No 2. Live the Life You Were Meant to Live.
Once you determine to live according to God's plan, you have to start living according to God's plan. And that's done by taking these five principles and setting them as the foundation of your life.
Sometimes God's timing is just remarkable. I sat down earlier this week to pray and study and beginning working on this mornings message. I knew what God wanted me to say, I just didn't know how to say. And so, it's been a little stressful this week with each day passing and me not getting any further with figuring out how to say all of this. And I've come to learn, though I still get stressed by it, that sometimes, God's not done relieving everything He wants to show me. And this week was one of those weeks.
At work, I was on work sites Monday and Tuesday, so I had to be at work earlier than normal. On my drive in, I usually listen to WordFM. Well, since I was heading in earlier, I listened to a different program than usually. And his teacher was starting a series with the premiss, that sometimes we have to blow things up in our lives before we can begin building. He cited Jeremiah 1:4-10. And when I heard what he said, I knew what God was waiting to show me.
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
If you want to Live the Life You Were Meant to Live, You have to blow up the life you knew so you can start the life that God has called you to live.
God called Jeremiah to be a prophet for the people of Israel. God had a plan and a purpose for Jeremiah. Before he was in his mother womb, God knew Jeremiah and appointed him for a purpose. But Jeremiah questioned God's call because he could only see what he knew. That he was too young. He didn't know what he would say. And who would listen to him, anyway? He's just a kid!
God says, Jeremiah, don't worry. I have a plan. I will tell you where to go and what to say. And don't be afraid because I will be with you!
Then look at what God tells Jeremiah, in verse 10. "I have set you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
Sometimes before God can do what he wants to do, he first has to breakdown the junk that we have build up. You see, we have become comfortable with life as we know it. We are the generations who have benefitted from the hard work of others. Life is good. I mean just look around. We have more today then the generations before us. And so it's easy to sit back and relax. But when we do that, we miss out on that we're being God to do.
So maybe it's time to evaluate how you live. The extra that we all enjoy and ask, is this really what I need to be living for?
The Higham's have been dealing with this and I don't even think we've be fully aware of it. You see it started in June. After spending a fortune to keep Amy's van on road, the inspection for my van ran out. So we went down to a one car family until we could afford to have it inspected. Really the only thing we need were tires.
After that the dryer went out and Amy was hanging clothes on a line in the yard. Then the AC started giving us trouble. Then the microwave broke. The mower deck cracked. Then we lost our landlines, cell phones, internet, and satellite TV. Now it's the fridge. Think about it. Luxuries. Extras. Things that make life easier. And you might say, Oh, I could never live with out a fridge. Guess what we are. And we are. And those who know of all of these mishaps ask us, how are you doing it? And all we can say is, God has a plan.
God has a plan for us, and we are determined to live that plan. And if it takes us "suffering" through the loss of something that makes life more convenient so that God can do something in our lives than that is what we are going to do.
God is blowing things up around us so he and plant and build in us.
What does He want to see changed in your life? What needs to be blown up so that you can stop living in the comforts of what you know in order to live the life that He wants you to live?
How do you want to live?
This is probably the most difficult part, deciding what kind of a life you want to live.
- Are you content to go home, look in the mirror and say, you know what I like my life. I like the crazy, busy life that I've created for myself. Or
- Do you want more from this life? Do you want more of God?
If you want more, take out your pens and papers and get ready, because you are going to want to write this down.
No. 1. Determine that you want to live the life that God created you to live.
- You were created with a purpose in this life, but you have to determine that you are going to obediently live the life that God is calling you to live. Without compromise. 100%. All about God all of the time. It's got to be His way, and only His way. Remember, it's not about you!
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
From the very beginning, it's been all about God's plan and the demonstration of His incredible love for you. That all things were made by Him and for Him, including YOU. Everything is held together by HIs hand. He is the head of the body, the church, of YOU! And what He is doing is restoring you. YOU who once turned you back to him. YOU, once the enemy of God, caught up in sin and evil living. He sent his Son Jesus to do for YOU so that YOU might be counted as one of His children. Living faithfully, putting Him first. Not blown by the fads of the world but steadfast. 100% committed to proclaim the gospel, the Good News that you have put your faith in!
Are you determined to live that kind of a life? Yes? Then say yes. Say today, right now, I'm done playing the game. And surrender yourself to God's will.
Okay, Pastor, great job. You've shown us these five principles, but you said you'd tell us the how. What's the how? How do we take these five principles of purpose and make them something that we can live? How do we go from the idea to the reality?
Well, I'm glad you asked. Because this morning, I want to tell you.
In the fall of 2000, Amy and I attended the Youth Specialties, National Youth Workers Convention. The convention is a training conference for youth workers that brings some of the most influential, the most experienced, most God-inspired youth thinkers, for four days of seminars, Q&A, instruction, counsel, worship, and fellowship. It's an amazing event.
But it was in 2000, I sat in a seminar led by Doug Fields. The topic was, The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. The seminar was so good, I bought the book. However, I didn't read the book until that following May. At the church I had a week of study leave so that I could get away, study, pray, and plan. I took that week and I read Doug's book. The book, in great detail defined the idea of creating a student ministry where the five biblical purposes of Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission served as the building blocks of all that ministry did. Doug reasoned, through the proof of his own ministry at Saddleback Church, and the evidence of Saddleback itself, the home of Rick Warren and the Purpose Drive Church model, that if we as youth pastors focused on building a ministry around these five purposes, purposes that God clearly lays out in Scripture, then the Gospel of Christ can be effectively proclaimed, and instead of simply influencing students to attend church, we would train up a generation of students who lived the life the were created to live, in a genuine love-relationship with the Creator. It was a powerful statement.
So I studied the book and I studied the Scriptures and i agreed with Doug's conclusion. But it was more than a principle or a model for a ministry, these were life principles, And if I was about to adopt these principles for ministry, then I would have to adopt them as a way of life as well.
By the end of the week, I rewrote the purpose and mission of the student ministry. Not only that, but I committed to life the purposes out in my life. To write a statement for my life. That everything I did, would reflect the purposes as defined in Matthew 22:37-40 and Matthew 28:19-20.
That summer was a life changing summer. When September hit, we launch a brand new student ministry. We set aside the fluff and the gimmicks that most youth ministries were doing. No more trick programming to get students in the doors. We created fellowship by building relationships, focusing on the student. We gave them a place to belong and celebrated who they were by allowing them to serve one another with by using their gifts and talents. We taught the Bible and it changed the students lives. And the more we taught the more they hungered for it. Image that. We took our first mission trips, going away to serve others and share God's love. And guess what happened. God grew the ministry. We started with 4 committed students in 1999. By the end of time in 2005, on an average night we'd see over 40 students. In just a few years, God multiplied the lives that he was changing. And not just the students, but also the leadership. Some of you are products of those years as we stood together to love students.
And that was cool and all, but do you know what the biggest change was? It was me. I changed. I changed because I discovered the life that I was meant to live; a life of purpose, God's purpose. I was no longer living for me, but for God. And when you live for God, well, there is no failure.
If you've been following the blog, you may know that we have been struggling through this church plant adventure. It hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been everything but easy.
As we approach our 2 year mark, I look at all that we have been through, and all that we have struggle with, and more often than not, I find myself in a dark lonely space. Personally, this has really challenged me spiritually. I know I want to be obedient and follow Jesus. And I know that God has brought me to this place for a reason. But lately, my heart has been leading me to rethink church. To rethink what we are called to do.
For the last three months, I have been praying over what I believe to be a vision for the church that we are planting. It's a vision that will challenge not only myself, but those who have started the church with us. The vision breaks down the traditional idea of church and challenges us to do church a little differently. A church that engages the community. A church that breaks down stereotypes and expectations. A church that looks less and less like every other church in our area and more and more like the heart of God.
As I have was praying over this vision, and seeking God's direction, I came across this video from Francis Chan at the Verge Conference. God's timing is perfect.
Take a few minutes to watch this video.
Is it possible? Do you think such a church could exist? A church passionate about Worship? Community? Discipleship? Serving? Telling? Can the Acts 2 church be a viable church today?
I want that church. That's the church I want to lead. That's the church that challenges me to be like Jesus. That's the church Jesus bled for.
Harvest Church. Let's do church differently.
*This Sunday, November 3rd, 2013, is Vision Sunday, at Harvest Church. Join us as we present a vision for the next 2 years for Harvest Church. www.HarvestChurchToday.org.
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.