Message Recap – 6/25/10 – The 2nd Best Trap: Part 2

Monday, June 28, 2010

Last week we talked about the 2nd Best Choice – you can read the recap or listen to the podcast here.

Here is this weeks podcast:

In case you were confused, Pastor Dan doesn't mean a mouse trap made in Taiwan by “2nd best trap.” He means the trap of settling for second best.

The most dangerous enemy of great is not bad – it's good enough. If you want to be a great guitar player the thing that will stop you is not being a bad guitar player. What will stop you is being just good enough that you stop trying. You stop practicing. In the same way, the most dangerous enemy of success is not failure. In fact, in order to be successful you will most likely to fail first. The most dangerous enemy of success is settling for the mediocre. Saying “This is enough, I'm not going any farther.” That is the 2nd best trap.

This week we're talking about The 2nd Best Plan.

Tonight we're going to hear the story of The Road From Tijuana. Pastor Dan used to intern with a mission organization called CRM. The ministry was driving down through Mexico and all the other nations of Central America (and back) preaching the Gospel to villages along the way. Pastor Dan's job was to drive the 36 foot Mitsubishi box truck. At this one point they were setting up a crusade in Ensenada, Mexico, and they had to drive the box truck from Phoenix, AZ, through San Diego and Tijuana and down to Ensenada. There were two ways to reach Ensenada; the free road or the toll road. They had a bright idea: let's save the $50 and take the free road instead of the toll road! They got directions and away they went, trying to find the road labeled Ensenada Libre (free). This turned out to be pretty difficult, involving many wrong turns. One turn led down a narrow road into a little community with people hanging out, staring at the crazy Americans. Pastor Dan realized quickly that this was not the right road, so he decided to turn around – on the smallest road ever. Pastor Dan was backing up, backing up, until WHAM! He slammed into a cement wall, causing a huge crack in the wall and all the locals to get just a bit angry.

At that point Pastor Dan decided to just get out of there, but in order to do that he had to maneuver a hairpin turn. Well, the truck didn't make the turn. At all. Not even close. It completely ran over a fence post, snapping it in half. People poured out of their homes to see what had caused such destruction. It was Pastor Dan.

Many hours of driving, hundreds of dollars in property damage and a great deal of frustration later, he finally found the road to Ensenada.

The road from Tijuana started with a seemingly good idea: Let's save some money. We'll take the free road instead of the toll road. Brilliant! But it ended up taking 8 hours to make what should have been a 1 hour drive, with a whole lot of frustration thrown in.

Check out what Proverbs 14:12 says about it:

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.

When the Bible says “death” it doesn't always mean physical death. Sometimes it's talking about the kind of death that a heroin addict lives with, or what someone struggling with depression faces.

Pastor Dan is not one of those people with a flawless internal sense of direction; it's best if he uses a GPS or other assistance to navigate. But he knows he doesn't have a good sense of direction. Some people have a lousy sense of direction, but they don't realize it. They insist they know the right way to go.

We've all had moments when we thought we knew a better way than the instruction manual or the map. We think, “This way makes more sense!” as we travel the wrong way on a one way street.

“This way will be easier! We'll just cut some of those corners!” you say, while becoming hopelessly lost.

The good thing is, we're not alone in that. If you take a look in the Bible you'll see plenty of great people who had the same problem. One great example of this is is King David

Read the Biblical account of one of David's incidents in 2 Samuel 6:1-7.

On the surface, that story just seems like bad luck. Poor Uzzah! But in fact the ark was never supposed to be pulled by oxen on a cart– there was a prescribed way for it to be handled, well laid out in the Bible. It was to be carried by priests on foot. But that was too hard, too inconvenient. So they used an ox cart. Instead of following God's plan, they made their own plan. And the results of this brilliant plan? Disastrous. It was similar to Pastor Dan's Tijuana plan, only with more death.

Our human plans are always 2nd best to God's plan!

Take marriage for instance:

God's plan: Wait for the right person. Commit to one person. Put that person first.

People's plan: Try a lot of people out. Test whether living together “works.”.And then when the time comes, when you're better off without than with them: leave them. It's all about me, me, me.

People decided that the whole marriage thing was too hard, too inconvenient. We had to introduce test drives of guys and girls.

The result of that shortcut is death: statistically, you are more likely to get divorced than to stay together. Broken homes and kids without a family are commonplace. All because people decided to do it their way instead of God's way.

Our plans always seem to make sense to us.

Let's take the free road! I'm gonna date as many people as I can find before I settle down! I'm gonna do whatever I want all week and repent on Sunday! I'm gonna live how I want and make it right on my death bed – that way I'll still get into heaven. They always seem like short cuts.

Often God's plans don't seem to make sense. But He's God! His plans always work out!

We have two plans to choose from:

The 2nd best plan, a.k.a. people's plan, human plans. It seems like it's going in the right direction, but instead takes you completely the wrong way. It seems like a shortcut, but when you reach the end you are stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Then there's God's plan. It's a little windy, makes you go slower. But it always takes you safely and completely to the goal.

Matthew 7:13-14 says,

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

There's God's plan – and then there's the 2nd best plan, our plan. God is calling you to surrender your plan. To choose to follow His plan. If God made you, the world and the universe, He knows that His plan will get you to the place where you are the happiest where and where you're the most fulfilled – even if you don't realize it yet!

God has a plan for you that is the best plan! He has your best interests in mind!

When making decision about life, school, jobs, relationships, etc: Don't settle for the second best plan! Seek God's plan! Don't fall into the 2nd best trap by settling for the human plan!


Message Recap – 6/18/10 – The 2nd Best Trap: Part 1

Monday, June 21, 2010

We are introducing a brand new series starting tonight! This will be a three part series, starting tonight with:

The 2nd Best Choice

Word of the week: Prose. Look it up.

This week we're talking about temptation. You know, the cookie when you're on a diet. The video game when you have a paper due tomorrow. The all night Family Ties marathon when you need to go to bed.

For Pastor Dan procrastination is a temptation. He likes to put things off. Strangely, he does really well doing things at the last minute. Perhaps some of you share this weakness, or maybe there is some other issue that trips you up.

The second best choice is the moment when you have a choice to make; eat the felafel wrap or the Little Debbie Swiss Roll. You can choose to do the thing you know you're supposed to do, or the thing that you really want to do.

Everyone has their weakness. Maybe for you it's not Family Ties, it's Growing Pains. When that's on, you have to watch! Maybe for you oatmeal raisin cookies are easy to pass up, but a Snickers bar is irresistible.

You know that one choice is the better thing, but the other choice would feel soooo good! That is the second best choice.

In Genesis 25:29-34 there are two brothers who had a rich dad. In those days they didn't measure wealth by money or cars but by sheep and camels. In those days the firstborn inherited not only the riches but also an extra blessing. Jacob managed to convince his older brother Esau to give up his right as firstborn to property and inherited blessing in exchange for a bowl of soup. Talk about a really bad choice!

You may not know this, but God takes oaths very seriously. Esau thought that this was just a grade school bet – he thought his promise didn't mean anything. He chose something to fill his stomach now instead of long term provision and blessing.

Temptation always involves immediate gratification. It appeals to what you want right now. The best choice is usually harder in the short term. It takes a little more self sacrifice. It means you're not just thinking about right now, but about the long term.

The 2nd best choice appeals to our emotions, our desires and our weaknesses. It always appeals to your immediate needs for gratification – anger, lust, laziness, hunger. It means giving in to feeling good right now. It has short term benefits that lead to long term heartache.

Not every 2nd best choice is sin. There's nothing wrong with Family Ties necessarily – but if you're watching an all night marathon instead of doing your homework, that's not the best for the long term.

Sin is fun: for awhile. Drugs, drinking, sex: they're all fun at first. But there are serious long-term consequences that aren't so fun.

It's fun to stay up all night playing video games and not go to school the next day. But when your grades drop and you fail school and can't get a job, the fun you had doesn't seem as important.

Esau was heartbroken when he finally realized all that he had given up.

Unwed teen mothers face life changing consequences to their choices.

Drug addicts destroy their lives in their quest to feed their addiction.

Choosing the best requires short term patience and self control, but leads to long term satisfaction.

Working out, going to bed on-time, saying no, studying... it's not necessarily fun at the time. But in the long term you will find satisfaction.

Your successful spiritual life works the same way. The best choice is God's choice. It leads to lives without regret, without the heartache of 2nd best choices. God's choice for Esau wasn't for him to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup! It was blessing! God has a choice for you, too. You can't choose both God's choice and the 2nd best.

Some will never know the goodness of God's choice because they settled for the 2nd best – they settled for indulging in what felt good in that moment.

Check out what Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says. You can choose life! Maybe you're not even thinking about your kids yet, but the choices you make will have a huge impact on them, as well as on your spouse.

God has the #1 choice for you.

Even though he didn't choose the best, Esau still became a rich man. He was blessed. But Jacob lived under tremendous blessing and even ended up being father of an entire nation: Israel.

Choose God's first choice for your life, your job, your spouse! You won't regret it!


Message Recap – 6/4/10 – Who am I?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This week we have the privilege of hearing from special guest speaker, the lovely and talented Maria Wolford! So you better listen-up. Or is it read-up? Hmm...

Getting started, here are four questions that most of us have probably asked ourselves at some point or another:

Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I go? What shall I do?

These are questions that we never really outgrow; maybe they change a bit depending on the season you are going through, but you will always ask these questions.

How do you view yourself?

Sometimes we can see ourselves based on what other people say about us or our own insecurities. Do you view yourself as royalty or a pauper? A warrior or a weakling?

We are all part of God's lineage; we are all royalty. But we don't always see ourselves that way. Sometimes we think that we deserve gravel instead of jewels and a Burger King crown instead of a golden one.

It can be easy to settle for a mediocre existence because of how we see ourselves. How we see ourselves greatly affects the course of your life; if you see yourself as what God has made you to be, you have vision for your life, you recognize what you are entitled to.

It doesn't matter where you come from but where you see yourself going. Sometimes we only see where people have succeeded, and we don't see the background of struggle they have come from.

What does your family tree look like? Some of us can be proud of our family, others maybe not so much. We may not even know our family past our parents or grandparents. A prior generation may have prayed for their descendants to know Christ; they may have prayed for you!

History is part of who you are – it's what makes you. Maybe you are afraid that your family's choices were negative ones and will negatively affect you. But take a look at Exodus 20:5-6.

Notice that punishment is passed to 3 or 4 generations, yet love is passed to 1,000 generations! Don't you want to be the one to pass on God's love to thousands of generations?

Maybe you're scared because of what your parents have done or even what you've done – but we don't have to accept the way our parents are or what we have done in the past. You can stop the cycle that has been passed down. Check out Ezekiel 18:4-32.

If you live a righteous life, you will be blessed by God, you will live. The wicked will die. It doesn't matter what your parents or grandparents have done, you can do what is just and right.

What you do will affect the lives of others – you can set a good example or a negative example.

What will your family tree look like after you? What are you doing different now to change it? Are you going to follow what your family legacy has been? Or will you choose something else? What you choose will affect not just you, but future generations as well.

You don't have to be paranoid, but think about the future. What will you pass on to your kids? Will it be guilt and shame, or righteousness?

You can stand up and be different, and in doing so influence not only your peers and your siblings, but also future generations!

Don't have the attitude of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 39:6-8.

King Hezekiah of Israel was a great king, but he was prideful. His pride affected future generations, but he didn't care. As long as it didn't directly affect him, he didn't care.

How about Joseph. He was a great man; he loved his family, but they betrayed him. Yet he didn't let that be an excuse for sin or a bad attitude. Instead, he chose to live in integrity no matter what he faced. He didn't let past experiences ruin his attitude and lifestyle. He still stayed true and trusted God, and in the end he saved his whole family from starvation!

Esther also didn't let her negative experiences stop her for standing up for her family and her people.

What we do today will affect our children and grandchildren, either negatively or positively. Which will you choose?

It can be easy to just forget about the past and the future and live for today; yet who we are is affected by and is affecting both of them.

What will people remember you for? What you've done for God's kingdom or how many video games you beat? Each day we are setting history – yesterday is already done and in the history books. Now is the time to start thinking about who you are, who you want to be and where you've come from. Don't let your parents and grandparents dictate who you are, what you will do and what you will become. You can choose something better! Or, if you have received a good legacy from your family, embrace it!

Start to leave a great legacy today! Be righteous, not wicked! Pave a clear path for future generations! Be confident in who you are, because Christ is on your side.

Take a look at Exodus 3:11-17.

We don't have to go through life alone; God is standing next to us for all of it, helping us, fighting for us. He has sent you! You can be defined by Christ and not by your past, the world or by what previous generations have done. So, who will you choose to be?