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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Winning with the Hand You're Dealt


Rick Warren

Saddleback Church 

September 14, 2014

When people are hurting, they need simple truth. Not simplistic truth. You need to say more than Jesus is the answer. Yes, Jesus is the answer, but why He is the answer is what you need to let them know.

It's not just enough to say pray and go to church. We are all complex people and need to know why we are to pray and go to church.

Psalm 139:14 NLT—Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

To have a relationship with Jesus every facet of our lives needs to be looked at and we are all very complex.

Eccl 7:18 NLT—Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.

If you are going to be who God wants you to be then you need to deal with every part of your life. 

There are 5 factors in your life that identify who you are.

Pastor Rick tells us to remember the parable of the talents: Matt 25:29 NLT—To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Pastor Rick says we are not going to be judged for what we don’t have and don’t know. But God will judge you on what you did with what you were given.

None of us have the same talents and will be judged different.

Rick asked how many people in the audience played poker? (He made a joke noticing that he was in the company of many sinners.) He says in 5 card stud you are only playing the 5 cards you are dealt. This message is about the hand you were dealt.

Rick says the Bible tells us 4 things about this hand we were dealt.
  1. The Bible says nothing is perfect on this planet except Gods word.
Two imperfect people can not make a perfect relationship. If you expect things to be perfect on earth, then you expect Heaven on earth and that is not happening.
  1. Jesus was sent to save us
  2. One day you will give an account to God for the hand you were dealt in life
  3. The Bible tells us how to win the game with the hand we are dealt.
There are factors that make you who you are.
  1. My Chemistry Influences my Identity
    1. This is all the chemicals that make you and your body.
      1. Some for example are hypersensitive to pain, that is the way they are born.
      2. Some were born with very low energy and some with very high energy.
    2. This can create emotion and physical problems.
      1. It all can effect us.
        1. He is talking about oxytocin, how it effects people.
          1. They discovered how oxytocin is the chemical that bonds a mother to a nursing baby.
          2. They discovered it is what is happening when you make love.
            1. That is a chemical that bonds us together.
No flaw in me is shameful or sinful!

It is just the way we are wired, it is part of who we are and it is the chemistry in our body. Your genes have flaws in them that make you unique.

Your flaws are a part of your custom design. Paul calls his, “thorn in his flesh”. 

Gal 4:13 NLT—Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News.

The Galatians are happy for what ever the thorn in the flesh of Paul's was because they got to hear the good news and they learned about Heaven.
  1. My Connections Influence my Identity
    1. This is relationships (especially your early years relationships)
      1. Studies show that how you see yourself is largely determined how the most important people in your early life saw you.
        1. That is why it is so important that you know how Jesus feels about you at a very young age.
          1. Jesus says to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbors as yourself.
            1. If you don’t understand that then you are lacking meaning
    2. If we are all imperfect then we all have imperfect relationships.
    3. Sin disconnects us from God and it disconnects us from one another.
      1. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden.
        1. God told them not to do just one thing, yet they did it. 
          1. Adam handled it like a man, Adam blamed his wife….haha
            1. Adam blamed Eve, and we have been that way ever since.
              1. Accusing and excusing
                1. We hide our faults and hurl at others
        2. They felt disconnected from God and then they disconnected from each other.
          1. We have hidden and covered up our vulnerabilities ever since.
            1. The more disconnected I am the more fearful I become. 
              1. Disconnection causes fear.
    4. We crave connections but we fear the vulnerability
  2. My Circumstances Influence my Identity
    1. These are the things that happened to you and around you.
      1. None of these things are in your control
        1. Your are a product of the traumas and troubles in your life
          1. Pain, troubles, abuse, rejection, failures, crisis, catastrophe are all factors of who you are.
  3. My Consciousness Influences my Identity
    1. This is how you talk to yourself, how you think about you.
      1. Rick says how people have thought that John 17 is strange, how God is talking to Himself. Rick says we all do that all the time, we are doing it right now.
        1. There is never a time in your life you are not talking to yourself.
          1. Rick says if you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself then you would have no friends. We are our own toughest critics.
          2. We lie to ourselves all the time
            1. Jer 17:9 NLT—“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
    2. This influences our identity, we hear what people say and then we say it to ourselves. Our habitual thoughts are our identity.
      1. Prov 23:7 NKJV—For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.
      2. What you think about you is the way it is, if it is true or not.
      3. Prov 4:23 NCV—Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.
        1. If you want your life to go into a different direction then you have to send your thoughts in a different direction.
          1. When you think a thought, it does not have to be true to hurt you. You just have to believe it.
            1. If someone says you will never amount to anything and you believe it, then you will not amount to anything.
              1. If you think if long enough you will believe it.
              2. Our fears are self fulling.
          2. Job 3:25 NLT—What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.
            1. This is self fulfilling prophecy.
    3. Feeling are not facts.
      1. Just feeling something does not mean it is true
      2. Feelings lie all the time.
  4. My Choices Influences my Identity.
    1. The Bible says we are created in the image of God.
      1. We have the choice to chose because we are made in God’s image.
        1. God has choices and so do we.
        2. The freedom of choice is our greatest blessing and our greatest curse.
        3. Angels don’t have a choice, neither do animals or anything else, but we do.
The good news about your Choice Card you were dealt is that it is the Wild Card. It can change all the other cards.

We didn’t choose our chemistry, or our bodies, or my circumstances but I can choose how I respond to them.

I don’t choose everything that goes on around me.

I am "response able” that means I am responsible for what I choose.

We can change our destiny with our choices.

There are 5 winning choices we can make with the hand we are dealt.
  1. I can choose to get healthier as a winning choice.
    1. No matter where you are right now, you can be healthier.
      1. We can choose to make the better decisions.
        1. We can choose to make the most with our bodies.
Ps 119:73 NLT—You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.

The pain is in my brain!

The pain actually may start in another part of your body, but it sends signals to your brain.

Improving the controllable things reduces the impact of the uncontrollable things in your life.

You will never be an inch taller, but you can be in better shape.
  1. I can choose to deepen my relationships as a winning choice.
    1. We can strengthen healthy relationships.
    2. We can end unhealthy relationships.
The fear of rejection prevents connections.

Pastor Rick speaks of marriage. Many tell themselves that they can never get married, or no one wants to marry them. Those are all feelings, not facts.

Awkward won’t kill me!

1John 4:18 NIV—There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

There is no fear in love!

Why is there no fear in love? Love takes the focus off of me and puts it on someone else. 

We are worried about how we look to everyone else, but it doesn’t matter. Other people aren’t thinking about you because they are too busy thinking about themselves.

Self-centerdeness says what is everyone else thinking about me.

Love walks into a room and thinks who in here needs a little help. 

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, humility is thinking of yourself less often. Thinking about others needs, perfect love cast out all fear.

F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real

There is only one way to get rid of fear, to do the thing that you fear the most. Fear does not respond to emotion, fear responds to action.

Fear is always worse than the reality.

1Cor 14:1a NLT—Let love be your highest goal!

You are not allowed to not love!

That means risking connections, it means stepping out. If you try to love someone and they reject your love, then redirect your love. Billions of people need your love right now. 

You can not say I am not going to love because I got hurt once.

Eph 3:17 NCV—I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. 
  1. I can choose to trust God as a winning choice.
    1. No matter what happens, I can trust God.
    2. Regardless of what happens.
Rom 8:27-Rom 8:29 NKJV—Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 

The Message of Romans 8:27-29 says “God knows us far better than we know ourselves…That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what He was doing from the very beginning….”

God decided from the beginning to shape the lives of the ones that love Him to be more like Jesus.

Ps 34:1 TLB—I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace. 

That will give you the confidence that no one else has.

When the world can hit you with their best shot and you can praise the Lord, that will make you an amazing person. It is an identity you can not get anywhere else.

I am a product of my past but I am not a prisoner of it.

I can be different!
  1. I can choose what I think about as a winning choice.
    1. Others can not tell me what to think about.
Shame, guilt, anger and embarrassment are stored in one part of your brain. You can not make them go away but you can overwrite them. You think a thought a thousand times, it creates a rut. Some have a grand canyon of depression in their mind. In the 20th century it was thought that the adult brain could not be changed. But, there was a Noble Prize winner that showed you can change the brain, it is elastic, not concrete.

You can change!

Pastor Rick says jokingly that it is just great that science caught up to the Bible. 

Rom 12:2 NLT—Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Let God transform the way you think. Change your brain, change your life. Garbage in puts garbage out

Feed your brain with truth!

When the truth of Gods word is, less than the negative and sinful thoughts of life, are in your brain that is called depression.

You must feed your brain with God’s word, go to church, read the Bible, speak with friends, meditate on God’s word. Every time you feed yourself more of the positive, the depression goes away. As you feed it more, that creates happiness and that is a choice.

Phil 4:8 NLT—And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Pastor Rick says that scripture does not sound like it is talking about television, to emphasize his point, he said 50 Shades of Gray may be popular but it is pornography, its poison and you shouldn’t fill your mind with it.

You don’t watch junk TV, skip some movies and there is a lot you shouldn’t read.

Surround yourself with good memories reminding yourself of who you are and what you are.

Combining a beautiful memory with the Word of God is a beautiful thing.
  1. I can choose Jesus as my Savior as a winning choice.
    1. Rick says let Jesus be your savior everyday, not just the difference between Heaven and hell.
I need Jesus to save me from myself, my defects, my memories, my circumstances, my pressures, my trauma, my troubles.

Jesus can put on your helmet of Salvation.

Jesus don’t just save me from sin, save me from myself.

2Cor 5:17 TLB—When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!

It is like being born again, it is a whole new identity.

If you are waiting on God, then God is waiting on you!

When you choose to get healthier, you choose risking healthy connections, you choose to trust God, you choose to change the way you think, and you choose God as your savior then God will give you a winning hand!

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