When You Do the Exact Opposite of What You Want to Do

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Last week, we kicked off Fight and it was an incredible first week to our man series. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

This week, we will once again look at the life of Samson and see from Judges 14:1 – 10 why we often do the exact opposite of what we want to do and why that is. Why many struggle to let go of negative emotions, why we fail to beat addictions and sins and why so many of us feel chained to something that controls us.

On a weekly basis I will have heartbreaking conversation after conversation that goes like this:

  • I can’t stop buying things I can’t afford.
  • I can’t stop eating.
  • I can’t stop looking in the mirror.
  • I can’t stop thinking about that woman or man.
  • I can’t stop looking at porn.
  • I can’t stop getting angry.
  • I can’t stop being not trusting people.
  • I can’t stop trusting people too soon.
  • I can’t be alone.
  • I can’t let go of that person.
  • I can’t stop hating that person.
  • I can’t trust my spouse.
  • I can’t give myself to my spouse.
  • I can’t stop sleeping with my boyfriend.

At the end, they will look at me (often with tears in their eyes) and say, “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be free from this?”

That’s what we’ll answer this week.

If you or someone you know struggles with a sin, addiction, temptation or being able to live a free life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution (seriously, how we are ending the service is going to be so powerful you don’t want to miss it).

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

 
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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Michael Hyatt on Business mastery.

Your business will not grow unless you grow as a person. If you want to lead others, you have to lead yourself first.

Rich Birch on 7 tensions of growing churches.

Leadership is about living in the middle of a number of tensions that won’t ever be resolved … in fact if you resolve the tension you end up creating a whole bunch of other problems for your church.

Andrew O’Connell on Upward mobility can be hazardous to your health.

A study of hundreds of low-income American youths shows that at age 19, those who had been rated as diligent and academically successful were less healthy than peers who had been labeled aggressive, difficult, and isolated, a team led by Gregory E. Miller of Northwestern University writes in The New York Times. Highly motivated people from low-income backgrounds often feel tremendous internal pressure to succeed, but behaving diligently all the time may leave them feeling exhausted and sapped of willpower, and they may let their health fall by the wayside, the researchers say.

Casey Graham on Anxiety attacks, depression, addictions & business.

If you have it all together, you might not want to read this post because I don’t. Hi, my name is Casey and I’m a mess sometimes.  As I’ve shared before, I have a completely addictive personality.  I’ve always been extreme.

Bill Donahue on How to help people connect to your church.

Don’t let your church miss the opportunity to connect with people who are already sitting there.

The History of Rap w/ Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

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When Eating Becomes a Sin

Little boy choosing between a cupcake and apple

I get asked a lot about losing the weight I have and keeping it off. Losing 130 pounds was really hard, but keeping it off and is incredibly difficult. I’ll often get asked about eating habits as that is where most people get hung up.

One of the things that rarely gets talked about is that eating can be a sin, an idol. The reality is, we are told our bodies are the temple of the holy spirit and we are to take care of them (1 Corinthians 6:19). Most Christians use this verse to say drinking and smoking are wrong while eating their next 2,000 calorie church potluck meal.

The reality is that eating is a sin when:

  • We do it mindlessly.
  • We do it when life feels out of control.
  • We do it to feel better or find comfort (ever hear someone talk about comfort food?).
  • Or, when we eat too little to be prettier or skinnier.

So what do you do?

The first thing you must do is understand why you eat. What drives you to food. It is not that you are hungry, we often eat when we aren’t hungry or continuing eating when we are full, so there is more to it than that. If you never uncover why you eat, you will continue to eat in a sinful way by finding your god in food.

Because overeating or not eating enough is a sin and can be an addiction, you have to approach the way you would someone who is addicted to porn, shopping, drugs or working too much.

When you approach those sins, you make a plan, create some accountability around them to keep you from falling into those patterns. It is the same with food.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get an accountability partner for exercising or eating.
  • Don’t buy the snacks that are bad for you. If it isn’t there, you can’t eat it.
  • Make a meal plan so you eat well. If you make a last minute meal it is rarely good for you. If you go out to eat, always know what you will eat before you arrive. Looking at the menu causes you to eat more than you should or food you shouldn’t.
  • Drink at least 100 ounces of water a day. Water fills you up and helps to clean out your system which helps to move things through better. Also, if you drink that much you eat less. If you drink this much water, you are less likely to drink soda. I’ve read cutting soda out of your diet can drop 10 pounds in less than 2 weeks.
  • Eat higher protein meals which will lead to less hunger in between meals. I eat 5 eggs every morning and am rarely hungry before lunch. Not snacking makes a huge difference.
  • Start slow. The big mistake most people make is to jump from what they are doing to eating like Bob Harper tells you to eat on the biggest loser. While that’s great if you can do that, it is often unrealistic. Take small steps and then add to it. It took me 18 months to lose 130 pounds but I went slow and have kept it off for almost 4 years now.

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How to Help Someone Find Freedom from an Addiction

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I get asked a lot based on my past how to help someone find freedom from an addiction. I’ve shared in numerous places about my addiction to porn from when I was 11 until I was 21 and then my food addiction that followed that. I can honestly say now that I am 34 and have found freedom from these, it feels good. But, freedom is a long road. My wife Katie talks about her part as my wife in that journey here.

When someone asks me how to help someone find freedom from an addiction or the first steps in this process, here are the most important things:

They must want to be free. 

This may seem obvious, but everyone who asks for help in an area doesn’t truly want help. Too often people are looking for attention, wanting to be the victim or simply draw attention to something or someone. People like being helped and like being seen.

There was a guy who every week would post on his connection card at my church that he would like prayer for an addiction. This went on for over a year. I finally talked to him and asked, “How long is this going to be a prayer request? Are you doing anything to move away from this addiction?” The answer was no.

I knew a woman who said she wanted to be free from an addiction, yet every time I or someone else stepped in to give accountability or help her with it, she would balk. It wasn’t until she lost her job because of that addiction that something changed.

One thing I ask people is, “Are you willing to do whatever it takes to be free?” Any hesitation in the answer often shows a desire to stay in their addiction.

Freedom from an addiction is hard work. It might take years. You will always be in recovery, a moment away from wrecking your life and falling back into your addiction. I know that without boundaries I could very easily fall back into old patterns. The reason freedom is so hard is because those patterns have become an enormous part of our lives.

Identify the “why” behind their addiction. 

Often in talking about freedom, we jump to what to do. Things someone can and should do to be free. Accountability groups, software, cutting up credit cards, breaking off relationships with the wrong people, getting rid of a TV or certain clothes.

These have their place and are helpful.

If you don’t identify why you do something, you won’t find freedom from the real issue. 

That issue is your heart. For me, I simply traded a porn addiction for a food addiction. Both are dangerous and destructive in their own ways. The one main difference is that no one in a church will say anything to you if you put 100 pounds on in a year. Think of a vending machine of sins, going up and picking one. Without identifying the heart issues, we will simply do this.

What drives you to spend money you don’t have? To look at porn? To hoard your money? To work too much or too little? Why do you gossip and put people down? Why do you want to control everything?

The answer to these questions will identify the why behind any addiction you could fall into.

Identify the “when” of their addiction. 

The last thing someone needs to do is identify when they are most likely to fall into this. Closely related to the why question, understanding when you’ll do something will enable you to create an action plan. Are you most tempted when you are tired? In front of the TV? By yourself? With a certain friend? In a certain place? Where and when does it happen?

By identifying these things, you are able to uncover a good process to find freedom from the addictions that hamper your life.

What would you add? If someone asked you this question. 

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Sunday Night Mind Dump…

  • Last night at Revolution was one of the most spiritually intense nights I’ve had in terms of preaching in a long time
  • I was reminded last night how preaching is spiritual warfare
  • We are going through the Old Testament this summer and last night we did the book of Exodus
  • I preached on how to find freedom from sin, addiction, pain, abuse, the hurt we carry around
  • It was the longest sermon I’ve preached in a long time and afterward saw a number of people on their knees confessing sin, getting prayed for
  • It was incredibly powerful
  • I love sharing my journey and what the gospel has done to bring me freedom
  • For more on that journey, check out this sermon
  • If you missed last night, you can listen to it here
  • Last night was also crazy because we had our highest attendance ever
  • It is crazy to think that 3 years ago there were less than 20 of us with a dream and a lot of prayer and hard work, and now we are a church of almost 300
  • It’s humbling to see how God continues to work and how he uses us
  • Found out this week that we have more kids signed up for day camp than we had last year
  • If you haven’t signed up yet, go here
  • This is a great opportunity for us to serve our community and to invite families to be a part of Revolution
  • We have almost raised all the money we need for our adoption
  • Less than $5,000 to raise
  • Go here to find out how you can help and donate
  • We are having our next baptism on July 2nd
  • That night, we are going to do 1 service at 4:15 with a picnic and baptism afterward
  • It is going to be an awesome night, definitely want to invite someone that night as we will be preaching through the book of Hosea and looking at how God relentless pursues us with his grace
  • So excited for that night
  • If you want to get baptized, email Chuck Tommervik
  • Got to have coffee this past week with a guy that became a Christian recently at Revolution
  • I love the questions and energy that new Christians have, they’re just huge sponges
  • Just got this book to review on my blog and so far, it is awesome
  • It is definitely tracking with what we as leaders have been learning over the last year and where Revolution is headed
  • Can’t wait for September to get here for us to unveil the next chapters in the life of Revolution and how God is going to use as a movement of churches around the city
  • Time to sign off
  • Tonight is homemade pizza and family movie night
  • If you brought someone with you last night to Revolution, invite them back next week
  • A personal invite goes a long way
  • And if you thought last night was powerful, next week is going to be awesome
  • We’re looking at the life of Joshua and how to have freedom from fear, one of the most paralyzing things in many lives
  • You don’t want to miss it!

This Weekend @ Revolution: Freedom from Slavery

We are all slaves to something. It might be love, control, comfort, attention, status, what others think of us, eating, spending, saving, sex, work, family, kids, being alone, not being alone. Some things are more socially acceptable than others. At the end of the day though, we are still slaves.

It might not be your choosing. Your wounds might be from someone else’s sin. The baggage you carry is something that has been placed on you, not by your choice but by someone else’s.

Very few people actually experience freedom.

For many, we are so used to centering our lives around the idols we worship (power, control, comfort, approval, status, money, sex) that we can’t imagine life without them. We’d like to believe we could. We dream of freedom. But what is freedom? What does it look like? Feel like?

What does forgiveness look like to a friend or relative that hurt you, abused you, misled you, betrayed you. Can you ever really forgive someone?

This week at Revolution, we are continuing our series The Story of God and looking at the life of Moses and the book of Exodus. Wrapped up in this book is so much in terms of slavery, bondage and freedom from the idols we worship and the wounds we carry around. All of us have them. We hide them. Pretend they aren’t there.

As Christians, we talk about the gospel and how the gospel can free us. But how many of us really believe that? Do we believe the gospel can really free us from those idols that run our lives or the wounds that have scarred us for decades?

What if, it could?

That’s what we’re looking at this weekend. You don’t want to miss it as I believe this will be a night that can the first night of freedom for many people.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy way to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

This Weekend @ Revolution: Why Freedom Eludes Us

Many of us have things we would like to be free from. Habits that we can’t seem to break. We try going cold turkey, we try tricks, use self-help techniques, but we usually end up back where we started.

Why is that?

Why does sin seem to have such a strong hold over our lives? Is it really as strong as we think it is? Is there a way to find freedom? Freedom that lasts?

What if I told you, the question of finding freedom has less to do with if freedom exists and more to do with why we bypass freedom to stay stuck?

Saturday is the last night of 1 service at Revolution Church and we are continuing our series through the book of James. I’ll be preaching from 4:1 – 12 and looking at why change doesn’t happen, why we often sabotage ourselves before we even get started and why most of us choose to live without gospel freedom. I honestly believe, Saturday has the potential to be a life changing night for many people.

You definitely don’t want to miss it.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 5pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

Links of the Week

  1. Bob Thune on Maybe you shouldn’t plant a church. Church planting is popular once again and scores of guys are wanting to do it, which is awesome. Having done it, I can honestly say it is not for everyone. This is a great article on how to find out if you shouldn’t plant.
  2. Christian biographies for kids. Great list from Joshua Harris on biographies for kids.
  3. Justin Taylor on Why porno shops don’t have windows. Great thoughts on breaking free from sin and addictions.
  4. The Bible and marijuana. Great post on what Scripture says about this.
  5. Craig Groeschel on The most important word in ministry leadership.

You Can Change

For my talk this week, I read Tim Chester’s book You Can Change. Wow. This was easily the best book I’ve read on the topic of change, freedom from sin and understanding how grace works.

What this book points out and what I could never put into words but agreed with completely was how wrongly we think about grace and freedom when it comes to sin. All Christians look to Jesus for salvation, we see our salvation as coming through the cross, forgiveness and grace of Jesus. So that is all God, but when it comes to following Jesus, we make that all about us. We see Jesus forgiving our sins when we become Christians, but live like we don’t believe he forgives us after following Him or even having the power to help us in that area.

Do we still sin after becoming Christians? Yes, but the power of sin in our lives has been broken. Yet, you and I as followers of Jesus rarely live like we are free from the power of sin. As Chester points out, the question isn’t “if we will sin, but when.”

What was quite possibly worth the price of the book was when he discussed how we think of law and grace after becoming a Christian. He points out that many Christians live like they are still under the law. We “talk about what we shouldn’t do. We say things like, “I shouldn’t do that, I shouldn’t do this.”” That is what law says, according to Chester. Grace says, “I don’t need to do that. I don’t need to do this.”

Here are some things that jumped out to me:

  • Does your reputation matter to you more than holiness?
  • We often want to stop sinning because of the consequences of sin, not because we hate the actual sin.
  • Our sinful heart portrays our actions as inevitable, unavoidable, or appropriate.
  • We choose to follow our sinful desires because in that moment we believe they offer more than God.
  • The #1 reason people don’t change pride, followed by hating the consequences of sin but still loving the sin itself.
  • Desire is at the helm of our lives. It is determines behavior. We always do what we want to do.
  • Behind every sin is a lie (easily the best line in the book).
  • The real me is revealed when I’m too tired to keep up the pretense.
  • Legalism is appealing because it makes holiness manageable & holiness becomes something we do.
  • I am a hopeless person, but Jesus Christ died for hopeless people.
  • We don’t change so we can prove ourselves to God. We’re accepted by God so we can change.
  • When we try to prove ourselves by good works, we’re saying, the cross wasn’t enough.

This is a book definitely worth picking up if you are wrestling with an addiction or a sin that you want freedom from. I can’t recommend this enough.

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