Being The Best I Can Be

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Good morning. I want to give folks a chance to sign on before I begin. This is Bryan Loughmiller... How are you doing this morning? I am the evangelists for the park Hill church of Christ. I appreciate everybody that will be signing on here and viewing what we're doing here in just a moment. Hello Pam. Good morning. Hope you and Mick are doing well today. Randy, hope you're doing well today as well. Others will be signing on here and viewing this video here in just a little while. I want to go ahead and make an announcement or two and and understand that the video that is being presented right now live will actually be saved to my Facebook page and will be available for public viewing following this. So, if you do not get signed on right away, that's alright, we understand, but we are grateful that you are going to be here and, and able to join me this morning on Facebook live. Things are a little bit harried right now, with the way things are going in our world. We are being forced to do things that we are uncomfortable with that we may not personally enjoy right now, but we are going to use the opportunities that we have and the technology that is available to us to be able to do the things that we're doing today.

And so I'm grateful that you've joined me and the members of the Park Hill church of Christ that are also logging in right now and viewing this with us. And I pray that everything is well with you all today. I want to make a couple of announcements here real quick before I get into the lesson itself. One of which is again, I want to be mindful and thankful to the elders here at Park Hill church of Christ for their thoughtfulness, for their wisdom. I know that the decision that they made to suspend services here for a few weeks was a very difficult one. It was one that they wrestled with very deeply, and it was very heartfelt. It was one that was not easy for them to necessarily agree on it at first. But they did come to an agreement and I know that they love the brethren here and are concerned for you physically and spiritually.

And so we need to thank them and let them know how much we appreciate their leadership. The other thing, too, is that we are going to be doing this over the next few weeks and doing Facebook live. We have a Facebook page which we will be making announcements on and bringing you up to date on on when we'll be able to worship again here at the building of the Park Hill church of Christ. But we'll also be announcing things on my Facebook page and the Park Hill Facebook page, concerning live feeds like we're doing right now. So we're looking forward to being able to do that. Hopefully over the next few weeks I will be getting some new equipment and possibly be able to do a little bit better technically. We will try to enhance what we're doing here a little bit.

Maybe you'll be able to see a PowerPoint slide on the screen as well. But these times that we are experiencing right now are, are unique to us and they are actually going to provide us with opportunities that we may not have thought about in the past. It's also a time, because we now are practicing this social distancing, with everybody that we might -- and very well could -- become slack in our service to God. And I want to encourage you today to, to be thinking about that. Some individuals might look at this and say, well Brian, what you're doing is you're forsaking the assembling. And I disagree with that right now. I know that they generally quote Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 25 but, and Hebrews chapter 10 verse 25 that was an ongoing problem. That was a condition of the heart.

That was a practice that some of them said had done and they were purposely foregoing worshiping, and assembling together and they were not even attempting to. Now there are different ways like we're doing right now in which we can assemble together. In this particular instance, we're doing it over the internet and I believe that we are trying to do what we can under the circumstances, to be the best Christians we can be. And I want you to consider that this morning because that's what I want to talk to you about and that's being the best Christian that you can be. Not only just during these difficult times, and every day for that matter, but especially now. We are now basically shut off from most of the world. You might get out to go to the grocery store, things like that, but what are we doing while we are in our homes?

What are we doing that that allows us to continue to serve and worship God the way that we should on a daily basis? I want to choose to consider for just a moment something that the Psalmist says in Psalm 139, verse 14 because he says, "I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and that, my soul knows very well." I have a tendency to look around at God's creation, but one of the things that stands out about God's creation is, man, I know, I talk about the Rocky mountains and the oceans and things like that from time to time and and talk about the beauty of that part of God's creation, but how marvelous is it that God created us in his image? How marvelous is it that you look at the intricacies of, of the human body, how marvelous it actually is. But what am I doing with God's creation?

You know, I may know very well that what He's done and I may expound the fact that it is marvelous in that example, but what am I doing with it? Am I trying to recreate it? Am I trying to do something different? Am I trying to do something outside of the scope of God's will? I found it interesting that I ran across a quote from Robert Browning, one of our poets. He said, "My business is not to remake myself, but to make the absolute best of what God has made." Are we going to be able to do that even during these times? Now consider this: Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but what are we doing with what God has made? What are we going to do with our time? How is it possible for us to be able to influence one another?

Well, obviously I believe this is one of those ways that we can do this. I mentioned that there'll be another one of these at 6:30 on Wednesday evening, but there may be more of these throughout the week or maybe if I get home in time and rework another lesson like I had planned, I might come back this evening and have another live feed, but what am I doing with what God has created? What are you doing with what God has created? Our personal conduct is often something that is seen, and also something that is not often seen. We're not able to be together right now physically, but I'm looking at my screen right now and I'm seeing faces of individuals who are joining this live chat, and I'm seeing you virtually. Now, that may not be exactly the same. I can't see the expressions on your faces, but that's all right for right now.

And I know for a fact that what we're going through is only temporary. We will be meeting together again and we will be seeing one another on a regular basis once again. But we must continue to do things that are in accordance with God's will. So, how am I going to conduct myself when you can't see me or I can't see you publicly? I want you to take those things into consideration this morning as we look at this together and think about some of the things that we can possibly do that will improve our lives as children of God, and improve our service to God along the way.

The apostle Paul said something to the church at Philippi in Philippians chapter one, verse 27, and I know the circumstances when he was writing this are different, but consider this: We are not able to see one another.

And as Paul's talking to them in Philippians chapter one verse 27 he's talking about being absent from them and then being absent from him, and their conduct when he says, "Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ so that whether I come and see you, or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel." Now there's a lot going on in that one verse, and I understand that too, but the main point that I'm wanting to grasp this morning is, is our absence from one another, is our conduct going to continue to be worthy of the gospel of Christ? Is it going to grow and our worthiness to the gospel of Christ? And so when we think of this, because we're absent from one another, we still want to hear how we are doing.

Are we able to continue to together to strive for the faith of the gospel? I believe we can. Now we're just using technology in a manner which we've not necessarily used it before. And so consider all of that, and your walk with God, our personal conduct, because, you know, we may not be able to assemble together like we're accustomed to... But how are we going to act? Remember this, and remember this well: Just because we do not see each other, because we're not able to shake hands, and hug, and encourage one another face to face, You're still not alone. And there is someone watching you. And Hebrews chapter four and verse 13 this should bring this home very quickly and very powerfully because the writer there in the book of Hebrews had talked to them about the power of the gospel in verse 11 and 12 and now in verse 13 it says, and there is no creature hidden from his sight.

Who is that his in that verse that's talking about God! We are still visible to God. In this crisis He is still seeing us. Whether we're sitting in our homes with our families... God is still seeing us. Because we not together? God still sees us. I want you to think about that. "All things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account." And so in the privacy of our homes, while we are practicing, "social distancing," as we're being encouraged to do by the CDC and other government entities, practicing the safe distancing so that we do not spread this common virus that's going around. But I asked you Wednesday evening when I did this or last week it actually, it was in the bulletin, will your faith be as contagious as this virus is? And by your continued faithfulness in the absence of one another, you will be able to be pleasing in the sight of God. And that's what we want, isn't it? Our desire through all this, is to continue to serve God to the best of our abilities. To be the very best child of God that I can possibly be. And what I want to suggest to us through all this is, this may be an opportunity for us to become better children of God, better students of his word. And so consider a few suggestions this morning as we, are together here on Facebook: Can I do more than I've normally been asked to do? Well, as a child of God, one of the things that that happens -- you've heard the expression in the past that 99% of the work of the church has done by 1% of the people. I don't necessarily believe that's true, but I do believe that there are things that you can do now that you maybe you haven't done in the past.

Can you do more as a child of God? Well, because we're having to stay home and one of the things that I really dislike more than anything else in the world these things -- I don't like phones, I really don't. But because we have that technology, we can text our friends, we can text our brother and we can call them on the phone. We can still hear their voices. We can check on them to see how they're doing. One of the things that we are supposed to do is prefer one another as children of God, and are we doing that? This is an opportunity to do that very thing, to be able to express our love and concern for one another in ways that we've never done it before. Our lives as children of God go beyond the walls of a church building.

This is just an edifice, a place where we gather together. I'm in my office right now at the church building and it's kind of odd on a Sunday morning at this particular time, not to have people out in the auditorium, but I'm trying to reach out to you in this manner to encourage you to keep on keeping on as a child of God. And you can do that very thing . There is more that you can do. You can go that extra mile. Jesus talked about that in the sermon on the Mount. Well, there is an extra mile that we can go with, not just because someone asks you to go, but because it's the right thing for us to do. We can continue to check on our brother. To keep track of them, to make sure that they're doing well, and if there's anything that we can do for them, we can do that.

We can also give a little more than what we normally do. Time is something that we have a lot of on our hands right now isn't it? If you are not considered "essential" to your place of employment, then very likely that you have been laid off, and you're spending more time at home right now. Secluded. However, there is more that you can do. You can give a little more of your time. Again, contact your brother, check on your neighbors, see if there's anything you can do for them. And see if you can be a better influence than you've ever been before in your life as a child of God. Be careful for what you post on Facebook too. Make sure that the things that you're posting on Facebook or your social media accounts, are those things that are wholesome. Those things that reveal your faith. Things that show that you're a child of God. Those things that will help cause others to want to be a Christian, just like you. Try a little more. That's the third thing. Just try a little more than you have to. And what do I mean by that? Well, I think in many ways that we put in our book, we put in our bulletin every week, a weekly scripture reading. And we make it an opportunity for you to be able to read through the scriptures once every year. Individuals quite often say, well, I don't have as much time to be able to devote to this as I normally do. Well, many of us have more time now on our hands than we've ever had before. And now as a greater opportunity to try to spend more time reading God's word. Sitting there and simply meditating upon it. The apostle Paul encouraged a young minister by the name of Timothy to give attention to reading. Reading the scriptures. The apostle Paul had also told him that he had been made known those scriptures which were able to save his soul from his youth, and now we have an opportunity to spend more time devoted to God's word to be able to, to glean the true treasures and the pearls of wisdom that are found in it.

If there's one book in particular that you want to spend time in... do that. Dig and dig deep into the scriptures and meditate upon what God is saying and I want you to consider this.

Number Four: Aim a little higher than you think possible. Set goals. If you're going to spend more time reading scripture? Set a goal for it. How much are you going to do today? How? How far are you wanting to go? But remember this, I'm not just challenging you to be reading the scriptures for the sake of reading them. I want you to read the scriptures with the opportunity to absorb them, to be able to, to consume them to a point that you remember them. That you truly write them on your heart. It's important for us that when we think about these things, not to become overly anxious with what's going on right now, and I know that during this time period, this quarantine, I don't say that I like that word, but that's what it actually is.

But during this time of public quarantine, we can still aim higher. Our goals can be better. We have to try to achieve them and strive for them. But one thing that you must do when you consider the fact that you're talking about aiming higher? Well, aiming higher means that you have to keep your focus on what you're doing. The apostle Paul to the church at Corinth said, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which were above." Collosions, chapter three, verse one, "Seek those things which are above."... where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Where is our focus? That is going to be the thing that that really stands out during this time period. We consider, like I said, all the time that we have on our hands, you know, are we going to go stir crazy? Well, some of us might, some of us might not. It depends on on what we decide to do and where our focus is going to be. What a great opportunity we have to spend more time focusing on God and our reconciled relationship that we have with him. Concentrating on the fellowship that we have with God, the father and one another is something that we have, and can do, at this particular time. The apostle Paul also said, consider this for just a moment -- today will soon be tomorrow and there won't be anything we can do with tomorrow. Saturday is in the past. Friday is in the past. We only have what we can do today. And we cannot let the doldrums, the boredom, the, the whatever was crashing in on us yesterday, to affect our today. We must keep moving forward. The apostle Paul says, "I press toward the goal of the prize, of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Well, how did he do that? By forgetting those things which were behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. We have to do that on a daily basis. We have to leave yesterday where it was, we can't worry about tomorrow. That is Jesus, in the sermon on the Mount, telling us that very thing. We will talk about... I think in one of the lessons coming up, we'll talk about anxiety and what's going on today, but right now remember this: Aim a little higher. Keep your focus where God is, where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand and keep moving toward him.

And one other thing I want you to consider this morning and that is to give more thanks to God for all his blessings. When you're saying, "Brian, I can't count this as a blessing." We talked about counting it all joy when you fall into various trials on Wednesday evening. But I want you to consider this. There are going to be blessings that you may not have considered in the past, or been as thankful for in the past, as you do now. Consider this: Many of you are getting to spend more time with family now than you have had been in the past because work consumes time. Everything that we do consumes our time. School consumes the time for children. We're not. Families are not as together. This is an opportunity to be thankful for allowing us to be able to grow together as families. Be mindful of that. Appreciate it.

You know the apostle Paul told the church at Thessalonica to pray without ceasing. Now is an opportunity to do that. Pray more than you've ever prayed before. Pray more than Daniel did three times a day. Pray more than what you have, but at the same time, let your supplications be with thanksgiving and make those requests known to God. And understand that that peace of God that surpasses all understanding is going to guard your heart, it is going to protect you. Let us draw near to God in these coming days. Let us draw near to to his word, write it on his heart because it is powerful. It has the words of salvation within it. So please take the time to be the best child of God that you can be. I found a meme on on on the internet the other day while I was researching for some things concerning this particular talk that I'm doing today, in fact it you can't see it, but it said, rise up and be the best you can be because your world is waiting for you.

Well, in many ways that's going to be true because when the Corona virus crisis is over, the world is going to be coming back together, but I want to alter that a little bit because the title of this lesson is to be the best you can be and consider it this way. Rise up and be the you can be because your father in heaven is waiting for you. Remember this, if you miss heaven, you've missed it all. I want to thank you for being with me this morning on Facebook and I hope that there has been some encouraging words that I could have given you to you this morning. I want you to keep on keeping on, keep looking toward God every day. Grow stronger in your faith, continue to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. And we would come out of this. Let's be stronger Christians. Let's have more zeal. Let's have more passion for God than we've ever had before. Let's reach out to those who have never heard the gospel and show them that through the gospel they have hope. An eternal hope. And so let's be the best people we can be because our heavenly father is waiting for us. Thank you. I look forward to being with you again on Facebook live. You all have a great day. May God bless you.