Summary: Life will be phenomenal if we dare to encounter the possibilities of what God has planned next.

Title: “Encounter the Possibilities”

Text: Eccl. 9:4-10

Theme: Going all out

Key thought: With God, this could be a phenomonal year if we will dare to encounter the possibilities.

Turn with me to Ecclesiastes chapter 9. With God, this year could be phenomenal if we will dare to encounter the possibilities.

In fact, that phrase, “encounter the possibilites,” is the short tag line that we will use when promoting Word of Life.

It is our vision statement wrapped up in a nutshell.

Over the next couple of months we will be looking at and breaking down each part of the vision that God has placed before us.

Let’s look at it real quick:

Our Mission: to be a community where every individual will have opportunity to encounter the Living God and fulfill the purpose He created them for.

Our Scripture: Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.” (NLT)

Our Values: Relationships, integrity, excellence, servanthood, cultural relevance

Our Initiatives:

• Equip for growth (individual, family, corporate)

• Empower for ministry (each one fulfill God’s purpose)

• Encounter God (Word, Worship, Walk)

• Expand our reach (compassion, community involvement, missions)

• Excellence in all we do (God deserves the best)

Our Tag: …encounter the possibilities…

I firmly believe that this year will be a watershed year for us as we go all out and trust God for what He has.

When I was in Phoenix AZ reaching out in the projects to the children and teens, the area was literally run by the gangs.

People were scared

There were drive-by shootings

drug deals and fights and murders on a regular basis.

And there was something I found in the children and in the teens that ripped me to the very core of my being, they had no hope.

If you were to ask them what their dream was, what they wanted to be when they grew up

They would say, “I don’t know” or “Nothing” or that they just wanted to live long enough to graduate high school. They lived in complete despair.

That is where much of our world is at - living in complete despair. Without hope.

For many, this day is not one of joy and renewed hope, because their hope is lost

The New Year is not exciting and full of celebration, because it means another year has passed and things haven’t changed or have gotten worse.

1. It doesn’t have to be that way because - Praise God, there is hope!

[Eccl. 9:4-10]

As long as there is life, there can be a dream, the anticipation of a new plan, a second chance, there’s love, there’s purpose. In a word - there is hope!

Now if we read the first several chapters of Eccl and even the first verses of this one, we could groan and say, “that’s life! That’s just the way it is!” {sigh} and take a gloomy approach to what Solomon is saying.

Unfortunately, this is what many do.

They take on a pessimistic, jaded, cynical view of people and the world.

Christians may be the worst at this because we focus on the sin and depravity and proclaim the glass is almost empty.

While there is some truth in this, we must learn to see the potential that exists, the possibilities that are before us.

Remember, where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.

We don’t have to look around and see the despair and so become despaired, we can look around and see the despair and say, “Not even this is beyond the power of God.”

And then we roll up our sleeves and begin to do something about it.

Full of hope in the awesome ability of God

Again, look at verse seven - it begins, “Go” He is telling us to read on.

To go on.

Live life. Do something

As a professor of Christian Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Ken Gangel says, “have a blast while you last.”

verse “[7] Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.”

Whenever I have played any sport, football, volleyball, basketball, softball, whatever – I have found it to be much more enjoyable when I was in the game.

No matter how muddy or dusty, it was a blast to play, but not as much fun sitting on the bench watching.

2. Life is not a sentence that God has leveled against us. God is not angry with us.

Too many people picture God as this old man with a long beard and a frown.

He has a club with a big railroad spike driven through it and He’s looking at us - to get us!

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