Outline, Devotional, Audio and Video available at http://bit.ly/k1NdOV.
Sunday, December 28th, 2008
Dr. Randy Deal
VIDEO: “New Years Resolutions (1:01) Moving Pictures
Isn’t that so true? As we begin to evaluate 2008, we look forward to 2009! How did last year’s resolutions turn out? Great inspiration and great resolutions, even SPIRITUAL RESOLUTIONS, but often times we only DECIDE, and months later we are still on the same limb of do-nothing! We make resolutions we don’t keep, resolutions that are VAGUE, and we wonder why nothing changes.
RANDY: A boy told his father, "Dad, if three frogs were sitting on a limb that hung over a pool, and one frog decided to jump off into the pool, how many frogs would be left on the limb?" The dad replied, "Two." "No," the son replied. "There’s three frogs and one decides to jump, how many are left?" The dad said, "Oh, I get it, if one decides to jump, the others would too. So there are none left." The boy said, "No dad, the answer is three. The frog only DECIDED to jump."
FUN-FACTS ABOUT NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS:
• 40 to 45% of American adults make one or more New Year's resolutions each year.
• 67% make 3 or more resolutions.
• How many maintained as time goes on:
o Past 2 weeks: 71%
o After one month: 64%
o After 6 months: 46%
WHAT ARE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2009? WHAT WILL YOU RESOLVE TO DO NEXT YEAR? SHOUT ‘EM OUT…..
TOP 10 FOR 2009…(and there SO original!?!?!?!)
1. Get Out of Debt
2. Lose Weight and Get in Shape
3. Quit Smoking
4. Spend More Time with Family
5. Get a Raise or Promotion at Work
6. Find a New Job
7. Take a Vacation
8. Help Others
9. Learn Something New
10. Go Back to School
RANDY: I found a few myself…
1. I resolve to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here.
2. I resolve to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
3. I resolve to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.
4. I resolve to not sit in my living room all day in my pajamas. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.
5. I resolve to not bore my boss with the same excuses. I will think of some more excuses.
6. I resolve to do less laundry and use more deodorant.
7. I resolve to avoid taking a bath whenever possible and conserve more water.
8. I resolve to stop sending e-mail, text messages, Instant Messages and be on the phone at the same time with the same person.
9. I resolve to not ring the flight attendant button on airplanes just to get her phone number.
On this last Sunday of 2008, we want to challenge you to MAKE and KEEP, ONE AND ONLY ONE resolution…to RESOLVE to do only ONE thing!
RESOLVE: WHAT IS RESOLVE?
RANDY: ISN’T THAT SOME KIND OF CARPET CLEANER?
Definition: (VERB!) to reach a firm decision about; to declare or decide by a formal resolution; to determine; to BE MINDED; to purpose; to come to KNOW, perceive, realize, expressing the definiteness of the realization and the consequent determination of your course of action.
RANDY: So it’s not just making a resolution or making a decision, RESOLVE happens when there is real change, real transformation.
The Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3, gives us a lot to think about concerning RESOLVE.
TURN WITH ME…Philippians 3:7-16 (NASB) 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
RANDY: From The Message…
7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness. 10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. 12-14 I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. 15-16 So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.
Paul had his priorities right!
Philippians 3:8 (NASB) More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of KNOWING CHRIST JESUS MY LORD, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
ONLY ONE RESOLUTION NEEDED…ONE…IT’S ONLY TWO WORDS! GET YOUR PEN! WRITE THIS DOWN! READY????
RANDY: I RESOLVE TO…KNOW CHRIST!
RANDY: Say it with me…I RESOLVE TO…KNOW CHRIST!
I don’t care if you are merely investigating the Christian life! I don’t care if you are a new believer! I don’t care if you’ve been a Christian for forty years like me! (RANDY: OR 10 YEARS LIKE ME!) THIS is our ONE AND ONLY resolution!
Paul says that his top priority is to KNOW CHRIST! Everything else pales in comparison. Everything else is GARBAGE! RUBBISH! It’s DOG POO! Is that YOUR life resolution? Is that the number one thing in your spiritual journey?
RANDY: Jesus, Himself said…Matthew 6:32b-34a (NASB) for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. BUT SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
RANDY: Sometimes we mis-translate verse 33… “Seek first these things, AND IF YOU HAVE TIME, seek His kingdom and His righteousness.”
RANDY: Hmmm…… What would happen in 2009 if we put God FIRST in every phase of our lives? If we gave Him the FIRST minutes of every day? If we gave Him the FIRST day of every week? If we gave Him the FIRST of our income regularly? What would happen in our lives if ALL we focused on was KNOWING Him? 1. Wanna Get Out of Debt? KNOW CHRIST!
2. Wanna Lose Weight and Get in Shape? KNOW CHRIST!
3. Wanna Quit Smoking? KNOW CHRIST!
4. Wanna Spend More Time with Family? KNOW CHRIST!
5. Wanna Get a Raise or Promotion at Work? KNOW CHRIST!
6. Wanna Find a New Job? KNOW CHRIST!
7. Wanna Take a Vacation? KNOW CHRIST!
8. Wanna Help Others? KNOW CHRIST!
9. Wanna Learn Something New? KNOW CHRIST!
10. Wanna Go Back to School? KNOW CHRIST!
11. Wanna a new MacBook Pro? KNOW CHRIST!
ONCE WE RESOLVE TO KNOW CHRIST, HOW DO WE KEEP THIS RESOLUTION? WHAT’S OUR COURSE OF ACTION?
THE WORLD LIKES TO SAY…
1. Be Realistic: Make an Attainable Goal
2. Resolve Ahead: Don’t Wait until Dec. 31st
3. Focus on One Resolution
4. Back Your Resolution with Strategic Planning
5. Motivate Yourself
6. Make an Open Resolution
7. Avoid Triggers
8. Take up New Passions
9. Monitor your Progress
10. Place Reminders
11. Give Yourself Time
RANDY: Get your son a new MacBook Pro!
Back in Philippians 3…Paul segues into his THREE-FOLD STRATEGY FOR KEEPING OUR RESOLUTION, FOR ENSURING REAL RESOLVE:
1. BE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT YOUR PRESENT!
12 NOT THAT I HAVE ALREADY OBTAINED IT OR HAVE ALREADY BECOME PERFECT,
Paul is saying he is real; he is honest before God and us. Even though he has messed up and stumbled in many areas, he is OPEN-MINDED about his PRESENT condition, his current circumstances. Paul said that he had not arrived yet. He could have compared himself with other people, and if he looked to the left and the right he probably could have come to the conclusion that he had arrived. What a man of faith!!! But Paul didn’t do that. Paul realized that God does not grade on a curve!
RANDY: I understand….Like when I get a test back in school. Some of those tests had ugly grades, like 66. When I would get a test back with that kind of mark, the first thing I would do would be to look to the person on my left and then to the one on my right and see what they made. If they made a 58 or a 42, I felt good. I felt like an A student, like the valedictorian of the class.
RANDY: But, God doesn’t work that way. GOD DOES NOT GRADE ON A CURVE! Be open-minded about your present condition, your PRESENT position, your PRESENT situation, your PRESENT circumstances! Are you trying to fool God? Or are you saying, “Lord, my number one priority is to KNOW You!” ADMIT WHERE YOU ARE! BE HONEST WITH GOD, YOURSELF AND OTHERS!
BE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT YOUR PRESENT!
2. BE CLOSE-MINDED ABOUT YOUR PAST!
Paul was also close-minded about his past. He said, 13 forgetting what lies behind.” Remember Paul had Christians murdered before he became a believer. And Paul forgot about that stuff.
RANDY: Pie Chart Analogy: I was letting football, girls, and other worldly things I could get my hands on begin to define who I was, instead of surrendering to his will and becoming the man that he wants me to be. You see, God is a jealous God and he wants no man or ANYTHING before him. My mistake was idolizing football and making it my God becoming astray from who my God really was and is. Now that I no longer have the opportunity to play football I can surrender my own goals, resolutions, and even plans to the plans of Him. I realized that if I just praise God and let my past mistakes go, then everything else will fall into place. I no longer have to worry about the burdens and responsibilities of the stereotypical teenage drama, instead he takes care of me and carries me through the remaining days of my life. There will be bumps in the road and it will definitely NOT be easy, but just forget about what you were doing and don’t worry about where you are going, it’s all taken care of. I can now write the final pages in the book of my life, and when Satan tries to remind me of my past, I just remind him of his future.
A lot of you are saying this to yourselves. “I can’t make a spiritual resolution. Not me. You don’t realize what I did this last year or who I was last year.” Yes, you can! We serve a God who wants us, because of the grace and mercy and forgiveness of Christ, to be closed-minded about our past. Paul was, how about us?
BE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT YOUR PRESENT!
BE CLOSE-MINDED ABOUT YOUR PAST!
3. BE SINGLE-MINDED ABOUT YOUR FUTURE!
13 but ONE THING I DO…reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul was single-minded about his future. He said, “This ONE thing I do…” Not these forty things I dabble in! Not my TOP TEN! “This ONE thing I do…”
We could talk about the top 10 things and give you 10 resolutions and 10 solutions but we’re simplifying it because things that are simplistic and measurable and focused are things that change our lives and things that change the world.
Real change takes place from the inside out, not from the outside in! We have got to get serious about our ONE SPIRITUAL RESOLUTION…to KNOW CHRIST!
RANDY: WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT OUR FUTURE HOLDS, BUT WE DO KNOW WHO HOLDS OUR FUTURE! You want God to do some mighty things in your life in 2009? You want to understand what Paul was talking about in Philippians 3 when he said that his number one objective was to KNOW Christ? Forget the past with its failure, admit your present situation, and press on toward the future where God has called you. Every day is a new beginning with God.
Future failure can often be avoided by building HOLY HABITS into our lives. How can we move beyond just making vague RESOLUTIONS and begin creating real SOLUTIONS for our lives? We do it by working on the CORE issues of our lives instead of just making cosmetic changes. We have to go to beyond the symptoms to the source of our problems.
• Unmanageable DEBT may only be a symptom of GREED and ENTITLEMENT.
• Losing weight may only be a symptom of the core issue of a lack of self-control in your life — around which there may be many other symptoms.
• Controlling your drinking may only be a symptom of the fact that you are looking for something to deaden the pain and disappointment in your life, instead of finding your comfort and strength in the Lord.
• Controlling your anger may only be a symptom of a deeper need you have to control life and the people in it with your rage.
We’ve got to focus on the CORE issues rather than the presenting problem.
RANDY: Working on your CORE within your spiritual life is a lot like working on your core from a physical standpoint. Every muscular endurance, explosive muscle, muscular training in general revolves around your core muscles. Your abs are what are considered the core muscles of your body and all of the other muscles you have are strengthened at a much faster rate when your “core” is strong. Think of some of the main lifts, squats, power clean, deadlift, even running are all enhanced with a strong core. Even playing sports such as swimming, track, field, basketball, baseball, football, tennis, and even golf. Ok, I don’t know about golf, but anyways. So spiritually, you have to work on the CORE exercises to get a true transformation in everything else. YOU’VE GOT TO EXERCISE YOUR CORE!
RPC Core purpose: Know God…personally
Coming next fall….new course….core!
TWO Core principleS: CORE Trust & CORE TRAINING
1ST CORE PRINCIPLE = TRUST:
• CORE PRACTICE: GET SAVED!
1. Admit you have sinned.
2. Believe that Jesus died on a cross to pay for your sins AND that He rose again and is alive today.
3. Accept God’s free gift of salvation by grace.
4. Invite Jesus to come into your life.
• CORE PRACTICE: GET BAPTIZED!
2ND Core principle = Training:
• Core Practice: HAVING DAILY “Quiet Time”
Time set aside to be ALONE with God to get to KNOW Him!
• We created to have fellowship with God!
• Everyone who effectively serves God is in the habit of spending time with Him!
• YOU CANNOT BE A HEALTHY CXIN WITHOUT IT!
It’s our daily opportunity to…
• Give DEVOTION to Him!
• Get DIRECTION from Him!
• Gain DELIGHT in Him!
• GROW more like Him!
The objective of our quiet time is not to study about Christ, but to actually spend time WITH Him!
• Select regular time!
• Any time with God is better than no time!
• Choose special place!
• Gather your Bible, Notebook, Study tools!
• Follow a PLAN you can keep!
• Begin with right attitude!
• Use these four CORE EXERCISES: BIBLE READING, BIBLE MEDItATION, PRAYER & WORSHIP!
The exercises do not make us more spiritual they just put us in the presence of God and allow the HOLY SPIRIT to make us more like CHRIST!
1st CORE TRAINING EXERCISE: Bible Reading
RANDY: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (or woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
• More than just reading!
• Lots of people read the Bible, even non-believers!
• Even Satan knows the scriptures!
• Need to understand God’s Word and the disciplines needed to apply it to our lives!
• Need to HEAR IT!
o Be ready and eager to hear it!
o Deal with attitudes that prevent hearing God!
o Confess any sin in our lives!
• Need to READ IT!
o Every day!
o Understandable translation – NIV, NLT
o Different translations
o Easier: The Message
o Underline & Highlight
o Journal & write down our questions
• Need to STUDY IT!
o DIFFERENCE? Study = Take Notes!
o Ask questions:
1. WHO are the people involved in this passage?
2. WHAT are the events taking place?
3. WHERE is this passage located within the Bible? (context: surrounding passages)
4. WHY did God put this in the Bible for us to read?
5. WHEN (in history) did this passage take place?
6. HOW did God work in this passage?
• Need to MEMORIZE IT!
RANDY: Proverbs 7:2-3 (NASB) Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.
• Helps you RESIST temptation!
• Helps you make WISE decisions!
• Strengthens you under STRESS!
• COMFORTS us when we’re sad!
• Helps us WITNESS to others!
2nd CORE TRAINING EXERCISE: BIBLE Meditation
Meditation is FOCUSED THINKING about what God’s Word says in order to UNDERSTAND it and APPLY its truth to our lives!
RANDY: Psalm 1:2-3 (NASB) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Why Meditate on Scripture?
• The KEY to BECOMING like Christ!
• The KEY to ANSWERED prayer!
• The KEY to successful LIVING!
How Meditate on Scripture?
• Picture it, by visualizing the scene in your mind.
• Pronounce it, say it out loud, each time emphasizing a different word.
• Paraphrase it, by rewriting the verse in your own words.
• Personalize it, by replacing the pronouns with your own name.
• Pray it! Pray it back to God!
3RD CORE TRAINING EXERCISE: PRAYER
RANDY: Romans 12:10-12 (NASB) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, DEVOTED TO PRAYER, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
• Right ATTITUDE!
o Be REAL!
o Can’t impress God!
o Don’t try to impress others!
• Get RELAXED!
• Be REVEALING!
Use A.C.T. U.P. MODEL:
ADORATION: “I Praise You God because…”
CONFESSION: “Lord, please forgive me for…”
THANKSGIVING: “I am thankful for…”
UPLIFTING: “Today, I’m going to encourage…”
PRAYER REQUEST: “I ask you for…”
4th CORE TRAINING EXERCISE: WORSHIP
PASSION…the quality that causes us to act on what we believe and want! The very fuel on which an idea, vision, or plan runs. Makes hard times bearable and attracts others. It’s that force that causes us to act! It’s what makes love so much fun! It flows from our understanding and love for what we are passionate about!
RANDY: Revelation 4:11 (NASB) "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."
We were created for God’s enjoyment! God is PASSIONATE in His love for us and we are to be passionate in our love for him! God wants us to love Him back! He wants us to WORSHIP Him!
RANDY: Jesus said…Matthew 4:10 (NASB) “YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.”
RANDY: John 4:23-24 (NASB) "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
To worship in spirit means to worship in LOVE!
To worship in truth means to worship Him HONESTLY!
No preferred system! It’s about the PASSIONATE expression of our love to God and the Practical application of His word in our lives!
We worship by:
o Sharing in the Lord’s Supper: COMMUNION
o WITH OUR LIFESTYLE!
Year endings can be trying times – times of uncertainty. But you can make it a time of RESOLVE for a brand new start in 2009!
In reality, you don’t need a new YEAR, you need a new YOU!
RESOLVE TO KNOW CHRIST BY…
• ADMITTING YOUR PRESENT!
• FORGETTING YOUR PAST!
• FOCUSING YOUR FUTURE BY:
GIVING YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST!
AND IN YOUR DAILY QUIET TIME:
• READ YOUR BIBLE
• MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURE
• AND WORSHIP!
RANDY: HERE’S WHAT JESUS WANTS TO SAY TO YOU…I am the New Year! I am an unspoiled page in your book of time. I am your next chance at the art of living. I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months. All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in Me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination and RESOLVE! All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is Mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires. All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have -- these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong RESOLVE! I am your opportunity to renew your allegiance to my Father who said, "Behold, I make all things new."
WATCH THIS…VIDEO: “Resolutions” (2:54) Floodgate Productions
RANDY STANDS: We are called to FOLLOW CLOSELY in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, not in the footsteps of some man-made SELF-HELP rules and regulations. There’s an Old Rabbinical Saying that says: “May You Be Covered IN The Dust Of Your Rabbi!” Disciples are followers of their teachers–they seek to be like their teacher and do what the teacher does. Disciples followed their Rabbi around and tried to mimic everything he did and learn to be just like him. There was a sort of blessing at that time that translates to, "May you be covered by the dust of your rabbi." This was meant to say that you followed your rabbi so closely that you were covered in the dust his sandals kicked up. Basically, you learned what it meant to be a rabbi and a true follower of God by learning to be exactly like your rabbi in every way. You emulated him completely. You literally learned by following his example. Rabbis are passionate and animated. They would spend their days taking their disciples around teaching them, and as they traveled from place to place, they would literally kick up a cloud of dust. And because the disciples were following the Rabbi, at the end of the day, they would actually be covered in the dust their Rabbi kicked up. May YOU be covered in the dust of YOUR Rabbi….Jesus the Messiah!
I STAND: See, what we’re talking about here is something more than running out and getting yourself a new ab exerciser so you can get ripped.
• You can be the perfect weight and have a perfect body, and still miss the point of what it means to KNOW CHRIST!
• You can read all the self-help books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and still be out of control.
• You can be the most educated person in the world, and still be clueless about how to live a Godly life.
• You can be knowledgeable about a broad range of subjects, and still be totally ignorant when it comes to things that are ultimately and ETERNALLY important.
• You may have all the right investments and be set for life financially, but be bankrupt spiritually.
On the other hand…
• You might be broke, out of shape, unattractive, in poor health and lucky to have graduated from the sixth grade, but you are in touch with things that matter to God!
• You are investing your life in eternity.
• You have real JOY because you understand your importance and your significance to God.
• You have accepted life for what it is and stopped demanding it be something different.
• You have learned to forgive.
• You have learned how to love imperfect people and live in an imperfect world.
• You have grown in your relationship with God through reading and meditating on His Word.
• You talk to Him on a daily basis.
• There is real joy in your life, and a peace that your present circumstances cannot take away, because your life is inseparably linked to the eternal God who holds your life in his hands.
• You trust him.
• You are conscious of his presence throughout the day.
• You want to do his will because of a love for him that has completely possessed your heart.
• You WORSHIP Him!
• You have surrendered EVERY area of your life to Him.
• You are COVERED IN THE DUST OF YOUR RABBI…JESUS THE MESSIAH!
• YOU HAVE RESOLVED TO KNOW CHRIST!
LET’S all STAND…
We’re all going to take communion together…
RANDY: Paul also said… (NASB) 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I RESOLVE to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!
On this last Sunday of 2008, and as a FIRST step in our RESOLVE to KNOW CHRIST, we REMEMBER his unconditional and sacrificial love that He poured out on us when he climbed on that cross…
RANDY: Jesus took the bread and broke it, saying this is my body, broken for you.
ME: And then he took the cup, saying this is my blood, poured out for the forgiveness of your sins.
Closing song: “everything” BY TIM HUGHES