The Home Run Life-First Base

Now better men than me have failed/ Drinking from thatunholy grail…I’ve gotta bid you adieu/And to another I will stay true.
– Andy Grammer, song lyrics to Honey, I’m Good
It only took 4 minutes, just 240 seconds, for one of the largest sinkholes ever recorded to open up in Dover, Ohio. Located south of the Akron-Canton area, Dover’s small community was stunned by...
the sudden appearance of a giant crater in December 2012. Just minutes before the massive sinkhole devoured the equivalent of 4 football fields, everything seemed to be normal. Or, was it? Seconds later, there was total collapse. It turns out that the limestone foundation underneath the ground surface had been eroding away for years, unnoticed until that day. No one saw the impending disaster coming.

Our character issues are a lot like sinkholes, often remaining hidden under the surface. Sometimes, character issues are concealed out of fear, shame or pure denial. But, they are there. Leadership expert John Maxwell says this: “Character is a choice. You form it every day by your choices, especially the ones you make when no one is looking.”

Character issues arise when we cross the line in behavior. Early on, we learn there are consequences for crossing certain lines like getting a detention for fighting in school. As we grow up, we discover that the consequences can be devastating. When we learn to drive, we learn that crossing that solid yellow line can lead to injury or even death. Crossing relationship lines, like expressing uncontrolled anger or cheating, can lead to broken relationships. One of the keys to staying clear of danger is to draw clear character lines.

In the Old Testament, Samson was an excellent example of how character issues needlessly ruined his life. He was supposed to have a special relationship with God and was gifted with incredible strength. Yet, Samson crossed the lines that God established for his life, with disastrous results. For example, God instructed Samson not to go near a dead body, yet Samson ate honey from the carcass of a dead lion. Later, he demanded to marry a woman that didn’t share his beliefs—another line God told him not to cross.

We may not think those examples to be a big deal, but listen to what Kevin Myers, author of “Home Run: Learn God’s Plan for Life and Leadership”, says about Samson: “When he didn’t feel any immediate consequences for his actions, he probably believed none were coming.” Is that true for you? What about people that you know who struggle with substantial character issues? Too often, we think that just because we keep our character issues hidden that somehow we will get away with it.

Like Samson, we refuse to believe that our character issues will actually come back to hurt us. Samson learned the hard way that there is always a price to pay. In his case, we read that Samson’s wife set a trap for him. He ends up blinded by the Philistines and imprisoned before sacrificing himself in order to kill 3,000 of his enemies.

One of the key factors in the revelation of character issues is pressure. When our lives are under pressure, any flaws or struggles with our character rise to the surface. “People who don’t take care of character issues are like houses built over sinkholes. They may appear solid—not only to the casual observer but also to the residents in the house. But as the pressure comes, because the foundation is weak, cracks appear and total disaster is only seconds away.” In this week’s LivingItOut, we’re going to continue with our “Home Run” series and shift our attention to “First Base: Winning Within” and look at the character issues that can get in the way of our pursuit of the Home Run Life.

THIS WEEK’S STUDY IS ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO LIVE THE HOME RUN LIFEBY WINNING WITHIN.

MONDAY — Stop Resisting, Start Embracing

Big Point: Walk towards God and away from the line.

There are two types of pain in this world, the short term pain of discipline and the long term pain of regret. One weighs ounces, the other tons. Choose your pain.
John Rohn
Like a loving parent, God gives us boundaries for our own good. We tell our children to, “Look both ways before you cross,” “Call and let me know where you are,” and the new favorite, “Make good choices”. We do this because we love our children and care about their protection.

God gives us rules or lines for the same reasons, but with even more at stake. God’s lines are lifelines and can be put into two different categories: solid lines and dotted lines. Solid lines are wrong for everyone, crossing them is a sin for everyone. For example, worshipping idols is a solid line God has drawn for no believer to cross. Dotted lines are sins for some people, but not for everyone. These are personal choices you make to ensure that your actions are “…pleasing and profitable in your walk with Him.”

Sometimes we see how far we can push the lines. We know something is wrong for us, but we justify it and before we know it, we’re tagged out. Why do we take these risks with our lives when God has so much more for us? The good news is that we can choose, instead, to follow God’s call. The lines that God has drawn are always for our benefit, but it is up to us to choose His love and His lines or our own. Choosing to walk away from the line may be difficult, but it is always worth it to move closer to your loving Father. All He wants is to give you life to the full, because He cares for you. Stop resisting Him and embrace the calling God has for you. 

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
What Paul is saying here is that although we are all created by God, when we receive Christ into our hearts, we become His children and He becomes our Father. We are now more than created, we are family. The word “Abba” is Aramaic and translates as a more affectionate term such as Papa.

Question
What is the difference between being created and being a family?

Romans 8:15-16 (New Living Translation)

15So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him “Abba, Father.” 16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.



Answer:
This chapter in Romans is said to be the best that Paul ever wrote. He is speaking to a Roman, otherwise known as a Gentile, audience. In this verse, Paul talks about the rewards of being in God’s family, but explains that those rewards come at a price.

Question: 
What are the rewards Paul talks about as an heir in God’s family? 

Romans 8:17 (New Living Translation)

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.



 Answer:  
LIVE… What will you do now?
Today’s opening line was, “God gives us boundaries for our own good”. Do you believe that? Why or why not? Does it feel like it’s for our own good or more like a list of rules to follow?


Why do you think God allows rewards that are both glory and suffering in our lives?

What are the dotted lines for you in your life? Do you honor those? What has been the result?

What would it look like for you to stop resisting and embrace God’s calling for you?

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
This weekend you had the opportunity to identify an issue, sin or struggle that keeps throwing you out at first base and ask God to help you draw a solid line. Take some time today to pray over that again (you may have to do this repeatedly with whatever it is you wrote on that card) and thank Him for helping you take that step.

Throughout this week’s LivingItOut, all quotes are from “Home Run”  by Kevin Myers & John C. Maxwell, unless otherwise noted.

Digging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:
During the Home Run series, Lifegroups will be using the DVD teaching by Kevin Myers, author of Home Run and pastor at 12 Stone Church.  Not connected in a group? You can still dig deeper by going to cedarcreek.tv/homerun to sign up for a group that fits your schedule and area, or join the campus class discussion group on Tuesday at 7PM at every CedarCreek campus. Cost of the class is $10.00 per person, and walk-ins are welcome.


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Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jan, this is very good and one to reread and learn from. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a nice week and peaceful days coming for you.
    Hugs and Blessings, CM

    ReplyDelete