We are all on a life journey. One of my favourite pastimes is travelling and watching people on their journeys, whether on the road or at airports. Everyone is going from point A to point B and experiences life’s twists and turns, sometimes very good and at other times challenging. I hope to inspire us this morning while we journey with God. I hope to help us find God’s goodness in our travels, so to speak, and I hope that we will find comfort for those puzzling and perplexing times of life. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a key passage to meditate on…
“Apprehending God’s Heart and Fulfilling His Dreams”
Our Mission Statement at Courts of Praise is “Apprehending God’s Heart and Fulfilling His Dreams”. The idea behind this statement is simple – It is very important in life to know God personally. Knowing God helps us develop godly identity and intimacy with God and each other. Knowing God through prayer and worship and discovering our spiritual gifts is a wonderful experience. However, knowing God is only half of the equation – It is equally important in life to fulfill our God-given destinies. Fulfilling God’s Dreams is all about serving others, loving people, helping people to know God for themselves personally. A beautiful verse is found in Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. This reminds me of our Mission Statement – Love him according to his purpose. The Apostle Paul writes this passage to the Church in Rome during times of trial and hardship. He goes onto say that he is convinced that if God is for us then I doesn’t really matter who is against us. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro 8:37–39).
We are becoming…
We have a saying at Courts of Praise – “We are becoming a grace-full, loving, accepting and forgiving community of believers from all nations that celebrate each other and who are committed to bringing souls into God’s kingdom.” I have mentioned this phrase over and over because it describes the journey we are on together. Several weeks ago, I spoke out of 2 Peter 1:3-11. One of the keys thoughts was this – “make every effort to add to your faith…” In other words, we are on a journey of becoming a follower of Jesus. Sometimes it is a point of trial where we make every effort to overcome in our faith, add to our faith – we are more than conquerors as we make certain our destiny.
· Grace-full - I love this word picture. When I think of grace-full I picture the Holy Spirit coming upon the lives of people. Oftentimes graceful is seen a pretty and feminine; this is good and attractive, but is not the full picture of grace. The picture of God’s grace touching Caleb’s life is awesome. “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (Nu 14:24). There were twelve spies, two of which responded with a good report. Caleb chose the perspective with which he defined life's events; High tide verses low tide, Optimist verses pessimist, God verses circumstance, Faith verses doubt, Opportunity verses obstacles. Can do it verses can't do it. We must learn how to live in a godly spirit with God's perspective.
-Constantly correct your perception of yourself by seeing yourself as God sees you.
-The perception of your past, learn from your history. Jesus covers your past.
-The perception of your future, learn to be inspired. Jesus gives us a future and a hope.
Choose the measure of difficulty you will assign to... The greater the reward the greater the difficulty. The same is true in gymnastics; the greater the difficulty the greater the score. The ten spies had a measure of difficulty in entering the promised land, it is going to be a ten, we will die... Joshua and Caleb has a measure of difficulty in entering the promised land, it is going to be a one or maybe two. With God, we will win. We cannot lose with God on our side.
· Loving and accepting and forgiving – This is foundational to our Christian faith. Jerry Cook wrote the book, Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness: Being Christian in a Non-Christian World. One of the questions Jerry considered is this - How can the church be a healing force in the world? The answer is simple - it is only when believers admit their own brokenness that they can love, accept, and forgive those who are hurting around them and put out the welcome mat to their church community. We must first receive God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness personally, before we can effectively offer this to the world. God’s church is not broken, but it is the broken people within who can change the world through love and acceptance and forgiveness.
· Community of believers from all nations who celebrate each other. I recommend the movie “All Saints”. It is a true story of an Episcopalian Church in Smyrna Tennessee. In the movie Karin believers from Burma come to join a struggling little church. These believers begin to know each other, experience the differences of their cultures, work side-by-side, and celebrate each other’s achievements they form a close-knit community. This is just like Acts 2:42-45.
· Who are committed to bringing souls into God’s kingdom. One of the primary dreams of God is the redemption of mankind; friendship to God is very important. It is interesting to note that when gathering of the saints is grace-full, loving, accepting and forgiving that God adds to their number (Acts 2:46-47). It is our desire to continue to be committed to sharing our faith in Jesus through a variety of means; Stephen’s Backpacks, community outreach, Prairie Light Christian Fellowship…
We are on a journey, whether personally or corporately, in our faith relationship with God. Salvation is a free gift as we choose to believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, but is a journey of genuine and growing pursuit of God. We grow in our faith the best when we are a part of a grace-full, loving, accepting and forgiving community of believers. This is a new season, so to speak, as we gather together seeking to see God glorified in our midst. Let’s pray…