Tag: The Gifts We Give

The Gifts We Give // Part Four –
The Gift of A Sign

This week Vincent Carpenter concluded our series, The Gifts We Give, with a message on the gift of a sign. Just as God gave the Wise Men the star as a sign that led them to Jesus, God gives us signs to lead us. At times, the signs may seem hard to discern, but we can be confident that God is kind and desires to lead us into greater life.

Throughout our morning, we talked about things that keep us from seeing the signs God is giving us and how we can discern where God is leading us.

HOW CAN WE MISS A SIGN?

If we aren’t looking for something, it is likely that we’ll miss it. The distractions of life can keep us from all God has for us. Life at times can seem discouraging, but in His kindness, God encourages us to seek Him. If we are faithful to seek God, He will reveal Himself to us.

GOD DOESN’T JUST WANT US, HE WANTS US TO WANT HIM.

If a sign feels difficult to read, it is an invitation to pursue God. In our pursuit of God, we find so much more than direction. We also find joy, peace and love, even when our journey feels difficult.

Our own flesh and desires can also keep us from seeing what God is trying to reveal to us. We can be confident that God has the best for us, and we lay aside our own desires, we can pick up all He has for us. If we miss a sign, God is gracious and faithful to bring us back.

WHEN WE ABIDE, WE GIVE GOD AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVEAL HIMSELF.

God isn’t trying to make things difficult for us, He just wants us. When we abide in Him and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, we’ll understand what God is trying to show us.

HOW DO WE DISCERN SIGNS?

Sometimes what we should do next or what God is speaking can seem so unclear. That is why God calls us to walk in community. God uses His people to help us discern the signs He is giving us. He also uses us to be a sign to others. God can also use the things that cause our heart concern as a sign. If we feel unsettled about something, it is likely that God is trying to show us something in that situation.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Abide: Rather than focusing on what God is trying to tell you, focus on abiding in Him. As we abide in Jesus, we create space for the Holy Spirit to lead us. Take a look at this message Vincent shared earlier this year on abiding.
  • Ask God if there is any distractions that are holding you back. Be intentional about setting those things aside, and making space for God to reveal Himself even more to you.

 

The Gifts We Give //
Part Three – The Gift of Humanity

During the holidays many of us feel lonely, isolated or rejected. But we all want to be loved, honored and valued. That is part of our humanity. Today adult pastor Vincent Carpenter continued our series, The Gifts We Give, with a powerful call to reclaim our humanity through Jesus, and in turn, give it to others.

OUR HUMANITY IS A GIFT FROM GOD, NOT A PRODUCT OF SOCIETY.

God created mankind, and He is the originator of our humanity. When sin entered into the world, our humanity was distorted. Our distorted view of humanity can lead us to try to find our ourselves outside of God, which ultimately leads to hurting others in order to find self. God sent Jesus to restore mankind to Himself and reestablish a right understanding of humanity. In Christ, we are not only loved, honored and valued, we are also included in the family of God. We have a newfound identity as sons and daughters of God.

WE UNDERSTAND OUR OWN HUMANITY THROUGH THE GLORY OF GOD.

In Luke 2, the shepherds got a divine visitation that frightens them and awakens them to their part in God’s bigger plan. As some of the most lonely, isolated and rejected people in the world, God chose to reveal His glory to the shepherds as a way to show us that even the lowest among us are invited in. After the shepherds were invited into God’s bigger plan, they shared all that they had seen and heard with others, and “all who heard it were amazed” (Luke 2:17-18). In order to share the humanity they had been given, they first had to receive it through the glory of God.

HUMANITY LEADS US TO THE PEACE OF GOD.

Peace is not a state of mind. We can all be deceived into believing that we can find peace in economic status, achievements, relationships or power, but this is a false peace. Peace is a person, and Jesus wants us to experience the kind of peace that the world cannot give or take away. Jesus gives us peace, but we maintain peace by making peace with others. Our true humanity is our ability to accept the peace and favor of God, and turn and give it to someone else.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Start your day by declaring your restored humanity in Christ. Open up your hands to the Lord as a sign of submission as you declare, “In Christ I have peace with God. In Christ I have peace with others.”
  • Christ gave us the gift of humanity and empowers us to give it to others so that we can walk in His peace. Pray for those in your life that you need to extend peace to.
  • Make space in your life to invite others to share their part in God’s bigger plan with you.

The Gifts We Give //
Part Two – The Gift of Praise

Praise: to glorify, to worship and to value

This week college pastor Luke Whyte continued our series, The Gifts We Give, with a message on the gift of praise. The songs we sing typically end up becoming the soundtrack of our lives. We have a tendency to match our music to our mood, but what if we shifted things? Let’s let praise resound regardless of how we feel because ultimately praise brings the power of God in our lives.

THE MUSIC OF OUR LIFE MAGNIFIES WHAT WE GLORIFY.

Throughout our morning, we took a look at Mary’s response when her life didn’t play out as planned. Mary had reason to be moody and fearful, but instead of allowing her circumstances to define her response, she clung to faith. Take a look at her response in Luke 1:46-56.

MARY PAVED A PATHWAY OF PRAISE TO ENSURE SHE WOULD LAND IN A PLACE OF VICTORY.

Mary declared the goodness of God instead of complaining about her problems. When we magnify our problems, they tend to become a lot bigger than they actually are. Really, the promises of God are way bigger than our problems. When we choose praise, we magnify God and His promises instead of our circumstances.

THE CHORUS’ WE CONSUME BECOME THE SONGS WE SING.

We won’t find freedom from fear if we focus on the thing that is causing us to have fear. We won’t find contentment by complaining. When we turn our focus from our circumstances to God, we position ourselves to consume the goodness of God.

THE SONGS WE SING ARE CONTAGIOUS.

The songs that we sing not only get stuck in our heads, but they also get stuck in other peoples’ heads. Our demeanor plays into the lives of those around us. If we sit in our anxiety and continually complain, the people around us will do the same. When we allow praise to be our anthem, we make a way for others to also sing a new song.

THREE POINTS OF PRAISE //

1.Praise is not about emotion, it’s about sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15-16) // We may not always feel like worshiping, but we can’t let our emotions dictate our actions. We have to allow our praise to shift our mood.

2.Praise is a pathway to His presence (Psalm 100:4) // Dwelling on our problems does not lead to a move of God. Praise leads to a move of God.

3.Praise lifts us up out of the pit, and puts our feet upon a rock (Psalm 40:1-3) // We need to stop singing our old songs, and start declaring a new song. When we stop proclaiming our problems and start praising our promises, we allow our praise to lead us into the presence of God.