Sun, Sep 24, 2017
My Story week four message from Pastor Chris Russell on September 24, 2017 at Community Church of Waterford, Goshen, Indiana.
Our focus in this series has been on the fact that each of us has a life story to tell. The decisions we made in previous years determined what our story is today and the decisions that we make today will directly determine the story that we tell tomorrow. Words fill the page. Pages fill the chapter. Chapters fill a book. Every decision we make, big and small, writes the story of our lives.
God wants me to…
Sometimes, the best decision you can make is to go when it would be easier to stay. There’s a story in the Bible that illustrates this key decision very well. It’s the story about a husband and wife named Abram and Sarai, who later became better known as Abraham and Sarah. They lived in a place called Harran, which was a city in what is now modern day Turkey. While living there, God gave Abram some instructions that would have certainly gotten his attention.
Making God the Author of Your Story
What Does God Want You to Want?
What Step of Faith Do You Need to Take?
God has so many amazing plans for our lives if we will just trust Him. So why don’t we go when we think we’re supposed to? For many of us it comes down to fear. We are afraid, we are insecure, we aren’t sure how it’s going to work out so we get paralyzed, we push it off to the future. The bottom line is we lack faith.
I hope that this series has helped you to identify some areas in your life that need to be addressed now so that you can have the best possible story in the future. By faith, I pray that you'll have the courage to decide to START a discipline that will change the direction of your story. By faith, I pray that you will have the faith to
STOP doing something that would hinder your story from being what God wants it to be. By faith, I pray that you have the courage to STAY the course and be faithful to where you've been planted when it's easier to throw in the towel and walk away. And when the time is right and God calls you, I pray you will have the faith to go and take the step of faith when it would be easier to stay. Because the decisions you make today determine the stories you tell tomorrow. And because we want to live a story worth telling, we will fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and the perfector of our faith.
Sun, Sep 17, 2017
My Story week three message from Pastor Chris Russell on September 17, 2017 at Community Church of Waterford, Goshen, Indiana.
As we focus on our word for today, we realize that during this season of life that we are in, we’re going to run up against some obstacles or challenges. It might be a job that you don’t feel like you can stand anymore… it might be a relationship that is falling apart… it may be a goal you are trying to achieve but it’s just gotten so difficult you are considering throwing in the towel. And in all of these situations you have to decide, “Do I stay the course or do I walk away?”
Now let’s acknowledge that there are certainly times where we should walk away from a situation or circumstance in our lives. There are times in our lives where we need to let a chapter end and start a new chapter. But far too often people walk away before they ever really sought out God’s wisdom and insight in to the situation. They walk away because it just feels too hard. And what I want us to focus on today is that many times the best decision you can make is to stay the course when it would be easier to walk away.
The Bible provides an excellent example of staying with the story of Ruth.
The big question that we have been asking in this series of messages has been…
Making God the Author of My Story
What Does God Want You To Want?
It might be he wants you to spend more time with your family, or for you to grow more spiritually. Or for some of you, it maybe to stop pursuing your own dreams and surrender something to God. Or it may be to stop living for things that don't matter. It might be to spend more time at home. Whatever it is, what does God want you to want? It’s a question that you need to wrestle with for a while and see how God stirs in your soul.
Then, in light of determining what God wants you to want, our application question for today is…
Where Does God Want You To Stay?
Where does God want you to stay the course so that you can live the story that God wants you to tell? Where does God want you to stay the course when it would be so much easier to just walk away?
There are going to be times in your life where the way forward doesn’t look easy, where another path will seem to look so much more appealing and easier. But there are going to be many of those times where God is going to call you to stay the course when you would rather go a different direction.
In light of what God wants you to want, where does God want you to STAY?
Maybe you’re working and taking classes at the same time and you’ve gotten to the point where you just don’t feel like you can keep going – it’s just too hard, it’s too expensive, it’s too time consuming, it’s just too much.
What about those who are tempted to give up on church.
Then there are others who make the decision to STAY anyways. They know that that is where God is calling them to be at this season in life and they do the work necessary to repair the relationships and clear the air on what is going on and seek to grow as a result of it.
Or you might decide to stay with God as God will always stay with you because he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Some of you, it will be in your marriage.
I don’t know what area of your life you need to apply today’s message to, but I want you to know this beyond a shadow of a doubt… sometimes the greatest act of faith is faithfulness…. staying where you are planted.
The decisions that we make today determine the stories that we tell tomorrow. And sometimes, the best decision you can make it to stay when it would be so much easier to walk away.
Sun, Sep 10, 2017
My Story week two message from Pastor Chris Russell on September 10, 2017 at Community Church of Waterford, Goshen, Indiana.
When it comes to each of our lives, all of us have a story. Each season of life adds another chapter to the overall life story we are telling the world. Some of those chapters are pretty awesome and some of those chapters are ones that we would gladly rip out and burn if we could.
In his book titled The Principle of the Path, author and pastor Andy Stanley has this great quote that really speaks a lot of truth about the stories that are being written about our lives. In talking about what really matters the most in how our lives will turn out he says this…
Direction, Not Intention, Determines Destination
The overriding questions for this series is simply this…
How do we live a story that is worth telling?
God wants me to…
So our focus was on starting just one habit or discipline that God is stirring inside of you and committing to make it a new direction for your life.
Now, God wants me to also...
Reasons to STOP
1. You’ll never know what you are missing if you don’t stop
2. You don't know what it will cost you if you don't.
As you are thinking about what this might be for you, I want you to think about it from two viewpoints. Some of you need to stop something externally. These are the habits or addictions that many of the times others see and easily recognize as being negative for your life story. Maybe you need to focus on stopping an addiction, or your road rage, or how you treat others, or being so consumed with your looks, physically and financially.
Meanwhile some of you may need to stop something that is more internal, which can be the really dangerous ones because they aren’t as easily seen by others and therefore they are easier for us to hide or deny. Maybe it’s a bitter attitude, or a critical spirit, or negative self-image, or a lack of confidence.
Whether it’s an internal or external thing, in light of what God wants you to want, what does God want you to stop? In light of what God wants you to want, pick one thing, what does God want you to stop?
The decisions that we make today determine the stories that we tell tomorrow. Direction, not intention, determines destination. If you're writing the wrong story, it’s not too late to stop. We serve a big, big God and He is here today, waiting for you to surrender yourself to Him so that He can start writing the best chapters yet.
Sun, Sep 03, 2017
My Story week one message from Pastor Chris Russell on September 3, 2017 at Community Church of Waterford, Goshen, Indiana.
How many of you enjoy reading a good book?
Chapter after chapter, page after page of gripping tales of adventure, tragedy and triumph. You could hardly wait to see what was going to happen next. The author had a way of just taking you on the journey with them through it all. A great author has the ability to do that. The story they weave just hooks you and you are along for the ride.
The greatest story ever written was mine because it was written by me – I was the hero, I was the one who had all my dreams come true, I was the one who won the race, I was the one who came up with the greatest invention of all time, I was the one who was rich and famous, I was the one that everybody else wanted to be like…. my stories were simply awesome! But then something happened…. I grew up…. and I later realized that the greatest stories were never meant to be written by us – they are written and are meant to be written by God alone.
So... How do we live a story that is worth telling?
When we fix our eyes on Jesus we become fully aware that you and I were never intended to be the authors of our own lives. God’s purpose and plan for our lives is so much better than anything you and I could possibly write and when we turn the pen, or pencil, or (screen) typewriter or keyboard over to Him, our life starts to make much better sense and the stories just keep getting better and better.
Today’s single word is…
The reality is there are certain habits, certain disciplines, that when you practice those habits and disciplines, they have a way of spilling forward into positive momentum and other positive habits. However, in the same way, the absence of those very key and specific habits and disciplines can cause your undisciplined lifestyle to unravel and spiral out of control.
Sometimes when we don’t have a healthy habit or discipline in our lives, our lives can unravel in very bad ways and lead to some bad chapters in our stories.
Daniel is such a powerful example in the scripture.
Making God the Author of My Story
What does God want you to want?
What Do You Need to Start?
The decisions that you make today will determine the story that you tell tomorrow.
1 Kings 20:13-14
Seek God, fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, He will help you author the right story.