Summary: The first step on the road to blessing and refreshment is to admit you are morally bankrupt. When you check the bank balance of your moral power to do right and to be right, you must admit to yourself there are insufficient funds and you are morally overd
This morning, I’m beginning a new teaching series entitled, “Refresh! What to do when life crashes.” I got the idea for this title several months ago when I was on my computer and a web page I was viewing locked up. I moved the cursor up to the “refresh button” and double-clicked my mouse—“Voila!” the web page reloaded and I kept working. In that moment I thought, “Wow! That’s what happens to us when our lives get clogged up. When we position our trust in God, He refreshes us so we can live an abundant life again.
The Biblical basis for this series is found in the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5. These simple, profound principles are often called “the beatitudes” from the Latin word beatus which means “blessed.” I like the word “beatitudes,” because these are “attitudes that ought to be!”
I heard about a father who was trying to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon in his living room. His little boy kept bugging him saying, “Daddy, I’m bored.” So his father, trying to make up a game, found a picture of a world map in the newspaper. He ripped it up in about fifty pieces and said, “Son this is a really fun jigsaw puzzle. I want you to put it all back together.” He lay down to finish his nap, thinking his son would be occupied for at least the next two hours so he could sleep. But in about 10 minutes his son woke him up saying, “Daddy, I finished it. I put it all back together.” The man said, “You’re kidding!” He knew his son didn’t know all the names and locations of the nations, but there was the world map reassembled before him. He asked, “How did you do that?” His son smiled and said, “It was easy, dad. There was a picture of a person on the other side of the page with the map. I just put the picture of the person together and turned it over. When I got my person put together, the world looked just fine.”
It’s amazing how much better the world looks when a person is put back together! That’s what this REFRESH series is about—tapping into God’s power to restore and refresh lives that have crashed and been broken. This series is NOT only for people who have hurts, hang-ups, habits, and hassles with clinical labels. The truth is life is tough for all of us. We’ve all hurt other people and we’ve all been hurt by others. This series is for anyone looking for personal and spiritual refreshment. This truth is for you if you want to be blessed more in 2007 than in any previous year of your life. In these few verses we’re going to study, Jesus repeats the word “blessed” nine times. I have a friend who wrote his entire doctoral dissertation on the meaning of the word “blessed” in the beatitudes. It’s the word makarioi, which can best be translated “happy.” For all humans, and especially Americans, we believe in our God-given rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If you are like millions of others pursuing happiness, you’ll only find it when you seek to follow God’s plan for your life. Let’s see how Jesus begins what is often called the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:1-3. “Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Do you need spiritual and personal refreshing? Computers aren’t the only things that crash—cars crash, planes crash...and even lives crash. Are you struggling with Overworking? Overeating? Alcohol or Drugs? Overspending? Grief? Guilt? Anger or rage? Fear or Anxiety? Divorce? Rejection? Abuse? Sexual addictions? Codependency? Insecurity? Perfectionism? Gambling? Lying? Procrastination? The Need to control? The list goes on and on—you can fill in the blank with your own struggle.
In 1935 Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, from Akron, Ohio, developed a 12-step process of recovery for people addicted to alcohol. This was the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and these same twelve steps based on scripture have been adopted and adapted by numerous other recovery groups. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California has reworked these steps into a national ministry known as Celebrate Recovery. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to borrow some of these principles to share with you—seven steps to refreshment. The first letter in each of these seven principles will spell the word REFRESH. The first principle is:
Realize that I’m not God
That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Jesus wasn’t talking about being financially poor or spiritually poor. The first step on the road to blessing and refreshment is to admit you are morally bankrupt. When you check the bank balance of your moral power to do right and to be right, you must admit to yourself there are insufficient funds and you are morally overdrawn. As we think about this important first step, let’s consider three important truths: