This was our first church service of the new year, so it's a nice Christian spin on looking at the year ahead of us. And it applies to everyone, no matter your circumstances or goals.
"Be dressed for service and well prepared, as though you were waiting for your master to return from a wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. There will be special favor for those who are ready and waiting for his return." Luke 12:35-37 (NLT)
The Bible tells us in Joshua 1:2 (NIV) "Moses my servant is dead. Now you and all these people get ready to cross the Jordan river into the land I'm about to give them."
How do I get ready for the blessing of God in my life? How do I get ready to be all that I was meant to be? How do I get ready to experience the power of God and to be used by God in ways I never imagined before?
FIVE STEPS WE CAN TAKE IN 2013:
1. I MUST PURIFY MY HEART
"If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten in innocence. You'll be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery. It will all be gone like water under the bridge." Job 11:13-16 (NLT)
"Joshua told the people, 'Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.'" Joshua 3:5 (NLT)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
What is confession? Confession simply means admitting to God, "You're right and I'm wrong."
Personal Inventory: You need to do this. You need to purify your hearts so God can use you.
2 Timothy 2:21 "If you keep yourself pure you will be a utensil that God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work."
So here's my question for you: What's piled up in your life (heart) that you need to get rid of?
2. I MUST DEDICATE MY BODY
"Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God." Romans 6:13 (NLT)
"Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
"Athletes practice discipline and self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize." 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NLT)
The Bible has a lot to say about your body. (Psalms 127:2; Proverbs 25; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Psalms 119:73; Matthew 4)
You have four options in regards to your body: You can reject it, neglect it, perfect it, or protect it (the only healthy option).
3. I MUST SIMPLIFY MY SCHEDULE (The issue of TIME)
*A budget is telling my money where to go rather than wondering where it went. We have to budget our time the same way we budget our money.
- I have just enough time to do God's will.
- Titus 2:11-12 "The grace of God that brings salvation and has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives..."
- Ephesians 5:16 "Redeem the time, for the days are evil."
- Psalms 90:12 "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
- I must stay free:
- "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
- I must stay focused:
- "Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God." Luke 9:62
"Strengthen yourselves so that you will live here on earth doing what God wants, not evil things people want." 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV)
"Build yourselves up in your most holy faith." Jude 1:20 (NIV)
"Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit." 1 Timothy 4:7b (LB)
5. I MUST INTENSIFY MY PASSION
Until this one happens, none of the others are going to work. I must intensify my passion. God uses people who are passionate for him. God uses people who have fervent faith. God uses people who aren't casual, part-time, when-I-feel-like-it Christians. God uses people who are all in. God uses people who are sold out. God uses people who are passionate, who say, "God, I've got to know! I've got to know your blessing! I've got to know your purpose!"
Do you remember the story in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with an angel? It's a metaphor of the struggle we have with God. At one point, Jacob is wrestling with the angel and he says, "I'm not going to let go of you until you bless me." So the angel did.
Have you ever said that to God? "God, I'm not leaving here, I'm not going to stop praying until you bless me. God I have to have your blessing on my life. I've got to know your purpose in my life. I've got to be the person you want me to be. I've got to fulfill the life I was created to fulfill. God, this is not casual, not a part-time commitment." Are you desperate for God's purpose and God's blessing in your life?
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
"I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." John 17:4 (NIV)
In summary, I must:
- Purify my heart
- Dedicate my body
- Simplify my schedule
- Strengthen my faith
- Intensify my passion
If you would like to watch a video of Pastor Lloyd Brock preaching this sermon, click here.
I hope you found these notes and Bible verses helpful. We are preparing to reach our goals for this year. It only makes sense to prepare to be used by God as well!