Truth1: We are all THE SAME. We all messed up!
Truth2: God eagerly and lovingly awaits your attention. (PERIOD)
The church is a hospital. A community where people can find healing and new life. A community where we are healed and then heal others. We were found. We are a found people that find people. Come as you are. You don’t have to pretend that you are ok. You can belong before you believe. You are welcomed to show us your issues because that is the way to healing.
Today, we are going to talk about “The Same….Clothes” Turn to your neighbor and ask: “I like your outfit. Who are you wearing?” (Red carpet conversations)
My wife has told me repeatedly that she is going to overhaul my wardrobe. I know I’m getting old because I love to keep clothes and do not care at all that I’m wearing jeans that I had in college…17 years ago. I’m wearing shoes that I have holes in them. I don’t care. They are covering my parts.
Clothes are meant to cover up some things. We wear clothes to cover up our literal nakedness.
The style of what you wear and how much you wear reflects who you are and who you think you are.
Your clothes GIVE OFF a persona. They define who you are:
I brought some pics with me today since you liked the ones so much last week:
You can listen to this podcast here.
You can watch this message here.
Jesus is Risen! Just as he said! We celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ defeated death and the grave today! That is supernatural.
Unfortunately, for many there is a disconnect from that fact, and the world they currently live in. They know in their head that Christ rose from the grave, but in their heart they suffer from unfulfilled expectations, a difficult past, shame, guilt, anxiousness and the like.
When we see a group like this gather, it can be intimidating because it looks like a room full of people that are perfect, gathering to worship God, and outsiders fail to see where they fit in.
Today, We start a new sermon series that will run for the next 4 weeks called THE SAME. This series will destroy two myths. Myth1: you are different or weird because of your problems. Myth2: That God is inaccessible to you.
Truth1: We are all THE SAME. We all messed up!
Truth2: God eagerly and lovingly awaits your attention. (PERIOD)
However, there are many people in churches that are a bit confused. Confused and forgetful about where God has brought them from. They judge others thinking they have it nailed. Not realizing the pride and arrogance in their heart.
Hozier’s Grammy nominated song: “Take me to Church” has a very poignant line: “Take me church, I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.”
That is not just a perception of the church. That is a reality in many churches. When people get honest and admit to sin, they are often stabbed in the back. Church people often get upset when new people go through a process of healing instead of being instantly perfect. We can think that the people who have glaring, obvious issues will contaminate the rest of us.
It’s like the feeling I get when I pull up to the CVS drive-thru. One of the things I absolutely hate about life is the drive-thru at CVS pharmacy. That is where we get our prescriptions filled. We have some preventative meds for our daughter that we have to get every month. So we are strong and healthy but we need to get meds at the pharmacy. So, we have to go to the drive-thru. You pull up to the window and when they open that window, there is a blast of disease air that comes through that window. I envision plagues and fevers and diarrhea coming through the air as we get our prescriptions. Then, the worst part is they make you take the disease ridden pen and sign the paper. We have germ gel we take a bath in as soon as they close the window.
Here is a pic I took a while back. One of those community pens!
You know what I’m talking about!
That is the way some people are at church. They think that the problems of others are going to creep up on them.
I’m so thankful that I was raised in a church where my pastor always said, “this church is a hospital, not a grave yard.” It should be a place to find healing and new life…
NOT a place to die and be buried. Come as you are. You don’t have to pretend that you are ok. You can belong before you believe.
Eugene Peterson said, “When Christian believers gather in churches, everything that can go wrong sooner or later does…Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners…So Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. The are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced and dealt with.”
PromiseLand is a place that welcomes those struggling and looking for a home. This is a place that is not going to condemn or judge the outsider. You are welcomed to show us your issues because that is the way to healing.
We wouldn’t go to a hospital and neglect to tell the triage nurse what is going on. That is the perfect time to make your case! Here is how I am messed up! The truth: we are all wounded. We all have wounds from the past. We all have sin in our past. We all sinful, awful attitudes and actions. We have all done things. We have all had things done to us.
What if we knew we weren’t alone?
What if we ceased fire on one another?
What if we started looking like the church that Jesus had in mind?
Where would we begin? We would begin being honest.
We are going to do something today that is incredibly risky.
However, that’s cool. PromiseLand San Marcos is going to be a church that does risky things in order to be a place of healing and authentic life change. There is a little slip of paper in the seat in front of you. Take it out. I would love for every single one (of you member, guests, attenders) to participate in this. I guarantee it will make a big impact if we all participate.
Take out the card and a pen/pencil DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON THE CARD. THIS IS ANONYMOUS. During this next song take a look at the screens and read the questions. For each question simply circle yes or no. If you need a little space, then spread out a little bit, you can stand up go to the wall, no cheating and looking on neighbors paper. Some of these questions are personal, invasive, difficult, they might be something that you have never revealed to anyone. Let me be clear, since this is anonymous, no one will ever know what you put on this paper.
If you can do it, please do it! I promise you there will be a point in a few minutes where this will all be worth it.
I heard one time that vulnerability is the definition of courage.
Let’s start being courageous:
- Have you ever struggled with Depression?
- Have you ever found yourself struggling with fear or anxiety?
- Do you have anything in your life that you haven’t been able to quit doing?
- Do you have anything in your life that you regret?
- Do you have anything in your life of which you are constantly ashamed?
- Do you have any secrets that you’ve never shared with anyone?
- Have you ever been abused or abusive?
- Have you ever cut yourself or intentionally harmed yourself?
- Have you ever thought about or attempted suicide?
- Have you ever had a physically intimate relationship with someone you aren’t married to?
- Have you ever abused alcohol or drugs?
- Do you struggle with attractions, temptations, or thoughts that you know are outside of God’s will for your life
- Have you ever lied to someone in your effort to hide your actions?
Now take your card and fold it in half, 5x, make origami, Then pass it to your right. There will be people coming down the aisle collecting these. Again, it’s totally anonymous. No one knows who you are or what you put on the card. (don’t open your neighbors and peak) I’m asking all the ushers to now go to the opposite side of the sanctuary and redistribute the slips of paper. Mix them up a little bit. As a bucket goes by, pick one paper out.
Let’s go ahead and find out our survey results right now.
Today, we are going to lay down our shame and Today, we are going to lay down our stones.
The paper you are receiving now is not your own. We randomly mixed these together and now you are holding someone else’s paper. You don’t know who that is. You don’t know who holds yours. We are going to represent each other right now. I’m going to go through these questions and I want you to represent the person that you are holding. If the person you represent circled yes on a question, as I call it out, please stand up.
We think we’re alone. We are not. We think we are the only ones. We are not. We are THE SAME.
I don’t really like to tell people that I am a pastor because as soon as I tell them I’m a pastor the conversation and relationship changes. People often censor their stories around me. They think I will be shocked by their story. Ooohhh can’t tell pastor about that. He probably never heard of that stuff….Pretty much, that is all I do. People ask me what I do during the week. Listen to people talk about their sin. Just the other day on the ski lift I was another guy here in the church and we were just sitting there listening to the other two guys on the lift. They were talking about partying and smoking weed and all this stuff, then one of them happened to look at my skis…
One of them said, ‘Oh, are you a Rev?” and the guy with me said “yeah, he is my pastor!” and immediately the conversation changed. Why? because of the social concept of a pastor. The guy who was just talking about partying said, “oh yeah, well I’m non-denominational. God’s beauty is so amazing out here.” As we got off the lift the other guys said, “Well, you guys have a glorious day”
They were so polite, but they thought they had to display a different side of themselves for me because I was a pastor.
You are not going to shock me with your sin, and that is just me. A pastor.
We don’t shock God with our sin. We don’t surprise God or make him think “oh no. What am I going to do with this one. This one finally tripped me up.” NO!
God knows exactly who you are, where you are headed AND you are safe around him.
If you are tired of the SAME ol’ SAME ol’
If you want to end the SAME cycle of addiction
If you are ready to finish the SAME habits as your dad and granddad and great granddad
I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever.
Romans 8:11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this SAME Spirit living within you. 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Philippians 2:5 Let this (SAME) mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 3:8 (we are all the SAME) Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
“the SAME” has been getting a bad rap because it mostly is associated with negative, boring, or monotonous patterns. But God gives SAMEness a new look. Look at the possibilities of when our SAMEness is transformed into His SAMEness!
Today, instead of focusing on our SAME brokenness, let’s focus on Jesus. We as believer, can boldly say because of our faith in Jesus, “oh, yeah, I am the SAME.” “I’m the SAME as he has always been.” This begins to redefine your past, present and future. When you put your faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then you have access to a new YOU.
You have a access to a new definition of your past. I am the son or daughter of Jesus.
Therefore, my past is being converting from something that I have always been ashamed of into my story. I’m now a witness of how God can change a heart.
Today, I hope that you leave here with some new thoughts.
If you thought you were alone, You aren’t.
If you thought you weren’t welcome, You are.
If you thought there was no hope, There is.
If you thought you could never be honest, You can.
If you thought this was a church of perfect people, you are on crack.
If you thought it is a church of forgiven people, It is.
If you want more, if you want freedom, you can have it.
If you thought Jesus was interested in condemning you, He is not.
If you thought the church could not be a safe place for someone like you, this one is.
This is not a perfect place. We are going to mess up as leadership team. We will bump into each other, we will miss it sometimes, but we are committed to be a community that loves one another and walks together towards Jesus!
Originally posted on Abiding in the Kingdom:
The clouds were hanging down like big grey mushrooms, and the wind was picking up from a norther that was blowing in. It was early October, in the year of 1935, near Guthrie, Oklahoma, and what had started as a nice warm day was now getting cold, dark and forbidding to the little blond haired boy making his way through the brush. Papa was laid up again, and the cows had to be in the barn before it got dark. When you are five years old, it’s not easy being the man of the house, but Wayne never hesitated when they told him to go get the cows.
Problem was, it was cold, and his old thin hand-me-down shirt did little to protect him. It was getting dark and scary looking. Feeling all alone, he stopped beside an old tree stump that blocked part of the wind and peered down…
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Because He loves me, he traversed, climbed, descended to find me so that he could then extend, suffer, atone, and substitute himself for me in the place of my sin, suffering, abuse, neglect, sickness, illness, disease, death, eternal hell, self, pride, ego, loneliness, depression, fear, lack of knowledge, pain, and injustice…so that I can know God.
Because He loves me.
Martin Smith wrote it like this: Over The Mountains Over the Sea Here You come running my Lover to me When I feel the cold of winter And this cloak of sadness, I need You All the evil things that shake me All the words that break me, I need You Over The Mountains Over the Sea Here You come running my Lover to me Do not hide me from Your presence Pull me from Your shadows, I need You Beauty wrap Your arms around me Sing Your song of kindness I need You Over The Mountains Over the Sea Here You come running my Lover to me All through the valleys Through the dark of night Here You come running to hold me till it’s light In the garden of Gethsemane, the night that Jesus was betrayed and sent to his execution. They came after him with clubs and swords. Yet, Jesus did not fight arrest in Garden. He willingly went.
Matthew 26:55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
They took him before the Religious leaders of the day. He did not fight the accusations, nor defend the truth.
Matthew 26:59 the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death… 62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven. 67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”
Jesus could have been released by the Roman Govenor, Pilate. When given the opportunity to plead his case and be released, Jesus traversed that temptation, he rejected the easy route. Jesus knew that in order for us to be in relationship with God, that there was a price to pay. The bill was much too expensive for me and you. But…Because He loves us, He searched and found us. You see our separate from God is much more than a long distance or a tall boundary or wall. We actually are close to God, yet we hide from him. Yet, he looks for us, because he loves us.
Matthew 27:13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
Jesus never fought with the soldiers, instead he fully complied.
Matthew 28:27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
At each turn in the story, Jesus is making his way to you. He is searching the valleys and ascending the high mountains. Where is Pete? Where is Monica? Where is Robin? Where is James? Where is Sharon? I hear them crying. I know they are hurt. I know they are separated from me and are afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid of me. But, I’m looking for you! You are my love.
Song of Solomon 3:1… I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not. 2 I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not. 3 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go Song of Solomon
Matthew 27:32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. 35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.
Matthew 27:40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”…42“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!
Instead of answering the accusations, he spoke to us. His actions on the cross speak volumes to people across the world. Transcending every nation, gender, race, and creed. Instead of answering his critics, His actions on the cross whisper across the timeline to you as you cry and mourn, as you suffer, as you celebrate:
Song of Solomon 1:8 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. 9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, looking through the lattice.
As we read through the Story of Jesus’ sacrifice, we hear him call to us
10 My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, 11 for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
Today, let’s answer back. Today, let’s respond with our acceptance. Today, I have faith in Jesus. My hope is in his Resurrection. I love Him.
Here are the sermon notes from week 3 of our series called: Talking to God. Click here to listen to the podcast of this message.
Jesus showed us how to talk to God: LET’S READ THIS TOGETHER:
Matthew 6:9 … “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
The last two weeks, we covered verse 9. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Our Father in Heaven, may your name be kept holy! Today, let’s talk about that one line: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Those of you who were with us in the summer know that I had severe pain in my back and right arm in association with herniated discs in my lower neck. I had tremendous pain in the middle of the night. Couldn’t sleep. I lost about 30-50% of muscle in my right arm. We prayed, I went to a chiropractor and PT and took some ipubrofen. All of it. Over time, the pain went away in my back. My arm is getting stronger. I did a lot of research. Talked to doctors. Go an MRI. Talked to doctors and therapists. Here is one fact that I learned in all of this process:
You can have a problem before you have a symptom.
We spend most of our life trying to get rid of a symptom and we think if we have no symptoms that we are all good. The truth is that the problem begins to root itself in before you ever know it. My physical therapist told me that around 70% of people have herniated discs and don’t even know it because they don’t have any symptoms yet. The disc is bulging but not pressing on a nerve. Basically, your spine can be misaligned before you ever see a symptom. We need to strengthen the muscles and realign. When it comes to our spiritual life. The principle is the same thing! Our spirit needs realignment. Our thinking needs adjustment. This is the whole meaning of : “Your kingdom come, your Will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” This part of the prayer is called the “Lordship petition”
This Part of the conversation Realigns our Desires and Adjusts our Thoughts
This is the realignment of our heart. This is the re-centering of our mind. Augustine was a 4th century church father. He said “God is reigning now, but just as a light is absent to those refusing to open their eyes, so it is possible to refuse God’s rule.” This is the cause of all our human stress, anxiety, fear and anger. We naturally get out of alignment with God. We have placed other people or things in a place where only God deserves to be. We have given other things or people lordship over our life. Therefore, we need his kingdom to “come”. This is a VITAL part of talking to God. Before we get to any of the other parts of the conversation, we need to make sure that we are centered around His Kingdom and His Will. This is like a mini-communion service you are having in your house or prayer time. Communion is when we eat of the bread and drink the Lord’s supper and re-center our life and this is the gist of this part of the prayer. Just the other day I was speaking to a friend and she talked about how she goes through difficult times and in time realizes that she needs to trust in God for each step that she is taking. God gives her clarity, it makes sense, and she finds peace, but then she said, “it is so easy to forget and I get lost in cycle of life and doubt again.” YES, exactly! That is why we pray! That is why we daily re-center around the Kingdom. This part of Prayer is all about maintaining the right focus and vision of your life. This is why Jesus included this part of the prayer. IF we talk to God everyday AND include this section, “Thy Kingdom Come”, we have a daily realignment until we are aligned permanently with his Will. I don’t know when that happens, but we keep praying until…
We ask God to so fully rule us that we WANT to obey him with all our hearts and with joy.
One well known prayer says it like this: “Grant us grace to bear willingly all sorts of sickness, poverty, disgrace, suffering, and adversity and to recognize that in this (difficulty) your divine will is crucifying our will.” We don’t understand it, but we trust. Jesus prayed this exact prayer in garden of gethsemane. This is why we trust him. Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything that he hasn’t already done for us. Without trusting God, we try to take God’s place and seek revenge on those who have harmed us. However, We are protected from character assassination, slander, backbiting only if we lwarn to commit ourselves to God. Thy Will Be Done gives us peace. If not, we feel compelled to try to control people and control our environment and make things the way we believe they ought to be. Thomas Cranmer(burned at the stake) said, “May we obtain all you have promised May we love all you have commanded” Martin Luther, “May your future kingdom be the consummation of what you have begun in us.” The beginning of prayer is all about God. We are not to let our own needs and issues dominate prayer, rather, we are to give pride of place to praising and honoring him, to yearning to see his greatness and to see it acknowledged everywhere, and to aspiring to full love and obedience. God centeredness comes first because it heals the heart of its self-centerness, which curves us in on ourselves and distorts all our vision.