Weekly Messages

If you would like to listen to a message from the Archives, please email us at 4lwmchurch@gmail.com and let us know the date and title of the message and we will be happy to email you the MP3 audio file.

Tuesday
Aug142018

Aug 19, 2018

Made for Mission: “Whats my Message”

Week three of our series titled, Made for Mission.

2 weeks ago we kicked it off by saying that “We are all called”.

Then last week we said:"What's My Mission?"

Today we will spend time answering the question “What’s my message?” What do I actually say while living on mission.

If you are already a Christian then this is the very heart of following Jesus. This part of your mission is not natural it’s something that you must be intentional about or you’ll miss what you were made for.

Just because someone has rejected God before doesn’t mean they will this time. The average person who receives Christ has already had 17 unique spiritual encounters. You have no idea where you fit in and the impact your words are making. God is far more concerned with your obedience than your impact.

You never know when you’re going to have an opportunity to share Jesus so you better be ready at all times.

Read Luke 8:32- 33 “A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission.” “When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.”

Anything apart from Jesus ultimately leads to death. The man gets to see right in front of him where the voices in his head were leading him the whole time…death. The truth is, Satan hates you and has a horrible plan for your life.

John 10:10 says “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to give you life and life to the full.”

So the man asks the question, “Jesus, what do you want with me?”

1) I want to know your name.

2) I want to help you.

Think about it, everyone else wanted to bind him and keep him away but Jesus came to free him. He cared infinitely more about the man than the mess he’d just created. To Jesus, this man’s life was a big deal. Jesus showed that he cares even if things are messy.

3) I want a relationship with you.

As the man sat at Jesus’ feet, what do you think they talked about? I’m just guessing but don’t you think the man probably asked, “So who are you and how can I be saved?”

Jesus believed that this one demon possessed guy was worth it. You are worth it. The person you’ve been working up the nerve to share Jesus with is worth it.

What’s my message? Some of you are sitting her today saying “What’s my message?” It’s simple: Share how God’s goodness has change your life. Its not rocket science. It’s not theological. It’s not hard. It’s being real with people. What did Jesus do and how has He personally impacted your life. That’s the message we are supposed to be ready with. You have no idea the impact God wants to make through you. Jesus took the craziest most insecure guy and used him to start a revival.

“I can’t do this.”  “I’m shy.” “I can’t talk with people about God”. “This is just not my thing. Stop saying I can’t and Say God can.

Today is an incredible opportunity to be bold and share the gospel with those who haven’t heard about Jesus yet. It’s a day to notice the unnoticed. To allow God to allow divine interruptions. Today, would be the day to ask God to break your heart for what breaks His and to have your heart beat for the things that He is passionate about. To tell God, I can’t give You much today but I give you today. It’s not my day, it’s Yours. Use me however you want. I am Yours.

Wednesday
Aug082018

Aug 12, 2018

WHAT’S MY MISSION?

We are in week 2 of Made for Mission. We said last week that every person has been called by God for a mission. You are not an accident or fluke but you are God’s masterpiece created for a purpose.

With this mission you’ve got some options. Some people ignore their mission in life. Other’s will flirt with their mission. Some will every once in a while accidently live out part of their purpose but only for a short time. Then life gets busy and they fall back into the daily grind of everyday life. Then there are some who will actively live the mission God made them for. They find it because God’s not hiding it from them.

Jesus was a man on a mission. He resolutely set out to lay down His life for the sake of others salvation. With great intention and courage He knew where he was going and that his life was bigger than himself.

Jesus made it clear that the mission of those who would follow him was the same as His. Followers must lay down their lives on a daily basis for the sake of others. This isn’t just a one time event, this is the mission of our lives on a daily basis, from now till Jesus returns. Our mission is way bigger than ourselves.

God doesn’t just invite you to -come to church on Sundays. He invites you to join Him in His  mission where He is already at work. God’s mission needs to be our mission.

I think one of Satan’s most powerful tool to get Jesus follower’s off mission is the weapon of DISTRACTION.

Did you know: The average person checks their cell phone 110 times a day. That works out to 9 times an hour.

Can we all agree, we live in a distracted culture? If Satan can’t make you bad he will make you busy. However he can get you off the mission that you were made for, he’s winning.

Read Luke 9:57-62 

1. The distraction of Comfort
  Many times in life we grow the most when we are uncomfortable and needing to trust Jesus. Our world is  obsessed with safety and comfort. What happens when the distraction of Comfort comes in conflict with the Mission of Jesus? What happens when comfort becomes a bigger deal in your life than Christ? 
2. The distraction of Commitment
   Jesus promises that if we place His Kingdom first in our lives then He will take care of all the other things we love to stress about. While many of the commitments you’ve made may be really good and honorable Jesus still tells us that His mission must come first.
3. The distraction of Competition
  The mission that God has called us to must be seen as a reward and not a regret. He wants you to step forward into His calling, His confidence and His joy, not looking back in uncertainty and anxiety.

There are lots of things in our lives that are competing with God’s mission. Making money, Being healthy, Being successful in the world’s eyes, having everything you want, having your kids turn out perfectly. Many of these things are great but do they ever compete with God’s mission of walking with him no matter the cost.

Jesus is not about creating a following. He is about making followers. Simply saying that you will follow him is not enough. Are you willing to lay down your own comforts, your other commitments or the things that compete for your time to chase after/follow Jesus?

Ask yourself:

“God, do I have any distractions in my life that I need to let go of today?”

-Are there any comforts that I have made more important than You (Christ)?

-Are there any other commitments that I’ve been saying, “but first,” before I can fully follow Your (Christ’s) call on my life?

-Is there anything competing that might be good but have become more important than my calling to know You (Christ) and make You known?

Let's leave them at the altar. At the Feet of Jesus. Leave this place - Truly living for Him.

Tuesday
Aug072018

Aug 5, 2018

Made for Mission: We are Called! - Matthew 9:9-12

Over next couple weeks we will be seeing how we are “Made for Mission. I believe the invitation that God is going to give us, has the potential to to transform for our lives. Just like Paul.

I believe that God has a mission for your life but we all have decisions of what we want to do about it. We can ignore it. We can flirt with it, sometimes temporarily join God in what he’s made us to be. We can also LIVE ON MISSION.

Matthew 9:9 “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man namedMatthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” He told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him.”

You are called by God! He has chosen you to be an active part of His mission. Since you’re called you need to start asking some big questions.

  1. Those in the business world—why did God make me good @ business?

  2. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, ask yourself: What role do I play in the advance of the mission as I raise my kids? 

What if you started seeing your job as an actual calling from God.

Matthew 9: 10 “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.”

For some there is this fear that if I say Yes to God then Jesus may move me to Africa or Antarctica. That could happen but so often God says, “let’s just start with where I have you now.”

When your on mission for God

-You’ll look at your finances differently.

-You’ll look at your possessions differently.

-You’ll look at life differently.

-You’ll look at relationships differently

Matthew 9:11 “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Here is a third way God begins to transform us when we move from sitting to following.  God will transform how I respond to ridicule.

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Jesus faced all kinds of ridicule so wouldn’t you expect that if you’re following Him you’d get the same.

Matthew 5:10-11 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of Righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

You have no idea the impact God might want to make through your life. There is no greater joy in the journey of following God.

You’ve been called by God and Made for a Mission.
Thursday
Jul122018

July 15, 2018

Get Me To Jesus - Mark 2:1-12

In the midst of the chaos -the craziness and the confusion of life, what people need more than anything is hope.  Well, there is good news for you today because no matter where you’ve been, where you are or where you are headed to there is a better way there is hope and His name is Jesus Christ.

Who or what do you think of when you think of the word or meaning hope?

We live in a world that many maybe even those we know have felt hopeless, helpless, lost, unwanted, unloved, not good enough and or worthless. These are the exact lies that Satan tries to instill in your mind to believe and penetrate your heart with so you feel there is no hope.

John 10:10a “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy”

Steal – to steal your joy, your hope, you from your blessings.

Kill – the wages of sin is death Romans 3:23.

Destroy – the enemy wants to either keep you from having a relationship with Christ if you do not haveone or destroy it if you do have one.

The devil may think he is in control but we really know who is in ultimate control-God!

READ: Mark 2:1-12

What do you need healing from? A bad attitude, broken relationship(s), addictions, physical healing, mental healing and or spiritual healing? Whatever you need healing God is able to do it, TODAY!

Mark 2:1-3

v1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.

v2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.

v3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.

Imagine for a moment if this was you paralyzed or not able to move and you heard about a man named Jesus that the power, ability and authority to heal. You would do whatever it takes to get to Jesus wouldn’t you?

You should do whatever it takes to get to Him, today! He can fix the unfixable, mend the un-mendable. He can fix all areas of your life and put all the broken pieces back together and make you whole again.

Mark 2:4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Three things Jesus did here;

1. Saw their faith – note it says their faith, not just the man sick. These men were very faithful as well.

2. Spoke to the man – remember in the midst of Jesus preaching the word, He stops and turned His attention to the one’s that needed Him at that very Moment.

3. Forgave him of his sins. Notice he did not physically heal the person at that time, but forgave him of his sins.

You may have come to church for one thing but God is telling you -through His Holy Spirit that the first thing you need to do is repent and ask forgiveness of your sins and then God can heal you. Repentance comes before restoration.

Mark 2:12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The man does four things:

1. Listens to Jesus, immediately gets up before all of the witness’

2. Obeys Jesus, picked up the very thing that he was bound to. Notice the very object that was carrying him he is now carrying

3. Went where Jesus told Him to go to his own House

4. The most important part, the crowd witnesses a miracle and were amazed Because of that, they glorified God

Saturday
Jul072018

July 8, 2018

How to Faith the storms of life - Mark 4: 35-41

We all face storms in life. -The question is 'Do you have the ability to faith the storms of life?'  Faith is more than a noun - It’s also a verb.

Not only does God know/understand our storms/trials...He also gives us a way to faith the storms of life.

'Jesus and His disciples were planning to cross the Sea of Galilee. They started out on a three-hour tour. The weather started getting rough. The tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless Lord the disciples would be lost.'

You can see some disciples who were fighting against the storm, their focus was the storm. But there were some of the disciples gathered around Jesus, their focus was the Savior. Which leads me to a question, “When you face the storms of life, do you fearfully focus on the storm, or do you faithfully focus on the Savior?

Five lessons On how you can faith the storms of life:

I. You can be close to Jesus and still encounter storms

1 Peter 4: 12,16 says “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you…if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name”

II. Jesus permits storms to test our faith

3 of the ways God tests our faith.        

  A. The pressure test        

   B. The people test        

   C. The persistence test

III. Storms force us to cry out to Jesus

1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

IV. Jesus will either calm your storm or calm you

V. If Jesus is in your boat, you know you’ll make it through the storm

In the midst of the storm -the disciples had forgot what Jesus said. He said, “Let us go over to the other side.” Once the Creator of the Universe makes up His mind that He’s going to the other side -there was nothing in heaven or on earth that would have sunk that boat.  Good news is, Jesus has promised us His followers that we’ll make it through every storm as well. God never promised that we’d live a storm proof life. He just promises to be with us  in the midst of the storm.

Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?  They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Sunday
Jul012018

July 1, 2018

4th Of July: Declaration Of Dependence - Deuteronomy 8:6-14

On Wednesday the United States will be celebrating a crucial moment in the history of our nation... the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams signed he said, "Whether we live or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail, I stand behind this Declaration of Independence. And if God wills it, I am ready to die in order that this country might experience Freedom."

Just 14 months before the Declaration of Independence was written armed conflict actually broke out in the Battle of Lexington & Concord between colonial Minutemen & British army troops. Patrick Henry, the fiery patriot from Virginia gave his famous speech before the Virginia Convention....."Three million people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, & in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the Destiny of nations, & who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. The Battle, sir, is not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. It is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission & slavery. Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! … I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."

What we often forget is that in declaring their independence from England our forefathers made an equally bold “Declaration of Dependence” upon Almighty God.

They Declared their Dependence upon God. But we weren't the first nation to do that. At another crucial moment in history as the people of Israel were preparing to enter the land that God had promised to them Read Moses told them, in Deuteronomy 8:6-14

The 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins with these words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Again, the closing words of their Declaration solemnly states: "With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence (that's God), we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes & our sacred Honor."

It is important that we remember this clear declaration of their dependence upon God In a world we live in today it seems that we have begone not only to ignore -but even to eliminate any acknowledgement of the deep & abiding faith of our Founding Fathers and of the God who gave this nation its birth & its greatness.

Watch out that we don’t forget God. History has show us that not only nations but also individuals need to heed that warning. The greatness of a nation is not measured by its military power or national wealth. Righteousness & justice should be the determining factors. Solomon, the wisest of men, said: "Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34. What’s happening in the United States today? To a great extent our culture has become all about success, status, & security.

Our real freedom comes in Christ. So when we stand back -& look at this land of the free we begin to ask, "Is there any real freedom anywhere?" But thank God, as Christians we have a greater freedom than any constitution can give us. We have the freedom that is offered in Christ Jesus.

There is a word for freedom in the N.T. It is the word, "redemption." "Redemption" means "to be set free." It means that we have been bought with a price that we have been freed of our bondage & now we are really free.

If you really are a patriot, if you are truly concerned about America, if you truly want God to bless her, then live a life in harmony with the will of God. May we as individuals, reaffirm our dependence upon God so that as we, "looking to Jesus the author & finisher of our faith," we might experience the freedom He gives not only from worry, doubt & fear, but also from all those sin we have in our lives.

Sunday
Jul012018

June 24, 2018

HOW TO GUARANTEE A HAPPY DAY - Psalm 103

Have you ever had -one of those days where your spouse, your mom, or your friends would say you “got up on the wrong side of the bed”? Nothing went right for you maybe your attitude was a little bad, maybe you felt like a black cloud followed you around? Lets look at the Psalms on how to guarantee you'll never have a day like this again.

Psalm 103 is part of a pair of psalms. In Hebrew, it continues right into Psalm 104 as if the two are actually one song. They’re both Psalms of Praise. Everybody say, “Praise the Lord.” Psalm 103 says it’s a psalm of David.

How to never again have a terrible day? There are three simple steps.

1. Start your day with God, not yourself (v. 1).

2. Start your day with praise, not requests and not regrets (v. 2a).

3. Start your day by remembering what you’ve got not what you’ve not (v. 2b).

David starts with a simple command to himself. He says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” He’s telling himself what to do: praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the depth of being. With everything inside him. So if the first thing you think about is praising God, then you can’t at the same time think about all the challenges you’re about to face.

David lists five ways God has been good to him:

1. He forgives me (v. 3a).

2. He heals me (v. 3b).

3. He redeems me (v. 4a).

4. He encircles me (v. 4b).

5. He satisfies me (v. 5).

David says, “The Lord forgives [present tense] the Lord forgives all my sins.” How many of my sins does he forgive? All of them. He forgives when I ask. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

David starts by telling us to do something that we aren’t naturally inclined to do which was think about someone other than ourselves. He tells us to think about God, first thing. That’s verses 1–2: “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

David Says:

1. Start your day with God.

2. Start your day with praise.

3. Start your day by remembering what you’ve got, not what you’ve not.

So if I have a bad day I need to remember.......The Lord has established his throne in heaven and His kingdom rules over all. So what can a day do to me? What can a person do to me? What can separate me from His love?  NOTHING

That’s why scripture says: That neither death nor life, Neither height nor depth neither the present nor the future nor anything else in all creation can separate me from the love of God Which is in Christ Jesus!

Sunday
Jul012018

June 17, 2018

GOD SONG: “HOW GOD WANTS TO BE WORSHIPED” - Psalm 100

Psalm 100 starts with a very simple word. SHOUT for joy to the LORD. What’s the first word here? Shout.

The psalm starts by telling us that we ought to:• shout to the Lord • worship the Lord • do it with joyful singing

• know that it is He that has made us.

Psalm 100. Verse 3 says, “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of his pasture.”

Why worship the Lord?:

1. Because He is God (v. 3).  The First Commandment says, “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me.” The psalmist also says we worship God because he made us.

2. Because he made you (v. 3b).

3. Because we are his people (v. 3c). 

4. Because he is good (v. 5). 

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

How God wants to be worshiped: 

1. Loudly (v. 1) “SHOUT to the Lord, all the earth!”  Psalm 29:3 says, “The God of glory thunders!”

2. Through service (v. 2) “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

3. In church (v.2b) “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with Praise.”

How to prepare for a worship service:

1. Come ready. 

2. Start with thanksgiving. 

3. Leave changed. 

In Ezekiel 46:9, God says this to His people about worship: “When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite Gate.”

Thursday
May312018

June 3, 2018

GOD IS ALWAYS SPEAKING - Psalm 19 

Let take a look at Israel’s iTunes. Let’s start w/history lesson this morning.

The book of Psalms:

-The longest book in the Bible.

-Psalms means songs of praise.

-It has 150 chapters.

-Is divided into five collections: Chps. 1–41; 42–72; 73–89; 90–106; 107–150.

-It was written over a period of one thousand years.

-It was written by people from all walks of life from kings and priests to farmers and peasants.

-It’s said to be the oldest piece of literature in the Bible.

-Psalms is usually the book we turn to in times of trouble.

Psalm 19 is a wisdom psalm.

In Psalm 19 -we’re going to be reminded that God also loves to speak to us. And that he’s always speaking to us. And not just in one way but in two ways.

1. God speaks to us through nature.

Go outdoors tonight and look at the stars. You’ll get a sense of God’s presence. Listen and you’ll hear him.

Because creation exists there has to be a creator. God is always speaking. All of creation points to the Creator. Look at creation and you find the Creator.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.” When David set out to write a song about his God he decided to writeabout the God he knew. A God who spoke to him all the time, everywhere, through nature. But nature is not the only way God speaks.

2. David describes a God who spoke to him personally and privately, through Scripture.

God speaks to us through Scripture. God wrote us a manual, a guide if you will, so we’d know how to live in it. Scripture is God’s special revelation to us. It tells us things we could never know about God unless He did something to reveal them to us.

READ: vs10 - "If you will keep its commands you will avoid a lot of pain. And if you will practice what it tells you to do you will reap eternal rewards." The more you do what Scripture says the closer you will live your lifeto the way God designed it.

Of all the books you’ll read in this life and all the games, instructions and experiences you’ll absorb, only Scripture will endure forever. Scripture gently but firmly tells us what is right and what is wrong and encourages us to do the right thing. It teaches us how to live. God’s advice never loses value. If you have Scripture you can learn how to live a successful life. Scripture is one of our greatest possessions.

If we listen carefully....It’s the voice of God saying, “You don’t really want to do that. It’ll hurt you, and it’ll hurt others. Stay back. Stay away. Stop. Don’t go there.”  Or on the positive side; It will tell you “Be sure and love your neighbor. Be generous. Tithe. Serve. Pray. Invite people to church, invite them to Christ. Be like Jesus. Act like Jesus. Think like Jesus.”

Scripture will transform you into the person that when I get to heaven,  I will hear from the Father “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

God’s always speaking. He’s longing for us to carry on a conversation with Him. Don’t rush through life missing out on growing your relationship w/Him.

Thursday
May312018

May 20, 2018

“Church on Fire” - Acts 2: 1-4

Today is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost was the day God set His Church on fire. The day God sent His Holy Spirit to fill His people.

What are the characteristics of a church on fire?  Read: Acts 2: 1-4

1. A church on fire is: A Church filled with the power of God.

We need power to fulfil God’s purpose. We need God’s power, alone. We can accept no substitute. We cannot depend upon man-made excitement to get the job done or programs, promotions, publicity or a worship full of fluff. We need the power of God -God alone.

I Cor. 2:4-5  “My message and my preaching was not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

2. A church on fire is: A church filled with prayer.

Prayer will lead to growth of some kind. Doesn’t always mean growth in numbers...But Spiritual growth!

Eph. 5:18 “…be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord.”

3. A church on fire is: A church filled with unity.

Worked toward the same goal. Locked arms together toward a common goal. Scripture says: “and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  There was no social status...No church position, no clicks, no looking/judging at each other.

To be on fire for God we must willing to join hands in unity and to serve Him -Through prayer/His power.  Don’t ever minimize your importance to this body of Christ. There is something for all to do. Just be faithful! Always try to be what God intended you to be. It’s not by accident that God set LWM here in Versailles all those years ago. He brought us here to make a difference for Him...be a church on fire for Him - to change lives in the world around us. That’s why we are here! And when we forget that, we lose our fire!

Wednesday
May092018

May 13, 2018

The Path: Dealing with unreachable destinations  Proverbs 13:12

So far in our series on The Path:

1. Your direction determines your destination.

2. Life is a series of course corrections.

3. We shouldn’t trust our hearts

4. Wise people seek counsel.

5. Attention determines direction.

So what do you do when you realize that the destination you’re trying to reach can't be reached. That the dream you had is not going to come true, that the hope you had is going to go unfulfilled. What happens when you find yourself trying to reach a destination that is unreachable? Some destinations are unreachable. Sometimes dreams don’t come true. Some dreams can’t come true. Some destinations become unreachable because of lifestyle choices.

Maybe, If we could stop the clock we might be able to reach any destination we choose. But there aren’t any time-outs in life. The clock is always running. At some point we wake to reality.

Listen to what Solomon’s wisdom is today “The Bible says, Prov. 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick;but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”

That’s true, isn’t it? When you realize a destination is unrealizable your heart gets sick. It’s the natural first reaction. We ache -we hurt -we wake up gasping in the middle of the night.

What do you do when you can’t reach your destination? You get heartsick. When you are heartsick we either stay there and get bitter or work at it and get better. Your second option is to do what Paul did.

1. Paul prayed fervently 2 Cor. 12: 7-10 - “Three times i pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”

2. You can listen for God’s voice. Vs 9 “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

3. You can accept reality and find the good in it. Vs 10 - "That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

4. You can use your hardship for God’s glory.  “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).

I don’t know a single person who has had all their dreams fulfilled. Or a single person who hasn’t had hardships. Look at the following verses, notice the “buts”:

"In this world you will have trouble. BUT take heart! I have overcome the world." -  Matthew 16:33.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick; BUT a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”Proverbs 13:12.

BUT we know that in all things God works for thecgood of those who love him…” Romans 8:28.

So what do you do when your hope gets deferred?

1. You get heartsick.

2. You can pray fervently.

3. You can listen for God’s voice.

4. You can accept reality and find the good in it.

5. You can use your hardship for God’s glory.

6. You can believe that somewhere along your path, God will do something outrageously good for you.

God loves you and He wants to bless you. He wants you to experience joy. He knows you need hope in your life. The second part of Proverbs 13:12 says, “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Where do we go from here?

1. Work through the steps of disappointment. When you get up each day this week, talk to God. Spend a few minutes alone with Him either in Proverbs or another passage of Scripture.

2. Create your own rock of remembrance. Remember one specific instance when God has been good to you.-Display the rock so that when people ask you can tell them the story.

Wednesday
May092018

May 6, 2018

THE PATH “LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING” Proverbs 4:25-27

29 times, the book of Proverbs mentions the path or paths we are on.

Proverbs 1:15 “My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths.”

Proverbs 2:9 “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.”

Proverbs 3:6: - “In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 4:25-27 - "Let your eyes look straight ahead; Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

Often the things that grab our attention lead to regret. What captures our attention influences our direction.

Attention, direction, destinationThat’s the principle of the path in three words.

Proverbs 4 - "Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Here’s the good news ... You and I do not have to be ruled by things that grab or capture our attention.

The Principle of Choice: You get to choose what you give your attention to.

1. You choose gets your attention.

2. You choose who you give your attention to.

On every path that leads to disaster or destruction there is something powerful that draws us, that grabbed or captured our attention. Which is why Solomon warns:

Make a choice. Choose which direction you will go and then fix your eyes directly on it. What you give your attention to determines your direction. And the direction you head in determines your destination.

What has your attention these days? 

Here’s a second question: What do you want to have your attention?

The Apostle Paul described his approach to life this way:

“Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

The writer of Hebrews says: “We must pay more careful attention, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1).

“Here’s what you need to do to stay on the right path spiritually.”  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2-3).

Here’s the way Jesus said it: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

You have a choice. You can follow Jesus or you can follow something less. You can let your attention be grabbed by something that feels good for a moment or you can give your attention to the one who will direct you all the days of your life and on into eternity.

Monday
Apr302018

Apr 29, 2018

The Path: Getting Help Along the Way - Proverbs 15:22

We’ve been learning about a very simple formula for getting from where we are to where we want to be. We are learning that our Direction determines destination. That getting from point A to point B is more than hopes and dreams - it involves a path. So far, we’ve learned that life can be a series of course corrections when we see danger. Danger we shouldn’t ignore. We’ve learned that one of the most common mistakes figuring out which fork to take is trusting our hearts, because our hearts often lie to us. (Jeremiah) We’ve learned that one of the easiest ways to make a great decision is to look to future. The big Picture. 

Today, we want to learn another important lesson for success along the path. The lesson has to do with figuring out what you don’t know. How do you do that? How do you discover what you don’t know that you don’t know so that you avoid getting on the wrong path.

Prov. 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

So, how can you know what you don’t know? You get help along the way. You seek advice from “advisers.”

Why we don’t seek advice:

1. We think we already know what we need to know. (Ignorance)

2. It feels better to have people think we know where we’re going than to let them know we don’t have a clue. (Pride)

3. It’s too much work to figure out how to get advice. (Laziness)

So sometimes we make plans without counsel Many times those plans fail. At other times we get counsel but we get inferior counsel because we take it from the wrong people. This is dangerous.

Why we don’t seek advice from wise counselors:

1. It’s easier to get advice from our friends.

2. It’s easier to follow the herd.

3. It’s easier to copy what our parents did.

How do we get good advice along our paths? 

Prov. 1:5“…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”

The Secret to Getting Good Counsel:

1. Knowing that you will always need good counsel

2. Asking more than one person’s advice.

3. Don’t let pride keep you from admitting what you don’t know.

4. Take counsel from those who have been where you want to go.

Prov. 13:10 “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice”

Proverbs 12:15....when he says: “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”

You know while Jesus was on earth, the phrase he used more often than any other was “Follow me.”

Let him direct you steps, seek out wise counsel for those forks in the road.

Thursday
Apr192018

Apr 22, 2018

YOUR HEART MATTERS - Proverbs 3:5-12

Why Do We Find Ourselves on the Wrong Path?

Two reasons:

1. Our heart is on a happiness quest, not a truth quest.

2. Our heart chooses the happy-now rather than the happy-later

As smart as we are and as we have been learning that life is connected and that decisions today shape the experiences of tomorrow, We still don’t wake up in the morning with the longing of being on the path God wants us on.

When happiness points in one direction wisdom, truth, integrity and common sense all point in another, that’s when really smart people start doing really stupid things.

Your direction determines your destination. Proverbs 27: 12 “The prudent see danger and take refuge, while the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”

Proverbs 3: 5-12 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.  Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

How to Get on the Straight Path (vs. 5-6)   

1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  

2. Lean not on your own understanding.  

3. Acknowledge Him in all your ways.

The starting place for a straight path is just what it says on all American money, “In God we trust.”

Place all your confidence all your faith all your hopes all your plans in God.

Jeremiah 17:9  “The heart is deceitful above all things…”

Jeremiah said “The heart is deceitful above all things” So Solomon says, “When you find yourself at a fork in the road, don’t trust your heart.....trust God.

Don’t lean on your own understanding, lean on God. Don’t acknowledge your motivations, acknowledge God’s.” If you do this, he will make your paths straight.

Matthew 6:33 -“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”

If you could strip away all the deceiving reasons for your actions and be completely honest right now, What path are you on that you know you shouldn’t be, but you chose to be on it because you wanted something more than you wanted God.

Three Action Steps:

1. Don’t be wise in your own eyes.

2. Honor God’s provision for you.

3. Don’t blame God for your pain.

Sometimes you caused what is happening to you. And sometimes God knows we need some correction which he provides like a loving father does.

I’ve heard many people say, “Why did God let this happen to me?” But the truth is, in most cases, God didn’t let that happen to them. God didn’t want that to happen to them. God tried to prevent it from happening to them. He tried to stop it, but he couldn’t stop them. “The Lord disciplines those he loves, like a father does with a son he delights in.”

Saturday
Apr142018

Apr 15, 2018

The Path: Making a Course Correction - Proverbs 27:12

Proverbs 1:2-4  "For attaining wisdom and discipline for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young."   To be prudent means “to know what to do,” “to exercise good judgment,”  or “having common sense.”

Solomon compares prudent people with a second kind of people - a “simple people.” No matter who you areyou don’t want to be a simple person.

Proverbs 19:25 Solomon says, “Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain Knowledge”

Other people, “simple people,” don’t learn that well. Basically simple people let their emotions get the best of them. They get mad and go into a rage. They spout off and complain when things don’t go their way but prudent people know how to control themselves and take things in stride.

Proverbs 14:15 “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps”.

Proverbs 22:3 “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty”

The prudent see danger and take refuge. The simple see danger and keep going. Both of them see danger.

One responds by changing direction the other keeps going and hopes that the danger will never arrive.

1. The prudent make course corrections.
2. The simple keep right on going.
3. Prudent people know that it’s not what they see that makes a difference, it’s what they do.
When a prudent person senses that a relationship is moving in an unhealthy direction, they do something. The simple keep going. When a prudent person sees trouble on their financial horizon, they do something. The simple keep spending. When a prudent person realizes that God is the most important thing in their lives, and their relationship with him isn’t growing, they do something about it.

How do you make a course correction? 

 1. You do something.

2. You almost always give up something.

3. You usually suffer embarrassment. 

 4. You will breathe a sigh of relief.

 

As a prudent person you have to take action long before the crisis hits or disaster falls. You may not be able to monitor every aspect of my life. But here are the important ones:

  Top five areas of life to monitor are:

1. Spiritual

     2. Relational

3. Moral

    4. Physical

5. Financial

In that order too. The most important thing in the world is God. The most important thing on earth is relationships.

Remember: It is our direction, not our intentions that will determine our destination. The prudent see danger and take refuge. They will get off the wrong path and get on the right path. They make course corrections. They don’t just think about it or worry about it, they do it.