Summary: Celebration Sunday of Bethany Church’s 40 Days of purpose campaign
(stories at end of sermon)
It’s hard to believe we’re at the end of 40 days. We are here to celebrate. I have been asking you to write your stories about what have you learned during 40 Days of Purpose. Those are compiled in today’s Celebration Packet unless you asked me not to print yours. And I am so proud of you and what God has done through you and in you and to you and for you.
Look on your outline. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 11:2, "Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with Him." Would you circle the word "remember." The Bible says we are to remember the lessons we have learned.
Some things we only learn through experience. And what an experience the last 40 days have been in our readings and in our services and in our Sunday School groups and in our sharing and in the ministry fair and so on.
So today, I’m going to look at what have we learned about God, about ourselves, about life, about growing, about our community.
So what have I learned –- what have I learned about God? The first thing I’ve learned is that it’s all about God. All of my life, all that I have is about and from God.
The Bible says in Hebrews 2:10, "God is the one who made all things and all things are for His glory. He wanted to have many children share His glory.” I started this 40 Days by saying the purpose of your life is far greater than anything you can imagine in your life. You were made by God and for God -- and you can probably finish this by now -- and until you understand that, life doesn’t make sense. You were made for God.
Look at this verse: "Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.”
Now, when you understand that, doesn’t that change everything? Doesn’t that just kind of change your priorities and your perspective and a lot of other things?
Listen to what one of our life time members had to say about this campaign:
READ STORY NO. 2
It is all about God. Let’s sing a song that expresses this well:
SLIDES 4- 9
SONG: The Heart of Worship
Now, the second thing, that I learned about God is this: that God still does miracles.
This is reflected in your stories: I hope you will read the stories if you haven’t had a chance yet.
Listen to this story:
READ NO. 1
There are so many things that God has done in the last 40 days, so many, many miracles.
The Psalmist declared: "You are the God of miracles and wonders! You still demonstrate Your awesome power." Ps. 77:14 (LB)
God is a miracle-working God and nothing is impossible to Him. He is good. And He is worthy of our praise. Let’s thank God for his graciousness for all that He’s done in the last 40 days.
SONG: God Is Good
Next, what have I learned about Life through this experience?
Number one, I learned that life is preparation for eternity. Life is preparation for eternity. In fact, if someone were to say to you this question: What is the meaning of life? I can’t think of a better three-word answer than “preparation for eternity.”
READ STORY # 4
So when somebody asks you what life is—say it with me, three words—“preparation for eternity.”
Look at what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11. “God has planted eternity in the human heart. It takes a lifetime for all of us to learn. It’s what John Wesley would call going on to perfection—it’s a life long process.
Now I have also learned more about the 5 purposes of life. To the extent that I can learn to live out these purposes, to that extent I can balance the purposes of life.
This is going to be the review section of the service this morning. I’m going to take just a few minutes to review what we talked about these last 40 days, these five purposes. And let’s just see how you do. All right? There are fill-ins there on your outline, you help me with the fill-ins; all right?
SLIDE 17 TITLE
I’m counting on you guys in the front row, especially; all right? You guys look especially smart today. If you don’t do well, you have to move to the back row, and the back row has to move to the front in just a minute.
Five purposes…No. 1, I was planned for what? -- for God’s pleasure. You’re not doing well to begin with. I was planned for God’s pleasure. The Bible word for that is "worship." Absolutely. Front row, you’re letting me down, but there’s a smart one right back there, those guys are smart, man!