We don’t like the times like these, because it’s a break in our PATTERN and it calls our pattern into question.
HE WANTED AN ENCOUNTER – To say he’d met Jesus.
HE WANTED AFFIRMATION – That his normal was good enough.
HE DIDN’T WANT CHANGE
If we aren’t careful, we’ll end up there too—seeking our time with Jesus, just to make us feel better about ourselves, with no desire to make a real change, and no concern for the way we could be used to serve others.
How can we find a better pattern for ourselves?
- How can you create pauses to call your pattern into question?
- How can you give more generously?
- How can you live more generously?
Matthew 11: 28-29
Seven weeks and counting!
Daniel 1:3-4, 6
Daniel really had it going for him! But now, according to verse 3, Daniel had a new normal.
Serving King Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel interpreted dreams that the king had! Daniel 2:1-45, 4:4-33
Causing the King to praise God – Daniel 2:46-47, 4:34-37
and promote Daniel! Daniel 2:48-49
Then King Belshazzar
Daniel’s place as 3rd in the kingdom didn’t appear to last long, but he is brought before Belshazzar in Daniel 5:13-14
Daniel interprets a message from God, written on the wall during an out-of-control feast – Daniel 5:25-28
Causing the king to promote Daniel to 3rd in his kingdom as well! Daniel 5:29
Then Daniel serves King Darius
Daniel does so well he is about to be promoted to 2nd in Darius’ kingdom! Daniel 6:1-3
But, the lions’ den! Daniel 6:4-24
And God’s deliverance causes King Darius to worship God and decree that the whole kingdom worship God! Daniel 6:25-27
And Daniel continues to have success in leadership!
Let’s take a lesson from Daniel, maybe several!
His normal kept changing, but no matter what happened Daniel kept having success! How?
Daniel maintained his integrity, Daniel 1:8
He remembered his friends, Daniel 2:49
He was a man of prayer, Daniel 6:10 – awesome didn’t happen outside God’s divine direction
He never took credit for what God had done, was always careful to give God credit, Daniel 2:27-28, 5:17-18, 6:22 – and in doing so Daniel led kings to worship God!!!
And Daniel spoke whatever God gave him to say!
Today everyone just wants to get back to normal. Really?
I don’t want to go back. I’m looking forward, forward to better than normal, forward to more than normal!
Simon Peter had a decent normal, fishing for a living.
Jesus gave him a new normal! Doing “church” for a living.
Then Simon Peter had a rough 24 hours:
And now? He decides to go fishing, all the way back to his old, comfortable normal. John 21:3
So what did Jesus do about it? John 21:15-17
Jesus gave him his new normal! The most awesome normal Simon Peter ever had!
It isn’t over! It may just be beginning!
Whatever you’re dealing with, this could be the open door to the most awesome normal you have ever had!
But Simon Peter had to be willing to embrace his most awesome, best-ever normal and not return to his comfortable normal!
Holy Week, the days just before Easter, were a very confusing time.
Consider it from the disciples’ perspective. Jesus announces His impending death, He is betrayed, arrested, tried, rejected, condemned, beaten, killed, buried and alive again – all in a matter of one week.
But from our perspective we know it’s good news! They should have been encouraged.
The disciples’ situation wasn’t much different than yours this week: self-isolation, normal was long gone, government leaders making decisions and rulings that didn’t always make sense, more questions than answers.
So let me also tell you to be encouraged! Rejoice! Maybe we’re like the disciples and we just can’t see it yet.
And after the cross, life would never be the same. And that’s an awesome thing! For us, too! Once we meet Jesus at the cross of forgiveness life is never the same!!
Jesus gives them a future hope that begins with forgiveness.
But more than just our guilt, it’s about our shame and our life of sin!
Purpose! John is the only disciple actually at the cross when Jesus died. So he is the only one in a position to receive new purpose.
We all have plenty to live for, right? Toys and joys!
But at the cross, Jesus had found something worth dying for
Life is most worth living when you have something worth dying for!
We get our life from His death!
We receive forgiveness for the guilt of our sin,
deliverance from the shame of our sin,
saving from the life of sin,
and true purpose, something worth dying for!
Please let us know if you need anything!
Text 205-476-2911 with your prayer requests, if you need anything or if you just need someone to talk to!
Today is Palm Sunday and Vision Sunday, a great time to refocus!
On the first Palm Sunday the crowds, and even Jesus’ own disciples, didn’t really understand the plan.
They were merely worshiping their vision for who Jesus should be!
Today we are talking about bringing worship back to our communities!
worship to express or show reverence and adoration to God
1. Words spoken, written, sung, etc
2. Gestures like lifting hands or clapping hands, bowing, dancing, etc
3. Obedience, which is perhaps the highest form of worship
4. Actions that display who He is, like serving, showing love, etc
- Worship can be your war song, a psychological weapon sending a message to the enemy!
- Learn your solo!
►►REPEAT your story, what you have seen and heard!
Call attention to God’s work in a situation, His faithfulness, care, presence, peace, blessings, etc.
The series wrap-up:
Fill your world with prayer!
Fill your world with promise!
Fill your world with praise!
You gotta have something before you can give it away!
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Your mind is a huge battlefield so even when you don’t feel like your soul is getting much out of it keep feeding your mind!!
There are thousands of promises in the Bible. Let’s just talk about three great ones:
If the Bible is the Word of God, it trumps our experiences!
Three examples of how to practice God’s Word in your life:
The Word of God is what Jesus used against temptation. Matthew 4:3-10
1 Peter 2:24
REPEAT – How we repeat this in our communities:
- On social media
- When someone has a problem, need or struggle, respond with a promise from God’s Word
- When you have the floor – it should be impossible for us as Christians to speak publicly without mentioning God
- Explain salvation – Roman 10:9-10
My closing challenge to you:
Go to social media and post a scripture promise.
Or call someone right now that you kow needs a scripture promise.
You have to have something before you can give it away!
LEARN – What is prayer?
When God wins, you overcome!
PRACTICE – How to pray – Ephesians 6:12, 18
- Identify the darkness!
- Take it to the streets!
- Pray in the Spirit
Article by J D Greear, President Southern Baptist Convention
LEARN, PRACTICE, REPEAT – Fill your world with prayer!
This is not a time for fear or retreat – John 14:27
This is a time for the church to be forward in prayer, helping, protecting, assisting, etc!
How to take it to the streets:
– Start by saying grace – baby steps if you’re just getting started
– Promise to pray – Make a note! Don’t break the promise!
– Offer to pray with friends right then
– Ask for opportunity!
– Cover situations in prayer, like the coronavirus!
Limbo is a bad place to live – it’s not Living the Dream!
Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 12:24
What good is a new covenant if I’m not going to walk in new joy, power, strength, wisdom, success, victory, purpose…?
- It is not enough to attend a church that believes and preaches Jesus
- If nothing is changing in your marriage, your relationships, your children, your job, your walk with Jesus – it’s time for some big choices!
A Christian parent’s #1 goal should be to spend eternity with their children.
– The best way to ensure that is to help them know Jesus intimately.
– And the way to do that is to make Jesus a priority in their life right now.
In your home does Jesus look like Lord, leftovers or something in between?
Do you treat Sunday worship as an awesome, deeply moving, powerful and fulfilling opportunity or an option?
Based on what they see in your life would your kids say Jesus is someone to be worshipped or to be worked in when convenient?
Would your kids say Jesus is part of your life or the center of your life?
When it comes to your home is Jesus a guest or the architect?
Is Biblical literacy a goal in your home or something other families do?
Is your home sitting on a foundation of faith in Jesus that can stand any storm or at the mercy of whatever circumstances hit you this week?
What choices do you need to make in your home to raise kids that you’ll spend eternity with?
Three questions about friendships:
Who are you in the elevator with?
Are you going up or down?
Does the relationship make you a better spouse, parent, neighbor, friend, employee or employer, etc?
Ecclesiastes 4:12, 1 Corinthians 15:33
The Jesus decision
Make the choice to incorporate Jesus into your whole life!
Choose to pray about everything
Philippians 4:6, James 5:16
If you won’t pray about it don’t gripe about it.
Choose to believe
2 Corinthians 10:5
A community is a group of living things sharing the same environment. They usually have shared interests. In human communities, people have some of the same beliefs and needs, and this affects the identity of the group and the people in it.
Just as a dream house is at its most valuable in the right neighborhood, your spiritual house is at its most effective in the right community.
What does the Bible say about community?
Community requires different roles.
In order for a community to function, members of the community must do their part. The concept goes beyond thinking and acting as individuals to common beliefs about shared interests and life.
Community needs growth to survive.
Communities are rich in resources. Your strengths may be another’s weakness, and vice versatility. Communities give us a deeper sense of belonging.
Real community requires transparency.
Just Be Real!
- Transparency is the quality of being easily seen through. In community, it’s honesty and openness.