Scriptures: Mark 12:30, 1 Peter 4:10, Romans 12:3, Proverbs 3:5-7
Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without passion. God desires that we love Him passionately! In the society we live its okay to passionate about everything except God. People show intense passion for sports, politics and fashions.
By nature we are not passionate about God, its something we must chose to do! Its easy to get distracted and many things in life conspire to keep us from being passionate!
We must remember that serving God offers the forgiveness of sins, a life purpose and a future home in heaven!
To keep our passion ignited we must be aware of the things which kill our passion:
First is: unused talent. Every man has received gifts and God gives us all talents and abilities. These gifts are not for our benefit, the Word says "minister the same one to another." Our gifts are for the benefit of each other, when we do not use our talents we lose our passion! When you find a ministry it will reignite your passion.
Second is: overconfidence, which is "a feeling of certainty especially concerning oneself." Its dangerous to overestimate oneself, because no one is above failure. Feeling right and being right are two separate things! Its imperative that we review our successes, but overconfidence leads to actions of our own intellect, instead of actions guided by God's leading. Our intellect will never produce the results the Holy Spirit will produce. Lack of results is also another passion killer!
To reignite our passions we must find a ministry to use our gifts for Jesus and trust Jesus more that we trust ourselves.
Scriptures: Acts 4:31-33
As a church, we are proud and able to say that we are a great church because God is doing great things here and there are greater things to come! We are a church like the first church in Acts and our God is a God of the greater things!
What are the signs of a great church?
1) Great times of prayer and praise: A great churches' prayer and praise causes a shaking in the assembly where the presence of the Holy Spirit is felt and experienced.
2) Great Preaching- Great preaching is when God's Word is declared with boldness. Boldness is the courage to press through ones fears. Great preaching exalts the Savior, edifies the saints and exposes sin.
3) Great People- It takes great people to make a great church. People who will leave their nets to follow Christ. People willing to share their wealth. People willing to lay down their lives.
4) Great Purpose- Our purpose is to obtain the promises of God. Our purpose is to offer others the Gospel. Our purpose is to help people get to Heaven.
We are a great church because we serve a great God who has instilled us with great vision and purpose and afforded us great tools to get to a great future.
Scriptures: Psalm 34:12-14, James 1:26, James 3:5-6, Hebrews 11:25
In the New Living Translation, verse 12 reads this way: "Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good?" Ask yourself that question now: do YOU want a long and good life?
The Bible gives specific instructions on how to make this happen in our lives:
First: We must fear the Lord, which encompasses love and reverencing him. Proverbs 1:7 explains to us that there is a difference between knowlegde and wisdom. In the world we live knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom is an attitude that effects every aspect of our lives. Respect for God is the foundation for our understanding, attitudes and actions.
Second, we must watch our tongue! Proverbs 18:21 explains that "death and life are in the power of the tongue." Words produce consequence, both good or bad. The tongue can kill or nourish life; we need to keep our lips from telling lies. The book of James says "an uncontrolled tongue is like a raging fire."
Last, we must pursue peace. Sin is not peaceful! We must turn from sin. Peace must be something we seek and pursue. The Word tells us that "blessed are the peacemakers."
Ask yourself that question again: do you want to live a long, healthy and happy life? Respect God in everything, guard your tongue and promote peace! Long life is more than just the physical body, it is also the spiritual body.
Scriptures: Matthew 15: 21-28
In this passage of scripture, Jesus says to the Canaanite woman "O woman, great is thy faith...your request is granted." Her daughter, who had a demon within her severly tormenting her, was instantly healed.
This Canaanite woman, who was a Gentile and an emeny of Israel, was desperate for help. Her desperation drove her to Jesus. This took a lot of courage and a great deal of humility!
At first Jesus seemed removed from this woman, giving her no reply, while the disciples said: "tell her to leave...she is bothering us." Jesus tells her that He was not sent to help her. What He was saying was: "the Jews have the first opportunity to accept Him as Messiah." Her time to be helped would be down the road.
But then something amazing happens: "Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me." Jesus says: "It is not right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs." Jesus calls her a dog, which was a common attitude shared by Jews of His day. But the woman did not argue or retreat!
Some people would rather be right than correct, but not this woman! Her need dissolved her pride and she asked for crumbs, just something that would fall from the master's table.
We must ask ourselves: would crumbs be enough? Just small morsels falling from the master's table! Could our own desperation lead to sincere faith? This woman went from the need of her daughter to "Lord, help me." It was a cry of worship from a person of humility.
Jesus is not removed from us today, "but maybe we should not demand so much and just accept a few crumbs." The right attitude of worship will get a response from God. We must be able to say: "I would rather be wrong in myself, but correct with God." Look what great power those crumbs had: "and her daughter was made whole from that very hour."
Scriptures: 2 Kings 5: 1-15
It is a very humbling experience to admit that we are powerless.
We may be powerful in some areas of our lives, but then at the same time other areas can be completely out of control! And its those unmanageable areas that can infect and destory everything else in our lives.
We see this through the story of Naaman who was a powerful military and political figure. His career was going well and he was finacially well off. He was a man with position and power who had people's trust and respect. But he was a leper.
Being a leper could cause him to lose everything he held dear. At this time, lepers were made to be outcasts and their disease brought upon them a painful and lonely death.
Naaman heard about a prophet who could heal him and when he went seeking him the prophet's messenger told him to dip in the Jordan River seven times to receive his healing. Naaman was outraged! He expected that his areas of power and influence would grant him an instant and easy cure, but they didn't.
He could have stayed angry but instead, Naaman finally awknowledged his powerlessness and came down off his "high horse." He followed instructions and received his complete recovery.
Life has many types of diseases, some emotional: anxiety, bitterness, resentment, anger and self-pity. Life also has physical diseases: sickness, afflicitions, laziness, dependencies and addictions. These diseases, both emotional and physical, can lead toward the destruction of everything important in our lives.
There is no easy cure! And there is absolutely no cure without God!
So how do receive our complete recovery?
1. We must first admit our powerlessness- there are situations we just cannot handle on our own.
2. We must humble ourselves before God- allowing Him to have control over our lives.
3. We must follow God's direction and submit to the process He has for us- Naaman had to dip in the dirty Jordan River seven whole times to receive his healing.
When we are willing to take these steps God will bring recovery to our lives! Are there areas in your life that you need to realize you are powerless over? It's time to turn them over to God and follow His directions for your recovery!
Scriptures: John 11:17-44
This story begins at a grave where Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, had died. Jesus arrives to his grave four days after Lazarus' burial. "Jesus was four days late and was still on time!"
Lazarus had two sisters named Mary and Martha, and both of them believed the same thing: "Lord if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." They both thought it was too late for Lazarus and Jesus; Martha even commented that by this time her brother stunk! They basically told Jesus "its over, beyond your control."
"Jesus was four days late and was still on time." Jesus spoke a language that even the dead could hear; He has the power of resurrection. Jesus said: "I am the resurrection, I am the life...He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." He asked Martha: "Believest thou this?"
Many times we say "its just too late!" We feel entombed in our situation, bound up by our circumstances! We feel that our situation has gone too far, and that it's totally out of control and stinks! We must remember: it is never over with Jesus!
Jesus may have shown up four days after Lazarus died, seemingly too late to do anything, but He was right on time! He is not held bound by our time constraints. He can speak resurrection into any situation. We must be willing to roll away the stone and when He calls us to come forth, graveclothes and all, we must come to Him. Lazarus left the tomb, its our time to do the same!
"It's never too late when Jesus is allowed to get involved."