Still Here! Now What? – Living With Passion

At Gateway Church in Austin, we started a new series called “2013: Still Here! Now What?”

John Burke spoke at the McNeil campus, and I shared at the South campus. Here were some of the thoughts we shared:

“Another year has come and gone, and we survived the end of the world (once again)!

These rumors seem to always scare people. What are people so scared about? Are they scared they may die? I’m going to tell you something shocking you may not want to hear:  You Will!  The World as you know It WILL end in your lifetime. The irony is most people live as if that’s not the case.

Everyone dies, not everyone learns to live! What if we could learn to really live the first month of 2013 as if it were our last? What if we learned to live passionately with no regrets, no fears, no worries, and in a way that leaves a lasting impact no matter what tomorrow brings? What if we could learn to live TODAY like there’s no tomorrow?

Instead of finding this reality as depressing or paralyzing, it can be freeing. If you’re willing to face and own this truth about  life then you can be truly free in your soul to really live. Instead of limiting us, our mortality can consistently remind us to be all we were made to be—to live passionately as the spiritual being God created you to be—and that life continues on into a new world.

Often we’re tempted to play it safe and settle for far less than we were made for because we fear losing something as if you won’t lose it all anyway. Hellen Keller pointed out, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” The fear of losing holds us back.

Jesus said, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

God sent Jesus to lead us into life – not just eternal life someday, but an eternal quality of life that can start TODAY. Are we experiencing it? Or do you really get bogged down in the mundane, get easily annoyed, easily discouraged and dismayed, do thieves quickly steal the passion and freedom and zeal for life God intended you to live?

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:11  Wisdom is the art of knowing how to live well. We gain wisdom when we remember that our days are numbered. So what’s really worth living passionately for?

God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart. Ecclesiastes 3:11  Scripture tells us we act and live as if we were created to live for eternity because we were!

God created you for a purpose. When you live toward it, it will ignite a passion in you that burns brighter and makes you feel more alive than anything you’ve ever done.

Scripture tells us:  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10  God planned good things for you before you were born. That’s the dream He placed in your heart. It’s in your soul. It’s been there for a long time, though it may have gotten lost, or covered over with layers of hurt, disappointment, or trying to make it happen apart from God. God created you to live that dream. When you’re on course with what God created you for that’s when you’re most alive and most passionate about life.  Let’s explore some things about this dream.

First, it’s a God-Centered Dream Not every dream is a God-given dream. So how can you tell? The first way to tell is to ask whether this is a Me-Centered Dream or a God-Centered Dream.

Jesus made it really clear what the ultimate purpose of life is: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39  When we leave God out of the equation, our dreams quickly get Me-Centered. We do love ourselves—we think most about what we need, what we want, even if we are all about serving others—it’s usually so that they’ll validate us.

So how do you find your dream?

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn. Psalm 37:4-6  You seek God more than the dream, and the more you seek Him, the more you can trust that what’s bubbling up in your heart IS His dream for you. The more you seek Him, the more you can trust what’s in your heart to do

The  second thing we need to know about this God-given Dream is that it Requires Faith.  The reason God-given dreams take faith is because they’re risky, maybe even dangerous or impossible unless God gets involved. That makes sense if the main point of life is learning to love God and help others. To love God means trusting God (faith is just another word for trust—it’s the bedrock of all loving relationships—willingness to trust and be faithful to the other). That’s why scripture says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

God-given dreams are often opposed by Giant Obstacles that require Faith and Perseverance to overcome. See, we mistakenly think if this is a God-given dream, there should be no obstacles, no challenges, the clouds should part, harp music should play, as everything goes my way. That’s NOT at all what God has promised.

If the examples from Scripture and our own experiences today are indications, there will be a waiting period before the dream materializes. We’ll experience a detour, an indirect route, or an obstacle we’ll have to overcome to seeing our dreams become reality. If you are in the waiting room of life right now, you are not alone. It doesn’t mean the dream is dead or not from God. It means God is giving you the opportunity to trust Him.

Faith is required to live the dream because you need a different perspective to overcome these setbacks and obstacles.  Are you going after anything in your life right now that requires faith? That requires God’s involvement? If not, why not? Are you looking at life from God’s perspective, or a ground-level perspective?  Do you realize that God wants you to live passionately for that dream He’s put in you? If you knew what it was, and this were your last month to live—you wouldn’t hold anything back would you? Let’s practice living that way this week.”

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