Mar 11, 2018

Choose Adventure

Topical by Pastor Dan Walker
God created you to live a life of adventure. Learn how to escape boredom by following God's plan and priorities. When you seek His kingdom first, everything else will fall into place in your life.
Duration:35 mins 13 secs

Today we begin a new message series which I’ve entitled “Adventurous Living.” I believe that God’s Word teaches that God wants your life to be an adventure with Him. What is an adventure? The dictionary defines an adventure as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” Let’s start by looking at unusual living. Our series image is meant to capture the concept. The majority of people in the picture are gray, they’re all the same, walking on the same usual path or we might say rut, as everyone else. Yet, one person stands out, the red person, they’re different, they’re unusual. We’re not talking about physical characteristics, we’re talking about a different lifestyle than the majority. An unusual lifestyle. Jesus talked about this adventurous unusual lifestyle in …

Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Jesus speaks of two gates and two roads. The wide gate leads to an easy wide road that is travelled by many. Yet the destination of the wide road is destruction in hell. The narrow gate on the other hand leads to a hard narrow road that is found by few. Yet the destination of the narrow road is eternal life in heaven. The narrow road is the road of following Jesus, the unusual adventurous choice. Adventurous living with Jesus is meant to be exciting, out of the boring norm experienced by those on the wide road. Oh those on the wide road seek excitement, but in all the wrong places. Sin only gives momentary excitement but leads to boredom and eventually death.

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Here again, we have the life of the unbeliever and believer contrasted. Those on the wide road are being stolen from, killed and destroyed, both in this life and the next. Jesus came so that you could have an abundant or exciting life. A life full of supernatural guidance and answers to prayers. A life in which you have the excitement of being used to introduce others into the same exciting life. Yet, an adventure is not a stroll down a country lane, is it. An adventure is hazardous, it involves risk and that is part of the adventure.

2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)  Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Persecution is the enemy’s attack on your exciting life following Jesus. Even though adventurous living is hazardous, God is there to protect and encourage you. Who wants to embrace adventurous living with Jesus?

Today, my message is called “Choose Adventure.” In order to have an adventurous life, you have to make the right choices in life. The first and foremost choice is to become a believer in Jesus Christ. That means that you entrust your life and eternity to Him as your Lord and Savior. At the end of the service, we’ll give you an opportunity to commit or recommit your life to Jesus Christ. However, if we’re honest, we have to admit that a lot of people who are believers are not leading an adventurous life. Why not?

Well let’s think for a minute on who led the most adventurous life possible? And the answer is Jesus Christ. In a short life of 33 years, He turned the world upside down, defeated Satan and made possible salvation for everyone who believes. So, how can you have an adventurous life like Jesus? The answer is to live your life with Jesus. The closer you are to Jesus Christ, the more adventure you will experience. So let’s look at how we can choose adventure with Jesus.

Put your priorities in order

In order to have an adventurous life, your priorities must change, they must be put in God’s order. When our priorities are in order, then we accomplish the things that are in God’s plan for us. With wrong priorities, we at best, waste time and at worst, work against God’s plan. How do we know if our priorities are in order?

Worry indicates wrong priorities

Matthew 6:31-32 (ESV)  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  

In these verses, Jesus instructs us not to worry about anything, including the necessities of life, such as food and clothing. Quite frankly, if someone’s life is reduced to worrying about what they’re going to eat or wear, that’s a boring life. When we worry, we show that the things we worry about are our priorities in life. Here, Jesus says that unbelievers run after meeting their own needs as their top priorities in life. Boring. God knows that you need certain things in life, such as food and clothing. Since He knows, you don’t need to worry about them. Rather, we are to choose adventure by …

Seek first God’s kingdom

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The proper priorities for a believer are to seek expanding God’s kingdom and growing in our relationship with God. That’s where adventure is found. If we have those priorities in place, Jesus makes the incredible promise, that all these things, the things that unbelievers worry about, such as food and clothing, will be given to you. What’s adventurous about seeking the kingdom of God? Every human being is born into the midst of a cosmic struggle between the kingdom of God and the domain of darkness. God has called every believer to be a warrior to rescue people from the domain of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of God. That is an adventure.

How does adventure begin? How do we learn who to seek God’s kingdom first? It begins simply by daily preparation for your battle adventure. You get your orders from your commander through reading the Bible and prayer. Then you defeat the enemy through prayer and action. 

Why is it so hard for many believers to spend daily time with God? Because you have a supernatural enemy, Satan, who will do everything he can to distract you. This month, part of your arsenal is the prayer booklet, Seek God for the City. If you didn’t get one yet, pick one up on the Guest table in the foyer. Not only will this prayer guide help you in praying for the St. Louis area up to Easter, but it will train you in warfare prayer that makes a difference. A question to ask yourself concerning your prayer time. If all your prayers were answered, how many people would benefit besides yourself? Seeking God’s kingdom first is about rescuing others from Satan’s prison. Daily prayer is an important aspect of putting your priorities in order. Next …

Make Jesus’ priority yours

Matthew 28:18 (ESV)  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.   

These verses at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, record some of Jesus’ last words before He ascended to heaven. They’re often called the Great Commission. Having risen from the dead, Jesus had all authority in heaven and on earth. With that authority, Jesus gave final commands to His disciples of all time, which reflected His priorities for them. If you are a believer here today, these commands apply to us here today, just as they did to Jesus’ first century disciples.

Go and make disciples

Matthew 28:19 (ESV)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

The primary command in these verses is to make disciples. In the Bible, every believer is called a disciple. So, these verses instruct us as to our top priority in life. To go and make new believers from those who are not yet disciples of Jesus. Every day, our prayer should be, God help me to go and make disciples for you today. Many think that when a person commits their life to Jesus Christ, the disciple-making process is finished, but that’s not the case according to Jesus. Every new disciple needs to be baptized and then …

Teach them to obey everything

Matthew 28:20 (ESV)  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This aspect of the Great Commission is extremely important and the American church has overall failed at carrying this out. A disciple is not just someone who is saved, they must be taught, not just to know Jesus’ commands, but to obey them. Not just some of them, but taught to obey everything. A disciple who has been thus taught is in position to make and teach new disciples. This is a command for every believer, it is Jesus’ priority for your life. My prayer is that everyone in this church will make the Great Commission their priority, just as it was Jesus’.

So, what does the Great Commission have to do with adventurous living? The Great Commission is God’s orders to His end-time army of warriors to extend His kingdom to the ends of the earth. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ today, you’re a warrior in God’s army. However, many believers are AWOL, absent without leave. They aren’t engaging the enemy and advancing God’s kingdom. They’re not living a life of adventure, they’re trying to play it safe and comfortable. Today, God is calling every believer here today to choose a life of adventure, a life of getting into the battle and making a difference for eternity. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, God has a mission for you to undertake.

Now, if you’re on a mission for God, you can’t be bogged down with worrying about civilian matters like finances. God’s got instructions in His Word concerning finances that will help you utilize your resources of kingdom advance in every aspect of your life. This week, our Financial Peace University begins on Tuesdays at 6:30pm. In this course, you’ll learn biblical principles that will help you take charge of your finances God’s way. When you learn to do that, you’ll be getting free for adventurous worry-free living. It’s not too late to sign up. We have a lot of people already signed up, but if you haven’t taken the class before, I encourage you to sign up. There’s a handout in your program with more information and a link to sign up. There still are some scholarships available to take the class at a 50% discount. If you have questions, talk to me or Calvin. So, let’s get more practical about how you can choose adventure for your life.

Take the Plus One Challenge

God has designed His church for explosive growth as each disciple obeys Jesus Christ. Yet, studies show that only 1% of evangelical Christians in America lead someone to Christ in their lifetime. There’s something very wrong with that statistic. This morning, I want to encourage everyone here to take the Plus One challenge as part of choosing adventure for your life. 

What is the Plus One Challenge? 

Ask God to help you add one believer to the church in 2018

Do you believe that with God’s help, you can add one believer to the church in the whole of 2018? I believe that everyone here can do that and even more.

Acts 2:41 (ESV)  So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

In the New Testament, when people became disciples of Jesus, they were added to the church. The concept of making a commitment to Jesus Christ and never becoming part of the church doesn’t exist in the Bible. Those who make a true commitment will become part of a local church. If each believer here adds one believer to the church in 2018, how many people will we have at the end of the year? Twice as many. How can we do this?

Seek the Holy Spirit’s power

Acts 1:8 (ESV)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  

This promise is for every believer, for every disciple of Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit will help you be Jesus’ witness, obey Jesus’ Great Commission and fulfill the Plus One Challenge. Will you accept the Plus One challenge? Ask God to help you add one believer to the church in 2018 and then work to make that happen. If you accept the Plus One challenge, please check the Plus One Challenge box on your Connect Card.

Let’s talk about choosing adventure again. The adventure is working with God in seeing people added to His church, thereby expanding God’s kingdom. When you make this your daily priority, your life will be unusual, exciting and hazardous which equals adventurous. Who are you to seek to add the church? First of all unbelievers, which includes the majority of people who claim to be Christians. They need Jesus, but many don’t know it. Secondly, believers who have dropped out of church. They need to come back to Christ’s church. Thirdly, both believers and unbelievers who attend churches that do not teach the full counsel of God’s Word. Sadly, that is the majority of churches today.

In the coming weeks, we’ll talk more about how to be a witness. But suffice it to say today that you begin with prayer and follow that up with talking to people. In just a few weeks, on April 1, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter 2000 years ago. Jesus is alive today. In your programs is a brand new type of invitation called an Engager Invitation. These are designed to talk to people about Easter, the resurrection and invite them to our Easter services. These invitations give people a lot more information than the simple invite cards we use. Life Church contact information is printed on the back. There are additional engager invitations on the guest table in the foyer. Your mission this week is to give out at least one engager invitation and invite that person to our Easter services. It will be an adventure.

God has an adventurous life for you to live as you expand His kingdom. He wants you to find that adventure on your job, in your neighborhood and among your relatives and friends. Choose adventure by making it your priority to seek God’s kingdom first in everything you do. Seek to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission every day, looking for opportunities to be a witness for Jesus. Finally, decide to accept our 2018 Plus One Challenge and pray for an opportunity to hand out an engager invitation this week for our Easter service. Together, we will live the adventure for Jesus.