Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 8

dan-newman-368178

This week, we are continuing to look at the lineage of Jesus and identifying specific characters, revealing to us our own greater purposes in the eyes of Heaven. Pastor Paul Jackson, thank you for your humor, your wisdom, and your incredible message on Jacob this Sunday!

Too often, we forget the importance of going through suffering. For Jacob, it was inevitable, like it is for us, too, It is a means for God to grow us; we do not suffer in vain because we know God has everything under control, that He is and constructing our lives lovingly and intimately every step of the way.

James 1:2-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We beg God to grow us, but we do everything we can to insulate ourselves from the hardships that this growth requires. Hardships leads us to maturity; what matters is the way we engage with God, not that we avoid them altogether.

Matthew 1:2: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…

Jacob was a child of promise, an answer to prayer. Even so, he faced trial after trial in his life – many that we out of his control.

Genesis 32:6-8: And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”

Genesis 32:22-31: The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

At this point, Jacob receives both a new identity and the blessing of God. 

In the pinnacle of your problem, how do you relate to God? Do you wrestle with him, or do you turn your back and pretend He doesn’t exist?

What should we do? Petition Him! Wrestle with Him! Fast and pray. He is involved, He is close to you. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to wrestle with Him, for you will see breakthrough. God wants to bless you, His beloved child. Let Him. 

Biblical references: James 1:2-4; Matthew 1:2; Genesis 32:6-8; Genesis 32:22-31

Questions:

  1. In the midst of trial, do you turn back from God or press into Him?
  2. What do you need to wrestle with God about today?
  3. What trail are you entering in, leaving or currently in? What did God do in the midst of it?

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 7

rawpixel-com-196464

Though we know that our lives have greater purpose (generally), we too often forget to live in unshakable confidence of this Truth, day in and day out. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, and this week’s message, Pastor Brian Eastland.

As a church, we don’t have a problem with purpose; we have a problem with significance. From the day to day, we carry a great significance that leads to our greater purpose (thought it doesn’t always feel like it). Father, breathe deep significance into each of us today, that we may have better understanding of who we are made in You. 

The world says that our significance is directly tied to our job or to our accomplishments as people (have you won a Nobel Peace Prize? have you put your kids through college? have you worked out today – was it enough?). But, this way of thinking breaks God’s heart, for He has called us significant, regardless of the world’s approval.

As we continue on in our series centered around the genealogy of Jesus – Matthew 1:10 –  we are looking specifically at the character of King Josiah.

1 Kings 13:1-2: And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’”

2 Kings 22:8-11: And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.

Our significance has nothing to do with what we have done or what we have not done, but everything to do with what God says about who we are.

2 Kings 23:15-16: Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the Asherah. And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things.

Church, let us read the Bible as God intended for us to read it: personally. In the Bible, “you” really means you, and “we” really means we. If you are ever looking for your name in the Bible, you don’t have to look very far: you are everywhere!

Ephesians 2: 8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

God wants us to read the Bible as if our name is in it, because it is. God has already called us significant, as He has written.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:10; 1 Kings 13:1-2; 2 Kings 22:8-11; 2 Kings 23:15-16; Ephesians 2: 8-9

Questions:

  1. Where have you been placing your significance?
  2. What does God say about who you are and what you were created for?
  3. What would it look like to live out of the God ordained significance that leads to your greater purpose?

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 6

This week, thanks to a good word from Jeremy Annillo, we understand more deeply our greater purpose in the eyes of God as we continue on in our series. Jeremy is overseeing the Church Planting efforts down South. We are so thankful for him and his family.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This morning, as we continue in Greater Purpose, we are looking at the character of Shealtiel (Matthew 1:12: After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel; 1 Chronicles 3:17: The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son…).

Shealtiel wasn’t known for any of his own accomplishments, but instead only for his relationship to his son and his father. If we draw purpose and identity from others, rather than God, we will set ourselves up for a skewed perspective.

Even when your life feels unnoticed, God has a plan and purpose for it. We can’t see it from his eyes, but it’s best to trust that He knows best. And He does – He is God!

1 Corinthians 7:17-20: Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

1 Corinthians 10: 12-13: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Let us boast in humility about what God is doing in and through us, without comparison to others. Every part of the living body has purpose; no part is dispensable, no part is insignificant. Our greater purpose is being realized by the Creator, no matter how we feel in this moment. Would it be enough to go completely unnoticed by all the world, and to be seen as faithful by our God? Let us be people that answer, truthfully, with a “yes”.

We have a part to play in the second coming of Jesus, whether we are known like David or unknown like Shealtiel. God sees us, and we are greatly significant in Heaven’s eyes.

Biblical references: Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Matthew 1:12; 1 Chronicles 3:17; 1 Corinthians 7:17-20; 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13. 

Questions:

  1. Where are the places you are living for God in the unseen?
  2. Where is it hard to live what seems an unnoticed life and need to be reminded of your audience of one in Jesus?
  3. Jeremy asked the question, “Would it be enough to go completely unnoticed by all the world, and to be seen as faithful by our God?” What are the things keeping you from honestly answering yes to this question?

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 2

ambitious-creative-co-rick-barrett-282515

Church, no matter our accomplishments and our failures, our purpose has everything to do with our proximity to Jesus. This week, in our series, Greater Purpose, we are going to take a look at another significant character in the storyline of Jesus’ genealogy.

Jesus was the son of David, born in Bethlehem – the city of David. Where man sees outward appearance, God sees the heart, and David was a man after God’s. He learned to love God wholly in every part of his purpose: from the sheepfold, to the battlefield, and even into prominence.

As followers of Jesus, how are we to respond to God in every part of our own purpose?

  1. In the sheepfold:
    • David wrote Psalm 23 in the sheepfold when he felt alone and forgotten. He spent his time growing in intimacy with the living God.
    • Psalms 78: 70-72: He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.
  2. In the battlefield:
    • The battle season exists for us to find courage in God, whether you win or lose.
    • 1 Samuel 17: 33-37: And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
    • 1 Samuel 30:6: And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
      • Your convictions aren’t really your convictions until you are tested.
  3. In prominence:
    • Regardless of his kingship, David worshiped the Lord undignified.
    •  2 Samuel 6:14-17: And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 

The point of the season – no matter in which one you are currently residing – is to connect with the living God.

Biblical references: Psalms 78: 70-72; 1 Samuel 17: 33-37; 1 Samuel 30:6;  2 Samuel 6:14-17 

Questions:

  1. What season are you in, the sheepfold, battlefield, or prominence?
  2. How can you receive the intimacy of God in the season you are currently in?
  3. There is purpose and intention for each season, where are the places you can come alongside others in your life to rejoice, fight or comfort them in their season?

More

My whole life I have always wanted more. Whether it were more LEGOs as a child, a faster time on the cross-country course in high school, or more results in my ministry, I have always wanted more. It’s a challenge to be content with what is right in front of me.

I’ve found dissatisfaction much easier to come by, as compared to its more positive counterparts: contentment and thankfulness. It is far easier to point out what is not going my way than to celebrate what is. Often I reflect on my life and I feel that it’s not good enough; I want more. I look at my relationships and feel I’m not being cared for the way I’d like. I look at my ministry and it’s so easy to compare to other churches and other leaders feeling inadequate. I compare compare compare.

At times, this perspective has led me to frustration and even anger at God. “Why God? Why can’t it be this way or that? Why can’t it be easier? Why can’t I have more fun? Why can’t things work out just the way I planned?” I can go on and on, questioning and asking for more.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe when you evaluate your life you are quick to see the flaws and slow to celebrate the joys. Maybe you’re frequently dissatisfied and longing for more. And maybe your lens is just like mine, marred by dissatisfaction.

I think our standards and expectations need refurbishing. I so often forget that I do not deserve any of it. The “more” that I always seem to want is not what I’m entitled to. In fact, Romans 6:23a states that I deserve quite the opposite of a perfect life.

“For the wages of sin is death…”

On our own, we can never measure up; we are never qualified to earn God’s grace, love, and salvation. Left alone we are stuck; we are trapped in captivity and rightly face punishment. But by God’s grace, what we deserve and what Jesus offers differ drastically. The verse goes on to deliver some very good news.

“… but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When Jesus came to rescue the world, he changed everything; Jesus’ interference changed our stories forever. And for us, anything short of death is divine intervention. Only through God’s mercy are we set free. If we consider what we owe, we cannot fairly blame the one who pays our debt. Jesus is the more we have always longed for. He is the answer to our longings and our cries.

When we rest in Jesus’ promise of abundant life the questions, the comparisons, and the misguided longings fall away. That doesn’t mean life miraculously becomes easy or perfect; it means that Jesus is all we need. He is our “more”.

What if we replaced dissatisfaction with joy? What if we spent more time celebrating the eternal life we have in Christ than contemplating our lack? I know my life would look different. How would yours look?

By Will Aufhammer, College Ministry Director