Avoiding Spiritual Traps

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prison wallOne of the reasons many people aren’t interested in Jesus is because they see people trapped by religion. People who seem addicted to spiritual activity or rules who practice religion in a way that bugs everyone around them. People who restrain themselves with incredible discipline yet lack real peace, joy, impact and sometime humility in their lives.

They see people who have fallen in spiritual traps and they instinctively know they don’t want that for themselves. Who would!!

Recognizing these traps is one thing, avoiding them is even better! Colossians 2:16-23 shows us three timeless spiritual traps that steal freedom and kill joy. These traps deceive by sending us down a road that will never lead to the deep peace of Christ. See which one is most likely to trip you up and make plans to avoid it.

#1  Avoid the Better Rules Trap.

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Why Jesus?!

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question mark coffeeEveryone hopes for a great life. We look different places and try different things searching to make that a reality. We drop some things right away discovering they weren’t what we thought. Other things seem good for a while but then either fade in effectiveness or turn on us.

Life seems like an unsolvable puzzle with the nagging sense that it is supposed to be better.

As a Jesus follower of nearly 45 years, I believe the centering my life on Jesus has hacked life’s puzzle. Jesus is Your Best Hope of a Secure & Significant Life. Why should anyone center their life on Jesus? Let me share some big reasons why.

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What is the Jesus Centered Life?

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jesus centered promo

What does it look like when a life is centered on Jesus? When a family is centered on Jesus? When a church is centered on Jesus? Why should we center on Jesus? How do we go about it? These are core questions God answers in the letter to the Colossian church.

There are such wide differences between groups that claim to be Christian churches that sometimes you wonder if they can really be the same thing?

Can you think of anything timelier for the American church? There are such wide differences between groups that claim to be Christian churches that sometimes you wonder if they can really be the same thing? We are not responsible for all of them We are responsible for the one we share life with. So, I invite you to dig in with me the next few weeks as we refocus ourselves on what Jesus wants of us as a family of His followers. Here is how we kicked things off:

Jesus Centered Means: Continually Deepening Your Understanding of What God Wants.

Our hearts have been polluted by darkness.  As a result our gut instinct often points the wrong direction. The good news is God seeks to fill Jesus’ followers with His wisdom. The Bible calls Jesus the light of the world who came to lead us out of darkness. He does this by revealing the truth about our Creator & the life He intended for us.

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Jesus Centered

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cross & thornsCol. 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…

We all have something at the center of our lives that drives everything else. It might be an unstable shifting center. It might be rock solid. We might be very aware of it or it might be somewhat hidden & unknown to us. Can you see why this might matter? Life could be very frustrating if something is driving you without you being aware of it. It could be more frustrating if you are aware but naïve as your core driver is actually leading you to spiritual danger. Think Captain Ahab!

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Prov 4:23

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Life or Death?

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life and death promoRomans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Easter is an awesome celebration of life. The resurrection is real. Jesus lives. But do we? Remember life as a child… Days were filled with fun, play, food and naps. Even school was fun for a while. Slowly however challenges grew, responsibilities took more time and friendships got more complicated.

As we grew life became more of a struggle. At some points… Usually working on that long paper I put off, or working that boring job I didn’t like, or that relationship challenge that seemed to have more pain than hope I found myself asking, “What am I doing? Is this really what life is about?”

Life gets hijacked by DEATH… it feels as if something in us dies.

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Are You Ready Highlights

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starting lineMatthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left… 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

At one time or another, everyone who hopes to be in heaven after they die wonders whether they have done enough to get there. Have I done the right things? Have I done enough of them? Is my faith “real enough” faith to gain the eternal life that Jesus promises to those who trust him?

We wrestled with this question last week on one of Jesus’ more shocking teachings. The highlights are below. You can catch the full lesson at www.parkviewfamily.com. The key passage is Matthew 25:31-46.

First We See that Eternal Life Requires a Faith Response to Jesus.

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

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Readiness Test

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starting lineMatt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

One of the scariest verses in the Bible for those of us who want eternal life with Jesus is the warning He gives that not everyone who calls Him lord will enter His kingdom. Fear and doubt rise in the genuine hearted person who wonders whether we have done enough or done the right things. In other words, we wonder if our faith is real enough faith to gain eternal life

This question is big enough to be addressed several places and ways throughout scripture. Jesus’ first followers would face a longer delay than expected for his return. If they weren’t careful they could lose sight of the reality and significance of his return. They might be tempted to live for themselves thinking they would worry about getting ready for him later. Once they do that, they would be likely to forget about living for Him at all. Which begs the question of whether such a person is really a follower at all.

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