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Getting Past Your Past - Week 4

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Well, I'm really honored to talk to you today about getting past your own personal failures; because truthfully, all of us at one time or another, we've done some things that we wish we hadn't done. For example, all of our different churches, I don't know how many of you would say that at your house having milk is necessary for the world to run. How many of you are kind of like my house, you need a little bit of milk or the whole world is shut down? Let's just settle it once and for all, skim milk or one percent? Skim milk, skim milk, water, one percent? I mean, whole milk, whole milk? Chocolate milk, chocolate milk? There you go, there you go! At our house we're one percent. We were out of one percent for a couple of days and the world was about to come to an end! So, I went to the grocery store to deliver the promised goods back to the house. I came in and there was only one gallon of one percent left sitting on the shelf and I actually spotted it from several feet away. And so, I kind of did the fast walk toward it to make sure nobody else got there. You know, like this! I walked up to get it and I opened up the door. When I did, unfortunately I was in a weak position, a vulnerable position. This guy actually came up to me and put his shoulder slightly into me and pushed me off and reached in and grabbed my one percent milk! Now, I used to say there are two things you don't do to me; you don't tell me to chill out, you don't flip me off. The third thing is you don't grab my milk! Can I get an amen in the house? This guy pushed me to the side and grabbed my milk and I'm telling you, for a moment I just prayed, God, I wish I wasn't a pastor! I'm looking at this guy thinking, In twelve seconds I could choke you out, and I want to right now! And these thoughts of rage just went through my mind! Thankfully, I had the presence enough to know that there were other people in there that might know I represent Christ. And so, by the power of the Spirit of God I let it go, walked away, and prayed ungodly things for the guy who took my milk! Not really, but I was upset! So, I got the rest of my groceries, just a few things because that's all a man is allowed to get without messing it up! I took my cart and went to the ten-items-or-less isle and guess who happened to be in front of me? The milk man! And I looked into his basket and I thought to myself, That looks like more than ten items! And so, I just counted them rather loudly; One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten...eleven! And I tapped him on the shoulder and I said, Do you realize you have eleven items in the ten-or-less isle line? Give me the milk and we'll call it even! And he just kind of looked at me like, You're weird! On the inside man, there's fury, there's rage! I just couldn't...and I shouldn't of said that to him, but there are so many things quite honestly that I've done and said that are so much worse than that! And I'm sure the same is true for you. All of us, if we're really honest, there are things that we've done, things that we've said that we wish we hadn't. And for so many of us it's really difficult to get past our own past. We may know that God has forgiven us, but we have a difficult time forgiving ourselves. I don't know what it would be for you, but I can promise you at all of our campuses, there are many of you that you still feel a real heaviness because of your sexual past. You did some things that at the time seemed fun and right, but years later there's just, there's baggage and there's weight and there's guilt, and it might be affecting your marriage or your present state and you're thinking, I wish I hadn't done this! For some of you, there's a reoccurring sin. There's something that you do and then you pray for forgiveness, and you pray, God, I'll never do that again! And you may go a week or two weeks or three weeks, and then you fall into it again. And you feel like you're carrying this big weight from your past, I just can't shake this sin that continues to come. Or some of you, maybe you said something to someone that you loved and you didn't mean to, you might have even felt it at the time, but you said it, and now you can't unsay it and it's hurting your intimacy with another person. Some of you, you've got some bad decisions you've made in the past and now they're catching up to you. Maybe they're coming out, or you're afraid they might come out and you just, you regret it, you hate it, and you don't know what to do. I know a lot of people that unfortunately, they strayed from their marriage and they did something that really betrayed their spouse. And here they are years later; their spouse has forgiven them, their children have forgiven them, God has forgiven them, and yet they just can't forgive themselves. There is this aching, this sense of total failure and they can't seem to get over it. I know a lot of people unfortunately that are divorced today, and there's this real sense of guilt. They think, I could have if I just tried a little harder....If I just prayed a little more.....if I had just worked a little more at it....and yet, here I am in this place. Others, they look at their own kids and think, If I had only been a better parent they wouldn't have turned out this way. And so many people feel a lot like David did when he said this in Psalm 38:4, he said: My guilt has overwhelmed me. It's overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. I talked to one lady this week. She said, I want to be a mentor, but I feel unworthy. After all I've done, how could I mentor other young ladies? Another guy said, I really want to have a good marriage, but after all I've done I just don't believe I could ever have a good marriage. What's happening? Their past continues to follow them. Here's what I hope you'll understand, and hear me clearly. Every saint of God, every great person that God has ever used; every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. You look everywhere in the world and every saint that God uses in a good way has a past that the power of God has helped them overcome. And every single sinner and that includes you, has a future. By the power of God through Christ, I believe God wants to help you overcome your past. And now, I'm going to welcome one of our team teachers to help bring you God's Word. Would you please celebrate and honor one of our great team teachers? Chris Beall: Well, my name is Chris Beall and I am the Campus Pastor here at the Oklahoma City Campus of and as always, I am so incredibly honored to be able to share with you God's Word today. You know, when Craig was talking about that crazy milk story, which I pray he's still repenting for! You know, the thing that I could not escape, was going back to the seventh grade. I was about two inches taller than all of the other kids growing up and my Dad, he kind of dug sports; and so he was like, Son, I really think you should go out for the basketball team. And like any seventh-grade boy, I just wanted to make Dad proud and I figured, you know, I had the height advantage and so you might as well. And so, sure enough, I go out for the basketball team and the tryouts were pretty lame, so I made the team. I was actually first string. I was starting on the basketball team and I remember my first game. It was incredible, I was so amazingly nervous! Coach put me in right at the start, I was starting. And so, check this out; one of the things about being a Beall boy athletically, is that we're not ever related to, like a cheetah or a gazelle, or anything like that, we have some speed issues. And so, I remember this one play. The other team we were playing, they literally made a fast break over to their goal, and I'm running trying to keep up. Everyone is in the paint and I'm at half court. And so, I'm trying to keep up, but luck would have it, we got a rebound and they saw me at half court and we all knew this was it, Chris was going to bring it to the rim. And so, fast break threw it to me at half court and I looked at it, the rim, there it was and it was calling for me. I looked up into the stands and Dad was sitting there as proud as he could be just knowing, this is going to be it, I'm taking it to the hoop. So, I start dribbling down to make my goal. One of the things about dribbling for me at this time is I still had to learn how to dribble without looking at the ball. And so, I'm dribbling and I'm having to look straight down because I'd lose it, right? And so, I'm dribbling it down the court, everybody is like a mile away and I take it up for a nice, easy lay up, bank it off of the glass. And so, I just simply go up and I'm watching the ball and the curve is right, it looks right, it's going to go...wait, it's not going to go in, it's not even going to hit the backboard, it actually went over the backboard! And so, I thought to myself, I have got to recover this! And so, it didn't bounce out. I go grab the basketball, the other team still hadn't made it back to defend their rim. I grabbed the basketball just to bank it in. No lie, the ball hits the bottom of the rim, bounces down and hits me in the head and goes out of bounds! Do not ever ask me to play basketball with you because the answer is no, and has been since the seventh grade! Failure, you know when we talk about failure I would love to tell you that that is the worst thing I've ever done in my life. But the truth is, my life is riddled with one failure after another. Today, you know, we're talking about getting past our past. But there are far too many of you that are living in your past, you're living still gripped by the thought of that failure, or that series of failures. If we're really honest with ourselves, you know, our church and the Network churches are full of Uncle Rico's who are still living in '82. You know, we're still living in the past thinking, Man, if only the coach would have put me in at fourth quarter, surely we would have won state. Surely I'd be soaking it up in a hot tub with my soul mate. We're living in the past and it's no longer 1982, it's time to get past our past failures. How do we do it? How do we do it? We're going to talk about three ways today, and if you're taking notes I want you to write this down: The first thought in getting past our failures is (write this down): We have to recognize that your biggest sins are not too big for God's grace. Would you write that down? Your biggest sins are not, have never been too big for God's grace. You know, I've been a follower of Jesus for about 20 years. One of the things that's been profoundly aware to me is that so many people live consumed by guilt. And guilt, hear me on this, is not from God. It has never been. You know guilt, I believe we have a very real spiritual enemy who would love for us to just tread water in an ocean of guilt. See, guilt paralyzes action. We start to think things like, Well, I'm never going to conquer this, I'm never going to get over this failure, so why even try? You know, the other thing guilt does is it breeds self hatred, doesn't it? We just, the more we stew in it the more we loath us. But the Bible talks about this other thing and it's called conviction, literally, the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And the conviction of the Holy Spirit is one of the most beautiful things ever, because what it produces changes our lives. Check out what the Bible says, First John 1:9, we've got this incredibly conditional and powerful verse. John writes: If we confess our sins... If we do this, then what? ...then God is faithful... Meaning He will always do it. ...He is faithful and just... And say it with me, what is He going to do? He is going to: ...forgive us our sins and purify us from... What? Say it with me.. ...purify us from all unrighteousness. Wipe us clean completely from all unrighteousness, that's got to be one of the most powerful Scriptures in all of the Bible. Anybody ever seen one of these things? Anybody ever had one of these as a kid growing up? The beautiful Etch A Sketch, it's an iPad if you live in Arkansas! But anyway, that's terrible, I'm sorry I should not say that! We love you, all of you in Arkansas, we love you all! So anyway, if you had an Etch A Sketch check this out. You know, you go through the process of making stuff by turning these little knobs and I always go the wrong direction. And so you know, you can make boxes pretty easy, you can make sky scrapers. Don't try to make a circle because it's just not going to happen. And so you do this thing and as you're making your little picture and something goes wrong what do you do? Yeah, you've got to shake it a little bit and it's wiped clean. This is exactly what God does for us according to the passage we just read. What's on your Etch A Sketch? You know for me; anger, rage, resentment, hurt, bitterness, feelings of being betrayed, unfaithfulness. What's on yours? Lair, maybe adultery, maybe someone that's incredibly envious of other people and other people's stuff, how about abortion? The Bible says that God is faithful and just and will forgive our sin, but He doesn't just stop there. This is the cool part, Jeremiah 31:34, the Bible says: I will forgive their wickedness... And say this with me: ...and will remember their sins no more. The All-Powerful, Ever-Present God makes a choice of His will to limit His memory forever, forever. I will remember their sins no more. If we want to get past and I pray that you do, your past failures, we have to recognize that there is no sin that you will or have ever committed that is too big for God's grace. The second thought, and if you're taking notes write this down, is that: You are not what you have done, you are who God says you are. Would you write that down? You're not what you've done. It doesn't define you, your identity isn't in it, you are the very product and the identity of what God has breathed over your very life. That defines you. That's incredible. You see, Satan tries so hard to get us to personalize our sin, doesn't he? He tries to get us in a mindset where the things that we've done become who we see ourselves to be. So you don't say, I've committed adultery, you say I am an adulterer. You don't say, I've taken some things that don't belong to me, but no, you spin it and take it one step farther, I'm a thief. You know, the Bible says that when you hate someone in your heart that you're a murderer, that you've like committed murder in your mind. And so, you don't see yourself as having resentment or hate towards somebody, but you're literally like a murderer in your mind. Sin, check this out, sin is an event; it is never, ever a person ever. The Bible, and let me just say this; I pray to my God in heaven, that there are those of you who have been in chains to the past and to your mistakes and I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will recognize how God sees you today. Second Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, he says: Anyone... Say that word with me all together. He says what? He says: Anyone... That includes you. ...who belongs to Christ has become a... What? Say it with me, he's become what? ...a new person. He says: ...The old life... Where is it? Where's the old life? He said: ...The old life is gone and a new life has begun. Alright, so let's start with the bad news, you don't know Jesus. You don't know if He even knows you. Maybe you're just kicking the tires of this whole God-faith thing today, but you're pretty confident that you are not a follower of Christ. The bad news is that you are defined by your sin, you are; because see, outside of the cross of Christ we have nothing to hope for. We are literally a prisoner of sin the Bible says. And it does in fact define you. But there are some of you listening to this message today who are going to experience the voice of God kind of speaking into your heart, you know your heart starts racing and you know that you have not been in a relationship and He's going to call you back, and that anyone today, as you put your faith in Christ for the first time, that anyone is now going to speak of you today. Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person and the old life is gone and behold, all things have been made new. A new life has begun. Some of you know my story, I know some of you don't. I'll try to run through the timeline super quick. Been a pastor for about 17 years. Struggled with pornography for about 20 years. Was unfaithful to my wife many years ago and the Holy Spirit did in my life the very thing I've taught you today. Not guilt, but the conviction propelling me to the person of God Himself, just overwhelmed me about 10 years ago. I went to my wife, my church leaders, my pastor, my friends, and I got really, really honest about all of the things that I had struggled with. God began a work 10 years ago that I can't even tell you with the power of God's grace in my life. I remember, you know, we were going through this process of a marriage being healed and obviously I had resigned my position in the church, and I'm just trying to be a godly father and a good, faithful husband. The truth is, I didn't know how to be either of those things because I'd never done it. I distinctly remember watching my son, my oldest son Noah, sleeping one night. The thought came into my mind, how would you feel if he grew up to be like you? And that thought paralyzed me. There is not a thing in this world that I would want less. I would want him to be anything but me, to struggle with anything but what I struggle with, to fail any other way, but the way that I've failed. But God, who is abounding in love and grace poured that grace over my life and I experienced forgiveness and I started to experience freedom. And God began to change me as He convicted me of sin, and He began to speak things that were true about me, not the things that I did that I felt defined me, but actually the things that are in this Book that say who I am, and this is what it says: I've been adopted by God Himself into the family of God. The Bible says that I am blessed when I come in and I am blessed when I go out. The Bible says that I am more than an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb, my Savior, Jesus Christ and by the words of our story, by the words of our testimony. That's what the Bible says. The Bible says that I am free because Jesus set me free. The Bible says that the same Spirit, the same power that raised Christ from the grave lives in me and gives me the ability to overcome and be victorious and that is what is true about me, that is who I am. And the same thing is true about you, if you know Him. You are not what you have done, it doesn't define you. And your sin is not too big for God's grace. You are an overcomer, you are free in Christ. Craig Groeschel: Well, thank you so much to our great team-teachers, and I just want to reiterate their great points that your biggest sin is never, ever too big for God's grace. Also, you are not who others, or Satan says you are. You are who God says you are. The third thing I pray you'll internalize today is this: You cannot change your past, but Christ can change your future. You cannot change your past, but the risen Christ can change your future. Let's start with the past for a minute. When little Mandy, my second daughter, was maybe six or seven years of age, we moved from one house to another. Mandy had a little bear that she loved, it was a bear named Grandpa Bear. How he got the name Grandpa Bear, I have no idea, but Mandy loved Grandpa Bear. And when we moved, somehow Grandpa Bear got lost in the move. We looked and we searched, and we tried everything possible to locate Grandpa Bear, but we couldn't locate Grandpa Bear. I remember like it was yesterday, sitting down with my precious second daughter with her chubby little cheeks and saying the most loving thing that I could say to her, which was the truth, Mandy baby, Grandpa Bear is never coming back. And I need to say that to some of you today about the past. Grandpa Bear is never coming back; you can't change it, you can't change it. So, someone molested you and that's a tragedy beyond tragedies and painful beyond words, but you can't change what happened to you. You lost your marriage and your only dream was to have a good marriage and you are in agony because you lost your marriage; I ache with you, but you can't change it. You were young and you did something you shouldn't have done and you got pregnant when you didn't want to get pregnant and you made a decision to take the life of your child and you regret it all of the time. My heart breaks with you and I just want to tell you, I believe your baby is in heaven, but you can't change the past. You said something you shouldn't have said, you did something you shouldn't have done; you can't change it, but I'm telling you, moving forward, the power of Christ can be with you. Never ever forget, every single saint has a past and every single sinner and that's you and that's me, has a future through the power of the risen Christ. Just do this, whenever your spiritual enemy tries to remind you of your past, Satan says your this and your that and tries to bring up your past, you just remind him of his future! You just tell him, You're nothing, you've been defeated by Christ, the risen Christ lives inside of me and greater is the one who lives in me than the one who lives in this world. I can't change what happened, it's gone, it's over; but I'm telling you, we serve a good God with whom all things are possible and He's working in all things, even the bad things, to bring about good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I love the way Paul said this to the Philippians in Philippians 3:12-15, he said: I don't mean to say that I've already achieved all of these things... In other words he said, I'm not perfect or that I've already reached perfection, he said: ...but I press on... And that's what God will empower you to do. ...I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me... He said, 'No dear brothers or sisters, I haven't achieved it, but I focus on this one thing..' Then he says two things, which I think is funny, but he says: ...I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past... Everybody say forgetting the past. Say it again, Forgetting the past. ...and looking forward to what lies ahead. Everybody say, What lies ahead. He says: ...I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God called me through Christ Jesus. He is calling us. I press on and I forget the past. One of my favorite stories of life change in the history of our church is a couple named Jerome and Shanna. When I met Jerome, he had just became a Christian. Jerome lost a finger in a drug deal that went bad. He was a drug dealer, got his finger shot off. So, you'll see Jerome worshiping God like this quite often. I said, Jerome, let's get a job. I'm going to help you build a resume. What have you done? And Jerome looked at me and said, I've never done anything legal in my life. I said, Interesting! Jerome started dating a girl that was a new Christian. She had been a stripper. Her life had been changed. We've got an ex-drug dealer and a stripper who find Christ and start to date. When they were fighting Jerome said to me, I don't know that I should stay with this girl. And normally my advice is, Run for the hills if you ever say that, but I looked at them and I said, I feel like God wants you to stay together, I feel like He has something special for you. And under the authority of his pastor, he did something crazy and said, Okay! and he stayed with her. And they got married and I'm telling you, Jerome is now a Christian business man like nobody's business; working on computers, has rent homes, where he takes people in and let's them stay for free. Shanna is a homeschool mom, one of the most beautiful women I've ever met, she's beautiful like my wife; not just beautiful on the outside, but a Christ inner beauty that just shines through. And I'm looking at this homeschool mom of three kids, who took in two foster children that happened to have belonged to a stripper. This couple has ministries all over the world and I'm looking at them going, If Christ can take you from a stripping-drug dealing, into a productive world-changing couple, Christ can do more through any of you than you could ever imagine. Every single saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. So, if the past is following you, forget it! Here's what this word in the Greek means, forgetting what is past: It means to treat with thoughtless inattention, it means to willfully neglect, it means to leave behind intentionally, it means to banish from one's thoughts, it means to disregard on purpose, it means to cease remembering. Some of you, your spiritual enemy has been haunting you with your past. You treat it with thoughtless inattention. You willfully neglect that label that has held you hostage. You leave intentionally the sin behind you. You banish from your thoughts the lies of the evil one. You disregard on purpose other people's ill opinions of you and you cease remembering that which you let go and Christ has forgiven because I'm telling you right now, you are not who others say you are. There is no sin you've committed too great for God's grace and you cannot change your past, but the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, He can and He will change your future. Everybody praying today. God, we pray right now in your presence and in the name of Jesus that those who have been bound by their labels, those who have been hurt by others, that those who need to apologize for what they've done, for those who can't yet seem to forgive themselves; God I pray that your Spirit would sweep through their souls and there would be healing, forgiveness, and transformation today in the power of your Son Jesus. All of our different churches, those of you who would say, You know there is something, I wish I hadn't of done it, I wish I hadn't of said it, I have a hard time letting it go, I remember like it's yesterday. As a new Christian, knowing that God had forgiven me but unable to forgive myself, I felt so much shame I couldn't let it go. Today, I'm telling you, many of you are going to let it go. You're going to leave it behind, you're going to let it be under the cross of Christ and you're going to be different forever. All of our churches, those of you who would say, You know what? There is something I've been holding on to; it's a guilt, it's a shame, and I want to give it completely to God today. If that's you, would you lift up your hands right now and just say, That's me, I really do, there's something that has held me back, I want to give it to God. God, I pray today for hands at all of our different churches. God, I pray that if they have not confessed, that as they do, they would sense the power of your forgiveness and your grace. God, I pray that they would have the ability to forget it, to cease remembering, to put it in the past. I pray for healing in marriages. God I pray for healing in parent and child relationships. I pray for healing in friendships and sibling relationships. God, I pray for healing in our own hearts, that God, as you've forgiven us so we would forgive ourselves and by the power of Christ, we could truly get past our past. As you keep praying today at all of our different churches, there are many of you that you're still really lost in your past. Some of you, you're trapped in a very painful and sinful present. What do you do? Well, let me just tell you this, I believe with all of my heart that our good and a loving God brought you to church and church online for this very moment. You've been held hostage by something that you've done; the guilt, the fear, the shame. I want to tell you again that the Bible says that anyone who is in Christ, who is Christ? He is the Son of God, who was born without sin, He lived a perfect life, who shed His blood on the cross, who died for our sins, who was raised again from the dead; anyone who is in Christ, the Bible says, is brand new, a new person, the old is gone, the new has come. There are many of you that God brought here for this moment, it's time to break free from the old sin and be made new in Christ. What are you going to do today? You're going to recognize God brought you here and you're going to turn from your sin, and you're going to call on the name of Jesus and He's going to hear your prayer and He's going to fill you with the Spirit of God and you're never going to be the same. At all of our churches, there are those of you, you know that's you, that's why you're here. In the goodness of God, your answer to Him is, Yes, I want you, your salvation, new life in Christ. Today I turn from my sins and I turn toward you. If that's your prayer today at all of our churches, would you lift your hands high right now? Just lift them up and say, Yes!

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Duration: 34 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jun 1, 2011

Getting Past Your Past - Week 4 - Craig Groeschel

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