I am in full preparation mode for this weekend’s message. It has been a while since I have been this stoked about a particular topic.

I got the idea for the title (FlashForward) and tag line from the new fall TV show on ABC. The message has nothing to do with the show, but I thought the concept of looking forward to the future that God has for us is vitally important.

Here’s the deal (and tag line): “If you saw your future, what would you do?” I am trying to figure out the best way to tell people that we absolutely have a major part to play in determining what tomorrow looks like. So many people are just along for the ride – it isn’t supposed to be like that.

I personally am very optimistic about the future of Maranatha Church. The people who are involved, and those who will be in the future, are in for some good stuff. This is not just hype. I guess I should say it this way: if we do what God wants, we are in for some good stuff.

Here is what I am asking: If you live close to Palm Beach Gardens and are not connected with another church, please plan to come see what we have to say. If you have friends in the area that are not involved with a church, please send them a link to this blog and invite them to come with you.

I’ll be pushing this idea this week, stay with me.

FlashForward…what are you going to do about your future?

This evening, we will gather to celebrate the life of Jeff Robbins. Would you please say a prayer for strength and comfort for Diann and Danny and for Jeff’s family?

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.4 He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.5 We share in the many sufferings of Christ. In the same way, much comfort comes to us through Christ. (NCV)

message notes

The Not So Perfect Family Revisited
Part 4: Rebound

Because we are “not so perfect” individuals in “not so perfect” families, we get it wrong sometimes.
We fail.

Divorce happens.
We go broke.
Kids leave home angry.
We lose loved ones.

How do our “not so perfect” families rebound?

In this message, we will discover we can rebound and bounce back from loss and failure.

God allows second chances.
God does not fail us when life fails us.
God does not reject us when we get it wrong the first time.
God does not abandon us when we suffer a loss.

Scriptural focus:
Psalms 46

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah

1. In Trouble

What happens when our not so perfect families go through some not so perfect crises?
When this happens:

God becomes our refuge.
He becomes our strength.
He is our ever-present (He is there!) help when we are in trouble.

In his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church tells the story of his not so perfect family and the crisis they experience. His daughter Chrissy became addicted to drugs, she left home, she disappeared, living on the streets of New York and was a prostitute.
Their response?
They retreated into their Refuge, they ran to their source of strength. They called out to their ever-present help.
They called the entire church to a Tuesday night prayer meeting.
A few nights later, she showed up on the doorstep and collapsed into her father’s arms.
From his book: “Daddy—Daddy—I’ve sinned against God. I’ve sinned against myself. I’ve sinned against you and Mommy. Please forgive me.” A few seconds later, Cymbala writes, she pulled back startled and said, “Daddy, who was praying for me? On Tuesday night, who was praying for me?”

We will not fear!

When things fail, how are we not afraid?

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

2. A change of perspective

God’s perspective as compared to our perspective.
I Corinthians 13: 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (NLT)

When we read Ps. 46, there is great contrast:
The earth is chaotic; heaven is orderly.
Temporary things are falling apart; eternal things are safe and sound – peaceful!
Life is insecure, vulnerable and endangered;
God is in control!

How do you get His perspective?
Get as close to Him as you possibly can.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah 8 Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.

3. God is with us

Something to remember when our not so perfect families experience a failure:
God is with us.

When your family is going through tough times, God goes through it with you!
Isaiah 43:2-3 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. NLT)

God is with us!

He is our fortress. Different from a refuge. “A cliff or an inaccessible place”.
There is a very important message for us here:
When God is with us, eventually, peace comes.
Verse 8 of Psalms 46 describes the “Desolation He has brought”? other versions: “the amazing things”, “the glorious things”, “the marvels of God”.
What has He desolated?
War! Our battles.
He breaks the weapons we use against one another,
He shatters the spears our families throw around the house,
He burns our shields we have to use to protect ourselves against one another.

This verse is speaking on the peace-giving, restorative powers of God.

He is the only One who can bring peace to wars we fight.
We need to let Him!
And how do we do that?

10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (NIV)

4. Be still
Hey, not so perfect families – take a deep breath.
Sit back, take it easy.
Stop fighting for a minute.
Stop stressing for a while.
Stop wondering and worrying and warring.

God wants us to chill, to relax. Chillax!

Be still, know that He is God!
This command — “be still” — forces us to think on two things:
That we are finite, and that God is infinite.

He says that He will be exalted on earth as He is in heaven.

If we are still and we allow Him to do His work…

The last verse of Psalms 46: “The Lord Almighty is with us!”
He is with us!
God is Almighty, He wins.
If He is with us and He wins, guess what, we win also!

Closing thought:

No matter how imperfect our families are, no matter how much we are broken,
We can rebound!
Our not so perfect families can bounce back.
God is giving us another chance, let’s be sure we get it right this time.


a loss

Jeff Robbins passed away this morning. Jeff was a close friend of mine, He was a leader in our church. He was a husband and a dad and a son. Jeff was only 39. After a very long illness, Jeff went to be with God.

Whether or not you knew him, would you say a prayer for those he left behind? His wife is a wonderful person and she needs lots of support. His little boy is only 5.

God bless you, Jeff. I love you and will see you again. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

OK, back to work…

Thanks for the break, it was nice but the Boss is calling.

I made a quick trip to Tampa today. I was involved in an interesting process that could have been bad but turned out good. Without getting specific, it is good to see the good in people come out. Sometimes we get a little jaded as to the possibilities of redemption. Well, there is hope, good things still happen. I was glad to witness it today.

Goethe said, “In all things it is better to hope than to despair”. I agree.