Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Next Step


There is a fleeting opportunity which lies before us today that if we neglect, we will never be given the chance again. This chance, the opportunity to which I refer is simple, yet powerful, and within the grasps of each one. It is simply the chance to get this day right and take the next step on a journey with God that will speak well of you throughout eternity.

Let’s begin reading this morning from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Philippi. As we turn to Philippians 3, I want to encourage each of us to mark this day, the first Sunday of the year 2013, as the Lord’s Day and the beginning of a great new adventure together. Today is a day which holds potential to change everything around you a lot by changing you just a little. So open your heart to God’s Word right now as we read:

Philippians 3
12  I have not already attained, nor am I already perfected; but I am pressing on, so that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward and onward  call of God in Christ Jesus.

God has bigger plans than we might first imagine. This passage describes the importance of decisively taking the next step. What is your next step?

As a Church body, we are wholly committed and fully prepared to worldwide prayer, evangelism and discipleship. Even though God has prepared and positioned us to reach and teach the whole world, we must not lose sight of a simple truth which the late Pastor John Osteen, although not original to him, was nonetheless noted for saying:

“The light which shines the farthest, shines the brightest at home.”  (Oswald Chambers, 1874 - 1917)

I had to do some amount of research to find who was originally credited with this particular quote. So many have repeated this for so long that it has become very familiar and widely quoted. During my research I found several other noteworthy quotes. I’ll share a few: 

“Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone.” (David Livingstone) “God had an only Son and He made Him a missionary.”

 Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”  (Oswald J. Smith) “You must go or send a substitute.

“The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” (C. T. Studd)

“Sympathy is no substitute for action. Only this generation can reach this generation.” (David Livingstone)

 “There is no second chance to harvest a ripe crop.” (Kurt von Schleicher)

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time. (Carl F. H. Henry)

“You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving.” (Amy Carmichael)

"Not how much of my money will I give to God, but, how much of God's money will I keep for myself.” (John Wesley)

“You cannot take it with you but you can send it on ahead.” (Oswald J. Smith)

“If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small.” (Pat Morley)

God is the God of big plans … He always has and always will be that way.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God then called Adam and Eve to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth and to subdue all creation under their dominion.

He then chose Noah to preach His righteous in the earth for 120 years while he prepared the ark which would ultimately save his family and God’s creation from the flood and destruction which came upon the whole earth.

God spoke to others including Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Ruth, David, Esther, Daniel and the three Hebrew Children, inviting each one of them to an adventure beyond their wildest imagination and far above their reach. After describing the faith of so many who said “yes” to God, the writer of the book of Hebrews records:

Hebrews 11
32  And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:
33  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34  quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35  Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

And as if that were not enough, God invited a young girl named Mary to embrace the high calling of giving birth to the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the only begotten Son of Almighty God. Although she did not know how, she simply said “yes” and turned her life completely over to God.

As I said earlier, God is the God of big plans … He always has and always will be that way.

God has big plans for your life and God is:
·        Unafraid of your problems
·        Unlimited by past
·        Unashamed to call you His own

You need Him and guess what – He needs you too.

Today holds a potential that if neglected, you may never get this chance again … the potential is to partner with God in this life and take the next step.

This partnership between you and God can only be achieved by doing things His way … Jesus is the way!

There is a next step God wants you to take this morning.
·        Turn your life completely over to Him
o   Your faith, you trust and your attention
o   Your past, your present and your future
o   Your job, your marriage and your children
o   Your worries, your doubts and your fears
o   Your habits, your addictions and your sin
·        Turn your life completely over to Him
o   It begins by simply recognizing that you need a Savior
§  Recognize
o   Next you must decide to turn to Him
§  Repent
o   Finally this new day requires that you receive His
§  Receive
·        His Love for you
·        His Light for you
·        His Life for you

No matter where you are in life, with your job, your family or your eternity … turning your life completely over to Jesus is the next step. Without taking the next step, you will never move from where you are. Allow me to encourage you to take the next step.

The Next Step: Turn your life completely over to Jesus.