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How to have the best year of your life

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Walking towards a better life. God invites us to something better.

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Good morning! Welcome to everyone here live and everyone watching online. I’m so glad you decided to join us today. It’s that time of year, right? The time of year that we all start thinking about the changes we need to make to make next year better than this year.
Unless you’re the one person who says, “there’s nothing about my life I want change. I’m perfectly happy the way things are and I don’t need to change anything.” Well welcome. I’m so glad you decided to join us today, Jesus. After today’s service maybe we can sit down and you can tell me some stories about the disciples. I’d especially love to hear what was like running around with Peter.
Conversations with a computer
As soon as the phone is answered and it’s a computer my stress level goes through the roof. Because I know how it’s going to go. I’m going to keep talking to this stinking computer and having to keep repeating myself till I get so angry, I’m now yelling at the computer to “just put someone on the flippin phone”. Since I’m not yelling and using Christian cuss words, it’s now understanding me a little less and I get even more mad and start pushing buttons so hard that I make Siri start crying. And in my fury of pressing ‘0’ fifty times I accidentally hit the hang up button and have to start all over. I know that’s about to happen so I do everything I can to avoid having to call anyone. That doesn’t even help sometimes because now we have computers that are calling you. Grrr! I don’t even want to call anymore, because I know it’s going to be impossible for me to talk to someone.
I believe that’s how many of us are when it comes to New Year resolutions, or any kind of change we’d like to make to see a happier healthier life. It seems impossible. What’s the point in even trying? Why start something that I don’t believe is going to make a difference?
Maybe you reflect back to last year, when your goal was to get in better shape so you go to the gym and pump some iron. You go go home feeling great, like you accomplished something, then you wake up the next morning and can’t move. What’s your first thought?
Yeah, that was dumb. I ain’t doing that again. No one wants to make themselves feel pain. The old saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. Uh, no…My thought is, ‘no pain....no pain’. That’s so much better.
We feel like we know how it’s going to turn out. We know we’re not going to succeed. We don’t want to feel like a failure so we just never make the goal. Even though we’ve thought about it and we know what we want/need to do, we choose to not act on it.
But, there’s just something about this time of year makes it impossible not to think about change. Whether it’s an unofficial New Year resolution, where you don’t really say it or make it a goal, or you’re writing it down in your journal with a sharpie. It’s almost like it’s just engrained in us. We reflect back over the year and see what areas could have been better, what areas brought me joy, or what direction I’d like to go in.
It all circles around this idea of happiness. The driving force behind New Year resolutions and thinking through what change we want to see in our life revolves around improvement. What can we do in our life to make our life better?
whether it’s an unofficial New Year resolution, where you don’t really say it and make it a goal, or whether you’re writing it down in your journal with a sharpie,
and it all circles around this idea of happiness.
or
Walking towards improvement. The driving force behind New Year resolutions and thinking through what change we want to see in our life revolves around improvement. What can we do in our life to make our life better?
Everyone wants their life to be better. No one is going to go home tonight and start charting out the different ways we can make our life worse. That’s just weird. You may write down the different things your spouse is doing, but that’s a different sermon for a different time. We’d all like to see an improvement in our life in some area and that’s where these resolutions or goals come from.
For some it may be
Getting more organized
Get out of debt
Get in better shape
lose weight
Improve a relationship
Or get in a relationship
We want those things because we believe those are changes we can make to lead us to a happier place in life. You may be right, but here’s what I’ve learned, even with those changes in place it’s:
As soon as the phone is answered and it’s a computer my stress level goes through the roof. Because I know how it’s going to go. I’m going to keep talking to this stinking computer and having to keep repeating myself till I get so angry, I’m now yelling at the computer to “just put someone on the flippin phone”. Since I’m not yelling and using Christian cuss words, it’s now understanding me a little less and I get even more mad and start pushing buttons so hard that I make Siri start crying. And in my fury of pressing ‘0’ fifty times I accidentally hit the hang up button and have to start all over. I know that’s about to happen so I do everything I can to avoid having to call anyone. That doesn’t even help sometimes because now we have computers that are calling you. Grrr! I don’t even want to call anymore, because I know it’s going to be impossible for me to talk to someone.
I believe that’s how many of us are when it comes to New Year resolutions, or any kind of change we’d like to make to see a happier healthier life. It seems impossible. What’s the point in even trying? Why start something that I don’t believe is going to make a difference?
Maybe you reflect back to last year, when your goal was to get in better shape so you go to the gym and pump some iron. You go go home feeling great, like you accomplished something, then you wake up the next morning and can’t move. What’s your first thought?
Yeah, that was dumb. I ain’t doing that again. No one wants to make themselves feel pain. The old saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. Uh, no…My thought is, ‘no pain....no pain’. That’s so much better.
We feel like we know how it’s going to turn out. We know we’re not going to succeed. We don’t want to feel like a failure so we just never make the goal. Even though we’ve thought about it and we know what we want/need to do, we choose to not act on it.

What does God want for you

Because I honestly believe that 2018 can be the best year of your life up to this point. It’s something every person can do and it’s not so much revolving around the completion of goals. Your goals may be included in the progress of the year, but it’s something that, at any point in the year regardless if you’ve given up on your resolution or not, you can begin to do and see positive change begin to take place. To begin to experience the joy, peace, and happiness you’re wanting.
It’s actually 4 question to ask yourself and 4 principles to live your life by and keep in the forefront of your mind. And I believe that living by these 4 principles, will help you accomplish your goals, but lead to a happier healthier life and this year can be the best year you’ve ever had.
So I want to give you four questions for you to ask yourself and in those questions tell you four principles to move you toward having the best year of your life.
Direction, not intention determines destination
If a happier life is the place we’re trying to get to, it’s going to be the direction we’re taking our life and not the intention we have in our life that will get us there. So what I want to do today is give you 4 principles, that aren’t necessarily goal oriented, but principles you can apply to your life that I believe will make 2018 the best year you’ve ever had.
To get these principles we’re going to look at a encounter that a guy named Moses had in the book of Exodus. If you’ve been around church very much, you’ve heard about this story and I want to look at a couple of things we can learn from Moses.

4 principles to lead to the best year you’ve ever had

The first one is really more of a question to ask yourself rather than a principle

What does God want for me

You may be here and you’re not a Christian and not at all interested in what God wants for you, and I get that. I’ve been there in my life where I wasn’t interested in God. Maybe you are a Christian and you’re not considering this question. Regardless where you are, I would still invite you to ask yourself this questions because
God always invites us to something better
Take a look at the beginning of our text..
Exodus 3:1–9 HCSB
1 Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3 So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up? 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. 5 “Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. 8 I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey —the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 9 The Israelites’ cry for help has come to Me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Exodus 3:1–8 HCSB
1 Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3 So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up? 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. 5 “Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. 8 I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey —the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
The life of Moses up to this point was a bit crazy. To give you the highlights
The life of Moses up to this point was a bit crazy. To give you the highlights
When he was a baby, the Pharoah of Egypt ordered a decree that all newborn Hebrew boys were to be throw into the Nile and drown. Well, Moses’ mom threw him into the Nile, but in basket. So she pushed him down the river and he was found and raised by Pharaohs daughter. So he had the best education possible.
Fast forward 40 years and Moses saw an Egyptian man beating a Hebrew man and he killed him. Tried to hide it by burying the guy but someone saw and turned him in and now Pharoah wants Moses arrested and killed. So Moe takes off and hides. He hides in a place called Midian. Meets this chick named Zipporah, marries her and works for her father, his father-in-law for 40 years as a shepherd
Maybe that’s where you are
So Moe was in hiding because he killed a man, working for his father-in-law as a shepherd tending to the sheep then God comes to Moses and invites him to something better.
The first thing that stood out to me in this story is that Moses wasn’t doing anything that qualified him for this invitation from God. He was actually hiding because he was a wanted man. He was running.
Maybe that’s where some of you are today. Maybe you’ve been running from God or you feel spiritually drained. Or maybe you’re not a Christian at all and your thought is, {Aaron, God’s not going to do anything with or for me, you don’t know where I’m at. Or you don’t know what I’ve done.”}
Moses wasn’t looking for God. He hasn’t been on a 40 day fast or praying for a week straight. He simply was. And God came to Moses where he was and exactly how he was and invited him to a better life. It was different than what he thought it would be. It wasn’t exactly what he had planned, he wasn’t ever expecting to go back to Egypt because he was a wanted man. What God has for you in your life may not go exactly with your plans, but what He’s inviting us to is alway better.
He was leading the sheep of his father-in-law and he was invited to lead the children of God.
Maybe that’s where some

God is inviting me to a better life
Exodus 3:1–2 HCSB
Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed.
Have you noticed when it comes to our goals, there’s always something more we need. Jesus says it like this, hunger and thirst for righteousness, then you will be filled.
Moses was shepherding his father-in-laws sheep. He wasn’t doing anything special. He wasn’t in the middle of 40-day fast or week long prayer. He was simply doing his job, not a very pleasant one, and God invited him to something better.
What does God want for you this year?
What is God inviting you to?
Where is the better life He is leading you toward?

God is inviting me to a better life

There are usually two pushbacks when it come to thinking about what God wants for you.
There are usually two pushbacks when it come to thinking about what God wants for you.
I need to do something first
I’m not where I need to be for God to invite me to something better. I’ve got to get my life right first. I’ve messed up too much. I’ve ruined my chances.
God will meet you where ever you are
I want to remind you that God met Moses where he was, exactly how He was when he invited him to something better.
I want to remind you that God met Moses where he was, exactly how He was when he invited him to something better.
Moses was a fugitive that had been hiding for 40 years.
God’s not afraid to get dirty
An invitation from God to something better isn’t something that is earned and it’s something that is accepted and it’s there for everyone. No qualification necessary
Moses didn’t do anything super spiritual to qualify for the invitation
Your past doesn’t disqualify you for what God wants for you

God is inviting me to a better life

Maybe you’re looking around and your life and you’ve lost trust in God. I get that
He was a leader of his father-in-laws sheep but he was invited to lead
I don’t trust God because of what I’m going through now, why would I trust Him with the future
You may have goals, but the goals and things God has in store for you will always lead to a better place. Even if it doesn’t look that way on the surface.
Saying yes to God’s plan will always lead to something better
You may feel like you’ve trusted God with your life before and He let you down. Or you’ve been asking for God to do something for such an long time and you’re not seeing any results and you’re starting to feel like He either doesn’t care, or doesn’t know what’s going on.
God
The very beginning of this chapter starts with the word “meanwhile”. Meaning, while something else was taking place. The end of chapter 2 says
Exodus 2:23–24 HCSB
After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor. So God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
They sound like millennials don’t they?
Chapter 2 ends with the Israelites crying out to God for help because they had been in slavery to the Egyptians for 244 years. They have been oppressed and abused for 244 years and cried out to God and the next chapter starts with, “meanwhile”.
Meaning, while they were crying out God was doing something about their situation. While they were in the middle of their struggle they were in God’s process
Look at verse 7-8.
They were slaves to the Egyptians. They were the entire labor force. They were being oppressed more than you could possibly imaging. While they were in the middle of this, they cried out and asked God for help. God was involved even though their current circumstances did not reflect that.
Exodus 3:7–8 HCSB
Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey —the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
God is fully aware of what’s happening in your life and what you need
Some of us don’t feel like God knows or cares what’s going on in our life. It seems as though you’ve been praying and asking for relief but nothing is happening. We, usually, either
Don’t think God knows or cares
Think we’ve done something to make Him not respond
Tell ourself this is just how it is and believe where we are and what we are going through is just our lot in life
God sees and is involved even if we don’t see Him. The very beginning of this chapter starts with the word “meanwhile”. Meaning, while something else was taking place. The end of chapter 2 says,
Exodus 2:23–24 HCSB
After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor. So God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
They sound like millennials don’t they?
They were slaves to the Egyptians. They were the entire labor force. They were being oppressed more than you could possibly imaging. While they were in the middle of this, they cried out and asked God for help. God was involved even though their current circumstances did not reflect that.
Your cries aren’t going unheard. God was acting even though the Israelites didn’t see it.
Even though your circumstances may not reflect God’s involvement you very well could be in the process of victory
He is aware of what’s going on in your life and wants something better for you. If you’re still breathing, God’s not done with you. If we want to have the best year of our life the first question we need to ask is what God wants for us.
The second question we need to ask is

Correct your perspective

Whatever our attention if focused on has a major impact on the direction of our life.
{Who’s with you changes everything illustration} - Bully vs. My bigger buddy
As long as I was focused on Greg and knew He was with me, I wasn’t worried about anything happening to me. I knew as long as Greg was with me, I would be fine.
The same thing is true with this.
Exodus 3:10–12 HCSB
10 Therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He answered, “I will certainly be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain.”
I love that God didn’t correct Moses’ thought. Moses was concerned that he wasn’t able to do what was asked of him, and God didn’t say, “Aw, Moses, bless your heart. You’ve got this little buddy. You can do it. Here’s a puppy, a trophy, now you just go have a good time.”
No, Moses said, “I can’t do this” and God’s response is almost like. Well, that’s true. But as long as you’re focused on you, you’re never going to go. As long as you’re focused on what’s keeping you from being successful, you’ll never find success.
God didn’t try to correct his statement, God corrected his perspective and focus.
Bully vs. My bigger buddy
You could also read it like this,
if you don’t change the way you’re thinking, you’ll never change the way you’re living
{Who’s with you changes everything illustration} - Bully vs. My bigger buddy
The way we view things will completely

Our perspective can limit our possibilities

What we focus on, or what we think about has a major influence on what we accomplish.
That doesn’t by what pops in your head the most. That means what you allow to stay there. The text literally says, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
That means, what pops in your head, doesn’t have to stay there, even if it’s true. So, are you saying I should lie to myself? No, I’m saying you should choose to focus on the bigger truth, that even though you are unable, the God who is walking with you if fully capable. Even though your circumstances are not what you want and there’s not much you can do about it, the God who is walking with you can do something with it and He’s promised you hope, joy, peace, victory. If it ain’t good, God ain’t done.
Exodus 3:10–12 HCSB
10 Therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He answered, “I will certainly be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain.”
Instead of focusing on the obstacle. Not acting like it doesn’t exist. You can be aware of something and it not be in focus. Instead of focusing on the challenge focus on God’s presence and His power.
I love that God didn’t correct Moses’ thought. Moses was concerned that he wasn’t able to do what was asked of him, and God didn’t say, “Aw, Moses, bless your heart. You’ve got this little buddy. You can do it. Here’s a puppy, a trophy, and some bubble wrap for they journey ahead.”
No, Moses said, “I can’t do this” and God’s response is almost like. Well, that’s true. But as long as your focused on what you’re able to do, nothing is ever going to change. Instead, turn your attention to the fact that I will be with you.
God didn’t try to correct his statement, God corrected his perspective and focus.
You could also read it like this,
if you don’t change the way you’re thinking, you’ll never change the way you’re living
{Who’s with you changes everything illustration}
Focusing on God’s presence will always inspire more progress than focusing on our abilities
says that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. In other words, our life will always go in the direction of our strongest thought. Strongest = Most common
That doesn’t mean what pops in your head the most. That means what you allow to stay there. The text literally says,
be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
What pops in your head doesn’t have to stay there, even if it’s true.
So, are you saying I should lie to myself? No, I’m saying you should choose to focus on the bigger truth. That even though you are unable the God who is walking with you, who created the heavens and the earth, who rose Jesus from the grave is fully capable to get you where you need to be and bring victory in your life.
He can help with..
finances even though you aren’t getting paid more money
marriage even though it seems like you’re the only one trying
get out of debt even though you can’t figure out how to pay your bills
losing weight and getting healthier even though you’ve tried diet after diet and it’s never worked
job even though it seems like there’s nothing available
hurt and pain you’re feeling even though it’s so fresh and so real it seems like it will never go away
your knuckle-head kids even though they act just like you
Even though your circumstances are not what you want and there’s not much you can do about it, the God who is walking with you can do something about it and He’s promised you hope, joy, peace, love, and victory over this. But before we ever begin moving toward what God has for us, we have to turn our attention from our circumstance and situation to His presence.
The third question is

Challenges are not the same thing as failure

Expect opposition

You
I don’t know when or how the lie got started that once you give your life to Jesus, you’ll never have any problems. Life’s nice and easy after that.
I don’t know if it’s because people just aren’t honest all the time,
“Hey how ya doing today Bob?”
Give up too soon - Florida game {last second pass}
“I’m doing fantastic. Life literally couldn’t be any better!”
“What? You just got fired, your house caught on fire, and a dog is peeing on your leg right now as we speak.”
....”Praise Jesus!”
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t have to act like there aren’t challenges or that life throws blows at you from time to time. God told us it would.
Exodus 3:17–20 HCSB
17 And I have promised you that I will bring you up from the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 They will listen to what you say. Then you, along with the elders of Israel, must go to the king of Egypt and say to him: Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us go on a three-day trip into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God. 19 “However, I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go, unless he is forced by a strong hand. 20 I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles that I will perform in it. After that, he will let you go.
There are two promises in this text. The first is in verse 17.
I will bring you out of the land of misery to a land flowing with mild and honey
The second is in verse 19
The king of Egypt will not allow you to go unless he is forced.

God tells Moses there will be challenges and obstacles that you can’t do anything about

God never tells us we will not have moments of fear. Or we will not face resistance. He says there will be times you’re looking at what you want or where you’re trying to go and you’ll be told, “no”. But He also says when that happens, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the journey. He tells Moses, when that happens, I’ll take care of it. When that happens, that’s when you’ll experience my faithfulness and presence in a way you never imagined.
As you’re moving forward, expect obstacles. He also told us that those challenges, those obstacles, and those hurdles will not keep us from the future He’s promised us. We have to remind ourselves of that because, we’ll just s
top. We’ll stop moving forward and we’ll never see or experience the victory God is leading us towards.
I don’t know if it’s because people just aren’t honest all the time,
“Hey how ya doing today Bob?”
“I’m doing fantastic. Life literally couldn’t be any better!”
“What? You just got fired, your house caught on fire, and a dog is peeing on your leg right now as we speak.”
....”Praise Jesus!”
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t have to act like there aren’t challenges or that life throws blows at you from time to time. God told us it would. He also told us that those challenges, those obstacles, and those hurdles will not keep us from the future He’s promised us. We have to remind ourselves of that because, we’ll just stop. We’ll stop moving forward and we’ll never see or experience the victory God is leading us towards.
We need to keep going because we’re on the verge of experiencing God in a way we never have before.
Ephesians 3:20–21 HCSB
20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20 HCSB
20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—
He says, when you can’t, I will. When you can’t do anything about it, I’ll do something about it.
He says, when you can’t, I will. When you can’t do anything about it, I’ll do something about it.
When you aren’t strong enough, I’ll be your strength
-When you aren’t strong enough, I’ll be your strength
When you are afraid, I’ll be your courage
When you are confused and don’t know what to do, I’ll give you wisdom
When you have to do something you’re unable to do, I’ll be your ability
We have to get passed the place of allowing our circumstances to define our future. An impassable obstacle doesn’t mean we failed, it means we need to press into the promise of His presence and keep moving forward towards victory.
An impassable obstacle doesn’t mean we failed, it means we need to press into the promise of victory. We need to press into the power given to us by God.

What am I waiting for

Wait until I have money before I get married…I got married and didn’t have what my parents had.

You have everything you need to start

Ephesians 3:20–21 HCSB
20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Look at these last two verses
Exodus 4:1-
Exodus 4:1–2 HCSB
1 Then Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” 2 The Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.
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