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Before I begin let me say that today is the last Sunday of a six week series Im sharing called, how to be a blessing. This series started at the Property Celebration where I shared that the next phase of our ministry is to bless the people who live near our property. Howeverto bless others we have to first know how weve been blessed. We cant share what we dont believe we have. So in this series Im looking at six gifts or blessings that God gives to us. These are all giftswe dont do anything to earn them. Just because were human were given these gifts by God. Ultimately our heart should burn on fire with love for God and for others because weve received these blessings. Weve gone through six. Salvation, Unconditional love and acceptance, the Holy Spirit, A role model to live our lifelove as Jesus loved. Last week Ken Mc Cullen preached about forgiveness of sins. Let me tell you where were going. Next week Im going to start a sermon series called, riding in the Presbyterian car. I havent done a series on what it means to be Presbyterianso Im going to look at that for three weeks. The purpose of our new church is not to make people Presbyterian; however we are a Presbyterian church. On our journey we travel in a Presbyterian car. In this series Im going to describe what that car looks like. Ill look at our history, the way that we are governed, our theology what makes us similar and distinctive to other denominations. I would love to answer the questions you have about what it means to be Presbyterian. Please Email me your questions to pastor@colpres.org. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in at a conference in Kansas City. So I didnt have the opportunity to write a devotion. Ill write one next week. I do encourage you to take notes. You can to it on our bulletin.

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Im really excited about this sermon to see what God does with it. But because I was away most of this sermon was written between 6 and 7:00 this week. Lets pray. Who has heard this song? I just met you, call me crazy, heres my number, call me--maybe I have a sixth graderso Ive probably heard Carly Rae Jepsens song at least a hundred times. In those lyrics Carly Rae Jepsen described what it meant to wait for a call from someone she just meant. But when it comes to a call from God Carly Rae Jepsen shared the uncertainty that many of us feel. Are you really calling me, God? Heres my number, call memaybe. Imagine the lyrics of Carly Rae Jepsens song as a prayer to God? There might not be anything more important than knowing our current call from God. When we know our call we can live with tremendous confidence and passion. When we know our call we have a purpose that goes far beyond our understanding. When we know our call we become the people God desires for us to be. When we know our call we can change the world. The reality is sometimes were like Carly Rae Jepsencall me maybe. Today Im going to look at a call. Im going to describe what it is; then Im going to share how we can discern what God is doing in our life right now. What is a call? A call is what I called the Inspirational Intersection. The Inspirational Intersection is a process of discovery where we find out the intersection of what God wants us to do and what we want to do. Its an intersection. A call is not only doing what God wants us to do and what we dont want to dothat turns God into a tyrant. () A call is not doing what we want to do and what God doesnt want us to dothat turns us into God. A call is discerning this intersection.

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This inspirational intersection is given to everyone. A call is not only given to people who have a Rev. in front of their name. Everyone receives a call. Our call changes throughout our journey. My call today is different than it was a year ago and its different than it was five years ago. It changesand its very important to know, what is my inspirational intersection today? be aware and to know to what God is calling us to do today. A call can be a job; it can be a vocation; it can be a hobby; it can be how our character is formed; its something where we say, this is what I was meant to do. This is a callits a gift; it comes from God; it is given to everyone; it changes. Our task is to discern or discover what is our call today. The big question, of course, is how do I discern Gods call? The best way would be to have God directly tell uswhere we would hear the voice of God saying, this is your call. The Bible has many call stories and many times God audibly talked or sent a messenger to talk to the people. In the story that Cathy read today, the angel of the Lord spoke directly to Gideon. The angel told Gideon that God was calling him to lead a group who would overthrow the Midianites. There was no question about what Gideon was to do. Most of us dont have this privilege of hearing the audible voice of God. Some of us might. Have any of you heard the voice of God? I never have myself. I know that God is speaking to me and I have an experience of God all the time. Most of the time my experience of God is through an impression. I have confidence in knowing when these impressions are from God. I never have heard the voice of God. The question is if we cant hear the voice of God, how do we discern Gods call?

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Firstwe discern Gods call when we know and use our own personal strengths or talents. God works through our strengths or talents and doesnt ask us to cover up our weaknesses. A while ago I was talking to someone in my office. This person really wants to discover his call. Im very much excited for him because I think he is at a growth area in her life. As he was talking he kept talking about all of his weaknesses. He kept telling me the things he couldnt do and the problems he had in his life and how they were preventing him from being the person God wants him to be. As I was listening I suddenly interrupted him. My friend, I said. God doesnt want you to work on your weaknesses. God wants to work through your strengths or talents. Dont worry about your weaknesses. Acknowledge them and let them go. Focus on your strengths. . We shouldnt be embarrassed about our weaknesses or what we cant do. Ive always been impressed with people who are open about their weaknesses. I love to hear someone say with confidence, Im not good at that. Im good at many things, but Im not good at that. . Ive shared with you before that one of my personal weaknesses is fixing things. God didnt make me that way. Ive always said that if you see me walking around the office with a hammer, call the prayer chain. My wife, Amy, is good at fixing things. Sometimes it drives her crazy that I cant fix things. I could try to get good at it. I could go to a Community Ed class or go to Home Depot for a class or call someone up and ask the person to teach me how to fix thing. But for me that would be a chore. It would be hard. Now this doesnt mean that I dont try at times to fix something or I always walk away from fixing things. The point is not to fix our weaknesses cultivate our strengths or talents. The first step at discerning our call is to know and use our strengths or talents.

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SLIDE

I want to try something. I made a list of talents. Find a partner. Look over this

list and share with that person what talents you have. Lets take two minutes. Each share with the person the talents you have. If you have time you could share with the person the talents you see in the person. CARD One more point with this strengths or talents. Its not prideful to acknowledge our own strengths or talents. It can be, but it doesnt have to be. For meIm good at playing the violin; Im good at singing; Im a visionaryI can see things in the future. Im good at that. When I say that Im not trying to bring attention to me. Im just sharing with you who I am and how I am created by God. I give God all the creditGod creatd me. Sometimes we Midwesterners believe we shouldnt acknowledge our own strengths. That when we say were good at something we are being prideful. I think we need to acknowledge our talents. They come from god. A second important part of discovering our call is to be able to identify what breaks our heart. Last spring Tiffany Chopra went to Guatemala. Tiffany was a part of our new congregation, but she moved to Prescott, Wisconsin. She loves our church, but because of the distance she doesnt worship with us. Its probably a 75 minute drive. When she came back Tiffany shared with me what it is like to see children to have to scavenge for items in a garbage dump. This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to know that in the last 24 hours a child has had to scavenge in a garbage dump. SLIDE SLIDE SLIDE This is a picture of kids at a garbage dump in Indonesia This picture was taken in China This picture is taken in Guatemala.

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This breaks my heart. I dont know what Im going to do about it. But ever since Tiffany went to Guatemala Ive been praying for children you have to scavenge in a garbage dump. At some point God is going to give me an idea to work on this. What breaks your heart? When you come across something you say, that is not right. Take two minutes with your partner again and share with that person what breaks your heart. CARD When you know your gifts and when you know what breaks your heart and when you are using your talents to work on something that breaks your heartyouve discovered your call. Frederick Buechner put it like this: The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the worlds deep hunger meet. Once we know our call we should expect resistance. Just because we know our call doesnt mean well live it out. This is where the Gideon story is so helpful. Imagine that you are God for a moment. Youve sent an angel to ask Gideon to overthrow the Midianites. The angel said to Gideon, The Lord be with you. Remember what Gideon said. Did Gideon bow down at the angels feet and say praise you messenger of the Lord. No. Did Gideon say, Im so glad that you have come. No. Did Gideon say, life is now going to get better. No. Gideon basically said, where have you been. If you are with us, why has all this happened to us. SLIDE But sir, If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian. Judges 6:13 Resistance.

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It shouldnt surprise us when we experience resistance or we resist Gods call. Our new church is living out a call right now. You and I are living out a call. Ive shared with you before that I believe God has called us to worship here at Da Vinci Academy. Ive share the story. When a call comes theres resistance. We talked about resistance this past week while we were at Leadership Institute in Kansas City. This is a conference put on by Church of the Resurrectionthe largest Methodist church in the country. Its a wonderful conference. They had 2,000 people there. At one of the workshops I attended, the speaker talked about the S curve. SLIDE Its called a Sigmoid Curve. This graphs success and this graphs time. When an organization starts a new project the Sigmoid curve often describes what happens. There is an initial period of loss or lack of success and then there is growth. But before the growth there is decline. I would even call it resistance. This is only the fourth Sunday of this new adventure of worshipping here at Da Vinci Academy. This is going to be our worship location. Its up to us to make this a dynamic and sacred space. This is where we are on the S curve. Were still getting used to this new space. We might have a feeling of loss. It shouldnt surprise us if some of us want to go back. After we go through this phase we will experience growth. I completely believe that God has called us to this place, but resistance is always part of a call. One way to overcome resistance is through prayer. Once we know our strengths, once we know what breaks our heart, once we understand that resistance happens, we pray daily for Gods help. This is the challenge of the sermon. Pray daily for this new adventure of worshipping at Da Vinci Academy. We want Gods help and support as we live out our call.

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We want to get a sense of how God is leading us. We want Gods help in overcoming resistance. We dont want to resist. To live out our call, we have to pray daily. Finally lets dream big. Too often I see people and churches sell themselves short. We in the church dont dream big enough. We dont dream big enough. I just spent a week at a church that has 14,000 people. They started with four people. They are a main-line church. Thats a big dream. One of their dreams is to stop poverty in the urban core of Kansas City. As they shared some of their strategies for doing this, I became convinced that their church can make a dent in poverty. Thats a big dream. If you look at the bible you will see examples of big dreams. God called Gideon to defeat the Midianites. Thats a big dream. Lets dream big. This week Im having meetings about what we can do to help Manna Market in Blaine. Lets dream big. I want to get something going with our younger adults in our congregation. Lets dream big. Were going to have our New Beginnings worship service on the first Sunday of Advent. That is the day were going to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood. Lets dream big. Who knowsmaybe our congregation can put a dent on poverty. Who knowsmaybe we can have a large group of young people come to faith in Jesus Christ and then change the world Who knowsmaybe we can bless the people near our property so they come to our New Beginnings service. God has blessed us with a call. Lets live it out. As we celebrate Communion today, may we be inspired by Jesus sacrifice of love to go change the world.