Last night I taught at Tyler Street United Methodist Church’s Young Adult group. Below are my notes. A special thank you to: everyone that has reached out to me over the last few weeks, the group for allowing me to share the message God has placed on my heart, The Branch leaders for believing in me, and Pastor Edgar Bazan for taking the time to sit down and help me get my thoughts in order. I will probably upload the audio once it becomes available. I can’t explain how freeing it was to allow the Holy Spirit to flow thru me the way he did last night. I have felt his presence to heavily the last few days, and I can’t explain how comforting that is.
Just to give you guys a little background about who I am. I grew up in several different churches, so you could say I had a stereotypical Christian upbringing, but I have experienced a lot of hurt. My grandfather(pictured above)’s heart beat for the last time at 1:15 today, I have no money in my bank account, and while there are many of you that have had a harder life, what I’m speaking on tonight does not come from a place of naivety. It’s very much the thing that plagues my heart right now.
In 2011 I get a new youth director, and he was really the catalyst that sent me into searching for brokenness in the Lord. I was the oldest individual in the youth group, so I knew what our group needed, and I made it very much aware that if I didn’t like something he was doing, he would know immediately. Thankfully he played along, and let me be a total jerk. I started teaching frequently on Sundays and Wednesdays, and was very active in the praise band, and was on a committee that planned events for students in our conference of the united Methodist church. I was being given all of these opportunities to serve, and it was beautiful and it was what I wanted. But it made the devil jealous. Soon, the more I put into serving, the more the devil began planted lies into my brain.
“You are unloved. You have no ability to speak eloquently. You have no ability to sing praises of the Lord, because you are worthless and no one can love you. You are not good enough.”
Why do I know that they are lies? Because in Genesis God told me that I am worth creating the earth. I am worth the heavens and the earth. I am worth light which we call day, and dark which we call night. I am worth the sky, and the water. I am worth vegetation. I am worth birds and fish. I am worth livestock.
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
God provided for every need we would ever have, and he said, “I have given you all of these things, and you can take as little or as much of it as you would like. God loves us so much that he gave us the choice of loving him back. He loves us so much that he gave us the opportunity to disobey him. In movies with magic, the one thing you can never use magic for is to make someone fall in love. Why would you want love if it’s not genuine? If love is easy, it doesn’t mean anything. If you don’t have to wake up every day, and say, “Yes, I am choosing to love this person, or these circumstances.” it’s meaningless. God gave us the opportunity not to love him. Man… If that’s not reckless love, I don’t know what is.
The devil does not want you to know your place in Creation. He will lie to you and convince you to discredit your worth and make you feel unwanted by God. God wants you, he desires you. God is not against you but for you. As I said in the beginning, we are worthy of Creation. It was in God’s heart to create us in his image. God wants us to be glorious and whole.
Many people stop coming to God because of the shame and guilt that the devil feeds into our minds, but that is not what grace is about. Its what God does for us, and we don’t have to earn his love, we just have to decide to take it. Stop looking at all the times you messed up, and start looking at how God is representing his love for you. “We must not dwell on what is wrong with us, but we need to move into what God has done right for us.” All of us have experienced someone that is jealous at some point in there life. Can anyone name a characteristic of jealousy?
One of the main characteristics of jealousy, is giving constant criticism. The devil’s mission is to plant self doubt, so as to gain power over the other individual. We have dominion over the earth, and its time we stop allowing the devil this power over us. Kyle badgered me for a year before I finally gave in and finally asked if I could sing in the praise band. The reason it took me so long to finally join the team, is that worshiping in front of others takes so much vulnerability, and the devil was trying to keep me from praising the Lord’s name in such an intimate way. Tonight I took back dominion, and was able to sing and also speak to you guys. Several of our leaders have asked me over the last few days if I was going to be able to manage preparing for tonight, and while I had my doubts, and reservations, I had to put those concerns out of my mind. Me sitting here tonight is representative of so much more than talking to you guys. I didn’t have an anxiety attack, I got out of bed this morning, I went to work today, I’m here right now. The devil is staying in his place, because I made the conscious decision to surrender my dominion to the Lord today, instead of turning away from him. I want to leave you guys tonight encouraging you to return love to God, and surrender dominion over your life to him.
Death is not the end. The devil won’t win, if we continue to put him back in his place. You have authority over your own life, so stop letting him steal that from you.