Summary: This message is meant to encourage believers to have a life completely focused on Jesus.

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Passionate Pursuits

April 18, 2004

Intro: Passionate about things in life: hobbies, sports, work, etc.

Some interesting Passions:

1) International Hedgehog Assoc.

2) Squirrel Fishing

3) Johnny Rockets

Definition of Passion: The object of any strong desire.

Passions come in all shapes and sizes. What one person is passionate about, others could care less about. But Jesus has called us to have a passion above everything else.

“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37

Jesus has called us to be passionate about our relationship with God.

At Countryside, we define this as the first part of our mission statement: “To passionately pursue God”

Have the right focus of your passion.

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who hath began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God.”

Hebrews 12:2 (The Message)

We must continually “lift” Jesus to the place of prominence.

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.” John 3:14

When the nation of Israel had turned from God, venomous snakes came and attacked the people. God instructed Moses to create a snake on a pole that those who were bitten could look up to it and be healed.

When Jesus was placed on the cross, he was lifted up so everyone who turned to him could be healed.

“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:32

By being passionate in our lifting up of Jesus, we not only refresh our hearts, but we point others toward him.

A life devoted to seeking after God is a life of worship.

Worship Defined: intense love or admiration.

NAR: Joy Dorman explaining her new approach to worship

Passionate pursuit of Jesus leads our lives to genuine worship.

Three areas of Passionate Worship:

1) In our hearts:

“Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1

Focus your heart on the eternal not the temporary.

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

II Corinthians 4:18 (New Living Translation)

2: In our minds:

“For as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19

The mind not focused on Jesus is focused on destruction.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

The mind focused on Jesus will focus on things that please Jesus.

3) In our bodies:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.

Romans 12:1

What you believe in your heart and focus on in your mind will determine how you act in your body.

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