Monday, March 25, 2013

Abundant Living.L10-Sponsor/AcctPrtnr w/Robbie Sedgeman

Healing Relationships

A few months ago, in our Soul Detox series, we talked about radioactive relationships, which are relationships harmful to our mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health.  We discussed some of the lies we believe that cause us to stay in harmful relationships:
·        Their behavior won’t impact me.  But 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, ‘Do not be misled; bad company corrupts good character.’ 
·        They need my help.   Jesus, however, instructs us in Matthew 7:5, ‘first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’  (Matthew 7:5)  We need to take care of our own issues prior to presuming we can assist others.
·        Denial of the toxicity of the relationship.   But 1 Peter 5:8 tell us to us ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The scriptural basis for this series is John 10:10, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’   How better to destroy us than through relationships, especially with those closest to us?  So a large part of our healing journey to abundant living will involve an exploration of the relationships in our lives, past and present, and how they impacted us.  When we start doing our inventory in the coming weeks, part of the process will be to look at significant events in our relationships.

As surely as unsafe people and unhealthy relationships played a large part in bringing turmoil into our lives, it is also true that safe people and healthy relationships will greatly contribute to our healing process.  So, it is helpful to have guidelines to rightly discern what characteristics make up a growing person who is able to have a healthy relationship:
  • Admits their faults, takes responsibility and changes behavior
  • Open to feedback; humble
  • Confronts in love; is neither a doormat or a dictator
  • Rightly handles emotions
  • Enjoys life and simple pleasures
  • Rises above disappointments; realistic expectations
  • Asks for forgiveness and forgives
  • Consistent and confidential
  • Respectful, tolerant, compassionate
  • Open-minded

God does not call us to live isolation with only believers or with safe people.  And, unfortunately, the two do not always correlate – not all believers in Jesus are safe people.  It depends upon their journey in Christ and their willingness to be open and honest about and with themselves.  However, it is prudent to ensure that those who have the greatest influence on us (be it in time spent together or persuasion) are safe and healthy and working on growing in those areas.  It is especially important to keep those characteristics in mind as we explore to two specific, healthy relationships which can be of great value to you during your healing journey:  accountability partner and sponsor.  They are very different roles and we will discuss both in turn, but first, here are few reasons why it is important to have an accountability partner and sponsor:
  • It is biblical.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (GNB) - “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively.  If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it's just too bad, because there is no one to help him.  If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself?  Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.”
  • Key part of your success.  You didn’t get to where you are alone and you won’t get out of it alone.  That’s where people most often miss the mark – they believe they can heal on their own.  We cannot see clearly when we are in the midst of our trials.  We need others to point the way and keep us on track.
  • Best guard against relapse.  They can see unhealthy behaviors starting to return and confront you with them.  They can speak truth into your life in a loving manner.

A sponsor is very similar to a mentor.  It is someone who has been where you are and has achieved a strong measure of victory in their lives.  They have been through the recovery process and are living victoriously.  A sponsor is someone who can guide you through the process and be there to provide advice, similar to a coach.  Proverbs 20:5 says, “Though good advice lies deep within a counselor’s heart, the wise man will draw it out.”  The sponsor is there to draw upon and pass on Godly principles for living and healing.

Here are some qualities to consider when looking for a sponsor:
  • Living victoriously and growing in Christ
  • Expresses a desire to help others live victoriously and provide Godly advice
  • Compassionate and caring but not enabling
  • Good listener and others-focused
  • Strong enough to confront you
  • Open about their own struggles

Accountability Partner
An accountability partner can be someone who is at the same level of recovery.  They may be struggling with the same issues or different issues, but you are both working towards recovery.  It can be helpful to have more than one accountability partner and to work as a team through the process.  The main goal is to encourage one another.

However, an accountability partner can be any safe person who will hold you responsible for a particular activity.  Their role is to hold you accountable for certain areas of your recovery process, such as meeting attendance, journaling or refraining from specific behaviors. 

Sponsor Vs. Accountability Partner
There are distinct differences between a sponsor and an accountability partner:
Accountability Partner
Discuss issues in detail; helps gain perspective
Does not advise; is aware of tendency to ‘fix’ or become codependent
Gives feedback
Listens; encourages your progress
Relates issues back to the steps of recovery
Mutual sharing on the current step
Objective; draws on experience
May not be objective – recognizes limits of understanding
Not likely to be triggered
May be triggered and must recognize it
Models a healthy lifestyle
May still be struggling
Helps you set realistic goals
Asks you to set your goals each time you meet
Meets as needed
Meets regularly
Available in crises
Available as agreed upon

Common to Both
Although a sponsor and an accountability partner play different roles, there are some aspects of those roles that are the same:
  • Same sex
  • Encourages you to work each step of the way
  • Does not do the work for you
  • Does not initiate meetings
  • Prays for you
  • Voluntary – the relationship can be ended by either party at any time

Engaging a Sponsor and Accountability Partner
Here are some steps you can take to finding and engaging a sponsor or accountability partner:
  • Pray!!!
  • Observe their behavior – do their stories resonant with you?  Can you relate to them?
  • Ask to meet
  • Get to know them
  • Discuss needs and expectations
  • Set clear guidelines on responsibilities and meeting times/length of meetings
  • Be open and honest on an ongoing basis about how the relationship is going
  • Prepare for refusal and do not take it personally

Having safe people and healthy relationships in your life should always be a top priority.  But there are times when you need special relationships, like sponsors and accountability partners.  These special relationships require deliberate purpose and action on your part.  It may feel uncomfortable at first if you have never engaged in these types of relationships.  But you will soon experience the tremendous blessings that these special relationships can bring into your life!
Group Work

  1. Have you seen some of your relationships in a new light since starting your healing journey?  Are you better able to identify safe people and healthy relationships?
  2. Discuss the differences between a sponsor and an accountability partner.
  3. Discuss the benefits of having a sponsor and an accountability partner.
  4. Discuss anything hindering you from obtaining a sponsor or accountability partner.
  5. What are your next steps?

Abundant Living.L9 - Spiritual Warfare


John 10:10  NLT “10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.[1]   KJV  10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,(A) and have it to the full.(B)
10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).
6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Illustration. The Good Shepherd at the gate. At night sheep were kept in an enclosure with a single opening, the gate. The shepherd slept in the doorway so that no wild beast could attack, except over his own body. Jesus as the “Gate for the sheep” interposes His own body between us and sin and Satan. He actually gave His life that we might have life. He truly is the Good Shepherd.
The thief, that is, a false shepherd, cares only about feeding himself, not building up the flock. He steals sheep in order to kill them, thus destroying part of the flock. But Christ has come to benefit the sheep. He gives life which is not constricted but overflowing. The thief takes life; Christ gives it to the full.

We will be looking at the enemy’s schemes that he uses to rob, kill and destroy

How does the enemy mess with us?

He gains entry from…
§        our sins/ negative choices
§        our beliefs
§        deception
§        occult/ satanic practices

§        sexual encounters  

§        unforgiveness/ unresolved anger

How does the enemy mess with us?

He gains entry from…
§        our sins/ choices (discuss mood/mind altering substances – hmmm.. that’s why they call them ‘spirits’)
§        our beliefs – lies John 8:44
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

§        Deception - Genesis 3:13
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

§        occult/ satanic practices  Exodus 34:14
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

§        sexual encounters   1Cor 6:12-20

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[b] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[c]
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

§        unforgiveness/ unresolved anger - Ephesians 4:26-27 New International Version (NIV)

26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.


How do we deal with the strongholds?  How do we do spiritual warfare?

1. Get dressed for battle daily

The Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

2. Submit & Resist

James 4:7

New International Version (NIV)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
3. Seek to understand your Identity/ Position in Christ
  Romans 7:4
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
  Romans 8:9
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

4. Apply James 5:16 to your life – Seek help & prayer support  16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
5. Use the tools available to you:  Inner Healing Prayer, The Steps to Freedom (Neil Anderson)   Great books: Victory over the Darkness, The Bondage Breaker
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
  Steps & inner healing prayer cover:  Entry points discussed earlier – non-Christian experiences, lies we believe/ areas of deception, unforgiveness, areas of rebellion/ sin/ idolatry, pride, addictions/ bondages/ strongholds – (lust, jealousy, gossip, lying), sexual bonds – soul ties, generational sins/ curses
6. Speak the truth OUT LOUD when under attack

7. Continue mind renewal & pray that for others as well  2 Timothy 2:25-26

New International Version (NIV)
25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.



1.    Share some of the teachings or experiences you have had with regard to spiritual warfare?
2.    As you consider some of the ‘entry’ points/ ways the enemy gains a foothold in our lives.. what are those that you need to close the door on? Renounce?  Get assistance to move beyond?
3.    Of the 6 things to do in warfare, which were surprises/ new information?
4.    How will you put what you learned tonight into practice?

[1]Tyndale House Publishers: Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 2nd ed. Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, 2004, S. Jn 10:10
[2]Richards, Lawrence O.: The Bible Readers Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton : Victor Books, 1991; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996, S. 687
[3]Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:310

Abundant Living.L8 - Open up!

Open Up!

This week we are going to start opening ourselves up to the next step on our journey toward abundant living.  We need to consciously prepare for this next step because it is not an easy one, at least not initially.  In the coming weeks we will be taking a detailed look at how we ended up where we are today.  Sometimes it is called taking an inventory of our lives, but it is simply the act of reviewing where we have been, what we have done, what has been done to us and the impact of those events.

This is an important step in our journey.  It is an important step in any process of change and creation.  Thomas Edison is well known as a great inventor.  But how successful would he have been if he completely disregarded the steps that led up to the final product?  If the product was successful, he would not know how to duplicate it for future use or how to enhance it.  If the product was not successful, he would not have known what to change going forward.

The same principles apply to our spiritual, emotional and physical health.  If part of our life has become unmanageable, we need to know how to avoid the same mistakes for the future.  It is like a man that was walking to the store while it was raining and dark.  There was a big puddle in the middle of the sidewalk that he did not see, so he stepped in it and his foot was drenched.  On the way back, he did the same thing.  He had forgotten about the puddle, so he did not change his path or even try to avoid it.  That’s not so different from us.  How many times have you done the same thing over and over again and ended up with the same negative result?

Conversely, can you duplicate the actions you have taken that have had positive results in your life?  If you are in good physical health, what has contributed to that?  Are you taking steps to continue and enhance those activities?  Spiritually and emotionally, are you aware of what draws you closer to Christ’s presence and are you actively seeking more of those activities and attitudes? 

God gave us the gifts of memory and of analysis.  We have the privilege of surveying our lives and determining what worked and what did not work.  Those are powerful tools that can be used to build our future.  Unfortunately, many people don’t use it.  They believe the past is the past and best left there.  It is true that we cannot change the past and it is not beneficial to dwell on it, but as John Baker says, ‘we need to understand it so we can begin to allow God to change us.’

The sooner we begin, the sooner we change.  So let’s take the time now to explore a few practical ways you can start opening yourself up to the process of surveying your past.

A few weeks ago we asked ourselves if we were really ready to change and committed to it.  This is where the rubber meets the road and that commitment will be tested.  You’ve committed to changing in general.  Are you now willing to commit to this specific step in order to effect that change? 

James chapter 1 talks about a man who looks in the mirror and forgets what he looks like:  “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.”  James 1:23-25  This is our opportunity to take a good look at ourselves and our lives and commit to conforming to the perfect law of God. That might entail changing our actions or changing our reactions to another’s actions.  But ultimately it is a commitment to following God’s way of living.

Making Time
A good first step in your commitment is to consider when you will work on your inventory.  In the coming weeks we will provide suggestions on how complete the inventory, but you can start the process now by setting aside time to consider this step.  In Job 33:33, God says, “Then listen to me.  Keep silence, and I will teach you wisdom!”   You can take a few minutes each day or a block of time periodically throughout the week to pray to God to open your heart or to jot down some ideas for inventory or to talk to God about your concerns and apprehensions. 

You can also start considering the best way to complete the inventory.  Perhaps your schedule will allow a day or a weekend set aside specifically for this step.  Or you may need to commit to an hour three times a week until you finish.  Whatever works best for your schedule, start planning and setting that time aside now.

If you find time slipping away from you on a regular basis and can’t imagine making time for this, then  make a point over the next week to record how you spend your time each day.  Make a record of the 24 hours of each day and then look back and see where you can adjust in order to complete your inventory.  It may mean giving up some of your leisure activities or temporarily cutting back on volunteer opportunities.  You may have to make some difficult choices, but in the end it will be worth it.  A commitment to one area of our life typically requires some adjustments in other areas.  Take some quiet time to seek God’s direction on how to spend your time.  “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered    how fleeting my life is.  You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.  My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”  Psalm 39:4-5

Wake up your feelings!
It is time to plunge into the depths of our feelings.  We are all at different points in our journey and it is important for each of us to determine what we tend to do with our feelings.  Emotions have been described as ‘an intense mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a strong feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate, and love.’  There are two dimensions to our emotions.  The first is intensity, which is the severity – a little or a big emotion.  The second is qualitative:  is it a pleasant or unpleasant emotion.  There are two ends to the emotional spectrum and we need to move into the middle to effectively complete our inventory.

One end of the spectrum is numbness.  When is the last time you felt an intense rush of emotion?  Consider the last week and name as many emotions as you can remember feeling.  Some of us have run from pain for so long that we cannot identify emotions:  happy, sad, excitement, disappointment, frustration, disgust, afraid, surprise, apprehensive, relief, grateful, anxious, hopeful, offended, optimistic and on and on and on.  Look up ‘list of emotions’ on the internet and browse the websites that list a plethora of emotions we can experience.  Peruse the list and try to remember the last time you felt them.  If you can remember only a few emotions, you may be stuffing your feelings and it is time to bring them to the surface.

Remember that emotions in and of themselves are not good or bad.  They are signals to what is going on inside of us.    As we take an honest look at ourselves and our past, our emotions will often point us to the underlying cause of our current state.  Take the next week to simply allow yourself to feel.  Do not judge whether the feeling is good or bad.  Do not try to figure out why you feel what you feel.  Just feel!

On the other hand, some of us are engaged in constant intense emotion, usually negative.  Are you a ‘Debbie downer’ – continually pessimistic or critical or angry?  Writing your inventory will help to reveal why you cannot break that pattern of negativity.  But in the meantime, make a conscious point of countering those negative emotions.  Change pessimism to gratefulness.  When you are pessimistic, find one thing to be thankful for.  Change criticism to praise.  If you are critical toward people, find something positive they have done and praise them for it.  Find a constructive way to express your anger. When you are angry, talk a walk, write about the situation, talk to a friend, punch a punching bag or yell out to God.   Acknowledge your anger, but express it in a way that allows it to dissipate into peace.

If our feelings are extreme, they will color our inventory with the shade of our feelings. To honestly look at our past, we need to objectively evaluate the situation and its impact.  We need to consider how we felt about the event, but not let our current feelings define the event.  If you struggle with an intense negative emotion, you may need to slowly peel off the layers of feelings until you get to the core.  For example, anger is often considered a secondary emotion.  The pain of rejection or abandonment can easily led to feelings of intense anger.  As uncomfortable as it is, anger is more bearable than rejection or abandonment.  During the inventory process, your challenge will be to dig beneath the intense emotion to the primary feeling and the cause of it.

You Can Do This!
If you struggle with keeping a positive attitude, this is the time to fight against that tendency with all your might!  This step can be a challenge, but it will be one of the most rewarding accomplishments of your life.  Have you encountered tasks or projects that seemed overwhelming, but became manageable as you worked through them step by step?  This is one of those tasks.  Don’t project yourself into the middle of the task.  Concentrate only on preparing to write the first event of your inventory.  You can do that.  You can write one event.  Once you get started, the rest will roll off your pen.

Keep in mind that your inventory will be balanced.  You will record the positive in addition to the negative.    Perhaps you need to start with a positive event.  Or consider alternating between the two.  Make the process manageable for you.  There is no right or wrong…completion is the goal.  How we each complete it is secondary to completion.

Here are a few verses that may be helpful to you as you open yourself to this step.
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.   
2 Corinthians 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work
Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
2 Corinthians 8:15  Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it…

As much as we may like to forget some events in our lives, the greater privilege is to learn from those experiences and grow in character.  Proverbs 20:27 says that “the Lord gave us mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.”   Take the time this week to open up your heart to this next step on your journey to abundant living!

Group Work

  1. Share the logistics for completing your inventory.  For example, what days/times will you be able to do your inventory?  What quiet place can you go to?  How will you manage interruptions?

  1. What is your biggest apprehension when you think about starting your inventory?

  1. What is your biggest obstacle to overcome in completing your inventory?  Self discipline, procrastination, time constraints, fear, etc.

  1. Where are you on the feelings scale – numb or constantly in a hyperactive emotion?  If you are numb – why do you think you have blocked feelings and what can you do to start feeling again?  If you are constantly feeling negative, why is that and what can you do to temper the negativity?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mike Smith - Life Story

Check out the audio.... listen to an amazing story of God's redemption & healing!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Abundant Living.L7 - Time for Action!


3rd Beatitude:
Matthew 5:5 (NIV)
  5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.

‘BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO are meek’ –  COUPLE of weeks ago.. we discussed mourning – grieve over sin…  when we TURN – turn to God 
they/ we will be comforted – find new life…  Trusting, Understanding, Repenting.. leads to New Life – last week’s lesson we learned about meekness and what that ‘turning’ looks like – staying in step with and 
on the same path that God has for us.

5. The meek (οἱ πραεῖς).
The Christian word, describes an inward quality, and that as related primarily to God. The, mildness, kindness, represented by the classical word, are founded in self-control or in natural disposition. The Christian meekness is based on humility, which is not a natural quality but an outgrowth of a renewed nature.
The meek are happy (v. 5); Blessed are the meek. The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God, to his word and to his rod, who follow his directions, and comply with his designs, and are gentle towards all men (Tit. 3:2); who can bear provocation without being inflamed by it; are either silent, or return a soft answer; and who can show their displeasure when there is occasion for it, without being transported into any indecencies; who can be cool when others are hot; and in their patience keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of any thing else. They are the meek, who are rarely and hardly provoked, but quickly and easily pacified; and who would rather forgive twenty injuries than revenge one, having the rule of their own spirits.

Tonight….  We focus on our next principle…–  Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Certainly a ‘necessary’ principle to practice if we are going to enjoy the abundant life…    Reminder once again of our scripture we are focused on for the entire class:
10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).
In a couple of weeks.. I am going to start addressing the first part of this passage and how spiritual warfare and the enemy play a huge part in hindering our abundant life.
Let’s start this evening by seeing where we are… write down which step you are on tonight  (pic)
Now that we know where we are… we can address where we need to go next..

·        Hopefully, by this point in the class we’ve applied, with God’s help, the truths we have already received. We admitted our lives were out of control and unmanageable, and we came to believe that God could restore us.

·        But even after taking the steps we have already learned, we can still be stuck in a cycle of failure that keeps us bound by guilt, anger, fear, and depression.

Tonight we are going to see how to get “unstuck”
How do we get past those old familiar negative barriers of pride, fear, guilt, worry, and doubt – all the things that keep us from moving on?

·        The answer is ACTION!

The Principle tonight is all about ACTION.  It states:  “We choose to commit all of our life and will to Christ’s care and control”

·        Making a choice requires ACTION……..It also requires trust and faith in God

Most of us don’t like making decisions.  We know the difference between right and wrong, but we just follow the crowd because it’s easier than making the decision to do what we know is the right thing. 

·        We procrastinate making commitments that will allow for positive change to occur in our lives because it means rearranging priorities, it means personal sacrifice and it’s inconvenient at times. 

·        Do you know that to ‘not decide’ is to decide?  Putting off the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior really is making the decision not to accept Him?  Putting off allowing Him to be the ‘Lord’ of your life.. the one in charge, really is already making a decision?

Taking this step is like opening a door: All you need is the willingness to make the decision.  Jesus will do the rest.
In His word, God tells us – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”(Revelation 3:20)

·        We accept Jesus Christ as our Higher Power, Lord and Savior, Healer…..In Romans 10:9 God’s Word tells us, “If you declare with your lips ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

·        We Make the commitment to establish a personal relationship with Him.  His greatest desire is that we draw close to Him and know Him better.  God says make the choice today….Satan says do it tomorrow.

It’s only after you make this decision that you can begin to COMMIT to start asking and following God’s will. 

In this step, we change our definition of willpower.  Willpower becomes the willingness to accept God’s power to guide your life.  There’s no room for God if we are full of ourselves.  We must Get out of the way! Pray:  “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God: may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”  Psalm 143:9-10

·        We have to begin to learn how to ‘Let go and let God”.  You’ve heard that phrase many times.  It doesn’t say just let go of some things to God.  It doesn’t say just let go of, turn over, only the ‘big’ things.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success”   In everything you do.  Not just the big things, not just the little things.  EVERYTHING! 
·        Jesus Christ wants a relationship with ALL of you, not with part of you.
·        Jesus is not valued at all unless He’s valued above all….What burdens are you carrying with you tonight that you want to turn over to Jesus?
We’ve described turning your life & will over to Christ like handing over the keys to your car and letting God take the wheel and take control

The new life that begins with this decision is followed by a lifelong process of growing as a Christian.

Philippians 1:6 (NL) puts it this way:  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
 “God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished.”

It’s a process.  Be patient.

If we want to be successful, we must focus on ONE DAY AT A TIME 
If we remain stuck in the yesterday, or constantly worry about tomorrow, we will waste the precious time of the present. 

·        It’s only in the present that change and growth can occur.  We can’t change yesterday and we can only pray for tomorrow.

Jesus gave us instructions for living this philosophy:  Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

·        If I could go back and change the past I would.  I would do many things differently.  I would choose not to do the shameful, destructive things I did with my life.  I would choose not to have inflicted pain upon myself and my family.  But I can’t change one thing that happened in my past.  And neither can you.

·        And I can’t live somewhere off in the future always worrying if “this or that” is going to happen.  And neither can you.  I leave that up to God.

·        But I can and do live in today!  I wake up each morning and thank God for that day He’s given me.  With the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ I can make a difference in the way I live today.  And so can you.   One day at a time!  Give Him each day before your feet hit the ground!



1.    Briefly share about your personal experience of ‘salvation’ – becoming a Christ follower/ disciple of Jesus.
2.    I CAN’T. GOD CAN. I’LL LET HIM.  It’s time to let Him. As you consider taking this action step… what exactly does that mean given your current situation(s)?
3.    Do you find it difficult to live one day at a time?  Why?  What is keeping you from it – worry?  A certain behavior?  Share.
4.    Do you have a tough time making decisions? Procrastinate?  What is God showing you with regard to this?  Why?
5.    What action do you need to take tonight or this week?

[1]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Mt 5:1
[2]Vincent, Marvin Richardson: Word Studies in the New Testament. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002, S. 1:37-38