THE INCREDIBLE PUZZLE Green Ridge Assembly of God May 20, 2007 I) THE INCREDIBLE PUZZLE OF THE BODY OF CHRIST 1 Cor. 12: 12-14, 27 (NIV) 12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. The puzzle is incomplete without all of us We must appreciate all the pieces of the puzzle The Lord Almighty is the puzzle designer II) THE INCREDIBLE PUZZLE OF LIFE We only receive one piece at a time. We often cannot see the finished product, and what we have constructed looks disjointed at best, and disgusting at worst! 1. Our piece is important… Don’t be impatient What if our piece is ugly? a. We don’t have the big picture in mind yet 1 Cor. 13:12 (MSG) We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! Good outcomes of me breaking my arm: 1- Greater trust in God 2- Greater trust in others 3- Increased prayer gone up for your pastor 4- People picking up the slack in many areas 5- Personal focus on the Lord 6- Slowing down of lifestyle 7- Greater appreciation of simple blessings b. Trust is all about trusting! Prov. 3:5-8 (GW) 5 Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. 7 Do not consider yourself wise. Fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 Then your body will be healed, and your bones will have nourishment. 2. Our piece is part of the finished product a. Know that God is working in us! 2 Cor. 3:18 (NIV) 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. GOD IS IN CONTROL Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. "Great", she thought. "Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry." She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn't there. She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that may find her contact lens. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains. She thought of the bible verse "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me." Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?" Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it! The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You." I think it would do all of us some good to say, "God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But, if You want me to carry it, I will." God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Yes, I do love GOD. He is my source of existence and my Savior. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him....I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13) "You Gave Me A Mountain" and I will carry it for you Lord! With thanks to Kim Jenkins b. Know that He is willing to complete it! Phil. 1:6 (NIV) 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. c. Don’t worry, be peaceful! Phil 4:4-9 (NIV) 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 3. The finished product will be glorious- God has designed it! The blueprint is the Lords!! 2 Cor. 4 (NIV) 1Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all- surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Isa 64:1 Oh that You would tear the heavens and come down, that mountains would quake before You, Isa 64:2 as the brushwood fire burns, the fire causes water to boil, to make Your name known to Your foes, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! Isa 64:3 When You did dreadful things which we did not look for, You came down, the mountains flowed down at Your presence. Isa 64:4 And from forever they have not heard, nor did they listen. Eye has not seen a God except You, who works for him who waits for Him. Isa 64:5 You meet him who rejoices and works righteousness, those who remember You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned. In them is eternity, and we will be saved. Isa 64:6 But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. And we all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isa 64:7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs up himself to take hold of You. For You have hidden Your face from us, and have melted us away because of our iniquities. Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Former; and we all are the work of Your hand. sa 45:9 Woe to him who fights with the One who formed him, a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to its former, What are you making? Or your work, He has no hands? Isa 45:10 Woe to him who says to his father, What are you fathering? Or to the woman, What are you laboring over? Isa 45:11 So says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the One who formed him, Do you ask Me of things to come? Do you give command to Me about My sons, and about the work of My hands? Isa 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man on it; I with My hands have stretched out the heavens; and all their host have I commanded. Isa 45:13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city, and he shall let My captives go, not for price nor reward, says the LORD of Hosts. Isa 43:1 But now so says the LORD who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. Isa 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle on you. Isa 43:3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Sheba for you. Isa 43:4 Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life. Isa 43:5 Fear not; for I am with you. I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west. Isa 43:6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not keep back; bring My sons from far and My daughters from the ends of the earth; Isa 43:7 everyone who is called by My name; for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because the LORD has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isa 61:2 to preach the acceptable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; Isa 61:3 to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness; so that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. Isa 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not grow weak nor weary? There is no searching of His understanding. Isa 40:29 He gives power to the weary; and to him with no vigor; He increases strength. Isa 40:30 Even the young shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; Isa 40:31 but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.