Faithlife Sermons

Night of Worship 2017

Night of Worship 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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“I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.” Lead into the talk from “Touch the Sky” Saying from AA - “Your bottom is when you stop going down.” Mention the 3 miracles from the human video:
woman bleeding - woman caught in adultery demon possessed man
The message of that song that we just sang could be the most important thing that you take time to do while you're here. To find yourself free because of the love of Jesus. That's what real love feels like. It feels like freedom! And if you're anything like me, you don't live there 100% of the time. In fact...
Several months ago, I came to the end of myself.
My mom calls this, “Reaching the end of her rope.”
Last Fall, I had reached the end of mine, worn down from the previous year.
I had:
moved across the country
welcomed my second child
and significantly increased my job responsibilities.
All great and celebrated life moments, but when added up together, created the fodder for fatigue.
Ever been there… when your personal, physical, or emotional capacity was revved up to the limit?
All of us have.
Where’s the end of it for you?
Your Finances Your children Your Spouse Your Career
I don’t know about you, but when I reach the end of my rope, my first inclination is to hold onto it for dear life.
Because I fear letting go of my control. Certainly, if I let go, then the world’s gonna stop spinning, right?
So I play tug of war, fighting for my control. This isn’t a game. This is a life with real consequences. And all the while I do this to myself, I am wearing myself down and becoming more fatigued. Does this resonate with you?
In Tug of War, it’s impossible to simultaneously pull the rope with all of your might while walking hand in hand, side by side with another person. So then why do we think that we should be able to do so with our life, as we fight to maintain our control and power?
Is it any wonder why during these seasons we feel in conflict with ourselves and others. How can one possibly thrive in healthy, vibrant relationships while at the same time clinging onto the end of our rope, fighting for our control and power. Fighting for what we want?
Is it any wonder why the job that you prepared for so long to achieve now feels like you’re stuck in a swamp?
The tighter you hold onto this rope, the more you might begin to think:
‘I should be doing more’
‘I should have it all together’
‘I’m better than this’
‘if I just could be more like _____’
‘if only I had _____, then everything would work itself out.’
The tighter you cling onto this rope, then the tighter you cling onto the lie that you can do it all by yourself.
Listen, no one can do it all. No one can measure up to those standards of maintaining that kind of control and power. That would make you God.
Are you God? Seriously. If the benchmark that you’ve set for yourself is the same one that only God can achieve, then you need to ask yourself: how tightly am I clinging onto my rope? My control? My life?
In the Garden, the author of Genesis told us that the fruit represented the temptation to live as the God of our own life.
Their decision is ours, too. At some point for all of us, we made a decision to take ownership and control of our life apart from God.
This decision contradicts entirely how God designed our lives:
how we relate with God.
how we relate with one another.
how we conduct our work.
This decision contradicts the very essence of our identity, which always leads us to the very same place that led Adam and Eve… into a place of hiding from our failures, masking our insecurities, and resulting in shame.
Every time.
Believing the lie that you can achieve it… combined with the failure of missing it… always leads to shame.
You see, the tighter you hold onto this rope, the tighter cling onto a lie about yourself.
Doubting yourself and others - your abilities, your capacity, your relationships, and your identity - because you’re measuring yourself against the wrong marker. Doubting your faith - If you buy into the core lie of lies from Genesis 3 that you can live like the god of your own life - and fail at doing so, then is it any wonder why you would doubt the existence of the real, true God?
Last Fall, when I reached the end of my rope, I came to the realization that I had been playing tug of war against myself. Once again, I unwittingly believed that age old lie that I could do it myself.
Every action, decision, thought, and behavior must pass muster against the constant scrutiny of: Am I living as the god of my own life OR Am I living as a surrendered man (or woman) to the one true God?
God is not interested in people who play tug of war alone and make prisons of their own shame?
Rather, God is in the freedom business and made you free through the sacrifice of his Son to make you right standing, not bound by shame!
Jesus came to release the captives! Does anyone here feel captive - chained, even - to this rope?
Jesus brought freedom, and tonight, we let go!
Worship is the catalyst - your response - to let it go.
Worship locates God in his right place of power and control.
Worship also locates you in the right place of surrender and submission, so drop the rope.
How IRONIC that we only discover true freedom and our fullest identity when we…. drop the rope.
Everything about our culture beckons you to hold on tighter and tighter… but everything about Jesus provides you the strength to let it go.
Release your control. It’s an illusion anyway. Instead, lean into God’s benchmark for you, which is simply this: love him, love others. Do all things with love.
***DELETE or REVISED - Release yourself from the weight of your shame. Christ already bore it on the cross. You don’t need to hold onto it any longer, so… Forgive yourself.
Release others from the sting of your vengeance. They don’t deserve it any more than you do. The Father’s justice was made final in his son, so… Forgive them.
In letting go and humbly submitting in full surrender to your Heavenly Father who is especially fond of you, ironically, sets you up to do infinitely more than you can think or imagine.
Hear Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus and believer’s everywhere:
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Infinitely more.
How might God do infinitely more than you might ask or think… at your workplace? with your family?
Pay attention to where you feel excited right now, because that is exactly where God wants to open new opportunities for personal growth and investment into you and others - all for the sake of his Kingdom!
That mighty power at work within you is the same power that rose Christ from the dead, and it lives in you.
The Greek phrase from which we get the English one, “mighty power at work” is “dynamin ten energoumenen,” which literally means “DYNAMITE ENERGY!”
So, let’s be the church comprised of people filled with dynamite energy to do infinitely more than you can ask or think!
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