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A Flying Start to the Year - Shoot for the moon!

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A Flying Start to 2007

Shoot For the Moon!

Moving from average to extra-ordinary

Sunday 14th of January 2007

9am Service

This is the second week of 2007. Today is the 14th of January 2007. Already 13 days have come and gone. Today by this time of the day 9.40am there have been 4,759,713 births worldwide and today alone 143,291 92 93 4 5 6 7 have been born worldwide. There have also been 1,975,109 deaths this year worldwide and today this 14th of January already 58,885 people have died today.

There are 351 days left in this year and the days remaining in your time on this earth are only known by God. What will you do with the time you have left? What will you make of the one life you have?

Most people will spend this year busier than last. Most people will try and squeeze more into this year, more activities, more shopping, more study, more work, more, more, more. Many people will look back at the end of the year and will feel like they have more things, will feel tireder, but will deep down wonder whether they feel like they’ve achieved anything at all.

A sociologist did a survey some time ago and asked people, "If you could have one more hour in the day to do anything that you wanted to, what would it be?" Do you want to guess what the number one answer was? Sleep. An hour a day to do anything–climb mountains, dream great dreams, do great deeds, live life to its fullest. Sleep was number one.

A father would come home from work every day, and always bring his briefcase home. Every day come home and every day have his briefcase. The son is kind of troubled by this, and a little confused. And he finally says to his father, "Dad, how come you bring home your briefcase every day?" And the dad says, "Well, son, it's because I can't get all that work done at the office." And his son said, "Well, dad, couldn't they put you in a slower group?"

I once saw a car sticker that read, “He who dies with most toys, wins!” Many people live life at a frantic pace trying to acquire more things with the hope that one day things will settle down and they’ll have enough.

And the tv constantly enforces the idea that we need more. Stockstake sales after Christmas! While we were watching Carols by Candlelight ads for Boxing Day Sales were on the TV. We could even get to enjoy Christmas before we needed to know the next sale time. No deposit, No Lay-by needed, you can take it away today with nothing to pay until 2008! There are ads with people telling us with all sincerity that this product will change our life. And in the mean time…our lives get more and more hurried as we try often to meet the needs of a deep inner voice saying more, more, more. Soon it will be enough. 

Selfish Ambition

One day Jesus was teaching and Luke 12 says that,

13“Then Someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.”

16 And he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. 18 So he said, “I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store everything. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat drink, and be merry!”

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get it all?’

21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Luke 12:13-21 NLT

Jesus uses the word – “fool!” to describe this man. Why would he use such a harsh word? I think it’s because this man spent all his life preparing and planning for his life on earth, the riches that he would own, without giving any though to his death.

He worked hard for the one day when more would be enough only discover that it wasn’t – he would die and not get to enjoy the things he thought were most important.

You see life is more than what we acquire, the status we receive, the achievements we make. Before God, what is far more important is who we become.

A fool Jesus says is someone who lives at a hurried frantic pace trying to acquire stuff that you can’t take with you when you die.   

John Ortberg, well known Christian author writes, My grandmother taught me how to play the game monopoly. Now, my grandmother was a wonderful person. She raised six children. She was a widow by the time I knew her well.

She lived in our house for many, many years. And she was a lovely woman, but she was the most ruthless Monopoly player I have ever known in my life. Imagine what would have happened if Donald Trump had married Leona Helmsley and they would have had a child. Then, you have some picture of what my grandmother was like when she played Monopoly. She understood that the name of the game is to acquire.

When we would play when I was a little kid and I got my money from the bank, I would always want to save it, hang on to it, because it was just so much fun to have money. She spent on everything she landed on. And then, when she bought it, she would mortgage it as much as she could and buy everything else she landed on. She would accumulate everything she could. And eventually, she became the master of the board.

And every time I landed, I would have to pay her money. And eventually, every time she would take my last dollar, I would quit in utter defeat. And then she would always say the same thing to me. She'd look at me and she'd say, "One day, you'll learn to play the game." I hated it when she said that to me. But one summer, I played Monopoly with a neighbor kid–a friend of mine–almost every day, all day long. We'd play Monopoly for hours.

And that summer, I learned to play the game. I came to understand the only way to win is to make a total commitment to acquisition. I came to understand that money and possessions, that's the way that you keep score. And by the end of that summer, I was more ruthless than my grandmother. I was ready to bend the rules, if I had to, to win that game. And I sat down with her to play that fall.

Slowly, cunningly, I exposed my grandmother's vulnerability. Relentlessly, inexorably, I drove her off the board. The game does strange things to you. I can still remember. It happened at Marvin Gardens. I looked at my grandmother. She taught me how to play the game. She was an old lady by now. She was a widow. She had raised my mom. She loved my mom. She loved me. I took everything she had. I destroyed her financially and psychologically. I watched her give her last dollar and quit in utter defeat. It was the greatest moment of my life.

And then she had one more thing to teach me. Then she said, "Now it all goes back in the box–all those houses and hotels, all the railroads and utility companies, all that property and all that wonderful money–now it all goes back in the box." I didn't want it to go back in the box. I wanted to leave the board out, bronze it maybe, as a memorial to my ability to play the game.

"No," she said, "None of it was really yours. You got all heated up about it for a while, but it was around a long time before you sat down at the board, and it will be here after you're gone. Players come and players go. But it all goes back in the box." He was a shrewd guy, this man in Jesus' story. He learned to play the game, and he played the game real well. It's not a bad thing to play the game well. He just forgot one thing. He forgot the game would end. He forgot the game would end.

The globe we’re riding on is not as still as it may appear. It’s actually travelling at more that 6,600 miles per hour. Think of it! Earth is rotating faster than the spin cycle of your washing machine. No wonder the psalmist declares life to be as fleeting as a “breath” (Psalm 144:4), the passing of our years but a “sign” (Ps. 90:9). James likens our lives to a “vapour,” here today and gone tomorrow (James 4:14). Our life indeed flashes before our eyes. A few more spins and it will be over; we’ll all be in eternity.

How long is eternity? Imagine a cable that extends in both directions till it disappears over opposite horizons. It passes through both walls on either side of this church and stretches unseen into the distance. That’s eternity – it goes on forever, with no end in sight.

Now compare eternity to the length of your life on Earth. In your imagination take our a ball-point pen and draw a vertical scratch on the infinite cable stretched out in front of you. The width of that mark (about a millimetre) represents the length of our life on Earth, compared with eternity. Not very long!

The problem is most people think that all they have is that little scratch. So they hold on to it, caress it, love it. They save and hoard for that scratch. And at the end of this life all the stuff goes back in the box, but eternity begins.

A fool Jesus says lives life on just thinking about the scratch and not living with eternity in our focus each and every day.

So how do we live a life of contentment – but shoot for the moon? How can we be like Paul who wrote…

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.’

Philippians 4:12 NLT

Really living – Living for God and His purposes not me and my purposes

Seek first His Kingdom and all these things will be added unto you… Matthew 6:33

Not selfish ambition but godly ambition

Put Him first in your life

TO SHOOT FOR THE MOON IN 2007 GOD WANTS US TO DO THREE THINGS DAILY THIS YEAR…

GOD WANTS US DIE TO OUR OWN SELFISH AMBITON

34 Then he called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. “If any of you wants to be my follower,” he told them, “you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life. 36 And how do you really benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[a] in the process? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?”

Mark 8:34-36 NLT

“I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 NLT

 

GOD WANTS US TO LIVE FOR HIM, PUTTING HIM FIRST EVERDAY

  • A life of love

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

Matthew 22:38-39 NLT

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

1 John 4:7-8 NLT

  • A life of obedience

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:33 NLT

“You are my friends if you obey me.” John 15:14 NLT

  • A life of service

 “Anyone who wants to be the first must take the last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Mark 9:35 NLT

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45 NLT

 

GOD WANTS US TO TAKE GREAT LEAPS OF FAITH AS HE LEADS US INTO 2007

 

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Ephesians 3:20 NLT

But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 NLT

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible

God is able

David brought down Goliath

Peter walked on the water

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

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