September 2021

Why Am I Here? (Live Your Calling) Part 1
All Scripture is from the New Living Translation

For the next several weeks we are going to be looking at, and answering the age-old question, “Why Am I Here… What Am I Doing On This Earth?”

These are questions we ask when we don’t know what our calling is, or we don’t know that we all have a calling on our life from our Creator…

This calling is something that God sees in us as individuals, it’s a unique calling that only we can walk out…

And it was known by God before we were even born!

People who do not invite Jesus to be a part of their lives totally miss out on this, and it could lead to things like a false sense of security, confusion, loneliness, maybe even cause us to drift through life with no real purpose.

This series is based on a passage from the book of Romans…

Romans 8:28-30: And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn[b] among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

As believers in Jesus, we are called by God for a specific purpose…For a mission in life that God has entrusted each one of us with!

But look at some of the added benefits of this calling:

  • God causes all things to work out for the good for those who are CALLED according to His purpose for them
  • God chooses each of us to do great things in His name. It’s up to us to respond… And if we do, He then gives us right standing with Him and when this happens, we receive His glory!

The benefits we receive when we are in right standing with our Creator are more than we could ever imagine!

Let’s expand this a bit and look at it in the form of a prayer that may have more of an impact…

This same prayer is what I’m praying for us as we navigate through this sermon series…

Ephesians 1:18 – I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called – His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.

Throughout this series I pray that your hearts are flooded with such spiritual wisdom that you cannot believe the amount of hope and confidence you will begin to have in Jesus because each of you have been called by God for a greater purpose in life!!

Not only this, but look at this last line…Did you know that God sees us as His inheritance? Wow, that right there just makes me feel good!!

Does everyone here want to know and understand the blessings we have waiting for us when we answer and
live out the calling God has on our lives?

Ok great!! So, today we are going to look at some things we need to know about our calling and why God put us here on earth…Why am I here?

The very first thing we need to get settled in our hearts is this, “My calling is a gift from God!” Have the church repeat this with you again.

2 Timothy 1:9: For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

You see, our calling is a gift from God… We don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, we don’t bargain for it, or tell God, “This is what I want my calling to be.”

It is simply a gift by grace that comes with our salvation, that God had planned long before we were even born!!

Think about all the dumb stuff you’ve done that holds you back…. Or the hurts from the past you cannot let go of…

You know, the stuff you think God will be ashamed of and is holding over your head, or the stuff you can’t let go and get past.

This is what the devil wants us to hold onto because He knows it’s what will keep us from realizing our full potential that God wants to instill in us.

Listen to my words…Despite all the things from our past, God sees our potential!!

How do I know this?

Because Ephesians 2:10 tells us that. “We are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

Again, if the enemy can get us to view ourselves as worthless, or not worthy of being called by God…Or holding on to past hurst…He has done his job!

God sees each one of us as a masterpiece…WE are His inheritance that He is waiting to spend eternity with!

Some of us may feel a little bruised, neglected, or even beat up by the things of this world, the things from our past…

But you know what? Nothing will ever change the value of your life in God’s eyes!!

Each one of us are a masterpiece in His eyes, perfectly created and perfectly seen as His creation!

And the reason God holds us up as such perfection in His eyes is so others can also realize their calling and potential in life given to them by our Creator!!

But we cannot walk out this calling by ourselves…It is not something that is meant to be done in isolation from other believers and other people.

This is why it’s important to be part of a body of believers…

Ephesians 4:4-6: For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

This right here is the church!

Belonging to a church family and being part of a small group within that church family helps us better understand our calling!

It is impossible to walk out our calling if we are not connected to other people

Calling and community go together… When we have a group of believers that we connect with on a regular basis we have a better chance of realizing what our God-given potential is…

Because we have other believers who can speak into our lives, and we can do the same with others in the group…We learn from each other!!

Hebrews 3:1 says that we are partners with those called to heaven.

Phil Strout, the national director for the Vineyard has a saying, “We’re better together.”

These partners who are also called are those close to us, those in our small group!

If we want to be wise with this calling placed on us, then we must be around those who are also striving to be wise in the calling placed on them!

Ask questions in your group and accept any correction that may be needed…The more we do this the wiser we become…And in doing so we learn God’s calling for us.

Again, we learn from each other!!

That’s why a healthy church has healthy small groups! We’ll touch more on this later in this series!

I often think that what we do here on earth determines what we will do in heaven.

In other words, how we deal with the things Jesus entrusts us with here on earth determines what He can trust us with when it comes to our eternal duties.

Luke 16:10-11: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?

Could it be that with our calling God is entrusting us with little and He wants to see how we do with them…Things like opportunities, relationships, money, giving, People He puts in our lives…entrusting us with our calling…

If we are faithful with little, then God can trust us with all of His riches and glory in heaven for eternity…

When we share the kingdom of God with those around us here on earth, and when we help others in a way that pleases Jesus by fulfilling our calling…

Then we gain the benefits of God’s eternal kingdom in all its glory…Forever!!

Rewards are worked for, and rewards are earned…It’s not that hard to lose a blessing God has placed on our lives…To give up the calling He has entrusted us with!

The calling is sacred!

The last thing I would want to hear is Jesus saying, “I tried to get your attention, but you were doing your own thing.”

The moment we say YES to Jesus we no longer live for ourselves, but for the kingdom…

We become kingdom minded people in fulfilling the calling placed on our lives before we were even born!

Some points to ponder before we end…

We all have a specific calling on our lives.

Our calling was known to God before we were even born.

Our calling is a gift from God.

Nothing can change our calling… Not our mistakes, not our past, not even the devil himself can change the calling God has on our lives.

Our calling is connected to others and the body of believers that make up our church and small group.

Last, our calling and how we walk it out determines how we get to share in the glories of God’s kingdom for eternity!

Why Am I Here? (Called to be Loved) pt.2
All Scripture taken from the New Living Translation

We are in the second message of a series that we are answering the age-old question, “Why Am I Here?” What am I doing in life, what is my purpose?

We discovered last week that we are all called for a purpose…That calling is something our Creator placed on us before the day we were born…Before the beginning of time, actually!!

If you were not here last Sunday, I encourage you to go to our website and check out the sermon to get caught up.

The moment we say YES to Jesus our lives are no longer ours to live, it becomes Jesus living through us…We begin to live out the calling Jesus placed on our lives.

This calling we’re talking about is much deeper than our gifts and talents…It is kingdom minded and it has to do with helping and pointing others toward Jesus.

To understand our calling, we must begin with God, because He is the One who created us.

To get the full understanding of all this we need to go to the very nature of who God is… And the very nature of God’s character is LOVE…

Ephesians 1: 4-6: Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[a]

Did you catch the opening of this passage in verse 4? Before God made the world, He loved us and chose us…

God created the universe, then He created earth and everything in it, and then He created mankind… You and I
were created so He could have someone to love!!

The moment we choose Jesus we are without fault in God’s eyes…Let that sink in for a minute!

The moment we choose Jesus we are without fault and now live as adopted sons and daughters in the kingdom of God’s family…

The reason all of us exist is because God wanted a family!

This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.

I know this might sound weird, but it’s what the Bible tells us, and this is what should give us hope that everything is going to be alright!

This is why the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 68 that God sets the lonely in families…He’s talking about kingdom of God families…A church family!!

The purpose of why we were created is to be loved by God!

Before we set out TO DO things for God, we are to receive from Him…We usually get this backward.

Our first purpose is not to serve, it’s not to trust, it’s not even to obey God…Our very first purpose when we say yes to Jesus is to simply let Him love us!!

Jude, who was the (half) brother of Jesus starts his letter out by saying, “I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:1)

The Apostle Paul tells the Romans the same thing in his opening statement to them (Romans 1:7), “I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be His own holy people.”

What is my calling? Well, to start, when we say yes to Jesus our calling is to simply enjoy a relationship with God!

If you’re having trouble identifying what your calling is… Accepting the love of Jesus is the starting point!

We are called to live in the love of God…This is how the relationship with Him starts and then continues from there.

The most amazing truth in all things is that God wants a family to love, and He wants each of us to be in that family…Simply so He can love on us!!

Last week we looked at a prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesians, and I want to look at another prayer he prayed for them that I also want for us as we go through this series…

I also hope this prayer helps for those of us who do not feel loved…Because when we don’t feel loved it’s hard to understand that God would even care to love us…

Ephesians 3:16-19: I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Our human minds cannot comprehend how much Jesus cares for us and how much He takes care of us….

As we begin to experience a glimpse of His unlimited resources, we become empowered with inner strength through His Holy Spirit…

And this is what helps our trust in Jesus grow as He begins to make His home in our hearts…

And as this happens our roots will grow down into God’s love, and this is what keeps us strong when the storms of life come our way!

Now let’s land on verse 18 for a bit, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.”

When it comes to the width of God’s love there is no place on this planet that His love cannot be found… It’s in the darkest of ally’s and the wealthiest of homes…

We may not always see it, and we may wonder where it is, but the fact remains His love is what is holding everything together…

Right now, we cannot see the sound waves coming from the speakers, but we all know they’re there, and they are real, we just can’t see them.

It’s the same with God’s love…We must tune in to Him, we must read His word and stay in communication with Him on a daily basis…

We do this so when we’re not feeling it, or we think He’s not there, we aren’t fooled by the devil’s tactics into getting us to thinking His love doesn’t exist for us!

No matter where we are in life, no matter how bad it gets or how dark it gets, God’s love is always there…We can’t outrun it and we can’t hide from it…

When we think it isn’t evident, we must remind ourselves that His love spreads across eternity and beyond…It’s wide enough to be everywhere at all times!!

What about the length of God’s love, how long is God’s love?

It’s long enough to last forever!!! Here’s the difference… Human love wears out!

This is why we may have a hard time comprehending a love that lasts forever…

Humans have conflict… We have break ups… We cut people out of our lives that upset us…

Human love wears out, but God’s love lasts an eternity… He will never ever stop loving us… Even when we reject Him, He still loves us!

And the depth of God’s love will go lower than the lowest of lows in life!

Psalm 40:2 says, “He lifted me out of the pit of despair…He set my feet on solid ground.”

God’s love will meet us in the lowest darkest points of our life and lift us back up on solid ground.

Because of Jesus, God’s love overlooks all our faults, failures, mess ups and even acts of rebellion…

It’s not that He doesn’t care about our faults and mess ups, there are consequences to our behavior…

But, His unconditional love, and forgiveness is available countless times over because He wants to spend time with us and love on us!!

If God had a calling on our lives since before we were born…Before the beginning of time …

Then picture Him saying this to you, “I saw you formed in your mother’s womb…I saw you take your first breath, heard your first cry… there’s never been a moment of your life that I have not been with you, loved you, and watched you go through every high and low point in life… The moment you welcomed My Son into your life was the moment the calling placed on your life began to come alive!!

The reason I think it’s important we talk about this and envision God Himself saying this to us is because a lot of people go through life avoiding God…

There could be a number of reasons for this… Ashamed, guilt, condemnation, they feel like they’re constantly being judged, or even an unhealthy amount of criticism can cause a person to avoid God…

So, the thinking then becomes, “Why would I want to form a relationship with a perfect God who is going to remind me of all my failures?”

Well, Jesus Himself said that He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.

The Bible tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Being a follower of Jesus is a “No condemnation” lifestyle!!

But let’s take it a bit deeper than me quoting from the Bible…

Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

This is acceptance! When we have been made right with God we are now accepted into His kingdom, into His family of believers!

Being made right with God because of our faith in Jesus is what sets us free…

When we know that God loves us, and that Jesus has brought us into a place of undeserved privilege, we then experience the fullness of God’s love and we no longer depend on the approval of others…

Because we are confident in who we are as believers in Jesus!

This is also a passage many struggle with, because the idea of a God who accepts me for who I am, flaws and all, bad habits and all, doesn’t make sense…

This is part of the tension of being a believer in Jesus… How can I receive undeserved privilege when I’m constantly messing up according to how the Bible says I’m supposed to live?

Hopefully, I have an answer that can help… You do your best!

You do the best you can in life and know that you have a Creator in heaven that wants nothing more than to love you and help you through life!

Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to that cross so you and I can have right standing with God!

God wants us to live in peace with ourselves and with Him… And this all starts with allowing Him to love us!

I’ll close the sermon out with this…

When we get it settled in our hearts that God is love, and that He created each one of us so He could love us and provide for us…

Then we are confident we have a Creator on our side to get us through the trials and storms and well as someone to rejoice with us in the good times too…

When someone loves us unconditionally the way God does, it releases us from all that we are holding on to that’s keeping us from living our calling…

Maybe you’re not sure what your calling is… Well maybe it’s because right now God just wants to love you so that you can experience that firsthand what it’s like to live in right standing with your Creator…

Psalm 145:18 tells us that, “The Lord is close to all who call on Him…”

PANCAKES

Six-year-old Dan decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.

He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten. Dan was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.

He didn’t know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, and he didn’t know how the stove worked! Suddenly, he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically, he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

Just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Dan’s eyes. All he’d wanted to do was something good, but he’d made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.

Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process. That’s how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky, we insult a friend, we can’t stand our job, or our health goes sour.

Sometimes, we just stand there in tears because we can’t think of anything else to do. That’s when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him. But just because we might mess up, we can’t stop trying for God or for others. Sooner or later, we’ll get it right, and then they’ll be glad we tried.