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Joseph LephiewIt's a Wonderful Life, Series, Sermons

Sermon Notes

Click here to watch video clip of the angel “Clarence” trying to convince George Bailey he’d really had a wonderful life.

Around this time of year so many people begin to look at their lives thorough eyes of lack and negative. It’s so easy to see what you don’t have, what you have not accomplished, where you fail or come up short. This mentality creates so much stress, pain, hurt, emptiness, depression.

WHAT DO WE SEE WHEN WE SEE?

Have you had the experience where you and others where looking at the same thing and you asked what did you see or what did you like the most or something like that and everyone else seen something else. We all see different things when we look at the same things.

What are you looking at and what do you see?

This past weekend Yvonne and I went up north to Flagstaff for your anniversary. We got a place with a fireplace and kitchen. It looked just like the Christmas movie Chanel. We talked, prayed, enjoyed each other company.

We talked a lot and asked questions to each other. It was amazing. It has continued since coming home. Yvonne asked me with all the struggles and challenges I have had personally these past 4 months what sticks out the most in my learning or growing.

Everything in life happens. Life happens so you may not be able to control it, but you do have the power to create from it. You have a choice in how your respond or react to life. We have a choice to the meaning we place on the experience.

I said for me, I have made a paradigm shift around TIME & LIFE. I see time in a totally different way. I used to believe I had lots of time so I lived like that. Now Time is precious and I want to make the most of it. I took time for granted. I took my health for granted. I took God for granted. I took my marriage for granted. I took the ministry for granted. I took relationships for granted. I took my gifts and callings for granted.

What does it mean to take something for granted? To fail to properly appreciate (someone or something), especially as a result of overfamiliarity. To underestimate the value of. To never think about something because you believe it will always be available or stay exactly the same.

To fail to properly appreciate someone or something. We take for granted our families, in-laws, people that helped us move forward in life.

Over familiarity is a great word. You become so familiar that you take it or them for granted.

Remember the scripture that says a prophet has no honor in his own country. That is over familiarity. To underestimate the value. We really do not realize the value till it’s gone.

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey can not see what is the real value. He sees only what he does not have. He sees only the problems. He sees thing a distorted vision.

This is why so many of us are looking thru the wrong lenses of life. We can see what we don’t have. Or we can see all that we do have, like stuff. This is a time God has us to see what is really important and what is of real value.

It is so easy to take things for granted because we believe they will always be there waiting for us when we want them.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”
John 10:10 AMP

This says it is Gods Will we have this Abundant Life. Having it and enjoying it till it is full and overflowing called LIFE. Yet so many people do not. They did a survey of millions of Americans.

Americans are getting more miserable and there is data to prove it. The data says only1 out 3 people are really happy. They say that America has an epidemic of addictions that is causing our nation to be the top of worry mentality. Addictions in technology. Social media, phones, texting, etc. The average senior in high school spends up to 6 hours a day in these area. This addiction is what is effecting homes, health, relationships, etc.

We can’t see what is really important anymore, its our culture. Incorrect values. What is really valuable is not seen as valuable anymore. Your children will grow up and what will they remember about you? Marriages pull apart and go separate ways. Where is the value? Our health is declining in America, no value because we take these important things for granted.

The life this life God offers is a gift. With a gift you must first receive it. We have these movies like the grinch and Scrooge where they do not know the real value of love and life.

Things you take for granted get taken.

Everybody gets gifts they really don’t want during this season and several years ago “USA Today” conducted a survey among adults to find out what they do with that not-quite-right holiday gift:

31%: Keep it, 30%: Hide it, 13%: Toss it, 12%: Give it away, 6%: Return it.

In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” George Bailey had a gift that he wasn’t sure he wanted. His gift was the gift of life. And his life had seemingly fallen apart all around him. He just knew he was going to lose his business, his livelihood. He faced prison for something he hadn’t done.

And as a result of all this… his family faced shame and poverty.

In desperation, he pleads with his arch-enemy (Mr. Potter) for a loan on his life insurance. Potter gleefully observes “George, you’re worth more dead than alive!”

And thus, George Bailey decides that his only solution is to throw himself off the bridge into the frigid waters below and at least supply his family with the money from his life insurance.

But God steps in and an angel is sent to earth to stop George Bailey before he can take his life.

But how do you convince a man that the gift he wants to throw away is in reality far too valuable to be destroyed?

The angel’s solution: to grant George Bailey’s wish and show him what life would’ve been like if he’d never been born. So, as George tries to get back to his home, he finds that…

• the town he’d worked so hard to build up and protect had become a den of iniquity and evil

• the pharmacist – who George saved from a tragic mistake – has become the town drunk

• his brother Harry whom he’d saved from falling thru the ice, dies because George wasn’t there to save him and the hundreds of men died that Harry would have saved during the war, because Harry wasn’t there to save them.

• and the beautiful woman he’d married and had had such wonderful children with ended up becoming a wretched, dejected and lonely spinster.

George Bailey finally understood how wonderful his life had been because he was allowed to see how much would have been lost if he had never been born. That – which he’d been tempted to throw away – he came to realize was too valuable to lose.

“Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.”
Hebrews 13:16 MSG

“Do not neglect to do good, to contribute [to the needy of the church as an expression of fellowship], for such sacrifices are always pleasing to God.”
Hebrews 13:16 AMP

Make sure you don’t take things for granted.

What does it mean to take something for granted? To fail to properly appreciate (someone or something), especially as a result of overfamiliarity. To underestimate the value of. To never think about something because you believe it will always be available or stay exactly the same.

You go slack in working for the common good. Common good are those here in our family of God. Help those that could use help.
God gave you and I gifts, but they are to be used and shared and given to help others.

Give your gifts, acts of worship.

“Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor].”
1 Peter 4:10 AMP