What Really Matters – Ps Bruce Claridge [08/12/2019 AM]
Luke 12:29-31 (NIV)
29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
The words “What Really Matters” have been imprinted on my heart for the last couple of weeks as I prayed about this message and watched some of the things going on in our world.
As you get older one of the things you have to work out and then put your time into is “What Really Matters”. Today is the day of salvation.
South African Preacher Reinhard Bonnke passed away yesterday. He was always saying he wanted to plunder hell to populate Heaven. He has been instrumental in over 77 million people coming to the Lord in his lifetime.
Christian champions like Margaret Court know” What Really Matters” and it’s not coming into line with worldly thinking ….it is however, staying true to what really matters in God’s Word.
Andrew Thorburn, former NAB CEO- As a Believer in a corporate world he told us what really mattered to him as he takes a “Gap Year” from the corporate world to spend time with his family.
I felt challenged by these words myself but confident that I had my priorities straight until I read this true story.
Isn’t it a pain that just when you think you are doing ok and then someone “ups the ante”?
A preacher named John Harper changed all that.
John was on the ill- fated Titanic as it made its maiden and only voyage in 1912.
John Harper was on board with his 6-year-old daughter, Nina. When the ship was sinking, he got his daughter to a lifeboat. After farewelling her he proceeded to make his way back up the deck crying out “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats”.
Soon the ship started to break in half and many, including John Harper, jumped into the icy waters below. That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John was seen frantically swimming to people in the water, leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal.
One young man clinging to debris, refused the offer of salvation so John threw him his life jacket saying “Here then you need this more than I do……” and then he swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back and led that young man to Christ.
Of the 1528 people that went into that water that night only 6 were rescued by lifeboats, this young man was one of them.
Four years later at a Titanic survivor meeting this young man with tears in his eyes recounted how John Harper had led him to Christ. He told how Harper tried to swim back and help others but was lost to the frigid sea. In Canada at a separate meeting a similar story was told by another survivor. John’s last words were “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” While others were trying to buy their way into lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own live, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.
John Harper knew what really mattered and lived his life accordingly.
As believers we need to ask, “Does my life really reflect, “What Really Matters?”
What really matters focuses us on what’s next, not what was!
When your “picture perfect” life meets the mess of reality it provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate what really matters and to grow through the experience.
Personally, for us as a family, the last ten years have not been a “bed of roses” in a garden of tranquillity…… From unexpected divorce in our family to cancer to massive ministry challenges and the resultant subsequent changes, to new opportunities demanding grace, humility and new paradigms, this mess called reality has been happening – your story too may also be messy.
Through this, “What Really Matters” is that you know that YOU really matter to God and He has a powerful call on your life and a purpose that, though dressed up in different clothes, is still God’s purpose for you.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Doors open and fresh ministry and other opportunities come when you keep serving in your call, keep turning up, keep crying out to God, keep believing you are called by God for a great purpose which He ordained for you before the beginning of time. (Don’t get sucked into worldly mediocrity).
Psalms 139:16 (NIV)
6 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God can take you from victory through seeming defeat to even greater victories and connections. The deepest level of worship is praising God.
Prioritising what really matters opens doors even in the dark!!
Hebrews 10: 35-36 (NIV)
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised”
New seasons come with greater potential than you ever dreamed of. It’s walking with God by simply putting one foot after another. It’s not super spiritual expressions giving the false idea that it is easy, or you are ok? Authenticity is always needed. Just turn up and serve.
That’s how we got here at this exciting time in the life of Connect Church.
Sports Chaplaincy Australia – Thanks to connections here through Lippy initially.
From this connection to:
- India- Doors keep opening, others get involved- Macorna FNC, New Australian Consul General in Kolkata is a Spirit Filled Believer who is now going to one of our friends Church in Kolkata and prepared to open new doors of ministry opportunity. You need to take one step after another because what really matters is God’s call on your life
- Bendigo Bank Pastoral Care Role – This is a miracle of God’s Favour, God’s favour follows you when you keep on going, keep on pursuing God’s call.
Even when feelings say otherwise, even when logic cries out this is not the best path keep on putting one foot after another.
Keep on doing what really matters!
Heaven, and giving people the opportunity to get there, really mattered to John Harper. He kept on doing what really mattered even as hypothermia sapped away his life.
For Paul, on the Damascus road, a life changing encounter with God really mattered.
It matters to us too.
Re-Presenting Jesus to a lost, dying and blinded world really matters.
What are some things given great worldly importance by many, that don’t really matter?
- Your image on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t really matter. Your reflection of HIS image does though!
- Criticisms from friends and family of you being a Christian don’t really matter…. how you represent Jesus to them does though. – Dylan’s testimony on our train trip home, representing Jesus to his (underworld) friends.
- Going to Church doesn’t matter, but being the Church really matters and this includes being regularly gathered with your local Church family and serving others together. Make a difference in others lives.
- What you have been hurt by doesn’t really matter, but how you respond to those hurts definitely really matters.
- Whether you have hit the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit or not doesn’t really matter. What does matter is what happens when you get up off the floor!
- The amount of time you spend doing devotions doesn’t really matter. What really matters is how much you allow the “Sword of the Spirit” (to “divide your soul and spirit” to such an extent that it is seen by others.
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
How loud you blow the shofar (a ram’s horn) or how well you wave the worship banners doesn’t really matter. What really matters is what you do after the banners stop waving and the shofar is not heard.
How do we know what really matters?
1. Stay tuned into God’s Heart. – Lean into God.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This means a powerful prayer life flowing from Word Directed Living. (WDL, like WWJD)
What really matters most is, not just knowing the Logos of God’s Word, but responding to the Rhema that is specific to you.
Specific Rhema action not just general Logos knowledge which Pastor Kerrin spoke about last week.
2. Stay Kingdom Purposed and Heaven focused.
Philippians 3: 12-14 (NIV)
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
What really matters is how my life displays Kingdom Power and helps to populate heaven. e.g. John Harper.
Kingdom Attraction – Jesus attracted all sorts of people, we can too.
Kingdom Authenticity – being real even when you don’t sound religious.
Kingdom Authority – You have the authority given in the book of Acts; it hasn’t changed!! You can pray for the sick and you can operate Gifts of the Spirit. God may give you a Word in season.
3. Maintain a humble, willing servant heart.
1 Peter 4:9-10 (NIV)
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Whatever season you find yourself in, serve, serve and keep on serving. e.g. Head of Sports Chaplaincy NZ packing up the chairs and Andrew Thorburn speaking in a Collins St. Baptist Church Sunday School Room to 25 Sports Chaplaincy Australia Leaders when he could command thousands of dollars on the corporate circuit.
As Christians we are wrong if we say “I don’t want any of this, I have done my time”. You will know when you have finished serving in some capacity when you are greeted at Heaven’s gates with the “Well done greeting”.
Situations and physical capacities may change, but the gifts God has placed in and on your life don’t change. Just keep activating them.
These gifts don’t age with you, they may manifest themselves differently in each season, but they are still your personalised motivational gifts as outlined in Romans 12 (NIV).
4. Stick close to others who know what really matters.
You become like those you hang with. You think like those you predominantly give your ear and time to. You live like the community that you can become aligned with.
This should involve being part of a dynamic, committed faith filled, well led local Church who together enjoy the journey they are on together.
We are called to be the Church not just to come to the Church.
If you are not serving your church and your community outside of your paid employment, you need a good dose of generosity, humility and compassion. But, if you stick close to God and get Kingdom focused, you will have those traits. God will open new doors.
So, what really matters to you?
First find out what matters to God, then that’s what really matters to you.
Agape, self-sacrificing love really matters to God.
Truth matters to God- it also matters that truth is wrapped in the envelope of Grace e.g. Jesus
Genuine compassion matters to God.
Integrity and authenticity matter to God. In Dylan’s words “A congruent Life”.
Generosity matters to God.
Relationships matter to God- so Biblically fight to keep them intact.
Heaven is the ultimate thing that matters to God. His relationship with you throughout eternity, matters to God.
It mattered so much that He sent Jesus on the first Christmas, born of a Virgin in a little town called Bethlehem. Populating Heaven above all else, just like John Harper’s example, should also be what matters most to us because it matters to God.
It is what matters most right now.
Do you know that you will for certain, find yourself in that place that matters most to God?
Bruce had a prophetic Word for Kerrin and Tegan.
3 key words
You are both Called, Prepared and Resourced by God (CPR).
Called to create new paradigms of Christian expression and break old restrictions.
Prepared through your victories and your pains to face any adversity or opposition that confronts you.
Resourced to confidently take Big Audacious Faith Steps (BAFS)
BAFS that will come as you operate at a new level in the Gift of Faith.
Suggestions for discussion
- Do you know that you really matter to God and He has a powerful call and purpose on your life?
- How much were you impacted by the testimony of both Reinhard Bonnke and John Harper?
- Discuss what it means to stay tuned to God’s Heart.
- How important is it stick close to others who know what matters?