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Tonight I want to begin by talking about BODYBUILDING. Yes, who would have thought?
Body building training is empowered and fueled by vision. Without a vision, a bodybuilding program is set to fail and disappoint. Vision is the deep, resolute determination to achieve the luster, the glory, the honor of success. Vision is the lurid picture of the power-packed biceps, the six-pack abs, the stallion legs and the square chested torso of a warrior. Vision is in moments where the bodybuilding victory is tasted, the trophies kissed and the champion’s carpet walked on. Vision is the driving force that puts a bodybuilding program on a road towards a winning streak. Vision determines who wins and looses out in bodybuilding. Without vision, bodybuilding becomes empty and void. It is indeed the vision that makes it possible to overcome the demands, the challenges and the pains of bodybuilding training. It is indeed vision that enables men and women to embrace pain and resolutely pursue greater muscle gains at chilling training intensities.
You get my drift. Enough is enough.
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” Another version says, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” It’s important to have a vision – it’s important to have something to fix our eyes upon as an internal compass point to direct our lives. Vision is the thing we move towards. We’re training our lives to go a certain direction. Without it we have no direction and purpose and without it we cast off restraint and fail. We are created for purpose.
You want to know what the plan is for your life – go talk to the one who made you. Now let me lay it out there – it all begins with God. Being called and living called all begins with knowing God and being born again and knowing His love and living in response to His love. It all begins with hearing His voice.
We’re not just saved, we’re called. We’re not just rescued, we’re recruited. The great underlying reason and purpose for our lives is that people come to know God and His redemption. Our careers, our hobbies, our studies, our relationships – everything in our lives – are all connection points used by God to get us – His ambassadors and witnesses – out into the world.
So who are called? Simple answer -if you’re breathing – you’re called. It’s not about fulltime ministry it’s about fulltime LIVING. But in saying that some of you here ARE called to full time ministry – GREAT – that’s fantastic! Be thinking NOW how you can be that person doing that thing you’re dreaming of. How will that look in real life? Not feeling called into full time ministry – GREAT – that’s fantastic! Be thinking NOW how God will use you in your life to expand His Kingdom. Ministry isn’t an optional extra for our lives – it is WHO WE ARE.
The Bible says: 1 Peter 2:5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In Ephesians 4:11-13 it says: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” If you’re a people of God – you’re called to serve and are in the process of being prepared and trained.
God has a plan and purpose for our lives. Something tailor made that we’re designed to do. It may be ministry – but in fact WE’RE ALL MINISTERS whether we’re getting paid for it on not, or have a title or not… we’re all called to demonstrate the love and grace of God, we’re all called to reach out and evangelize, we’re all called to live our lives in such a way that people know we belong to Christ. God places us in work places and places where we can influence people for the Kingdom of God. Your job is your mission field.
So then. How does someone called live?
People who live called live with PURPOSE< PASSION< and PREPARATION.
"everyone has a choice – but dont ever want to choose the flesh – it brings death." anthony pryor
"the flesh must die. you can never outgrunt the flesh, thats why it must die." anthony pryor – willing obedience = love and surrender to God
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal 5:13-26
its one of those mysteries – the flesh must die so we might live. the flesh must die so that we will be led by the spirit. the flesh and spirit are in war with one another – they’re not in truce with each other and will never be. we cannot please God in the flesh – works and doing the right thing doesnt measure up – because its not JUST the doing that matters but the heart.
living in the flesh doesn’t please God, because the flesh wars against His ways. the flesh is fallen and sinful and when fed it leans towards fleshly stuff that lead to death. flesh sows in death and reaps in death. it breaks relationships, peace, friendships etc. it also breaks closeness with God because we then feel guilt and guilt makes us feel distant from God.
dont choose the flesh. choose God. choose this day who you will serve. choosing God yes will result in cost – it costs to die. it costs to choose His ways. because our flesh wars against it so we have to surrender, submit, sacrifice. but the reward in this life and next is great. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Gal 5:24
“The sinful nature does not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the sinful nature delights in. The two are at war with each other. That’s what makes you do what you don’t want to do.” (Galatians 5:17, NIRV)
“Don’t live under the control of your sinful nature. If you do, you will think about what your sinful nature wants. Live under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you do, you will think about what the Spirit wants. (Romans 8:5, NIRV)
we need to rise up – to man up – to love up – to have a revelation of God’s love – that when we were sinners and didnt even think of Him or know of Him – He loved us and sent His Son to die for us to pay our penalty that we might know Him for now and eternity. we need to rise up – man up – love up – so that we will choose God. we need to make the choice now – i WILL choose Him and i WILL choose obedience – living intentionally and proactively according to His ways, living to please Him – living in response to His great love.
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 john 2:3-5
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 john 5:2-5
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." Jesus, john 14:23. challenging eh. love is expressed in obedience. willingly choosing to obey shows love.
the flesh must die.
don’t choose the darkness – God is Light – bring what He exposes through testing into the light to be transformed! when we make mistakes and sin the two options are to hide or to bring it out, repent and allow God to forgive and change us.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 john 1:5-10
hard times and temptation are designed so that the character of our heart is revealed and so that we can be made more outwardly righteous and grow.
Always Remember, when God made you, He did so with a purpose and a plan.
He saw all of your days before you lived one of them and placed over you the covering of His protective love. He has allowed nothing to come into your life that has not first been screened through that love. His hand has remained upon you to this very day. He calls you by name. You are His beloved child…the apple of His eye… the delight of His heart.
Today you are in the exact place He wants you to be, and tomorrow He will be with you as He has always been – in goodness, in kindness, in faithfulness.
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."
34 "Do it again," he said, and they did it again.
"Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!"
1 Kings 18
tonight i read this to my 5 year old daughter – the kids version that is.
but it struck me afresh – before the fire of God could come there was a lot of work to do.
elijah had to prepare the altar. digging. building. hard physical labour. work. he had to get the altar ready for the fire to come.
likewise in our own lives , we need to be lives ready for the fire to fall. we need to prepare our own heart and outward lived lives for God to use and demonstrate His power and glory. there is work to be done. building. digging. work.
we often put our hands up and say YES God, but are we ready to do the leg work, and the prayer work, and the heart work, and the servant work, and the transformation work???
Lord, make me a good leader, a good shepherd
someone who loves like you do,
who is wise like you are,
who encourages and challenges like you do.
You are my model, and i follow You.
but i need Your grace and gifting.
i ask that You would fill me afresh, empower me anew.
i am Yours.
help me to pray more, love more, give more, be more.
Gratitude is such a wonderful “virtue” to cultivate – to intentionally be aware of the good things that God is doing in our lives, the big and obvious, the small and obtuse. When we appreciate the good we realize we’re blest in so many ways, esp us westerners! and gratitude cultivates happiness and joy and encouragement – it cultivates courage to face the obstacles and mountains and darkness, because we know God is with us and will restore us each step of the way.
When we’re living our lives with intentional gratitude we’re fixing our eyes upon Jesus and agreeing YES He is good and YES He is faithful and YES He is Lord and YES He is the one who loves us! Gratitude is an expression of faith.
709. the smell of a new baby. my nephew was born a few weeks ago and is just tiny and a miracle. all babies are miracles.
710. toast. i love toast. just plain toast with melted butter. or brown grainy toast. with melted butter. we’re blest to have toast. the convince of modern life.
711. when God organizes that the preaching has a theme for the day, like He’s making sure we get the message.
712. a day with no rain. after a long few weeks on constant rain on and off, its nice to have a day of sunshine.
713. friends who make you laugh.
714. children who love so unconditionally.
715. itunes. the joy of being able to download music. wonderful. i downloaded the soundtrack to Lost s5 and also a band called Hothouse Flowers which i have followed for about 15 years now! they’re irish and wonderful.
716. rark ups
717. knowing that God used me
718. children who love their dad.
719. great school teachers who take the time to really get to know my kids and know their ups and downs and sad days. esp important for new entrant teachers!
720. new black hoop earrings. like really big ones!
721. smooth, hot, delicious coffee.
722. sunshine! getting my washing dry! such a good thing!
723. the discovery of new songs that speak to my heart
724. school holidays. time to slow down a bit and hang with the kids and friends and have a few adventures on the way. hoping to go to the museum, some different parks and out and about. the kids have requested to go to smiggle – a branded stationary shop – and the $2 shop of course. good time to unwind and the kids to sleep in a bit and recharge their batteries.
725. the faithfulness of God. i so appreciate that about Him. appreciate you might say is too small a word to use to describe the feeling inside, but its semi accurate. i’m so glad and grateful that God is faithful. even if i turn away, His love is everlasting and His forgiveness ready.
726. borrowing books from friends. i love to read!
727. snuggles when i come home from church at night with the kids, esp my son, now 8 who hasnt requested one for a while!
728. chocolate. mmmmm….
729. answered prayers.
730. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4
731. driving around the city – delivering things – even in the rain. i love driving in the urban areas and seeing old houses and funky buildings.
732. LOST podcasts by jorge garcia and his girlfriend. they take me to my happy place )
733. childrens laughter.
734. new friendships.
735. a good hair day
736. new tshirts from threadless.com. love getting them in the mail. though i was sure i had ordered an orange one, but i got a green one which i had also liked. perhaps i had so got myself confuzed!
737. i love the way my husband takes care of our family. he so rocks.
so go on… why not start your own list… why not get intentional and be grateful for what is going on in your life!
yesterday the theme of the day at our church seemed to be faithfulness. both our pastor and our evening speaker, without comparing notes really, preached on the faithfulness of God. it came also with a challenge that we in return should live our lives faithful to God, with Him as our first love and our first priority, not just “in our heart” but in our actions and real life.
God is faithful. always.
"The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” Exodus 34:6
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deut 7:9
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deut 32:4
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 57:10
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thess 3:3
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
you get the picture. God is faithful. it is like one of the most fundamental elements of His character and heart. He is faithful. We can trust Him. We can trust His Word, we can trust His promises. He doesnt go back on His Word, He doesnt lie. He is truthful and faithful.
It is such a great “thing” to get a hold of – to know all the way in – to stand upon and to rely upon. god is faithful and I can trust Him with my whole life. I can trust Him to outwork His promises. I can trust Him to supply my needs. I can trust His love. I can trust His Word. i can let His faithfulness encourage me and strengthen my faith.
I can have faith in His faithfulness.
I do not need to fear because God is faithful.
but we as humans are not as faithful. there are times we choose temporary pleasure and sin over pleasing God and obeying Him. there are times we act like the prodigal son (luke 15) – choosing our own desires and flesh – rather than staying and pleasing the Father. But like the prodigal son we can stop, repent, return and find faithful love again.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 john 1:9
we need to stop, rise up, dust off the sin and take up the cross again. we need to fix our eyes upon Jesus and determine to run the race of obedience and faithfulness. we need to encounter His love – to know His faithfulness and grace – so that we live in response to love, not out of fear or works.
He is faithful. His love never ends.
1. i have watched every episode. at least twice. except season 6.
2. i brought the Lost soundtrack today. Season 5. love the music! takes me right there!
3. a Lost song is my ringtone on my phone. and a friend is editing me some Lost dialouge for my text message tone… maybe a brotha mash up…
4. i have 2 Lost tshirts. and i live in New Zealand so you know they’ve come a long way…
5. my desktop picture is… yip, Lost.
6. i have to include a Lost reference in my message when i preach. seriously i do. i have done this for about 2 years now. i can usually come up with a Lost analogy at the drop of a hat…
7. Lost has changed my language. whenever someone talks about smoke, candidates, lists, islands, constants, time, letting go, whatever happened happened, others… well… you get me. Lost references have changed my language.
8. i can name most of the characters and actors. and episode names.
9. my daughters name is evangeline… not totally just because of the actress, but yeah, it was an influence.
10. Jesus is my constant.
I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (though i am sure if Lost was on when he was around he’d say Lost was on the list…)
but seriously… my life must express MORE obsession with Jesus and people must know i LOVE Jesus more than i love Lost. as i’ve converted people into Lost fans… so i should be in the process of conversion with people unto salvation. I have one passion, and it is He. but Lost is so up there on my list.
fav characters: ben (i know!), faraday, hurley, desmond
fav episodes: the constant, the incident, man behind the curtain, flashes before your eyes, all of S6
text tone: smokey noises
ring tone from my husband: desmond contacting penny
general ring tone: song from Lost
obsessed: yes i am
got a good compliment the other day on fb in response to my status – it just has to be said… i wonder if ernest shackleton met any others on his island when he was lost? : liking the irony – the once-was-lost-now-am-Found is hooked on Lost..
yeah i like that