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Putting God First by Elder Matt Herring

Message Notes from Sunday 03/07/21

It is amazing what God is speaking through the Leadership Team at OGC. On the 14th (Valentine’s Day) Brother Dave spoke about Drinking from the well – the life giving well of Jesus – Dying to Self On the 21st Bro Eli spoke about Not allowing things to get in the way of your relationship with Jesus. Brother Eli Don’t have Half Hearted Efforts, Do the second mile for Jesus Take up your Cross, Deny Yourself, & Follow me In order to Deny Ourselves, we must be willing to Die to Self, and must be willing to lay some things down. Do you want Jesus to be the center of your life ????? Idolatry is an issue of the heart - God promises that through the power of the cross, we are now set free from sinful desires and can find meaning and joy in Jesus Christ. Idols are anything that takes God's place in giving us fulfillment, satisfaction, security or significance. Many of the things that people have idolized -- both past and present -- are not necessarily bad things, but good things that take bad positions on our priority tree. We are taught by the Bible to always put God first in our hearts. Colossians 3:5 says, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." We must die to self everyday (5) Five modern-day Idols that we find it hard to admit are actually taking over our lives. To Put God first we must not let these idols be above Jesus on our Priority Tree. Jesus should be at the top of our Priority Tree, not our wives/husbands or children, or anything else. We must Put God first: 5 modern-day idols we're in danger of letting take over our lives: Work. Many people look to work for a sense of significance and security. While there is nothing wrong with work, it can be dangerous when it drives our decision-making to the point of completely ignoring God's ways and desires, or we put it before things that are equally or more deserving of our time. Success. God wants us to be successful, but He does not desire success to take His place in our hearts. When we pursue success outside of God's will, we will find no satisfaction, It's particularly easy to make success an idol when we follow other people's definitions, rather than God's. Kids success Baseball, softball, their grades or academics. Phones. Or tablets or whatever cool shiny piece of equipment you carry around with you – we can't stop checking every five minutes. If you're giving your electronic device more time and attention than your loved ones, more time than God then something's wrong. Image. In the age of Facebook and Instagram, we can be obsessed with projecting the image of the perfect life, perfect relationship, perfect kids, perfect holidays, perfect friendship group... Just choose your filter and in one click, your life can look like everybody else's dream come true. But the Christian faith is about the joy found in God, more than in ourselves or the things of this world. Let's make sure we're projecting this image to others more than anything else. In amongst all those pictures of yourself and all the great things in your life, are there any pictures of your church or anything that would speak to the world of your faith in God? Materialism. This is a prevalent problem - Materialism drives us to believe that we need certain objects, possessions and substances to feel happy and content. And with internet shopping and today's global market, there's no end to the things we could buy. Now more than ever we need that fruit of the Spirit, we need self-control. We need to evaluate These 5 modern day idols in our lives - ask yourself AM I PUTTING THOSE THINGS BEFORE GOD - SELF EVALUATION REPENT MAKE CHANGES I BELIEVE YOU HAVE TO PUT MORE JESUS INTO YOUR LIFE TO GET MORE JESUS OUT OF YOUR LIFE. 8 WAYS TO PUT GOD FIRST IN THE MODERN WORLD – 8 ways to DIE to SELF Proverbs 3:6 proclaims, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success” 1) START YOUR DAY WITH PRAYER But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” - Matthew 6:33 (NIV) The Bible makes it clear that prayer is essential. Begin each day with a prayer to God, thanking Him for another day and asking for guidance to cope with the ups and downs that are sure to come. Starting the day with Christ is the best way to put God first and set the day in motion. 2) CONSIDER CREATING A VERSE CARD Another step toward putting God first take the time to write out a Bible verse, write one on a sticky note or index card — a Scripture that you can look at throughout the day as you meditate on things that truly matter. Posting this verse around the house, MIRROR IN BATHROOM, ON THE COFFEE POT, or at work, or putting it in your pocket is a great way to keep god’s word - the truth close to your heart. 3) JOURNAL YOUR FAITH For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” - 1 Corinthians 15:3 As you navigate the Word of God, consider journaling your thoughts, prayers and reflections, & the revelations God has given you. Sometimes this helps you better understand the Kingdom of God and helps keep your faith in check. A journal is a wonderful and private way to speak to God. 4) PRAY THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” - Colossians 3:2 (NIV) Don’t just pray in the morning. Be sure to make a pointed effort to call on God and to ask for His guidance as you journey through the day. Saying prayers at each meal also picking other times to remind yourself to focus on God can make all the difference, especially when problems arise. This is why Prayer and Fasting is so powerful. 5) TAKE EVERY STRUGGLE TO GOD “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. - Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) In addition to praying in the morning and throughout the day, be sure to take every decision and major struggle to God. There’s no set time frame for when prayer is appropriate, but remember that God is also the best guide when it comes to navigating tough decisions. He’s there; you simply need to BE in counsel with GOD. 6) KEEP AN EYE ON THE MEDIA YOU CONSUME Jesus said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.’” - Matthew 15:10 In a world of questionable messages often come from Hollywood and the media, putting God first means making an active assessment of what you’re listening to and watching. It’s easy to slip into bad patterns and to forget that “THE MEDIA WE CONSUME can permeate OUR hearts and soul”. If you want to put God first, it’s helpful to be sure you’re making wholesome or enriching entertainment choices. 7) END YOUR DAY WITH A DEVOTION Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” - Psalm 119:105 (NIV) Just as you start the day with God, consider ending it with the Lord in prayer and devotion. Put God first by reading the Bible or a devotional that is designed to help you learn and grow. What better way to pursue putting God first than to start and end the day with Him? 8) MAKE A LIST OF GRATITUDE In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” - Ephesians 1:7 One of the best ways to ensure that you’re living out your faith in Christ is to focus on Jesus’ sacrifice with gratitude. Consider creating an ongoing list of things in your life that you’re grateful for — a list that you build on each day. Writing down what you’re grateful for will help you focus on the positive elements in your life.

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