Because You Say So I Will

Perry Noble (At Elevation Church)

Video Link:  http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/byssiw

Introduction:

  • Growing up I had a drug problem…I got drug to church.
  • My dad’s belt cured my ADD.
  • Perry didn’t like church.
  • Perry ran from God for a while (His mother died from cancer when he was 12)
  • He blamed God.
  • Perry had a friend (David) who started inviting him to church.
  • Perry refused continuously for 2 years. 
  • David Persisted, Perry finally went.
  • It’s amazing what can happen when you have someone who won’t give-up on you.
  • Will you be the person that won’t give-up on someone.
Passage:

Luke 5:1-8. 10-11) One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. 
But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 
and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (‭Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭1-8, 10-11‬ NIV)
 
Points:
 
1.  Make Room
  • People were crowding Jesus and listening to the word of God.
  • People (Christians) today often have the default perception that just be a church is growing or a Mega Church, they must be watering down the gospel.
  • Crowds will come because the word of God is preached.
  • Jesus saw 2 boats that belonged to fishermen.
  • Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon (Peter).
  • If you are a follower of Christ, it is because Jesus got in your boat.
  • At some point, Jesus has to get into your boat.
  • Jesus wasn’t content that there wasn’t room.  
  • He did what it took to make more room so that no one would be left out.
  • When people make room…(physical, intellectual, social, emotional, etc)change can take place.  
  • If people/we don’t make room then their lives are unable to change, evolve, or grow.
  • When Simon made “personal room” for Jesus something amazing happened.
  • We always want Jesus to do something for us, but many of us are unwilling to make room.
  • Are you willing to make room for Jesus to use you – However He wills?

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Life Groups: A Nutshell Perspective

There are a lot of books and articles that have been written and are being written about life groups, small groups, cell groups, community groups, impact groups, or egroups. I’ve even read a fair number of these books, white-papers, and blog articles.  Furthermore, I’ve been involved in small group membership and leadership, in one form or another, for years.  At this point in the church community small group revolution, I think I can safely say that small groups, life groups, or whatever you want to call them, are the salvation of the church.

Citing the classic, widely used passage of scripture in Matthew, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NLT),  I would even go so far as to state that the development of small groups within a church community is the most direct and honest application of Jesus’ command to make disciples.

The second most important need, after salvation, that every single human on the planet craves is community.  For the sake of clarity, I will define community as interpersonal connections, and life-affirming relationships.  I’m not going to spend my entire time within this article shouting out the gospel of small groups.  We are all members of small groups: family, classes, sports teams, job/career “teams”, marriages, etc.  Without group membership of one sort or another we, as indiviuals, slip into the morass of depression and lonliness. Yes, there are reams of studies supporting the need for personal connections.

We, in the church community, should all know by now that people don’t come to church and STAY in church because of a particular pastor’s powerful messages, or energetic and engaging worship presentations.  People stay in a particular church community because of the people they meet and the connections they make.  Conversely, people also leave churches because of their lack of meaningful connections and relationships within any given church.  Granted, powerful preaching, fantastic worship services, and amazing outreach programs do draw people into a church building, but they do not assimilate people into church community or grow disciples.  Small groups/life groups are the work-horse of church ministry.  Ideally, small groups are where evangelism occurs, tears flow, disciples are grown, and servant-leaders are shaped.

Ok, enough speechifying.  I’ll get off my soap box now.  Allow me to share with you what I personally consider to be key elements in sucessful small groups/life groups:

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Devotion Accountability Project

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  It’s time for end-of-the-year anguish and angst as individuals and businesses review the efficacy of their goals and budgets.  In the overall scheme of things I’m not big on creating New Year’s resolutions at the end or beginning of every year.  I guess you might say that I’ve become jaded over the course of many failures.

On a cultural level, I often think that New Year resolutions have become a joke; maybe it’s because I’m jaded, or maybe I’m just a “resolution cynic.”  I hear talk show hosts, radio show hosts, pastors, teachers, and speakers of all sorts joke about and denounce the sustainability of New Year resolutions.

Does this mean I am against setting goals?  Absolutely not.  I am a big fan of setting measurable goals, and then creating steps and strategies to help an individual or business achieve them.  Somehow, I think Americans, myself included, seperate New Years resolutions from the traditional, serious, goal setting process.  Granted, I realize that I am probably over-generalizing.  I’m sure that there are a few over-achiever, ultra competitive types out there who thrive on New Years resolutions.

With all of that being said,  I do think that the time between Christmas and New Years is a great time to reevaluate my personal progress or personal failure spiritually.  Now is a good time to ask:

  • Have I matured spiritually over the year?
  • Did I set measurable goals to track my spiritual progress through out the year?
  • Am I closer or further from Christ than I was at this time last year?
  • Have I been consistent in my daily devotional and daily prayer routines?
  • Do I have an accountability partner?
  • Do I have a prayer partner?
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The Devil Made Me Do It

Angels & Demons
The Devil Made me Do It
(Perry Noble)

Video Link: http://newspring.cc/watch/angelsdemons/temptation-the-devil-made-me-do-it

Temptation – What is the one thing that the Devil uses to tempt us the most?

  • This is going to be intense
  • Opening – Deserts…
  • How it works
  • A thought pops into your mind.
  • You see what you can have
  • You have to make a decision – dwell on it & make it a reality – or – dismiss it and move on.

James 1:13-15…Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:13-15 ESV)

  • Satan only tempts us with things we desire.
  • Sin always leads to death
  • Choose to sin & choose to suffer. – Relationships, finances.
  • There is a progression in the sin cycle…
  • It is important to see where you are in the sin cycle

4 Phases in the Sin Cycle:

1.  Flirtation – Seeing how close you can get with out touching it.

  • Gen 13 – Abraham took Lot with him on the journey
  • Lot was blessed because of his connection to Abraham.
  • Because of their mutual blessings the servants fought.
  • So Abraham and Lot choose to divide the land
  • Gen.13:12-14…Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord. (Genesis 13:12, 13 ESV)
  • Lot made a choice to get close…not to enter the city, but he did display a level of interest.
  • We ask: How close to sin can I get without sinning?
  • We should be asking, instead, how close can we get to Jesus.
  • Ex. Dating – (unequally yoked), (shady business deals)
  • Porn. – (starting with checking the email, then ESPN, then lingerie, then…ooopps)
  • The first step away from God is always a small one.
  • Is there something in your life that your are flirting with, but you should be fleeing from?
  • Know where you are likely to fall…there you must fight.

2. Rationalize – When you tell rational lies…

  • We always have an excuse for what we do
  • Gen 14 – 5 kingdoms go to war with 4 kingdoms.
  • Gen 14:11-12 – The 4 kings looted Sodom and Gomorrah…So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way. (Genesis 14:11, 12 ESV)
  • Lot went from dwelling close to Sodom, to living in Sodom…
  • He rationalized living in the city….It was easier to live in the city
  • Ex. (couples who are living together…)
  • If you are making an excuse for something off-center in your life, it’s because you have chosen to sit down rather than flee.

3) Transformation

  • Once you sit with the sin…you cannot avoid being transformed, and not in a good way.
  • One of the big lies “This is my Life, what I do won’t affect others.”
  • Gen 19:1-8 …That evening the two angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom. Lot was sitting there, and when he saw them, he stood up to meet them. Then he welcomed them and bowed with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “come to my home to wash your feet, and be my guests for the night. You may then get up early in the morning and be on your way again.” “Oh no,” they replied. “We’ll just spend the night out here in the city square.” But Lot insisted, so at last they went home with him. Lot prepared a feast for them, complete with fresh bread made without yeast, and they ate. But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing. Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection.” (Genesis 19:1-8 NLT)
  • When the Angels came Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.
  • Lot was now a city leader – a Councilman.
  • He looked religious, but he was living in sin.
  • Lot stay with me then leave…I don’t want you to stay very long.
  • The men of the city surrounded the house, bring them out, we want to have gang rape with the men. (Not good)
  • Lot went out to meet the men and reason with them.
  • He offered-up his virgin daughters.
  • How do you get to the point of offering your two daughters up for gang rape?  Transformation.
  • When you sit with sin for a period of time…it destroys everything in your life…
  • Sin is a killer whale in our lives…we become desensitized to it over time…

4) Destruction

  • The Angels tell Lot He has to leave
  • He is forced to leave the city
  • He looses his wife – (A pillar of salt)
  • He and his daughters move into a cave…A CAVE
  • He lost everything!
  • Gen 19:30-38 Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. One day the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had intercourse with her father. He was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. The next morning the older daughter said to her younger sister, “I had sex with our father last night. Let’s get him drunk with wine again tonight, and you go in and have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites. When the younger daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Ben-ammi. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Ammonites. (Genesis 19:30-38 NLT)
  • Sin infects the family as well.
  • Lot’s decisions poisoned the thoughts and decisions of his children.
  • Your choices affect your entire family.
  • Sin leads to destruction and death.

How to Escape the cycle:

1.  Confess to God
1 John 1:9 – But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9 NLT)

  • This is not a license to Sin!!!
  • Confession is not informational, it is transformational
  • When we see like God sees, we are more likely to do what God says.
  • Confession must include a desire and will to change (transform.)
  • Don’t argue with God about what is in His word.

2. Confess to Others
James 5:16 – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NLT)

  • Confession to others gets it out in the open so that healing can take place.
  • If it is kept in the closet, between you and God, you can still visit it.
  • Just because this is where you are at, doesn’t mean this is where God wants you.
  • The consequences of sin are greater than the pain and embarrassment of confession. 

How to Love the Mud: Notes and Discussion Questions

Rough-Cut Sermon Notes:  Steven Furtick – Elevation Church

  • What does the mud mean?
  • Does it mean that you are a horrible, messed-up person.
  • Or, does it mean that you are living life.
  • The Mud doesn’t mean what you think it means.
  • Learn to love the mud.
  • Gen. 2:7 – Man is made from the dust(mud).

3 Things to learn from Mud:

  1. The Meaning of the mud
  • We misinterpret what the mud means
  • Prov. 14:4 Where there are no Oxen the manger is clean.
  • Everybody wants what the oxen brings (blessings), but nobody wants to shovel the stuff that comes with the oxen.
  • NO MESS — NO MINISTRY
  • We misinterpret the mess because we miss the meaning in the mess. The mess makes the meaning.
  • The mess indicates movement – you are not stagnant.
  • See through the mess to the meaning.
  • Ps. 103:13-14 – For He knows how we were formed. We are from the dust.

2.  The Mercy in the mud 

  • John 8:2-10 – The woman caught in adultery. – Jesus writes in the dust. Go now, and leave your life of sin.
  • The only one who had all the dirt, didn’t drag her through the dirt.
  • Satan will throw rocks reminding you how you have sinned, but Jesus doesn’t throw the rock, he offers forgiveness.
  • There is power in the blood – There is mercy in the mud.
  • Jesus is not afraid of your mud. He loves you in the midst of the mud.

3.  There is a Miracle in the mud

  • John 9:1-7 – The blind man and the spittle mud.
  • Jesus makes a little mud (holy spit).
  • Why the mud? Dirt- represents our humanity. + Water- which represents the spirit.
  • Jesus says ‘If your life feels like dirt….just add water.
  • Without Christ you are common…with Christ you become Uncommon.
  • Jesus takes your dirt and then pours in his power and makes a miracle of our mess.
  • There is a miracle in the mud.
  • What the world calls failure – God calls fertilizer.
  • Call for the rain…call for the water of the spirit….and see what God can wash away.
  • Jesus – Spit on me if that’s what it takes for me to get the message, for me to get over myself.
  • Dump your muddy mess into the God’s healing/cleansing stream – and watch Him wash it all away.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the things in your life that seem dirty? How do the messy situations of your daily life affect you? How do you react when you feel like you are wallowing in the mud?
  2. Are you able to see God’s hand moving in your situation in spite of your behavior? Are you more prone to see your own  independant, creative, self-reliance as the rope that pulls you out of the mirey clay, or do you see with spiritual eyes how God moves obstacles on your behalf?
  3. As Jesus dealt with the woman at the well, how do you respond to muddy situations in the lives of those around you? How do you deal with others mud in view of how Christ deals with your mud? Do you find yourself more often in the crowd with a stone, or in the dirt defending a persons value with mercy as Christ did?
  4. Talk about a situation where you have seen God provide mercy in your life instead of letting you suffer the consequences of your muddy actions? How has God traded mud for mercy in your past circumstances?
  5. In what practical ways can we be merciful to others, as Jesus would, when we encounter muddy situations in our daily lives? How does this play out at: work, home, or church? What steps can we take to improve our reactions and make them more Christlike?

Estranged

As told to me from a former youth group member after he lost his father.

Phrase-Forge

They said he was a strong man.  They said he was a good father.  They said he cared for his friends and kept his commitments, but he lied to me.  He told me that ‘he would be there for me, and I would be together with him forever.’  There was a smile on his lips and truth in his eyes, and I believed him.  But he gave me the cold shoulder.

Alone, I sat wearing black.  Alone, I was surrounded by tears and grief.  Alone, I dreamed of promises, broken.  I gazed upon his vizage pale, and he was simply cold.  He was so cold to me.  There were no more smiles.  There were no more dreams to share.  I had been lied to and left alone.

I’m on the edge now.  I’m confused now.  I need to talk to a man now.  I need to talk to a father…

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