Saturday, February 14, 2009

STEP UP – Week One

Seek God …

See His Vision …

Save Room for Him to Work!


 

STEP UP

Step up to the plate and focus on the ball.

Seek God and His Will!

Step up to the plate and envision the homerun He has in store for you, your church, and your ministry.

See a Vision of a Bright and God Inspired Future!

Put away all thoughts, concerns, and obstacles to being 100% available for what God can do and wants to do.

Save Room for God to Work in Your Life, Ministry, and Church!

Your Tasks for This Week


 

Today

  1. Jot down names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or whatever contact information you have for 3-5 people who need to be invited to the STEP UP banquet. Give them to Ann or Russ Ann before leaving.
  2. Pick up 1 or more extra copies of this pull out and bulletins for whoever you notice is not here. Drop it off on the way home or sometime early this week – or drop it in the mail tomorrow.
  3. Make sure that you have cleared March 14 at 5:00 P.M. on your calendar for the STEP UP banquet.


 

During the Week

  1. Do the daily devotions in this fold-over along with your regular devotions.
  2. Pray personally for the work of the Fellowship of Joy, for our finances, for our long-term vision, for our short term goals, for people to come to know Jesus, for people to unite with our fellowship, and for all of our people to become sold-out followers of Jesus Christ. Pray for each of our members that God brings to your heart and the people you know who need Jesus.
  3. Pray that God will help you to SEEK-SEE- SAVE ROOM and that he will reveal any impediment to these goals in your life and help you to remove them.
  4. Find one or two prayer partners with whom you can share these concerns in prayer every day on the phone, by email, or in person.
  5. Let God prepare your heart for the great things he wants to do in your life over the next six weeks.


 

SERMON: Luke 7:11-17 – When Hope Dies, Ministry Begins

Scripture quotes from "The New International Version" © International Bible Society

No one in Jesus' entourage that day what they were about to see. All they knew was that with Jesus, it would be interesting. What they did not know was that He would illustrate His power to intervene in a time of hopelessness to bring hope and would model the very principles we are considering today: seeking God, seeing a vision from God, and leaving room in our lives for God to work as He will.

(11) Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.

First, in the first verse, there were many just "going along" with Jesus. Have you ever been in that crowd? Just going along? Not entirely engaged, yet seeking? Seeking God is the key to a life of hope and purpose. When we truly seek and follow, we are going to be in for some surprises and some new insights.

(12) As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out – the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.

Have you ever found yourself at the convergence of conflicting crowds? Both are large, but one exudes hope while the other is preoccupied with death and despair. Here, the Jesus crowd meets the funeral crowd and what happens in explosive. But, because it is Jesus who is leading His crowd, He leads with compassion, sensitivity, and understanding. Sometimes the vision God has for us begins with seeing the world as it is, where pain is real and hope has died. Many lives are touched by the specific pain of one person. Pain radiates. In our world today, many are in pain and many more are affected by that pain. This may be the Pepsi generation, but Pepsi spelled upside down reads: IS DED.

(13) When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

Here is an acronym for the word, "cry:"

    Crisis

    Remorse

    Yearning

Seeing a vision involves being touched by the pain and cries of another and being willing for our hearts to go out to those who hurt. If we are truly the people of Jesus, our lives will be characterized by the compassion of Jesus. We will not be able to hold back our hearts from the hurts of the world.

Hope had died for this woman. Not only had she lost her son, but she had lost her entire support system. Her future was very bleak, but Jesus speaks hope into her heart from his own broken heart with the words, "Don't cry." Here is yet another acronym, built on the word, "heart:"

Heavenly

    Engagement

    Always

    Reaching and

    Touching

That is the heart of Jesus. Heaven-sent, He is always engaged at the deepest levels, reaching out to us and touching us at our points of profound and soul wrenching need.

(14) Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up," (15) The dead man stood up and began to talk and Jesus gave
him back to his mother.

From being touched by the pain to touching that which was dead, Jesus demonstrated what it is for us to save room for God to work in the lives of people who are hopeless and in our own lives. This touch is nothing less than God touching him, disregarding any concerns for ceremonial defilement, Jesus touches death. He then tells the dead man to get up and returns him to his mother. When we are touched by the hand of Jesus and when we allow His hand to touch others through our touch, we are making room for God's work in our lives and in theirs. As He speaks to us to "GET UP," we are called also to "STEP UP" and be counted in his service. He would have us seeking him while being touched with a vision of the pain of the world and of how life can be with his healing, grace, and transformation. Then he would have us reach out and touch the pain of the world, thus saving room for him to work in us and through us to bring the change that will transform.

(16) They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said, "God has come to help his people. (17) This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

A ministry's reputation is built on just this kind of word of mouth. All who behold it will bear witness to it. Ours is to demonstrate. Then they will propagate the good news that when hope dies, it can live again.


 

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