3 Things To Remember and 3 Things To Do in 2016

full_the-only-fomo-to-fear

3 Things To Remember and 3 Things To Do in 2016

3 Things To Remember

(Colossians 1:28-29 NLT) “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”

1. Help People find Jesus. 

(John 9:17, 25 NIV) “Finally they turned again to the blind man, ‘What have you to say about him?’ He replied, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!’” 

(1 Corinthians 9:22 LB) “…yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.”

•The church is the primary place where people come to faith in Christ and begin to live as Christians. Lost people matter to God & therefore ought to matter to the church.

•65 Fresh Starts/salvations and 24 water baptisms in 2015

(Luke 14:23 LB) “Go out into the country…and urge anyone you find to come in, so that My house will be full.”

•Be a Bringer! Who can you bring with you in 2016

2. Help People find relationships.
(James 5:16 NIV) “
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” 

(Romans 12:5 NLT) “…Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.”

•GraceTown Life Groups Starting 3 week in January

3. Help People Grow Spiritually. 

(Ephesians 4:11-13 NLT) “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” 

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT) “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

•God’s Word is the the primary catalyst for transformation and spiritual growth. You will never grow up as fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ on a diet of spiritual twinkies.

“The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”

Knowing God’s Word is the Pathway to Knowing God. You will never be more spiritual than you are scriptural!

•Upcoming spiritual growth class – The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster starting next Sunday with Teacher Steve Light 8am & 9am in Kidstown Classroom.

3 Things To Do

1. Pray.

(Matthew 9:37-38 NIV) “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

(Ephesians 1:17-18 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. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.

•Prayer is the highest order of business. For it links a powerless human to the creative force of God’s sovereign power!

“When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works.”- Max Lucado

•If you and I are too busy to Pray, we give our spiritual life a funeral! Prayer is a necessity, not an option!

•Make a commitment of 10-15 minutes to start your day each morning with prayer and devotion to God. 

•Churchwide Call To Prayer and Fasting for 7 Days starting January 11-18 – we will spend 7 days focused and seeking after God

One prayer can change ANYTHING. one prayer can change EVERYTHING

2. Serve.

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

The Big Idea: In the world, greatness is determined by how many people SERVE YOU; but, in God’s kingdom, greatness is determined by how many people YOU SERVE.

(Galatians 6:4 MSG) “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”

“This is a story about 4 people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry with that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”

“Hillsong Church is not built on the gifts and talents of a few, but on the sacrifice of many.” Brian Houston

•Use your gifts, talents, and abilities to serve and be a part of the Dream Team at GraceTown

3. Give.

(Luke 18:29-30 GW) “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to come.”

(Mark 8:35 LB) “If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for My sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.”

THE KEY TO A Godward LIFE IS A HEART OF GENEROSITY.

Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV 24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

•Generosity doesn’t start when you have a lot, it starts when you have little!

• Your giving and generosity should be directly tied to what God allows to come into your life.

•Challenge you to do 3 things:

  1. Be a Tither – 10% of your income to be returned back to God, 
  2. Give offerings (whatever you decide) 
  3. Give to our future (building fund) 

God calls you and I to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.

Go togracetownchurch.com/give

Principles for Great Organizational Success

Guide-for-organizational-success

Principles for Great Organizational Success

“If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)

Success in leadership doesn’t usually happen by chance. It is part of a strategic approach to life and business that yields lasting rewards. To walk in a greater level of success as a leader and organization, we must follow these principles of success:

1. Do something different. It has been said that if you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. Examine your methods of doing things. Are they working? Are you accomplishing your goals? Is your vision being fulfilled? If not, re-think, restructure, refresh, reenergize, your plan and make adjustments as necessary.

Romans 12:2 NKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”Albert Einstein

2. Don’t be afraid of change. The natural tendency of a person, when they find themselves in a hole, is to dig deeper. Sometimes doing exactly the opposite of what you have been doing up till now can turn out to be the perfect solution. Remember, when you find yourself in a hole the way to get out is to stop digging

Psalm 37:3-4 NIV – Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

•Reasons Why People Resist Change  

1. Fear: The unknown is a threat to people’s comfort zones

2. Insecurity: People may think they will be worse off after the changes

3. Power: People sense the change may cause them to lose power

4. Inertia: It is easier to maintain the status quo

5. Energy: It takes a lot of work to change things

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work. H. L. Hunt

3. Work harmoniously with others. Our interactions, our responses, our attitudes, all reflect whether we will be successful or unsuccessful. You will never be able to accomplish alone what you could accomplish with the help of others. Don’t isolate yourself from those around you, but connect yourself with those divine relationships God brings into your life.

Eph. 4:1-3 NIV – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

“Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.”Woodrow Wilson

4. Help others achieve their goals. The principle of sowing and reaping is not just in your tithes and offerings. If you want to gain success, help someone else achieve their success. Many times, if you will minister to someone else when you feel inadequate, you will see your own answer come to you.

Eccl. 4:9 NIV – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:

“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.” General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

 

“How to Become an Effective, Life Giving Team Leader”

Firstborn

“How to Become an Effective, Life Giving Team Leader”

2 Timothy 1:13-14 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 

Pastors, we must be keepers of the culture. If we are weak on our culture, others will come in and define it for us. Therefore we have the God given responsibility to set the culture.

Culture – Predominating attitudes and behaviors that characterizes the function of the organization.

GOAL – Life Giving Culture

John 10:10 NIV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full.

Some of Our Culture Attitudes at GraceTown….

  1. Leadership
  2. Serving – Everyone should be serving somewhere, if not they are not on the map
  3. Excellence
  4. Passion
  5. Fun
  6. Authenticity

Churches have barriers to growth – 100, 200, 500, 800, 1000. Although each barrier is unique, there are 3 key factors that apply to every barrier we will face as a church.

1. Inspiring and consistently excellent worship services

•Our services are WELL PLANNED, but feel FLEXIBLE and UNRUSHED. They are upbeat but relaxed.

•We only have 52 Sunday’s a year and every single one needs to count!

2. Clear pathways to Connection and involvement

3. Effective and life giving Structure and administration

Don’t be afraid to lead – rid yourself of the thinking that you are inadequate or unqualified.

Leadership is Influence – John Maxwell

Our day today is an emotionally charged, overweight burden down society that needs LIFE, from life giving leadership!

What Life Giving Leadership Is:

A. Leadership is not a project, leadership is a spirit. People don’t need a position to be a leader.

B. Leadership must give encouragement and confidence

C. Joshua’s Leadership Training –

Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be dismayed.”

•God was focusing on Joshua’s spirit before the task.

D. For God to get us to where he would like us to be, He needs us to realize our leadership is more about a spirit than a task. Be strong, inspired, and full of courage, life and purpose. Life Giving Leadership

•Leadership is more than information, communication, and projects. Leadership is spirit

•Remember this – “Your Leadership can be something that people have to overcome, or something that helps people overcome.” – Kevin Gerald

F. It should cause people to lighten up

  • When the life of God is flowing, there should be lots of smiling and laughing. (Seattle fish market – a fun place to work)

G. Life Giving leadership is positive and inspiring –

Proverbs 16:15 (message) says, “Good tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re life spring rain and sunshine.”

H. We will not resort to a negative, forceful, or whiney approach to motivate. This leads to immaturity.

I. To be an effective leader – STAY POSITIVE.

J. Leaders are like an elevator – you are either taking people up or taking them down. Make a decision to take people up!’

Life Giving Leaders are…

1. Life Giving leaders are always growing and reaching to improve their leadership. Take responsibility for your own failures as well as successes. If you keep learning, you will improve, and your leadership will get better.

2. Life Giving leaders are pushing the boundary lines to move beyond what is normal or usual. Leaders are pioneers. They venture into unexplored territory and guide to new and often unfamiliar destinations.

3. Life Giving leaders are risk-takers. They reject the maintenance mentality and take risks from strength, preparing thoroughly, understanding what is at stake, and marching forward with confidence. It is never too late to be what you might have become!

4. Life Giving leaders are resource finders and releasers. They have built a leadership pipeline that finds potential leaders, trains them, and releases them to greater levels of ministry.

5. Life Giving leaders are future-focused and dedicated to do whatever it takes to get there. Their faith capacity has increased to believe that God will provide all that is necessary as the need arises. Their people capacity is increased so that getting along with and caring for people is at the leader’s heart.

Our Commitment each Sunday

Remember Team – It’s a Privilege and opportunity to serve. It’s never asking too much of people to serve.

1. Each person I encounter today is loved by God & needs to feel special.

2. I need to make a personal impact through a smile, a word of kindness or an act of love.

3. I will remember what it feels like to be new.

4. My responsibility is not simply to carry out a task but to engage each person individually.

5. I am vitally important to impacting lives today.

6. I will be in a great mood on Sundays & will not let anyone or anything Hijack my great mood

7. I will be ready to meet any need that arises

8. I will have a sense of responsibility for everything that happens on Sunday

9. I will focus on People and processes

10. During service I will be alert, take notes & be an example in Worship

SELFIE Pt.2 – Living a Generous Life

selfie_1920_180
SELFIE Pt 2 – Living a Generous Life

2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV- You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

SELFISHNESS – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others

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

John D Rockefeller said, “I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and that only in purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”

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.”

•Over 800 verses in the Bible about the subject of Money. It’s addressed more than heaven and hell. 16 of 38 stories Jesus told were about money and man.

The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right to even life a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?”

Alexander responded in royal fashion “Copper would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.”

Very few people these days, have “the Great” added to their names. When we think of Alexander the Great, most people think of the historical figure, who was young, eccentric, a brilliant military strategist with blond hair and bulging muscles and looks like Colin Farrell. However, one of the secrets of all greatness is revealed through generosity.

He didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. But his way of thinking challenged the thinking of not just the courier, but everyone who had the privilege of being in the presence of greatness. He just didn’t subdued kingdoms with superior military strategy, but conquered mediocrity through his generous life.

“Your standard of giving reflects your standard of living”

•We find meaning by giving our lives away
Acts 20:35 It is more blessed to give than to receive. (God’s concept)

•THE KEY TO A Selfless LIFE IS A HEART OF GENEROSITY.


Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV 24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

•Generosity doesn’t start when you have a lot, it starts when you have little!
• Your giving and generosity should be directly tied to what God allows to come into your life.



2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…

Generosity is quality of heart and mind opposed to meanness

•What is Generosity? It’s literally “Freedom from meanness or smallness of mind and character. Meanness is born out of selfishness and selfishness is born out of self preservation.

•Generosity: A courageous disposition full of the Spirit, that is evidenced by:
•A quality of heart and mind opposed to meanness
•A nobleness of soul that is empowered to bestow favor
•A bountiful disposition that is free to give with bold liberality

When you are generous, you are free from the smallness of your own mind. Smallness of mind is when you are focused on you and what you need, not the needs of others.

Generosity goes against our nature. Andy Stanley said it best when he said, “by nature the concept of generosity is in direct conflict with the concept of self preservation”

Luke 16:9 NLT – 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. (In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven)

•”There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there” Col. Sanders (he gave $2 million to the AG missions prior to his death)

•”Generosity is a good criterion of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people” Dr. Karl Menninger

How can you begin to develop a generous spirit that leads to a generous life?

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Noble – One who because of elevation of mind (think), becomes heroic (be) by doing deeds “uncommonly” well with excellence as the standard (do)

“When you elevate your thinking, you elevate your life”

Generosity is not just meeting the needs of “Beggars” or need people so that we feel better about ourselves. It’s a way of thinking, being, and doing life that becomes heroic by approaching life with an extravagant God-like excellence.

God’s desire for us is to think….be…do life like Him. We elevate our thinking when we put God first with our time, talent, and treasure.

The Result of Generosity

Everything you need will be added unto you
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Your Children will be Blessed
Psalm 37:25-26 NIV- I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread. They are always generous…their children will be blessed.

Good will come to you (The Favor of God)
Psalm 112:5 NIV Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

You will prosper and be refreshed
Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV One man gives freely, yet gains even more (gets larger and larger); another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
another translation – “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed. Those who help others are helped.”

BONUS – Treasures in Heaven
a. I Timothy 6:18-19 “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures.

God has called us to a generous life, because the world needs to see a generous God! I want to challenge you to be generous. Love generously, give generously and live generously!

Our Generosity is a reflection of the generosity of God!

Love always finds a way: selfishness always finds an excuse!

God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.

You weren’t created just to consume resources – to eat, breath, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. God wants to you to give something back!

•There’s a clever young guy named Somebody Else, There’s nothing this guy cannot do. He is busy from morning till way late at night, Just substituting for you.

You’re asked to do this or you’re asked to do that And what is your reply?
Get Somebody Else to do that job, He’ll do it much better than I.

So much to do in this weary old world, So much and workers so few,
And Somebody Else, all weary and worn, Is still substituting for you.

Are you content to let Somebody Else serve & give?


•”Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, To all the souls you can, In every place you can, At all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, As long as you can.” John Wesley

Generosity Brings absolute fulfillment

Matthew 25:21 – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The Power of Team Partnerships

Rowing-745
The Power of Team Partnership

Exodus 17:8-13 NIV The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Everybody needs Somebody. Ministry is never meant to be done alone.

All Good Things Flow From Relationship
•When God found you…he found you alone
* When He saved you…he saved you alone
* But He called you into the family of God
* 2 are better than 1

Andrew Carnegie said, “It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you can do alone.”

Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”

As an organization and leader we should encourage Flexibility, Change, and Innovation

One of the things that separates winning and losing teams is how the team’s good players are placed. Take a look at what I mean:

The wrong person in the wrong place = regression
The wrong person in the right place = frustration
The right person in the wrong place = confusion
The right person in the right place = progression
The right PEOPLE in the Right Place = MULTIPLICATION

The Power of Partnership

“God is look for people through whom He can do the impossible – what a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.” AW Tozer

Partnerships at GraceTown will not be a preference but a Requirement!

1. Partnership UNIFIES for Strength

•Partnership works together to support God’s leadership and win the battle – Aaron & Hur

2. Partnership IDENTIFIES opportunities

•Partnership ignores the nay sayers and claim God’s promises – Joshua & Caleb

3. Partnership INTENSIFIES commitment to one another

•Partnership commit to journey together and be spiritually linked – Ruth & Naomi

4. Partnership PURIFIES motives

•Partners trust unconditionally and take risks unreservedly – David & Jonathan

5. Partnership SOLIDIFIES new alliances

•Partnerships take on daunting tasks and refuse to stop until the work is done – Nehemiah and the wall builders

“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team” John Wooden

One person can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one person cannot make a team. The team player is the one who makes things go – the one who is willing to do and sacrifice whatever it takes to make the team successful.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:10  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Romans 12:4-5 NIV –  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others

“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together, we can do great things.” Mother Teresa

How to be an Effective Team Player

team-building
How to Become an Effective Team Player

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10)

As a leader, your most valuable resource is the people that you work with. And now, more than ever, an excellent leader must be an effective team player. Here are some important things to remember in order to develop into a quality team member:

1. Demonstrate reliability. People should be able to count on you to do your fair share in working hard and meeting commitments. Consistency is crucial. Your team should be able to count on you to deliver good performance all the time, not just some of the time.

Proverbs 22:1 NIV – A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

”Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” – Dietrich Bonhoffer

2. Communicate constructively. To be a valuable team player, you must be able to express your thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly and with respect for others.

Proverbs 13:2-3 NIV – From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

”The most important single ingredient in the formula of success i9s knowing how to get along with people.” – Theodore Roosevelt

3. Function as an active participant. You must fully engage yourself in the work of your team if you are to be an effective team player. Take the initiative and help make things happen with an attitude of “What contribution can I make to help the team achieve success?”

Proverbs 20:18 NIV – Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.

4. Share information. Be willing to share information, knowledge, and experience. Take the initiative to keep other team members informed both formally and on a day-to-day “touching base.”

Proverbs 12:15 NIV – The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

“It’s not what you tell your players that counts. It’s what they hear.”- Red Auerbach

5. Pitch in to help. Teamwork involves working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. Good team players figure out ways to solve problems and get work done in spite of differences they may have with one another on an individual level.

(Proverbs 12:24 NIV – Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.

“There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed.”Alan Loy McGinnis

6. Practice flexibility. Change is the norm when you’re working in a team environment. Good team players flow and adapt to these conditions. They don’t complain or get stressed out because something new is tried or some new direction is being set.

(Proverbs 24:10 NIV – If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

7. Work as a problem-solver. An effective team player is willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. Instead of being a problem-dweller, problem-blamer, or problem-avoider, valuable team members choose the approach of a problem-solver.

(Proverbs 22:29) Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.

“The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” – Anonymous

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.

Use Somebody

tumblr_kq3h415noR1qzu4weo1_500
Use Somebody

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

I. God has a call for every person. It’s indispensable for the Christian life

1. The Call to Salvation
a. I Timothy 6:12 NIV – Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
b. I Peter 2:9 NIV – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

2. The Call to Self Denial, & sometimes Suffering
a. I Peter 2:21 – To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
b. This is not popular amongst people today. We live in a self preservation society.
1. SELFISHNESS – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others
2. Am I willing to put others first? (Mark 9:35) “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
a. Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
b. Romans 8:16-18 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

3. The Call to Serve
a. Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
b. The Big Idea: In the world, greatness is determined by how many people SERVE YOU; but, in God’s kingdom, greatness is determined by how many people YOU SERVE.
c. We accompany God on His mission. We are not called alone.
1. John D Rockefeller said, “I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and that only in purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”

a. Salvation call us to “Come unto Him”, But service calls us to “Go”
b. Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

II. When We Serve we live beyond ourselves

•“In my view, people are never closer to living out the teachings of Christ than when they are adding value to someone else’s life. And people who are far from God are rarely more impacted than when they see 21st-Century Christ-followers behaving as Christ behaved.” ~Bill Hybels

•Our nation is fueled by service. The basis of capitalism. Providing of a service

1. Serving others is your ultimate calling.
(John 13:14) “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
(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.”

•God will not look you over for your medals, or your degrees, or for your diplomas, God will look you over for your scars of service.

2. Serving others brings absolute fulfillment.
(Hebrews 6:10 NLT) “He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians.”
(John 13:1) “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

•The Value of serving on a Sunday / It’s a BIG DEAL / changing a life

(Matthew 25:21) “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

•Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, once appeared on the cover of their annual report dressed in a knee-length work apron, holding a mop and a plastic bucket. Here’s how he described that picture: “I got my M.B.A. long before my G.E.D. At Wendy’s M.B.A. does not mean Master of Business Administration. It means Mop Bucket Attitude.”


“This is a story about 4 people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry with that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”
Are you content to let Somebody Else serve?


(Luke 18:29-30 GW) “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up
anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times
more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to
come.”

(Luke 6:38 Message) “Give your life away and youʼll find your life
given back. But not merely given back. Given back with bonus and
blessing.”

What Now?

(Titus 3:8) “I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

”Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, To all the souls you can, In every place you can, At all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, As long as you can.” John Wesley

(Proverbs 3:27-28 Message) “Never walk away from someone who
deserves help; your hand is Godʼs hand for that person. Never tell your
neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

3. I must seize the opportunity & Participate

(Galatians 6:10) “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good
to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of
believers.”

(Colossians 4:5-6) “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be
always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how
to answer everyone.”

(Matthew 9:35-38) “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

What can you do in your everyday life to help someone? What can you do here on a Sunday to serve ? •”become the glove into which Christ inserts his divine hand.”

•You don’t have to be a seminary graduate, or a college graduate, all you have to be is you and willing.
•I am asking you this morning, step out and make a commitment to be a part of what God wants to do in our Church.

March Madness Part 2 Outline

March Madness graphic

March Madness Part 2 / Getting in the Game

 

Today we want to help you to move forward and advance in Gods plan for your life.
Our team is here to assist you, pray with you and help you. Its our goal to see you in a place where your life is thriving, growing, enjoying all that God has for you.

 

Sometimes we get held up or stuck where we are and fail to move forward in Gods plan. It’s often not intentional, but rather the result of indecision. Just one decision can set off a chain reaction that dramatically effects and enriches our life.

 

Texts:

 

II Timothy 1:9 NIVHe has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

 

 Luke 19:1-6 – Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

 

This is the story of a man named Zacchaeus who in one day went from being a guy who was on the pines (bench), bleachers to being a guy who was in the game.
He was a curious spectator, an observer who was watching Jesus from afar.

 

 I. When it comes to relationship with God, everyone spends some time in the bleachers.

 

A) Perhaps many of you can relate to Zacchaeus who preferred watching things from afar.

 

1. Something tells me that it was not only his shortness of stature that caused him to choose the tree as an observation deck but also the safe distance it put between him and Jesus.                                                        

 

a) The up close crowd was the fully convinced.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           b) The up close crowd was the cheering section                                                                                                                                                                                                                          c) The up close crowd were committed followers

 

2. Maybe, just maybe Zacchaeus was more comfortable at a distance and maybe you can relate. But that didn’t mean Jesus would leave him there.                                                                  

 

a) The bleachers are a place of comfort and complacency. No push… no advancement… no use of your talent…                                                                                b) You can’t fulfill your destiny while staying in the seat of comfort and complacency.
                                                                                             

 

i. You can’t find your purpose staying in the seat of comfort                                                                                                                                                                                                     ii. You can’t connect with your God-assigned connections in a seat of comfort.                                                                                                                                                            III. Spud Webb – 5’7’’. Played in the NBA for 13 yrs. Webb was the shortest person to compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, winning the event in 1986. Also was NBA free throw percentage leader in 1995. (SO NO EXCUSES)

 

c) Ships are never at risk while sitting in a safe harbor-but ships were not built to be in a harbor…ships were built to be at sea.  The harbor of isolation may feel like a safe place for insecure people, but we were designed for the open sea of relationships.

 

II. Everyone in the bleachers will be called into the game. Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately.

 

A) Jesus called Zacchaeus out of his very safe and distant bleacher seat into an up- close, personal, interactive relationship with him.

 

1. We’ve come to recognize that this is a natural progression everyone makes in their relationship with God:

 

a) From the bleachers – that safe cozy observation deck (Contact stage), He will call you out of the bleachers and into a relationship with him and his people (Community).

 

2. Here’s an example of the people sitting in the stands:

 

a) Theological Tom
- He’s not getting in the game because he hasn’t found a church that agrees with all of his deep and detailed theology.
   

 

b) Skeptical Sally – She’s not getting in the game because the church is a man made organization and she knows it.                                                           

 

c) Offended Oscar – He’s not been in the game since he felt taken advantage of the last church he attended.                                                

 

d) Busy Bill – He’s not in the game because he doesn’t have time. His life is busier than those people in community.                                                 

 

e) Perfect Pam – She’s not in the game because she hasn’t found a church good enough. (I tell people if you find a perfect church don’t join it then it won’t be perfect!!)                                                                                                                 

 

f) Comfortable CarlHe’s not in the game simply because he’s never made the move you know-the energy it takes to leave that cozy, comfortable observation deck.

 

III. Everyone who leaves the bleachers will experience heaven in their house.

 

6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly….
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house… Luke 19: 6, 9

 

A) When you respond to God’s call on your life, you set the course for future generations for entire house.
(my call to ministry)

 

          a) When you take steps to get in the game it will effect the generations to come. 

 

Mark 10:46-52 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

 

B) The Pathway of Purpose:

 

Four practical steps to advance you forward in Gods will for your life.


 

1. Make Contact

 

a) Some of you who are in church today are believers but you’ve been away from church-life. I want to encourage you to make attendance a regular part of your life. We love having you here. You belong with Gods people
i. Don’t let mean Christians or past experiences keep you away.


 

2. Get Connected

 

a) If your in attendance but haven’t stopped by our guest center, why not come by and introduce yourself to us? We would love to meet you.
i. If you’re ready to be connected start today!

 

3. Be Committed

 

 a) When you commit to GraceTown you’re saying, “I know God brought me to this place and I want to…
- I want to get a new beginning in my life
- I want to be planted here and keep the growing going in my life.

 

(Psalm 92:12-14) The righteous will flourish like a palm treeplanted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,

 

 4. Live in Community

 

a) When you make Sunday’s a priority, & you become a “hero” & serve & get into a life group your saying, “I want to find my place on a team. I want to give back and help us be a life-giving community at GraceTown Church” – So join this winning team!

 

God’s calling us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves

 

            •So let’s start Contributing, Giving, Participating

 

            •Remember it is impossible to serve God without serving one another

 

 

 

Heroes Part 7 – Obstacles


Heroes Part 7 – Obstacles

Hebrews 12:1-3 – 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I Thess. 2:18 – 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.

Hindered/Blocked – Break up of a road to make it impassable for travelers. Results are trips are delayed, postponed, inconvenienced, or eventually cancelled

OBSTACLE ONE:
AN UNTEACHABLE ATTITUDE

Unwillingness to change. We must not refuse to impliment new and vital information as it becomes available.

Imagine a lawyer who refused to read new laws and update his understanding in the laws.
Imagine a surgeon who refused to keep himself update on new surgical procedures.

a. Hosea 4:6 -my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.
b. Prov.1:5 – let the wise listen and add to their learning,and let the discerning get guidance—
c. Prov. 2:3-5 – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

God placed seeds of Greatness within us at birth, You and I are responsible for growing those seeds. You are what you have decided to be

Knowledge is exploding all around us – books, cds, magazines, classes, seminars

Two types of Knowledge:

1. Wisdom – Learning from the mistakes of others
2. Experience – Learning from your own mistaks

Prov. 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 2:10-11 –“When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you.”

Invest in yourself, Work harder on yourself. If you work hard on yourself, life will be easy. If you are easy on yourself, life will be hard. Don’t Bankrupt your mind.

d. Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dare to accept change – dare to listen to new ideas and concepts.

OBSTACLE TWO:
UNPAID VOWS

Eccl. 5:4-5 – When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.

God holds man responsible for what he/she promises

Sometimes during sickness – we promise God that we would be faithful to attend church
Pay our tithes of our income
To clear an offense with someone

After our health improves, we forget our vows.

It is important that we honor God and each other through honesty and integrity of our words.

Unpaid vows will destroy the operation of faith and the miracles God wants to perform

Do you owe someone money? Pay them!
Have any bounced checks? Pay them!
Have you promised something to your children, spouse, company?
Are you fulfilling your vows to other people?

OBSTACLE THREE:
UNFORGIVEN OFFENSES

Mark 11:25-26 – And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Forgiveness is not a suggestion, it is a commandment / requirement

Forgiveness releases to God the right to judge and penalize another for personal wrong

You are NOT called to play God!

Pray for those who wronged you

You have received mercy from God…pass mercy on to others
You have received love from God…pass love on to others
You have received kindness from God…pass kindness on to others
You have received forgiveness from God…pass forgiveness on to others

OBSTACLE FOUR:
UNWISE ASSOCIATIONS

a. Prov. 13:20 – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
b. I Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Unwise friendships and associations have destroyed the potential and the abilities of multiplied thousands of could-be winners.

Whoever cannot increase you, will eventually decrease you

Jesus only allowed two kinds of people to absorb his time: 1. those who ministered to him 2. those who received his ministry to them

Jesus did not let the Pharisees and the Sadducees take his time because they abused it

When someone does not value your time, neither will they value your wisdom

Reevaluate your friendships and DISCONNECT with those who are unwise and foolish

How to recognize unwise associations:
1. Those who are more critical than they are complimentary and encouraging
2. Those who belittle or laugh at your God-given dreams and visions
3. Those who embarrass and humiliate you
4. Those who siphon your energy and time through useless talk

How to recognize wise Associations:
1. Those who speak words that build up your faith and confidence
2. Those who see the validity and beauty of your God-given dreams and visions
3. Those who get excited about your potential
4. Those who remind you of your special gifts and talents

Remember: The same time you waste on losers is that which you could have been invested with winners

OBSTACLE FIVE:
AN UNCONTROLLED TONGUE

Prov. 18:6-8 – 6 The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.7 The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. 8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

Your words, whether you are right or wrong, leave a trail of destruction or accomplishment

Words can build confidence or tear it down
Words can build faith or tear it down

Stop talking about your shortcomings – start talking about your potential
Stop talking about your setbacks – start talking about your opportunities at hand
Stop talking about your defeats – start talking about your triumphs
Stop talking about your diseases – start talking about your healing
Stop talking about your past experiences – start talking about your expectations
Stop talking about your failures – start talking about your future

Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

Remember, every time you talk about your negative circumstances, you are programming yourself and others.

Start conditioning your mind to accept your successes and triumphs

Your words are signposts to others…pointing in the direction your life is moving.

Influence the conversations around you. Sometimes it good to “dominate your turf” with a little “aggressive happiness”

The success of your future is set in motion by your words –Talk about your expectations, not just your experiences. Talk about your future not just your past.

“Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday”

OBSTACLE SIX:
UNDEVELOPED GIFTS AND ABILITIES

Our talents and abilities differ –
Romans 12:6- 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith;

Successful people are people who have discovered and developed their special gifts and abilities

Diamonds in the rough

One secretary – watches TV every weekend
One secretary – attends seminars on a regular basis
Who has placed herself in a position of advantage?

If you enjoy working on cars, then don’t belittle your mechanical gifts
If you enjoy typing, then don’t play down your role as a secretary

Take the time to find your gift. Then invest the time and effort necessary to improve it

God will make the shovel available but you must be willing to start the digging

OBSTACLE SEVEN:
AN UNCOMMITTED HEART

James 1:8 – 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

A committed heart is a decided heart – a made-up mind

No commitment = no trust

No follower will follow a leader that is not committed to the cause

Whether you are obsessed with evil as Adolf Hitler or for righteousness as Billy Graham, commitment attracts people

Find something bigger than you are and get committed to it

Commit to something that you believe in and get involved with it

Make a commitment to GraceTown Church – Get connected and be a hero

Make a commitment to God:
Calvary was a commitment
The blood and cross of Jesus was a commitment
Gethsemane was a commitment