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Best Year Ever (Part Three)

Joshua 1:6-11 (NLT)
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Recap:
7 Risks Any of Us Can Take Today
1. Start today even if you don’t know how to finish.

2. Start doing what you’ve been thinking of doing but haven’t done yet.

3. Be generous when you don’t feel like it.
• Being generous with praise when you don’t feel like praising someone is a risk.
• In a culture that is becoming more self-absorbed and stingy, generosity is a risk.

Now I know generosity is always associated with money in the context of church. But I’m not talking about a “deed” or a gift. I’m talking about a lifestyle. I’m saying that in 2016, you and I and all of us collectively develop a spirit of generosity.
• Take time to:
1. Lavish praise and affirmation on your children.
2. Compliment your spouse freely and honestly.
3. Become aware of those around you and look for ways to affirm them.

It isn’t that we don’t want to be generous and giving, we just get distracted.

Galatians 6:9-10 NLT
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

I promise you that if you and I will just discipline ourselves and become aware of the moment, we can become generous with grace and love, and less critical and cynical.
• Work on it. Check yourself. Ask yourself: Am I seeing the good here? What can I say that will bring life and help, not pain and grief? Do the next right thing.

4. Help someone else succeed.
A. Someone said, “If you want to go fast in accomplishments, go alone; if you want to go further, take others with you.”
B. I think about all the folks here today that need a little care and guidance and a hand up.
Too many feel isolated and alone and lonely.
Single parents. Those going through separation and divorce. Struggling financially and ashamed to talk about it.
• Shouldn’t church be a place where we are accepted and loved and comfortable to share our pains and struggles?
• Shouldn’t church be a place that is safe?
That even if you sin and really mess up and blow it, instead of becoming a casualty, you become our mission?
Instead of keeping you at bay and marking you as a sinner, we follow the Scripture and live it out as it says in
Galatians 6:1-3 (MSG):
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Let us be generous. Let us help others excel. And as I close today,
5. Be vulnerable.
• And yes, if you are anything like me, you know being vulnerable is a risk.

 

One of the things I think we fight as a church is overcoming this persona that we all have it together.
• We come to church and we get involved because we’ve got life all figured out and conquered.

But if the truth were known:
We come and bring the same stuff in here they’ve got out there.
• Some of you were tempted to lie this week and did. You don’t have it all together yet.
• Some of you cheated on a test or assignment this week. You don’t have it all together yet.
• Some of you have struggled with lust and impure thoughts this week and gave in to temptations. You don’t have it all together yet.
• Some of you have cussed like a sailor this week and today sang praises to a Savior. You don’t have it together yet.

We have to be real. Genuine. Authentic. We have to become the “me too” bunch of people!
And I’m telling you, when we become generous, and helpful, and vulnerable – we will experience the best days of our lives! And yes, we come with our brokenness and pain and failure and even our sin – but we come. We do come. We come to a loving Heavenly Father with arms open wide, saying, “I love you. I receive you. And I will make it well for you.”