As we review our message from last week... We all have longings that we desire to fulfill. These longings are, I believe, from our Creator for the purpose of bringing us back to Him when we journey away. These longings cause us to go after all sorts of things, people, dreams and passions that are within each of us. But there are three longings that will help us "Find Our Way Back to God". Today as we review these three longings from this past week's message - it's important for us to know that God is working in our lives to bring us back home. Thanks for joining us this past week and I hope that you will join us for week 2 this week as we look at our 2nd Awakening - Regret.
1 Peter 3:18 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
LONGING FOR CONNECTION
As a church we must RETHINK what it means to be CONNECTED to HAVE CONNECTION
We all have a longing for connection - it is this longing that causes us want to be around other people and share life together. It is longing that was so powerful in starting the first Christian communities. Acts 2:42-47 tells us: "
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved."
This first community of believers understood the power of coming together - not so that they could be counted in attendance; but so they could be joined together in one voice, one mind, one heart and one spirit. This is the attitude that God wants from his people who are in Christ. He wants us to come together for the purpose of healing, strength and encouragement - He wants us to be connected - that is why we have a longing for connection because we all need to be healed, restored and encouraged. We all have a longing to be connected!
LONGING FOR SUCCESS
As a church we must RETHINK what it means to be SUCCESSFUL and to have PURPOSE.
Kyle Idleman said in his book, Not a Fan: “The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.”
I believe you and I must rethink what it means to be successful in this life and what it means to have purpose as a Christ Follower. We are all looking for purpose. We all have a longing for purpose. We want to know if there is more out there. We all have a desire for adventure and we all want to fill up that desire - that longing. The Prodigal Son wanted more - he wanted to be successful and he wanted to fulfill his purpose. He just did it in the wrong way.
But the really good thing is that God is the redeemer and restorer. He is always there just at the end of our hand - waiting for us to come to our senses and come back home. True success is found in scripture, but it's different than want you will expect - the scriptures tell us...James 1:27 -- "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."
Galatians 6:8 says: "Those who live only to satisfy their own flesh will harvest decay and death from that flesh. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit."
Success isn't that hard to find when we seek to please God by loving him with our heart, mind, soul and strength and by loving our neighbor as ourselves. I think we need to start there and then work at following and not just being a fan or a fanatic... start with your neighbor, co-worker or maybe just yourself. “Jesus doesn’t expect followers to be perfect, but he does call them to be authentic.”
LONGING FOR WISDOM
As a church we must RETHINK how we are MAKING DISCIPLES… and how we TRAIN PEOPLE TO MAKE WISE CHOICES
So here's today's question:
1) What are you searching for in your life? What desires are you trying to fulfill? What is blocking you from fulfilling those longings and desires of your heart?
2) Are you struggling with feeling like life is running out of control? Like your life is headed in the wrong direction? Maybe you woke up today and realized that you needed a change and want a different direction for your life...
Luke 15:17 -- “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father...
Here's the strategy for Finding Your Way Back to God...
1) Realize that conviction isn't a bad thing. Conviction is the way the Spirit turns us back to God.
2) Realize the conviction is different than condemnation. Condemnation works for of guilt and shame and sin... Godly conviction is the working of the Spirit and comes from grace, mercy and love.
3) Today - don't pass up on your conviction - but act on it and remember that you are not condemnded - you are a child of God and when you are in Christ - you have found your Way Back to God.
Romans 8:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Have a great day and know that I am praying for you and praying to find your way back to God... or at least deepen your faith in God, strengthen your bond with those you love, expand the kingdom to the lost around you... I pray that God uses you today and you are find your purpose in simply living for God daily - loving where you are at - living out your life moment by moment - simply loving God and loving others.
Ephesians 1:5 New Living Translation (NLT)
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
You are loved! Join us this week at First Christian Church in Scottsburg, IN (255 W. McClain Ave) at either 8 AM or 10:45 AM for week 2 of Finding Your Way Back to God. Don't forget to like us and follow us on FACEBOOK
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