Worship Service – October 11, 2020

Sunday October 11 2020.

Our scripture readings this week are; Proverbs 16:1-9 and Philippians 3:12-4:1. Please open your Bibles and follow along as I read.

Proverbs 16:1-9

(1)To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.
(2)All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord .
(3)Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
(4)The Lord works out everything for his own ends- even the wicked for a day of disaster.
(5)The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
(6)Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.
(7)When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord , he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.
(8)Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
(9)In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Philippians 3:12-4:1

(12)Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
(13)Brothers, 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.
(15)All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
(16)Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
(17)Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
(18)For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
(19)Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
(20)But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
(21)who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
(4:1)Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

I received an email last week from Jim Perkins where he asked “Did the session have a plan on what to do if someone came down with Covid after we started having services inside the church?” and of course I had to tell him ,“NO”. Then, in a frantic scramble to return to parking lot services,after last week’s scare, of one of our own, having coronavirus, and the lack of plans made to deal with that possibility. A song kept reverberating in my mind. “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” over and over again.

So, I thought we should probably think about that this week . I’ve titled this message:

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.

In my preparation the Lord led me to these 2 scripture passages,(Proverbs 16:1-9)and (Philippians 3:12-4:1). In these scriptures I believe the Lord has given us instructions on how to plan for the future. They are:

I.  Pray For Direction

II. Prepare For Action

III. Plan For Opposition

Some years ago, Newsweek magazine reported a fortune tellers’ convention in Dublin, Ireland. Palm readers, crystal ball gazers and astrologers from all over the world gathered for a week to compare notes, learn techniques, and make new predictions. While they were all together in one of the convention meetings, a thief broke into their hotel rooms and stole all of their crystal balls and tarot cards. When the police investigated the crime, they asked the fortune tellers the obvious question: “Why didn’t you know this was going to happen, and why weren’t you able to predict it?”
A scientist once said, “Prediction is very difficult—especially about the future.” Well, no one can predict the future; no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, but there are two things you cannot do about tomorrow and one thing you had better not do.

First of all, you cannot presume on tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come. Today may be your last day.

Secondly, you cannot predict tomorrow. You do not know what will happen tomorrow and neither do I.

Number three, you had better not procrastinate about tomorrow. Not only should you not put off until tomorrow what you should do today, you should not put off today getting ready for tomorrow in case tomorrow does come.

So ,in the words of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit” Don’t Stop ”.”Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, don’t stop it will soon be here. Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
In the first verse of that song we hear; ”If you wake up and don’t want to smile. If it takes just a little while. Open your eyes and look at the day. You’ll see things in a different way.” Imagine if God spoke to you through prayer and this is what you heard.
Jesus told the Pharisees in John 10:10,”I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We should celebrate the past, we must seize the present, but we should also claim the future. We need to live as if today will be our last day, but we need to prepare as if it will not be. We need to make sure that if tomorrow does come, that tomorrow will be the best day of our life.
The way you do that is by setting goals. Paul teaches us this in Philippians 3:12-15 . In verse 14 he writes “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ”The Message translates 3:12-15 this way: “I’m not saying that I have this altogether, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously looked out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.”
With that in mind, let me tell you something about you if you are not in the habit of setting goals. If you have no goals you have no direction.
Yogi Berra said two things about that you had better hear: He said, “You had better be careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” He also said, “If you don’t know where you are going you might wind up some place else.” There’s also an old Roman proverb that says, “When the pilot does not know what port he is heading for, no wind is the right wind.”
As you live today, in a sense you cannot stop thinking about tomorrow. Now we are not to worry about tomorrow, but we are to be ready for tomorrow. There are three practical steps in doing this.

I. Pray For Direction

In John 10:27 Jesus states,” My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
It is foolish to set goals without consulting God first, because He is the only one who knows the future, and therefore is the only one that can guide you through it. As you set goals you need to pray for God to give you a God-given vision, and then God-given goals to match that vision.
But I want you to listen to this next principle carefully. When God gives you a vision, the vision never changes, but the plans to accomplish that vision may change.
“People make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Prov. 16:1, in “The Message” it reads: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Prov.16:9 in “The Message” states:”We plan the way we want to live,but only God makes us able to live it”.
There is a practical illustration of this in the life of Paul himself. Listen to what it says in Acts 16:6-10; (6)Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. (7)When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (8)So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. (9)During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (10)After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Now Paul had a vision, and that vision was to preach to as many people, and to reach as many people for the gospel as he possibly could. Now he had made plans to go to Asia and to Bithynia, but the Lord changed those plans. Now his vision for going everywhere he could go, seeing everyone he could see, and preaching and teaching as many people as he could never changed, but the plans did.
That is why it is so important to pray for direction; to not only ask God what He wants you to do, but then trust Him to show you how He wants you to do it.
That is exactly the advice the wisest man in the world, Solomon, gave when he said: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Prov. 3:5-6, The Message)
The goals you set must be God’s goals for your life. As you set goals there are four questions you should ask yourself as you set these goals.
(1)Will it get me to where I want to go which is to a deeper and more intimate relationship with God, and accomplish what God wants me to do?
(2)Will it help make somebody else successful?
(3)Do I have to violate a spiritual principle to get there?
(4)Will it fulfill God’s purpose for my life?

II. Prepare For Action.

The second verse of “Don’t Stop” is; “Why not think about times to come? And not about the things that you’ve done. If your life was bad to you. Just think what tomorrow will do.
Now unless you think it’s not biblical to set goals, let me just remind you that Moses had a goal of getting the people out of Egypt. Joshua had a goal of getting the people into Canaan. David had a goal of building God’s temple. Jesus had a goal of paying for our sins. Paul had a goal of winning the prize.
When most people do not succeed in life is because they don’t really know what they want out of life. The Apostle Paul wrote down in this passage, Phil. 3:13, “one thing I do.” Paul knew what he wanted to do and he wrote it down.
Psychologists have discovered that commitment to a written goal is three times as high as a commitment to a goal that we only have in our head.
Research shows that approximately 95% of us have never written out our goals in life, but of the 5% who have 95% have achieved their goals. In 1953 at Yale University 3% of the graduating class had specific written goals for their lives. In 1975 researchers found that the 3% who wrote down their goals had accomplished more than the other 97%.
There’s one other key to setting goals, and that is not only to write the goals down, but to actually visualize reaching that goal. Get that goal into your mind by writing it down, but get it into your heart by visualizing it. That’s exactly what Paul was able to do. Paul could visualize souls being saved. Paul could visualize the Savior being satisfied. There is a sense that what you see is what you’ll be.
I heard about a young man that came to college as a freshman and checked into his room. The first thing he did was to put a big brass letter “V” on his door. Everybody asked him what it was for, but he never would tell them. He kept it polished and every time he would change rooms the first thing he would do is to put that “V” on his door.
Finally, he graduated and at the commencement exercise his named was called as the Valedictorian of the class. When he walked across the stage there in his left hand was that polished brass letter “V.”
May I just say this very quickly. You will tend to discount everything I am saying in this message if you are a senior adult or older in life. I beg you never ever quit dreaming and never ever quit setting goals. Caleb was 85 years of age when he said, “I want that mountain.” Colonel Sanders discovered “finger-licking good” chicken at 70. Ray Kroc introduced the “Big Mac” after he was 70 years of age. Picasso was still painting at 88. Thomas Edison invented the mimeograph machine when he was 85. Prepare for action.
“ Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”

III. Plan For Opposition

As you think about tomorrow, there are two problems you are going to have to always face. Number one: You’re going to have to face foes. Nobody ever encountered more opposition than Moses, Jesus, and Paul—three of the most visionary goal-oriented men in the Bible.
Do the following names ring a bell with you: Shammua,  Shaphat,  Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, Geuel? They probably don’t, but those were the first names of the spies that were sent out with Joshua and Caleb to investigate the Promised land. They were the ones who said: “the land could not be taken.” They minimized God and maximized giants. When they returned all that they could see was, their god was too weak, they were too small, the task was too difficult, and the giants were too big.
I want to warn you of something. This world is full of dream killers. It is full of people who will tell you that you can’t reach your goals; that you shouldn’t dream bigger dreams; that you should not have bigger visions; shouldn’t try to climb more mountains.
There are always going to be people around you who will cloud your vision, who try to destroy your determination, because they are always looking at the future in a rearview mirror.
A great man once wrote, “A blind man’s world is bounded by the limits of his touch; an ignorant man’s world by the limits of his knowledge; a great man’s world by the limits of his vision.” Mark it down. You’re going to have foes when you try to reach goals and dream dreams.
But there’s one other obstacle you’ll face, and that is failure. No matter how noble your goals are, no matter how hard you strive to reach them, you’re going to have to deal with failure.
Example, Duke Rudman was expelled from college and began to work in the Texas oil fields. As he began to gather experience, he had a vision of wildcatting. Independent oil exploration. He set a goal of becoming an independent contractor and building his own business.
Whenever he could scrape together a few thousand dollars he would lease drilling equipment and sink a well. He drilled 29 wells over two years, and every well came up dry. He was almost 40 years of age and he had still not hit oil, but he had a vision and he had a goal. To improve his chances he studied land formations, shell types, and other aspects of geology. Then he leased his thirtieth tract of land, and this time he struck oil.
Three of every four holes that Rudman drills to this day turns up dry. He said that over sixty years he believes he has failed more frequently than anybody else in the business, but he has struck oil often enough to accumulate a fortune estimated to be $220 million.
If you’re going to reach your goals in life and be all that you can be, you’ve got to remember that failure is never final and failure is never fatal. So, ”Don’t Stop thinking about tomorrow.”
I want to close with an illustration of two trees. The Japanese bonsai tree. It’s small and it remains that way no matter how old it gets. As a matter of fact, the bonsai only grows 15 to 18 inches tall. How does this happen?
When the bonsai peaks its head above the ground, the young sapling is pulled from the soil. The Japanese then tie off its tap root and some of the feeder roots so the growth of that bonsai is deliberately stunted. The result is a miniature tree; it’s beautiful but it’s small.
But there is another tree that is equally fascinating that I have seen also with my own eyes. It is the giant sequoia out in California. One of those giants called the General Sherman is 272 ft. high and measures 79 ft. in circumference. It is so large that if someone were to cut it down there would be enough lumber in that one tree to build 45 five-room homes.
There’s one major difference between those two trees. The bonsai is purposely stunted in its growth, while the sequoia is allowed to grow as large as it wants.
Now here is the point. Neither the bonsai nor the General Sherman had a choice in determining how great it would become, but you and I do. There is no reason why our future can not be as bright as the promises of God. We must not stop thinking about tomorrow.
Finally, as you do, whatever goal you set in life you better have this one and you better reach this one, and that is, to go to heaven when you die. That is God’s ultimate goal for all of us, and I pray for all of us that it will be a reality.
So, in the words of Fleetwood Mac,
”If you wake up and don’t want to smile.
If it takes just a little while.
Open your eyes and look at the day.
You’ll see things in a different way.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here.

It’ll be, better than before

Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone

Why not think about times to come?
And not about the things that you’ve done.
If your life was bad to you.
Just think what tomorrow will do.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here

It’ll be, better than before

Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.”

If I were to rewrite the words to verse 3, it would go like this.

All God wants is to see you smile.

If it takes just a little while.

Just believe that it’s true.

Eternal life is what He wants for you.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow!!

I. Pray For Direction

II. Prepare For Action

III.Plan For Opposition

In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20201011
Listen To Audio: Service 10112020

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