Archives For Beyond Sunday

Our past follows us around.  Sometimes we admit it, sometimes we deny it.

There are two commercials on TV that are for medicine but I think they help illustrate the point.  There is a picture of a guy lying on the couch.  All you see is his head.  As the camera pans out, you see he has an elephant sitting on him.  We are sometimes being crushed by what we have to carry around, but we don’t deal with it.  “What elephant”.  The latest one is the asthma commercial, where the person says “I don’t have a problem with my asthma” and everyone she interacts with daily, pops into the picture with examples.  Denial can be our best defense sometimes, however everyone else can see right through it.  Here is my personal favorite.  A lady sitting on a suitcase (didn’t realize I watch so much TV until all these examples popped into my head) and the suitcase has twice as much in it and it won’t close, but she is determined to get it shut.  This reminds me of just ignoring it.  If I can just stuff this experience into this box, I can forget about it.

There is all kind of pain inflicted by other people in our past.  Do we say, that’s their problem and yet we carry the emotional baggage?  We remember every single detail of that incident 12 years ago, but they forgot about it the next week.

The last half of Matthew 6:12 should hit you right in the forehead: “as we also have forgiven our debtors”.  Wow!  Have we?  Can we?  Will we?  We have to answer those questions ourselves, but it could be the first step toward the healing we need.

…by Kevin McHugh

Greg used a 1-10 scale to help us make an assessment as to how much the pain of our past affects our lives today with a 10 being someone in need of counseling “institutional”, and a 1 as being someone hardly affected at all or in denial – “delusional.” For me, I am not on either of these extremes but I freely admit I am impacted by my past on a fairly regular basis. I suppose if there was a bell shaped curve on that 1-10 scale, I would be somewhere in the center region.

The teaching this week was challenging to say the least. One of the points on the message outline says “Getting past your past is never detached from forgiveness.” And one of the verses used to back that up is from Mark 11 where Jesus said “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” That’s not easy, and I’m in the middle of the bell curve. What about the people who are closer to a 10?

On my card are 3 names; one dead, one living, and the other I have no idea. Two are family and one is not. I carry some baggage from all 3 to this day, but the reality is that it is my baggage now and I own it. That’s the point from this week’s teaching – we own it; not them. We are all different and have our own experiences, so maybe you are relating to my thoughts and maybe you are not, but this is how it is helpful for me to think about it – this baggage belongs to me. From one person on my card, the affect is on my self-confidence. From the other two there is guilt and a sense of responsibility for something that is not from me. These are the people God is telling me to forgive.

God has forgiven us for a multitude of sins and He does so willingly and without reservation. In turn He asks us to do likewise. The verses Greg asked us to read tell us about the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – if you haven’t already, read about it in Matthew 18:21-35. It is some compelling teaching from Jesus Himself that is not particularly easy. Please join me as I try my best to live it out.

 

…Beth Bevan

As we wrapped up the Live Sent series this past Sunday and last Thursday, I found myself both convicted and overwhelmed.  I am convicted by the calling that we all have been given but it is overwhelming to look around at the brokenness and find a place to start.  God tells me to simply keep it simple.  To pray for promptings.  And when I’m prompted, to pray for obedience.  Throughout this messages series we were given the tools on how and where to start…..  Practice hospitality.  Be in this world but not of this world.  Be intentional in the circles that we find ourselves in.  And finally, to not be okay with our world the way it is.

I resonate well with the two dilemmas that Greg put forward.  I have felt the angst in my soul when I have looked around to see the contentment of those around me.  But, more often, I feel the contentment in my soul while I see the angst in the world around me.  To know that I am okay, but the world and most of those around me are not.

Living Sent is often expressed in a God-given cause that we embrace.  And the cool part to that is its all to give Him the glory, but it comes in a million different ways.  A few years ago, I sat through our “Not a Fan” series and Greg preached about that “thing in your bones that you can’t not do anything about.”  I didn’t have that.  I prayed for it though.  Fast forward not even a year and I found myself in Liberia, Africa feeling the excruciating pain of God placing that “thing” in my bones.  I couldn’t stand to see what my eyes were seeing, or hear what my ears were hearing.  The guilt of my own advantages weighed me down beyond breathing.  At one point during that trip, I had to stand with arms outstretched and deny kids water.  There wasn’t enough.  I had to say no.  It ripped my heart out and made me furious.  It wasn’t okay.  The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required and I knew then that I was required to be a voice for these beautiful people.  To do everything in my power to ensure that one day I wouldn’t have to tell a single child or person no.  Fast forward to today.  A group of us now run a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing safe water in Christ’s name to the beautiful people of Liberia.  We aren’t big huge financial planners or business executives.  But we are men and women who were face to face with the brokenness of this world and were prompted to do more than look the other way.

The amazing thing about Living Sent is that it comes in so many forms.  Not everyone is going to find a cause that warrants a non-profit organization.  Living Sent is finding what you experience where it meets God’s concern, feeding it when you’re tempted to medicate and ignore it and fighting it in ways that line up with your gifts.  To not be okay with it as it is.  Not sure where to start?  Ask yourself……what is my angst?  What can’t I stand?  What seems hellish on this earth?  If those questions lead to a multitude of answers…..then pray.  Pray that He show you.  And pray for the obedience to follow.

…by Dave Wright

Have you been living “Live Sent?”  I know I have had a hard time reminding myself to do it.  I think my parents used to call it “practice what you preach.”  As Christ followers, we are called upon to love one another.  In the past week, I have come across two instances where the same religious organization has been in the area doing their version of “Live Sent.”

While we were visiting in South Carolina last week, we saw a church protesting in front of a military base condemning personnel because they were in the military.  Fast forward to five days later when they were in St. Louis protesting at the World Series (not because they are Cub fans) condemning people who “worship the god of baseball”….REALLY?  Do actions such as this really mean living sent?

We all have been challenged to go out to our circles….our family, friends, work, and community to show what it is like to be a Christ Follower.  Beka was correct when she said, “Just don’t bring them to church, bring them the truth…”  Living Sent is not living in this world, but living with the world.

There is an old church camp song with the lyrics…”They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.”  I can’t think of too many additional ways to live sent than this.

Here now is some advice from me…be relatively patient with your circles…people inside will ask what you are doing.  Don’t be afraid!  Tell them!  God will present to right time for you to share the story of your journey of following Him.