1. How are you actively and intentionally considering God’s plan for your life in your decision making?
2. What have you noticed has an impact on how you make decisions? Are they good things or things that may be driving poor decision making practices?
3. Which of these is most difficult for you and why? a.) CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD’S PROCESS? b.) CHOOSE TO STICK TO GOD-PLEASING PRIORITIES? c.) CHOOSE TO LIVE WITH GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE?
Well good morning everyone! Welcome to Hope City Church! In case we haven’t met, my name is Peter and I get to serve as the Pastor here at Hope city, and today we get to do a little throw back for many of you. How many of you have a little PTSD looking at this image?
Do you remember the Scantron tests? Alright everyone, get your #2 pencils out and fill in the bubble completely. No mistakes, if you erase it, it needs to be erased fully and completely. I can remember taking some scantron tests and figuring out how much each answer was and determining how many of the questions I could just guess on because there was just way to many… I CAN”T ANSWER THIS MANY QUESTIONS!
It seems that YOUR CHOICES CREATE YOUR LIFE. Right? We think about:
- What to eat, what to wear, what to purchase
- What we believe, what jobs and career choices we will pursue, how we vote
- Who to spend our time with, who we will date and marry, what we say and how we say it
- Whether or not we would like to have children, what we will name our children, who our children spend their time with, what they will eat, etc.
Here’s a Multiple Choice Question for you…. You all ready for this? Alright…
How many decisions does the average adult make in one day?i
- 12,000 (b) 8,000 (c) 35,000 (d) 19,000
Fill in the bubbles all the way… come on now… No cheating. Don’t look at everyone else’s test… That’s right. It’s (c) 35,000!!!
You ready for question #2? Sharpen your pencils… I’ll give you a chance to redeem yourselves… you ready? How many of the 35,000 decisions are food related?
- 497 (b) 3 (c) 912 (d) 226
Well, what do you think? How many of you think it’s A, how about B, anyone for C, or is it D? Well for those of you who answered D, 226, you would be correct!
We are faced with a myriad of choices everyday! And it seems that YOUR CHOICES CREATE YOUR LIFE! So, on average you’re making a decision about every second and a half. It’s no wonder that we are faced with what psychologists are calling Decision Fatigue! Decision Fatigue is what happens when you get worn out from making decisions all day…
No matter how rational you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts.
I experience this from time to time on Friday’s. Friday’s are my day off, and so I’ve worked all week, I’ve made decisions all week. I’ve analyzed those decisions, I’ve executed the decisions, and now I get to my day off and I’m just done making decisions! Tiffany will say, “what do you want to do today?” And do you know what I say? “I Don’t Know!” Why? It’s not because I don’t have an opinion on what I want to do, it’s because I just don’t know. It’s almost too hard to know. It’s too hard to have a decision. Your mind can get to a place where it is so tired that it is hard to make a decision.
Have you ever found yourself so tired of making decisions that you just pick one? You just fill in the bubble? You throw caution to the wind, you give up and just say, whatever happens happens?
The other problem is that you I experience another form of decisions and that is COMPOUNDING DECISIONS. Compounding decisions start with one choice that splits into a few other choices, and each of those choices split into a few other choices and then those choices split into other choices and then those choices split into another set of choices. And now look what happens. Based upon the choices that you make you can end up on one side of the spectrum or the other!
Let’s think about this… I don’t want you to miss this… THE THINGS THAT WE EAT are a COMPOUNDING DECISION. The decisions that we make about eating move us from either being healthy, or being sickly.
Or what about THE WAY THAT YOU SPEND YOUR TIME? Make some decisions about how you spend your time… like, do you let Netflix put another show on, or do you hit pause and turn it off? Do you flip through the pages of a book, or flip through your social media pages? How you spend your time will lead you towards being productive or unproductive.
There are also DECISIONS THAT YOU MAKE, choices that you make which lead you to experience JOY in life, or experience the absence of JOY; fear, anxiety, depression.
In our series Multiple Choice, we know that there are 35,000 decisions that you are going to make today… what if we could make a few good decisions that increased our JOY? What if we could experience MORE JOY in our day? For the next 4 weeks we are going to dive deep into the New Testament book of Philippians, which was written by the Apostle Paul to the city of Philippi- a prosperous Roman colony.
Now, here’s the crazy thing… we need to understand that Paul actually wrote this letter, while he was WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED! I don’t know about you all, but if I’m even just wrongfully misunderstood, like if my kids think the worst of me, and don’t give me the benefit of the doubt, if they don’t trust me… I get all bent out of shape!
What about you? What gets you frustrated or bothered? My guess is it’s a lot less than being wrongfully imprisoned! So now imagine all of that happening to you, and you’re going to write a book about JOY at the same time!!! That’s actually something I’d read. Not something written about Joy from a sprawling waterfront property in Hawaii while you private chef brings you fresh squeezed juices and lobster tail.
No way! I want to read about someone who has found joy in the midst of CHAOS and CONFINEMENT! That’s got some legs to it.
That is the position that we find ourselves in here in the book of Philippians. I’d love for you to turn with me to Philippians 1 on page 802 in the Bible’s around you. Today we’re going to take a look at the first chapter of this book, where we are going to identify 3 ESSENTIAL CHOICES TO LIVE A JOYFUL LIFE.
Interestingly enough this little three letter word, JOY appears 16 times in some way shape or form in this short book. In contrast, the first 6 books of the Bible Genesis, through Joshua, Joy doesn’t even appear once! But there are 16 references in these 4 chapters. So today, we’re going to look at the first four times that Joy appears in this book and the first one is right there at the start of the first chapter of Philippians where Paul says,
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ii
Right here, in the very beginning we see something about Paul. We see that Paul has made a decision. He has learned something about how out of all of the choices in life there is one essential choice that he needs to make in order to live JOYFULLY and that is we need to PT. 1. CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD’S PROCESS. Don’t forget that the person who is writing this to the Philippians is writing this form confinement and chaos. Paul is in prison after being unjustly jailed. And yet he says, TRUST GOD’S PROCESS!
You have to trust God’s process, because life is filled with so many people who will try to keep you from experiencing JOY! You’ve got your full rotation… you know? You’ve got Debbie Downer, Negative Nancy, and Sour Sally. Each of them wants to come at you and hijack your joy! They’re always excited about pointing out the worst in the world. The latest disease. The recent outbreak of salmonella, or E.coli in lettuce. Life is filled with so many KILLJOYS, or people or situations that want to steal your joy! And one of the biggest KILLJOYS is when you allow what Paul calls, “Light and Momentary Troubles” to derail you.
One of the quickest ways to lose JOY in the midst of anything less than ideal is to forget the truth that the ONE who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion.
So what happened… Did you MESS UP AGAIN this week? Did you and your spouse get into another FIGHT? Did you get into a YELLING MATCH with your kid? Do you feel like no matter what you’re never going to get it right? You want to GIVE UP?
Listen to God’s words for you today: PT. 1. CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD’S PROCESS. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus- God finishes what He starts! So take heart! Don’t be discouraged. Trust God’s process.
When Tiffany and I first got married, through the help of some friends and family we were able to purchase our first house. It was a foreclosure. And before we could even get a loan on the house, I had to get the water to work and the heat to work. That was contingent on us getting the deal. Well we sold that house and made a little bit, and purchased the next house and did the same thing. We worked on it… we opened up the floor plan, redid bathrooms, installed a new kitchen, we did loads of work to this house as well. And when it came time to sell, we again made some money. And then we moved here to Florida.
Moving here, I wanted to get another fixer upper. I wanted something where I could potentially increase the value… And do you know what? We didn’t do that. We bought a house that needed a little bit of paint and that’s about it. For the first year, I thought to myself, did we make the biggest mistake of our real estate career? Did we mess up? And then God said, (Pt.1 slide) TRUST THE PROCESS. Because at the time, we didn’t yet know that we were going to be building a house, it was just going to be a different kind of house. 3 years ago God called Tiffany and I to build this house, HOPE CITY CHURCH, and there is no way that I could be building two houses.
Have you ever wanted something so bad, and not get it? Only to find out that what you were going to get instead was far better? This is what Paul says next… look at this:
12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. iii
Who is this guy? What is it going to take to Hijack Paul’s Joy? Not even wrongful imprisonment!!! He continues.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill… 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,iv
Do you know what else is a serious KILLJOY? Not having your PRIORITIES straight. Letting the little things IN LIFE derail you from the truly big and more important priorities OF LIFE. And there is no bigger priority for a believer than Jesus. I love Paul’s thought process here. He’s like, Yeah, you know some people are preaching Christ for good reasons, and others for bad reasons. In other words, did you know that some people will do good for GOOD reasons… and others will do good for BAD reasons? What does Paul say in verse 18?
What does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice!
Don’t miss out on this… Paul’s PRIORITY was Jesus. He literally says that the most important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached! That’s what matters…
From Paul we can see that a second essential choice to living a Joy filled live is we need to PT. 2 CHOOSE GOD PLEASING PRIORITIES. When you keep the main thing God’s thing, you won’t sweat the small stuff, even wrongful imprisonment! Hahaha…. Right? This is why Paul is able to say a the end there, “Because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.”
It’s so much easier to experience Joy when you know that your priority is correct. You don’t have to spend any time wondering…
At home, with my kids and my wife Tiffany, I don’t have to wonder if I’m doing the right thing, or if I’m taking care of them when I’m putting them first, and serving them. Some guys I know, they always wonder, am I making my wife happy, have I done enough. I would say, you need to switch your priorities. If you choose the right priorities, you’ll never have to wonder.
The last essential choice that we need to make to live a joyful life is found just a few verses later here in Philippians 1:21, look at this:
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. v
Let me tell you something. Happiness depends on HAPPENSTANCE, or the things that happen to you. Or another way of saying it is that HAPPINESS depends on HAPPENINGS… on circumstances. It’s about External forces. JOY on the other hand is more INTERNAL. It’s more constant and foundational. It doesn’t shift or sway.
What we see in this last part of what Paul is sharing with the Philippians is that you can’t have JOY without PURPOSE. Which is why we must, PT. 3 “CHOOSE TO LIVE WITH GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE”. If you’re missing out on your God given purpose in life you will be missing out on the JOY God intended for you. But in the moment that you find your God-given purpose in life, Joy will not be far behind. And what does Paul say? To go on living for Jesus. That’s his purpose. Paul’s purpose was to LIVE for the one who DIED for Him.
Paul says, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. And that’s what he did. He lived for the purpose of Christ. Vs. 25 “Convinced of this… I will continue with all of you for your PROGRESS AND JOY in the faith.”
What if the reason God gave you breath in your lungs today was for your progress and joy in your faith? Wouldn’t that be amazing? And yet, that’s true. The only reason that God has woken you up in life today is for you to have PROGRESS & JOY in your faith. Here at Hope City we say a lot, that we want to partner with you, and partner with God, to help you take your next step in your journey of faith… or to help you with your progress. And we want you to FIND HOPE and EXPERIENCE HOME. We want you to experience JOY!
This is why Paul says, and I echo as your pastor, I want to continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith. Of all the decisions that you have in front of you today. There maybe 30,000 more decisions that you’ll need to make today. But let me ask you, which of one of these three decisions would have the greatest COMPOUNDING EFFECT in your life?
Do you need to CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD’S PROCESS?
Do you need to CHOOSE TO STICK TO GOD-PLEASING PRIORITIES?
Do you need to CHOOSE TO LIVE WITH GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE?
Which one of these three are the hardest for you. I have a feeling that whichever one that is, God wants to meet you there and restore your joy today. OF all the multiple choices that you’ll face today. CHOOSE JOY.