“The biggest breakdown in offense and forgiveness isn’t God—it’s our unwillingness to cooperate with the authority and truth of God’s word.” Jimmy Seibert //
Relationships with friends, family, spouses and even our enemies are tricky. Friendships are messy, family is family, and well, there may be a list of enemies that we keep. As we move throughout life, accumulating relationships, we also gather something else: offense. It’s as old as Adam and takes root deep within us, often left untended and stuffed down. Offense can sprout from one snide remark from your spouse or the betrayal of a close friend.
If we’re honest, we all probably keep a list of everyone who has wronged us, always ready with a full account to argue our case with God. The problem with keeping debts, taking offense and letting pains accumulate? Offenses will grow deep roots within us and keep us in a heart environment of unforgiveness and bitterness. If we continuously choose an offense-reaction in a broken world, we will adopt lies as truth and forfeit forgiveness. Choosing forgiveness and taking practical steps toward reconciliation is really, really hard. But not as hard as the reality of how unforgiveness on our account keeps us from healing and experiencing God in His fullness. How, then, can we find breakthrough in all of our relationships and manage our hearts for offense?
1. Pray. It’s not a cliché first-step or an after-thought; prayer and forgiveness is a daily process to keep our hearts from clinging to offense, between you and other people, and even you and God (Matt. 6:11-14). The process is daily because we are offended daily, and little wounds can become big wounds if left untended. If we make forgiveness a daily habit, we actively acknowledge a wrong against us (or a wrong we committed) and are able to choose the response of forgiveness or repentance. We also get to step into praying for our enemies; forgiving someone from a distance is one thing—and it’s a good thing! But, praying for blessings, grace and mercy over our enemies is another, and it’s one that forces more intentionality and spiritual maturity on our part (Matt. 5:43-45).
2. Hold onto the Promises of God. The biggest breakdown in offense and forgiveness isn’t God—it’s our unwillingness to cooperate with the authority and truth of God’s word. The word of God keeps daily blows of offense from a broken world from coming in as truth. If we are going to fight against offense and build strong relationships, we need to know the word of God and know that it is true for everyone. The sin that lives in me is the same sin that lives within my worst enemy and only the truth of the cross is enough to cover us both. Forgiveness isn’t effective if it’s only for me—forgiveness is effective because it is an extension of the Gospel and applies to everyone, every time, no matter the sin (Col. 3:12-15). That is not to say sin doesn’t have very real consequences, but God’s grace is true, and forgiveness allows for full restoration to begin within us.
3. Engage people. We engage God with prayer, but we also have to engage people knowing from the beginning that they will hurt us. We are always going to get hurt because we live in a broken world, but the challenge is to forgive before we ever get the privilege of the whole story. As believers, we are called to bring reconciliation, and when we withhold forgiveness, we hinder reconciliation with others and in our own hearts. We are welcomed and encouraged to confront hurts with one another, but the moment we back away from relationships and build walls instead, we create a blockage for healing and reconciliation. Press into people and lead with forgiveness.
4. Fill yourself with truth. The last key to breakthrough in our relationships, and easily the hardest, is the personal change of being filled by the word of God instead of the words of the world. The world tells us we are justified in our reactions, validates our pain and divides us with a lack of repentance and lack of forgiveness. We keep lists and make sure we get revenge, forever cursing our enemies. The word of God argues in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15, “Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else”. Counter-cultural, to say the least, but peaceful and desirable in a world of sin.
Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert continued our 40 Days of Breakthrough series with a message on relationships. Unresolved offense can lead to unforgiveness, which creates a blockage, clogging our hearts and relationships. Jimmy challenged us to align our hearts to God, drop our offense and press into our relationships with a forgiving heart.
“Our belief and understanding in Jesus determines whether we live in the abundance that God offers or in continued distance from God.” – Jimmy Seibert //
It’s easy to know biblical truths about God: His mercy, grace, love and acceptance easily come to mind. But, we often don’t live in that truth; we live in a world of sin, shame and guilt. Living in the latter can leave us feeling distant from God because we are giving up freedom in truth for shackles in lies. We forget that access to the reality of abundant grace is through one: Jesus (Romans 5:17).
So, why do we have access to God’s abundance but choose to live on the side of sin and shame? Usually, it’s because we’ve put ourselves as the ultimate authority in our lives. We’ve put desires, materials, relationships and accolades in a seat where only God can sit. When we follow our ways instead of God’s ways, it will end in destruction every time.
We really do have access to a life that is abundant and thriving within the reality of mercy, grace, love and acceptance. Finding breakthrough in our relationship with God and the world we live in starts and ends with putting God back in the place He is meant to be: first.
We can’t move forward in relationship with God without being secure in the importance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Without this sacrifice, we have nothing to bridge the gap between us and God. When we believe in the fullness and completeness of the resurrection, our hope is secured not only for eternity but for today. There is power in the impossible and there is hope for our relationship because of the truth of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4, Heb. 4:16).
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:17). God’s place is first with:
- Our time
- Our family and relationships
- Our money
- Our work
Compartmentalization has no place when it comes to the reign and rightful place of God within every aspect of our lives.
Breakthrough isn’t just a power or a process—it’s a person. Our hearts are the control center of our desires, thoughts, intentions, understanding and will. From our hearts flow the springs of life, which means whatever has our affections will control everything else in our lives (Proverbs 4:23). It is through a relationship with Jesus that we grow in intimacy with Him, resulting in affection and love for Him.
These 40 days are all centered on breakthrough. But if we don’t get this first one, conviction in the power of Jesus’ resurrection and God’s rightful place in our lives, none of the other breakthroughs matter. Because ultimately this is about strengthening our relationship with God, and He is such a good Father that His heart is to bring us breakthrough in all areas of our lives, but even more than that it is about relationship.
- Realistically, when you look at your life, what place does God have? Where is He in your priorities?
- If you don’t yet have a breakthrough you are believing for in your relationship with God, take time to ask Him. Ask for His heart and perspective in your relationship, see places of growth and ask Him for breakthrough.
Whether following Jesus is new for you or you have been doing this your whole life, breakthrough starts and ends with Jesus. He is first importance, takes first place and is our first love.
We hope to see you next week as we continue our series!
Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert kicked off our 40 Days of Breakthrough series by talking about breakthrough in our relationship with God. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are central because He made a way for us. Jesus is the bridge, taking us from sin, guilt, and shame to redemption, truth and grace through a relationship with Him.
“You were made for breakthrough by the Spirit of God and the people of God.” Jimmy Seibert //
When it comes to breakthrough, it can seem as if our circumstances rule; addiction, anxiety, finances and relationships are all areas we want breakthrough but feel like it will never come. We are often hopeless amidst our circumstances, faced with big giants and even bigger unbelief. But, as believers, there is more in store. Breakthrough isn’t for some of us, but all of us; God is committed to breakthrough more than we are and intervenes on our behalf. He raises us up, anointing us for change well before we even want it. And, He doesn’t want to help us just a little bit – He wants to let the water flow.
Let’s take David, for example. He was rejected by man but anointed by God (1 Chronicles 14:8-11). He didn’t have to raise himself up amidst his circumstances, but God was with him and was committed to a breakthrough in David’s life way before David was. Breakthrough changed the trajectory of his life – and the lives of thousands of others.
So, the question is, how do we find breakthrough?
Everything begins with an honest prayer of the heart. David openly and honestly cried out to God, pouring his heart out. Many times, we are great at pouring our hearts out but forget to ask God what to do next. When we are honest with God and give Him space to speak, He will lead us to action, and this can get us on the path to breakthrough (1 Chronicles 14:10, Luke 18:1). When we cry out to God, He shifts our perspective from a focus on unbelief, but to a remembrance of the goodness of God and His commitment to us. Pray to God honestly about where you are needing a breakthrough.
Scripture is God’s revealed will for us and His words are promised; they never come back empty and we know He hears us (1 John 5:14-15). We can be confident in the requests we’ve made known to Him and stand on the solid truth of scripture. What is the promise from God related to your need? Find scripture to cling to and declare it over your life!
Seeking change on our own doesn’t work. We were meant to partner with brothers and sisters in Christ to fight and celebrate one another. We see in Mark 2, the story of a paralytic man who is lowered into the house by his four friends to seek radical healing from Jesus. His friends were just as desperate as he was for breakthrough and this is where glory is found; it’s not within personal breakthrough but battling with our friends and celebrating victories together. Who are you believing with for breakthrough? What are they believing for? (Mark 2:4-5)
Breakthrough calls for a commitment to real change. This is the point where direct action is needed to change a habit or a mindset (Romans 12:2). We can’t passively pursue change – we are called to partner with God for a real breakthrough. As we repent, we turn away from old habits and turn to Jesus as we are led to the promise of a breakthrough that is coming. In the area you are believing for a breakthrough, what habits can you change?
Throughout the process of breakthrough, we need to adopt a posture of praise: praise before, praise during and praise after. We can present our needs, rest in His promises, declare His victories – it’s all praise. An environment of praise gives God every opportunity to move in our lives, even if we haven’t yet seen our breakthrough. Our circumstances don’t matter and don’t keep us from experiencing breakthrough (Acts 16:25-26).
Everywhere Jesus went, He brought breakthrough – the circumstance didn’t matter. A paralyzed man, raging seas, even death. Jesus demonstrated breakthrough emotionally, physically and spiritually, and through the resurrection, demonstrated the ultimate breakthrough. We will never be hopeless in our circumstances because Jesus has already claimed the ultimate breakthrough.
Senior Pastor, Jimmy Seibert, set the vision for our upcoming series, 40 Days of Breakthrough, by looking at the life of David, the giants he faced and how God showed Himself to be the God of the breakthrough. Jimmy encouraged us to press into five areas these next 40 days: prayer, promise, people, personal change and praise, as we find a breakthrough for ourselves and others.
This week we celebrated our twentieth anniversary as a church with senior pastor Jimmy Seibert sharing stories from the past two decades. We looked back on God’s faithfulness to us as a church and looked expectantly toward what He has for us in the future. As we each continue to say yes to Jesus, we enter into what we were created for – to be a people who have a passion for Jesus and His purpose in the earth.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 //
This Sunday senior pastor Jimmy Seibert reminded us of our corporate vision for the year, The Time Is Now. He encouraged us to press in and run into the last third of the year. We are called to move beyond past mistakes and press on toward prayer and community both personally and corporately.
WHEN GOD SAYS IT IS A NEW TIME, WE DON’T LIVE IN THE OLD.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrew 12:1
To live this new time, walking out in obedience to the “now” words, we cannot continue to live in the past. We are not the accumulation of our failures. If we step into the new season with that mindset, we will not be able to run with the freedom and endurance to which we are called. Instead, we take what we learned and go forward in God.
OUR OBEDIENT RESPONSE TO GOD SETS OTHERS FREE.
Having an obedient response to the invitation of God is important, not just for ourselves but for those around us. Our response has the potential to forge a way for others around us to encounter Jesus and find freedom.
Saying, “yes” to the next thing can feel risky, but if we never step into the new, we will have no idea how God desires to move in us individually, as a church body, throughout the city of Waco and ultimately the world. We are called to be a people who fully live by faith, finding freedom, introducing people to Jesus and positioning ourselves to receive God’s breakthrough.
OUR NOW MOMENTS //
There is a quarter of 2019 left, and there are two key words for us to respond to, both personally and corporately:
- Community // In October we are launching a 40 Days of Breakthrough series because we believe breakthrough is found among the people of God. Throughout the six-week series we are creating opportunities to find community by starting 200 new small groups. Whether you are already a part of a Lifegroup or you’re looking to get plugged in, we are encouraging everyone to be a part of a small group where we will take time to connect and dive deeper into the topics covered on Sunday mornings. If you are interested in joining a group, keep your eyes open because in a few weeks we will have an opportunity for you to sign up! If you want to make a way for others are find breakthrough in the context of community, whether or not you are currently in a Lifegroup, you can sign up to host a group! Please fill out this form and one of our pastors will get in touch with you.
- Prayer // We are creating space for prayer and worship throughout the week, and we hope that you join us for these opportunities. Jesus Hour happens every weekday from noon – 1 p.m. in the Kids Auditorium. This is a time to refocus our attention on Jesus through thanksgiving, worship and intercession. We also have Encounter Nights every Friday starting at 7 p.m., also in the Kids Auditorium. If God has been putting something specific on your heart to carry in prayer or you want to stretch your prayer muscle, you can visit our Prayer Ministry’s website to see what groups are praying for and sign up to pray with them or start your own time slot.
We are expectant and excited for these last few months of 2019. The time is now for breakthrough.
This week our senior pastor Jimmy Seibert reminded us of our corporate vision for the year, revisiting The Time Is Now. When we receive a “now” word from God, we leave behind the old and step fully into what He is speaking. Our response to this word happens both at a personal & corporate level. With a third of the year left, we are saying yes again to being a people of prayer and community. As we do this, the family of God is built up and the world around us gets hope again.
This week senior pastor Jimmy Seibert wrapped up our series, Family Matters. With a message on living with a victory mindset in the midst of spiritual warfare. Whether it’s the result of living in a broken world or the schemes of the enemy, there are very real struggles that we face on a daily basis. But even in the midst of those struggles, we are called to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and stand firm.