CURRENT SERMON SERIES

SUNDAY OCTOBER 1 - SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5, 2017

LIFE DEFINED

 All living things have a purpose. Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered why." Join us beginning Sunday, October 1, 2017, as Pastor Mike begins this new 6 week message and church-wide small group series to explore, Life Defined. If you missed any of the series messages, you can listen to them here. You can also read and/or download the message notes and small group questions below.

 
LifeDEFINED Week 4: Becoming Like Jesus

Pastor Notes
LifeDEFINED Part 4
"Becoming Like Jesus"

 

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” -Romans 8:29 (NIV)

 

“Pre-destination means that our God fashioned destiny is that we be conformed to the image of His son.”

 

“For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him – and He knew who would – should become like His Son . . .”  -Romans 8:29 TLB 

 

“In all things God works for the good for those who love Him,  who have been called according to His purposes”. -Romans 8:28 NIV

 

God often uses three common struggles of humanity to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.        

 

1. Trouble / God often uses trouble to teach us to trust Him. 

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33b NIV

 

“…trouble produces patience, and patience produces character, and character produces hope”.  -Romans 5:3b -4

 

“The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes Me.” -Mark 14:34 GNT

 

“‘Father’ He said, ‘everything is possible for You.  Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet, I want Your will, not Mine!’” -Mark 14:36 NLT. 

 

2. Temptations / God uses our temptations to teach us to obey Him. 

“When tempted no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone...” -James 1:13 NIV 

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” -Hebrews 4:15 NIV

 

• Remember, it is not a sin to be tempted. • Everyone is tempted in the same ways.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

 

Jesus said “‘Get out of here, Satan’ Jesus told him.  ‘The scriptures say, worship only the Lord God.  Obey only Him”.   -Matthew 4:10 LB

 

3. Trespasses / God uses trespasses to teach us to forgive. 

“People walked by and insulted Jesus and shook their heads, saying, “You said you could destroy the Temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross if you are really the Son of God!” The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the Jewish elders were also making fun of Jesus. They said, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself! He says he is the king of Israel! If he is the king, let him come down now from the cross. Then we will believe in him. He trusts in God, so let God save him now, if God really wants him. He himself said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And in the same way, the robbers who were being crucified beside Jesus also insulted him.” -Matthew 27:39-44 NCV

 

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” -Luke 23:33 NIV 

 

Two tips for when people harm you intentionally or unintentionally.

• Remember that God has forgiven you.

“Forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” -Ephesians 4:32. 

 

• Remember God never wastes a hurt. 

“You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done”. -Genesis 50:20 NCV

 

“Faith in God offers no assurance against tragedy, but in every case suffering offers an opportunity for us to display God’s work”.
-Philip Yancy    Book: Where is God When It Hurts?

 

”Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”    
-Philippians 2:5 NIV

 

 

Small Group Notes
LifeDEFINED Part 4
"Becoming Like Jesus"

 

The third LifeDefining purpose is you were created to become like Jesus Christ.

 

Discuss Purpose # 3 within the context of these next verses.

 

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” -Genesis 1:26a NLT

 

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” -Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT

 

God often uses three common struggles of humanity to transform us into the likeness of Jesus.  1. Trouble  2. Temptation  3. Trespasses

 

God uses trouble to teach us to trust Him.

• Jesus trusted God in the most difficult time in His life. (Crucifixion)

 

Discuss how troubles and difficulty are instrumental in helping you trust God in the way Jesus trusted God.

 

“… trouble produces patience, and patience produces character, and character produces hope”.  -Romans 5:3b – 4 NCV

 

God uses temptations to teach us to obey Him.  (God does not tempt us.  James 1:13)

 

• Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights.

 

”For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. -Hebrews 4:15 NIV

 

Discuss how temptations may have been instrumental in teaching you obedience in the way Jesus obeyed His Father in heaven.

 

God uses trespasses to help us forgive each other.

 

• Jesus forgave us of our trespasses. 

“Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” -Luke 23:34  NIV

 

“Forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” -Ephesians. 4:32

Discuss how a trespass against you taught you to forgive like Jesus forgives.

 

• Always remember, God has forgiven you.

Discuss this quote. “Faith in God offers no assurance against tragedy, but in every case suffering offers an opportunity for us to display God’s work”.  -Philip Yancy 

 

• Always remember God never wastes a hurt.

LifeDEFINED Week 3: Fellowship

Pastor's Notes

Life Defined Part 3

"Fellowship"

 

Eph. 1:5 NLT “His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ."  

 

The second Life Defining purpose for our lives is “Fellowship”

 

Definition... “Fellowship is all about loving God's family.” 

 

I John 4:21 (TLB) “21 And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.”

 

There are four steps to true fellowship.

      

1. Choosing to belong

 

Ephesians 2:19 LB “You are members of God's very own family and you belong in God's household with every other Christian." 

 

Romans 12:5 NIV “In Christ we who are many form one Body, and each member belongs to all the others."

 

The second step of growth in true fellowship is:

    

2. Friendship

 

Acts 2:44 LB "All the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other."

 

What are we to share?

 

Experiences

Proverbs 27:17 NCV “As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.”

 

Homes

I Peter 4:9 NCV "open up your homes to each other, without complaining."

 

Our problems

Galatians 6:2 NLT “Share each other’s burdens in this way you obey the law of Christ,”

 

Hebrews 10:25 GNT “25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

 

3. Partnership

1 Corinthians, 3:9. GNT " We are partners working together for God." 

Ephesians 4:16 NLT  “The whole body is fitted together perfectly as each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole Body is healthy and growing and full of love."

 

Matthew 25:40, "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are the members of my family, you did it to Me." 

 

4. Kinship

 

Acts 2:42 CEV "They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread and prayed together.”

 

Romans 12:10a ESV “Love one another with brotherly affection."

 

John 13:34-35 TLB “And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

 

Small Group Notes

Life Defined Part 3

"Fellowship"

 

The second LifeDefining purpose for your lives is “Fellowship” connecting with God’s family. Loving God, is called “Worship,” loving each other, is called “Fellowship.” 

 

Definition... “Fellowship is all about loving God's family.”

 

John 4:21 TLB “And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.”

 

Q. How would you describe God’s family?

Q. Who is in God’s family?

 

Discuss this statement: God creates everybody, but not everybody is a child of God.

 

Eph. 1:5 NLT “His (God) unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ." 

 

Discuss this statement: The story of God is a story of God building a family.

 

True fellowship is developed in four steps:

 

1. Choosing to belong. (Finding a church family and choosing to connect.)

 

Discuss this statement: You were meant to belong. The Christian life is more then believing, it is matter of belonging. We must choose to belong to a fellowship.

 

Q. Why belong to a fellowship? Ephesians 2:19 LB “You are members of God's very own family and you belong in God's household with every other Christian."

 

 

2. Friendship. (Learning to share, developing deep friendships)

 

Acts 2:44 LB "All the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other."

 

They shared their homes, experiences, struggles or problems

 

Discuss this statement: How much should I share of my life and resources?

 

3. Partnership. (Coming to realize how making a contribution on my part is vital.)

 

Discuss this statement: You must discover where you fit in the body. 

 

phesians 4:16 NLT “The whole body is fitted together perfectly as each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole Body is healthy and growing and full of love." E 

 

Q. What does this verse mean to you? Matthew 25 :40 NIV "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are the members of my family, you did it to Me." 

 

    

4.  Kinship. (Loving believers like family)

Romans 12:10a ESV “Love one another with brotherly affection.”

 

Discuss this statement: If we miss kinship, we have missed a major part of what defines our lives.

 

John 13:34-35 TLB“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. 35 Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 

 

 

 

 

LifeDEFINED Week 2: Worship

Pastor's Notes

Life Defined Part 2

"Worship"

 

Revelation 4:11 NCV “11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, because you made all things. Everything existed and was made, because you wanted it.”

 

Matthew 22:37-38 NIV “Love the Lord your God.  This is the first and greatest commandment.” 

 

Romans 12:1 TEV “Because of God’s great mercy to us, offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.  This is the true worship that you should offer.”

 

Mark 12:30 NCV “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul all your mind and all your strength.”

 

God wants me to love Him three ways.

·  God wants me to love Him passionately. 

·  God wants me to love Him thoughtfully. 

·  God wants to love Him completely. 

 

What is worship?

1.  Worship is focusing my attention on God. 

 

David said in Psalm 139:1-3 CEV “You have looked deep into my heart, Lord and You know all about me.  You know when I am resting or when I am working.  You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.” 

 

·  We are self-centered by nature. 

·  We live in self-centered culture. 

 

Romans 8:7 MSG “Focusing on yourself is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God and ends up thinking more about self than God.” 

 

Romans 12:2 MSG  “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

 

2. Worship is also expressing my affection to  God. 

 

I John 4:19 NKJV “We love Him because He first loved us.” 

 

Hosea 6:6 LBT, God says to Israel, “I don’t want your sacrifices.  I want your love.  I don’t want your offerings.  I want you to know Me.” 

 

Romans 6:13 (NLT)”13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”

 

3.  Worship is using my abilities for God. 

 

Colossians 3:23 TEV “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” 

 

 “In life, it’s not what you do that matters.  It’s who you do it for.  You give it all to God.  And all of your work can be turned to worship.  I don’t care if you’re a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker.  You can do it for God.  You say, I’m going to do this as if I’m doing this for You, God.  You may be a carpet cleaner.  You may be an attorney.  You may be a nurse.  You may be an at-home mother raising children.  You may be an executive or manager or a sales person or truck driver – it really doesn’t matter what you do.  It’s who you do it for.” -Rick Warren  / Purpose Driven Life

 

Small Group Notes

LifeDefined Part 2

"Worship"

 

Think on this verse. 

In the book of Revelations the Elders and the living Creatures fall down before Jesus and say:  Revelation 4:11 NCV “11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, because you made all things. Everything existed and was made, because you wanted it.”

 

Discuss this truth: God made all things including you because He wanted to.

 

In Psalm 139:1-3 CEV David said, “You have looked deep into my heart, Lord and You know all about me.  You know when I am resting or when I am working.  You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.” 

 

Q. What is David communicating about God?

Q. Why is God worthy of our attention?

Q. How would you define worship?

 

WORSHIP IS FOCUSING MY ATTENTION ON GOD

 

Q. Why is it difficult to focus our attention on God? 

 

Discuss these statements.

 

We are self-centered by nature.  /  We live in a self-centered culture. 

 

Romans 12:2 MSG “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

   

WORSHIP IS EXPRESSING MY AFFECTION TO GOD

 

I John 4:19 NKJV “We love Him because He first loved us.” 

 

Hosea 6:6 LBT, God speaking to Israel said, “I don’t want your sacrifices.  I want your love.  I don’t want your offerings.  I want you to know Me.” 

 

WORSHIP IS USING MY ABILITIES FOR GOD

 

Colossians 3:23 TEV “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” 

 

Discuss this verse.

 

Romans 12:1 TEV “Because of God’s great mercy to us, offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.  This is the true worship that you should offer.”

 

Q. What does it mean to OFFER yourself as a living sacrifice?

LifeDEFINED Week 1: On Purpose

Pastor's Notes

Life Defined Part 1

"On Purpose"

 

 “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered why.”  -Mark Twain

 

Three important questions you can ask yourself. 

       1. The question of existence – Why am I alive? 

       2. The question of significance – Does my life matter?

       3. The question of intention. What’s my purpose?

 

1. The question of existence – Why am I alive?      

Jeremiah 20:18 NIV “Why was I born?  Was it only to have trouble and sorrow and to end my life in disgrace?”

 

Secular options for discovering how life is defined.

·  The Mystical Approach. 

Look deep inside yourself and there you’ll find the purpose of life.

 

You were created therefore you have to look out to your creator to

find the answer to the questions of existence – significance – intention.

 

·  The Self Help Approach / Create your own purpose

·  The Philosophical Approach.

“I don’t know the meaning and purpose of life but it looks as if something were meant by it.”   

 

Proverbs 19:21a ESV “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”                          

 

Proverbs 16:4 GW “The Lord has made everything for His own purpose.” 

 

Ephesians 1:4  NLT “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”
 

2. The question of significance – Does my life matter? 

Isaiah 49:4 NLT “My work all seems so useless.  I have spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose at all.” 

 

How do you find significance?

·  Knowing how much you matter to God gives you significance.

·  Living out the purpose for your existence gives you significance.

·  Understanding that the meaning of life gives significance.

 

Isaiah 44:2a TLB “I am your creator. You were in My care even before you were born.” 

 

Psalm 139:16 TLB “You (GOD) saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”

 

Psalm 33:11 NIV “His plans endure forever.  His purposes last eternally.”

 

II Corinthians 5:1 TEV “When this tent we live in, our body here on earth, is torn down God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home that He Himself has made which will last forever.”

 

3. The question of intention - What is my purpose? 

Psalm 89:47 NCV “Remember how short life is. Why did you create us?  For nothing?” 

 

“Unless you assume the existence of a God the question of the meaning and purpose of life is irrelevant.”  Bertrand Russell

 

Proverbs 9:10 LB “Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding.” 

 

Colossians 1:16 NIV “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."

 

 

Eph. 1:11 MSG “It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” 

 

Acts 10:34-35 MSG “God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from.  If you want God and you’re ready to do as He says the door is open.” 

 

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” George Eliot

 

 

Small Group Notes

Life Defined Part 1

"On Purpose"

 

Share your names & how you connected withTFC

Objective: Gain understanding of God’s design & purpose

 

Life’s three most important questions.

• The question of Existence  / Why am I alive?

• The question of Significance / Does my life matter?

• The question of Intention / What is my Purpose?

 

Q. If you were asked: Why are you here? Does your life matter? or What is your purpose in life? How would you respond?

 

Q. In Proverbs 16:4a (GW) Solomon the wisest man who ever lived said, “The Lord has made everything for His purpose” How do you think God was including you in His grand purpose?  

 

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. “ –Proverbs 19:20-21 (ESV)

 

Q. What do you think the meaning of this verse is? “For in him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” –Colossians 1:16 (NIV)

 

Q. Can a person design his or her own purpose? Share your thoughts on the three common approaches to discovering purpose.

• Mystical Approach / Introspectively, look inside to find the purpose of your life. • Self help approach / Invent your own purpose.

• Philosophical approach / Who knows! “I don’t know the meaning and purpose of life but it looks as if something were meant by it.” –Philosopher, Carl Jung Respond to this quote from Bertrand Russell, a self-proclaimed atheist.

• “Unless you assume the existence of a God, the question of the meaning and purpose of life is irrelevant.” God made you to love and much more. John 4:9-10 (MSG)

 

“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.”  

 

Q. How does it make you feel to know you were made for love? Respond to this quote: “It’s never too late to be u0003who you might have been.” –George Herbert