Water to Wine Pt.1 – There is More

Water into Wine Pt.1 – There is More

John 2:1-11 NIVOn the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

•150 Gallons – 2,400 glasses – finest and best wine  – most would water down the wine as the celebration went on

Question: Have you been disenchanted by a paper thin christianity propped up by cheap shallow certitude? Are you yearning for something deeper, richer, and fuller?

I know what it is like to be in Cana and the wine has run out – The past few years Ive been empty, worn out, spent, burnt out, and needing more. I’ve needed Jesus to perform a miracle.

Don’t misunderstand me, this is not a crisis of faith – I believe in Jesus. But I’ve felt like Bilbo Baggins when he told Gandalf, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”

But we need to know that There is more to God that what you’ve already experienced, more to christianity, more to Church, than what we’ve already experienced. There is more! More miracles, more faith, more hope, more depth, and more power.

Ephesians 3:20 NIV  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” 

Are you tired of cotton candy soda like christianity? I’ve lost my taste for the contemporary, mass produced grape juice of religious consumerism?

•I’m longing for some vintage wine from old vines – Jesus said no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unnamed wine.

•We must move beyond watered-down, grape juice faith

I recently read that An Italian winemaker says that to produce good wine the grapes must struggle, they must suffer. The taste of good wine is the taste of struggle and suffering mellowed in beauty. I believe this applies to our souls and our lives. I am reminded of what Henri Nouwen said, “When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.”

•At this point in my life and ministry I’ve realized the struggle, the pain, and the discouragement that I’ve experienced over the past few years has been conferring in my a complexity and depth to my faith and ministry. Although American Christianity is conditioned to avoid the struggle at all cost, I believe that it actually produces a strength and depth directed by the purposes of God.

1.There is more to God than what we’ve already experienced

Matthew 5:6 NIV – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

In Spain – during the days of Christopher Columbus was very proud of the fact that they were the last point of solid land for sailors going westward. When travelers arrived  was a large sign that said their motto in latin, “Ne Plus Ultra”  which means “ No more beyond”. It was on their flag and coins as well.

There outlook on life was “No more beyond”. It was the world as they knew it. Result – They settled. People settled there because they were told there is nothing beyond Spain.

After Columbus discovered the New World – the national motto for Spain changed to “Plus Ultra”  which means “MORE BEYOND” they dropped “Ne”

Sadly, Many people people have settled for their own version of Spain. Have you stopped dreaming, hoping, believing, and praying. Some people accept something far less than God’s bigger, greater plans for their lives.

3 Reasons People Settle

  1. People settle when they get sentimentally attached to a past season or experience of their life. 

People may have to stay where they have been, but nothing is supposed to stay like it has been  – When people don’t emerge and embrace change, they settle for a lifetime in what was meant to be a season.

Don’t let temporary conditions of your life dictate a permanent perspective.

      2. People settle in a place of relational wounds

Genesis 11, Abraham’s father, Terah, was on his way with his family to Canaan, which is where God planned for him to go and live. Terah had another son named Haran who had died a premature death. Rather than passing through, Terah settled in a city with the same name as the son he had lost.  That wasn’t God’s plan. Grief caused him to stay.

Don’t let yourself linger in the place of relational wounds and miss out on the future God has for you.

    3. People settle because where they are is “good enough” and they want to stay comfortable

Good enough is the enemy of “better than ever” – Good enough is not your destiny

Ignore the signs that say No More Beyond! Refuse to just Drift!

Hebrews 2:1 NIV – We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

•••Over the next few weeks we will begin to explore Biblical disciplines that began with the early church and is relevant, richer, fuller, and deeper today as it was then.

2. It all begins with a Desire to Know God MORE

J.I. Packer said: “What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God.”

Ephesians 1:17 NIV “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God wants us to know Him to lead us to a higher place of worship, a greater level of faith, wisdom to act wisely, and a deeper level of commitment

Jeremiah 24:7 NIV  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Prayer of Commitment

I’d like you to stand this morning and we’re going to pray a prayer together. This prayer originally appeared in A.W. Tozer’s book called, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”

“O majesty unspeakable, my soul desires to behold Thee. I cry to Thee from the dust. Yet when I inquire after Thy name it is secret. Thou art hidden in the light which no man can approach unto. What Thou art cannot be thought or uttered, for Thy glory is beyond comprehension.

Still, prophet and psalmist, apostle and saint have encouraged me to believe that I may in some measure know Thee. Therefore, I pray, whatever of Thyself Thou hast been pleased to disclose, help me to search out as treasure more precious than fine gold: for with Thee shall I live when the stars of the twilight are no more and the heavens have vanished away and only Thou remainest. Amen.”

Communion Liturgy 

Jesus said: I am the bread of life. All who come to me shall not hunger, and all who believe in me shall not thirst. With Christians around the world and throughout the centuries, we gather around these symbols of bread and wine—simple elements that speak of nourishment and transformation.

I Corinthians 11:25-26 ESV – In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 

Christianity is a confession, not an explanation. At Communion we make a Confession. Listen, we will attempt to explain what we legitimately can, but we will always confess more than we can explain.

The Apostles Creed – I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Communion reminds us to confront and confess our sins, and repent! (Turn away from sin and to Christ with a change of heart & mind) 

I John 1:9 ESV – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Acts 3:19 – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 

Confession of Sin 

Most Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you, in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; We are truly sorry and we humbly depend. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. In Jesus Name. Amen

We remember on the night when Jesus and the disciples
had their last meal together, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and gave it to the disciples, saying “This is my body,
which is broken for you. Take and eat it, and as often as you do, remember me.” [The Body of Christ broken for you – Eat the Bread) 

In the symbol of the broken bread, we participate in the life of Christ and dedicate ourselves to being his disciples. In the same way he took the cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to the disciples, saying: “Drink this, all of you. This cup is the new covenant, poured out for you and for many Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. [The Blood of Christ Shed for you – Drink the cup) 

Let us pray. We give thanks, loving God, that you have refreshed us at your table. Strengthen our faith; increase our love for one another. As we have been fed by the seed that became grain, and then became bread, may we go out into the world to plant seeds of justice, transformation, and hope. Amen. 

Bless One Another – A beautiful expression of worship, unity, forgiveness, and strength – “The peace of Christ be with you – and also with you” 

My Evening Prayer Liturgy

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My Evening Prayer Liturgy

The Call To Prayer 

May the Lord Almighty grant and those I love a peaceful night and a perfect end.

†OPENING From the rising of the sun to its setting, Let the name of the Lord be praised. YOU, O LORD, ARE MY LAMP. MY GOD, YOU MAKE MY DARKNESS BRIGHT. Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord. THANKS BE TO GOD.

Psalm 63:7-8 When I think of you upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall that you indeed are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. 

O God make speed to save me, O Lord make haste to help me. I need you.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me.

Confession of Sin

Almighty God, My heavenly Father, I have sinned against you, through my own fault in thought, and in word, and deed, in what I have done and what I have left undone. For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me all my offenses; and grant that I may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your name.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Psalm 51 NIV Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

I adore You, my God, and I love You with all my heart. I thank you for having created me, for having made me a Christian, and for having preserved me this day. Pardon me for the evil I have done today. If I have done anything good, be pleased to accept it. Protect me while I take my rest and deliver me from all dangers. May your grace be always with me. Amen.

Luke 6:12 ESV In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Oh Lord, I pray you to visit our home and drive from it all snares of the enemy. Let Your holy angels dwell in it to preserve us in peace; and let Your blessing be always upon us. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety.

PSALM 131 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I DO NOT OCCUPY MYSELF WITH THINGS TOO GREAT AND TOO MARVELOUS FOR ME. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;  MY SOUL IS LIKE THE WEANED CHILD THAT IS WITH ME. O Israel, hope in the Lord FROM THIS TIME ON AND FOREVERMORE. 

Expressions of faith

Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day;

and though I am poor, today I believe.

Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day;

and though I am weak, today I believe.

Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day;

and though of anxious heart, today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials;

and now, tried as I am, today I believe.

Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day;

and though it may be hidden, today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine;

and though the night is here, today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken when time was ripe;

and though you be silent now, today I believe.

Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening sacrifice. My uplifted hands: the gesture of supplication.

Be present, O merciful God and protect me and my family through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are fatigued by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon your eternal changelessness. Let no sickness, disease, harm, or injury come to any of us.

Amos 5:8 NIVHe who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land – the Lord is his name.

The Lord’s Prayer 

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Concluding Prayer

O Lord, all treasures of wisdom and truth and holiness are stored up in your boundless being. Grant that through our constant fellowship with you, those graces of Christian character may more and more take shape within me:

The grace of a thankful and uncomplaining heart;

The grace to await your timing patiently and to answer your call promptly;

The grace of courage whether in suffering or in danger;

The grace to endure any hardship in the fight against evil;

The grace of boldness to stand up for what is right;

The grace of being adequately prepared for any temptation;

The grace of physical discipline;

The grace of truthfulness;

The grace to treat others as I would like them to treat me;

The grace of sensitivity, that I may refrain from hasty judgement;

The grace of silence, that I may refrain from thoughtless speech;

The grace of forgiveness toward all who have wronged me;

The grace of tenderness toward all who are weaker than myself;

The grace of faithfulness in continuing to desire that you will answer these prayers.

And now, O God, give me a quiet mind as I lie down to rest. Dwell in my thoughts until sleep overtakes me. Do not let me be worried by the small anxieties of this life. Do not let any troubled dreams disturb me, so that I may wake refreshed an ready for all that tomorrow brings. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Make Room Pt.3

sinMake Room Part 3

Romans 6:1-6 1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that
grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how
can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were
baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore
buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new
life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will
certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know
that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might
be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin

(Everyone deals with these)
1. Confusion. distraction. turmoil, jumble, mess, disarray. perplexity;
bewilderment:

•A university student was seen with a large “K” printed on his T- shirt. When
someone asked him what the “K” stood for, he said, “Confused.” “But,” the
questioner replied, “you don’t spell “confused” with a “K.” The student
answered, “You don’t know how confused I am.”

(Romans 7:15, 18 LB) “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really
want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to—what I hate.
No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I
can’t.”

2. Frustration.
a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression,
resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

(Romans 7:21 LB) “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do
what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.”

3. Discouragement.
depression, dejection, hopelessness. despair. deterrent, damper,
impediment, obstacle, obstruction.

•It’s The absence of courage. It paralyzes you.

(Romans 7:24 Ph) “It is an agonizing situation. Who can set me free from
the prison of this mortal body?”

Bottom Line – Sin resides in the heart of every person
• No matter who you are, even if you think you are the most perfect person that
ever came forth, you still have sin in your life. All Christians do! No Christian can
have day-by-day victory over sin and live the happy, joyful, triumphant life, until
he or she faces the true facts about sin in their own nature, sin in his own life, what
sin will do and what do about it.

a. Isa 64:6-7 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all
our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and
like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or
strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and
have given us over to[a] our sins.”

b. I John 1:7-9 – 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we
have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all[a] sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive
ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
unrighteousness.

c. I John 1:5-10 – 5 This is the message we have heard from him and
declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we
claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie
and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in
the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus,
his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we
deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from
all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him
out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

What is Sin? (Non religious & religious writing)
Straying from the correct path, Missing the mark,Taking a Wrong turn, A misdeed
or trespass, Eternal Separation from God = Death, Anything contradiction with
God, Moral & spiritual depravity, An inherent trait in every person

Sin Severs Relationship between God and Man

Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”,

Isa. 59:2 – But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

How to Make the Room for God’s Plan

(Romans 7:25 NLT) “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We Go First, Then God – My Part / God’s Part!

•Malachi. 3:7 – Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from
my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says
the lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

•James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands,
you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

1. Acknowledge the root cause. (Admit it)

(1 John 1:8 LB) “If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling
ourselves, and refusing to accept the truth.”
(John 8:32 NIV) “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2. Believe that Jesus can set me free.

(Ephesians 4:18 LB) “Many are far away from the life of God because they
have shut their minds against Him, so they can’t understand His ways.”
(Ephesians 1:19-20 LB) “I pray that you’ll begin to understand how
incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him. It’s the same
mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.”
(Romans 8:11 Message) “It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-andpresent
God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do
the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?”

3. Have faith in God. (Trust Him to take care of things beyond my
control)
(Mark 11:22-24) “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth,
if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does
not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be
done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe
that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Charlie Brown – “Which do you think lasts longer in life, The good things
or the bad things? Linus – “Good things last 8 seconds…Bad things last 3 weeks” Charlie
Brown – “What about in between?” Snoopy – “In between you should take a nap”

4. Replace your anxieties.
•You cannot control things by worrying about them. It only makes you
miserable. (“cast all your care”…)

Charlie Brown – Lying in bed says, “It’s very Strange…Sometimes you lie
in bed at night and you don’t have a single thing to worry about…and that
always worries me!” LOL

(2 Corinthians 4:16-18) “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly
we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For
our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that
far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is
unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
(Colossians 3:1-2) “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your
hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set
your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The Invitation (The Antidote)
(Revelation 3:20) “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice
and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him.”

1. God wants everyone to be saved.
(1 Timothy 2:4) “(God)…wants all men to be saved and to come to a
knowledge of the truth.”
(2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some
understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.”

2. God provided a way of escape.
(Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(Acts 4:12) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name
under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

3. God invites you to receive salvation.
Definition: Deliverance from the power or penalty of sin; redemption.
Preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil. Harm, ruin,
or loss.

•Repent means “to change one’s mind about God, Christ, and sin”. We are not condemned
because of our sin but becaseu we have refused and rejected the remedy for sin – JESUS.

(Romans 10:9-10) “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your
mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Will You Make Room Today?
“Dear God, I’m ready for a change. I don’t want to stay the same. I need a
fresh start with You. Today I open my life to knowing You. Forgive me for
living my life my way. Today I invite Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Jesus
I want to know You. I put my faith in You. Give me the power to change. In
Your Name I pray. Amen.”

Make Room Part 2

makeroom
“Make Room” Part 2

God created you to last forever. Forever. One day your heart’s going to stop. That’s going to be the end of your body but that’s not going to be the end of you because you were made in God’s image and you were made to last forever. Because you’re made in God’s image.

What that means is this. You’re going to spend more time on the other side of death that you do on this side. Here on earth you’re going to get 60, 80, at the most 100 years. At the most. That’s really not very long considering the fact that you’re going to spend trillions and trillions and trillions of years in eternity. You’re going to spend far more time on that side of death than you do on this side of death.

So the question we’re asking this morning is, What are earth am I here for? What am I supposed to do with the 60 or the 80 or at the most 100 years I get on this planet in preparation for the life that is in the future.

The Bible says that life is preparation for eternity. If anybody ever asks you what is the meaning of life? Here it is. Life is preparation for eternity. This is the warm up act before the real play begins. This is the dress rehearsal before the real show starts. This is the initial warm up lap around the race before the real race begins. Life on earth is the kindergarten. It’s the pre school. It’s the get-ready stage for eternity. As I said you’re going to spend more on that side of eternity than you do on this side.

In eternity you’re going to do a certain number of things. We’re going to talk about them this morning. What God wants you to do while you’re here on earth is practice. God wants you to practice here on earth what you’re going to do forever in eternity.

The Bible says that God has five purposes for your life:

“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for… part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Eph. 1:11 (Mes)

“Everything, absolutely everything… got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Col. 1:16 (Mes)

GOD PLANNED ME FOR HIS PLEASURE

•Everything in the universe was created so that God could enjoy it. He created it all for His pleasure and for His enjoyment.

“You God created everything, and it is for Your pleasure that they exist and were created!” Rev. 4:11b (NLT)

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people.” Psalm 149:4 (GN)

•How many of you are parents? Do you take pleasure
in watching your kids? Most of the time. I think the same thing is true with God. Most of the time God takes pleasure watching you be you.

•God looks at you and He loves you simply because He made you.

“Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, God had us in mind, and settled on us as the focus of His love.” Eph. 1:4 (Mes)

•God thought you up in His mind and created you simply to love you. Because God is love. He didn’t need you. God wasn’t lonely. God’s never been lonely. But He wanted you and the number one reason you were made was simply to love you.

•If you ever grasp the profound truth I just shared with you and you let it sink into your psyche and into your soul you will never again have a problem with inferiority or insecurity or low self esteem.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matt. 22:37-38 (NIV)

•God says the most important thing in life is to know and to love Him.

“I don’t want your sacrifices – I want your love! I don’t want your offerings – I want you to know Me!” Hosea 6:6 (LB)

THE 1st PURPOSE OF LIFE IS: TO KNOW AND LOVE GOD

“Some people have missed the most important thing in life – they don’t know God.” 1 Tim. 6:21 (LB)

•The tragedy is most people go through their entire life missing the purpose of it. They know all kinds of other things. They know the stock quotes, the sports scores, the top ten, who’s on the cover of People magazine, and phone numbers. But they don’t know God. And God says that’s a tragedy.

“People who don’t know God are always worrying.” Matt. 6:32a (CEV)

2. GOD FORMED ME FOR HIS FAMILY

“God’s unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure.” Eph. 1:5 (NLT)

“God has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family.” 1 Pet. 1:3 (LB)

“That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth.” 1 Tim. 3:15 (NCV)

*This is very important. The church is not an institution. The church is not a bureaucracy. The church is not an organization. It’s not a social club. The church is God’s family. I don’t know why some churches don’t get this but they don’t. It’s not about rules and regulations and rituals and religion. It’s about relationships. The church is about those who’ve decided to become apart of God’s family forever and ever and it’s all about love. It’s about relationships.

“Love your spiritual family.” 1 Peter 2:17 (Mes)

THE 2nd PURPOSE OF LIFE IS: TO LEARN TO LOVE OTHERS

“We belong to each other and each of us needs all the others.” Rom. 12:5 (NLT)

“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together… instead let us encourage one another.” Heb. 10:25 (GN)

3. GOD CREATED ME TO BECOME LIKE CHRIST

“From the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him–and all along He knew who would–should become like His Son.” Rom. 8:29 (LB)

*So what God wants you to do is He wants you to become godly in character – integrity, generosity, humility, all the characteristics of God.

“We look at the Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created.” Col 1:15 (Mes)

“In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:5 (NCV)

“As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him.” 2 Cor. 3:18b (NLT)

•Becoming like Christ is a lifelong journey. It’s a process. It’s going to take the rest of your life for you to grow up spiritually.

THE 3rd PURPOSE OF LIFE IS: TO GROW UP SPIRITUALLY

“Some people have such shallow soil of character that when their emotions wear off and difficulty arrives, there’s nothing to show for it.” Mark 4:17 (Mes)

4. GOD “SHAPED” ME TO SERVE HIM

“You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.” Ps. 139:13 (Mes)

Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences

“God made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which He planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.” Eph. 2:10 (NCV)

“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” 1 Peter 4:10 (LB)

THE 4th PURPOSE OF LIFE IS: TO SERVE GOD BY SERVING OTHERS

(Mark 8:35 NLT) “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”

There’s 2 types of Christians:#1 Christians who are selfish & consume & always want to know what’s in it for them, #2 Christians who are selfless &contribute & always want to know what they can do for somebody else. We need more #2′s

5. GOD MADE ME FOR A MISSION

Jesus: “In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (Mes)

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Pr. 29:18 (KJV)

“Those who embrace My ways are most blessed.” Pr. 8:32 (Mes)

“Jesus included everyone in His death so everyone could be included in His life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.” 2 Cor. 5:15 (Mes)

“Open your eyes and see how good God is! Blessed are you who run to Him.” Ps. 34:8 (Mes)

Jesus: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me for real rest…and you’ll recover your life…and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt. 11:28-30 (Mes)

“It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as He says, the door is open.” Acts 10:35 (Mes)

Isaiah 54:1-6 Message
“Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women.” God says so! “Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities. Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.

So why do two services?

Four wins that come out of making the jump to 2 services.

1.Because lost people matter to God…At GraceTown, we don’t exist for ourselves, we exist for those outside our walls. We want to create as many opportunities for unchurched, dechurched and lost people to experience God as we possibly can.

2. Worship one Serve one! – We had some KidsTown workers who had only been to 2 or 3 services in the last few months so now they can come to service, also some people would love to serve on Sunday but they didn’t want to miss service so now they don’t have to. Activate inactive attenders

3. It keeps everyone connected to the vision because everyone is coming to service, and both services are identical so everyone is on the same page. We want to be found faithful with what God has trusted us with!

4. More services equal more growth, We aren’t about the numbers to try and grow a church, but we are about the numbers because heaven and hell are real. Creating more seats at optimum times. Two services presents more opportunities to Invite your friends. Let’s grow the kingdom because people matter to God!

Scheduled Date for 2 Services at GraceTown – Sunday Feb 2, 2014 9:30 & 11:00am service times

A PRAYER OF PURPOSE

Dear God, thank You for creating me and loving me. I want to fulfill the purposes that You created me for. So starting today, I really want to get to know and love and trust You. I want my life to bring You pleasure and I want to become a part of Your family. Help me to grow more like Your Son Jesus, and to use my life to follow and serve You. Thank You for sending Jesus to die for me. In the weeks ahead, help me to understand Your vision and mission for the rest of my life.