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Summary: What are The Keys to Live a Great Life

SAILING @ LIFE

The Secret of Greatness Part 1

Jeremiah 29:11

We’re beginning a new series today called "SAILING @ LIFE." Every single person wants to live a great life. It’s born within us. We may not believe that we’ll live it, and we may be full of feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, but every single person has a desire to achieve greatness.

Now, greatness is more elusive than ever before. It used to be that if you were to be great, the competition was pretty limited. If you wanted to be the best doctor, the best athlete, the best hair cutter in town, you had to compete with a very limited number of people. The lid has been blown off the numbers of people that you need to compete with for greatness. Add to that the explosion of information and the complexity of the modern world, and greatness can seem like an impossible dream.

I’m here to tell you that you can achieve greatness. I believe that God’s intention for your life is that you would lead a life of greatness.

How do I know this? Well, the Bible records the story of a man named John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a great man. Yet Jesus one day turned to his followers and said something absolutely unbelievable. He told them, "I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the most insignificant person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!" (Luke 7:28) Of all the people who had lived up to the time of John the Baptist, no one had fulfilled God’s purpose for man better than John did. And yet Jesus said that the most insignificant person who follows him can live a life even greater than what John the Baptist lived. Today we’re going to look at the secret of greatness.

Why are we doing this? We’re doing it to define what true greatness is. The second reason is so that we can learn what ingredients we need to build into our lives to be SAIL @ LIFE. How can I build a great life? Three keys:

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT STANDARD OF GREATNESS

If you’re going to live a great life, it begins with choosing the right standard of greatness. I’d like you to turn to your neighbor for a second and pick two people that you consider great. Now, I don’t want you to be like the little boy in Sunday school. His teacher asked, "What’s brown and furry and jumps from tree to tree?" The little boy replied, "Well, it sounds like a squirrel, but I know I’m supposed to answer Jesus." Don’t give me the pat answers. Talk to your neighbor for a few seconds and pick two people that you consider to be great.

[DISCUSSION]

Now whom did you pick? You may have picked a personal hero from the past such as Albert Einstein or Winston Churchill. You may have picked somebody famous today such as Vince Carter or Pinball Clemens - a man who’s respected both on field and off. Or, you may have picked someone who has given their life to help other people such as Mother Theresa. There are many types of people that we think of when we think of greatness.

The Bible teaches us a lot about what it takes to be great. The first thing that you need to know is that Jesus defines greatness differently than the world does. Jesus said in: Matthew 23:11, "The greatest among you must be a servant." To Jesus, greatness doesn’t come from what you accumulate or accomplish. To Jesus, greatness comes from how much you serve. To be great in Jesus’ eyes you have to be a servant.

The next thing that you need to know is that greatness in God’s eyes isn’t measured outwardly. Greatness in God’s eyes isn’t measured by your accomplishments. Greatness in God’s eyes is measured by the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, "People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions."

I’d like to look at two characters in the Bible who illustrate what it’s like to be great in God’s eyes. Both were extremely successful. They both came from small, insignificant families, and one of them wasn’t even appreciated by his own family. Both were considered to be very handsome. One was called "the most handsome man in Israel" (1 Samuel 9:2), and the other one was described as being ruddy and handsome. Both became the heads of their nation. Both had personal charisma and were followed by the masses. Both looked successful, but only one was great in God’s eyes. Their names were Saul and David.

What made one great and the other not? It certainly wasn’t what they accomplished. Neither one of them were slouches when it came to accomplishments. Depending on the standards you choose, both were very significant individuals. But only one chose God’s standards for greatness. That’s why to this day he is considered to be a great man.

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