Monday, February 29, 2016

The Road to Forgiveness...

By Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Have you ever messed up? Good, keep reading. If you're perfect, it's ok if you stop.

I think I know where the majority of us fall, and I pray you have just a few minutes to share this story too. The road to forgiveness is also the road to unfaithfulness. How you pave it with grace determines how you will ride on top of the story for the rest of your life.

Image: Cars (Pixar)
Lightning McQueen emerged from his trailer from deep sleep into the land of the unknown. A champion race car, he landed in the small forgotten town of Radiator Springs on Route 66 while on his way to the next stop in the Piston Cup Championship.

Pixar is brilliant. An animated movie is not only one of my favorites, but has a pure Gospel story of restoration and forgiveness wrapped in the middle that until just a few weeks ago, I had never noticed? Can I share it with you? I think it will help both of us.

The movie Cars is the story of this young, arrogant champion who found humility and grace at the most incredible of times.

McQueen panics when he realizes he is away from the security of his trailer. He tries to run, but finds himself hopeless. Captured by a local sheriff, he is entrapped and later faces the judge. After trying to escape, he had torn up the only road through the town for the few residents who remained. This once flourishing place was now destroyed because of the remnants of his bad decision. McQueen is ordered to repave the road, hooking up to a machine named Bessie until the work is complete.

Covering his mistakes and making right what was wrong is torture. And several times, he has opportunities to run again, with an open road in front of him. But the most important thing he learns is patience and perseverance to complete the task, and ultimately befriends some of the people he wronged. In the end, he finds the judge that sentenced him is a former Piston Cup Champion. The end of the story is even more brilliant as McQueen is found, takes his new friends to be his crew, and surrenders a shot at the championship to save another car.

He later sacrifices the sponsorship he always dreamed of to remain with his former team and returns to Radiator Springs to unite with his new girlfriend, rebuild the town, and change the course of his career.

Redeeming, yes. But not without pain, was this journey from arrogance and mistake to redemption and forgiveness.

Image: Cars (Pixar)
All of us have been there, hanging from the gripping reality of our mistakes, knowing we have torn up the road. The potholes we create could be everything from gripping consequences, broken relationships, hurtful feelings, terrible mistakes, and it may take a long time to repave what we have destroyed. Sometimes, the road can never be fixed, we only patch what we can and learn that driving over the past will always create bumps in our future, Those consequences are hard.

But it's worth it.

We are scared of transparency. We are scared of people who are willing to see the enemy's weapon and seize it with their own admissions of and transparently work toward a new day.

The Bible says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us of our sins and heal us from all unrighteousness. This is God, and his grace is incredible.

Three lessons from the story of Lightning McQueen that may help you:

1. Confession is the road to Construction

Standing before the judge, he realizes his only hope is to fess up, tell the truth and move forward. But even after doing this, McQueen battles the temptation to bail on the plan and run. But while repaving the road, he learns the value of hard work and his entitled spirit diminishes. He builds the trust of his friends and eventually finds redemption. They don't yet know he is a champion race car, but by the time they find out, he has built enough relational capital to prove to them he is legitimate.

Do what is right to mend what is wrong. IF that is impossible because of the circumstances, then continue paving the road - first in your relationship with God, and second with those that are closest to you. The Prodigal Son (in the Gospel of Luke) didn't run back to the pig pen to fix the pigs. He went HOME to his father. The first step is with God and much of the other may take time to repair, but that first road to forgiveness is with God.

2. Paving reveals the Plan

Pave your mistakes with grace. Here's what is great about the story. Even though Lightning McQueen had to repair the road, the judge of the town and the townspeople paid for the asphalt and the machine. Get that? It's grace. While you are rebuilding the road, God is paying the price. Why does He do this? Because God has a bigger plan than your brokenness.

What McQueen did not know is that when the road was paved, it would boost the morale of the town cars and residents to finally recoup the energy of their once bustling little town. They had lost hope, but through the story of a rebel, they first found the joy of driving on a smooth road again.

When he first tore up the road, imagine their gut wrenching feeling when an already beaten and torn down road was now worse for wear. But they watched as the judge issued the order and the responsible party rebuilt their hopes, all with the tools of the JUDGE. The Great Judge has the ability to press your decisions down on you, but He used His own tools and His own Son to pay the penalty - now the responsibility is to accept the salvation and forgiveness that comes from Him, and then choose to repent as this champion race car did and drive smooth going forward.

3. Challenges change your Cause

When your story becomes the story of Jesus, your future will change. Lightning McQueen decided to abandon his pursuit of the one thing he wanted when an evil counterpart caused destruction, and at the moment of decision, all his previous training in the disciplines of doing what was right took over.

During his recovery, Lightning McQueen learned to value others. He learned respect of his elders. He learned the possibilities that come through forgiveness. He learned who the enemy really was, and it was himself.

When he overcame himself, he revealed a great purpose. He revitalized a town. He found a family. He put a forgotten city, forgotten people and forgotten hero back on the map.

He found grace. And grace repaved the road and taught him a lesson.

Check out this lyric from Unspoken: (watch the video here)

There was a light that found me in darkness
Failing and hopeless barely alive
And for the first time I saw your perfection
In my reflection there in your eyes

My feet are on the ground
My heart is beating now
Your love has showed me how to live

You're my recovery
Changing who I was
To who I'm meant to be
Healing all that's broken
As you wash me clean
Oh you set me free
You're my recovery

This is the day that I'm starting over
I'm taking is slower one step at a time
And the're all the way
But you're here to guide me
Your spirit's inside me and it's changing my mind

My feet are on the ground
My heart is beating now
Your love has showed me how to live

A friend asked me two weeks ago how to fix what they have broken.

Without thinking, praying or even stopping, I responded (with the help of the Holy Spirit) that "the road to forgiveness is the same as the road from unfaithfulness. It all depends on how you pave it."

Everyone needs a fresh start, and there may be much yet to fix.

But let's make it simple.

1. Make it right with God.
2. Put your marriage, family, kids and loved ones first after God.
3. Forgive (and ask for forgiveness from) others.
4. Pave what you can fix, and learn and drive on from what you can't.

There's still a champion inside of you.

I love you, and these are my thoughts.

Pastor K

02.28.16 Notes (Good News Week 8)

The Gospel of Mark
The Great I am – Week 4
Who is this man part 2
Pastor Joe Everette

Mark 14:60-62
Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The Great I am
Exodus 3:14
God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.”

 I am who I am” in ancient Hebrew is Ehyey asher Ehyey
Ehyey – I am or I will be
Asher – Who
Ehyey – I am or I will be
I am who I will be

Jesus here confirms again that he is fully God
Jesus was both fully Man and fully God
Jesus is the bridge that joins Man back to God

Seated at God’s right hand
Hebrews 4:14-16
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Jesus sits at the right hand of God making intersession for you and me.
He understands our weaknesses.
Because of Jesus’ intersession we can come boldly before the throne of God
Jesus is coming soon
Mark 13:26-33
Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth; this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!

All the prophecies that need to be fulfilled before the return of Christ have been
Jesus could return at any moment
He will call those who are called by his name
Are you ready?

02.21.16 Notes (Good News Week 7)

“Little Is Much”
Pastor Bill Petty
Revolution Church – February 21, 2016
The Gospel of Mark: Week Three

The world presses in on us every day, trying to convince us that Bigger is _______.  Smaller is not better…most of the time.  The worldly believe that more is better and less is not good; there is strength in numbers and the few becomes unimportant; that the rich and famous are more important than the poor and insignificant.

·      A LITTLE ARMY (Judges 7)
·      A LITTLE WEAPON (1 Samuel 17)
·      A LITTLE CHILD (Matthew)
·      A LITTLE FOOD (Mark 6)
·      A LITTLE PRAYER (Matthew 6)

Mark 12: A Little ______ is much when God is in it.
Mark 12: 41-44 

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
“Ask not what your country can give to you, but what you can give your country!”
The world’s attitude is: “Get all you can and can all you get” but God speaks a completely different perspective in Prov. 11:24.
One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Mark 12: 30-31
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Ask not what a friend can give to you; ask what you can give a friend.”
“Ask not what the Church can give to you; ask what you can give to the Church.”

“Ask not what the Lord can give to you; ask what you can give to the Lord.”

02.14.16 Notes (Good News Week 6)

The Gospel of Mark
“Who is this Man” – Week 2
Pastor Joe Everette

Mark 4:35-41
35As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

To answer the question we must first know The Plan
 Genesis 3:15
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

·      The plan has been in place since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden (4,000 years from Adam to Jesus)
·      The Plan was always for the Messiah to come
·      The Plan was always The Cross

Mark 8:27-33
27Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” 29Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” 30But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. 32As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. 33Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

·      Knowing The Plan doesn’t mean we’re going to understand the process
·      Even though we know who Christ is doesn’t mean we are going to fully understand His plan.
·      Our faith has to be in who Christ is and not our understanding of what is going on around us.

Mark 8:34-38
34Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37Is anything worth more than your soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”