Life’s Healing Choices: Hope
This is the message from week 2 of our Life’s Healing Choices series, the Hope Choice. This choice is the beginning of faith.
Small Group study video:
Earnestly believe God exists, that I matter to him, and that He has the power to help me change
White water rafting… always had to sign this waiver… never thought much about it… because I was taking some one else’s kid… But one year on our way to do some Katrina work, I took my daughter… on the outside I was like “this is going to be awesome” but inside I was a bit nervous… not overly so, b/c I had done this several times now, and while parts of it were rough, I had never felt like I was in danger in any way…. then we got there. Our groups had about 6 boats, we were in the last boat… walking the boat down to the water, I’m trying to encourage everyone who is worried about our daughter… this is going to be great!!! we get in the water and come to the first little rapid, it’s within 100 feet of the launch and another of our boats, it has a group of big guys in it flips… we have the first aid kit so they call us over and as we approach them, everyone is getting back in the boat and we see the effects of their first rapid… one guy has hit his face on a rock in the water and is bleeding like crazy… it’s at this point that I look at my daughter and panic sets in… my fears go through the roof… there is no funny story I can tell, no cheer leading line I can offer, that will get people to forget about what they have just seen… I’m taking my little daughter into
We are in a series of messages titled Life’s Healing Choices. This series is based on a book by John Baker, the founder of Celebrate Recovery, and over the 8 weeks, it iis my prayer that you will find freedom from your hurts, hang-ups, and habits by taking these eight healing choices that promise true happiness and life transformation based on the first 8 verses from Jesus’s famous “sermon on the mount”, called the Beatitudes.
Invite to jump into small group
To get the most of these messages, I want to invite you to join a small group. In these groups you will work through these choices each week. You will learn how to apply these choices to your life.
But some of you don’t think you have issues…. yea right…. Not only will this help you…. but it will help you help others who struggle. You will better understand them, you will find compassion for them, and this understanding and compassion will help you help them to deal with their problem in healthy ways.
Matthew 5:3 NIV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Reality Choice: I ADMIT I need help; that I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
That’s the first step, getting real. Owning our problem. We talked about this last week but getting honest with ourselves and with God is the first step. Owning my issue, that it’s a mistake to take your daughter into danger.
This week we are going to look at where we go from there.
This week we are looking to find hope
Hope Choice: Earnestly believing God exists, that I matter to him, and that He has the power to help me change
Matthew 5:4 NLT
4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mourning… associated with Grief-Loss
Death of a loved one… not always crying… when my dad died after his stroke… I didn’t cry… had done that when I was with him at the hospital… but I certainly mourned
Also… Sorrow and sadness due to suffering in the world… when you saw or heard about the towers falling on September 11
Remorse and regret at our mistakes and failures, knowing we have disobeyed God, damaged others, demeaned ourselves
I shared with you when I was a kid playing with matches I caught my bed on fire… before I got in trouble I was crying not because I knew I would get in trouble, but because I knew I had done something that could have had tremendous problems
Mourning is normal… and it’s healthy
We have to let it out or it will eat you up. That’s the reality.
But we don’t like being sad…we prefer comfort.
We try to avoid it or hide it
Our path to comfort and hope: Escape
gamble, self medicate, go shopping, eat, drink, work more, sleep, sex, porn,
anything we can make ourselves feel something more “normal” than pain. We all want to escape discomfort and replace it with comfort.
But God says:
Matthew 5:4 NIV
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God’s path to comfort and hope: Mourning
Most people who are mourning turn to God or anyone else for help. Usually we just cover it up.
Example of covering things up
It may look right, but underneath nothing is solved
Just because I have a comfortable life doesn’t mean my will be comforted
Exchange coping for hope
God Blesses those who mourn.
See who GOD REALLY IS…a loving father
Father’s who are disciplinarians… fathers who are distant…
Who we think God is… cosmic cop, judgmental parent
Thinking God is condemning us…
Romans 8:34 NIV
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Some of us can’t imagine that God would love us after what we did or what was done to us…. That is a lie.
It’s possible that the consequences of sin that we are suffering may be God’s way of getting our attention
Psalm 86:15 NIV
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Parents who could never be pleased… grades were never good enough, work hard enough, we never measured up
He is the source of true lasting comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
IT might be strange to get comfort from the one we have wronged… but just like we call home when we get in trouble, that’s where we go… to the one who knows us best.
Psalm 23:4 NIV
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The rod adn staff that is used to discipline the sheep, to guide them actually provides us comfort.
We say all the time that kids need structure, that without structure, we look for things we can rely on.
The question is, why wouldn’t a loving God discipline those he loves?
– The Bible is full of descriptions of God that range from apparent harshness to pure love. Sometimes our hurts make us focus on the harsh descriptions and forget the loving side, so we may feel that God is looking for ways to condemn us. And we may project the imperfections of our earthly father onto our heavenly father. But God is a loving father.
See who I REALLY AM…broken and loved
Who we live like God is… i’m good enough…
I’m not that awesome…
Romans 3:23 NIV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
I’m not that bad… at least I”m not as bad as them
That’s how we hide from ourselves… we compare ourselves to others… our sin isn’t as bad as theirs
Luke 12:2 NIV
2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
It’s silly to try to hide the truth
It takes a strong person to face their brokenness
Pride causes us to hide… we don’t want others to see the real us, but what happens is we miss seeing ourselves
The truth is: I’m broken … It’s not that I’m a failure… a reject…
I’m broken and yet… I’m loved
Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Human love is unstable
God’s love is lasting… permanent… not dependent on circumstances
Hiding doesn’t change who I am… it just changes my ability to live in relationship with my father.
Psalm 119:76 NIV
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
Feeling worse before we feel better
How to experience God’s love
Romans 3:24 NLT
24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
That’s the comfort we find, that through Christ’s weakness… yes that’s right, weakness that allowed him to be killed for us.
You see it is our weakness that allows God’s strength to be made real.
– We are each loved by God for who we really are. To grow spiritually it is important that we face our sinful nature and turn to God for comfort. To do this we need others with whom we can share our pain, hurts, and habits, and receive their unconditional love and support as they support us in our journey to know ourselves and God better.
See how GOD CAN CHANGE ME… God gives power
Isaiah 40:28–31 The Message
28 Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. 29 He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. 30 For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. 31 But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
The power in us is very different from the power from God
Whitewater Raft…. Panic… “Don’t worry, I’ve got her.”
Philippians 2:13 NIV
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Changing ourselves can be exhausting and frustrating
How does God work within us?
Hope Choice: Earnestly believing God exists, that I matter to him, and that has the power to help me change
It’s a step of faith