Saturday, July 21, 2012

Overcoming Broken Relationships –Unstuck Part 7- Sermon by Tim Lundy

Introduction: The Power of Relationships (Page 1)
·         Few things in life compare with the satisfaction, joy, and connectedness that come when we love deeply and are deeply loved in an authentic, meaningful relationship.

·         By Contrast, few things in all of life can hurt as badly and as deeply as the wounds, the sorrow, and the alienation that comes when a relationship is broken.

My Notes: When he said “relationship” Tim first clarified he was referring not just to romance but also to relationships between friends and family. Everyone experiences the pain of rejection, loss, or betrayal and whatever form of relationship that pain may come in it will almost always hurt the same.
Some people seem “stuck” but find a way to keep going. They find themselves wounded and walled up. They don’t let knew love or new people in. They go out of their way to live a “safe life” away from the risk of future pain, but in doing so they also wind up alone.
John Hopkins actually found a real medical symptom called “Broken Heart Syndrom” in which patients who experience a break up of some sort suffer heart attacks, stress, physical pain, and depression. Some have actually died from this. People often fail to realize how deeply linked their emotions, spirit, and body are.
Overcoming the Pain of Broken Relationships (Page 2)
1.      You have to grow in your relationship with Him first. (Ephesians 3:14-17a)
-Connecting with the Father
·         You must recognize your love for the Father. (Romans 8:14-17)
·         You must connect with Him in prayer –all the time. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
2.      Strengthening of the Spirit
·         When you receive Christ, you are fulfilled/ sealed by the Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
·         When you sin, you grieve/ reject/ lose sight of/ hurt the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30)
·         When you refuse the truth, you quench the Spirit. (I Thessalonians 5:19-21)
·         When you yield to Him, you are filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
3.      Embracing Life with Christ
·         He wants your soul to be His home. (Revelations 3:20)
·         When Christ is most at home in you –you are most alive. (John 10:10)
My Notes:
Here Tim lists the main underlying reasons why so many relationships break or become dysfunctional. He also shows the steps to correcting this brokenness that lays within ourselves when we become disconnected from God and ourselves. Tim noted how people these cycle through people in relationship after relationship after relationship looking for something they can’t find. God is everything and to lack Him in your life is to be empty and full of nothing. Some psychologists like Freud often say that people invent “God” in their minds because they feel a need for one and that He doesn’t really exist. But if you do the research on many of these atheistic philosophers and psychologists you will find a startling pattern. Voltaire, Freud, Hobbes… all had dead, weak, abusive, or absent fathers. It would be hard for any many to imagine or connect to  heavenly Father who never leaves and always loves and understands His children when that person has never experienced or seen any example of that kind of connection in their own relationships –and has in fact only been exposed to the opposite.
You should focus on your soul and reaching God by checking in with Him and treating Him as you would anyone in your life you truly value. He is not impersonal. And when you allow His Spirit to dwell within you it is like having a being –a piece of Him- residing within. I like to think of the Holy Spirit like an unborn infant a mother would carry in her womb. If you drink poison during your pregnancy you will hurt your baby. In this sense when you sin and allow negativity into your life you are poisoning the Spirit. You hurt Him. And when you avoid God and the truth you neglect Him. You make that light and energy within you fade and dim. You burry Him within yourself.
Don’t focus on being perfect, focus on being with God. Let God lead you. As Tim says, “Don’t treat Jesus like he’s your roommate that you don’t want anyone else to meet. When guests are over don’t tell Him to go upstairs and hide. When He’s around other people don’t tell Him to avoid certain topics or not mention certain things that you confided in Him and He has confided in you. Be open about God.”  God wants to be at home in your heart. When He is, He can fulfill you.
You have to grasp and experience His love at a new level. (Ephesians 3:17b-19) (Page 3)
1.      We find security and grow in an environment of love.
2.      The nature of God’s love is hard for us to fathom or grasp.
·         God is wide enough to include all people.
·         Long enough to last for all eternity.
·         Deep enough to reach the lowest sinner.
·         High enough to lift us to Heaven.
3.      Expect God to answer your prayers beyond your dreams. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
·         As we grow in Christ/ love, we learn to dream/ love again.
·         God wants to do more than just help us get unstuck –He wants us to be unleashed for his glory.
My Notes:
See God’s depth and strength to become deep and strong. God’s love is a safety net. We feel that we don’t deserve His love, but Paul preached that he hopes people believe He does want us. God is not limited. He doesn’t want you to live in exile, pain, and dejection. “He takes us home when we let Him live in us”. Tim spoke about an experiment scientists did with monkeys. They put a monkey in a room with some bananas hanging from a pole. If the monkey climbed the pole, it could reach the banana. When the first monkey tried, the scientists sprayed ice water at the monkey, which made it afraid to go for the bananas. After a few more attempts and a few more splashes of water, the monkey gave up.
Then when another monkey was brought into the room, that monkey went for the bananas. He was then stopped by the first monkey who wouldn’t let him go near the bananas in fear he would get sprayed with the water. Soon more chimps were introduced to the room and each one held back the other from the bananas –long after the scientists had gotten rid of the ice water. Soon they removed all the monkeys but one who had come into the room 6 attempts later –who had never been sprayed with water- and he too not only avoided the bananas but also held back other chimps who were brought in after.
When people experience enough pain in life they stop trying. They stop dreaming. They then discourage others from dreaming and trying. They fear risk and avoid life.
Discussion Questions:
1.      What broken relationship has been the most painful in your life?
Broken familial relationships –both with my mom and my step-mom and the pain they have inflicted and the chaos they have caused in their relationships with me and others has been about the only negative relationships I’ve had with anyone. And technically I’m pretty much over those old issues and have better, healthy relationships with both of those women now. It feels like old news.
2.      Do you relate to the Father as close –or do you think He is distant to you? What would it look like for you to be close to Him?
I love God. He’s my wingman. I don’t always reach out to Him as often as I should and I don’t focus my life on Him everyday –which always comes back to trouble and worry me. One of the biggest fears I have in life is losing sight of Him, which is hard for me to imagine allowing myself to do. He has filled my life with so much it’s hard to imagine existing without Him at this point. But it’s something I always keep an eye on to make sure He’s with me and I keep Him in mind. As with any relationship you grow closer over time, and all you need is patience and persistence.
3.      As you look at the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, are there any ways that you are grieving or quenching the Spirit? Would you say you yield to Him and experience a Spirit-filled life? Someone once told me the Holy Spirit is only with you after you get baptized –so it’s hard for me to say definitively that the Spirit is with me. I know God guides me and when I do things I know I shouldn’t that I feel guilty afterwards for hurting Him. I don’t want any walls to be between God and I and I seek to have Him as much in my life as possible. So I cut back on things I know I shouldn’t do and make an effort to become greater.
4.      Is Christ truly at home in your heart, or is He just a house guest?
I’m spiritual. As such it is hard begin spiritual in a physical world where everyone else seems to focus on either the tangible or the logical. I often feel out of place and do not connect with people unless they too are spiritual in some sense. So when you ask, do you hide God from others to “look cool” or “fit in”, I’d say no. I definitely don’t fit in and if anyone asked me what my beliefs were God would be at the center of them as He always has been. But nobody ever really asks because most people genuinely don’t want to know. It’s not their focus.
5.      In what ways are you learning to understand and grasp God’s love for you? How does His love help you deal with the pain of broken relationships? Going to church and hearing God’s vision has definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn’t seen before. He helps guide me and allows me to understand things in a quiet, patient way. I think it’s more frustrating to me seeing other people I care about go through the pain and motions of being in broken relationships and not knowing how to contend with it. You wish they knew what you knew and understood things. But you have to let people find their own way and lead as an example of the wisdom and insights you have found. Live with God and represent Him then people will understand the things He has shown you.
6.      Name one of your dreams that you would like to see unleashed for the glory of God?
I have dreams about the act of giving. In these dreams I see and often note that nothing humbles and uplifts a person like Giving does. Not just charity necessarily, but really taking the strengths and abilities God has blessed you with and using them to help people and improve life. I want to see my blessings reach others to bless their lives.