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Summary: This is a "State of the Church" address encouraging listeners to attend church often and be a "culture carrier."

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INTRO:

* 2007 has been an event-filled year

* Technology continues to improve -- with the iphone

* Home foreclosures are at an all time high

* Global warming has gotten more attention

o As Al Gore got his place in the spotlight again

* Problems in the middle east continue to cause stress & unrest

* Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton prove fame and fortune don't equal peace and happiness

* Gas prices hit an all-time high

* Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's all time home run record

* While we've heard more about steroids than we would ever want to know

* We've seen referees, coaches and athletes caught cheating

* Again, we've witnessed shootings in malls and campuses.

* Some high profile Christians died - like

o James Kennedy

o Rex Humbard

o Jerry Falwell

o Ruth Bell Graham

o Tammy Faye Bakker

* And the Hubbard's moved to Washington

* But that was then and this is now

As we enter the year 2008

-I want it to be the "BEST ONE EVER"

-If it's going to be

* We must Get Into The Zone

-When you are in the Zone

...you're hitting on all cylinders

...The zone is where you're at your best

 Sports

 Business

 Ministry

 Etc.

-Being IN The Zone generates positive momentum

-It happens on the:

 Golf Course

 Board Room

 Money

 Marriage

 Relationships

 Spiritually

-The Zone is what you're focused in

-You're scoring points

-Life is at its BEST!

-The opposite is also true

When you are NOT In The Zone

It seems everything goes wrong.

 Relationships struggle

 Vision is blurred

 Life is a chore

 No fruit -- No success

-I want us as a church to Get In The Zone!

-2 Primary ways:

1) Be a Culture Carrier

1. Forward Thinking

2. Supernatural Without Weirdness

3. Promptness

4. Acceptance/Not Always Agreement

5. Participation

6. Order

7. Increase With Integrity

8. Generationally Minded

9. Identifiable Leadership

10. Generosity

11. The Method Isn't Sacred/The Message Is

12. Grace

2) Throw away ALL excuses

TEXT: Luke 14:16-22

16. Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now ready.' 18. "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' 19. "Another said, `I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' 20. "Still another said, `I just got married, so I can't come.' 21. "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, `Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' 22. "`Sir,' the servant said, `what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'

An Insurance company published a list of the most abused excuses used in reporting auto accidents...

1. An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.


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