“Suffering is the result of sinning.” NOPE.

With great confidence people will often quote twisted scripture and skewed ideas they’re convinced represent God’s thoughts and perspective. Some of these diverged ideals have become so common they’ve even been absorbed as truth into our contemporary church culture. These ways of thinking are popular, but misleading. This message series will help us translate what God really says.  

LostInTranslation_Suffering.jpg

Job’s friends wrongly assumed his suffering was a result of sinning. But that was not true. We can all expect suffering—it is an inevitable part of our broken world, but don’t forget the powerful resource that you have in Christ. Entrust your life to His ever-present care and control. He loves you. He will help you endure and will use your suffering for good.

Message Notes

“Suffering is the result of sinning.”
False.

Job is the age-old poster child for suffering.
His three friends believed he was suffering because he sinned.

Far from being a sign of sin, suffering sometimes comes when we are most obedient.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.

Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.

They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.
Hebrews 11:35-39

We may never know why we suffer—Job didn’t.

But Jesus will always be with us.
We can hold on to God and know that he will be with us.
He will use our suffering for good purpose.

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you.I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

There IS PTSD.
But there is also PTG.

Post-traumatic growth is positive change experienced as a result of suffering or struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
Isaiah 48:10

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
I Peter 4:19

Bottom Line:

Suffering is part of life in our broken world, but Jesus will never leave us alone.

Next Steps:

  1. Memorize Hebrews 13:5, John 16:33

  2. Determine to be changed for the better by the things you experience.

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” NOPE.

With great confidence people will often quote twisted scripture and skewed ideas they’re convinced represent God’s thoughts and perspective. Some of these diverged ideals have become so common they’ve even been absorbed as truth into our contemporary church culture. These ways of thinking are popular, but misleading. This message series will help us translate what God really says.  

God will absolutely give you more than you can handle; but he will never give you more than HE can handle.Recognizing your own weakness and need of God is an essential part of growing in your walk with Christ.

“Do not judge.” NOPE.

With great confidence people will often quote twisted scripture and skewed ideas they’re convinced represent God’s thoughts and perspective. Some of these diverged ideals have become so common they’ve even been absorbed as truth into our contemporary church culture. These ways of thinking are popular, but misleading. This message series will help us translate what God really says.

People often only take the two words “Judge Not” from Jesus’ teachings and translate that to mean we are supposed to simply mind our own business and “live and let live.” Actually, God formed the church for community, accountability, honesty, and healthy relationships.

Message Notes

Do not judge.

Thou shalt not size me up and write me off.

Why do we judge?

  • Jealousy

  • Self-Righteous

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.
Matthew 7:1-6

Jesus commands us to deal with our own issues to help others with their issues.

Judge Not is not equal to Care Not.

  1. You size people up and write them off.
    If the sin of others does not break your heart, it’s probably because your heart has never been broken by your own sin.

  2. You size people up and walk away.
    You can see clearly now. The plank is gone.

  3. You’ve been sized up and refuse to listen.
    Defensiveness ensures that your past will continue to show up in your future.

“Obedience always leads to prosperity.” NOPE.

With great confidence people will often quote twisted scripture and skewed ideas they’re convinced represent God’s thoughts and perspective. Some of these diverged ideals have become so common they’ve even been absorbed as truth into our contemporary church culture. These ways of thinking are popular, but misleading. This message series will help us translate what God really says.  

There are some groups who teach a winning slot machine gospel: Obeying Jesus leads to windfalls and favor. They believe that if Christ is on their side, they will have success in all their endeavors. The truth is our peace and reward in any situation comes from trusting that God is in control and knows what he is doing.

Message Notes

Misquote:
Obedience leads to windfalls and prosperity.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11 describes the difference between living in God’s promise and waiting for God’s promise.

All these people were still living by faith when they died.
Hebrews 11:13

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, about David, Samuel and the prophets. Who, through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again… There were others… Who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging; and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
Hebrews 11:32-39

Is this the truth?

"God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.” NOPE.

With great confidence people will often quote twisted scripture and skewed ideas they’re convinced represent God’s thoughts and perspective. Some of these diverged ideals have become so common they’ve even been absorbed as truth into our contemporary church culture. These ways of thinking are popular, but misleading. This message series will help us translate what God really says

The world says, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me”. We are encouraged to pursue what we believe we deserve, and assume that God/the Universe moves toward those who unabashedly go for their dreams. But Jesus calls for us to seek the Kingdom of God first, not ourselves and our own pursuits. If we do, he guarantees that everything else we need will fall into place.

Message Notes

“God helps those who help themselves.”

1 in 8 Americans believe the Bible says this. 

Popular thought is that we at least need get the ball rolling ourselves.

God says that those who rely on themselves are foolish.

Those who trust in themselves are foolish.” Proverbs 28:26

Who does God help?

Those who recognize they cannot help themselves and are utterly helpless.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
II Chronicles 20:12

Those who make the main thing the main thing and seek his Kingdom first.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:25-33

Bottom Line:
Make the main thing, the main thing.

Next Steps:

  1. Take inventory of your life investments, determine what ones need to change, and make a new plan.

  2.  How can I improve my focus to seek God first?

Jealous Much?

The best relationship principles taught by the experts come straight from the relationship values taught by Jesus. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that my relationships, both with God and with others, are most directly affected by unresolved issues inside my heart—you know, that invisible, mysterious, confusing, wonderful part of each of us that enables us to love, laugh, fear, and experience life. It’s the place where relationships are built - and broken. The unresolved issues in your heart will eventually work their way to the surface and seep into your relationships. When I think of my most embarrassing moments and my biggest regrets, more often than not they have something to do with my relationSLIPs. The time to address the slippage is now.

Jealousy can turn to resentment in a heartbeat, but the real issue with my jealousy is ME - not them. I feel like God is short-changing me. Celebrating the wins of the other person sets me free and puts life back in perspective. 

Message Notes

Guilt says, “I owe you.”
Anger says, “You owe me.”
Greed says, “I owe me.”

Jealousy says, “God owes me.”

Jealousy is dangerous.
It shapes our attitudes towards other people.
Our jealousy leads to resentment—then satisfaction when they have a setback.

The people who “make me jealous” can’t do anything about it.
The inequity is something God could fix but he doesn’t, so I take it out on them.

The driving force of jealousy is the factor in every relationship struggle you will ever have.
It is dangerous–it shapes our attitudes towards other people.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
James 4:1-3

The common denominator in all my relational struggles is me.
I want something and I don’t get it.

Blaming is an admission that I cannot be happy without your cooperation.
You have control over me.

Solution: Pour your heart and desires out to God.

Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
James 4:2

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15

God might say no.
God loves you too much to give you everything you want.
He is the Source of all good things, not all wished-for things.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Confession handles guilt,forgiveness handles anger, and generosity handles greed.
celebration handles jealousy.

Don’t wait until you are free to tell them.
Tell them now.

Bottom Line
Jealousy shapes my attitude towards other people

Next Steps

  1. Who have you distanced yourself from because of jealousy/resentment?

  2. Instead of being silent or critical, celebrate the success of others.

  3. Move forward for yourself and your children—ask the questions. Keep your heart clean.

Greed vs. Generosity

The best relationship principles taught by the experts come straight from the relationship values taught by Jesus. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that my relationships, both with God and with others, are most directly affected by unresolved issues inside my heart—you know, that invisible, mysterious, confusing, wonderful part of each of us that enables us to love, laugh, fear, and experience life. It’s the place where relationships are built - and broken. The unresolved issues in your heart will eventually work their way to the surface and seep into your relationships. When I think of my most embarrassing moments and my biggest regrets, more often than not they have something to do with my relationSLIPs. The time to address the slippage is now.

For greedy people, stuff equals life. Greed feels reasonable, because it’s motivated by fear and an endless list of “what if’s?” Greedy people never feel they have enough. They are never at peace with themselves or others which erodes their relationships. They ruin long-term relationships over stuff with a very short shelf-life. When you make stuff more important than people, you’ll eventually have no people. 

Message Notes

Guilt says, “I owe you.”
It requires confession, starting the process of repentance, restitution, and restoration.

Anger says, “You owe me.”
A healthy heart requires forgiveness.

Greed says, “I owe me.”
Of the four enemies of the heart, this one is most subtle.

A greedy person

believes he has earned all the good things in his life,
has a determined desire to control them,
has a supersized sense of ownership,
and makes people feel like they compete with his stuff.

Greed is fueled by fear—

fear that God can’t or won’t take care of me.

Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in abundance of possessions.”
Luke 12:15

Then he tells the story of a wealthy farmer in Luke 12:16-21

  • He overlooked the God-factor in accounting for his good fortune and wealth.

  • He hoarded his extra.

  • He overlooked the God-factor in determining his life-span.

  • He ran out of time before he ran out of stuff and money.

  • Someone else got his stuff.

God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with everyone who stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.”
Luke 12:20-21

The moral of the story:
If “storing up” outpaces your “willingness to give,” you will suffer a complete loss of all you considered to be “life” when your time runs out.

What is God up to when he allows you to have more than you actually need?

  • Not to provide for your adult children

  • Not to provide you peace of mind

  • Not to elevate your standard of living

You don’t have to be wealthy to be greedy.
Greed is conquered by the habit of generosity.

True generosity is not giving something with compassion.
True generosity is not evidenced by what you FEEL, but by what you do.
True generosity is giving that actually affects your lifestyle.

Two habits to cultivate:

  • Percentage Giving

  • Spontaneous Giving

Bottom Line

Generosity has the power to revolutionize your relationships.

Next Steps

  1. Honestly ask God how generosity could change your personal relationships.

  2. Ask God what he wants you to do with all your resources.

  3. Realize you are a manager/steward, not an owner.

  4. Start today.

Anger Issues

The best relationship principles taught by the experts come straight from the relationship values taught by Jesus. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that my relationships, both with God and with others, are most directly affected by unresolved issues inside my heart—you know, that invisible, mysterious, confusing, wonderful part of each of us that enables us to love, laugh, fear, and experience life. It’s the place where relationships are built - and broken. The unresolved issues in your heart will eventually work their way to the surface and seep into your relationships. When I think of my most embarrassing moments and my biggest regrets, more often than not they have something to do with my relationSLIPs. The time to address the slippage is now.

When God, life, or people don’t give us what we feel we deserve, we have angry hurt that demands a payback. The offender is usually long gone, but everybody else in life pays. Our anger alienates us from the very people we want to love. Relationships grow when we decide we don’t have to let the past control the future. 

Message Notes

Last Week: Guilt says I owe you.
We deal with it through confession- starting the process of repentance, restitution, and restoration.

This Week: Anger says you owe me.

Show me an angry person and I will show you a hurt person.
In most cases, the debt can never be repaid.

If anger gets lodged in my heart, eventually I get angry at everyone.

The only answer for anger is forgiveness, but it seems unreasonable.
It seems more reasonable and justifiable to remain a victim.

Forgiveness is the decision to cancel a debt.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

At this the servant fell on his knees before him. “Be patient with me,” he begged, “and I will pay back everything.” The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. “Pay back what you owe me!” he demanded.

His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.”

But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
Matthew 18:23-35

Holding on for payback is the most destructive thing we can do.

An apology doesn’t erase an experience.
But it does change an attitude.

Bottom Line

Canceling the debts others owe us sets US free.

Next Steps

  1. Identify who “owes” you.

  2. Determine what they owe you.

  3. Cancel the debt.

    • Heavenly Father, ____________has taken _______________from me. I have held on to this debt long enough. I choose to cancel this debt. _____________ is off my hook. As you forgave me, I am forgiving __________________.

  4. Dismiss the case.



Guilty as Charged

The best relationship principles taught by the experts come straight from the relationship values taught by Jesus. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that my relationships, both with God and with others, are most directly affected by unresolved issues inside my heart—you know, that invisible, mysterious, confusing, wonderful part of each of us that enables us to love, laugh, fear, and experience life. It’s the place where relationships are built - and broken. The unresolved issues in your heart will eventually work their way to the surface and seep into your relationships. When I think of my most embarrassing moments and my biggest regrets, more often than not they have something to do with my relationSLIPs. The time to address the slippage is now.

Relational IOU’s brought about by unresolved guilt cost us vulnerability,  authority, and health.

Message Notes

Guilt always says, “I OWE YOU.”

When people are in a “Relational IOU” position because of their poor choices, they:

  • try to buy love or peace,

  • hide from those they owe,

  • lose their moral authority.
    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

People try to work it off, serve it off, give it off, even pray it off—but nothing other than paying the debt or getting it canceled will provide relief from the relational shame.

Simple confession doesn’t relieve of us our secret shame; in fact, simple confession can be a trap.

The way we often confess is an insult to our Heavenly Father and to the people we have wronged.

The purpose of confession is not “Conscience Relief”—it is change.

God clearly connects confession with repentance, restitution, and restoration.

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!”he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.For the Son of Mancame to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:1-10

You cannot resolve your differences with God if you are unwilling to resolve your relationships with the people around you.

So if you are presenting a sacrificeat the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
Matthew 5:23

People who keep the secret are repeat offenders.
God’s remedy for a cycle of sin and the shame of guilt is open confession.
It’s the first step to freedom.

Bottom Line:

Guilt loses its power when secrets are exposed and confessed.

Next Steps:

  1. Openly ask God to inspect my heart for guilt.

  2. Make direct requests for forgiveness and make restitution as necessary.


Check Your Heart

The best relationship principles taught by the experts come straight from the relationship values taught by Jesus. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that my relationships, both with God and with others, are most directly affected by unresolved issues inside my heart—you know, that invisible, mysterious, confusing, wonderful part of each of us that enables us to love, laugh, fear, and experience life. It’s the place where relationships are built - and broken. The unresolved issues in your heart will eventually work their way to the surface and seep into your relationships. When I think of my most embarrassing moments and my biggest regrets, more often than not they have something to do with my relationSLIPs. The time to address the slippage is now.

We tend to believe that once we receive Jesus as Savior, everything is cool. But we didn’t become who we are overnight. Neither do we change in an instant all the effects of the events and choices in our lives that made us who we are. Those effects impact our relationships. We hurt the people we love the most. We need to address these relationSLIPs before the fall is fatal.

Message Notes

The heart: that mysterious, wonderful, confusing part of you that enables you to love, laugh, fear, and experience life.

It’s the place where relationships happen - and where relationships are broken.

When you give Jesus your heart, what he starts at that moment isn’t completed in that moment.

Life can be hard on the heart. Your heart doesn’t get in trouble overnight.

Everything that happens to us gets processed through the heart. Some things get stuck there and clog up the heart.

Whatever is in our hearts gets translated into words and actions.

Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.These are what defile you.
Matthew 15:16-20

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

Heart issues always take a toll on relationships.

Heart issues make intimacy with God and people impossible to maintain.

What’s going on in the heart has the scary possibility of going public at any moment.

The heart is more deceitful than all elseand is desperately sick;who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

How’s your heart?

Bottom Line

Relationships rise or fall with the state of our heart.

Next Steps

  1. Spend time alone with God this week, asking him to help you be open to see what is impacting your relationslips.

  2. Commit to attend all the weeks of RelationSLIPS with an open heart.

Fully Alive

Message Notes

Thomas always gets tagged as the doubter.
But there’s always more to us than one story.

You can belong and love before you totally believe.

Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” John 11:16

Not understanding is not the same as doubting.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
John 14:1-5

Doubt is often a key part of the faith journey.

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,”he said.Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. John 20:26-28

Personal faith is the way to be fully alive. Go where you have heard Jesus is.

My purpose is to give them a full and satisfying life. John 10:10

Bottom Line

An honest faith journey leads to being fully alive.

Next Steps:

  1. Own your doubts and identify where you are on your faith journey.

  2. Take the next step.

  3. Stay where Jesus shows up.

No Place Like Home!

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

In the final statement of Jesus on the cross we see victory, comfort, example, and access. From the mouth of Christ we have the only power that can get us home and give us hope along the way. We die the way we live. Jesus can get us home safe. 

Message Notes

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Luke 23:44-49

Home has less to do with a location than with who is there. Jesus was going home to where his Father was.

His words to the Father show us:

Intimacy

Trust

Victory

Comfort

Confidence

Example

You never have to worry about anything you have committed to God.

Give all your worries, cares, and anxiety to God because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
II Timothy 1:12

Bottom Line:

You can trust God with everything.

Next Steps:

  1. Follow Jesus in everything. Make sure your life is totally entrusted to His care.

  2. Think of someone you know who needs to know this wonderful Savior. Invite them to church Sunday to sit with you.

Victory Cry!

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

The sixth statement from Jesus on the cross, "It is finished," is the greatest battle cry ever spoken. Christ is declaring victory over sin and death - then, now and always. I can live in victory because of what he accomplished.



Message Notes

Tetelestai!

“It is finished!”

Tetelestai!

The perfect Lamb of God has finished the work the Father has sent him to do.
The debt has been paid in full.
It is finished and forever done.

What was the effect?

God the Father could have a relationship with sinful man.

There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
I Timothy2:5

The prophets and angels were amazed.

This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
I Peter 1:10-12

Death and Hell were defeated.

I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
Revelation 1:18

Jesus wants you to get to say, “Tetelestai!”

You still have some unfinished business.
As long as you are alive, God still has plans for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Take care of your issues.

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Revelation 3:1-2

Take care of the tasks God has given you.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24

Commit to finishing strong.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”
Luke 14:28-30

Execute.

Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.
II Corinthians 8:11

Never give up.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6

Bottom Line

I can live in the victory of Jesus.


Next Steps:

  1. Step across the line and receive Christ’s finished work for you.

  2. Do an inventory of what is unfinished in your life, make a plan, commit, and get going on it.



Water, Water Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Jesus was the God-man. He was the Living Water, but he willingly put aside his power to pay our debt. He understands our situations.

Message Notes

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” John 19:38

All things were accomplished—the Water of Life was drained dry.

He neglected his own needs until he was certain the battle was won.

God was very careful to identify His Son as the promised Savior.

Mistaken identity is tragic.

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:16

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Jesus wants to share his victory with you.

Jesus was fully human and understands everything I go through.
But he is also fully God and will carry anything I give to him.
He is interceding for me.

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who hadthe power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Hebrews 2:14-15

I will never experience anything that Jesus does not understand and have the ability to help me through.

Turn to the power of Jesus in your pain instead of false comforters.

Bottom Line

No one understands like Jesus. He can handle me.

Next Steps

1) Honestly evaluate where you are not allowing Jesus to be enough.

2) For the next 30 days, go to him first with every issue.


The Sounds of Silence

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

In the middle of great pain,I can’t see the whole story. But God is with me, doing things I don’t understand now. He will go to any lengths to have a relationship with me. The suffering of Jesus shows the extent of the Father’s love.

Message Notes

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemasabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Mark 15:33-34

The suffering of Jesus shows how far God will go to have a relationship with us.

We were not sick—we were DEAD in our sins.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our fleshand following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1-5

Jesus paid a debt no one else could pay.

He took on every single sin.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
II Corinthians 5:21

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
I Peter 2:24

Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
John 6:37

Our sins separated him from his Father. This is what hell looks like.

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.
II Thessalonians 1:9

You and I are the reason he endured the cross.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

He not only gave us forgiveness for our sins, he showed us how to face our own darkest days:

The Scripture we hide in our hearts gives us traction when the climb is hard.

We overcome despair by rushing to God in the middle of it.

Look at the cross to understand God’s love. He is for you, not against you.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

There is no Plan B.

How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
Hebrews 2:3

Bottom Line

God will go to any lengths to have a relationship with me.

Next Steps:
1.) Accept the forgiveness and life offered by Jesus,
2.) Give my WHY to my Father.
3.) Run to God in my pain.

Honor, Faithfulness, and Discipleship

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Jesus honored all of his relationships to the very last. He called his own mother to discipleship.

Message Notes

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.”And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27

John shows us

  • You can start again after failure—the quicker, the better.

  • Nothing is more powerful than presence.

  • Faithfulness is a long obedience in the same direction.

Jesus Shows us

  • Honor is obedience when you are young; respect and care when you are an adult.

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.
Ephesians 6:1-2

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
Luke 2:51

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
I Timothy 5:8

  • Honor is most often a boomerang of blessing.

  • Honor is different than just love. It is a commitment to the finish.

Mary shows us

  • Character makes you a candidate to be used greatly by God.

  • If you are used greatly, you will also suffer greatly.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Luke 2:34-35

There is no special pass, position, or privilege when it comes to salvation.

Mary shows us

  • Character makes you a candidate to be used greatly by God.

  • If you are used greatly, you will also suffer greatly.

    Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:34-35

  • There is no special pass, position, or privilege when it comes to salvation.

Bottom Line:
Jesus cherishes relationships and discipleship.

Next Steps

  1. Commit to honor and faithfulness in my relationships.

  2. Live the priority of discipleship.

Last Call

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

Jesus died while hanging between two criminals. In his dying moments one recognized Jesus as the King with a Kingdom, and asked to be remembered. Jesus made a surprising and powerful promise of heavento those who believe in who he is.  

Message Notes

Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him.When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Luke 23:32-43

The two criminals were very alike.

Both were very evil and foolish with their lives.

Both were at the end of a long road of bad choices.

Both were given their last call, a last opportunity by Jesus.

The two criminals were very different.

The first thief saw Jesus as a possible way of escape, nothing else. He had no brokenness, sorrow, or repentance.

The second thief saw Jesus as the King to be followed.

He focused on Jesus.

He feared God.

He admitted his sin and accepted justice.

He believed that Jesus is exactly who He said he was, a good and mighty King.

The second thief prayed, “When you get to your Kingdom, remember me.”

Jesus said, “Today, in Paradise.”

Heaven is real, immediate, with Jesus.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:6-8

Jesus is the Way.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1-6

Bottom Line

Life hinges on Who you believe Jesus is. Jesus is the key to heaven.

Next Steps

  1. Ask God to help you be sure of who Jesus is.

  2. Commit to daily prayer and an invitation to Easter for someone who needs forgiveness.



Our Greatest Need

Jesus, the one who loves us most, used his last breath and his last words to address our deepest needs.

In the middle of his own agony on the cross, Jesus prayed for and offered forgiveness, our greatest need.

Message Notes

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:32-35

Sin is our greatest problem. Forgiveness is our greatest need.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Isaiah 53:6

God treats us like Jesus deserves, because God treated Jesus like we deserve.

God‘s grace is to flow through us to others. Focusing on others is the key to suffering victoriously.

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
I Corinthians 2:8

"Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance.”
Acts 3:17

Forgiveness must be accepted.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

Prayer is the lifeline through pain.

as was his custom… Luke 22:39

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7



Fulfill Your Purposes in Me

Missional prayers align us with God’s purposes. They are risky and fulfilling. They position us to be used by God in any way possible. Accepting God’s assignments and purposes must be rooted in a profound experience with Jesus. When we pray the risky prayer, he will show us how even our personal problems, pressures, and pain can be used to fulfill his big purposes.

Message Notes

Usually when we pray we are asking, “God, will you do this for me?”

What if we changed it and asked, “God, what can I do for you?”

God always wants to use people. He invites us to do something great with him.

David prayed, “I cry out to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2

When God calls us, we can answer in several ways:

Jonah said, “No way.”

The word of the Lordcame to Jonah son of Amittai:“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. “But Jonah ran away from the Lord…” Jonah 1:1-3

Moses said, “Get someone else.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11

Mary said, “Anything you say, God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38

Isaiah said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

How can you get your heart to answer like Isaiah and Mary?

You have a genuine encounter with the presence of God.

You have a genuine awareness of your own sinfulness and his grace.

You give up your need to know the details.

You daily declare, “I am yours.”

Next Steps:

1) Ask yourself, “Can I really say, ‘Let it be to me as you said?’ (Luke 2:38) Am I brave enough to pray from my heart, ‘Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)

2) Pray these risky prayers and wait to hear what he says. Adventure is ahead!

Bottom Line

Personal fulfillment is the result of fulfilling God’s purposes for me.

Teach Me to Number My Days

Transformational prayers allow God to give us insights that shape and mold us.
As he was aging, Billy Graham said, “The greatest surprise to me is the brevity of life.” The older we get, the shorter life seems. Moses and King David both expressed shock and wonder about how short and precious life is. They both took the leap and invited God to impress on them the brevity of life, and transform them by showing them how to invest their days wisely. Are you brave enough and wise enough to do that?

Message Notes

You only live once - but if you get it right, once is enough.

Moses and David both prayed to get it right:

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath. Psalm 39:4-5

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

What is God’s wisdom?

Life goes really fast.

For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow. Psalm 144:10

Our days are numbered. They are not infinite here.

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14

Make the best use of the days we are given. Make them count.

So be very careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Ephesians 5:15

Live for what lasts.

Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful! Psalm 90:16-17

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. II Corinthians 5:10

Next Steps:

1) Be brave enough to ask God to show you how brief and uncertain life is.

2) Take inventory of your life investments, determine what ones need to change, and make a new plan.