YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Eph. 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us and unto Him be glory in the church”.
· In face of difficulties, setbacks, struggles, people often feel powerless to change.
· Power of God is unlimited. He is able to work powerfully in our lives.
· Moving of God in and through us is limited by our asking (prayer) and by our thinking (attitudes).
· God has called us to be salt - hinder corruption and light (penetrate and expose what is hidden in darkness (Mt.4:13-14). He expects our lives to make a difference.
· Bible example - Gideon - challenged by God in 3 areas.
2. HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF? - ESTEEM!
Judges 6:12 “The Lord is with you - you mighty man of valour”.
· National circumstances - poverty, social and moral breakdown.
· Gideon - man full of fear, saw himself as poor, unable to make a difference.
· Man living without plans for the future, without hope - merely trying to make a living.
· Had never been warrior, mighty, leader, man of honour, influence.
· People see your past and present - God sees your potential
· “Lord is with you” - presence of God in our life increases our value and potential.
· Jn.1:12 Change begins within when receive Christ, become born again.
· God has plans for our life that fulfill us and release or potential.
· Ro.12:2 Must change thinking, attitudes or continue to live according to values, attitudes of those around us. Unless change - stagnate and drift.
· First place of change - how you see yourself once you are born again.
· Our esteem, view of self must be anchored to what Word of God says.
3. WHERE ARE YOU GOING? - VISION
Judges 6:14 “Go in this your might you shall save Israel - have I not sent you”.
· Prov.29:18 You must have vision for your life, your future or just drift.
· God wants people to have fresh view of the future - full of hope.
· God is a God of hope (Rom.15:13) - future not filled with despair, defeat, failure.
· “Go” = Take initiative, action - you must step out of comfort zone.
· “Sent” = Commissioned by God - mandate, ambassador of hope, change.
· God stands with those whom he has sent to act on his behalf.
· Mt.28:18-20 Great Commission - Go! For all Christians.
· Every single Christian has a mandate to “go”, to bring hope to others.
· God calls us to make a difference - may be not on national or city level but each of us can affect our friends, neighbours, work mates.
· You can change life of one person! - start with your own attitudes!
· Two Sauls ended their lives completely differently.
2 Tim.4:6 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness”.
1 Sam.26:21 “I have sinned, played the fool, erred exceedingly”.
The “shout of a Champion” or the lament of a defeated man!
4. WHO IS INFLUENCING YOU? - RELATIONSHIPS
· Jud.7:7 “By the 300 men will I save and deliver - let all the others go”.
· People that were fearful, afraid, negative, careless were all sent home.
· People who surround you, are close to you influence what you think/do.
· Important to have friendship with God - all his word and spirit to influence you.
· Important to associate with people who influence you positively.
· Some relationships lifelong - same spirit, values.
· Some relationships must be sought out so are encouraged so bring forth the best.
· Must not allow self to be surrounded, influenced by negative, fearful people.
· People who made a difference!
i) Fanny Crosby
· Eye infection when a young girl.
· Doctor gave wrong prescription - she was totally blind.
· Trusted God to bring gifts forth.
· Wrote many songs that touched thousands e.g. “Just as I am”, “Blessed Assurance”.
ii) Joni Erikson
· Accident - paralyzed from the neck down.
· Refused to resign to self pity.
· Trusted God to bring out the best.
· 2 books in 40 languages, 2 albums, 1 film, streams of paintings and sketches.
iii) George Washington Carver
· Negro slave in America
· Refused to become bitter over prejudice
· Trusted life to Christ.
· Became a laboratory scientist
300 uses for peanuts, 118 uses for sweet potato, 75 uses for pecan nuts.
· Transformed agriculture of South America.
iv) John Geddie
· 24 years evangelising in the Islands.
· Tombstone read - When he landed in 1848 there were no Christians, when he left in 1872 there were no heathen!
What difference will you make in our city? On the lives of those you know?
· Do not attempt to answer all the questions.
1. WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE TO YOU?
· Can you think of a person that you know who made a difference in your life?
· Share with others. What was the person like? What was it that had such an influence on you?
2. HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?
· Read Judges 6:11-13.
· What was Gideon doing when he had an encounter with God?
· How did the angel address Gideon? How did God see him?
· What was Gideon’s response? How did he see himself?
· “People see your past and present but God sees your potential”. How do the attitudes of people towards us create hindrances to us doing our best? Can you share an example?
· How can people around us help us to bring forth our best?
· Take time in the group to focus on each individual and speak what good qualities you see in that person.
· How do you usually view yourself/others? Do you mainly see the lacks, weaknesses and failures or do you see the potential?
· What could you do to develop a positive prevailing attitude to yourself/others?
3. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
· Read Judges 6:14-16
· What instructions did God give Gideon? What assurance did he give Gideon?
· What excuses did Gideon make?
· How would you describe his attitudes to himself? To God’s vision?
· How did God respond to his excuses?
· How is the mandate given to Gideon similar to the Great Commission?
· Why is it so important to have vision?
· Can you share specific goals you have set for your future, e.g. marriage, finance, family, ministry etc.
· Why do people so often make excuses rather than set clear goals for their lives?
· What direction has God been giving you? How are your acting on it?
· Read Mt.18:18-20 - What is your own personal response to the Great Commission. What can you do individually/as a group to reach unsaved people?
4. WHO IS INFLUENCING YOU?
· Read Judges 7:1-7.
· Why did God reduce the size of Gideon’s army? (v2).
· Who were the first ones to be eliminated? (v3)
· Why were the fearful eliminated from the army? (Deut. 20:8)
· How could you overcome fear in your life?
· What issue did Gideon himself struggle with? (Jud.6:27)
· What do you think was the significance or meaning of the water test?
· Can you think of people who have a positive influence on you? What are they like?
· Can you think of relationships you have with people who are very negative and draining? What could you do about this situation?
· Discuss ways you could encourage one another in your group to face and overcome personal fears.