New Hope Notes
Exiles: Honest To God
Pastor Jon Burgess
Happy Valentine’s weekend to you! I’m excited to be with you. Will you welcome my Valentine, Cyndi? We want you to know that God is in the restoration business. He wants to restore the dreams of a healthy relationship that we may have given up on. C. S. Lewis said, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself.” Meaning, God cannot give you something that does not originate from Him. The enemy says, “You can get it somewhere else.” That’s a lie.
CYNDI: We love the idea that someone would say to us, “You complete me,” expecting this person to fill the gaps in my life and make me feel desirable. But that is not God’s original plan in the Garden. After He created everything, He said, “It is good.” That meant Adam was completely whole already in who he was. After Adam named all the animals, God looked at Adam and said. “I’m going to make him a companion to do life with.” And God put Adam to sleep, took a rib from his side, and created Eve as Adam’s companion—his helpmate.
As much as we like to hear the line, “You complete me,” it’s a setup for a “savior” mentality, expecting our spouses to fill in all the places we lack. This idea actually would crush our relationship because our spouses were never intended to fill our lack. Ultimately, if we do not find our completion in Christ, life will become complicated. 2 Corinthians 11:3 NIV says, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” The serpent first caused Eve to doubt by asking her, “Did God really say that?” Then he deceived Eve into thinking that she was missing out on something, that God was holding something back, that if she would only bite into that fruit, she would find out. F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) is a term used to cause anxiety, robbing us of our contentment and joy - wishing we were somewhere else. No matter what season you are in, even a difficult one, God has something for you in this season. Genesis 3:4-5 NIV says, “‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God knowing good and evil.’” Whenever the enemy tells you that you are missing out on something, you need to turn to the truth that says, “I am complete in Christ and I am right where He wants me to be!”
PASTOR JON: As a chubby little lad, I remember hating Valentine’s Day because I was comparing myself to all my friends and saying, “Mom, all my friends have dates and I hate Valentine’s Day. I don’t have a date. What’s wrong with me?” She would say in her motherly way, “Oh, Jon, you’re the most handsome boy in all the world.” I’d say, “You’re just saying that because you’re my mom.” She would say, “God has the perfect one for you. You just have to learn to wait on Him.” I replied, “But I don’t want to wait.” She would say, “You need to know God. You need to know who you are. Concentrate on your relationship with God and He will take care of the rest.” I didn’t want to hear that. But my mom was right. Boy, am I glad that I waited for this amazing woman!
CYNDI: Women, this is for you too, whether you are married, single, divorced, widowed, engaged, or somewhere in the middle, you need to know that you are enough! Everything in our society will tell you you’re missing out, you haven’t arrived, there’s something you are lacking. Just remember, you are enough! The best version of you is you coming alive in what God created you to be, not someone else. The world is waiting for you to be you--100%!
PASTOR JON: In light of what Cyndi just said, I feel I need to say this: As a man, I apologize to the women in this room and those watching online for misusing our authority in telling any woman that you should be defined by how you look, or what you do, or how you serve. My job as a man is to call women into your daughterhood of God, that you are good and pure not because of what you do for me but because of who you are in Him. Guys, if our identity is in our vocation, then we will always feel insecure and look for people around us to make us feel secure. But when our identity is in Christ, we will no longer compare our worth based on what someone else has. Comparison will steal your contentment faster than anything else and suck the life out of us and we will not be able to speak the words of affirmation into the women in our lives—our daughters, sisters, or mothers. They need to hear those words from us. It will mean something to them and it matters. Inherent in that identity is the authority to lift up those around us, not to tear them down. I invite us to water the grass where you are.
CYNDI: Let’s read Genesis 3:8, 16-17 NLT, “Toward the evening they heard the Lord God walking about in the garden so they hid themselves among the trees…Then He said to the woman, ‘You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master.’ And to Adam He said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All of your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.’” Sin comes with consequences. When Adam and Eve chose to believe the lie and took what wasn’t theirs, it knocked the alignment of their hearts and ultimately set them up for failure. God was saying, “Adam, you will spend your life bent on working with your eyes to the ground and scratching out a living. Women, you will be bent towards men. Your identity and fulfillment will be in relationships and also it will hurt to have children. When we walk in the flesh, we will look for love in all the wrong places. The good news is that Jesus came and provided a way to correct us back to the original plan and find our contentment and identity in Christ—not in our work or relationship.
*Communication: On the table or under the rug? Jon: In our marriage, we had two different communication styles. I was always wanting to talk about everything right away. Cyndi always wanted to keep issues under the rug and not want to talk about them. So we had to compromise on our communication styles.
*Intimacy: Tired but happy! Jon: Your spouse has to be a priority! You cannot wait til you are not tired or wait till you have the time! You have to make the effort to take your wife out on a date, even if both of you are exhausted!
* Budget: Manage well what is on your plate. CYNDI: Budget is restrictive but it sets structures. Budget helps you say no to things that are not important and yes to things that are. Name every dollar. If you don’t, it will fly away! Develop a mutually agreed upon budget. Get the most important things and let the others go. It’s okay not to get everything! Stay on budget.
PASTOR JON: When you start a budget, you find that some things don’t fit in your budget. For a logical person, that’s okay, it makes sense. Work on it together, whether it’s communication, intimacy, budget, or something else that we didn’t mention. We want to encourage you to invite God into those discontented relationships. Get honest with God about your relationships and He will have the freedom to speak into your life—God is Love.
CYNDI: Some of you may have a relationship where you have been doing everything you can, and it’s been difficult to hold on to hope. You want to say, “I’m done!” I believe the Lord wants to restore your hope in God, not hope in that person. He is a God of miracles. He is the source of hope.