Just as the trees must surrender their leaves in the fall each year in order to grow, we must surrender whatever holds us back form growing into the likeness of Christ. During this series we will look at people from the Bible who surrendered significant pieces of their lives, their livelihood, their direction, and their will. This series will encourage us to consider what we need to leave. But, it's not about giving up these things, it's about giving these things to God so that we might be in a position to grow stronger.
Sermon Notes are found on the Park Avenue UMC App. Text paumcapp to 77977 to get a link to download the App.
Mary gave up everything – her right to live as she chose, her idea of how life should be, her pride, her son, Jesus and her son, James. She willingly dropped her leaves. It was a decision she would have to make daily. Would you be willing to give it all up – even your family for God? What if we saw surrendering the way Mary saw it? Not as “God is making me give up” but “giving to God.”
When Saul encountered Jesus the Bible teaches us that, “He fell to the ground …” He fell down as Saul, but he got up as Paul. Falling down is a good thing when it’s falling on our knees before the mighty and powerful God! The question is what will it get us as? The same old guy or girl? How is God calling us to “Fall Down” before Him right now?
Peter dropped his nets – gave up his occupation and his family to follow Jesus. He shed all his leaves and become one of the 12 Disciples. Jesus tagged him “The Rock”. He had it going on while following Jesus until Jesus was arrested. When that happened, peter failed Jesus – he just deserted Him, denied Him and eventually, returned to the same old life of fishing. You might as well say that he “fell away” from Christ. But, like Paul – his past didn’t define him, it didn’t disqualify him – instead it prepared him for the greatest adventure of his life!
Jonah ran in all the wrong directions when God called him to go to Nineveh. God used pretty impressive measures to re-direct him. Sometimes we need a re-direct to set us on the right path and God lovingly guides us back.
Most of us think about making an impact, but we think about it as in the future. “I will do it when ___.” And our intentions are good, even grand. But the question is: “Am I capable of more right now?” Are we capable of more? We have leaves that need to fall away to accomplish it – pride and self-fulfillment. A new vision of your life that’s bigger, more connected, more meaningful – we have to stretch ourselves to find more. What’s your contribution? Sacrifice and serving are two of the keys to lifelong happiness – generously giving your life away for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus came to serve and give. Those are the two things that will bring more happiness in your life than anything else, and they define what it means to follow Jesus. If you’re not serving, if you’re not giving, then you’re not following Jesus. It’s very simple.