Looking Back, to Look Forward

remember-1-1152856-1600x1600So on Sunday we looked back at some of the different lessons God has really taught us in the past 4+ years here. Because I believe that what God teaches us in the past is what often prepares us for our future. The trouble is that we are so forgetful. We forget what God has taught us, we forget the lesson, and we move on.

So we wanted to halt that memory loss by remembering 4 key lessons God has taught us as a church over the past number of years.

The first was to focus on your great work. I believe that God has something that each of us are to do that is lasting and impactful. For some this great work is launching a business, writing a book, starting a ministry, or being a great dad, being an amazing wife, being the best grandmother possible. Each of us are graced for different things, the point is not to give up on what God has given us. We remembered an amazing story of Nehemiah where when a good opportunity comes along he says, “No I am doing a great work I cannot come down”. This is what we need to do, focus on the great work God has for us.

We also remembered that our lives leave a legacy that can shape generations. We looked at Jacob and Esau and how one decision by Esau changed and shaped Jospeh so that when he was in the same situation as Esau he knew how to act. And lives were changed and generations were saved. We can have the same impact if we choose our choices intentionally, if we do the hard stuff of living like Jesus.

We then looked at something hard but necessary to do: forgiveness. The truth is that forgiveness as a Christian isn’t optional – it’s kinda part of the job description. But it’s really hard to do, but that’s why it’s so life changing. So we remembered and reflected on how forgiveness, while hard to give, is necessary and challenges ourselves to give forgiveness to someone.

And last but not least, we looked at the story of Jesus and the disciples in the boat. And we reflected on a main point we had worked through earlier this year. That when difficult and darkness come that we need to always remember who is in our boat. God is always with us, and we can’t let the storms steal our focus from him.

So that’s what we learned on Sunday. The main point was really don’t forget what God has taught you. And we challenge each of us with a simple challenge: to put one of these lessons into practice. Because the way we ensure we don’t forget what God teaches us, is to live it out. Things we practice and use, we remember and don’t forget.

So we closed with a challenge. To put one of these four lessons into practice: to focus on your great work, to ensure you leave a legacy, practice forgiveness, and never forget Jesus is in your boat. Because it’s when you start to live differently that lives are changed.

 

Sermon Notes:

Big IdeaDon’t forget what God has taught you

Teaching Points:

  • What God prepares in us in the past, is what enables us for his future
  • If we want to find where God is leading us, it begins by remembering what he has done within us.
  • I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. – Nehemiah
  • The choices you make today can be the thing that determines someone’s life years from now.
  • Forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a choice to end the cycle of revenge and leave justice in the hands of God. Brian Zahnd
  • Always remember who is in your boat.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What sermons do you remember most? What lessons has God taught you that have been significant in your lifetime? Is there one of those lessons that Andrew shared that resonates? What can you do to take a next step? Who can help you with that?

Challenge for the Week: Put one of these lessons into practice.

Sermons From the Vault

safe-1240163-1280x1920Okay so here is a good question to think about:

What are the top few lessons God has taught you in the past 5 years?

Take a moment and think about it. Because I believe that often what God teaches us in the past, is what is preparing us for his future. But the truth is this: we are quick to forget the lessons we learn. I know this is true of me, and I’m sure it’s probably true for you as well. That we learn something important, or really impactful but a few months go by and we forget or stop living that important truth out.

So here is what we want to do on Sunday. We are going to be looking back in our past for some of the key lessons God has taught us, so we can look forward into the future God has for us.

But before Sunday comes why not spend some time and think and pray about what God has taught you? Because remembering the lessons God teaches isn’t a waste of time, it’s how we grow.

New Futures and New Hope for All

1224442_75255610On Sunday we explored one of my favorite stories, the calling of Abram and Sarai. What happens is God comes to this couple Abram and Sarai and changes their future. In the story the line of Abraham is coming to a close. Sarai is barren and the future for their family is closed. They are in a dark and difficult place. But this is when God chooses to act.

God calls this couple, this unlikely pair, these people to a new future that would change the world. From the outside Abram and Sarai are not people with lots of potential, or promise. These would not be the people most people would choose to change the world with. But thankfully God chooses a different sort of people – not put together perfect people – but broken and barren people so his goodness can be seen. He uses ordinary regular people like you and me.

And God gives Abram and Sarai a new promise and a new future and they believe it and start to follow it. Through this belief God changes the world. Through their following God changes their future. Through their hope God changes them.

This was the point for us – that we follow a God who can change our futures. Your future is not dependant on your age, gender, education, race, finances, or anything else. Your future is dependent on God; the same God who gave a new future to Abram and Sarai and wants to give us one as well.

So we ended with inviting everyone to begin to hope. To hope in a new future, one in which depression, addiction, purposelessness, anxiety, or boredom doesn’t rule. One in which God sets us free for what he has for us. We challenged one another to start to hope and to start to follow. Listen for God and start to follow him like Abram. I have no idea how your situation and future will change. I know though who will change it – God. So begin to hope and trust him and see where he might lead. Because God is in the business of giving a new future and opening up closed ones. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s something that gives me hope.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea God changes our futures

Take Aways…

  • God is involved in real peoples lives, with real struggles
  • This family begins its life in a situation of irreparable hopelessness. Walter Bruggeman talking about Abraham.
  • God is in the business of changing already pre-determined fates
  • They are called to leave behind their country, family, and father’s household
  • Abram lives in a world where life cycles, and repeats, and is destined
  • We base our futures on our past rather than the promises of God
  • Abram goes forward with “eyes close” – John Calvin
  • Your future is not determined by your birth, education, race, gender, skill-set, finances, health, or your parents, Your future is determined by God.
  • I don’t know how our futures change, but I know who changes our futures
  • We follow the God of the limitless future.
  • Start to hope and start to follow
  • My God is a God of new futures

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it?

Have you ever been tempted to believe that your future was set? How come? What future might God be calling you to? Do you have a sense of the next steps to take? How can you ensure that you don’t lose hope in God’s future? Who can support you as you walk towards God’s future? Who can you support?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take sometime to talk with your kids about how with God the world is open. How their future’s are open because of what God wants to do in and through them. Ask them what they think God is calling them to do in the future. Listen really listen, and then no matter how big, decide on one step to take to get them there and take it.

Challenge for this Week: Start to hope and start to follow