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

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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