Sunday, January 29, 2012

Live Blogging C3 Church: Expansion and Contraction


This weekend, C3 Church continues to host our special guest, Pastor Jonathan Wilson. Stay tuned during the 11:15 am service (EST) for a live blog of the sermon. Refresh this page during the hour for a regularly updated post.

If you would like to view the service online, please click here.

11:42 am: Pastor Jonathan Wilson will be coming on stage in a few moments. Stay tuned!

11:44 am: Pastor Matt comes on stage.

11:51 am: Pastor Jonathan Wilson comes on stage and gives an introduction to his ministry.

11:54 am: Jonathan talks about a number of resources that can be acquired online or in the book store.


Today's Message: Expansion & Contraction
The foundational scripture for today's message begins with Isaiah 54:1-3.

There is something within each of us that wants to expand. We want to grow, to move forward, and increase. This is something that God wired us for. In the scripture, we see a woman that cannot have children but she yearns to have a family.

In order to have a child, she will need to expand AND contract. This is the only way that one can grow is through both expansion and contraction. In order to expand, we must go through pain. However, nobody likes the pain part.

Physically, our hearts and arteries are both expanding and contracting. Our lungs are expanding and contracting. If not, you are in trouble. To grow muscles, they must expand and contract. Every year we expand around Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the rest of the year, we spend time trying to contract [congregation laughs].

In church, the congregation must both expand and contract. During those times of expansion is when everyone feels like we're "on a roll." However, when we contract, there is pain and discomfort. What is most important is that we understand what God is doing during those times. What is our destiny and purpose?

Today, we're going to look at an example of someone who successfully negotiated the expansion and contraction of life.

Pastor Wilson turns to Genesis 49:25-26 and talks about Jacob and his son Joseph. What is it about Joseph's life that set him apart from his brothers? He was a dreamer. Pastor Wilson believes it was more than his ability to dream, but his ability to navigate his expansion and contraction of life. This gave him an edge in life that his brothers didn't have. It's one thing to have a dream but it's another thing to be in position of power 30 years later.

It all begins with the letter "P"
The first "P" is "Paternal" blessings. Joseph got his first blessing from his father. Joseph was his father's favorite. He had the run of the house. He received a coat of many colors to show just how much his father loved him. His brothers loved him for it [add sarcasm here].

Contraction #1: Pit
One day, while checking up on his family, Joseph's brothers grabbed him and put him in a pit. Later, they sold him to a caravan that took him away to Potifer. As the story continues, we see Joseph move up from a lowly position into a position of authority in Potifer's house.

Everyone loved Joseph, even Potifer's wife.

Contraction #2: Prison
When Joseph turned away Potifer's wife, she claimed that Joseph tried to take advantage of her. As a result, Potifer threw Joseph into prison.

While in prison, Joseph met a number of servants. One of the servants was a butler. During the night, the butler had a dream. When he told Joseph the dream, Joseph explained what it meant. It later came true.

Third "P": Pharaoh
The butler eventually gets out of prison and forgot Joseph. That is until one day the Pharaoh had a dream. Immediately, the butler remembered a guy named Joseph, who was still in prison. He reported that Joseph decoded a dream of his years earlier and could do the same today. Pharaoh called Joseph to decifer his dream. Joseph explained that there would be 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine.

How did Joseph know how to decode the dreams? Pastor Wilson explains it is through God's gift and Joseph's personal experience.

Impressed by Joseph's abilities, Pharaoh gave Joseph immense authority over Egypt. It was through Joseph's ability to navigate the up's and down's of life...the high's and low's...that he realized God's plan. We're happy when we're successful but deflated when things don't go right in our lives. I must be doing something right when things go well. At the same time, we say that I must be doing something wrong when things are going less than perfect.

Rather than our lives going up and down, we must understand that the movements of our lives are purely an expansion and contraction. We must change the perspective of our lives to see things as a benefit in both the good and bad times. God loves us in both the expansion and contraction times. We are blessed no matter what happens in our lives. Why? Because God is using both ups and downs to get us to the next level.

Jesus is a great example of this point. He went through the expansion of Heaven to the contraction of his mother's womb. He went through the expansion of his baptism to the contraction of 40 days in the wilderness. The expansion of his ministry to the contraction of his betrayal. Why? So that God can help us navigate the contractions and expansions of life. Because of this experience, Jesus can identify with us.

The enemy wants to crush us, but God wants to use us. Remember that when we are in a contraction, therein lies a seed for our next expansion. The enemy wants us to believe that God has forgotten us. God wants to tell you that he remembers you and knows exactly where you're going. Just remember that you are blessed in both the expansion and contraction. We are moving in both the expansion and contraction.

Do You Need A Fresh Start?
If you would like to make a fresh start in your life and receive God's love, pray this prayer:
Dear God, I realize I've sinned and I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Come in to my heart and save me. Thank you for giving me eternal and abundant life. Help me to live for you, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
To share your story, want more information about next steps, or just in need of prayer, please contact Pastor Matt Fry.

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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