Saturday, March 28, 2015

Part Three: Whatever You Do

The Good Life Series
Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church

Links to previous FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series" Part 1: Taking a Walk
"The Good Life Series"- Part 2: Maintaining Your Pace

Link to next FunLovingJen post
"The Good Life Series"- Part 4: On Purpose for a Purpose

The first week, we talked about how there is a Good God, with a Good Plan, with a plan that is uniquely personal to each one of us. Believing in God's will is one thing, but discovering God's plan is something different. God's personal direction requires a personal connection.

The second week, we talked about walking with God & growing with our personal relationship with Jesus.  If we stop walking with Jesus, his plan for our life stagnates. When we live God's way we discover our way. An obstacle that causes us to stumble, is part of God's way. The list of things that cause us to stumble was very convicting and may have been hard to think about in relation to our struggles and obstacles that can keep us away from God's plan for our life.

If you believe in God or not, we all would love to have a plan for our life!

Gavin told a story about delivering shoe box care packages to children in the Republic of Panama for Operation Christmas from the Be Rich campaign. During his visit he was able to see so many children and their joy of receiving a shoe box of items and toys. One of the stops was at a church where he met Pastor William Wilbur. In 1976 pastor Wilbur had a calling from God to relocate to Panama to start his church. He was there when Panama was under the dictatorship, then the US invasion, when it was very dangerous. He also runs a prison ministry.

Gavin started asking himself questions like:
Have I found a calling for my life?
Have I found a purpose for my life?
Did I have it and now I lost it?

Gavin thought about times like marrying his wife, quitting his job in consulting to go into ministry, and moving to Woodstock to be a pastor at Watermarke. After Gavin's trip he wondered if he knew his plan. What is next for him?

Knowing the plan requires us to know how we define it: Understanding God's personal plan changes our direction. To to go from personally to what is next we have to understand how God's personal plan changes our direction.

Many times Christians pray then wait. Pray then wait. Pray then wait. There is no place more frustrating than God's waiting room. But, when we wait for God's plans to be revealed we become so frustrated we might walk away from God, walk by ourselves, or define our own plan for our lives. This is where the "Good Life" comes in for us. Not knowing God's plan we settle for a good plan, our own plan. What if our struggle was one of definition, not direction. Jesus has a plan, he knows what is next for you, he even has a course correction, which is a huge part of God's personal plan.

In one of Paul's letters, he writes about wives submitting to husbands, and husbands loving your wives as Christ loves us and Christ died for us.... Then he talks about children obeying your parents but also, parents don't make it difficult for them to obey you. Parents be for your kids.

Slaves (indentured, to pay off a debt), obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (Colossians 3:22 NIV)

We know people work hard when your boss or coach is watching. But God also says, work hard when no one is watching out of reverence for the Lord. For example if you love your wife like crazy, she will love you.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

Your list of whatever you do might be:
Work, marriage, parenting, friendships, recreation, housework, ESPN, whatever you do. Especially when no one is watching!!! Work for the Lord!

since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:24 NIV)

Don't miss what is now because of what is next. It's easier to think of God's future plan for you instead of right now. God gives a calling while you wait on a calling. Whether it is your wife, your children, live like Jesus is in charge. Until God tells you what to do, do what you can and do it to your best of your ability. Then you can have a deep personal relationship now. God has always given you something while you wait.

God is your boss!

Part Two: Maintaining Your Pace

The Good Life Series
Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church
Watermarke Church: "The Good Life Series"

Links to previous FunLovingJen post
"The Good Life Series"- Part 1: Taking a Walk

Links to next FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series"- Part 3: Whatever You Do"
"The Good Life Series"- Part 4: On Purpose and for a Purpose

How many times do people say to themselves, "If I had what they had, I would be happy." The grass can seem greener when it isn't on your lawn! But, of course every relationship is tricky!!

There is always a journey in any relationship:
The journey starts
You take steps together
The new relationship is exciting
Trust forms over time
Then trust is tested

But in any relationship, if we stop we stagnate. You have to trust each other. If you trust each other you will travel together. All of our relationship problems with Jesus are on our end.

There are three types of relationships with Jesus:
1. Providential
2. Moral
3. Personal

Think about how the apostle Paul planted churches and his books in the Bible he was writing letters to the different churches.  During this time the Romans were immoral.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1 NIV)

Even how unloveable you are, because of God's mercy, God loves you anyway. We need to put God's will over yours, though. The way to honor God is by trusting him always.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Don't do what the world believes. The world believes this is as good as it gets, but is it? Take a journey with Jesus and allow him to transform the way you think. Renewal in you, through you by Jesus. See yourself how God sees you. You are worth sending Jesus to die for you so, you could have a direct relationship with God. God's providential will asks us to follow. But God's moral will asks us to trust him if we want to discover his plan for your life.

Where do you struggle to trust God?
Loving people that aren't like you?
Praying for your enemies?
Trusting God with your finances?
Coveting people other than your spouse?
Do you need to stop Gossiping?!?!

Our Lord & Savior pauses with you when you pause on your walk with Him. God says "I know why you are pausing, but my grace is enough to not let you fall but you have to trust me." The great news is God's good plan is better than our Good Life.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Life would be easy if you trust God with your whole heart. The straight path doesn't equal an easy path but it makes the best path. The struggles in our lives certainly don't go away, but we are so close to Jesus we have peace and perseverance.

In conclusion, step into struggles with the moral will of God!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Part One: Taking a Walk

Taking a Walk

The Good Life Series
by: Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church
The Good Life Series, Watermarke Church

Next FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series"- Part 2: Maintaining Your Pace
"The Good Life Series"- Part 3: Whatever Your Do
"The Good Life Series" Part 4: On Purpose and for a Purpose

First, let's talk about God's Providential Will.

Jesus followers many times will pray, "God I just want to know where you want me to go," in regards to the direction to go with their life.

We think there is a Good God with a Good plan. When he won't tell us what the plan is it can sometimes erode our faith. Is God being distant? Is God not good at revealing the plan for your life?

We have to know deep in our hearts that God's personal plan for our lives is a unique plan meant especially for us. Importantly also, God's will is way bigger than ours.

God has 3 different types of will:
Providential Will- the directions your life will go in that God has decided for you without your permission

Part two of this series covers:
Moral Will- God wants us to live according to His word

Part three of this series covers:
Personal Will- what he will do in our lives

We have to remember that God's Grace is in all three and they are connected.

Then we think about Abraham. Many religions will agree, Abraham is the Father of Faith and just look at his life!

"The Lord had said to Abraham, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you." (Genesis 12:1 NIV)

Maybe Abraham said, "Where?" God would have replied, "I'll show you. Don't worry. I'll show you." This would frustrate some people, to not know where God wanted us to go.

"So Abraham went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abraham was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there." (Genesis 12:4-5 NIV)

When the Bible references the possessions someone had it meant someone had a Good Life. So Abraham was very well off. He stopped at many places including at the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.

"Abraham traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him." (Genesis 12:6-7 NIV)

In those days, people created an alter as a reminder of God's provision with stones. It was a way of remembering that God showed up promised

Is there a reason for God to not tell people the plan for their lives?  Why doesn't God just tell them the plan to at least have clarity. That is what we want. Just knowing the plan is helpful.

Can't God just tell us, "Go toward the west." But, God is strategic. He is the definition of love, so why is He so vague? But there is a bigger question besides where or why...

Maybe God needed to just take a walk with Abraham.

What if God's personal plan begins with a Providential Walk? Where we don't know where we are going, we are just trusting God that He is with us.

Then we think about how Abraham's lineage leads to Jesus!!! But, before God could do something through Abraham, had to do something in Abraham. At every alter, at every step, His relationship with God grew.

God's personal direction always requires a personal connection and Sometimes we need to just take a walk with God.

Some people may be sitting with their arms crossed, looking at God waving to come to follow Him have their doubts.  A connection with God always precedes God revealing His direction for your life.

So the first part is to take a step towards God, to start to follow.  This is a starting point.

If you are not sure and have doubts, that is ok, pick up your doubts and take a step. Faith actually requires doubt. If we knew everything we wouldn't have faith. So doubts are ok, because we are not going to have all the answers.

The next steps is to trust God. Try to have less things around you that may distract you from your relationship with God.
For every obstacle we need to step over each obstacle. Are you scared? That is ok. Do you have curiosity? You must figure it out your obstacles or they will hinder you. Stepping is walking, and walking is growing.

Just remember: Life lived in the centered of God's plan is the best plan!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How God Parents Us

(Notes by Sharon Turner from Danny Silk's book "Loving our Kids on Purpose")

Is. 59:21  “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

The heart of The Father towards you, your children, grandchildren, etc. is based on Covenant.  We want to build lasting relationship by teaching, training, and building momentum from generation to generation.

Our job as parents is to have a heart that trains them up in the way they have been created by God.  They have a natural bent, a calling and destiny because of how He created them.  We want to protect that relational covenant that we have with them so that as they grow into who they are, not who we want them to be.

When we introduce fear, intimidation, and punishment we open up the door of their souls to go on a quest to go look for a better covenant relationship.

We want them to grow up knowing God’s covenant relationship with us and being able to discern between fear and love.  We want them to understand the difference between freedom and control.

Jer. 31:33  “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.

The Law was to be a schoolmaster to drive us to Jesus.  This transition from Old Covenant to New Covenant is we move from an external relationship with God to an internal relationship with God.  Now He lives inside of us and that is a whole different relationship dynamic.  Now there is an internal force inside of me that I relate to from the inside out.

It’s important to understand how important freedom is to God.

There were TWO trees in the garden of Eden.

Gen. 2:9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

You can’t have freedom if you don’t have a choice, you cannot have love if you don’t have freedom.  This is the foundation of how our Heavenly Father interacts with us.

The role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to teach us to manage ourselves in all the freedoms that God has afforded us.  The Holy Spirit’s job is not to control us.

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The New Covenant is all about relationship and love.  The ultimate to strive for is heart to heart connection.  That is what God is after.  The test of love, the test of covenant, the test of relationship is – am I going to adjust how I am behaving based on how it is affecting our relationship?