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What's Your Game Plan? - Uplifting God's Character

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Today Pastor Ed Allen looked at another habit in the "What's Your Game Plan?" series:  Uplifting God's Character.  In particular, we looked at Holiness, using the passage Hebrews 12:1-14.

The Greek word for "Holy" is used many times for God and means "other than," "set apart," "utterly and completely unique."  But it often is used to refer to us:

Six Characteristics of Holiness

1)  Holy people are inspired by holy people who have gone before them.  Hebrews 12:1

2)  Holy people are focused -- specifically they are focused on what God has put before them. 

This is why holy people lay aside every weight that hinders (vs. 1), and they resist sin at great cost (vs. 4).

3)  Holy people recognize God's sovereignty in and over our lives.

We run the race marked out for us (vs. 7).

Difficulty will often be seen as coming from the hand of God -- for our goodness.

They will follow God no matter what comes.

They'll run with endurance, because it will take endurance.

4)  Holy people know that our faith has its foundation, maintenance and sustenance in Christ.

Our holiness is His work in us.

It's not about forcing ourselves to follow rules.

That's why, as holy people, we fix our eyes on Jesus -- especially in difficulty.

5)  Holy people understand difficulty as sometimes purposeful correction from God (vs. 7-9).

If we understand this, we will endure difficulty with vision (vs. 10).

6)  Holy people do whatever it takes to maintain a connection to God (vs. 12-13).

Holiness can't be imposed, but it can be agreed with.

Don't give in to your weak knees!  We will not be resigned to personal weakness.

Why pursue a life of holiness?

We know the alternative is death.  We're a slave to one thing or another.

We know there's healing power in our holiness to change other people's lives.

What the Bible doesn't say:

Holy people have easy lives.

Holy people don't have significant problems.

Holy people always feel close to God and always know what He wants them to do.

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Let's run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Game Plan: Open Our Lives to People in Need

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[We're back!  I was wondering if anyone's reading this blog, now that we've got myGateway.life !  But today I was asked why it's gone silent and told that some people look forward to reading it.  On top of that, I noticed I get a lot more out of the sermon when I go over my notes by writing it out.  So let's try this again!]

Today Pastor Ed talked more about our 7 Habits for going Deeper & Wider, today looking at the habit:

Open Our Lives to People in Need.

He preached out of Amos 2:6-8; 5:18-24.  Based on Scripture, this topic is one of the top five or top two most important topics to God.

First, some background.  Amos was a shepherd-farmer preaching during the time of Jeroboam II, king of Israel.  The first half of Jeroboam's reign was a time of expansion and the second half a time of decay.  Amos was a country bumpkin from Judah speaking to the elite in power in Israel.

Amos denounced them for mistreating the poor and other things.  He was not alone in denouncing this.

Five points Amos wants to make sure we get:

1)  God will assess everyone's behavior.

He hated their religious festivals when they weren't doing right.  God will judge us.

2)  At least part of the standard for this assessment will be how we treated the poor.

In our case, the problem is mostly neglect.  See Matthew 21:31ff

3)  Hoping that God will intervene on our behalf when we don't intervene for the poor and needy is a false hope.

See Amos 5:18-20

4)  Hoping that our religion will help us when we don't care for the poor and needy is a false hope.

See Amos 5:21-22

5)  Our God is a God of justice and expects our lives to reflect his justice.

See Amos 5:23-24.  "You never break the laws of justice.  You just break yourself on them." -- Dorothy Sayers.  It determines our spiritual health.

Four Ideas for putting this into practice.  (We need to be intentional about it!)

1)  Make a plan to give away more this year than last year.

2)  Use a holiday time this year to serve the needy.

3)  Go on a short-term mission trip.

4)  If you're discouraged about your finances today, resist the temptation to fear.

We must be intentional about it.

The Jesus Movement converted the world by taking care of the poor and needy.

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