Summary: Jesus still has the “Follow Me” invitation on the table. We need to Dive in to this spiritual world and follow the Master Diver as He shows us things we have never seen before. The choice is ours to make. So if we choose to follow Him make sure you are following Him for the right reason.

Theme: Immerse (fall 2013 Christian Hills Church)

Series: Dive In

Show Handout and highlight:

This series is designed to encourage you to grow in your spiritual dimension of life. We should be as Christians viewing things from the realm of the spirit. This realm is very different than the lens you look through in your normal everyday life. We have a handout called “Immerse” which gives you suggested readings, suggested music to listen too (Great Albums - I listened to them this week), suggested Scriptures to read and questions to answer and ponder on various topics related to our series “Dive In.” We have included in this handout a month long reading plan of Scripture verses which we encourage you to read before the next message. We are gently nudging you to answer the questions each week before the next message. We have given you these recommended readings and listening material to help you better understand and apply the content of the message. We have also included a - outline and some outline notes on U-verse for you to follow along with during the message.

Application: So our point with the theme “Diving In” is to compel you to leave this one dimensional world and dive into another world which is rooted in the spiritual dimension of life. Yes, it’s there and it surrounds you everyday - you just may not see it because you are not looking for it- but if you choose to dive in – to immerse yourself in it just like divers do in the ocean then it will appear. Why “Dive In”? Because you will see a whole new world filled with: unusual life, color, amazement, beauty and things you are not use to seeing in this normal everyday world we live in. So come along with us as we dedicate ourselves to spiritual growth for the next 4 months. Dive in with us as we seek to see things in the spiritual world we have never seen before!

Sermon 1: Dedicate --- Summary

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 6 -7

Thesis: As Christians we should have dedicated our life to the Lord Jesus. To dedicate ourselves means to give ourselves 100 percent to the Lord and to the work of the Kingdom of Heaven. To be dedicated means you are all in to that which you have committed too. To dedicate ourselves means we are willing to open our hearts up and to allow the Holy Spirit to come dwell in our hearts like God dwelled in the Temple of Solomon.

Questions to ponder from the handout:

1. What does it mean to dedicate something to the Lord?

a. It means to give something to God for His use and for His purpose. It is committing this item to God! As they did this newly built temple!

2. You may be thinking: What are things you can dedicate to the Lord?

a. Your Life is the most important thing you can dedicate to the Lord.

b. Other things – really just about anything can be dedicated to God?

3. Can you think of something you should dedicate to the Lord?

a. Did God speak to you last week or throughout this week of something you need to dedicate to him?

Sermon 2: Follow


We have been talking about “Diving In” and exploring another world like the ocean but we have to be reminded that this underwater world is a dangerous world. This is why divers are to do the buddy system and less experienced divers need to dive with master divers that they follow in this underwater world. The danger’s in the water are real – listen to this story:

Ian tells his story of an accident he had while diving: Ian McCormack and The Lazarus Phenomenon – In 1982, Ian McCormack of the film The Lazarus Phenomenonwas an adventurous 26-year-old. He was diving for lobster on the island of Mauritius (in the southwest Indian Ocean) one evening and was stung by five box jellyfish – one of the most venomous creatures in the world. Its poison can kill a person in four minutes. When an ambulance came, his body was completely paralyzed, and necrosis had started to set into his bone marrow. On the way to the hospital, McCormack began to see his life flash before him. He knew he was near death. He was an atheist and didn’t know whether or not there was an afterlife. As he lay dying, he saw a vision of his mother, who was the only Christian in his family, praying for him. She encouraged McCormack to cry out to God from his heart and God would hear him and forgive him. He didn’t know what to pray, so he cried out that if God was real, God would help him pray. Instantly, God showed McCormack the Lord’s Prayer.


The ambulance reached the hospital and they brought McCormack inside. The doctors tried to save his life by injecting anti-toxins and dextrose into his body, but it didn’t help. Within a few minutes, his body lay lifeless for about 15 minutes. During this time, McCormack was in a very dark place, and he didn’t know where he was. As he reached out, he found he wasn’t touching anything. When he tried to touch his face, his hand would go right through it. McCormack began to sense that it wasn’t just a physical darkness, but a spiritual darkness. He had a cold eerie feeling that there was something or someone else there, and it or he was looking at McCormack.


Then, a luminous beam of light radiated through the darkness and started to lift him upward. He found himself being translated up into it. McCormack then entered an opening and found himself inside a long narrow tunnel. At the far end of the tunnel he could see the source of the light. Then he watched as a wave of the light broke off the source and moved up the tunnel towards him. This light passed through McCormack, and he could feel a wave of warmth and comfort flood his soul. Coming out of the end of this tunnel, he found himself standing in the presence of awesome light and power. He wondered if this was just an energy source in the universe or if perhaps there could be someone standing in the midst of this light. A voice immediately responded to his thought and asked him, "Ian, do you wish to return?" McCormack responded, "I don't know where I am, but if I am out of my physical body, I wish to return."

The voice then said, "If you wish to return, you must see in a new light." " Words appeared in front of him, "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)." McCormack had never read a Bible before in his life so he didn't know these words came straight out of it.

Want to learn more about Ian McCormack's powerful vision? Check out the DVD, The Lazaraus Phenomenon.

This story illustrates the importance of the dangers of diving and the need for the buddy system and following master divers while in the underwater world.

Our Diving analogy is important to apply to our new world of the Spirit that we are seeking to explore – Remember divers in groups are to follow the Master divers – those who know what to do in this environment which is foreign to most of us – the divers are to follow and do what Master Divers do – they are to follow their lead and their instructions – they are not to go off and do their own thing because this leads to accidents and people dying. So in the diving world it’ imperative to follow the leader! The more experienced one! The one who has more knowledge and insight in this new world you are immersed in.

What does it mean to “Follow” – in our world today many don’t want to follow!

Follow is defined as follows – it means to go somewhere – to go or come after (a person or thing proceeding ahead); move or travel behind.

Taking the definition of follow deeper:

1: to go, proceed, or come after

2 a : to engage in as a calling or way of life : PURSUE

3 a : to be or act in accordance with

4 a : to pursue in an effort to overtake -b : to seek to attain

5 to come into existence or take place as a result or consequence of

6 a : to come or take place after in time, sequence, or order - b : to cause to be followed

7: to copy after : IMITATE

8 a : to watch steadily

c : to attend closely to : keep abreast of

intransitive verb

1 to go or come after a person or thing in place, time, or sequence

2 to result or occur as a consequence, effect, or inference

— as follows - as comes next —used impersonally— follow one's nose

1 to go in a straight or obvious course

2 to proceed without plan or reflection: obey one's instincts

— follow suit

1 to play a card of the same suit as the card led

2 to follow an example set

The above from

The truth is everyone is following something or someone! Many would disagree with this statement today in our society. But the question is who or what is it! Is this thing you are following trustworthy and leading you down a path to life or death? Is it leading you to freedom or bondage? Is it leading you closer and more intimate with Jesus or away from Him? Is leading you to a life of peace or a life of turmoil? Is it leading you to “Dive In” which takes “commitment and dedication” and then the act of “Following Him”? Or is it telling you to do your own thing?

Last week we looked at 2 Chronicles 6, 7 and learned about what happened when the Temple of the Lord was dedicated lets read

Scripture Texts: 2 Chronicles 7:11-22:

11When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace,

12the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

13“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,

14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

15Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

16I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

17“As for you, if you walk before me as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws,

18I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.’

19“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,

20then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.

21And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’

22People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

I. God appears to Solomon

a. Then the Lord appears to Solomon to verify and respond to his prayer of dedication, to the fully built temple and to their actions of worship and reverence to Him (7:11-22).

i. God’s message to Him was this:

1. God lets him know his prayer is answered.

2. God warns him of breaking covenant.

3. God promised to prosper them and not harm them if they repent for sin.

4. God promises them a hope and a future.

5. God promises to dwell with them!

a. For you and I as a Christian the Bible tells us He actually comes and lives in our hearts! If you repent of your sin and ask Him to be the Lord of your life!

i. How bad do you want to experience the presence of the Lord!

b. God appeared to Solomon to affirm the dedication of the Temple and His prayer along with the sacrifices

i. But in the midst of promise and affirmation God tells Solomon – make sure you follow me – if you quite following me then I will leave, I will depart, you will not have ancestors on the throne of Israel, Israel will suffer. The Temple will be destroyed because God will leave! God will not reside with evil and God will not bless sin.

ii. God said follow me! But Solomon in his life journey did quit following the Lord – Ecclesiastes reveals this tragedy as well as 2 Chronicles 10, 11; 1 Kings 11:1-13; 12.

1. Solomon angered God by yielding to influence of his foreign and many wives.

a. He actually in verses 7 and 8 built high places for foreign gods to please his wives and helped his wives offer sacrifices to idols and foreign gods.

i. Child sacrifice followed some of these worship sacrifices.

b. In 1 Kings 11:9 “It says the Lord became angry with Solomon – his heart had turned away from the Lord who had appeared to Him twice.”

i. Did you notice what it said “God literally appeared to him 2x!” and he did not listen and stay faithful to the Lord.

c. Solomon disobeyed God’s commands and instructions.

d. The result was the Kingdom would be torn away from his sons

e. The result was rebellion against Solomon also at the end of his reign.

f. Solomon the wise one – stopped following God and instead started following the demands of his foreign wives!

i. I knew he was in trouble when he took more than one wife!

iii. Solomon’s book Ecclesiastes reveals the following about the importance of who or what you follow in life:

1. Ecclesiastes 12:8-14: 8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!” 9Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. 11The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

a. It’s obvious something happened in Solomon’s life as he is reflecting on his past life.

2. Solomon proposes some questions to us in the beginning of his journal of life and he says: “Is everything meaningless? Is life one big bore! Can you agree with me that life can be boring and even senseless?” The answer to these questions is really dependent on your relationship with God and how you view the precious commodity of your time. It centers in on who or what you follow in life.

a. He opens his book with this observation about life in Ecc. 1: 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless! …everything is meaningless.” When I first read this I thought, “He sounds rather distraught even overwhelmed with life!” I hear him saying life is boring! But he opens up this book with a phrase that pricks at your heart and then he takes the reader through his own journey of life. He points out what he did, what he accomplished, what he learned, what he experienced, what he regrets, and compares that to what is really the most meaningful part of life.

b. He takes you through a thrill ride of his life and ends with a poignant thought on the true meaning of life. He actually ends his book with an observation of what matters most in life. He concludes his book by making a very clear point in Ecc. 12:13-14, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

i. His power, fame, wealth, huge family, and extravagant lifestyle really was meaningless even pointless.

ii. What mattered most in life according to our wise King Solomon was having a relationship with the Lord and following after His purpose and plan for his life - time. Solomon discovered that meaning for life was connected with a relationship with God.

c. Point - When we have a personal relationship with God life has eternal meaning and value but if we do not have a personal relationship with God then life has no meaning and no eternal value.

i. Life with meaning is connected to a life in touch with God.

ii. Life without God is meaningless like trying to chase the wind and catch it – it’s pointless even insane to think that you can.

iv. Jesus comes along in the New Testament area and says: Follow me!

1. Often whenever Jesus encountered people, he would tell them, “Follow me.” He was inviting them into a completely new life and identity totally defined by him. And Jesus didn’t make this an easy thing to do. He wasn’t asking people to add him into their busy lives or their list of favorite people. In modern terms, he wasn’t asking people to like him or be his friend on Facebook or to follow his posts on Twitter.

2. No, Jesus was telling people to give up their very lives for his sake…Just read his words from Luke 9:23-26: 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

3. To follow Jesus, people would have to deny themselves and take up their cross each day. Now what was the cross? People use them today in jewelry or artwork, or place them on buildings either to show their devotion to or disdain of something. But in Jesus’ day the cross was a brutal instrument of torture and death used by the Roman Empire to execute the worst of the criminals. Taking up your cross meant giving up your life. Quote from:

a. Jesus said:

i. Follow Me!

ii. Give up your life!

iii. When you lose it you actually find it in me!

iv. Follow me!

4. Quote: As evidenced by the writers of the other gospel accounts (Matthew, Luke, and John), the immediate reaction by Peter, Andrew, James and John to leave their families, financial securities, boats, and nets to follow Christ tells us that they knew He was someone worth losing everything for.

a. You will follow Jesus if you think he is worth giving everything up for!

i. I have learned to sacrifice for the Kingdom!

1. Every time I have God has shown up to lead me and to bless me!

2. Going to NCBC.

3. Going to my first church.

4. Going to Amery.

5. Coming here to CHC.

T.S. – Jesus still has the “Follow Me” invitation on the table. The choice is ours to make. So if we choose to follow Him make sure you are following Him for the right reason.

II. There are right reasons and wrong reasons to follow the Lord!

a. The wrong reasons – Some of the following points are taken from an article by Howard Travis from Midland –Michigan (Numbers 24)

i. Do you follow the “Perfect life” myth of some churches: In other words do you “follow” Jesus for the good life that he provides and for the never have any problems in life?


a. C.S. Lewis halted a generation of would-be converts in their tracks when he famously said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” Lewis’ candor is certainly a strange sales pitch today, when Christianity is more often presented as good medicine for life’s ills than a costly call to faith. Today, Jesus is more often equated with the cure-all to felt needs—happiness, inner peace, life purpose and more— than the objective truth of the gospel. “Jesus will make your life better” is the gist of it. But how does this pitch line up with the gospel? It hardly squares away with Jesus; words: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 6:24.) If this is Jesus’ invitation, then we need to drastically change the current call to faith. Instead of making cheap promises, we need to ask the harder question: “Will you follow Jesus even if your life doesn’t get better?” Too often evangelistic zeal truncates the gospel to be more accessible, more compelling, and more applicable to the felt needs of an audience. Are you sad? Jesus is your joy. Are you depressed? Jesus is your comfort. Are you confused? Jesus is your guidance. Surely, these are all important truths that are part of real faith. But they are not the whole package. If we’re not careful, we inadvertently imply that if one only focuses enough on Jesus, one’s circumstances will get better, and better, and oh-so infinitely better…. Somehow people get the notion that when God blesses, it means that He will give us great things and perfect circumstances—and right now. Or, if God’s blessing is upon us we can expect to have better lives than those who do not believe in Jesus. Blessing equals easier and better. Conversely, sometimes people believe that extended discomfort means there is something they have done wrong, or a lack of faith which inhibits God’s blessing. But what if this is a misconstrued concept of blessing? Can’t the blessing of God involve pain, suffering, waiting and holding on to a truth in spite of our circumstances? Isn’t it a blessing to be disciplined by our loving Father even if it causes discomfort?... Our trust is in God’s character, revealed ultimately in the gospel, and not in how congruent our circumstances are with what we know of God. Often, circumstances will not be as easy or comfortable as we would prefer. The Bible paints an honest picture of reality: You will sin, you will have challenges in relationships, people will hurt you and you will hurt them, the world is set against you and evil is actively working against you. So, what do we do? The one consistent action of the people of God is a recognition of who God is, what he has done in the past and what He promises to accomplish at the end of time. We can rest our faith on the permanence of this truth.

i. The Jesus will fix all my problems reason for following Jesus can lead to people into a spiritual world of denial and reality.

ii. This leads people into disillusionment when their world unravels all around them when bad things happen to them.

2. Yancey states in his book What Good is God this:

a. I believe God does want the best for God’s people, and that includes health and comfort. We have unconditional promises that one day God will restore this planet to its intended state. Yet the Bible also presents Earth as evil-occupied territory, and Christians get no exemption from the afflictions that plague the planet. My travels to various countries convince me that Christians are as likely as non-Christians to be poor, and in many places they are more subject to oppression. Though I have no statistical proof, I suspect that the same proportion of Christians fall ill as does the rest of the population. I am certain that exactly the same ratio of Christians die as non-Christians: 100 percent…A church that promises a problem-free life may well fill its auditorium, especially in a time of economic and health challenges…belief in a problem free life has appeal. Both, like sweet poison, contain grave danger (page 160).

ii. Do you follow guilt driven Christianity – legalism – the dogmatic rules – the follow the rules or else mindset of Christianity!

1. This is not God’s design or plan – guilt has and will drive many away from God not toward Him.

a. Quote: “What Good is God” Yancey states:

i. “…Legalism provides a convenient way for some Christians to convey superiority. On the surface it seems harmless, even comical, this trend toward legalism that surfaces in every religion. Orthodox Jews in Israel have programmed elevators to stop on every floor on the Sabbath because they judge pushing an elevator button as work; for the same reason, some hotels pre-fold toilet paper for their Sabbath guests. The Amish in Pennsylvania ride in buggies rather than automobiles while their neighbors the ‘black-bumper Mennonites’ tolerate cars as long as they are stripped of chrome. What, you may wonder, can be the harms in legalism? (page 158).

1. Just go look at the history of a church when this takes over! It’s ugly! It lacks mercy and grace!

ii. “Yet Jesus (see Luke 11 and Matthew 23) and Paul (see the book of Galatians) both lashed out against it, knowing legalism’s tendency to sow dissension and to undermine God’s grace” (page 158)

iii. “Although Paul himself kept a strict code of behavior, he understood the danger of legalism, of substituting rules for the a gospel based on grace and forgiveness. Legalism lowers, rather raises, God’s standards. Loving your neighbor as yourself, caring for the poor, bringing about justice, forgiving enemies-none of these reduces to a set of rules. Indeed, any list of rules narrows the breadth of what God wants done in the world. It moves the emphasis away from dispensing God’s grace to sinner’s toward a pointless competition with pseudo-saints. It makes faith petty and irrelevant, not something that urgently matters (page 159).

iii. Do you follow because of pressure or the “Turn or Burn!” message?

1. Do you follow Jesus so you do not suffer eternal punishment in Hell! You know like the rich man in the story of Lazaras that Jesus talked about?

a. The torture from burning lakes!

b. Worms that eat at you eternal soul.

c. Being in a pit of total darkness forever alone and afraid.

d. Or being annilated and ceasing to ever exist again after being tormented!

i. Is this why you follow Jesus? Wrong reason!

ii. This makes you look at God as one standing there with a lightning bolt in His hand ready to strike you down when you make a mistake.

iii. This robs God of who He is- The Bible says “God is love.”

2. These high pressure tactics of some don’t lead to genuine conversion but fear filled moments seeking the fox hole style deliverance from Hell.

a. People who follow Jesus for this reason miss the whole point of God’s love and grace!

b. It creates a follower who is fearful not at peace with God.

c. It distorts the image of God!

iv. Do you follow to please people?

1. We are all tempted on occasion to please others instead of God.

2. But Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

v. Do follow because of pride and a desire for power?

1. An ego "in check" can give you a great deal of positive drive and motivation. An ego out of control is guaranteed to cause damage!

2. Ego Check: If you find it below you to clean the toilets in the church' bathrooms, because of your "position" in the church, resign your position and pray for a servant's heart. Seek a position in the church that has no status.

a. My toilet cleaning days at Outreach and SHLBC!

vi. Do you follow for financial prosperity?

1. 1 Timothy 6:3-10: 3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

a. This is one of the few warnings I discovered in the New Testament about following Jesus for financial gain. For the most part the New Testament does not address this issue like it addresses legalism. Why? Yancey gives us some good insight:

i. The New Testament does not contain detailed warnings about the prosperity gospel in the way it does legalism, for one reason: most the early Christians weren’t prospering. Jesus gave fair warning to his twelve disciples. ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves,’ he said, and then proceeded to predict floggings, court trials, persecution, and betrayal. Sure enough, ten of the twelve died martyr’s deaths. Paul had to undertake fund-raising campaigns to aid the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem. Given his own biography of shipwreck, prison, beatings, and an unhealed ‘thorn in the flesh,’ the concept of a prosperity gospel likely never crossed his mind” (Page 160).

vii. Do you follow to earn your salvation?

1. Do you follow works to earn your salvation? In other words your ability to get yourself into heaven?

a. Sadly many follow a works orientated religion but Jesus fought and died against this concept of religion!

2. There is nothing—nothing—you can do to earn your salvation. It is of grace, not works. Period! (Ephesians 2:8-10).

a. So stop being like the Pharisee’s!

b. "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing [including people-pleasing] move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord [and no one else], because you know that [it is only] your labor in the Lord [that] is not in vain." I Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

b. Here are the right reasons to follow God: “Follow Me” ~ Jesus, Luke 5:27

i. You know you can trust Him!

ii. You know He deserves to be followed!

iii. You had God speak to your heart – like through a dream or a vision!

iv. You have a divine encounter with God’s presence!

v. You see your need for God’s gift of salvation!

vi. You want God to lead your life!

vii. You want to listen to God’s wisdom for your life!

viii. You want your life to make a difference for eternity!

ix. You love God!

1. I think one should believe in God only if one truly believes Christ is our Lord and Savior. Only if she believes Jesus is the path to God. Only if he believes God is the creator of Heaven and Earth. Only if they believe God is not just all powerful, but all loving and all good.

x. You have a desire to grow spiritually in Him!

xi. You know you need Him!

T.S. – We need to make sure we follow Jesus for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons. So as we look back at our handout immerse from last week – How did you answer the questions this week?

III. Questions from the handout this week to apply to our theme and message

a. Who or what are you following?

i. God another god or idol?

ii. Man – your wife – others?

iii. Religion – manmade works?

iv. A Philosophy?

v. Money?

vi. Power?

vii. Fame?

viii. Pride?

ix. Other?

b. What are your family’s priorities as Christians?

i. Priorities = choices = the decision which guide you down a certain path or road in life.

1. We make choices daily:

a. Do I eat the donut or not eat the donut?

b. Do I eat at Culvers or McDonalds?

c. Do I eat healthy or unhealthy?

2. Choices are given to us by God!

a. God gave it to Adam and Eve in the garden. It is intelligent,

thoughtful choice--decision-making--that separates us from the rest of God’s creation.

i. You can eat from any tree but this one! It’s still your choice by the way today!

3. They are what distinguishes us as spiritual eternal beings. We get to get up every day and make choices, choices that impact us and those around us. Choices of others everyday impact us!

a. Some good –some bad – How are you doing in making the right choices?

4. We have the right to choose – the right to say “yes” or “no” to God!

a. But think about it would you not want people to love and follow you by choice not by trying to force someone into it?

b. Story from sermon central from Living and dying with the choices we make by Lee Huddleston:

i. There’s a great country song title with a story behind it by George Jones. George Jones is a country music icon from the old school. A lot of his songs are the stereotypical country "cheat’n and drink’n" songs. And the fact that George Jones had a drinking problem was no secret. But on March 6, 1999 country music fans were horrified to hear that Jones was critically injured when he crashed his Lexus into a bridge in Nashville. The investigation showed that George had been drunk at the wheel. Thankfully he recovered, and two months later his new album called "Cold Hard Truth" came out and on it was a hit song titled "Choices", and ironically the hook line says, "I’m Living And Dying With The Choices I Made".

1. Many are making these choices each day!

2. Reference the young man last week” Did you see the man on You tube sharing about how his drinking and driving killed a man and what he says, ‘Don’t make the same mistake I made!”

a. The news media was all over it!

5. Choices can be insignificant like what should I wear today - Scott does not like my orange shirt because it messes with the our video fed so I wore it in honor of him today --- then there is as Lee states the big ones:

a. “And then there are the choices that impact our lives greatly-choices we live and die with. Before the children of Israel went into the land of Promise, Moses delivered an important message about the important choices we make from Almighty God Himself: 19"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! 20Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Deuteronomy 30:19-20.” (sermoncentral)

i. Big choices:

1. Life and death

2. Blessings and Curses

3. Jesus or ?

b. There are choices we make that are literally choosing life… choosing wholeness… choosing closeness to the God who made us and sent His Son to redeem us. And there are choices we make that are literally choosing damage and destruction to our lives!

i. Lee lists a few big choices people make:

1. What kind of work will I do?

2. Where will I live?

3. Who will I marry or mot marry?

ii. Lee then lists a Christians big choices:

1. Will I live a life of obedience to Jesus or self-will?

2. Will I commit to spiritual growth or spiritual death?

3. Will I live for me or for others?

4. Will I live for the culture or for Jesus?

ii. We need to remember Joshua’s story at the end of the book of Joshua – His choice!

1. Joshua 24:15 (NIV): 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

a. The story behind this famous verse:

i. Joshua makes it clear to the nation of Israel when many were choosing to go the wrong way and not follow God who he and his family was going to follow.

ii. Judges is an example of what happens when people don’t follow God and everyone does his own thing!

1. Very ugly!

2. We need to choose wisely today – because you see we are all living and dying with the choices we make.


There are consequences for the choices we make in who or what we follow!

Divers have a set of priorities they follow and it’s mandated that in deep water dives that the other divers follow the Master Diver – the leader! It’s really all about following the leader who will keep you alive.

I read this week stories of divers while who were diving which were life and death mistakes – they made wrong choices in this underwater world!

Share story: One lead Master Diver’s story I read this week had to deal with a fighting uncooperative couple, then another story of one girl who refused to listen and it cost her big -- her life!

Closing video:

T.S. - Our society today wants to say there is another road you can follow for life and follow for Jesus but it’s not found in the Bible – listen to what Francis Chan has to say about this:

Francis Chan the new middle of the road -- Video 3 min

Altar challenge:

Our challenge for you over the next 4 months is not just to “dive in” “to dedicate yourself to being immersed” into the spiritual world but to “follow the master diver- Jesus” through this new world that will open up! Let Him lead you and guide you to amazing sights and amazing insights.

But you have to make the choice to “Dive In” “To Dedicate yourself to him so he lives in you” then to “Follow Him.”

Action point – We are challenging you to consider during worship to go fill in on the board your commitment like Joshua did to the Lord– “As for me and my house we will ……………………” Just fill in the blank during worship set for you and your family! Do it as individuals or as families!

I want you to listen to the word of their first worship song: ---Ocean by Hillsong! Listen to the words make them your prayer this morning your commitment to Jesus and then go do it on the board to make a statement to all – As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!

You can do this at any point during the rest of our worship set! Prayer time! Reflection Time!

But it is decision time! What will you choose?