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Extraordinary Sermon Notes | Week 3

Extraordinary_mainThe Grace of JESUS CHRIST takes ordinary people (like you and me) and makes them EXTRAORDINARY for the sole purpose of building HIS Kingdom.

Specifically, I want to bring you the great news that: His GRACE delivers us from the grip of sin addiction, illness, and demonic influence.

Here is one Extraordinary Example of God’s Grace. Check out Jacinta’s story!

All across this congregation today we have people that are under a grip. Under the grasp. Under the hold or control of something. We have people struggling with addiction. We have people struggling with sickness, illness, disease.  We have people stooped in depression, heartache and anxiety.

The Bible is quite clear about these issues. You can be bound or you can be free. Scripture uses clear language to define these scenarios.  It uses the term slavery to describe someone that is out of control. In essence, we are submitted to or enslaved to whatever or whomever has power over us.  That issue that we can not stop.  Today, I am going to use the terms addiction and slavery interchangeably.

There are several myths about addiction:

Myth 1: When people hear the word addiction, most think that it does not describe themselves. We could probably give a name or even a list of names of others they know who are addicted to something (but not us).  We never think WE are addicted. We think we could stop at any time. We think for some reason we still maintain control.  There are some people in here today that know you have a problem.  You want a change. You are not proud of the habits that keep you in chains.

Myth 2: We also think that the term addiction is reserved for people who can’t stop drinking or smoking, taking illegal drugs, or prescribed pain killers. However, the tenticles of addiction grow much more deeply into our lives.

Addiction – is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit forming. a giving over, surrender.

In reality, there are people addicted to nicotine, alcohol, other drugs where they must have these things or they will become extremely irritable, angry, physically weak, unable to sleep, unable to stay awake, in physical pain, All other activities and people have to take a back seat to this habit.  If you don’t get it, you will be a bad person to be around. Basically, it controls you.

However, addiction goes beyond the “big” or “regular” ones. There is sexual addiction where people are will manipulate, abuse, ostracize, belittle, lie in order to find satisfaction. Some are addicted to making money. Or a slave to advancing in your career. Always needing the next level of notoriety, the next car, the next promotion, etc.   Addictions are so important that you relentlessly pursue them or you are a rotten person to be around if any of these things are out of order.

There are some who are addicted to food. Which on the surface seems fairly mundane. Until you realize that more people die from sugar in America than illegal drugs.

Obesity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, depression, headaches, fatigue, acne, skin irritation, hypertension, aching limbs, stiffening of arteries.

Over the years, it has gotten worse and worse.

A 2012 study showed how Americans have changed their sugar consumption  In 1822, Americans consumed about 2 spoons of sugar a day.  In 2012, we consume around 38 spoons

Well, let’s just stop eating the wrong food or too much food… WE HAVE TRIED. WE ARE ADDICTED.

Brain scans show that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Sugar and junk food flood the brain with much more dopamine than we would get by eating real food, Junk foods and sugar flood the reward system of the brain with dopamine. Sugar also has some effects on opioid pathways within the brain, the same system manipulated by drugs like heroin and morphine. WE ARE ADDICTED.

When you are struggling with your life and you need relief, you may not smoke a cigarette or drink a case of beer. Instead, you eat a double cheese burger, large fries, 32oz coke, with a slice of cake. That food is actually relieving stress in your brain and at the same time slowly killing the rest of your body.

Beyond ADDICTION, there are others in the room that struggle with a diagnosis that you had nothing to do with. Chrones, Lupis, hereditary sickness, cancer, migraines. Sometimes we get sick just because we live in a broken world. We are victims of illness.

Others in the room are bound by generational slavery. Your dad was abusive and you are starting to see your anger get out of control. Your mom was a control freak and now you are stressed when things are out of order. Your dad was a slave to his job and getting ahead financially and now you can’t stop taking those overtime hours.

I BRING GOOD NEWS TO YOU ALL! 

Isaiah 10: 27 In that day the lord will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders.

Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

1 Peter 5: 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

1 Peter 2: 22 He (JESUS) never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

James 5: 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Romans 8:5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

 

 

By the Grace of God, I will not be an abuser.

By the Grace of God, I will not be bound by my past.

By the Grace of God, the grip of sin will be broken in my life.

By the Grace of God, the power of addiction will not control me.

By the Grace of God, I will live a healthy lifestyle. I will live a long life. I will support my kids, I will be a great parent, I will raise Godly kids, I will graduate from school, I will be responsible, I will not be a bitter person, I will not resent my parents,

 

RESOLVED | Week Two Sermon Notes

Resolved_MainRESOLVED: such a strong word. Resolved means: firm in purpose or intent; determined. to come to a definite decision.

I am RESOLVED to live in the Light.”

Romans 1:18 …God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

I love the way the Bible says, “Duh…look at the sea and the mountains and the sunset. YES! God exists.”

21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

In our day and time, most of us do not make gods of birds, animals, reptiles. Our idols are things like acceptance: people liking us, approval of a co-worker or family member, promotion, money, fame, success: making a name for ourselves, We often think that success means there is no conflict in our life. Therefore we work so hard to eliminate conflict and anything challenging. We work so hard and are so focused on this that in it essence this desire takes the place of Jesus and becomes an idol for us.

We have put all of these things as our priority instead of God.

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 Americans have traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

FYI: I changed the word ‘they’ to Americans.

26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

This last sentence is not just talking about homosexuality but all unnatural actions that are against God’s plan. We as humans suffer within ourselves the consequences of these actions. There is an earthly consequence that we suffer because of our sin and there is an eternal consequence for our sin. What is even worse is that often there are multiple other victims of our sin that did not directly desire to suffer the consequences.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.

“…And they disobey their parents.” I love how it tags that statement with that final thought. Right there with murder, hate, wickedness…disobeying parents.

31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

I love how 1 Peter 2 fits so perfectly with Romans 1…

1 Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter is talking to the church. The saved church who is looking to Jesus for salvation. To be clear, Peter is not talking to a select group of people who have not rebelled or a group of people that have been without sin. Peter is talking to a group of people who have found Jesus in the midst of the trash pit they are living. Amongst the pigsty, the Holy Spirit is moving. God is on the move. Working through the mess of American culture and selfish ambition. Working through the filth of abuse and betrayal and sin-filled living. God is on the move.

You are here today because God is working on and in your heart. Some of you know it and have responded. Others of you here today are new to this idea and have yet to make a move.

The message for you today is that YOU CAN LIVE IN THE LIGHT. You do not have to be bound by the way everyone else lives. You can be free of the bondage of addiction and depression and monotonous chase of happiness and freedom.

Let’s go back to Romans 1 and see what Paul says to all of the folks here today at PromiseLand San Marcos!

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

1 John 1:5-9 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

 I am RESOLVED to live my life in Power of the Gospel. I am RESOLVED to live in the Light.

Let’s move into 2016 with a confession of faith. Let’s confess our sins to God. He is faithful and just to forgive us.

In doing so, we reflect the light of JESUS. The light of Jesus is also the grace or power of Jesus. This light, grace, power of Jesus is the determining factor to making a difference in the world.

Almost every service as you leave the building, I pray Matthew 5:14 over you:

Matthew 5:14 “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 it 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.

Jesus told his followers to believe in the light while it was with them.  Jesus brought a revelation from God, but he was more than a revealer.  He was himself that revelation. John the Baptist came to vouch for the light so that it would bring people to believe. Those who received Jesus, who believed in the light, received “the power to become children of God”.

This message of Jesus reaches its highest point He says to his followers: “You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14), thus applying to them words which are also applied to himself.  We don’t save the world like Jesus’ light saved the world. Our light points to the one who saves.  We are to show the quality of life proper to the people of God and in this way act as light to the people of the world.  We are to let our light shine before the world in such a way that people will see their good deeds and so come to praise God.

If we ignore the illumination he brings us and live like those in the dark, then indeed we are in deep darkness. We are worse than others because we know what light is and what it can mean to us, and have turned away from it. But we need not do this. We are reminded that Jesus said of John the Baptist that the people were ready to rejoice for a period in his light (Jn 5:35). Their response was brief, and they are blamed for not taking John more seriously. But the point is that John’s light shone clearly. They knew what he stood for. Paul urges the Romans to put on “the armor of light” (Rom 13:12), a metaphor that points us in the same direction.

The Same – Week Three Sermon Notes

SAMEmainWe are all THE SAME. We all messed up! God eagerly and lovingly awaits your attention.  You can listen to the podcast of this message by clicking here.

Last week, we talked about our sameness is our identity. Our identity is like clothing. We have the same type clothes. The good news of Jesus is that he brings a new set of clothes. A new identity. Be clothed with Christ. A new identity, a new family name based on the name of Jesus.

Today, I want to talk about HOW that change actually happens.  Going from the same ol’ same ol’ me to a transformed, child of God.  Different attitude. Different results. Type of me!

We can make all the resolutions about change that we want, however a resolution without a new routine is like a Ferrari without any gas. It looks really good but it will not take you anywhere.

Your resolve won’t change anything that your routine created.  Determination alone can’t change conditions that your decisions created.  You can’t believe your way out of problems that were created by routines of behavior.

You have been in the same pattern and that is the problem. The problem is the pattern.

There are patterns everywhere! Weather patterns, fashion patterns, seating patterns/parking patterns, daily patterns, weekly patterns, music patterns.

JESUS GIVES US THE TRUE PATTERN OF LIFE

John 15 :1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

 

Remain is the key word in the passage. Remain Remain. Jesus repeats this SAME word.  Remain, stay, repeat, same, pattern, stay, remain, repeat, same, pattern.  This is a pattern that Jesus is establishing. You will have a pattern in your life and it is all about remaining in Jesus. Abiding in Jesus.

The faith to step out is worthless without the faithfulness to stick it out!

There is a process and purpose. Pain is not pointless if you remain in me. I don’t hate pain, but pointless pain is brutal. Our life bears fruit through purposeful pain.

Our spiritual life produces through a pattern of sowing, waiting, fruitfulness, pruning.

Pruning/testing/trying in the fire. We are pruned so that we can produce again. It is a pattern.  Verse 2 – he cuts off every branch! Whoa! That is not the gardener we want to hear about

Jesus is trying to get his disciples to perceive a pattern. He is about to be crucified. He will look like he lost. He is pruned himself. He wants his disciples to know that sometimes life seems random, but there is a pattern. Even, when there is trouble or difficulty, remember the story you are in is not your story, it is God’s story and the pattern is that he wins every time.

Movie – “the way way back” – pacman – a grown man playing pacman and the kid interrupts him.

I wouldn’t normally care, but I’m having the game of my life. I’m on the cherry level.

DUNCAN But, that’s the first level.

GUY Yeah, and I still have one man left. So, like I said, it’s the game of my life. 24.

DUNCAN (smirks) You like Pac Man?

GUY What? It’s a classic! (re: other games) Not into all the bells and whistles, my man. Too much going on.

CLOSE ON Pac Man screen. Pac Man chases a “blinking ghost”, barely devouring it before it changes back.

GUY (CONT’D) See, my mistake is that I get greedy. Going for all the ghosts and fruit instead of just clearing pellets.

DUNCAN You know, there’s a pattern.

GUY Oh, don’t tell me you’re one of those guys. That takes all the challenge out of it. Anybody can learn a pattern.

Just then, the blue-shirted GUYS start to get up, putting up their TRAYS. BLUE-SHIRTED

GUY Owen, we gotta go! We hear the familiar sound of PAC MAN DYING.

OWEN (GUY) Well, so much for the game of my life.

 

 

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

Realize the pattern. It’s not the world that is the problem, it is the pattern of this world.

If you don’t perceive the pattern of this world, then you will spend your whole life chasing after ghosts and strawberries, and new majors, new friends, new jobs, new cars and or even a life without trouble.

When you perceive God’s pattern, life doesn’t seem as random anymore.  Life is not a series of unrelated problems. Everything is a part of the pattern.

2 Timothy 1:13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Some of you might wonder why we talk about some of the same things over and over. The reason why is THAT MESSAGE is what God is wanting us to abide in.

The Gospel needs to keep thriving.

We can’t disregard the patterns of what has made us what we are. We can’t think we are getting too smart for the old fashioned pattern. Paul says we need to keep the sound pattern of teaching.

Romans 5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

Adam was ‘the man’ and he was a bad pattern. He started a pattern of sin.

A child comes into the world with a natural inclination to sin and rebel.

We reproduce what we are. What ever you are as a parent, you are passing down a pattern to your kids. Just like your great grandpaw.

Hebrews 8:5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” 6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

Moses was warned to make the tabernacle exactly what the pattern was.  It was modeled after the original in the heavens.  Same thing with us! We are to pattern our life after the original Word of God.

It is not complicated. It is not. Peaceful people are those that are following the pattern. Get over yourself, submit to a higher authority (Jesus), live for him, serve others.

Math patterns –In Multiplication the problem is a pattern.

111×6=666 111×6 is problem. But the problem is a pattern. 111, 111, 111, 111, 111, 111 The problem is the pattern. The product is 666 (not the kind of # you want to come up with).  If you don’t like the product, you have to change the pattern!

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The Same – Week Two Sermon Notes

SAMEmainToday, We continue our sermon series called THE SAME.  THE SAME 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)

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:

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The Same – Week One Sermon Notes

SAMEmainThe SAME | Week One

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 easter penprescriptions. 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:

  1. Have you ever struggled with Depression?
  2. Have you ever found yourself struggling with fear or anxiety?
  3. Do you have anything in your life that you haven’t been able to quit doing?
  4. Do you have anything in your life that you regret?
  5. Do you have anything in your life of which you are constantly ashamed?
  6. Do you have any secrets that you’ve never shared with anyone?
  7. Have you ever been abused or abusive?
  8. Have you ever cut yourself or intentionally harmed yourself?
  9. Have you ever thought about or attempted suicide?
  10. Have you ever had a physically intimate relationship with someone you aren’t married to?
  11. Have you ever abused alcohol or drugs?
  12. Do you struggle with attractions, temptations, or thoughts that you know are outside of God’s will for your life
  13. 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 easter The Revchurch 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!

Robin Steele

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