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Breaking the Chains Part 1: Vulnerable

Recorded on August 6th, 2018

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Day 1 of Bogart UMC’s 2018 Revival, Pastor Alissa Rothschild expands on her Sunday sermon on David, temptations, and the engines inside us that drive us towards bad decisions.

Transcript of Sermon:

[Music] good evening everybody I am so incredibly glad that you are here tonight sorry that the first thing I just did was look at my phone but let me explain to you first my name is Alyssa Rothschild and I get the unbelievable honor of being the pastor here at Bogart United Methodist Church we came here at the beginning or at the end of June my family and I I’m married my husband’s name is Joe we have three children thirteen eleven and seven and they keep us really busy but here’s what I know about today I know that God is getting ready to do something amazing because as I was about ready to walk out the door my husband who is usually here doing all of the fun sound stuff which is kind of left us running around doing it in his stead I accidentally fed him cashews and something that I didn’t know had it in an ingredient he’s really allergic to cashews and so I’m not kidding 15 minutes before we left he’s in the middle of a allergic reaction he’s taken medicine but he’s at home with the children hoping to get through that but in the process of us trying to handle that our bathroom tub drain or faucet somehow starts running water and won’t stop so what I know when things like that happen what I know is that somebody doesn’t want this to happen today somebody wants me distracted somebody wants me not fully present here with you tonight but I’m gonna tell you right now that that’s not going to happen because the Holy Spirit is here with us this evening and the Holy Spirit in God through the Holy Spirit has a message for us tonight a message a revival a message of heart a message of change and that message is gonna sing loudly to your hearts and I know that God’s work is going to be done in this place tonight can we say amen amen for those of you who are new to us this evening I did not grow up in church and the first church and only real churches that I went to contemporary churches and it wasn’t until last year that I spent an entire year to Trisha traditional church so me picking hymns really you don’t know what you’re gonna get sometimes but this congregation pushes through every time and I love it so we get to notice if Beverly can’t sing it I know we don’t know it so I’m learning I just seem to fill the this I don’t know seem to be right for tonight but apparently it was only right in my mind thank you yeah that was pretty all hymns are pretty that one verse though a little hard to sing yeah yeah well we are gonna turn now to tonight’s message and two weeks ago I preached a sermon about David and Bathsheba and we were looking at the moment when David stepped on the rooftop and David saw Bathsheba and we went through this process of digging into that moment of sin that turned into a season of sin in David’s life we’re in one moment he saw and he didn’t choose to capture that thought and hold it captive to what he knew was true instead he acted on what he saw and because of that somebody was murdered a child had to die a lot of really negative consequences came from one experience of not withholding himself from his fleshy desires and so we talked about this thing that we all have inside of us this desire engine we are all built with this piece of us that wants something or some things we have it and it’s hungry and it’s loud and there’s very little that we can do to quiet that engine or to make it completely satisfied in fact we can’t completely satisfy that engine because what happened in the Garden of Eden sin entered the world God’s perfect creation changed from what he hoped it would be and from then on all of humanity has had this piece inside of us this sinful nature that begs to be listened to that begs to be heard not only that do we have the sinful nature we also live in a world that feeds that sinful nature it wants you playing into that sinful nature because it makes money off of our sinful nature right and misery loves company in this world so if you’re feeding your sinful nature then I don’t feel nearly as bad about feeding my sinful nature and in fact one of the things I mentioned which is one of my issues is the diet coke and then we had a little laugh about that but leaving that morning one of our parishioners said you know I do I do that to you we rationalize right and she said sometimes they think well it’s not a six-pack of beer right right we all have this piece of us inside of us this desire engine that wants to be paid attention to I wrote that sermon connected to God thinking that it would be a one-time thing as I was leaving the house to come here God spoke clearly to my heart that I needed to put myself out into a position of integrity and vulnerability with this congregation because I cannot preach a sermon that I am not willing to live and I cannot ask you to do things that I your pastor am not willing to do myself and he made it clear to me that day that these three days would be a way for us as a congregation us as a community anybody who comes into this place God wants to speak a word of freedom into our hearts because my desire engine has been out of control I told our congregation when we first met that I was in a car accident three years ago and it was a serious car accident and it left me with a brain injury and I have a lot of issues because of that and over the past three years I’ve been making my life better by eating because it makes everything better in my world at least for a minute but just like with David one bite of cake doesn’t satisfy anything one piece of cake doesn’t satisfy anything as soon as you’re done with that the desire engine is still hungry for more work and I need to put myself before God and I need to put myself before you and then you need to put yourself before God and before us you don’t have to be as vulnerable as me I promise no standing up here proclaiming what your desire engine is just the willingness to step towards a new level of holy living with God so today of course was the day I started my new journey and what happened to me this afternoon as I had a really good day I was on top of the world I was on top of it I was not letting my thoughts lead me to feelings that told me I needed food to make me feel better because it was a pretty easy day until about 5 o’clock see what happens is when life gets a little crazy or even a little bit happy or sad or anxious or hard or chaotic I mean we can rationalize it any which way we want to but there’s something that we go to there’s something that’s begging to be fed inside of you not everyone here has the same desire engine that I have not everyone here goes to food when they are needing something not everyone here has something out-of-control their life that has to do with food some of you have an issue with TV and escapism needing to just get away from this world and sitting down in front of a TV and letting that be a way of getting away but it’s not just an hour it’s a lifestyle of Netflix and Hulu and the evening news and football in about a month right right I’m from California also you should know that and so I’ve learned in the last 14 years southern football culture I will tell you that my football team changes with the church that I’m at so right now I’m a UGA fan let’s hope that that sticks some of you have issues with your finances when you need to be satisfied when you are feeling discontent you spend and it could be on great things it could be on gifts for others or gifts for yourself it could be on supplies it could be on a million different things but it puts your pocketbook and your finances and disarray it leads you you don’t lead it some here have an issue with sex and pornography it is the number one issue in marriages today even in marriages that have been together for 50 years because guess what the internet works for people of all ages and that’s the thing you turn to for that sense of release or relief that desire engine is hungry and it needs to be fed there’s gossip some of you can’t have a friendship without it being filled with gossip and I shouldn’t say some of you some of us it’s always gonna be us because I need to be included in all of this but the bottom line is like David we all have a desire engine and like David we are vulnerable because not one of us here is holy enough to be without temptation in their life I know this because Jesus was tempted I know this because Paul was tempted I know this because Eve ate of the fruit and so did Adam so every one of us here has a common struggle with that desire engine so what are we going to do about it because I believe revival in our lives our personal lives revive in our family’s revival in our communities and then revival in the world cannot happen unless us all of us as Christians are free we are guaranteed we are promised the hope of freedom we are promised that the dub I’m going to get away from that microphone God agrees we are promised freedom yet most of us are not living a life of freedom because when we pay attention to the desire engine when we feed it like I said it never gets enough and it always wants more and there are consequences the consequences in my life and I’m just gonna tell you now you may learn more about me than you ever wanted to know tonight but I feel I have to be vulnerable in order for you to see some practical ways of moving forward in your life so I’m going to ask you to please still love me after you can think I’m not perfect because guess what I’m not so that’s alright but I’m going to ask you to seriously think about your life and how you can translate my story David’s story to your life today when we talked on Sunday a few weeks ago I said there was this this trajectory that David went on first it tells us that David was not where he was supposed to be that day it says in the spring at the time when the Kings go off to war David sent Joe Joe AB out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army they destroyed the ammonites and besieged Rabbah but David remained in Jerusalem remember where should he have been where would he normally have been on the battlefield David wasn’t in step with the spirit David wasn’t in step with God David wasn’t where he was supposed to be therefore David was more vulnerable to that sin nature to that desire engine then he would have been if he had been where he was supposed to be in the first place then we talked about how he encountered temptation when he saw Bathsheba on the roof and we’re going to talk about the encounter moment tomorrow night tomorrow night we’re going to talk about how you handle temptation in the moment right when it’s happening because that’s when I fail the most we’re going to talk about how to be proactive about making it so that you can make it through moments like my five o’clock this evening because we have them every day and then we talked about how he had VOC he was vulnerable he encountered sin and then he embraced sin and there was a huge fall that came from that and on Wednesday night we’re going to talk about what happens when we fall on Wednesday night we get to see the glory and the beauty of our God in the face of our sinful ugly nature so I encourage you if you know somebody who needs forgiveness if you know somebody who is hurting please have them come Wednesday night I think they’ll get to see a face of God that they didn’t know or maybe they’d forgotten about but for tonight for tonight we’re gonna talk about being vulnerable so the first thing that happened in the story of David and Bathsheba was that David was vulnerable he was not walking in the spirit Galatians 5 tells us that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free so stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery you my brothers and sisters were called to be free we are called to be free this desire engine does not get to rule us any more so I say walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh walk by the spirit and I think we can all understand what walking by the spirit means in theory what does it mean in real life does it look the same for all of us is it different how can you put that into practice how can you keep yourself from being vulnerable now we’ll always be vulnerable it’s a temptation because remember we’re always going to have temptation it’s always going to be there but you have had some taste I would bet that all of us have had at least one temptation that doesn’t really bother us that much anymore that over time in our spiritual walk with God we have found freedom from that temptation right but there’s other ones we haven’t quite found that same freedom from so what we’re going to look at right now is how we change the level of vulnerability in our life you can’t turn away from temptation you can’t run away from temptation Thomas a Kempis which is one of my favorite authors he wrote the imitation of Christ he says that not only can you not run away from temptation that if in fact you try and run away from temptation it’s more likely to take you over in a more powerful way than you could have ever imagined we’re not to run away from it we’re to stand to it toe to toe as children of the Living God who has already conquered sin and death when we run away we turn our back to temptation and it comes back on us more powerfully than it came the first time when we stand in front of it and say no not today no thank you we stand in the power of Christ so what I know is that this is not something that happens overnight so I hope that you’re not going to leave here thinking that you can do three things and then everything will change in your life and that would be my favorite Christian story I’ve never seen it happen this is a crock-pot this is a slow cooker this is something that you have to choose to do day in and day out moment to moment but as you do it you feel stronger and as you do it you like yourself more as you do it you feel more capable as you do it you realize the power of God in your life so the number one thing you have to do is to know what your strongholds are it’s surprising to me how very little people think about themselves in that way I I have an under have a graduate degree in psychology I do pastoral counseling as part of my job I get to work with people who are going through all sorts of seasons of life and I’m a human and I’ve lived all sorts of seasons of life and what I know from that is well people don’t think a lot about the things that are holding on to them unless it has to do with weight because there’s a whole market that wants to make money from you trying to lose weight so they have that up on your radar because they’re gonna number one tell you you do not fit in because your weight does not fit in with what we think is acceptable and then number two I have something to sell you that’s going to change that so that you can fit in right but then there’s all these other ones that they want you to to get into the porn is one of them gambling anything of kind of spending is something that the world wants you to think of so it’s not something that’s seen as being negative it’s just the way the world is you got to live right because you can so we need to take some time thinking about the things in our life that keep us from being the version of ourselves that God created us to be and as I was preparing I sat down and did some real thinking about it I know that the food is one because that’s always been my anchor but it took some counseling to really understand that for the first time to understand how that I mean I always knew that it was a problem but to see where that came from because for me food gives me this this like sense of release the sense of the tension going and they only last five minutes but it’s something that happens physically in my body that same thing happens when people spend money they get that same release of feeling that where they feel less tension the same thing happens when people use drugs or alcohol the same thing happens when people gamble or watch porn or just watch TV there’s a physiological thing that happens in your body and that’s why you crave it and that’s why you crave more and more it’s just like regular narcotics the more you take a particular narcotic the less effective it is and the more that you mean it’s the same thing with these desire engines in our life so you have to name them and what I encourage you to do we’re gonna have homework and you can do it if you want to I highly encourage you to do it but that’s what the inside is and we’ll go through this in a little bit but I’m gonna ask you to sit down and really think about and write down on paper and pencil or pen what your strongholds are and then you need to look at the kinds of things that make you vulnerable because it’s different for every one of us and as I was praying through this I felt God pulling me to really label the types of vulnerability that we have in our lives when we talked about David and Bathsheba we talked about how this romantic sin of David’s was not something that was new it shouldn’t have been a surprise to him he knew that God’s best that God’s real desire was for one man and one woman to be married but he had multiple multiple multiple wives and if one wife isn’t enough for you then what a thousand wives is not going to be enough for you and if he had realized for himself that that was a problem he’d been he would have been less vulnerable in the moment because when his little brain saw Bathsheba he would have been more aware that that’s an issue for him and more likely to say no and turn around and go back in the house just like the rest of us human beings so how do we do this the first thing I looked at was the who what when where why a vulnerable because it’s different for all of us so Who am I most vulnerable with and that’s something I want you to ask yourself who are you most vulnerable with when you’re with people there are certain people in your life that either stress you out and make you vulnerable or they’re your misery loves company friend and that makes me vulnerable because they like to have fun with you and I know there’s a lot of troublemakers right back there yeah and they’re vulnerable friends calling them out yeah I shouldn’t have done that sorry I love you so much but who are you boner about with I get the most vulnerable when I am alone isolated and when I’m with my sister’s trouble right and then what am I feeling when I’m vulnerable because if you can identify those feelings you can start telling yourself that that’s a feeling not a truth because a lot of us think that the feelings that we have are the most true things about us so David on that roof saw Bathsheba wanted Bathsheba and felt like that was the most important true thing about him in that moment and he had to have it so he went for it we do the same thing so what feelings are you experiencing when you’re vulnerable mine is every feeling on the planet except for satisfied and content those are the only two I can point out where I’m not actually when I’m sad I’m vulnerable when I’m happy I’m vulnerable because what how else do you celebrate but with food when like we did on Sunday we had a feast here on Sunday afternoon when I’m scared I’m hungry when life is chaotic I need food my brain tells me I need food I don’t really need it but I need it or I deserve it that’s our favorite one right I deserve this TV tells you you deserve it your friends tell you you deserve it your body says oh please don’t please so what are you feeling when you’re vulnerable and I want you to write those down and then when are you vulnerable now this can be different things for me and ended up being the time of day I am most vulnerable between 2:00 p.m. and when I go to bed because the kids start coming home around 3 o’clock and they’re really crazy and one of the things that this accident did to me is my brain does not process like it used to it cannot take lots of sensory input at the same time it starts to just try and frazzle and I can’t I can’t function and so it really gets my nerves kind of up here and then I’m trying to cook dinner or we have a million things going on and I start seeking and what if you notice this about yourself a seeking behavior where you start looking forward to plank you look forward to 7 episodes of the next Downton Abbey in a row it’s happened you start looking forward to that piece of something that you have in the refrigerator from Sundays potluck you start looking forward to you start looking forward to getting alone in with your computer because you can shop and spend getting alone with your computer because you can view things that make you feel better when are you most vulnerable where are you most vulnerable I am most vulnerable when I am alone when I am isolated when I am not with people I am most vulnerable when I am driving by myself because there is nothing in this world that is more exciting than driving and getting food because everywhere you go there’s great food and then you’d pass places and it’s whenever I went on a road trip it must have happened when I was a kid but it was implanted in my brain then when you go on a road trip the thing I look forward to the most is not Disneyland it’s the food I can eat at Disneyland and so for me there’s these places that make me most vulnerable David was vulnerable off the field David was barble when he was idle I am highly vulnerable when I’m idle like David and then the last question I want you to ask yourself is why is this a stronghold in your life why because in order and you’re gonna see tomorrow and the next day in order to really truly rid ourselves of strongholds we have to understand the root of this you as Thomas a Kempis says you have to lay acts to the root because if you don’t kill the root the things that go down and the ground that I can’t think of come on Gardner friends the roots listen you all should be laughing right now because that would make me feel a lot better thank you the roots are still in the ground and what I’ve learned about Georgia is if you cut a tree kind of a little bit off thinking it will die it does not die no it does not die it keeps growing and that’s what happens if you don’t lay axe to the root of your stronghold so what is the root for me the root is what I’m really looking for when I eat is contentment satisfaction and that relaxation that moment when you do that thing that God has shown you you should not do what I’m gonna tell you is might be shocking to some of you but what is a sin for you may not be a sin for your brother a lot of you do not treat food poorly a lot of you have no issue with food my sin is not a sin for you so there may be a sin in your life that God has been pointing out and pointing at and pointing out because for you it’s a dangerous place for you it pulls you away from your relationship with God so why why is that something that your desire engine can feed on and call to you so this feels a little depressing to me because sitting in the reality of this hard work because it’s hard work right this is not easy if it was easy we would all be the perfect visions of ourselves that we ever wanted to be but Baal Paul tells us that he considers it better to persevere and to be under trial because when you’re in the process of winning when you’re in the process of standing toe to toe toe with eat with your temptation you are growing closer to God than you were before when you’re standing toe to toe with God you are getting to see a side of yourself that you’ve never seen before and it’s a side that has courage it is a side that has strength it is side that shows you as child of God and if life were easy we wouldn’t get to see it that often so what happens on the other side Romans 8:5 2:8 tells us those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires but though those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires the mind is governed by the flesh is death but the mine governed by the spirit is life and peace the mine that is governed by the flesh is hostile to God it does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so those who are in the realm of flesh cannot please God so what’s our hope if this desire engine will never go away but it’s always going to be there what’s our hope our hope is that in walking with the spirit we’re not doing it alone and walking with the spirit is how freedom happens this world wants you to believe that if you just do your best if you want it enough try hard enough it will happen for you and that’s a lie if you stand with God and walk with God the outcome he desires for your life will happen and you will find great peace and great joy with that so the last piece your homework is this walking in the spirit looks different for all of us and if you don’t know what walking in the spirit looks like for you in this season of your life because it does change there’s some fundamental consistencies but there’s things that change over time and if we stay the same season after season we’re not growing and we need to grow so here’s what you’re gonna do next you’re gonna look at the flipside of vulnerable who am i least vulnerable with I am least vulnerable when I’m with the group of people and serving when I am on target on mission I am least vulnerable then you’re gonna ask yourself what am I feeling when I am least vulnerable what I’m feeling is productive what I’m feeling is content and satisfaction the two things I don’t feel the other way wait am i least vulnerable I’m least vulnerable in the morning I wake up fresh my brain is fresh in the morning it’s not been taxed by a full day and I haven’t had the world bombarding me so in the morning I the most fresh I’m the least vulnerable and then what actually gives me what I’m looking for because what I know is that the only thing food has given me besides two to five to ten minutes of pleasure for the past three years and seventy pounds is a desire for more change is a desire for being different is a desire to be back to that person I used to be because I don’t like this person so what am I really looking for when I eat then what I’m really looking for is a release what I’m really looking for is some way of getting out of my skin for a minute my neuro chemicals need to be talked to and next week we’re going to talk about ways to substitute something for the thing that your neuro chemicals are screaming for and then the last thing you’re gonna ask yourself is what is the one stronghold I’m gonna focus on because truly we all have a few right there’s not just one thing that kind of pulls us away from God there’s a few but we can’t fix them all at once it’s not possible so what’s the one you’re gonna focus on now and then this is what we’re going to do we’re gonna start working toward it together as a community as a body of believers and we’re gonna start growing into the image of Christ we are going to start stepping outside of ourselves and into the image of Christ who shines love and grace and mercy and hope to the world around him when you are not being led by your desire engine you have more joy and more peace than you could ever imagine and I’m guessing you’ve had seasons of that in your life where you feel like you’ve kind of really been in step with God can you picture what that would look like again for you today can you picture what that would look like for somebody in your life who is so far away from God maybe you can sit down with them and walk them through some of these questions as a way of bringing them to freedom in Christ because here’s what I know God’s made us a promise he has promised us freedom God loves you God created you God has a plan for you in every season of your life God has never done with you God has never done feeding you God has never done filling you and God is never done using you but you cannot be an instrument from God for God if you were being an instrument for an of this world so together let’s make a pledge to really figure out what’s going on with us and to do something different to grow in our relationship with Christ to not be so vulnerable and to break the chains of sin that are keeping us from our best life we pray with me God I love you so much I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share your love and your hope for us I truly believe God that there’s hearts in this place that are so burdened by sin by hurt by pain that they cannot walk away from God on their own I’m proclaiming for all of us tonight freedom as promised by you God as we continue to sit before you this week may you open our hearts and minds so that we can see better the strongholds in our lives would you show us where we’re vulnerable and then as we dig in more would you show us how to do something differently so that the lives around us might be different because we’re different we are so thankful for the opportunity to do it over again it’s in the name of Jesus Christ we pray amen