Faithlife Sermons

Back where you belong

Notes
Transcript
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Jumanji roll-in

Has anyone seen the original? I have and I have to be honest, I’m always a little skeptical about remakes because they’re usually not as good, but after watching this it’s become one of my favorite movies. It was incredibly hard to pick clips for this message, not because there weren’t many, but because there were so many great ones. Maybe you’ve seen them both and you think the original is better…well, we’re glad you’re with us in church today because there’s no better place for messed up people.
The premise of the two movies are pretty much the same, but there’s a bit of a spin in this one. In this one, you have 4 kids who in the “real world” are living completely normal lives but through a series of bad decisions they end up in a place they don’t want to be. Stuck in the middle of a video game. They make some decisions that lead to detention and have to take part in a particular punishment in detention. They make another decision to put off the punishment and play a video game they found called Jumanji. When they start to play, the first thing they have to do is pick which character they wanted to play as, only when they get sucked into the game, playing as that character meant becoming that character.
They had the same mind and soul, but they took on the characters body and characteristics. Which was clearly better for some than others. But they literally became someone they didn’t recognize and ended up stuck in a place they didn’t want to be and had no clue how to get back home.
As I was watching this, it blew me away how accurate the parallel was to what happens to us. I don’t think any of us have ever been sucked into a video game before, but
Have you ever been in a place in your life you didn’t want to be and weren’t sure how to get back to where you needed to be?
Maybe after making a series of decisions or life choices suddenly you wake up one day and have no clue how you got where you are and it feels like you’re stuck there. If you’re anything like me, there have been days when you’ve look in the mirror and you stop and stare for a second because you aren’t familiar with the person staring back at you. Things, thoughts, and values you once held tight aren’t really in the forefront of your mind anymore and not because they still aren’t important, but they seem to have taken a backseat to our pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.
I’m not talking about geographically either. I’m talking about there’s something about your life that isn’t where you want it to be, where it needs to be, or more importantly, where God wants it to be.
Spiritually - distant from God
Sin issue - keep losing the battle
Addiction - drug, alcohol, phone
• Marriage - on the ropes. You’ve become roommates with a title
Marriage - on the ropes. You’ve become roommates with a title
• Fear, anxiety, anger, emotion - emotions are shaping your life
Fear, anxiety, anger, emotion - emotions are shaping your life
If we’re being honest, all of us have been there and if we’re being really honest, most of us are there right now. And to top it off, we’ve been there for a while now and the feeling of uncertainty is turning into hopelessness because we just don’t see the possibility for anything to change. That’s what I want to talk about today. Because I believe, regardless what area of your life we’re talking about, getting back where you belong is possible. There are a few steps we have to take to begin heading back in that direction. We can actually learn what steps we need to take by observing some of the things these guys did. Watch this

Choose change

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There was a change that happened with these guys. When they realized they were at a place they didn’t want to be and didn’t have to stay, that they could do something about it, they decided to move in that direction. They realized it wasn’t going to be done for them and if they wanted to get back to where they belonged, they had to start stepping in that direction.
Christians fall into that same trap. We kinda sit around and wait. Expecting God to do all the work.
Christian bumper stickers drive me crazy. “Let go, let God”. That sounds good, but it’s really not how God works. Yes, we need to remember and let Him be in control. Yes, we need to let Him give us direction, but we also need to move. Is God completely capable of changing everything for you? Yes, but often times we won’t see that happen because God’s trying to change something in us. Victory is there, yes. But we have to move into it. God works through people who work.
Look what Paul said
Philippians 3:12–13 HCSB
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,
If you don’t know much about Paul, he is basically an all-star of the faith. He likely had the entire Old Testament memorized and more than likely knew most of the New Testament. And that’s because he wrote most of it. He has raised the dead, cast out demons, started multiple churches and led thousands to Christ. This guy was the Christian of Christians. And did you catch what he just said? I am not already fully mature. He still has some changing and growing to do.
Which, if up to this point, you thought this message wasn’t for you Paul just called you a liar. This hero of the faith tells us he’s not the man he needs to be. There’s more for him and he’s not done growing. Paul shows us we all have a nest step.
He also says, ‘I’m going to do more than just be aware of the fact I’m not where I need to be’ He says, ‘I’m going to make every effort to get there.’ Paul, just like the people in Jumanji, realized they didn’t have to settle for where they were and they chose move towards where they could be.
Paul didn’t say;
it is what it is
that’s just the way I am
I’m not yelling, I’m Italian
It makes me feel better when I brake check people
It’s ok to cuss people out as long as your in Wal-Mart
He didn’t make excuses. He saw what needed to be done and started to move towards it.
We have to do the same thing. If we want to get to where we belong we have to
What are some practical steps you can take to move to where you belong?
Counseling
Anger Management
Change route to avoid triggers

Choose change

We have to decide we’re not going to stay here anymore. We’re not going to settle for where or who we are and begin moving towards where or who we could be. That’s not saying you’re going to be perfect and it won’t be hard. Choosing change is a daily choice. It’s a decision you have to make everyday. The second thing we have to do is
Complacency is comfortable. We don’t like to move outside of our comfort zones. We know how to do what we’re currently doing. It’s easy. I don’t have to learn anything new
Change usually means challenge. We like the path of least resistance. After I bought a riding mower I will never again cut the grass with a push mower. Because now I can cut the grass in the middle of a summer day and not break a sweat. We choose the same paths in our life. “it’s just easier to stay here.”
Change takes work. A lot of work. And did you notice who Paul said made the effort? He didn’t say God makes every effort to get me to where I need to be. God did change you. He gave you new desires. He gave you a new heart if you’re a Christian. We still have to act on the direction God is leading us in order to get to where we need to be.
Did you know there’s some things you don’t have to pray about.
You don’t have to pray about whether or not you should have sex with someone you’re not married to. You don’t have to pray about whether or not you should let the air out of your bosses tire every time they make you mad. You don’t have to pray about whether or not you should cuss out the waiter who got your order wrong.
We use prayer as an excuse to not take the step God is clearly telling us to take. If we want to get to where we need to be, we have to do the natural. We have to take the steps God’s telling us to take and we’ll see God do the super. He’ll take care of the things that are out of our hands. He’ll take care of what we’re not able to. But we have to stop using prayer as an excuse to be disobedient, choose change and begin moving toward where we need to be.
The second thing we have to do is

Acknowledge our weaknesses

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In order for them to get where they needed to be they realized they needed to discover their strengths and their weaknesses.
In order for them to get where they needed to be they realized they needed to discover their strengths and their weaknesses.
It was important to acknowledge their strength and weakness.
Strength helps them move forward
Luke 18:10–14 HCSB
“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people —greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me —a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Weakness prevents them from moving backwards
Paul says the same thing is important.
Here there are two different guys. The pharisee did nothing except try to point out his strengths. I actually believe his weaknesses were greed, unrighteousness, and adultery and that’s why he pointed out other people who are worse. We have a tendency to do that. In order to feel better about ourselves, we point at the people who are worse than us.
2 Corinthians 12:9 HCSB
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
This says two things
Here there are two different guys. The pharisee did nothing except try to point out his strengths. I actually believe his weaknesses were greed, unrighteousness, and adultery and that’s why he pointed out other people who are worse. We have a tendency to do that. In order to feel better about ourselves, we point at the people who are worse than us.
Then there’s a guy who only acknowledged his weakness. And that’s the guy who Jesus said, “I can do something with that.” The other guy, who is trying to make himself look perfect, he has no need for me. There’s nothing I can do with that. But when we acknowledge where we need Jesus, that’s where we see Jesus the most. We don’t have to hide our weaknesses.
Power made perfect in weakness
Christs power resides in our weakness.
It’s in our strength as well, but we see the power of Christ all the more in our weakness
We’ve gotten to a place where we try to put instagram filters on our entire life. We try to cover up what we consider to be blemishes and put so much effort into making people think we’re something we’re not.
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That’s why you see in interviews when the dreaded question comes out, “so, tell me your greatest weakness?” We try everything we can to spin it into a strength.
You see in interviews when the dreaded question comes out, “so, tell me your greatest weakness?” We try everything we can to spin it into a strength.
My greatest weakness is that I just care too much
My greatest weakness is that I just care too much
My greatest weakness is that I have a tendency to work too hard
My greatest weakness is that I have a tendency to work too hard
You know bosses don’t by that, right? Be honest about your weakness. That questions isn’t designed to expose your shortcomings, it’s designed to show you are aware of growth areas.
You know bosses don’t by that, right? Be honest about your weakness. That questions isn’t designed to expose your shortcomings, it’s designed to show you are aware of growth areas. When you are aware of your weaknesses, you’re able to set up a path to becoming who you want to be. You’re able to set up guardrails that prevent you from falling.
When you are aware of your weaknesses, you’re able to set up a path to becoming who you want to be. You’re able to set up guardrails that prevent you from falling.
Alarm - put your phone on the other side of the room or get an old school alarm
Cake - stay out of the bakery section of Publix
pornography - put software on your phone or computer. Get a flip phone so you can’t access the internet
sleeping with b/f or g/f - stop going to bedrooms alone or staying in houses alone
drugs or alcohol - stay away from where you know your dealer was and stay away from triggers (sometimes people)
anger - go to anger management classes and learn how to deal with ti
marriage - go to counselling and start taking steps toward healing your marriage
Acknowledging your weakness is not weak, it’s wise
2 Corinthians 12:9 HCSB
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
This says two things
Power made perfect in weakness
We can set up guard rails. Set a path to victory because we’re acknowledging what can set us back.
Christs power resides in our weakness.
2. Christs power resides in our weakness.
It’s in our strength as well, but we see the power of Christ all the more in our weakness
Acknowledging your weakness is not weak, it’s wise
The next thing we have to do is

Choose Community

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I love that the missing piece wasn’t something but it was someone. They thought what they needed to get back home was the missing corner of the map, but it was actually a teammate. What they needed was a partner to help them get through the next level and get home.
We have a tendency to do the same thing. We chase and look for more routine, more rules, more structure, or more of something. That’s not necessarily bad, but what we need is someone.
we can put all the practices in place but we’ll never get to the next level until we let someone walk with us.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 HCSB
Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.
Eccesiastes 4:9-10
We just talked about how it goes against our nature to not let people in, but in order for us to get to where we need to be we can’t do life alone. It’s just not possible.
When we fall we need someon willing to lift us up
When we’re struggling to keep going we need someone to remind us why we started
We need someone to point out our blind spots. The things in our life that are causing us to stumble that we don’t see and aren’t aware of.
We need people willing to ask us the hard questions and call us out. In love. They do it because they care about us.
When we fall we need someone willing to lift us upsible to get to where we need to be if we don’t have that type of community. That’s not saying you need to let everybody get that close. But you need a few people.
A pastor by the name of Perry Noble said in his book, Unleash, “Satans first step to get to you is to try to isolate you.” He wants to get you away from the people who are headed in the same direction as you. He wants to get you away from people you share the same beliefs and have the same values with. Because when you’re alone your in danger.
God is never going to move you away from His body, the church. That’s what our spiritual enemy is trying to do. God told us, it’s not good to be alone.
That’s why we encourage you to get involved in groups, ministries, and to stay plugged in to the church. We need people. We need community.
Lastly we have to

Accept His Acceptance

Spence had a hard time believing it wasn’t Dr. Bremstone’s chiseled pectorals that she wasn’t attracted to. He felt like he had to be someone else in order to be wanted. He knew who he really was and didn’t thing anyone would want him.
We have the same type of struggles.
I’m not good enough
I’ve messed up too much
My past is too jacked up
I give God a bad name
If I only did this right, then He would want me
I love the story Jesus tells in
Matthew 18:12–14 HCSB
What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the 99 on the hillside and go and search for the stray? And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep more than over the 99 that did not go astray. In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
Matthew 18:12-14\
The sheep got to a place where is realized it’s not where it needs to be. It’s alone and it’s in danger. It wandered away from the shepherd. Then the shepherd leaves the 99 other sheep and steps into danger, searching and looking, spending sleepless nights trying to find the sheep who wandered off.
But when He finds the sheep, he doesn’t beat it, or sit him in the corner and yell at him. He doesn’t say, well you really messed up and I just wanted to tell you I’m done with you. Once you get your act together and manage to catch up to the rest of us, I’ll consider letting you rejoin the group.
No, He walks the sheep back to where it belongs. Back to where it needs to be. Back to safety, back to refuge and a full life, back to where the sheep wanted to get back to but wasn’t sure how. Then He celebrates. He doesn’t try to make the sheep work off the trouble it caused, because it wasn’t trouble. That’s what the shepherd is there for. To take care of it, to protect it, and to help it.
Please don’t miss this, you and I are the sheep in this story and Jesus is the shepherd. Jesus told us this story because He wanted us to know that He was fully aware we would end up in places we don’t need to be and we would walk away. It wasn’t a surprise to Him. But He is always and will always pursue and chase after us. He is always and will always love us and lead us to where we need to be. He will never give up on us.
He’s not pursuing us because we’re perfect. He’s pursuing us because we’re desperately flawed and in need of a savior.
Where you are isn’t a place He’s not willing to go.
Where you are isn’t to dirty or scary for Him to walk to
It’s not a place He’s unable to reach into
Who you are right now isn’t a reason to wait to get to him. It’s a reason to do what I can image the sheep did when it was in the middle of nowhere and looked up to see it’s rescuer walking toward it and take off running to the only one who can save.
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