God's truth for today's world

This week is Thanksgiving, a day to remind ourselves of everything that we have to be thankful for. Many would trace back our National holiday back to a Thanksgiving celebration of the Pilgrims in 1621. They had endured much in their journey to America and establishing a home here. So they gathered to give thanksgiving to God for His help and provision after a bountiful harvest. Abraham Lincoln was the first President to fix the date as the last Thursday in November and proclaim a national holiday. Yet, the whole concept of thanksgiving has its origin in the Bible and it’s teachings.

As believers, God wants us to not just celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year. He wants us to have hearts of thanksgiving all through the year. Who do you think has more joy in their life? The person who always complains or the person who always give thanks?

So, today, my message is entitled “Growing in Thanksgiving.” Giving thanks is an activity that we can grow in. Thanksgiving is a good habit that can be learned and benefited from. Let’s look at a verse from the Old Testament about giving thanks.

Psalm 107:1 (NIV)  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

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We’re in a message series called “Keep Your Dream Alive.” In this series, we’re looking at the life of Joseph to learn how to keep God’s dream for our life alive. At the age of seventeen, God gave Joseph two dreams about the trajectory of his life. Those dreams were challenged at every turn. Yet finally, today, we’re going to learn how the dreams were fulfilled in an amazing fashion, 13 years later.

Today, my message is entitled “Strategic Planning for Dreams.” What if the difference between a plan and a dream? Let’s start off with a dream. A dream or vision is a goal from God that is given to you, often in a supernatural manner. Joseph had literal dreams as he slept where God showed him his future. Others in the Bible and since have had visions from God when awake. Others have heard God speak to them and sensed the voice of His Spirit. A dream from God is not something that comes from you, it comes from God.

A plan on the other hand, is a course of action to bring your dream into reality. A plan is a blueprint to live out the details of God’s dream for your life. I believe that plans are created by using your mind, anointed by God, to determine the steps necessary in living out God’s dream for your life. A dream without a plan will never be completely fulfilled. A plan without a dream will lead nowhere. But a dream with a plan will produce great results for God.

Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)  In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

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We’re in a message series called “Keep Your Dream Alive.” God has a dream for your life. Your privilege in life is to live out the dream of your creator of the very best life you can have.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This verse is about God’s dream for the life of each believer. You were created by God to accomplish things for God, here called good works. This dream that God has for your life was prepared for you before you were born. This morning, if you’re not a believer, the first step in receiving God’s dream for your life is to become a believer.

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Today, we’re going to be talking about Jesus Your Motivation as we finish our message series from the book of Colossians. People have all kinds of motivations for the things they do and the things they say. Some people are motivated by greed, power, or pride. Others are motivated by wanting to do their best, to help others or to accomplish something important in life. Motives are often hard to discern. When a crime is committed, the detectives attempt to discern the motive of the criminal. The crime is obvious, but why did he do it? What was the motive? One person may do something good for someone and a second person could do the exact same thing, but they could have radically different motives. God’s Word says that motives are important.

Proverbs 16:2 (NIV)  All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

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If someone asked you the question “What are you living for?” how would you answer? What gets you up in the morning, what keeps you going through the day? Everybody is living for something, although not many have even pondered the question “What are you living for?” Good question to ask someone to start a discussion about life’s important issues.

Second related question, we want to think about this morning “Who are you living for?” Actually, this is the more fundamental question. Because when you answer who you are living for, you can also answer what are you living for. Now according to the Bible, there are only two possible answers to this question, “who are you living for?” For a believer in Jesus Christ, the only answer is that I am living for Jesus. For the unbeliever, the answer from the Bible is that they are living for Satan. Now, most unbelievers don’t understand that or even believe in Satan, so what makes sense to them is that they’re basically living for themselves, living to please themselves. As a human being, created by God, can only be fulfilled in life by living for God, those who live for themselves will live lives that miss God’s purpose.

Today, we’re going to be talking about “Jesus Your Life.” If you’re a believer, God doesn’t just want you to live for Him 50% of the time, or 80 or 90%, His plan for your life is 100% for Jesus. Now, how can you live for someone you can’t see? How can you live to expand a kingdom that is not visible?

Colossians 3:2 (NIV) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

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