Sunday Services at 9:30 and 11:00 am
Grace Summit Community Church is a nondenominational church which focuses on authentically living out what the Bible teaches. It’s also a church with a big heart—toward its members, guests, and those in our community.
Grace Summit leadership and members desire to make a difference in our world by demonstrating through our lives that God is real, that He loves people and that He wants a relationship with each person. The mindset of “making room for more” underlies the plans and activities of Grace Summit as we strive to include and connect with more people in all we do. We’d love to have you be a part of what God is doing here at Grace Summit!
This Week's Message
We are going to wrap up our series – “Lies people Believe” today – and we will focus on How to Replace the False Narrative with the Truth.
Lord, thank You for the cross and the truth that is found in You – you said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You are the TRUTH – you are the correction for the lie – and to whatever problem we have or wound we have experienced. You are the one who does transforming – there is no other name by which we may be saved. We owe it all to You. You gave Your life that we might have life. Increase our knowledge and understanding of that this morning – like the leper who returned and said thank You – may we live a life of gratefulness.
To replace the FALSE NARRATIVE, we need to understand the TRUE NARRATIVE – the GOOD STORY – that is the definition of THE GOSPEL. It is the story of God, His creation, and His people. I am going to – in five minutes – tell the eternal story!
It begins with creation – God said, Let there be light and He creates the heavens and the earth. The fact that there is a creation tells us one important thing – there is a creator who made all of this. We know that to be God. Because there is a creator, there is PURPOSE in the creation. Because God created individuals, there is responsibility that His creation has to Him. Now, for us – we are the only ones who have been created in the image of God. God singles us out – Male and Female, in the image of God He created them. We are different from everything else – yes, we share some commonality, but we are created in the image of God – which means many different things – we are called to represent God to all of Creation.
That story that began at the beginning was interrupted fairly quickly by The Fall – the rebellion – in two realms – angelic first and then by humans. They reject the good story – God’s story – because of a lie. We have looked at that lie in this series.
What happens as a result of the rebellion – there is judgment and death. The image is distorted – they are cast out of the Garden – the perfect place that had been created for them. That separation continues with Cain and Abel and Noah and Babel and there is this continual progression down. Then God chooses a person – Abraham and his descendants are chosen for God – that they might know Him and love Him and to be a part of His work on earth. This is known as Israel.
And Israel rejects God’s story – and there is more separation and judgment. This comes to completion at the end of the Old Testament – Israel is scattered throughout the world.
Then God Himself enters into the story. God becomes a part of Creation – the Incarnation – God becomes man – Jesus. He walks with His people and in His creation. This One who becomes part of creation lives, tells, and fulfills the Good Story in every way. He goes back to what it all began to be – and He is that – and He brings peace back to our relationship with God. He restores things the way they were meant to be. He begins this process of a new creation and a new story – and this story is fulfilled.
Now we must have a response – a response of faith to that good news – to become part of the story – to become part of God’s family – to become restored in relationship with God. The moment we put our faith and trust in what God is done – we are brought back into relationship with God.
We have heard that story many times. To the extent you live and believe that story – to that extent, your life is transformed. That is how you live a transformed life.
I give practical advice – but none of that will work if you don’t have a growing understanding of that story and what it means for you.
To know the gospel, as Paul writes – to live and believe it – in understanding it are our lives changed.
We need to merge that great story with our ruined story – our damaged story – and put those two things together that we might understand transformation.
Most of my quotes today are from Terry Wardle – Strong Winds and Crashing Waves.
Jesus is not unaware of our wounds. He is not unaware of what you have been through – what has happened in your life. He has experienced it. In Isaiah, it says He bore our sorrows, wounds, grief and shame. When He was hanging on the cross – somehow – those things that have wounded you – those events that have happened in your life to cause trouble – were placed on the cross and borne by Jesus – so He knows exactly what you have been through. He knows it – so much that He experienced the pain, sorrow, loss and suffering in it.
Heb. 4: 15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
He is in every way been through what we have been through – and now we can come to His throne confident that He has what we need for that circumstance in our lives. He has the grace and mercy necessary for us in every situation.
He is present in our story – He has been with us – when whatever difficulty you faced happened to you – Jesus was there. That can be hard to hear. You might ask – why didn’t He do something about it? We need to discover Jesus in those events in our lives. We talked about a holy imagination coming into play last week – to see Christ in those events. That may be hard for some of us to do – that may be the thing that rattles our faith most.
Guilt and regret – being able to see that when I have sinned and failed others – the cross was right there and He was bearing that sin on the cross. It is different for different people – when you think about how to do this. So I won’t give you a way of seeing Jesus in your story – rather the Spirit has to show us how Christ was there for you and how He is in that.
The Bible is filled with this – read the prophets – they have this imagery of God – all these different images of how God is engaged in our lives. Some are really weird – He tells Haggai to marry a prostitute – and to let her go back to prostitution and to take her back again.
We see things like crossing a river – where there is no water – and take a pile of stones – and when your children see it – you can tell of God.
Passover feast every year.
For us we have communion – a perfect image of what happened on the cross.
Baptism – and so, for me, an area that has always been a struggle – to really believe that God is going to do me good – He has my best in mind – sure I believe it theologically - but in reality – sometimes I expect things to go wrong and God to not work it out. Several verses have helped me with this.
I will rejoice over them to do them good – and faithfully plant them in the land.
Therefore the Lord LONGS to be gracious to us.
I would take these prayer walks – and I would begin by imagining thinking about those verses – letting them fill my mind and to imagine God rejoicing over me to do me good. I am allowing God’s word to fill my heart – and to recognize that is exactly what He is doing – rejoicing over you to do you good. He longs to be gracious to you – waiting on high to have compassion on you.
We need to see God in the imagination of our minds – I am not talking about imagery and all that stuff – this is something wholly different! And it is something holy for our lives.
Someone comes to Christ and has some bad things in their lives and some paraphernalia from that bad stuff. Sometimes it is good to throw that away or even to do something more ceremonially – to burn it – like a memorial.
The teenagers will do the cross thing – where they will write down their sins and nail it there – it is an image that can go into our minds and give a sense of what God has done. I think the Bible is filled with that kind of stuff and we need to fill our minds with how the Bible is filled with this.
When we do this – nailing to a cross – it retells our story with Jesus at the center of the story.
Joseph – Genesis 50: 20 As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.
We know his story – he has a dream -they don’t like his dream – he has a coat – they don’t like his coat. They sell him into slavery. And he is imprisoned for 13 years – what a life! And then Joseph is elevated to the second most important man in the world.
You meant it for evil – God meant it for good.
That is where we are aiming with the events and false narratives and lies we have seen.
1) First – we must GRIEVE our losses.
Cindy and I were talking about this – there are big wounds that happen to people. Dreams that are lost. You lose your youth – that is the point of getting older – and you begin to lose energy – you lose lots of things – there is much loss in this world – maybe it is relationships that are lost. Maybe you have been through a divorce – you need to see Jesus entering into that circumstance – entering in into that wound.
We need to learn to grieve what was lost. Every wound has a significant loss attached to it.
“Suffering cannot be redeemed unless you identify the pain and loss caused by the suffering.”
THEN – as you begin to grieve – and I did this seminar a few weeks ago – and this was one of my assignments for us.
2) You need to write a lament.
You probably think – what is that? We have the book of lamentations – the Psalms – expressing our loss and grief before God.
I don’t journal – so this is a difficult assignment – for areas that have been lost. Hopes lost.
First – when you look at the psalms – written in language one. That is the technical term – primitive and uncensored.
We were at a pastors and wives couple’s conference. The guy there used the term emotional waste products.
Language two is cleaned up language – but we must begin – as we enter into this process – with language one – uncensored for this to work. You cannot grieve with censored language – it is not possible.
You need to identify what was lost – to look at the circumstance/event/wound – and identify what was lost – what did you lose? A relationship with your parents because of a divorce? A lifestyle because of a job that went awry? A career? A relationship with a child? It must be identified. You don’t always get back what you have lost – but you get back Christ. You get Christ – and that is all you need.
Third – you need to include RAGE in your lament. With every wound comes rage. It is a simple reality – and anger may be another word.
My God, My God – why have you forsaken me – not in a pious tone – but in a tone where he pounds his fists – WHY did you let this happen? Why did this take place? I cry by day and you do not answer!
It is core uncensored language!
“To express rage at God is the only way to take the offensive with grief”
To go on the attack and to overcome it – you must express rage at God. We are scared to death to do that!
Even when your problems come from the sins of other people – the first place you need to rage against is God. Read the psalms in a new light! When we express the rage to God, we place the rage on the cross. That is where it belongs! Not on the person who sinned against us, our spouse, or the people we work with.
“Depression is frozen rage”
It is when we have this stuff boiling up inside of us – and instead of letting it out, we freeze it inside us and it destroys our lives. Unexpressed rage. We don’t want to lose control – but the place to lose control is before God – He can handle it.
The fourth part is very important – a lament always ends in praise – in doxology – You are holy – o You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. This brings Jesus into the center – the focal point – the ultimate goal of that story. This is a process – it takes time – and every individual is different. You may read the psalm and be transformed in 3.5 minutes. Or it might take 3.5 decades!
We have to understand that Jesus is aware of our wound, grieve it, and understand our identity and calling.
Matt. 3: 16 After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.”
Transformation takes place when at the core of your being you know you are loved, chosen, and empowered by God. From this verse – when God says this to Jesus – He goes off, does battle with the enemy and launches his ministry.
John 13: 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. 6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
Knowing He is loved, chosen, and empowered by God – He acts.
A person who knows this will step up and act out of service to God and God’s people.
It is from that foundation that we live our lives – that we can give our lives in sacrifice and in service. Being convinced at our core – that God loves us.
In closing – we see in Jesus – how much impact this has.
See what happens – He knows that God loves Him, has chosen Him – and is empowered by God – and see what happens – there is a roadblock – and Jesus stands and does what He knows to be right in the face of all opposition. He lives for the Father no matter what anyone else thinks of him, because He has that security in His relationship with God.
"The greatest transformation comes from great love, knowing that we are loved, chosen and empowered - and extreme suffering"