Maximize Your Life

With so many options and ways to find "real life" out there, what are we to do? What's the best way to "maximize" your life?

Transcript 

SO MANY VIEWS

Morning.  David Sorn.  Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

The world is shrinking (not literally…some of you got nervous for a second)

But it’s figuratively shrinking.

It’s changed so much even in my 32 years.

Even 32 years ago…there were no cell phones.

No apps…no texting…

You couldn’t FaceTime someone in a different country.

No tablets…no smartphones.

No internet…

Your access to information was still through the lucky few who had the Encyclopedia Britannica.

I remember when I got in on CD-ROM J

Growing up, my mom’s job was the “reference librarian” at our local library.

Than some punk lady named Google came along and took her job.

Most people didn’t even have personal computers 32 years ago. 

The world is shrinking.

And it’s shrinking especially fast in America.

When I was in Africa last month, we’d still get out of our van and Rwandan kids would yell, “MAZUNGOO!!”

“Which means WHITE PERSON.”

There’s no racial sensitivity training in Rwandan Elementary Schools yet J

But here…in the West…and in America…the world IS shrinking.

And with the shrinking of the world, comes the influx of ideas.

And a lot of that is good. 

The world should (theoretically) benefit from this shrinking.

The more ideas, the better access we have to finding real knowledge…real truth…and real life.  

Yet a lot of us don’t know what to do with all of this information.

It’s information overload.

The TV’s talking all the time, my cell phone’s always on.

You can use Google…or WikiPedia…on your phone, on your tablet, on your TV, on your xBox, in a few days…maybe on your Smart iWatch

It’s information overload.

We’re not suffering from a lack of information anymore, we’re suffering from an overload of information. 

And we’re suffering from….a decision paralysis

For instance…ever been to the Cheesecake Factory?

Turns out it’s not an actual factory.

So disappointed the first time I went.  I was like…where’s the tour?  This is a factory!

But it’s one of those restaurants where the menu is bigger than the Bible. 

And that’s great and all, but I think the reason you have wait 60 minutes to get seated there is because it takes everybody 60 minutes to decide what they want to eat.

We have an over-abundance of information, of knowledge, of worldviews laid out in front of us…and honestly, it just causes most of us to go (give look of confusion)….we’re paralyzed by it. 

We’re exposed to so many worldviews…so many theories on what life is all about.

And you don’t have to be at a University to be exposed to it either.

Just turn on your TV.

Or better yet, just log-in to Facebook or Twitter.

Every other post is somebody posting an article, an op-ed piece, or somebody’s blog telling me the best way to live my life.

They’re telling me that if I just voted this way, the WORLD would be a better place  

If I just would throw out the food pyramid and start eating meat like the cave men did, I could look like a supermodel.

If I just joined one of those Crossfit cults and removed Gluten from my diet, I could finally know PEACE

I think this is how Instagram got so popular.

People were like, “Enough already!  I just want to look at the pictures”

And yet, all of us can’t help but sometimes think…

If I just tried this diet…

If I just exercised this way …

If I just did this cleanse…

If I just cleared my mind and meditated…

If I just got in a bigger house…

If I just got my next degree…

If I just could save more money…

If I just had money…

And yet for all of our new ideas and new ways to find LIFE…it’s not working.  

Depression rates are increasing. 

Suicide rates…increasing. 

We’re all trying to MAXIMIZE our lives…make them work…and yet…for so many of us…it’s not working.

Maybe you’re even here this morning, and you feel like…. “Honestly…it’s not working.” 

“There’s got to be a more…a better way”

And that’s what we want to look at this morning…a better way.

In fact, that’s what this “MAXIMIZE” series is all about

For the next 6 weeks, we’re going to study how to Maximize our lives…and we’re going to do so by studying the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.

Proverbs is an amazing book of the Bible that is basically a book on “how to be wise.” 

Which is what we need when we have an overabundance of information and so many paths we can take in life.

IN the weeks to come, we’re also going to use the book of Proverbs to look at how we can be wise and maximize our time, our work, our relationships, and more.   

I encourage you to come back and learn more.

Make this a habit.  It’s a good habit. 

Or even take the next step and sign-up for one of our house groups…so you can grow more.

You’ll hear more about that later. 

They are absolutely incredible.

I want to look at a passage in the Book of Proverbs that I think gives great wisdom on what to do with our lives…

And particularly, what do we do when there are so many theories on how to live life?

Let’s look.

(Page 512)

If you don’t have a Bible, that’s our gift to you.  

We’ve even put a great guide for the best places to start reading the Bible in it

Or the Renovation Church App

 (Proverbs 3:5-6) – NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

It says…in all our ways…trust God.

Lean not on your own understanding.  

Why? 

Why can’t we lean our lives on our own understanding??

Well…because we don’t have very much to lean on.

Think this through with me….

 Despite what we say in public…most of us think that we’re right…on almost everything.  J

Yet, if you’re honest with yourself, there’s so much we learn every year that forces us to say… “Oh, that’s not totally right…and we adjust our thinking as we go”

But if we’re constantly changing “What we think is right” how can we so easily trust ourselves or one another?

For instance, have you heard the story of the woman who was driving through a snowstorm just outside of Denver?

She was completely lost and struggling under the hazardous weather conditions. 

Eventually though, she thankfully came upon a snowplow

Since she was so lost she decided to just follow the snowplow and kept as close to the truck as she could while it removed snow from the road. 

At times the blowing snow almost cut off her view, but she kept following it. 

After some time, the snowplow stopped and the driver got out and came back to her car. "Lady, what are you doing?" he asked. 

She said, “I’m on my way to Denver, but I’m lost, so I thought I’d just follow you.”

The snowplow driver replied, "Well, you’ll never get there following me! I’m plowing a parking lot!"

Not every way…is the right way.

 

 

ONE WHO IS GREATER

Now, you could just say…and many today do…that there is no “one right way” to live your life. 

You could say, “Every individual should be free to determine what is the right or wrong way to live their life.

The problem is…you don’t really believe that.

You don’t really believe the child abuser is free to live their life how they want.

You don’t really believe the person engaging in human trafficking is free to determine what’s right & wrong for them.

I mean, “Are they free to determine what’s right?

“No!  We say…that’s wrong!”

Well, on what basis is it wrong?

The only way we even have any semblance of “right and wrong” is if there is some greater “moral code” for how we should live life that we can all appeal to

And the only way that that exists is if there’s something far greater than one of us that brought it into being.

Because I’m not coming up with what that is.

If I lean purely on my own understanding…I’m going to fall right over. 

Proverbs itself alludes to this

(Proverbs 14:12) – NIV

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

There are plenty of things in our world that at first glance appear to lead us to life…but in the end… they’re just empty promises.

But maybe you’re thinking…so what makes Jesus any different? 

Good question!

Maybe you’re thinking, “Why should I trust God’s path to life or the Bible’s path to life any more than any other book I could buy at Barnes & Noble?  Or Barnes and Nobles as my mom calls it

Here’s why: It’s because of WHO He is. 

Think about it this way:

You and I…are each just one person. 

1 person out of 60,000 in Blaine.

1 person out of 5.4 million in Minnesota

1 person out of 300 million in the U.S.

1 person out of 7 billion on planet earth.

Which is 1 planet out of 8 (used to be 9…RIP Pluto) in our solar system)

Which is just 1 grouping of planets out of billions in our galaxy.

Which is just one galaxy out of billions more in the universe.

And God created all of it.

Now let me ask you:  Who are you going to trust knows the answers to life?

I’m going with God. 

I’ve proven myself wrong enough times already. 

God is incredible.

That’s why our first verse says, “In ALL your ways, submit to Him”  

(1 Corinthians 1:25) – NIV

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

And by the way, this doesn’t mean that we throw out all wisdom and knowledge and good thinking.

By no means. 

I’m a HUGE proponent of philosophy and good thinking.

It’s just that I’m saying… “With so many options out there on how to find life, that the most REASONABLE thing is to trust the one who created all of life”

 

 

HE MAKES STRAIGHT PATHS

And it’s not just that God’s ways are reasonable…they work.

Let’s look at that first passage in Proverbs again

(Proverbs 3:5-6) – NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

When we trust in God’s path to life…when we live in his ways…he actually starts making your path straight.

What does that mean?

It doesn’t mean the “straight and narrow” and it doesn’t mean that he’ll make your life perfect

It has more of the meaning of God’s going to clear out and level the path for you.

Meaning, He can get rid of some painful detours.

When you follow God’s recipe for how life works…it saves you from wandering off in the dark (off of the road)…

It saves you…from chasing after fireflies off the path…but instead running into barbed-wire. 

It makes a clear path!

It’s not that following God is all puppies and rainbows and pain-free..

But it IS better.  

It’s in following God…as He’s started to straighten the path for me…that I’ve found TRUE joy (not temporary pleasure)….TRUE JOY

Think about it this way, you can be saved from so much heartache by following the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs, which says for example, “Do Not Commit Adultery.”

That’s a guidepost of wisdom from God.

But what I love about Jesus…is that even if you wander off the path…He still comes looking for you…because He loves you.

More on that later.

But this whole idea of trusting that if you jump in…and really follow God…that He’ll bring you REAL LIFE….is not easy.

Trusting that another person knows better than us…is not our forte.

From birth onward…it’s not our forte.

I have 18-month old twins, and for the most part, they trust me.

But sometimes, like any human, when I tell them “no…” They’re going to say, “Nah…I know better.”

Teenagers have a PhD’s in the “I know better” sort of thinking.

And as much as we’d like to say that we grow out of it as adults, the reality is that when it comes to life’s biggest questions:  Most of us  still just assume that WE know best.

I know I did. 

Sure there are all of these other people telling me where to find LIFE, but why should I trust them?

And as I began to investigate Jesus…and His ways…even that seemed like a leap of faith.

Sheldon Vanauken, an American author and skeptic, who eventually became a Christian because of his friendship with C.S. Lewis…put it this way.

He says, “I saw that there was a gap between me and Christ.  It was going to take faith to give my life over to His ways.”

“How was I to cross that gap?  I wanted proof!”

But then, I realized, there was also a gap behind me as well!  There was a “gap” to NOT believing in Jesus.

There would have to be a step of faith either way!

I realized I couldn’t reject living for Jesus and his ways without a leap of FAITH either.

What he’s saying is that “He’s already bet the farm on a particular view of God and life”

And that’s precisely what I think so few Americans realize. 

EVERYBODY is basing his or her entire life on some sort of view regarding what life is about.

On where we can find life.

On what we should live for

On if God is real or not real

On if there’s an afterlife and…HOW we get there.

Even those that say, “Everyone’s going to heaven.  OR, No one can really know.. 

That’s a spiritual view on what life is about and how eternal life works 

If you say, “We’re all going to heaven when we die…” How do you know that?

And this is where I keep coming back to the same thing in my life:

I can trust in myself….

Or I can trust in some great leader…or some ground-breaking author…or some brilliant philosopher. 

But I just keep going back to the point that even that brilliant person is just 1 person…in 1 city…in 1 country…in 1 moment in history…

See, every single one of us has to decide whether we’re going to live our lives by personal opinion or the wisdom of God.

Choose the wisdom of God!

It’s so good.

It’s a great life.

 

ETERNAL LIFE

And here’s where it gets even greater!

See, it’s not only that it’s a great life.

It can offer you what no diet program, no exercise routine, no other philosophy, no counseling program can…it offers you not only just real life here on earth…but eternal life.

See, if we really want a maximized life…we should want eternal life. 

Jesus himself says it this way:

(Matthew 16:26) – NIV

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

If you had the best life EVER for 75 years, and then spent billions of years in hell…that would not be a good thing. 

That’s not life. 

 Proverbs tells us this very principle.  That it’s not just life here…it’s more

(Proverbs 12:28) – NIV

In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.

But how do you get that?  How do you get forgiven? 

Made right with God? 

Just be a good person? 

What does the Bible…what does God say about that? 

Because again, there’s so much competing noise out there in our world, that most people say, “Meh…it doesn’t matter…just don’t kill anyone and you’ll be fine.”

But again, let’s look to God’s wisdom…not our own.

We simply can not afford to GUESS on our own “opinions” when it comes to eternal life

(Proverbs 20:9) – NIV

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

No one can. 

The reality is every single one of us sins.

And our hearts are not pure.

There is envy within them.  And jealousy.  Bitterness.  Hatred. 

We sin.  All of us.

 And this astounding and huge God…he must also be Holy, right?

And a holy God…must bring justice.

God can not be a cheat.  He’s Holy.

A good judge brings justice. 

And if we all sin…there must be punishment for our sin.

There must be justice.

And the Bible says that that justice is separation from God.  It’s hell. 

For God is Holy.

Despite what we like to think in our own small wisdom, no one can earn their way to God by being good enough.

Our good enough…will never be good enough to sit in the presence of an almighty God for all of eternity.  

We can never do enough good to deal with our sin…or erase our sin.

We can’t “make up” for our sin.

HOWEVER……God can. 

The Bible says that He’s so in love with you, and that He desires to be with you forever.

And so he pursues you. 

Even when you wander off…

No matter what you’ve done…He pursues you.

But justice still must be done for our sin. 

SO…God sent his very own Son Jesus…to die on the cross (this is why Jesus died!) to take our place.

When Jesus died on the cross, He was taking your punishment.  

And the Bible says, that if we believe in Him…that He died for us…that through faith…he would forgive all of our sin

(Romans 10:9) – NIV

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

He offers you life…by giving up His life for yours.

And when you believe in Him, He’ll come in and start to change your life…

And not only can you have real life, you can have eternal life. 

You can be completely forgiven. 

This is the only way.  We can not do it on our own.

This is the WISDOM about life we’re all  truly looking for

This is the best news I could ever share with you.

I’m not good enough.  Jesus loves me anyway.  He died in my place.   And I can be forgiven when I believe and follow Him.

So I just want to ask YOU this morning:

Do you want to believe in this amazing God? 

And I don’t just mean believe he exists.

Jonathan Edwards says it this way: “There is an infinite difference between being told and believing that honey is sweet than TASTING that honey is sweet.”

I’m asking you:  “Do you want to surrender your life to Jesus…and enter into a relationship with Him?”

And say, “God…I can’t do this on my own.  I want to trust in your ways”

If you are that big…and yet you love me THAT much (that you would give up your son for my life)…then I want to follow you!

If that’s you, I want to give you that opportunity to do that right now.

In fact, let’s do this:  Let’s everybody just bow their heads and close their eyes.

I want this to be a special moment between you and God.

If you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ, you want to admit that you can’t do it on your own, believe that He died for you…

If you want to be forgiven…start a relationship with Him…and spend eternity with Him.

I want to give you an opportunity to tell him that you want to become a Christian…which simply means Christ-follower. 

If you want to do this…to believe in Jesus and give Him your life…in just a moment, I’m going to ask you to stand up where you are.

This is a way for you to symbolically say, “I believe that THIS is what life is about.  From this moment onward, to the best of my ability, I will be a follower of JESUS.”   

So wherever you are, all across this room right now.  If you’d like to become a follower of Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are.

If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s real.  That means…it’s TIME.   If you feel it in your pulse…in your heart…that’s God.  Accept His forgiveness.  Start a new life with Him.  It’s amazing!

If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?

It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at…again, the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths. 

So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me

IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe. 

So, let’s all say it together with these new believers. 

EVERYONE repeat after me with these new believers. 

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you. 

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins. 

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.  Amen

(you can have a seat)

AMEN!!   Let’s just clap and praise God. 

If you stood up & gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do 2 things for me

Right after the service today, I want you to go to the back of the room …for just a moment. 

In the back there is a sign that says “FOLLOW-UP”

There will be some incredibly nice people there (they have lanyards on) who want to give you some extremely helpful tools to help you get started in your faith

Won’t take you very long.  But absolutely go back there.  

Also, if you stood up today, we wrote you a letter.  It’s under your chair, and we’d love for you to read it before the service is over (announcements & 2 songs). 

Let me just pray & thank God! 


Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

ProverbsDavid SornMaximize