Psalm 31:4 "Keep me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge." Did you ever feel trapped? Were you ever stuck someplace and unable to get out? Even for just a few minutes…which in retrospect seems like an eternity. On a recent trip to California, I was walking...
The scripture tells us that God created each and everyone of us to know and love. But the scripture also tells us the truth. That you and I made a choice to live as though love had never come. We looked at the life that God offered and we said, "No, we want to be in control, we want to call the...
Pastor Chris gave us four nuggets to believe to help you finish your race: 1. Believe that whatever adversity comes your way, God has determined and prepared for you to be able to handle it!2. Believe that you are not the only person in your situation, others have been there before and they've...
Why does Jesus' death matter? Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history. With all that you have to do. With the...
Over and over in my life, I have looked at what I have and was mad that I didn't have more. We look around at what other people have, and in all of that comparison there is this basic foundational accusation, "God, you are not good. You didn't give me a winning hand, therefore I can't win, so...
'Loving God and living sin’- This is the idea that we can love God and make peace with the sin in our lives. This is religion at its core and the deceit that deadens the excitement and the power of God’s purpose in us. I can say that I love God, but I don’t have to live in a...
God came down to planet earth and became one of us, to lift us by grace and truth to a life that is new forever. When we believe we are released from our slavery, we are released from all of the destructive gravity of sin. This gravitational pull is so strong, it drags us into addictions, it...
Psalm 31:4 "Keep me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge."
Did you ever feel trapped? Were you ever stuck someplace and unable to get out? Even for just a few minutes…which in retrospect seems like an eternity.
On a recent trip to California, I was walking along the beach in Carlsbad enjoying the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. It was a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the mid seventies. I was walking along the rocks on the coastline-the rocks towered over 30 feet high. As the waves rolled in, there was nowhere to go to avoid the water. The waves came in and splashed me as I was leaning against the rocks. I realized if you were stuck here when the tide came in you would be trapped. The only way out would be to swim in the water or climb up the rocks.
In life, we can often feel trapped by our sin. We may be overcome with the sin of alcoholism, pornography, infidelity, gossip, lying, or other sinful behaviors.
When you are feeling trapped by sin, turn to God for guidance and direction. Take it one day at a time and continually lift up your prayers to Him.
Remember that God is a loving God and he forgives you for all your sins and unrighteousness. For we all fall short of the glory of God, but Jesus died on the cross so that our sins may be forgiven. "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17)
How do you get out of feeling trapped?
Pray. Start with this from Isaiah 54:17a, "No weapon that is formed against thee [Satan] shall prosper..." Pray to God and ask him to defeat Satan in the name of Jesus and help you turn from sin. Seek his forgiveness. Then make the deliberate action of turning away from your sin (repent) and endeavor to separate yourself from this behavior.
If you need more help understanding the grace and forgiveness of God, or if you need help with a chronic sin, please feel free to reach out to us. We are a church of broken people (read not sinless) who love the Lord and want to help each other overcome.
The scripture says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Now we live in this crazy gap between where God wants us to be, in His love, and on the other side, the scripture says that "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
This death is serious! It's eternal. It separates us, it twists us --it makes us angry!
It leads us down paths where we hurt people and it leads us to do stupid things sexually. It leads us to try other things to make us feel good in terms of chemicals and drugs and parties and gambling and all kinds of lies because the party always ends but the love of God never does!
And so the scripture says that God loved us so much that He built a bridge! This bridge was the life of Jesus! This was the love of Jesus! (John 3:16)
Pastor Chris gave us four nuggets to believe to help you finish your race:
1. Believe that whatever adversity comes your way, God has determined and prepared for you to be able to handle it!
2. Believe that you are not the only person in your situation, others have been there before and they've survived it!
3. Believe that with God's help and with the help of other Christ followers who are situated around you, you can defeat the enemy in the power of the Spirit!
3. Believe that the God who sent His son to die on the cross for your sins, is the same God who loves you right now through your struggle!
And when the naysayers come to remind you and call you out of your name, remember this - It's not what people call you, it's what you answer to!
Throw off all hindrances, God wants you to know that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering you on, so stop listening to the wrong voices and finish your race!
Why does Jesus' death matter?
Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history.
With all that you have to do. With the bills to pay, the schools to go to, the things to learn, the love to find, the love to give, the children to raise - whatever it is that so occupies your mind and your heart, whatever it is that you think is most important right now, there is something more important still. It is not some long ago disconnected event, it is the centerpiece of your life!
Romans 3:25 says "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood." The Atonement is where Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins. So Jesus became a sacrifice, and by believing in the meaning of what God did in dying for us, our sins can be lifted, forgiven, erased - carried away!
It matters because Jesus' death defeats the gravity of 'The Fall' - that's what it does! In "The Fall," we chose our own way, we rebelled against God and the result was we were cast out of Eden. We wanted freedom from the love and relationship of God and what we got was insanity, chaos, brokenness and the gravity of sin introduced a cancer into all of life!
Gravity - There is this continual 'pulling down' of force that is unseen and unstoppable and it not only affects physical objects, it effects everything in your life!
Every good intention that you have.
It affects your mind and how you think about money and sexuality...there is a downward pull on those things.
Let's think about being depressed. What does being 'depressed' mean? It means something is pushing down!
In most of our lives, there are like one or two sins that are like drugs, they offer us something 'other than' God, and we turn to them over and over again. Then we say we'll never do that again and then 'gravity' happens and then the attempt to lift it up - but down it goes!
All of this is what the Bible tells us is part of 'The Fall'.
In Jesus' death, He was an atoning sacrifice that literally answered and canceled all of the sin of all of humanity - when we believe!
So the gravity of 'The Fall' is beaten, when we connect the death of Jesus with our living, and we can then live defying gravity until Heaven comes!
What I'm telling you is that when we believe in the death of Jesus, we become free and the downward force of the gravity is overcome!
Now I want you to understand, we are living in the age of redemption. There is an age of restoration that is coming when there will be no more sin!
No more downward pull. No more gravity!
But I until then, if you are a believer, do not think that you are a failure because you have to struggle - you are a great success! An airplane has to struggle to get off the ground and defy gravity! Even after it launches into the air, it can't then say "Ok, I'm in the air, everything should be easy, shut the engines off!" Yet, some believers say "Oh, I accepted Jesus, everything should be easy if God loves me, no more tears, no more pain, no more crying." No, that's heaven, but until then, we have to go through it, we have to keep moving forward, we have to overcome in faith through God's grace!
In our struggle, until the restoration, we have the promise of God that we do not have to be victims of our own lust, of our own consumerism, we do not have to live depressed and down, we can soar as high as the grace of God! There will always be a struggle here on planet earth, but so what, we can win! Jesus' death defeats the gravity of the fall; you are not fated to fail!
The scripture says, in 1 John 2:2, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world." Jesus died for you - If you and I will connect the meaning of His death to the ongoing meaning of our lives, everything changes! Father God I pray, in Jesus' name, that we would hear the story of the death of Jesus and that we would connect the meaning of His death to the living of our lives! -Dr. Drew Shofner
Over and over in my life, I have looked at what I have and was mad that I didn't have more. We look around at what other people have, and in all of that comparison there is this basic foundational accusation, "God, you are not good. You didn't give me a winning hand, therefore I can't win, so why even try?" Then what happens in our addictions, in our marriages, in our divorces, in our affairs, and in our sinning is we throw our hands down and we walk away mad and we're not even gonna try! It's an incredible, incredible sin! Misinterpreting God's good heart results in a hard heart and a wasted life. I want to help you understand where you are and how God can change where you are and bring you into an amazing new place. Where you and I don't have to live resenting life, resenting God, quitting on life, and simply believing that we can't win!
If we're honest, many of us resent what God has given us or what He has not given us. We feel like we're on a journey that we can't complete. We look around and see what everybody else got and we're mad at the giver! Then we make this foundational shift that changes everything. When we decide God isn't good, our hearts begin to harden, our world begins to go light-less, we begin to die and passions begin to drain and pretty soon we're in a place where we can't win! When you feel like you're overwhelmed, when you feel like you've been dealt a bad hand, and when you feel like there's no way you can win, you don't even try!
Instead of living our lives up as God would intend, we're quitting in life, overwhelmed, because we haven't been given enough. Because we have hurt and people have betrayed us and because we have faced times where we have had to struggle and because God has allowed 'hard' to happen in our lives, we look at Him without faith and we accuse Him of being evil! But the scriptures say in Psalm119:68 that "You are good and what You do is good." Guys, I'm telling you that this is the foundation of everything. The foundation of life is that God is good and endlessly generous. The whole experience of your every day life is going to be determined by what your heart decides about this one simple truth: Is God good or is God bad?
Jesus knew that in a world that was broken and separated from Him, that everything would be crazy and that nothing would ever be right until our souls would be eternally connected with His heart! He knew that we would misinterpret God. He knew that we would be in competition with one another. He knew that community would be broken and that relationship would be fractured in a 360 degree kind of way. And so "God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son..." (John 3:16) to enter into all of our brokenness and all of our insanity and all of our losing, our hating, our lying and despair; to bring salvation and hope! God brought His kingdom into this broken world to make things right again! Accept your gifting, however you are gifted, it is the handiwork of God and play to win with the hand you're dealt. A change of attitude is a change of life! -Dr. Drew Shofner