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Occupy Sermon Series DP

Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?   With this small rectangle I can call someone, text someone, check my bank account, have photos of my kids, videos of my kids, can book a movie, view a menu, watch youtube, listen to Spotify and get directions when I am driving.

A few years ago, it feels like back in the olden days now, before I had a phone like this, when I would get lost, I would be LOST.  And as much as I love LOST the tv show I do not like being lost locationally in my world.

I would have to rely on maps, which is not an application on your phone, but a piece of paper with squiggly lines and squares and street names and on friendly service station people.

Now days, you just need to pull over and click on the app button and boom.  It can even use your location to pin point right where you are and a nice lady that can tell you to turn right in 400m.

But have you noticed, when using this app we see the map just as we are.  Just our little square of location.

God can zoom out and see the whole map.  He sees every part of your journey.  He sees where you are today and the final destination and everything in between.

A few years ago I went for a bit of a road trip to visit my friend Fee who lives in Gulf Harbour.  I had never been to Gulf Harbour before.  In fact, I had probably only driven over the harbour bridge about 5 times in the whole 15 years I’ve lived in Auckland!

Anyway, I had her address written down.  I knew from the map on the net what streets to take in her little township area.

But as I drove over the bridge and started looking at the motorway exit signs I noticed one thing that made me half freak out.  They didnt have suburb titles, like how the rest of Auckland does.  Like Manukau.  East Tamaki.  Greenlane.  It had road names.  I was heading into unfamiliar territory and the road signs made no sense!

Then I saw another sign that made me freak out even more.  Probably a 3/4 freak out on the scale of freaking out.  Toll bridge ahead.  We had been driving for over an hour and there were less and less houses and more and more grass and more and more cows.  I was like oh my word!  Perhaps we totally missed where we were going?  Perhaps I was totally lost!

So i pulled over and rung my friend.  Hey Fee, Claire here.  Help I’m LOST and um, yeah that toll bridge thing.

 

Ended up that I wasnt lost, I just wasnt there yet.  And we didnt have to go the toll bridge, we had to take some off ramp with a weird name that didnt relate at all to the area she lived in.

Now I bet you’re wondering what on earth does that have to do with my life and my dreams?  Its a nice story, but hello….

You see, just like how I was on a journey we are all on a journey.

I had a destination, but I was driving unfamiliar roads and didn’t really know how to get there.

I was pointing in the right direction, but some of the signs were confusing and made me unsure if I was on the right track.

And in the end I phoned my friend for help.

And yes, we made it there in the end!

We are all on a journey.  Life is a journey.  Every day counts.    But the good news is that God knows the destination, and He knows how to get there.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

You can be confident at every age and at every stage that God loves you and that He made you on purpose with a purpose.  God isnt random.  He didnt make you and then throw you into humanity to see what would happen.  He made you on purpose, with a purpose.

But sometimes it feels like we’re driving unfamiliar roads.  What will I be when I grow up?  What will I study at high school?  What about university?  Or apprenticeship?  Who will I marry?  Should i do an OE?  Buy a house?  The red pill or the blue pill?     Big questions.

Philippians 1:6 says that God will finish what He starts.  He started something in your life.  And He will see it through to the destination.  God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller.  He gives us dreams….  those desires and thoughts you have are seeds of God’s plan.  And He doesnt just leave us to do it ourselves, He on purpose is at work to make the dreams come true.

As we talk about Occupying our Occupation we have been talking about being senior pastors in our world, about owning our classes and our workplaces, our spheres of influence but I am sure it has also raised many questions about finding that occupation that releases us to be God’s minister to the world around us.  Some of you might be yup, I’m salty and shinning and ready to occupy but feel that you may not have the occupation side of things nailed down yet.  You might be in that place of making the decision of what will I be when I grow up and I don’t think that question has an expiry date.  We can be in our 30s 40s and beyond and have a career change and a sense that there might be a better fit out there for us.

Our work matters and I think God has placed without our hearts a desire for purpose and destiny.  One of the greatest driving forces in the human heart is the need for significance. This quest for significance is fueled by a deep need for meaning: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? The reason your heart yearns for meaning is that you were created by the God of purpose, to fulfil His purposes on the earth.

But we can feel like we are driving on unfamiliar roads and our smart phones don’t have a DPS – a destiny positioning system.

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Our calling isn’t about us: its about the character of the God we’re representing! 

the book of Jonah isn’t about a running prophet – its about the grace of God!  its God’s grace that He will use us, even in our flaws and weaknesses (even our disobedience!) to reach the lost. 

 

Jonah saw Nineveh as a barbaric terrorist state – but God didn’t see it like that!  

Just as in Hosea 1 it says about the people of Israel – In the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”, they will be called “children of the living God”. Hosea 1:10

So God looked at Nineveh and marked them for repentance and salvation.

Let God’s perspective consume you so you will see things as they CAN BE by the power and grace of God!

No darkness is too dark for God to shine His light in.

 

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:9

 

 

thoughts from watching the elevation church – steven furtick – recap from March 4th – A Clarification of your Calling

message notes from sunday AM 9th December 2012

 

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I was reading the other day about Jeremiah and how God called Him in Jeremiah 1…

My name is Jeremiah. I am a priest, of the Benjamin tribe. This book contains the things that the Lord told me to say. The Lord said: “Jeremiah, I am your Creator, and before you were born, I chose you to speak for me to the nations.” I replied, “I’m not a good speaker, Lord, and I’m too young.” “Don’t say you’re too young,” the Lord answered. “If I tell you to go and speak to someone, then go!

oh Jeremiah – you’re so funny!  Jeremiah is trying to pull a Moses here BUT he should have taken notice of what God said. GOD CALLED HIM before he was born and thus knows all about him – his age, his abilities, his limitations, his weaknesses, his strengths, his gifting etc – in fact GOD CREATED Jeremiah to be the way he is.  He is Creator God and formed him. 

Jeremiah had all the answers to his insecurities in what God said back in verse 5 “I am your creator and I call you to speak for me.” 

Likewise for each of us God has the answers! The fact that God created Jeremiah and knows him inside outside upside down should negate any worry and insecurities that Jeremiah has.

What a strong challenge we call all learn (and be challenged) from!  What excuses are we saying and thinking?  What restrictions are we placing upon ourselves and upon God!  When God has all the answers and when He calls us to step out so He can step in.

We step out so He can step in will be a catch phrase this morning. I think so many times we think about the capability gap in our lives when it comes to Gods call – big picture wise and in the everyday opportunities. There is that gap between what we can do and what HE can do THROUGH us. When we step out HE steps in!

LABELS

Think about the labels you use for yourself

  1. occupational label
  2. relationship status
  3. What you do – what’s your hobby?
  4. personality
  5. character

and inst it interesting as we sit here and think about those labels how its easy to say our JOB description but much harder it is to label ourselves as caring, funny, extraverted etc… its so much harder to wrap words around WHO WE ARE vs what we do. In fact on Wednesday night @ housegroup we were super blest not only by a box of goodies but by everyone saying what they like about housegruop and about us. Seriously I squirmed. And cried. And was so touched. But it was so difficult to hear the lovely things people said and receive their compliments gracefully without wanting to “oh nah it was nothing”

Jeremiah labelled himself as too young. Moses said WHO AM I and doubted his ability when he was called to lead Israel out of Egypt.

You know looking on at Jeremiah and Moses’ life from the end point of view, from the highlight reel, you may not pick that they had identity issues or insecurity. That’s the funny thing about it – you might look to everyone else that you have it all together, you might be talented, good looking and friendly, but on the inside part of you is hurting, unsure.

Insecurity is a spiralling negative thought pattern that seems to follow you at work, at home, and when you’re with friends. It comes in the form of negative thoughts that creep up in your heart and capture your courage. It looks like a pattern of disbelief that cripples you from making any major moves. It is a problem; however, that you don’t have to deal with because there are truths that trump insecurity!

It might have formed when you were a child, or a teen, or now as an adult. It can strike anyone at any time or life stage. Identity is highly influenced by the significant people in our lives, our parents, our kids, our husbands or wives, our bosses. Its amazing how something someone said when we were 6 can still have an impact when we are 36.

It can be affected from external and internal sources.

And be reinforced by both positions – from outside you and from inside you.

But ultimately it receives its power from YOU though, from an internal place within us that AGREES and ACCEPTS the negativity, or the insults, or the put downs.

Eleanor Roosevelt says "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

 

Insecurity can be like driving around in a car with sand in the tank. It might work for a while but after a trip to the supermarket and back the engine will seize and stop. Insecurity might cohabitate in our life for a while, influencing us, but after a while we’ll seize and stop under the burden and confliction.

 

When we have a flawed identity it can limit us from stepping out and living the call of God for our lives. It can limit us from stepping out into the capacity that God has at work in us.

2 Corinthians 4:7 says But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

 

I am just the vessel and the power comes from God. I don’t have the natural capacity but God has supernatural capacity through me. When I step out, God steps in. When I’m struggling with insecurity I am limiting my availability to God.

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My name is Jeremiah. I am a priest, and my father Hilkiah and everyone else in my family are from Anathoth in the territory of the Benjamin tribe. This book contains the things that the Lord told me to say. v1

I love the directness of the CEV – very straightforward.  Jeremiah was a priest and this is the words and the messages God gave him to share.

The Lord said:
“Jeremiah, I am your Creator,
and before you were born,
I chose you to speak for me
to the nations.” v 4-5

Hey – did you notice that Jeremiahs message is STILL going forth to the nations – in fact more nations than he was even aware of at the time he was alive!  God anointed and appointed Jeremiah before he was even born for this task and calling.

I replied, “I’m not a good speaker, Lord, and I’m too young.” v6

oh Jeremiah – you’re so funny!  Jeremiah is trying a Moses here BUT he should have taken notice and great hope that GOD CALLED HIM before he was born and thus knows all about him – his age, his abilities etc – in fact GOD CREATED Jeremiah to be the way he is.  He is Creator God and formed him.  Jeremiah had all the answers to  his insecurities in what God said back in verse 5 “I am your creator and i call you to speak for me.”  Likewise for each of us God has the answers!

“Don’t say you’re too young,” the Lord answered. “If I tell you to go and speak to someone, then go! v7

strong challenge we call all learn (and be challenged) from!  what excuses are we saying and thinking?  what restrictions are we placing upon ourselves and upon God!  when God has all the answers and when he calls us to obey.

I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid.” v8

again another answer to all the questions in Jeremiahs heart.  I AM WITH YOU says God.  What a promise!  with that promise Jeremiah can take on the world.  Likewise Jesus said to us “Lo I am with you always”.  nothing should restrict us our limit us!

The Lord reached out his hand, then he touched my mouth and said, “I am giving you the words to say, 10 and I am sending you with authority to speak to the nations for me. You will tell them of doom and destruction, and of rising and rebuilding again.” v9-10

Again God has a supernatural answer – he empowers Jeremiah for the mission.

The Lord showed me something in a vision. Then he asked, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” v11

God now begins to practically train Jeremiah for his mission.  He calls, equips and trains us for His purpose.  God is actively involved in partnering with us!

my dad sent me this via email today… and i just had to smile… this is so right… it gives me hope and faith that God can use me and my life to demonstrate his love and grace… as it says in teh bible “we are just jars of clay with a great treasure within us, so that everyone can see that the power is of God, not of ourselves.”

i hope you are encouraged when you read this list about “famous” bible people…

The next time you feel like GOD can’t use you, just remember :

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses was a murderer
Aaron had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer..
AND Lazarus was dead!

And don’t forget Jesus Helped them all!!!!

Now! No more excuses! God can use you to your full potential.
You aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.

we may think we are unqualified…
we may think we arent special enough, arent spiritual enough, arent knowledgable enough, arent leadership enough, arent good enough, arent dynamic enough, arent popular enough… the list can go on.

what qualifies us is the work of God in our life and that he calls us and empowers us.

2 corinthians 4:7 We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us.


today you ARE called.  if you are a christian you are called.  called to be an ambassador of reconcilliation, a minsiter of the gospel, a witness for God.

you are called to make a difference.

you are called to demonstrate the love and grace of God.

we live as servants of God as a response to his wonderful kindness in our lives.  we want others to know of his love and grace, that he made a way for us to know him.  we live to know him and make him known.

God uses our lives today, not tomorrow when we are better or more improved or more spiritual.  God uses our lives today to show people his wonderful kindness.

today you are qualified by his grace.

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