Message Recap – 4/2/10 – What Defines You?

Monday, April 5, 2010

And this week once again, we have a special guest speaker! I know you guys really miss hearing from Pastor Dan, but you're going to have to wait another couple of weeks. The good news is that this week we get to hear from Kris!

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Today is Good Friday – the day that we remember the crucifixion of Christ. A couple weeks ago Kris was reading in the book of Luke, chapter 23 verse 32-43 (click the link to read). That's an awesome story of redemption and forgiveness that we have probably all heard a few times. But tonight we will look at it from a little different perspective.
The two men who were crucified with Jesus – what do we know about them? Not much. We know that at one point they were children, just like all of us were. But at some time in their lives they decided to become criminals; thieves to be exact. And here, 2,000 years later, all that we know about them is that they were thieves.
I don't know about you, but 2,000 years from Kris' life, he wants to be remembered for honorable, awesome, noble things, not for his work in a grocery store.

Most people are remembered for just one thing after they're gone. Here are a few examples:
Thomas Edison - the light bulb. The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction. O.J. Simpson - “If it doesn't fit you must acquit". The one thing you are known for will either be your greatest success or your greatest failure.
A comedian who we won't name says that if you want to know what people really think of you, listen to the second sentence they use when describing you to others. What is in that second sentence when people talk about you? Words like patient, peaceful, kind, loving, joyful, faithful, gentle, self-controlled or good?
When Kris' kids were born, he made some changes in his life so that his girls would remember certain things about him. He wants them to remember that he loves them, that he's always there for them.
Back to the passage from Luke. So often people use the thief on the cross as a role model for their own lives. He lived his life how he wanted, all for himself, and then at the 11th hour he made a play for forgiveness and made it into heaven.
What's wrong with that mindset? Plenty, but one big problem is that there were two thieves on that cross. One had a soft heart and asked for forgiveness for what he had done. The other one let his heart become hard and dark. He refused to soften his heart and ask for forgiveness. All that he had to say was, “Me too!” That's all it would have taken. But his heart had become too hard.
It seems that there's often a common trend among altar calls. The scary story of dear little "Jimmy" who didn't respond to the altar call and ended up dying in a car crash on his way home from church that very night. Yes, that could happen. But the truth is, if you ignore the call of God, sooner or later sin will get a hold of your heart, and all that will come from your heart will be hatred and anger. You'll become like the second thief.
God has been calling many of you guys. And no, you probably aren't going to get in a car accident tonight. But if you keep putting off responding to God, darkness will take over your heart; hate, anger and bitterness will overtake your heart and you will no longer have room to invite God in.
Over the past few weeks there has been a strong call to give all that we are to God, yet we have resisted. We've pushed it aside, ignored it.
Don't resist the call of God, that gentle nudging on your heart!
What defines you? Or rather, what will define you? You still have the chance to choose what will define you. What will it be? Will you be Cotter, the midget with the eye-patch or will you be Cotter, full of love? (You can't all be Cotter, you'll have to insert your own name there.) How will people describe you when you're not around anymore? What words will they use? Will they say you are loving, peaceful, kind, etc? That is what a life devoted to Christ, surrendered to Christ looks like.
God is calling. There's mercy, grace and forgiveness in your grasp – all you have to do is say, “me too! I want it too!” That's all it takes, to give your life to Christ and change your legacy. That's all it takes to change what defines you!

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