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Pastor Chuck Loftis

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Title Scripture Date Series
Play the sermon Part IV - Shaking off Daydreaming Ephesians 5:8-14 22 March 2015 Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative
Play the sermon Part III - Shaking off Drudgery Ephesians 5:8-14 15 March 2015 Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative
Play the sermon Part II – Shaking off Despair Ephesians 5:8-14 08 March 2015 Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative
Play the sermon Part I – Shaking off Depression that Binds Ephesians 5:8-14 01 March 2015 Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative
Play the sermon Part IV – In Serving, Our Lives Become an Offering Philippians 2:12-17 16 February 2015 God's Plan for You: You Can Know It!
Play the sermon Part III - The Oft-Bewildering Call of God Luke 18:31-34 08 February 2015 God's Plan for You: You Can Know It!
Play the sermon Part II Genesis 12:1-9 01 February 2015 God's Plan for You: You Can Know It!
Play the sermon Part I - God's Plan for You: Do You Know It? Isaiah 43:1-7 18 January 2015 God's Plan for You: You Can Know It!
Play the sermon The Volunteer Difference: Celebrating Those Who "Love God - Invest in People" Through OBCC! Ephesians 4:7-16 11 January 2015
Play the sermon God's Vision and Mission for OBCC in 2015 Habakkuk 2:1-4
Proverbs 29:18
04 January 2015
Play the sermon The Pearls of Advent! Isaiah 7:13-16 21 December 2014
Play the sermon Love. John 15:1-17 14 December 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon Holiness. John 15:1-8 07 December 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon Thanksgiving: 365 - The Gratitude Attitude! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 30 November 2014
Play the sermon Humility. John 15:1-8 24 November 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon Community! John 15:1-8 08 November 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon Prayerful Dependence! John 15:1-8 02 November 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon The Missional Mindset! John 15:1-8 26 October 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon The Character of Christ! John 15:1-17 12 October 2014 Keeping OBCC on Track... Always: Lessons from John 15
Play the sermon WHAT WE NEED IN PERILOUS TIMES Luke 24:13-35 07 September 2014
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Wednesday Sermons

Life Lessons From A Donkey

 Bulletin 3.28-29.15

SERMON NOTES

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS 

March 28 –29, 2015

Pastor Brian McDaniel

LIFE LESSONS FROM A DONKEY 

TEXT: Matthew 21:1-9 NKJV

INTRODUCTION:

Our text is commonly known as the Triumphal Entry and is accounted in all four Gospels. Jesus arrived in Bethpage (outskirts of Jerusalem) at precisely the time God had planned.

The Passover was instituted over 1500 years before this day. It was begun in Egypt after 400 years of slavery when God “passed over” the houses of the Jews when He was slaying the first born of Egypt during the last of the ten plagues (Exodus 1 – 15). This celebration commemorates God’s delivery of His people from the land of bondage in order to lead them to the Promise Land.

Bethpage itself was also walled and was considered to be a part of Jerusalem. This village was also known as the principle gate or entrance into the city. It was a place where many major decisions were made by the religious elite.

Within our text today, there are many people playing vital parts, but often there is one character that is overlooked – the donkey (colt).

PURPOSE:

From the disciples encounter with the donkey (colt), the donkey’s obedience and all the way through the fulfillment of prophecy seen within these verses, we can glean life lessons that help us understand God’s plan for our lives.

The PROPHECY – Zechariah 9:9

This time had been planned by the hand of God. Jesus was “lowly”, He was gentle and “riding on a donkey.” There was no indication of war or violence that many thought would happen when the Messiah came on the scene. Jesus was demonstrating His humbleness that Paul expounds upon in Philippians 2:4-8.

LESSONS FROM THE DONKEY

Lesson #1 – God Has Plan for You

Jesus had a plan and He gave specific instructions to His disciples. Two disciples were to go into the next village, find a donkey (colt), loose it and bring it to Jesus. The donkey was chosen to fulfill God’s plan. In fact, God has always had a plan for each of us even before the foundation of the world was laid (Matthew 25:34). His plan was to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future hope of His salvation through Jesus (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lesson #2 – Set Apart for Service

This donkey was set apart and special from all other donkeys (colts). It was born to serve the Lord and would be ridden into Jerusalem by Jesus as the multitudes raised their voice in praise.

Do you know that each one of us is chosen by God? It is an amazing truth that is so very, very hard for us to grasp at times. Yet it is so simple. Each of us has value and purpose, because we have been chosen by God (I Peter 2:9).

Lesson #3 – Freedom in Christ

The donkey was tied and needed to be loosed to do the work God had planned. In this simple act of the disciples removing whatever was holding the donkey from having freedom, we see an act of love and grace. In order to serve Jesus, the donkey had to be freed from his bondage.

We, too, need to be loosed from our bondage of sin. With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, at the Passover celebration, that fateful dilemma we face – sin’s bondage – is about to be resolved. Mankind will no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is about to be placed into operation. The Spirit of life in Christ is preparing to untie mankind from a fate lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death (Romans 8:2)

Lesson #4 – Humbleness

Donkeys are creatures made for service and not for battle like the horse. In our text, the picture communicated here is gentleness and meekness. The very fruit we are admonished to cultivate in our lives as seen in Galatians 5:22.

Not only did an unbroken donkey allow clothes to be laid on its back, it allowed Jesus to lead. We see that the donkey went where it was led. To be a part of the plan, the donkey had to go where Jesus lead it. It had to be obedient.

God does not always give us the route or even the destination when He reveals His plan to us. We show our service to Him by following obediently.

CONCLUSION:

From the disciples encounter with the donkey (colt), the donkey’s (colt) obedience and all the way through the fulfillment of prophecy seen within these verses, we can glean life lessons that help us understand God’s plan for our lives.

Take a few moments and ponder these four lessons: God has a plan for you; Set Apart for Service; Freedom in Christ; and Humbleness. What is God speaking to you in relation to these four lessons? This divinely crafted scene was orchestrated by God Himself for us to learn more about Jesus. What other lessons can you glean from out text as the scene continues to unfold?

 

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS 

Discussion Starter:

What family traditions do you have to celebrate Easter?

 

What has God “loosed” you from so that you can serve Him?

 

Digging Deeper:

Matthew 21:1-11 is the story of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Spend the upcoming week before Easter studying the last seven chapters of Matthew, and plan to discuss what stands out to you at your next Life Group meeting.

 

Taking it Home (Application):

Pastor Brian shared four lessons that we can learn from a donkey: God has a plan for you; Set Apart for Service; Freedom in Christ; and Humbleness. How can you apply these lessons to your life now? How do they tie to the messages Pastor Chuck has been preaching about taking initiative?


Part IV - Shaking off Daydreaming

Bulletin 3.21-22.15

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS 
March 21-22, 2015
Pastor Chuck Loftis

Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative 
Part IV – Shaking off Daydreaming

 

Series Text: Ephesians 5:8-14

Introduction:

Quick part III – Shaking Off Drudgery review. Drudgery is the state of hard, menial, and normally fulfilling and attractive work becoming dull No matter how difficult, begin or continue doing the right thing despite your feelings because in it, God rewards those who will (Hebrews 11:6). In this, He shines the light of truth on that work and drudgery will eventually transform into delight.

As we consider the plan of God for our lives bear in mind: in moments of difficulty – such as today’s topic: how we find ourselves in stretches of drudgery that arrest our pursuit of God’s will for our lives – we are called to act on what He has expressed is His will for us to do. Often, if we’re waiting for inspiration to fuel our making right choices concerning God’s call, we will never do a thing nor lift a finger; however, response to His clear call, afterward – like discipline (Hebrews 12:11) – produces a satisfaction that any should consider inspirational.

Purpose: To share concerning the two sides of fulfilling God’s call on our lives (in the vocation and moral senses, alike): to do what we know He commands, and to rely on Him for strength that comes with action.

I. Defining Daydreaming.

A. As commonly understood, daydreaming is a good thing. Here’s a shortlist of benefits:

1. It’s an outlet for, and enhances, creativity;

2. It provides mental room for problem- solving;

3. It provides for what some psychologists call “autobiographical planning.”

B. The sort of daydreaming we’re considering here today is contemplation so prolonged that it becomes a hindrance to action.

1. Contemplation should lead us to a decision whether or not; prolonged contemplation should never be confused with acceptance of an idea.

2. Being enamored by an idea isn’t synonymous with believing it.

C. Following God’s commands and pursuing His call upon lives have been aborted by over deliberation for so many.

1. We love the idea of walking on water, but we love the idea of a boat’s safety just a little more (if not a lot).

2. Our life-in-Christ is unfettered when trust in the One who’s calling us to something outweighs our trust in having to have all the answers concerning outcomes first.

D. The sort of daydreaming we’re considering today flows from a tepid commitment to action that makes one’s dream a fantasy.

II. Responding to God Means Daydreaming’s End John 14:25-31.

A. Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but prolonged daydreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong.

B. When our purpose is to seek God and to discover His will for us, daydreaming is right and acceptable. But when our inclination is to spend time daydreaming over what we have already been told to do, it is unacceptable and God’s blessing is never on it.

C. Very important things to note from this passage:

1. Once again, evidenced in scripture – action is supposed to follow the expression of God’s call (v. 31).

2. And the primary thing that keeps so many of us fantasizing about who God calls us to be and where He calls us to and what He calls us to do instead of acting? It is fear and the Master appeals to us to not let it rule our hearts.

Conclusion:

If we are quietly waiting before God after He has said to us, “Come aside by yourselves...” then that is meditation before Him to seek His will (Mark 6:31). Beware, however, of giving in to mere daydreaming once God has spoken. Allow Him to be the source of all your dreams, joys, and delights, and be careful to go and obey what He has said. If you are in love with someone, you don’t sit and daydream about that person all the time... you go and do something for him/her. That is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Daydreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him. Action, however, is birthed of genuine belief and reliance.

We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We feel that we cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead .But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead.... ”, “Arise, and eat... “, “Arise, and let us be going... “. When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to arise and do the impossible .

The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we get up and get going. God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise and... “, then we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative.

If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS

Discussion Starter:

1. Describe a time when daydreaming about something lead to you doing that thing better (healthy daydreaming).

 

2. Describe a time when daydreaming about something lead to idleness (unhealthy daydreaming).

 

Digging Deeper:

1. Pastor Chuck referred to Matthew 14. Read Matthew 14:22-33 and discuss what role fear plays in fulfilling God's plan for our lives.

 

2. Look at God's message to His people in Isaiah 60:1-3. For what reason does he command us to arise?

 

Taking it home (Application):

1. Have you been daydreaming about doing something in ministry? What steps should you take to turn that into reality?

 

2. Consider the messages Pastor Chuck has preached in the last four weeks regarding depression, despair, drudgery and daydreaming. How have these messages impacted you and moved you to take initiative in some area of your life?

 


Part III - Shaking off Drudgery

Bulletin 03.14-15.15

 

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS 

March 14-15, 2015

Pastor Chuck Loftis

Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative 
Part III – Shaking off Drudgery

Series Text: Ephesians 5:8-14

Introduction:

Quick part II – Shaking Off Despair review. Despair is the utter loss of hope. To combat it, take action: 1) Stop internalizing the lies of Satan (Romans 3:22; II Corinthians 5:21); 2) Forsake the grudge- holding and forgive others who’ve wronged you (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35); 3) Begin ruminating on the word of God (Psalm 1:2; 119:6-8; Romans 10:17; II Timothy 2:15); 4) Repent of that sinful habit you’re avoiding the LORD over (Genesis 3:8; Joshua 7:10-26; Galatians 5:19-21).

As we consider the plan of God for our lives bear in mind: in moments of difficulty – such as today’s topic: how we find ourselves in stretches of drudgery that arrest our pursuit of God’s will for our lives – we are called to act on what He has expressed is His will for us to do. Often, if we’re waiting for inspiration to fuel our making right choices concerning God’s call, we will never do a thing nor lift a finger; however, response to His clear call, afterward – like discipline (Hebrews 12:11) – produces a satisfaction that any should consider inspirational.

Purpose: To share concerning the two sides of fulfilling God’s call on our lives (in the vocation and moral senses, alike): to do what we know He commands, and to rely on Him for strength that comes with action.

I. Defining Drudgery.

A. Drudgery: when the state of hard or menial work becomes dull to us.

1. When normally fulfilling responsibilities no longer satisfy;

2. When normally attractive service opportunities have lost their luster.

B. Two kinds of people: those who have fun working and those who will work at having fun.

1. This message isn’t about picking on the latter;

a. Though, they do – as arrested adolescents – flit about from job-to-job; relationship-to-relationship; town-to-town in search of a good time.

b. What finally moves a perpetual teenager away from pursuit of fun as their philosophy on life is maturity . . . and the vast majority get there.

2. This message is about how to have, for those who enjoy serving others, those things that used to be fulfilling and attractive, but are now drudgery, be restored again to have life.

C. Because, for some here today, their marriages; their parenting; their employment; their ministry in _________ (you name it), has become drudgery and is in danger of being abandoned.

II. Responding to God is the Beginning of Drudgery’s End – Galatians 6:6-10

A. When it comes to taking the initiative against drudgery, we have to take the first step as though God will not help us.

1. In no way do I mean this in an atheistic sense. It means, there is no point in waiting for God to help us when He has already expressed that His will is to be the rewarder of those diligent to arise and seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

2. And once we arise, immediately we find He is already there – halfway – Himself the Great Reward (Genesis 15:1-6; James 4:8).

B. Whenever God gives us His inspiration, suddenly taking the initiative becomes a moral issue; a matter of obedience.

III. Some Important Things Happen When Drudgery Begins to Lift – Isaiah 60:1-3.

A. First, if we’ll arise and shine, drudgery will be divinely transformed into delight as God brings to our hearts the satisfaction that comes with accomplishment.

B. Second, how we live amidst drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character.

1. Bear in mind: drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work.

2. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty and when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine (John 13:14).

Conclusion:

The inspiration of God is required to transform our calling from drudgery to delight, else, it will remain the same. Our first step, then, is taking initiative in the ordinary, difficult, and/or menial things. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we’ve experienced its completion – with the inspiring light of God shining on it – then it looks different When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it. Our Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it. Now, every believer’s body has become “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 6:19).

We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “A rise from the dead....” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going” (I Kings 19:7).

God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead... ,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS

Discussion Starter

1. We have heard about Depression, Despair and now Drudgery. What has God been speaking to you through this sermon series?

 

2. Share an example of a time you were stuck in “drudgery” of some form – did you stick it out or walk away?

 

Digging Deeper

1. Read the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:13-30). How does knowing that the Lord gives us work to do on His behalf until His return help with the problem of drudgery (in ministry, at work, in relationships)?

 

2. Study Colossians 3:23-24 and discuss how to apply it in your present places of drudgery.

 

Taking it Home (Application)

1. The past three sermons have all talked about taking initiative in moving TOWARDS God. How have you applied that concept in the past weeks and what has been the result?

 

 


Part II – Shaking off Despair

Bulletin 3.7-8.15

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS

March 7 - 8 , 2015

Pastor Chuck Loftis

Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative
Part II – Shaking off Despair

 

Series Text: Ephesians 5:8-14

Introduction:

Quick Part I review: Shaking off the sort of depression that binds (the hopeless rut or holes we dig ourselves into) begins with a response to God’s call to do ordinary things. And when – in response to the Spirit of God’s leading us to instinctively to do something – the moment we do it the depression begins to lift, Arising in obedience to God’s call, we enter a higher plane of life (Matthew 7:14; 22:14).

As we consider the call of God on our lives bear in mind: in moments of difficulty we are called to act on what He has expressed is His will for us to do. Often, if we’re waiting for inspiration to fuel our making right choices concerning God’s call, we will never do a thing nor lift a finger; however, response to His clear call, afterward – like discipline (Hebrews 12:11) – produces a satisfaction that any should consider inspirational.

Purpose: To share concerning the two sides of fulfilling God’s call on our lives (in the vocation and moral senses, alike): to do what we know He commands and to rely on Him for strength

 

I. Putting a Finger on Despair.

A. Defined, despair is the complete loss or absence of hope.

1. II Corinthians 4:8 describes this sort of despair a victorious Christian is saved from despite their afflictions.

a. Greek – exaporeomai; ex-ap-or-eh’-om-ahee: to be utterly at a loss.

b. Its synonyms are words such as disheartenment, desperation, and despondence.

2. To imagine this state (a brief walk for some of us), think of feeling this way: Hitting the lowest low one can go with no option, much less wherewithal, to move upward ever again.

B. Despair is often the result of physiological factors such as injuries, disease, insomnia, and substance abuse; however, the sort I’m most concerned with in this message is despair in a spiritual sense (moral, monetary, relational).

1. To despair is to feel the farthest possible distance from God.

2. And the stress this puts on our spiritual and mental and emotional faculties is immense.

a. Despair increases the intensity of everything we consider negative;

b. It diminishes our capacity to enjoy even what we’d consider normally great achievements.

3. Despair, in the sense I’m speaking about, convinces us there’s no use in trying to _________ (fill in the blank)

C. What causes this sort despair?

1. Listening to lies Satan tells;

2. Holding grudges.

3. Weakness of faith in God and His promises;

4. Misunderstanding scriptures.

5. A neglected guilty conscience.

II. Responding to God is the Beginning of Despair’s End – Matthew 26:36-46.

A. Remember: by definition, despair is the complete loss or absence of hope.

1. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair.

2. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair.

B. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity we are apt to sink into despair.

1. But then Jesus comes and mercifully and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on together. You’ll get another chance.”

2. In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ’s grace and let us go on into an unshakeable future with Him; a next shot at victory; refusing to pitch our tents at the base of Mount Defeat!

C. There will be experiences like this in which each of us will have moments of despair caused by real events and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them without knowledge of God’s call (His will).

D. If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and act on the basis of His redemptive mercy, never letting the sense of past failure defeat your next step.

Conclusion:

Realize that there is an action that perpetuates the despair that binds us from obedience to God’s call in ministry and morality and that is: inaction. To begin shaking of this despair begin gaining ground by taking the following action:

Stop internalizing the lies of Satan about who you and others are and seek the truth about the matter of who we are in Christ (Romans 3:22; II Corinthians 5:21);

Forsake the grudge-holding and forgive others who’ve wronged you that you might receive the same forgiveness you need (Matthew 6:14- 15; 18:21-35)

Begin consuming the word of God and ruminating on it day and night in order to inform and build your trust in God and rightly apply His promises (Psalm 1:2; 119:6-8; Romans 10:17; II Timothy 2:15)

Repent of that sinful habit you’re avoiding the LORD over (Genesis 3:8; Joshua 7:10-26; Galatians 5:19-21).

God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead...,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand,” and as soon as the man acted, his hand was healed (Matthew 12:13). Note, however: he had to take the initiative.

If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find the inspiration of God to shake off despair, because He immediately gives us the power of life.

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS

Discussion Starter

1. Share any experience you’ve had with times of “despair”. What was the initial cause of that despair?

 

2. Describe a time when you received a second chance/grace from the Lord after you’d messed up.

 

Digging Deeper

1. Study 2 Corinthians 5:21. What does it mean that we have become the righteousness of Christ?

 

2. Can Satan get into our heads and manipulate our thoughts? Use scripture to defend your answer.

 

Taking it Home (Application)

 

1. Pastor Chuck’s message prompted us to offer forgiveness so that we ourselves can be forgiven. Who do you need to offer forgiveness to or seek forgiveness from? What is your plan this week to make sure that happens? Ask your group to hold you accountable. 2. If there are areas of depression and/or despair in your life now, spend time as a group praying for breakthrough in those areas.

 

 


Part I – Shaking off Depression that Binds

Bulletin 2.28-3.1.1 

 

SERMON NOTES

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS 

February 28 – March 1, 2015

Pastor Chuck Loftis

Fulfilling God’s Call: Inspiration by Initiative
Part I – Shaking off Depression that Binds

 

Text: Ephesians 5:8-14

Introduction:

Not all initiative – the willingness to take the first step – is inspired by God. Someone may slap you upside the head and yell, “Snap out of it!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative.

Like the wrath of man’s insufficiency to produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20), there’s very little efficacy in depending on another’s inspiration to fulfill God’s call on one’s own life. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, by His voice or through another’s, “Snap out of it!” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired and we find the wherewithal to get with it.

As we consider the call of God on our lives bear in mind that in moments of difficulty we are called to act on what we He has expressed is His will for us to do. Often, if we’re waiting for inspiration to fuel our making right choices concerning God’s call, we will never do a thing nor lift a finger; however, response to His clear call, afterward – like discipline (Hebrews 12:11) – produces a satisfaction that any should consider inspirational.

Purpose: To share concerning the two sides of fulfilling God’s call on our lives (in the vocation and moral senses, alike): to do what we know He commands and to rely on Him for strength

I. Depression? What Sort of Depression?

A. This is NOT clinical depression as identified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association that I’m talking about.

1. Defined, is the sort we crawl inside of due to fear, anger- turned-inward, loss, or antipathy.

2. Simply put: the debilitating mindset keeping us from following God’s call.

3. And – so we’re clear on the point – I’m making:

a. Anyone who experiences this type of depression should feel no condemnation.

b. Take care NOT to pitch our tents and dwell permanently at the foot of Mount Depression.

c. Great people of God in history have risen to the occasion of God from it to accomplish great things for the LORD.

B. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive as only material things lack capacity for some sort of depression.

1. If human beings had no capacity for depression, we would have no capacity for happiness either.

2. There are things in life that are designed to depress us, for example, such as things associated with death.

a. It is in these times, though – not the moments of elation and pleasure and exultation – that we are deepened in pursuing God’s call.

b. And we can revel in the fact we are in God’s favor because, despite our feelings, we chose obedience over disobedience to His call (Matthew 21:28-32).

C. If you’re in a moment or season of mourning, be encouraged: you and Jesus Christ have something deep in common: acquaintance with sorrow (Isaiah 53:3).

 

II. Responding to God is the Beginning of Depression’s End – I Kings 19:1-8.

A. The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or tell him to do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing get up and eat.

B. Recognizing Him in life’s simple things helps us to respond to God’s call:

1. Realizing His presence around us each moment (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5);

2. Acknowledging His power to sustain us (Psalm 23; Colossian 1:17; Jude 24);

3. Recognizing His performance in and through everything to further His kingdom in us (Romans 8:28; 11:36; Philippians 2:13; James 1:2-8).

III. The Spirit’s Memo to Believers: “Do the Most ‘Everyday’ Things Imaginable.”

A. When the Spirit of God comes to us, He rarely gives us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the commonplace tasks.

1. Depression, tends to turn us away from the commonplace things of God’s creation and order.

2. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things – things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there.

a. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is initiative against depression, but we must take the first step and do it from the motive of pursuing God.

b. If, however, we do something other than act on God’s word simply to overcome our depression (entertainment, substance abuse, comfort eating, illicit sexual activity, etc.), we will only deepen it.

B. When the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression begins to lift.

C. As soon as we arise in obedience to God’s call, we enter a higher plane of Life (Matthew 7:14; 22:14).

Conclusion:

When we’re young, we all have dreams and aspirations, but sooner or later so many of us experience head-on crashes with realities other than those of our hopes. Some of us realize we’ve no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But then God comes and says to us about them, “Arise from the dead...”

When God sends His inspiration in response to our initiative, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we witness a resurrection for those godly aspirations and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we, like Elijah, “get up, eat, and get going.”

God does not give us overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome . When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead...,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.

 

LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS

Discussion Starter

1. Describe a time when you were in a "depression" and how God help you to come through it.

 

2. Where in your life do you need to take initiative right now?

 

Digging Deeper

1. Read Proverbs 12:25 and then discuss where a "good word" comes from.

 

2. Take time this week to read 1 Kings chapters 17-19 and study the amazing ways that God used Elijah.

 

Taking it Home

1. Because the word of God brings hope and strength, choose a scripture as a group to memorize this week and plan to recite it the next time you meet.

 

 


Choose

Bulletin 2.21-22.15

SERMON NOTES
LIFE GROUP/FAMILY QUESTIONS 

February 21-22, 2015
Pastor Matt Veal
CHOOSE

Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Introduction: Let’s Make A Deal!

Two volunteers. One must be a parent or grandparent. The other a teenager.

Purpose: To illustrate the ongoing choice we must make concerning our relationship with God our Heavenly Father.

The Promised Land is the place where God would dwell with His people.

The Promised Land was not the promise land because that is where all people should live!

The Promised Land is not the promise land because of the terrain or the climate.

The Promised Land is not the promise land because of where it is.

The Promised Land is not the promise land because it was a reward.

Genesis 15:1 identifies the true reward. Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.

So to sum up this whole idea. We established that the Promise Land is not the promise land because of what it is or where it is! We see clearly that the Promised Land was called that because it was a land connected to a PROMISE! The promise was God’s presence. The promise was the seed. The Promised Land is the land where God promised to be with His people. To lead them. To walk among them. To speak to them. His presence was to be right there in the midst of them.

Let’s delineate the Promise

Exodus 25:8, And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. God had the Israelites build a Tabernacle, The Tent of Meeting.

The Tabernacle was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence of God from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites on their wanderings in the wilderness and their conquest of the Promised Land. The First Temple in Jerusalem superseded it as the dwelling-place of God. Exodus 40:34-38

Notice how the camp was to be arranged. The Tabernacle was in the center. All the tribes were to set up around the Tabernacle. Leviticus chapter two.

Leviticus 26:11-12, I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.

God would tell them how to conduct themselves in regards to a relationship with Him, in regards to interpersonal relationships, and in regards to how they were to relate to the world around them.

Leviticus 26:46 By staying close to and being in constant contact with God, the Israelites could live righteously and therefore not be abhorred by Him.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 God gave specific directions and assigned tasks to His people so that things would be right. For their own good.

 

Christ is the source of life.

We, like the Israelites, begin serving, no worshiping the things we are supposed to use to worship God.

We begin seeking people instead of worshiping God with those people.

We start to crave the attention we should be giving God.

We start seeing the Gift as the source of life (purpose, meaning, fulfillment, provision, and satisfaction) instead of acknowledging the Giver as the only true source of life.

We soon devote our lives to getting the gifts (work schedules) instead of having devotion to our Heavenly Father.

Eventually our lives are consumed by the world around us instead of us existing in a condition or state like the Promised Land. We drift on the waves of worldliness instead of allowing ourselves to dwell in the presence of God.

That presence of God is not in the Middle East. It is not in the Nation of Israel. It is supposed to be in us!

Colossians 3:3, For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Psalm 27:1, John 11:25, John 14:6, Galatians 2:20

 

Conclusion:

We can live right now in that great promise of God! Like I said earlier, right where we are at is just as much like the Promised Land as Southern California.

By obeying and being in constant contact with God, we, like the Israelites, can live righteously and therefore not be abhorred by Him.

God will tell us how to conduct ourselves in regards to a relationship with Him, in regards to interpersonal relationships, and in regards to how we are to relate to the world around us.

God gives specific directions and assigned tasks to each of us so that things would be right. For our own good. There is a service to be done for God!

Let me close by telling you a story about Retirement and Salvation.

 

Life Group Discussion Questions

Discussion Starter

Have you experienced a “Promised Land” experience with God – a situation where you walked in blind faith towards something God had spoken about your future?

 

 

In Deuteronomy, God gave specific instructions to His people about the tasks they should perform and the way they should act. How has God given you this kind of specific direction in your life?

 

 

Digging Deeper

Pastor Matt talked about the Tabernacle being the dwelling place of God in the Old Testament. Now the Spirit of God dwells IN us. Take time to study the articles of the Tabernacle and apply them to our pattern of worship today. To assist you, here is a scriptural reference for each piece – first describing the original intent and then a second reference that will help us connect to today. 1. Brazen Altar (Ex. 27:1-8/John 1:29) 2. The Bronze Laver (Ex. 30:18/1 John 1:8-9) 3. The Golden Lampstand (Ex. 25:31-40/John 12:46) 4. The Table of Showbread (Ex. 25:23-30/ John 6:35) 5. The Altar of Incense (Ex. 30:1-10/Rev. 8:3-4)

 

6. The Veil (Ex. 26:33/1Tim 2:5) 7. The Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat (Ex. 25:10-16/John 14:6; Heb. 10:19-23)

 

 

Taking it Home

Where in your life have you allowed the world to steal your focus away from God? What is the practical solution to rectifying this wrong focus?

 

 

What is the BEST part of your day? (meaning, when are you at your sharpest, most focused) If you aren’t doing so already, make a plan to have your devotions during that time. Pay attention, then, to how your ability to hear from and obey God’s direction improves because you’ve made Him a priority.