6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing. It has been a blessing as well as a great help as I spend my days caring for my dying father. I kept some of the messages to share even after my Father passed way.

We Were Made to Thrive Acts 20:22-25

Some think being a Christian means living a life as boring as watching paint dry and I’ve known some pretty boring Christians but it’s because they haven’t experienced the Christian life the way God intended it.

God never intended for our spiritual life to be a hobby, like fishing/hunting/bowling and the Christian life is not some weekend event.

The Christian life, as designed by God, is to be an exciting and lifelong adventure!

Living for God can be the best life experience that any person can have and once we decide to live for God completely we can and will experience more excitement than we could ever imagine, no matter how hard life hits us.

The Psalmist writes in, [Psa 16:8 NKJV] “I have set the LORD always before me; LISTEN…Because [He is] at my right hand I shall not be moved.”

I like Johnny Cash’ version of the gospel song “I Shall not be Moved.”

“Glory hallelujah, I shall not be moved

Just like a tree that's planted by the water

I shall not be moved”

Can you say that this morning?

Today we will examine four Anchors of the Apostle Paul:

These four anchors held him in place as he served the Lord, with vigor and excitement. I believe these same four anchors will keep you and me in place, as well.

1. We must have a sense of purpose.

I don’t believe a person can survive without a purpose in life, a reason to get out of bed every morning. If I have no purpose I will just waste away sitting in my recliner. This sense of purpose seems to be missing in the lives of some believers today because they don’t know who they are, why they’re here, or where they’re going and many wander aimlessly with no real purpose in life.

We need to have some goals. We need to make some plans. We need to dream of the future! Dream of our future both in the here and now but also for the days to come, in the presence of our King. While we are waiting for that day, we need something bigger than our own wants or our own desires to live for because if we don’t, then life will be meaningless, at best.

Casting Crowns has a song called “Thrive” that talks about the life of a child of God being more than just surviving. Listen to just a little of the lyrics.

“Here in this worn and weary land. Where many a dream has died. Like a tree planted by the water. We never will run dry

So living water flowing through. God we thirst for more of You. Fill our hearts and flood our souls. With one desire

Just to know You and to make You known. We lift Your name on High. Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide.

LISTEN, We know we were made for so much more Than ordinary lives

It's time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive”

Can I ask you something? Are you simply surviving or are you like that tree planted by the water, thriving in the nourishing streams of living water? Is EBC in survival mode or are we ready as a body to be what God designed us to be and thrive?

I thought this past Wednesday, on my way to the office, how I’m so tired of just getting by in my walk with the Lord. I’m tired of barely keeping my head above the waters of life…I WANT MORE in my relationship with God and the truth is, God wants you and me to live, not just exist!

Paul lived with a higher purpose, so he could say of this world and its problems: In verse 24 of Acts chapter 20 "NONE of these things move me…" WHY? Because he has a sense of purpose…His life had meaning!

2. We must develop a sense of commitment…

There must be a sense of commitment to our relationship with Christ and to His church. Paul says in, [Rom 12:1 NIV] “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.”

One day a woman was attending a Bible conference. She approached the speaker and with tears in her eyes, told him that she had no victory in her Christian life. She said she had tried many churches, and she just wasn’t’ receiving much at all from God. The speaker said, “You just answered your own question.” “What do you mean,” she asked. The speaker replied, “the goal is not getting more from God, but giving more to God.”

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