Best Year Ever.
This is the title of the sermon from church this past Sunday. I have to say it was one of the best that I’ve heard – mostly because it’s exactly what I needed to hear. Our regular pastor was out of town (he’s in Burkina) and so we were able to have a guest pastor, Rob Wilton, speak. He was pretty funny…if you were a Saints fan…and perhaps not so funny for our home team fans…considering the Saints beat the Falcons the same day that he preached…and he is the Saints chaplain. No kidding. He is also the pastor of Vintage Church in New Orleans. I was thrilled that Lincoln could meet him after service…if only so that he can see career opportunities that allow sports and faith to collide (even if he doesn’t know that’s what he’s seeing). In case you missed it – Lincoln announced that he when he retires from football with the Atlanta Falcons he will return to Auburn to coach. Needless to say, I want him to experience his passion from all sides. So today was pretty cool.
But that wasn’t why this sermon was so good. It was the message which reminded me of the reasons I’m staying up late to type this blog…staying up late to workout…and yes, even working so hard to get my family on a healthy path. I have a a vision for my family. And I’m not going to see it through by letting each day glide by haphazardly. I have to take action…
In the midst of the “Who Dey” calls <yeah, yeah, rub some salt in those wounds>, Rob shared several steps to having the BEST YEAR EVER.
These are the notes I took…now you don’t have to keep reading…you could just listen to the sermon here:)
The backdrop for the story is 1 Kings 18:20-36 – the story of Elijah and the gods of Baal.
- Have supreme conviction: Shows our justification.
- If there’s any hope of experiencing our best year ever, we must have supreme conviction. Elijah had a mission. We need to stop waiting for things to happen and start taking action. Side note: There are some things that we should be willing to go to jail for – this is an interesting thought that I’m going to elaborate on later.
- Have complete confidence: Shows our sanctification.
- Elijah vs. 450 at Mt. Carmel. Elijah had confidence in God – regardless of the odds stacked against him. Elijah was so confident he mocked the others “Cry aloud, for he is a god”. Rob made the point that this was probably not the most “Christian” way to handle things…but it is a good reminder that Elijah was a man first – and God’s grace is sufficient in our weakness.
- God will give us divine appointments in 2016. We need to not be guilty of “friending” people to hell. We should speak the words of Jesus. Elijah rose up and called the people to him. He repaired the altar and then turned it into a situation that was impossible for man to deal with, but completely possible for God to deal with…look at our resolutions: do we need God for them? If not, they are not from God.
- Have ultimate confirmation: Speaks to our glorification.
- When all the people saw what God did, they fell on their faces and proclaimed that God was God. Our aim should always be for people to praise God…not us.
*Pray for some Mt Carmel moments – what if God shows us that to have our best year ever, we may need to suffer <Job?!>…Tim and I have actually talked about this. Some of the things we’ve discussed would cause others to look at us like we’re crazy. However, if we were to follow-thru, it was lead us to a ridiculous amount of dependence on God…and to me, that can’t be a bad thing. This world is not our home, this life is not our own. I loved that phrase.
The 10 Action Steps Rob provided are as follows (with my own thoughts mixed in):
- Hear from God. Then go with it. We can’t do it alone.
- Prepare for Action: God empowers us, but things don’t happen through osmosis. If God told me he wanted me to be a Master Sommelier I would have to study like crazy! He wouldn’t just put the knowledge in my head.
- Eliminate Distractions: Relationships (unless you’re leading them to Jesus, what is the purpose of the relationships that have people dragging you down?), cut out addictions – made me laugh – it’s kind of like with Beachbody – top performers, leaders in the company give up things that distract them from their goal – tv, movies, nights out with friends…the focus on the purpose at hand…and so should we.
- Rally Support: This one hit me HARD. We aren’t called to do things alone. Christians who leave the community of fellowship get hit hard…I’ve seen it over and over again. You can do what God calls you to do, or even hear his voice clearly if you are surrounded by people that can not encourage you. It breaks my heart to see friends and family that have chosen to walk away from fellowship and then can’t understand why they are so miserable. When you hang out with people who aren’t supportive it’s so difficult to actually follow-through with what God wants you to do!
- Pray for Faith: God gives us faith to take the next step!
- Take a Leap: Take Action!
- Resist the Enemy: When we take leaps the enemy will go after us. Blessed are those who are persecuted. I find this most evident with engagements. Anyone else find the engagement period to be extremely difficult? I chalk it up as marriages are easier to break up before they are unified.
- Trust the Call: When doubts come, when depression comes, when division happens…
- Finish strong: We can be good at starting things…we need to be good at finishing them (hello P90!)…If God gives us an assignment, we should see it through!
- Give Glory to God. nuff said;)