Cascading Loss

Pastor Kevin shares a conversation he had with his oldest son soon after he finished high school. He uses the illustration of a parking lot to explain that we don’t drift away from God and our dreams all at once – we cross over one line at a time. Before we realize it, we’ve ended up someplace we never intended to be.

To avoid this, we should focus on pleasing God instead of pleasing ourselves.

What Do You Say to Someone Who’s Losing Valuable Time in Prayer?

There are various ways to pray, but confession is always an important component. Pastor Kevin offers an acronym as a guide: P.R.A.Y. (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield) Start with a posture of praise. Then approach God with a clean heart through repentance so that nothing stands in the way. Ask God to grant a request, and then yield to His will for whatever outcome He chooses.

What’s Better Than Forgiveness From Sin?

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “Lead us not into temptation.” Temptation, in this instance, means trials that would lead us to fall prey to Satan’s schemes and cause us to sin.

We should pray daily so that God would help us not to become so undone by our challenges that we would believe the lies of the enemy.

Separated from God

God told Adam and Eve, “If you sin, you will die.” They did sin, and they did die. They were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, lost their relationship with God, and all of humanity lost its’ spiritual awareness. Since that moment we have been displaced from God. We have tried to create our own paradise, make up our own rules, decide for ourselves what is truth, all a part from God. It has never worked.

The only answer to returning to what we are created for is surrendering to Jesus.

Mad at God

PK shares a story of when he raced his wife in the car and only “won” by breaking the law.

Setbacks in life are often because of our own sin. We often become mad at God, but the truth is we bring it on ourselves.

When we experience loss in life, it is always due to Sin (personal or universal). We try to blame God for hardships.

In reality, just as the officer was justified in pulling Kevin over for breaking the law, God has a case against us because we messed up His perfect paradise (Garden of Eden).

Sin Leads to Death

Genesis 3 is the story of how Adam and Eve sinned against God, when God had already warned them that the price of sin is death.

Kevin uses a rubber snake as an illustration of how we often view sin. We tend to forget that sin is dangerous and treat it like it’s fake (rubber). But sin is real, and if we sin we die.

Why 12Stone is Here

The name 12Stone serves as a reminder of the rescuing hand of Jesus.

We were all in desperate need of rescue. We were separated from God for all of eternity because of sin. But God sent Jesus to rescue us because he doesn’t want to see us separated from him.

John 17:18 says:

“Father, as you sent me into the world, I have sent them (my disciples) into the world.”

12Stone exists to join Jesus in rescuing those who are near us but far from God.

Keep Battling What Beats You

Humble yourself, get past your pride.

There are places we are vulnerable to peer pressure and signature sins. It’s only when we let God transform those innermost places that we can be defeat what beats us.

A temporary “feel good” fix (like alcoholism, addiction, drugs, pornography, etc…) only starts to make us loathe who we are. Beyond getting over our pride, we have to keep battling what breaks and beats us. This is only done by letting God battle with us.

Theory: Everyone Has A Signature Sin

Dr. Wayne Schmidt believes most of us has a “signature” sin; an area where we have a spiritual “Achilles Heel”.

If we know what ours is and it’s persistent in our lives, we have to put it to “death” daily:

Every dream passes through the cross. Every dream takes you to where you let go of everything and everyone, every agenda and expectation, and then it is only as the Lord resurrects you and your dream that you can go on.

We spend much of our time and energy trying to avoid that place. We want just enough of Jesus to make us happy, just enough to give us peace, and just enough to make things go our way to fulfill our dreams and our agenda.

Meanwhile, He wants to take us to the cross, where our selfish dreams, egos, and plans for “great accomplishments” have to die. The cross brings you to a place of total and absolute surrender of all you have and all your are.

– Chip Ingram, “Good to Great in God’s Eyes”

 

What is Sin?

Our sin nature dates all the way back to Adam and the original sin. To make things even tougher, each of us may have a spiritual “Signature” sin that keeps recurring throughout our lives. Examples of these sins are insecurity and jealousy; hate and anger, lust, addiction – the list goes on (Galatians 5:19-21).

The good news is we do have hope! Examining your life, turning away from your sin, and living under the grace that comes through Jesus’ death on the cross will set you free.

What’s the Problem With Sin?

What’s the problem with sin? (Original, Willful, and Involuntary)

We believe that through the disobedience of Adam and Eve sin entered the world and all creation suffers its consequences.

Conclusion: Crucifixion -> Resurrection -> Synchronization

Reflection & Action:

  • Out of step: What passions or desires may trip me?
  • In step: Where am I experiencing God’s guidance and energy?

God Made the Way to Heaven

There’s a sin gap between where we are and where we long to be. No matter how much we try, we can’t earn our place in heaven.

Thankfully, God made a way – and He made it clear in the Bible. Through Jesus’s death on the cross, we can find forgiveness for our sins and restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

 

 

Is Having Debt A Sin?

While debt is not clearly labeled a sin in the Bible, it is discouraged in Proverbs 22:7, which reads, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

That’s because we’ve all been given a size at which God wants us to live, and debt is something that limits that size. It’s a sin to live smaller than God intended.

Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?

Do you remember the Price Is Right game called “Hi Lo”?

The daytime gameshow standard features a particular game where a contestant is presented with six items from a grocery store. The contestant’s challenge is to pick which three of the items are the most expensive. Those three items are then placed on the “Hi” row, and the remaining three items are placed on the “Lo” row.

If the contestant is successful at determining which items cost the most, they win the game.

Now, a harmless little daytime game may not seem like a good illustration for a biblical post, but people play this game all the time with sin. In fact, it’s the basis of many a Christian’s moral compass. The question usually sounds like this:

Which sins cost me the most, and which ones can I get away with?

As human beings, we have rankings of sin. We tend to think of them as big or small, and we judge our character based on which of the big ones we’re not committing. Meanwhile, we judge the character of others on the little ones they embrace. So while we pat ourselves on the back for not murdering anyone, we cry foul when someone else watches a movie we deem inappropriate.

Here’s the truth about sin: before God, all sin—small or large—is an offense to his holiness. Any sin is enough to separate us relationally from our perfect Heavenly Father. The truth is that all sins carry a cost—which is why all sins need Jesus to cover them, all sins need repentance, and all sins need forgiveness.

Here on earth the differences we see in sin are differences of consequence. Some sins bring far more destruction into our lives on a practical level. Jesus said that lust is the same as committing adultery, but while lust can be hidden for a while, actually committing adultery will blow up a relationship in a heartbeat. Jealously wanting what our neighbor has is the same as stealing, but the police don’t lock you up for wanting your neighbor’s Harley – they only lock you up if you steal it.

If we want to grow deeper in our relationship with God, we have to get brutally honest about our sin. We have to recognize and admit that any sin creates distance between us and our Heavenly Father, and we have to lean into His grace and forgiveness while repenting of our actions. Then, we have to fight against that sin in the future by drawing even closer to God.

Hi or Lo, big or small, we all stand before God guilty as sin—but thank God He made a way for us through the covering of Jesus’ work on the cross.

How Do You Live Free From the Guilt of Sin?

There is a difference between felt guilt and guilt for before our Holy God.

We are guilty before God for our sin, and that’s the guilt that Jesus covers on the cross.

There is also a guilt that we feel for hurting someone we love, and when we sin against God, we hurt Him. He forgives us through Jesus and asks us to release that, but remorse does matter.

Remorse demonstrates the authenticity of our love for God that we have to release. If we didn’t have it, there’s something very wrong in the relationship.

The freedom that God provides is the freedom of the consequences of sin eternally. We never before God and through Jesus will carry the consequence of our sins. But on Earth, there are very real consequences in society. We aren’t free of consequences on Earth. This is the reason God says “Don’t sin.” We’re going to be free in Heaven, but the destruction will be felt on Earth. That often destroys marriages, families, finances, careers, futures, and emotional souls.

You Have a Cheering Section

The Book of Hebrews tells us that we have a “great cloud of witnesses” in heaven, who are cheering for us as we run our race. If you want to hit your stride, remember that every believer who has ever gone before you – from your passed loved ones all the way back to the great heroes of the Bible – is now cheering for you in heaven.