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Getting Past Your Past - Week 1

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Well, I'm really, really excited today to be starting a brand new message series called, Getting Past Your Past. And what I want to do as we start out, is I want to give you an idea of what we are going to talk about in the next four weeks, because I really believe and I have a burden that is from God, that God is going to do a supernatural work in so many people's lives. The truth is, so many of us, we are held in bondage from things that happened in our past. And so, in the next few weeks, here's what we are going to cover: A lot of us, someone betrayed us, lied to us, hurt us, and we are still carrying around bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Next week, we are going to talk about why, Biblically speaking, it's so important for us to forgive. And we are going to look about what the Bible says in how to forgive those who hurt us. Then, something I haven't really heard talked about, I don't know if I've ever heard a message on this, because it's so easy to see ourselves as the victim; someone else hurt me, but it's a little more difficult to own up to our own responsibility in ways that we've offended others. And so, we are going to talk about taking responsibility for our own actions, owning up to our own wrongs in relationships, and talk about how do we initiate restoration in relationships. How do we apologize, and the Bible actually says a lot about this, and I believe there will be a lot of parent-children relationships, a lot of sibling relationships, a lot of marriages, and a lot of friendships that will be healed through that. We are also going to talk about, how do we get passed our own failures and our own mistakes? How do we overcome our own sinfulness in the past, because for so many people I know, you may recognize that yes, God has forgiven me, but I still haven't forgiven myself for something that I did in the past. We are going to let the Word of God teach us to get past our past. Today, I'm very excited about this message. What I want to talk to you about is Breaking the Labels that Bind. Breaking the labels that bind us because so many of us, somewhere in our past someone called us something, somebody characterized us in some way. Maybe even ourselves, we've believed a lie about our self that isn't true and we are living under the labels of the past. I believe God is going to do a work today to help us overcome that. Just kind of to get into this, what I want to do is I'm going to give you the name of kind of a well-known person who has a label attached to their names and I want all of you, our Network Churches, those of you at Church Online you just type in the answer, all of our Life Churches, if you could help me out this will be fun. There was Attila the what? Everybody help me out, there's Attila the Hun. There's Conan the Barbarian, all of our campuses play along! There's Billy the Kid, there's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there's Winnie the Pooh! Just had to make sure you're three-year-old could play along! All of these different people, they've got a label behind their name. If I look back in my life, one of the negative labels that I carried for years was Craig the tightwad, Craig the miser. There are people who would say, Well you still are that way! And yes I am in many ways, but the way that it was really bad was when it came to my lack of generosity. I just was not a generous person at all. Those who were on staff with me in the early years can probably testify that I wasn't very generous in paying any of us what people were worth. My kids, especially my older ones back when they were little, it was really pretty sad. Katie and Mandy my oldest, who are now and 15, back when they were little, if someone would give them a gift, I was famous for re-gifting. If you don't know what that is, that's when you take a gift someone else gave to you and give it to someone else. I would do that with my poor little girls! Someone would give them a gift and they would be like, Thank you! I'd be, Okay, don't open that! Leave it in the wrapper! And I would just kind of put it in the closet and give it to someone else's kid, and I thought it was brilliant, I know it's horrible but that's the way I was. I was so bad, one time I had a guy that was doing work on my house and he wasn't a Christian and I wanted to kind of give him a tip, but I was too cheap to give him money and I was trying to be a good witness to him. So, I had a Chili's gift card, which is a restaurant I like because they have bottomless chips and salsa, which for a family my size, that is a blessing from God on high! So, I had this $25.00 gift card and I said, Hey, I just believe I'm supposed to bless you with this! And he was blown away, he was really touched by it. Then, the next night he called me on his cell phone from Chili's, he goes, What's up with you man, there's only $1.48 on this card! I had re-gifted a used card to a guy I was trying to make a difference with! So, I was Craig the tightwad, or Craig the miser because I was not generous. What I'd like to ask you to do is think about, what is the negative label that follows your name? What is the negative label that follows your name? In fact, there's a little fill-in-the-blank slot in your notes where you can put your name and the negative label that has followed you through life. It might be someone's called you the doormat; you know, you're always so nice, people just walk all over you and they always take advantage of you. Or you're the lazy one, or you're the irresponsible one, or you're the hot head, or you're the person who is not good with money, or you're the party girl or the wild guy who is never really going to settle down. Or maybe you're just the average one; you're not great at anything, you're not horrible, but through your life you've kind of been labeled as average. Take a moment and I want you to listen to God's Word through the lens of any negative label that you've picked up in your life. What is the negative label that often follows your name? And as you think about it, here's what I pray that you will hear: God's power is always bigger than your past. God's truth about you is bigger than any current truth in your life. In fact, if you own a label that truthfully you deserve, in many ways it really is true about you, I want you to understand that what's true about you today doesn't have to be true about you tomorrow. I believe with all of my heart that the power of God is going to speak to many of you and He's going to take what is and make it no longer true. God, through the power of Christ, is going to break the labels that bind you! Here's how He's going to do it: I am asking God to give you a new, God-centered view of you, based on His Word in Second Corinthians 5:17, when Scripture says: ...Anyone who belongs to Christ.... That means anyone, it doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, where you've come from, how bad your past is, how true the label about you is, it doesn't matter who you are... Anyone who belongs to Christ.... If you've repented of your sins and submitted to the Lordship of the Son of God... Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a.... What? All of our churches, say it aloud! He has become a... person. The old life... Where is it? Say it with me, the old life is... ...gone.... And what has happened? ...a new life has begun! If you are in Christ, all of the old is done away with, it's gone! The power of sin that has held you back can be broken in the name of Jesus! All of the past has been washed away, the newness of life in Christ is available to you. That which held you hostage will hold you no more, a new God-centered view of you. Let me give you three thoughts that I believe will set you free from the labels that have held you down. The first one if you're taking notes, someone has given you a label, they've given you a name: Our God, through the power of Christ, will give you a new name. Our God will give you a new name. Isaiah 62:3 says this, God says: ...You will be called by a new name... And I love this! You will be called by a new name: ...that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. Many of you, you've been held back by something that you believed, others have called you this. Our Lord will bestow upon you a new name. It's a little bit like girls, when they're dating I've been told, if a girl's dating a guy she likes, she'll take her first name and his last name and put them together on a piece of paper with hearts and XO's and XO's all by that! Amy did that when we were dating! It took her two weeks to learn to spell Groeschel, but once she learned to spell it, there were hearts and XO's everywhere by it! More than that, God will replace your old title, your old label, with a new name. He did this too many times in Scripture for me to go into, but just a few of my favorite examples, there was a couple named Abram and Sari who wanted more than anything else to have children, but they couldn't and God said: You're going to have so many ancestors you can't even count them. And to prove it so, I'm giving you new names. Your name is now Abraham and Sarah, which means the Father and the Mother of many nations. And God gave them a new name. There's a guy named Jacob, his name meant swindler, or trickster, or huckster. God gave him a new name, Israel; which meant to have wrestled with God, or God will prevail, and he got a new name. Another one of my favorites, you can read about it in Judges, Chapter Six. There was a guy who was kind of a wuss, he was afraid, his name was Gideon. He was hiding out from the enemies in kind of a cave, and God sent an angel who comes up to the scared-e-cat and says, 'The Lord is with you mighty man of valor!' Or, God called him a mighty warrior, which coincidentally is what God calls me as well all of the time! He's always like, 'Craig, your a warrior!' I don't why you're laughing, if you just come close I will show you why He calls me a mighty man of valor, and then you'll be, Oh, I see why! God will give you a new name. What you've been labeled by in the past will no longer be true. In fact, I've seen this in my own life and in my own marriage in so many ways. For example, when I met Amy, we actually met and spent a lot of time talking over the phone before we ever met each other in person. I remember asking her about herself, you know, What are you doing in school? She was in college and I was in college and she said, I'm majoring in this, but I'm just an average student. I said, What do you mean, you are an average student? She said, I make a few A's, mostly B's, some C's. I'm just an average student. I remember thinking, She doesn't sound very average. And the more I got to know her, the more I realized that she wasn't average, she's actually a very brilliant girl. I said, You know, I actually think you're really, really bright. She goes, No, no! I'm just average! I said, Why do you think you're average? She said, I don't know, everybody has always told me I'm average, I mean, you know, everybody just said, 'You're an average student'. It's very difficult to explain, but I had a burden that I believed God wanted her to know that He did not create her as an average student. I mean, it was a very real burden. I kept saying, You're not average! And finally, I just grabbed her and I said, Listen, don't listen to me, but listen to God speaking through me, and God is telling you He did not make you average! I never will forget the look on her face, she was like, Really, wow, really? For her whole life, she had been labeled as this. And when I finally said, I really believe God wants to say, something clicked in her. This is amazing, the girl never made a B for the rest of her time through college, 4.0 straight A's for the rest of the time, when she finally realized what everyone else heaped on her was not true. She had a new name and a new identity. The same was true with me. I had just come out of a very wild lifestyle. I had been totally changed by Christ and about two-and-a-half years after becoming a Christian, I was actually hired as an Associate Pastor of a great church, First United Methodist Church, downtown Oklahoma City, and I felt very unworthy for this job. Didn't know enough, hadn't been to seminary yet, and I never will forget the first week in the office. I was walking through and this lady, named Mary _____ at the time, she came up and she said, Hello Pastor Craig! And I went, No, no, no, no, no, no, no! I'm Craig, but not Pastor Craig! She said, No, no, no! You're my Pastor, you are Pastor Craig! No, no, no, no, no, no! I'm just getting over being Party Craig! Okay, I'm new Christian Craig, I'm not worthy! She goes, No, you're my Pastor! Well, I went in to see my Pastor, Pastor Nick Harris, and I said, Pastor, this lady called me Pastor Craig and I'm not Pastor Craig! He said, Oh, no, no, no! You are! He said, You don't believe it yet, but you are! That is the name God has given you! I said, I'm not good enough! And I never will forget when Pastor Nick looked at me and said, Pastor Craig, you will grow into your name! I promise you, you will! And that's what happened over time. God is going to give some of you a new name and you may feel unworthy of that, I'm not good enough, I'm not there yet! And here's what I want you to understand, God will help you grow into your new name. Some of you, God is going to give you the name, Forgiven. You are Forgiven, you are Forgiven, and you may not feel it yet, but you're going to grow into your position in Christ. All of your sins are gone. Some of you, God is going to give you the name, Overcomer. For your whole life they've said, You'll never overcome this! And God is going to give you this name. You thought, No, no, no! You will grow into that name. Some of you, you feel very inadequate as a mom. I just don't measure up! And God is going to say, No, you are a spiritual Mom, you have what it takes! You say, No! You will grow into that name! God is going to call many of you, your name is Spiritual Leader, that's your name. You are a Spiritual Leader. You will lead your family. Some of you, you will lead teenagers in SWITCH, or you will lead kids in LIFEKIDS, or you will lead a LIFEGROUP, or you will be a Spiritual Leader at your office. Your name is Spiritual Leader! Oh no, I'm still too unholy! Oh I still don't know.. No, no, no, no, no! That's your name! God is going to give you a new name and by His power He will help you grow into your new name. Many of you, you've been labeled by things in the past. Do not believe what others said about you, believe that you are who God says you are, and our God will bestow upon you a new name. That's just good preaching and you guys are being so quiet, sitting there like a bump on a log! I don't know where the heck you are, but that just makes me want to say, Good preaching, Pastor Craig! You've grown into your name! Okay, second thing if you're taking notes: 1. God will give you a new name. Second thing, write this down: Our God will give you a new purpose. With your new name comes a new purpose. And you can see Him do this over and over and over again, in His living Word. One of my favorite examples is with a guy named Simon, who could have been labeled Unpredictable, undependable, wishy-washy. Jesus meets Simon and says, 'Oh, you're a fisherman, you've been fishing for fish, but I'm giving you a new purpose. For the rest of your life, you're going to fish for people.' In other words, you're going to be a world changer, you're going to be an Evangelist. I'm going to take you and give you a new purpose and you're going to do things you never thought you could do. Along with his new purpose came a new name, to give him a new identity. One time, Jesus asked him, 'Who do people say that I am?' And he said, 'Some people say your this, and some people say, Elijah, John the Baptist.' And Jesus looked at Simon and said, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Simon said, 'I say that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God'. And Jesus replied to him in Matthew 16:17: Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you... 'Simon, I'm giving you a new name!' Now.... are Peter... Peter means rock. You are no longer undependable, but you are rock... ...and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I'm giving you a new name and with your new name comes a new purpose. You are the rock and I'm going to build my church on the rock. Now, some of you may not know his story. Those of you that do, I ask you, was Peter always a rock, that point forward? No, nothing close. I mean, he messed up again, and again, and again, as he was growing into his new name and growing into his new purpose. In fact, if you know the story, Peter actually denied Jesus, not once, but three times. And then, after the resurrection, Jesus graciously forgave him, restored him, said basically, 'Go do what I created you to do'. And on the Day of Pentecost, guess who God chose to be the guest speaker on that day? Peter the rock, the one who knew what it was like to fail and be forgiven, the one who was best qualified to stand up and say, Repent sinners, and turn to Christ and you will be saved. And on that day, Peter the Rock, led 3,000 people to Christ and the beginning of the New Testament Church was formed on Peter, the rock. In fact, tradition tells us that at the end of his life, they were going to martyr him, crucify him like Jesus, and Peter said; 'I'm unwilling to die as my Savior died on a cross, hang me upside down'. He was not born a rock, but I'm here to tell you, he died a rock. God is going to give many of you a new name, and with that new name comes a new purpose, and you will grow into your new purpose. And here's the best news, I want you to take whatever negative label that's been associated with your name, take that label, and understand with the power of Christ, out of the greatest weakness of your past God can raise up the greatest strength for your future. Out of the greatest weakness God can raise up the greatest strength. Craig the tightwad, Craig the miser, Craig the one who is not generous, God did a work in my heart and He gave me a new name with a new purpose. And now, with everything in me, I believe that we exist to be generous, both personally and my own personal lifestyle, and as a Church, I will say humbly, but out of my greatest weakness, God has born our greatest strength. And the number one thing our church is known for globally, across planet earth; the number one thing is for a Kingdom-minded generosity, because God took my greatest weakness, gave me a new name, a new purpose, a new strength, and He, I promise you, He wants to do the same thing for you. Don't let the labels of the past define you, you are not what others say you are, you are not the result of your past. God will give you, the Lord will bestow upon you a new name, He will give you a new purpose. And the third thing if you're taking notes, is: 3. Our God will give you a new future. Through the power of Christ, our God will give you a new future. I know so many people who are so pessimistic about their future: My life is never going anywhere, never going to be this, never going to be happy! I'm always going to be alone! I'm always going to be miserable! I'm never going to get out of debt! I'm always going to battle with these headaches! On and on and on and on and on! Listen, don't you dare insult God with faithlessness about your future. Here's what God says, Jeremiah 29:11, God says: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a... What? Everybody...plans to give you a hope and a what? Plans to give you a hope and a... ...future. Maybe you've been labeled. You're always the bridesmaid, but never the what? Never the bride! You know, I'm 28, I'm 33; I'm never going to find a good man, they're all taken or jerks, you know! I'm never going to you know, I'm never going to have a good marriage, I mean, I'm stuck with this bump on a log, he's never going to come to Christ! She's always going to be.... You know, My kids are never going to grow up to do anything. I'm always going to be in debt. I've always got this addiction, I just can't overcome it! I'm just not this.... And on and on and on! Out of your greatest weakness, I believe God can raise up the greatest strength. For years you've been labeled an addict and I'm telling you what, God can help you overcome your addiction and give you a future where you help others overcome their addictions. They say, you know, I've been labeled as fat and I'm chunky, and I'm full-figured, and I'm never going to be anything... I'm telling you what, through the power of Christ you may get a hold of your diet, you may become a P90X Holy Ghost, steroid-filled worker, you're going to get in shape and then God's going to give you a future where you help others do the same thing. I'm always going to be in debt! and I'm always going to be.... Whatever! No, no, listen, God is going to give you a burden for wise financial management. You're going to get fanatic, you're going to get a tattoo of Dave Ramsey's face right on your shoulder! You're going to be debt-free and in your future you're going to help others become debt-free as well. Why? Because out of your weakness, the label of the past, God raises up a strength and gives you a hope and a future. God will give you a hope and a future. In fact, to me the very best story in all the Bible, one of the ones that connects my heart so deeply is a lady who was labeled one of the worst labels you could imagine. Her name is mentioned eight times in the Bible and six times, this negative label is tied into her name. She was known as Rahab the prostitute, or Rahab the harlot. Now, her label was true, she was a prostitute. And there were two kinds when she lived; there was kind of the temple prostitute that was more respectable, and there was the kind that would get arrested on COPS. She was the lower one, and would have been arrested on COPS. She was not, I mean, it was the lowest rung in society and you could only imagine what that would do to her emotionally. She'd have to feel, I'm used goods, I'm only good for one thing and there's never going to be any love with this, I could never have a good marriage, God could never love me. She started to hear about the God of Israel, and there's a beautiful verse that says that her heart melted as she heard stories about God. In fact, some of you, that's you today. You don't really know God, you may believe in Him, but your heart is starting to melt as you hear about the goodness and the power of our God. And she had two spies come into her place from Israel and she did something that was really amazing, she risked her life. Very literally, she could have died if she got caught for this; to hide the spies, most likely, in an effort to get to know their God. And so, this prostitute; this harlot, this hooker, became in many ways, not just the savior of these two spies, but the savior of all of these other people around her, foreshadowing what would come years later out of Rahab the prostitute. You see, when she got to know God, she became a new person. I'm convinced in whatever way, God gave her a new name and she knew it, she knew she was transformed, she knew she was forgiven. And with her new name came a new purpose, and with her new purpose came a new future and God did what no one else would have thought possible, God brought her a God-fearing man named Salmon, and she had a great marriage with this man, when nobody else would have thought that was possible. Just like you today; some of you, you feel this burden, I'm never going to be... and It's always going to be this way. And there's this label that follows me through. Here's what God did through Rahab the prostitute who married a God-fearing man. She had a son and then a great grandson; great, great grandson, great, great, great, great..five times over, she had a great, great, great, great, great grandson, whose name happened to be Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born to take away the sins of the world! Out of Rahab the prostitute, came Jesus the Savior of the world! Don't you dare let anyone put you in a box and put a label on it. You are not what anyone else says about you. By the power of Christ, you can get past your past and God will bestow upon you a new name. You are not what others called you, you are not what you call yourself. God will bestow upon you a new purpose. You will grow into your name; you're not there yet, but you'll grow into it! He'll give you a new purpose and you'll grow into that and as He does, let me tell you what He'll give you, He will give you a new future and you can glorify Him through your greatest weakness. God will raise up His greatest strength and you will never be the same! That which held you back in the past; I declare, is broken in the name of Jesus! If anyone is in Christ He is a new person, the old life is gone, and behold your new life has begun! Father, I pray in the name of your risen Son Jesus, that your power, your presence, your grace and your mercy would overwhelm us and overflow through our hearts. As you're praying today, at all of our different churches; our Network Churches, Church Online, all of our Life Churches, as you're praying right now, there are many of you, that you know there is a label that has held you back. Maybe it's not just a clear name, maybe it's a mindset, a thought process, maybe others have put this on you, maybe you've just put it on yourself. Someone one time said, and you've just owned it and you've boxed yourself into a corner. I believe with all of my heart, God wants to give you a new name, a new purpose and a new future. All of our churches, those of you who would say, There really is, there's something that's holding me back, I've been labeled, I've labeled myself, I want to seek God for a new direction. I don't want any longer the labels to keep me from being who God says I'm supposed to be. If that's you, you really want to overcome it, by the power of Christ, I believe you will. All of our churches, those of you who would say, Yes, that's me. Pray that I would know who I am in Christ. Help me overcome the labels that have held me down. Would you lift up your hands now. Right now, just in an act of faith, lift them up, all of our different churches. Those of you who would say it, there's more of you right now, just lift it up and be real honest before God. God, I thank you today, for those who sincerely want to overcome what someone else has imposed upon us. I pray God, that the truth, the truth of your Son would set us free. That God, we would not be limited by the labels of the past; but God, that the name of Jesus would overcome us. And God, I do, I really pray that there would be those that would recognize they have a new name. You call me Craig the generous, the Kingdom-minded one. God I pray that just as I'm growing into my name, that your children would grow into your new name and God I thank you for the new purpose and the new future. God, I thank you that on this day, there will be many lives changed because of your goodness and your presence. As you keep praying today, this excites me so much to know that there are many of you here for this moment. You look at your life and you may say, I don't like who I am right now. Well let me just tell you, without Christ you probably shouldn't because we are all sinners, we are all bent toward sin in this world. You may think, I'd love a fresh start, I'd love to be new. Let me tell you what, you don't have the power to get yourself where you need to be, you need the power of Christ in your life. Who is Christ? He is the Son of God. God sent His Son Jesus, born without sin, lived a perfect life, died for us on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, was raised three days later. Now, Scripture says that anyone who calls on His name will be saved, forgiven, transformed. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new person, the old is gone and the new has come. There are many of you, God brought you here for this moment. Today is the day of your salvation. As you call on His name, all your sins will be forgiven, you'll be washed anew, you'll be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and you will never be the same. You know it, you can sense it, your heart is beating fast, that's why you're here. Today is your day! All of churches, those of you who would say, Yes that's me, I'm ready, I give my whole life to Jesus, I repent of my sins, I call on Him. Jesus save me, make me new, I give my life wholly and completely to you! If that's your prayer today, would you lift up your hands now! Right now, lift them up all over the place. Lift them up, leave them up, I want to just look at you. Right here, sir, in this section, God bless you! Others of you, right back over here, welcome into God's family. Right back over here, ma'am; all of you, right back over here, praise God for you! Others of you today say, Me too! Sir, right here, and right back over here in this section. Lift up your hands and say, Yes, Jesus, take my life! Both of you, right back over here, welcome into God's family. Others of you today, new life, new life, forgiveness. Right back over here, Yes, Jesus, save me from my sins. Right over here as well, praise God, praise God for you! Everybody pray aloud if you will, just pray! Pray heavenly Father, take all of my life, make me new. Jesus, save me from my sins. I believe you died for me and you rose again so I could live for you. Fill me with your spirit, make me new in every single way. Give me a new name, give me a new purpose, give me a new future that I could use for you. Thank you for new life, I give you mine. In Jesus' name I pray! Life Church, get a little bit rowdy, get a little bit loud! Welcome those people born today into God's family!

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Duration: 34 minutes and 16 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on May 9, 2011

Getting Past Your Past - Week 1 - Craig Groeschel -

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