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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

Converge

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Brian Weber, leader of Converge MidAtlantic, encourages us to leave the past behind us (good and bad), persevere through what we are going through today, and keep our eyes on the prize. ConnectUs Church is part of the Converge movement of churches that helps start, strengthen, and send churches around the world.

Going to encourage you with some wordsfrom that same a possible Paul, this great missionary that traveled around the ancient worldand started new congregations just like this one was started here and, and hewrote a great portion of the New Testament of the scriptures that haveencouraged us throughout the Christian history of many churches. And so whatI'm going to share with you is is one of my favorite passages. It's meant alot to me over the years there, the pastor thatof the Church that I go to in ocean city Maryland. He does this thing wherehe asks every new years around every New Year's to think about a verse inscripture that we can memorize for the year, and he says you know pick yourverse and inside that verse pick a word to focus on for your year. Memorize theverse think about the concept, see what difference it might make, and so Ichose this verse. Actually it's two versus because maybe I'm a little bitof an over cheaper. I don't know- maybe maybe some of you are too, and I neverreally did very well with New Year's resolutions and goals. You know Isometimes ask: Why do I even make them? You know, because here we are eightmonths later, I don't even remember the goals that I made, but when we've donethis practice, I remember these verses, and so this is a verse. If you, youknow, carry your Bible with you. If you have it with you, invite you to open upthe Philippians chapter, three we're gonna, look at versus thirteen andfourteen very familiar pair of verses. You might know, or also,if on your phone, feel free to look up the text. You know on your on yourphone as well. You know we admire the possible Paul for his his many attributes and accomplishments. He'slike the clause, the word over achiever before he seems to be like the classicover Achiever, both before he was a Christian. He was a zealous pharisee inthe in the Jewish religion in as a...

Jewish leader and then after he becamea Christian. He was this amazing, a missionary who shared the Gospel allover the world. This is another one of those letters that he wrote while hewas in prison and he's thinking about the churches that that he visited, and he wants tostrengthen them and he's a specifically concerned about this church in Philippi,because their neighborhood hasn't been too kindto them, like they're, experiencing some struggles with the localgovernment with the people around them and he's concerned from them, becausehe doesn't want them to give up it, isn't one of them to think hey. Thisthing is too hard to do. You know sometimes being a young church and justgetting started you're going to run into some obstacles and you're like man.Why do we keep doing this? Like is I thought this was supposed to be easy?It's not Lord, never said it was going to be easy. He only said it was goingto be worth it, and so here and Philippians Chap justif, even if you go back to the beginning of Philippians, I love thisjust to hear the heart of where Paul's coming from here. For his love for theChurches, he writes this and chapter one versus three through six. He says Ithank God every time I remember you in all my prayers for all of you. I alwayspray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from thefirst day. Until now. Imagine if he was writing this to you here, connect USchurch. You know I pray with you with joy, because I always from remember ourpartnership from the first day January of this year, until now, eight monthslater, and just amazed what God is doing in your life and then he says inverse being confident in this that he meaning Jesus who began a good work inyou will carry it on to completion in the day of Christ. Jesus. We don't getto see the future. We don't know what God is going to do in our livesindividually or in our lives as a church, but we have promises like this,that God started it and he's going to...

...see it finished. And now you move forward Philippians chapter three and we get this. I think this thismessage of hope for the future from the possible Paul, and I want toshare with you, because I think he means it both to be encouraging to usas individual people and to be encouraging to us as a church.This woody writes he says brothers. I do not consider myself yet to havetaken hold of it, but one thing I do forgetting what is behind and strainingtowards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to receive the prizefor which, God has called me, heavenward and Christ Jesus. You know he begins. He says brothers,so this this term of endearment he's going to share something personal abouthis own life. He says: Listen to me because what I want to share with youis really important. He says I do o not consider myself yet to have taken holda bit. That's a curious thing for him to write,because we see this vision of this of the Apostle Paul is his greatmissionary, man of God, right he's done like basically everything there is todo, and yet he says I haven't accomplishedmy goals. Yet there's some standard that Paul has for himself that hehasn't accomplished. I mean what what could he possibly not have done yet heseems to be successful at everything he does. I think we get a little bit of a clueif you go back just a couple verses. The first Chapter I mean just chapterthree verse: Ten, you get a little bit of a clue. What he's talking about here.He says I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection andthe fellowship of sharing in his sufferings bed coming like him in deathand so somehow to attain the resurrection of the dead, not that I have already obtained all ofthis or have already been made perfect.

Some of your translations Mi said, havealready been made complete right. I like this word here. It translateperfect. You see, there's probably a lot thatyou can get out of that that verse there, but I would summarize it thisway. Paul wants to know Jesus so well that he begins to act like Jesus. Paulwants to be perfect, like Jesus is perfect. No one to ask you: Isn't thatwhat you want to or retired screwing up are we trying tosaying to ourselves? I can't get through this. You know this day. Ican't break this bad habit. I can't fix this relationship. I can't stop makingpoor choices. I can't be the person that God wants me to be that I want tobe. I can't stop thinking these terrible thoughts. I can't I can't. Ican't- and I just think it's refreshing here that Paul this this great personin scripture that we think so highly of that he's in the same spot that he admits his own inadequacy thathe says you know I haven't considered myself yet to have taken hold of it. Imean, if Paul can admit his own difficulties. Don't you think that wecan do, and this for him is not like a place to be discouraged, it's just anhonest place from from which to move forward. So in this in these verseshere he makes a statement of how we progress in life and that and thatfirst idea is be honest about your past- be honest with who you are it's, okay,to mit, to yourselves and to others. I haven't yet accomplished it all. Yet I still have a long way to go. I gotsome growing up to do. I got some work to do in my life and that's okay. So progress in life is about beinghonest about your past. It's also about...

...perseverance. He says brothers. I donot consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do forgetting the past and strainingtowards what is ahead. I press on. He says one thing: I love that ideahe's just like just one thing: I do. You know it's easy, it's memorable,it's so different than how we usually treat our lives. Isn't it we like them.We like to think that the remedies for our problems arecomplicated. You know at least we make them that way.I I out of curiosity. I went online and I looked at a bunch of self help books that you can see anonline book stores you can buy them from Amazon or whatever, and they maybe great books. I was just looking at the titles just to see how many thingsyou know authors would ask us to do, and here are some of the titles. Ifound five steps to finding your purpose: sixsteps to transforming performance, seven steps to lit to living at yourfull potential, eight simple steps to solve any problem: Nine Principles forcreating habits. Ten, simple steps to a healthier, you, here's my favorite one,one hundred and sixty ways to enhance your natural intelligence. You know ifyou did, if you put all those things together, that's two hundred and fivemore things for you to do this year. I, like Paul's view a lot better. Onething: one thing I do: What's that one thinghe says forgetting the past and straining towards what is a head. Ipress on you know, uses this image of a runner,that's running a race and if you're running a race, you wantto strive that runner as an athlete you want to strive with all of your mightto that finish, line, just focus on that finish line and get there as fastas you can. It might be tempting to look over your shoulder to see wherethe other runners on, but if you do it, it could be a terrible mistake. Probably the fost famous example ofthis happened in Augus, one thousand...

...nine hundred and fifty four two famousrunners, Roger Bannister, was the first man to run a mile in less than fourminutes, and then John Landy was the current record holder at that time. Forthe one mile run, so these two guys super famous, they decided that theywere going to run against each other to see who the fastest man on earth was,and they called it. The Miracle Mile Forty thousand people packed thestadium just to watch. Two men run in a one mile race and I love athletics. Icould totally imagine myself being there that day. You know watching thisthing take place and with only a hundred yards left. John Landy is in the lead and he doesthe unthinkable. He looks over his shoulder his left shoulder to see whereRoger Banister was, and at that precise moment, banisterruns around his right side and wins. The race. Landy literally loses the race becausehe looks back, and this is the image that the ApostlePaul is giving to us in this message here. He says forgetting what is behind andstraining towards what is ahead. I press on now the biblical idea of forgettingdoes not mean we have no recollection of our past were always going toremember the things in our life that happened to us now, the idea offorgetting when you read it in the scripture. It means that our past hasno bearing on what we decide to do today has no control over us. You knowany more that Jesus when he died on the cross and he rose from the g from thegrave he paid the penalty of all of our wrong doings and evils in our life, andhe cleans the slate he forgives us. He allows us to press forward with ourlife without this heavy burden of what happened in our past behind us right that pulse an we scholars when theyread this, they think you know what...

...what kind of past is Paul talking about. It could be that he's talking about hispast mistakes before he was a believer in Jesus Christ. He was a zealouspharisee. He W L. He led mobs of people to Hunt Down Christians to throw themin jail, even murdered Christians. He thought of himself as the worst sinnerwho ever left, and sometimes our past mistakes can be debilitating for us. You ever have that day, where you justlike something that you did just that memory, just POPs up in your head andyour feel ashamed about it all over again, some of us are dealing with theconsequences still of things that we did years ago. Like I said, Jesus died for thosethings so that we can move forward with aclean slate. Now other scholars think that maybepause talking about his past successes. You know our past successes cansometimes be the billet setting for us too. After Paul became a believer. He was avery successful missionary. You know. Sometimes, when we aresuccessful of business, we don't think we need to listen to other people orwere when we're successful in education. We don't think we need to be taught.You know anymore. We don't think we need something like Church or God anymore in pussly. No, no matter what I've accomplished, I got to forget aboutthose and keep pressing on whether good or bad press on press on press on you guys. I experience those things too.Together as a church, you're can have good times and bad times press on as anindividual any day that you live. You can make mistakes here, you're going tomake some good choices, regardless press on to progress in their life, about beinghonest about her passin perseverance in the future. Last thing he says here it's pursuing a promise for thefuture, his brothers- I do not consider myselfyet to have taken hold of it. One thing I do forgetting what is behind andstraining towards what is a head. I...

...press on towards the goal to receivethe prize for which God has called me: Heavenward in Christ. Jesus and I lovethe cadence of that he's still using this image of a runner. Can you hearthe runner step by step? I press on towards the goal to receive the prizefor which, God has called me: Heavenward in Christ, Jesus Yeah- Wejust saw the Olympics last summer, and so we still see this image today whenan athlete on a contest in the ancient games back in Paul's Day and evenOlympics to day they get up on the podium they receive an award like ametal around their neck or a wreath around their head boss, says know the the reward for theChristian life is way more valuable than that it's eternal life with Jesus himself inheaven, and it's something that's already beengiven to you because of the work that Jesus has done,that he died on the cross that he rose from the grave. He conquered the powerof sin and death, and he doesn't say you have to work hard to do that. He says it was simply by faith, wouldbelieve in him that he changes our life that he offersus. This Glorious Prize, Moses was famous for saying this. Hesaid in the book of Dur Onoma to the Hebrew people he says, God is near. Youhe's not on the other side of the sea that you have to, like, you know, takea boat and go and get him he's, not at the top of a mountain that you have toclimb the mountain. He said Moses says: No, God is on your lips and he's inyour heart and then the apostle Paul takes thosesame words in Romans, and he says, if you confess, with your mouth, theJesus's Lord. If you believe in your heart that God raised him from the deadthat you will be safe. Have you done that? I think when Paulwrote, these words He's thinking o the day that he first believed in Jesus.You can read that story for yourself,...

...another time, an ax chapter, nine, a d,and he just thinks wow. There's this glorious. Heaven, though, waits for meone day. I don't have all the time to share withyou day, but I think of my own journey, how the Lord has taken me in the daythat I first believed to Anna. How about you? Do you remember that day on that day,God took your life and put you on a new pathway and that pathway is heaven,ward or maybe that days today you know heaven isn't one of thesethings that we get to experience by ourselves,brothers and sisters, it's something we get to experience together. You know,and I think that if we have a vision for that, promise like the like, theapostle asks us of here. If we live our lives in light of that glorious prize,that it changes the way we live our life today, we don't make decisionsbased upon how we're feeling on the present moment, we don't make goalsthat just you know, change our life rightnow, not that those things are necessarily bad. You know, but we canmake decisions. We can make goals that make a difference for eternity, and so that's why I wouldn't encourageyou today, brothers. I do not consider myself yetto have taken hold of it, but one thing I do forgetting the past and strainingtowards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to receive the prizefor which, God has called You, Heaven Word and Christ Jesus, and I justencourage you today, whether good or bad. You can leave the past behind you.Jesus died for you, you can purse you Vere to day, no matter what you're going through inyour life with God's strength or together as a group connect. Thischurch just getting started. Eight months old, the God who began this good work andyou will carry it on to completion the day of Christ Jesus. But it's going torequire perseverance, be strong. Keep...

...the faith, keep moving forward togetherand loving one another and keep your eyes on the price that all of this about one day, one day being together forever because of whatJesus has done for us and it's a pleasure to be here, it's sofun to enjoy this time. You know with all of you and I'm so glad that you'repart of the converged family and I can't wait to see what we might be able to do together inthe future. Let me pray for you, gracious God in Heaven. Thank you somuch for this group of of people here today. Thank you that they have come here this morning. Thatthey've said I want to be here to be a part of this community and to see whatconnect US church and the difference to connect US church can make in our ownlives in the lives of other people and Lord. I just pray that you would honorthat that you'd honor, that desire in them and you would help them becomeeverything that you want this little congregation to be and and and thatthis good work that you have started in them, that you will carry it on tocompletion and I pray for those who are sittinghere right now that have yet to make that decision to follow you- and I just asked Lord Jesus, the anyanyone here today that wants to take that step of faith. Who wants to welcome you to change their lives, to invite them to pray. A simple prayerlike this God, I'm sorry for the ways that I'vebeen in my life. I know that I haven't lived it the right way, but I know that you came and you diedon the cross and rose again and that somehow that can change my life. And soI believe in that- and I grasp that- and I ask You Lord, to come into mylife and to be the leader of my life fromnow and into forever, and I pray that...

...in Jesus name Amen. I.

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