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Summary: Final message at a church...helping people focus on the future.

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INTRO>In 1985, Michael J. Fox, played the part of teenager Marty McFly, and Christopher Lloyd starred as Dr. Emmit Brown, a weird scientist who invented a time machine placed inside a remodeled DeLourian. Produced by Stephen Spielberg, “Back To the Future,” won the oscars for best effects and best sound editing, but its greatest effect was how it affected our culture and way of thinking.

--The premise of the movie is that everything we do affects the future...and that premise is actually true.

<>Just as what you’ve done in the past has affected where you are now, it is imperative this morning that we understand that everything we do in the days and weeks immediately ahead will impact our future.

--And since it is not possible to freeze time and always remain exactly where we are, what is important is that we know how to make good decisions, and engage in the right kind of actions so as to positively impact the future.

--So, today, even as we look back, I want us to focus our attention to the future...BACK TO THE FUTURE.

I invite you to open a Bible and turn to Philippians 3.

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--Let me say that with today being our last time together as a church, and in an effort to give you time to express your thanks and best wishes today, I’ve changed my approach dramatically in preparing today’s message.

--It will be a message deliberately different from most I’ve preached at Desert Springs...

--->Shorter (please hold down the applause).

--->Simpler.

<>I want it to be easy to remember...because these truths will be not only true for the immediate future as we all make decisions about a new church, etc., but these are truths I hope you will remember for life.

--It’s a message I’ve prepared with one question in mind: If you could only remember one message I preached, what would it be?

Well, here it is...

.........................

<>FOUR SIMPLE TRUTHS TO REMEMBER AS YOU FACE THE FUTURE...

--Using the acrostic, L-I-F-E, here’s what I believe God’s Word teaches us to remember and practice...

<>LEARN from the past, but you can’t live there.

--Ph.3:13-14 -- ”...one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on...”

---ILL>I visited a man in the hospital once and his family was so sad...they had just discovered their grandpa had entered into dementia. How they knew it was because he was “locked in” to the events of 1965, he kept thinking it was 1965, and it was 2005. He kept holding on to things that happened forty years ago...how sad.

---ILL>The same is true, though, when I see a 45-year old lady dressed as a 16-year old would dress...or a 50-year old man in the middle of a mid-age crisis, driving a flashy two-seater red sports car and wearing a toupee, trying to desperately to recapture his “glory days” as a young man.

->You see, it’s important that we keep moving ahead.

--Yes, things will change, but the only thing that doesn’t change is something dead.

--Yes, change is scary, but it’s also necessary, and change can lead to new opportunities to see God up-close and personal.

->The right idea is seen in the apostle Paul’s life...

---Paul had learned a lot and had accomplished a lot in his past.

----He was a student of Gamaliel, a Pharisee of the Pharisees.

----He was a vigilant pursuer and persecutor of believers.

----He was on the “fast track” to becoming the high priest or the leading rabbi in Israel.

->However, after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, everything changed for Paul, and he embraced the change.

->In his letter to the Philippians he explains how he had no desire to live in the past...but to press on to the future.

--Ph.3:13-14 -- ”...one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on...”

APP>In other words, don’t be a demented believer, “stuck” in trying to live in the past over and over again.

-->Your past mistakes?...Let them go!

----Don’t keep beating yourself up for your errors in judgment in the past.

-->But also your past successes...Let them go!

----Don’t keep on trying to re-create something that happened in the past.

->Learn from your past, but don’t try to live there.

<>INVOLVE yourself in serving others.

--Ph.2:4 -- ”do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

--Mk.10:45 -- ”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

->Our mission as believers will always be the same...even when we’re going through a difficult time.

->God has left us down here on earth for the primary purpose of telling others about Jesus, and ministering to people in need.

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