My Own Prison

2nd look- 4.18.16
Hi everybody and welcome to the 2nd look!

I wanted to start this 2nd look by showing you a recent news editorial I found to be quite inspiring. It’s a story of forgiveness.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/on-the-road-innocent-michigan-man-ends-up-working-alongside-crooked-cop-that-locked-him/

As you consider this story and our sermon this past weekend, I’d like to add some quick practical things to keep in mind when it comes to forgiveness.

  • Forgiveness is a process… It may take time- sometimes you will need to forgive over and over again. That is normal. The biggest thing is when our hearts want to resume the resentment (and who knows why this happens but sometimes it takes a while to let things go), we need to be reminded we cancelled the debt this person owes us- we have wiped the slate clean- they are forgiven… It can take awhile for some things, but this process is worth it in the long run.
  • Following God’s example is truly helpful… When wondering how to forgive- God’s example we looked at in yesterday’s sermon is truly helpful. Spend time in Ephesians 2:1-10 this week to be reminded of this. Here’s a quick recap of God’s approach for forgiveness:
  • God embraces the truth of what has happened. God doesn’t ignore that he’s been sinned against, or pretend it never happened. This isn’t forgiveness. He embraces the truth.
  • He has a larger vision. God has a larger vision. Sometimes we need to have a larger vision than just what has happened. Maybe we need to see the person who hurt us the way God sees them- or see His vision for all of us; or maybe see that the hurt that has happened fits within a grander purpose that will ultimately result in God’s glory- or maybe we can hold hope that in the end; this painful thing will be long forgotten- that we can let go of it. Our ability to forgive can be hugely impacted by our ability to see a larger vision.
  • He Cancels the Debt. God cancels the debt. He doesn’t expect justice- and is not plotting revenge. He has cancelled the debt. This is really a beautiful picture of what forgiveness really is. It’s not us trying to pretend like nothing ever happened, or having to be best friends with someone who hurt us. That can happen sometimes- but this is not the truest aim of forgiveness- the true aim is to cancel the debt.
  • He wishes and seeks the best for the person who has hurt Him. This probably challenges me more than anything else. It’s easy sometimes for me to cancel the debt- but for me to pray and hope for God’s will to be done in their lives; that they would see God glorified in and through them. This is sometimes tough; but it’s undeniable that this is how God forgives!

 

 

I invite you to go to the Lord with this question this week:

Is there someone you need to forgive? A family member? Co-worker? Friend? Yourself?

 

Have a wonderful week everybody.

May God grant you his peace that surpasses all understanding!

Pastor Ryan



Just. Love. Jesus.

Hello Everyone,
As we close this book of Ephesians, we are left with a powerful reminder.
Just. Love. Jesus.
This love grows from God’s great agape love for us.
A love that moves Him to action.
A love that moves Him   To pursue us
                                        To identify with us
                                         To Sacrifice for us
                                          To live with us
                                           To forgive us
                                            To be for us.
This week I’d like to invite you to read Ephesians 1:3-14 again and look for the ways God has loved you. It’s pretty amazing.
Have a great week everybody!
Pastor Ryan


What does it mean to “honor your father and mother?”

Hi everyone,
I truly hope you had a wonderful sabbath celebration. If you joined us last Sunday then you may remember we spoke about our relationships with our parents and the 5th Commandment which is: “Honor your father and mother.” As I said – for some of us; this is a heavy commandment; one that involves pain – bitterness – regret – and all kinds of other feelings; and yet this is an area that I believe – if it is observed – can lead to a great deal of freedom and healing in our lives. It can lead to us walking unentangled with Christ and seeing a great deal of fruit produced. But as with many good things in this world – it doesn’t come easily. In fact – it may even feel impossible. You may find that in your heart there is no desire to honor your parents. All you may have there is a desire to HAVE a desire.

If this is true of you – then the very first place to begin is prayer. The Bible tells us God has placed His Spirit in your heart to re-form you into the image of Christ. The goal: We look more and more like Jesus. Jesus honored His Father – and His earthly parents. It wasn’t always easy. But God places His Spirit in your heart to make you open to the things that He wants. Maybe the very first place to begin is with prayer.

The tragedy of the Ten Commandments is that they are impossible to observe and that we are doomed to fail them. The beautiful truth of the Ten Commandments is that we are doomed to fail them . . . And God knew that. This is why He sent Jesus and why He puts His Spirit in our lives to walk with us to guide us; and to work His fruit in us. So naturally, the first place to turn with this issue is to Him. I want to invite you to let this be your prayer if you are struggling with this commandment – or any of God’s other commandments:

Dear Father God,
I recognize you are the Almighty Living God of the universe and there is none who equals You. I trust Your wisdom and Your love for me. I trust that You would invite me to a journey with You where I walk with hope; meaning and freedom. Thank You for all You’ve done for me.

Lord I need to confess that some of what You have called me to is difficult – and sometimes it feels impossible. This is where God, I need You to lead me by Your Spirit. Oh Father help me to follow You – to obey You – because right now there is a part of me that doesn’t want to. Please change my heart in this. Please help me desire what You desire. Please help me trust You when my desire isn’t there. And please remind me of the grace You’ve given me in Jesus. I thank You Jesus for dying for me on the cross; and I praise You because Your sacrifice is enough! Oh Lord may Your will be done in and through me. Be honored my King, my Savior, my God. I love You because You first loved me.

There have been multiple moments in my life where I have confronted callousness; deadness; numbness; belligerence and anger even towards God. Where I’ve had to ask God to accept that this is simply true of me and that I desperately needed Him to do some surgery on my heart – to change me and help me. God has shown up in those moments to begin new movements in my life – but sometimes the biggest thing is to simply be honest about where you are at. My hope and prayer for you this week – is for you to be reminded of God’s great love for you and His great wisdom that He truly knows the best way for us to live – and that God would give you desire and strength to follow Him.

Be Blessed Everyone,
Pastor Ryan