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Showing posts from October, 2014

Haunted Week Three - "Haunted By Hurts"

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This week we are moving forward in our sermon series for October--a series that we've entitled "Haunted."  I shared earlier how I began thinking about this series some time ago when I was reflecting on the various counseling sessions I've done over the years with people in crisis.  Almost all of those people had something in common: They were haunted by something in their past--regret, doubt, fear or hurts.

I started thinking about how so many of us are haunted by the our past, and how much that affects the way we feel about our present situations and how it can also ruin our vision of the future.  But it's difficult to let go of some of these powerful, negative emotions.  They can haunt us terribly and in some cases can keep us just a step or two away from falling apart.

And so we've been coming back to a very simple and profound truth throughout this series--a truth that is life-changing and transformative for those who are haunted by their past.  YOU DO…

Haunted - Week Four: "Haunted by Fear"

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This week we are concluding the sermon series that we've been working on for the month of October--a series entitled, "Haunted."  The basic premise behind this sermon series has been centered on the fact that all have something in common:  Each of us have things in our past that we wish hadn't happened.

We've all experienced pain, doubt, regret or fear in our past.  But for some of us it still feels like it was yesterday.  Many of us are haunted by things in our past.  We're haunted by regret, doubt, hurt and fear, and sometimes it feels as though we will never be free of the things that are haunting us.

This is not the way God intends for us to live.  For God so loved the world that he sent His Son, Jesus, whose first sermon proclaimed that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to set the captives free to bring good news to those who were haunted, wounded, bleeding, stumbling and lost.

And so we have been lifting up this simple, but life-changing idea throug…

"That's That Hurt": Haunted by The Things That Wound Us

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Years ago, when I was working at Walt Disney World, I was on the fast track to being promoted from hourly supervisor to salaried manager.

I was the youngest person to be admitted into Walt Disney World's prestigious management training program--a program that almost assured that you would be promoted, and be ushered into the hallowed halls of middle management.  Hey man, it ain't bragging if it's true.

Then something happened on my way to the almost-top.  WDW experienced a hiring and promotion freeze due to the massive economic downturn of the late 1980's.

When the dust settled and people started getting promoted, I saw all of my peers receive positions, but there were none for me.  I finally was informed that the area manager who had once favored me had soured on my prospects and thought I wasn't worthy to promote.  I was unceremoniously transferred to another department to start all over again.  It crushed me.

To this day, I still think about what I did wrong…

Haunted - Week Two: "Haunted By Doubt"

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This week we are continuing the sermon series that will take us through the month of October--a series entitled, "Haunted."  The idea behind this series is something that we all share to some extent.

No matter who you are, or what your background might be you have something in common with every other person who is sitting in here today:  At some point in time you have had something happen in your past that caused you pain.  
Maybe you did something you regret.  Maybe you had doubts about your faith. Maybe you learned to be afraid.  Maybe you were hurt, wounded by someone.  
And for many of us those experiences feel like they happened yesterday.  We've been haunted by them, and because we've been haunted by these experiences in our past, they are affecting how we handle our present, and perhaps are ruining our vision of the future.  
Throughout this series we're going to be focusing on this simple, but life-changing truth: You don't have to be haunted by you…

Blind Doubt, Wide-Eyed Faith

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When I "grew up" and left home at the ripe old age of eighteen, I was so full of doubts regarding my faith I didn't really know what I believed any longer.  I remember once saying out loud, "God, I don't believe you exist." and I was actually disappointed when I wasn't struck with a bolt of lightning.

Little did I know that my speaking uncertainty about God into the world, was a perfectly normal and honest act of Christian discipleship.  I thought I had violated the worst rule you could violate as a Christian.  I'd been taught my whole life that the one thing you never, ever, ever doubt was God.  So when I started doing just that--I decided the whole system of belief that I'd once held dear was in question.  So I left it.

As it turns out, I may have left my faith, but it didn't entirely leave me.  I found my way back--although it wasn't to the same place I once was, thanks be to God.  But many people experience doubts about God, faith…

Haunted - Week One: "Haunted by Regret"

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This week we are starting a new sermon series entitled "Haunted" that will take us through the month of October.  If you are wondering if I timed this series to happen during the spooky month of October--wonder no longer. I totally did.

But I've been thinking about the idea of this series for quite a while, in fact.  Over the course of my years as a pastor I've had occasion to talk to people in crisis about the things that got them into crisis mode.  Their crises could be quite different, but there's always a common thread that runs through their stories.

Maybe their crisis has to do with faith, or their purpose in life.  Maybe they can't seem to get unstuck from addictive and destructive behaviors.   Regardless of their actual experience, virtually every single person was haunted by something from their past that was affecting their present and ruining their vision of the future.

Some people were haunted by regret.  Others were haunted by doubts--still o…