Trusting Jesus with my Worries, Happiness and Stress

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Let’s be honest for a minute, trusting Jesus with our lives is difficult. I find it easy to trust him with my eternity because I often think, “I’ll be dead then.” But trusting him everyday, with relationships, my finances, those who have hurt me, my hang-ups and trusting him with my family and what stressed me out. That’s hard to do.

One of the things I’ve learned to do in this area has to do with how my day starts and end.

A lack of trust in Jesus often comes from a lack of gratitude and a false belief in my control of my life.

At the end of my day, when I land into bed. I spend a few minutes thanking Jesus for the day. The things he gave me, the blessings I have (kids, Katie, food, a place to live, a job I love, health and other things that come to mind). I also talk with him about the things that are stressing me out, the things that are weighing me down. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11 that we are to give him our worries and stress and that he offers us life.

At the beginning of my day, before I get out of bed I spend a few minutes praying through my coming day. Meetings, activities, the things I’m worried about for the day, things for my family. I give them to Jesus. While he already is in control and I am not, this a reminder to me of this truth.

These two practices have helped me to make enormous strides in trusting Jesus to put the pieces of my life back together.

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Control Your Own Destiny

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Yesterday was week 17 of a thrilling NFL season. As a Steelers fan, I could hardly believe that we still had a shot at the playoffs after starting 0-4. While it was disappointing we didn’t get in, and one of my sons did cry about it, but it got me thinking: football is easier when you control your own destiny. 

The same is true in life.

It is easier when you control your own destiny. 

Yet, so many people don’t.

Here’s what I mean.

We allow others to dictate what is important to us. What we spend our money on. What things our kids sign up for. Where we vacation. If we exercise or not or have an overall healthy lifestyle. Others dictate how we run our calendars, work habits, and even emotions.

For many people, very little of what they do is what they want to do.

Which leaves them tired, burned out, stressed, lifeless and ultimately, playing catch up instead of walking into the playoffs of life.

Here are 4 things you can do to control your own destiny:

  1. Decide you will. This is the first step of anything. If you are struggling with an addiction, you have to identify it and decide this is the time to change. It is the same with your destiny. Make a conscious choice to control it and put things into place to keep this true in your life.
  2. Accountability and systems to make it happen. You may need to have a friend hold you accountable with this. You might need to put some systems into place. If you have kids, keep the activities they do at a time to one. Not 4, but one. Keep the extra things you do to one. Will this keep you or your kids from having a well rounded, experiential life? I’m not sure, but that isn’t the goal. Who cares if they play 5 sports or do dance, horseback riding, cello lessons and soccer. Oh, you care? Someone else cares for you? Then read point #3.
  3. Identify the fear, idol, or desire that causes you to give away your destiny. This drives so much of what we do. We talked about this yesterday at Revolution. The fear we will miss out or not matter drives so much of what we do and the choices we make with our calendar, money and lifestyle. Stop it. Identify that this is a lie and identify the truth. The person who is driving this in your life did not die on the cross for you and rise from the dead to set you free. Jesus did. If you have trusted in this, you are approved. Your destiny is set. Which leads to the last one.
  4. Trust that God’s destiny is better than what someone else can come up with for you. Approval in God is hard to believe sometimes. The idea that I am approved as a follower of Jesus because of his death and resurrection is hard to believe. I can’t be more approved in him. There isn’t some approval waiting around a corner that I haven’t experienced yet. Because of this, my destiny is set and secure. This is a daily practice of reminding myself of this. Believing my destiny is secure and it is better than what I could come up with or the person(s) driving me right now.

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Giving Forgiveness

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Forgiveness is tough. In a sermon, giving forgiveness sounds so easy and clean. Yet, in real life, it is difficult and messy.

I mentioned in a sermon recently that whenever we withhold forgiveness, we deny the power of the cross. Whenever we say, “I can’t forgive that person.” Or, “I can’t let go of that situation.” We deny the power of the cross.

As you walk through this door and grant forgiveness, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
  1. Forgiving someone does not mean pretending it didn’t happen. Forgiving does not mean forgetting as the old saying goes. Those scars still exist. They are still there. Forgiving means acknowledging it happened and the pain associated with it.
  2. Giving forgiveness means bearing the other persons sin. There is a cost to forgiveness (see #1). You must bear their sin. The cost of forgiveness is always on the person granting forgiveness. This is why forgiveness is so hard.
  3. Forgiveness is possible because Jesus bore your sin and the cost of your forgiveness. When we look at the cross, we see how Jesus bore our sin, knowing we would fail again and again. Yet, he forgave us. The power of this moment is what enables us to forgive the way Jesus did.

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Turning from Your Sin

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On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” He did all he came to do. His death accomplished what it needed to accomplish. The reason is because he came out of the grave.

Yet, we still struggle, we still fail and we still sin.
Our sin placed Jesus on the cross. Yet, he died knowing we would sin and fail. Instead of resigning ourselves to this and giving up, we can and should fight our sin through the power of the cross.
The first step is believing that this is true. When we sin, we need to quickly run to the cross, confess our sin. Don’t walk around with your sin. Don’t let your sin stay between you and Jesus. Throw yourself on the mercy of the cross.
The second step is the more practical side of fighting your sin. What is your plan to fight your struggle and live in freedom?
Here are some things to think through:
  1. When you are most likely to sin, fall into a trap. How do you avoid that place? We often fall into traps at the same time in the same place. We often sin in the same way because we are creatures of habit.
  2. What things do you need to sin? Is it food, a computer, someone else? How do you take that out of the equation? Whatever it is, take it out of the equation. You don’t need to have snack food in your house, you don’t need to get on the internet or social media at 11pm. You don’t need to be alone with that person you aren’t married to.
  3. What things lead up to you sinning? Are there feelings or circumstances that make you more likely to sin? It is when life feels out of control, when you are tired, run down? If so, be on your guard then.
  4. Who can you bring along on this journey for accountability and encouragement?

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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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  1. How to end your sermon. Great points.
  2. Jenni Catron on Questions a healthy leader should ask.
  3. Fox News Highly Reluctant Follower of Jesus.
  4. Geoff Surratt on 5 “zipper down” mistakes inexperienced speakers make.
  5. 3 reasons big churches keep getting bigger.
  6. Tim Challies on What is the meaning of sex?
  7. How preaching will reach our world.

Being Friends with Jesus

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Do you ever feel disconnected from God? Maybe you have the feeling that your prayers go unheard or unanswered? You don’t feel God’s love like you once did? Maybe you’ve never felt close to God or felt His love and you wonder if it is real.

This happens everyday to all kinds of people, regardless of their spiritual journey or where they are in their relationship with Jesus.

Maybe you’ve wondered what God wants from people. Does He want robots who do only what He wants when He wants it? Does He expect people to be His slaves while He is the master?

What if life is meant to be so much more than that? Our prayers that are heard and answered, feeling close to Jesus and knowing His love and knowing that we are His friends.

This Sunday, we’ll continue our series Made for Glory as we look at John 15:1 – 17. 

In these verses, Jesus lays out what it takes to be connected to Jesus, how to feel and know God’s love. And Jesus for the first time says that his followers are his friends. Which is an enormous statement. 

If you have ever struggled with feeling the closeness of God, wondering if Jesus can use your life or wondered how to feel and know God’s love. This is going to be a great Sunday to be at Revolution.

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

Everyone Finds Jesus Differently

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While all Christians realize the title of this blog post is true, we often forget it. Many times, we fall into the trap that says: What rescued me, what impacted me to start following Jesus will work for everyone.

Many times, this is what is underneath our passion for more modern music, deeper preaching, life on life discipleship, a women’s ministry, a men’s ministry, a singles ministry. You name it. Whatever ministry God used to save you, we often think, “If everyone experiences that, they’ll be saved.”

The reality is that everyone starts following Jesus differently.

This came up in the passage I just preached on in John 9 this past Sunday at Revolution. You can listen to it here if you haven’t already.

The Pharisees are having a hard time with Jesus healing the man born blind on the Sabbath because they don’t do it that way. They don’t think God works that way, they’ve never seen it done before (vs. 32), or they weren’t saved that way.

I’ve had this conversation so many times I’ve lost count (and every pastor can relate). It goes like this, “Pastor Josh, we need to start a __________ ministry to reach ___________. If we do, Revolution will explode.” Or, “Josh, if we just get every man to do __________” or, “If we get every woman/student/single to do ____________ they’re life will be changed.” Or, “Josh if you preached more topical sermons, more deeper sermons, longer sermons, shorter sermons more people would get saved.” Or, “Josh, if we did faster songs, slower songs, more responsive readings, more hymns, more modern songs, if it was louder, if it was quieter, people would worship more than they do.”

Now, I’m not saying those things won’t change their lives, but we show a lot of immaturity if we think God only saves people the way we were saved or the ministry we are passionate about.

New Song This Sunday | Mediator

Paul is teaching this song on Sunday and I can’t wait. Give it a listen and come ready to worship Jesus, our great mediator who stands between us and God.