Faith Forward Part 2

Good Faith   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Main Point: Good Faith believers move forward in Faith. If God is in it… it is already done.
That is the main idea, that is the point I want us to remember as we journey into God’s Word today AND… as we dream about what God has in store for us tomorrow!
Part one of our message today reminded us of the importance of placing our confidence, our faith in Jesus Christ. We talked about the disaster that can result if we misplace our faith or confidence… in the flesh.
Philippians 3 is our chapter of study. Paul reminds us that NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE HELP OF OUR GOD - including and especially our salvation and righteousness. Therefore, our flesh must take a back seat to our faith. In fact, our flesh, our old self needs to be crucified, done away with, as we come alive in Jesus!
Last week we hit on two points:
In order to gain, we must first lose. We need to lose confidence in what we can do and realize what it is that our God can do. Paul considered all of his accomplishments as garbage when compared to the righteousness he gained in Jesus.
Second, when dying to self, we lay down the powerless and become powerful. Jesus’ resurrection becomes our resurrection. Sin loses it’s grip. Death has lost its sting. The work Christ has done for us AND in us is something we could have never accomplished on our own.
God is on the move! The God we serve is the LIVING God, the missional God, the active God, the redeeming God, the forgiving God, the set freeing God, the merciful God, and the God of sufficient grace!
And as we get ready to roll out the vision, there is one more point to consider. And this point comes from Philippians 3:12-14. It reads, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul closes this passage with a powerful summary of what this all means… what it means to place full confidence and faith in the Lord. And that meaning is this:

Let go. Let God.

We’ve heard this phrase before, but let’s consider this against the words we just read from Philippians.
Paul realizes he had not reached the goal yet. But in order to reach the goal… in order to “press to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of” him, He had to let go, and let God.
He chose to forget what was behind him. Listen church, our past, any misplaced confidence can become an anchor to the ship that God is trying to set sail. And this is especially true of misplaced confidence in the flesh.
Secondly, he chose to press on... to press on toward the goal. Not any goal that Paul set for himself, but the goal or the “prize” for which God had CALLED him heavenward in Christ Jesus.
IF we truly believe in what God is calling us to do… it will require a full loss of self, and a true dependency on God.
As we talk about the vision for this next year, it’s going to be exciting… it’s going to be transformational… it’s going to be missional and active… and it’s going to be more than we can do on our own. It’s going to require a faith that looks forward, a faith that is grounded and planted in God.
And do not misunderstand me today, I’m not suggesting we place our faith in the vision itself… our faith must be firmly planted in the One who is the giver of this vision. God WILL lead us. God WILL guide us. as stated in the main point church, If God is in it… it is already done. The only thing that would stop it from coming to fruition is a lack of faith in God.
I want us to remember who it is that we serve. I want us to remember just how awesome our God is. Ephesians 3:20 reads, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
God is described here as the One who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. Church, there truly is no limit to what our God can do… according to His power that is at work… where? WITHIN US.
What “power” is at work within us? Is it the power of the flesh, or is it the power of the living God? This is truly what it comes down to - which do we trust more?
NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE - INCLUDING OUR SALVATION - WITHOUT THE HELP OF OUR GOD. And as we prepare to take steps of faith… may we NOT get fixated on the past, but dream in the present of the amazing future that God has in store!
Hear me clearly today - If God is in it, it is already done. The only anchor that can hold us back is a lack of faith.
Covid 19 cannot stop what God is going to do. No amount of political correctness is going to stop what God is going to do. Trials, circumstances, struggles, and so forth has the power to stop what God is going to do. We must let go… and let God. We must fully place our trust in Him and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!

Vision 2021

First off, let’s consider a few things God has done in this unprecedented year. Before we look forward, I want to celebrate a little bit today.
Spring break 2020 - the week in which things began to change very rapidly. Covid 19 was in the news and was spreading like wildfire. The only answer our nation had… was to shut down. Social distancing was mandated and became a new reality. Mass gatherings were shut down and highly discouraged.
For ten weeks, HWC would broadcast our services online only… our doors were closed, our buses stopped rolling, our building was empty and silent. Our sanctuary looked more like a recording studio than a place of worship.
For the first time (and I pray only time) in our full-time ministry, the church building sat empty… on Easter Sunday morning.
But in all of this… WE NEVER STOPPED BEING THE CHURCH. We witnessed God do some amazing things!
Our online ministry attendance increased substantially! RightNow Media was used by many people as a discipleship tool. We developed new techniques, honed our audio and video skills, and began producing online broadcasts that reached thousands.
During this season, a church from the eastern part of the state contacted us wanting to know our secret - how could such a small church pull off such a big (and excellent) online ministry? My answer was simple - ONLY WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD!
Then… the trucks started rolling in! HWC was blessed to partner with Convoy of Hope to deliver 2,400 crates of fresh produce to the people of the heartland!
Three trucks came… and families were blessed! The last truck was distributed or handed out faster than we could unload the goods. How did this partnership happen? How did we get access to this amazing resource? ONLY WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD!
When the doors for RR and GM reopened in the fall, our first night back after nearly 6 months of shut down saw over 100 kids return to HWC for discipleship!
Even with Covid concerns, our Wednesday night activities and Sunday activities have remained strong in attendance. We have beat the state and national averages and our ministries continue to grow! How did this happen? Say it with me… ONLY WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD!
And God wasn’t finished yet. As the year came to a close, the generosity of this church was in full force as what I thought to be impossible in a pandemic year took place. HWC closed its 2020 books exceeding the budget for both tithe and missions.
In both areas, we saw a near 10% increase in giving - an increase over what we had budgeted. This comes after the most non-traditional ministry year I have ever seen or experienced in my life! Yet… YOU GAVE! Your generosity makes a HUGE difference in our ability to continue in our mission and vision! How did this miracle happen? ONLY WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD!
Although 2020 was a different year in many ways, one thing remained the same - GOD IS STILL ON THE MOVE! With the many changes we have seen, God has opened doors for new ministry opportunities and possibilities this next year!
First off, already in motion is the nursing home ministry. For several weeks now, we have been creating and sending out DVDs that contain specialized services for nursing homes and assisted living centers.
With the help of Dewayne Kattenberg, we realized the residents of these homes were not receiving any kind of encouraging Word. Things fell into place and we launched “Empowered Living.” A ministry channel available on Roku and via DVD designed to bring the Word to folks within these facilities.
In conjunction with this ministry endeavor, another idea was shared. Prisons across the state and nation have closed their doors to ministry volunteers due to Covid. Again, a great need was realized as no encouragement or discipleship is getting to inmates.
I began to talk with Joel Hrabe about what could be done. Then I began to talk with a US Missionary named Jack Smart… the missionary we highlighted during announcements. We talked about the possibility of using the Living Free curriculum as a tool for prison ministry.
A meeting was held, and we began to talk possibilities.
HWC, in partnership with Living Free Ministries, is going to begin working on a prison ministry possibility that has the potential of reaching not only our state, but prisons all over this nation with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. We call it… FREE INDEED! Based off John 8:36, we are believing God is going to set hearts free!
Jack will be with us NEXT WEEK, February 14th, to talk to us more about Living Free. He will be returning the following Saturday to begin training anyone who desires to be on this team. Not only are we taking this to the prisons… we are bringing this to the heartland.
Speaking of the heartland, let’s talk vision right here at home. Our vision statement is on the back of every printed bulletin we produce. It reads, “Transforming the heartland through community care and discipleship.” When this was announced, we talked about the creation of community care groups.
These groups took a hit during the Covid season. Although far from inactive, the groups had to hit the pause button. The groups are all about togetherness, about community and Covid… was all about distancing.
The CCGs will be making a powerful return this year! This summer, we are going to see a relaunch in our efforts of mobilizing the church to make an impact in the communities in which we live.
As we have said before, this is not a day for the church to retreat, but is a day for the church to advance. it is time to reopen doors, to reach out to our communities, to make disciples, and to live the compassion of Christ.
We need to do all that we can to connect with those who are within arms reach. We can’t get into nursing homes… but DVD’s can. We can’t get into prisons… but DVDs can. We CAN get in our neighborhoods, in our communities, and share the love of Christ and the truth of His gospel! CCGs will return in full force in the summer of 2021!
And church… we are not done yet!
I mentioned in a previous sermon a vision that is a decade in the making. That would mean this vision is something that has been in place long before I came to HWC as pastor. This vision in the making is something that will address a very real problem… a problem I believe God desires to resolve.
I am thankful for the strong discipleship ministries we have here at the church. But these ministries… have created a problem that we are going to have to address. I know, this is vision Sunday and we are not here to talk about problems… but hear me out. The problem was have… is a lack of classroom space. On any given Sunday or Wednesday night, HWC is at capacity when it comes to classrooms. This my friends, is a good problem.
About 15 months ago, God laid on my heart the need to expand. God laid on my heart that we were getting close to building. I didn’t tell anyone. I talked to my wife about it and that was it. Shortly after this, one of our church family came up to me with a word from God. That word was this, “Pastor, God is telling me to tell you that it is time to build.” It was simple. It was concise. It was confirmation. So I began to pray even more. God began to show me an expansion to this facility that would answer our growing need for classrooms.
After this happened I came across something very interesting. I found the original blueprints for this building. Several years ago… more than a decade ago… plans were made to build a church at 1004 E Highway 36 in Agra Kansas. Those plans were the vision… of what we are sitting in now. Those plans became a reality because of the faith the people had then.
When I looked over those blueprints, I found something very interesting. I found this print. Pictured on the screen is a print that includes a “Future Multi-Purpose Building.” I had NO IDEA this plan existed when God laid on my heart this vision. Again… I see this as confirmation.
Last February, I came across yet another confirmation. In one of our Board books I found this 3D drawing. As you can see, someone had created a picture of HWC as it is with an additional building next to it. I didn’t know who drew it but found it to be interesting.
A few months ago, I found the creator of this image. Pastor Dan had created this image for Pastor Jay per his request. The most interesting thins about this is… Dan had no idea the original plans to HWC included a future building!
What does all of this mean? More than 10 years ago, the pastoral leadership had a vision of additional ministry space at HWC! The previous pastor had a vision of additional ministry space at HWC! This pastor, while completely unaware of the history, has been given a vision of additional ministry space at HWC! Although I do not have a timeline I can say this: Church, it’s time we begin to move on this vision!
What does that look like? We have assembled a design team - a team that is tasked with what the inside of that building will look like. This team is made up of construction experts and ministry leaders who can bring both form and function together.
“Pastor, how smart is it to talk about building expansion in such an unprecedented season?” I’m so glad you asked hypothetical guy! I get it… this is bigger than us! I get it! We are casting a whole lot of vision right now! But I understand… NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE HELP OF OUR GOD! If God is in it… the work is already done!
How much do I believe in this vision? Here is the first four digit increase for our building fund. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’m willing to invest in the lives of those who will fill those classrooms. I’m not asking you to give today but I won’t stop you either. I fully believe this student ministry center will be completed debt free and it will be completed WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD. But before I can ask you to take this step of faith, I will take a step in faith.

The Only Way Forward...

Here’s the deal, church. We have laid out some big plans… we have laid out some… impossibilities. We have laid out a vision that I truly believe is from God… a vision that is bigger than this church… but NOT bigger than our God.
He is able to do immeasurably more… do you believe that? He is able to do immeasurably more according to HIS POWER that is at work within us.
None of this… NONE OF THIS is anything we can do on our own. but with God’s help… IT’S ALREADY DONE.
This is a day of pressing on toward the goal. This is a day of responding to the call. This is a day we link hands and hearts by faith and recognize OUR GOD IS ON THE MOVE. Will we move according to His leading?
I used to be a pretty good chess player. My sixth grade teacher was the chess instructor at our school in Omaha… and the national chess champion was in our school.
The local news story...
Chess is a strategy game. When you make a move… you are thinking three to four moves ahead. It’s not only about the now… but it is about what is coming next.
God set this church up beautifully for the season we just walked through. He is doing it again for the season that is to come.
The only way for this vision to become reality is by faith. Faith Forward is our strategy. Faith Froward is our plan. Faith Forward is our testimony… for we would all be stuck in sin if not for faith. Faith Forward is how we will overcome - because we believe in the One who has overcome this world.
Today is all about faith. Vision is all about faith. Good Faith believers move forward by faith. If God is in it… finish it for me… IT’S ALREADY DONE.
And consider this for a moment… If God is… in you. If God is in you… the battle has already been won. What battle am I talking about? The battle against sin. The battle against the enemy.
You see… God has a vision… for you! THAT NONE SHOULD PERISH. I want you to hear me loud and clear: The greatest miracle we can experience is the transition from death to life… is a transformation from sinner to saint. We can’t do that for ourselves… such can only be experienced in Christ.
To move forward… we need Jesus. And faith is the key to experiencing salvation. If God is in you… a great work has been done.
Lastly… I ask this church to pray. TO BELIEVE. To place our faith, not in the vision, but in the God who gives us the vision.
NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE HELP OF OUR GOD. His power and resources are unlimited and His timing is perfect. Will you join me in praying for three things:
An increase of faith
For His guidance and direction
For how God will use you in fulfilling His vision.
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