Monday, September 26, 2011

Truth In The Movies Series - Movie: Soul Surfer - Can Bad Things That Happen In My LIfe Really Be Used For Good?

Here is the audio of the talk I gave last night about the movie "Soul Surfer".
It's answers the question: Can Bad Things That Happen In My LIfe Really Be Used For Good?  

In this talk you'll hear:

-The story of the day I got kidnapped
-My story of a flight I was on that had emergency landing in the middle of a snow storm and how it caused me to discover a way God uses bad for good
-An amazing prison-break story from the Bible that leads to a surprising conclusion
-How surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack and ended up seeing so much good from it that she wouldn't change it - even if she could
-4 ways that God can use bad things for good in your life

Click the link and then click the headphones icon to listen to it online or click the down arrow to download it and listen to it offline:
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Monday, September 19, 2011

"Truth In The Movies" series: MOVIE: “127 Hours” - Topic: What are you willing to do to be free?


 ***Start by watching trailer here***

James Franco stars in a survival drama based on the incredible true story of Aron Ralston.

Aron Ralston is a man who became trapped alone in a Utah canyon for days after slipping on a loose rock, and resorted to extraordinary measures in order to make it out alive.

An experienced hiker and climber, Ralston is very much in his element when he parks his truck by a mountain near Moab, UT, hops on his bike, and peddles to the middle of nowhere.

Later, when Ralston encounters a pair of young female hikers who have gotten lost while searching for a local landmark, he jovially shows them a sight that most casual hikers miss before telling them goodbye and continuing on his journey.

Drifting through the canyons alone, deep in thought, however, the explorer who presumed he was ready for anything quickly discovers just how fast things can spin out of control when a rock gives way as he shimmies down a crevice, and pins his hand to the wall of stone.

Over the course of the next 127 hours, Ralston tries everything he can think of to free himself, flashing back to small but memorable events in his life -- as well as forward to the future that he might enjoy should he manage to wiggle free -- as his body begins the slow process of shutting down.

(Edited from description at*)

Let me show you a clip of him loosening the bolder and getting trapped... ***Show 1st clip: of  climbing & dislodges a huge bolder and gets trapped. approx. 16:19 - 18:45 **

I'll talk about what he finally did to escape, but let me ask you something to set the stage for what I'm going to talk about today...

We need to ask ourselves this question: Why was Aron Ralston able to escape?
The thing that helped him escape is the same thing that will help us to escape from some of the habits and the problems that we’ve been struggling with for years.

Today I want to talk to you about this main ingredient that’s required for us to see successful change in our lives. By the time we’re done today, we’ll look at 3 steps you can take to help you see change in your life.

Turn in your Bibles with me to John 5:2-9.

What you're about to hear is an amazing little story that reveals how we can begin to see change happen in our lives.

Let's look at the story now...

"2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie--the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?" 7"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." 8Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked."

(NOTE: What you need to understand about this story is that the people there believed an angel would stir up the water and if they got in in time, they would be healed.  That's why he answered Jesus the way he did.)

You know what’s sad in life? 

People who live their whole lives dealing with the same problems; people who live their lives and never seem to be able to improve who they are. 

These people come to the end of their life and they still haven’t changed!  They come to the end of their life and they’ve never become all they could’ve been or done all they could’ve done!

Why was Aron Ralston able to free himself?
Because he really wanted to be free!

1. The first step towards real and lasting change is for you to really WANT to change! 

Look at John 5:5-6. 

This guy has been sick for 38 years! That’s longer than most people lived back then!

And Jesus asks him this, “Do you WANT to get well?” Why would Jesus as him that question?

It’s because Jesus knew that this man would never change and be healed if he didn’t first want it!

A lot of us say we want to change.
We say we want to stop doing something or start doing something.  We say we want to do more of something or less of something – but we don’t!

Could it be that it’s because we don’t really want to?

It’s easy to get used to our problems and kind of have a love-hate relationship with them.   We complain about them, but they sure give us good excuses when we need them!

In 1993, it was reported that a small order of Franciscan nuns in Prague decided to subsidize their convent by opening the downstairs of their facility - formerly an underground detention center used by the Communists to imprison and torture their enemies - as a hotel.

 For $33 a night, you could stay in a former prison cell. The proprietors say they try to achieve a middle ground between comfort and authenticity in the "hotel."

Many people are really looking for just that - a comfortable prison cell.

Jesus is asking each one of us here about some of the problems and habits we’ve had all our lives… “Do you want to get well?”

How we answer that question will determine whether we ever see lasting change or not!

What’s this handicapped guy’s answer to Jesus’ question?
 It’s just like ours!

 Look at John 5:7 “Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
I heard of story of two college students who decided one night to pull a prank on a sleeping fraternity brother. They took limburger cheese and rubbed it gently on his upper lip.

When he woke up, he sniffed, looked around and said, “This room stinks!” Then he walked out into the hall and said, “This hall stinks!” As he was leaving the dorm, they could hear him say, “The whole world stinks!”  

The two college students laughed as they saw him walk away, because they knew their buddy was going to walk around blaming the smell on everything else around him, when the problem was with him!

--------------------------A personal story----------------------------------------

When Sue and I used to live in a one bedroom apartment in Redwood City, there was an older man who used to live on the 2nd story of an apartment building next to ours.

 One day I got talking to the man and he began complaining about some of our neighbors and saying how mean they were to him. I listened and didn’t know what to think about those neighbors anymore.

He told me he needed some help and I told him I’d talk to some people at the church at worked at back then and see if they could help him. The problem was I wasn’t able to get a hold of these people at our church for awhile.

He ended up coming to our apartment one day yelling and telling Sue off.

I finally had to talk to him and tell him and explain to him that I couldn’t get a hold of the people I thought might be able to help him. I told him I should’ve let him know what had happened, but I didn’t appreciate him yelling at my wife and that I didn’t want him coming over to our place doing that ever again.

After talking to the neighbors he warned me about they said they had the same problem!  This guy reminds me of the guy with Limburger cheese on his lip!
This guy was blaming everybody else for his problems, never realizing that maybe the reason he had the same problem with everybody was because he was the problem! 

A lot of people are like this.

They blame everyone else for their problems.   Some people blame their parents, some people blame their friends, or their teachers, or their boss – some people even blame God!

But the real problem is that they never take responsibility for their own problems!
That’s why people stay stuck where they’re at and never see change!

They’ve been blaming everyone and everything all their lives.

Did you know that blame is the second sin in the Bible?

When Adam and Eve sinned what happened? Adam blamed Eve (really blamed God) he said, “It was the woman you gave.”  Eve blamed the snake. They blamed everyone else but themselves!

It started way back then and we’re still doing it today!  Blame seems to be one of the devil’s top tricks for keeping us from growing and becoming all we can be.

Business philosopher Jim Rohn says this, “I used to say ‘I sure hope things will change.’ Then I learned that the only way things are going to change for me is when I change.”
You can look through the Bible and you’ll find this common theme: God will not force us to change!
My promise to you is this: If you don’t really want to change, then you never will!

The other interesting thing to me about Jesus question and the man's answer is that the man doesn't realize JESUS is the one where he can get healing from, not the water!  He says, “I want to but I don't have someone to take me to the water”

 2. The second step towards real and lasting change is for you to respond in faith to Jesus!

Look at John 5:8, after Jesus asked the man the question and the man responded with his excuse.  Jesus told the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”

The handicapped man had two choices:

1. He could have faith in Jesus, trust what he said and respond. 
2.  He could decide not to trust Jesus and just sit there!

Faith is a verb. We have to trust God to help us to change and that trust has to manifest itself in action! 

It the late 19th century there was a young chemist named Robert Chesebrough who sold kerosene. He got his kerosene from the oil of sperm whales, but by 1859 he was put out of business. 

In 1859, Robert Chesebrough took off for a Pennyslvania oil field to "strike it rich." 
What he came back with made him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he DIDN'T become rich from OIL!

Oil field workers had told him about this "sticky stuff" that stuck to the drilling rigs. The riggers hated this stuff - it caused the drilling rigs to seize up.  For all the problems this substance caused, the riggers found one small use - when rubbed on a cut or bruise it helped it to heal faster.

He bottled the stuff up and dragged it back to his Brooklyn laboratory. He began a search to duplicate the petroleum-based lubricant, and by trial and error, he was able to extract the key ingredient - the translucent material we now know as petroleum jelly.

But it had to be tested, and tested it was. He needed a guinea pig to test it out on. But who could he use?
Chesebrough cut his OWN hands and arms, burned himself with flames and acids and each time he would then cover them with his new gel.  ALL the self-inflicted wounds responded to his petroleum jelly and were healed! 

Satisfied that his new grease had healing properties, he took to the road with his own medicine show, but first he named his gel. Using the German word for water (wasser) and the Greek word for oil (elaion) he came up with "Vaseline."

He took it out on the road and would demostrate it by cutting or burning himself and then applying his vasleine. 

He also showed his audience the healed scars from past experiments. Amazingly this worked!  Soon he was selling a jar a minute, and when these ran out people begged their druggists to order more from Chesebrough. It was used for everything: chest colds, chapped hands, nasal congestion, and even to remove stains from furniture. 

By the turn of the twenty century it had penetrated the American market and was entering Europe, and Chesebrough had become a very rich man!

Although its miracle properties were eventually debunked (it really healed because it sealed wounds from bacteria like a band aid), Chesebrough himself was always a true believer. He lived to age 96, revealing shortly before he died the secret to his longevity: *Every day of his life he ate a spoonful of vaseline! (* Not recommended! DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! :)

Cheesbrough succeed because he believed in his product and he proved it by his actions!

Faith isn’t faith without action! Faith goes beyond communication (words) to demonstration! One of the church fathers Clement of Alexandria said, “Faith is a voluntary anticipation.”

If we don’t combine action with the desire to change, then change will never happen!  When the man heard Jesus' words he must have instantly had faith in him and what he could do, because something amazing happened next.

And it reveals the 3rd step...

3. The third step toward real and lasting change is that AFTER you do your part and respond in faith, then you have to SUBMIT yourself and let God do the rest! 

Look at John 5:9 “9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
Did you notice what just happened?
It's subtle, so you might have missed it.

He was healed even before he took action in faith! We have to let God do his part and then keep doing our part!

But this only happened because he had to decide to quit doing things his way (going into the pool for healing) and start doing things Jesus’ way (submit to Jesus as the source of healing).

Think about this…
There are too many times in life when we choose to do it our way instead of God’s way!

There are too many times in life when we try to do what only God can do for us and don’t do what only we can do to see change!

I want to share one last story with you that I love...
The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."

The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am seaman third class Jones."

 Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."

This story remind me so much of us.  So many times we're trying to get God to do it our way instead of doing it his way.

Submission isn't popular, but it's requirement if we want to experience help and freedom from God.
This is what submitting means…

When you submit to Jesus it means to stop doing what only God can do. It means to stop doing what you think is right and start doing what God has told you is right!

We have to learn to submit to God and his ways while still doing our part, otherwise we will never see change in our life.

How badly do you want to change? Do you really want to get well?
Aron Ralston finally realizes that the only way out is to leave part of himself behind, the exhausted, delirious adventurer draws his cheap made-in-China multi-tool, and does what it takes to survive: he cuts off his own arm! 

SHOW 2nd Clip: When he finally walks out of crevice into the light. approx. 1:20:40-1:20:55.

The interesting thing about the example of this guy willing to cut off his arm to be free is that it sounds really similar to something Jesus said in Matt. 5:29 – 30...

"29So if your eye—even if it is your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your hand—even if it is your stronger hand  —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

Now Jesus was exaggerating to make a point.
He's not really suggesting that you cut off a part of your body.  He's saying you should be willing to cut anything out of your life that will ultimately destroy you. 

There are things, habits and/or relationships in our lives that will one destroy us - literally.  And there are things, habits and/or relationships that won't destroy us physically, but will destroy our potential, destroy our usefulness, destroy our families, or destroy who we are.

What will you do about these things? Are you willing to cut out anything that’s holding you back?
 (Show pic of him with the bolder at the top of this blog post.  That bolder is your "problem" or )

Will you really cut out anything?
  • Negative relationships? 
  • Bad habits? 
  • Even things that you like and things that make you happy?  

If you are not will to cut out anything, then listen to these sobering words from Abraham Maslow,“If you plan on being anything less that you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”

This might sound weird, but life is about more than your happiness, accumulation of things, and making you feel good. It's beyond that. You can be happy, accumulate many things, and feel goodall while destroying yourself.

Jim Rohn said it like this… “The major value of life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become. You see, what you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, ‘What am I getting?’ Instead, you should ask, ‘What am I becoming?’” 

Aron Ralston was willing to do whatever it took to be free. That’s why he’s free today!

Are you and I willing to do whatever it takes to be free? Change begins ultimately ends with this question!

Here’s what I think we need to do today to end this time together… (Altar time)

1. You need to ask God to show you an area he wants to change.
2. You need to think about whether you really want to change or not. You need to ask God to show you if there’s some way you’ve been holding back
3. You need to ask God what action he wants you to take. What you need to let him do and what he wants you to do.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Will The World End On May 21st At 6pm?

If you haven't heard a man named Harold Camping has said that based on his biblical calculations the world is going to end on May 21st at 6pm.

He has purchased billboards around the country and has gotten a lot of media attention.

Because of this fact, I thought I should write a note to share with our church ( and my Facebook friends about this prediction, so here we go:

1. Do I believe the world is going to end at 6pm?

No. I won't go into details, but I've read his reasoning and I think he is misinterpreting and misapplying scripture. But...

2. Do I believe that ONE DAY the world will end?

Yes. If kingdoms can end (think Rome), then a whole world can come to an end. It’s only logical. This planet once didn’t exist. It had a beginning and that means that one day it will have an ending. That’s not a crazy idea.

In fact, I don’t think there are even any scientists who would argue that this world will one day end. Did you know?...

Scientists Created A "Doomsday Clock"

In 2007, scientists were worried about the threat of Global Warming and Nuclear War in what they called “second nuclear age." Because of this, in 2007, they moved the "Doomsday clock" forward two minutes, so it was set to 5 minutes to midnight.

(This clock was introduced in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to determine the threat of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War.)

One quote from Stephen Hawking hit me...“As citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.”

(What you also might not know is that the hands of the "Doomsday Clock" was moved again in 2010. Why? Factors influencing the last Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.)

Think about this… Scientists, are wise enough to pay attention to the signs and we need to be wise too.

But does that mean it will happen on May 21st? No. It doesn't. I'll explain why with this story...

What Jesus Told The Disciples About Knowing When The End Would Come

It's an incident in Matthew 24:1-42 that happened towards the end of Jesus’ life and ministry. It’s an event that began with a simple walk, that Jesus and his disciples took, and it ended with them sitting on the mountainside riveted to Jesus’ every word, as he revealed to them about the end of Jerusalem.

It would be a day they would never forget.

They left the temple and were walking away from it when his disciples came up to Jesus to call his attention to its buildings. (They were caught up and impressed by it all.) They kept walking with Jesus, bragging about the temple, and Jesus shocked them with this statement in verse 2...

"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." This had to be totally unimaginable to them.

The temple was the center of their society. But he not only told them that, he went on to tell them that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that the world would one day end.

(NOTE: Their temple and Jerusalem were both later destroyed, just as he said.)

They couldn't believe what they were hearing, so they asked him, "When will the temple be destroyed? What will the signs of the end of this world be?"

He told them about some of the signs and many other things, but the one main thing that applies to knowing whether the world will end on May 21st is found in verse 36.

Jesus told them, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. "

Did you catch that?

Who did Jesus say knows when the end would be?

  • Did he say the Mayans would? No.
  • Did he say Nostradamus would know? No!
  • Did he say Harold Camping would know?

Nope. What did he say? NO ONE will know the exact day or the hour, except God!

There WILL be signs for us to notice and pick up, so we can know that the end is near, but we’ll NEVER know an exact date/time.

We need to stop listening to the people who say they know when the world will end. As soon as they've say it, they prove they're wrong because NO ONE will know! (I think Harold Camping is sincere, but wrong.)

BUT we need to realize this… Jesus said the end will come subtly.

If people aren't looking or don’t know some of the signs, then Jesus says they will miss out on the signs and they’ll still be doing their thing: feasting, partying, and marrying. And once it’s finally time for the end, then it will come suddenly. It will come quickly.

So what can we do?

Jesus gives us the key piece of advice in verse 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. The only thing we can do is keep watch, so we won’t be caught totally off guard and surprise when the end comes.

The Bible does NOT say the world is going to end on May 21st at 6pm! That’s not true. But don’t get me wrong. It could end this year, or this month, or even today.

We don’t know EXACTLY when the end will come. We just know that it will come. Our job is just to pay attention and keep watch, so we can be ready.

We Could See Our OWN End Before THE End

If you don't believe the world is going to end for biblical reason (or even scientific reasons), then that's fine. But we all need to admit the one fact that we all try and pretend is not true: one day our lives will end.

And for most of us the end of our lives will come suddenly and not when we expect it. It will not be something we have time to do something about just before it happens.

We need to live our lives always remembering that they will one day end. It's one of the few guarantees in life.

I don't tell you this to be morbid. Knowing that the world will end, or that our lives will one day end, is a good thing for us – even if we don’t know the exact times. Why?

It can help us to be patient and it helps us to prioritize.

Not only that it helps us to appreciate what we have, appreciate the here and now, and helps us to plan ahead for when this is all over.

Lessons From Those Near The End

When you speak to someone who has lived a long life what do they tell you? They tell you how fast life goes. They tell you that good times and bad BOTH will come. They tell you to appreciate what you have because it will all be gone before you know it.

They don't tell you this to scare you. Right? It’s to help you! That’s what this knowledge is supposed to do for us. Knowing there will be an end and that we don’t know when exactly its coming should affect how we live for today and for the rest of 2011.

We need to watch and be alert.

We need to remember that all that seems so important and consuming in this life will one day be gone. As we set your goals for 2011, dream big dreams, accomplish big things, because one day this will be over.

Let’s love our family and friends more. Let’s stop worrying and stressing out over things that don’t really matter, because one day we won’t have this life or this world anymore.

Let’s invest in the things that last and will matter when this is all over: God’s kingdom and our relationship with God. These things will help us to do well in 2011 and helps us to be prepared for the end – whenever it comes!

One last idea...

Live Like The World Is Going To End At 6pm

Maybe being prepared for the world to end today at 6pm might not be such a bad idea. It might cause us to live today better, live it more fully, and live it focused on things that last and mean something in the end.

And when we're given another day to live on May 22nd, we can wake up thankful and ready to live another day like it was our last. And so on. And so on. Until the one day it really is our last.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Virtual, Online "Good Friday" Event

Today we did an event we've never tried before.

We did a virtual, online-only "Good Friday" event.

It was from 12pm-12:30pm and it went really well. I got a lot of positive feedback from the people that were on the live event.

During The Event I Shared These Things:
  • The person who I think had the greatest faith in the whole Bible
  • The often overlooked words that this man said and why they prove to me his incredible faith
  • What Jesus said to this man
  • Why this person's story is good news to us today

You Can Watch/Listen In Right Now
The recording is now available. After you click the link below, then click the organish-yellow "view recording" button to watch the recording.

You can watch/listen or share with friends...

Click here to watch the recording of my "Good Friday" event!

NOTE: On the recording, I talk for a few minutes and stall while people were joining in, so if you want, you can fast forward to about 6-7 min. mark to where I actually begin.

Monday, September 27, 2010

There's More Than Meets The Eye...

I spoke this talk first to our church and then shared it the following week at another church. I got a lot of really positive response both times I shared it.

The talk is called, "There's More Than Meets The Eye". Here are some of the things I shared:
  • How our eyes actually LIMIT us in life.
  • How living by faith is the only way for us to see God to amazing things in our lives.
  • How successful people throughout history have lived their lives beyond what they could see and that enabled them to succeed.
  • How if we really look at things the way they are, then living by faith is the only way we can really live for God.
You can watch the talk below...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"You Are God's Means & Method For Accomplishing His Work On This Planet

I have a story I want to tell you today. And if you listen carefully you might catch
some similarities to something you’ve seen, heard or even experienced before…

"On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude, little
life-saving station.

"The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members
kept a constant watch over the sea.

"And with no thought for themselves, they went out
day and night tirelessly searching for the lost.
Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted
to become associated with the station and give their time, money and effort for the
support of its work.

"New boats were bought and new crews were trained.
The little life-saving station grew.

"Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building
was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place
should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

"They replaced
the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building.

"Now, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and
they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a
sort of club.

"Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life saving missions, so they
hired a life-boat crew to do this work.

"The life-saving motif still prevailed in this
club’s decoration, and there was a symbolic life-boat in the room where the club
initiations were held.

"About this time a large ship wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in
boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some
of them looked different than the club members. The beautiful new club was in chaos.

"The property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club
where the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a
split in the club membership.

"Most of the members
wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities because they were unpleasant and a
hindrance to the normal social life of the club.

"Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out
that they were still called a life-saving station.

But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the
various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their
own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

"As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in
the old one. It evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded.

"History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit the seacoast today, you will find a
whole bunch of exclusive clubs along that shore.

"Shipwrecks happen all the time in those waters, but most of the people drown."

Think about how sad this story is!

A life-saving station becomes a club. And the
saddest thing about this story is that it describes what happens to some churches!

They lose their purpose and go from being a life-saving group to a social club.

has to be one of the greatest sins we can make as Christ-followers. I don’t want
that to ever happen to our church. But if we’re not careful it can happen to us!

For the next 2 Sundays, we’ll be doing a new series called, “Your Great Purpose On
This Planet And How To Fulfill It”.

In this series, I want us to take a new look at what
the Bible means when it calls the church “The body of Christ”.

As we go through this series, we’ll discover what our great purpose on this planet is
– both individually and as a church – and you’ll discover how to fulfill your purpose!

Today, in this first talk, we’re going to begin by looking at God’s Primary Means And
Method For Accomplishing His Work.

God's purpose for saving you was to save others.
And you weren't left alone to do this.

You were made to be a part of the church, which is described in God’s word and
Christ’s "body" on this planet.

I think many of us have heard that phrase so many times that it’s lost it’s meaning and

Think about this for a second.

Christ came into this world to do one thing: to do God’s

And God’s will was, and is, to seek and save the lost! In Luke 4, Jesus was in
the temple and handed one of the scrolls to read from. He opened the scroll to a place in
Isaiah and read out loud to the people gathered around him.

Luke 4:18-21
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight
for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of
everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them,
"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Do you see/hear Christ’s mission in these words? He mission was to…

• Preach good news to the poor
• Proclaim freedom for the prisoners
• Recovery of sight for the blind
Release the oppressed
Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor!

And the cool and amazing thing about these things is that they include both actual and
figuratively poor, prisoners, blind and oppressed.

This is such an amazing life-mission
and purpose!

Do you realize this?

We the church are called Christ’s body. That means that Christ's
mission is now ours! YOU are God’s primary means and method for accomplishing
His work on the planet.

But there’s more to our mission and Matthew 28:18-20 - "All authority has been given
to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching
them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
end of the age."

Do you hear it in Jesus’ words here?

The disciples, and all of us after them, are told to do
what Jesus did while he was on earth: make disciples of all nations, baptize people, and,
teach them all Christ taught.

Jesus’ mission has never ended!

He now just wants to use all of US to accomplish it.
And there’s one more shocking thing about this mission he gave us.

He reveals it in
John 14:12 when he says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what
I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the

Jesus is saying, “If we believe in him and trust in him, then we’ll do what he did.”

then he adds the shocking part… We can end up doing even greater things than Jesus did
because he’s going to the father and will send the Holy Spirit to work in us and through

Can you imagine doing greater things than Jesus? It’s hard for me to! But Jesus
wants to do greater things through us – his body.

You want to know God’s purpose for us as a church called, Pathway?
You want to know what your purpose is individually?
  • It’s to seek and save the lost!
  • It’s to preach the good news to the poor.
  • It’s to proclaim
    freedom to people who feel trapped.
  • It’s to help those that are blinded by the things
    of life to see.
  • It’s to help release the people who feel oppressed.
  • It’s to go around
    proclaiming the amazing news that NOW is the time where God wants to show his
    favor to the world!
So many of us are looking for a great cause to be a part of, but can you think of a
greater cause than this? Those of us who were lost and have experienced salvation
get to help others to experience it.

We now get to join God in the redemption of the

Some Christ-followers seem to think we’re just supposed to help people get to
heaven and that’s it. But our mission is so much more!

It’s to help people in the here
and now: by bringing good news, freedom, sight, release and realization of God’s

Why did people flocked to Jesus and want to hear about how to live in this life and
how to have eternal life?

They did this, because he showed them love and helped take
care of the needs they had now! That’s what Jesus wants us to do as his body.

altogether is our great purpose on this planet!

But how do we achieve this?

I don’t think that we as a church, or individually, are
doing as much of living this out as we wish we would. If this is our great purpose on this
planet, then how can we live this out more?

I think the secret is in this passage of scripture I want to look at for the rest of our time
together today…

Ephesians 4:11-13 11 - "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to
be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare
God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until
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."

God gave the church gifts.
What were the gifts?

They were people
who could be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

Did God give us those people so they could do everything and help the church grow?
No! The reason he gave us those people as gifts was for your benefit!

The purpose of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to help you grow!
It’s to give you tools to help fulfill God’s purpose through your life.

That’s how bad
God wants you to grow!
That’s how bad he wants you to become a person he can use!

He gave you people whose main job is to help make this happen.

Someone described what this passage is talking about once like this…

"Imagine that we are TV sportscasters standing on the sidelines of a football game to give
the play-by-play.

Scene #1: The team nearest us is standing together, heads bowed in prayer, with the
coach in the center. Suddenly they give a great cheer, and the coach trots out onto the
field by himself.

The players go sit on the bench. "What's going on?" we ask as we stick a
microphone in front of a 250 pound guard. "What's the coach doing out there?" "Oh, he's
going to play today." "All by himself?" "Sure, why not? He's had a lot more experience
and training than the rest of us. We've got a lot of rookies on this team, and we might
make mistakes. Anyway, they pay the coach well. We're all here to cheer and support
him--and look at the huge crowd that's come to watch him play!"

Bewildered, we watch
as the opposing team kicks off.

The coach catches the ball. He valiantly charges upfield,
but is buried under eleven opposing tacklers. And he's carried off half- conscious...

Do you think this is a crazy sounding story?
For a lot of people that’s how they see the
job of a pastor.

They think a pastor’s job is to do the ministry of the Church, but in reality a pastor’s
job is to help people to use the gifts God’s given them so they can become the
ministers God created THEM to be.

So you are as much, if not more, the ministers of this church as I am!
I really have one
job as the lead pastor of Pathway and that’s to help you grow and become all that he
made you to be, so you can do what God’s made you to do.

My job is to be a body builder!
To help us, as Jesus’ body, to become and do what
he has for us.

My job is NOT to get you to do my work. My job is not to do your
work. My job is to prepare you for your work – what you were made to do, what God
created you to do.

My job is to encourage you, equip you with knowledge and give
you the opportunities to serve.

I’ve been realizing something more and more about this fact recently.

Our church will
never become and be able to do all that we can if me and Brett try and do everything.
If this church’s ministry is based on only what Brett or I can do, then our influence
and impact will always be small!

If we try and do everything, then we’ll end up being
defeated and carried off the field like the coach in that story.

But if this church ministry is based on what each one of you here can do, then our
impact and influence will be exponentially bigger!

Ministry will go from being about
me and Brett about being what happens here on Sundays to being about you and
being what happens wherever you go!

That kind ministry has a force and the reach that can’t be compared!

This church
will have some of my and Brett’s influence, but it should really be flavored and
based on your strengths, talents and personalities, because you are the church!

The types of ministry we do or don’t do should be based on you.

God wants us all
TOGETHER to grow more and more like Jesus! As we do, what we become known
for as a church will based on your passions and gifts!

Where does ministry happen?

Some of it happens here, but the majority of it happens anywhere/everywhere but
That’s cause that’s where you (the ministers of God’s church) spend the majority
of your life!

What is ministry? Or, What does ministry look like?

It looks like the traditional way
you’d picture it, but it goes way beyond that!

Maybe your ministry is that you regularly walk your block and pray for your
neighbors and you look for ways to just help them, love them and bless them!
Maybe your ministry is that you gather groups of us together to have fun and
hang out so that we can grow closer to each other and really can BE the church.

There are as many different ways to minister as there are needs!

Anywhere you see
a need and fill it for Jesus, in the way he would, is ministry! Do ministry is doing his

It could be a word of encouragement to someone, a word of truth to someone, it
could be helping someone, it could be protecting someone, it could be showing love to

Everyday God’s looking for someone to be his hands, his feet, his voice and to
minister to the needs that are all around us.

When you do that you’re doing ministry!

Sunday Gatherings – Weekly Huddle
I want you to see these Sunday Gatherings (LG & SG times) as a time out from your
week – like a time out in a football game.
We huddle on Sunday in these different modes and then we go out on the field to play!

Sometimes we huddle for encouragement, sometimes it’s for training, or teaching or
maybe it’s to help us get refocused or recharged.

But AFTER the huddle, the real game begins. That’s when the real ministry happens!

The purpose of the huddle is only to help us win the game. THAT’S the purpose of our

Growth will happen when w
e begin to all do our share and fulfill our purpose we will grow as a church
numerically and individually.

It will happen numerically because we’ll be able to reach more people, more
effectively with more people serving and using their gifts for the common goal.

grow individually, because no one will be stagnant.

We’ll all be active and this will cause us as it says here to grow together in faith and
in knowledge of Jesus. We’ll all begin to reach a new level of maturity. This is the
only way we can gain the full measure of being like Jesus individually and as a body
accomplishing his mission here.

But something else amazing will happen in us and our church…

Ephesians 4:14-16 -
"14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here
and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their
deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up
into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held
together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part
does its work."

We’ll stopped being knocked around spiritually in our lives and tossed back and forth b
y every teaching, trend and fad that comes along.

Instead this working together and
serving together and serving each other will cause us to speak the truth to each other in
love and this will cause us to grow up into Jesus - the head of this body that we make up.

Don’t miss this important fact.

Christ is the head. God has called me to be the
pastor of this church and to lead and guide us, but I’m not the head of this body.

I’m not the one who you get your direction from.
Each of us must be connected with the
head. That way you can know personally when what I’m teaching is true and what God
wants us to do.

That way you can know if you are supposed to be a part of what God has called us to be
and do as a church. That way you can know what you should and shouldn’t do as a part
of this body. That way you can hear your calling of service and begin to do it, so we can
support you in it!

I can be your encourager and help lead us, but Jesus is the head of the body.
Your growth in life cannot come from me. It can only come from and through Jesus.
Your strength can’t come from me. It can only come from and through Jesus.

I’m here
to prepare you for works of service, but your works are ultimately for Jesus not for me!
We each need to be connected to and become more like Jesus who we’re supposed to be
the body of!

How many of you have ever hear of a guy named Charles Atlas?

His most famous ad featured a weak 97 lb scrawny, weakling kid who decides to bulk
up after getting sand kicked in his face at the beach. The ad sold a workout method he
learned and used.

But some of you might not know the story behind it all…

Charles Atlas was born Angelo Siciliano in 1892 and immigrated to the U.S. from Italy
in 1903. When he came to the U.S. he changed his name to Charles. He really was the
kid who got sand kicked in his face at the beach.

He decided to do something about it,
and got the idea for his special kind of exercises while watching lions stretching at a zoo.

After building his own body, he saw a statue of the Greek god Atlas at Coney Island
and decided to change his name to “Atlas” to reflect his new image. Several years later,
he met entrepreneur Charles Roman and the two designed the formal exercise program
(and its advertising campaign). Atlas died in 1972, but his company is STILL selling
the instructions today on the internet!

And just what do the instructions say?

The core of what Atlas is teaching would now be called "Dynamic Tension". Dynamic
Tension is a self-resistance exercise method which pits muscle against muscle. The
practitioner tenses the muscles of given body part and then moves the body part against
the tension as if a heavy weight was being lifted.

You want to know how well does his techniques work?

In 1922, the publisher of the magazine Physical Culture dubbed Charles Atlas "The
World's Most Perfectly Developed Man" in a contest held in Madison Square Garden.

He was chosen by a cross-disciplined group of health and medical experts, educators,
anthropologists, scientists and medical doctors who viewed Atlas as the "perfect male
body" and placed his physical measurements in a time capsule.

I’ve actually been doing this recently and you can see it’s had similar results of
perfection with my body! :)

But the reason I tell you this story is because, to me, this story is an example of we
help each other grow!

Look at verse 16 again…

16From him the whole body, joined
and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as
each part does its work.

When one of us begins to do God’s work it pushes another
person and that causes that person to grow… and back and forth. And what happens?

We build each other up! It’s spiritual dynamic tension!

When I used to lift weights at my house I needed a spotter for two reasons: to
protect me and encourage me. We need each other for the same reason. Someone
to help us when our ministry becomes too heavy and someone to cheer us on to keep
going and not give up.

This is the new way I want you to see any and all of our gatherings.

We’re ministering
TO each other when we’re together. But that’s just to prepare us for when we go out
to minister to others.

We need each other! I need you to help me grow! You need me. The people here
sitting around you need your gifts in their life. They need your help, your push, your
protection and encouragement.

When that happens we’ll begin to personally, and as a
church, look and act more like Jesus.
We’ll begin to fulfill our purpose on this planet!

But notice again how it happens:

It starts with our spiritual exercise: works of service.
The results: we become spiritually buffed – we reach unity in faith & knowledge,
become mature.
And that causes us: to be tossed like infants/grow up into him who is the Head, that is,
Christ. This is the only way to become and do all God wants us to!

WE are God’s primary means and method for accomplishing his work on this planet.
There are amazing things God wants to do here locally and around this world and he’s
looking for people who will be his hands, feet, and voice in doing these things.

These are the questions we need to ask ourselves:

Will we be these people? Do we want to be a part of the greatest cause and
purpose on the planet?
• Do we want to help free people, change their lives for the better, and give them
• Do we want to help save people to a better life in this world and the next?
Or do we want to settle for just being a social club that comes together to learn
and talk about things?

If you want to be a part of the greatest cause and purpose, then you need to begin to
pray ask God what are the works of service he wants you to do among our church, this
local area, and the world.

Next talks: We’ll continue this new look at what it means to be the body of Christ.

• I’ll give you some questions you can begin to ask to uncover what Jesus wants
your personal works of service to him to be.
• We’ll discover how being a part of this body can help you to become more of who
you were meant to be.
• You’ll see how it can help you to accomplish your individual purpose in this life.
• We’ll see how we each gain things we need to make it through life by being a part
of this body.