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Awana Grand Prix Tune-Up
1. Introduction: Name, Occupation, and Background
2. I love cars (Audi S4, BMW M3 are probably my favorites, what are your favorites?)
3. While I love cars, the purpose of a car is simply to travel from “point A-to-point B”.
a. The differences in cars (luxury, sports, and economy) simply dictate how enjoyable you trip was/is going to be.
b. However, automobile design and engineering over the last 20-30 years has placed a lot of emphasis on fuel economy, aerodynamics, and weight reduction. This emphasis has changed the shape of cars to the point where you can barely tell the differences between the manufacturers. Where at one time brand differences and appearance were celebrated there has been a shift to make everything look the same (vanilla). They all basically look the same, they are aerodynamically superior, they are lighter, faster, and get more miles per gallon than cars of yester-year. But despite all of these advances, at the end of the day they are created for one purpose, transportation... and they all look the same.
4. Conversely, God’s design for us is not this way.
a. Unlike the car, where they started different and now they all look the same, we all start out basically the same; soul, heart, brain, head, eyes… and from conception God begins His work in our lives toward preparing us for our intended purpose.
b. Ephesians 4:11 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,”
5. But how do I know God has a specific design/calling/plan for our lives?
a. We can look to the Bible (God’s Standard) for our answers
1. Psalm 139:13-16 says: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
2. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
3. Philippians 2:13 Amplified Bible “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”
b. So God created you, He knows your beginning and you end, He knows the plans and will prosper you and not harm you and is “All the While” effectually at work in you and me, energizing and creating power and desire, to will and work for His pleasure, satisfaction and delight. That sounds like a God that cares about you.
1. With those promises in mind, do you think we should trust God to do what needs to be done in our lives to prepare us for our intended purpose? I do.
6. But what does this work God is doing or going to do look and feel like?
a. Not unlike what we are doing with our blocks of wood tonight
1. We will be planning, cutting (remember one bit of advice “measure twice and cut once”… you can’t cut it longer after you cut it short), but we’ll be cutting, sanding, polishing, painting, “energizing and creating the power to work for our good pleasure, satisfaction and delight… “We are preparing them, transforming them into cars, for the race.”
b. Similarly the apostle Paul wrote of the work God was doing in his life:
1. The apostle Paul wrote: 2 Cor 11:25-27 “Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— “
2. God really was “effectually at work” in Paul’s life wasn’t He? Beaten, shipwrecked, perils of all kinds. Now, I am not saying that we are all going to suffer as Paul suffered, but we should be prepared to have hardship in our lives.
c. In contrast, Paul also wrote of his feelings toward God’s work in his life:
1. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
2. Paul also said in Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
3. And in Romans 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
4. And also in 2 Cor 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
EDIT*** It is interesting to note, Paul wrote the letters to Corinth, Rome, and Philippi over a period of about 6-7 years. With his second letter to the church in Corinth being written about 22 years after his conversion. Paul had experienced some stuff. But his love for God and his assurance of God's love for him did not waver. It is also interesting to note, that Paul wrote a number of his letters while he was in prison. My research indicates at least 5 letters were written while he was imprisoned. ***
d. We might not understand why things happen to us, but our thoughts and prayers should be “why not?” God is working toward perfection in us. (refiner’s fire).
1. Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.”
2. This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The silversmith answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy-when I see my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
7. So what does all of this mean for me (how does it apply)?
a. Just like we are going to cut, sand, polish, paint, and prepare our cars for race day, God has work to do, work to do in our lives.
b. The work is not always fun, sometimes it painful, sometimes it causes stress, and sleeplessness. But, if we believe God’s word, we know and accept that it is ultimately necessary to make us uniquely equipped to fulfill his purpose and plan in our lives. God promises that His plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
c. 1 Kings 6:7 says: “In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.”
1. So when God grabs his tools and starts hammering, cutting, sanding, polishing, and knocking off our “rough edges” just remember, He is preparing us for His intended purpose and ultimately His kingdom in Heaven. Just like the stones used for the temple, were dressed in the quarry, all of God’s work is done here so we are a perfect fit for heaven. God’s ways are right and perfect. I believe that God is just measuring (us) twice so He only has to cut once.
8. Let’s pray.