Friday, April 17, 2009

Varsity Fusion – My First Sermon (April 14, 2009)

On April 14, 2009 I was blessed to be able to deliver my first sermon to the youth of Element Church Varsity Fusion (website located on the right panel of this page). Andy Hazlet, Element Youth Pastor (blog HERE) and his wife attended a retreat this last week and he asked if I would talk on Tuesday. I was just as excited as I was nervous.

So, Tuesday night was phenomenal. I felt like there were a lot more kids there than normal (although there may not have been, but it sure looked like it). I also felt like I was able to connect with the students more than I have in the past, which was super cool in its self. As far as the sermon goes, like I said I was super nervous, but I did a lot of praying and although I am a bit critical of how I did, I think I spoke the words that God needed me to.

I shared my testimony about how God called me to ministry in the midst of all the tragedy that my boys and I faced in the last 7 months (can be read HERE and HERE). However it wasn’t just story time. I connected it to the guidance God has given us to move on from our failed plans and get on the road to accomplishing his plan for our lives. I centered the sermon around Philippians 3:13 & 14, which says,

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

In case you’re interested click on the below main point and you can view the three steps I spoke on:

Main Point: God wants us to move on!

Here's how I put it into perspective at the end:

I truly believe, if I had not gone through all that crap I had in the months leading up to January 14, 2009, I would not have developed the heart, faith, and character God needed me to have on that day. If I didn’t have that heart and faith, I may have missed his calling, his plan on that day. I might have heard it, but most likely I would have continued to dismiss it like I had previously, because it didn’t make sense. Four years ago, if I tried to answer his call, I might have accepted it in my head, but I wouldn’t have been capable of accepting it in my heart. Still doesn’t make complete sense sometimes, but because God has changed my heart, I KNOW its right.
God has something planned for every one of us. No matter what that looks like for you, if you focus on becoming the person Christ is leading you to be, next to the relationship you build with Him, whatever God has for you will be the greatest thing you’ll ever do, no matter what that is.
So plans will fail, but when they do, if you Forget the Past (really let go of it), Look to the future (have faith that God has something better for you) and Press on to the End (persevere through those trials and let God use them to develop your character and heart), then God will change you into the person you never thought you could be, but he always knew you would be.

The sermon wasn't anything huge. It definitely was not a new idea, but I tried to get the point across that nothing is ever completely lost. There is a way to move on and God wants us to. Is it easy? No. Everyone has to go through that grieving process. Sadness, confusion, anger, asking why, all of it. The point is, when you start wondering “Now what?” more than you’re wondering “Why did this happen?” God has the answer to the “Now what?” If you don’t go to God for the answer, you may be able to squash the hurt down. You may be able to move on and pretend it never happened, but you’ll never be whole again. You have to be able to acknowledge it happened, grieve over it and let God heal that wound. He wants to give you something better. All you have to do is accept it.

Forgetting, Looking and Pressing,
Bruce