… in the Throne Room

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “… in the Throne Room, ” from Acts 4:23-31

Forgiveness…

From the Heart of Bill

I remember years ago watching on the evening news a man in India who poured gasoline on himself and lit himself on fire.   I remember thinking, “That’s CRAZY… why would anyone want to do that?” and I asked a friend of mine from India what would cause a person to do such a thing.  His answer shocked me.  He said, “For some in my culture if someone has hurt you; the way to get back at them is to hurt yourself even more in their presence,” and he went on to explain that the people who were lighting themselves on fire were mad at the government so to get back at them they lit themselves on fire.”

You say, “That’s CRAZY!” and I would agree, but don’t we do the same thing when we refuse to forgive those who hurt us.   Jim Jones (your Lay Leader) said at breakfast, “Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Some of you (I suspect) have drunk from the fountain of unforgiveness and it’s starting to take its toll.  A lot of people refuse to forgive because they have some misconceptions about what it means to forgive.   Forgiving is NOT whitewashing or minimizing the seriousness of the offense.  Forgiving is NOT saying, “It’s no big deal!”   It was a big deal.  Forgiving is NOT saying, “It didn’t hurt!”  It did hurt. Forgiving is not saying, “It was a small thing!”  It was a big thing and that’s why you need to forgive it.

This might surprise you.  Forgiving is NOT forgetting.  Some people will say, “Doesn’t the Bible say that when God forgives that He forgets?”  (Isaiah 43:24; Hebrews 8:12)  When the Bible says that God “Remembers our sin no more,” it’s not talking about God suddenly getting amnesia.  What it means is that God does not hold our sin against us anymore.

Forgiving does not allow that person to avoid the consequences of his/her actions.  I can forgive a murderer, but that doesn’t mean that that person shouldn’t have to face the consequences.

Here is what forgiveness is:  Letting Go!   Letting go of what?  Letting go of your right to get even and letting God handle that person and putting that person’s faith in God’s hand.

Forgiving is one of the most personal things a person can do because nobody can force you to forgive another person.  It’s a decision that only YOU can make.   It’s a very personal thing.  It’s also a very freeing thing.  Some of you also know the power of forgiveness.  It’s like a million pounds has been lifted off your back.   Some of you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Forgiveness is one the most freeing things a person can do!

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was YOU.”

 

… in the Courtroom

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “… in the Courtroom,” based on Acts 4:13-22

The Beginning of Persecution

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “The Beginning of Persecution,” from Acts 4:1-10

Times of Refreshing

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Times of Refreshing.”    — Coming Soon–

Miracles

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Miracles,” taken from Acts 3:1-10

“… More On Pentecost”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “More on Pentecost,” taken from Acts 2:14-47

“You GET TO…”

We have been watching a teaching series by Andy Stanley called, “Brand New,” during the Adult Sunday School Class that has been REALLY eye opening view of the Church.

Stanley argues that we have (unfortunately) patterned the church after the Old Testament Temple Model in which you have DO something to get right with God.  Jesus ushered in a whole new way for us to connect with God.  He’s already DONE it all… we just need to respond.

Christianity spells salvation entirely different than any other belief system.  You look at any other religion in the world and you’ll find that they all spell salvation the same way: DO… something YOU have to D-O.   Christianity spells salvation D-O-N-E… something that has already been DONE for us.  That’s good news!

Romans 5:8 says that, “Christ died FOR US.”  .  In Romans 8:31 Paul writes, “If Christ is FOR US who can be against us.”  In other words, Jesus is FOR YOU.  Think about that for a moment.  The God of the universe is FOR YOU!   You don’t have to lie awake at night wondering how you and God are doing.  If someone has died for you, they are FOR you.

When you come to Christ there is a major paradigm shift in the way you relate to God.  In the Old Testament it was more of, “I have to do THIS,” or, “I have to do THAT.”  Now it’s no longer, “I HAVE to,” it is, “I GET TO.”   You GET TO read your Bible.  You GET TO pray.  You GET TO come to church and fellowship with other believers.  You GET TO give.  You GET TO serve.   Do you see the difference?  It’s no longer I HAVE TO.  That’s Old Testament.  The New Testament is YOU GET TO.

Live your life with that attitude and you will discover a whole new love and joy for Jesus Christ.

**You can watch the whole teaching series at http://brandnewseries.org/

Shalom,

Pastor Bill

“Pentecost”

Bill Stegemueller preaching on Acts 2:1-1-21 in a message simply entitled, “Pentecost.”

“Discerning the Will of God”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Discerning the Will of God,” taken from Acts 1: 15-26