Elevate Your Life in 2012

My teaching notes below from Part 1 of the new Grace Community Church series, “Elevate 2012.”  * These notes are for personal use only.  For permission for all other uses, contact info@gccnetwork.org.  (c) 2012, Terry Broadwater. *

This weekend also begins 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting- the resource for this is in your Life Journal and online.  I hope you have your teaching outline for today and you’re ready to Elevate Your Life in 2012!  Football playoffs…. Elevate your game…

Vince Lombardi, the great Green Bay Packer’s coach, who won 5 national championships and the first 2 Super Bowls, gave his last speech on June 22, 1970 to a group of businessmen in Dayton, Ohio.  A week later he would enter the hospital where he was diagnosed with terminal cancer which would take his life on Sept. 3, 1970.  Here’s a portion of what he said.

“I want to talk a little bit about attaining a goal, a success.  I want to say first that I think you’ve got to pay a price for anything that’s worthwhile and success is paying the price.  What’s worth paying the price for in 2012?  Write that down…  

You’ve got to pay a price to win, to stay on top, you’ve got to pay a price to get there.  Success is not a sometime thing- it is an all the time thing!  In other words, you don’t do what is right once in a while, but all the time.  What are you committed to doing right all the time in 2012?  Write that down…

Today we have a new ideology- that is to be homogenous, no letter grades, no classification.  The only line that some of our people seem to want today is the line between passing and failing.  There is no hunt for excellence, and you and I both know that’s the easy way.  The prevailing idea is to take the easy way and that work and effort are in unnecessary.  In truth, I’ve never really known a successful man who deep in his heart did not appreciate the discipline it takes to win.  How disciplined are you willing to be in 2012 about what matters most?  Again, write that down…

I believe that man’s greatest hour, in fact, his greatest fulfillment, is that moment when he has worked his heart out for a good cause and lies exhausted but victorious on the field of battle.  Success in life is a matter not so much of talent and not so much of opportunity, but rather of concentration and perseverance.  What will you work your heart out for in 2012?  Write it down….

I believe too, in what Robert Browning said, ‘That reach should always exceed the grasp!’ ”  What will you reach for?  What goals will you set?  What will we reach for?  Write those down…  You, me, we will need to elevate our game, our lives in 2012!

Lombardi made his players practice hard, to give the extra effort, to be the very best at a game, football!  The question for us today for 2012 is “What effort are we willing to put into what matters most in our lives: our relationship with Christ, our dedication to our family and church, and our mission to reach others?”

In this series, I want us to talk about that, to imagine the possibilities of what your life, our church, this community could look like if we elevated our “game?”  What if our greatest fulfillment was to arrive at this place next year and know we’d worked our hearts out at what matters most- a life of total abandonment to who Jesus is and what Jesus is all about?

IT COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING!! 

Prov. 14:34 Uprightness and right standing with God (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) elevate a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Amplified Bible).  This is where it starts, to desire and discipline ourselves when it comes to right standing with God!

Paul writes, Col. 3:1-2 So if youre serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.  Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Dont shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ- thats where the action is.  See things from his perspective.  (The Message). 

Did you see that?  ELEVATE A NATION!  It’s about pursuing the things that Jesus is all about, Paul writes in Colossians.  It’s about perspective.  It’s about perseverance.  It’s about a purpose worth going after!  It’s about taking our lives, our passion for Christ up one degree- 211 to 212! It’s about one more step in the right direction!  It’s about that extra effort!  Did you know in the last Olympics, the difference between the gold medal and no medal at all in the men’s 800 meter race was .29 seconds!

Vince Lombardi- “Football is a game of inches and inches make a champion.”  I don’t want this to sound silly, but what does it take for you and me in 2012 to be a champion for Christ?

What would it take in your life, in my life, in GCC to be our best for God in 2012.  Isn’t that worth reaching for and continuing to reach for?

Again from Lombardi’s last speech: “Most important of all to be successful in life demands that we make a personal commitment to excellence and to victory, even though we know that the ultimate victory can never be completely won.  Yet that victory must be pursued  with every fiber of our body, with every bit of might and all our effort.  And each week there is a new encounter, each day there is a new challenge… The difference between a successful man and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will… The difference between men is in the energy, in the strong will, in a singleness of purpose and in an invincible determination.  But the greatest difference is in the sacrifice, in self-denial, in love and loyalty, in fearlessness and in humility, in the pursuit of excellence and in the perfectly disciplined will… to elevate your life!

In 2012 what would it take to Elevate our Lives for Christ to the Next Level?  Listen to how Paul relates it- it sounds Lombardi-like…

Phil. 3:12-16 I dont mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.  But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

As we close i want to give you some practical elements that can help you, me, us, elevate in 2012.  We will examine these more closely in Pt. 2-4, but I want you to have them now, especially with our 21 Days of Prayer.  These things are what it takes to live Next Level Lives for Christ that are devoted to personal discipleship…

  • Elevate your PRAYER life!  We are starting the year, this weekend begins, 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting (see your journal).  Prayer focuses your life.  Prayer is the position you take to do spiritual warfare.  Prayer is not the last thing you do, it’s the first thing you do.  Prayer is how you get refreshed, how you learn to relate to God, and how you get revelation!  Elevating prayer is elevating your life!
  • Elevate your PURPOSE!  This is exactly what Paul is talking about when he speaks of “Pressing on to achieve perfection.”  The word he uses means to put in great effort, persevere, do whats necessary.  It’s setting the bar high and doing what it takes to achieve that mark, and then going for the next level after that!  Maybe it starts in your home; modeling Christ as a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter…
  • Elevate your GAME PLAN!  So, what’s your plan, our plan, to elevate our lives and achieve our goals?  I’ll speak specifically about this in Part 4.  You need a plan for developing and elevating your life to the next level.  The Life Journal is a resource for helping us to know and keep focused on our plan for 2012.  Specific and measurable.  Motivating.  Attainable.  Relevant.  Trackable and time-bound
  • Elevate your  in your PRIORITIES IN RELATIONSHIPS!  We’ll look more at this next weekend, but again, how will you plan to better prioritize your relationship with the Lord, with your family, others?  Right and healthy relationships don’t happen by just showing up; they happen on purpose because they’re a priority, and it’s a significant part of your plan to elevate your life and in so doing, the lives of those around you.
  • Elevate your PASSION TO REACH OTHERS!  We know the ultimate cause of Christ, the ultimate mission of Jesus and his church, is that no one would perish.  We must elevate our game when it comes to reaching people and doing our part in this mission field- 1.6 million that need Jesus!  Over 80% would attend a service if invited!  That’s why we’re strategically planning…
  • FRIEND DAY WEEKENDS- Jan. 28/29 is our first one for 2012.  Today, this week as you pray, ask God who he would have you invite.  Write their names down, pray for them.

Imagine the possibilities  What if, in 2012, every person that is a part of GCC, decided to elevate our life for Christ to the next level?  I want to show you one last video clip.  You may love or hate this guy.  And today he may or may not help his team win or lose the game, but I don’t know if there’s anyone that puts in more effort than this guy, on or off the field to live for Christ.  Here’s a glimpse into the “what it takes attitude and character to elevate your game and your life…

Ask these questions with me: Will I repent for not living my life at the level necessary to truly represent Christ?  Can I say, “You’ll never see anyone work harder than me at what it takes to follow Christ and fulfill his purposes!”

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