Face the Facts
Before you can begin to start over, you must first face the facts.
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor of Renovation Church.
Before we get started this morning, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about church planting.
If you’re newer to Renovation, you might not know, that one of our most well known goals is to start 10 new churches out of Renovation in 10 years (or by 2022)
We are in the process of having Mike Howard, start our 3rd church, which will be in Des Moines and start this fall.
I’m really excited about this, and I believe Mike is going to reach a lot of people for Christ.
But maybe you’re wondering, what does it really mean for Renovation to “plant a church?”
It means, that US, along with Kevin Thomas and enCompass Church (which also happens to be our parent church), that we SELECT…and then help our church planters get started in a number of ways.
#1: With Finances (5% of ALL our offerings go straight into starting new churches)
So Mike will start, right out of the gate, with $45,000 from Renovation and Encompass (it takes about $100,000 to start a church)
#2: Mike receives coaching/mentoring from me, Kevin, and our leaders
#3: And typically, we also give our church planters some of people to help start their church as well.
Now, Mike is going to be in Des Moines…not Plymouth (so it’s a little different)…but if you want to go with, we aren’t stopping you J
Mike is going to talk to you a bit later about all the ways you can support him, and I encourage you to be a part of helping his church get started.
And we are super excited to start another church.
I believe Mike is an incredibly gifted leader.
As many of you have told me, if he was planting here in the metro, you’d leave us in a heartbeat J
God is going to do great things!
Let’s get into today’s message…
It’s sometimes a brutal thing.
It makes me think of building things.
Maybe you’re putting something together in your garage, or putting a toy together for your kid…maybe you’re even learning how to knit, and you’re trying to knit a hat for your future baby.
Do you ever get to that point, where it looks so bad…that there’s this inevitable conversation with yourself that begins:
“I should start over”
“I don’t want to start over”
“This is a mess”
“But we’ve come so far!”
“Yes, and it looks horrible”
It’s hard to start over. Sometimes painful.
But often, it’s by far the best thing.
You ever put together anything from Ikea?
What a disaster.
Worst instructions ever.
Who needs words, right?
But rather than be prideful and try and put up a 2-legged kitchen table, sometimes it’s better to just admit you’ve gone astray…and start over.
That’s what we’re going to be talking about in this series.
How to Start Over.
But perhaps you’re thinking, “Neat. Except, I don’t need to start anything over.”
Which is exactly what I would expect you to say. J
That’s usually what people say when they should start over, but they don’t want to J
All of us have something in our lives that we just need to hit the “reset button” on…and start over.
Maybe it’s a relationship…like your marriage.
You need…not a new spouse…but to start things fresh again…change your patterns.
Maybe you need to start over in your career…make a big change
Maybe it’s just 100% spiritual…you need to re-start your spiritual life with God again.
Maybe you’ve been divorced…and you’re going to start dating again.
Maybe you need to start over your financial life.
You’ve been living check-to-check for a long time, and you’re not doing anything about it yet, because you don’t want to start over and do it differently.
There are hundreds of different applications to this.
What I would ask of you…is to start thinking of how this applies to you.
Otherwise, the danger is…to say, “Nope…I’m perfect…don’t need this”
Which simply isn’t true.
So today, we’re going to look at how to START Starting Over…by “facing the facts”
Next week we’re going to take a look at how to take the first steps
The third week, we’re going to examine how to start new habits and leave behind old ones
And the fourth week, how to get back up again when you fall down
Should be a great series!
As I challenged many of you last week, I’d love to see you here for every week of it.
THE BLAME GAME
So let’s start at the beginning here.
Why do so few of us ever start over?
You live with a struggling marriage for years…
You hate your job, yet you’ve been working the same one for 15 years
You’ve dated 10 people in 5 years, and it never works out…yet you keep doing it the same way.
Why do so few of us ever make real changes?
Why do so few of us ever hit the reset button on these things?
We kind of just get stuck in the same old rut for year after year after year after year…
And I think we do so…because…to get out of that rut…we’d have to admit that we’re partially responsible for getting ourselves there in the first place.
And that’s the LAST thing we want to do!
So what do we do instead?
We play the “Blame Game”
“Of course, I played NO part in being out of work…my boss is an idiot! Everyone hates him”
“It’s not my fault my son doesn’t talk to me…he made those choices…not me”
And our list of scapegoats is neverending:
We say, “It’s the government’s fault”
Doesn’t matter who’s in office, people blame the President for everything.
Why is gas so high?
Why does my pop not taste good today?
Must be the President’s fault
We say, “It’s the economy’s fault!”
We say, “It’s just bad luck”
We blame the weather…we blame our parents, we blame our bad genetics, we blame our spouse for their part in it, we even blame God.
But do you know whose not at fault here??
This guy!! (and we point to ourselves)
This is not a new thing to humanity
If you’ve been around Renovation before, we mentioned this story a few times…
Even in the Garden, at the beginning of time, look at what happens to Adam & Eve when God catches them eating from the 1 tree they were told not to eat from:
(Genesis 3:11-12) – NIV
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Adam basically says, “That woman YOU gave me, she took that fruit and she shoved it right in my mouth! Basically forced me to eat it!”
Those were some of man’s first words.
“If it wasn’t for my wife…I wouldn’t be in this situation…
The blaming continues in the next book of the Bible…Exodus.
God’s people, the Israelites are slaves in Egypt.
All they want to do is leave and be free.
And God uses Moses to lead them out of Egypt…into the desert.
But as soon as they’re free, and things start to get hard, immediately they start blaming Moses for everything you can think of.
They start re-writing their story
(Numbers 11:5) – NIV
We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
At no cost?!? You were slaves!
Like you didn’t want to leave??
Like you had no part in this?!
Moses FORCED you to leave?
And the blame game continues
From two years old on, we can’t stop pointing the finger elsewhere.
Walk into a room of a bunch preschoolers who just colored their favorite frozen characters on the wall with their Crayola Markers, and say, “WHO DID IT?!”
And they’re going to all…AT ONCE…point at someone else!
But here’s the problem:
When it’s always someone else’s fault…we never move forward.
When Lindsey and I were first married…almost 11 years ago now…our first kitchen table was from the “Place of horrible Directions”…IKEA.
And as we were putting it together, I can remember thinking, “They did it wrong! Those crazy people from Sweden don’t even know how to put a simple little kitchen table together!”
But what happens when you’re always blaming someone else for your predicament?
You never get out of the rut. You never start over.
Your marriage never changes.
You never do get passionate about God again
Because when your predicament is always someone else’s fault, you’re never going to take steps to change it!
After all, why should YOU have to do anything about it?
It’s your BOSS…the stupid ECONOMY….your SPOUSE...that put you here in the first place.
And if they put you here, then it’s not your fault…and there’s certainly nothing YOU would need to change to get yourself out of that rut
We think, “Yes, I know that my relationship with my sibling is a mess…but I’m not going to try and start it over…because THEY’RE the one with a drug problem…THEY’RE the one who flipped out on me.”
See…we get stuck in these terrible ruts…for decades…because we refuse to believe that we had any part of putting ourselves there.
We won’t “face the facts.”
Andy Stanley, a famous pastor in Atlanta, says it this way, “One reason history repeats itself is that we don’t own part of our history”
CLUES ABOUT STARTING OVER
And it’s crazy too because most of us see the clues…we see hints that we’re part of the problem…but we just tune them out.
Some of you know that I LOVE stats and studies.
This one’s fascinating.
As you know, over the past few years, the Food and Drug Administration has required more and more places to post calorie counts on their menus.
If you walk into Panera, you’re going to see a Small Mac and Cheese (which is what I eat at Panera…I’m not going to put all that “stuff” on my sandwich) is 490 calories, but the large is 980…NOW what do you want to get??
When I was a kid, they didn’t even have calorie amounts on Grocery items…now fast food places are even putting them on.
Studies show that most Americans support more nutritional labeling on foods..
75% of Americans actually.
And the majority of Americans (when polled), say that they would choose lower-calorie food items if just they had more information at their disposal.
The problem is this: Researchers reviewed 31 studies published between 2007 and 2013, and have concluded that “nutritional labeling” simply is not working.
For most of us, surprisingly, it hasn’t changed a thing..
For me, here’s what it has changed:
My role in NOT facing the facts just looks different.
Before…I never knew how many calories are in a Culver’s butterburger…and I liked it that way.
Ignorance is bliss. J
Now…I just have to dart my eyes.
I remember, the other month, I was really hungry, and I bought a candy bar in the gas station.
And a voice in my head said, “Geez, I wonder how many calories are in that thing”
And I took my hand, and I covered it up
We simply rarely want to face the facts even when the clues are right in front of us.
But I’m telling you…if other people are giving you hints…be willing to face the facts.
Be willing to start over.
If you’re spouse is constantly telling you that you’re not listening to them…maybe it’s time to stop saying, “That’s because you never have anything good to say”
See the clues…face the facts
FACE THE FACTS
This is why the most important first step in starting over is simply: FACE THE FACTS
There’s a lot more to come (that’s why we’re doing a 4-week series on it), but you can’t even get started on Starting Over until you first Face the Facts…that you NEED to Start Over.
Think of someone struggling with drugs or alcohol (maybe that’s even you)…you’re never going to get started in STARTING OVER unless you first admit you have a problem
You’ll never get started in STARTING OVER until you can say, “I need to face the facts (that it’s not working), and start over
And if you’re not willing to face the facts and make a decision to start over, often life will do it for you.
And TRUST ME…it’s significantly more pleasant to start over yourself, than to have life force upon you.
You don’t want life to do the starting over for you!
You don’t want your whole family pulling an intervention on you because you refuse to face the facts.
You don’t want to wait to face the facts until you see your spouse pulling out of your driveway with the kids in tow…leaving you.
That’s too late.
Face the facts now!
Look at the words of King David in Psalm 32
(Psalm 32:3-5) – NIV
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
He’s starting over.
He saying, “listen, I’ve been hiding from the truth. I haven’t acknowledged my part in this. My sin in this. I haven’t faced the facts.”
“And honestly, it’s draining my strength,” he says
But when he confesses his part, he gets honest with God about his sin, he feels God’s forgiveness, and he can start to move on.
To “start over”
Proverbs says a similar thing
(Proverbs 28:13) – NIV
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Or think even of the Prodigal Son in Lk 15, who takes his father’s inheritance and squanders it in wild living.
He’s lost all his money and is eating with the pigs…
At some point, he faces the facts and deduces, “Hey…yeah, it’s going to be difficult to suck it up and walk back to my dad and say I screwed up…but what else am I going to do? Eat pig slop the rest of my life?”
It’s hard to face the facts, but it’s worth it!
But people are emotional. And they’re irrational.
Some people will eat pig slop the rest of their life before they’ll face the facts and own up to their part.
Now, not every situation you’re stuck in is because of sin (although…most of the time I find that it is)
But even Jesus tells you that you won’t see clearly until you can first take the speck out of your eye…
Until you can acknowledge your own part.
Your own faults.
Sometimes counselors will have people who are really upset about a particular phase or rut they’ve been stuck in for a long time…draw a circle.
And in that circle they’ll say, “Now, make some pie slices out of this circle…and attribute blame.”
How did you get here?
How did your spiritual life actually become so dry?
How did you get to the point where anger or anxiety just became a normal part of your day?
And then they’ll say, “Now, make sure one of those slices is about you”
Because we just want to say, “What do you mean slices? Plural? See, the reason I have $40,000 of credit card debt is because my parents never taught me how to handle money!”
But we’ve got to face the facts…
Maybe…just maybe…our sin of greed…or selfishness…or lack of self-control…was a slice or two.
And I want to tell you…that when you do this…you face the facts…you admit you’re not perfect…you’re just admitting that you’re part of the human race.
This is who we are.
A bunch of messed up people wandering through life…hurting each other and screwing up.
This is why we need Jesus, people.
We’re messy. We’re imperfect.
You’re never going to be perfect.
But you’re only to grow when you can admit that you need to grow.
You’re only going to learn from your mistakes when you admit that you make them in the first place.
Listen, being willing to start over is hard.
Facing the facts is hard…
But I think there’s some freedom and joy in it too.
It makes me think of my computer.
My macbook is over 5 years old now.
I got it around the time I was getting ready to start Renovation
It’s a decent computer, but it’s older…constantly running out of space…and not as fast as it used to be.
And sometimes I have so many programs open at once…that it’s slower than waiting at the DMV…
And as it’s driving me crazy, I’m trying to think of everything I can do to get it going again.
“What if I click here?
“What if I shut off the wi-fi?
“What if I yell at it?
“What if I….”
And sometimes I can spend 20 minutes trying to get it to speed up, that honestly, it just would have been way faster to do what??
Just start over.
Yeah, it takes a bit of work.
I have to open up all of my applications again…and wait a bit as it gets going.
But it tends to be faster in the long run
And there’s also something very freeing about just restarting your computer…
For a second you just go, “Okay…this might work.”
It’s a fresh start.
And I find that most of the time…when I start over…whether it’s something I’m building….I’m writing…creating…
That yeah, it takes a bit of work on the front end, but in the end…it’s worth it.
If you’re going to do it, be honest about it…don’t try and hide from the facts…
And do it right.
So where do you need to start over?
Where do you need to face the facts?
Where do you need to get honest about your part?
And my encouragement to you…as we start this series…is to do just that.
Be bold this week!
Facing the facts is hard work…but with God’s help, you can do it.
And you get started in STARTING OVER.
And then come back next week…as we talk about taking the first steps forward.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.