This past Saturday, I preached a message from Judge 16 on Samson to begin our new series, I Am Sin. Below is a synopsis of the message, just in case you missed it:
- Sin is Attractive: You and I don’t stumble over things that we dislike. We stumble over things that are very appealing to us. Scripture tells us that sin is “sweet for a season.” But sin is a lie. It never says, “Come on, have an ugly, bitter divorced because you had an affair.” Instead it says, “Your spouse doesn’t care for you like this person.” It never says, “Become codependent on substance abuse. Ruin your career, and hurt everyone that loves you.” Instead it says, “You need an escape from all this chaos.” Sin lies to hide what it really is.
- Sin is Creatively Unoriginal: Samson stumbled every time over the same thing: women. And sin knows your weak spot also. It’s not so much that sin throws us curve-balls; it just finds new ways to throw the same pitch that we can’t seem to hit.
- Sin desires to leave you Powerless: The saddest part of this passage is in verses 19-20, where it says, “In this way, she began to being him down, and his strength left him… he didn’t realize that the Lord had left him.” Sin wants to rob you of your power, and leave you empty and broken. Like Samson, sin wants to make you an example of something once very powerful, not humiliated by your lack of strength.
Samson thought that his hair was the source of his strength. And his disobedience to God brought him down. Sometimes we think that if we try really hard, that we can defeat our sin on our own. But our willpower is not the source of our strength to defeating sin: Jesus is. He beat sin on the cross, and He gives us the power to overcome sin from day-to-day.
Join us next week, 5pm for our second message in the series, “There to Here.”
What if the things that get us tangled up were more obvious? If we could see sin for what it really is, we might be surprised at how devastating, and how beatable, it really is. Join us at Edgewood on Saturday nights, 5pm, for a series on temptation, sin, guilt, and forgiveness.
We’re very excited to be introducing this sermon series this fall! Knowledge is powerful when applied correctly. So we’re having a frank series that deals with the our sin issues, puts them into the right perspective, and equips people with the right tools to overcome their sin. We wanted to go with a spooky kind of theme for the end of October without it feeling cheesy. Check out this preview video below for a better look at what’s coming.
I recently preached at one of our services at Edgewood where I shared with our church that I was once on the brink of taking my life. God brought me through some intense and painful moments in my life to allow me to speak life into someone else who may be considering following through with the last and worst decision of their life. I acknowledge that, statistically, many of my readers here on the blog either have considered or attempted suicide, or have been affected by it through someone close to them who has. If that’s you or someone close to you, I want to give you 4 reasons to put down your selected instrument of death and never go back to that thought again:
- It’s Selfish: Suicide is easily the most selfish thing that you can do. If you take your own life, you are saying to the world that you care more about the way you feel right now than how you are going to make everyone you know feel for the rest of their lives. Perhaps you even want to make some of them hurt, but consider all of the collateral damage you would cause. For the rest of their lives these people will have to hurt at the thought of what you did – your parents, siblings, friends, classmates, coworkers, girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, children, church, youth group, pastor, etc…
- It’s Permanent: Unlike most of the actual reasons people commit suicide, this is not fixable. It can’t be undone. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Whatever you’re going through right now that is causing you to consider ending it all, there are alternatives to escaping this. Perhaps you’re stuck in an abusive situation… then get out. Go anywhere else. Heck! Hitch-hike to Canada before you just quit! Perhaps you’re experiencing a profound loss. The pain does wear off. New relationships bring comfort and healing. Maybe you were broken up with, or divorced, or abandoned, or lost someone close to you to death. My heart genuinely goes out to you. But just because this is the end of a part of your life, does not mean it is the end of your entire life.
- It’s Faithless: God’s faithfulness is the most consistent theme throughout the entire Bible. Not that bad stuff didn’t happen. But God proves His faithfulness even in life’s darkest hours. The Psalmist once wrote, “I wait for You more than they who wait for the morning.” What he means is,“God, I am so sure that You will come through for me that I have even more confidence in You showing up, than the watchmen who are waiting for morning light to show up.” Faith in these moment looks like this – God, this hurts right now, and I want out so bad. But I know that somehow, this is not where my story ends. And since You haven’t called me home to You yet, I will wait and see how You show up in the middle of this current anguish.
- You’ll Miss Out: I was 18 when I almost took my life. If I had ended it all there, I would have missed out on the following: 4 amazing, life-transforming years of college – building several friendships that would last a lifetime – meeting and marrying the most beautiful, compassionate woman in the world – seeing God show up in miraculous ways – raising 3 (almost 4) incredible kids – finding a loving, empowering church family – playing catch with my little boy – dancing with my little “princesses” in the living room – having tickle parties with my kids – watching my kids give their lives to Christ – seeing them fall in love – walking my girls down the aisle – growing old with my wife – helping countless dozens who have almost taken their lives. Don’t you get it?!? Every great story has moments of doubt, confusion, trial, hopelessness, and darkness. Don’t quit before you get to see your story finish the right way with victory and overcoming the odds.
Don’t put a period in your life, where God has only put a comma. You are worth it. Your story is going to be empowering to someone else. Your greatest moments are still ahead. Pain doesn’t have to just hurt. Make it through this! Trust me! It IS worth it… I would know.