This past Sunday I discussed how we often like to blame other people or circumstances for our problem instead of taking responsibility for it. Even if the problem is not your fault you still have a problem and you will not get past it until you own up to it.
If you decide to own up then you will begin to make six changes that will help you become a better person. However, this is not to say the changes are easy. They are not. In some cases they can be painful, but just as plants are pruned to keep them healthy so must we be pruned.
- You have to change your thinking. Romans 12:2 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” How do you do that? 2 Corinthians 10:5 gives us the answer, “Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”
- You have to change who influences you. This doesn’t mean you change your friends, but it means you will probably have to change who you will allow to influence your decision making. Basically you need to learn to discern what is wisdom and what is foolishness. How do you know what is wisdom and what is foolishness? Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
- You have to reinvent yourself. Chances are you have gotten so comfortable with blaming that owning your problem means changing parts of your character. The good news is you don’t have to reinvent yourself by yourself! As a Christian, you have been given the Holy Spirit and the fruit of him living within you is peace, love, joy, patience, self-control, amongst other benefits.
- You will need to change your expectations. When you decide to own your problem you have to give up on other people owning it for you. So your expectation of them apologizing, or changing, moves from holding them responsible to seeking to love them as Jesus loved you. Galatians 5:6 says the only thing that matters is your faith expressed through love.
- You will have to give up laziness and comfort. The easy way out was to blame. Now that you are owning your problem chances are you will have some work to do, conversations to hold, new prayers to be prayed. This means you will have to be proactive and not reactive. It means you might have to get uncomfortable to be the person God has called you to become.
- You will need to depend more on God. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I know from my personal journey that I cannot do this alone. I need God’s grace, wisdom, and power to know victory. This verse says we can do it together!
- Circle / Problems we face
- Purpose: Getting past your problem <>
- Process: Own It, Confess It, Receive It, Leave It, Deal With It, and Love It.
- Today: The first one: Own It (Hardest one (leave church)) / Do Hard things first /farming
- Own It:
- Problem Not your fault (DNA, bottle, She left, didn’t tell you, everyone knows. unfair, had it in for me, adulterous demonize, made me do it
- Blame Game
- We don’t take ownership because we blame
- Keep you from taking responsibility
- Blame allows you to tell someone else’s story / fault
- I don’t want to tell you how I messed up, I’d rather talk about how they were mean, treated me.
- The consequences of blame:
- Reducing your responsibility increases the chances of you repeating the same mistake again.
- Blame always causes conflict. (Something inside you that gets irritated when someone else…)
- You lose respect.
- Blame creates conflict within you. You are really hard on yourself.
- Blame reduces people as less than you. We feel protected emotionally if we reduce our empthy towards them.
- Blame reinforces the myth I cannot govern my own behavior. (We only believe that about ourselves / parents)
- Blaming doesn’t get you anywhere. No one blamed themselves to the top!
- TSN: Good News: We get the blame game honest.
US Genesis 1:27-28, 3:7-13
- Adam & Eve (Differing views, Jesus referred to them as historical on 2 occasions)
- Genesis 1:27-28
- God gave us responsibility (Be fruitful, have babies)
- We were created to be responsible, to own it.
- We feel better when we live up to our responsibilities
- WE hate it when someone else doesn’t (Military)
- Adam and Eve failed and that created a problem (Flawed)
- Shame entered human history and it has never left.
- How did they handle their shame?
- Genesis 3:8
- They hide from God (stupid)
- We hide from our shame too (Perfectionism, numbing)
- Lie, jump from job to job, addictions, relationships
- Genesis 3:9-11
- God gave them one rule and they broke it. God hlds them accountable.
- The world would be a different place if Adam would have taken responsibility.
- Genesis 3:12
- The woman did it! Blame game!
- He also blames God- The woman YOU put here with me.
- Leave me out of it.
- Genesis 3:13
- She blames the serpent (and who let the serpent in the garden?)
- APP: When we blame we bring pressure on those around us.
- ILL: Blame husband > pressure > anger > resentment > shut down > wife says I don’t know him anymore
- ILL: Blame wife > exaggerates emotions > not perfect > being exposed> never enough
- How different marriage would be if Adam had taken responsibility and owned it.
- ILL: MY kids cleaning: When you don’t clean up your mess you just cause more work for everyone else.
- So what do you do about the blame game? How do you own your problem?
- Decide how much of the problem is your responsibility <> How?
- Listen to your blames. (Words out of your mouth, inner conversation, bad habit, addiction, spending habits, diet.
- Are you taking responsibility or blaming others?
- Are you willing to look in the mirror?
- When you own it you can make progress.
- ILL: Gypsy and the chalk circle (45 times)
- “Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival in the chalk circle.”
- APP: Go home draw this circle around yourself and ask God to help you own it.
- Next week.
PRAYER / TIME OF COMMITMENT:
At the end of my message Sunday I mentioned a quote from a incredibly successful preacher back in the 1800’s. His name was Gypsy and he spoke to well over a million people about Jesus in his lifetime. After one of his meetings a couple people asked him how they could be successful too. He told them, ““Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival in the chalk circle.”
I challenged everyone in our church to do just that and ask God to help them own their problem. Later on, through Facebook, one family told me they went home and did just that! They spray painted a circle on their driveway and each took a turn and asked God to help them own their problem and to bring revival in their hearts. How awesome is that?!
Have you drawn the circle around you and asked God to start a revival with you? Do it! You will not be let down! God comes close to a humble heart.
One area of concern and research for me lately is the area of shame. In my study I have unearthed some incredible truth. First, one of the deepest needs we have as humans is to somehow, someway to handle the shame and broken-heartedness in our life. Shame says you are a failure, you are not enough, you didn’t measure up, you missed the mark. The good news is the grace of Jesus Christ removes our shame as far as east is from the west. The problem we short sheet the grace of God through these compensating behaviors to handle our shame. Which ones do you struggle with? How can you let God break through your defense?
- Perfectionism is not striving for excellence. Perfectionism is a defensive move that believes if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or even cancel the effect of shame in our life. We think perfectionism will protect us. At it’s core perfectionism is about winning approval. The good news is we cannot earn approval from God, but have it through our faith in Jesus Christ.
- Numbing says if we stay busy enough the truth of our life will not catch up to us. Most of our addictions come from a desire to escape the truth of ourselves. Numbing though just doesn’t deaden the pain of broken hearts, but dulls the joy and love we have in Christ. If you numb the dark you also numb the light.
- Viking or Victim. This is the view that either you are an overcomer in life or a sucker who is always taken advantage of. If you are of the Viking variety you miss out on the strength of Jesus because you are a pull up by your boot straps kind of person. If you are of the victim mindset you miss out on the grace of Christ that declares you good enough in Christ. Christ became the victim of your sin so you could be set free from that bondage.
- Floodlighting. This is when we share way too much about ourselves to the point that there is no chance of genuine connection with another person or with God. Our prayer life is just filled with connecting with God through our shame story and not the victory of the cross. Our Christian experience is stumped when we continually focus on ourselves and not on the cross.
- Smash and Grab. This is when you share something horrible in your life, frustration or whatever, and then grabbing whatever attention and energy you can get your hands on. This short changes God’s grace in Christ because it is entirely one directional. There is no real connection to God because your emotional and spiritual life is about wringing whatever worthiness you can get of Jesus. You never realize that through Jesus you and God are good. You have his full attention.
- Serpentining. This is when we spend our emotional energy and relational capital on dodging our vulnerability and sin instead of facing it straight on. We try to control the situation, back out of it, pretend it’s not happening, or apathy. Serpentining cuts into our experience of grace because we never allow God to deal with our shame head on. Even though we sing about being washed clean we never feel clean because we keep dodging God.
- Cynicism. This is the culture of our age. Cynicism not only is a shield to protect us but it also inflicts pain on those around you who dare to be open around us and therefore make you uncomfortable. I see this in my preaching. If we say we I’m the tough guy then those around us who expose their broken heart turn us off. They reflect back on us the fears about being really seen for who we really are. Again, God completely exposed himself on the cross. It was not cool. It was shameful and embarrassing for a God to die on a cross at the hands of men. Jesus said we are to carry our cross because this is part of experiencing God’s grace. Through grace you cynicism fails because you have the strength in Christ telling you that you are enough.
As Christians we must remember Roman 10:11 when it comes to the topic of shame: “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Here is the outline to my message fromthis past Easter Sunday. Note takers rejoice!
- Mary Magdalene going to the Tomb
- Cemeteries in Jesus’ day (Ossuaries, etc)
- Mary was expecting a dead body (John 20) but the stone rolled away.
- She ran to Peter and John, “They have taken our Lord and I don’t know where they have put him.”
- Still thought Jesus was dead.
- Peter and John run to the tomb. (John arrives first, linen left)
- John believed- and they went back.
LIFE RELATED EXPERIENCE
- Question: Is Jesus really worth believing in? <>(Welcome all)
- Common struggle / I struggle… family / money / career, family, retirement is it worth it to believe in him?
- Do you believe in the risen Messiah? Like John, is Jesus worth believing in?
- She stayed after Peter and John went back
- She looked into the tomb and saw 2 angels and still sid, “They have taken my Lord away!”
- Who is Mary? (Magdala <> / grew up in immoral town/wealthy)
- APP: Maybe you are like Mary <>
- Jesus sees you / knows your name
- She thought Jesus was dead / Jesus dead to you
- My hope is for you to say, “I have seen the Lord today!”
- TRN: Peter and John had gone back.
- They were together in hiding / doors locked/ next
- So Jesus came looking for them!
- The evening of Easter Jesus came to them!
- Jesus says, “Peace be with you.”
- He shows them his wounds.
- Mission: “As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.”
- APP: You have more fear then faith
- Reminded of your mission as a Christian.
- C3 Vision: revolutionize, bridges, few > many
- Kingdom Builder, not church goers
- Just as Jesus set the disciples he is sending you.
- TSN: One disciple was missing
- Thomas was a twin, and he had a stubborn, cynical faith in Jesus
- “Let us go, that we might die with him.”
- So when the Disciples told him about Jesus he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands where the nails were and put my finger into his side, I will not believe.”
- APP: Maybe you doubt like Thomas today
- Believer w/ doubts
- Not a believer because of your doubts.
- Good News: After the search your faith will be strong!
- Jesus did not criticize Thomas
- He didn’t berate him, <>
- All he said was, “Look.” <>
- Command, “Stop doubting and believe.”
- This is a safe place for Thomas’s. Our reaction is to be like Jesus and simply say, Look. We hope to show you.
- Review- John tells these stories of these people.
- “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
- Do you believe? Is it worth it to believe in Jesus? Mary would say yes, Peter and John, the Disciples, Thomas, all say yes. Why? Because of the resurrection!
- Jesus has a word for us this AM: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
In the Orthodox Church the week after Easter is called Bright Week. Meaning that because of the death of death in Christ our live are brighter, our hope is brighter, and the darkness of death is no longer binding, but brightened by the opening of heaven’s door.
In the Holy Week calendar these events are recalled from scripture:
- Bright Monday: The disciple Judas is replaced by Matthias. Acts 1:12-16
- Bright Tuesday: Peter’s Sermon on Pentecost, Part 1: Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Sunday, Act 2
- Bright Wednesday: Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost, Part 2: It was not possible that he should be held by death, Acts 2
- Bright Thursday: The disciples continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s Doctrine and Fellowship, Acts 2:42
- Bright Friday: Peter Heals the Man Born Lame, Acts 3:1-8
- Bright Saturday: Why do you marvel at this? Peter speaks after he heals the man born lame. Acts 3:11-16
May your week after Easter be filled with the brightness and joy through the resurrection of our Lord and Savior! Amen!
Church Building Report Card
Malcolm shared with us 5 criteria CFR likes to be in healthy shape before going into a fundraising campaign. We need these statistics to be strong order to go into the campaign. Here is where we stand as of the end of March 2015.
- 30% of budget to be towards ministry.
- Status: Unchanged
- 84% of our 2015 budget goes to administrative costs (rent, insurance, land payment, salaries)
- 16% is dedicated to ministry
- Unless we revise the 2015 budget this number is set for the remainder of the year.
- The long term debt ratio is at $3-5000 per attendee.
- We averaged 1 people for the month of January.
- If you take $2,000,000 and divide it by 124 you get $16,126 per attendee.
- Meeting the budget or surpassing the budget in giving.
- Our Monthly Budget need is: 17,333.33 (208,000 divided by 12)
- February Giving: $19021
- March Giving: $18132
- April Giving: $14696 (Close to ½ of this number was given online)
- May Giving: $13616
- June Giving: 18,223 (6028 was given online)
- Note: For the first 6 months we brought in $95,353 ($17,254 below budget)
- July Giving: $10.906 (Online: 4870)
- August Giving: 20372
- September Giving: 18914
- October Giving: n/a
- November Giving: 15984
- December: n/a
- January 2015: 19350
- February 2015: 15,775
- Trending upward in attendance.
- Avg Att January: 114
- Avg Att February: 113
- Avg Att March: 124
- Avg Att for April: 133 (196 for Easter)
- Avg Attendance for May: 111 (88 in 2013)
- Avg for June: 113 (100 in 2013)
- Avg for July: 104 (97 in 2013)
- Avg for August: 104 (97 in 2013)
- Avg for September: 112 (99 in 2013)
- Avg for October: 104 (106 in 2013)
- Avg for November: 97 (100 in 2013)
- Avg for December: 112 (120 in 2013)
- Avg for JAnuary 2015: 119 .
- Avg for February 2015: 122
- Debt to Loan Ratio
- We owe approximately $54,000 on the land and the land was independently assessed at $340,000 giving us an equity of $286,000 . So this number is strong.
- We can use the equity in the land as a down payment on the building.