It's also really cool / interesting to sit at different churches with entirely different groups of people and hear the Word presented in different ways.
Different churches appeal more to families or young people or older people for different reasons.
One thing I realized as I sat in my home church yesterday morning (OakView Baptist) is that although we don't have the lights and the music and coffee, we do hear the Word in a way that really gets deep into your soul.
It's a trend nowadays to preach and celebrate victory over sin and shout that we are conquerors through Jesus and be positive and happy and all of that is true and awesome and motivational!!!
...But I realized yesterday we (I) sometimes through this, lose sight of the realty of sin.
The detriment of sin.
The weight of sin.
Pastor Steve brought a message that desperately needs to be heard over and over again in churches all across the nation. It was timely and it was hard. It was necessary.
My heart has been so burdened lately by our culture. It seems like people are celebrating sin and godlessness everywhere we look. We can't escape it, and as a high school teacher I see it more than most. I see how it is affecting our young people. I see how it has affected friends and family members. It kills me.
But this weekend, I was challenged to ask the Lord to reveal sin in MY life through the Holy Spirit and deal with it accordingly.
I took some notes yesterday and wanted to share them here:
From Joshua 7 and the story of Achan who hid treasures under his tent (symbol / metaphor for sin we cover up in our lives) ---
-ONE SIN can ruin a WHOLE life.
Example: One episode of drunk driving is all it takes to kill someone.
-One 'small' sin can be a sign of a sick heart.
Examples: ONE cancer cell can spread and eat up your entire body.
ONE blood clot can trigger a stroke.
-Sin HAS to be dealt with -- you absolutely cannot defeat Satan if you are constantly living in sin you have covered up.
-You cannot ignore it, or it will get bigger and spread like cancer and ruin things in your life.
-You have to realize and admit what you are struggling with / doing wrong. That's the first step.
-If you struggle with being tempted to sin, if you don't look at what tempts you, you won't be tempted to covet (want) it.
Examples: Had David never looked at his neighbor (and kept looking), he would've never wanted to have an affair with her and later kill her husband to cover it up.
(Lives ruined because of one man's sin)
If I know it tempts me to look at websites where I like to online shop, I don't need to go to those websites!
"Don't look upon the accursed thing."
-Our sin GRIEVES God's heart. The Bible says it makes Him grieve.
Why would we want to do that to Him when He has done everything for us?
When He CHOSE to die on a cross for the very sin we keep hurting Him with?
-When I think about it that way, it hurts me to know I hurt HIM!
-My idolatry hurts Him.
-Your sin never affects just one person (you).
-Other people will always suffer as a result.
Examples: Innocent victims in drunk driving accidents.
Families of those who are addicted to drugs / pornography / gaining material things
-We have to think about our sin in this way: "How will this HURT the people I love? Is it worth it?"
-SIN keeps the Holy Spirit from doing what it wants to do in our lives. The Lord is trying to work in us and we block Him from doing that when we routinely participate in sin.
-We block ourselves from growing and living our best and most abundant life.
-There's nothing hidden that won't eventually be brought to light.
-You may hide certain sins for a while, but God sees all, and it won't be long before the side affects of the sin start to seep out and intoxicate every area of your life. Your heart will suffer, and will show it.
-Become sanctified (turn from the sin) or God will not stand by you.
(He is always with us, but His comforting presence will leave us if we keep sinning the same sins and not repenting of them.)
-There has to be repentance and there has to be change.
-Basically, you have an ultimatum. Keep living in this sin, or live in Christ.
-Choose God or your sin. You cannot have both.
TAKE SIN SERIOUSLY! GOD DOES!
***This challenged me to evaluate my pride and my idolatry. My lust for material things has gotten to the point where it scared me. It's a constant battle I fight, but the Lord has showed me over the past few years that clothes and jewelry AND EVEN CUTE SHOES won't bring peace or joy.
***When you realize your sin and how it affects you and your relationship with Christ and your friends and family and romantic relationships and your ability to live abundantly in freedom...
All of a sudden, going to the mall and seeing cute clothes and jewelry repulses me and I'm not tempted by it.
But if I were to get caught up in buying things all the time again, I would go right back to that sinful place where I want more and more and it's never enough.
And I would reap the consequences of that sin yet again.
I hope this helps someone!