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Hope is on the Way

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Happy New Year everybody hey 2019 when I say hi to those who are watching online as well I gotta be honest have a little bit of mixed feelings about 2019 part of me is really optimistic I'm gonna talk mostly about that but how many of you kind of cynical about like New Year's resolutions in my eye this is you know I'm not gonna make them this year because anybody nothing like I don't really make new year's resolutions you know why we don't report a US News & World Report recently said 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by February but I'm choosing optimism and I want to talk a little bit about why I'm choosing optimism for this year it's not necessarily because I'm optimistic that nothing bad will happen in 2019 it's for other deeper reasons there's a another study I was reading in the Journal of Clinical Psychology that found that those who set New Year's resolutions are actually 10 times more likely to actually change something in their life and what that means to me I'm a yearly goal setter I said goals every year and and and I don't achieve all those goals sometimes I do fail by February but I set those goals because I know that if I don't set them there's no chance I'm even gonna get close to improving my life or leaning into the areas that I want to lean in and and even if I only get halfway there to those goals it's better than if I had not taken any steps and so I want to lean into this idea of optimism we are in this series we're finishing up today a series called Advent that we started before Christmas I mean Advent really is a word that means anticipation or a sense of expectation and what's about to break forth of course we talked about that through Christmas with the coming of Jesus as a child and I want to talk today about how do we approach 2019 with a sense of optimism rather than cynicism pastor Evan about three weeks ago talked about John chapter one and I want to finish where he I want to begin where he left off in John chapter one and and here's the verse that he sorry get to that John 1 verse 14 this first half is where he ended and I want to take off from there and and talk about the second half of this passage in verse 16 but in verse 14 John the author by the way interesting thing about John is that he's writing from a place of persecution that the church in his day had been with was being persecuted and many of his friends had lost their life many disciples were losing their lives and he any-any writes his narrative to help people make sure that Christians reconnect with the story of God and in doing that in John chapter 1 verse 1 he talked about in the beginning so he goes all the way back and kind of echoes Genesis chapter 1 and he says in the beginning was the word and the word in verse 14 became flesh so he's connects Jesus all the way back to this is this is the person that was here in the beginning that all of creation was kind of breathed out of God made flesh Jesus and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory and this idea of glorious is we've seen Jesus and all of his a magnificent in his in his kindness in his compassion and in his power and in his provision we have seen the glory of God in Jesus glory as of the only son from the father and I love this phrase full of grace and truth go and say that with me full of grace and truth if you want to see what's true and I'm not talking about like Christianity I don't I think religion can kind of get in the way sometimes of seeing Jesus because he said he's the way the truth and the life there's something about the fullness of God's grace and truth that is revealed in Jesus those of you that were around in our Colossians series earlier last year we talked about how if you want to see God look at Jesus if you want to know God know Jesus right and that answer this I did there so then then I want to kind of take off from here in verse 16 for from his fullness a fullness from this all at this place of unlimited power potential unlimited grace kindness mercy compassion all the things of that you think about Jesus for from his fullness we have all Co not just this is for anyone that says yes to the way of Jesus earlier in John 1 John talks about being children of God that we've we've kind of we've decided we've chosen by faith to be sons and daughters of God and because of that from all the fullness of Jesus we all received grace upon grace say grace upon grace this phrase is one of the most amazing ones to me and this something I want to lean into with you not just for the next 20 minutes but in in in 2019 this idea of grace upon grace it's like it's in the original language it's like Grace on top of grace grace that replaces grace grace that's more than grace how do you get grace that's more than grace it's like this on going over like unlimited amount of grace it reminds me of John 10:10 where Jesus says that the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy cynicism we approach life this idea that that that this year is not going to be better than last year this cynical like and we buy into this this idea that the life or the enemy comes to take comes to steal comes to destroy and we forget that those that have chosen to follow the way of Jesus we follow someone who says but I have come to give you life and life more abundant I've come to give you something that this world cannot offer abundance unlimited grace I shared with you on Christmas Eve how there's a sense of joy returning to me but through all the trials that my wife and I have been through since the loss of our son chase over a little over two years ago there's a there's a joy returning to me but I but but like to be fully honest it doesn't come easily it's it doesn't come without straw and persistence and a pursuit of something that is deeper and more resolute in in in in the nature and character of God see life does have a way of making us hedge our bets life does have a way of creating if we're not careful a cynical attitude about the future not fully believing in the goodness and grace of God we so don't want to be disappointed we don't want we don't want to expect too much because we don't want to be disappointed so we don't set goals and we don't think about the future and what the potential might be we don't we don't dream big we we you know play it safe partly because we don't want to be disappointed the beginning of 2018 interestingly enough talking about this struggle to keep hoping and keep leaning into the better future Suzanne received a word from the Lord at the very beginning of 2018 it was a powerful word that that she shared with me and she shared with our staff it resonated with us who is this it was a sense of like like we're moving forward and and and past all the tragedy that we had gone through not just Suzanne and me but but this church as we've walked with Pastor both through the loss of her husband Steve years ago and just this and chase two years ago was just this and and though this was the word and was it was it was so profound and we and we knew it was from God and I still believe it is but this was the word I have something more than sorrow for you I have something more than sorrow for you literally less than a month later our 21 year old nephew Adam tragically died in a car accident here in Bend it's it's easy listen it is easy to become cynical that is the less courageous choice it's the easiest it's the it's the well the life isn't going is life is going to disappoint us maybe even God's going to disappoint it so it's easy to stop believing in the blessing and grace of God for our lives is it is more challenging it is more courageous to to say no to the to the cynicism in to the way of this world's thinking about life and lean into the hope of the grace upon grace mercy upon mercy forgiveness upon forgiveness that God offers through Jesus Christ and so we've chosen to hold on to that word and words like the one I'm sharing with you today like a strong foundation that holds up a house in the middle of a storm and I feel like this is a word that I about to share hear a word from God for you Westside church that God would say I have more for you in 2019 and just sorrow I have more for you than trouble or just persecution or broken relationships or depression or financial hardship I have something more for you even in the midst of those things see we we think that the blessings of God will will cause there for nothing bad to happen it's like one or the other it's like we if if life kind of takes a turn for the worst we think that God's blessings have stopped flowing we we think that God has forgotten us and but what if these two things can live in the same of space hardship and blessing God has something more for you even even in the midst of the struggles in this life there was a recent series of scientific studies a secular study that I found during preparation for this message that showed how temporary landmarks motivate change in behavior it's like you say you landmarks that just kind of like oh this is okay good I've made it this far I can go I can keep going that kind of idea and they called it the scientists called it the the fresh start effect a sense of a fresh start motivates us to keep moving to keep pursuing to keep looking at the future from an optimistic lens rather than a cynical lens this idea of fresh starts and I and I look at the good news of Jesus I think about the gospel narrative I think about John chapter 1 verse 16 of grace upon grace those mercies are new every morning not not every year not once a year when we think about the mercies of God in January it's that his mercies are new tomorrow morning when you wake up his forgiveness is unlimited His grace is all-consuming that ever that every blessing that we experienced from the hand of God is a foundation for the next blessing unending life full life a new year a new beginning a reset a sense of anticipation and optimism not based on what has happened in the past in the world's system and in our lives possibly but in in but by the grace of God but by the the mercies of his kindness I got a we got a video game for my son Spencer this Christmas and and I played it way too much over the Christmas break we had the week off between Christmas and New Year's and I mean I don't want to tell you how many hours I played this game with my son and it was in and I'm not very good at video games and so I kept on dying in this game I mean I kept on dying it it would it would have been frustrating had it not been for this the little thing that popped up when I died it says would you like to restart the mission or restart from the last checkpoint I'm like last checkpoint please and they just takes me back to just a few seconds before I died I was like this is brilliant it's almost like you could say that this game had unlimited grace I did not deserve to just respawn right after I died in the same place I deserve to go back to the very beginning of the game but this game was full of grace and I'm thankful for that because we need grace we need mercy we need patience how many of you have ever read Stephen Covey's classic works seven Habits of Highly successful people anybody anybody ever thought of reading that okay the rest of you maybe yeah I would I would encourage you to it's not a Christian book at all but it's one of the best on on Habits of Highly successful people it's a pretty good title for it and he talks in this book and I hadn't read it for years since college but he talks about this idea of a scarcity mindset versus an abundance mindset and and and I think this plays into how we approach the blessings of God and and how we approach 2019 with optimism rather than skepticism and in this what he says about a scarcity mindset he wrote he writes this most people are deeply scripted and what I call a scarcity mentality they see life as having only so much as though there were only one pie out there and if someone were to get a big piece of that pie it would mean less for everybody else the scarcity mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life people with a scarcity mentality he writes has have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit power or profit even with those who help in the production they also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people here's a test for you to kind of help you understand if we whether you have a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset when you see someone's post on Facebook and their family they're put together happy family one wife two kids a couple dogs they just look amazing happily like wow does it make you happy or does it kind of make him mad see that's one way to look at it it's and and he argues Covey argues that that the success one of the keys to successful living and I would say a successful 2009 teenis is having an abundance mentality and let me let me let me try to explain what abundance mentality is I heard it one guy say it this way he said imagine if you and I are walk out on a walk today and the beautiful I love the snow actually from the inside I love the snow but say we walked outside and we're and we're enjoying just breathing in the fresh air that we always have in Bend and and and we're just breathing it in we're just enjoying it are you thinking about how much oxygen is available while we're walking no of course not right you're not you know like I better I better take it easy I don't want to waste oxygen I don't want to take from my neighbor out here but what if we went scuba diving together and my oxygen tank breaks now we have a what a scarcity of oxygen and what is your response to that scarcity do you like this is my oxygen thank you very much and I'm not sure I have enough so I'm gonna hold on to what I have just to make sure that I have enough sorry Steve you swim fast I mean what do you you know of course in that moment you would share oxygen right but this I this mentality that I think is now infiltrated all of our lives regardless of our how we think about God or what we think about or what our theology is I even think we think a scarcity mindset with God I love what what one guy says Matt Chandler he's a pastor of village church back east he writes that he said this if you come to God with a scarcity mentality you twist his character belittle his grace and you put a weight on your shoulders that you will never be able to carry see our mindset about who God is and what he can do and wants to do in 2018 will greatly affect how you approach this new year how you think about your life how you navigate the disappointments that you will face how you protect what you have at the expense of someone else or how you take advantage of someone else or how you how you are filled with fear and anxiety see a scarcity mentality about who God is will cause us to react and respond in a different way than if we think of him from an abundance mentality so how do we think of God and our life and 2019 with an abundance mindset there's two principles that show up in Scripture over and over and over again show up in the life of Jesus that show up and what I believe are people who are living with an abundance mindset that I think will act if you if you if you do want to like think about making a resolution this year these are these two would be not a bad choice for us and here they are how to have an abundance mindset to be more grateful and to be more generous Kinkaid and I my wife my Kincaid Kincaid is my he's now my 20 or 20 year old he'll be 20 this year 2019 hey you guys don't judge me I can tell you judging me you don't no no no your own kids birthdays I don't know I can't it's just one of those one of those moments senior moments I'm having up here he's 19 or 20 and and when he was 16 I shouldn't even tried to figure out his age that has nothing to do with this story she said when he was 16 anyway when Kincaid was 16 and in high school we had already scheduled to go to Uganda with him just months after our chase died and so we felt like we were supposed to still go so we went and and Kincaid had never been out of the out of the country other than when we lived in Croatia but he was really small and doesn't remember much about that so we were in Uganda and here's a kid who grew up literally grew up here and been on the on the west side of been goes to summit high school and he's and he's thrust into this environment of pastors and and Christians in Uganda who have very very very little many of them struggle with clean having clean water food is scarce on the islands of Lake Victoria it's it was it was just a shocking it was shocking to his system as as it was to mine when I first visited it was like I can't believe people live like this and and and I and I remember processing this with Kincaid and how he came back to bend and he used to kind of whine about this little 1994 Toyota that he drove to summit you know like none of my friends drive cars like this he did he stopped complaining about his car and he drove or the started shopping at thrift stores for all of his clothes and he's just something shifted in how he thought about what he needed in this life what he wanted he he realized that he had an abundance here this is funny what happens with a scarcity mindset is we how quickly we compare but what's funny to me is that we don't compare with people who have less we never do we always compare with people who have more or what or they have what we want to have and we compare to those people and and and the scarcity mindset just immediately goes to that place and I've often wondered and all of my travels around the world that I've had the privilege of being able to go to places in Europe and Asia and Africa I've and I've wondered why Africans and this is just this I haven't made a formal study I'm gonna cite one in just a moment but Africans by large are happier than Europeans and Americans we have more we have better health better resources better access to clean water roofs over our heads etc etc and yet we are less happy than the majority of people in the third world who don't have those things in 2014 the World Economic Forum noted that the sub-saharan Africa was the region most optimistic about tackling global challenges in 2017 the world happiness report by the way you should google that and check that out super intriguing a report that comes out every year noted that despite facing a happiness deficit around the world Africans had quote unquote exceptional global levels of optimism and resilience and this last January in early January a new Pew Research survey showed that the continent of Africa had the highest global median of people who have particularly good days in contrast to a typical bad day I just I was just I was like oh interesting why and there's it's a complex issue of why Africans are happier and more at peace and content this report I that I read cites religion as one of the main reasons why they are and my personal just my own personal observation is that they don't compare their lives to ours they they don't they don't look and say I wish I had their grateful for what they do have their grateful not they're not they're not desiring more they they're they're looking at their lives and I'm so grateful for the the family that I do have the the resources that I do have there it's it's it's a way of looking instead of scarcity and they they live in a scarce economic arena they have an abundance mindset even in the midst of that we live in an abundant culture with a scarcity mindset gratitude is one of the fastest ways to break you out of a scarcity mindset into an abundant one see gratitude moves you it's like a muscle that you have to build that you have to work that's over time it gets it build strength and and and through repetition and weight there was an old song we used to sing back in church and I only remember one phrase count your blessings so go ahead go ahead and literally right now I want you to count them I want you to think about the blessings that you've experienced in 2018 and some of you are like Steve I can only think about what I wanted to happen that didn't happen or what I wish didn't happen that did happen but look beyond those things I'm seriously like right now just take an inventory and go what's one or two things that happen in 2018 or that I received or that I saw or that I experienced that I'm so grateful for and then what I want you to do like right now is I want you to take out one of these cars there in the seat back in front of you okay ten of you are doing it so far let's do that everybody would be awesome grab one of these praise cards there's pins in the back and what I want you to do is I want you to start a list in 2019 and today is the first day where you write one or two things that you're grateful for and just start and just hold it in your Bible your purse whatever and just and reflect on it come back to it add to it what are we grateful for go ahead and you keep doing that keep writing those things as I'm talking because the rest isn't as interesting as what I've said already gratefulness another thing that gratefulness does is it it makes opportunity out of challenges I met with the new head tennis coach at Summit high school for those of you they don't know I'm the JV tennis coach at Summit high school and I have been volunteering and helping out there for about five years now and and Josh Cordell who was the longtime 17 years head coach of Summit tennis ten state championships highly successful mostly because of my influence in his life but as I've said before but but he retired and and Paxton dual a young kid graduating 2012 was highly successful in tennis personally and he took the head coaching job and I met with him yesterday yesterday morning I was super excited to hear his thoughts because he could come at coaching from a scarcity or limiting mindset he could be thinking I'm following a guy that was highly successful for 17 years ten state championships how am I gonna fill his shoes he could be thinking we're moving to 6a did you guys know that the high schools have now moved to 6a here in Bend and now we're competing against Salem schools Portland schools Jesuit etc and and what we're it was always a given that some of it would make the state in tennis now we're not even sure we will make it to state in tennis and I'm sitting here listening to Paxton talk about in such hopeful terminologies the opportunity that we have this year to create something fresh and new see if he had a scarcity mindset one I don't even think he would have taken the job and two he would be like yeah see I just yeah let's not really work too hard this year I mean it's just gonna be one of those years no instead it's like let's go for it and I just I that gratefulness he's so grateful for the opportunity it gratefulness turns challenges into opportunities alright here's the second one I would be quick with this one cuz nobody likes me talking about money but I'm not just talking about money but be more generous and I'm not talking about money I think it's partly that but it's mostly about how we approach our lives and what we have we can either be a reservoir or a river in 2019 you can either be a conduit of the blessings of God or you can hold them all to yourself John Maxwell said said this way give more of what you want I was thinking about Casey and Corey as they were leading I'm helping Lindsey lead worship this morning you guys remember those guys they used to be on staff yeah Cory Cory still is on staff in a way and Casey isn't at all and I remember people coming up and ask you know they asked me out constantly how is it without those guys like in the just in the day in and day out I'm like it's great you know no I'm just I don't say that but I don't I but this this is how my this is how I've always approached those guys and anybody on our staff and even the people in our church it's like this most I would say many pastors and churches hold on to staff and people and especially if like they're as gifted as the Parnell's right like this I'll never let them go where could I find someone like them how could we ever replace them I mean they've got it I mean what would we become if without them and I've and and the same with church churches approach people like that you know have you ever been in a church where you said well you really felt like God was saying you needed to go to another church and you talked to your pastor and it didn't go very well I'm not encouraging you to do this but if you ever did do this here you would read you would get this you're not mine my money isn't mine the Parnell's are not mine I love them but they're not mine you see everything that I have is is a gift given by God to me to us and we don't own it we don't we steward it but it's like not mine and so so if God ever asked me to give it away I'm gonna give it away I'm gonna I'm gonna share with others and and I'm gonna you know that's why we resource new churches and existing churches in Central Oregon that's why we're that's why we're leaning into the - the spanish-speaking people in our community because because we we want we want to be open hands generous people generous sure it's generous Christians generous lives but a scarcity mindsets like well I don't know if I can ever get it back listen I've lived my life this way I can say that truthfully I've lived my life this way and I have never been without I have never looked I say I mean I worry I stress we all do about these kinds of things but I'm like God you have always taken care of me and now I mean just thinking about the Parnell's we have Lindsay she's a partner she's not related to the Parnell so don't get confused she's just we don't just hire Parnell's to lead worship here but but Lindsay we have Lindsay what a gift she is to this church right and and she was a background player until Cori and Kacy lived their life this way we live our lives this way and and it's just amazing to see what God can do the blessings of God conduit my prayer for us in 2019 is that our approach to others would flow from God's abundance his abundance of mercy and grace and love and kindness let me finish Acts chapter eight I love this chapter some of my favorite chapters in the Bible the early church was being persecuted and so they scattered they were all kind of centered in Jerusalem and Paul who saw at the time was persecuting the church throwing them into prison some people were losing their life and they and so the churches scattered they leave Jerusalem and I and a scarcity mindset the early church would have bunkered down they hunkered in they were just like let's not let's not rock the boat let's not let's let's just not I mean let maybe we need to like curb the rhetoric for a little while stop talking about the resurrected Savior because that seems to be what's getting us in trouble instead they went for it and and there's a one guy named Philip and Philip will ended up in Samaria and he's preaching the good news he's sharing the generosity of God the grace upon grace upon grace of God and many people are coming to know gee and there and and there's a there's a phrase at the end of this section and the end of this passage in Scripture that that I want it to be true for your neighborhood that you live in for the place that you work for the school that you attend for the city that you live in whether it's been or Redmond or sisters or Prineville or Lapine or Madras I want this to be true in our city so there was much joy in that city what I love about this phrase is that it's connected directly connected to the gospel the good news the generosity that was shown by God through Philip his he was grace upon grace mercy upon mercy kindness upon kindness healing upon healing power upon power there's this overflow of God's grace that came to Samaria and there was great joy in that city my prayer for us in 2019 is that there would be joy in your life in your neighborhood in your workplace in your school in every place that you walk abundance abundance abundance you close your eyes with me for a moment and I want you to imagine something with me I want you to imagine yourself at the Oregon coast on a beautiful day there's a light breeze blowing and you're taking off your shoes and you're standing in the sand but I want you to just imagine rolling up your pants and walking down to the edge of the water and I want you just to just to put your feet into the water and I want you to just I want you to imagine the waves just coming in one after the other after the other after the other washing over your feet breathing in the fresh air and in that moment want you to hear the word of the Lord for your life in 2019 grace upon grace upon grace upon grace mercy upon mercy forgiveness upon forgiveness kindness upon kindness compassion upon compassion and Jesus we stand here wave after wave of your glory washing over our lives and we are grateful people we are grateful that you came that you embody flesh that you moved into our neighborhood that you came and you gave and you gave us grace after grace after grace and we we receive it like a waterfall flowing over our lives we thank you Jesus for that grace may it be extended through us keep your eyes closed just for one last moment now I want to invite anyone that would like to become a child of God through Jesus Christ by receiving his love by receiving his forgiveness by receiving His grace and you want to give your life to him today and become a son or a daughter of his would you simply right now lift your hand up not to me but to God and just as recognition as your own kind of movement toward him say yeah Jesus I want to become a child of God today I receive your love yeah yeah awesome awesome thank you Jesus for new life fresh starts new beginnings Jesus would you give us an abundance mindset this year help us to break the cycle of scarcity in our thinking in 2019 we love you and we look to you for all things in Jesus name Amen can we celebrate those that just made that decision so good yeah awesome before we take off you guys I want to mention that those of you that did respond to that invitation we have a gift for you it's called a begin packet it's a it's a white packet that says begin on it it's at all of the exits around the building but also here in this room to my right and left at the tables with lights on them and please grab one before you take off that would be amazing and then one other thing couple other things the pro team is available over here to my right they have little blue lights so you can find them easily this is a great opportunity first first Sunday of the new year to receive prayer to receive prayer for your year for what God is what you're believing God for the ways that you're leaning into an abundance mindset and so they're available to pray with you and then the last thing I wanted to mention is invite you back next weekend as I launched a series that me and the team we've been so looking forward to this series it's called an unhurried soul how do you guys know that the soul is like the operating system of our lives is the OS and it can get really cluttered and it can get an overtime we find ourselves just busy and we're wondering why and we're not going to tell you to not be busy we're just going to help help all of us see how we can rest rebuild our soul lean into God's grace even as we're doing life and so that's unhurried soul next week I hope you guys can join us for that as well other than that God be with you guys have an amazing day but I even have a better 2019 [Applause]

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