It’s Time | Week 4: It’s Time To Get Together

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Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  Matthew 3:2 NKJV

Many of you, when you hear that word repent, have negative images and emotions tied to it. When you understand what it means. Repent is a positive word a life-changing word. Repent is God’s way of telling us He has a better way.

The rest of the verse says, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  There is some urgency here. This verse is very fitting for this series, It’s Time. God says, “I have a better way for you and and it is time.”

“‘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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'” Jeremiah 29:11-13


It’s A Group Project

This is an Old Testament verse where God makes this incredible promise to the Israelites. Plans to prosper, plans for a hope and a future and a relationship with Him.

These words were spoken while they were in captivity. God wanted to encourage them because they were going to remain in captivity for 70 more years. But what we learn from this verse and other scriptures is God has a plan to give a hope and a future to all those that seek Him, and call on Him.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25

God reminds us that He has a hope and a future for you, but you only have so much time. So here we are today, at the beginning of 2020. We are at the starting line, we have a new hope and future in front of us.

For us to be successful, it is going to have to include something that’s is all around you, it’s relationships. One another.

When God created Adam he said, Adam “it is not good for you to be alone”. We are not going to get where God wants to take us without each other. We often think alone is the best plan.

  • Together is God’s plan

Christianity is a group project. Together can be messy and together makes you vulnerable. That is why it says in our verse “let’s not give up on meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.”

  • Together isn’t always easy

Together isn’t easy, but it is so important. Don’t give up on each other, it is God’s way. Some of you are all in and want to deepen your relationships with others. But for others, they would say many of their biggest wounds are from other people. Some of you are around people and still alone. You wall your life off and won’t let anyone past a certain point.

The enemy has a plan. His plan for you is alone. The enemy’s plan for your life is not to get together. It’s is to isolate you. He will use that pain and that hurt from others, and keep recycling it over and over so you stay isolated. He will use fear to convince you it is not worth having relationships.

If you are new to the Christian faith you need to get together with some mature Christians. If you are sick physically, emotionally, mentally or have a sin you are struggling with, you need to get together with some other Christians.

As we get older we start to think that small group is for the youngsters. Not me. One of the most alone groups in America are the elderly. Right now we have something very unique going on in our culture. More people are connected than ever before because of social media and at the same time feel more alone than ever before.

  • Together takes a choice

A choice is a starting point, but no one can make this choice for you. As a church we do everything we can to facilitate Getting Together. 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, Growth Track, Dream Team, Serve Days, Men’s and Women’s Events, and Small Groups.

Our desire for our church is that everyone who calls themselves a member, belongs to a small group. We are built around this idea that we need to do life together. We believe that it is God’s way for us.


When We Get Together

The win for our small groups is not the number of people in the group, it’s what we do to and for each other. Our number one value in small groups is building relationships. A relationship with Jesus and a relationship with each other.

Let’s see how our value of relationships plays out through the life of David in the Old Testament.

One of the things that makes his story so significant is that he started from the bottom, he was number 8 in a family of 8 kids. Being number eight his parents didn’t expect much from him. David spent his early years isolated, he was a shepherd. He spent most of his time out in a field, by himself, surround by sheep. You would never expect him to later be known as a warrior, a poet writing many of the psalms, and a King.

“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22  

God himself says David is a very special man. How did David go from a nobody to God declaring him a man after his heart and then trusting David to do everything He asked him to do? People.

There were people in David’s life that helped him go from shepherd to a man after God’s own heart. When we study David’s relationships we discover what kind of relationships we should be looking for and how to be there for others we are in relationship with.       

 “…then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; this is the one.’” 1 Samuel 16:12

Samuel is a very famous prophet and David is a young man. God speaks to Samuel and tells him to go to David. So Samuel anoints David and by anointing David, Samuel is calling out the very best in David.

“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…” 1 Samuel 16:13

No one had ever called out the best in David until now. He was number 8 in the lineup of brothers; parents didn’t really pay much attention to David. So, in the presence of David’s brothers Samuel calls out the best in David. God wants to send you people to call out the best in you and he wants you to call out the best in others. God wants to equip you with His Spirit every day.

1. We call out the best in each other.

For a lot of us we have plenty of people in our lives telling us what were not doing right. We need to be looking for opportunities in our Small Group to speak over someone and bring out the best in them.

Some people a have lived their whole life being ignored or have people telling them they’re not good enough, smart enough or talented enough. We need to surround ourselves with others who are going to build us up not tear us down. Let’s breathe life into one another and call out the best in each other.

For some of us. We need to remove some people from our lives and replace them with godly people that want to bring out the best in us. Maybe you are dating someone that is a negative influence in your life, it’s time to say goodbye. Maybe your person to disconnect from is at work. You can’t fire them but you can stop gathering with them at lunch or on breaks.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”  Proverbs 27:17 NLT

We need to surround ourselves with people who will call out the best in us.

2. We call out to God for each other.

David is anointed, but he hasn’t become king yet. Saul is the current reigning king and David does his best to serve and respect Saul. But the Spirit of God is on David and this threatened Saul. Look what God does He brings someone else in David’s life.

“While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Johnathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:15

So Saul is trying to take his life and God sends Saul’s son, Jonathan, to help David. Here is the second person God puts in David’s life. David had a Samuel in his life and now he has Johnathan.

Don’t miss this. David created an environment where he allowed people in his life. But God also said these to these guys, to go to David. Who is missing out because you won’t get together with others? Who is not being blessed because you’re not there? You matter!

Jesus tell us to GO and make disciples. People in this church need you! David is facing a difficult time in his life. King Saul is trying to kill him and God’s plan is that we don’t go through hard stuff alone.

One of the things about small groups, if you are having a good day they are going to celebrate with you. If you are having a bad day, they are going to pray for you. We are going to stand with each other.

More often what matters is not the words we say, it is just having a presence and listening. That is something very powerful we can do.

Sometimes we wonder where God is in our darkest times in life, not realizing He’s present through the people He has surrounded us with. God is using the people around us to help us find strength in Him.

We don’t want anyone to go through life alone. That is why Small Groups are important to us.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17

3. We call out the truth to each other.

Let’s jump ahead in the story with David. King Saul is no longer in the picture and David is king. He has power, which we all know can be a dangerous thing. David makes a terrible decision and the Israelites are at war.

Typically, the king goes out on the battlefield with his troops. David was known as being a great warrior. He gets a little comfortable with the king thing and decides to stay home instead of going to battle. He is on his rooftop and sees this beautiful woman taking a bath. He calls for her, sleeps with her and she gets pregnant.

Her husband is one of his best commanders in David’s army, so David orders him to the front line of the battlefield so that he gets killed in battle. David keeps making things worse.

That is how it is often when we are in the middle of doing something wrong. We don’t see that were making things worse. We keep making one bad decision after another and were blind to it. We need people to call out the truth to us.

“The Lord sent Nathan to David…” 2 Samuel 12:1 

Nathan is another person in David’s life. Nathan is a prophet who comes to David. David is blind to his sin and things keep getting worse. Nathan confronts David and tells David this story about a situation that is very similar to what David had done.

David, gets very angry about the man in the story and began arranging punishment for his actions…

“Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’” 2 Samuel 12:7

And in that moment, David breaks down and confesses and God forgave David. His brokenness came because a friend was willing to speak truth in his life. If a man after God’s own heart can blow it, so can we. 

If we are not careful, we will be blind to that mistake. We need people in our life that will call out the truth. Small groups are a place to find godly people who will speak truth into your life.

We need people to tell us there is a better way. That is what is so good about God’s way, there is always a way out.

“An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”  Proverbs 27:5-6 NLT

WHEN WE GET TOGETHER:

  • We call out the best in each other.
  • We cry out to god for each other.
  • We call out the truth to each other.

That is what we want when our small groups get together.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  ~Corrie Ten Boom


Check Back

What have you put into place this week to strengthen your spirit? In what ways have you seen the 3 areas that weaken your spirit appear in your week?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

God wants us to do life together. He wants to bring us out of captivity and give us hope and a future. He never intended for life to be an individual project, but a group project. Life together will not always be easy but when we make the choice to step into God’s plan, we defeat the enemy’s plan to isolate us.

Living out life together has distinct benefits as we call out the best in each other, call out to God for each other, and speak truth to each other. Even when life is messy, or when we need lifting up, or even when we need the voice of truth, together is so much better than alone. We all need people who will sharpen us, help us find strength at our lowest point, and be honest with us.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV

Application

  • What benefits have you realized from being in Small Groups?
  • What do you believe are the biggest obstacles people face to participating in a Small Group?
  • What can you do to help people overcome those obstacles?
  • Ever thought of starting your own small group?
  • Is there a passion, hobby or activity you could turn into a small group?
  • What other people do you group with besides your small group?

Prayer Focus: Thank God for His plan for each person. Thank Him for a life plan that is predicated on the reality of faith and hope. Thank God for the people He provides so that we live life with others. Ask God to surround you with other brothers and sisters in Christ and to show you relationships that are designed for His purposes.

Tell Someone Else

Who can you invite to your Small Group this semester? Ask again. Share with them how being connected to others has made an impact on your life.

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It’s Time | Week 1: The Light is Green

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God has a very clear goal and purpose for our church. It’s rooted in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Here is our vision:

  • Know God

God is not your religion, He is actually someone you can believe and trust and know.

  • Find Freedom

You can know God and be saved but still have issues that keep you from being who God wants you to be. So we let God take us on a journey of settling some of our issues and we want to take you on that journey.

  • Discover Purpose

You are no accident. It doesn’t matter what your parents version of how you came about. God has always had you on his mind. God has a purpose for your life.

You’re never going to be satisfied or happy without God. Go pursue whatever you want without God, and it will always be empty. Those things will never give you the joy you know you could have had.

  • Make a Difference

We want to take you on this journey of Knowing God, Finding Freedom, Discovering Purpose and Making a Difference in Jesus name.

You are somewhere in this process.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in church your whole life, you have another step. That’s why it’s called following Jesus. Some of you even know what the steps are, but the problem is, getting moving.

We need something or someone to push us toward the life you know you’re supposed to be living. The life that you’ve wanted to try, and you just needed the catalyst to get moving. That’s why this series of posts is called, It’s time.

We’ve got a brand new year and it’s time.


Have you ever sat at a stoplight and waited for the cars in front of you to notice the light is green? They aren’t going because they’re looking at something else or doing something else. While everything in you wants to lay on the horn to wake them up, what you really need to do is give a friendly beep, beep to get their attention on the green light.

Well there are some times that in our spiritual journey we stop paying attention and someone needs to come along and give a friendly beep, beep to remind you to keep moving forward. That’s what today’s post is all about.

The light is green. It’s time.

Take a look at this encounter Jesus had with three different people who want to become disciples of the Lord Jesus.

“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” Luke 9:57-58 NIV

Poverty was part of the curse Jesus carried. So, He told them this is going to be harder than you thought. It’s not going to be easy. If it were easy, you’d already be doing it. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

But if you want the life you were meant to have, we’ll help you but buckle up, because it’s not going to be a bump free road.

“He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’”  Luke 9:59-60 NIV

This verse has been greatly misunderstood. Jesus isn’t against funerals and he wasn’t forbidding the man to arrange his father’s funeral. Most scholars would say the man was saying he’d like to take care of his father until he dies and then would be free to follow Jesus. This is the person who wanted to but felt like they had viable excuses.

That sounds like a great excuse. Jesus said, you’re missing it. The lights green and there aren’t endless cycles. Jesus takes first place.

“Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:61-62 NIV

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and this guy is missing the urgency. Beep, Beep. Let’s go. Seize the day.

This new year and new decade gives us a fresh start. You know the song, Auld Lang Syne, sung at New Year’s celebrations. “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…”

We all know this song but few know what it means. What the penman of this song, Robert Burns in Old Scottish, was saying was Auld Lang Syne which means Days Gone By. What the song is challenging all of us to do is to think about what should stay in 2019 and never come into our new year and what should we bring with us. So he asks the question, what old acquaintance, like the pains and mistakes and hurts, what should be forgotten and what should stay.

The Bible has so much to say about old and new. This year, let’s move on from three old things.

1. Move on from old hurts

You’re wounded and it hurts. Someone has said or done something hurtful to you. It happened, you move on. You can’t go back and change it, but you can let God clear the page. That’s what the cross and the empty grave are for.

We’re not going to be perfect, we’re going to disappoint people. People are going to disappoint us. But there is one, Jesus Christ, who is perfect and He made a way for sinners like us.

2. Move on from old habits

Move on from our addictions. We’re all an addict. We’ve gotten addicted to certain drugs and meds and drinks or certain foods, certain language, addicted to our phones, addicted to bad patterns bad relationship patterns. What do you do with a bad habit?

That’s the power of the 21 Days we’re about to enter into. At the beginning of each year we make it a priority to seek God first. We do this by claiming 21 days in January as days of prayer and fasting. You can join us January 5-25 and make a commitment to pray each day.

You can choose to fast from many different things during those 21 days as well. We choose prayer and fasting because we know those are two powerful ways to turn down the noise of the world around us and tune in to God’s voice directing us.

Starting Monday, January 6th will offer prayer services in our worship center each weekday from 6-7am and Saturday mornings from 9-10. It’s so refreshing to just have some moments where we seek God together.

For some digital resources for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, visit our website or find the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting section in the Rock Brook Church app.

This is a great opportunity to move on from old habits. Anything in your life that you’re not going let master you, you need to fast from.

What’s fasting? Is it to punish yourself to get God’s attention? No. That’s bad religious teaching and it’s not in the Bible. Fasting separates ourselves from the world to fuel our relationship with God.

3. Move on from old hang-ups

The things that still define you. The debts, patterns and events that have shaped how you view yourself. It’s time to move on from your hurts, habits and hang ups.

These words are pulled directly from Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery program with foundations firmly established in Biblical truth. It exists so you can find freedom from any hurt, habit or hang-up and live fully alive in Jesus. At Rock Brook we have Celebrate Recovery meetings on Wednesday nights at 7:00.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. 

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:1-10 NLT


Time To Make A Change

It’s time to make a change in four areas.

1. It’s time to get closer to God

You may already love God. Great, get closer. The light is green.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:8 NLT  

We’ve all let our loyalties go to some other places, but not for the next 21 days. How do you get rid of that dividing line? You starve the world and you feed your relationship with God. You do that with prayer and fasting. 

Prayer gets you closer to God while fasting separates you from the world. It’s radical. You can’t do 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting all year. It’s an intense radical season that you can’t sustain that long, but that season jolts us into where we need to be. It takes kind of jolt to make the change.

One of the problems of moving on from hurts, habits and hang ups, we think it’s going to be easy.

If you want something you’ve never had, then you need to do something you’ve never done.

Some of you’ve never shown up to church all year long. What would it look like if you showed up to church 52 weekends this year? What would your life look like? You’d be closer to God. Your life and family would be healthier.

What if you participated in all 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting? Your life and family would be healthier.

2. It’s time to get honest with a godly friend

Share the whole real you with at least one other person. You’re not going to be able to get where you want to go alone. God designed this process to be achieved through fellowship with others. You’re not going to get there alone. That’s why we are a church of groups. That’s why groups matter to us so much, we try to cultivate environments where this can happen.

Everyone needs to be in a group or lead a group. Many of you need to lead a group for the accountability you get from leading. You’re going to pray harder knowing they’re coming over to your house. Your next level of growth is going to come through giving and leading.

“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NLT

Some of our stuff is big and scary because it’s in the darkness. Bring it into the light and it shrivels. Set your mind to it, that’s what is going to make 2020 better. 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.

3. It’s time to get in tune with God’s purposes and my SHAPE

Some of us have been living for ourselves, our purpose. You tried to find yourself instead of trying to find God. You tried self-discovery instead of God-discovery. It’s time to get in tune with God’s purposes.

And then our SHAPE. That stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. All of those things make up who you are. God has shaped you. Your life trajectory has shaped you and the goal is that God would use that to help someone else.

Your SHAPE is why some of you walk into a room and see things that needs to be done and some walk into a room and see people who need to be connected with. It gets bigger than that. Some of you are shaped to help people know their Bible better or make an environment more hospitable, some help kids or students or lead people in worship.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10 NIV

It’s work, but it’s a good work. You’ll be tired, but it’s a good tired. That’s how God feels about His workmanship on you. He’s not embarrassed by you, He shaped you for a good work.

We’d love to help you take this spiritual journey. That’s why each Sunday we host an event that’s part of a four part series called Growth Track. This is Rock Brook’s way to help get in tune with God’s purposes and your design. Find out more about Growth Track on our website.

4. It’s time to get on doing something greater than myself

A great life doesn’t come from making money, sunny days, great politics or a great neighborhood. Real joy comes by knowing you’re on a God-driven adventure.

It’s when you do something with your life that actually matters.

If you’ll dedicate your life to something greater than yourself, God will fill your life with passion and adventure. 

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Acts 20:24 NLT

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking about a mistake you’ve made. You’re looking in the rearview mirror and don’t know the light is green. If you’re trapped by something in your 2019 or before remember this…

You can’t go back and change the beginningbut you can start where you are and change the ending.

You can’t go back and change how the marriage started or something you did in it, but you can get that marriage on a track that has a great ending. You can’t go back and change the things in the past. You serve a God who is the only one with the ability to do this.

It’s time.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “Your Timing Is Everything.” How did that message help you identify some areas where you need to speed up or slow down this year?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Each person has a God-given design and a next step to take, but many of us have a problem getting started. In Luke 9:57-62, three people have the opportunity to follow Jesus but then make excuses for delaying the journey. Jesus plainly says, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

The New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne” challenges us to leave the unproductive in the past, and Scripture gives us direction for what we should leave behind. 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting is a great time to fast anything that is trying to master our lives.

Let’s stop delaying. It’s time to make a change by allowing Jesus to change our minds and our lives.

Spend some time in the word. Read Luke 9:57-62 and Colossians chapter three.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62 (NIV)

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message?
  2. What past history—hurts, habits, hang-ups—do you think about and are keeping you from seeing the new thing God wants to do in your life? Are they relational? Health? Financial?
  3. How can you use 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting to step into the newness God has for you this year?
  4. Which of the four It’s Times do you need the most right now?

Prayer Focus: Spend some time in prayer thanking God for hope, purpose, salvation and life. Ask him for direction for your life.

Tell Someone Else

With whom could you share this message of this series? You could give them an invite to this weekend’s message. You could share with them this message by telling them about it or sharing the podcast with them.

 

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