5 New Years Resolutions from Dr. Bob Laurent:
I. This year I will be more childlike
- Children live with more joy
- "The older I get the younger I want to be in my heart"
- God may have the eternal appetite for infancy... where there is no monotony...
- We are constantly "switching" and changing because we don't live in monotony very well.... switch jobs, switch marriages, switch churches
- The joy of the Lord is my strength
II. I Will Forgive as I have been Forgiven
- We will hold onto bitterness for years if we allow it
- Forgive from our heart, not just with our lips
- You can't make forgiveness the law of reciprocity, if you forgive me I'll forgive you. We need to make the first move...
- Resentment can lead to the death of our souls
III. Homo Unius Libre "A Person of One Book" - Hebrews 4:12
- The Bible will tell me the truth about myself...even more than a best friend
- The Bible is accurate in the areas of history, science, archeology, and more
- Tip: Read the first part of Genesis, Matthew, Psalms, and Proverbs to start reading
IV. I Fight only One enemy from this moment on...
- We have a real enemy, Satan... He's our real enemy battling for our soul (not people or institutions)...
- Pray for protection around my home
- Identifying my real enemy will help me view others differently through the eyes of Christ
V. I Will Give My Self Away
- Jesus came to serve, not to be served
- "We're not here to meet you needs (as a church), we're mainly here for those who are lost... those who have not found Jesus yet..."
- We can be people who give and change our neighborhoods and communities
What changes are you considering in 2010?
- In my marriage, my wife doesn't stay with me because she doesn't have any other options (she would have tons of options for the record).... she stays with me because of love. In the same way, God loves us unconditionally... it's a primary characteristic of who He is...
Could I enjoy the love of my wife and then expect I should not be one that is trustworthy? If someone breaks trust with you, do you give them the same opportunities as someone who has your ultimate trust?
- It's not a matter of whether God loves us... but do I love God back? Am I trustworthy?
- When God chose Mary and Joseph, He chose them because they were dependable... their response? "I'm your servant, whatever the cost, whatever the price.... I'm committed to you..."
- Am I trustworthy when times our tough? It's easy to be trustworthy in good times....
- How to I become trustworthy? I can't do it today, but what does it look like to train in being trustworthy?
- We won't get there by "trying".... You can't just run a marathon...no matter how hard I try.... "just trying harder doesn't get it done..." You've got to train.... We need to develop spiritual muscle....
- It's not what we "do" that gets us or earns us to heaven, Christ has paid the price for us...
- John Wesley, 3 rules to living life ..... do no harm, do all the good you can, and stay in love with God
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
- When will I start to train to be trustworthy?
- If I stay on my current course.... where am I headed? What path am I on?
- Am I loving God? What is my next step to be someone God can rely on and trust to carry His plans out here on earth?
Jeremiah 29:11 - "Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Are you stuck looking in the rear view mirror (stuck in your past)? Are you always looking ahead to the future hoping that tomorrow is better than today? What about the present?
"There's always an option to maximize the moment...."- Mark Beeson
It may sound cliche', but I have a hard time living in the present. With raising a family, working, trying to pay bills, worrying about things on my to-do list, or frustated about some past mistakes.... engaging in the here and now is harder than it seems.
How do we live in the present?
Hope and Vision for the Future:
- If we believe life leads to nothing, our days can become meaningless with no hope for tomorrow.... Do you really believe life is short, you die, and that's it?
- God has us hard-wired for eternity. We can have joy in our todays because of our future destiny.... eternity in heaven... (2 Corinthians 5: 6-11)
- We were created for a purpose to be the hands and feet of God... We are made to bring Hope to the world, to tackle the giants of Poverty and Hunger, and everyday we can take steps in this purpose.
- First we must believe who we are in Christ and to shift our focus to living one day at a time knowing we have a role to play in God's story.
Stuck in the Past?
- Every minute or every day we live in regret of the past, we miss out on what could happen today.
- If you haven't noticed, time flies. You'll be done with school sooner than you think, your kids will grow up before you know it, and soon it will be the next generations turn to take the ball and move it forward. Can you really afford to lose today? What opportunity might you miss?
- Nothing you have done in your past can't be forgiven. Our God is a God of second chances. Hand over your past to Jesus so you can be free to live today.
Stuck in the Future?
- I can be guilty of working on plans for the future and completely miss the life that is happening right in front of my eyes today. Being stuck in the future is not always about fear, sometimes it's simply not being content in the present.
- The Bible says not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries of its own. Are you full or worry about tomorrow?
- We don't live in the past and tomorrow is not here yet.... The "now" is all we have...
What might it look like?
- Putting your work away to spend that extra 30 minutes with your kids...
- Going the extra step in whatever you're doing right now... What is the next right thing to do? Do that.
- Think of one way you can serve someone today to take the focus off yourself.
Other great quotes from Mark Beeson this week:
"Following Jesus is simple, it's just not easy." ("If you've been hurt, how easy is it to love mercy? I love mercy when you give me mercy.")
"If you're trying to live the Christian life without giving your life to Christ, you've bitten off more than you can chew."
There are consequences to how we live.
There are plenty of people around that are speaking negative thoughts into our minds... Sometimes our own voice is stuck in negativity. We wonder if we have any worth or value.
"I started being bad just shortly after I was born"
"My world revolved around me until I learned their was a greater purpose for my life"
God has a destiny for us to fulfill.
- Luke 22: 54-62 Peter, one of Jesus's closest friends, chose himself over Jesus when he betrayed Him 3 times.
- Life is not a series of branches and choices (as many would say), it's one road. We're either taking steps toward Christ and His will or we're moving toward our own will.
- 2 Cor 7:10 God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin... Sorry without repentance can result in death.
- Judas, just like Peter, betrayed Jesus. Judas listened to the voices of the world, Peter listened to Christ. Judas's choice led to death by hanging himself, but Peter repented and went on to be a great leader in the early church.
- Satan wants to destroy you, your family, your kids.... He hates you as God loves you. He would love to un-do us by continuing to tempt us to sin and condemn you after you sin.
- God does not tempt us. Our own evil desires cause us to sin. What is it for you? Power, money, sex?
Satan has 3 different hats:
- The Tempter "This would feel so good".... "You want to do this..." Most people can look back and remember when the temptation first came in... Bible says to run!
- The Promoter "You're going to like this"... "You not only can do this, you'll get away with this Tiger..." We listen.
- The Condemner The same devil who tempted and promoted the sin then accuses you. "There's no hope for you..." "God won't forgive you..." Satan wants to leave you in a pile of guilt and shame.
When we hear these voices, we need to remember this is not God! We have two choices for our past mistakes.... Godly sorrow that leads to repentance vs. being condemned and thinking there is no hope for us which leads to death.
To whom are you listening? Those who say you have no worth and you're undone? Or, are you listening to the voice of God that acknowledges your sin was severe but offers forgiveness and life?
Tiger Wood's future hinges in large part to who he is listening to... Not unlike all of us, he may be thinking "what have I done?" "Is my family going to unravel?" "Have I lost the respect of millions of people?" There are voices that want to bury him and others who say there's a Savior who offers forgiveness. It is better to lose the whole world than your soul. May it lead to repentance for Tiger Woods and also for you and me.
What would you say to Tiger Woods?
Who are you listening to regarding your past and the mistakes you have made?
There is nothing you have done that God will not forgive. He offers hope for your tomorrows and a new beginning... Do you believe that?