• Hebrews 12:2; Genesis 12:1; Exodus 3:10-11; 4:1-12
  • Lyndol Loyd
  • September 3, 2017
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9-3-17 Sermon from LakeRidge UMC on Vimeo.

Video: Prince Ea Clip – Part 1

It is not death most people are afraid of.  It is getting to the end of life, only to realize, that you never truly lived.  There was a study done, a hospital study, on one-hundred elderly people facing death, close to their last breath.  They were asked to reflect about their life’s biggest regret.  Nearly all of them said they regretted not the things they did, but the things they didn’t do. The risks they never took.  The dreams they didn’t pursue. I ask you, would your last words be, “If only I had…”? Hey you, wake up! Why do you exist? Life is not meant to simply work, wait for the weekend and pay rent.  No, I don’t know much, but I know this, every person on this earth has a gift. You know, I learned a fact about airplanes the other day, this was so surprising, I was talking to a pilot and he told me that many of his passengers think planes are dangerous to fly in. But he said, “Actually, it is a lot more dangerous for a plane to stay on the ground.” I said, “What? Like, how does that sound?” He said, “Because on the ground, the plane starts to rust, malfunction and wear much faster than it ever would if it was in the air.” As I walked away I thought, “Yay, makes total sense because planes were built to live in the skies.” And every person was built to live out the dream they have inside. So, it is perhaps the saddest loss to live life on the ground without ever taking off.


This morning we are wrapping up our series entitled, “This Is Your Life”, and it is based upon the idea that there is no dress rehearsal for life. The life we have today is our one and only life to live and we need to make sure that the life we are living today will end up telling the story that we want to be able to tell in the future.


In fact, the key thought for this series has been the decisions that you make today, determine the stories that you tell tomorrow.  As a matter of fact, I would like for you to think of your life as a book that you are writing. Yes, the past has already been written, you are writing the present now, but the future is still to be written. It is made up of blank pages.


As we have worked our way through this series, we’ve talked about how important it is that we listen for what it is that God is saying to us. How is the Holy Spirit guiding us?  We examined how sometimes God’s word to us is to get started and I challenged you to ask yourself what God might be calling you to start doing in terms of a new discipline in your life.


We looked at how sometimes God’s word to us is to come to a complete stop. I challenged us to consider if there was any behavior or attitudes in our lives that God would have us give up as a way of being transformed more into the likeness of Christ.


Last week, we looked at how sometimes God’s word to us is to stay put. Sometimes the easy thing to do would be to leave, but God has reasons for us to stay the course so that he can accomplish His purposes in and through us.


It may be that you sense that there’s something new that needs to take place.  You realize, “Hey, I’m supposed to take a new step of faith.  I’m supposed to venture out.  Somehow, I just know that there’s something more that I’m supposed to do.”


When you get to that place, the best decision you can make is to get going when it would be easier to stay. It becomes time to take a step of faith.


The video clip we just watched featured an internet celebrity known as Prince Ea. I liked so much of what  he had to say, but I have to tell you, I found his thoughts to be incomplete. To be certain, he pointed us toward the question of “How do we live a story worth telling?”, but ultimately he didn’t explicitly address the role of faith in the who equation.


As people of faith in Jesus Christ who are asking ourselves how to live a story worth telling, I would also point us to Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”


If you’re going to go,  you’re going to have to leave where you are and that’s going to take faith.  That’s why you need Jesus, who perfects your faith. If you want to write the story of your life in a way that pleases God, you want Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of your faith, who will help you live the story God wants you to tell.


When it comes to a Biblical narrative that shows us what it means to get going and how it requires great faith to do, there is no better story than that of Abram and Sarai, who later became known as Abraham and Sarah.


The one true God comes to Abram and gives him a very simple and very direct command in Genesis 12:1, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.’”


Leave and go. This seems obvious, but I want to go ahead and say  it, to go somewhere else, you have to leave where you are. To go somewhere else, you have to leave what’s known, what’s comfortable, what’s predictable and what’s easy.


Think about Abram, God said, “Go to this place you’ve never been.”  You might be thinking, “Well, I grew up here. All my friends are here. I like it here.  My house is almost paid for here.  You know, if I ever have kids, I like the schools here.  My best friend is here and we’ve been friends since we were twelve. I get my haircut down the street.  I know where to get my oil changed and I trust the guy.” Abram had things that were comfortable to him as well and yet God called him to go to a place he knew nothing of.


God simply makes this promise in V. 2 -3, “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”


Abraham would have said, “Huh?  There are going to be nations come from us?  God, don’t you realize, we have zero kids?  None.  I’m seventy-five, we’ve been trying for years, and we haven’t had any results, none.  We’re childless.  We can’t have kids. You’re telling me there are going to be  nations come out of us?”


Here’s something very important.  I don’t know if you have ever made a promise to god, I do all the time.  “God, if you just help me pass this test, I promise I’ll study next time.  God, if you’ll just help me not get a speeding ticket, I’ll never drive too fast again.”  All through the years, how many of you have made a promise like that?


Here’s the thing, we’re not changed by the promises we make to God.  We’re changed by believing the promises God makes to us. God makes this promise to Abram.


What does Abram do? V. 4, “So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.”

I want you to just stop for a moment and think about this.  What would have happened if Abram didn’t go?  What if he had rationalized it out and said, “Well, it’s easier to stay and I don’t really know where I’m going. That doesn’t seem safe. It seems scary.  We tried to have kids and we’re not going to have kids, this is stupid.”


Today, a lot of people refer to God as the God of whom?  Do you know?  They refer to him as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  If Abram didn’t go, there wouldn’t be an Isaac.  There wouldn’t be a Jacob.  He would not be known as the God of Abraham because Abraham would have stayed behind.  I’m telling you, there are untold consequences that would be different if Abram didn’t have the faith to obey God.


Let’s do this, take a step back and I want to ask the big question that I’ve been asking every single week of this series.  If you’ve been here, you know what I’m going to ask.  “What does God want you to want?”  If He’s to be the author of your story, what needs to change about the direction of your story?


For some of you, He might want you to want more time with your family. You say one day you will but you’re still working so much. Or He may want you to invest in your family’s lives spiritually, to actually help them to grow spiritually.


Maybe you’re the one who needs to grow spiritually. Or maybe God wants you to want financial freedom because you’re so wrapped up in debt and bondage that it consumes you and God wants you to want something different.


It could be that God wants you to start a ministry or be involved in someone else’s life. I want to bring us to the application question.


Based on what God wants you to want, what step of faith do you need to take?  Based on the story that God wants you to tell, what step of faith do you need to take so your story will be what God wants it to be?   I want you to think about it because it could change your life when one day you decide to go when it would be easier to stay.


That is exactly where I found myself during the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016. Our family was very happy and content with our lives in Orlando, FL. We loved the year round sunshine, living less than an hour from the beach and we had become close personal friends with Mickey and Minnie by this point. We loved our church. After moving to Orlando to start the church back in 2005, our congregation was at the healthiest point it had ever been in our eleven years there. Life was good.


Joni tells people that when the email arrived inviting me to be part of the search process to be the next pastor at LakeRidge that it felt like something dropped down out of the sky and landed on us.


I’ve shared with you previously that we originally told the head hunter who contacted us “No” because Madeline was going to be a senior and we didn’t want to uproot her during that time.  But in giving that response we really didn’t consult with God or Madeline.


Joni came to me and said, “I think we may have missed the boat on this. God will not leave me alone about Lubbock. I really think we need to talk to Madeline.”  When we did talk to Madeline her response was “I kind of think maybe God wants you to do it.”


I have to tell you that in terms of my day-to-day life, it would be so much easier for us to stay in Orlando. At the time it seemed insane to move to Lubbock and follow Bill Couch after over thirty-seven years of ministry. It was completely intimidating and yet at the same time, I would share with you that I became convinced with all my heart, mind and strength that God was clearly calling me to go.


What about you?


Based on what God wants you to want, what step of faith do you need to take?  Some of you are going to take the faith step and start a Life Group or Sunday School Class.  You don’t know who’s going to come, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know if you’re good enough, you don’t know what you’re going to teach on.  But one day, your story is going to be  different. You’re going to say, “A while back, I wasn’t sure but I decided to, and now I have this great community of believers.  I had no idea how different our lives would be.”  What if you didn’t go because you decided to stay when it would have been easier to go.


For some of you there’s a job you’ve always wondered if you could get, but you’re afraid you might not.  You’re going to take the faith step and go interview for the job, and you might not get it, but you’ll never know.  You have to step out to find out.


Some of you, there’s a business you may start and years from now your story may be you started with nothing and you didn’t know what to do.  You might look back to the moment you took the faith step and followed God.

Or some of you, God might call you to foster or to adopt.  You think, “God, I need details. What’s going to  happen?”  God may say, “You can’t handle the details.” Well, it might be hard.  I’ll tell you right now, it will be hard, but God didn’t call us to an easy life, He called us to a faith-filled life.  You may need to take that step of faith and go ahead when it would be easier to do nothing.


Why is it that so many of us don’t go when we think we’re supposed to?  Why is it that as Christians, we may have an internal spiritual something leading us and we don’t do it.  Well, I can’t speak for you, but for me, it’s because I’m afraid, I’m insecure. I’m not sure how it will work out.  I tell myself I can always do it later.  The bottom line is I don’t have faith.


Here’s what I hope you’ll understand, Scripture says without faith, it’s impossible to please God. How did Abram leave where he was and go where God called him to go?  How did he do it?


Hebrews 11:8 tells us how. “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”


How did he do it?  He did it by faith. How will you do it?  You will do it by faith.  When God calls you to go but you don’t know where you’re going, how

will you go?  You’ll go by faith.  You will do it by faith because without faith, it is impossible to please God.


Video: Prince Ea Clip – Part 2


Most of us are afraid of the thief that comes in the night to steal all of our things. But there is a thief in your mind who is after your dreams. His name is doubt.  If you see him, call the cops and keep him away from the kids. ‘Cause he is wanted for murder, for he has killed more dreams than failure ever did. He wears many disguises and like a virus will leave you blinded, divided, and turn you into a “kinda”.  See “kinda” is lethal, you know what “kinda” is.  There’s a lot of “kinda” people. You kinda want a career change.  You kinda want to get straight A’s.  You kinda want to get in shape. Simple math, no numbers to crunch, if you kinda want something, then you will kinda get the results you want. What is your dream? What ignites that spark? You can’t kinda want that, you gotta want that with every part of your whole heart. Would you struggle? Yeah, you will struggle, there’s no way around that. You will fall many times, but who’s counting? Just remember, there’s no such thing as a smooth mountain. If you want to make it to the top, then there are sharp ridges which must be stepped over.  There will be times you get stressed and things you get depressed over. But let me tell you something, struggle and criticism are prerequisites for greatness. That is the law of this universe and no one escapes it.  Because pain is life, but you can choose which type, either the pain on the road to success, or the pain of being haunted with regret. You want my advice? Don’t think twice.  We have been given a gift that we call life. So don’t blow it. You are not defined by your past, instead you are born anew in each moment.  So own it, now.  Sometimes you gotta leap and grow your wings on the way down. You better get started before the clock runs out because there ain’t no overtime in life. No do-overs.  And I know like I sound like I’m preaching on, speaking with force,  but if you don’t use your gift then you sell not only yourself, but the whole world, short. So what invention do you have buried in your mind? What idea? What cure? What skill do you have inside to bring out to this universe? “Uni” meaning one, “verse” meaning song. You have a part to play in this song. So grab that microphone and be brave. Sing your heart out on life’s stage. You cannot go back and make a brand new beginning. But you can start now and make a brand new ending.