Message Recap - 5/28/10 - Put Your Heart In It

Monday, May 31, 2010

To stream to this message click "Listen", to download right-click and click "save link as..."

Where is your heart? Not your physical one, which is in your chest in case you were wondering. Have you ever heard the expression, “His heart just wasn't in it”? What is your heart in? A hobby? A guy or girl? Can you put you heart into something on purpose?

When you put your heart in something, you get better at it. Even if you are terrible at it to begin with, when you put your heart into it makes a difference. When you put your heart into something other people notice it, and you talk about it.

Matthew 6:21: Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

So what do you treasure? What do you spend money on? What do you spend time on? What do you find yourself thinking about all the time? That is where your heart is; that's what you treasure.

What's valuable to you is always a priority – you'll find time and money for what is valuable to you. Always. You'll cut the other things out if need be to preserve where your heart is. In 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul writes, Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia.

Demas had priorities, and his priority was not Paul, advancing the Gospel or serving God. It was “the things of this life.”

What you value will always be your priority. It's where your treasure is. Is your treasure enduring? Is it in something that will last?

What are you pouring your heart into? Is it lasting? In 10 years, will it still be here? You'll be 21 before you know it... is what you're pouring your life, your treasure into now still going to be around then? Will it have an impact then? What will you have to show for it?

Check out Psalm 90:1-12. “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom."

Life is short, and so much of what we surround ourselves with is expendable. Cars, video games, clothes, etc. Even some relationships are not long lasting and give you nothing to show for it.

Matthew 6:20-21 says, Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Jesus is saying to store your heart in heaven. Pour your heart into things that are safe in heaven and won't be decayed and destroyed by this world.

Check out 1 John 2:15-17: Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Is your heart in your walk with God? Is your time, focus, attention in it? Don't just flippantly answer, really think about this. Is your treasure in your relationship with God? Is it passionate? Do you put energy into it?

Take a look at Matthew 22:34-40. Christianity is all about where your heart is. It's not about rules and regulations, it's about loving God and caring for people. If you love God, following His commands is easy. Those temptations become far less tempting.

Is your heart set on God? Is your treasure found in Him? Are you investing in lasting things?

Store your treasure in heaven, where it will be safe. Make your relationship with God your priority; put your heart into it!


Message Recap – 5/21/10 – Mint Condition

Monday, May 24, 2010

To stream to this message click "Listen", to download right-click and click "save link as..."

God has been speaking something to Pastor Dan personally, and so this message is aimed at himself as much as at us. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't listen up! Er... read up? Anyway, we'll start in Proverbs 13:12:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope that is put off, that never comes about and dreams that are broken make the heart sick.

Pastor Dan is turning 30 this year. Now, before you make a snide remark, just remember that you will be turning 30 someday, too. Sooner than you might think. At that point in life, it is easy to feel that the best chances and best opportunities are behind – you may know in your head that it isn't true, but feelings seldom match reason.

Pastor Dan began to wonder if there was any hope of his dreams coming to pass. Are the things that he's hoped for every going to happen?

In short; he's starting to feel old. He knows he's not old, but he feels... not young. There are things behind him now. Now, the issue here isn't really age. The issue is finding passion and freshness for the dreams and hopes within you. That means that whether you are 12 or 112, this message still applies.

When Pastor Dan first started leading Rev Church and leading worship his first emotion was fear. Then it became excitement. Now it's, “Where now?” He needs fresh vision, fresh direction, and a fresh goal. The truth is that everyone needs to be made new. We all need our vision, passion, energy and love for the Lord to be refilled. Each day, each season needs a different grace.

We all reach points when we need restoration – we need to be brought back to mint condition.

How long is something new? Pastor Dan just bought a new car. To him, it's new. It feels new, smells new and looks new. But it's really 4 years old. How long are clothes new? How long is food new? Not very long.

Do you ever see an abandoned building and wonder what it was like when it was new? Imagine the first family that moved in to their new house. And now it is abandoned, the roof is falling in and vines are overtaking it.

Check out Luke 5:36-39. You may not realize that Jesus is not really talking about wineskins here. What he's really talking about is our hearts and lives. Old wineskins (and hearts) become hard, cracked and inflexible. They become leaky, unusable. People can become hard, harsh, grating and inflexible too. Have you ever met someone like that? Someone that can't hold life and joy – it just leaks out of them?

Sometimes we can find ourselves old – like an old garment or an old wineskin. You can try to put a patch on the old jeans, but you're not fooling anyone into thinking you have new jeans. When we try to makes ourselves new it's the same thing! No matter how many patches we put on, no one is fooled. We get old and we break down. No matter how much we try to change it, we can't restore ourselves.

People letting you down, broken dreams, hope deferred – it all wears on you. When someone lets you down and you decide to never trust anyone again, you are turning into an old wineskin. Selfishness and pride will also make your heart hard. When our hearts get hard we become ineffective at carrying the “wine” of God's presence. We get leaky, useless at our purpose. God says he won't put new wine in old, bitter, selfish people.

We all need to be made new; nothing stays new for very long.

Take a look at 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. The message of reconciliation is the new wine that God wants to put into you! The message of hope and life and light that you can bring to those who need it! But if we've become old, hard, cynical and apathetic we can't carry it.

Even if you have not gone through this yet; learn the lesson now. When someone lets you down, when you get stabbed in the back, when things don't work out how you thought: allow God to make you new!

We aren't made new just once – as we are used by Him, as we go through life, we get hard. We need Christ to restore us again and again. We need Him to help us put away the past and become new creations so we can carry His message of truth and life without leaking it all out along the way!


Message Recap - 5/14/10 - Revolutionaries: Part 4

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Well, you may be wondering why there is a part four of this series, since last week I told you it was the last part. Oops! That was my (Melody's) fault. Moving on. If you need to catch up on the previous parts, you can do so here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Now, getting into the real final part of the Revolutionaries series! We're going to talk about working together.

To stream to this message click "Listen", to download right-click and click "save link as..."

Have you ever heard of Edmund Hillary? Perhaps not, so here's a quick biography; he was the very first man to climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth. But what many people don't know is that he didn't do it alone. A man named Tensing Norgay was right beside him, helping him. In fact, one day while climbing the mountain (before reaching the summit), Hillary was on a chunk of ice that collapsed. Norgay saved his life.

People always used to ask who was really the first one up, and Hillary always refused to say, he would say they reached the top as a team. The point is that Hillary was not alone. And it wasn't even just the two of them. There was an expedition of about 400 people who were trying to reach the top.

Maybe you've heard of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Did you know that right behind him was Buzz Aldrin, and the man who stayed in the ship was Michael Collins. These two are far less famous, but they were just as important to walking on the moon as Armstrong.

None of these men, or the revolutionaries we've learned about earlier in this series accomplished what they did alone. And you can't do it alone, either.

There is an anonymous quote that says, “You can only be good at one or two things. You need a team of people with different strengths to achieve greatness.” In other words, you can't do it alone; the purpose of your life cannot be accomplished alone. You can't start a country alone. You can't end apartheid alone. You can't land on the moon alone. God's plan for us always involves teams. That's why God created church.

Luke 10:1-9 talks about Jesus sending out the very first missionaries. These men were bringing a spiritual revolution to their region, and they didn't do it by themselves. They had to work together with other people to accomplish that goal.

Have you ever noticed that when you're with someone else you are braver than when by yourself? When you are home alone, it is really easy to get creeped out, right? You are much more likely to do something bold and brave when you are with someone else. That's why Jesus sent the disciples out two-by-two. Having more than one person also brings balance and encouragement.

Jesus Christ himself built a team to accomplish his goal!

When God calls people he calls them to groups, families and nations! They may be alone when He calls them, but He turns them into a family, a nation. No one does anything significant alone. No one makes a difference alone. Yes, it takes you working and making a choice to sacrifice. But, you can't do it alone.

Hitler killed 6 million Jews, but he didn't do it alone. Stalin killed 22 million people, but he didn't work alone either. The greatest good and the greatest evil is done by groups of people.

Whether you know it or not, you are already part of a team. Whether your goals are stupid and silly or not, you are still a team. Where is your team going?

Back in 1936, it probably felt good to be part of the Nazi party. They were successful, they had a charismatic leader who made good on his promises. Things were getting done! By 1944, things were looking decidedly worse. Some people saw where it was headed and got out early.

Where is your team heading? Is your team going where you want to go? Is it going where the vision for your life is? Is it willing to act with focus, to take steps to do something significant? Where are your friends going?

The best teams help you find yourself doing things you wouldn't normally do. That can work both ways; negative and positive. Do you ever find yourself doing things you wouldn't normally do? Are you happy with those things? Choose your teams carefully. You team can destroy your life or it can enable your life.

You can rise to higher heights because of the people you hang around. On the other hand, the people around you can drag you down.

You are Revolution Church. Not Pastor Dan, not the building, not Friday night at 7:30. You are the church. This region is in need of a revolution, and it's up to you to bring it. None of us can do it by ourselves; but God has called all of us to bring life, to overthrow the darkness, sickness, depression and small-mindedness that rules over this region. To establish a new kingdom of life, hope and light.

Nothing will change unless you change it. As easy as it is to just sit back and blend in and do whatever you feel like, nothing will change when you do that. It starts with you making a decision, cutting out what's dragging you down and starting to make a difference. God has called you. Live with vision, act with sacrifice, work as a team and make a difference in this region!


Message Recap - 5/7/10 - Revolutionaries: Part 3

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We are now at the third and final installment of the Revolutionaries series! You may be wondering why there was no recap last week. Well, that's because last week was our annual church clean up/bonfire night!

Since it's been awhile, you may want to brush up on the previous two parts by reading the recaps:

Part 1

Part 2

Tonight we are delving into: The Other Side of Sacrifice

To stream to this message click "Listen", to download right-click and click "save link as..."

Messages about sacrifice are not the most exciting or the most fun. You probably recognize that sinking feeling that comes when you hear a sermon about sacrifice – the sudden guilt about spending four hours playing video games instead of spending time with God. Well, this week we're gonna explore a different perspective on sacrifice.

We'll get started in Matthew 16:24-26:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

We've all heard the old “take up your cross” message. It makes us uncomfortable. It means giving up something that you want. It's not a sacrifice to give up something your don't want or that's meaningless to you. But nobody likes to give up what we want; it's uncomfortable.

Check out Luke 14:25-33.

In it, Jesus is talking about counting the cost. Too often Christians are leaving unfinished foundations in our lives. We come home from a conference all fired up, that we are going to build our “tower” – in other words, do something big for Christ. We dig the foundation, but soon life intervenes. We forget about the plans that we had.

When you are going to run a marathon, you don't start out by sprinting. You'll get about 1 mile out of the 26 at that pace. You have to start at a slower pace so that you will have the energy to finish the whole race. The same concept applies spiritually.

In everything you do, sacrifice is the other choice. It is seen as the negative alternative. But the truth is that sacrifice is an intrinsic part of life. You are always choosing what to sacrifice. For instance, money or free time? Food that tastes good, or food that's healthy? Instant gratification or discipline?There's always a give and take in life.

The question tonight is not, “Are you sacrificing for God?” You already know about that. The question is, “What are you giving up to indulge yourself?” When you have that extra Twinkie (so to speak) what are you sacrificing? You can't do everything. Every choice you make eliminates another choice. What are you giving up just to feel good? Every time you choose to eat that carton of ice cream you sacrifice a bit of your health. Every time you choose to watch TV you choose to not spend your time doing something else more beneficial. And every time you choose something other than God, you sacrifice.

Napoleon Hill said, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.” Anyone who has made a difference in the world has had to sacrifice something to get there. To live significantly you have to sacrifice insignificant things.

We all want a significant life. But in order to have that we have to sacrifice something.

There is a saying, “The greatest enemy of the great is the good.” It could be phrased this way: The greatest enemy of truly accomplishing something with your life is the things that are close – the things that feel good, look good, sound good and seem like good ideas. There are lots of things that are close. The greatest enemy of you changing the world is not bad stuff (though that is an enemy). It's the good-enough stuff.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice the good to obtain the great. You can't have everything; you have to make a choice. This is what Jesus was saying – you have to give up your whole life in order to take up Christ's whole life.

What is your choice? Will you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ?

Maybe you've been building the wrong kind of tower. It's not too late for you to start over and build the right kind. Maybe your tower project is stalled, stagnant. You can restart that project, it's not too late.

No one does anything significant without sacrifice. What will you spend your life on? What ever you choose, it will involve sacrifice. Have you been trying to get as much of the world as we can, at the expense of your own soul?

When you sacrifice for Christ, there is a gain at the end of all that sacrifice, When you sacrifice for the world, you are sacrificing your very soul. What will you choose?