Faithlife Sermons

Five Decisions to Help You Soar

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We know that there are a lot of people hurting in our world today, and when you are hurting, you simple truth, not simplistic truth.
It’s not enough to say Jesus is the answer… how is He the answer. We need to show it.
One of the things that we want at River Church is to help you make changes in your lives.
Did you know that God made you wonderfully complex? some of your more than others....
Psalm 139:14 NLT
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Guys lean over and whisper to your wife… you are wonderfully complex. She may say back… You are amazingly simple.
Women are somewhat complex… men are pretty simple for the most part.
Ecclesiastes 7:18 The Message
18 It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.
If you want to become the person God wants you to be, you will have to look at and deal with every area of your life.
Today we want to look at becoming who God wants us to be. I am calling this message, Five Decisions to help you soar.
Parable of the talents. 10 talents… 5 talents… 1 talent. Make the most of what he gave them.
You will not be responsible for talents He does not give you. You will be judged by what you did with what he gave you. Listen, we don’t all get the same talents, same background, same problems or pain. We don’t have the same potential. The only thing we all have is that we are loved by the Lord.
There are…

Five factors that influence your identity.

You did not get to choose these, God gave them to you. You didn’t choose them, God did and He gave them to you. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of things that you don’t get to choose that make you who you are.
You didn’t choose your parents… your sex… your race… your natural tendencies...

The first thing the Bible tell us is that all of these factors are flawed.

They are broken. A lot of stuff is broken… weather - volcanoes, earth quakes, Hurricanes… The weather is broken… world politics is broken… our relationships are not perfect.
Nothing in your life will ever be perfect. So everyday, the factors in your life that make you who you are are impacted by the fact that they and you are broken.

The second thing we know is that God sent Jesus as our Savior.

Jesus saved us from our sin, to heaven out of hell and from ourselves. He sent Jesus to take these flawed and broken factors in our lives and transform them.

The third thing the Bible teaches is that one day we will have to give an account to God on how well you used what he gave you.

God’s not going to say, you didn’t do it the way your brother did. He will say what did you do with what I gave you?
The good news is that we can soar with what God has given us. Let’s look at these five factors that impact you every day.

1. My Chemistry.

DNA… hormones, chemistry. Your body is made up of chemicals and those chemicals affect everything about your.
You may have been born hypersensitive to pain. If your shoe is too tight, it’s a major thing…
Others were born with a high tolerance to pain.
Low Energy - high energy
There are structural predispositions: Weak bones… back going out
Some don’t hear as well as others.
Some do see as well as others.
All of us have biological and chemical deficiencies. And these can create emotional problems… physical problems… mental problems and spiritual problems in our lives.
If you have low thyroid, you can exercise all you want, but your energy will still be low. You need a thyroid supplement.
Calcium deficiency - brittle bones.
Hormone (Estrogen or Testosterone) or iron deficiency you will be impacted emotionally.
oxytocin - Chemical that creates connection. If you are low in this chemical, you will have trouble connecting with people. It’s the chemical that released when a husband and wife have sexual relations and it connects them. That’s why sex is to be between and husband and wife who are committed to each other for life.
oxytocin is released when a mother nurses her baby. They connect. It’s a chemical thing.
In prairie Wolves, they noticed that they were monogamous for life. They were hight in Oxytocin. When the chemical was lowered in them, they became frisky.
Mental Illness - Mental illness has a chemical basis and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Listen, our flaws are what make us unique. Even Paul had a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know if it was physical or mental… but Paul said it actually made him stronger because it made him depend more on the Lord.
Galatians 4:13 NCV
13 You remember that it was because of an illness that I came to you the first time, preaching the Good News.
Paul got sick and that’s how he cam to minister in Galatia.

2. My Connections.

Your Relationships in your life. Whether your relationships were good, bad, healthy or unhealthy… You are a product of your relationships.
Study after study has shown that your identity, how you see yourself is largely determined by what you think the most important people in your life think of you. What you think the most important people in your life think of you tends to determine your self-image, your self-esteem, your self-concept.
That’s why you need to make Jesus the most important person in your life because he will love you unconditionally and always tell you the truth in love.
The connections in your life help determine your identity… they give you purpose and meaning.
If you grew up disconnected from people, you will have a difficult time with your identity in life. People who have really healthy connections, they’re not going, does my life matter? They never ask that. They know their life matters because there are healthy relationships in their life. But if you feel disconnected, if you feel dysfunction in your relationships, it affects your identity. It affects your meaning and purpose.
Why?
Because life is relationships. God said, “It’s not goo that the man is alone.” We were created for relationships.
Here’s what Jesus said.
Matthew 22:36–40 NLT
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Jesus is saying to be connected to God and to each other. Life is about relationships and love. If you don’t understand this… then you most likely wonder why your life doesn’t have purpose and meaning.

Three Problems with Connection

1. We are all imperfect.

2. Sin disconnects us.

Sin disconnects us from God and from each other.
Adam and Eve. perfect couple had everything. God says, “You can do anything you want to in this garden, the Garden of Eden. One thing you can’t do: Don’t eat that fruit right here.” So what did they do. They ate the fruit.
Why did God give them this commandment? He had to give them a choice to obey or not obey. Love gives a choice. They like many of us, headed for the one thing they could not do.
What happened? Adam took it like a man and blamed his wife. Eve blamed the snake and the snake did not have a leg to stand on.
He’s not only blaming Eve, but God… this woman you gave me...
They started blaming God and each other and they covered themselves up trying to hide their faults. They began accusing and excusing and became disconnected from God and from each other.
Who told them to cover up? Not God. Sin did. That’s what sin does… it causes us to disconnect.
When you feel disconnected, you feel fearful and distrustful. If you grew up disconnected, you probably have a difficult time trusting. You get stuck because you crave connection, but you fear connection. You crave acceptance, but you fear rejection… so you don’t try to get connected.

3. My Circumstances.

This is simply the things that happen all around you and none of them are in your control. You did not choose your chemistry, your initial connections, and you certainly haven’t chosen all of your circumstances.
The things that happen to you and around you help shape your identity. You are a product of the good things that happened in your life as well as the bad things. You are a product of th trauma and troubles in your life. You are a product of the suffering, shame, shock and stress in your life. Problems shape your life. Pressures shape your life. Pain shapes your life.
If you have ever been abused, it shaped your life.
If you have ever experienced rejection, it has affected your life.
If you ever had a failure or a series of failures in your life, that has affected your identity. You begin to tell yourself that you are a failure … over and over again.

4. Your Consciousness.

Your consciousness is how you talk to yourself… how you think about yourself.
It’s ok to talk to yourself. It’s even ok to answer yourself. Just don’t go … huh?
God - let us make man in our own image. It looks like God was talking to himself. How can God talk to himself? The same way you are right now.
While I am up here preaching… some of you go… that’s a good point… bad point… when is he going to stop so we can get to lunch...
You are constantly talking to yourselves. If you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, they would not be your friends. You talk to yourself all the time and you are your own toughest critic.
What you say to yourself influences your identity. Other people may have said that you are a loser, uncoordinated, no talent, un-attractive… but then you begin to repeat that to yourself and it impacts your identity.
Your habitual thoughts are your identity.
Proverbs 23:7 NKJV
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.
What you think about you… that’s you whether it’s true or not.
Proverbs 4:23 GNB
23 Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.
If you want your life to go in a different direction, your thoughts have to go in a different direction. Thoughts don’t have to be true to hurt you.
The person who says I can’t and the person that says I can are both right according to this verse.
Here is the problem with stinking thinking. Fears and negative thoughts are often self-fulfilling.
Job 3:25 NLT
25 What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.
It’s called a self fulfilling prophecy.
There is something you can do to change. You begin to challenge your thoughts. Challenge the distorted thinking and misrepresentations you are thinking or they will dominate your life. If you think people are out to get you, you will always make misguided decisions in your interactions. Those thoughts will always send you in the wrong direction.
Some of you are sitting here going, I could never change… really? Write this down.
Feelings aren’t facts.
I feel unattractive - doesn’t mean you are.
I feel dumb - doesn’t mean you are.
I feel like no one would ever want to marry me - there will be.
Feelings are not facts… they lie all the time.

5. My Choices.

You were created in the image of God. No other animals are created in the image of God.
Created in the image of God means a lot of things, but one of them is we have free moral choice. Animals can’t make moral choices… they have instincts, but not the ability to make a moral choice… to determine right from wrong.
Freedom of choice is both our greatest blessing and our biggest problem. It’s a problem because we make stupid choices all the time. We make self defeating choices… harmful choices that hurt us and those around us. Your choices can become a negative in your life.
Here is the good news about Your choices. They determine how these other factors play out in your life.
You didn’t choose your chemistry, but you can choose what you do with your body and how you can make the most of what you have.
You did not choose your initial relationships, or even all of the ones you have today, but you can choose how you respond to them. You can choose to learn relational skills. You can choose healthy relationships to cultivate.
You didn’t choose your consciousness… You could not control what people said to you growing up and even now. You may not have even chosen to believe those tapes that began to play inside your head. But you can choose today to stop believing them. You can choose to think differently.
Ultimately, your identity is based on your choices.

Your identity is based on your choices.

We are going to look at 5 winning choices that will help you soar in life.

Five Winning Choices to Help You Soar

1. I can choose to get healthier.

It doesn’t matter what your health is right now, you can make choices to get healthier. There are things you can do to have more energy… to have less stress… have more power and health in your life.
You can eat better… get more sleep… reduce the stress… exercise. Someone said that the best exercise is the one you will do.
Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, make the best of what you have. Unfortunately most of us are not making the most of the body we have been given.
Psalm 119:73 The Living Bible
73 You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.
There are things we can’t control - height, basic structure.
There are some things we can control and you can have more energy, you can be in better shape, you can probably extend your life simply by eating right, exercising, doing right things…
You can’t work on your marriage, your kids, your relationships when you have no energy. Start by working to get healthier.

2. I can choose to deepen relationships.

You can make the intentional choice to make your relationships better. Doesn’t matter where they are, they can be better than they are right now.
Learn communication skills.
Replace some unhealthy relationships with new healthy relationships.
Risk connection. Any connection is a risk because of the fear of rejection.
Write this down.
The fear of rejection prevents connection.
The reason you feel disconnected is your fear of being rejected, your fear of being disapproved of, your fear of being hurt and your fear of others.
Issue of marriage- You want to be married but you are not, so you say to yourself. “I’m not marry-able. No one wants to marry me… I’m too old to marry.”
Ruth Ann -
Read about weddings of folks in their a 80’s.
As long as you believe this, it will be true. But you are basing this on your feelings not facts. You may thing that you are socially awkward … that’s the fear of rejection.
Write this down:
Awkward won’t kill me
It feels awkward when you begin to get out of your comfort zone and develop new relationships, but that won’t kill you. We all feel awkward when we begin new relationships.
How do you get rid fo that fear?
1 John 4:18 NIV84
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Love takes away our fear because it changes our focus. It takes the focus off of us and put’s it on others. We stop thinking about what do they think about us and begin thinking about them… their needs, wants and desires.
Too often, you walk into a crowded situation or a party or something and you instantly wonder… what are they thinking about me? am I dressed nice enough? Do I have spinach between my teeth? How do I look? What do they think about me… me … me?
Let you in on a secret. None of them are thinking about you. You know why? They are wondering what you and others think about them?
Self-centeredness walks into a room wondering how they look to everyone else. Love walks into the room wondering who needs their help. Who needs a word of encouragement? Who needs a pat on the back?
Love or humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Public speaking- If I came in here wondering what you will think about me, I would not do this… at all… ever. But I come in here looking at what your needs are and what God wants to do in your life.
Love casts out fear. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
How do you get rid of fear? You do the thing you are afraid of. Fear doesn’t run from logic, it runs from action.
Fear goes away from action. You walk up to the Red Sea and the Egyptians are behind you and you go, God, I’m in a no place. I’m in a cul-de-sac. I’m hemmed in. And you step in and the water parts.
You move and the fear vanishes. Fear is always worse than the reality. Fear torments you 24/7, but the reality only lasts a minute.
So do this...
1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT
1 Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.
This should be your goal for the rest of your life. Life is not about accomplishments, fame or fortune, it’s about love. Love works. Book by Joel Manby - Love works.
Life is about learning how to love like Jesus loved.
You may be thinking, I tried loving others and got burned. Do you think that excuses you from loving others. NO. No where in the Bible does God say, you don’t have to love others. Maybe you tried showing love to some people and they rejected you… next. There are millions of people who are dying for someone to just love them, to accept them.
You don’t get to say I am not going to love because I got hurt once...
Connections are risky and sometimes we get hurt, but we have to step out and take the risk.
Ephesians 3:17 NCV
17 I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love.
We need to pray this verse every morning when we get up. “Jesus today fill my heart with faith and help me to be strong in showing love to others.
You may wonder where you can learn connection techniques. Right here in church. Before and after services… go out to eat with others. Connect Groups - crank back up at the end of the summer. Wednesday nights around the supper table and then in church. Movie Nights…

3. I can choose to trust God no matter what happens.

Romans 8:27–29 The Message
27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. 28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. 29 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.
God knows what’s better for you than you do and He is always working for your good.
God wants to use every circumstance in your life to make you more and more like Jesus.
Psalm 34:1 The Living Bible
1 I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.
Praising him no matter what is a choice. Our culture doesn’t understand that. They want to gripe and complain and call everyone names, but we get to choose to praise the lord no matter what.
Write this down.
I may be a product of my past, but I am not prisoner of it.
You may be influenced by your chemistry, your connections and your circumstances, but you are not a prisoner to it.

4. I can choose what I think about.

You can’t choose what happens to you or what people say about you or to you. But you can choose what you continue to allow to rumble around in your mind.
Your memories come from two different parts of your brain. The bad ones, the painful ones, the memories of shame, guilt and anger, of embarrassment are all up there in the Migdula.
Your happy memories are stored in a different part of your brain. Your Migdula memories never go away, but you can over-write them. You choose what you think about.
When you think a thought it creates a pattern. When you think it again, it creates a bigger pattern. When you think that thought over and over again, it creates a rut. Some of you have canyons of doubt a fear in your brain.
Years ago, the medical field thought that nothing could be done with an adult brain, but that has changed. Those ruts can be healed and changed. You can rewire the human brain. (2002 Nobel Prize in Neurobiology)
This just backed up scripture...
Romans 12:2 NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Transform - metamorphosis… cocoon to a butterfly.
Let God metamorphosize your brain. Let him transform you by changing the way you think.
Change your brain - change your life.
(Daniel Amen)
How do you change your brain. You feed it the truth. Garbage it, Garbage out.
In your brain you have a scale… between negative and positive. Everything that has happened in your life has put negative on that scale...
You’re no good… you will never be successful…
But on this scale you can begin putting pebbles of truth on it to balance out the lies the devil has put there, or you can leave the negative - your choice. If you do that, you will be depressed and anxious about everything.
How do you change the balance to positive? Put pebbles of truth in your mind. You feed your mind on the WOG, not just on Sundays and Wednesdays, but every day.
the more you feed your mind with the WOG, the more happy you will begin to feel. Happiness is a choice. Don’t blame others for your unhappiness. You are as happy as you choose to think.
Philippians 4:8 NLT
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
This is what we need to fill our minds with, not trash like 50 shades of Grey which is porn… or other things like it.
Fix your thoughts on things that are true, good and holy.
Here is a suggestion. Don’t put things on your walls that don’t inspire you. Surround yourself visually and orally with things that create good memories, that tell you who you are and tell you whose you are. So you see it all the time. Put the Word of God on your walls. Put promises on the walls. Put beautiful sunsets on the walls. Put whatever inspires you. Put things that create positive memories in your life to reinforce those things. The best of both worlds is to take a positive memory from your past and put a Scripture on it

5. I can choose Jesus as my Savior.

I am not just talking about allowing Jesus to save you from hell. That’s very important, but it’s also important to allow him to be your Savior everyday… to depend on him every day.
Jesus will save you from your chemistry - physical, emotional and mental defects.
Jesus will save you from your relationships. He will help you build helpful ones instead of hurtful ones.
Jesus will save you from your circumstances… from the problems, the hurt and the trauma.
Jesus will save your mind and help you guard it. Put on the helmet of salvation. It will protect your mind from negative thoughts.
Jesus will save you from your sin and from yourself.
2 Corinthians 5:17 The Living Bible
17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!
He gives you a whole new identity. You may think you are waiting on ?God to change the stuff in your life, but God is waiting in you to make some choices. It’s never too late to change.
Prayer
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