River Church NOLA
Dec 30 Having a Great 2021
  • Friend Of God
  • Break Every Chain
  • I Surrender
  • Welcome to the first Wednesday after Christmas weekend. How many of you were ready for Christmas?
    Here are 10 resolutions for you… or maybe not...

    1. Stop doom scrolling on Twitter

    2. Get on a new diet for 6 months before giving up

    3. Sign up for a marathon that you bravely will NOT actually run.

    4. Remember to make overnight oats he night before even though you will not want to eat them in the morning.

    5. Relearn social cues after a year at home.

    6. Unfriend every person who shares their unsolicited diet plan or exercise regimen.

    7. Don’t text that toxic person back.

    8. Floss every day, not just with wild abandon the week of your next dentist appointment.

    9. Go Outside among people

    10. Stop lying to yourself about following New years Resolutions.

    We want to look tonight at how we can have a great 2021.

    Going through a new year is nothing new, it brings the opportunity to accept new challenges and climb to new heights.

    Regardless of how the year went, a New Year is refreshing, especially after 2020. It’s like restarting your phone… you get a fresh start.
    Pastor Kathy mentioned that we should make a prayer list of things we would like to happen in 2021 that only God can do, so let me ask...

    What are some accomplishments you want to experience in 2021?

    Think about that. Most of us have made a New Years resolutions at some point… lose weight, exercise more… get a degree or certification… save more money… volunteer more.... write a book.... etc.
    One thing we are committed to at River Church is living according to the Word of God. But we are living in increasingly crazy times where people don’t want to live by the WOG.
    2 Timothy 4:3 NLT
    3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.
    So we want to live by the truth of the WOG. That means ....
    When it says to feel sexual immorality… we flee from it.
    When it says not to speak un-wholesome words or gossip… we don’t.
    When the WOG says we are Christ’s Ambassadors, we act like it.
    When it says live in a manner worthy of our calling, we do.
    When it says to avoid the appearance of evil… we do.
    When it says to help the poor… we do.

    River Church’s 2021 Prayer and Fasting Emphasis begins January 4th.

    I hope that you will participate in it. This year.

    How can we have a great 2021?

    1. To have a great 2021, we have to live for the Lord

    Romans 12:1–2 NLT
    1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
    Living and Holy Sacrifice - explain - animal was dedicated and set apart. As Christians we are to be dedicated and set apart. We worship with our lives.

    When we live for the Lord, we submit ourselves to Him

    Romans 12:1 NLT
    1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
    Our bodies are all we have to offer. It holds our mind, will, emotions, desires, thoughts.... etc. It represents our total being. IOW, we offer everything we have. A lot of people worry that God will ask them to move or go to a country they don’t want to go to… He most likely won’t do that, but we can’t live in fear.
    The best place to be is in the center of God’s will. Obeying God is simply trusting that He knows better than we do.

    When we live for the Lord, we renew our minds

    Romans 12:2 NLT
    2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
    I love the Olympics. Diving is amazing to watch. One lesson divers and gymnasts learn early is that where the head goes, the rest of the body goes as well. We find this driving around here as well. People will turn their heads and their steering follows. (tell a funny story of someone talking and going all over the place)
    God doesn’t want us to just think, he wants us to think differently. When we change the way we think, our attitudes, our values, and our goals to line up with His Attitudes, values and goals.

    When we live for the Lord we will be able to know His Will for our lives which will make it possible to have a great 2021

    We need to ask the Lord to teach us to think like he thinks. When we do that, the Holy Spirit will begin to transform us and we will begin to discover God’s will. It’s not hard to find, He wants to show us His will for our lives and as we live by God’s attitudes, values and goals, he will show His will to us.

    2. To have a great 2021, we should serve in our church

    Romans 12:6 NLT
    6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.
    God gives us gifts to use in the church to serve him and do his work.
    A young, nervous preacher was asked by a funeral director to preach at a graveside service for a homeless man. Since this man had no friends or family, the service was going to be at a little cemetery way out in the country. The young preacher got lost and arrived about an hour late. He saw that the funeral director had already left and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew standing around eating lunch with the vault lid already been put in place and some dirt was already covering it. So the young preacher apologized to the men for being late and just went ahead and started the service. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around as he attempted to preach his heart out. As he preached, he actually got a few "Amens" and "Hallelujahs" from the workers and as they closed in singing "Amazing Grace", there wasn’t a dry eye there. His head low and heart full, the preacher simply nodded a goodbye to the workers. As he headed towards his vehicle, the young preacher heard one of the workers say, "That was beautiful. I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I’ve never seen nothing like that."
    We need to use the gifts God gives us… right?

    In giving us gifts, God has give us the opportunity to influence others on His behalf.

    When you serve here at River Church, you are sharing God’s love with others.
    Greeter - you are warmly welcoming people … and maybe someone who has been depressed or even suicidal… you don’t know
    Usher - you are helping a widow and a missionary who can only turn to God for help.
    Worship Team - encouraging people to connect with the Lord / encouraging someone with a failed marriage that is turning to God for one last try.
    River Kids - you are helping children who are desperately calling out for love and attention.
    Security - you are helping to provide a safe environment for people to worship.
    Fuel the Future - help supply food showing the love of God to needy kids at the school.

    In serving the Lord through our church, we need to be Honest in assessing our gifts

    Romans 12:3 NLT
    3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
    Think about what you are good at and what you are not good at. (no false humility or pride) If you are not sure, ask someone who will tell you the truth.
    Joke - A preacher’s son asked his father why he always bowed his head before he went up to preach. The preacher said, “Because I am asking God to make it a good sermon.” His son replied, “So why doesn’t He?”
    Be honest in assessing your gifts.

    In serving the Lord through our church, we need to be faithful in using our gifts.

    Romans 12:4–5 NLT
    4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
    Every part of the body serves a specific function and everyone must work together if the body is going to move and act correctly. When a member of our church does not use his / her gift, the whole church suffers.
    There are two extremes to avoid…
    Serving once in a blue moon....
    Serving all the time.
    One is not helpful and the other is not healthy. We want you to serve, but also bring someone with you…
    One of the things we will add this spring with be SHAPE which will help you discover your gifts...

    3. To have a great 2021, we have to love each other

    Romans 12:9–10 NLT
    9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
    There is a difference between gifts of the Spirit and fruit of the Spirit. Gifts relate to your ministry and are meant to benefit the church. Fruit reflects your character and determines how you relate to others – inside and outside the church. Every gift that is exercised in the church should be expressed in love.

    The #1 Sign that we belong to the Lord is that we love each other

    Love is a great indicator of spiritual health and maturity inside a church…
    Ephesians 4:15–16 NLT
    15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
    For the most part, we have learned to appear loving. We have been taught to be polite, to try and avoid hurting people’s feelings, and to attempt to display compassion during difficult times.
    But God is calling us, as His people, as River Church, to a different kind of love… a sacrificial love that goes beyond politeness. This kind of love moves us to lokk for and see people’s needs and try to find ways to meet those needs.
    John 13:35 NLT
    35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
    We as a church are to love God with everything in us and love each other as ourselves.

    We show love when we serve

    Romans 12:11 NLT
    11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
    This verse is telling us to be busy doing God’s work. It doesn’t say you won’t get tired… we will. But the Bible also teaches us to persevere and fight against discouragement, depression and disappointment.

    We show our love by praying faithfully

    Romans 12:12 NLT
    12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
    Be patient and pray. Someone said on thing they really like about Pastor Kathy is that it won’t be but a minute and she will be praying with you…

    We show our love when we help others

    Romans 12:13 NLT
    13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
    God wants us to look out for each other and to help each other. meals… helping move…cutting grass...

    We show our love when we bless others

    Romans 12:14–15 NLT
    14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
    When we decide how to respond in difficult times… ahead of time, we will avoid being caught off guard. God wants us to bless others… not curse them… to speak life and not death.
    When it comes to tipping waiters and waitresses, you want me at one of your tables. I tip good. When someone is not giving me good service, I want to over tip and ask them if I can pray for them… maybe it will help them with the next person.
    Jesus said,
    Matthew 5:44 NLT
    44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
    When we do that we become more like Jesus. On the cross he said...
    Luke 23:34 NLT
    34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
    Following Jesus is not meant to be normal… but above normal. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life… and that’s done better when you are plugged in. I want to encourage you to get plugged in this year.
    Ask yourself,

    What can I do to better live for the Lord in 2021?

    What can I do to better serve the Lord in our church in 2021?

    What can I do to better show love to others in 2021?

    Prayer -
      • 2 Timothy 4:3ASV

      • Romans 12:1–2ASV

      • Romans 12:1ASV

      • Romans 12:2ASV

      • Romans 12:6ASV

      • Romans 12:3ASV

      • Romans 12:4–5ASV

      • Romans 12:9–10ASV

      • Ephesians 4:15–16ASV

      • John 13:35ASV

      • Romans 12:11ASV

      • Romans 12:12ASV

      • Romans 12:13ASV

      • Romans 12:14–15ASV

      • Matthew 5:44ASV

      • Luke 23:34ASV

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