Sunday, January 30, 2011

the GOSPEL perspective

inspiration: my first sunday at Seacoast Church

this morning was my first Sunday in Charleston and i worshiped at Seacoast - West Ashley campus. i must say, i was very impressed.
of course, i felt a little awkward sitting alone in a room full of people i didn't know - but i've endured that "awkward" feeling before, and it led to amazing things. it was weird not seeing someone preach on stage - Greg Surratt's sermon was streamed from Mt. Pleasant (the main campus), but it was a GREAT sermon.

i came in on Week 3 of a series entitled "The DNA of Joy" and they're going through the book of Philippians.
this excites me 1) because I love Philippians and 2) it's a true study of the Bible and I need more of that in my life. i'm going to do my best to catch the first two sermons sometime this week.

today's sermon was about How to Have a Great Bad Day.
and it focused on Philippians 1:12-29.
bad days. we all have them. it's inevitable.
but three points Greg made were:
1. Get a bigger PERSPECTIVE
2. Make sure you FOCUS on the right things
3. Remember your MISSION

((Side note: one thing i really like about Seacoast is they give us sermon notes with the Scriptures printed on them; i'm a "note taker" and it's very convenient for me to not have to try and write the scriptures down and it's a bit more meaningful to have the actual text in front of me rather than "philippians 1:18-29". so, a big plus))

...but this message really struck a pretty big chord with me.
it's easy when we're having a bad day to get sucked into the "woe is me" mindset.

but when put things into the GOSPEL perspective, we're able to do what we were meant to do: glorify God!

Greg shared this story he had heard:
A man was walking down the road and came upon three stone cutters, all working diligently cutting their stones. He stopped and asked the first, "What are you doing?". The stone cutter replied, "I'm cutting this stone." The man was still unsure of what they were doing, so he asked the second stone cutter, "What are you doing?". The second replied, "I am measuring and cutting these stones so they will fit perfectly in their place on a wall." It made a little more sense, but the man was still unclear so he asked the third stone cutter, "What are you doing?" and the third replied, "I'm building a cathedral!"

it's all about perspective

Paul was imprisoned and in chains when he wrote:
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." (Phil. 1:12)

Paul was focused on the bigger picture: the GOSPEL!

bringing us to the second point: focus.
what are we focused on?
are we focused on what's truly important or are we focusing on the menial roadblocks we are encountering.

Paul was in prison and he had every right to be upset and woeful and to have pity on himself. But he doesn't. He was focused on Christ, even through the pain:

"But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice. (Phil 1:18)

and last but not least: Remember your MISSION:
we were created, first and foremost, to glorify God!

Paul got it right when he said: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21) and he wasn't afraid of death for he knew it would lead him home to Christ (Phil 1:23).

this point really hit home to me. Greg challenged us to fill in the blank:
"for me, to live is _________"

is our life glorifying Christ or is it glorifying something else? money? us? pleasure? success?
it's easy to let the blank become anything but Christ.
it's easy to get get caught up in earthly things.
but in Colossians, Paul challenges us "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Col 3:2).

so, the next time you or i have a bad day (which we will), remember to keep the GOSPEL perspective. know that you were created for a bigger purpose: for God's glory. He will work things out for His glory!

"The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?" -Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)

...and a line from one of my favorite songs, Josh Wilson's "Before the Morning", which speaks about being "stuck", being down and having a bad day, week, month, or season. whatever it may be.

"Life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time but you'll see the bigger picture."

just wanted to share those thoughts from this morning.
i'm VERY excited about this series and this new experience with Seacoast.
hoping everything works out :)

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