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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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Becoming People of Realized Potential: Your God Will Be My God

Becoming People of Realized Potential

Your God will be My God

One of God’s greatest gifts to humans is the exclusive ability to become.

I am human and I am becoming human because there is more humanity for me to personally realize.

  • My house cannot become.
  • Our dog cannot become.

Only to human beings has God given the gift of becoming.

I am both created in the image of God and into the image of God I am becoming.

  • 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26, 27
  • 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son… Romans 8:29

We have identified the four most important decisions every human being decides for becoming people of realized potential.

  1. With who will I travel and stay?
  2. Who are my people?
  3. Who is my God?
  4. Am I fully committed to these three decisions?

One of the most respected statements in Christian history addresses the decision, “Who will be my God?”

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.”

–A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961), 1.

There are two options on this matter, God or idolatry.

“When a finite value . . . [becomes] a center of value by which other values are judged . . . [and] has been elevated to centrality and imagined as a final source of meaning, then one has chosen what Jews and Christians call a god. . . . To be worshipped as a god, something must be sufficiently good to be plausibly regarded as the rightful center of one’s valuing. . . . One has a god when a finite value is worshipped and adored and viewed as that without which one cannot receive life joyfully.” Thomas C. Oden, Two Worlds: Notes on the Death of Modernity in America and Russia (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1992), p. 95.

Tim Keller makes idolatry easily understandable.

A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.

An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”

Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods . Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition

From the research of Brian S. Rosner, Greed as Idolatry: The Origin and Meaning of a Pauline Metaphor (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2007), Keller states, “The Bible uses three basic metaphors to describe how people relate to the idols of their hearts. They love idols, trust idols, and obey idols.”

Considering the above compositely, we might say, “An idol is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living and it is so central that you love, trust and obey it.”

Becoming people of realized potential, we find ourselves with Joshua and all the tribes of Israel at Shechem.  Joshua 24

With Joshua and all the tribes of Israel, we present ourselves before God.  Joshua 24:1

Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Second, we recall the vast number of amazing things in our lives that only God could have provided and done.  Joshua 24: 2-13

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their landWhen Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

Third, we fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.  Joshua 24:14

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.

Fourth, we throw away our idols and serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:14

Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  14

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

Fifth, we understand it is of our own free will that we make our god/God selection. Joshua 24:15

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you

Sixth, we are personally responsible for making this, life’s most important decision.

…then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

Seventh, we record our decision, with witnesses (water baptism). Joshua 24:26

26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God.

Eighth, we set up a memorial to remind us and our witnesses of our commitment.  Joshua 24:26, 27

Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.

27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”

Eight Processes of Destroying Idolatry in Our Lives

  1. With Joshua and all the tribes of Israel, we present ourselves before God. Joshua 24:1
  2. We recall the vast number of amazing things in our lives that only God could have provided and done. Joshua 24: 2-13
  3. We fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Joshua 24:14
  4. We throw away our idols and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14
  5. We understand it is of our own free will that we make our god/God selection. Joshua 24:15
  6. We are personally responsible for making this, life’s most important decision. Joshua 24:15
  7. We record our decision, with witnesses (water baptism). Joshua 24:26
  8. We set up a memorial to remind us and our witnesses of our commitment. Joshua 24:26, 27

 

Listen – My Story

  • What is one of your favorite aspects of what you are becoming?
  • Do you know a powerful story, either positively or negatively, of someone becoming?

 

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Pastor Kent taught the great danger of idolatry as seen in Joshua 24. Read Romans 1:21-23.  What is the idolatry in this passage?
  • Read Romans 1:18-20. What is God’s response to this idolatry?
  • Read Romans 1:28-32. What happens in the lives of those living in this idolatry?
  • Do you see Romans 1 in our world of today?

 

Lift – Prayer

Identify one of the Eight Processes of Destroying Idolatry in Our Lives

  • Identify one of the Eight Processes of Destroying Idolatry in Our Lives that each member most wants to improve and pray for each person.
  • Celebrate Recovery (each Tuesday, 6:30 PM, Central Campus) helps many people destroy idols in their lives. Would you consider joining?  Please pray for the effectiveness of Celebrate Recovery.
  • Please pray for a powerful anointing upon Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames, 2019.
  • Please pray for each life group member to boldly move toward becoming people of realized potential.

Life – Taking it Home

  • What is the Holy Spirit asking you to add, delete or recalibrate in your life?
  • Have you been baptized in water? Is this a next step for you to publicly declare your memorial?
  • Who do you know, living in idolatry too, who would be blessed to be included in MCA ministries and Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames?
Posted on 16th February 2019 in Realized Potential, Uncategorized  •  No comments yet
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Becoming People of Realized Potential: The Importance of Your Tribe

Ruth succinctly states four crucial decisions in every human being’s life.  Ruth 1:15-18

  1. With who will I journey and stay?
  2. Who is my tribe and who are my people?
  3. Who is my God?
  4. Am I fully committed to these three decisions?

 

Today we consider the importance of “my people and tribe” as I journey to Father’s House.

 

From conception we begin our journey to Father’s house.

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1

 

From the Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we gain insight into an exclusively Christian experience of fellowship.

 

  • 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9
  • that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3

 

Christianity is a common shared life (fellowship).

 

With whom am I in fellowship as I journey home to Father’s house?

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer captured the high value of fellowship in his book, Life Together.

 

The believer feels no shame, as though he were still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians.  Man was created a body, the Son of God appeared on earth in the body, he was raised in the body, in the sacrament the believer receives the Lord Christ in the body, and the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected fellowship of God’s spiritual-physical creatures.  The believer therefore lauds the Creator, the Redeemer, God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the bodily presence of a brother.  The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God.  Visitor and visited in loneliness recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body; they receive and meet each other as one meets the Lord, in reverence, humility, and joy.  They receive each other’s benedictions as the benediction of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother, how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God’s will are privileged to live in the daily fellowship of life with other Christians!

It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day.  It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed.  Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living in common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart.  Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.

 

Christianity is a common shared life, it is fellowship and we are extremely blessed by this grace.

 

Careful selection of those in your fellowship is very important.

 

“…your own performance is either improved or diminished by the other people in your scenario.” Cloud, Henry. The Power of the Other (p. 9). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

 

  • Ruth was improved by Naomi.
  • Samson was diminished by Delilah.
  • Paul was improved by Barnabas.
  • David was diminished by Saul but improved by Jonathan.

 

Careful observation of the Acts 2:42-47 church reveals seven beginning points for this glorious improved common shared life (fellowship).

 

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

 

The Early Church Common Shared Life Our Common Shared Life
Devoted themselves to….the fellowship Devote myself to the fellowship
The fellowship includes communion and prayer Devote myself to holy communion and prayer
All who believed were together Devote myself to being together with the fellowship
Had all things in common Devote myself to sharing with the fellowship
As any had need Devote myself to meeting the needs of the fellowship.
Every day attending the temple Devote myself to daily corporate worship
Eating together daily Devote myself to eating with the fellowship

 

When someone prioritizes these seven beginning points of fellowship with you, they are, as Bonhoeffer said, “a gift of grace” for whom “we thank God on our knees.”

 

Fellowship is a double blessing.  We are at home in our fellowship as we travel Home to Father’s House.

MCA Life Group Homework

Listen – My Story

  • Do you have a memorable eating together experience?
  • Is there a time when a Christian friend was “the presence of Christ” for you?

 

Lift – Prayer

  • Please pray for God to increase your joyful anticipation of being in Father’s House someday.
  • Please pray for each Life Group member’s hopes and wishes for their tribe and people.
  • Please pray for Connie Ordway, long-term MCA member nearing Father’s House.

 

 

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Read 1 John 1:1-7.
  • From this passage, do you see any differences between friendship and fellowship?
  • Who are the fellowship partners in verse 3?
  • What does God require of his fellowship partners? 6
  • What are the two benefits of walking in the light? 7
  • Who are the fellowship partners named “one another” in verse 7?

 

 

 

Life – Taking it Home

  • Which of the seven beginning points of fellowship do you need to prioritize with your tribe?
  • Is there someone you should consider adding to your tribe?
  • Is there someone you should consider deleting from your tribe?

 

 

 

Posted on 9th February 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Full Potential: Position, Decisions and Desires

People who realize their full potential understand that key life decisions position them for experiencing their deepest desire.

Christians live a well-decided life within an all-encompassing unique framework.

Prior to the often-helpful framework of personal core values, purpose and mission statements, the Christian comes to terms with every human’s deepest desire.

Decisions and desires are a closely woven tapestry.

“The highest dream we could ever dream, the wish that if granted would make us happier than any other blessing, is to know God, to actually experience Him.” Crabb, Larry. Shattered Dreams (Kindle Locations 188-191). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A well-decided Christian life becomes evident in those who understand their deepest desire is to know and experience God.

Notice, in Philippians 3:7-11, Paul’s emphasis upon his deepest desire to know and experience God.

Considered a Loss Considered Great Gain
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ,
  10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

 

Our most important decisions are to be made in harmony with our deepest desire.

In the experience of two women, Naomi and Ruth, God reveals the four most crucial decisions in every person’s life.

A short version of the narrative is:

  • There is a famine in Bethlehem.
  • Elimelech moves cross culturally to Moab with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons.
  • Elimelech suddenly dies. Naomi is now a widow.
  • Their sons have married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
  • Suddenly, both sons died too. Naomi is a widow who is childless.  Orpah and Ruth are now widows.
  • Naomi decides to move back to Bethlehem and encourages Orpah and Ruth to enjoy their Moabite lives.
  • Orpah agrees.
  • Ruth disagrees and reveals to us the four most crucial decisions every human being makes.

Ruth 1:15-18

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

Ruth’s Statement My Crucial Decision
For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. With which persons will I journey and stay?
Your people shall be my people Who will be my people?
and your God (shall be) my God Who will be my God?
May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. Will I fully commit to these decisions?

With which persons will I journey and stay?

  • The wise selection of my spouse and closest friends is crucial.
  • In what ways do we help each other pursue and realize our deepest longing for God?

Who will be my people?

  • The wise selection of my primary group or tribe or cohort is crucial.
  • In what ways do we help each other pursue and realize our deepest longing for God?

Who will be my God?

  • The wise selection of God, as revealed in the Bible, is crucial.
  • The wise selection of how you and God will relate is crucial.

Will I fully commit to these decisions?

  • Have I developed the wisdom to courageously and loyally serve these three decisions?
  • When these decisions and life as God allows it to come to me become exceptionally difficult, will I remain steadfast and unmovable in these commitments?

MCA Life Group Homework

Listen – My Story

  • What is your best ever decision (other than trusting in Jesus for salvation and selecting your spouse)?
  • Who most helped you make that decision?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Read Philippians 3:4-6. What are Paul’s reasons for “confidence in the flesh?”  Would most of Paul’s audience consider these reasons for confidence as positives or negatives?  Are there positives in our lives today that we should consider loss?  Are there negatives we should consider loss?
  • How might we develop Paul’s love (deepest desire) for knowing Christ, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and becoming like Him in His death? Philippians 3:10
  • Ruth helps us understand the four most crucial decisions every human being makes. Ruth 1:16-17
    • With whom will I journey?
    • Who will be my people?
    • Who will be my God?
    • Will I fully commit to these decisions?
  • Read Mark 8:27-30. Talk about why the question Jesus asked is still the most important decision every human being will make.

Lift – Prayer

  • Pray for each other to more deeply understand and experience the soul’s deepest longing for God.
  • Pray for each other to confidently join Paul in knowing what to personally “consider loss.”
  • Pray for the each other’s petitions.
  • Take time to listen for the voice of the Lord.

Life – Taking it Home

  • Is there something you need to do this week regarding Ruth’s four questions?
  • Is there something in your life regarding the four questions that you should consider loss?
  • Is there something in your life regarding the four questions in which you are experiencing the strong presence of God?

Share the Joy – Invite a Friend to Your Life Group

  • Someone in your circle of influence very much longs to be included in your spiritual tribe.
  • Some may even deeply desire having you as a very close friend.

 

 

Posted on 2nd February 2019 in Realized Potential, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Becoming People of Realized Potential in Christ

The Holy Spirit is inviting us to become people of realized potential in Christ.

Potential – Those realities “existing in possibility” and those “capable of developing into actuality.”  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potential

Realized – To “bring into concrete existence.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/realized

People – Is most often used in the plural but is also appropriately used in the singular.

  • “American people are filled with faith.”  Plural
  • “In America we find a people of faith.”  Singular
  • In our theme, we intend “People” in both the plural and singular.

 

Plural Singular
Potential Existing in possibility as a group Existing in possibility as a person
Realized Bring into concrete existence as a group Bring into concrete existence as a person

 

In realizing full potential, the individual (person) is significantly impacted by their group (people).

In realizing full potential, the group (people) is significantly impacted by its individuals (persons).

Shawn Achor, author of Big Potential, shares insight from lightening bugs on the singular and plural aspects of becoming people of realized potential.

The success rate increased by 79 percentage points when flashing as an interconnected community rather than as individuals. Achor, Shawn. Big Potential (p. 17). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

As we look to the Bible for revelation into becoming people (singular and plural) of realized potential, let’s consider the concepts of position and placement.

In auto racing we see hints of the importance of position.  For NASCAR, driver Richard Petty has the all-time record winning 61 times from 123 pole positions with an average of 49.6%.

In the Bible, position and placement are a huge part of the realized potential process and can be action taken by God in our lives, action that we take or a combination of the two.

  • God was at work in positioning Joseph (rather miserably) for his full potential entirely against his own will. Genesis 37-50.
  • God was at work in positioning Zacchaeus (rather delightfully) for his full potential through Zacchaeus’ own interest in seeing Jesus. Luke 19:1-10

Four “positionings” for becoming people of realized potential in Psalm 92:12-15

 

The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Positioned in righteousness.
They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.

 

Positioned in the house of the Lord.
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,

 

Positioned in fruit bearing.
to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

 

Positioned in declaring the Lord.

Specific Applications

  1. Knowing lightening bugs’ success rates increase by 79% when acting as an interconnected community, will you commit to a small group in your MCA Church community?
  2. Knowing position is important in auto racing, will you commit to intentional placement for becoming a people of realized potential?

MCA Church Life Group Home Work

Listen – My Story

  • Were you ever in the “right place at the right time?
  • Are you more prone to spiritual growth in the singular (by yourself) or in the plural (with others)?
  • Do you have a specific friend who could greatly benefit from spiritual growth with you and your Life Group?

 

Lift – Prayer

  • Prayer is possibly the most important activity of spiritual life in both the singular and plural.
  • Please pray together.
  • Please close your prayer time by asking God to take your Life Group to its fullest potential in Christ.

Learn – Digging Deeper

  • Read Proverbs 16:9. What action do people take? What actions does God take?  Do you see the possibility for a combination of action with both God and people?
  • Abraham had the uncomfortable positioning by God “to a land I will show you.” We think Abraham had no idea where he was going to be positioned.  Even in the unknowing Abraham trusted God.  Read Isaiah 51:2. What was God’s intended purpose in re-positioning Abraham and Sarah?

Life – Taking it Home

  • Is there a specific action you should take to be better positioned in righteousness, the house of the Lord, fruit bearing and declaring the Lord?
  • Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about a ministry action to take prior to closing today’s group meeting?

2019 Financial Contribution Records

Thank you for your financial contributions to MCA Church.  Your tithes, offerings and gifts keep the vision growing to the glory of God.

Your financial contribution records will be mailed on Tuesday.

Posted on 26th January 2019 in Realized Potential, Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post