Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Come As You Are (Part 1)

Well the school year has officially begun as has C4 Charlotte. Last night was the Fall Kickoff and let me tell you, it was powerful. I have never seen so many college kids in one place pouring out their all to God. There were twice as many chairs as normal lined up all the way back to the back and there were still people sitting on the floor in the back. It was so amazing to feel the passion in the room. God was there. I don't say that to sound corny or super-spiritual, but he really was there...you could feel his presence so thick it was like he was standing beside you.

Tyson opened the semester with a message called "Come As You Are".

Hebrews 10:38-39 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
No matter where you come from...no matter your past...we were created as a people how move forward with our lives. We weren't created to stay stuck in our past and our sin. We weren't created as a people who are bound to addiction and held captive to mistakes. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). God is not fearful or bound or held captive - he is victorious, he is an overcomer. We were created to move forward, not to be held back or beat down by this world.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.
Originally we were designed to let nothing hold us back. We were created to walk with God and move forward in him. But because of sin, there are delays and roadblocks and other things that beat us down and hold us captive. When we choose sin, we do not move forward as we should - we draw back. When we follow our selfish agenda and sinful mindset - it holds us back. We are complacent and content to be where we are...not moving forward. But thankfully, the story does not end there...
Romans 5:15-17 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed by how many times you've messed up...feeling like God wouldn't ever want to speak to you again because of your past or the mistakes you've made. But there is hope for you! If it wasn't for Jesus, we'd be bound to the grave - held captive to our past and our mistakes...but there is no other name by which we are saved. Call upon his name.
Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS!!!!!! He didn't wait for us to be perfect! He didn't wait for us to get our lives together! He didn't wait for us to leave our past behind and start to move forward on our own! He died for us while we were still sinners...while we were still held captive...while we were broken and bruised and beaten down...while we were a mess...he still died for us...he still wanted us...he still loves us...he accepted us while we were still sinners!

No matter what your past looks like, God still loves you and there is nothing you could have done or could still do to make him love you any less. You will not find peace or satisfaction in anything the world could offer because it is all tainted by sin...the only way that you can move forward is to follow Jesus. He is the only thing that can fill up your life.

We all struggle...I struggle. Sometimes we feel like giving up...and it becomes a cycle of falling and failing. Our nature is to be discouraged. Remember though Isaiah 53. He was abused, he was mocked, he was spit upon, he was crushed, he was pierced, he was judged...all for your redemption. He laid down his life for your freedom. While you were still sinning, he loved you enough and wanted you to move forward so much that he died for you.

As he died he said one sentence..."It is finished." his work is done. The cross was the completion. The price has been paid for our freedom...it's up to us to move forward. So one day, when you get tired of being hurt, tired of being beat down and held captive to the lies that this world tells you...stand up, take your place and follow God. He will give you everything you need to become an overcomer. He loves you with everything he has...and he has everything. He wants you to get up...right where you are, just stand up as you are and come.

If you wait til you've got it all together, if you wait until you're ready...you'll never come. You will never be ready on your own. He accepted you as you are...a sinner. You are not bound any longer. God gave all he had to make you new again.

Sometimes we get depressed - we think we'll never amount to anything. But that is a lie - we were created in God's likeness and nothing can defeat us. (Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?") If you keep believing the lies that the devil and the world throw at you, you will wear yourself out. You keep trying to please everyone but you don't care if the only one who matters is pleased. You'll derail your future if you are living for people instead of living for God. Don't worry about not making everyone happy all the time - Jesus didn't make a whole lot of people happy in his ministry...truth isn't always what you want to hear - but it's what you need to hear.

Pride is also a big issue...we think we're better than people. Our lives are all about status, things and ourselves. We will never move forward if life is about you. (James 4:6b "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.") You don't have to prove yourself to God. Nothing you bring God is worth any more than filthy rags. All he wants is you because nothing you have will make him love you any more than he already does.

Moving forward can be a battle at times:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
God gives us the weapons we need...the battle isn't a physical battle...it's a battle that takes place in our hearts and our minds. We were created for greatness...addictions, temptations - they are no match for you. Someone once said that "You can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair." - meaning that you cannot stop sinful thoughts or temptations from showing up in your life - but you can keep them from staying and gaining a hold over your life. Rise up...fight against them - you are greater than that.
Luke 5:4-11 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!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 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.
Leave your old life behind. Let go of what is comfortable to you and familiar so that you can take hold of everything God has for you. Move forward in him. God can and will use you if you let him. He wants you to come as you are, he uses ordinary people like the disciples to accomplish extraordinary things. He will lead you to who you were meant to be. Don't let your past dictate your future...speak to the mountains(the troubles, the past, the mistakes, the sin, the temptations, the hurdles) in your life...and give it all to God. You were created to be so much more...but you don't have to wait to be more...come right now...as you are...he will use you just as you are.

1 comment:

vulnaviag said...

i literally stumbled upon this. and i have to say Thank You. sometimes i get so despondent and unsure of anything of whether God will take me as i am right not now. be blessed thank you so much