* Had a great weekend with my boys… those dudes are super-incredible, and LOADS of fun. 🙂 We didn’t really do anything special, just hung out together… but as Seth, my 9 yr old, says, “Just hanging out is special, as long as we’re with you, Dad.” Dang, I love those boys… 🙂
* Sunday at Centerpoint was great, as always! Preached purpose #3 in our Purpose Driven Life series, Growing in Christ.
* Jesus is our MODEL and MEASURE for growth… He’s our standard! God wants us to grow up in Christ’s image, to look like Him in how we act, think, love, forgive, etc!
* If nobody else was helped by that message, I was! LOVE IT when the message wrecks me before I preach it!
* Focused on three unwanted tools that God uses to help us grow: trials, temptation, and the trespasses of others.
* Yeah… I know!! 🙂
* God uses trials and trouble to teach us to trust Him. Romans 5:3 says that suffering produces endurance, and James 1:2 says that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. It’s not fun when we’re going through, but it’s good to know that there is a purpose to our pain!
* Our response should be that of Jesus’… “Father, not what I want… but what YOU want.” God have Your way in me, even if I don’t understand… and even if it hurts…
*God uses temptation to teach us to obey Him. He is more interested in who we are than in what we do. His desire is for us to grow, so He works to ENLARGE OUR CHARACTER. We have to learn to trust and obey Him, even when our flesh is weak and we want to give in to sin…
* … when we’re tempted to tell somebody off… or lie… or lust… or steal… or whatever we do to try to meet our own needs without God’s help.
* Jesus models how we handle temptation: we resist the devil (Matt. 4:10; Jam. 4:7) and focus on Scripture (Ps. 119:11; Lk. 4:8, 10, 12; Phil. 4:8).
* God uses the trespasses of others to teach us to forgive.
* We are MOST UNLIKE God when we hold onto unforgiveness!
* Again, Jesus is our model and example of forgiveness: after being falsely accused, beaten, spat upon, punched, a crown of thorns rammed on his head, back sliced to shreds with a whip of bone, metal, and other sharp objects… AFTER ALL THAT, Jesus prays, “Father, forgive them… for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
* That probably WOULD NOT have been my prayer.
* I have a hard enoug h time forgiving people for just talking about me! 🙂
* Forgiveness is the best way to live. Someone once said, “Bitterness is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.”
* Our spiritual maturity shows in how we handle adverse situations… how we respond to the negative things in our lives.
* Pain should never STEER our emotions… it’s only a compass – it shows us where we our in our maturity. It’s ONLY the compass. It doesn’t set our course or direct where we go or what we do… it’s not the rudder or wheel of our lives… IT IS ONLY THE COMPASS.
* I’m tellin’ you… this message WRECKED MY WORLD as I was preparing!!
* I’ve always HATED pain! But it’s awesome to be reminded that God is in control during the down times of our lives. He can be trusted, and we must obey… even when it is TOUGH!
* Headed to St. Petersburg, FL tomorrow… all-company meeting with National Teachers Associates. Never thougbt in a million years I’d be in sales, but I love my company!
* On my return trip home, I’m stopping in Durham, NC to speak Sunday night at Mosaic Durham for my good friend Pastor Bobby Minor.
* Thought my days of “preaching at Mosaic” were through… I LOVE MY GOD!
D Plum 😉