living on the edge

here are the slides from this morning >> Which Kingdom 4 – living on the Edge

Here is Andy Stanley’s talk we watched >> http://justaskit.org/edged-out

you can find this entire sermon series at justaskit.org 

Isn’t it true, when tempted, that you have self-conversations where you talk yourself into it?  Our greatest regrets?  We were there before, during and after.

We start “thinking ourselves” into a dumb decision.

“There’s nothing wrong with.  Nothing wrong with.  Nothing wrong with…” and we talk ourselves right up to the line/edge – we excuse it, excuse it, excuse it.

We all do this – it is a bad idea to assume that if something is not “wrong”, then it’s right.  If there is nothing wrong with it, in general, then it is right for me.  That’s a bad idea.  As a believer, I am commanded to live above merely right and wrong.  You can get into a lot of trouble doing things that are just not “wrong”.

Bad moral decisions are generally preceded by a series of unwise decisions.

There’s nothing wrong with…

            Having lunch with her – “after all, we all work together”

            Having dinner with her – “we all worked late”

            Just she and I working late together

            Confiding in her – “you know, my marriage isn’t going so great”

            Listening to her

            Dropping by her place

            A hug

If a friend saw this pattern developing, he’d sense a series of unwise decisions moving in an unhealthy direction.

The truth is, in this area, we will lie to ourselves long before we start lying to others.  And, I will have a hard time admitting what anyone on the outside can see happening.

We move closer to the edge, closer to the edge and someone calls us out on it and we say, “hey, I’m fine” … closer to the edge, closer to the edge.

Living on the edge is fine if you’re counting calories but it is unwise in this area.  With moral things and expressions of sexuality, there are certain lines that if you cross, will create extraordinary regret and extraordinary complexity.

If there is a God that knows you, created you, cares for you and has a future planned for you, what would you expect God to say on this subject?  Go for it?  Walk the line?  No, we’d expect Him to say what any parent would say to his 17-year old son = “Not so close”

Paul told the church in Corinth (which was a pagan town, very secular) to “Flee from sexual immorality” 1 Corinthinans 6:18.  Don’t flirt with it.  Don’t see how close you can get to it.  No, flee.  Run.  Get as far away from it as possible.  It’s what you’d want your wife to do.  What any Dad wants his children to do.  What any 17-year old boy wants his 13-year old sister to do.

We all know this is right for those that we love – but – sometimes, we’re not so sure it is right for us.

“Flee from sexual immorality, all other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

Sexual sin is like no other sin – there’s nothing like it.  When someone walks into his office with extraordinary regret and complex things they’re trying to walk through, 90% of the time, there is something sexual involved.  People move on from all kinds of things but things sexual just seem to stick around.  Part of it is that we live in a culture that believes sex is just a physical act and then we realize, “I don’t think this is just physical, it effected my soul, my heart and my conscious and it effected how I view other women”.

—– ACTIONABLE ADVICE —–

The issue with sexual sin isn’t forgiveness – God forgives – the issue is consequences – which includes the damage done to you and your soul and the damage done to those closest to you.  We don’t think about it in the moment.  We progress down that sequence of events, we confided in one another, emotional bonds are formed and, like lighting a forest on fire, the situation rapidly gets out of control.  No, you don’t see it in the moment – in the moment it just feels “right” and you’ve found your “soul mate” (a lie) and it’s too late.  But…can’t you see?  Don’t you see how dangerous this is?  You can stop this before the forest catches on fire.  You stop it by fleeing.  When tempted, flee.  Don’t kid yourself and take the next “innocent” step.  Run … the other way.  Confess it.  Wall her off.  Tell your wife – you want to talk about a great way to kill this temptation off?  Tell you wife!  Bring it into the light.  Hide nothing.  And make it perfectly clear to this other woman, “nope, not going to happen, this ends now, you need to find a counselor”.  And then, perhaps most importantly, be brave enough to examine your sin.  “How did I get here?” — “What is it in me that needs this outside validation?” — “Which kingdom am I serving – my needs, my wants, my lust, my desire to be adored/valued — or — am I going to serve the Kingdom of God?”

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a proverbs a day, keeps the world away…

You’re either going to lean into God — or — you’ll lean into the world.

You’re either going to listen to the Word of God — or — you will be listening to the message of this world.  And, you know, the message of this world is coming at you faster than ever today and the message today is more destructive than ever.

So, you’ve got a choice.  Which kingdom will you serve?  Which message are you going to listen to?

There are 31 days in most months.  There are 31 Proverbs.  Here is a pearl of wisdom from today’s Proverb that ties in EXACTLY with what we heard at manschool this morning… “A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”

If you’ve never been a Bible reader, now’s your chance to do a 180 and get into the Word.  The enemy loves to whisper to you “that Bible-reading stuff isn’t for you”.  Negate that lie.  End it … today!  Today, you can change the course of your life and end this lie by reading a Proverb a day.

In so doing, you’re blocking out time to listen to wisdom, to listen to the Word of God and to invite conversation with the Father.  And you’re also drowning out what the world is shouting at you.

It’s easy.  You’ve just got a choice to make.  Five minutes on facebook or Twitter or the ESPN app … OR … five minutes in Proverbs?

your choice…

What’s the wise thing for me to do?

Here are the slides from this morning > Which Kingdom 3 – what is wise

Here is the video of Andy Stanley > http://justaskit.org/musical-chairs

This question will save you a lot of money.  Save you a lot of time.  More importantly, this question will save you a lot of tears.  In fact, your greatest regret would have been avoided if you had asked this simple question and then acted on it.

What is the wise thing to do?

Full version – In light of my past experience, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing for me to do?

Not “right thing” but the wise thing.

If you don’t opt for wisdom, you accidentally opt for some other things.  If you walk away from wisdom – understand this – is to walk towards something else.  Many of us have never considered what we’re backing into when we say, “You know what? I know what the wise thing to do is, I’m just not going to do it.”

The fool knows but just doesn’t care.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”  Proverbs 26:11.

“A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes…”   Proverbs 10:23

If you have an area of your life where you say, “I know this is wrong but I’m going to do it anyway”, Solomon would say you’re a fool.  A fool knows the difference between right and wrong and they just don’t care.  A fool knows the consequences of doing wrong, they just don’t care.

To that, you’d say, “That is offensive, I’m never coming back to church”.  Yes, you will.  You’ll come back when you’ve experienced the cure for being a fool…

The cure for the simple = Time.

The cure for the fool = Tragedy.

Here’s the thing you need to know – in your mind it is – It’s my life, I can do what I want to.  It’s my body, I can do what I want to.  It’s my money, I can do what I want to.  I’m not hurting anyone else.”

That’s just not true.  This is where your foolishness has blinded you to your selfishness.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”  Prov 13:20

a companion of fools – OR — of a foolish husband of, of a foolish wife, of a foolish father, of a foolish boss, of a foolish brother, of a foolish friend … suffers harm.”

The tragedy of being a fool and of knowing right and wrong but just not caring isn’t that you just hurt yourself, its that eventually, you will hurt someone else.  And you can say all day long, “it wasn’t my intention” – yeah but they’re still hurt.  “I never mean to” – but they still got hurt.  Because the companion of fools suffers harm and your actions carry consequences.

Correct the simple and they won’t get you.

Correct the fool and they will ignore you.

Correct the mocker and they will hate you.

Correct the wise and they will thank you.

Eventually the simple, fool and mocker all will need wisdom.  At some point, they find themselves in a situation where they can’t talk their way out of, think their way out of, criticize their way out of.  Eventually, they need to work things out, get out of debt, break an addiction, rescue a marriage, reestablish contact with their kids – at some point, everyone sitting in these seats needs wisdom.

The problem is, if you sit in these seats long enough, Solomon would say you won’t even be able to recognize wisdom.  If you sit too long, you won’t even be able to hear wisdom.

It is heart breaking to be a pastor or counselor when people, who intentionally sat in these chairs for too long and they finally decide they want to fix their life, sit and tell you their story.  They say, “help me” and you think two things – 1) why did you wait so long and 2) what you want, you can never have in this life – you’ve done permanent damage to your life, to your relationships and in some cases, to your soul – not from God’s perspective but in the context of this life because you just stayed there too long and you knew it.

You reap what you sow.  You’re sowing, sowing, sowing, sowing and when you begin to reap, a counselor cannot erase the cause and effect consequences of sowing and reaping.

If you’re a mocker, you think “I can control outcomes.  I can control outcomes.  I can control outcomes.”  No, you can’t.  And because there are certain things you cannot fix, there will be certain things you can never experience because you were too arrogant to admit that your wife, your co-worker, your friend, your children, your brother, your boss … were right.

But here is the good news … whoever listens to me (wisdom says) … will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. 1:33

bold…

here are the slides from today –> Which Kingdom 2

What we experienced this morning was an obedient, bold act by a man struggling through a very difficult time.  That wasn’t easy.  I know it was very hard for him to walk into that room knowing what was about to happen.  But … he did it.

He was willing to sacrifice himself on the hope that we were listening.  It was a warning to all of us.  WAKE UP.  This stuff is real and it is dangerous and it carries consequences WAY beyond the moment.  Perhaps there was just one man sitting there this morning wondering if his marriage was going to make it, wondering if that woman at work was worth pursuing a bit more, wondering if the grass would indeed be greener on the other side.  We pray that this man heard the testimony this morning and it woke him up.

If that happened, this man’s sacrifice was completely worth his pain.

This is the power of a testimony.  I hope you heard in his story, not only the pursuit of evil against him but way more importantly, how God is pursuing him.  Through his father’s words in a dream to his friend who hand delivered him to Manschool to your support in the safety of that room, this man is being pursued by the Father.

So are you.

The two questions for all of us is “whose voice are you listening to?” and “which kingdom are you going to serve?”  If your pursuit today is all about you, your pleasures, your needs, your right to be happy then you will curve inward and consume like a locust and the enemy has you.  And you will be in a prison of your own making.

On the other hand, if you see that life isn’t all about you, that there is a Kingdom of Glory we serve, a divine calling we all have as believers that has zero to do with self and is all about giving us away in the service of others, then you will curve outward and live excurvatus.  And you will experience freedom you could have never imagined and the abundant life Jesus proclaimed.

which kingdom are you going to serve?

who are you listening to? (tribe tune included!)

We resume manschool tomorrow with a powerful testimony from a man in our tribe who has been through a very difficult season.  It is brave and bold of him to share with us.  There is real power in testimony.

Until then, last week, we ended with this song and I wanted to hit you with it again here today.  Seems to me one of the greatest battles we face as men is whose voice we’re going to listen to.  We face an enemy who is quite real and quite dangerous.  He is the father of all lies.  But … but … the Creator of the universe is also speaking to us.  He fights for you daily.  Pursuing you.  Crossing paths with you.  Trying to get your attention.  Seeking you.  He is the Father looking for His son to come home.

Read these words, say them over your soul.  When tempted, repeat them.  When the lies come – and they will – you can say with the complete confidence of a warrior —  “Oh no, I was lost and He brought me in.  Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.  No, no foul one, I am a child God.  Yes, I am.”

Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me, Oh His love for me
Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.  I’m a child of God.  Yes I am
Free at last, He has ransomed me.  His grace runs deep.  While I was a slave to sin, Jesus died for me, yes He died for me
Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.  I’m a child of God.  Yes I am
In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me.  I’m a child of God
Yes I am.  I am chosen.  Not forsaken.  I am who You say I am.  
You are for me.  Not against me.  I am who You say I am. 
I am chosen.  Not forsaken.  I am who You say I am.
You are for me.  Not against me.
I am who You say I am.  I am who You say I am.
Who the Son sets free.  Oh is free indeed
I am a child of God

Great music, great entertainment …

Friday September 21, 2018  6:30pm

GOLDEN MIC CHRISTIAN TALENT NIGHT

A night of wholesome entertainment and talent sharing within the body of Christ.

Get to know, listen and sing along to the songs of the gifted and talented brothers and sisters from our local and surrounding churches.

Located at 1342 17th Street, Columbus, Ga. at The Fort Church

Doors open at 6:30pm. $5.00 per person admission will be received.

For more information email Vic Feliciano at goldenmic2018@gmail.com for details.

(All proceeds to benefit Brown Bag of Columbus ministry)

which kingdom will you serve?

“The Bible really is a story of kingdoms in conflict, and that battle rages on the field of your heart.  It rages for control of your soul.  The two kingdoms in conflict cannot live in peace with one another.  There will never be a truce.  There is no safe demilitarized zone where you can live.  Each kingdom demands your loyalty and your worship.  Each kingdom promises you life.  One kingdom leads you to King of kings and the other sets you up as king.  The big kingdom works to dethrone you and decimate your little kingdom of one, while the little kingdom seduces you with promises it cannot deliver.  The big kingdom of glory and grace is gorgeous from every perspective, but it doesn’t always look that way to you.  The little kingdom is deceptive and dark, but at points it appears to you as beautiful and life giving.  You either pray that God’s kingdom will come and that His will be done – or – you work to make sure that your will and your way win the day.”   Paul David Tripp New Morning Mercies

WAKE UP – right now, as you read this, you’re either surrendering the lordship of your life over to Him and praying that His will be done over your life … or … you’re setting out today to make darn sure that your will and your way wins.

One side or the other.  Either God is LORD of your life … or … you are.

“It wasn’t all that bad”.  “I’m content with my life”.  “I saw the warning signs but ignored them because I knew what I wanted”.  “Consequences never crossed my mind”.

Crashes occur when pilots ignore warnings.  “At the end of days, men will become lovers of self.  Lovers of money.  Proud.  Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… having an appearance of Godliness but denying His power…”

There is unrepentant sin in the church.  We’re all about “self” on facebook.  Lovers of pleasure.  “God wants me to be happy” becomes a license for divorce, adultery and homosexuality.  It’s OK to watch perverted TV and movies.  Pornography is a huge problem in the church for both men and women.  Many believers have lost purity and holiness.  You need to take sin seriously.

We need to take sin seriously.  We don’t.  We don’t even call it sin any more.  It’s too uncomfortable.  It’s an “old term”.  Rather, today, I talk about “my brokenness”.  Even that phrase itself is very self focused and thus, is sin.

We jumped in hard with both feet in our first session of Manschool.  It was tough.  This video is convicting for all of us but there is a beautiful picture of redemption in it.  Watch it.  Pray about it.  Ask the LORD to show you … “Lord, show me where I’ve dropped my guardrails.  Show me my sin.  Show me how I’ve let culture invade my life.  Show me where I am weak and vulnerable.  Expose my flanks and WAKE ME up.  I want MORE of YOU Lord, not more stuff, not more toys, not more money, more success, more reputation.  No, LORD, I want more You.  Show me…”