Speaker: Brandon Lemois Jan 3, 2016
What does it take to have the best year ever? We will begin in Philippians Chapter 1. Paul is writing a letter to some of his closest partners in ministry:
Phil 1:3-6 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Even though Paul is in prison as he writes this, he knows that God is working in all of us to complete the good work He began. God works to help us become more like him and to pull us back to him. When we get stuck and are longing for a fresh start, God works to bring it all back to him.
This verse reflects back to Genesis 1, which says in verse 1 “In the beginning”, and “It was good” in verses 4,10,12,18,21,25,31. Paul ties everything back to God’s good plan for the world, and he truly believes that God will complete the good work he started.
2 Corinthians 4:6 “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
When you say yes to God, the same God that shaped creation begins to shape you. When you meet Jesus you don’t stay the same, because God begins to shape us and change us. Do we actually believe that the same God who shaped creation is shaping us?
We will have the best year of our lives when we let Jesus shape it.
Paul knows this because he lived it. In Acts 9:1-19, we have a story about Saul, who later becomes Paul, and how Jesus changed his life. Paul was responsible for killing Christians until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and his life changed radically. Paul became one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament and was instrumental in sharing the Good News to the world.
Questions to ask when God begins shaping you:
1. What characterizes my life? (9.1-6)
When people talk about you, what do they say about you? What is the leading characterization you are known by? Are the things that you do pointing people to Jesus? What is in your life that people see? Also, who characterizes your life? Is your life all about you? Or is Christ the center of your life?
When people look at you, do they see Christ?
2. How do I see? (9.7-9)
When Paul meets Jesus, he loses his sight. God tells Ananias to go and minister to Paul after he loses his sight. Ananias is reluctant to do this because of Paul’s brutal reputation towards Christians. Ananias is willing to see the world through God’s perspective and he does go to help Paul.
Perspective is a powerful thing. You have your own perspective, someone else can a very different perspective. What is your perspective on the world? If the Bible is the basis of how you see the world, you can begin to see through world with God’s perspective. This is why it is important to read the Bible. The Bible is one story, about God, and it helps us understand who God is. The Bible lets us gather perspective on what the Kingdom of God is like, it is a window into God’s world.
Reading the Bible allows us to be shaped by Christ. It changes our perspective.
What shapes your perspective?
3. What is God asking me to do? (9.10-19)
God asked Ananias to do a crazy thing. What specific thing is God asking you to do this year? You have to work on your relationship with God to understand what He wants you to do. If God hasn’t asked you to take a step, are you growing? We have to be very serious this year about all that God says is possible.
As a church, we want to help you take your next steps. This year, do you need to attend the Sunday Gathering more often? Do you need to join a Community Group? Give more? Read your Bible more? Serve more?
What is your next step?
If God is going to shape your life, you will have the best year ever. In Acts 9.20-22, we see how drastically God shaped Paul’s life. We can ultimately have the best year ever when we let God shape us.
As we start 2016, answer these questions:
1. What characterizes my life?
2. How do I see?
3. What is God asking me to do?
If you don’t have answers to these questions, ask God to help you discover the answers.
We believe that Prayer is powerful and can change the world – not just for today but for generations to come. We believe that lives and whole communities are changed forever when we lift up our needs to God in prayer. Please let us know if there is something you would like us to pray for.
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