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Tag: giving up

Popular

Our Giving Up series in worship concludes this week with popularity. I must admit, being popular is not something I had much experience with while growing up, but that doesn’t mean popularity didn’t get in the way of relationship with Jesus. Read on for this week’s announcements cover article.

I was never very popular when I was a kid. For those who know me, it won’t surprise you that I was more of a nerd. I liked computers, even going so far as to research how to program my TI-85 calculator to play games. I was the one you could count on for tutoring help.

If you would have told me to give up my popularity to follow Jesus, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. What popularity? But even when you aren’t popular, your popularity can be a wedge between you and Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38

Have you ever held back when you should have been Jesus’ hands to someone? Or remained silent when you could be His words to them? I know I have, and it was rooted in a fear of becoming even less popular. I may not have been popular, but it was certainly something I wanted, and so I allowed that desire to be popular to drive my actions. I probably should have been more intentional about being foolish:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Giving up your popularity really means giving up the wisdom of the world and embracing the “foolish” Word of God. And then it doesn’t matter how popular we are in the eyes of the world.

The Ultimate Price

Have you ever considered the possibility that God might call you to give up your life? To pay the ultimate price? We’re exploring this very issue this week as we continue our Giving Up series at worship. Read on for this week’s front page article in the announcements.

What is more important to you than life itself? For what are you willing to die? These questions are at the core of what it means to walk with Jesus.

Thankfully, you aren’t often faced with the opportunity to choose between your life and something you believe strongly in. But Jesus calls you to be ready to give up everything, including your life, in service to Him:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Following Jesus comes with a steep price. He might not call you to a physical death, but He is calling you to deny yourself. Maybe that’s a steeper price. Being willing to die is a one-time decision if you choose death. Continually giving up your life—letting God be in complete control—now that’s a tall order. Of course, giving up our lives is the only way to have life:

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake
will find it. Matthew 16:25

Your only hope for true life is giving up your life completely to Jesus. It means placing Him first in everything, not just where it’s convenient.

Overcoming Evil

This week we continue our series on Giving Up, looking at the enemies we face. What is God’s plan for dealing with our enemies? Who even is our enemy? Read on for this week’s front-page article for the announcements.

Sometimes it feels like there are enemies all around us. We don’t call them that, but that’s what they are. They’re working against you at work, knowingly or unaware. They pick on you at school. They bully you on the playground. They  constantly ridicule you for your belief in God.

When you feel attacked, it’s easy to think of these people as the enemy. You want to hurt them like they’re hurting you. You want to see them suffer for the suffering they have caused you. But in God’s upside-down world, that’s not the plan:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:14

And again:

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21

God’s plan for overcoming our enemies is not to hold grudges or repay them for the wrongs they’ve committed, but to love them. And when we love instead of hate—when we bless instead of curse—we find they aren’t the enemy at all.

They’re a sinner in need of God’s love and forgiveness, just like you.

Victory in Surrender

I’m not really big on giving things up for Lent. I understand the practice, and can even see value in it, it’s just never really been for me. This week we start, as we start our journey to Easter, we start a new series about giving up. Read on for the front page of this week’s announcements as you prepare for the sermon this weekend.

There are times when wars end in a stalemate, where both sides just decide to stop fighting, but more often they end when one side surrenders. Generally speaking, you don’t want to be on the side that surrenders, because surrendering means defeat. It means the victor gets to impose their will on yours. But in God’s upside-down view of things, surrendering is actually the path to victory.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Romans 7:22-23

There is a war waging inside us. It’s a war between our own sinful nature and the Spirit of God. The Spirit is calling for our complete surrender. No terms. No demands. But total surrender. And in return, the Spirit offers freedom. It is only through surrendering to God that we can win the war raging in our body. Paradoxically, surrender leads to victory.

This week we start a new series about surrendering, about Giving Up those things in our lives that keep us from God. Check inside for a complete list of what we’re called to give up. This Lent, we walk with Jesus towards Golgotha, the hill on which He would surrender His very life to win our freedom. This Lent, we give up more than chocolate, TV or some other bad habit. This Lent, we heed the Spirit’s call to wave the white flag. This Lent, we surrender and experience true freedom in the process.

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