction over time; actually, it could diminish it.”
“A sustaining, energized sexual relationship is a product of an integration of multiple facets. It grows over time from being in sync with each other’s values and outlook; your desires and fears about your journey together; your life goals, both individually and as a couple. Essentially, it’s a spiritual connection, a sense of being on the same wavelength. If that core grows, it will fuel a sustainable romantic connection…”
Douglas LaBier from Psychology Today noting a study on sex and relationships

Here’s what sex within a lifelong monogamous relationship will do:

  • it will bond you closer
  • it will create intimacy
  • it will be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy
  • it will feel safe
  • it will produce longevity 

“But what we’ve found is that when, prior to their marriage, one or both spouses hold generalized beliefs that uncommitted sex is okay, that can contribute to the failure of a marriage.” Juliana French

This is about best!

 

“How to Get Free From Porn” by John Bevere

John Bevere’s message: “Killing Kryptonite: Destroy What Steals Your Strength”

 

Dream Marriage

Why have a wedding with a minister?

Legally, in the state of Alabama, you are married when you file the paperwork at the courthouse.

And in God’s eyes? God gives no formula for a ceremony but from the beginning the Bible teaches when a man leaves his parents to marry a wife, they then become one flesh. Jesus and the Apostle Paul both quote this text and Jesus adds that since God has joined them let no one undo it.
Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5-6, Ephesians 5:31

Stating your vows before God in a religious ceremony is:
–  asking the church for its blessing, covering, confirmation and approval in solemnizing the marriage
–  and more importantly, it is inviting God to be central to your wedding, and your subsequent marriage

It’s all about the intent and desire of the couple
to make God and His plan, which includes the church,
a part of their life together from the beginning.


INGREDIENTS OF A DREAM MARRIAGE

Commitment, it’s more important than happiness, emotion and pleasure. Love is a verb. Love is a choice.

Investment, it’s longer-lasting than passion

Attitude, it’s more important than aptitude and skills

To those still unmarried: One day you’re going to meet that person you can’t live without. I pray it’s not a person that you can’t live with.

Effort, it’s sexier than looks

Sexual faithfulness, it’s more fulfilling than infidelity

Humility and forgiveness, they’re more satisfying than “I told you so”

Honesty and trust, they’re a stronger foundation than secrecy and privacy

Communication, it’s better protection than walls

Church involvement, it’s a stronger connection than joint hobbies and tastes

78% of couples who attend church together reported being “very happy” or “extremely happy” with their relationship

That number is even higher when couples are spiritually involved beyond just church attendance

Couples involved in a local church are less likely to divorce

But couples who are connected to a church in name only are more likely to divorce than the average married couple

Source

Benefits of church involvement include shared experiences, opportunities to serve together, sparking conversations, support, accountability, etc


A DREAM SPOUSE

What it means to be the head of the house:
Sacrificing, putting wife & kids first
Leading spiritually:
– Waking your family on Sunday morning for church
– Reading and discussing the Bible
– Calling your family to prayer, teaching them to pray

Boaz – Doing what is honorable, Ruth 3 & 4

Abigail – a Proverbs 31 woman, protecting her husband and her household, 1 Samuel 25:1-42, Proverbs 31:10-31

Elkanah – Aware, attentive, comforting, 1 Samuel 1:8

Jacob – Whatever it takes however long it takes, Genesis 29:15-30

Hosea – Endless, unconditional love, Hosea 3:1-5

Mary and Joseph – Perseverance, Luke 2:1-7


RESOURCES

Marriage Today website

11 Things Couples Who Build Successful Marriages Do Each and Every Day

10 Traits of a Real Man

Connect the Dots

The dots: Setting goals, making plans, working at it, embracing God’s dream, being a part of a great church, upgrading our habits, falling deeply in love with Jesus, joining a small group

The dots are already there! That’s the cool thing about a connect the dots book, right? The design & artwork are already done. We only have to…?

So how can we miss what is so close?

  • We skip a few dots
  • We try to move the dots
  • Distractions or loss of focus
  • It looks different than we expected

Perhaps the saddest of all paradoxes is when we miss what we’re looking for!

Even when the picture is just dots, connect them!


John 15:5-8

Jesus says you can’t do this on your own!

Whatever success I have had in life and ministry is not due to God connecting me with dozens of people just like myself!

Unless we are willing to connect with others we will never grow or become all we could be!

When all the dots don’t appear to be there, connect anyway!

People who aren’t connected often think other people don’t care. But when you’re unconnected it’s not that people don’t care. People don’t know.

Some people feel eternally connected to a church building. But people need to connect to people!

Connect even when it feels like a strange land (new things often do!)

Jeremiah 29:5-7


SIGN UP FOR A SMALL GROUP

TEAM NIGHT – TONIGHT at 5pm

Dream Church

What You Should Look For In a Church

Some people look for what they like – wrong!

Four questions to answer:
1. How does the church view scripture?
2. How do they walk that out? Does it show in their preaching, their worship, how they interact with the community and each other?
3. Does the vision, mission and DNA mesh with your spirit?
4. Does the church constantly challenge me to grow?

Here’s one good rule of thumb: If you can’t financially support the vision and mission of a church then you haven’t bought into it.

Find a church that you believe in so strongly that you willingly donate your hard-earned dollars and a portion of your free time to its mission! When you find that church you know you’re in the right one.


What I Am Dreaming, as Pastor


And Most Important, What Jesus Dreams (after all it’s His church!)

Ephesians 5:23

  • Not just an hour 15 minutes
  • Not that you visit a church
  • Not just that you join a church
  • Not even just seeing you in ministry

Embrace a mission, your calling, the purpose you’re specially gifted for and passionate about!


In Isaiah 58:1-5 God says He isn’t interested in smug people who act like they want to learn about Him but really just want to do enough to be blessed by Him.

To paraphrase V6-14, I believe this is the church God is dreaming about:
A church that speaks out against injustice and exploitation
Helps the oppressed walk into freedom
Stands up for victims and even those who’ve fallen in sin
Cancels debts and doesn’t rely on unfair practices
Shares generously with the hungry, homeless and poor
Gives to those without proper clothing
Makes themselves available to those in trouble
Doesn’t ignore their own family’s needs
Restores, rebuilds and renovates throughout their community
And is known as a people who can fix anything

A church where the “lights come on”
That glows as sunshine in spiritual darkness
In which lives are turned around at once
For whom righteousness paves their path
Whom He can use to rebuild brokenness and redeem the past
Whose way is secure because of Him
Whom He is always ready to guide
And makes them ride high and soar above all
And gives them full life and strength in their lowest places
And when they pray, He answers, “Here I am.”

THE Dream

Ever wonder why things like reading the Bible regularly has anything to do with your dreams? Glad you asked!

How Going to Church Benefits Brain and Body

So what dream are we talking about?
Not the American Dream, or the Madison Avenue dream or Hollywood’s dream, nor a problem-free life – not even your personal dream

GOD’S Dream is THE Dream
This big, amazing, awesome, audacious and bodacious dream is His, not yours. And He is dreaming it over your life.


1. Since it is HIS dream it is a better dream because His way is better. THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life leads to THE Dream.

“History proves over and over again, that when humanity decides what is good or evil on their own, we inevitably end up deciding that what is good is basically whatever is easiest, safest or most pleasing to ourselves.  This always ends badly.”
from Living the Dream devotions Church 29:11, 1/9/2020

His Way is THE Way and doesn’t get tied up in traffic or detoured by obstacles

His Truth is THE Truth and doesn’t get confused or lost in the search

His Life is THE Life which is an abundant life!


2. HIS dream is more powerful, more awesome, more beautiful than anything you and I can ever dream

HIS dream for me isn’t limited by my weaknesses, resources, connections, or my ability to dream, envision and plan!


3. Our humanity is often a huge obstacle to THE Dream

Delete the Dream-Killers that keep you from THE Dream.

There is a battle for your heart: movies, music, lust, relationships, peers, social media, popularity, pride, envy, materialism, advertising, greed, anger

Psalm 101:3

But also delete the Dream-Distractors because it isn’t just sin that hinders THE Dream.

1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23

In other words, some things that we claim as a right don’t lead us to THE Dream but may actually keep us from it!

  • Like idleness and procrastination
  • Like reading without listening and listening without changing
  • And what some call “Permissive will”

“…what we’re doing is destructive AND keeping us from what God has planned for us.”
from Living the Dream devotions Church 29:11, 1/9/2020

Immaturity asks “can I?” Maturity asks “should I?”


4. Since it is HIS dream, we can’t reach it without Him. His process, His recipe, His route.

Do things that lead to THE Dream:

  • Upgrade your habits – whatever you’re doing that’s good, do it better
  • Appreciate the moment you have – too many are waiting for a “better” or “more opportune” time
  • Work on your health – stewardship of your health
  • Be more thankful, 24/7
  • Connect to people closer to Jesus & stronger in their faith than you and a great place to do that is Small Groups that begin in 2 weeks!
  • Pray constantly
  • Feed your soul & mind – Living the Dream Devotions
  • Go deeper into devotions, sermons, songs, scripture

Falling deeply in love with Jesus is the most sure way to begin Living THE Dream!

Living the Dream

Jeremiah 29:11

God is dreaming. Are you?

Dreaming of a great life and Living the Dream are not the same thing.

Here’s the question: What is better in your life right now than it was this time last year? Name your progress.

Jesus didn’t die so you could dream.
Jesus died so you could Live the Dream!

Living the Dream is not a destination. Living the Dream is a process, a journey, an awesome adventure!


If you haven’t set goals, made plans and started working towards your dream, your dream is just a fantasy! (adapted from Jeff Robinson)

Fantasies are unproductive. Dreams produce results.
Fantasies are fleeting, inconsistent. Dreams have focus.
Fantasies stretch your imagination. Dreams stretch you.
Fantasies may inspire you. A dream can change your life.
Fantasies are unrealistic expectations. Dreams are balanced in reality.
Fantasies are free. Dreams have a cost.
Fantasies require only imagination. Dreams require hard work.


Biblical examples of dreamers:
Jacob
Daniel
both Josephs
King Abimelech
Pharaoh
King Nebuchadnezzar
King Belshazzar
Pilate’s wife

Bible examples of those with fantasies:
the rich barn-builder
Haman
Jezebel
King Ben-Hadad
(FYI, none of them turned out well!)


Set Goals

  • Every member growing closer to Jesus and stronger in faith!
  • Each one reach one in 2020

What are your goals? New car, lose weight, pay off debt, dream vacation?
What about your spiritual health? Why not adopt the above goals?

Make Plans

  • Small Group changes
  • Discipleship that actually creates life-change
  • Team Night – Night of Prayer – 1.26.20
  • OK, so what are your plans for your spiritual health?

Work On It – A dream doesn’t just happen!

What we are working on for you:
– 21 Days of Devotions (SIGN UP HERE)
– Small Group launch on 1/26


You may not be living the dream yet but you’re closer than you realize

Accounting For 2019

What kind of business leader looks at his employees on December 30 and tells them to just move on to 2020?

Romans 14:12


Who is accountable?

  • Those God has blessed with a 6-figure salary or perhaps also those who earn $6 an hour?
  • Those capable of beautiful artistry or perhaps also those who’ve hidden their talent and not shared it?
  • Those with plenty of time or perhaps also those who keep their calendars full?
  • Followers of Jesus or perhaps also those who don’t follow Him?

Every person must give an account as steward of those things God has entrusted to them.
Even the High Priest!
Even the king!
Rich men like the barn-builder and also poor widows.

 


Hebrews 9:27

Luke 14:28-29

Those who keep up their checking account aren’t surprised by the balance.

“If you dare not search your hearts, I am afraid there is a reason for that fear, and that above all others you ought to be diligent in this search.”
– Charles Spurgeon

So when is the best time to reckon our account, at the end of life or today?


WHAT we must account for:

  • The use of the time He has allotted us
  • Our financial blessings and substance
  • Our talents and gifts
  • The influence He has given us
  • The balance of self and sacrifice
  • The invisible people in our lives
  • and all other things with which God has entrusted us!

Do our lives burn bright with Jesus or do we only leave Him the candle ends? As we said a few weeks ago, does our giving say leftovers or Lord?


WHY reckon our account on a regular basis?

To start afresh, begin in the clear, on the level, to not start behind.

A daily or weekly recounting of adversity He has helped us through, trouble He has rescued us from and sin He has forgiven us for! Without looking back we forget to acknowledge, appreciate and thank God. We just absolutely forget.

And here is the grave reason we must reckon our stewardship: we are not sure of another day of stewardship!