- Sacrifice is at the core of Living Sent
- What is my capacity? (Take Inventory)
- If not me, then who? (Take Action)
Maybe the reason we’ve never heard from God is because we expect His voice to be angry, harsh, and full of wrath. But our Heavenly Father can scold and correct our wrong behavior, and still do it in love. God’s voice is loving!
Even though we are prone to wander (like sheep) and sin, Jesus, “The Good Shepherd,” chooses to interact with us with grace and forgiveness.
Christians should be the best employees and students, always going the extra mile to serve diligently and with contagious joy. We should be dependable and accountable — even when no one is looking — because God is always watching! And we ultimately work for Him.
When we demonstrate that level of integrity and character, we make Jesus attractive and make Him known without even having to mention His name. And our excellence will increase our influence. People will wonder why there is something different about us. That gives us an opportunity to speak into someone’s life — maybe even offer to pray for them and invite them to our church.
And while we don’t often get to share our faith openly at work, we do have the extraordinary opportunity to live out Jesus every day. We glorify Him when we do.
When things are going very well, it’s easy to slip into self-importance. We start to believe we’re the very reason the business or marriage is so extraordinary. But things don’t typically grow and prosper forever. Difficulty usually sets in.
When God has us in a season of humility and things aren’t going so well, perhaps He’s teaching us to value others.
Letting go can make you feel vulnerable because you don’t know how things are going to turn out – and that’s why letting go must be an act of trust. The good news is that God can be trusted for His goodness, His faithfulness, and His unfailing love.
Maybe what’s holding you back from a better life is something you’re holding onto – like bitterness, a failure from your past, or a toxic relationship or habit. Remember: Letting go is always a challenge, but it’s where God does His finest work.
Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can have success in life without “churn.” If you want to reach your dreams and have the better life God desires for you, you should cultivate good character during your teen years. The world is lying to you when they tell you that your teen years are merely for fun and indulgence. If you want to reach your dreams, cultivate the character to “churn” now.
One Dare: Keep churning the butter because it makes life better!
2 Observations (of people with a better life)
Jesus gave His all. When we look to His life as an example, we must redefine what it means to “give our all.” Our “all” compared to His “all” is surely lacking.
In the Bible, we’re commanded to love God with our “all.” How much better would your life be if you loved God with your “true all?”
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
– Matthew 22: 36-37
Improving your walk with God requires more than trying – it requires training. It starts with putting God first in every area of your life: your calendar, your finances, your actions. A faith training regimen might include weekly worship, daily devotion and prayer time, cheerful giving, and making sure your actions are in alignment with God’s standard for holiness.
Encouragement and accountability are key to achieving goals. That’s why we need someone alongside us! Small groups and accountability partners can provide the extra push we need to keep working toward a better life.
Most of us are double-minded. We can make a genuine commitment to better an area of our lives and then simultaneously – and completely – quit on ourselves. We need to stop being double-minded, conquer our character, and go after the very area God is challenging us to improve. And by making our commitment public, we are giving ourselves the gift of accountability.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
– James 4:7-10
God has given us all the tools we need to have a better life, but there are some things we simply must do for ourselves. If we want to reach a goal, we need to push ourselves – because it’s always tempting to quit.
Jesus modeled this for us with His life and eventually His death. It would have been easier and much less painful to quit, but He pushed to complete His mission. His final words on the cross were, “It is finished.” And because He didn’t quit we get to experience new life!
If we want to get better in any area of life, God is going to challenge us to better our character – because character is core to a better life. To thrive, we need to conquer the things that attempt to conquer us.
One Dare: PUSH your “self” to reach a worthwhile finish line?
4 Lessons (if you want to reach your next or new finish line)
Everyone has problems. The people who win in life work through their problems. They have an understanding that God matures them by working through struggles and difficulty. Pay attention to when God is whispering for you to take a stand for your marriage, your family, your finances, and your character.
Satan would love to have God’s people lose their footing – the very foundation of their faith. He seeks to do undo your character and destroy your relationships at home, at work, and in every arena of your life. Don’t allow him to destabilize your faith.
Scripture: Luke 9:23-25; Philippians 2:1-11
We live in the tension of love yourself and deny yourself.
To get past self-centeredness we must develop self-awareness.
Awareness of “if” (Philippians 2:1)
Availability to “then” (Philippians 2:2-8)
Availability is focusing your life (like Christ) on being a giver rather than a taker.
Scripture: 2 Kings 13:14-19, Philippians 3:10-14
Grit: “Unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger. Perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
Why do we need Grit?
How to trend #grit in your life:
Recommended Reading: “And Then Came the Angels” by Beth Gayle
Scripture: Genesis Chapters 25 & 27
Three truths about truth and deception:
Two Key Questions:
Scripture: Mark 6:4-5, Matthew 10:40-42
Honor is the gift of communicating and demonstrating the value of people in relationships and roles.
The ROI of Honor:
4 Ways to Trend Honor in your life and leadership:
Scripture: Matthew 6, Micah 6:8
“May your influence never go wider than your character runs deep.”
(Micah 6:8) The Kind of Person Who:
Scripture: Matthew 4
“The World will Bow to your authority, if you will Bow to my authority.”
– Satan to Jesus
[one_half] Lie: Source Permanent[/one_half][one_half last=last] Truth: Straw Temporary[/one_half]
What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? What are trading for your soul? (Matthew 16:26)
Satan only has the power to entice with Sin, he cannot make you embrace Sin!
He can only tempt w/ sin, not make you try sin.
He does not have the power to make you sin – you have to choose to sin.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
Scripture: Philippians 4:13, Matthew 4
What strengths did Jesus display in the first temptation?
1. Strength to Detect a Lie.
Change how you think:
The Temptation to LIVE for Physical Appetites!
Satan tempts us to satisfy Godly appetites in un-Godly ways.
2. Strength to Stand on Truth.
Change what you do:
Tell the truth to someone who stands on truth. (Hebrews 12)
3. Strength to Conquer Temptation
Change what you expect:
I don’t have to g_____ to temptation. (to be filled in next week)
Recommended Reading: This series was inspired by and is tapping heavily into the book, “Anonymous” by Alicia Britt Cole.
Scripture: Philippians 4:13 & Matthew 4
The Wizard of Oz, like all great stories, borrows its power from the Original Story. They share a common construction, and we’re drawn to the story because it’s our story: