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Take Control of Your Life

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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

GOD WANTS US TO TAKE CONTROL

OF OUR LIVES AWAY FROM OTHERS AND GIVE IT TO HIM.


THE STORY OF RUDY RUETTIGER.     (ROOT A GER)

RUDY GREW UP IN A CATHOLIC FAMILY

IN A SMALL TOWN IN ILLINOIS.

                                                                                     

HE WAS ONE OF 14 CHILDREN.

 

RUDY'S DREAM WAS

TO ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

AND PLAY FOOTBALL FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH.

 

ALL HIS LIFE HE WAS TOLD HE DIDN'T STAND A CHANCE—

HE WAS TOO SMALL AND TOO DUMB.

 

IN FACT, RUDY WAS ONLY 5'6"

AND HE GRADUATED THIRD IN HIS CLASS—

THIRD FROM THE BOTTOM!

 

AFTER HIGH SCHOOL HE WENT INTO THE NAVY

AND THEN SPENT FOUR YEARS WORKING A UNION JOB AT A POWER PLANT.

 

IT WAS A GOOD JOB—SECURE, GOOD BENEFITS, DECENT PAY.

 

BUT SOMETHING IN RUDY TOLD HIM IT WASN'T RIGHT FOR HIM. THERE WAS SOMETHING ELSE HE WANTED TO DO WITH HIS LIFE. HE WANTED TO PLAY FOOTBALL FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH!

 

OF COURSE, IT WAS A RIDICULOUS DREAM, AND EVERYONE TOLD HIM SO. STILL, HE REFUSED TO LET IT GO.

 

FINALLY, RUDY MADE THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION OF HIS LIFE:

HE MADE A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

 

HE CAME TO THE REALIZATION THAT THIS IS HIS LIFE,

HE WAS THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

NO ONE ELSE COULD LIVE IT FOR HIM.

 

SO HE DECIDED TO TAKE THE CONTROL OF HIS LIFE

AWAY FROM OTHERS,

AND GIVE IT TO GOD.

 

HE QUIT HIS JOB AND MOVED TO SOUTH BEND.

 

OF COURSE, NOTHING HAD CHANGED FOR HIM ACADEMICALLY.

 

HE STILL HAD A POOR HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT,

AND HE WAS DENIED ADMISSION TO NOTRE DAME.

 

THE ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR AT NOTRE DAME TOLD HIM

HE SHOULD ATTEND HOLY CROSS JUNIOR COLLEGE.

 

IF HE MADE STRAIGHT A'S FOUR SEMESTERS IN A ROW AT HOLY CROSS, HE WOULD BE ADMITTED TO NOTRE DAME.

 

AT THIS POINT IN HIS ACADEMIC CAREER, RUDY HAD NEVER MADE ANYTHING BETTER THAN A C!

 

HOWEVER, HE THREW HIMSELF INTO HIS STUDIES, AND MADE THE NECESSARY GRADES.

(IN THE PROCESS HE DISCOVERED THAT HE WAS DYSLEXIC,

AND HE LEARNED HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS CONDITION.)

 

AFTER GETTING ACCEPTED AT NOTRE DAME,

HIS FACED HIS NEXT CHALLENGE:

 

HE TRIED OUT FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH FOOTBALL TEAM.

 

BEING 5'6" AND 190 POUNDS, HE KNEW HE DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE OF MAKING VARSITY—

BUT ALL HE WANTED TO DO WAS MAKE THE SQUAD.

YOU SEE, EVEN THOUGH A COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM DRESSES OUT ABOUT 60 PLAYERS EACH GAME,

 

THERE ARE AN ADDITIONAL 40 OR SO WHO ARE ON THE TEAM,

AND WHO PRACTICE EVERYDAY WITH THE TEAM,

BUT THEY NEVER GET TO WEAR A UNIFORM.

 

BASICALLY, THEY SERVE AS "PUNCHING BAGS" FOR THE VARSITY PLAYERS IN PRACTICE.

 

THIS IS THE SQUAD RUDY HOPED TO MAKE.

AND HE DID MAKE IT.

 

HE MADE IT AHEAD OF PLAYERS WHO WERE BIGGER, FASTER, AND STRONGER, THAN HIM

HE MADE IT BECAUSE HE HAD MORE HEART.

 

FOR TWO YEARS, MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY RUDY WORKED OUT WITH ONE OF THE GREATEST TEAMS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY.

 

ON SATURDAY, THE BEST 60 PLAYERS SUITED UP AND RUDY WATCHED THE GAME FROM THE STANDS, LIKE ANY OTHER FAN.

 

IN THE LAST HOME GAME OF HIS SENIOR YEAR,

RUDY WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUIT UP.

 

WHAT HAD SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE YEARS BEFORE HAD BECOME REALITY.

 

RUDY'S HARD WORK AND INTENSE ENTHUSIASM HAD CAUSED HIM TO BECOME SOMETHING OF A LOCAL HERO AMONG THE OTHER PLAYERS,

AS WELL AS THE STUDENTS, AND FANS IN SOUTH BEND.

 

TOWARD THE END OF THE GAME,

WITH NOTRE DAME LEADING BY MORE THAN A TOUCHDOWN,

 

THE PLAYERS AND FANS BEGAN CHANTING, "RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!"

 

COACH DAN DEVINE SENT RUDY IN TO PLAY

WITH 27 SECONDS LEFT IN THE GAME.

 

ON THE LAST PLAY OF THE GAME, RUDY BROKE THROUGH THE LINE AND SACKED THE GEORGIA TECH QUARTERBACK.

 

THE FIGHTING IRISH PLAYERS SPONTANEOUSLY LIFTED RUDY TO THEIR SHOULDERS AND CARRIED HIM OFF THE FIELD.

 

IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL, NO PLAYER HAS BEEN CARRIED OFF THE FIELD ON THE SHOULDERS OF OTHERS PLAYERS—

EXCEPT RUDY RUETTIGER.

__________________________________________________________

RUDY'S LIFE DIDN'T END WITH A 27-SECOND COLLEGE FOOTBALL CAREER.

HE SOLD HOLLYWOOD ON THE IDEA OF PRODUCING HIS LIFE STORY,

TODAY, HE MAKES HIS LIVING BY WRITING AND SPEAKING TO SALES ORGANIZATIONS AND YOUTH GROUPS.

HE'S AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN

WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL

MAKES A PERSONAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

_________________________________________________________

WE DON'T HAVE TO LIVE OUR LIVES ENSLAVED TO THE THOUGHTS, OPINIONS AND EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS.

THIS ISN'T THE WAY GOD WANTS US TO LIVE;

HE WANTS US TO BE INDEPENDENT.

SIMPLY PUT, THAT MEANS TAKING THE CONTROL OF OUR LIFE AWAY FROM OTHERS

AND GIVING THAT CONROL TO GOD.

NOW REALIZE THAT THIS DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE LIVE OUR LIVES IN TOTAL DISREGARD OF OTHERS FEELINGS;

WE MUST ALWAYS BE SENSITIVE TO THE NEEDS OTHERS.

BUT WE CAN'T GIVE OTHERS

THAT WHICH BELONGS TO GOD.

MAKING A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

FREES US FROM THE EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS,

AND EMPOWERS US TO LIVE A LIFE, COMMITTED TO GOD.

JESUS GAVE US A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THIS KIND OF INDEPENDENCE.

EVEN THOUGH JESUS LIVED A LIFE OF SERVICE TO OTHERS,

WHEN YOU  READ THE GOSPELS,

YOU REALIZE THAT HE WAS        "HIS OWN MAN."

ACTUALLY HE WAS GOD'S OWN MAN.

TODAY WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT AN EXAMPLE IN THE LIFE OF JESUS THAT WILL SHOW US HOW TO MAKE OUR OWN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

 HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF OUR LIVES.

WE'RE GOING TO THE SIXTH CHAPTER OF MARK,

JESUS IS STILL

IN THE EARLY STAGES OF HIS MINISTRY.

HE HAS PERFORMED SEVERAL MIRACLES THROUGHOUT ISRAEL AND HIS MINISTRY IS BEGINNING TO BE KNOWN

THEN HE COMES AND VISITS HIS HOMETOWN. NAZARETH.

HE'S NOW AN ITINERANT RABBI,

AND JEWISH CUSTOM SAYS THAT HE SHOULD BE INVITED TO SPEAK IN THE SYNAGOGUE.

WHEN HE DOES, THE PEOPLE ARE SHOCKED BY HIS WORDS. THEY'RE SAYING AMONG THEMSELVES,

"WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?

ISN'T THIS THE CARPENTER?

ISN'T THIS THE SON OF MARY?

DON'T WE KNOW HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS?"

THE TOWNSPEOPLE BECAME OUTRAGED.

AND YET JESUS JUST SIMPLY REPLIED,

"ONLY IN HIS HOMETOWN IS A PROPHET WITHOUT HONOR."

THEN THE BIBLE SAYS THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO PERFORM MANY MIRACLES THERE BECAUSE OF THEIR UNBELIEF.

LETS READ THE STORY FOR OURSELVES.

MARK 6:1-6 (NIV)
6     JESUS LEFT THERE AND WENT TO HIS HOMETOWN, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS DISCIPLES. 2 WHEN THE SABBATH CAME, HE BEGAN TO TEACH IN THE SYNAGOGUE, AND MANY WHO HEARD HIM WERE AMAZED.

“WHERE DID THIS MAN GET THESE THINGS?” THEY ASKED. “WHAT’S THIS WISDOM THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN HIM, THAT HE EVEN DOES MIRACLES! 3 ISN’T THIS THE CARPENTER? ISN’T THIS MARY’S SON AND THE BROTHER OF JAMES, JOSEPH,A JUDAS AND SIMON? AREN’T HIS SISTERS HERE WITH US?” AND THEY TOOK OFFENSE AT HIM.

4 JESUS SAID TO THEM, “ONLY IN HIS HOMETOWN, AMONG HIS RELATIVES AND IN HIS OWN HOUSE IS A PROPHET WITHOUT HONOR.” 5 HE COULD NOT DO ANY MIRACLES THERE, EXCEPT LAY HIS HANDS ON A FEW SICK PEOPLE AND HEAL THEM. 6 AND HE WAS AMAZED AT THEIR LACK OF FAITH.

AND POINT OUT HOW

(JUST BEFORE HE CAME HOME HE RAISED A GIRL FROM THE DEAD)

 

POINT OUT THE REASON NOT MANY PEOPLE WERE HEALED. 

THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE HE COULD DO IT.

IN THIS STORY THERE ARE THREE KEYS

TO MAKING A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

          FIRST DECLARATION

1. DON'T LET ANYONE ELSE DEFINE YOU.

THE PEOPLE IN HIS HOMETOWN HAD A SPECIFIC OPINION OF WHO THEY THOUGHT JESUS SHOULD BE.

THEY SAW HIM A CERTAIN WAY:

HE WAS A CARPENTER, THE SON OF MARY,

HE WAS A LOCAL BOY.  THAT WAS ALL THEY SAW.

JESUS SAW HIMSELF DIFFERENTLY.

HE SAW HIMSELF AS GOD'S SON

HE WAS THE MESSIAH

HE WAS THE ONE WHO WOULD DIE FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD.

 

HE REFUSED TO LET HIMSELF BE DEFINED

BY PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T UNDERSTAND HIM.

YOU'LL FIND THIS TO BE TRUE IN YOUR OWN LIFE.

JUST LIKE JESUS...JUST LIKE RUDY RUETTIGER...

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WHO HAVE AN IDEA OF WHO THEY THINK YOU SHOULD BE.

MORE OFTEN THAN NOT,

THESE LABELS SERVE ONLY TO LIMIT YOU.

THERE'S A GUY THAT MAKES HIS LIVING PLAYING COUNTRY MUSIC. HE'S NOT FAMOUS, AND HE MAKES ONLY ENOUGH TO GET BY, BUT HE ENJOYS WHAT HE DOES.

HE TELLS A STORY ABOUT WHEN HE USED TO PLAY IN THE HOUSE BAND AT A RESTAURANT IN NASHVILLE.

THERE WAS A BUSBOY THERE WHO WORKED AT THAT RESTAURANT

THIS BUSBOY KEPT PESTERING THE BAND TO LET HIM PLAY.

THE BAND MEMBERS DIDN'T LAUGH AT HIM BEHIND HIS BACK     —    THEY LAUGHED AT HIM RIGHT TO HIS FACE.

THEY SAW HIM AS JUST A BUSBOY—

JUST A BIG CUNTRY HICK.

THE BUSBOY SAW HIMSELF DIFFERENTLY.

HE SAW HIMSELF AS A MUSICIAN...A COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR.

HE REFUSED TO LET OTHER PEOPLE DEFINE HIM;

HE WAS INTENT ON MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF.

HE DID MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF:

HIS NAME  IS RANDY TRAVIS.

HOW DO OTHERS DEFINE YOU?

THEY MAY SEE YOU AS "ONLY" A BUSBOY...

OR A HOUSEWIFE...OR A TEACHER...OR A SALESMAN...

OR SOMETHING ELSE.

BUT GOD SEES YOU A DIFFERENT WAY.

HE DOESN'T SEE YOU IN TERMS OF WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW OR WHERE YOU'VE BEEN,

HE SEES YOU IN TERMS OF WHO YOU CAN BE.

DON'T LET OTHERS TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE!

YOU'VE GOT TO DECIDE THIS FOR YOURSELF.

          THE SECOND DECLARATION IS,

2. DON'T LET OTHERS JUDGE YOU.

 

(V. 3) "THEY TOOK OFFENSE AT HIM."

WHY WERE THEY OFFENDED AT JESUS?

IT WAS BECAUSE HE DIDN'T FIT THEIR PRECONCEIVED IDEA OF WHO THEY THOUGHT HE SHOULD BE—

SO THEY JUDGED HIM—THEY TOOK OFFENSE AT HIM.

HOW DID JESUS RESPOND?

HE SAID, IN EFFECT, "YOU DON'T GET IT.

A PROPHET HAS HONOR EVERYWHERE BUT IN HIS OWN HOMETOWN...

AND YOU DON'T GET WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO."

THERE'S A GUY NAMED DAVID EDWARDS

HE'S AN EXTREMELY GIFTED YOUNG SPEAKER.

HE SPEAKS ABOUT 500 TIMES A YEAR TO ALL KINDS OF GROUPS.

EVERY MONDAY HE FLIES TO HOUSTON, TEXAS, TO LEAD THE METRO BIBLE STUDY AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.

EVERY TUESDAY HE LEADS A BIBLE STUDY IN OKLAHOMA CITY;

EVERY THURSDAY HE'S IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA.

ON THE DAYS IN BETWEEN HE IS SPEAKING IN CHURCHES, YOUTH RALLIES, RETREATS, CONVENTIONS—

ANYWHERE HE GETS THE OPPORTUNITY.

HE'S A VERY GIFTED COMMUNICATOR.

WHEN DAVID SPEAKS

HE DOES A BIT ABOUT "PEOPLE WHO DON'T GET IT."

THERE'S A PART WHERE HE READS INSTRUCTIONS FROM SMALL-APPLIANCE INSTRUCTION MANUALS...

LIKE THE BLOW DRYER THAT WARNS "DO NOT USE THIS APPLIANCE WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING."

OR THE KNIFE-SET THAT SAYS..."WARNING! BLADE IS SHARP. KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN."

DAVID IS POINTING OUT THE FACT THAT SOME FOLKS JUST DON'T GET IT.

DAVID SPEAKS FROM EXPERIENCE.

MANY UNDERESTIMATED HIS ABILITIES IN HIS EARLY YEARS.

HE HAD EPILEPSY, DYSLEXIA, AND OTHER DISABILITIES.

THE DOCTORS, COUNSELORS, AND TEACHERS TOLD HIM THAT HE WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO FUNCTION. 

THEY TOLD HIM THAT HE WOULD NEVER GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL.

YET, THROUGH THE HELP OF JESUS CHRIST,

DAVID OVERCAME HIS OBSTACLES

AND EVEN GRADUATED WITH HONORS...

HE THEN WENT ON TO COLLEGE WITH A FULL ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP.

DAVID REFUSED TO LET THE POOR JUDGMENT OF OTHERS PREVENT HIM FROM BEING

ALL THAT GOD CALLED HIM TO BE.

SO BE PREPARED.

WHEN IT COMES TO DOING GOD'S WILL IN YOUR LIFE, SOME PEOPLE WON'T GET IT.

THEY MAY ACCUSE YOU OF IMPURE MOTIVES,

OR SELFISH AMBITION, OR TRYING TO GET AHEAD OF GOD, OR ANY OTHER      NUMBER OF THINGS—

AND YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO LISTEN TO THEIR JUDGMENTAL COMMENTS.

THERE WAS A MAN WHO WAS COACHING

A LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM OF 9 &10 YEAR OLDS.

HIS TEAM WON THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP,

AND HE WAS ASKED TO COACH

THE LITTLE LEAGUE ALL-STAR TEAM.

AS HE BEGAN PREPARING FOR THEIR FIRST GAME,

THE COACH FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR

CAME AND GAVE HIM SOME ADVICE.

HE SAID, "IF YOU'RE OUT HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS,

YOU BETTER QUIT RIGHT NOW!

 

YOU'VE GOT 14 GREAT PLAYERS WHO ARE USED TO PLAYING ALL THE TIME,

 

AND YOU'VE GOT 14 SETS OF DEVOTED PARENTS

WHO HAVE SACRIFICED

TO HELP THEIR CHILD MAKE IT TO THIS LEVEL

          AND ONLY NINE POSITIONS TO FILL.

 

NONE OF THEM WILL UNDERSTAND WHY THEY HAVE TO BE

ONE OF THE ONES WHO SITS ON THE BENCH

EVEN PART OF THE TIME.

 

PLUS, EVERY OTHER COACH IN THIS LEAGUE IS GONNA SECOND GUESS EVERY DECISION YOU MAKE.

 

 

IF YOU LOSE, IT'S YOUR FAULT.

 

IF YOU WIN, IT'S BECAUSE YOU HAD A GOOD TEAM.

 

SO DON'T BE EXPECT TO BE THE HERO.

 

WHATEVER YOU DO, WHATEVER COACHING DECISION YOU MAKE,

YOU'RE THE ONE THAT HAS TO LIVE WITH IT...

SO YOU DO WHAT YOU THINK IS BEST."

_________________________________________________________

EVEN THOUGH IT WAS JUST LITTLE LEAGUE,

AND HARDLY A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH,

THOSE SOBERING WORDS HELPED PREPARE HIM FOR THE CHALLENGE THAT HE WAS GOING TO FACE.

THEY ALSO HELPED REMIND HIM OF THE FACT THAT

WE CAN'T LET THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS

KEEP US FROM DOING WHAT WE KNOW WE SHOULD BE DOING,         WITH OUR LIVES.

WALT KALLESTAD,

PASTOR OF COMMUNITY CHURCH OF JOY IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA, THOUGHT THAT WHEN HE BEGAN TO SUCCEED,

THAT OTHERS WOULD BE HAPPY FOR HIM.

THEY WEREN'T.

PEOPLE IN HIS DENOMINATION ACCUSED HIM OF COMPROMISING THE MESSAGE,

OTHER CHURCHES IN TOWN ACCUSED HIM OF STEALING THEIR MEMBERS,

AND EVEN SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN HIS OWN CONGREGATION

ACCUSED HIM OF TRYING TO BUILD HIS OWN KINGDOM.

BUT WALT REFUSED TO LET OTHERS JUDGE HIM.

INSTEAD, HE CONSIDERED IT HIS TASK

TO JUDGE HIMSELF IN THE LIGHT OF THE CALLING

GOD HAD PLACED ON HIS LIFE.

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR OWN LIFE MEANS

THAT YOU DON'T LET OTHERS DEFINE YOU,

YOU DON'T LET OTHERS JUDGE YOU,

          AND THE THIRD DECLARATION IS

3. DON'T LET OTHERS HOLD YOU BACK.

 

(V. 5-6) HE COULD NOT DO ANY MIRACLES THERE, EXCEPT LAY HIS HANDS ON A FEW SICK PEOPLE AND HEAL THEM.

AND HE WAS AMAZED AT THEIR LACK OF FAITH.

THERE WAS A CENTURIAN WHO AMAZED JESUS BY HIS FAITH.

 

HERE JESUS IS AMAZED AT THEIR LACK OF FAITH.

IF I'M GOING TO AMAZE JESUS, I SURE HOPE IT ISN'T

FOR MY LACK OF FAITH.

IF JESUS HAD STAYED IN NAZARETH (HIS HOMETOWN),

HE NEVER WOULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED

WHAT GOD CALLED HIM TO DO.

INDEPENDENT PEOPLE RECOGNIZE WHEN SOMETHING ISN'T WORKING, AND THEY MOVE ON.

THIS HAPPENS IN ALL KINDS OF SITUATIONS.

WORKERS WHO SEEM TO BE UNDERACHIEVERS IN ONE JOB

OFTEN EXCEL IN A DIFFERENT ONE.

THEY HAVEN'T CHANGED,       THE SITUATION HAS.

THIS SOMETIMES HAPPENS IN THE MINISTRY.

THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN NAMED RICK.

HE WAS ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED YOUTH WORKERS

YOU'D EVER WANT TO MEET.

FOR YEARS HE STRUGGLED AS THE YOUTH MINISTER

OF A SMALL CHURCH.

THE PASTOR WAS NEVER QUITE SATISFIED WITH HIS WORK.

THE ELDERS WERE ON HIS BACK ALL THE TIME.

HE NEVER REALLY GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXCEL.

FINALLY, RICK DECIDED TO MOVE ON.

DEEP IN HIS HEART HE KNEW WHAT GOD HAD CALLED HIM TO DO,      HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS CAPABLE OF DOING,

AND HE KNEW THAT HE HAD BEEN HINDERED

IN HIS DOING HIS JOB.

HIS NEXT JOB WAS DIFFERENT.

HE HAD THE SUPPORT OF THE PASTOR

AND HE HAD THE SUPPORT OF THE CHURCH LEADERSHIP,

NOW, HE WAS ABLE TO BUILD ONE OF THE LARGEST YOUTH PROGRAMS IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

IF HE HAD STAYED IN THAT TINY LITTLE BICKERING CHURCH WHERE HE STARTED,

HE NEVER WOULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING.

BUT, RICK REFUSED TO LET OTHERS HOLD HIM BACK.

_______________________________________________________

WHENEVER A JOB, OR A MINISTRY, OR A RELATIONSHIP DOESN'T WORK OUT,

WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO SAY, "I'M SORRY. IT'S NOT YOU...IT'S ME."

WE THINK THAT THAT'S BEING "HUMBLE."

AT SOME POINT, THOUGH, AN INDEPENDENT PERSON

MUST BE STRONG ENOUGH—AND SURE ENOUGH—

TO SAY,          "IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU."

THIS MAY GO AGAINST OUR GRAIN,

BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE MUST DO IT.

THIS IS WHAT JESUS DID IN NAZARETH.

THE BIBLE SAYS THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO PERFORM MIRACLES THERE BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF FAITH.

SO WHAT DID HE DO?

STAY IN NAZARETH AND FLOUNDER?

NO.     HE MOVED ON.

HE ALSO TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES TO DO THE SAME THING.

LATER, IN MARK 6, JESUS TOLD HIS DISCIPLES...

(V. 11) IF ANYPLACE WILL NOT WELCOME YOU OR LISTEN TO YOU, SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET WHEN YOU LEAVE...

HE WAS SAYING, IN EFFECT,

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE          "WHO DON'T GET IT."

WHEN THAT HAPPENS YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SAY,

"IT'S NOT ME THAT'S THE PROBLEM,

IT'S NOT MY MESSAGE THAT'S THE PROBLEM,

NO, IT'S YOU."

DON'T LET OTHERS HOLD YOU BACK.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

GOD WANTS US TO BE LIKE JESUS.

MANY TIMES WE MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING THAT BEING LIKE JESUS MEANS BEING "MEEK" AND "MILD"

AND BEING SOMEONE'S DOORMAT.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

JESUS WAS NO ONE'S DOORMAT.

AS YOU EXAMINE THE LIFE OF CHRIST,

YOU SEE THE PROFILE OF AN INDEPENDENT MAN.

WHEN HE RODE INTO JERUSALEM ON PALM SUNDAY,

THEY ALL WANTED HIM TO SET UP HIS EARTHLY KINGDOM RIGHT THEN.

BUT JESUS KNEW WHAT HE HAD TO DO, AND IT WASN'T WHAT EVERYONE ELSE EXPECTED HIM TO DO.

HE WASN'T PROUD, OR ARROGANT, OR EGOTISTICAL;

HE WAS STRONG AND SELF-ASSURED.

HE KNEW WHO HE WAS

AND HE KNEW WHERE HE WAS GOING.

HE KNEW THE WORK THAT GOD HAD CALLED HIM TO DO, AND HE DIDN'T PUT HIS SELF-WORTH UP FOR A VOTE.

TO BE LIKE CHRIST IS TO BE

 INDEPENDENT FROM THE WORLD.

THAT MEANS

WE DON'T LET OTHERS DEFINE WHO WE ARE;

WE LET GOD TELL US WHO WE ARE.

IT MEANS THAT WE DON'T LET OTHERS JUDGE US;

WE HAVE GOD AS OUR JUDGE.

IT MEANS THAT WE DON'T LET OTHERS HOLD US BACK;

WE LET GOD MOVE US FORWARD.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO?

IT COMES DOWN TO

MAKING A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM THE WORLD.

________________________________________________________

MAKING A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IS THE PROCESS OF TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE AWAY FROM OTHERS

AND GIVING IT TO GOD.

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