Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 9, 2011


Week One – “Finding Your Purpose” Romans 12:1-2

There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, "Henry, you're holding the bat wrong. You're supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark." Aaron didn't say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, "I didn't come up here to read."

One of the reasons Hank Aaron became a Hall of Famer and a home run king was because he was clear on his purpose!

So let me ask you, “What is your purpose for living?” “What on earth are you doing for Heaven’s sake?”

Here’s the deal, your life will be guided by either your purpose or your passions. Which do you prefer?
Knowing your purpose and pursuing your purpose does a lot for you! Let me just mention a few:

Meaning – Motivation – Maximize Potential – Multiply Impact – Make God Look Good!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The Purpose - God’s purpose statement for all believers: “Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

Not the Great Commission? – No, that is the strategy

Not the Great Commandment? – No, that is the source

My purpose and your purpose and our purpose as a church is to be a positive force for goodness/godliness in our community and our world.

I am motivated by the belief that healthy local churches are the only hope for our world. That is what keeps me going and growing in ministry. One of the primary factors of a healthy church is in knowing its purpose!

What is FWC doing to bring hope to Fredericksburg? What are you doing in your individual life to add hope and meaning and godliness to your world?

The denomination that you belong to – The Wesleyan Church – is a movement that has been known for it’s positive impact on the world…….

“Wesley's intentions from the start went beyond the evangelization and discipleship efforts with which his name is chiefly associated. His and Whitefield's early sermons show they regarded the moral reformation of the country as a high priority. The Wesley program, as one of the brothers put it, was to effect "reformation not of opinions...but of men's tempers and lives; of vice in every kind." John Wesley told the assembled Oxford dons in 1738 that only the doctrine of salvation by faith could "give a check to that immorality which hath overspread the land as a flood." [Quoted in John Walsh, " 'Methodism' and the Origins of English

The Problem – We are overcome with evil and cannot do lasting good.

“Goodness myths”:

I am basically a good person.

I can define what is good or not good for my world.

Doing enough good things can make me good or I can become good from the outside in.

Doing good things will reform the world.

Are you buying into any of these myths? If so, you will never overcome evil!

The Prescription – Overcome the evil! How?

Consecrate Your Ego - “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Why the ego? Because that is the source of evil!

Therefore – This is what you should do – must do in response to all I have taught you!

I urge you – I earnestly beg you to do this – this is of primary importance

Brothers – This appeal is coming to believers – like you and me

In view of God’s mercies – God’s mercies are available because Jesus consecrated His ego….

Offer your bodies as living sacrifice – sacrifices have to be offered - sacrifices cost something – sacrifices must be pleasing to God – giving sacrifices become holy when given to God

Your spiritual act of service – this is the least you can do! This is the starting point!



Conquer Your Evil – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Here’s the deal – you will either shape the world around you OR the world will shape you!

Here’s the key – you must have a greater force on the inside than the pressure from the outside.

It begins with a transformation of your mind. You can’t transform your world if you think like your world.

A farmer who owned this well drew water from it all the time. The trouble was, the water that came out of it was contaminated. The underground stream that fed it ran under a toxic waste dump, and his family always felt weak and ill. But since they had drunk from that well all their lives, they didn’t even know they were sick. This is how the natural man is, how both you and I were before we met Christ.

The farmer represents your mind, the underground stream represents your old self or your old nature, and the contamination represents your sinfulness.

Just as the farmer only had one well to go to, and wasn’t aware of the contamination, so we had only one character to draw on, and it was contaminated. And just as the farmer and his family were headed for an early grave, so we were headed for an eternal grave.

One day a man from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came and tested the farmer’s well, and he alerted the farmer to the contamination.

Of course, the farmer immediately stopped using his well, but he still needed water. He consulted some well-drilling experts and they informed him there was a crystal-clear underground stream on the other side of his property. He sent down another well shaft and sure enough, the water there was perfectly pure.

You will never discover your purpose unless and until you have a complete transformation of your mind!


Concentrate Your Effectiveness – “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”



When God has your ego and when He has cleansed you from evil, then you can walk in fellowship with Him and clearly hear His voice, understand His Word, be aware of His promptings and discern His will!

Once you understand God’s purpose for your life and completely commit to it – you immediately begin to overcome evil with the goodness of God!

God’s goodness is more powerful than the world’s evil.

He calls you to the purpose of bringing His goodness into an evil world.

But you first have to allow Him to conquer the evil with you.

Have you done that?

Will you do that?

Will you do that now?

One of golf's immortal moments came when a Scotchman demonstrated the new game to President Ulysses Grant. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, he took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf and scattered dirt all over the President's beard and surrounding vicinity, while the ball placidly waited on the tee. Again the Scotchman swung, and again he missed. Our President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, "There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in the game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball."

So many professed Christians are missing the ball in the way they live for God - being controlled by their egos and corrupted by the evil within resulting in ineffective living for Christ. Many non-believers wonder what is the purpose of being a Christian.

Are you living on purpose or are you missing the ball?

January 8, 2011

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2
Fitting into God's purpose has great significance for time and eternity!
Step one is to consecrate your ego to God. Let Him become your source of significance. Allow His Word to define your reality and His will to decide your priorities.
The next step after you consecrate the ego is to conquer the evil.
How can you overcome the evil around you if you have not conquered the evil within you? And how can you conquer the evil within you if you yourself are evil? And how can you fit into God's purpose if you are evil? Those are pertinent questions that demand answers.
Romans 12:2 gives the answer - "offer your body as a living sacrifice".
So, how do we truly present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice? In a nutshell, we must die to our prior selves. This concept is wonderfully presented in this anonymous poem…
When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ;

That is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence;

That is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did;

That is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God;

That is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown;

That is dying to self.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances;

That is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart;

That is dying to self.
When you give God your ego and you lay your evil nature on the altar before God, He will know you mean business and will do some serious business in your soul. He can cleanse the self-centeredness and the evil desires out of your heart. When you offer your will to Him and promise to do as He wills things will change for the better! God, through the blood of Jesus and by the fullness of the Spirit will cleanse you from sin!
Have you died to self? Are you a living sacrifice? What are you waiting for? Why not today?