Message Scripture:

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” – Acts 3:19 (KJV)

Introduction:

Greetings CLMNWA Family!  It’s time to get into the third of five messages in our Finding Your Way Back To God series.  I know it seems like we’re really getting through it slowly, but if you haven’t noticed God has had me bringing over a lot of those previously written messages to this blog.  I believe we’ve been slowly working our way through this series by God’s design, but we’re only going to have two more messages left after this one…and then we’ll see what the Lord wants us to get into next.  So, let’s just step aside, and allow God to speak to us on this beautiful (and hot) Labor Day weekend Sunday.  I hope y’all encountered Jesus in your church services over the weekend, and I also hope you encounter Him through this message here as we continue our teaching series…and talk about:

I Can’t Do This On My Own:

I know that we have all heard the phrase “no man is an island”, and we also know that before God created Eve it was God Himself that said that it’s not good for man to be alone {Genesis 2:8 (KJV)}.  So, as we know God created Eve out of one of Adam’s ribs to be a helpmate for him.  He also told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply.  In other words, He created child-birth just like He did marriage…and the reason He created them because of His initial statement before He created Eve…its not good that man should be alone…and when we reach a certain age we begin to spend most of our moments hoping, praying, and looking for that handpicked person that God created just for us.  Don’t we!

Now, I have to admit that now that I’m married and have a daughter I fully understand how my dad could spend so much time in the bathroom doing absolutely nothing.  I have always understood that there is some peace to having a little bit of solitude, and I certainly enjoy the moments when I have some…but truth be told it’s not fun to feel like I’m all alone…and I know that (pardon the pun) I’m not alone in making that statement.

Go ahead and face a team of 5 people on your own when you are on the other end of a rope trying to win a tug-of-war contest.  You’ll see very quickly that you against 5 aren’t much of a match up…and truth be told…the Christian walk isn’t meant to be taken alone either.  I hear and read comments from so many people about how they don’t need church or a pastor…but again…God speaking through Paul said that we’re not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together { Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)}…because iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) and we need one another.  We need people who will pray for us, encourage us, challenge us, and most of all to simply come along side us to let us know that we’re not alone…especially when we’re going thru a trial or storm.

I’m already preaching better than y’all are saying “Amen”…the Holy Ghost has just hijacked this message already because there are so many believers out there who are exhausting themselves because they think they’re doing just fine walking with God on their own.  I’ve had people tell me their little Bible studies and prayer meetings are just fine for them, and that they don’t need a pastor…and unfortunately you also read from their comments and posts how weary and worn they are because they’re trying to do the Christian life…well…alone.

Listen, friends, going to church and submitting ourselves to the authority and leadership of elders in the church isn’t a suggestion…it’s a requirement.  I can tell you that I have three pastors and an evangelist that I submit to and look to for guidance.  Even though I’m a pastor my wife and I regularly attend church, and I have men of God that I look to as mentors and as people to hold me accountable to staying on the path that God has set me upon.  I need these men of God to pray for me.  I need them to feed me the Word of God.  I need them to hold me accountable, encourage me, and help me to make sure that what I’m writing and posting is biblically correct…no I didn’t say politically correct…I said biblically correct.

Listen.  I’m going to make this point, and then I’m going to move on and get in to today’s message because I’m already almost 750 words into this message, and we haven’t even touched on the first point.  I don’t care to be politically correct.  I don’t care if what I say is offensive to people.  I would much rather offend people with the truth of God’s word than to offend God by watering down and sugar-coating what God wants me to say.  I have no interest or desire to be politically correct…my only hope…my only desire when I sit down to pen these messages is that everything I write lines up with the Word of God.  My goal is to be biblically correct…and that is it.  Amen!?!

Listen…if you want someone to tickle your ears and tell you what you want to hear…I’m not that guy.  If you are looking for a cotton candy preacher…you aren’t going to find one here…not this pastor!  I am only here to preach the sincere milk and meat of the Word of God.  I want all of my followers to have a well-balanced diet of milk, meat, vegetables, and maybe some cake for desert…but I never want to fill up my followers with junk food!  I don’t want to feed you with teaching that’s all junk food and full of empty calories…I want to feed y’all a well-balanced meal that will fill and nourish your spirit, Amen!?!

Okay…let’s get into the message…Amen!?!

No matter where we may be on our journey of finding our way back to God, we all have stuff in our lives that we are still holding on to. For some, it’s a secret activity or habit that nobody else knows about. For others, it’s pretty obvious what we’re still chasing.

What is it for you? What do you need to let go of? God rarely puts something new in your life until you let go of something old and broken.

Wow.  See, you know the Holy Ghost was the one that hijacked this message cause He took us on a side journey that still talked about not being able to do things on our own, but now that we’re actually getting into the message…we see that it’s going in a much different direction.  See, this is what happens when you write under the anointing of the Holy Ghost.  He takes over your messages.  Some times He takes you right into the message, and other times…like this one He takes you in a different direction…and then eventually brings us back to get going in the original direction we were meant to go when I sat down to pen today’s message.

We all have stuff we’re holding on to from our pasts, don’t we?  I can tell you that the thing I hold on to the most has to do with my Marine Corps career.  We talked in the last message about how we all have moments in our lives that we wish that we could have a “do-over”, and I told you that one moment in life that if I could do over it would be my Marine Corps career.  There are a lot of things tied to that one moment that I wish I could do over that could’ve quite possibly changed the course of my life, and I used to wonder “what if”.  However, just like the writer of this devotional series says…I had to learn that if I was ever going to move forward I was going to have to stop allowing those things to continue to hold me back…and let me make this clear…the only one that was hindering my progress was me.

As I said in the last message.  The devil had nothing to do with it.  Sure, he knew that was an area of my life that he could always (and some times still can) push my buttons on, and that if he pushed them the right way he could get me to question my value to God.  To make a long story short…I made some very poor decisions before I even joined the Marine Corps, and then I made some even worse ones while I was in the Marines.  Things that to this day still have a tendency to haunt me, and bother me…and the point that is being made here is exactly right.  God can’t do anything new in our lives until we’re willing to lay down the old stuff.

Friends, Satan had me bound by this stuff for a DECADE.  It turns out that this had the most to do with what lead me to become an alcoholic, and what further lead me to make some of the horrible decisions I made after I was let go by the Marine Corps.  Decisions that lead me to being in trouble with the law, in and out of jail, and now has me labeled as a three-time convicted felon.  It’s all of those decisions combined that makes it very difficult for me to find meaningful employment today, and there’s so much that happened over those years that I was certain wouldn’t have happened if I’d have changed that one “do-over” moment.

That very thought right there is what kept me bound up and shackled to my past for a DECADE…the “what ifs” used to just steal, kill and destroy every last bit peace I had.  I never really experienced God’s grace because I wasn’t ever able to allow Him to rid me of all that stuff.  God wasn’t able to do anything in my life until I was willing to lay all of it down at His feet…and the funny thing of it is since I did lay it all at His feet I still think about it…but as I said in the last message I understand that anything that changed would most likely result in today being totally different.

Every time my little girl climbs up in my arms…I find myself thankful that everything I’d been through has lead me to the point where I am living the life I always hoped I would live, I am remarried, and I have that beautiful little girl climbing into my arms to give me a kiss and tell me she loves me.

You see God had better in store…but I kept thinking (like the Israelites) that my best days were behind me…but what I didn’t know what there was a beautiful Promised Land ahead that God had in store for me…and the life I am living now…it’s not all overflowing with milk and honey…but it’s a whole lot better than anything I could’ve hoped for or imagined…and the only way I’d want to be able to have that “do-over” today…is if the end result was still going to be the life I have today.

That’s why the next step beyond awakening to regret is awakening to help. This third awakening moves us a giant step closer to God because we realize we can’t do it alone. What happens next?

We make a call. We have that conversation. We walk into a support group. We find ourselves sliding into the back row at church We fall on our knees and cry out, “God, if you’re real . . . !”

The awakening that the only One that can help you overcome is Jesus.  That is one of the many things that happened before I met with Jesus that day in November of 2010…I knew that Jesus was the only One that could help me…and He did.  I realized that the only way I was ever going to become who I wanted to be was that I had to get out of God’s way, and let Him have full and complete control.  That day He lifted a lot of things off of my shoulders, and one of the things that He lifted was that regret and anguish I felt over my past.  He healed a lot of the hurt, pain, shame, guilt, remorse, and all of it.  I left church that day completely refreshed…I found my time of refreshing as I turned to God…and repented of the way I was living and rededicated my life to becoming who He wanted me to become…and that began the path I’m on now as the Pastor of Christlike Ministries NWA.

I spent that entire night before begging God to do something in my life.  I knew that I needed Him to do something in my life.  I was at the end of myself and I was also in the perfect place for God…because it’s at the end of ourselves when He can do the most.  I can even remember praying these words:  “God if You’re real I need You to do something in my life.  I don’t know what I need You to do…I just need You.”

God is real. God showed up.  God did something…and He’s still doing something in, with, and through my life today.

Turning away from destructive choices and seeking help is a part of repentance. To repent is to go home, returning to where you came from and where you belong. Going home is about being forgiven and receiving assurance of life after this life, but it’s also about finding new meaning and direction for life that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s about having a relationship with God. It’s about redirecting your life and returning to where you’ve come from and where you belong. When you repent, God changes you. You are different. The Bible says that God’s Spirit comes to live inside you, and that results in a recognizable and ongoing transformation.

To say that God redirected my life is an understatement.  I can assure you that none of what I’m doing today would be possible without Him. All that you see today, every message I write…this is all because God redirected my life. This is the result of me laying my life at His feet, putting the pen I was using to write my life in His hand, and allowing Him to do with me as He wanted.  Lord knows it hasn’t always been easy.  Lord knows I haven’t always done everything exactly how He wanted me to do them, and Lord knows there have been plenty of screw ups and missteps along the way…but they say when you repent you turn away from the life you were living and walk in a completely different direction…and that’s what I’ve done.

When I arrived to church the morning of that day in November I had returned home.  The night before was my recognizing that I had found myself in the pig pen of life once again, and like the prodigal son I came home to my Father.  I had no real expectations of anything.  I thought that I was going to return home to the Father to be a normal every day Christian.  I had no idea what God was getting ready to do in, with, and through my life….again everything you see from me today is a result of me running to the altar that morning to rededicate my life to Jesus.  What God has done in, with, and through my life is amazing to me.  I mean, I still re-read things I wrote finding myself stunned with amazement that I could write some of the things I write.

But…in all of this…it’s not about anything more than my relationship with God.  This isn’t about making me famous.  This isn’t about my popularity.  This isn’t about wanting people to love me, like me, or approve of me.  This isn’t about having 4 fans or 400 fans or 4,000 fans…it’s about me having 1 fan that has loved me since He put me in my mother’s womb and before.  All of this is done as though the only person in my audience is God Himself.  It’s about making Jesus famous, and all these messages are my way of telling the world that if God can do what He is doing, what He has done, and what He has yet to do in…with…and through my life that He can and will do the same (if not more) in…with…and through your life too.

Keep in mind that repentance doesn’t mean feeling bad. As a matter of fact, the Bible says true repentance leads to “times of refreshing” from the Lord. Repentance is about starting over and admitting, “I need help.” This call to repent, to turn away from our sin and return home to God, is for everyone.

If feeling bad was repentance it wouldn’t have taken God 11 years to get me to embrace Him, and the ministry that He called me to serve Him through.  You want to know what that “feeling bad” stuff was all about…that was Satan making sure that I stayed bound and tethered to the things that were hindering and holding me back from becoming who I am today.

The one thing Satan did do was see to it that I would continue to feel bad and listen to the condemnation in my own mind over what I’d done.  He made sure I felt bad about it because the worse I felt about it the less worthy and valuable I felt to God.  The worse I felt about who I was and what I did the easier it was for Satan to keep me out of his way because I continued to see myself through the mirror of my own chatterbox instead of the mirror of the Word of God.  The worse I felt about myself the more Satan made sure to whisper through people that I was unworthy of God’s love.  I certainly wasn’t going to be any use for God, and that left me wandering through the wilderness of my life for a decade.

I left church that day in November refreshed.  I knew that God did something.  I knew He moved.  I didn’t know what He did, but I knew that I was leaving church that day differently than I arrived.  I arrived weighted down, depressed, in anguish and despair…and I left refreshed, light, and knowing that not only did God do something…but that He loved me.  I also left knowing that He had work for me to do.  Yes…it took another year and a half for God to get me to stop seeing myself through the lens of my own eyes, and through the lens of His…but in February of 2012 I launched the ministry He called me to start in January of 2001…but I wouldn’t have gotten there without that moment of repentance in 2010.

Maybe you have realized that you are in the pig pen of your life…and you are ready to get out.  Maybe you are wondering whether or not God even wants you to come home…and I’m here writing this message today to let you know that God is standing on the porch of your life waiting to catch just a glimpse of you.  Like I said in the last message Mercy is waiting on the porch of your life to run to you just like He did for every prodigal that’s come home.  Why not come home to Him yourself…it’s not too late, you aren’t too far gone…you are exactly where God needs you to be…now the rest is up to you.

This could be the day you go home. Get up from where you are and come home to where you belong. It does not matter what poor decisions you have made in the past. God is saying to you, “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Just come home.”

Won’t you take the step up the driveway towards Him today!?!   Come home to Jesus!

Let’s Pray:

Lord God, You alone are worthy to be praised for You have created us and by Your mighty power, and redeemed us by Your precious blood and You hold all things together. Lord I know that I have sinned against You, and have acted in rebellious and wicked ways, by turning away from Your commandments and ignoring the truths that are contained throughout the Scripture for my instruction, training in righteousness and well-being. I have not listened to Your Word and have turned aside from Your voice.. and I have ignored Your many calls to holiness and I stand before You poor and wretched, naked and ashamed. Lord God, according to Your grace and mercy I ask for Your forgiveness. Keep Your promise to me, Your child I pray.. and wash away my many sins. Help me to put the past behind me and enable me to walk into the future with a desire to do Your will and to live godly in Christ Jesus. Thank You Lord that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that even though I have been so faithless towards You – You have remained faithful towards me. Cleanse my heart from within I pray and renew a right spirit within me, and may I walk in holiness and righteousness from this day forward – in Jesus name I pray, Amen

Let’s Worship Jesus:

I feel like I’m supposed to include in this message the song that brought me home to Jesus.  The words to this song describe just a little bit of what happened that day, and every time I write a message like this I learn a little more about what God did that day.  I remember leaving and writing in my journal that God did something in me that day.  I didn’t know everything He didlk, but I knew that God did something’s in my heart and life that day that He never did before…and this song was the song that Pastor Ronnie was playing that day as the Holy Ghost fell…and brought someone else to the altar which lead to me laying down my own pride and going to the altar myself.

– “I Give You Glory” – Klaus

In Closing:

Has this message hit home for you today?  Maybe you are in the place I was, and you are needing God to do something.  Now I know why the Holy Ghost hijacked this message in the beginning with what He was saying.  If you are one of those people who feels you don’t need church or a pastor…then part of the reason you are in the place you are in is because God never meant for us to walk through this life alone…and He certainly never ordained any of us to walk through this life without needing other people.  We need one another, and the first step for you is to get yourself in to a good, solid Bible believing, teaching and living church.

What do you need to repent of today? How might repenting lead you to “times of refreshing” with God?

Don’t wait until you get your life together before you come to Him.  Don’t wait until you feel worthy because I can assure you that Satan will see to it that you never feel worthy to approach God.  God says that we’re to approach the throne of grace with boldness and confidence that we will obtain mercy and grace in our time of need.  So, maybe you are reading this as a prodigal son or daughter right now…and this whole message is talking to your heart about where you are…and your need to return home.  You can do that right now…today.

How many of you are needing a “time of refreshing” today!?!  It’s available for all who are weary, it’s available for all who are hurting, burdened, and weighted down by the cares of the world.  For all who are ready for a change…just cry out to Jesus…recommit yourself to Him…and ask Him to be your LORD and Savior right here…right now.  Don’t wait one more moment…just respond.  Jesus is standing on the waters of your storm with an outstretched hand inviting you to “Come”!

You know what…I feel like there are people reading who need to take this step to make or re-make Jesus Lord of your life, and so let’s just take a moment to recommit and rededicate our lives to Him right here…right now…and I’m even going to do it with you…okay!?!

Pray This With Me:   Dear Lord Jesus, I want to know the real You in all Your fullness and glory like I never have before. I’ve wandered away from You, and have become lukewarm in my walk of faith. I repent for not giving You total control of my life. Jesus, please fill me anew with Your love and peace that surpasses all understanding. Please renew my strength and faith and restore my hope, so that I may know the real You intimately. Lord, I declare You are my Hope and my Salvation, my Rock and Shelter, my Provider and my Healer, my Everlasting Father, and I want to dwell in Your presence and love all the days of my life. Lord Jesus, I trust in Your love and believe in Your Word. Light the fire of Your Holy Spirit again in me so that I may taste and see each day that You are good! I dedicate my life anew to You, my Lord and Savior! In Jesus Name, AMEN.

Would You Consider Helping Us Financially?

Friends.  Christlike Ministries NWA is growing at an amazing rate, and with that growth comes needs within the members of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family that I as a pastor would like to meet.  Keeping Christlike Ministries NWA and Pastor B’s Blog online isn’t free.  We have internet, electric, and other bills that we need to pay in order to keep Christlike Ministries NWA online.  So, that means we need your help to keep us online so that we can continue to grow and reach the people God’s bringing into this ministry.

Now, before you get the idea that we’re asking you to send your life’s savings or entire paycheck…let me give you some practical numbers for a moment.  I am confident in saying that Christlike Ministries NWA has nearly 2,500 followers.  If every one of our members would take just $1.00 and mail it to us…that would give us over $2,500…and a lot of the little things that we need to take care of to keep Christlike Ministries NWA online would be paid…but I am also looking for people who are willing to partner with Christlike Ministries NWA.

I am looking for people who can support Christlike Ministries NWA with a gift between $1 to $10.00/month.  If you can do that would you please write to me at christlikeministriesarkansas@yahoo.com or at pastorbryankizer@outlook.com because I have a very special offer that is only going to be available to those who support us monthly.  If you are able to give to help us one time…you are welcome to write me as well…and when you write me include your address…and we will be sure to get something in the mail to you to thank you for your support (regardless of the amount)…but for our monthly supporters I have a very special offer that’s available to you.  So, if you can help us out monthly…please write me and I’ll give you all the information you need.

Final Word From Pastor B:

Thank you all so much for joining me for this “Finding Your Way Back To God” series.  I hope it’s helped you to know that it’s never too late and no one is too far gone to come home to Jesus.  He’s always waiting on the porch of our lives so that when He sees us make that turn to come home He can come running to welcome us home. Always know that God loves you, and that I do too.

Please come and join us for the fourth message of this series as we talk next time about: “God Loves Me Deeply After All”

Have a blessed evening and God bless you!

Blessings & Grace;
Pastor B

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