Monday Morning Musings .../ Tuesday Thoughts ...
Sunday was an outstanding day. God really moved. The spirit in the service, from beginning to end, was tremendous. People really participated in the singing, and more importantly seemed engaged in the messages of the songs. Attendance was the best of the whole summer, the offering was pitiful, but it was an outstanding day.
I began a new series of messages. We are beginning a new ministry the middle of September called Celebrate Recovery. It is an outstanding ministry to help people overcome the hurts, habits and hang-ups in their lives, anything that is wrestling control in your life in place of God. I am preaching through the 8 guiding principles of this ministry leading up to it's beginning.
The story is told when Hannibal drove his troops over the Alps to attack the Roman Empire they encountered a large obstacle they had not planned for. It was a huge rock blocking the pass into the valley, there was no way around this rock. They began chipping away at the rock, but it did not budge. Finally they cut many, many trees down and placed them around the base of the rock and started a big fire. Eventually that heat caused the rock to crack and then crumble opening the way for the troops to descend into the valley and attack their enemy. Many people have large rocks in their lives blocking them from healing, from a friendship, from victory over a habit, from God, from peace, from forgiveness and from true freedom in Christ. The goal of this series is to help you allow God to remove the rocks and light a fire of healing, of peace, of forgiveness, of strength and of courage to do what God has created and called you to do and help others do the same.
A theme verse for the series is Isaiah 57:18, "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him."
We looked at Romans 7:15-8:1 and examined principle #1 - "Realize I am not God. I admit I am powerless to control my tendency to do wrong things and that my life is unmanageable."
Obviously this is caused by our sin nature first and foremost. We really screw things up when we try to play god. We do that by trying to control things, everything. Isn't that God's job? Often control becomes our motto and obsession. We try to control our image, we try to control people, we try to control problems (ours and other people's) and we try to control our pain. The pain really comes when we realize in our quiet moments that we are not God and we really can't control everything, and that really scares us.
This attempt to control everything ourselves leads to some devastating consequences such as: Fear, we are afraid people will see the real you and find out your secrets, Genesis 3:10. Another consequence is frustration, just when we thing we have everything under control, something goes haywire and usually at the most inconvenient times, Romans 7:19. Another one is fatigue, it is very tiring trying to play God, isn't it? We often say that we don't like how we feel when we slow down so we keep working at controlling things, Romans 7:24. We also experience the guaranteed consequence of failure. Trying to fulfill God's job description is a recipe for failure, Proverbs 28:13. One of visions for our church is that we would be a safe place where real people can talk about real problems, real hurts and not be blown away by judgmental people, but instead experience loving confrontation by supportive, encouraging and compassionate people.
About now some of you are reacting by saying "My problem is not that bad." Or, "Okay, but I can solve my own problems; this is for someone else." Very simply that is called denial. Often we seem unwilling to change until our pain becomes greater than our fear of change. We don't change when we see the light we change when we feel the heat. Such as when the marriage falls apart, the kids go the wrong way, the teacher catches us cheating, we get a bad report from the doctor, we lose the job, or ... Pain can be a warning signal, we need to allow it motivate us toward God and his cure.
The cure begins, and maturity advances, when you admit you are powerless to take care of all this on your own. Realizing that you are powerless to change your past. That you are powerless to change other people and that you are powerless to correct your harmful habits, hurts and hang-ups. We need God, his forgiveness, his grace, his power and his guidance.
What needs healing in your life? What habit or hurt have you been trying to ignore?
We had so many people come forward at the end of the message that people were stacked a couple deep around much of the altar area. A great time of confession, prayer, and compassion.
It was an outstanding day.