Faithlife Sermons

My Story: Choosing to Go

My Story  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The decisions you make today determines the stories you tell tomorrow. God called Abram out and said "leave..go". In order to step toward your destiny, we will have to step away from security, leave home, family, traditions and material comforts. God may not give us the details of how the promise will be fulfilled until we are willing to have faith and step out and follow, leaving and going where we are called to go. The good news is we just have to make one step of faith to change our story. God will do the rest. Just keep swimming! Dory?

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Focus Scripture

Focus Scripture Slides Here

12 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Your Story

YouTube Slide Here
This morning we are come to the end of our “My Story” teaching series. If you have been enjoying this series and have missed a lesson or more. I would remind you that we stream our worship service live every week. These teachings are also parked on YouTube and can be found as videos on YouTube. There is an address (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5_eDffMtaXbr60e3ZM56XA/videos) for this page that can be found on our website or you can go to YouTube and search for Cimarron Praise and find it that way. If you have a YouTube account, you can even subscribe to our page. This will help ensure that you don’t miss anything and you can always catchup or pick up were you left off or rewatch a teaching in a series. We will begin a new series next week, Smoke & Mirrors in which we will explore ways we entertain & open ourselves to illusion & deception.
Series Promo Slide Here
When we began this series five weeks ago. We learned how God’s story is our story too. We have been written into an epic work from the beginning of God’s story. It is a story that has a beginning and the ending has even been sketched out but as people created in the image of our creator God. We have been given the freedom to participate in not only living within this story but also to actively participate in how the story unfolds. Our decisions influence the movement within the story but it does not change the beginning or the ultimate end. The question is what will our story be? Each of us may be in different seasons of our life but one day we are each going to tell a story about this season in life. Seasons come and seasons go, sometimes a season comes and we are filled with life and excitement, others bring growth, discomfort or comfort, healing or injury.
Change always comes and we must constantly discern the right choices in each season of life and what we are to learn and take from it. It is important that we pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading for our life because when we simply rely upon our own understanding we can miss the story God wants us to write with our life. The decisions you make today will determine the stories you tell tomorrow as well.
“Words fill a page. Pages fill a chapter. Chapters fill a book. Every decision big and small writes the story of your life. Unfortunately, some people leave portions of their story unwritten. Sometimes, that is why we need to go ahead and take the risk” and choose to ‘go’!

We Are Writing a Story

The reality is we are creating a life story. One day we are going to tell that story. Many of you are going to have a story you are really proud to tell.
“Pregnant” Pause
BUT!
Story isn’t Finish Slide
If you are looking over your life and you don’t think it is a story worth reading or it is a story that you don’t really want to tell. Remember, the story isn’t finished! There is still time to make a decision. There is still time to turn the page and start telling the story God wants you to tell.
Suggested Options for Writing a New Story (Slides)
So far, I have presented three of four options for you to consider. First, do you need to START doing something a discipline that would help you live out the story God wants you to tell? Or maybe? Maybe you need to STOP … stop doing something that prevents your story from being what it should be. Those are two options but there are two other choices available to us. We can STAY or we can GO! When it is easier to quit and walk away, God may call us to STAY because it is the Right thing to do. Or! Maybe. God is calling you to GO when it might be easier to play it safe. Growing up from womb, to infant, to toddler, to adolescent, to adult, to senior citizen is a ongoing process of growth and aging. It never really stops because we are always changing as we move towards our destiny.
Many of us tend to romanticize an ideal in which life is constant and secure, and as a result we think of leaving the familiar comforts of life as a negative thing. Things are always changing but it is our perception of risk, feelings of insecurity, potential loss and the fear of unknown consequences that often cause us to procrastinate or take a step towards the story God wants us to want. We want to know what is ahead of us on our path. We want to know the details of the journey. We don’t like surprises or disappointments.

Fixing Our Eyes Upon Jesus

Slide Here
Sometimes the best decision you can make is to GO, to not just turn a page but to start a new chapter in your life. Sometimes the right decision is to GO leaving the comfortable and familiar behind when it would be easier to stay. Some of you are being called to take a new step of faith or you know that there is something you should do. Answering that call feels risky, dangerous or uncomfortable right now. If that is the case, lets remember what tells us. “Fix our eyes on Jesus who is What? The Author and what? Perfecter of our faith.
If you are going to leave where you are, it is going to require us placing some trust in God. It is going to require trusting God’s will just as Jesus did. Disciples of Christ follow where God leads them and believing that what we may not be able to accomplish on our own is still possible by the power of the one who makes the promise. Faith is exercised through small steps of faith. Fears are overcome an trust is established only by taking risks and a willingness to leave some of our comfort behind hoping that something better is ahead. Every relationship we have requires taking risk and our relationship with Jesus and God is no different. Trust cannot exist unless promises are kept. Promises can be fulfilled unless we are willing to move towards them believing the promise will be kept. We don forge a new relationship unless we are willing to invite someone into friendship. That requires risking rejection. We can’t hope to find the love of our life if we are too afraid to give love a chance. We might hopes and dreams but if we don’t take steps towards those dreams, believing and trusting that they will be fulfilled. The hope of the promise can never be fulfilled with out us laying claim to that promise and trusting that it will happen.

A Faithful Life

Abraham Image Slide
provides us with a great example of what faithful living might look like when God invites us to GO and we make the decision to FOLLOW. Abram (or Abraham) has been living in his father’s household. This was the norm in that time and location. Son’s would marry and their wives and children would become a part of the senior patriarch’s household. Abram appears to be the eldest living son and he had followed his father to Ur headed to Canaan but they actually settle in Haran where the historical names of the towns in that area seem to agree with the Bible’s suggestion that they were living among Abraham’s extended family. Documents near Haran seem to have names similar to Abraham’s family names. Abram’s father dies and Abram is instructed by “Yahweh” , the Lord, to “GO” leave your relatives, leave the familiarity of your father’s house and everything in Haran and “GO” to a land that I will show you.”
Abram is 75 years old at this time. One of his brothers is dead and his son Lot had become a part of Abram’s household. He has a lot of responsibility but no children of his own. The Lord tells him to leave his country, his relatives, his people, his home, his religious beliefs, traditions and almost everything that gives him a sense of identity, purpose and direction in life. To become a stranger in a strange land following a stranger God. I say a stranger God because Ur was the center of trade and worship of the moon god Nanna/Suen.
Why would someone pack up, leave family and everything familiar or comfortable? For Abram is apparently hope or dream that has yet been unanswered in his life. He has no children of his own, and our Lord, Yahweh promises to bless Abram and change his circumstances. His family is small. His name or life is unimpressive and unknown. We get the impression that he is considered cursed among his own people and has little in the way of possessions or land. God give Abram hope for a new life a new story but it will require that he take a step of faith and the effort to trust in God’ promise. All he has to do is “Go”.
“We are Changed by” Slides
Have you ever had a deep desire for something that was beyond your reach or ability to achieve on your own? We tend to have a short memory when it comes to deep desires. So, let me ask you another question because you might not remember the things you have had a deep desire for. Have you ever made a bargain with God? What I mean by that is have you ever said something to the effect of.....”God if you will just do this one thing for me! I will do this for you!” Let’s make a deal, God! Anybody willing to admit they have made a bargain with God? I promise I won’t ask you what your bargain was if you raise your hand! If you did, was your life changed by the promise you made to God? Yes? No?! Chances are your life didn’t change at all. We typically are not changed by the promises we make. Our lives are usually only changed by believing in God’s promises to us!
What is the deep hope within you heart, mind and soul? What is it that God wants you to want? Do you need to take a step of faith in order to be blessed and receive God’s promise? What is that call on your life.
Is it to have children? Is it to have friends? your dream job? your dream home? What is it that God wants you to want? Maybe God wants you serve Him in ministry somehow by mentoring a young person, going on a mission trip. Maybe God is asking you to lead or start studying His word with a group of other people or make a public statement of your faith.
Our Focus Scripture today
What is it? We are not changed by making promises to God. We are changed by believing God’s promises to us. Abram left his homeland while trusting in the promise the Lord had made to him; a promises of descendants, a nation, land; a promise that every curse that had been spoken over his life would be reversed. God promised him redemption and “all the families of the earth would be blessed through him.”
The truth is we all live with walls. Some we built to keep ourselves safe. Other walls were built by others. There are even some walls we have inherited, remnants of another generation, another civilization, another conflict we never knew or acknowledged. To illustrate what I mean, I have a picture taken at the ruins of Beth Shan.
Do you see the large hill in the back of this picture? There is a road that comes over the top of this hill. Gary and I have both walked over this road and down into these ruins. There is a barren tree on the top of this mound. This mound is a tell. To the average person it looks just like a hill, it is a hill. It is hill or tell of this large ancient city which has not yet been excavated. Underneath all this dirt and vegetation are walls and structures that resemble the ones we can see. So much dirt has gathered on and around the structures that it has become what archeologist call a ‘tell’. A tell is essentially a hill or mound of accumulated trash, dirt and garbage that has accumulated around a location, a village or town, where people once lived for hundreds or thousands of years.
God fulfilled the promise to Abraham to be a blessing to all the families of the earth by raising up Jesus Christ. We are grafted into into the line of Abraham’s promise through our faith in Jesus Christ. Like Abraham, when we place our trust in God’s promises and listen to God’s direction for our lives. Yet, we don’t always “GO” when we are called out to claim our promise. Maybe we are afraid of failure or the ridicule for taking the risk. You might think you can go later, the promise can wait until things are more comfortable or we can see more clearly where the promise will lead us.

What Will Your Story Be?

What Will You Story Be Slide
Is your story going to be? By faith I decided to go! Or will your story be? By fear I decided to stay?
Abraham didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know how God would accomplish the promise nor did he live to see the fulfillment of God’s promise. But Abraham did have the faith to start. When God call Moses and tells him to “Go”, “I am sending you to Pharoah to bring my people out of Egypt.” He had doubts about himself. He could find all sorts of reasons by he “Shouldn’t” or “Couldn’t go”. I’m slow of speech! Why should they listen to me?
Imagine Slides here Abraham (1) & Moses (2)
Imagine what might have happened if Abraham hadn’t answered the call to go! Imagine what would have happened is Moses hadn’t answered the call to go!
When we think we have to believe in ourselves and have everything together, that is usually when we start tripping over the word “But”. Moses said “but God I’m slow of speech!” But God, who am I and why should they listen to me?! But God what if they don’t believe in me! You see Moses thought it was about him. Isn’t that what most of us tend to think? We think about how we will fail or how afraid we are when the right question should be “How are you going to use this frail weak person that I am to bring glory to yourself. I know I can ‘t do this, God. What can I do to help you.
God wants to bless us but more importantly God wants to reveal his glory through us. Moses thought it was about him but it was never about people believing in Moses. It was the Israelites placing their trust in God and the promise being fulfilled through Jesus Christ. It was about God writing God’s story and all of us realizing that we will never write the story we want to write unless we are willing to take the first step towards the story God wants us to want. When we never take the risk to trust, we miss an opportunity to have a relationship. If we want to experience trust before we can allow the seeds of trust and love can grow and mature in each and everyone of us. Potential remains potential if it is never nurtured or cultivated. Seeds need soil, water and sunshine to sprout, grow and produce good fruit.
Are You? Slide here

13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul,

14 that aHe will give the rain for your land in its season, the bearly and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.

I know many of you here have probably lived in urban settings much if not all of your life. I consider myself a bit of a city girl but the fact is I grew up on a cotton farm in the Greater Lubbock area of Texas. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started living in a city. Leaving home and going to college was a scary thing for me. I had never been far from home but in going to college. It was scary when I realize my parents had left me in a strange place, with no friends or family. A place were people were different from me but I knew this was something I had to do if I was going to learn to make a life for myself and become an adult. I needed to start a new life.
Some of us are in a chapter of life in which we know we need to step into something new. There is a new chapter, a new season on the horizon. You need to take a new step of faith. You are possibly thinking “There is something more that I am suppose to do.” Maybe, if feels risky or uncomfortable right now. So I remind you of the Focus Scripture which guides us in making these decisions. which tells us to “Fix our eyes on Jesus who is What? The Author and what? Perfecter of our faith.
Are you writing the story God wants you to tell?
Some of us are in a chapter of life in which we know we need to step into something new. There is a new chapter, a new season on the horizon. You need to take a new step of faith. You are possibly thinking “There is something more that I am suppose to do.” Maybe, if feels risky or uncomfortable right now. So I remind you of the Focus Scripture which guides us in making these decisions. which tells us to “Fix our eyes on Jesus who is What? The Author and what? Perfecter of our faith.
Most people of San Antonio see a storm roll into town and their biggest worry is avoiding flooded areas, hoping they get enough rain to keep the yard alive or to prevent the water company from raising the water rate during the summer. Growing up on a farm, my experience was different. A storm could change the course of my life. It might determine if we had food on the table and clothing to wear. Depending on the maturity of the cotton, a windy day could severely damage the crop and even healthy and maturing plants could be destroyed by hail or bugs. What seems like a small thing in the day and life of a city could mean the difference between feast or famine in the standards of farm life.
Are you writing the story God wants you to tell?
Is God inviting you to Go? To take the first step toward a promise?
GO! Slide
What is holding you back? Why not take the risk and move towards the promise? Why not take a risk and see what might happen if you just have a little faith that God will fulfill the promise. Yes there will be twists and turns, ups and downs but those are the elements that make a story worth telling. Take a risk! Accept the invitation!
If we are going to leave where you are, it is going to require us placing some trust in Jesus and taking a step of faith, taking a risk and leaving comfort behind. Every relationship we have requires taking risk and our relationship with Jesus and God is no different. Trust cannot exist unless it is earned. We can’t expect to have a relationship with anyone if we are not willing to take some risk.

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul,

14 that aHe will give the rain for your land in its season, the bearly and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.

13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul,

14 that aHe will give the rain for your land in its season, the bearly and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.

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