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: Celebrating Father’s Day

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The heart of our Heavenly Father is to lay down His life for us, His children. Similarly, the role of a father on Earth is to lay down his life for his own children. Today, we pause in our sermon series, Building the House, to honor our dads on Father’s Day.

Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

God planned to bless every family on the earth through Abram, the famous Biblical father referenced here in Genesis. Through his story, we learn 3 Truths about fatherhood:

  1. God intended fatherhood to be desirable
    • Genesis 15:1-4: After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
    • The cultural perception of fatherhood is that it is nothing more than a necessary evil, rather than something to be desired.
    • But, fatherhood brings joy, and it’s a chance to reproduce something better than yourself! It is an incredible honor, and a very high calling.
  2. Fatherhood is something to be thankful for
    • Genesis 21:1-8: The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
    • Fathers, the enemy wants you to fail as a dad. He plants lies to make you think fatherhood is a burden, and not a blessing.
      1. The antidote is thankfulness, to diffuse and deflect the lies of the enemy.
  3. Every father can afford their children an inheritance of faith
    • Hebrews 11:8-10:  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
    • A father that makes a lot of money leaves for their children exactly that: a lot of money. But the father that gives money away in obedience to God gives his children an inheritance of generosity, and the father that makes his money lawfully leaves an inheritance of integrity. The father that is wealthy monetarily can give an extravagant wedding to his children, but the father that honors his vows to his wife leaves his children an inheritance of faithfulness.

Thank you, dads, for all that you do. We pray you feel overwhelmed with love and celebration today, from all of us!

Biblical references: Genesis 15:1-4; Genesis 21:1-8; Hebrews 11:8-10

Questions:

  1. How can you be someone who encourages and lifts up physical and spiritual fathers in your life?
  2. Do you believe in the fullness of God as a good father? Where are the places you have misconceptions of the character of God and need the Holy Spirit to come and bring revelation and healing?
  3. What a joy it is to leave the next generation an inheritance of faith in Jesus! What does this look like for you today?

Proper Rest

This is the final part of a three part series. (Valuing Time, Priorities and Motivations, Proper Rest)

One of the keys to effective time management is effective rest. But resting well is actually not intuitive, and often times the ways we choose to rest are not restorative.

When working out, one usually tries to max out on one muscle group (triceps) before moving onto the next muscle group (shoulders). Now, often times, after maxing out on one group, my body feels completely empty and I have nothing left to give. But when I switch to the new muscle group, I find that I actually have a lot of strength left to expend. The same is true of mental fatigue. I found this to be true in college, where I double majored in neurobiology and creative writing. I could study the science of the brain for hours, feel exhausted, and then switch to write a poem as if I had just woken up. Why? Because our brains work in different capacities based out our activities. And I found that writing a poem actually helped rest and recharge my brain to do more science.

One of the keys to effective rest is asking the questions, “Where am I spent?” and “How can I best recharge?” Sometimes the best way for me to rest is being alone, sometimes it is with a couple close friends, and sometimes it is at a large party. But often times, my “rest” times can actually be very productive, either relationally or in different modes of thought.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times where I am spent in every way—physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.—and I actually can’t do anything else productive. But those times are few, and in those times, I choose to sleep.

Sleep is necessary, restful, and needs to be a priority. But with too little sleep we collapse and lack excellence, and with too much sleep we are lethargic and don’t try for excellence. Sleep science says that 4 days of 8 hour per night sleep is actually more restorative than 3 days of 6.5 hour sleep and 1 day of 14 hour sleep. Why? Because the longer time you sleep, the more shallow your sleep becomes. The extra hours of your 14 hour sleep actually do very little towards making you feel rested.

For the same reasons, staying up late is generally harder on your body than getting up early. If your body is used to sleeping at 10pm and you go to bed at 1am, it won’t get as much deep sleep because it is used to getting that deep sleep from 10pm-1am, when you are now awake. On the other hand, getting up at 5 am instead of 8 am cuts out 3 hours of your more shallow sleep, leaving you, on the whole, more restored.

You cannot let sleep run your life. God didn’t call you to stay in bed, but He didn’t call you to run on empty, either.  Here are some practical tips to control your sleep rather than have your sleep control you.

  • Set multiple alarms, and make yourself get OUT of your bed to turn them off.

  • Have a wake up / bedtime accountability partner

  • Have a quick cold shower / put cold water on your face when you wake up

  • Get out of your house when you wake up

Resting excellently will allow you to maximize your time, submit it to the King, and see the Kingdom of God advanced.

By Ben Drum, Neighborhood Section Leader