Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

Here we are, first Sunday of the new year. We've had a surprisingly mild winter thus far, and though overcast today it's sitll warm. Lubbock, Texas had 11 inches of snow one day this week. Pastor Brad greeted us and asked how we're doing. "I'm excited

"One of the lies the evil one tells us is that we can't change." People get hung up on being resigned to what we think we are. Truth is, God has the power to change us. We do not have to remain prisoners to the lies we tell ourselves. Today's message will address this matter of change.

Brooke and Brad are taking a trip in celebration of her 40th birthday which is coming up, so they will be away for a couple weeks.

Brad and Darlene opened the worship time by singing a duet, "All Is Well."

We had a guest here today, Cole Graves visiting from Lakeview Covenant. Cole is an engineer who is part of an engineering organization that donates its services around the world. The organization is called Sonset Solutions. His background is radio and television engineering. After a career with PBS he prayed about what the Lord had for him in the latter years of his life. Sonset Solutions is a missionary group that serves missionaries by helping provide technology for setting up radio stations.

One story he told was about how he met a man in a 94% Muslim country who was 90% deaf which resulted in him having to listen to his boombox very loudly with the result that many others in his village had come to Christ including the imam. Cole shared how God is moving in this country and the Gospel is making inroads in various ways, with power.

After the offering was taken we spent some time in prayer for needs in of the church family.

New Year's Resolutions

A lie that is believed as true will have the same impact on you as if it actually were true. Brad shared a couple examples, and stated that the enemy of our souls is a liar who will get us stuck

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  ~  I Cor. 10:3,4

The word used here for power is the same word we use for dynamite.

What are the strongholds that bind us?

First is this lie: "I'll never be good with money." Maybe there's a stronghold around finances.

Another is in relationships. We say, "I'll never find the right person." Or maybe, "My marriage will never be good." Maybe, if we

Habits is a major area of problem. It may be gambling. It may be looking at the wrong things. Or maybe it's a chemical -- alcohol, drugs, caffeine.

Maybe today would be a good day to be honest.

Maybe it's attitude. I'm grumpy, I can't change that. Or it could be irritability or swearing.

Spiritually, maybe we excuse ourselves but are a prisoner of lies. Others can have faith but I can't. Others have answers to prayer, but I don't.

Another is our self-deprecating way of seeing ourselves. "I don't like the way I look."

Satan keeps reminding us that we can't change. God doesn't have the power to change you.

But the truth is, God can set us free and can anything that is in us that is not like Christ.

Here are suggestions on how to find freedom...

First, we begin with our thoughts. Any thought that is inconsistent with God's Word, we will not allow to take root in us. Someone once said, "You can't stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can certainly keep it from building a nest there."

Paul writes, "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." (vs. 5)

We have to capture those thoughts before they become actions. God invites us to capture them and bring them to Him, to make it obedient to Christ.

"I can't stop this addiction." Capture the lie and replace it with God's truth. "I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ.

Deal with the words that come out our mouths. We need to release the right words.  See Proverbs 18:21. The tongue has the power of life and death.

What we need to capture these words and bind them, then release the right words.

Capture the thoughts that do not honor God. Transform your mind and you will transform your life.

Psalm 19:14  says, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Third tip: It takes work. "To this end I labor..." Paul wrote. With all the energy that powerfully works within him. It's not by willpower, but God's power within us. His strength doing what I don't have the ability to do. But it's not where we're passive. We work with Him. It's a struggle. Paul strained with all his strength to live a life that honored God, by God's power.

Surrender to God. Trust God's power to get it done. "It's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me." (Galatians 2:20)

At this, we closed in prayer and celebrated the Lord's Table.

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