Faithlife Sermons

Fresh Air - The Choice

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Fresh Air refreshes our souls...
Paul had a friend who refreshed him.
2 Timothy 1:16 The Living Bible
16 May the Lord bless Onesiphorus and all his family because he visited me and encouraged me often. His visits revived me like a breath of fresh air, and he was never ashamed of my being in jail.
Paul gave a shout out to Onesiphorus who encouraged and refreshed him.
Greek - Revived - Recover my breath, to put breath back in...
People today are not living a breath of fresh air. They are living lives that seem to be stuck.
4 Principles … 4 fresh air principles that will refresh you as we go into the holiday season. That’s the hope … that you will be refreshed.
So for the next 4 weeks, we will learn 4 new Fresh Air Principles… and get a little fresh air into our lives.
Most people don’t live the abundant life that God promises. They get stuck in the Doldrums.

Stuck in the Doldrums

People are stuck in the Doldrums.
The Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) a narrow strip around the equator… winds in one direction in northern zone and opposite in the southern
Doldrums - place where there is no wind. If you were in a sail boat you died in the doldrums. This series will help us to take the areas where we are stagnant, in a slump and put the wind back in our sails. You could die there.
When people get into the doldrums, they...

1. You start faking it.

You are in troubles, but you fake it. You start going through the motions. You fake it. You look good on the outside, but you are hard as nails on the inside. Steel Magnolias… Some of ya’lls kids are bleeding right now in River Church Kids…
You act like you have it all together. We cover up… we put a bandaid on the cut instead of fixing the cut. We don’t want people to know we are hurting
Jeremiah 6:14 NIV
14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
We do that. We show a little of what’s wrong and someone will pray for us but not for what’s really going on.
If you keep doing this, you end up in stage 2…

2. You put if off.

You think.... tomorrow. It will be better tomorrow. You think it will just work out. You buy into the lie that time heals all wounds. Time makes it worse. When we put things off, we make a mess.
When you leave it there, it will call a bitter root....
Hebrews 12:15 NIV84
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
When we don’t deal with issues in our lives, we develop a deep root of bitterness in our lives.
Next you get to this stage...

3. You give up.

You get to a place where you give up. You’re done. Ever felt like that?
You get to a point of resignation… you are going to be miserable the rest of your life. You feel hopeless.
Maybe you feel trapped, and you think… I’m done. You get to point of giving up.
marriage… career… God…
Sometimes you will call me and say, I have my neighbor or relative coming this week. What they mean is I have them coming so don’t blow it this week. If you are ever going to do it right, do it right this week.
This is a terrible place to be…
Job went through a miserable time....
Job 17:15 NLT
15 Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it?
When you are in the situation, you can feel like there is no hope...
Have you noticed that when someone comes to you for help you see it clearly? But when it hits you, you are helpless… don’t see it.
Some get angry and blame others. It may even be true but it won’t help.
Some become depressed. You begin to think… who cares?

4. You die.

Epidemic of suicide...
You check out. It solves nothing.
Some die mentally
Some died Morally You will drink it, smoke it or sleep with it.
Spiritually - Some of you have felt like you were at the end of your rope. Some of the greats of the Bible felt this way… Paul -
2 Corinthians 1:8–9 NIV
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
You need a blast of fresh air from God. If you will stay with me, God can bring you out of the Doldrums and into abundant life… with a breath of fresh air.

The Choice

You can do things externally or there can be a transformation of the inner man. When you try to do it in your own power, you die. When we allow God to transform us, we live. Christianity is not doing a bunch of good things trying to get God to like us. We need to get close to God so we can do a bunch of good things.
ILL - Parenting - most parenting classes focus on the behavior. Change doesn’t happen until you change or train the heart. ie: college freshmen.
Marriage - better not commit adultery or you will go to hell. I can try to keep the rules, or I can do this… I can just be in love with her.
We need a breath of God. We need the intangible force of God in our lives that revives our soul. It gets us going again and puts wind back into our sails.
Here is where we get off base. People try to manufacture artificial energy. When we do that we become more and more exhausted… more depleted. You might change the external… for a while, but you did not change the internal.
There is always a choice.
We seem to have a gravitational pull towards the wrong things. ever since the Garden, we have had two choices… and since the Garden, Satan has been trying to get you and I to make the wrong choice.
There is a constant tension in our culture and in each of us to experience internal transformation versus trying to use external forces to control sinful behavior.
External constraints are always good to have on us… they help motivate us to behave ourselves. They are important but they are not the Gospel.
The Gospel is that we can experience transformation of the inner person. It’s about change at the core of who we are. When we are transformed, then we can include some external constraints.
Adam and Eve had a choice...
They had a choice between knowledge of good things and evil things in order to be godly. Or, they could choose to be in a relationship with God.
God put these two choices in the form of two trees in the Garden.
Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. You learn about good things and bad things and what you have to do to be a godly person.
The Tree of Life - a relationship with Jesus that transforms you from the inside out.
Genesis 2:9 NIV
9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:16–17 NLT
16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
You know what choice they made right?
Why did they make that choice? Because it’s easier to measure external rules…
Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
God wants us to choose life...
Here are some choices.
We can choose

Doing more

You always feel like we should have done more. You just need to pray harder, read more, give more…
Maybe you are like I was. I was praying some each morning and then people preach about pryaing for an hour… an hour?
or

Receiving what has been done

John 5:39–40 NIV84
39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
The goal of Christianity is not just to learn the Bible. It’s to experience the person behind the Bible.
We can choose between...

Trying to get God’s approval.

You grow up thinking God does not approve of you. He is trying to make it hard for you. He is not some harsh God trying to smack you down.
ILL - police officer with a radar gun… It’s like God is waitign for you to have fun so he can smack you down.
or

Receiving God’s love for you.

He knows what you did this week, and he still loves you. He still wants to spend time with you.
When Adam and Eve made the wrong choice, God went looking for him. If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
Romans 5:8 NIV84
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We can choose between...

Obeying out of duty

You may have grown up going to church because you had to. Out of obligation. You go twice on Sunday, Once Wednesday night and maybe Tuesday night visitation.
Every time you went to church you either heard things that you were not supposed to be doing or you heard things that you were not doing that you should be doing.
Your whole approach to God was trying to please him by doing good stuff and not doing wrong things. But the problem with this is, that the more you go to church the more you find out what you were doing wrong.
Praying … then pray for an hour
I din’t miss church growing up. It’s like the more miserable church was the better it was for you… like beets and Brussels sprouts…
Christianity can be hard, but then hell is not a good option either.
or

Obeying out of delight.

Now you want to obey God.
John 14:15 NIV84
15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
Use voice inflection in reading this statement.
He is not saying that we obey out of obligation, but out of delight. When we love him… because we love him, we want to obey him.
Marriage - I can try to be faithful to my wife, or I can be in love with my wife.

Fresh Air Principle #1

Fiddler on the Roof
Matchmaker Match maker make me a match
Tradition
Do you love me?
Asked about relationship and she responded with the external?
Jesus is asking us… do you love me?
Matthew 7:21–23 NLT
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Maybe you are doing every thing right but you are empty on the inside.
ILL - me when I would get dumped and go for a run in HS… often thought… what would happen if I just jumped in front of one of these trucks?
I began hearing about a relationship in CL and began going and hoping there was something better, and there was.

Fall in love with Jesus

Here is the Choice - Life … Death
Choose life
You may be doing everything right, but you are running on empty. You look good from the outside but inside you feel empty and stagnant.
Here’s how you can tell. You know it’s right but you don’t enjoy it. Or it seems to be working for everyone else but you.
Why is this so important?
For those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Many people approach God through rules and keeping rules rather than relationship. They are banking their eternal salvation on what they do rather who they know. All of heaven will be about your relationship with Jesus, not your religion.
Some of you are following Jesus but it’s not working for you. You are not enjoying your relationship with the Lord. Listen, you will fulfill the commands of the Bible better by falling in love with Jesus rather than trying to do everything on your own.
Some of you are trying to be a good person… read Bible daily, pray, but you are doing it out of religion, not relationship and it feels dry. Christianity is fun when you are in love with Jesus… all relationships are.
Some are fighting temptation and you are working on your self control. Temptation is a test of your relationship, not your self control.
Fall in love with Jesus today!
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