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Summary: God is bigger than my past.

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Our past is an interesting part of our lives. You have to admit, you’ve got some great memories in your past. For many of us (pre-Facebook), we used things like photoalbums to help us return to the special moments of the past.

VISUAL: PICS OF THE PAST

o Show College Yearbook (Senior Year)

o Show old pics from past on screens.

- Phone Pic

- Cowboy Pic

- School Pic

- USA vs. Brazil Soccer Game

- Golf

- David & Goliath

- Summer Vacation

It can be fun to reminisce on the past…but it can be painful too. In fact, I would contend that as the majority of us have great moments in our past – many of us have painful emotions stir up when thinking about the past. I’m confident that we’d have several people raise their hands if I asked: Do you have pain in your past?

Did you know THIS CHURCH has an interesting past? One that has pain…

o Fountain Springs Community Church was started in 1982.

o The church was started in the midst of pain…a church split occurred.

o People were angry with people. It wasn’t the glorious beginning to a church that we would have hoped to hear 30 years later.

o The church grew a bit…but then people started bickering…the bickering led to some selfishness…then people began not liking other people. The church…this church…it got messy.

o In 1999, the church reported having an average Sunday attendance of 35 people.

o By 1999, families had left the church…a pastor had left the church…people were wounded.

o I don’t need to go into all the details, but our church doesn’t have a perfect past.

My guess is – you don’t either.

Maybe it’s your family that has a past that isn’t what you wished had happened. Maybe it’s just you. The bottom line is: We all have a past…but…

DO YOU THINK GOD IS BIGGER THAN YOUR PAST?

What’s sad is that so many people have put their PAST into their PRESENT.

When that happens – everything is about your past:

o You struggle with healthy relationships.

o You struggle with finding the job you really want.

o You struggle with how people perceive you.

o You struggle with the financial struggles it brought into your life.

OUR PAST CAN EITHER BE AN

ANCHOR OR AN OPPORTUNITY.

The decision is up to you…Here’s what I know…Jesus wants your past to be used for good. I know that to be a fact because He was willing to die so that your past would dominate your future. God is so much bigger than your past that He can forgive everything that has ever happened in your past. When you choose to define your life by obedience to God rather than obedience to yourself, you sign up to put your past in your past.

Here’s what God gives everyone who believes…

GOD GIVES US A NEW BEGINNING.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Apply this directly to our church…

1999

35 was the average attendance / 0 people became Christians

2012

1100 was the average attendance / ___ people became Christians

We celebrate that…but do you believe that for yourself? Do you believe God can redeem your past and make something from it that glorifies God? HE SAYS HE CAN AND WILL!

Hebrews 8:12 (NIV)

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

In other words, “Your sin is gone and it doesn’t matter where “gone” is because I’m never going to go get it.”

GOD WILL NOT REMEMBER OUR SINS ANYMORE.

We value that, right? We love to own forgiveness…but don’t forget – if you are a Christian – you’ve committed to do what Jesus did. A new beginning starts with forgiveness from God, but also recognize…

A NEW BEGINNING GAINS MOMENTUM

BY FORGIVING OTHERS.

No one is TOO LOST for God to SAVE.

No one is TOO HARD for God to BREAK.

GOD GIVES US A NEW MESSAGE.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NIV)

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

AN UNDELIVERED MESSAGE MEANS

YOU HAVEN’T OWNED THE MESSAGE.

You have a story – you start with the story. God wants His story through your “HisStory”. The story of your past is what God wants to use to something “now” become their past.

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