Summary: From Excusing to Choosing Series: Moving Forward: The Choices that Free Us January 6, 2018 – Brad Bailey

From Excusing to Choosing

Series: Moving Forward: The Choices that Free Us

January 6, 2018 – Brad Bailey


Welcome to a new year. I believe God created us to enjoy life with seasons…and that which would make time…such as a year. The start of a new year stirs the desire for change. I think everyone has a desire for change…but in truth…it’s usually change around us…changes in our circumstances…more than change within us… that involves us.

The story that captures this so well…is the one that is central to the history of God’s people. It is what is usually referred to as the Exodus.

It’s often said to be the story that depicts everyone’s story…for it is the journey from being enslaved to that of entering a promised land.

We read in the Biblical Book of Deuteronomy how Israel had the distance that the people of Israel had between their freedoms from Egypt to the land God had promised as an 11 day journey…but they had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. And then …

Deuteronomy 1:6-8 (NLT)

“The LORD our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. … Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it...”

I wonder if the Lord has a similar word for some of us.

You have stayed at this mountain long enough.

It is time to break camp and move on.

You’ve stayed at that mountain long enough…in other words… don; let what is ‘temporary’ become ‘permanent’.

There is a promised land…and you are not there yet.

There is a plan to bless the whole world. And we are not settled there yet.

It’s a call to move forward.

When a little life is learning to walk… a parent will hold them up… pointed forward…and help them develop their walking legs.

It’s funny to watch.

Two elements… face forward…and take steps.

And this begins a life that is moving forward.

As basic as it may seem as we grow older… I wonder if as spiritual beings… we lose this basic aspect of life.

I wonder if we are really moving forward … taking steps forward.

I wonder if some of us aren’t more like the baby who sits down…. And waits.

I wonder what God sees when he looks at me.

Today we are going to begin a focus…for the 4 Sundays of this January month… on “Moving Forward”…and the choices that free us.

Most of us want to move forward. We sense there is more potential than we have reached yet…more that God wants us to become. We may have moments of quietly declaring it’s time to change… but we often find that we are stuck…and we just don’t move forward as we had felt so determined to do.

In this series we will engage the choices that can free us to move forward. We will confront the underlying issues of blaming, comparing, fearing, and controlling.

We will allow God to speak to these forces as He leads us in moving forward.

God created life with movement…God is constantly at work… redeeming life…and that includes us. [1]

We might ask: What about rest? Aren’t we told to stop and reflect?

Absolutely. But rest and restoration is about perspective for the movement we are a part of. God created rest…and calls for rest…but it was to help prepares us for working with perspective.

When a team has a half time…they don’t head home… or take a nap…it’s all about preparing for the next half. Spectators may just grab a hot dog and beer…but the players are resting and renewing their perspective for the rest of the game. And that’s what I hope we do as we stop and gather every week …and especially as we prepare for a new year.

Ultimately…we need to hear the calling about what is ahead…about moving forward.

Job… in the Old Testament…says…

“The righteous keep moving forward…” Job 17:9 (NLT)

Jesus called all to “follow him.” That means moving forward …into what is new…a new life with God. He wants us to be sowing… and even says…

Luke 9:62 (AMP)

Jesus said … “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back to the things behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

The Apostle Paul realized the freedom…and the power to choose to move forward. He had been a religious leader who had thought he could he could rest on his past good works. When he realized that Jesus had come to bear his sins and lead the way to become a truly good and right person….he declared…

Philippians 3:13-16; 4:13 (CEV)

My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed. …. Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

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