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Sermon April 21 2013

Sermon April 21 2013

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Removing the Ball and Chain Sermon Series
Removing the Ball and Chain Sermon Series

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Published by: Chain of Lakes Church on May 01, 2013
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Today is the second Sunday of a three week sermon series called “Removing the Ball andChain.” The AIM of this series is for all of us to experience Christian freedom.
Another way tosay Christian freedom is to say we become the people that God desires for us to be.
We have a Scripture that we’re memorizing during this series. It is this.
SLIDE For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm and do not submit to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1Part of experiencing freedom is understanding what holds us back. One thing that holdsus back from freedom especially as Midwesterners is our expectations. I preached a sermon onthis last week, and I encourage you to watch the sermon. You can find the link on our web site.The main point from last week is how we mix up expectations and guilt.
When we don’t achieve
an expectation that we have for ourselves or someone has for us we experience something.
It’s
my experience in being with people that often we call that experience guilt. I shared how an
eighbor feels guilty that his shrubs aren’t as nice as his neighbors, or 
how a woman feels guilty
as a mother when she doesn’t measure up with what she think a mother should be.
Or how people say they feel guilty about being late.Guilt is far different than failing to meet an expectation. Guilt is the feeling we have as aresult of a sin. Committing a sin is far different than not meeting an expectation. But if we call
not meeting an expectation guilt we’re giving it a weight that it doesn’t deserve. It’s like
walking around with a ball and chain. This robs us of being free, of being able to run our our  journey of faith.
The title of today’s sermons is God’s expectations. I’m going to
talk about how Godviews us and
God’s expectations for us.
With that introduction I want to invite you to get outthis brochure that is in the bulletin. This week I wrote a devotion about a very important story in
 
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the Old Testament. I
t’s the story of the golden calf and
what happened afterwards. The story isin three chapters in Exodus
 — 
32-34. I encourage you to use the devotion this week as I think 
you’ll gain a new appreciation for God.
On the back is a place for prayer requests. In themiddle is a place for you to take notes. I believe that God might say something to you in this
sermon that you’ll want to remember.
 How does God view us? God has a picture of us.Ever since I got an I-phone I take a lot more pictures. In fact picture taking has never  been easier. How many of you take pictures with your phone or a portable device.
When I want to get a picture of me and someone else I’ll often ask a stranger to take the picture. Have you ever had that experience? I’ll give the person my phone and they’ll look through it and they’ll take a picture. Af 
ter they take the picture what is the next thing they doalmost all the time? The person will look 
at the picture. If they don’t think the picture looks
good, what will they do? Delete the picture. Now help me out
 — 
what are some reasons that a person will delete the picture?All of these descriptions can be explained simply by this
 —the picture doesn’t meet the person’s expectations.
  Nothing wrong with deleting a picture.Imagine that God had a cell phone. Imagine God took a picture. Just go with me here.
Imagine God went up and asked ___ if God could take (…) picture. This is what God would do.God would take the picture, look at it and say (…) is beautiful. I love …
 
Even if … hasn’t taken a shower; even if … doesn’t look good; even if … has
committed
a sin; even if … hasn’t been to church in a while. When God views … God says (…) is
 beautiful. I love
 
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Say God took a picture of this entire row of people. If God took a picture of this entire
row of people, God would look at it and say (…) i
s beautiful. I loveEven if someone was not smiling; even if someone had a crazy expression; even if someone was trying to mess up the picture. God would say you all are beautiful.Imagine if God took a picture of everyone in worship on April 21, 2013
. Let’s try that.
Everyone stand. Imagine if God took a picture of all of us.
If God took a picture of us God would look at the picture and say, “you at Chain of Lakesare beautiful. I love you.” Even if someone is frowning; even if someone is havi
ng a bad day;even if someone just had a fight with their family on the way to worship today. God looks at us
and says “you are beautiful; I love you.”
 In the story of the creation God created humans on the six days. I imagine God sittingwith the heavenly court at the end of the 6
th
day. I imagine God commenting on the work thathad been done that day. I can imagine God saying to the heavenly court. Those humans are verygood. They are beautiful and I will always love them.God sees us as beautiful
; God loves us. That is God’s picture of us.
 To carry this picture that God has of us with us should give us tremendous freedom. To
have the author of the universe look at us and say, “you are beautiful, I love you. There’s
nothing you can do to remove
yourself from my love.”
 
However I don’t think this is the image that many people have of God’s picture of us
. I
especially don’t think that this is the image that people who don’t attend church have of God’s
 picture of us. Recently I was talking to a woman who was sharing a conversation she had with
her brother. This woman’s brother doesn’t attend church though he does believe in God. This
man has had some challen
ging events happen to him. He asked the woman, “Is God punishing

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