This year, my church is embarking on a new journey moving forward and growing in both body, and in spirit. We are seeking God in ‘Greater Expectations’ as we are preparing to expand and add to the current building, building a new sanctuary, and worship center, in hopes of expanding God’s kingdom and bringing more souls to Christ, improving the community. My pastor, Pastor Carter, started a series entitled Greater Expectations, just as last year was ‘Great Expectations’. And to start the year, we, as a church, will be embarking on a time of prayer and fasting. 7 days of prayer, and 28 days of fasting.
today marks the 2nd day of fasting, the first full day. along with prayer. (the 7 days of prayer officially started on the 1st, but during the fast we are encouraged to pray at least 30 minutes everyday.
I’m off to an okay start. the fast has been a challenge a little more than 24 hours in, and i definitely need to utilize more of my open time to pray and read more. unlike the last fast, I will carry out the plan to grow deeper in my relationship with God, and improve study habits, and concentrate less on things not spiritual, such as accommodating my flesh.
Here are the sermon notes from the second message in the series ‘Greater Expectations: Surrendering to God’s Plan’ [see previous blog for sermon notes from first message]
Therefore, I urge you , brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
Surrender isn’t something you do at one time or a one time decision, its something you do all the time, everyday. Surrendering is about sacrifice. It’s about denying yourself. Rejecting your will, and accepting God’s will. Ask yourself: Is it my will or is it God’s will?
- Surrender by looking back to God’s mercy. God has shown you mercy all through your life. He’s shown mercy through that bad relationship, through those bad decisions you made in your life, when you lost your job, when you lost your loved one, etc. the best you can do is Surrender!!! the mercy of God has kept you, and has sustained you. His mercy has covered you in the midst of all of your trials, and tribulations, your sins and struggles. You can look back on what God has brought you from, and that will overwhelm you to surrender to His will.
- Surrender by offering your life to Him. We’re the sacrifice. Back in the old testament days, animals were the sacrifice for breaking the covenant. That was the law. Now that Christ has come down to die for our PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE SINS, we are no longer bound to that law, we are under grace. It is because of that grace that we can surrender ALL of our life to Him. “For some, this means surrendering all over again. For others, this means surrendering your all to Him for the first time ever in your life. Not everyone wants to surrender their all.. [I used to be one of them] Not everyone wants to handover the whole key ring. ” Everyone doesn’t want to hand over that key to their relationships [I used to be one of them, still struggling in that area, pray for me] , or the key to their financial status, or the key to their kids or home life. But surrendering to Christ and the will of God means taking everything that’s in front of you, that relationship, that job, home life, and handing the keys over to God, and saying Lord, take all of me. I put my life in Your hands.
- “I” need to surrender my plans. “We have to be careful not to make God submit to our plans, not us submit to God’s plans.” The saying goes, if you ever want to make God laugh, tell Him what you have planned. Our plans don’t matter if God isn’t the cause of our plans. Instead of going to God for approval for our plans, we need to be accepting and embracing His plan for our lives.
- “I” need to surrender my priorities. “If your top priority is GOD, it will change how you live, how you prioritize certain things in your life, and ultimately where people and things fit in your life, whether you need to make changes, and let go of things and people, or if you need to keep them.”
- “I” need to surrender my time. “We’re plugged into so many things. We’re plugged into social media, our relationships, our jobs, our home. we’re plugged into so many things. If you’re NOT plugged into God, you’ll blow a fuse.”