(We're giving away a free Christmas album every day!)
Join us today as we continue the series with Part 5 of Right in the Eye with Andy Stanley. Check out everything you need to know about Christmas
This Week's Music
This Week's Music
There’s an unstated part of the American dream. It goes like this: “We have the freedom to do what we want, when we want, with whom we want, and nobody can tell us what to do . . . as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.” But what if life doesn’t work that way? What if you can’t do what’s right in your own eyes without eventually hurting someone?
The dark underbelly of the American dream is, “I can do what I want, when I want, with whom I want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” We don’t want “kings” in our lives, whether those kings are parents, bosses, the government . . . or God. We want to do what’s right in our own eyes. But in our attempts to do what we want, when we want, with whom we want, we end up serving little kings like appetite, lust, fear, comparison, insecurity, generational dysfunction, addiction, loneliness, and greed.
Do you really want to be like everybody else? Everybody else takes their cues from everybody else. Being like everybody else just makes you average—worried, in debt, bored, and dissatisfied with what you have. If you knew that living like everybody else on the outside would leave you feeling like this on the inside, you would have done what you suspected was right in your heart instead of doing what was right in your own eyes.
Chances are your greatest regret can be traced back to a decision where your body wanted something that your heart knew was wrong. An appetite was raging. You saw something or someone you wanted . . . even though he, she, or it wasn’t healthy for you. But you gave in to your body anyway. You yielded to the little kings that want to replace the Creator King who calls you to live from the inside out.
What do you do when your body wants what your heart knows is wrong?
No-strings-attached generosity was the hallmark of the first-century church. It should be a hallmark of the twenty-first-century church too. The apostle Paul told Timothy, "Command those who are rich in this present world . . . to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." So let’s Be Rich. Let’s do more and give more than ever before.
From the very beginning, our vision has been to create a church that unchurched people LOVE to attend.
We have five churches in the Atlanta area and partner churches all over the world that people LOVE. Our plan is to continue to move our vision forward. The question is, what is your plan to partner with the church you love?
Have you ever had a change of heart about what you believe about someone?
What about what you believe about God? In this message, you will discover how to learn to believe rightly both about God and the people in our lives.
We all like certainty over uncertainty. We prefer feeling powerful to feeling vulnerable. Growing up, we were taught to be independent, not dependent on others. We want to prove we’re in control. We have a need for control. So, where does that need come from and how does it affect our relationship with a God who wants control over all aspects of our lives?
Being a spouse can be hard. Being a parent can be hard. Being an employee or co-worker can be hard. Managing our relationships with our parents can be hard. The people in our lives can drain us. That’s because we pour our hearts into them all day long and too often we rely on them to refill us. When that doesn’t happen, we have nothing left to pour out but bitterness and resentment.
But what if we’re looking to be refilled from the wrong source?
Everything that exists had a starting point . . . including you. You may have started on purpose. You may have started by accident (from your parent’s perspective). You may even have started through the magic of medical science. Whatever the circumstances, you had a starting point and it began before you were aware of it.
Physical life is one of many starting points. Your formal education had a starting point. Your career had a starting point. Your romantic life had a starting point. Your experience as a parent had a starting point.
Faith has a starting point as well.
During childhood, you may have been handed a faith framework through which you began to view the world. For a lot of us, that childhood framework didn't survive the rigors of adulthood. It's not enough to say, "The Bible says . . . ," in the face of real-life tragedy. Adults often need a new starting point.
But the starting point for Christian faith isn't, "The Bible says . . . ." It's better than that. It's Jesus.
The three largest faith traditions—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—claim the same starting point: a man named Abraham. All three agree that sin made a mess of the world and God started his clean up operation with Abraham. God made a series of promises and Abraham’s response to those promises didn’t just have implications for his personal starting point or the starting points of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. It had implications for your starting point as well.
Practically speaking, rules are often the centerpiece of religious life. Many people think the Ten Commandments are rules that make a relationship with God possible. If you follow the rules, God will be happy. If you don’t, he won’t. But what if a relationship with God doesn’t depend on our obedience? When it comes to your relationship with God, what is the role of rules?
Guilt is powerful. Shame can be crippling. We all have things in our pasts that haunt us. We have sin. It only takes a word, a picture, or a name to bring it all back. We know we can do better from this point forward, but how are we supposed to fix the past? We can say we’re sorry. We can ask for forgiveness. But some of the things we’ve done hang over our lives like a cloud.
What can wash away our sins?
At some point in your faith journey, you will settle into a bargaining posture with God. “God, if you will . . . , I promise I will . . . .” We all do it. That’s just part of religion—every religion. In fact, it’s so much a part of human nature that even some atheists and agnostics do it when they find themselves in desperate circumstances. But is that really how God wants us to relate to him? The problem with a bargaining posture is we never keep up our end of the bargain, do we?
The ability to believe is the most powerful force at mankind’s disposal. Everything that has been done, for good or bad, was done because someone believed it could be or should be done. Every problem that has been solved was solved because someone believed it could be or should be solved.
We constantly look for evidence to support what we believe is true. In the case of religious belief, that means if you believe deeply enough any religious system becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If that’s true, isn’t it possible that Christianity is just an example of groupthink on a massive scale?
Jesus predicted that he would start a gathering, a movement . . . what we call church. And that church would spread all over the earth and outlast the Roman Empire. It would change the world. His prediction must have sounded outlandish to even his closest followers. But here we are, two thousand years later, and the Roman Empire exists only in history books, while Jesus’ gathering is still going strong. The church is the hope of the world because the church is the vehicle by which God is bringing the solution to mankind’s greatest problems: sin, sorrow, and death.
The church isn't an exclusive club. It can't keep people out whom Jesus invited in . . . and he invited everyone. But if the message of the church is for everyone, why is church culture so often an obstacle to people?
Bad church experiences really do matter. A bad church experience can shape someone’s view of God. Even though they have good intentions, Christians can be a part of creating bad church experiences.
Whether we're talking about sales, fishing, dating, or people behaving badly, we love the "thrill of the catch." It's why TMZ and Dateline NBC exist. There is a critical, judgmental, knee-jerk response buried deep inside all of us. It has a tendency to rise up when we "catch" someone else who has messed-up. That response has contributed to a Bad Church Experience for many of us.
Men have a lot of desires. Whether on the ball field, in the bedroom, in the boardroom, or while looking in their billfolds, men compare and compete. This leaves them feeling alone, isolated, and disconnected from God, which can lead to a bad church experience.
When Jesus talked about his church, he didn’t predict a place. He predicted a people—a gathering with one thing in common: the belief that Jesus is the chosen and sent one of God. When the church behaves like a place, it makes for a bad church experience. When it behaves like a gathering—a movement—it changes people’s lives and it changes the world.
I have to thank you guys so much for putting these sermons online. For the last year and a half I have been working 7 days a week saving for nursing school. I thought I was doing great, felt good until I landed in the ER of the hospital I work at thinking I was having a stroke. I am ok turned out to be nothing life threatening but it got my attention BIG TIME! I have heard sermons on living with margin since becoming a Christian 13 yrs ago...but I never saw it as a lack of trust in God.
Thanks to this sermon series [Breathing Room] I am making BIG changes to my schedule. I am leaving one of my jobs soon and taking some time to de-escalate and breath. God has been doing some amazing stuff in my life over the last week. It's so fun!
Thanks for serving Jesus on the World Wide Web! It's the only way I could go to church over this crazy period of my life and so many sermons have been just what I needed to hear! Just wanted to share how God used you in Missouri!
- Viewer in Missouri
Last night I watched part of the sermon series FREE on Roku. In particular the final sermon. I have been seeing a Christian counselor for almost 1 year due to my frustration with the Christian life. It just never seemed to work.
After 25 years of trying to make it work , I was ready to give up. The final sermon in the series seemed to kind of make sense- maybe this is what I have been looking for. I would appreciate your prayers for my continued understanding of how God wants to relate to His people. And I really need a church to attend.
Thank you for your help