Sermon Series


Rescue Me! – Colossians 1:9-14

Date: March 12th, 2017

Scripture: Colossians 1:9-14

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

For more resources please visit crosslifechurch.org


Religion is not the answer… Salvation is!

Why do we need to share the gospel with people?  Some are living in guilt and condemnation and can’t find their way out.  Others are hurting, depressed, or even addicted.  Do you remember what your life was like before Christ?  And now…   That change should be part of what motivates you to share Christ.

Now more than ever, people are crying for answers, they are looking for God, but sometimes they don’t know how to phrase the question…

Peter Jenkins began a five-year, 4,500-mile walk across America in October of 1973. First published as two articles in National Geographic, his memoirs then led to two best-selling books. Two years into the journey, he stumbled into an Alabama revival and ended up accepting Christ. Jenkins says:

I grew up in Connecticut in a very quiet, official, East Coast Presbyterian church. My parents believed, and they made their six children go to church and Sunday school. I wanted a religion that had emotion in it. I wanted a religion that had life, action, and the kinds of things I found in the kind of music I loved. When the revival began, this guy from Texas named James Robison came out screaming and preaching and throwing his arms around. There was sweat dripping and everything. He was dressed in a three-piece suit and cowboy boots.

The two of us could not have more unalike. I was this young man with sun-bleached reddish hair down to his shoulders and an unshaven beard. But I honestly felt like when he was preaching the gospel, a huge sword was slicing me into a whole bunch of pieces.He was saying, “Joining a church won’t make you a Christian any more than joining a Lion’s Club will make you a lion. From the day you were born, you wanted to do your own thing and you were rebellious against God. If you really want to really know God, you’ve got to repent of this rebellion which the Bible calls sin.” I could relate to that. I thought I was a pretty good person. I thought I was in search of the truth. The more I heard this stuff, [the more I realized that] religion is not the answer; salvation is. You just have something inside of you that knows when you hear the truth. All of the things we think about ourselves, how we define ourselves—all that is insignificant when it comes to what’s going on in our soul. James gave me one of the greatest gifts anybody could have ever given me. He led me to the Lord.

Citation: “The Dick Staub Interview: Peter Jenkins Finds Jesus While Walking America,” ChristianityToday.com

 Check out the first sermon in our new series, GO!


UnStuck – Just One More Drink

I just need one more and then I’m good.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen some of the devastating affects of alcoholism in our family and especially when working with guys in the jail.  One drink too many at the wrong time can ruin a life.UnstuckAlcoholismWeb

Alcoholism is a huge problem in the U.S.  Here are a few quick stats from NCADD.

  • 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use
  • Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation
  • Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the United States… are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States: 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.

Every day people are wrestling with this addiction.  Often the hardest part is being willing to admit you have a problem.  The good news is there a lot of different treatment options available these days and many people have made their way out of this problem.  Hope is available, but you’ll have to take the first step.

Sometimes this addiction is just as damaging on the loved ones of the alcoholic.  Because of their compassion they sometimes get caught enabling the addiction rather than helping the alcoholic move toward healing.  But there is hope for friends and family members of problem drinkers.  Al-Anon groups are available all over the country that help people establish boundaries and give them tools to be the best support they can be during this difficult time.books-sm

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

During our series we’ve been giving away copies of the Life Recovery Bible.  These bibles are a great encouragement to anyone who is working through a 12-Step program.  We would encourage you to pick one up if you or a loved one is working through one of these programs.

The hidden costs of alcoholism are not small. It is estimated that alcohol-related expenses cost federal, state, and local governments $223.5 billion. Of that amount, taxpayers are footing the bill for $94.2 billion. — americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/

If any of this sounds familiar, you may want to get professional help.  If you need help finding a counselor, please check out www.newlife.com or call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.   Celebrate Recovery or Alcoholics Anonymous might also be a good option.


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Come join us for our unStuck series on Sundays and Wednesdays in February as we work at moving forward again.


UnStuck – It’s Every Man’s Battle

Pornography is not just a problem for men.  But it is a battle that all men will face.

UnstuckPornographyWebSMThere has probably never been a time when these images are so prevalent and so easily accessed and yet their effect is so marginalized.  Wives and fiancées are told to just accept this as a fact of life.  Young men are fed the lie that this won’t do any damage to their relationships.  The perception of pornography is increasingly changing in our culture.

Check out these stats from Barna on porn use among young people.

I had a good friend take a chance on the men in our church a few years back.  He had found a book called “Every Man’s Battle” by Steve Arterburn.  We formed a men’s group that discussed this battle every week for about 2 months.  It was one of the most powerful groups I have ever been a part of.

At first I was excited to see how this study might help these men, but it wasn’t long before we realized that dealing with this issue was going to be difficult.  In order to fight this fight, you can’t do it alone.  For many of the guys in our group we realized it would get tougher before it would get better.

 

Some things I learned from this study:Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 8.33.57 PM

1. It really is every man’s battle.  

You’re not alone in this fight. This was actually one of the most comforting things that came out of the study.  In a group of men that I had great respect for, each one of them had been through this battle.

 

2. Don’t try to exist in the middle ground.

You’ve probably heard the famous quote from Omaha beach on D-Day in WWII. “Only two kinds of people are gonna stay on this beach: those that are already dead and those that are gonna die.” When it comes to fighting for holiness, there’s not a middle ground.  You keep pursuing Christ at all costs.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. –Job 31:1

 

3. The group is not a gossip session

In the very first session, someone wanted to start talking about other people.  Immediately one person shared how their own lust was the same as adultery and it transformed the conversation.  Men weren’t going to talk about other men, they were going share about their own struggle.

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

4. You can’t do this in isolation.  

Self-Medication is not the way.  You need help.  By keeping yourself accountable with other men facing the same battle you can find success in winning this war.

For many men anger lies at the root of their porn addiction.  For other’s it’s a wife whose become more like their mommy than their life partner.  But there is definitely a way out – and there’s so much hope on the other side.  But you have to do the work.

 

If any of this sounds familiar, you may want to get professional help. If pornography is the issue, one of the best things you could ever do is attend the “Every Man’s Battle” workshop.  If you need help finding a counselor, please check out www.newlife.com or call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.


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Come join us for our unStuck series on Sundays and Wednesdays in February as we work at moving forward again.


UnStuck – Abuse – It’s Time to Say Something

Scared.  

Scared of speaking up.  Scared of leaving.  Scared of staying. Domestic abuse is unfortunately one of those places where many people get stuck and it is a hard place to leave.

UnstuckAbuseWebSMWhy don’t people suffering from abuse just get out?  It’s not always that easy.  Some people think this type of relationship is normal, because it’s what they knew as a child.  Some stay because financially they don’t know how they would make it on their own. Some are just too embarrassed to admit they are allowing this to happen.  And for many, a deep love for the abuser keeps them connected even through the abuse.

But there is hope.  Many people have stories of escaping abuse and getting their lives back again.

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more info about domestic abuse

Someone recently shared their “unstuck” story with me in the hope that it might be an encouragement to others. This person was stuck for almost 3 years before they started making their way out of a destructive relationship.   It turns out that pain became a blessing. When the abuse went from emotional to physical in front of her children, she knew something desperately had to change.

After working with 3 different counselors (sometimes you have to be persistent) she found the help she needed.  She was introduced to a friend who would walk with her through these very difficult decisions and would be a safe place to share the thoughts and hurts that she just couldn’t tell anyone else.

Speaking the words of scripture became a life-transforming habit.  Through difficult decisions and the onset of panic attacks, memorizing and speaking God’s word brought peace and courage and pushed fears aside.  Scriptures like these became transforming as she faced her fears.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“…Do not fret; it leads only to evil.” – Psalms 37:8

Through connection, counseling, and most of all – the power of the word of God – she made her way out of the abuse and into a healthy life.  And you can too, but you must be willing to take some important steps.

If you want to make your way out of an abusive relationship, it’s going to take courage, support and a good plan.  As we’ve seen with other problems, the way out involves finding someone you can trust and desperately seeking the Lord in prayer.  You can find some great resources at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.   They can help you with developing your plan and have a ton of useful information about this subject. 

 If any of this sounds familiar, you may want to get professional help. If you need help finding a counselor, please check out www.newlife.com or call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.

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Come join us for our unStuck series on Sundays and Wednesdays in January and February as we work at moving forward again.


UnStuck – Prescription Addiction – It’s Just for my Pain

Don’t think we have a prescription drug problem in America?  Here are some crazy stats from drugabuse.gov:

  • 52 Million people in the US, over the age of 12, have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime.UnstuckPrescriptionWeb
  • 6.1 Million people have used them non-medically in the past month.
  • 5 percent of the United States is the world’s population and consumes 75 percent of the the world’s prescription drugs.
  • In 2010, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult every 4 hours for 1 month.
  • The number of prescription medicine abusers in 2010 was 8.76 million.

Where are prescription drugs obtained?7

  • 0.3%: Bought on the internet
  • 1.9%: More than one doctor
  • 2.2%: Other
  • 3.9%: Drug dealer or stranger
  • 16.6% Bought/took from friend or relative
  • 18.1%: One doctor
  • 54.2%: FREE from friend or relative

All drug abuse is dangerous, but what is particularly dangerous about prescription drug abuse is the justifiable nature of it.  It’s so easy to rationalize about why you need to keep popping those pills.  But the danger is real when you’re misusing medicine that was intended for someone else or for some other health concern.

Like other addictions it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve got it under control.  If you find yourself hiding your meds, asking friends or family for their meds, or others close to you are saying they are concerned about you – you probably need to get some help.

 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.  Luke 21:34

Like most of the other problems we’ve been looking at during our series, prescription drug addiction is beatable.  Start by asking the Lord to help you with an honest inventory of your heart concerning the issues that are pushing you into addiction.  Then find someone with whom you can share your concerns.  If you don’t have someone like that, check out a good Bible study group at your church or find a local celebrate recovery group.  You don’t have to stay stuck in this anymore.  The Lord can set you free, but you have to take some steps toward recovery.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36

If any of this sounds familiar, you may want to find professional help. If you need help finding a counselor, please check out www.newlife.com or call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.


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Come join us for our unStuck series on Sundays and Wednesdays in January and February as we work at moving forward again.


UnStuck – Finding Your Way Through Grief

The cards and letters have stopped coming.  Everyone else has moved on.  They are able to laugh at the jokes in the movie.  They enjoy their rainy days as much as the sunny ones. But not you.  Every morUnstuckGrievingSmallning you wake up and it still hurts, just like it did months or even years ago.  The holidays only seem to make it more difficult.

How can they move on?  Don’t they understand how hard this loss was?  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Grieving is one of those unique things that hits almost every person in a different way.  We’ve been given stages of grief like shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  But not everyone experiences all of these stages, and there’s no “time-table” to overcoming our deep losses and hurts.

So how do we move through grief if we don’t know exactly what stages to expect, or how long it will last?  This is where the Gospel can step in.  The gospel does not tell us to ignore the pain or try to spiritualize it away.  But it does tell us that we can grieve differently.

 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  –1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

We all get stuck for a lot of different reasons, but over an over again I’m finding that the solution to moving again is found in properly grieving our losses.  Grieving with hope.  What does that mean?

There’s a lot to this, but here are a few things to consider as you deal with great loss or help those who are dealing with great loss.

  1. Give yourself “space” to grieve.    There’s no specific recipe to grief recovery.   It amazing how everyone handles grief in different ways.  You may be tempted to try and force yourself to move on, when in reality you need to take time to reflect, cry, and share.  Sometimes when looking from the outside in, we think someone should be “done” with grieving and pressure them to get over it, when what they really need is the space to hurt even in our presence.  Which leads directly to the next truth…
  2. Grieving is not done in isolation.  I think I’m most amazed when people are willing to come and share their hurts with their church family even when everything within them is telling them to isolate.  Just sitting in your room by yourself over and over will not help you work through your grief.  God built us for relationship and that’s part of the point in the Thessalonians passage.  We don’t grieve alone.  If you’re the one grieving, find a group where you can be accepted even in the midst of your hurt and just show up.  As you’re able to share your stories, you’ll find healing beginning to make it’s way back into your life.
  3. Grieving is best done through an eternal perspective.  Did you catch that above?  Jesus died and rose again.  This is why we can grieve differently.  The gospel reminds us that the kingdom is here and now, and the kingdom is coming.  God is recreating and redeeming.  He is making all things new.  Yes, you’ve lost, but God can work that loss to His glory and even your good.   It’s not over – it’s only just beginning.  Our Lord is alive and He has conquered death and the grave!   Don’t go quoting Romans 8:28 to someone who has just suffered a great loss, but through your living help remind them that we have so much to look forward to.
  4. You are not alone.  There are so many people on the planet who have worked through grief and are working through grief.  You aren’t alone.  Even more – God gave His only son for you.  He suffered that you might gain.  Our Lord understands.  Even Jesus himself expressed his hurts.  But the wonderful truth of the gospel is this – He cares for you.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priestwho is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  — Hebrews 4:12-14

 

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Come join us for our unStuck series on Sundays and Wednesdays in January and February as we work at moving forward again.


UnStuck – New Series

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Tired at failing on the same resolutions year after year? Exhausted from trying to be stronger than you feel? It’s time to stop trying harder. Let the Gospel heal the deeper wounds. It’s time to get unStuck so you can move forward again.

Join us Sunday mornings at 10:30 in January and February as we focus on healing those deep wounds. We’ll have special speakers and studies that will get you moving again.  We’ll also be going through the book Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn on Wednesday evenings.

We’ll also be sharing helpful blog articles over the next two months about dealing with the process of getting unStuck.  Here are some of the things we’ll be covering:

 

Bring in this unstuck coupon to get a free Life Recovery Bible or a copy of Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn.

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