Monday, September 26, 2011

Truth In The Movies Series - Movie: Soul Surfer - Can Bad Things That Happen In My LIfe Really Be Used For Good?

Here is the audio of the talk I gave last night about the movie "Soul Surfer".
It's answers the question: Can Bad Things That Happen In My LIfe Really Be Used For Good?  

In this talk you'll hear:

-The story of the day I got kidnapped
-My story of a flight I was on that had emergency landing in the middle of a snow storm and how it caused me to discover a way God uses bad for good
-An amazing prison-break story from the Bible that leads to a surprising conclusion
-How surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack and ended up seeing so much good from it that she wouldn't change it - even if she could
-4 ways that God can use bad things for good in your life

Click the link and then click the headphones icon to listen to it online or click the down arrow to download it and listen to it offline:
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Monday, September 19, 2011

"Truth In The Movies" series: MOVIE: “127 Hours” - Topic: What are you willing to do to be free?


 ***Start by watching trailer here***

James Franco stars in a survival drama based on the incredible true story of Aron Ralston.

Aron Ralston is a man who became trapped alone in a Utah canyon for days after slipping on a loose rock, and resorted to extraordinary measures in order to make it out alive.

An experienced hiker and climber, Ralston is very much in his element when he parks his truck by a mountain near Moab, UT, hops on his bike, and peddles to the middle of nowhere.

Later, when Ralston encounters a pair of young female hikers who have gotten lost while searching for a local landmark, he jovially shows them a sight that most casual hikers miss before telling them goodbye and continuing on his journey.

Drifting through the canyons alone, deep in thought, however, the explorer who presumed he was ready for anything quickly discovers just how fast things can spin out of control when a rock gives way as he shimmies down a crevice, and pins his hand to the wall of stone.

Over the course of the next 127 hours, Ralston tries everything he can think of to free himself, flashing back to small but memorable events in his life -- as well as forward to the future that he might enjoy should he manage to wiggle free -- as his body begins the slow process of shutting down.

(Edited from description at*)

Let me show you a clip of him loosening the bolder and getting trapped... ***Show 1st clip: of  climbing & dislodges a huge bolder and gets trapped. approx. 16:19 - 18:45 **

I'll talk about what he finally did to escape, but let me ask you something to set the stage for what I'm going to talk about today...

We need to ask ourselves this question: Why was Aron Ralston able to escape?
The thing that helped him escape is the same thing that will help us to escape from some of the habits and the problems that we’ve been struggling with for years.

Today I want to talk to you about this main ingredient that’s required for us to see successful change in our lives. By the time we’re done today, we’ll look at 3 steps you can take to help you see change in your life.

Turn in your Bibles with me to John 5:2-9.

What you're about to hear is an amazing little story that reveals how we can begin to see change happen in our lives.

Let's look at the story now...

"2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie--the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?" 7"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." 8Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked."

(NOTE: What you need to understand about this story is that the people there believed an angel would stir up the water and if they got in in time, they would be healed.  That's why he answered Jesus the way he did.)

You know what’s sad in life? 

People who live their whole lives dealing with the same problems; people who live their lives and never seem to be able to improve who they are. 

These people come to the end of their life and they still haven’t changed!  They come to the end of their life and they’ve never become all they could’ve been or done all they could’ve done!

Why was Aron Ralston able to free himself?
Because he really wanted to be free!

1. The first step towards real and lasting change is for you to really WANT to change! 

Look at John 5:5-6. 

This guy has been sick for 38 years! That’s longer than most people lived back then!

And Jesus asks him this, “Do you WANT to get well?” Why would Jesus as him that question?

It’s because Jesus knew that this man would never change and be healed if he didn’t first want it!

A lot of us say we want to change.
We say we want to stop doing something or start doing something.  We say we want to do more of something or less of something – but we don’t!

Could it be that it’s because we don’t really want to?

It’s easy to get used to our problems and kind of have a love-hate relationship with them.   We complain about them, but they sure give us good excuses when we need them!

In 1993, it was reported that a small order of Franciscan nuns in Prague decided to subsidize their convent by opening the downstairs of their facility - formerly an underground detention center used by the Communists to imprison and torture their enemies - as a hotel.

 For $33 a night, you could stay in a former prison cell. The proprietors say they try to achieve a middle ground between comfort and authenticity in the "hotel."

Many people are really looking for just that - a comfortable prison cell.

Jesus is asking each one of us here about some of the problems and habits we’ve had all our lives… “Do you want to get well?”

How we answer that question will determine whether we ever see lasting change or not!

What’s this handicapped guy’s answer to Jesus’ question?
 It’s just like ours!

 Look at John 5:7 “Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
I heard of story of two college students who decided one night to pull a prank on a sleeping fraternity brother. They took limburger cheese and rubbed it gently on his upper lip.

When he woke up, he sniffed, looked around and said, “This room stinks!” Then he walked out into the hall and said, “This hall stinks!” As he was leaving the dorm, they could hear him say, “The whole world stinks!”  

The two college students laughed as they saw him walk away, because they knew their buddy was going to walk around blaming the smell on everything else around him, when the problem was with him!

--------------------------A personal story----------------------------------------

When Sue and I used to live in a one bedroom apartment in Redwood City, there was an older man who used to live on the 2nd story of an apartment building next to ours.

 One day I got talking to the man and he began complaining about some of our neighbors and saying how mean they were to him. I listened and didn’t know what to think about those neighbors anymore.

He told me he needed some help and I told him I’d talk to some people at the church at worked at back then and see if they could help him. The problem was I wasn’t able to get a hold of these people at our church for awhile.

He ended up coming to our apartment one day yelling and telling Sue off.

I finally had to talk to him and tell him and explain to him that I couldn’t get a hold of the people I thought might be able to help him. I told him I should’ve let him know what had happened, but I didn’t appreciate him yelling at my wife and that I didn’t want him coming over to our place doing that ever again.

After talking to the neighbors he warned me about they said they had the same problem!  This guy reminds me of the guy with Limburger cheese on his lip!
This guy was blaming everybody else for his problems, never realizing that maybe the reason he had the same problem with everybody was because he was the problem! 

A lot of people are like this.

They blame everyone else for their problems.   Some people blame their parents, some people blame their friends, or their teachers, or their boss – some people even blame God!

But the real problem is that they never take responsibility for their own problems!
That’s why people stay stuck where they’re at and never see change!

They’ve been blaming everyone and everything all their lives.

Did you know that blame is the second sin in the Bible?

When Adam and Eve sinned what happened? Adam blamed Eve (really blamed God) he said, “It was the woman you gave.”  Eve blamed the snake. They blamed everyone else but themselves!

It started way back then and we’re still doing it today!  Blame seems to be one of the devil’s top tricks for keeping us from growing and becoming all we can be.

Business philosopher Jim Rohn says this, “I used to say ‘I sure hope things will change.’ Then I learned that the only way things are going to change for me is when I change.”
You can look through the Bible and you’ll find this common theme: God will not force us to change!
My promise to you is this: If you don’t really want to change, then you never will!

The other interesting thing to me about Jesus question and the man's answer is that the man doesn't realize JESUS is the one where he can get healing from, not the water!  He says, “I want to but I don't have someone to take me to the water”

 2. The second step towards real and lasting change is for you to respond in faith to Jesus!

Look at John 5:8, after Jesus asked the man the question and the man responded with his excuse.  Jesus told the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”

The handicapped man had two choices:

1. He could have faith in Jesus, trust what he said and respond. 
2.  He could decide not to trust Jesus and just sit there!

Faith is a verb. We have to trust God to help us to change and that trust has to manifest itself in action! 

It the late 19th century there was a young chemist named Robert Chesebrough who sold kerosene. He got his kerosene from the oil of sperm whales, but by 1859 he was put out of business. 

In 1859, Robert Chesebrough took off for a Pennyslvania oil field to "strike it rich." 
What he came back with made him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he DIDN'T become rich from OIL!

Oil field workers had told him about this "sticky stuff" that stuck to the drilling rigs. The riggers hated this stuff - it caused the drilling rigs to seize up.  For all the problems this substance caused, the riggers found one small use - when rubbed on a cut or bruise it helped it to heal faster.

He bottled the stuff up and dragged it back to his Brooklyn laboratory. He began a search to duplicate the petroleum-based lubricant, and by trial and error, he was able to extract the key ingredient - the translucent material we now know as petroleum jelly.

But it had to be tested, and tested it was. He needed a guinea pig to test it out on. But who could he use?
Chesebrough cut his OWN hands and arms, burned himself with flames and acids and each time he would then cover them with his new gel.  ALL the self-inflicted wounds responded to his petroleum jelly and were healed! 

Satisfied that his new grease had healing properties, he took to the road with his own medicine show, but first he named his gel. Using the German word for water (wasser) and the Greek word for oil (elaion) he came up with "Vaseline."

He took it out on the road and would demostrate it by cutting or burning himself and then applying his vasleine. 

He also showed his audience the healed scars from past experiments. Amazingly this worked!  Soon he was selling a jar a minute, and when these ran out people begged their druggists to order more from Chesebrough. It was used for everything: chest colds, chapped hands, nasal congestion, and even to remove stains from furniture. 

By the turn of the twenty century it had penetrated the American market and was entering Europe, and Chesebrough had become a very rich man!

Although its miracle properties were eventually debunked (it really healed because it sealed wounds from bacteria like a band aid), Chesebrough himself was always a true believer. He lived to age 96, revealing shortly before he died the secret to his longevity: *Every day of his life he ate a spoonful of vaseline! (* Not recommended! DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! :)

Cheesbrough succeed because he believed in his product and he proved it by his actions!

Faith isn’t faith without action! Faith goes beyond communication (words) to demonstration! One of the church fathers Clement of Alexandria said, “Faith is a voluntary anticipation.”

If we don’t combine action with the desire to change, then change will never happen!  When the man heard Jesus' words he must have instantly had faith in him and what he could do, because something amazing happened next.

And it reveals the 3rd step...

3. The third step toward real and lasting change is that AFTER you do your part and respond in faith, then you have to SUBMIT yourself and let God do the rest! 

Look at John 5:9 “9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
Did you notice what just happened?
It's subtle, so you might have missed it.

He was healed even before he took action in faith! We have to let God do his part and then keep doing our part!

But this only happened because he had to decide to quit doing things his way (going into the pool for healing) and start doing things Jesus’ way (submit to Jesus as the source of healing).

Think about this…
There are too many times in life when we choose to do it our way instead of God’s way!

There are too many times in life when we try to do what only God can do for us and don’t do what only we can do to see change!

I want to share one last story with you that I love...
The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."

The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am seaman third class Jones."

 Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."

This story remind me so much of us.  So many times we're trying to get God to do it our way instead of doing it his way.

Submission isn't popular, but it's requirement if we want to experience help and freedom from God.
This is what submitting means…

When you submit to Jesus it means to stop doing what only God can do. It means to stop doing what you think is right and start doing what God has told you is right!

We have to learn to submit to God and his ways while still doing our part, otherwise we will never see change in our life.

How badly do you want to change? Do you really want to get well?
Aron Ralston finally realizes that the only way out is to leave part of himself behind, the exhausted, delirious adventurer draws his cheap made-in-China multi-tool, and does what it takes to survive: he cuts off his own arm! 

SHOW 2nd Clip: When he finally walks out of crevice into the light. approx. 1:20:40-1:20:55.

The interesting thing about the example of this guy willing to cut off his arm to be free is that it sounds really similar to something Jesus said in Matt. 5:29 – 30...

"29So if your eye—even if it is your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your hand—even if it is your stronger hand  —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

Now Jesus was exaggerating to make a point.
He's not really suggesting that you cut off a part of your body.  He's saying you should be willing to cut anything out of your life that will ultimately destroy you. 

There are things, habits and/or relationships in our lives that will one destroy us - literally.  And there are things, habits and/or relationships that won't destroy us physically, but will destroy our potential, destroy our usefulness, destroy our families, or destroy who we are.

What will you do about these things? Are you willing to cut out anything that’s holding you back?
 (Show pic of him with the bolder at the top of this blog post.  That bolder is your "problem" or )

Will you really cut out anything?
  • Negative relationships? 
  • Bad habits? 
  • Even things that you like and things that make you happy?  

If you are not will to cut out anything, then listen to these sobering words from Abraham Maslow,“If you plan on being anything less that you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”

This might sound weird, but life is about more than your happiness, accumulation of things, and making you feel good. It's beyond that. You can be happy, accumulate many things, and feel goodall while destroying yourself.

Jim Rohn said it like this… “The major value of life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become. You see, what you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, ‘What am I getting?’ Instead, you should ask, ‘What am I becoming?’” 

Aron Ralston was willing to do whatever it took to be free. That’s why he’s free today!

Are you and I willing to do whatever it takes to be free? Change begins ultimately ends with this question!

Here’s what I think we need to do today to end this time together… (Altar time)

1. You need to ask God to show you an area he wants to change.
2. You need to think about whether you really want to change or not. You need to ask God to show you if there’s some way you’ve been holding back
3. You need to ask God what action he wants you to take. What you need to let him do and what he wants you to do.