When your pastor hits it out of the park…

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When I get the blessing of hearing great teaching and I am still chewing on it come Monday morning…it’s best to just share that with you all so we can ponder together.

As we continue with the series Finding  Your Way Back to God, this week’s focus was about the inevitable regret that will come when we head in any direction other than God.

As we explored the story of the Prodigal Son further, we took note of the literal physical hunger that was the catalyst for his “awakening”.

As the authors of the material put it,

“Coming to our senses is when we realize decisions we have made have led us to places we never thought we would go.” 

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The story of the Prodigal Son illustrates for us a cycle that is common to every human being’s story.

Pastor Brian put it beautifully so I am just going to share his words from my notes.

We can identify places where we have gone off to a far land and are getting way off track by asking, “Where am I running around in stuff that isn’t God’s best for me?”

Submitting our life to God and then surrendering little pockets that we maintain our own hold on is a process that continues throughout our lives.

But there must be an awakening (or I would say an enlightening in our mind) where we finally become aware of the fact that we have wandered.

The young son in the story did not come to this realization as he squandered his money and time and purpose in prodigal living.

To be honest, in that season he was quite unaware that he was anything but having the time of his life.

If he thought of anyone who would have tried to correct him, he would have considered them to be wrong…out of touch…off base…irrelevant.

It was only when he had spent all his money and the “friends” who had enjoyed and encouraged his choices moved on…

only when he was left to his own consequences and found himself poor and abandoned and … seriously…just straight up starving physically…

that he “came to his senses”.

Pastor Brian pointed out that there are two parts to this:

  1. He came to his senses

                         AND

2. He decided to go back to his father

Sadly, it is possible to experience regret and choose to continue in a cycle of returning to the very things that led you to regret in the first place.

This is being sorry…but continuing to repeat the choices that will lead you further into regret.

Or as Proverbs 26:11 puts it…

As a dog returns to it’s vomit, so a fool returns to his or her folly.

Yuck.

And so the hope and the prayer is that we would not just be sorry …

but that we would…

repent.

Repent…

in Greek…metanoia: to change our minds

in Hebrew…teshuvah: to return to that from which you came

Together these words can be blended together to give us a full picture of the only way we can end the cycle that spirals us farther away from the Blessed Father of comfort and strength and mercy and grace…

the only One who can heal our hearts and mend our brokeness…

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Sincerely ask God….

Lord, show me what I have allowed to fulfill my longings that is outside of your will. Awaken me to the knowledge and acceptance of the consequences that my choices have brought that have separated me from you.

And then listen…

He will answer.

Most likely the answer will be unpleasant and painful and will make us feel bad…

because that is the nature of regret.

I urge you today…

don’t push it aside..

or stuff it down..

or look around for those who have become your companions in the running away…

I pray instead for all of us…

whether we need to return from a far country …

or a little side-trip in the middle of an ordinary day…

to fully and completely

R.E.P.E.N.T.

To change our minds…

AND

and go back Home <3

** I encourage you to take the time to listen to Pastor Brian’s teaching on this. My summary does not do it justice…but thank you for joining me as I processed it this morning. You can access the sermon later this week at: 

//www.firstdecatur.org/sermons/