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How to Get the Most Out of Life
Today, we’re talking about how to enjoy life and it’s okay to eat in church. So you can go ahead, literally, you can do that. You can eat yours. If your neighbor’s not eating theirs, you can eat theirs. And I don’t know how many of you like chocolate. Just by a show of hands, like chocolate? All right, how many of you really like chocolate? Show of hands. How many of you are like, I-would-eat-your-piece-right-now-if-I-could-have-it, like chocolate? All right, good. So we got some chocoholics in here. I know that sometimes you don’t like chocolate, but go ahead and feel free to enjoy your little piece here as today, we are talking about how to get the most of out of life. And I hope you enjoy this. It’s kind of just enough. Like, you know I’m a pretty good guy, this is a pretty guy and so this is kind of like just enough. I mean, I almost wish this was—were a little bigger. How many of you would say, I wish this piece of chocolate were a little bit bigger? Yeah, I wish it was a little bigger. Because you know, there’s kind of this sense that when you enjoy something that it’s just enough. Have you ever had an experience like that? You go have a really good meal and you say it’s, just enough. Oh, it was just the right amount of food. How about this? Have you ever gone to have something to eat and you say it’s too much? Oh man, I just—I just had too much. I mean, I just felt stuffed. Well, this idea of living your life with just the right amount of enjoyment is what I want to talk about today.
You see, there is a—there is like a level of enjoyment in your life. There is a range of enjoyment but if you get out of that range, you can have too little enjoyment in life but you can actually get to the point where you have too much enjoyment in life. I don’t know if this is enough for you or not. Maybe you need a little bit more to get into your maximum enjoyment range but you know, you could also have, well, maybe too much. You know one of the marks of maturity is knowing exactly how much to enjoy. How do you enjoy? I mean, what’s the balance between this and this? And you know, immature people, they tend to go too far. As a matter of fact, I have a little bulldog at home and he lives in our kitchen most of the time and he would literally eat himself sick if he could. But you know, and then once he gets sick, he’ll just keep on eating. I mean, that’s just the way dogs do this kind of thing. But that’s the way it works. And sometimes, you have to learn how to bring that balance and bring some maturity in your life to what you want to enjoy. Now here’s the deal. On the side of excessive enjoyment, philosophically, that’s called hedonism. Have you ever heard of that word, hedonism? Now, a lot of you are familiar with the Club Med hedonism. You’ve probably been down there some time or another. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the philosophical idea of hedonism. And many people think that is a modern invention. That maybe, in our post modern day, we invented hedonism. But actually, this goes way back in time. As a matter of fact, the Bible actually talks about some folks who were involved in hedonism.
If you find your outline, you’ll see the very first verse in your outline from Isaiah, Chapter 22, the prophet, Isaiah is talking to some folks who had bought into this secular hedonism philosophy. Now, I want you to get that term, secular hedonism. It is when you enjoy something to excess. In other words, you go too far in your enjoyment of something. And we’ll talk about that in a second but notice what the verse says. It says let’s eat, drink and be merry, you say. What’s the difference? For tomorrow, we die. Did you know that phrase was actually in the Bible? You’ve probably heard that all of your life? Eat, drink and be merry. For tomorrow, we die. I thought Shakespeare said that. I had no idea that this was actually in the scripture. But this was actually—the people in those days, they were practicing what might best be described as secular hedonism, rather. And it is when you take pleasure too far. Now, you are wired to experience pleasure. When God created you, he created you to experience pleasure. You have nerve endings in your body that bring pleasure to your body. You have taste buds on your tongue. You have receptacles in your eyes that bring pleasure to your body. You’re created to enjoy pleasure. But if you go too far, if you go over into this area that I’m calling secular hedonism, you get outside of the range of pleasure and you actually get into the area of discomfort. Have you ever done something so long that it becomes discomfort? I mean, if you had to eat this 5 lb chocolate bar, at first, the first few bites may taste really pleasurable but eventually, your taste buds would become numb and you would move out of enjoyment and you would move into discomfort. Maybe you’ve had something else like that in life. As a matter of fact, even when it comes to your senses, with your eyes, something that you may enjoy for a little while, if you stay on that for too long, it moves into the area of discomfort. So it is. You see, God created you to live in this realm of enjoyment where you receive maximum pleasure but you don’t move into the area of discomfort. Now, I call this Christian hedonism. And God says that if you live within his range of enjoyment, that you should be able to enjoy all the great things in life. For example, God says that you can enjoy food, just enjoy that in moderation. And your body is created so that you just—if you enjoy most anything, you can enjoy any type of food you want, in moderation. As long as you stay in that range. God says that you can enjoy sex. What’s the range of sex? God wants you to have maximum enjoyment in that area inside of marriage. That’s the range he created it. So in all of your life, what you’re trying to do is move out of immaturity and move into this level of maturity where you understand the enjoyment God created you to have. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about how do you discover the range of enjoyment so that you can get the most out of life. And listen, God wants you to enjoy life. As a matter of fact, our key verse for this entire series that we’re actually wrapping up today, has been Jeremiah, Chapter 29:11. For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. What kind of plans does God have for you? God has good plans for you. God has plans to prosper you. Another way you could translate that is plans for you to enjoy. God wants you to enjoy this life. But sometimes, we get outside the range of enjoyment and we move into this area of discomfort. And many of you have thought that it’s not right for Christians to enjoy life. Some of us have bought into this weird view of God that says, God doesn’t want us to enjoy anything in life. And so not only do we not buy into this range of enjoyment that I’m talking about, we believe that it’s not even possible for Christians to enjoy life. And thus, we settle for a life that is less than what God created us to live. Well, today, I want you to rediscover Christian hedonism. And I want you to learn how to live your life in a way that you can have maximum enjoyment. To learn to live in the range of enjoyment that God created you for.
Now, I’ve given you a little philosophy lesson on hedonism. Let me give you a little theology lesson on creationism. And you know the story in the Old Testament book of Genesis is about how God created humans. And the first man that was created was Adam and the first woman that was created was Eve and God placed them in a garden and it was really a Garden of Eden. I mean, it was a place of pleasure. They were in the zone of pleasure everyday and every minute of their life when they were in the garden. But God put a limit on that. And he said, if you want to move out of this area of pleasure, into this area of discomfort, then go ahead and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Well, humans, like always, tend to push themselves toward excessiveness and so they eventually did eat of the tree of the garden of good and evil—in the garden of good—they ate of the tree of good and evil and they were removed from the garden. And we, you and I, live metaphorically, today, outside of the garden. We no longer live in the zone every minute, every hour, everyday of our life in the zone of pleasure that God created us to live in, this zone of enjoyment—for those of you who feel a little uncomfortable with the word pleasure—we no longer live there everyday of our lives. We’re outside of the garden. And so it’s easy for us to live less than what God wants for us. It’s easier for us to fall over into this zone of secular hedonism and get more and achieve the discomfort that God doesn’t us to experience. But did you know that it is possible even living outside the garden, to live all of your life in the zone? To live in this area where you get the maximum pleasure that God has for you. As a matter of fact, many of the commands of scripture are put in scripture to push you back into that zone.
You see, we get over here into this comfort. We get over into settling for less than something but a lot of the commands of scripture are there so that you can stay in that zone. Why? Because God has good plans for you. God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Not to get something less. Not to move into the area of discomfort. As a matter of fact, one of those commands is found in the book of Nehemiah. Now, you may be familiar with the Ten Commandments. I’m actually going to use a couple of those a little bit later in the message today but let me give you another commandment. And this is a commandment just as—all the Ten Commandments are commandments. Notice what it says in the book of Nehemiah. The prophet, Nehemiah, says to the people of God, go celebrate and enjoy life. Isn’t that an interesting command? You say, finally, a commandment I could fulfill. Go, celebrate. You know what the better translation of that would be? Go have a party! Live life to the fullest! Well, how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to make some rediscoveries. You see, outside the garden, to go back to my metaphor from Genesis, when you’re outside the garden, you have to look a little harder to find the zone. When you’re in the garden, the zone is all around you. You can’t get away from it. But outside the garden, you’ve got to look a little harder to find it. Well, today, I want to challenge you to make three rediscoveries. And in just a minute, I’m going to come back and talk about these three rediscoveries that you have to make so that you can live your life in this zone of enjoyment that God has for you. Before we get to all that, will you bow your heads with me?
Father, we get so confused sometimes. And sometimes, we miss out on the good stuff that you have for us. And so today, as we talk about this idea of rediscovering what you created us to experience, how we can live our lives with pleasure and how we can live our lives with maximum enjoyment. God, it’s a new way of thinking for some of us. So open up our hearts, open up our minds. And help us to be the people that you created us to be. Now, as our worship team guides us in this time, may you just use these songs and use this focus on you to help us to learn from you. We pray, in Jesus name. Amen.
So God wants you life your life in this zone. He wants you to live your life in a place where you can have maximum enjoyment. In order to do that, there are these three rediscoveries that you need to make. They’re not new discoveries. They’re things that have been around. Adam and Eve actually experienced these in the garden but you and I have to rediscover those. Let’s talk about it. Here’s number one.
How do you get the most out of life? Number one, rediscover the meaning of work. You say, work? I thought we were talking about enjoyment. Well, God created you to work and God created you to get enjoyment out of work and this is such an important rediscovery for you to make because you’re gonna spend so much of your time at work. And you know, if we add it all up, most of us spend the majority of our lives at work and we’re doing this stuff. So how do we rediscover meaning in that? Well, this is the anecdote to boredom. You see, one of the reasons God created you to work is so that you would not get bored in this life. Humans are created to do. I know we talk about being human beings but another better word for that would be human doings. I mean, we have to be active. We have to do something in order to discover significance. This is the way God wired us. It’s this way in this life. It’s also this way in the next life. Now, I saw an article, a study actually in Tuesday’s USA Today--a little snapshot that caught my eye. They ask how Americans feel about work. Let’s see where you stand. Fifty-one percent of Americans said they only go to work so that they can impress their family or their friends because they want to give the impression that they’re doing well. I don’t know. Maybe you’ve got family and friends a long way—a long ways away and so being here in New York, it looks good to have a job here. Forty-one percent said they would never work again if they won the lottery. I say, you don’t know if you don’t play. Next is—we’re not proponents of the lottery. Okay? Just so you’re clear. Next, 37% said that they want to get out of their current job and start their own business. I meet people a lot of times who leave their current job, they start their own business, then they don’t like their new boss. But that’s a different issue. Twenty-seven percent said they’re only in their current job for the money. And 22% describe themselves as workaholics. I don’t know where you are along the way of this continuum with work but did you know that God created you to enjoy your work? God created you to discover significance through your work. I’m talking about all kinds of work. Not just the kind that’s limited to 9 to 5. Not just professional work. God wants you to enjoy your professional work. He also wants you to enjoy your avocation, if you will. He wants you to enjoy the work of being a parent. He wants you to enjoy the work of being an artist. He wants you to enjoy the whole spectrum of what it means to work in our day. And you know, every once in a while, you’ll get a glimpse of the type of significance God wants you to enjoy. For example, have you ever had one of those periods at work where you might say, I’m in the zone? I mean, things were going so well. Things were going so smooth. You felt like you were, you know, kicking on all cylinders in work? I had a day like this not too long ago. I mean, it started very early in the morning and I was a little groggy, you know, getting up way early. But man, the next thing I knew, it was 3:00 and then I turned around and then it’s 8:00 and I’m like, where did this day go? But there was just so much joy in that, so much enjoyment, so much satisfaction because I was living that. And you see, every once in a while, God will give us those little earthly moments so that we can experience what he wants us to experience on a full-time basis. Now, here at The Journey, I have the privilege of working with a great staff. You’ve obviously gotten to meet many of them and I enjoy working with a great staff at The Journey but the thing about our staff is there’s not that many of us and we have to work really hard because our church is growing and there’s a lot of stuff going and so it’s pretty normal for us to put in 70 to 85 hours a week and at that particular pace, obviously, sometimes, there’s difficulties, sometimes maybe you get on each other’s nerves or whatever. But in the midst of all of that, what I’ve noticed about our staff is there’s still this underlying enjoyment of what they do. And some of you say, well, I can certainly understand that because you guys work for a church. What you’re doing is very tangible. Well, that ma be true but let me give you this principal. You see, when God says he wants you to enjoy work, He doesn’t want you to change who you’re working with or He doesn’t want you to change where you work. Instead, He wants you to change who you’re working for. And so anybody can find enjoyment in their work regardless of their place of employment if they do their work for God and not for something less. And you see, some of us live to impress others. Some of us live to increase our salary or to get a pay raise or whatever. But God says that’s not the path to true enjoyment. True enjoyment in work is found when you do your work in a way that brings honor to God and you do your work to serve others and serve God through your work. Let me explain.
Look at the next verse in your outline. Colossians, Chapter 3:23. There’s several things in this verse that I want you to get. God says, in all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you are doing it for the Lord, not for people. Now, there’s a couple of things in this verse about rediscovering meaning in your work. Number one, if you want to rediscover meaning in your work, first of all, you got to work. So it says in the work that you do. So you got to have something to do. You got to have somewhere to work—whatever that work might be. Secondly, you’ve got to do your work with excellence. In other words, don’t settle for mediocrity. Excellence honors God. You say, well, I don’t know if the work that I’m actually doing brings honor to God. If you do it well, it does. You say, well, I just crunch numbers all day. But if you crunch numbers to the best of your ability, that brings honor to God. You say, well, I’m making sales calls all day and I’m not even sure I believe in the product I’m selling, but it’s selling. But if you do that the best that you can, that brings honor to God. And then what do you do? Notice the last part of that verse. You work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. So what do you do? You turn your market place into a ministry place. You say, wait a minute, Nelson, you work for a church. Of course, you’re involved in ministry. I am. I’m involved in ministry but so are you. You see, the Bible says that all Christians are involved in ministry. The word ministry simply means to serve. It means to serve others. How do I serve others? I serve others by going to my job at the church. How do you serve others? You serve others by going to your office in midtown, by going to your office on Wall Street, by going to the theatre and doing the best that you can—wherever you go to work, whatever it is, if you go with the attitude that I am going to serve others, you will find that serving others is the path to significance in work. Now this is just one element in what I want to talk about today but about a year ago, I did an entire message on this around the question, what should I do with my life? And we have that CD available at the resource table and we’re giving it to you today absolutely free. And many of you have found this helpful so we have additional copies. And if you want to learn more about this idea of how do you turn your place of business into a place of ministry, then I want to encourage you to pick up that CD because this change of mind is the key to making this rediscovery. And you know, some of you have great opportunities right where you are to honor God with your work. And one of the reasons God wants us to learn to do this now is because we’re gonna be working for all eternity. So you say, well, in my current job, that sounds really bad. But heaven is a place where you will work and find deep meaning. As a matter of fact, in two weeks, in this new series that we’re kicking off next week, Summer Quest, I’m doing a message called What Happens After I Die? And so I’ve been surveying different people in our church to get their questions that they have about death and about the afterlife and about heaven and one of the most common questions that I’ve gotten about heaven is, what do we do in heaven? And a lot of people have thought heaven is boring and I’m going to deal with that in a couple of weeks. But one of the things that you’re going to do in heaven is you’re going to have significant work that brings maximum fulfillment because you’re going to live in the zone completely. No opportunity to get beneath the zone for something less or no opportunity to fall over into secular hedonism where you experience discomfort. And we’ll talk about that in a few weeks.
But this idea of working in the zone is so important. And you see, when you are not working in that zone, you will experience something less than God has for you. And in our society where we start thinking about retirement at age 25, which I’m all for saving for retirement, but some people live their life just to get to retirement. Others, I’ve noticed, get outside the zone because they fall over into the early part of the equation and they live their life with slothfulness. That’s an old world that we ought to bring back, slothfulness. It means to be lazy. It means just to do the minimum that you have to do to get by. It means to try to arrange your life so that you don’t have to work. And some of you are driven by that. Some of you don’t see work as ministry and so it’s the minimum you can get by and it’s all about rest, rest, rest or all about me doing whatever I want to do. But that actually gets you outside the zone. Another way that some of you get outside the zone is on the extreme opposite end of the equation and this is the one I deal with and that’s workaholism. That is that somehow, inside of you, you find some kind of significance through putting in more hours and through doing more work. Now that may be driven in some ways because you really enjoy what you’re doing. It may be driven in other ways because you’re trying to overcome your past or you’re trying to overcome some self-esteem-type issue. But we fall into workaholism. Well, as you might imagine, God gives us some clear direction about how do we stay in the zone. And God saw work as being so important that he actually put work in the top ten, the Ten Commandments. And I put the Commandment that relates to work in your outline, Exodus 20. A lot of people read this and they think this is a Commandment about the Sabbath but it’s actually a Commandment about how you spend the rest of your week. Notice what it says. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the Lord, your God. I want you to see this as one of the Ten Commandments for work. What is it saying? It’s saying six days, work your best, work your hardest, honor God with what you do. See it as ministry. Focus on serving God by serving others and then balance that with one day that you set aside that’s dependent on your relationship with God and to maintain the relationship with your closest family members, either your natural family or your spiritual family—and I’ll explain that in a second. But this is important. The Six in One Principal. Now some of you are in a place in your life where you have the opportunity to set a day apart for God but you’re not. And so I want to challenge you to do that. I want to challenge you to start living your life with the Sabbath, taking a day off. I had to learn how to do this. As a matter of a fact, up until about two years ago, I had totally violated this principal except maybe once every, you know, eight or nine months I would do something like that. But I’ve had to learn in this area. And I’ve had to teach our staff to learn in this area. Our staff are such hard chargers that I have to actually hold them accountable for taking a day off. But it’s important because it’s a biblical principal, the Six in One Principal. Six days you work, one day off. Now, I realize there’s also a lot of other people in our church that you’re not in a position where you can take a day off because of the stage of life that you’re in. In your particular job or your particular place of performance or whatever requires seven day a week. So yours is a very difficult task. You have to learn how to carve out a Sabbath in the routine of seven days of work. And you can do that by making sure you spend your time with God in the morning. You can do that by saying, no to some good things so that you can say yes to some better things, like at the end of your day, maybe you have to choose to rest instead of pushing yourself to go to the next event or to the next party or whatever. So you have to carve that out. But the goal is life is to push forward so that you bring balance to this for maximum enjoyment in your work. So make the decision to rediscover the meaning of your work. One of your next steps today is to decide to do my work as if I’m doing it for the Lord. And that’s where it starts. That’s the first step of rediscovery in the--
You spend the majority of time with work and then you spend all of your time with this next one around other people and that’s why number two is to rediscover community with others, to rediscover community with others. God created you to be around people. And this particular rediscovery is the antidote to loneliness. You see, you were created for community. As a matter of fact, in the early days of creation, God said this to Adam before Eve was created. He said, it isn’t good for man to be alone. I will make a companion for him. What is God saying? God’s saying that it’s not—we’re not created to live our lives isolated from other people. Instead, we’re created to be in community with other people. Community is simply being around other people. It’s having friendships and relationships with other people. But many of us, from time to time, experience the discomfort of loneliness. Because we get outside of the zone of community and loneliness is at epidemic proportions in our city and also in our church. And when you feel this loneliness, what that is God equipping you to long for community, to rediscover community. Now, loneliness is not a sin. Some people have made it into a sin. Loneliness is not a sin but loneliness is not the natural state that God desires for you. We see, throughout the Bible, actually people who had bouts of loneliness. The great prophet, Elijah, had terrible bouts with loneliness. Even the great apostle Paul knew the pain of loneliness. In one of his books in the New Testament, he talks about loneliness that he felt from going through transition or separation, opposition and rejection. And we all know about these issues of loneliness. Now, back in our Desperate Sex Lives series, I did an entire message on loneliness and I would encourage you to pick that up, again, we have that for free at the resource table as part of this. But I want you to understand today, God’s solution for loneliness. It’s a very interesting verse from the Psalms. Psalm, Chapter 68, verse 6, notice what it says. God places the lonely in families. In families. Now, some of you may be hundreds of miles, if not thousands of miles away from your family. So you need to understand that there are two types of families that God has created for you.
One, God has created you to be a part of a natural family. And that is your mom, your dad, your brothers, and sisters, whatever with step or in-laws or whatever it might be in our particular case. These would be considered your natural family. And one of the big ten, God says to honor your father and mother, so he puts a high priority on this natural family. But sometimes you can’t be with your natural family. In our day, we travel around the world and we work in different cities and our parents are different places or siblings are long distances away so God had a solution for that. And that’s why God created a spiritual family for you. And the theological term for a spiritual family is the word church. And so God gathers his people in churches as the antidote to the loneliness that we may feel from time to time. Now, you really need both. You need a natural family and you need a supernatural family or a spiritual family. And so today, as you look around this room, you can just consider this your extended family. And so everybody in here is extended family. The early church took this so literally, they actually called one another brothers and sisters in Christ. And so you’ve got plenty of family around you. Now, at The Journey, we come together as one big family on Sunday but actually this is almost too big for us to get to know people. You may make some slight relationships, maybe make some connections in here but you have to go beyond this so that you can make some deeper connections. So that you can make deeper friendships. That’s why we challenge you to take the step of membership so that you can actually commit and join and be around other members in the family. That’s why we offer playgroups. And a lot of you were out at different playgroups we had this past week and we went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Friday night. There’s other playgroups that are coming up every week. And that’s just where groups get together and they just had fun and out of that, maybe community happens, maybe friendships will happen. We’re in the middle now of our summer growth group season. We’ve got these groups of 8 to 12 meeting all around the city. And they meet to study the Bible and to make friends and to fellowship and pray for one another. And in September, we’re going to be rolling out our growth groups for the fall and so many of you can get involved in that. And look, my natural state, as a person, is to be a little introverted. Okay, I’m actually a lot introverted. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just when I get around a lot of people, I start feeling really uncomfortable. And that’s weird, I know because I stand up and speak in front of a lot of people but put me in a small group, I’ll feel a little uncomfortable. I tend to pull within myself. And what I find is when I do this, I fall into this unnatural state of loneliness. And so what do I have to do? I have to put myself in a place where I can be around people. And while at the beginning, I may have to push myself to go, once I get there, I realize this is what I was created for and that’s how I’ve gotten to know many of you through those friendships. And so I want to challenge you to do this. You see, you can deal with a lot of hardships and obstacles in your life if you have people who love and support you. In fact, you can handle almost anything if you have a community of people around you to help you. And the early church understood this. Notice Acts, Chapter 2, what the early spiritual family modeled. All the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other.
So here’s rediscovery number three. Not only must you rediscover your community with others and rediscover the meaning of work, but number three, you must rediscover friendship with God. Rediscover friendship with God. This is the antidote to eternal separation. You see, in the garden, before Adam and Eve were removed from the garden, they had an ongoing friendship with God but once they were removed from the garden and in the metaphor of living outside the garden where you and live today, we have to rediscover the friendship with God. You see, outside of the garden, God no longer walks with us. God no longer comes and has this ongoing relationship with us. Instead, we have to discover the path to friendship with God. Now, this is important because I want you to understand, God has already done everything possible for you to have this friendship with Him. God so desires to have this friendship with you that He went to great lengths so that you could discover it. But look at one verse, II Corinthians 520, in your notes, it says become friends with God. He’s already a friend with you. God’s already a friend with you. You see, God’s friendship with you is not changed but because we have turned our back on God, because we have committed sin, then we have rediscover the path to friendship with God. We have to be forgiven of our sins. God wants to be our friend so God provides our forgiveness. How? He provides forgiveness through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God’s plan for you to experience friendship with Him now and for all eternity. And what does it mean to be friends with God? Well, it means to be a student of God’s Word, to study the Bible like we’re doing today. It means to have a developing prayer life so that you can talk to God and learn how to talk to God as natural as you talk to another person. It means to set aside time to get to know God and learn more about God. We’re doing that today. You do that through groups. You do this through interaction with other people. And it means, first of all, to make the decision to become a follow of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the pathway to friendship with God. Notice what Jesus said in Revelation 3:20. Jesus said, look, here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal as friends. Listen, a friendship with God is not as mystical as many have made it out to be. Although from time to time, it might have mystical or spiritual moments. A friendship with God is the most natural thing in the world. You were created for it. You know, maybe you have some good, earthly friends. My wife, Kelly and I, we recently had some friends we’d been separated with for a number of years, come to visit us here in town. And they stayed with us and you know when friends come and they stay around, that can be both a blessing and a curse. And you know, that’s how it works. But in this case, it was a really good thing because as we spent time with them in the city and we hung around them, we immediately just picked up where we left it a few years ago. I mean, it was just so natural. I didn’t have to pretend. I didn’t have to use my best manners, you know? I didn’t have to be all that. I mean, I just had to be me around them and they loved me and I love them and we just had this great time together during those days that they were in town. And I thought about that. This is the type of friendship God wants to have with you. When you come to God and you open your life to a relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ, you don’t have to pretend to be somebody else. You don’t have to get everything straightened out. You don’t have put your best foot forward. You can just be who you are and you can discover this friendship with God. Adam, the first man way back in the garden, he experienced that. God spent time with him everyday and God shared his wisdom and his plan and his blessings with Adam and that same relationship is available to you when you rediscover friendship with God. You know, today, we’re closing this book on this eight-part and we’re moving onto a brand new series that I’m very excited about. But this last eight weeks has been pretty amazing because we’ve had so many people every week rediscover friendship with God. Many of those will be baptized at our beach baptism this coming Saturday but it seems like every week, there’s been 9, 10, some weeks even 15 or 16 people that have rediscovered friendship with God. Maybe you’ve been thinking about this throughout this series or maybe you just came today. But whatever it is, you can open your life up to a friendship with God by saying yes to a relationship with Jesus Christ. And I hope you’ll let us know that you’re doing that just by marking the next step that says, today, I am discovering friendship with God by deciding to follow Jesus for the first time. In just a minute, I’m going to give you a chance to fill out this card and mark those steps today.
But just to give you the bottom line here as we wrap up this message, the bottom line on how to enjoy life is found in our memory verse. I gave you an easy memory verse here at the end of this eight-week study. I Corinthians, Chapter 10, verse 31, it’s up on the screen, it’s in your notes, let’s read this out loud together as we wrap up this series and this message. Whatever you do, do it all for the glory for God. Let’s just read it one more time. Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. That’s what this is about, of enjoying life. Would you bow your heads with me? Father, we want to thank you that you want us to enjoy life. God, this life, although sometimes it’s a struggle and sometimes, there’s difficulties and we have work issues and relationship issues and sometimes we even have issues about our relationship with you. But God that’s not where you want us to live. God, you give us the choice to live apart from you but you also give us the choice to rediscover the zone of enjoyment where we can find meaning in our work and community with others and friendship with you. And God, help us to rediscover that today. Help us to make the decisions that put us in this zone of blessing, this zone of enjoyment. We pray all of this together. In Jesus name. Amen.
This sermon transcript is a free resource provided by Nelson Searcy and Church Leader Insights. For other resources visit www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com.
Nelson Searcy is the founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church in New York City. The Journey is an innovative, multi-cultural, multi-site church in Manhattan and Jersey City. The Journey is one of the fastest growing churches in the United States and was recognized by Outreach Magazine in 2006 as one of the Top 25 Innovated Churches in America. The church is recognized for its creativity, media and relevant approach to life changing teaching. Nelson is also the founder of www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com - a website devoted to resourcing pastors and church leaders.