We’re kicking off a new series today called “It’s Time”, which I’ll explain here in a bit.
Our church is called NoLimits because there really is no limit to what God can do in your life if you just let Him.
The reason we’re living a NoLimits life is for us all to get to a place where we are making an eternal difference in the lives of others. Just imagine what we could do in our community and in our world if we all take the limits off.
And the way we get to a point where we’re living a NoLimits life is through four clearly defined steps that we like to call a spiritual journey.
Step 1: Know God
A lot of people know about God. But that’s not the same thing as knowing God personally and relationally. So the first step you need to take towards you best life is building a relationship with God.
One of the best ways to do that is what you are doing right now, attending Sunday service. Because, our Sunday services have the primary purpose of helping you know God through worship and God’s Word.
Step 2: Find Freedom
This is when you settle your yesterdays. It’s when you find freedom from all those things holding you back. It could be an addiction. Or, it could even be forgiving someone that you’ve hated for the last 20 years.
We all have things in our lives that we try to hide from others. We stuff it into the dark closet of our lives. But at some point in this journey, you have to turn the light on and find freedom from all that junk.
The way we help you do this is through small groups. Because you need close relationships with other believers to find and stay in freedom.
Step 3: Discover Purpose
You’re not here by chance. God put you here for a reason and He has a specific assignment for you. It can be tough to discover because there are so many distractions around us, which is why we have the Growth Track.
Growth Track is a four-step process where we walk alongside you as you discover your purpose. It happens every Sunday after church from 12:30 to 1:30pm. We feed you lunch, we watch your kids. It’s a good time.
Today is the first Sunday of the month, so that means it’s Step 1 of the Growth Track. If you haven’t been to Step 1 yet, I encourage you to join us.
Step 4: Make a Difference
The final step in the journey to your best life is really the whole reason we’re after this in the first place. When we know God and we’re walking out our freedom and we’ve discovered our purpose, our lives become this incredible force to those around us.
We’re making a difference by walking around with peace and fulfillment. We’re making a difference by serving others.
Just look around at our broken world. Now, more than ever, those around us need us to live our lives in a way that makes and eternal difference.
Here’s what you need to know. No matter how long you’ve been in church, you are somewhere along this journey.
And since we’re all somewhere on this journey, that means we all have a next step to take. I’ve been talking about these four steps a lot over the last year so that it’s clear and makes sense to you.
However, even though we know what the steps are, some of us are having a hard time getting moving along this journey. It’s almost like we need someone to come up behind us and give us a little push.
Because you’re sitting there looking at the life you know you’re supposed to be living, but it’s like you’re in a trance. And that’s why we called this series, “It’s time.” Because it’s time to snap out of it and start moving toward your best life.
I don’t get frustrated very often. But there’s this one modern issue that we face almost every time we get on the road that really ticks me off.
You probably know what I’m talking about, and you might even be one of these people. But you know when you’re sitting at a light and you’re the second car in line, the light turns green and the person in front of you doesn’t go?
And you know what’s up, because they had their head down looking at that little pocket demon. I mean, really? You couldn’t sit at a light for 20 seconds without checking your phone?
In these moments, the polite thing to do is give them a little ‘beep, beep’. But that’s not want you want to do. Nah, this kind of injustice deserves a long, drawn-out hooooooonk!
Now listen to me. As your pastor, I want nothing more than to help you progress along your spiritual journey. So, when I see you sitting still, I want to give you a hooooooonk!
But, I’m not going to do that over the next four weeks. I’ve promised myself, and I’ll promise you today that I’ll be kind and just give you little, ‘beep, beeps’. The light is green y’all, so let’s go!
It’s time to start moving towards the life you’re supposed to be living. For that to happen, you can’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing. You need to put your foot on the gas and start moving through the four steps of your spiritual journey.
And listen, I can’t do it for you. We provide all the tools. Sunday services will help you know God. Small groups will help you find freedom. Growth Track will help you discover purpose. And the Dream Team helps you make a difference.
All of this is just sitting there waiting for you, but you’re the one who has to decide, “It’s time. It’s time to make Sunday services, small groups and Growth Track a priority in my life.”
No more sitting still, distracted by life. The light is green and it’s time to get moving. If you’re serious about living your best life, a NoLimits life, then I want you to be at all four weeks of this series.
Seriously, make a commitment and make it happen. You’re the only one who has the power to do that in your life. I can’t do it for you. But I can give you a little ‘beep, beep’ over the next four weeks to help motivate you.
Now, let me show you something in the book of Luke.
Luke 9:57-62 MSG – On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.
So, Jesus was traveling and someone along the way was like, “Hey, can I come! I don’t care where we’re going, I just want to go with you Jesus!”
But, Jesus didn’t give him the ‘beep, beep’. He gave him a full-on honk:
Luke 9:57-62 MSG – Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”
You mean, following Jesus isn’t all roses and butterflies? People aren’t going to treat us like royalty? We don’t get all the best accommodations? Well, I never.
Listen to me. Some of you haven’t found your best life because you keep looking for the easy route. If it were easy, you’d already be doing it. Heck, everyone would be doing it.
Reminds me of how everyone wants to own their own business and work for themselves. And most people think it should be easy. So, when it doesn’t work the first time, they give up.
If it were easy, everyone would own their own business and they would all be successful. But, it’s not easy. There’s lots of failures and challenges along the way. The only ones who make it are those who don’t give up and instead learn from the difficult times.
It’s no different in your walk with Jesus. If you want the amazing life He’s prepared for you, you have to buckle in and get ready to rough it. And if you don’t like that, just remember, Jesus said it, not me.
Let’s keep reading:
Luke 9:57-62 MSG – Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.” Jesus refused.
This guy thought he had a good excuse. I mean, preparing for your father’s funeral sounds like a pretty good excuse to me. Imagine how many people would hate this guy if he just disappeared before his father’s funeral.
But, Jesus was really clear that this wasn’t a good excuse.
Luke 9:57-62 MSG – “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”
In other words, Jesus was saying, “Don’t spend energy on your dad’s death. You can’t do anything about that. Instead, you should remain focused on what I’ve called you to do, announce God’s kingdom to those who are alive.”
Luke 9:57-62 MSG – Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”
We all like to use this excuse. “I’d love to join a small group, but things are just too crazy at home. I’ll catch them next time.” or “Growth Track sounds cool, but I’m just too tired to stay after church. I’ll just wait till next time.”
Did I get you? Any of y’all making those excuses? Well, here’s how Jesus would respond:
Luke 9:57-62 MSG – Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”’
Beep, beep. It’s time. Let’s go! Take your foot off the brake. Quit looking in the rearview mirror. Quit making excuses. It’s time to move.
And here we are at the beginning of a new year. We all have this fresh motivation to make positive change in our lives. So, let’s take advantage of it and get this bus down the road.
When it comes to making positive change in your life, there are two things you need to do.
First, leave the crappy stuff behind so you don’t bring it with you into this new season. And second, find the new stuff you want to bring into your life.
So that’s what I am going to help you with today. I’m going to give you three things to throw in the trash, and four things to bring into your life.
It’s time to move on from…
Move on from old history.
We all need to click the ‘clear history’ button in our lives. I’m talking about the divorces, the bankruptcies, the health issues, and that event that you’ve been hanging onto all this time. And you know what I’m talking about.
That event that still defines you. It was tragic, or painful, or hard and you continue to allow it to shape who you are today. But, you don’t have to do that any more. Take a look:
Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT – “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
That’s the problem with the Bible. It makes it sound so easy. But that’s because God has given you all the power you need to forget the past and move forward. You’ve just been trying to do it by yourself.
Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT – See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
This is why I am here as your pastor, to help you see that God’s already started to do a new thing in your life. And now I am giving you a little ‘beep, beep’ so you’ll keep traveling down the pathway He’s prepared for you.
Here’s the second thing to move on from:
Move on from old habits.
This isn’t a popular thing to talk about these days, but I love you guys too much to stay silent about it. You’ll never live your best life if you’re doing things you know you shouldn’t be doing.
I know, our culture tells us it’s okay. But if God’s Word tells us it’s not okay, then it’s not okay and we need to take action to get it out of our lives.
What’s the best way to remove a bad habit? Join us in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. It starts today. I’ll give you some information at the end on how you can join us and get daily reminders.
When it comes to fasting, most people think of food. And that’s definitely a version of fasting. But the whole reason for fasting is to take something that has a hold on your life and show it that you’re the one in charge.
I’m not going to let food master me. I’m not going to let me phone master me. I am not going to let TV master me. It’s not that these things can’t be in my life. They just shouldn’t have any control over my life.
Here’s the deal. You know exactly what it is for you. That thing you just can’t seem to say no to. And that’s exactly what you need to fast over these next 21 days.
This is really all about being led by your spirit instead of your body or mind. Because your spirit is what’s connected to God. It’s the part of you that’s made new when you believe in Jesus.
But you’ve probably noticed that the body and mind are loud. And it’s really easy to let them take charge. Fasting will silence the noise so that you can hear the spirit and hear what God is saying to you.
Here’s how the Bible says it:
Isaiah 58:6 NIV – Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
It’s time to break free from those old habits. Here’s the third one:
Move on from old hurts.
Someone hurt you and you’ve been holding on to it. It could have been just a few days ago, or you may have even been holding on to it for years.
What can you do about it? Nothing. It happened. They hurt you. There’s no denying it. And they may or may not apologize.
But what can you do for yourself? You can move on. Forgive. Wipe the slate clean. Believe the best and give them another chance.
Here’s an example from the Bible:
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NIV – If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.
God cleared away everything you’ve done against him and gave you a brand new, clean sate. Did you do something to earn that? No.
We were far from God because of our own choices, yet He reconciled with us. We didn’t reconcile with Him. No, He reconciled with us.
The word reconcile means ‘to bring the balance to zero’. That means there was a balance, we owed God something, yet He wiped it out to zero.
Listen to me. Some of you need to reconcile with whoever hurt you. They don’t need to reconcile with you. You need to reconcile with them.
Why? Because that is the example God gave us. And it’s the only way for you to live the life you’re supposed to be living.
I’ve just given you three things to move on from. Let me bring it all together in one simple statement:
I can’t start the next chapter of my life if I keep re-reading the last one.
Some of y’all need to put that one on your fridge.
Alright, now that we’ve cleaned house, let’s talk about the new things to bring into our lives.
It’s time to change direction.
Jesus is the one who taught us to leave the old behind and step into the new. Take a look:
Matthew 4:17 NLT – Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
The word ‘repent’ is an ugly word for a lot of people, but it simply means “change direction”. Leave the old behind you and move into something new.
And take a look at this. Let me highlight a different word for you:
Matthew 4:17 NLT – Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
It’s not as far away or as hard as you thought to live the life you know you’re supposed to be living. It’s right there. It’s near. It’s within reach.
It’s time to change direction in four areas:
#1 It’s time to get closer to God.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been serving God for fifty years or if you just committed your life to Him today, you can always get closer to God. And we should all be intentional about getting closer to God.
I’ve been leading in ministry for 12 years now. I’m a Bible school graduate. I live and breath church. And yet I still get closer with God week after week. The more time I spend in His word, in prayer and with His people, the closer I get.
So this year, I want to get closer to God than I’ve ever been. And I want you to do the same. Because a church full of people who are close to God is a church without limits.
Take a look at this:
James 4:8 NLT – Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
In other words, if you want to be close to God, you have to take the first step. And when you do, God will always respond by coming closer to you.
21 Days of Prayer and Fasting will help us with that second part, washing our hands and purifying our hearts. Fasting is how we say no to the world and yes to God.
Sounds a little painful, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. I’ve got to remove the false expectation that living the life that God created you to live is easy.
Listen to me, it’s not easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But turns out, only a small percentage of Christians are actually living the life they know they’re supposed to be living.
Why? Because, in the words of Jesus, you have to rough it. You have to hold on through the challenging seasons and not give up. You have to pry the world off your life when it’s easier to live just like everyone else around you.
During last year’s 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I heard God’s voice like I’ve never heard it before. It was so clear and frequent. And the same thing can happen for you when you get closer to God through prayer and fasting.
If you want something you’ve never had, do something you’ve never done before.
You’re not going to get where you want to go by doing what you’ve always done. And the best path is not the easy path. It’s not the path everyone else is following. You’ve got to change direction.
What would your life look like if you went to church every Sunday instead of when it’s convenient? Can I answer that for you? Your life would be better.
What would happen if you really prayed and fasted for 21 days? Let me tell you. Your life would be better and you won’t regret it one bit.
Beep, beep. It’s time.
Here’s the next one:
#2 It’s time to get honest with a friend.
It’s time for you to share your secrets with at least one other person. There’s stuff you’ve been hiding from everyone, but it’s time to bring it into the light and find freedom.
God didn’t design us to live life by ourselves. We will never thrive in life when we keep to ourselves. We all need at least one person in our lives we can be 100% honest with.
This is why Small Groups is so important here at our church. We want every single person to be involved in a Small Group in every semester.
We kick off the next semester at the end of this month and I want you to prepare right now to pick a group and commit to it.
Don’t do it because I told you to. Do it because you know you need close relationships with other believers. Because you do.
And some of you need to lead a group. You’ve been holding off because you don’t feel like your ready yet, or you’re afraid to make the commitment. Well, beep, beep. Put your foot on the gas and let’s go.
If leading a group is on your heart, make a point to talk to our small groups leader, Chris Wills, after church today.
Check this out:
James 5:16 NLT – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Aw man, that’s hard. Well good, it goes with the theme today. The easy path is not the best path. The best path is the one the Word of God gives us.
If we’re supposed to share our secrets with at least one of our fellow believers, it is worth the uncomfortable feelings we get and even the fear of being judged. It’s worth it because as the Word says, it will lead to healing.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
Here’s the next one:
#3 It’s time to get in tune with my purpose.
Maybe you’ve pursued purpose and passion but it hasn’t scratched the itch. You know why? Because you haven’t yet found the purpose that God put on your life.
Take a look at this:
Galatians 6:3-4 NIV – If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions.
Maybe your parents pressured you to be something that you’re not. Or, maybe you’ve just been following culture, yet you know what you are doing is not what you were created to do.
No matter what the cause, when you are something other than what God created you to be, you’re only deceiving yourself. And as expected, you’re frustrated and unfulfilled.
The way out of this is to take a deep look inside and find out who God created you to be. Here’s what happens when you do this:
Galatians 6:3-4 NIV – Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.
Man, that sounds awesome. You get to be confident in who you are. And you’re so confident that you are no longer intimidated by those around you. It’s no longer a comparison game. I get to be me, you get to be you.
We actually have a core value here at NoLimits that goes along with this:
The comparison trap stops with us.
We don’t compare our church to the church down the street. I don’t compare my income to yours. Not one Dream Team position is more important than the other. What’s important is that we find what God created us to do.
And we can help you find it through the Growth Track. It’s a simple four-step process that happens every Sunday at 12:30pm right here in the auditorium.
We accomplish each step in the time you’d be waiting at the restaurant for food and we even feed you afterwards. You’ll get home at the same time you would if you went out to eat after church. Childcare is also provided.
If you’ve been putting it off, it’s time. Beep, beep. Today is Step 1 of the Growth Track. And I guarantee that you won’t regret spending an extra hour with us today. Just three more steps after that and you’ll graduate Growth Track.
Here’s the last one:
#4 It’s time to do something greater than myself.
I told you last week that God gave me a single word to describe what we are going to experience as a church this year. Here it is:
This year is when the pieces come together. It’s when we all discover our individual, God-given purpose and then bring them together for the central purpose of making an eternal difference in the lives of others.
We are each a piece in this puzzle. And God has been putting this puzzle together over the last year by inspiring unity in our church and helping us implement the programs and systems we need to be effective.
This year we are going to see it all come together in a beautiful way. We’re going to experience wholeness as a church, in our families, in our marriages and in our businesses.
God’s going to take the pieces of our lives and put them together in the most perfect way and we are going to be amazed at what He accomplishes through us. Seriously, at the end of 2020, your mind is going to be blown.
But listen. It’s not going to be easy. The path to the amazing life God created for you is not the easy path.
There are going to be times where you feel like your roughing it. You’re going to wonder why you don’t have the best accommodations. But in the end, you’ll look back at the challenges and realize it was worth it.
Beep, beep. Put your foot on the gas and get moving on your spiritual journey of knowing God, finding freedom, discovering purpose and making a difference.
Now, let me summarize today’s message in one statement:
I can’t go back and change the beginning but I can start where I am and change the ending.
It’s time. It’s time to move on from old history, old habits and old hurts. And it’s time to get closer to God, get honest with a friend, get in tune with your purpose, and do something greater than yourself.
Maybe this message gave you an an “aha” moment. You realized that you’ve been living your life without God and you’re ready to make a change.
Today you want to put a stake in the ground and say, “Today’s the day I start living my life for God. Today is the day I give my life to Him.”
Remember how we read earlier that God reconciled us to Himself through Jesus? Well, that applies to you too.
When you pray the following prayer, the power of Jesus is going to bring the balance to zero. You don’t have to worry about everything you’ve done wrong because it’s all about to disappear.
Because of Jesus, God will bring you in to His family and give you new life. And you’ll get to spend eternity with Him.
Pray this out loud:
Jesus, I want you to lead my life. Forgive me for trying to live life without you. I want you to come in and make me new. I thank you for adopting me as your own. Help me to find and walk out your plan for my life.
Congratulations on making the best decision in your life! Giving your life to Jesus is a personal decision. But there is a time to take it public. The way you do that is through water baptism.
Learn more about water baptism on our Next Steps page.