3D Sermon Notes- June 16, 2019

6-16-19                 Sermon Notes                                   “Progress on Purpose”

Do you set goals for yourself?  Goals for work, or school, or for your physical health…  The reason I bring this up is because of a belief I have: I don’t think people usually make progress in any area of their lives by accident.  Progress happens on purpose.  The same goes for our spiritual lives.  In Wesleyan theology, we believe in “sanctifying grace.” Sanctifying grace is God at work in our lives, making grow more and more in our spiritual maturity until we look more like Jesus.  That’s the goal!  Listen to Paul’s words in Philippians 3: 12 – 4: 1…
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
(Phil. 3: 12 – 4: 1)

“I press on,” Paul says.  That’s what I believe God wants us to do, too.  Here’s what it might look like.  This is a “modern day” parable that I got Bishop Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.
 
…A young woman pulls into the church parking lot just before the session begins.  She’s running a little late.  Like most Tuesdays she’s still wearing her suit from work, going through her evening a blur of movement from office to school to soccer practice to drive thru to church.  Her son dumps his fast-food wrappings in the trash bin beside the door as he carries his schoolbooks into the building.  He’ll work on homework while Mom does her “Bible thing.”  She slips into the room as the video beings.  Her closest friend is there and welcomes her into the seat beside her.  They had signed up for this together, deciding to “just do it” after years of wanting to study the Bible.  She didn’t know most of the people in the class before they signed up for Disciple Bible Study, but she’s been amazed at how much she’s learned from them as they’ve shared their thoughts about faith and God and Scripture and about how much she’s come to care for them as they’ve shared their lives.  The Tuesday evening study has become a time of refreshment for her each week, an oasis of encouragement, learning and support…

The leader talks about Moses’ call – the bush, the fear and humility, and the excuses and justifications given to avoid doing what God asks.  Her stomach tightens as she hears people tell about times they’ve felt called by God to do something and have repeated the same excuses themselves…The evening ends with prayer, and after she drives home with her son, send him to bed, and nestles herself into her favorite chair, she finds herself praying, asking and hoping, “What would you have me do, Lord?”  (pp. 61-62)
The young woman in this parable decided to “just do it.”  She had been wanting to do a Bible study…so she got up the courage to do it.  And now, she is finding herself looking for God’s call in her life.  Like the Apostle Paul, she’s not there yet…but she’s pressing on.  She’s making progress on purpose.  How about us?
See you Sunday!
Pastor Sam

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