Sermons

Summary: This is the first of a two part message on personal growth. In this first week we focus on why we resist the change growth brings.

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Summer, 2004

Dakota Community Church

Going To The Next Level - 1

Philippians 3: 7-17

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us 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.

There is no standing still in God!

- I cannot coast on last week’s sermon.

- We cannot as a church allow ourselves to bask in the “glory days”, or as a denomination.

- We must press on, we must follow God, and we must continue to grow.

“The road to the next level is always up hill.” – John Maxwell

Many people do not want to press on; they despise the change that growth brings. They complain; “That’s not the way we’ve always done it.”

Illustration:

When I was youth pastoring in Halifax I took a group of teens to St. John for a ministry weekend. On Saturday afternoon I decided to take the kids to the beach for a fun break and I invited the youth pastor from the St. John church to bring his group along on our bus. He refused saying that the church should not support the type of activity where the teens would see members of the opposite sex in modern swimwear. Where does he think these kids are living? If the church does not take them to the beach will they never go there? This is why an entire generation views the church as irrelevant. It is a stick your head in the sand approach to faith. Like the extremist groups in many Arab nations we decide that rather than men dealing with their issues of lust, we should just make all the women wear sleeping bags over their heads. Ludicrous! I hope that shakes you up and makes you angry because that is what Jesus always does to the religious who put their silly rules above reaching people. It is time to change. It is time to grow up. It is time to go to the next level!

A. Why do we want to stay put?

1. We forget the meter is running.

Life is like riding in a taxi, the meter is running whether you are heading to your desired destination or not. Time is this planets only non-renewable resource.

James 4: 13-15

13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that."

- Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have forever.

- Dig up that buried talent and get busy.

- Are you off coarse because of majoring in minors? Trivial pursuits?

Illustration:

On the wall beside my desk I have a 1996 poster size Tim Horton’s Coffee calendar, which I took and had dry mounted, so it would last forever. The picture above the months shows a father wearing a goalie stick and gloves guarding a hockey net that stands in front of the garage door of the family home. The ball is in the net and the son is jumping with arms and stick raised above his head in celebration of the goal. What makes the shot so great however is the garage door itself, which is absolutely covered with marks from where the shots have been fired and missed. This is a scene that father and son have played out over and over again. Above the photo is the Tim Horton’s slogan “You’ve always got time for Tim Horton’s.” As a father of three boys it hangs by my desk as a constant reminder of just what really matters and what I always have time for. (My sons, not the coffee. Well actually both if I’m honest.) Never forget the meter is running. They will never be eight or ten or twelve years old again. Don’t miss it!

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