Transformed, Part 5: Relational Health – Facing The Fears That Ruin Relationships, Nov 30, 2014

Satan does not tempt us to be evil like him but to be like God.

GEN 3:6-19
In this story, we see…

THE 3 BASIC FEARS THAT RUIN RELATIONSHIPS

How Our Fears Ruin Relationships

1. MY FEAR OF EXPOSURE MAKES ME DISTANT

 Why can’t I get close to people? To get intimate?

 Intimacy-into me see!

 Truth: There’s a lot you don’t like about you and since you don’t accept it, you don’t 
 want others to see it because they might reject it too!
 
 GEN. 3:9-10  “God called to Adam, ‘Why are you hiding?’  Adam said, ‘I was 
 afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'”

 God always knows the answer to Qs he asks you He just wants YOU to admit it.  
– own up

In denial there is no recovery and no transformation.

– Fear always causes us to hide!
– I wonder what you are hiding from today?
– What are you pretending not to know? That is not a problem? Because you are afraid of facing the truth?

With fear, God always wants me to FACE it, not fake it.
  
Circle “naked” = exposed, uncovered, vulnerable,out in the open, unprotected!  Scary!

You are never more open than when you are naked.

One of your deepest: fears of being seen for what you really are

Note the damage fear does to relationship happens in 3 stages:

Phase 1: SHAME

VS. 7A “They suddenly felt shame at their nakedness” NLT
Fear is often based in shame.
When you carry shame you are easily embarrassed

Shame makes you more self-conscious… nervous …fearful of humiliation…  easily mortified

Phase 2: THE COVER UP – we try to conceal our true selves

VS. 7B “So they sewed fig leaves to cover up themselves.”

Today we have more ways sophisticated ways to cover up!
But we ALL still do it.

What ways do you use to cover up your fears?
  – Humor?  (funny, but dont let people get close)
  – Present an image of being put-together?
               – way you dress.. car … words you use..
     – A lot of people hide behind an online image

PHASE 3: DISTANCE FROM GOD

VS. 8 “Then they hid from God among the trees.”   
God doesn’t expect perfect, he expects honesty.
Why am I afraid to tell you who I really am?

2. MY FEAR OF DISAPPROVAL MAKES ME DEFENSIVE
We move from hiding to hurling,   from excusing to accusing…
We start blaming, attacking, pointing fingers  “But you did..”
The more critical the person is the more they fear disapproval!

FACT: The more I fear disapproval, the more I’ll point at others.
 
GEN. 3:12 “God asked, ‘Did you eat … what I told you not to eat?’ Adam answered, ‘YOU  gave me this woman and SHE gave me the fruit!’  

Adam took it like a man and blamed God and Eve!

Blame is spelled B-Lame      
Eve wasn’t any more willing to accept responsibility!

GEN. 3:13 “Then Eve said, ‘The SNAKE tricked me into eating!” (TEV)
My fear of disapproval makes me defensive! You explain, excuse, blame etc.

3. MY FEAR OF LOSING CONTROL MAKES ME DEMANDING
The result of sin- Adam & Eve lost control over their future.
They got kicked out of paradise.   They lost their advantage.

The more out-of-control you feel- the more controlling you become. (Bullies)
Defending, demanding, demeaning, dominating, becoming passive aggressive.
Secure people do not have to have their way all the time.
The more insecure you are- the greater your need to get your way!
VS. 16  “… You’ll have  yearning for your husband, but he will lord it over you…” (NJB)   … he will dominate you …” (Ber)
This is where the war between the sexes began… all the misunderstanding, confusion and conflict started!  All the tit for tat, the jockeying for power .
Competing and not complementing or cooperating.

What’s the antidote? LOVE!
LEARN TO LIVE IN GOD’S LOVE
1 JN 4:18A “Wherever God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out all fear.”  (NCV)
Do you want fear out of your work, home, sports, school you must get God’s love in!
Love is the opposite of fear!  
Let love in the front door and fear goes out the back door!
1 JN 4:18B “It is the thought of punishment (negative consequences) that makes a person fearful.”  (NCV)
 – afraid to be yourself 
 – afraid to tell the truth
 – afraid to share the last 10% that will make the difference

How do I learn to LIVE in God’s love? 3 daily choices

1. EVERYDAY SURRENDER MY HEART TO GOD

God is love. The closer I get to God , the more loving I’ll be.
The further… more fearful…

JOB 11:13-18 “Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.  your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. Then you’ll rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry! (CEV)      
 
3 COMMANDS & 8 PROMISES!

1. Surrender your heart
2. Turn to God in Prayer
3. Give up your sins

8 Promises
1. No Shame
2. Confident
3. Fearless
4. Troubles wash away
5. Darkness turns to lIght
6. Rest safe & Secure
7. Filled with Hope
8. Emptied of worry

2. EVERYDAY REMEMBER THE WAYS GOD LOVES ME

A.  I’M COMPLETELY ACCEPTED

           The deepest wounds  are often aused by rejection

           So we spend  much of our lives trying to earn acceptance:
           from parents…peers…those we respect… those we envy even total strangers

           MYTH:  “If I could be perfect, then everyone will like me!”

           Well- Jesus was perfect- yet rejected!

           No matter who you are or what you do. There will be people who do not like you
           or what you do or the way you do it!

           Don’t always be worried about your approval rating!

      Bible: This issue is already settled! 

           TITUS 3:7  “Jesus made us acceptable to God.”  (CEV)

B.  I’M UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED

  2 characteristics of God’s love
  
        IT’S CONSISTENT – not fickle/unpredictable

            Inconsistent parents create insecure children

           IT’S UNCONDITIONAL.  Not “I love you if…   because..”  
           Never need to ask: Will God love me today?  (did I pray enough?)

           We always get into trouble when we doubt God’s love!

           ISA.  54:10 “My love for you will never end says the Lord”

C. I’M TOTALLY FORGIVEN

           Before God made you…He already knew-worst things you would do and He  
           still loves you!
     
       ROM. 8:1″There is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus

           Sins wiped out!

           God Doesn’t rehearse it – he releases it!   

D.  I’M CONSIDERED EXTREMELY  VALUABLE

            How much do you think you’re worth?  
  What makes something valuable?

  1st, Value depends on who owns it

  At auctions- things owned by celebrities cost more

  Car owned by someone famous be worth more than yours?

  The owner often adds value to common things!

  Who do you belong to? to God!
 
  2nd, Value depends on what someone is willing to pay for it
  
           How much is your house worth?- whatever…

           I COR. 7:23 You’ve been bought and paid for by Christ’s death

3. EVERYDAY OFFER THAT SAME LOVE TO OTHERS

JN. 13:34 “I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.” (GW)

ROM. 15:7 “Accept one another JUST AS Christ accepted you.” 

What does this mean?  
I MUST:
Accept others like Jesus accepts me!
Love others like Jesus loves me!
Forgive others like Jesus forgives me!
Value others like Jesus values me!
Would that transform your relationships?
 
Book: How to Make People Really Feel Loved.
Best advice is…
If you want to become a great lover:

1 COR. 13:7 “Love never stops being patient, Love never stops believing,  Love never stops hoping,  Love never
gives up!”  (GW)

This is how God loves you! He never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up!
  
REAL LOVE DOES 4 THINGS
Love:
– extends grace…
– expresses faith…
– expects the best …
– endures the worst…
    
Prayer:
When I say this say God I agree with this.
Dear God, I admit that I have made a mess in my relationships.  They’re complicated, they’re broken, they’re not the best.  I’ve often settled for less than the best and they need a transformation.  I’d like you to begin by changing me.  Deliver me from these three fears that I’ve learned about today. I can see how they make me distant and defensive and even demanding.  So today and each day from now on I want to surrender my heart to you.  I’m doing this right now.  I surrender my heart to you.  Just say that “God, I surrender my heart to you.”  I want to learn to live my life in your love.  Filled with your love.  Please replace my shame with your love.  When I’m afraid to let others see the real me remind me of how you see me.  Say this. Thank you that you accept me completely.  Say, thank you that you love me unconditionally.  Say, thank you that you forgive me totally.  Say, thank you that you paid such a high price to save me.  Dear God, help me to accept others just as you’ve accepted me.  Help me to love others unconditionally just as you have loved me.  And help me to forgive others totally just as you’ve forgiven me.  And help me to value others as much as you value me.  Say, dear God I want to be known as a loving person.  I want to be a great lover.  So help me to extend grace to the people around me.  And help me to express faith in the people around me.  And help me to expect the best in the people around me.  And help me to endure the worst when it happens.  I want to live my life in love and I humbly ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Transformed, Part 4: Emotional Health – How to Deal With How You Feel, Nov 23, 2014

MK 12:29-30 “The most important commandment is this: You must love the Lord your God with ALL YOUR HEART, and all your SOUL, and all your MIND, and all your STRENGTH.” (NLT)
Some facts about your emotions:
1. God has emotions 
2.  My ability to feel is a gift from God. GEN. 1:26 “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”
3.  There are two extremes to avoid:
 Emotionalism: all that matters is how I feel. 
 Stoicism: feelings aren’t important at all
4.  God gave us the book of  PSALMS to understand our emotions.
WHY I MUST LEARN TO MANAGE MY EMOTIONS? 4 important reasons
1. BECAUSE MY FEELINGS ARE OFTEN UNRELIABLE. PR. 14:12 “There is a way that SEEMS right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death.”    
2.  BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BE MANIPULATED.
 PR. 25:28  “Like an open city with no defenses is the man with no check on his feelings.” (NAB
 PR.25:28 (NLT)  “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.”
 1 PET. 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”
3.  BECAUSE I WANT TO PLEASE GOD.
 ROM. 8:6-8 “To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace…. Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.” (TEV)
4. BECAUSE I WANT TO SUCCEED IN LIFE.
PR. 5:23 “(People) get lost and die because of their foolishness and lack of self-control.”  (CEV)
1 PET. 4:2 “From now on you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires.” (TEV)

HOW TO MANAGE AN UNWANTED FEELING
1.  NAME IT!
 FACT: I’m often confused about what I’m feeling.
 PS. 55:2 “My thoughts are restless, and I am confused” (GW)
 ASK:  What am I really feeling?  I must name it in order to tame it.
2. CHALLENGE IT!
 PS.26:2 (screen) “Lord, cross-examine me. Test my motives and my affections.”  (NLT)
 JOB 15:12 Elephaz asked Job: “Why has your heart carried you away,  and why do your eyes flash?”   
 ASK  3 questions 
  1. What’s the real reason I’m feeling this?
  2. Is it true?
  3. It is helping or hurting me?
3.  TAME IT!
 A. Sometimes you just need to CHANGE what you’re feeling.
  PH. 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”
 B.  Sometimes you need to CHANNEL what you’re feeling
 HOW DO YOU TAME A WILD EMOTION?
 ZECH. 4:6 ‘You will not succeed by your own strength or power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. (NCV)

2 Starter Suggestions:
1.  Everyday, ask God to fill me with his Spirit
 GAL. 5:22-23 When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”   
 Whatever is INSIDE you is going to come out!
2.  Everyday: Ask God to help me manage my mouth
 PR. 13:3 “Self-control means controlling the tongue!” (LB)
 THIS IS KEY:  MAKE GOD’S WORD MY WORD!
 PS. 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart  that I might not sin against you. (NIV)
 PS. 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  O Lord!”

Transformed, Part 3: Mental Health – Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind, Nov 16, 2014

Romans 12:2
God is far more interested in changing your mind than in changing your circumstances
3 REASONS THAT I MUST MANAGE MY MIND
1.  Because my thoughts control my life (Prov. 4:23)
2.  Because the mind is the battleground for sin.
– Our mind is where we win or lose the battle (Rom. 7:22-23)
– whatever gets your attention gets you
3.  Because it’s the key to peace and happiness. (Rom. 8:6)
– A managed mind leads to strength, security and serenity

3 Daily Choices for a Healthy Mind
1.  I MUST FEED MY MIND WITH TRUTH (Matt. 4:4, Ps. 119:147,97)
– The Bible is our soul food. It’s our owner’s manual for life. (Ps. 16:7)
2.  I MUST FREE MY MIND FROM DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS
– What are the enemies?
a. The first enemy is our old nature (2 Cor. 10:3-5, Rom. 8:5)
b. The second thing that’s going to fight this is Satan
c. The third enemy is the world’s value system (1 John 2:16, 2 Cor. 10)
– What is a stronghold? It’s a lie that we believe.  A spiritual stronghold in my life is a lie that I believe.
3.  I MUST FOCUS MY MIND ON THE RIGHT THINGS
A. Think about Jesus (Hebrew 12:3  Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.)
B.  Think about others (Philippians 2:4  Don’t just think about your own affairs but be interested in others too and what they are doing.)
C.  Think about eternity (1 Cor. 2:9  No eye has seen no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.)

Transformed, Part 2: Physical Health – From Stressed to Blessed, Nov 9, 2014

“Peace of mind makes the body healthy.”  Proverbs 14:30 (TEV)
“A relaxed attitude lengthens a man’s life.”  Proverbs 14:30 (TLB)

Before we look at the text let me just identify the seven most common sources of stress in modern life.  These are the seven things that cause stress most often in today’s lifestyle.

1.  Worry. 

The reason why worry is number one is because there’s a lot more things to worry about than there used to be.  Nobody worried about identity theft twenty years ago.  Nobody worried about losing their cell phone twenty years ago.  There are a lot of things we worry about today that your parents didn’t have to worry about because they are new worries in an increasingly complex world. 

2.  Hurry.

Hurry comes from the increasing pace in our life.  Would you agree that it seems like the world is going faster and faster?  We live in a microwave nanosecond world where everybody wants it now and they want it yesterday and they want it immediately.  And everything is going faster and faster.  That creates stress.  Speed creates stress.

3.  Crowds.

As the world gets more crowded people are getting more stressed out.  The reason why is we have a thing called urbanization.  That is people are moving to the cities.  Life used to be rural but now it is definitely urban.  Eighty three percent of America lives in a large city.

4.  Multiple choice.

Or more choices than ever before.  Actually the more choices you have in life, you think that’s more freeing, more liberating.  But actually it’s more paralyzing because it creates indecision.

5.  Loss of privacy. 

Actually any loss is stressful but in the modern world the loss of privacy there are not just the government but all kinds of corporations keeping their number on you.  They want to know where you are and who you are and what you said and what you bought.  Every time you buy something now somebody rings it up and they’re keeping a record of how many Pampers you bought and when you need to move to Depends.  You move from hot wheels to wheel chair.

6.  Pluralism.

What is pluralism?  We now live in a world where the people around you often have very different beliefs, convictions, lifestyles, cultures and things like that. 

7.  The fear of the future.

The what ifs.  The fear of the future. 

7 SPIRITUAL HABITS THAT REDUCE STRESS (PSALM 23)

1. Look to God to Meet All My Needs

This single change in your life – you stop looking to other people to meet your needs – if you’d stop looking to your husband, to your wife, to meet your needs, your stress would go down dramatically.  Stop putting your security in things that you can lose. 

The Bible says this in “Since God did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us, won’t he also surely give us everything else we need?”  Romans 8:32 (LB)

“The Lord is my shepherd, so I have all I need.”  Psalm 23:1

Isaiah 30:15 says this, “The sovereign Lord says only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength.'”

2.   I NEED TO OBEY GOD’S INSTRUCTION ABOUT REST.

So much of the stress in your life comes from always being in a hurry.  Always working too much.  Always feeling like you’ve got too much to do.  That’s why you overwork.  You never can get caught up.

God says I want you to rest.  Psalm 23:2  “He makes me lie down.”  Circle the phrase “makes me”.  He says God makes me lie down.  Does God ever have to make you lay down?  Because you weren’t smart enough to obey what he says about rest and take a day off every week. 

Sheep aren’t smart enough to rest when they get tired so the shepherd has to make them lay down.

Getting enough sleep is essential to stress management. 

My best requires rest.  You’re not wasting time when you’re relaxing.  You’re not wasting time when you’re resting. 

Three Things to Happen on Your Sabbath:

1.  Rest my body.  You need to rest your body.  Physically rest.  The Biblical basis for a good Sunday afternoon nap.  Just not while I’m speaking. 

2.  Refocus my spirit.  I rest my body on the Sabbath and I refocus my spirit.  What is that? That’s worship.  It’s what you’re doing right now.  You are refocusing your spirit right now by coming to worship.  In corporate worship we recharge and refresh our spirit.

3.  Recharge my emotions.  Use the Sabbath to recharge your emotions.  That’s what recreation does.  It recharges your emotions.

Different things recharge different people.  About how you need beauty in your life.  You need to do something that restores you and reenergizes.  It could be a hobby.  It could be a sport.  These are good things that God has given us as gifts in order to recharge your emotions.

It doesn’t really matter which day is your Sabbath.  The book of Colossians in the Bible says it doesn’t matter which day you choose.  You just need to choose a day.

3.  RECHARGE MY SOUL WITH BEAUTY

That’s the third thing we need to do: Recharge my soul with beauty.  Beauty is an incredibly important thing in stress management.  Ugliness stresses you out.  Beauty inspires.  Beauty encourages.  Beauty motivates.  Beauty stirs up positive emotions. 

“He makes me lie down in lush green meadows and leads me beside calm, quiet waters.  He restores my soul.”  Psalm 23:2-3a

Some Suggestions:

1. Get outside every day.  If you’re not getting outside every day your stress level is going up.  Even if it’s just your back yard, even if it’s just a walk around the block

2. Start the day with God not the media. Before you go read any text message, before you check your email, before you turn on the radio to some talk radio and people screaming at each other, before you turn on the television for some morning show, you need to get in touch with God first.

3.  Intentionally put beauty around you.  Pieces of art or music that inspires you.  Or a craft. Looking at beauty lowers your stress level.  Listening to beauty lowers your stress level.

“You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly.” Philippians 4:8 (Mes)

4. GO TO GOD FOR GUIDANCE.

“He guides me in the right paths for his name’s sake.”  Psalm 23:3

This is important because a common source of stress in your life is indecision.  You can’t make up your mind.  Some of you right now are wavering.  You’re at a fork in the road or maybe you’ve got multiple options and you just can’t decide and the stress is killing you.  You can’t decide whether to get in or get out or do neither.  You’ve got too many choices.

Psalm 23:3 says this “He guides me in the right paths for his name’s sake.”  That’s an affirmation: God I believe you’re going to guide me at the right time in the right way.  I believe you’re going to do that.  If you have that belief he’s going to do it.

5. TRUST GOD IN THE DARK VALLEYS

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

I trust God in the dark valleys.  We’re all going to go through dark valleys in our lives.  You’ll go through many of them in your lifetime.  One of the common sources of stress is loss.  You can lose your job and you can lose your income and you can lose your money.  You can lose your health.  You can lose your reputation.  You can lose a loved one.  We all go through many losses in life. 

Psalm 23:4.  Here’s what David says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, [I don’t fear anything.  Why? ] for you are with me; Your rod and your staff comfort me.”

6. LET GOD BE MY DEFENDER 

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, and you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”  Psalm 23:5

How do you handle rude people?  How do you handle mean people?  You don’t.  You let God handle them.  You let God be your defender.

7. EXPECT GOD TO FINISH WHAT HE STARTS IN ME

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23:6

I expect God to finish what he starts in me.  Are you a person who is afraid of the future?  Are you a what if-er?  You’re always what if-ing.  What if this happens?  What if this went wrong? What if that went bad?  What if?  What if?  What if?  If you’re a what if-er it leads to enormous amount of stress in your life.  Unnecessary stress.

Transformed, Part 1: Spiritual Health, Nov 2, 2014

How to Get Closer to God
Part I Spiritual Health

The further away you get from God, the more your life is troubled.
The closer you get to God, the more your life is transformed.

four things to do in order to get back to God!

1. I Get Fed Up!

“…he wasted it all…he had nothing left…he got desperate and hungry… he finally came to his senses…”  Luke 15:13-14, 17

God loves you just the way you are but He does not want you to stay in that condition.

God has no desire to see you waste your life.

GOD: “You’ll find me when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else.” Jeremiah 29:13 (Mes)

2. I Own up!

“When he came to his senses, he said…“I have sinned against God and you…”  Luke 15:17-18

“Your sins have separated you from your God, and have hidden his face from you…”   Isaiah 59:2 

Blame is spelled b-lame! Quit blaming everyone else for your spiritual condition.

3. I offer Up!

I offer up my life, my total being.

The son drifted away saying, “GIVE ME MY share…”  Luke 15:12
He returned to the Father saying, “MAKE ME a servant” Luke 15:19

Do you notice a change in attitude? This is transformation. When your heart moves from self-centeredness to God-centeredness that is true godly transformation.

4. I lift Up My Praise!

“We’re going to celebrate with a feast of eating and drinking…He was lost but now he’s found! So the party begins!”  Luke 15:23-24 

“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; LIFT UP A SONG to him…  his name is the Lord!” Psalm 68:4 (ESV)
The Father celebrated. He did not condemn!

I am fed up!
I own up
I offer up
I lift up!