Repurpose 2016- "Recover"

Pastor Terry Inman

01-17-16

 

I saw an attractive and functional wall-shelving unit created from a “repurposed” fallen tree. Sebastian’s one-of-a-kind shelving proves that inspiration can come from simply stepping outside your front door.

 

The artist rescued a fallen limb from a Chilean street and took it back to his workshop. There, he twisted, turned, and readapted it, allowing the giant branch to hug a flat wall and live its new life as an unconventional but useful shelf. He sanded down any rough edges and lacquered over the wood in a black finish with a matte sheen. Now he is repurposing many.

 

{Repurpose 2016} is our theme for the first month of this year. We are reviewing and renewing our commitment to four core values. Rescue, Recover, Rebuild and Release. It’s how we do church.

 

Our purposes are based Christ’s directives to his disciples.

The great commandment says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10.27 NIV

 

The great commission says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Matt. 28.19-20 NIV

 

These four R’s as we call them are ways we love God and love people.

 

Last week we talked about rescuing lost people. We exist to guide people to shelter in Christ.

 

Once we are rescued from ruin we all need recovery. Recovery happens when we fully embrace God’s healing presence.

 

The bible calls this restorative process sanctification. To sanctify is to dedicate or reserve something or someone for special use. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your wholespirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Th. 5.23 NIV

This spiritual term was used for restoring or “repurposing” sacred vases, basins and candle stands that were reserved exclusively for worship in the ancient temple. Because God’s presence was there everything had to be pure and whole, without fault or flaw.

 

Through use and abuse these sacred vessels would become scratched and stained. They would be removed from use and put through a restorative process. The dull surface would be stripped off to the exposed metal. The vessel would be polished back to its brilliance and reclaimed for use.

 

Last week we were watching Downtown Abbey. I noticed that most of the time the servants are sitting around the table polishing the silver serving utensils and gossiping about the Lord’s and Ladies upstairs.

 

The bible says, “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”
2 Tim. 2.20 NIV

 

Life has a way of making us dull, dirty, bruised and broken. I was looking at a photo taken of my family and me (middle) when I was about three in Japan. I looked sweet and innocent. Now look at me! God not only rescues us but he helps us recover. He cleans up our dishonor and restores his honor! He repurposes fallen limbs!

 

This Sanctification (cleansing and healing) is a process orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul wrote to the new followers of Jesus from Corinth. They were coming out of lifestyles he listed like, sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, thievery, greediness, drunkenness, slander, and fraud, to name a few.    

 

Paul says, “That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Cor. 6.11 NIV   

 

Jesus rescues us and His Spirit recovers us! We recapture our lost identity and destiny. The bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Cor. 5.17 NIV

 

Now we would like all this to be like instant coffee, microwaved maturity or warp-speed sanctification. But it’s a life long process. The bible teaches that sanctification is both an immediate and a life long process.

 

The bible says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Phil 1.6 NIV

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
Phil 2.13 NIV

It is God’s purpose to “repurpose” us!

 

This is why we say recovery happens when we embrace God’s healing presence. There are several ways we facilitate recovery at Harbor Light.

 

First exposure and compliance with God’s word brings about healing, freedom and maturity. We need more than encouraging Sunday morning messages to sustain us. We must become self-feeders in God’s word.

 

Jesus prayed. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

John 17.17 NIV

 

Scripture is an agent of healing if applied correctly. “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
2 Tim. 3.16-17 MSG

 

I love that! We are “shaped up” by the word. Our lives and our purposes take shape when we work out with the word! Paul said, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.”
Phil 4.9 NIV

James talks about putting scripture to practice.

 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!  
James 1.22 MSG

 

Second recovery happens in authentic relationships. We have several groups and ministries focused on recovery.

 

Our Cleansing Stream Seminars are 12 weeks of discipleship focused on healing and freedom. It combines practical application of biblical truth with supportive relationships and a closing one-day retreat.

 

Celebrate Recovery is an ongoing support group that helps us overcome hang-ups, habits and hurts. It includes biblical step studies, encouraging personal success stories and accountable support. New step studies for men and women begin a week from Wed. Jan 27th at 7 PM.

 

We also have bible based support groups for Divorce Care and Grief Recovery. We encourage everyone to be involved in some kind of small group for spiritual growth and opportunities for ministry. This is where recovery happens best! I know this is sounding like an infomercial!

 

There are a lot of recovery groups and methods. There are a variety of programs 12 steps or 8 principles depending on what package you’re in.

 

Let’s conclude this conversation with four simple biblical stages of recovery.

 

  1. Recognize your need for spiritual recovery.
  2. Reach out to someone trustworthy for support.
  3. Repent and take responsibility for your issues.
  4. Receive total forgiveness, healing and freedom.

 

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matt. 5.3 NIV

This is people that are spiritually needy and know it. The religious fat cats in the church of Laodicea thought they were wealthy and not needy but the message to them was “you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Rev. 3.17 NIV

 

Pride blinds us to our problems but the bible says, Jesus came to “announce pardon to the prisoner and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free.”
Luke 4.18 MSG

 

Healing begins when we recognize our need for spiritual recovery. Then we reach out to someone trustworthy for support. The bible says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
James 5.16 NIV

 

It’s easy to confess to God. We are forgiven when we do. But admitting our failures and weakness to each other promotes healing and freedom.  

 

Three things happen when we allow another person in on our hidden pain; we receive acceptance, affirmation and accountability. Forgiveness is the doorway to freedom. The bible says, Bear with each other…and forgive one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Col. 3.13 NIV

 

This gives us the courage to make changes. The next stage is to repent and take responsibility for our issues. Repent simply means to “change you mind”. We stop blaming everything and everyone else for our problems and squarely face them with the help of God and friends.

 

I love this verse in the book of Acts, “Repent, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”
Acts 3.19 NIV

 

“Refreshing” here is a recovery term. It was a Greek medical term for exposing a wound to fresh air for healing. When we repent we expose old wounds to the fresh healing breath of the Holy Spirit.

 

Finally we receive total forgiveness, healing and freedom. The toughest person to forgive is our self because it’s hard to forget. The bible says Satan is an accuser, so when he brings up your past remind him of his future. We will be free forever and he will be bound forever!

 

When we forgive ourselves its easier to forgive others. The pain of past hurts inflicted by others and ourselves are healed by the grace of God.

 

On the cross he entered into our suffering. The bible says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Pet. 2.24 NIV

 

It is helpful to visually invite Jesus into the place or occasion of our wounding and allow his presence to help us reframe that memory.

Look into his forgiving face and receive new freedom from your pain.

 

When we take these steps we break Satan’s grip over us in our most vulnerable areas. That’s why the bible says, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim freedom for the captives.”
Isa 61.1b

 

So after Rescue, Recovery is embracing God’s healing presence.