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Summary: ?” People with a great life purpose reach forward with great expectations. Here’s the good news: God is able to abundantly exceed all that we ask or think. Said another way: your expectations will never be so great that God is not able to more than meet

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Great Expectations

Numbers 13: 1-3, 17-33; Philippians 2:12

In the United States right now, the average life expectancy is 76 years old. So write down 76, and subtract your age. How many years do you have left? I freaked when I discovered I have only 29 years left! Some of you are in the lagniappe years, if you know what I mean. Now, here's the question: what are your expectations for your remaining years? Why is that important? Michael Jordan said, “You have to expect things of yourselves before you can do them.” You reap your expectations. Earl Nightingale writes, “We tend to live up to our expectations.” So in your remaining years, are you going to claim the purpose and life God created you for?” People with a great life purpose reach forward with great expectations. Here’s the good news: God is able to abundantly exceed all that we ask or think. Said another way: your expectations will never be so great that God is not able to more than meet them.”

The Israelites knew about expectations. For 40 years they had been wandering in the wilderness hearing about the “land of milk and honey.” It’s what carried them through the long journey. And for 40 years, their expectations of what life would be like had been growing. When they finally arrived, they were hesitant to cross over. Fears and worries flooded their minds. And isn’t that the way it often is for us? We hear the call and we may look forward with great excitement and anticipation to something new, allowing our expectations to flourish, but when it comes to actually taking that step, making that move and embracing that decision, then we’re hesitant. Moses knew he needed a vivid picture of where they were headed and what it would be like before the people were ever going to leave what they had known, the wilderness, and move into the unknown, the life that God intended for them. So Moses sent out 12 (we'll call them "spies") ahead of everyone else into the land of promise to scout everything out. And when they came back, their expectations were only heightened by the reports.

There’s another side to expectations as well. God had expectations of the Hebrew people. Many people throughout history have asked why the Hebrews spent 40 years in the wilderness when the journey on foot from Egypt to Israel can be done in less than 2 months. The answer is that God was using that time to shape and form the hearts and spiritual life of the people so that they might be ready to receive the Holy Land and live the life God expected them to live as a “light unto the nations.” The expectation of God for the Hebrews in the wilderness was that they would move forward spiritually. In other words, that they would grow in their faith and trust in God before they ever took on the challenges which awaited them in the Holy Land. And God has the same is expectation of us as well. God expects us to continue to move forward in our spiritual journey as well.

But to be able to get where you’re going, you first have to know where you are. I learned this over Thanksgiving when I was in Atlanta. We used our Garman to get around as we were unfamiliar with the area. Garmans are great because all you do is enter the address of where you want to go. But before it can give you directions, it has to first calculate your location. You can’t get to where you’re going unless you first know where you are. Because if you don’t know where you are, you can’t know how to get there. So where are you spiritually? To begin answer that question, let’s talk about the journey of faith. The Reveal study which has had over 1000 churches and 250,000 people participate has identified four steps in the spiritual journey.

The first is the Exploring Christ.

Characteristics:

- Searching for a reason to believe in God

- They may attend church regularly but have no personal relationship with Jesus

- They intellectually wrestle and struggle with the bedrock beliefs of the faith and often want convincing evidence to believe

- They may attend church but never really develop relationships with other people

- The longer they attend, the less likely they’ll become Christ-followers. In other words, they feel no sense of urgency in making a decision

- They represent approximately 10% of any congregation

The question for each of the four steps of the spiritual journey is: How do you move forward?

Five Most Important Catalysts:

1) Believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

2) Study the foundational beliefs of the faith and wrestle with what you believe

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