Potential pt. 1

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Over the last few weeks, we've explained what a vision is, why it’s important, and why we need leaders to help facilitate that vision. And the vision that I’m proposing for Sunnyside is that we become a church that
Helping people reach their potential in Christ - physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
In a nutshell, that means that we want to help people become spiritually mature, emotionally healthy, and engaging in biblical stewardship of our bodies, lives, and possessions.
Let’s talk about potential. When you hear the phrase “reaching your potential,” what comes to mind?
Potential- means that a person can be developed or become what they were intended to become. For example, an acorn laying on the forest floor has the potential to become an oak tree. Likewise, you and I have the potential in Christ to become and do whatever God desires.
Potential has been kind of a buzzword for many years and helping people reach their “potential” is a multi-million-dollar business. Whether it’s personal, professional, financial … it’s big business. The fact that it’s a big business should tell us something. What?
Now, the world can never help people reach their God-designed potential - because potential is ultimately found in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Don’t confuse what we’re doing with what the world is doing. God’s potential and the world’s potential can be vastly and disastrously different.
Every person has potential to be developed and become what they were intended to be. I like what Mark Batterson says,
“Potential is God's gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to God.” Mark Batterson
There seems to be a disconnect, however, between how people live and what they are capable of doing and becoming. There seems to be a lot of people who are content with status quo, with “good enough” like Rich Weigel says,
“Most people live by accident.” Rich Weigel
Others have succumbed to feeling stuck or believing a lie about God or themselves (I’ll never make it or _______). In the spiritual sense, there seems to be a disconnect between living in the Spirit (living with purpose, doing, and being) and how we actually live.
Would you agree? Thoughts?
God loves us and often wants more for us than we often want for ourselves. So, these attitudes or beliefs fail to appreciate that God has created us for more than status quo, for more than simply existing or floating through life until Heaven. Again,
Mark Batterson says,
“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.” Mark Batterson
“If I can make it safe to the end – Hallelujah!” Ultimately these attitudes fail to appreciate that
God has invited us into and equipped us for Kingdom work.
What happens when people, especially Christian settle for less, settle for status quo, or fail to pursue potential? A lot, but two things for certain - the world (other people) misses what you bring to the table and the good that God wants to do through you (repair the world through you). Ultimately, God misses the glory.
Let's get back to the word potential. Here’s my understanding of potential.
1) Reaching one’s potential is Biblical
a. Ephesians 4:13
Ephesians 4:13 ESV
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
b. Romans 12:2 - be transformed which implies growth and potential
c. From the beginning (Gen. 1), God said, “Fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it.”
i. That was God's plan for humanity and still is. God gave humanity purpose – not to sit around in the garden …. Something to conquer (e.g. chaos) - to make the world better (help the world reach its potential in a sense).
As we strive toward our potential, we become potential-makers.
d. 1 Timothy 4:7b–8 Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
e. What might be other some Scriptural references to reaching potential?
i. Eph. 4:11-16; Eph. 5:11-12; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:5-8 & 2 Peter 3:18; 1 Tim 4:10; James 1:4, Col. 1:10 & 2:19
f. Spiritual Disciplines?
i. What are spiritual disciplines? What is their purpose?
ii. Reaching our potential in Christ cannot be accomplished solely through human effort or attending church. Spiritual disciplines have been passed down through generations for a particular purpose - there are no shortcuts.
2) Reaching one’s potential is Relational
Matthew 22:34–40 ESV
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
a. We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind – that’s relational
b. We are also to love our others - relational
c. Who is the connecting factor? __________________
i. The connecting relationship between God and others is self.
ii. If reaching my potential hinges upon loving God, loving others, and loving self – potential is relational.
iii. Reaching potential is accomplished through community (how often does Scripture say to bear one another's burdens, to encourage one another, to spur one another on toward love and good deeds and so on?) Potential is relational.
d. Reaching my potential in Christ is about the Great Commandment.
i. How so?
ii. What is one of the best ways to love someone or to be loved?
1. To know them. How long does it take to get to know someone?
iii. So, learning to love God, others and self is a lifelong process.
The more I truly love God, others, and self as Christ would, the closer I come to my potential.
Again, the quote from Mark Batterson,
“Potential is God's gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to God.” Mark Batterson
e. When any of those relationships are out of sync or unhealthy, how does this effect potential?
i. Potential is hindered or damaged (e.g. unhealthy homes).
ii. Potential is somewhat dependent on healthy relationships (at a minimum, a healthy relationship with God).
iii. It’s going to be difficult to become a potential-maker
We need to end there – that’s half of the lesson. Join us in Sunday Schools for dialogue.
Great resource for Biblical Engagement: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/scripture-engagement/
For Further Growth:
Week 1 - Potential
× This week meditate on the following passages (or others): Romans 12:1-2; Ephesian 2:10; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 Timothy 4:7-8; Matthew 22:34-40.
× What did you discover about potential and the Christian journey? What did you discover about your journey?
× How might this change your understanding or motivation toward your potential in Christ?
× What questions do you have or what roadblocks might you face on your journey toward potential?
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