This is a great time to go forward! We’ve seen amazing things happen in ministry, as have you!
To God be the glory...and yet, this message reminds us...
ill.--Cruise control/coasting - God isn't pleased!
How many of you like to really relax as you drive? (I want to die just like grandpa, in my sleep, not screaming like the passengers he was driving!)
For a church to go backward, it doesn’t require people to go backward, just to stand still. Have you found a comfort zone in your spiritual life?
We’re not talking about contentment here
Materialism—Godliness with contentment is great gain
Spiritually—don’t ever be content, satisfied
Here’s the attitude to have: However much I read my Bible last year, it wasn’t enough (prayed, gave, served, worshipped)
I’m pressing on the upward way…new heights I'm gaining ev’ry day…higher ground!
In 2020 our God will want many to take a step up…
To sit and soak and sour for another year would be “cruise control” (idling)
It would have been easier to just stay where we were. We had a way to be comfortable there…but we would have to coast, we wouldn’t go forward.
Why do we get self-satisfied? We compare ourselves to others who are not making good progress. Since when are inferiors our standard?
“comparing yourselves with others is not wise”
We develop a false sense of spirituality when we compare ourselves to anyone other than our Savior...but when we measure next to Him, we quickly recognize how small we are.
Phil. 3:13—“brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended” (arrived)
No cruise control, put the pedal to the metal
If we’re not careful, we can allow ourselves to get to the point of complacency. (beat down with the woes of life, failures of yesterday)
Pastor pounded the pulpit… “Ignorance and complacency, that’s our problem! You sir, on the front row, do you even know the difference between ignorance and complacency? …
“I don’t know and I don’t care”!
When is a church officially dead, and when can we write Ichabod on the door? When we’ve looked backward so long we can’t find it within ourselves to look up, and look ahead!
find some dissatisfaction...
Phil. 3:13—“but this one thing I do…” (one of the most important phrases)
To the self-righteous rich young ruler, Jesus said, “one thing thou lackest”
To busy Martha, working in the kitchen, criticizing her sister Mary, Jesus said, “one thing is needful.”
Ps. 27:4 David said, “one thing I have desired of the lord.”
Paul said, "This one thing I do"…a statement of devotion
His Christianity was not a sideshow ... not a compartment of his life
A wheel has many spokes, and so do we in our lives:
Work life, school life, hobbies, family life, church life
The spokes have nothing to do with each other
Your church life doesn’t show up at work, on the basketball court…to view your family life at home you’d never dream you also had that church life.
Jesus doesn’t want to be a spoke at all, he wants to be the hub of the wheel, out of which all the spokes grow and connect
Christianity shouldn’t be a compartment of our life, it should BE our life!
We need to trade some commitments of this world for commitment TO our Lord.
We’re too busy these days, it’s McDonald's every Monday, taco Tuesday, work out on Wednesday, tee-ball Thursday, fishing Friday, yard-saleing Saturday,… no wonder we’re sleeping on Sunday!
We need to learn to say no…be less devoted, that we may become more devoted where it counts
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last!
When I was a child, I laughed and wept,
And time crept
When I was a youth, I dreamed and talked,
When I became a full grown man,
When older still I daily grew,
Soon I shall be traveling on
Difference between an amateur and a professional:
Amateur does things from time to time…in spurts
Professional devotes full time…it’s his life’s work
You’ll never be effective for the Lord by attending church in spurts
[try telling your spouse you will be faithful to them ... in spurts!]
The Sunday morning Christian will go backward in their spiritual life week after week, and sadly, will likely never realize it.
[Praying in spurts, Bible reading in spurts, giving in spurts.]
Let’s become a church of devotion, with a professional mindset, 24/7, full-time job…this one thing I do.
D.L. Moody, preacher, promoter, evangelist, did YMCA work, had many irons in the fire…he preached one Sunday night, and said, “Go home and think about getting saved for a week, then come back, and we’ll lead you to Christ.” Great Chicago fire killed thousands that week, including many he had preached to.
Moody decided to never preach without giving an invitation again…and that he needed to devote himself to evangelism
this one thing I do!" He then shook 2 continents for God!
V. 14, “forgetting those things which are behind…”
Kimberly and I served in a church in Savannah, GA…nearby in Valdosta was a track and field prodigy, who set records his freshman, sophomore and junior years, and was a shoe in for big scholarships and the Olympics one day. His senior year, he was blowing away the entire field…rounding the fourth turn he was ahead by 20 yards, turned around and looked over his shoulder, tripped, and lost!
Did you know that the month January got it’s name from Caesar, who named the month for the roman god Janus, the two-faced god…one face looking backward, and one forward.
In 2020, we need excellent vision…and that means there’s no looking backward…the past is passed…no man putting his hand to the plow, looking back, is fit for the kingdom of god.
No looking back at past sin…He forgives it, He forgets it, so should we!
It’s Satan who reminds you of those past sins, not God.
When you think of it, thank God for forgiving you the 1st time!
John R. Rice, “No matter what you did in the past, your future is spotless!”
No looking back at past failures…different than past sin.
“Most new year’s resolutions go in one YEAR and out the other”
Last year’s resolutions, weight loss, smoking, etc.
You only fail when you stop trying!
A just man falleth 7 times and riseth up again!
Babe Ruth held the home run record for many years…remember his other record? …strikeouts.
Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to move from one failure on to the next.”
1831—failed in business, went bankrupt
1833—back on his feet, failed again
1838—ran for speaker of house, was defeated
1840—elector, was defeated
1843—congress, was defeated
1848—congress, was defeated
1855—senate, was defeated
1856—vice president, was defeated
1858—senate, was defeated
1860—was elected president, one of the greatest who ever lived.
He moved from one failure to the next without quitting
Success is getting up just one time more than you fall down!
No looking back at past bitterness.
If anyone could be bitter in the o.t. It was Joseph, betrayed by his brothers.
Could have said, “I'm in this situation because of what others did, thru no fault of my own!” He realized forgiveness is a choice.
Don’t say you can’t forgive that person who comes to your mind in bitterness…be honest and say you won’t forgive.
Remember, bitterness never hurts the one you’re bitter toward…bitterness always turns on its creator, and poisons him.
No looking back at past events. [longingly]
ill.--we have taken a few walks down memory lane with family this Christmas, and it has been fun. And you can actually learn from the past and use it to propel forward.
Good or bad…we love to reminisce of the good old days-ok if we don’t dwell on it and allow it to affect our present!
We came here and heard how this town used to have this store and that, and how this church used to have so and so, and used to have these big name preachers come speak, and used to have this many in attendance, and oh, those were the days!
But what are we now? So, God has proven He can do great things—let’s be aware, let’s learn from that that God can do it again…if only we’ll follow Him in that direction!
We can learn from the past—but then move on!
what we did right/wrong
No good comes from dwelling on people of the past either.
All over my Illinois town I would meet people who “used to go to Grace” thru the years…!
But Jesus said to look on the fields white unto harvest…those who aren’t yet saved!
But it’s negative/discouraging to dwell on someone you miss who’s not here…it’s painful to lose anyone…even worse, is what will result if we dwell on it.
V. 14 “I press toward the mark…”
“By God’s grace, I hereby pledge to focus on the goal, to die trying if necessary, to go forward for God in the new year!”
Ps. 65:11—David said, “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness”
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