Relationship Goals | Sermon Notes Week One

relationshipgoals_main

Whether you realize it or not, we all have goals or a vision for dating, marriage, kids, retirement.  It might be specific, positive, broken, from your family heritage, from Danielle Steel, TMZ, Walt Disney, or the somewhere else…

#relationshipgoals is a big deal on the internet. People will put a picture with a comment and add #relationshipgoals.

There are some really CRAZY goals out there! Crazy. People are putting some crazy things online. I found some this week when I was searching the net.

Check these out:

 

relationshipgoals_meme3  relationshipgoals_meme1  relationshipgoals_meme2

How many here have been married more than 20 years? More than 30? More than 40?

I have been married to Erica for 17 years.  We have 3 lovely kids.  However, there were some relationships previous to Erica.  Not gonna lie. (was not married before Erica, but dated several before Erica.

Dating is a difficult season of life.  If you are dating right now or thinking about dating, I am so glad that you are here for this series. IT WILL HELP YOU.

Dating is so awkward.  I remember a really, really, really awkward time when I was dating.

I was on a hayride. Oh, when you are dating, hayrides are so romantic. Cold weather, hot chocolate, Christmas carols, all your friends, chill in the air.  Dark, countryside.  FUN!  We were sittin in the hay in the trailer. All my friends around and a pretty girl beside me (that I was interested in but had never “talked” to her). It was really chilly so we had a blanket covering us.  We were all packed in under the blanket joking around, singing, chatting.  I started thinking, I want to hold her hand.  You know…under the blanket so I ease my hand over and feel hers. She is receptive! We sort of hold hand for 30 minutes! So exciting. Heart buzzing.  Wow!

Little did I know that my best friend sitting on the other side of her had the same idea.  He had done the same thing! When the blanket came off at the end of the ride, we both discovered that we had had the same idea and we weren’t holding her hand.  We were holding each other’s hands!!!

Can you imagine what was going on in the girls mind this whole time????  These guys are really weird.  She never said anything the whole time!!

Dating can be so complicated.  A huge mistake many people make is think that marriage will uncomplicated things for us.

The truth is marriage only exaggerates the complication.

Over the last 13 years as a pastor, I have counseled with hundreds of people with bad relationship goals.  Mixed up…Facing divorce and pain because everything started out on the wrong path or trajectory.

Here is the TRUTH:

God has a plan for you, your life, and your relationships.

Sometimes we have plans or goals for our lives and they are jacked up. Thankfully, God has the right plans for our lives.

Erica actually asked me out on our first date. Are you dating? Do you want to go out?  I had some marriage goals set out. I am a very planned person, so I had a bullet list of criteria for myself and my wife Before I would get married:

  • My wife had to have a college degree
  • Her parents had to be happily married
  • I had to be finished with college degree
  • I had to have $10,000 saved and in the bank
  • My wife had to be a follower of Jesus

When Erica and I got married only 2 of those things were fulfilled. I was finished with college and Erica loved Jesus.

When God created the world, he spoke it into existence.  “Let there be…”  When he created us, he changed his method. Instead of speaking us into existence, he used his hands to shape us out of the dirt.  He formed us.  Then, He breathed into us. We have his hand print and breathe of life.

God created Man and it was not good enough.  Can I get an “AMEN!”, women??!!  So he created Woman to be WITH man.

How did it get so complicated?   How did it go from Adam and Eve strolling the garden with God…to…hurtful words, selfish anger, verbal and physical abuse, jealousy, gossip, divorce.  ***It has everything to do with ORDER. Putting first things first.***

Here is the most important part of this sermon series. Our Number 1 Relationship Goal:

God is First AND God is Enough

If you miss this. You will get everything else messed up.  God is supposed to be first.  He’s your true “first love”.  He is not your first love on the time line, he is your priority love. Your main love. Your first love.

WHY?

1 John 4:19 We love each other because He first loved us.

Notice the sequence of events in the Garden of Eden!

  • First there was God…without man.
  • Then there was God and Adam only and they walked together…
  • THEN there was God and Adam and Eve

We are supposed to be connected to Jesus before we get connected to anyone else.  Why are Erica and I still married after 17 years? It is not because I finished college or had enough money in the bank.  IT IS BECAUSE GOD IS FIRST IN OUR LIVES AND GOD IS ENOUGH.  When he is first and he is enough, then marriage is a possibility.

If we aren’t close to Jesus, then we are not EQUIPPED to have a relationship with another human. 

It is not that you can’t have a relationship with someone else. However, you are not FULLY EQUIPPED for relationship. You shouldn’t expect to hit your goals if you are not equipped.

You would NEVER hike Mt Everest without the proper preparation and equipment.  You need all the supplies to get to the top and successfully descend the mountain.

So many of us and people you know go into relationships without the proper preparation and are not equipped. 

Where my singles at?  All the single ladies? Put your hands up!!!  Make a relationship with God your priority BEFORE you ever think about being married.  —-  Make that a priority before you get emotionally involved.

Beyonce told him “if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.”  However, that is not what the Bible says.  Not sure if you know this or not but top40 radio doesn’t always line up with the Bible.   You only put a ring on it if you are first in a relationship with God and then you are ready to humbly and sacrificially submit to another human.  Because I may “like it now” but not “like it” later. Liking is a lot different than loving.

LIKING is an emotion. It is infatuation, like Pastor Will said last week, secular therapists say this infatuation period of having the hots for someone lasts only 6 weeks to 18months.  Then, what?

God gives us a commandment to LOVE one another just like God loved us.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

You can’t command someone to be emotional.  BE HAPPY.  BE SAD. BE GIDDY.  Doesn’t work.  God wouldn’t command you to “like” someone, but he did command you to LOVE one another.

If you want the #relationshipgoal of getting old and gray together and sitting on the pier and eating pizza everynight while watching Andy Griffith, then LEARN THIS PRINCIPLE: Love is not an emotion. It is a verb an action.

LOVE is not the emotional, syrupy, butterfly thing that is so unpredictable.  You hear people say that love is unpredictable.  NOT TRUE.

The Bible says: love is patient and kind. not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

SOUNDS PRETTY PREDICATBLE TO ME!

Eve is to compliment Adam (and vice versa). Not to complete Adam. (and vice versa)  There is no doubt that we humans are broken and need completion.  We need someone or something to complete us.  GOD KNOWS THIS and provides our  Completion directly through our relationship with HIM.

Our faith in Jesus Christ and our relationship with HIM is what gives us the completion that so many people are looking for in other people.

Your spouse will never live up to the standard that only God can live up to!  Spouses are not to be in the position that is reserved only for God.  Your relationship with Jesus will set the tone for every other relationship.

 Let me say it like this:

If your marriage is lacking something, more than likely your relationship with Jesus is too.

You can’t find true love because you haven’t found your FIRST love. Our intimacy with God is to be our first relationship goal!

ILLUSTRATION: Pastor Mike come help me. Mike is going to be God.  (toss out rope to each side)  Man is on one side and woman is on the other side. Far from each other but liking what they see in each other.  You should be tied to God first! Sometimes you are far from him, but you find him and a way to him.  God begins to draw you to him!   Man and woman have the ends of the rope and may feel far from God, sometimes you will go through pain and trials and difficult and financial struggle.  “go through aisle and people to get towards God.  Some of you people are going to have to help him go through the hurdles and difficulty.  Just like in our life we need the church to help lift us through the mess of life and connect with Jesus.  The devil is trying to get you to release the rope BUT if you hold on to the rope in the middle of it all and you continue to move forward…NOTICE what happens!  They have gone through some pain and struggle, but they are HOLDING on to the very thing that connects them to God! AS they hold onto Jesus they are getting closer to one another!  If you want a solid relationship with your spouse, then get close to Jesus.

The problem with so many people is that as we are working our way through life, we let go of the rope and we take some wrong advice, we let our emotions dictate our path (we let our syrupy feelings dictate our path and we reject the path that God has laid out for us) sin might deliver immediate pleasure, but will never over the long haul deliver you in to the quality relationship you have been looking for.

One with INTREGRITY.  HUMILITY. CONSISTENCY. STABILITY.

Instead of letting go of rope when things get difficult or hooking up with someone in the crowd, you need to hold on and walk towards Jesus. He is going to be the one to help you out!

Don’t put Jesus on hold. Hold on to Jesus.  He has to be first! Renew your connection to him.

God is first and God is enough.

Proverbs 29:18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.

But whoever obeys the law is joyful.  (Without a VISION the people perish.) 

 

No Show Sunday 2016

NO SHOW SUNDAY

Today, Worship is a lot different from a normal Sunday.

If you are a guest today, normally, you would have had:

  • people helping you in the parking lot
  • folks meeting you at the door and helping you find a seat.
  • The grass would have been mowed.
  • The Student Center would have been unlocked! Teachers would have been over there to welcome your family, check in the kids and teach them about Jesus!
  • Loving Volunteers in the Nursery that have passed an extensive background check would have been loving on your babies and changing their dirty diapers while you worshipped over here.
  • There would have been a band and singers up here!
  • There would have been words on the screen when we tried to learn that new song.
  • There would have been some lights turned on

WHAT HAPPENED?? Jesus came back and raptured all the real Christians! We are the only ones left.

Actually, TODAY IS CALLED NO SHOW SUNDAY.  WE ASKED ALL THE VOLUNTEERS TO NOT SERVE TODAY!  Our goal is to have the worst worship experience of PromiseLand San Marcos.

If your kids get a little antsy, we understand.  We provided some colors and a piece of paper for them to do some artwork. AT THE END OF SERVICE, EVERYONE GETS ICE CREAM THAT LISTENS INTENTLY.

If you are a guest, we invite you back next week. It will be awesome!

Two objectives today!

  1. The current volunteers will hear our heartfelt thanks! We could do it without you, but it would really stink.
  1. That we will recruit the potential of some of you.

Let me show you this in the Bible:

John 2:1 The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

Honor was everything in their culture. In our culture, profit or success or achievement is everything.  In their culture, you were supposed to honor each other and when you ran out of wine you had failed to honor your guests.

TODAY, we had no wine for you. We did not honor you or God today.  This happens a lot in churches in America. Churches fail to honor God and guests.

We have always made it a priority at PSM to honor our guests and make them feel welcomed in our home.  When it doesn’t happen, we do everything in our power to make it better. Guests are a big deal at PSM.

Over the last 13 years, we have had 9467+ of people walk through our doors!  Our Question is:  Will we have wine at the party? Will we honor our guests.   When they get here we need to be able to give them the very best!

When we honor guests, we honor God!

We have some big weddings in our day and time. (bridezillas)  Weddings in Jesus’ day were HUGE. They could last up to a week.   This was an opportunity for a wedding, but also for gift giving.   For us to not have order, excellence, joy is a disgrace, dishonor.   We are the church of God. We are serving the bread of life.

God is great and greatly to be praised!

Our culture here at PSM  is one that honors God and serves His people!

  • Every member is a minister (everyone represents God to others)
  • Every task is important
  • Everybody is a 10 at something.

Some today might say, I like this environment, it is quieter, we don’t need the lights and loud music. If God wants to save them, then he can save them.  If you are leaning that way, make sure you aren’t using God’s sovereignty to hide your apathy.   Just because he can doesn’t mean he will. HE CREATED YOU FOR A PURPOSE. Get in the game!

Mary had just hinted that Jesus should do something about the wine problem.

4 “…woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

KIDS, this is the one time you can not do what Jesus does.  Do not use this verse.   You can’t use this passage as WWJD.  – “Son, do your homework…woman, my time has not come.”

Jesus says that this has nothing to do with him.  He could have every right to say that about all of earth including our sin.  “I’m pure, spotless. They are unholy. What does this have to do with me?”  Instead, he empties himself for us. Jesus is about to turn water into wine.  It seems like is a bit out of place.  Making wine at wedding?

Some might think that they are over qualified to serve.  Look at Jesus. Do you think that you are better than Jesus?  Jesus was doing quite well separated from humanity but instead lowered himself to become like us and then to die a gruesome death in our place.

In a few minutes, I will give you all the opportunity to jump into serving here at PSM and we will all have to face One of the biggest barriers to serving: PRIDE.

Shaking hands, smiling at people, parking cars, picking up trash, serving coffee.

YOU ARE OVERQUALIFIED FOR ALL OF THESE TASKS.

Jesus was way over qualified to take your sins on his back and carry them to the cross.  He was way over qualified to turn water into wine.

You are never more like Jesus than when you are serving (giving).

Even Jesus, had to be prompted to act!

5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”…

Jesus takes something very ordinary and puts ordinary water in them.  See God make something supernatural with it.

This happens every week at PSM: I want to CELEBRATE our volunteers for a moment! We have 180 volunteer positions on each Sunday.   That encompasses: 360 hours per Sunday, 1512 hours per month, 18,144 hours a year! At minimum wage that is a value of: $3000/week and $156,000/year!  Many are doubling up multiple jobs and many are working both services.

And these are not minimum wage jobs! We have

  • business owners that are open doors and park cars.
  • ‘stay at moms’/professional moms that sing and prepare Sunday School lessons
  • IT guys that work all week at the office and then get here and make this place look amazing!
  • We have single parents that get here at 7:00am on their day off with all their kids dressed well and get ready to serve you. (Parking in top lot)

7… When the jars had been filled, 8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. 9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.

 

All the guests at the wedding had no idea of what happened to make the miracle happen. But the servants knew!

Every week Jesus is turning water into wine for people at PSM!

You may not see it, but every week we get responses from people who have gone through divorce and yet God has given them peace.

  • Jenny diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and then a turnaround where there is no treatment needed.
  • Paul on the edge of a breakdown and God turns around his situation, emotions, marriage.
  • 2 weeks ago 82 people were baptized! What about the dozen volunteers who were at the church at 6am getting speakers loaded in trucks?!
  • Last week, 115 School Backpacks given out! What about the volunteers who gave, went shopping, stuffed the pack, handed out the packs!?
  • Over 200 have attended the Growth Track this year. Who served the food, put up the tables, sat down for 1-on-1 counseling?!

Everyone gets to taste it. But only those that serve get to see the transformation.

PromiseLand has some fine tasting wine!  In order for God to produce the wine, he is working through a lot of servants who are faithfully taking ordinary clay pots and filling them with ordinary water.

God is doing some amazing things around our house and those that are serving are participating in the miracle!

STARTING TO SERVE IS SIMPLE: 

  • Take the piece of paper in the seat in front of you and circle ONE box.
  • Another way is to go on the CITY this afternoon and all of the specific spots available will be listed.
  • If you are ready to make a move, then follow through. If you are feeling guilty here today and sign up and then we try to reach you and you won’t ever call or email us back, then don’t waste the time filling out the card.

If you have been here a while and have been drinking the wine and you are ready to start carrying a jar then, we need you to start carrying a jar!

We have spots available with kids, in social areas, in private areas, cooking meals, shaking hands, cutting grass, working in the dirt!

Carry a jar!  There are some servants that are carrying your dead weight.  If you are only wanting to social sip at the PSM spiritual wedding, then it’s time to move along! Either move spiritually deeper or move to a church were sitting around is acceptable.

I’m hoping that we will never take for granted what happens here at PSM. We need to treat everyone like a VIP.

Let’s do John 2:5-  God is going to continue to turn water into wine! Will you be a part?

  1. What happens at PSM changes lives forever. This is not a social club or a religious death trap.
  2. Faithful people humbly make a difference every week. Some every week, some biweekly. Some once a month.
  3. It takes a little jolt or ‘ask’ from someone else to motivate.

Take God With You | Sermon Notes

takeGodwithyou_mainIt’s BACK TO SCHOOL WEEKEND!  Yeah! Boooo!

Today, Let’s talk about TAKING GOD WITH US TO SCHOOL. 

I know that some of you are not teachers, you are older and you have no kids going to school.  Truth is you probably have grandkids going to school.  You have friends’ kids going to school.

We need you to pray!  We need you to stand in the gap spiritually and lift up these people who are daily going into this environment.  They are vulnerable and susceptible to spiritual attacks and difficulty of our modern day education system. 

This weekend has such mixed emotions. Some parents are sad. Some are excited. Some kids are sad. Some are excited. Many different elements are in the mix this weekend.

There is nothing like school to strike a fear in the heart of person. Heading to the classroom…do you look good? Are you prepared? What will others think of you? Will you do a good job….and I’m talking about the teachers point of view!!!

However, kids have the same perspective.

FullSizeRenderI went to Buda Elementary. Back then there was only 2 elementary schools in the Hays District.  I was up at the old original campus.  I can remember so many details about Kindergarten. I hated it!  I wanted to be at home. I would fake ear aches whatever it took to get to stay home.   Mrs. Shelton would always put us down for a nap after lunch. Oh yeah, we had naptime in Kindergarten.  She make us all lay down on our mats and then put on a Ronnie Milsap record.  We would all fight going to sleep but when we heard:  “I wouldn’t have missed for it for the world…Wouldn’t have missed lovin you girl.”

Every September, I distinctly remember getting new clothes, haircut, shoes, school supplies. I hated going to school, but there was this little cool part about getting new things.   Excited about new pencils. Picking out a trapper keeper with He-Man or Harlem Globetrotters.  I had a metal PacMan lunchbox.  You could use that thing as a weapon!  I always had to have my hair just right.

IMG_6560As I grew older, nothing really changed. I still took my style very serious.  Here I am with my sister.  It was GAMETIME right here.  Look at those expressions.  We were ready to conquer high school right here.  She was two years old than me so she would drive me to school in her ’92 dodge shadow.  Check out the double belts!   I would approach the name brand clothes. These were z cavaricci knock-offs. My mom was not about to spring for the real deal.  We didn’t shop at the mall. We were too thrifty for that.  We would hit Mervyn’s and SoloServe.

So many good memories at school. But at the same time so many heartbreaks at school.

You could have your wardrobe just right. You could have your hair and shoes just right, wake up the first morning of school, look in the mirror and have a pimple on your nose and immediately you were mortified.

I will never forget the first day of 6th grade PE.  We were all sitting in the bleachers at Dahlstrom Middle School. Boys on one side of the gym. Girls on other side of gym. This was the first year we were divided into two different PE groups.  They were calling roll for the class and they never called my name. Then, I was listening to the girls PE coach calling roll for the girls and I heard her call my name…Robin Steele. When she did all the girls started laughing!  The boys heard too and everyone was laughing.

School can be so harsh. Your hormones are going crazy.  You are getting used to changes in your body.  You are becoming interested in boys and girls in a “butterflies in your stomach” sort of a way.

Expectations for your grades.  Homework.  Projects. Tests.  College prep.  Athletics.  Band. Drama.

Parents = your babies are gone for the whole day! They are being influenced by kids that have no clue. They are being taught by teachers that don’t have your values or world view.  They are outside of your control.  Your connection with them is now reduced to a few minutes in the morning a couple hours in the evening.

Teachers! You are working extremely hard and not paid near enough.  You are responsible for students that have disengaged parents, no values, no discipline. You are expected to pull off a miracle and have your class do flawless on the STAAR test.  You are evaluated on results that you don’t have full control over.

Research shows that Teaching is in the top 3 of occupations that causes greater than normal stress. Wow!

SCHOOL is so HARD!

Going back to school is sort of a microcosm of life. Going back to school is a test. It is an environment. An opportunity.

But, what if we Took God With Us!

Thankfully though, no matter who you are, no matter where you are, if you are starting Kindergarten or moving up into Junior High or High School, Heading off to College, teaching a new age level, promoted to a different position or a parent/grandparent, excited, stressed, anxious about the next chapter in your child or young adults life…..the GOOD NEWS is that you can Take God With You into this new chapter of your life. He is with you, for you and goes ahead of you!

Deuteronomy 21:8  Do not be afraid (or anxious), for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you, he will never fail you nor abandon you.

Man that is good news. No matter who you are here today, no matter where you are going this week. Take God with you! He goes before you, he will never fail you nor abandon you, amen!

So, what does it mean to Take God with Me?  

Mathew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost it’s flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless 14 You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts in under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

God goes with me because:

I AM THE SALT 

Mathew 5: 13 You are the Salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost it’s flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

Salt changes the flavor of things. Are you focused on blending in at school or in the office or CHANGING things. Faith without works, walk in your Faith. Trusting that God is with you.

The world wants to divide us, to tear us down, to convince us that our financial status, how we dress, who we are or aren’t friends with matters. So, Bring God with you. Be a friend to those without, build people up versus tearing them down. Stand with and up for those that won’t or cant stand up for themselves. Stand with those standing alone. Encouraging others versus discouraging others. Change the flavor!

I AM THE LIGHT

Jesus said, “…You are the light of the world”

Everything we see in the media, on the news, on social media wants to create in us fear, anxiety. Be a light in and through the darkness.

Galatians 5:22 …but the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. There is no law against such things.

There are so many opportunities, each and ever day for you to be a reflection of Jesus. So much stress, anxiety, fear in this world yet you have the ability to be salty, to shine a light so bright that the whole world sees. You have the ability to be the example that you want others to see, God with you! Not just in words but active in your life. When those around you are dividing and tearing things apart you show kindness, gentleness, peace, patience and love.

When those around you are telling you: it’s just a few drinks, it’s just sex, it’s no big deal, just take a hit, what’s the worst that can happen, it’s not big deal to cheat on that test, just don’t get caught, do you know where he/she lives, we cant be seen with them.

You remind them whose you are and that alcohol could never make you feel the way HE Does. Sex can’t give you what HE can give you, drugs will never get you as high as His Holy Spirit, you don’t need to cheat because if God called you to it He will bring you through it, it doesn’t matter where he or she lives or is from because we are all God’s children. Son’s and daughters of the most high God and God is no respecter of Man. We are all loved alike and the same and perfectly. You show self control, faithfulness, strength, courage.

I AM THE REFUGE

like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts in under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

A city on a hilltop was a place of refuge for weary travelers in the night. Outside of the city was danger: robber, animals, no water.  Inside the city was safety, protection, provision, fresh water, food.

When travelers looked up and saw the cluster of lights on the top of the city, they knew where they could find respite and refuge!

God is calling us to be that safe place for people.

Wherever you go this week, Take God with you!

At the Movies: Secret Lives of Pets | Sermon Notes

AtTheMovies_Main

Sermon notes for the final message in the “At the Movies” series.

Who here is a pet person? Do we have any cat ladies in here?

We have 2 dogs. Weiner dog and a Yorkie.  I love dogs until I smell them.  Then, it is over. That is a challenge in our house. When we got our Yorkie, we were trying to name her as a pup and my brother-in-law said, “You should name her ‘poops and pees a lot’.”

“The Secret Lives of Pets” is all about a dog named Max who is in love with his owner, but is struggling with this identity.  He is struggling with her acceptance of him. He is tempted to believe that another dog would steal her affection away from him.  When Duke shows up it reveals his secret turmoil (that is subconscious) and drives him in to a secret plot of sin. He does all sorts of things when his owner isn’t looking.

Have you ever wondered what your pet is doing when you’re away?  Ever know of someone who sat up a “pet cam” to see what’s going on?

Surveillance is big business today. Everybody from the military to the corporate world launches satellites so sensitive they can read words on a golf ball sitting in your front yard.  Security cameras capture your every move in the mall, the grocery store, the school.  We even have security cameras here on our church property.

But nobody sees everything you do, do they? It just so happens that one person does.

One of the characteristics of God is that he is omniscient, which is a big way of saying “He knows everything”,

Psalm 139:1-3 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

God knows the amount of Hairs of your head, Your past, your future, those things no one else knows.  (Might make you feel uncomfortable),

He sees not just what’s going on outside, but what’s going on in your heart and your head, the motives and attitudes and feelings nobody else sees.

He sees the insecurities and identity problems you have (as MAX) when DUKE shows up!

Few of us do very little wrong (I hope) on Sunday morning at church, because we know everybody’s watching. But what about when we’re away from church, when we’re at home, at work, or alone? Do we have a SECRET LIFE Mon-Sat?

Not necessarily something that happens everyday or every week, but thoughts, attitudes, events that happen from time to time that no one else knows about. That we would hate for others to find out?

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE TIMES? WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE THOUGHTS…THESE HABITS?

If ever there was a person who fell into a secret life, it was King David.   David wasn’t caught on tape, but records of what he did are in the Bible.  David was a Great warrior. A Great leader.  One of the greatest kings of all time.  Loved and respected by many.  God (his Owner) loved him so much.

2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 11:2-4: Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath 3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her.

 

David was in a place he where he should not have been and as a result found himself tempted in an intoxicating way.  If David had his attention where God wanted it, he would never put it where God didn’t want it. David begins a chain of secret events that leads to murder.

Here are 3 important facts about Secret Lives:

  1. Secret Lives Hinder Purpose 

David’s sin was not in seeing Bathsheba.  His sin was not trusting that God would provide satisfaction for him. He believed the lie of the devil that said, “Bathsheba will provide you the satisfaction you need”.

David’s purpose in life (like you and me) is to honor God and live for him! It is that simple. We make life so much more complicated.

When David started down the secret path of life, he started deviated from the original purpose in which God created him.

Your life will have so many details: occupation, marriage, finances, school, hobbies, fun stuff, hard stuff.  Because we are so busy with all those categories of life, we can forget the original purpose and plan back at the garden of eden.  Worship God. Be a good steward over the earth.

We get distracted just like Max.  We get distracted just like David. We start doubting our worth. We start desiring immediate satisfaction.  We doubt our impact on others. We are afraid of not having enough money.  We start thinking about ourselves TOO MUCH.

Thinking about yourself too much is PRIDE.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.

This proverb is your warning sign today! Your God-given purpose in life is going to be stalled, distracted and ultimately destroyed by your selfish perspective.

That leads us right into fact #2:

  1. Secret Lives Have Consequences

2 Samuel 11:5  Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”

David attempts to hide his sin so that it is not exposed. Sins leads simply to more sin.

David brings Uriah home to give him a report on the war, Throws him a party, Gets him drunk, and hopes that he will sleep with Bathsheba.  Offering a cover-up for her pregnancy.

The lies, manipulation, and impact on the armed forces who remain in battle without one of their leaders is obvious. Plan fails. Uriah is loyal to his men who are at battle with the enemy

Then, David puts Uriah on the front line so that he will be killed in the intensity of battle.  The disregard for human life in order to keep his sin hidden is again obvious.

David is willing to pursue anything that will keep his sin from being exposed. It takes all of his energies, and the one sin multiplies itself into more sin.

Sin always promises something it cannot deliver.

When we hear these promises, we are tempted to give in, to accept the deception and justify our action. David must have done that.

We delete texts. We make up stories. We erase internet history. We have others cover for us.  We lie to ourselves. We say that it really doesn’t matter to anyone else. We say that our kids will grow up and not be affected.

The whole concept of hiding our sin is deceptive. Our sin is never hidden before God and only hidden with difficulty from our conscience. Our hidden sin hinders our fellowship with God and others and is a barrier to spiritual life and power.

The good news is that NO ONE is too far gone for God!

That takes us to Fact #3 about Secret Lives:

  1. Secret Lives Can Receive Forgiveness

The first verse of chapter 12 introduces us to Nathan,

One of the bravest and boldest men in all the Bible. Nathan told David a parable-type story of a very rich man who killed the only sheep of a poor man.

Story that revealed David as if he were looking in a mirror. So that David can “get a good look at himself.”   David had a sense of right and wrong.

When he heard Nathan’s story, he probably sprang to his feet and demanded, “Where is this man? We will arrest him. We will execute him!”

It is interesting how easily we can see the sin in somebody else, but we cannot see it in your own life. That was David’s problem.

Can you imagine the look on David’s face when Nathan says, “It is YOU!”. David has done the things that God said, “Thou shalt not do.” Is he going to get by with it?

We all need a “Nathan” around us who will tell us the truth about ourselves and help us stay humble before the Lord.

Through Nathan’s boldness, David had a different attitude.  His heart had changed once the “cover up” was revealed.

He didn’t excuse himself or justify his sin, but freely owns it:

2 Samuel 12:13  I have sinned against the Lord,

He submitted to the conviction. He owns his guilt

Psalm 51:2-3 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.

Psalm 51:12: Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

In spite of what we do God still loves us!

None of us are too far gone…Quite possibly God has sent me today to warn you of some things going on in your life right now.  If you have felt the uncomfortable tension of conviction, then listen to the Spirit today.

Mark 2:17… “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” 

1 Corinthians 4:4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.  5  So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

Let’s give everything to God today.  Maybe you are locked in some habits or addictions. Maybe you have struggled with your identity or your acceptance from others.

Receive the Good News today that God accepts you and loves you. He wants to make your life shaped in his plan and will.

God wants to forgive you and heal you today through the power of Jesus Christ!

At the Movies: Tarzan | Sermon Notes

AtTheMovies_MainEveryone has heard of the Tarzan story.  The original story was written in 1912.  Tarzan is one of the best known literary characters in the world.  There are 25 sequel Tarzan books and over 200 movies Tarzan in the name.  This latest installment takes actual history from the Congo in the 19th Century and blends it nicely with fiction.

 

 

(****spoiler warning****)  We find John Clayton III crying as an 8month old baby in a basonette.  His parents have died. He is alone in a remote part of the Congo region of Central Africa.   A nurturing mother gorilla named Kala, scampers into the small cabin and scoops up the frightened infant into her capable, safe arms.  Immediately, little John, feels secure and from that moment is raised by Kala and her sons.

Kala feeds him, teaches him to crawl, protects him from the other creatures of the jungle.   Finally, grows up to be a strong man and is discovered by explorers.  His name is now Tarzan.  He meets up and marries a beautiful American teacher named Jane.  They move to England where he tries his hardest to fit in.

 

Meanwhile, in Congo, leaders from Belgium have infiltrated tribal areas and are ravaging the land of it’s resources.  They are taking many of the Congolese as slaves and shipping them around the world.  There is one last section of diamonds that the Belgiums need in order to complete their domination of Congo. However, it is controlled by a powerful native tribe that is impossible to defeat.  The tribe chief (Mbongo) tells the Belgium leader, “If you bring me Tarzan, I will give you the diamonds you need.”

Why would he want Tarzan? Years ago, this chief’s son unknowingly killed Kala, Tarzan’s mother gorilla. In a fit of rage and revenge, Tarzan killed the chief’s son.  As a result, the chief has been hunting Tarzan for years.  He wants Justice served for the loss of his son’s life.  He is willing to trade his diamonds for a chance to kill Tarzan himself.  Not only that, if this deal goes through, he is putting his tribe and the entire rest of the country into the hands of the slave traders.  Mbongo is not only trading his diamonds but he is enslaving his whole country just so that he can execute Justice for his son.

There is a chilling scene where Tarzan and Mbongo finally meet and have a knife at each other’s throat.   “You killed my son!”  “He killed my mother!”   “Where was your honor?!”   “I didn’t have any!”

At the point of Tarzan’s humility, the tide begins to turn for the natives of Congo, their possessions, and their sovereignty.

 

MURDER    VENGEANCE     REVENGE     RACISM     FEAR       HATE

Are all central to Tarzan’s story.

These are all a central part of our story. The Human Story is filled with separation, selfishness, bitterness.

When we look at America and what we going through right now as a nation, we are marred with the ugly wounds and scars of  Murder, Vengeance, Revenge, Racism, Fear

We have the DESIRE FOR JUSTICE!  Justice is to be treated fairly. To be treated right. To be morally and ethically right. Just treatment. Fair dealings.  The devil is trying to divide us.   The devil thrives when we are separated and ostracized from each other! From the garden of Eden, he has tried to divide humanity.

Through JESUS CHRIST, God provides Efficient Justice and Freedom.

However, when we are focused on exacting revenge and establishing our own justice, we end up being blinded by the devil and used as a pawn for his good.  We are putting at risk our own sanity, peace, and future by being sucked into the lie of the enemy.  We allow fear to dictate our future.

So many people want to know what they can do in a situation like this. Here are 3 things!

  • Allow Faith To Dictate Your Future

Not fear.  Allow the Word of God to stir up your faith.  FEAR is rampant in our society right now. Everyone is afraid.  Blacks are afraid for their sons.  Police are afraid.  People in Europe are being terrorized with deadly events.

Instead of being paralyzed by our FEAR…We are going to allow FAITH to dictate our future!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

One of the best things you can do is stop watching so much of the news.  Instead, go meet someone in your office or neighborhood that is different from you.

The media’s main purpose is to make money.  Not report truth.   They take morsels of truth and package it in a way to stir up more conflict and controversy.  Do you understand why Donald Trump got so much news coverage?  He was making them a ton of money!  The media is trying to make money and sell advertisements.  The more people that watch their station the more money they can charge for their ads.  People like watching things that are controversial. The media is seeking out controversial things and feeding you and your family a load of mess.

They want police to be violent, They want whites to be violent, they want Black Lives Matter rallies to be violent. They won’t show you the thousands of people at the Trump rally that are peaceful or the tens of thousands at a Black Lives Matter rally that are peacefully marching. They want everyone pitted against everyone so that everyone is riled up. IT MAKES THEM MONEY. It sells ads, it sells books, it makes reports and anchors famous.

The media along with other things we read, experience, hear, study, watch, talk about, people we hang out with work with, all feed us information and points of view ALL CAST FEAR IN OUR LIVES. That FEAR is dictating your future!

WHERE ARE WE PUTTING OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.  3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

When you have issues in your life that are causing fear and anxiety, you can continue to be lost in that fear of the future  OR you can yield to God who has the power to turn your situation around!

II Timothy 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Here is another way to say it:

  • Allow God to Set Your Narrative

All great stories or narratives have 4 parts: a Purpose, a Problem, a Solution, and a Resolution.   YOU are living out a story with a purpose, a problem, a solution, and a resolution.  Most of us spend our whole lives trying to figure our life out. We think we know what is going on and when we don’t, we are burdened with so much grief and distress.

THERE IS A BETTER WAY.

Instead of YOU setting the narrative and determining the plot:   (who the good guys are and the bad guys.)  ALLOW the “author and finisher” of our faith to set the tone for your life.

Hebrews 12:22 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

You aren’t able to conquer your demons. Jesus can.  You aren’t able to exact revenge to right the wrongs. Jesus can.  You can’t write a chapter like God can write a chapter. Put it in his hands and allow the master craftsman to create a masterpiece in you that no man or woman can ever contaminate or destroy!

I want to close with this:

  • Allow God to Make us One

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.

There were divisions in Corinth between sects of people in the church saying:  “I’m from Apollos.” “I’m from Cephas” and the real religious one: “Well, I’m from Christ”  I can just hear Paul saying now. “I hear that some of you are thinking you are better than the other because of where you were born or what skin color you have or where you went to school.” Don’t you know that we are all equal at the foot of the cross. We are all brothers and sisters.  In fact, he says in verse 17, the Gospel of Jesus is ALL ABOUT second chances for everyone.  When we choose to ostracize and segregate, we are neutering the cross!

Jesus was addressing the disciples and told them that there would be troubling times ahead.

Luke 21: 25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken…. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

He tells them they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Don’t spend your life trying to vindicate your past or your family’s name.  TRUST GOD with your future.  Allow God to take your blinders off.  See the truth that your pursuit is probably hemming you in or possibly enslaving you.

I see people all the time enslaved by their own self consciousness, fear. On the outside I see people with so much potential, gifting, flavor, and favor, but they can’t even see it because they are choosing to believe the lie that the devil has brought on them. They will never amount to anything. They are always a victim. Their future has been sealed.

I was just talking with a Father the other day who is separated from his adult son. They haven’t talked in months. I am friends with both of them. They are wasting their time. Valuable precious time that they will never get back on this earth. Stop allowing your situation to block you from the BRILLIANT plan God has for you in the future.

Just as Tarzan’s redemption and victory didn’t come from his strength or stamina, it came from his confession and humility, so we find our turn-around when we humbly submit to God!

Robin Steele

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