Tag Archives: free

Refusing to Confess

We never like to be wrong. Pride. It’s a terrible thing. Not only do we not like being wrong, but we usually are not quick to confess our sin. Rather than confess to God and receive His mercy, we do not take the simple step toward forgiveness.

The Psalmist noted that when he refused to confess his sin, his “body wasted away… (he) groaned all day long.” He carried around this horrible burden, this dreadful sin, and it caused him to experience great pain. It tore him up. It weighed him down.

We usually think that the confession of sin is all about us stating our imperfections, listing the laws of God we have broken. It is a time when we recognize we serve a holy God. Confession is much more than this though—it’s a release, a freedom from this sin that weighs us down. When we confess, He is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). That’s it. Said and done. No need to look back on it. No need to remember it (He chooses not to). Read Isaiah 43:25. Freedom. If you have something to confess, take that step. Be free.

“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.” – Psalm 32:3 [NLT]

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Forgotten Tim Tams

A dear friend gave me some Tim Tams the other day. I even ate one with my afternoon coffee that very day. But then with my scatterbrained mind, I forgot that the Tim Tams were in my special hiding spot. Only when I saw them today, did I realize that I had nearly a full pack of Tim Tams just waiting to be enjoyed. Forgetfulness is a horrible thing, except for when it comes to forgiveness.

When we forgive another person, we should forgive as if we forget. This means we forgive as if it never even happened. We forgive like with the Tim Tams, where it would not be remembered unless seen again (meaning the person sinned against you again). That’s how God forgives us. The Bible says that He forgives us as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12). His Word also tells us that He forgets, He chooses not to remember what we’ve done when we ask for forgiveness (Isaiah 43:25). Now He could choose otherwise. He is all powerful and all knowing. He could easily remember; it’s a choice.

We need to forgive like God. We need to make a choice—and be intentional with our forgiveness. When someone has sinned against you, when someone has upset you, when someone has done something foolish—choose not to remember. Ask the Spirit to help you forgive and forget. This isn’t only for the benefit of the person being forgiven, but more so for you. Unforgiveness is a prison where you are held in torment. Marriages break apart because of the records kept of the wrongs. Friendships are destroyed because of the records of the wrongs. Always we remember the faults, the bad moments. These things burn a hole in our memory bank. Only when you choose to put it aside, to say “I forgive this” and press forward, are you free from the prison of unforgiveness. Only then will you have freedom. Only then will you live by the grace you have received. It is a beautiful thing, a freeing thing.

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” – Proverbs 17:9 [NLT]

More Than a Story: Responsiveness

[Great Feast: Luke 14:15-24]

In Luke 14 we see that Someone is hosting a dinner – the person is “a ruler of the Pharisees”

  • Verses 1-6 speak about healing of a person with dropsy on the Sabbath
  • Verses 7-11 speak about the place of honor [[PARABLE OF THE AMBITIOUS GUEST]]
    • This parable was told to the Pharisees and the lawyers
    • Seating rank & distinction / more important guests arrived later / those less important would be moved if no room – Pharisees loved the best seats – Lesson of humility
  • Verses 12-14 choice of guests [[PARABLE OF THE FEAST / BANQUET]]
    • This parable was told to the “ruler of the Pharisees” – Lesson of hospitality
  • Verses 15-24 heavenly banquet [[PARABLE OF THE GREAT SUPPER / FEAST]]
    • The great feast is ALREADY PREPARED.
    • The INVITATIONS ISSUED BUT DECLINED.
    • House will be FILLED BUT NOT BY THOSE ORIGINALLY INVITED.

Way of invitation – the invitation went out earlier for people to accept and have time to prepare. Later they went out again to touch base with those invited and tell them it was almost time.

Excuses:

  • Bought a field & had to go see it (Livelihood / Career)
  • Bought 5 yoke of oxen & had to go examine them (Possessions / Property)
  • Got married (Social / Relationship)

The people were pleased to be invited but that’s it – the invitation did not result in attendance

The invitees did not desire fellowship

Excuses would have sounded pathetic to the group because of the way invitations worked

Truth – this is how they were treating God’s invitation – it had no influence on their daily lives

Lesson of self-examination – GOD’S INVITATION IS FULL AND FREE

“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” – Revelation 22:17 [NKJV]

“If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing” and “God will judge his people.” Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.” – Hebrews 10:26-31 [MSG]

Bible Study Questions:

1) The Jews were looking forward to the resurrection. They saw the resurrection as a great celebration in God’s presence. Read Isaiah 25:6-9.

What did the passage mention would be at the banquet? What does this mean?

What actions does this passage promise?

This passage ends by giving us a response. What should be our response?

How can we respond in this way?

2) Looking at tonight’s main parable, we read that there was a group invited first. These people initially accepted the invitation; however, they later did not join the banquet. Who were the people who rejected the invitation of God? They would have been on the receiving end of this message.

3) What did these people think about their salvation?

4) When the slave went out to get more people, he returned and said still there was room so he was sent out again. What does this say to us?

 5) Those originally invited made excuses for not attending. The excuses involved relationships, property / possessions, and livelihood. How can these things keep us from God’s invitation? What is your biggest road block?

6) God’s invitation is a daily invitation. How can you stop making excuses?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

I’ve Got the Power Outline

I’ve Got the Power

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:19 [NLT]

How to Get It?

Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentilesh—all who have been called by the Lord our God. Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, Save yourselves from this crooked generation!Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. – Acts 2:38-41 [NLT]

  • Hear the Word
  • God Calls you to Himself
  • You receive the Word – Repent & Trust Him
  • Baptism

 

How you Quench or Grieve It?

  • Quench—1 Thessalonians 5:19Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV) Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) [[Suppressive / Destructive / Non-Unifying]]
    • Holy Spirit – Fire – Purifying / Enlightening / Enlivening – Don’t despise Spiritual Gifts
    • NOT ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE FREELY
  • Grieve—Ephesians 4:30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV) [[“Lupe” – To cause grief / To offend]]
    • Lying, angry, corrupt behavior – actions, behavior towards God and others
    • ACTING OUT IN SINFUL MANNER

How You Use It?

Counsels You (John 14:16)

Cleanses you (Romans 15:16)

Comforts you (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Empowers you (Romans 15:13)

Helps you when weak (Romans 8:26)

Gives you confidence (2 Corinthians 5:5-6)

Assures adoption in God’s family (Galatians 4:6-7)

Encourages you (Acts 9:31)

Gives you new life (Romans 8:11)

Gives you wisdom & revelation (Ephesians 1:17)

Leads you to all truth (John 16:13)

Helps you pray (Romans 8:26)

Convicts you (John 16:8)

Strengthens & renews you (Ephesians 3:16)

Brings you reassurance (Romans 8:16)

Sanctifies you (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Fills you (Ephesians 5:18)

Gives you joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Helps you remember (John 14:26)

Dispenses God’s love in our hearts (Romans 5:5)

Download I’ve Got the Power Outline on DropBox

Hard-Pressed Relief Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (ESV) BURDEN & EASE

If one member of the body suffers – all suffer – 1 Corinthians 12:26

Burden causes fatigue, struggle, drowning—become overwhelmed & even angry

Yet we are to “Serve with gladness” – Psalm 100:2

  • Delegation – You Cannot Do Everything
  1. Jethro & Moses (Exodus 18)
  2. Seven chosen for distribution including Stephen & Philip (Acts 6)
    1. Good reputation / Full of Spirit / Full of wisdom
    2. Know gifts / don’t serve in all areas – serve where you can give your all
    3. Not burdened that others may live at ease. Remember Exodus 16:18 – Manna was gathered and there was “nothing left over” and there was “no lack.” Each one gathered as much as they could eat.
  • Recognize Burden – Take Note When You Are Drowning & Speak Up
    1. Moses says: “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me” [Numbers 11:14 ESV]
    2. “Gather for me seventy of the elders… and I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” [v. 16-17 ESV]
    3. Two is Better Than One [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12] – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”(ESV)
  • Jesus Above All
    1. Guard the Gospel [2 Timothy 1:12-14] “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what he has entrusted to me. Following the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV)
    2. Keep aware not to take away from another’s walk. Equip. Empower.

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)

Download Hard-Pressed Relief Outline from Dropbox

Slavery of Self-Reliance Outline

Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.

Slavery of Self-Reliance

Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value

Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained

The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things

The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery

The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves

God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection

  • God provides you meaning and purpose
    • Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
    • Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
  • God provides you security
    • Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
  • God provides you safety
    • Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
    • Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
    • Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
  • God provides you significance and worth and value
    • Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
    • Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
    • Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).

Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.

Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)

Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

Download Slavery of Self-Reliance Outline

Passionate Patience Outline

Here’s a message outline on Hebrews 12:1. You can download this outline below.

Passionate Patience

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1 [NLT]

In 1845, the ill-fated Franklin Expedition sailed from England to find a passage across the Arctic Ocean.

                The crew loaded their two sailing ships with a lot of things they didn’t need: a 1,200-volume library, fine china, crystal goblets, and sterling silverware for each officer with his initials engraved on the handles. Amazingly, each ship took only a 12-day supply of coal for their auxiliary steam engines.

                The ships became trapped in vast frozen plains of ice. After several months, Lord Franklin died. The men decided to trek to safety in small groups, but none of them survived.

                One story is especially heartbreaking. Two officers pulled a large sled more than 65 miles across the treacherous ice. When rescuers found their bodies, they discovered that the sled was filled with table silver.

What strengthens and encourages your relationship with Jesus? What is beneficial?

What disrupts or interrupts your relationship with Jesus? What is a hindrance?

 

Sin, habits, pleasures, self-indulgences, associations that hold you back, worldly cares, riches, honors, opinions, activities, possessions, relationships, careers. Anything that occupies our time, energy, affections to neglect time with the Lord and our pursuit of Christ-likeness.

Jesus is the goal of our journey and companion on the way

Go steadily forward in the race and refuse to be deflected: Hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay) – cheerful or hopeful endurance, enduring patience, patient continuance (waiting). Passionate patience – Perseverance or Patient Endurance – 2 Pet 1:6, Rev 3:10, Rev 14:12, 1 Cor 13:7, Lk 21:19

  • COMMIT YOURSELF: BOLDLY CLAIM IT CAN BE DONE!! It’s already been done. Great cloud of witnesses – inspiration – motivation – what we see in them – Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith
  • FOCUS ON YOUR WEAKNESS – Admit you cannot do life alone. You need Jesus. Passionately seek Him with all you have. Know Him, love Him, worship Him.Fix your eyes on Him.
  • ADMIT YOU AREN’T FINISHED YET. “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” – Philippians 3:12 [NLT] Passionately pursuing Jesus –Press on to the finish
  • EMBRACE HARDSHIPS & STRUGGLES AND REMOVE OBSTACLES & DISTRACTIONS. Hardships are opportunities for growth. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” –C.S. Lewis “Problem of Pain

Hebrews 12:2 Fix your eyes on Jesus

 

Download Passionate Patience Outline

Be a Barnabas Outline

I recently shared a devotional on being one who provides encouragement to others. Here’s the outline for reference / resource. To download this, follow the link below.

Be a Barnabas

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25 [NLT]

The apostles sent Barnabas to Antioch — “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” – Acts 11:23-24 [NIV]

Acts 4:36-37 – Barnabas sold land to provide for fellow Christians

Acts 9:26-28 – Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement”) took a chance on Paul. Others weren’t accepting him in Jerusalem because they didn’t believe he was a disciple but Barnabas spoke up for him.

Barnabas provided encouragement to John Mark. There was a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark. Barnabas didn’t give up on John Mark and Paul later requested John Mark because he was “profitable to the ministry” (2 Timothy 4).

  • ENCOURAGE – help them develop to who they are meant to be in Christ, give support, give confidence
    • Put yourself aside and help others get ahead [Philippians 2:3-4]
    • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29 [MSG] SPEAK LIFE
  • EQUIP – Give them tools needed, supply someone something, prepare someone, be an example.
  • EMPOWER – Create opportunities for them to serve others, give authority – don’t always say yes to something because you think no one will step up. You end up filling up what God designed someone else to fill and spreading yourself too thing.
  • EMBRACE – Love them, care for them, pray for them, accept, support, hold closely
    • Loving God includes loving people (1 John 4:20-21)
    • Paul told Timothy – 1st thing PRAY every way you know how for everyone you know – 1 Timothy 2:1-3
    • “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do…. Treat them gently.” – Romans 14:1 [MSG]
    • Strong and able in faith – step in and lend a hand to those who falter à How can I help? “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” – Romans 15:1 [ESV]

William Barclay said, “No man ever saved his soul who devoted his whole time and energy to saving it, but many a man has saved it by being so concerned for others that he forgot that he himself had a soul to save.”

 Download Be a Barnabas Outline

 

Free to Stay

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in prison singing hymns. An earthquake opened the prison doors but the prisoners stayed. Free to stay. Why? Why didn’t they run? They were bringing Hope.

The jailer woke up from the earthquake and saw all the doors of the prison open. He immediately decided to kill himself because he would have been killed anyway for allowing the prisoners to escape. He felt hopeless. This reminds me of Elijah and the hopeless woman and her son. Do you remember she wanted to eat the food she had left and then die?  In 1 Kings 17, you find this widow of Zarephath feeling hopeless, just as this jailer. Elijah was bringing Hope.

In both cases, this sense of hopelessness was met with the presence of God. Paul and the others stayed. The jailer asked what to do to be saved. He and his household were saved. The widow and her son never ran out of oil. What was once hopeless was no longer. The jailer was then “filled with joy” (v. 34). From hopeless to joy—you can have that too!

“The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped… He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” – Acts 16:27, 30 [NIV]

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To Make Us Slaves

Because of Christ we are free. We are free from the bondage of sin. As Galatians 5 states: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery” (v. 1 NIV).

Earlier in his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul noted that there were false believers who came to spy on the freedom that they had because they wanted to make them slaves again. They wanted to bring them back into bondage. How could they bring them to bondage? The law.

There is grace. There is law. Because of God’s grace, we do not have to focus on the law. We are justified through Christ. “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God… I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (2:19, 21 NIV).  Don’t allow someone to make you a slave again. Do not set aside the grace of God.

“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” – Galatians 2:4 [NIV]

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