What’s next? What’s next for you in your spiritual journey? You see, God has given us a clear path to take in our walk with Him. And right now, you are somewhere along that path.
In this series, I want to serve as your tour guide. And here’s why:
Proverbs 29:18 MSG – If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.
Think of this like someone who needs glasses. Without them, they stumble around and run into things trying to find their way. They put on their glasses and they can see clearly and live a much more enjoyable and effective life.
If you are fuzzy on God’s plan for your life, you are going to be frustrated. And maybe that’s where you are right now. So, welcome to the eye clinic. Take a seat and we are going to find your prescription so you can see clearly.
The first step is actually a proclamation of faith we find in Psalms:
Psalms 16:11 NLT – You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Right there in your living room, or wherever you are, speak this scripture out loud in faith:
Psalms 16:11 NLT – You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
If you surveyed a large group of people and asked them what questions they have for the church, you know what the number one question would be?
“What is God’s will for my life?”
If you have that question, let me reassure you, you are asking the right question and I commend you on that. So, let me serve as your tour guide through this series so you can become clear on the answer to that question.
First, let me show you why it isn’t clear already:
John 10:10 NIV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
The devil has one goal: to steal from you. He wants to steal your joy, your peace, your passions, your hope and your health. The enemy wants to destroy God’s plan for your life. But check this out:
John 10:10 NIV – I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
This is a promise Jesus made to you. In other words, you can have this. You can have life to the full.
Back to the vision thing, if you can’t see very well, people can come steal your stuff without you even knowing. Reminds me of one of my favorite commercials that aired several years ago. Take a look:
This kind of stuff is exactly what happens when you are not clear on God’s plan for your life. The enemy sneaks things into your life that shouldn’t be there and takes good things right out from under you.
But when you get clear on what God has for you, the enemy can’t steal from you any more. My prayer and my hope is that God’s plan becomes so clear to you through this series that the enemy can’t take from you any more.
You’ll find four clear steps all throughout the Bible in regards to our spiritual journey. It’s in the Old Testament. It’s in the New Testament. Each time it is explained a little differently but the principles are always the same.
If you’ve been a part of NoLimits for long, you’ve heard this before. But as we go through them again, I want you to really think about which step you are on along this journey.
Everyone, even atheists, have a desire to know God. You are a spirit living in a body so there will always be something on the inside of you that desires to connect with God.
You don’t just want to know Him mentally, you really want to know Him. You are not looking for a religion. You are looking for a relationship. And God wants a relationship with you as much as you want one with Him.
God is madly in love with you. He knows what you did last night and He still loves you. He knows what you are thinking right now and He still loves you. He will continue to love you no matter what.
I love how the Apostle Paul explains it:
1 Timothy 6:21 TLB – Some of these people have missed the most important thing in life—they don’t know God.
That’s why this is the first step. Before you do anything else, invest your time and energy into knowing God.
Take a moment to self-identify. Is this where you are in your spiritual journey? Do you know God? Are you confident that He loves you no matter what?
Because the next step is not going to work until you first know God. There’s no shame in being at step one. You are not behind and God’s not mad at you. If step one is where you’re at, great. Start there.
Once you know God, here’s the next step:
This is when you finally get over the hangups, the past, the shame, the secrets, the habits, the addictions. We’re talking about ridding yourself of everything that you know, if it wasn’t in your life, your life would be better.
We’re all on a quest to find freedom. Even those who don’t go to church are looking for freedom in pills, or botox, or sex, or finding the perfect job, or whatever it is that helps you escape your current reality.
But there is only one way to lasting freedom:
John 8:36 NLT – So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
Jesus is the only One that can give you freedom. Listen to me – I’m proclaiming the gospel right here. Jesus came to set you free!
Once you’ve found freedom, and only after you’ve found freedom, are you able to move on to the next step:
As Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
For those of you who have been on an endless search for your purpose and you just can’t seem to find it, it’s probably because you need to back up a step and find freedom first.
I like how Pastor Chris Hodges says it, “Unless you wipe the smudge of yesterday off your glasses, you can’t see God’s best for you for tomorrow.”
Which, by the way, an indicator that you’ve really found freedom is when your purpose all of the sudden becomes clear. It’s been there all along and you can’t believe you didn’t see it all this time. Take a look at this:
Galatians 6:4 MSG – Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.
God created all of us with a unique and specific purpose. And it’s when we discover that purpose and start living it out that we begin to experience the full life we talked about earlier.
This leads us to the ultimate destination in your spiritual journey:
Make a difference.
We’re actually going to start with this one today because I believe the map is easier to follow when you know the destination. So go ahead and plug this address into your spiritual journey map. We’re headed to make a difference.
You were created to make an incredible difference in the lives of those around you. We’re talking about a “blow your mind” kind of difference. Like you can’t even fathom what God wants to do through you.
Here’s why it so important that we get to our destination:
John 15:8 NLT – When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
The way we bring glory to God is to make a difference. We’re to be like a tree that produces not just a little fruit for people to enjoy, but much fruit so that all those around us can partake of the goodness of God.
And that’s not all. Yes, a difference-making life is going to bring glory to God, but it also does something for you:
John 15:11 NLT – I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
This is God’s plan for you. He wants you to get to a place where you are making a difference. Because He knows it won’t just bring glory to Him, but it will bring an overwhelming amount of joy into your life.
I encourage you to write this down and put it on your fridge as a reminder:
My ultimate purpose in life is to make a difference for eternity.
It’s common for Americans to see church as something that exists for them. “I need to go get what I need from the church this Sunday.” And yes, I want you to walk away with something valuable from every single Sunday, but let me remind you of something:
We are not here for ourselves. We are here to make a difference.
I know you guys get this. But the gravitational pull to selfishness is so strong that I have a responsibility to remind you of this at least a few times a year.
When I come to church, I’m here for you. When you come to church, you’re here to serve others. Or in this case, since you are only able to join online, look through the chat before you log off today and find someone to encourage.
Yes, come to church expecting to experience God. Expect your mind to be renewed by God’s Word. But as soon as you start to get frustrated at someone else for ruining your church experience – maybe that have rowdy kids, or are playing on their phone, or whatever – let these words come to the forefront of your mind:
My ultimate purpose in life is to make a difference for eternity.
We all need to adopt the same mindset the Apostle Paul had:
Acts 20:24 NLT – But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
Just in case you thought that this assignment of telling others the Good News was only for pastors and church leaders, take a look:
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
This is for all of us. We were all created for good works. We were all created to make an eternal difference in the lives of those around us.
The people who have figured this out are the ones that seem to have a monopoly on happiness. Seriously, these are the people that always walk around with a smile and you can’t stand it.
It’s not that their life is perfect. They just know why they’re here. So even when life is throwing them punches, they continue to focus on helping others and that lifts their mood and keeps them from getting depressed.
Years ago, there was a story that came out in a Florida newspaper about a dog race. I’ve seen a horse race before, which makes sense because a person can ride the horse and keep it focused and motivated. But you can’t ride a dog.
Although all of us with kids have tried to get our small kids to ride the dog… but it just never works out. Since you can’t ride a dog, how do you keep it focused during a race?
Well, turns out, there is a mechanical rabbit that moves along the inside of the dog track and all the dogs chase the rabbit.
The story in the newspaper was telling how during the race, the mechanical rabbit malfunctioned and blew up. Fur going everywhere.
Without something to chase, the dogs totally lost it. Some of them laid down to take a nap right there on the track. Other’s kept running through the fence and broke some of their ribs. The rest of them just turned to the audience who was watching the race and barked like they’d seen a coon.
Boy, isn’t that a picture of humanity. When you don’t have a focus for your life, you’ll take a nap, hurt yourself, or bark at everyone else. It’s true. You know it is, and that’s why you’re laughing.
Luckily we don’t have to chase a mechanical rabbit around a track because Jesus made it very clear what our focus should be while we live this life.
Jesus went to the cross for our sins. He died and three days later was raised from the dead. He hung out on earth for a little while longer and gave this final instruction to us before ascending into heaven:
Acts 1:8 NIV – “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I love that the word “witnesses” is used here. It takes the pressure off. Sharing the Good News about Jesus is as simple as telling others what He has done in your life.
You don’t have to go to Bible school. Simply be a witness of your own experience.
There is also significance to the different places He mentioned. To those he was talking to, Jerusalem was home. In other words, we are to witness to those closest to us. Our families, coworkers, our city.
Judea and Samaria were cities close by, but they were not the same people group. Kind of like the people of Owasso have a hard time relating to the people in North Tulsa. Yet, we are supposed to share the Good News with them too.
And the third group mentioned is “to the ends of the earth”. That one makes sense. Let me do a quick recap:
Jerusalem – Those closest to me.
This is your first responsibility. This is our first responsibility as a church. If we reach out but don’t take care of those here in this house, here in our city, then we’ve forgotten a very important part of our mission.
My first responsibility is to take care of this church. To help you through the challenging seasons of life. To help you understand the Bible. To help you grow in your relationship with God.
We’re here for those in our church. We’re here for those in our city. But we can’t stop there. We should never stop there.
Judea and Samaria – Those close to me but different than me.
That’s why we support Don’t Look Back Prison Ministry and the Pregnancy Resource Center of Owasso. That’s why we love people who don’t act like us.
We’re talking about people that probably rub you the wrong way. Yet, we’re called to make a difference in their life too. But we don’t stop there.
Ends of the Earth – Those far from me.
We have a responsibility not just to the people of Owasso, Oklahoma and the United States, but to the entire world. That’s why we support other ministries in Mexico and help build churches in the Philippines.
We are a church on mission to make a difference. But can I challenge you today to also take this on as your personal mission? I believe this isn’t just for the church as an organization, but also for us as individuals.
So, let’s make this personal. Here are three ways you can make a difference.
1. Make a difference in my world.
We’re talking about your family, your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors. This is your first responsibility. These people may never come to church, but they’ll sure spend time with you.
Here’s what Jesus would say to you:
Mark 5:19 MSG – “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.”
On a side note, notice Jesus isn’t telling you to go tell everyone what is wrong in their lives and how if they don’t get their life right they’re going to hell. Nope, He told you to tell your story – how Jesus has changed your life.
In just two weeks is Easter Sunday. Studies show that you are almost 4X more likely to get a yes when inviting someone to church on Easter than you are any other Sunday. What an incredible opportunity to share the message of Jesus.
I don’t know if we’ll be having normal church service on Easter or not. President Trump is hoping we can lift the ban of no more than 10 people by then, but it is not a promise.
But you know what, even if we can’t meet in the building, you can still invite someone over to your house on Easter to live stream the service with you and then have a meal afterwards.
If you are one who struggles when people tell you no, which is most of us, Easter Sunday is your Sunday. The odds are ever in your favor. Be thinking about your circle and who you should invite to church that day.
Proverbs 3:27-28 MSG – Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by. Be intentional on who you are going to invite for Easter. Don’t wait until we find out if we can have regular service or not, just tell them they can come join the live stream at your house if that’s how it goes down.
Once you are making a difference in your world, it’s time to:
2. Make a difference beyond my world.
This is probably the most challenging. What in the world can you do to reach out to people who aren’t anything like you? Here’s what the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 9:22 TLB – …whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.
The devil works overtime to get you so worked up about people who aren’t like you that you can’t even talk to them because you are so upset with the way they act or the things that they do.
Maybe you get bent out of shape about people struggling with homosexuality. Maybe you have a hard time talking to someone who cusses all the time. Maybe you can’t stand people who smoke weed.
If the enemy can get you upset about things like this, he can keep you from leading people to Jesus. We must all learn to quickly recognize these things so we can course correct and search for common ground.
Even with the most off-the-wall person, you can find common ground. Here’s how you do it. Instead of getting upset over your differences, find out where they are hurting and help them. This connection is what will open the door for you to make a difference in their life.
Leave it to the Bible to make this super clear for us:
Galatians 6:2-3 MSG – 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.
Wow. Isn’t that a lot easier than you thought? To connect with those who are different than you, simply find out where they are hurting and help them.
A little over a year ago, a guy showed up to church who wasn’t anything like me. He cussed a lot. Like, he used all the words, not just the mild ones. He has his medical marijuana card. He loves racing cars.
I remember cursing a few times as a teenager when I was trying to sound cool, but it never stuck. I can’t even recognize the smell of marjiuana. As far as cars go, as long as it works and has heated seats, I’m happy.
So, I’m not going to lie. I was rather annoyed by this guy’s behavior for the first few months he was coming to church. We’re used to people putting on their “church behavior” and this guy didn’t know what that was.
I was trying to get over myself and figure out a way to connect with this guy, so I took him to lunch. Just me and him sitting there trying to find common ground.
He’d tell me about some super car or supercharger or something like that and I’d just stare at him. He’d tell me about the latest developments with medical marijuana and I would just slowly nod my head.
Then he started sharing his story. He told me some terrible things that had happened to him as a kid. I began to see his hurt and his pain. All of a sudden, we had common ground and a friendship was birthed and this guy is like a brother to me today.
So, remember this. To connect with those who are different than you, simply find out where they are hurting and help them.
Here’s the third way to make a difference:
3. Make a difference in the whole world.
This one seems overwhelming. I mean, are all of us supposed to pack up and become world missionaries?
Let me bring you some comfort. If you were created to be a missionary, there will be a burning desire so strong you wouldn’t be able to say no to it.
If you have a panic attack when you think of being a missionary, it’s safe to say that it is probably not God’s plan for your life. So take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay.
But did you know that you make a difference in the whole world every time you give here at NoLimits? Last year, we invested over $40,000 as a church in local outreach and global missions. This represents over 24% of our total income going into the whole world.
The primary way that most of us make a difference in the whole world is through our giving. Yes, some of us are called to go on mission trips and there may even be some people called to be full-time missionaries.
But for the rest of us, we are called to be generous together so we can resource those who are taking the gospel into the whole world. Why is this so important? Why should we just give our hard-earned money away? Because Jesus said:
Mark 16:15 NLT – “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
So what does this mean for you as an individual? Invite people to church. Easter is your best chance to get a yes, so don’t let it pass you by.
Reach out to those who are different than you. Find out where they are hurting and help them. Let your acts of kindness open the door for you to lead them to Jesus.
Be intentional in your giving. Don’t wait to be moved by emotion. Give faithfully and intentionally knowing that your giving is resourcing not just our church, but churches and outreaches all around the world.
When you do these things, what you are going to find is fullness of life. You are going to be content and satisfied and full of joy.
Did you realize that you need to commit your life to Jesus? Maybe you’ve flirted with the church here and there and you’ve tried to pray occasionally, but you’ve never fully committed your life to Jesus. Now’s the time.
Right where you are, go ahead and pray a prayer of commitment:
“Jesus, I need you. I can’t do this on my own. The Bible says you died on the cross to pay for my sins. Then you rose from the dead to give me new life. I believe this is true. I commit my life to you today.”
If you just prayed that prayer, we want to support you along the journey that’s ahead. But we can’t support you if we don’t know. So we set up an easy way for you to tell us. Simply text the word Jesus to 918-373-9883.
We’re not going to bug you. We’re not going to spam you. We are just going to help guide you through your next step. We’re here for you. So please, go ahead and send that text.