Press Start: Core Value – STORIES 2017-09-17T18:48:04+00:00

Press Start

Core Value: STORIES

LEAD OFF

Can we all take a moment and give it up for Andrea?  She did such a fantastic job and what a powerful story!

Everyone likes a good story.

  • It’s why we stay up late at night reading a good book, spend $12.15 on a tub of popcorn to watch movies, and get sucked into TV dramas bench watching a whole series in 2 days.

  • There is great value in someone that knows how to tell a great story, because you will always have an audience.

  • Nothing is worse than a bad story.

Have any of you guys ever read the book, “Teacher from the Black Lagoon”?

So funny story:

  • At the end of last school year, a group of NLRepMo peeps dropped in on McCulloch Elementary the school we’ve adopted to serve.

  • We were guest readers that basically spent the day going classroom to classroom reading books to the kiddos.

  • It was a blast!

  • However when we first showed, something very interesting happened.

  • I asked the principal if there were a set of books they preferred for us to read, and she provided these bags with books in them.

  • Right there as the first book on the stack was a book called, “Teacher from the Black Lagoon.”

I had never read the “Teacher from the Black Lagoon.”

  • She said, “Oh, that’s a great one for the little one’s!”

  • So, I tucked it away as my first option.

I get into my first classroom which is a room full of kindergartners.  I was a little nervous.

  • I quickly learned I was the only one nervous.

    • It hit instant celebrity status.

    • I was the coolest thing since juice in a box and string cheese.

  • They are all thrilled to see me there.

    • They all had bright smiles and laughed at everything I said.

    • They asked a bunch of intrusive questions.

    • I thought, this must be what it feels like to be “Justin Beiber” for a day.

  • I started asking them what they were going to do for summer

    • One kid said, eat and sleep a lot.

      • A kid after my own heart.

  • I then pulled out the first book and begin reading the pages.

OH MY WORD!

  • READ PAGES FROM BOOK

Is this book getting kids ready for change or Freddy Krueger?

  • I had nightmares that night.

  • The kids were looking at the pictures like “Ewww”  Yeah EWWWWWW.

  • The writer of this book should be on the 9:00 news and the illustrator should be in prison.

I was able to recoup after spending a few minutes in the bathroom crying in the feeble position.

EVERYONE LIKES A GOOD STORY

Everyone likes a good story.

  • A story of redemption.

  • A story of the good guy overtaking the bad guy.

  • A story of hopelessness turned into victory.

  • A story of the overlooked becoming the hero.

  • A story of the lonely finding true love.

You know who likes and writes a good story better than any of us?  GOD THE FATHER.

CORE VALUE #2: STORIES

And that is the reason for New Life Republic’s 2nd core value called: STORIES.

We are in a series right now called “Press Start.”

  • This series will define clearly for everyone what the heartbeat of New Life Republic is.

  • This is a 4-week series that outlines our 3 core values and the mission of our church.

  • Last week we introduced core value #1 which is called WELL.

    • WELL specifically means that “As a church we commit to going to people and not expecting them to come to us.”

    • As Jesus so beautifully demonstrated in John 4 when he took the path least traveled to meet his divine appointment with the Samaritan woman.

    • If you missed that message, you can podcast it from our mobile app on the Apple and Android app stores or online.

    • If you have the app you can also follow along with the message today and takes notes with the TAKE NOTES button at the bottom of the screen.

  • This week we will venture deeper into our core values by addressing STORIES.

STORES means “As a church we commit to doing everything we can to tell the stories of individuals whose life has been transformed by the Gospel.”

  • The reason why we do this is because by telling people’s stories we make God known where he’s a stranger and activate the faith of His followers.

DEMONIAC HEALED

We see this concept of telling our story demonstrated by Jesus’ command to a young man mentioned in Mark 5.

This young man had a significant problem.  He was possessed and tortured by demons.

  • This whole reality of demonic possession opens up a can of beans that we don’t have time to eat today.

  • I do want to address the reality that we are at war.  A very real spiritual war.

  • I am a first hand observer of a demonic possession and deliverance situation.  (TWICE)  Trust me, it’s very real.

Ephesians 6:12 NIV

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.

Ephesians 6:12 MSG

This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

THE DEVIL IS THE ENEMY

Make no mistake about it, the devil is your enemy.

  • There is nobody that plots their time to destroy you more than him.

  • There is nobody that roots for your failure and demise more than him.

  • There is nobody that laughs when you fail more than him.

  • He wants to write a story too, one where the bad guy wins and you lose.

There are two sides to the war.  You’re either on his side or God’s side.

  • If you have elected to not pick a side, then you’ve already picked a side and you picked the devil’s side, because you are inherently a sinner by nature.

  • In reality there is no such thing as not picking a side.  There is no gray.  There are two options.

  • And your choice will determine your eternal destiny.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you’ve picked again the devil and that means he is coming after you.

  • The more awesome things you do for God… the harder he charges after your life.

  • We are starting a new church to reach people with the Gospel.

    • You gotta be kidding yourself if you don’t believe he doesn’t have a target on us.

    • But our God is bigger.

    • As long as we align ourselves with Him, we have nothing to worry about.

      • We picked the winner of the war, though the battle rages on.

Truth is, sometimes unfortunately he gets to people.  And he really got to this young man in Mark 5.

Mark 5:1 NIV

So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes.

Mark 5:2-5 NIV

When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

This was a naked homeless guy that slept where they put dead animals and people.

  • He laid in dirt where wild animals had access to him at all hours of the day and night.

  • He laid in a canvas of filth with feces and vermin surrounding him.

  • He lived like a wild animal.  Heck, he was viewed by everyone as a wild animal himself.

  • He had supernatural strength

  • He was insane.  Not clinically insane, but supernaturally insane.

How awful of an existence this man had.

  • I mean, the Samaritan woman was a lonely and hated person, but this guy has been relegated to a monster.

  • Verse 5 indicates this man didn’t just act like a monster, but also looked like one.

    • He howled at night and cut himself with large rocks.

    • This poor man was covered in massive bleeding lacerations and scar tissue.

The enemy had effectively turned this normal human being into a monster.

  • And we are naive if we believe that he isn’t trying to do the same to us.

  • You see the enemy is writing a story for your life too.  Who are you allowing to write your story?

Mark 5:6-8 NIV

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”

Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.

11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby.12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.”

13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

And all of the bacon-lovers in the room died a little on the inside.

  • In that day a herd of 2000 swine was big business.

  • Jesus allows the demons to go into the pigs, which makes them mad and they run off the bank.

    • Someone just lost a very lucrative business.

    • It’s similar to someone walking into a new car lot and driving every car off a cliff at once

Mark 5:14-15 NIV

14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened.15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid.

JESUS SHUT THE TOWN DOWN

Imagine this scene with me

  • The pig herdsman are running through the streets yelling about what just happened.

    • Save the bacon, save the bacon!

  • This is deaf-con 5, threat level midnight.

  • Schools are shutting down, diners are locking the doors, people are running out of their homes in their Garth Brooks PJs.

  • Everyone in rushing out to see what’s happened.

  • It’s like a scene out of Walking Dead

  • People are rushing to the grocery store and buying all of the water and bread, and the disciples are still in there from last week.

  • In their world this is apocalyptic.

Mark 5:16-17 NIV

16 Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. 17 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

What Jesus is capable of is scary.

  • They are scared that their pigs are next.

  • Their response wasn’t, hey stick around so you can free more people.

    • No, it’s leave so you don’t cost us anymore pigs.

    • These people, the Gerascenes… they preferred pigs to people

    • Their response: No.  I’m not willing to give up any more pigs to see lives changed.

TODAY

So do we.

  • Far too many people turn their backs on Christ because they fear that He will disrupt their lives.

  • They fear that Jesus will call them out on and read their mail.

  • They fear Jesus will invade their space and create a ever changing normal.

  • AND ALL OF THAT IS TRUE!

Jesus will invade your space.

  • He will ask more of you than you ever want him to.

  • He will demand you to follow him to places that are uncomfortable and scary.

  • He will disrupt your life.  How can he not?

    • Your life was structured on the systems of the world.

    • Your priorities are established by your own self-thinking.

    • Jesus teaches us to recalibrate all that to make him #1. (IMAGE)

    • THIS is what’s required for him to change your story.

Sadly, far more people than we could imagine turn their backs on Him because of this.

  • And Jesus’ response is the same… a frightening one.

Mark 5:21 NIV

21 Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore.

He got in his boat and left.

  • He went somewhere where he was wanted.

  • How frightening the image that we loved our things and our normal so much, that the Savior of the World just go in his boat and left.

Mark 5:18 NIV

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 

SHOW YOUR FACE

The man who had just been delivered wanted to go with Jesus.  This isn’t surprising.

  • Everybody in that area knew the things he did.

  • He was the town monster shackled and chained up, creeping about in caves and howling at people.

  • He was insane, and nobody wanted to go near him.

He’s got to be thinking…

  • Take me away from these people.

  • I don’t ever want to show my face around here again.

  • You restored and delivered me… I just want to be where you are.

Mark 5:18-20 NIV

19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.

SHOW YOUR FACE

But Jesus knew that he had a more powerful purpose, and that was to show his face to the very people he didn’t want to see.

  • Go tell your story!  It’s not going to be easy, but go tell your story.

  • Go show them that you are clothed and in your right mind!

  • Go tell them who did this!

  • Man tried to control what was wrong with you with medicating you with shackles, but God stepped in and really set you free.

  • Tell them about how you were broken and now you’re healed.

  • Tell them about how you were bound, and now you’re free.

  • Tell them about how you were lost, and you’re found.

  • Tell them about how you were overcome with evil, and how Jesus made you to overcome!

  • BLOW THEIR MINDS WITH THE STORY OF HOW GOD SET YOU FREE!

When the demonized guy showed up, people asked “Where’s the crazy guy?”

  • Well, he’s right here.  His name is Stan.

  • No, the one that was naked, screaming, and scaring the kids.  He’s got an AC/DC tattoo right here and a Lady Gaga tattoo here.

  • Yes, that’s him.  He’s here.  He’s a preacher now.

  • You mean that demonized animal is now a preacher of the Gospel.  YES!  And THAT’s the power of God’s story writing ability.

  • What are you some kind of preacher now?  Yeah, cause God turned me from a monster into a preacher just like that.  That’s my story.

TELLING YOUR STORY COST YOU SOMETHING

This man was oblivious just like we are to reality.

  • Everyone in that town had the same condition he did.

  • Spiritually they were all serving the devil, they just weren’t manifesting it as overtly or extremely as he was.

  • They didn’t look outwardly as bad as him, but they were on the same trajectory and ultimate destiny.

  • Sometimes the subtle captivity is more dangerous than the overt, because you don’t know how dangerous it truly is.

GENERATIONAL STORY

I know this story of three generations of men that God radically rewrote their story.

  • GRANDFATHER

    • The grandfather was a very isolated human being.  He hated everyone and everything.  He lived as a hermit in a house that resembled a large outdoor mower shed that was falling down.  No heat or air.  All by choice.

    • He hid money in Folgers coffee cans and literally buried them in his yard because he didn’t trust banks or people.

    • He never took a bath and didn’t have running water.

    • His only pass time was his CB radio where his call name was “Hitler” and it wasn’t a joke.

    • He hated anyone that didn’t look like him and had a wide variety of names he used to describe them.  Heck, he hated everyone.  He was abused and beat as a child.

    • His only interaction was with his son and two little grandsons who drove him to the grocery store once a week to get his supplies for the week.

      • He was always terribly grumpy, but did show a small ounce of care in buying a quart of ice cream for the grandkids during the trip.

    • When he passed, there were not many people that were there or cried.

  • FATHER

    • The dad his son, promised he would never end up like that, or like the men before him.

    • He promised to his sons that they would have a better life.

    • A blue collar factor worker himself, he worked many long hours to ensure that the future would be brighter for his kids.

    • He toiled many hours to ensure he would break the generational chain of a dirty family name.

    • Although he never lived in great luxury, he did everything he could to root his son’s to succeed.

  • SONS

    • Those sons both have successful careers today where they are happy and have a family.

    • One son in particular, God grabbed his heart when he was a teenagers and radically changed his life.

    • He took a jerk of a human being and turned him into someone that was somewhat tolerable.

    • Through him the whole family would end up getting saved, including the father.

    • He was called into ministry and became a preacher.

    • A week ago, he started a church.  He’s 33.  He’s me.

I called my dad this week to thank him for driving in from Kansas to be at our launch service last week.  As he was speaking to me and holding back tears, he shared his perspective that I never saw.

  • He shared about how amazing it was that God had redeemed our family so drastically in just two generations.

  • He said, knowing the person your grandpa was and seeing what God is doing in your life is simply a miracle to me.

  • I told him, “Dad, it’s because you broke the chain.  You fought for a different story.  You prayed for a different story.  God honored that prayer.”

Revelation 19:10b ESV

For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

DNA OF A STORY

Why do we tell our story?

  • The DNA of our story if found in this verse.  The story of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  What does that mean?

    • HE WILL DO IT AGAIN.

    • Telling the story is just the beginning, it’s just the spark.

    • And what he did for you, he is ready, willing, able, and waiting to do AGAIN.

      • For you, for someone else.

    • But you have to be willing to lay down your life, your priorities, your normal.

      • He’s a Savior that demands everything.

      • But oh man… what you get in return will never ever make you miss what you gave up.

What’s your story?  Who’s writing your story right now?  It is the enemy or is it God?  Cause somebody is writing it?  Who would you rather the author be?