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 beginning, but 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.
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?
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)
- What stood out to you in this message?
- 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?
- How can you use 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting to step into the newness God has for you this year?
- 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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