Summary: Learn with Esther how to understand and follow the invisible God through the incredible trials and challenges of life.

Getting Over Your Hang-ups

Series: Letting God Guide You

May 1, 2005

Recently the news media has been having a heyday reporting the questionable (and usually illegal) behavior of well-known people, (professional athletes, politicians, preachers, presidents, even royalty). From Martha Stewart to Michael Jackson the investigative reporters have been kept busy digging up news to satisfy the public’s insatiable appetite for scandal.

If nothing else, all of these scandalous stories have emphasized the truth of the biblical warning found in Num.32:23…you may be sure that your sin will find you out . In otherwords, we may be able to cover up our sinful actions for awhile…but eventually the truth surfaces, and everybody finds out what’s really going on. In the end, we find out the hard way that “the wrong we do to others… we’re actually doing to ourselves”.

One of the games I used to love to play as a kid while on long trips with my family, was the game… “Hang-man”. Remember it? You’d draw a hang-mans gallows on a piece of paper, and then somebody would come up with a word. They’d count the # of letters in the word, and then draw out the spaces in the word as a clue. Your job was to guess the word one letter at a time. If you guessed right, a letter would fill in the space. If you got it wrong, a part of the hangman would be drawn on the gallows. If the stick figure was drawn before you guessed the right letters… you lost and were hung by your neck. If you somehow managed to guess the right word… your life was spared! It’s kind of a morbid game if you think about it, but the tension was addicting, and we’d play it over and over!

Well, in this mornings episode of the story of Esther, we’re going to read about a game of hangman…& you can cut the tension with a knife. The evil villain, Haman, had hatched a diabolical plan to destroy God’s people… and it looked like He was going to pull it off! But as we’ll soon find out, Haman’s plan would backfire! Haman was playing a high-stakes game of ‘hang-man’… and so are some of you! (Warning: temp. moratorium on BOOOing)

Today, we’re going to see how an evil man was able to gather up enough rope to hang himself…and how if we’re not careful…we can do the same thing. See, in life, if we’re not careful, it’s possible to either be hung-up on our hang-ups… or get OVER our hang-ups.

READ Esther 5:9-14

When we last visited Esther…the Jewish nation was poised for extermination, and only one young woman stood in the way. Esther. She was the newly appointed queen and a Jewess. As the heroine of our story, Esther had managed to invite King Xerxes and Haman to a special banquet thrown in their honor. Sensing the time wasn’t right to approach the king and expose Haman for the murderer He was…she invited them back the next day for another banquet. As Haman left the banquet that day He was exhilarated!

All of his dreams were coming true! He was the happiest man in the entire kingdom! He was singing… “Zippity Do Daaa!!!!”

Everything was right in the world… when all of the sudden, out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of Mordechai! And unlike all the other people he meant on the way home… he wasn’t trembling! He wasn’t even bowing… in fact, He didn’t even stand up! Arrrrrggg! “Why does this guy have to ruin a perfectly beautiful day!” Unwilling to show himself as the jerk he is in public… he holds himself together long enough to get home.

And when He gets home… he starts bragging! He brags about his wealth. He brags about his children. He brags about his position. And most of all he brags about the fact that He was invited to another banquet with the king and queen! Ever known anybody like this? I used to know a pastor… (explain)

Unknowingly, Haman had put his head in the noose of the 1st hang-up, that you can get hung-up on! PRIDE! Now, as we go through the message this morning, I want you to help me out. I want you to play along. The 1st hang-up that will destroy your life is having a

1. Big Head (Pride)

So I want you to fill in the spaces that I’ve given you on your notes… with the word BIG…and then, I want you to draw a BIG FAT HEAD under the gallows there on your notes. (that’s always the 1st part of the stick figure you draw when you make a mistake in hang-man. And believe me…Haman was making a BIG mistake!

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