Giving Away Immanuel Part 2
We want to continue what we started last Sunday. What we've learned...
#1 - When God gave the baby Jesus, He was giving ___HIMSELF__ .
They will call [Jesus] Immanuel, which means God WITH us!
#2 - When God gives Himself to people, He uses __HIS PEOPLE__ as the gift givers .
The 1st Christmas was just the beginning of God giving Himself away. Every day we can give away Immanuel too!
#3 - God has been preparing for your gift giving for _CENTURIES_ .
God prepared for 42 generations to give Jesus in the virgin birth. And he has been preparing for generations to give Himself away through you!
#4 - When I give myself away with God inside I give the ___BEST GIFT POSSIBLE___ ... (... because God don't make no junk!)
You have made mistakes? Sins? Poor choices? Welcome to humanity!
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Eph. 2:10 NLT
You are like the $6 million man, except instead of bionics, you have SHAPES - Spiritual gifts, Heart passions, Abilities, Personality, Experiences
That was last week's talk. Theory and theology. This week practical and pragmatic. How do I give myself away with God inside me?
A) Align my plans for me with _______________________ .
Let's start with the understanding that God DOES have plans for you!
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the LORD. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Not just true for Jeremiah but also for you too! God has good plans for your future! Yay! You SHOULD be filled with hope. God also grants you a free will. You choose your path. You can choose a different plan than the one God has in mind for you.
This is why the starting position is to acknowledge that God has a plan and that you want to follow that plan! Make it the prayer of your heart and of your life that you want to live out God's plan! This is both selfless and selfish! (Oxymoron.) It is selfless when you say, "God I want to move out of the way. I want to do what you want. Your will not mine!" But in truth, God's plan (for good and not for disaster) takes into account just how he designed you and what will give you a future and a hope!
My example. I chose to become a stock broker because it paid me the most money - not because of my love for the job or because of God's design. It paid the bills but wasn't fulfilling. At age 49 (June 2006) I made the decision to align my plans with God's plans and became ordained as a pastor. I has been the 3rd best decision I ever made. #1 Jesus. #2 MK!
B) Be _______________ giving myself away because God has been _______________ with me.
This means don't hold back. Give yourself without thinking of return!
"Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 NIV
We talk about the truth that you cannot out-give God. You cannot! We usually are referring to finances. But even more true when you are giving yourself away. Because you're also giving Immanuel away. You'll always be surprised how much more you can give than you think is possible. This is the miraculous abundance of God working and living in you.
This principle of generosity goes completely against the grain of our earthly existence. We live inside a world of limited resources, want. We work hard to receive a paycheck too small to purchase what we need. We never have enough. There are shortages. We must economize! But God fills us with Himself and therefore with His abundance...
C) Give myself away relying on _________________ and not my own.
This principle of generosity is not based on our reason or our budget or our wealth or our time. If that were the case there were be no giving away Immanuel. It would just be ourselves, a poor substitute. But when we give ourselves (and our God) away we do so based on abundance!
"God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:7b-8 NIV
God is the giver. God is the ultimate resource. When we recognize God's abundance and our generosity of His abundance, then the pressure is off. We become the agent of generosity, not the principal of generosity. We are conduit. We are acting on behalf of Someone Else. It's amazing God allows us to act on His behalf; He permits us to be His gift givers.
This completely changes the dynamics of the way we view ourselves and our S.H.A.P.E. God created us as such a masterpiece to give ourselves away generously. So there's more to the abundant life than just eking out a living. God designed us to give ourselves and Himself away to others. This is the abundant life. It's a life of filling up and emptying out. Not a life of holding on. It's a life of passing on! But to do this I must always be...
D) Giving myself away with God inside means I need to ______________________ .
This is a MOST CRITICAL part of the giving away Immanuel. We cannot give what we do not possess. Especially for the compassionate, the givers, the feelers, the tender, the empathetic among us - never allow yourself to dry up of God's generous filling. We all need restored!
"[The LORD] restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake." Psalm 23:3 NKJV
If we don't fill up with God then we're only giving ourselves away. There's just not enough of us to go around. This is easy to measure. When you start to feel burnt out, empty, frustrated, envious, worried - these are all signs that you're empty. You're bone dry. You gotta stop and admit you're doing no one any favors, neither those you're trying to help nor God nor even yourself. You're just spreading your dust around more and more thinly until you're only a ghost of yourself rather than filled with the powerful might Ghost of God's Spirit within you.
This "How-To" A-B-C-D primer is not something you do once and then it's over. It's the life-blood of the Christian. The giving away of Immanuel. The Christmas that never ends!
What present does God want to give away IN and THROUGH you?