Does God ever give up on me? | Chapel Hill Online | Gig Harbor
Ever wonder if God had given up on you? Depression, anxiety, money problems, an addiction you can’t kick, or a behavior you can’t seem to change. It can feel hopeless, like God has given up, but He hasn’t! God is a finisher, not just a starter, and in this video, Ellis shares how we can hold on to the truth that the best is yet to come!
1. Are you a starter or a finisher? Explain why!
2. Read Philippians 1:6. What did Pastor Ellis mean when he said God was a finisher?
3. We’re all in this together. How are you encouraged by the truth that God is a finisher? Who can you encourage with this truth? Take some time to pray for them now and think about a practical way you can encourage them this week.
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Are you a starter or a finisher? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then think about the books you’ve read in the last year. How many did you start? And how many did you finish? Or if you’re not a reader, think about the home projects you’ve done in the last 10 years. How many did you start? How many did you finish?
I am a chronic starter. Last May I began updating our master bathroom to change the color tones from a beige to gray. I began with the floor, and I got that done in a couple of days. Next was the countertop and backsplash. My wife, Rachel, ordered all the supplies from Home Depot and had them delivered. And… they have now sat in our garage for almost a whole year untouched. I’m definitely a starter.
My wife, Rachel, on the other hand, is a finisher. We recently got a puppy. His name is Marlow, which is the name of my hometown, and he is a mini-Labradoodle. As part of his training, my wife has been attending puppy school. And let’s just say, for a variety of reasons, it hasn’t been the best experience. After week three, she came home totally frustrated. So, because I’m a starter and not a finisher, what did I tell her to do? Quit! Don’t worry about the money or the next three weeks. It’s not worth your time. But my wife is a finisher. So come hell or high water, she was determined to see that class through to the end. And she did. Last Monday, Marlow earned his doggie diploma. Sorry about the censorship. I just didn’t feel good publicly disparaging a particular puppy school. Because it didn’t get any better after week 3. So, I guess I was right. But don’t tell me wife… Are you a starter or a finisher?
My name is Ellis, and I’m one of the pastors at Chapel Hill, and you are joining us in a new series called Joy No Matter what, based upon a letter that the first-century church leader, Paul, wrote to the church in the Greek city of Philippi. As Pastor Mark shared with us last week, this was perhaps Paul’s sweetheart church. He spoke so fondly of them in his letter. And one of the major themes of his letter is joy. Joy no matter what. And I will seek to bring a message of joy to you, today, as I address the question: is God a starter or a finisher? My hope is that in the next few minutes, as you hear the answer to that question, and the implications for your faith, you will be encouraged in your faith journey, and find more joy in your life.
So, let’s take a look at what Paul writes to the church in Philippi, beginning with the 3rd verse of the first chapter.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
As we heard from Pastor Mark last week, Paul begins his letter by exuding his gratitude for the church in Philippi. Whenever he thinks about them, he thanks God, and he finds joy. Why? Because they have been partners with him in his work of proclaiming the good news about Jesus from the very first day when he arrived in Philippi over 10 years ago. And then comes the answer to the question I posed just a minute ago: is God a starter or a finisher? Here’s what Paul writes in verse 6:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
A few weeks ago, Gunnar Tesdahl, our Director of Worship, exclaimed in one of our services that, “Here at Chapel Hill, we’re Calvinists.” Now, I’ll be honest, we gave him a bit of a hard time over it, because I don’t think we’ve ever called ourselves Calvinists in the past, and it’s one of those terms that has been abused over the years. But in truth, we do trace the heritage of our beliefs back to a man named John Calvin, who lived in Switzerland in the 16th century. (Now that is what I call a beard.) Calvin was one of the leaders of what we call the European Reformation—a movement to reform the church. And from his beliefs developed something we call Calvinism…
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