What am I supposed to “do” ?

We had a full room this morning .  55 strong.  God showed up!  

Here are the slides from this morning —> manschool-wholeness-4

Read the following text from Romans 7 in The Message.  See if you can relate…

But I need something more!  For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!  I realize that I don’t have what it takes.  I can will it, but I can’t do it.  I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.  My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.  The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.  I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Is there no one who can do anything for me?  Isn’t that the real question?

I highlighted in bold a few of the key passages – “I can will it, but I can’t do it”.  I can’t do it.  As much as I want to stop the sin … I just can’t stop it.  My decision to “stop” just simply doesn’t result in action.  The cycle of repeating this habitual sin happens so regularly, it’s predictable.  Think > pornography.  lust.  overeating.  road rage.  a relentless focus on self.  isolating myself. overspending.  As hard as I try, I cannot stop the cycle …

cycle

We all struggle with habitual sins we cannot seem to stop.  And you know, as you go through this cycle, it really turns into a downward spiral.  The more I repeat the sin, the deeper into my guilt/shame I go.

“The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does”.  Romans 7:25 MSG.

Christ can “do” it.  You cannot.  I cannot.  In my power, I cannot overcome this habitual sin.  The cycle will defeat me as it always has (or else I wouldn’t now have this habitual problem!).  But… but … Christ can.  And He does that by shifting how you look at this.  Stop focusing on the “doing” and start focusing on what you want to “be”.  Focus on the “being”.

Galatians 5 > “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.  Focus on one of these that you feel God is wanting to push into with you.  Instead of trying to “stop” sinning, instead focus on what you feel God wants you to “be”.  For instance, I want to be a man of self-control.  I don’t want to be that man that is driven by his impulses.  My desire is to learn to control my impulses and learn self-control.  For me, that starts with a very small thing, resisting the impulse to drink Coke Zero and instead drink water.  Maybe it’s also giving up cookies after dinner.  Maybe it is giving up the “relief” of a certain TV show I go to.  It starts with the little things.  Little steps of faith of a long-obedience in the same direction.  God’s trying to teach me a big thing like self-control.  He’s sanctifying me.  It’s a big picture, “Richard I want you to get this.  I will use it in you in a big way so I need you to learn self-control.  I’m building you, shaping you, preparing you.  You need this tool in your toolbox for life.”  It may begin with a very small act of obedience … water instead of Coke Zero.  It may be no more wine.  It may be deleting apps.  It may be starting a regular exercise program.  It may be…  

It’s a small step towards a big sanctification.  The cycle above is me-focused.  My ability or inability to stop, my failure, my shame, my repeating the same cycle over and over.  By instead turning inward from my ability to overcome this, it is turning outward to Father and letting Him show you what it is He wants to sanctify and teach you.

The answer isn’t what you need to stop doing.  It is, instead, a process of looking to what kind of man you want to be.

attached is a link to Nick Cash’s blog post that Derrick referred to this morning —> http://www.seedbed.com/mind-the-gap-between-being-and-doing/

Nick reminds us that our desire for being will determine our actions.  Do you see it?  The cycle above is all about our actions changing our being.  No.  Wrong.  That won’t do it.  Your actions are what got you in that cycle in the first place.  You cannot conquer habitual sin with “doing”.  No, instead it must come from what you want to be.  What kind of man do you want to be?  What kind of man does God want you to become?

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The new LiveUP logo

Harrison Mills stepped UP.  He took the step of saying, “I have gifts and skills that I can use to make a real contribution to this Tribe” and he boldly tackled the redesign of our logo.

I love this on so many levels.  He has sat and listened and taken in what has been shared.  He’s grabbed the vision.  God is clearly moving on his heart and he took the risk of saying, “Hey, maybe I can improve some things and make a contribution”.  Amen and Amen.  Bold.  Creative.  Willing to risk.  Dreamed.  In so doing, he was LivingUP.

If you want to see it … here ya go

liveup-logoredesign-presentation-1

We’ll be redesigning the website to incorporate all of this.

what will you create?

here are the slides from today  … wide awake – create  there is some good info in these slides that I won’t cover below so take a look.

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You have the ability to create.  You were created to create.  To vision.  To dream and then act.  So let’s get that out of way right up front, this is for you.  You can create.  You are a creative.  Don’t believe the lie that you aren’t.  You are.  We all are.

Gary Player is one of the best golfers in history.  But his story is much deeper than golf.  He’s an avid rancher and golf course designer.  On his South African ranch, he built steps in a mountain so he can climb the mountain.  His own, personal “stair master”.  He does 1,200 sit ups a day…with a 100 pound weight on his chest.  He’s 77 years old.  70% vegetarian and he wants to get to 85%.  He eats no bacon, no sausage, no butter.  “If you don’t watch you eat, you’ve had it. Period.”  He loves America but says obesity is going to kill the American dream if we’re not careful.  At 77 years old, he takes no medicine at all.  Not one pill.   Would you give “anything” to look/feel like Gary Player at 77?

Gary Player “created” this life.  He had this vision of what he wanted his life to become and it was so compelling that it got him up at 5am every day to hit thousands of range balls – hit so many that his hands bled.  Every day.  He had this vision for being in fantastic shape and so he was caught lifting weights before the US Open back in the 60’s.  No one understood him.  But he understood where he was going and here 50 years later, he’s a rock, a fortress of a man.

So when we say, “I’d give anything to look like Gary Player when I’m 77.”  or  “I’d give anything to have that life”.  Would I really?  Really?  McManus says this in Wide Awake…

“Greatness is not simply the result of genetics but hard work. Often, the person who has the most luck is the person who won’t quit. To live a life that takes your breath away, you have to be willing to get winded. While God created through a word, we create through work. God creates by simply speaking, we create by carefully listening. There is an inner voice that calls and compels us to create. When we know what to do, we must then act on that truth. Every great life begins at the same place – the beginning.”

To live a life that takes your breath away, you have to be willing to get winded.

If you have a dream of what your life can become, you’re going to have to work at it.  God’s just not going to hand it to you.  We need to live that dream.  Once you grasp it, once you have an idea of what you can become, it will overtake you.  It will warp you.  You will not sleep like a baby because you can’t get this dream off your mind.  It will spring you out of bed early in the morning.

And despite what you may think, you can live a life worth remembering.  It is there for all of us.  Not to draw attention to ourselves.  We shouldn’t be driven to achieving fame but rather to greatness.  Doing something in life that will effect the entire course of human history.   And just when you think, “it’s impossible for me to effect human history”, consider this … effecting one life can impact history.  You can change the course of another man’s life and that can change history.

So a few of us went on Sunday morning to work at a man’s home that had two huge oaks fall on it a few weeks ago.  They almost destroyed the house and he has no insurance. By the time we got there, Ron Lucas and others had helped him get the trees off the house and get his roof repaired but the back yard is a disaster.

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We worked for a few hours putting chain saws to what we could.  We moved tons of timber out and made good progress but as you can see, the yard is still a mess and there are two huge trees we couldn’t tackle.  He was so appreciative and thankful for the outpouring of undeserved grace.

The whole time I was working this dream compelled me to the question of “what if”?  What could we create for this man?  I visioned getting those big trees out of there by calling in some favors of a tree company.  Of getting in there and clearing out all the overgrowth.  Of building him a new fence.  Of sodding his backyard and maybe building him a patio around that outdoor fire pit his Dad built for him.  Of some flower beds.  Of fixing his front yard and taking down the dead tree there.  Of fixing his outdoor shed.  In my mind I was painting this image of creating him a new yard, of giving this man some hope so when he comes home from a hard day framing other people’s new homes, he can take a lot of pride in his home.

It’s a dream.  It is creating.  It is a bunch of us living beyond self to radically impact an undeserving soul.  It compels me.  I can’t get it out of my mind.  It needs to happen.  I believe that is just one small example of what McManus is talking about in this chapter.

So you see it doesn’t have to be inventing the next Google or becoming a millionaire.  Money has nothing to do with this.  This is ministry.  If you’re driven by the prospects of billions, it’s really all about self.  If you’re driven by something that creates good for others, then that’s something altogether different.  This last quote from McManus sums it up so well…

“God designed you to be an expression of his goodness. Every time you perform a loving act; every time you choose an act of mercy, kindness, and servanthood; every time you alleviate human suffering and bring hope and joy into a person’s life, you’ve expanded the good and increased the honor God receives for creating you in his image. God loves when his children reflect his character. What matters to God is the good we do toward others on his behalf.”

That’s how we LiveUP!