Summary: Experience Grace and find the freedom to start fresh.

Dakota Community Church

September 18, 2005

Experience Grace

I want to welcome you to Dakota Community Church this morning but more than that I want to welcome you to experience grace and a fresh start.

There are many possible reasons for needing grace and a fresh start.

- Battling Illness

- Marital Stress

- Divorce or separation

- Job difficulty

- Unemployment

- Debt

- Death in the family

- Kid issues

I specifically want to call three groups of people to experience grace and start fresh today:

1. Those who are fainting.

Matthew 11: 28-30

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."

- People faint when they are trying to earn it.


Imagine a wick that is placed in oil, and then lit. If the oil runs out, the wick burns. As long as there is oil, the wick doesn’t burn. As long as we are living in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t burn out. The question to ask: what’s burning?

- People faint when they are being manipulated.

Matthew 23: 4

They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

- People faint when they get dehydrated.

1Kings 19: 3-4

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."

What fixed him of this problem? God in the silence!

John 7: 37-39

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

If you are tired, thirsty and ready to faint, come and experience the grace that is in Jesus.

Start fresh!

If you are exhausted from dancing to another person’s drum or if you have been manipulated by religion, come and experience grace and start fresh.

If you stopped drinking in his presence, come and experience grace and start fresh.

2. Those who are hurting.

I know there are some here today who have not had anything to do with the church for some time because of a deep wound they have received. Some may even have allowed it to fester and separate them from God altogether.

The Lord is longing for you to return to Him and to the Body.

1Corinthians 12: 18-21

God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don’t need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don’t need you!"


If Jesus wants you to be a part of the Body, what has been done to you that justifies denying Him?

Matthew 18: 32-33

"Then the master called the servant in. ’You wicked servant,’ he said, ’I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’


Sometimes we are hurting because of what others have said about us. Even if it is true!

A small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial -- a grandmotherly, elderly woman.

He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you will never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"

She replied, "Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench.

In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!"

Psalm 147: 2-3

The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Luke 4: 18-19

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

3. Those who are alone.

There is a third group here this evening that I really want to speak to.

You are the ones who either have no idea what I am talking about, or who think I am completely nuts.

Some may think that the Christian faith is about being born in Canada.

Some think you are a Christian if you go to church or your parents had you baptized.

If you have not had that moment when you know you met Jesus – you are trying to do it alone.


This time last year Green Day hit the number one album sales spot for the first time selling nearly 300,000 copies of American Idiot featuring the song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” in the week ending September 29. Here are some of the lyrics:

I walk a lonely road -- The only one that I have ever known

Don’t know where it goes -- But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street -- On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Where the city sleeps -- and I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone I walk alone I walk alone I walk a...

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me

My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating

Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

’Til then I walk alone

Luke 19: 9-10

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

What was lost?

Genesis 3: 8-10

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

Luke 19: 41-44

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you."

Kevin Carter could never escape his continent’s turmoil. For a decade, the photographer captured vivid pictures of repression and strife in his native South Africa. Last year, he went to famine-racked Sudan and came upon a starving toddler stalked by a vulture. He photographed the scene--an image that won this year’s Pulitzer Prize--then chased the vulture away. As the child resumed her walk to a feeding station, he lit a cigarette and wept. Last week, at 33, he killed himself with carbon monoxide pumped into his pickup truck. Explained his father: "Kevin always carried around the horror of the work he did."

U.S. News and World Report


If you are fainting and tired – Come

If you are hurting – Come

If you are alone in this world - Come

PowerPoint available on request -