Six year Anniversary
What we should look for in the future
1. A church that prays together stays together.
a. The early church prayed the church into existence, they prayed it thru resistance ,They prayed it into glory
b. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31)
2. A place where Christ stands in the midst of his people and reveals his heart to us.
a. As I was sitting in my office at the VA Hospital, I glanced at the many scriptures on my wall about Putting God First, and immediately I was in the spirit, and ask Christ Lord,
What do you want to see at Lighthouse Christian Church?
He said he desires above all else, that we would come to know His heart, and when life has so beaten them up, we as leaders, would stand forth, and show His heart to the people.
b. No matter what you face… no matter what is going on in your life, you are only ONE REVELATION away from having that the answer given for that which you prayed.
Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
1. EVALUATION (vs. 13a) – I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it
Paul says here that he has not arrived yet. To me, that's an amazing statement. Paul is an old man now. If anybody had the right to claim he had arrived it would be Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament. He helped spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. He made an incredible impact on the world. Yet Paul, at the end of his life, says "I don't have it all together. I haven't arrived. I'm not perfect. I'm still growing."
God has done some wonderful things through this church in the last 6 years. Part of celebration is evaluation. Anniversaries are great moments to look back but we need to be careful with nostalgia. Someone once said that “nostalgia is the sand paper that smooth’s the edges of the good old days”. Over time we tend to forget the hardships and remember only the blessings.
2. ELIMINATION (vs. 13b) – one thing I do: forgetting what is behind
This is our sixth anniversary. So why am I now using a scripture that talks about forgetting what is behind? While it is important to learn from the past you cannot live there. To move forward involves 2 things;
a. Forget our Failures
Don’t rehearse things in our heart that God has long since forgiven and forgotten. Satan's favorite desire is to paralysis us with the past, to manipulate us with the memories. Paul says "I learn to forget the past." Do not sit around beating yourself up for mistakes. Everybody here has blown it. We as a church have blown it in the past. There are things we are not proud of. We apologize if you were hurt.
Paul, of all people, probably had many regrets that could have haunted him. He was a persecutor of the church. He hounded people who were believers and had them locked up and stoned. Nothing you ever do will change your past. It is gone, over, dead. Since you can’t change it let it go. Learn from it but then let it go.
b. Forget your Successes
Just like failure, you can learn from success but you can’t live in them. It is easy to rest on your laurels. Sometimes we try to live in the past and base our security on past performance. The “good old days” are gone. Let them go. Success tends to make you complacent and fills you with pride. Then you stop growing and learning and then you're going to fail.
Over 2,000 years ago a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied under a respected tutor. After several years the teacher’s efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting that he spent days gazing at it. One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who admitted he had destroyed the painting. ‘I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress. Start again and see if you can do better.’ Timanthes took his teacher’s advice and produced Sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is regarded as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.
Today we celebrate our past but we cannot live in the past. You can't run a race looking backwards. You've got to focus ahead.
4. DETERMINATION (vs. 13c) – straining towards what is ahead we must press on
The word PRESS ON is the Greek word DIOKO which means to run swiftly. It is the same word as persecution. Before Jesus Paul would persecute or DIOKO the church – chase after them with all his might. Now Paul is chasing after Christ. The intensity was the same, the direction was different.
We celebrate 6 years as a church today, but what we really celebrate is the goodness and grace of Jesus Christ. To Him and Him alone is the glory.