– So if you’ll take out your
program, out of your program, take the message notes out of your bag. And you’ll notice there
at the top John 10:9, Jesus says this, “I am “the door. “I am the door. “And everyone who comes in through me “will be saved.” This is the most important
door in your life. There’ll be a lot of doors
that you’ll go through, and doors that you’ll go by in life. But this is the door
to everything you need. Jesus says, “I am the door. “Whoever comes through me will be saved.” For the past year, I’ve been
studying a significance, the significance of doors in the Bible. Because they’re metaphors
for opportunities, for all kinds of things that
God wants to do in your life. There are about 400 uses of
the word door in the Bible in the different translations. Lot to say about it. And in your life, you’re gonna
face many kinds of doors, doors to happiness or doors to sadness, doors to success or doors to failure, doors to abundance and achievement or doors to poverty and distractions and all kinds of problems in your life. Your success, your happiness in life will largely be determined by the doors you walk through
and the doors you walk past. And the problem is we often
go in the wrong doors. We’ve all done that, and sometimes when you walk
through the wrong door, it takes you months and
sometimes even years to get back on track. How do you know when it’s the right door, and how do you know when
it’s the wrong door? God has all kinds of open doors
he’s planned for your life. The Bible has a lot to say about this. And we’re gonna start a series next week that I’m calling Unlocking the Doors, Unlocking the Doors to Your Destiny. It’s a series about your future. And as I said, some of
the doors that you pass are right for you, and some of
the doors are wrong for you. Some of them are opportunities
and others are traps. They’re trap doors. They’re detour doors. Most people miss the open doors that God set up for their
life for three reasons. Number one, we don’t recognize them. Number two, we’re not prepared for them. And number three, we lack the
courage to go through them even if we do recognize them. That’s why we’re gonna do this new series on your future starting next week. It may be the most important
series I’ve taught to you in 38 years about your future, what doors to go through
and what doors to avoid, and how to know the difference. But today I want us to begin
with the door of freedom, the door of freedom. Jesus says, “I am that door, “and if you go through that
door, you will be saved.” God wants you to be free. In fact, all through scripture
God makes this a major theme. I put your outline, two or three examples of where God actually opens
prison doors for people, because some doors are entrances
to something good you want, but some doors are actually exits from things you don’t want. And before I can get you
to where you wanna be, before I can get you
to where you wanna go, I’ve got to get you out of where you are. And so you gotta have some exit doors. And one of those is to exit the doors of the prison that you’re in. You say, wait a minute,
I’m not in a prison. No, you’ll probably never be
locked up in a physical prison. But you don’t have to be behind doors or bars in order to be in prison. The biggest prisons in life
aren’t the physical prisons, they’re the mental prisons in your mind. A relationship can be a prison. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been in these
relationships where you go, I feel trapped. I can’t get out. I can’t get on in this relationship. I can’t get out of this relationship. I feel stuck. Sometimes the relationship is a prison. Debt can be a prison. I’m in so much debt, I’m suffocating. It is a prison of debt. You can’t do anything ’cause
you’re in so much debt. A habit can be a prison. An addiction can be a prison. Addiction to pornography, or anything. Expectations of others can be a prison, and you feel like, oh, I’ve gotta do what
my dad wanted me to do, or my mom wanted me to do, or my husband, or my wife, or somebody. And you’re not living your life. You’re living somebody else’s life and what they wanted for your life. That is a prison. A tradition can be a prison, and it holds you back,
and it confines you, and it doesn’t let you go out into the wide open spaces of life, and the freedom that
God wants you to have. A painful memory can be a prison. And you had some big hurt in your life, or some big failure in your life, and you’ve just never
quite gotten past it. You’re stuck in a mental prison of grief, or failure, or fatigue. Any negative emotion can become a prison. Depression, you can be in
a prison of depression, or discouragement, or
disappointment, or despair. You can be in a prison of guilt. You can be in a prison of shame. So when we talk about Jesus
being the door to freedom, we’re not just talking about
people getting out of prison. We’re talking about you
getting out of prison. And specifically today, I’m gonna talk about three common prisons that Jesus says I’m the door
out of that, I’m the exit. Now how does God break you out
of whatever is confining you, whatever’s holding you back, whatever has gotten you incarcerated? How does God break you out of, how does he do a jailbreak in your life to get you out of prison? Well, a couple things. First, he often shakes things up. He’ll actually send some kind of earthquake in your life
that shakes everything up, because when that happens, it
shakes loose the prison doors and the chains on your hand, and the things that are holding you back. A crisis can do that. Good example of that, I’ve given you two or three examples of prison doors being opened by God. But the third one down in Acts 16:26, it says this talking about Paul. It says, suddenly, there
was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken. It’s the original jailhouse rock. (congregation laughs) The prison was shaken to its foundations. And all the prison doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off, and they were set free. And Paul and his friends walked out of the prison at this point. Now here’s the point. Sometimes God has to shake your
foundations to set you free. And what you’ve always believed, you go, do I really believe that now? What I’ve always believed about myself, what I’ve always believed about life, what I’ve always believed
about my parents, what I’ve always believed about success, what I’ve always believed about God, do I really even believe that? Sometimes God will shake it up, and he shakes up your beliefs, and he shakes up the way you feel. Do I really feel that anyway? Maybe my feelings are changing about that. Or shake up the way you’ve always done it. And you go, do I wanna
keep doing it that way the rest of my life? Or maybe, just maybe I wanna
do it in a different way. God will use earthquakes to shake you up to get you ready for freedom. And then the second thing he does is he plugs you into the
power of the Resurrection, which is what Easter is all about, when Jesus Christ rose from
the grave 2,000 years ago, and billions of people around
the world are celebrating the most powerful event in history. Now here’s the key. You know that power
that raised Jesus Christ from the dead 2,000 years ago? Well, guess what? It is available to you on a daily basis. You say, are you kidding me? No, I’m not kidding you. Let me show you what the Bible says. Look up here on the screen. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:19-20, it says, I pray that you will understand how incredibly great God’s power is to help those who believe him. It is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead. Whoa. The same power that blew off
the door off the tomb of Jesus, which by the way, was
not so he could walk out. He was already gone. It’s so that we could see in. The same power that
raised Jesus from the dead is available to you. That Resurrection power
is available to you to break out of prison. And what I’m saying is
that Jesus has risen to release you from your prison. He’s risen to release
you from your prison. Now this idea of freedom,
it’s a big deal to God. God doesn’t want you living an imprisoned, an enslaved, a captive life to anything, to guilt, or to resentment, or to grief, or to anything else. He wants you to live a life of freedom. Here are just a few verses. They’re on your outline. Jesus when he came to earth, he says, “The Father has sent me to
announce freedom for prisoners.” And he’s not talking just
about people incarcerated. He’s talking about the prisons that you and I are in on a daily basis. The next verse, Jesus said,
“If you live as I tell you to, “you’re truly my disciples. “And then you’ll know the truth, “and the truth will set you” what? – [Congregation] Free. – “Free.” And he says, “And if the Son,” that’s him, “if the Son sets you free,
you will be truly free.” You might circle that word truly. This is real freedom. It’s not fake freedom. Today we have fake everything. We have fake flavors, fake fur, fake news. (congregation laughs) (chuckles) Some of you are
wearing fake leather today. You’re wearing pleather. (congregation laughs) And we know it. (congregation laughs) No cow gave her life for what
you’re wearing right now. (congregation laughs) But there’s fake there. This is the real deal. This is real freedom, not fake freedom. God says, “Where the
spirit of the Lord is, “there is freedom.” The more of God you get in your life, listen, the more free you’re gonna be, the less uptight you’re gonna be, the less restrained you’re gonna be, the less imprisoned you’re gonna be. The more of God you get in your life, the more free you’re gonna live. You’re gonna live freely, ’cause where the spirit of
the Lord is, there’s freedom. In fact, the Bible says this, you are called to be free. That’s your calling. God wants you to live not
a button-down, buttoned-up, constrained life, but a
wide open spaces, free life. He wants you to live to the fullest. The Bible calls it an abundant life. Now before you can get
to that abundant life, before you can enter into that, you gotta exit some other stuff. And that’s what you need to be free from. You say, well, free from what? Well, as i said, those
mental prisons in your mind. I wanna just give you today, since I see the sun’s out and you’re hot, I’m just gonna give you three. I could give you three dozen of things Jesus wants
to set you free from, but I’m just gonna unleash
and give you three. And you may have never thought of these, but every one of you’ve fallen into every one of these traps. Number one, first thing is
Jesus says, “I’m the door.” The door to what? “I’m the door to freedom.” The door to freedom from what? Number one, the door to freedom from the prison of pretending. The prison of pretending. You say, what are you talking about? I’m saying you spend so much time, and so much money, and so much energy, and so much effort trying to fake it, trying to be somebody
that you’re not really, trying to be somebody. You’re not authentic. You’re inauthentic. You’re not living the real life. You’re always worried that
people not might like you if you’re the real you, and that is incredibly stressful. When you have to act this way
with this group of people, and that way with that group of people, and another way with that group of people, and you go, well, which one really am I? And some of you been
pretending for so long, you don’t even now who
the real you is anymore. Who’s the real me? I’ve been so pushed into
all of these conformities, that I don’t even know really who I am. And you’re pressured, and you’re in the prison of pretending. And when you wear a mask,
that is incredibly exhausting to keep that mask on all the time. Lookin’ good, feeling good,
having the goods, you know? I want everybody to think
I’ve got it all together. I got all the money I need. I got all of the sex I need. I got all the joy I need. I got everything I need. And you’re pretending. Now what causes us to fall into the trap or the prison of pretending? Two things, people-pleasing and perfectionism. These are the paths into
the prison of pretending. People-pleasing and perfectionism. Here’s what the Bible
says, Proverbs 29:25, the fear of human opinion disables. In other words, when you worry about what other people think,
you have a disability. You have a mental disability, because it is contracting what
God wants to do in your life. “The fear of human opinion disables, “but trusting in God
protects you from that.” What is people-pleasing? It’s living for the approval of others. And you’re always worried. You’re always trying to be what
other people want you to be. You wanna meet their expectations. You wanna fulfill their
purpose for your life. God loves you, and everybody
else has a plan for your life. And you get pulled this way and that way, and you can’t please everybody. Even God can’t please everybody. It’s Super Bowl, half the
stadium’s praying for that team, and the other half’s
praying for the other team. Who’s God gonna answer? (congregation laughs) Somebody’s praying for it to rain today. Somebody’s praying for
it to be sunny today. Even God can’t please everybody. Only a fool would try to
do what even God can’t do. You can’t please everybody. You don’t have to please everybody. And here’s the most important thing, you don’t need anybody’s
approval to be happy. Some of you have been
spending your entire life trying to earn somebody’s approval, thinking if I can just get
that, then I’ll be happy. Some of you, you’ve been trying to get your parents’ approval, and
they’ve been dead for 10 years. And you just say, well, if I just got, if you haven’t got their
approval by now, friend, you’re not gonna get it. And the problem isn’t you. The problem is they have
the inability to give it. But as I said, the good news is you don’t need it to be happy. You know, people-pleasing, the problem with it, the dirty
little secret about it is only you are the one
who knows it’s a prison. Because when you’re people-pleasing, you’re out there trying to be every, how can I help you? How can I serve you? What can I do for you? And it looks like you’re being altruistic. But the truth is you’re
doing it out of fear, not out of love. You’re serving out, you’re serving ’cause
I want them to like me. And that’s not real service. That’s people-pleasing. And so what often looks
like altruism on the outside is actually fear and self-centeredness, because I can’t stand to think of the fact that you might not like me, so I’m gonna do whatever it
takes to get you to like me. And it looks good on the
outside, but inside, it’s a trap. How does people-pleasing disable? Well, you can’t fulfill God’s purpose if you’re trying to be what
everybody else wants you to be. You’ll miss God’s purpose for your life. It stunts your spiritual growth. It stunts your emotional growth. It turns you into a hypocrite. You become a phony, a fake, because you’re trying to be different place to different people. It disables you in so many different ways. And then perfectionism. That is feeling that I have to be perfect in order to be loved. Well, if that’s true, none of
us are ever gonna be loved, because none of us are perfect. But because you have that feeling that I’ve gotta be perfect to be loved, then you know you’re not perfect, so you fake it trying to make it. And then you’re so hard on yourself. And when you’re hard on
yourself, you know what? You’re hard on other people, too. And then you’re no fun to live with. Because if I don’t like me,
and I don’t feel good about me, I certainly don’t want you
feeling good about you. And if I’m harsh on me and I’m judging me, ’cause I’m a perfectionist,
then I’m gonna judge you, too, and that makes us all miserable. That’s prison. And we all end up pretending. Here’s what the Bible says, Luke 16:15, you’re always making yourself look good, but God sees what’s in your heart. And the things that most
people think are important are actually worthless as
far as God is concerned. We spend so much time on stuff that isn’t gonna matter in two years, much less 10. Do you remember when
you were in high school how whether you had a
date to the prom or not was like make or break your life? And it’s like, I have to
have a date to the prom. Two years after high
school, did that matter? No. We spend so much of our
time people-pleasing, being perfectionist, trying
to do all these other things, but it doesn’t really matter. So what’s the antidote? How do I walk through the door of freedom over the pain and the
prison of pretending? Why don’t you write this down? Switch my focus to what God thinks. I switch my focus to what God thinks. You see, there’s only one
person who knows you completely, he loves you unconditionally, and knows exactly what you’re
created to do, and that’s God. And if you live for God
instead of for the approval of everybody else, it
sure simplifies life. You live for an audience
of one, not 50, one. And you go, God, I just wanna
do what you want me to do. And if it’s what God wants you to do, it’s always the right thing. And then you don’t have to worry about it. And you say, well, look, if
God likes me, and I like me, if you don’t like me, that’s your problem. And you’re not worried about it. You’re not imprisoned by the
opinions and the expectations. So many people are scared to death of the rejection of other people, because they’re focusing
on the wrong thing. Focus on God and his love for you. It’ll change everything. Look at the next verse. Here’s the antidote, Psalm 119:45. I will live in freedom, that’s
what God wants you to do. I will live in freedom, because I only pay attention
to what you say, Lord. I’m not picking up my telephone, my cell phone to see what everybody else thinks of me. You see, the biggest tool that puts you in the prison of pretending,
you know what it’s called? Social media. (congregation laughs) Are any of you vaguely familiar with this? – [Congregation Member] Yeah. And it is the ultimate comparison game. So if you take a picture of a cool dessert that you had at a restaurant, tomorrow I gotta have a better
dessert on my Instagram. And if you had a picture
of a beautiful sunset, tomorrow I gotta have a better sunset. And I have to show you all these pictures of my so-called cool life, and we’re living a 15-minute
reality show on social media, and it’s not the real you. Not one of you have ever
shown a picture on Instagram one minute after you got up. (congregation laughs) That’s the real you. And you look at that picture and you can smell the bad breath. (congregation laughs) No, on Instagram, we
only show the fake self, the ideal self. And the gap between the ideal you and the real you is so
big, that’s called stress. And study after study after study’s shown that Instagram and Facebook
and Twitter and all the others are actually increasing
the level of suicide, increasing the level of depression, and increasing the
level of dissatisfaction and unhappiness the more you use it. Why? Because you’re comparing
yourself to everybody else. God says never compare
yourself to anybody else. It’s like comparing
submarines and tangerines. They sound alike, but
they’re not the same. (congregation laughs) There’s nobody like you. So Jesus says, I’m the
door out of the prison of perfectionism, of
pretending, of people-pleasing. Let me give you another one, number two. This one’s even more common. Jesus is the door to freedom from the prison of unforgiveness. The prison of unforgiveness. Now you need forgiveness in your life. You need to ask for it. You need to offer it. You need to accept it. You need to give it to others. Because when I hurt other
people, then I feel guilty, I need to ask for forgiveness. And when other people
hurt me, I get resentful, and I need to offer forgiveness. If you don’t, unforgiveness becomes a
prison that keeps you stuck. And you can’t go through the other doors in life that God wants you to go through. I want you to hear a
dramatic story of this. I want you to give a warm
welcome to Danny Duchene. (congregation applauds) All right. Great. – You, too. Hello, Saddleback
family, and happy Easter. My name is Danny Duchene. And Pastor Rick has been teaching about the self-imposed prisons that we put ourselves
in when we ignore God. So I wanna share my
story of how resentment and unforgiveness caused
me to end up spending 32 years of my life in a literal prison. And then behind those bars, I learned by God’s grace
how to ask for forgiveness, accept forgiveness, and forgive others that led to my freedom. On Christmas Eve 1979 as a young teenager, I learned that both my
parents had been arrested and put in prison in Mexico for attempting to smuggle cocaine. When I woke up on Christmas
day with my parents imprisoned in another country, I was
filled with fear and anger. Why would they do this
and leave me on my own? To relieve my anger and anxiety, I drove to an empty parking
lot and got high in my car. And I still remember how
it gave me temporary relief from the pain that I felt. And I foolishly decided to commit to getting high every day
for the rest of my life. That was a door I should
never have walked through. But I did, and the direction it took me cost me the next 35 years of my life. Soothing my hurt and
anger and pain with drugs imprisoned me long before I
was sent to a physical prison. As a teenager, I didn’t know
that when you stuff your anger, it quickly turns to
bitterness, and resentment, and unforgiveness, which are far worse. Resentment hardens your heart. After walking through
that door of addiction, I began a downward spiral of
one bad decision after another. I found myself walking through other doors that I never thought I would walk through. I started to commit crimes
to support my drug habits. And by the age of 18, my life
was completely out of control. In anger and bitterness, I robbed, and stole, and hurt others. I became completely self-centered, and never considered the
consequences to others. My hurt had become anger, and my anger had frozen into resentment. I felt unforgiven, and I was unforgiving. If you hang on to bitterness, you eventually stop
caring about anyone else. As I struggled to keep myself supplied with an increasing need
for alcohol and drugs, my debts piled up. I became reckless in my crimes, and never worried about getting caught. But all came crashing down
when I was part of a crime in which I was responsible
for the death of two men. Thankfully, I was quickly
arrested in September 1982, which I also call being rescued, because I never would have been able to leave addiction on my own. I needed help. Sitting in a county jail before my trial, it took about three weeks to withdraw from the drugs and alcohol. But once I became sober,
the full weight of my crimes and what I had done came
crashing down on my conscience. I was overwhelmed with guilt,
and shame, and remorse, which led to deep depression as I realized how many people I had hurt, and the extent to which I had hurt them. I believed that I was unforgivable, and I did not deserve to be forgiven. I was lost, and I felt hopeless and
helpless to turn my life around. It was at my lowest point
that God opened the door of grace and forgiveness to me. While I was in that county jail, several people came regularly to see me and they shared the good
news of God’s love for me, how Jesus had died for my sins, and how I could be forgiven
even after what I had done. Frankly, it was hard for me
to believe this good news. The only love I knew was conditional love. And I had experienced the pain of being abandoned by
my parents for drugs. Also, I’d lived too long as an addict, and committed too many crimes to believe that God could forgive me. But through the love of those Christians who visited me in jail and
showed me real hospitality, the good news of Easter, God’s unconditional love
broke through my bitterness. I learned that Jesus himself
was the door to forgiveness and so much more. I learned that God had never
ever stopped loving me, even when I was making a wreck of my life. So I took a risk. And with what little faith I had, I walked through that door
to a new life through Jesus. I gave him all the
pieces of my broken life, I said, “God, if you can do anything “with the rest of my life, “I’m going to serve you
and others wherever I am, “and with whatever kind
of life I have left.” It was in that county jail
cell on November 7th, 1982, awaiting a trial that
would lock me up for life that I walked through the door of Jesus, and I was finally free on the inside. At my trial, I was convicted and given a double life sentence. So at the age of 19, I walked
through the doors of a prison. Never ever expecting to see
the outside world again. But because of God’s forgiveness, my life in prison would become a life of joyfully serving God. Around me, I was incarcerated, but on the inside, I had been liberated. It was in prison that I first
read Pastor Rick’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. I began to grow fast
spiritually, and I wrote to Rick. We launched a prison-wide
40 Days of Purpose, which we repeated over and over with many men coming to Christ. Then we launched Celebrate Recovery, which also had a huge
impact on our prison. Personally, it was
through Celebrate Recovery where I learned to ask for forgiveness, accept forgiveness, make amends, and offer forgiveness for
those who had hurt me. Through all my growth, I was called in commission to be a pastor. One of the most difficult things for me was to forgive myself. After experiencing abandonment,
drug addiction, and prison, it wasn’t easy to feel forgiven. On top of this, the
clothes that inmates wear have the words prisoner all over them. Every day, it is a constant
voice that says not forgiven, or unforgivable. But when I look back on
how God changed my life, I realize it wasn’t when my life was all cleaned up that he forgave me, it was when I was at my worst. God also showed his love for me by regularly sending people into my life that expressed his
unconditional love for me. Many of the pastors of Saddleback Church, including Pastor Rick,
Pastors John and Johnny Baker, Pastor Tom Holladay, Pastor David Chrzan, and Pastor Steve Rutenbar came into the prison where I was at. Saddleback Church supported the church that we started in the prison, and helped us get Celebrate
Recovery started there. 13 years later, Pastor Rick wrote the
governor of California, and asked the governor to release me from the physical prison so I could come serve
at Saddleback Church. It worked. (congregation applauds) On Christmas Eve, 2014, I walked out of the doors
of the physical prison. I was released 35 years to the day that I heard my parents had
been arrested in Mexico. How does that happen? I have now been
reconnected with my family, and all of us have experienced
God’s forgiveness together. Because of Jesus’ door of forgiveness, I have a new life full of God’s blessing. Because of forgiveness, I am now married, a pastor at Saddleback Church, and the national director of Celebrate Recovery inside prisons. By the way, if you don’t
know what that title means, it means if you wanna go to prison, I can help you get there. (congregation laughs) In closing, let me just say this, if you had told me 35 years
ago as a teenage addict and a criminal headed to prison
with a double life sentence that I would serve as
a pastor at any church, much less a pastor at the
world-changing Saddleback Church, I would have told you you’re crazy. But that is the grace of God, and it’s available to you. Just walk through that door. Thanks for letting me share. (congregation applauds) – Great job. Good job, man. Danny said, “I had no idea
where I’d be years later” as a pastor of a church. You have no idea what God
wants to do with your life. You’re sitting there right now thinking, what I’ve got right now,
this is the rest of my life. It’s nothing compared to what
God wants to do in your life. The doors of opportunity are out there, we’re gonna cover them
in the next eight weeks. But you cannot walk through
those doors of opportunity till you walk out of the prison, the prison of unforgiveness. That person that you’ve
been holding on to, that you just can’t
stand to let go of them, they hurt you really bad, and you think about them,
and you have a grudge, and they come to your mind all the time, you got to let it go. That’s how you get out of that prison. You gotta let it go. You say, well, they don’t
deserve to be forgiven. Who said anything about deserving? You don’t deserve to be forgiven. I don’t deserve to be forgiven. You don’t deserve for God to forgive you, and he’s done that. Forgiveness is not about deserving. You forgive them because you
wanna get on with your life, not because they deserve it. Let me give you three reasons, I want you to write these down,
why you have to let it go. You’ve gotta ask for forgiveness, the things you’ve done wrong. You’ve gotta accept forgiveness. You’ve gotta forgive yourself. And you’ve gotta offer it
to others for three reasons. Number one, it’s these three
verses on your outline. Number one, because God has forgiven me. God has already forgiven me, so I need to forgive other people. You will never have to
forgive anybody else more than God has already forgiven you. We talked about this in
the Good Friday services that when you come to Christ,
all your sins are forgiven. They’re not just forgiven,
they’re wiped out. The account’s closed. God has no record of your sins in Heaven if you’ve accepted Christ in your life. No record at all. There’s no condemnation. He’s going, what are you talking about? It’s gone, I closed the account. The Bible says this in Romans 8:1-2, there is now no condemnation. God doesn’t condemn you. No condemnation awaiting those
who belong to Christ Jesus. So when you get to Heaven, God is not gonna say,
well, now about that sin. It’s already paid for on the cross. For the power of God’s life-giving spirit, and this power is mine through
Christ Jesus, has freed me. This is the path to freedom. Has freed me from the vicious
circle of sin and death. When you don’t forgive
people in your life, you know what happens? You get in a vicious
circle, a vicious cycle. I wanna change, and I
make a mistake and I fail, and I feel bad about it. And then I try again, and I
fail, and I feel bad about it. And I try again, and I fail,
and I feel bad about it. And that’s just a cycle,
it’s a circle in your life. It’s not gonna break until you let go of the person who’s hurt you. First, because God has
already forgiven you. Second, because resentment
makes me miserable. I gotta let it go, ’cause it
doesn’t hurt them, it hurts me. Resentment makes me miserable. Holding on to a hurt
is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person you hate. When you’re holding on to
a resentment, a grudge, a bitterness, you’re
not hurting that person. They’re not even thinking about you. They’re out having a steak dinner, and you’re back here stewing
and spewing in your misery. It always hurts you more than
it hurts the other person. Resentment is worthless as a tool. It only hurts you. Some of you were hurt by
somebody five years ago, 10 years ago, maybe even 20 years ago, maybe for a long period of time. I’m sorry, but they can’t hurt you anymore
without your permission. They can’t hurt you unless
you hold on to that hurt and hold on to that memory. And to allow somebody
who hurt you 20 years ago to keep hurting you today because you keep bringing it
up in your mind, that’s dumb. That’s just stupid. You gotta let it go. It doesn’t hurt them. You’re only hurting yourself. You forgive them so you
can get on with your life. By the way, the Bible says this in Job 21, some men stay happy till the day they die. But others have no happiness at all. They live and die, why,
with bitter hearts. So you’ve got really a choice in life. You can be happy, or you
can hold on to your hurt. But you can’t do both. So you just have to decide, do I wanna be happy or
do I wanna be bitter? You cannot be both. You gotta let it go. Now there’s a third reason. God’s forgiven me. Resentment makes me miserable. Third reason you have to let it go, you have to get out of the
prison of unforgiveness, let it go is because I’m going to need more forgiveness in the future. I’m not through making mistakes. I plan on making a few
more the rest of my life. And so will you. You will sin, you will
fail, you will fall, you will do things that were dumb. And I’m gonna need
forgiveness in the future, not just the past. Somebody came to John
Wesley one day and said, “I could never forgive that guy.” He said, “Well, then
I hope you never sin.” Because if you refuse to forgive, you’re burning the bridge that you have to walk
across to get into Heaven. We cannot receive what we are unwilling to give to other people. How do you expect everybody
else to forgive you and God to forgive you if you’re unwilling to
forgive somebody else? That’s what Jesus said. Matthew 6:15, “If you
refuse to forgive others, “your Father in Heaven
will not forgive you.” Bam. It’s pretty clear. So before I can go
through all the big doors that we’re gonna talk
about in the weeks ahead, I gotta come out of the prisons. And one of the prisons is the prison of resentment, of unforgiveness. Now let me give you a third one. And this one’s probably
even the biggest one of all. Jesus Christ came to set me free. He is the door. And he’s the door to freedom
from the prison of fear, of fear, prison of fear. Fear is a prison. Now you may call it worry. You may call it anxiety. You may say, I feel anxious. You may say, I feel stressed, I feel stressed out, but it’s fear. It’s fear. And it always locks you up in a prison. Fear never gives you an
open life, a large life. It limits your life. And even on the day of
Easter 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ rose from the grave, that night, the disciples,
they still hadn’t seen Jesus. So they just heard he was risen, so they didn’t know if they
had to believe this or not, ’cause they hadn’t seen him yet. So they’re scared to death. Look at this verse on
your outline, John 20:19. This is the first day, Easter Sunday, couple thousand years ago. That evening, the disciples, that’s the people who followed Jesus, the disciples met behind
locked doors out of fear. They met behind locked doors out of fear of religious leaders. They thought, they crucified Jesus, maybe they’re gonna crucify us now. Suddenly, Jesus stood among them. Remember, the door’s locked, so he didn’t need to
come through the door. He just shows up. He stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Now notice the phrase, the
locked doors out of fear. Fear always locks people out of your life. Who have you locked out of
your life because of fear? I will never let another
man hurt me like that again. That’s not a smart decision. That’s a prison. I will never let another woman get close to me like that again. It just hurts too much. Friends, love hurts. You can’t love without hurt, sorry. There’s no such thing
as love without hurt. Part of love is hurt. You say, how do I stop all the hurt? Die. You’re gonna have,
(congregation laughs) (chuckles) you’re gonna have hurt
the rest of your life, ’cause this is a broken
planet because of sin. But you’re just gonna compound it if you compound it by
building a prison of fear. And who have you locked out
of your life because of fear? Some of you have locked
God out of your life out of fear. You don’t need to be afraid of God. I mean, really. He loves you more than any
man will ever love you, more than any woman will ever love you. He’ll never love you any more or less than he does this second. His love is unconditional. It’s not based on what you do. So you can’t make God love you more. You can’t make God love you less. You can try, but you’ll fail. Because God’s love is
not based on what you do, it’s based on who he is. God is love. You do not need to be afraid of God. But in fear, maybe you’ve
locked him out of your life. Rick Muchow, for about over 20 years was the worship leader
here at Saddleback Church. Wrote many of the songs that our church and many other churches
across the nation sang for years and years. A few weeks ago, he had a real crisis when on a single day he discovered that he had an inoperable brain cancer. (snaps fingers) Instantly his life was changed. And I’ve watched Rick since
then handling something that would legitimately be a
reason to be scared to death, to be afraid. He gave his story yesterday,
his testimony yesterday. I want you to listen to
just a part of it right now. Watch this on the screen. – At every stage in the
discovery of my illness, my shock ratcheted up. But at the same time, my sense of peace from God increased, too. It was a strange combination
of fear and faith, panic and peace. I just knew that God was in control. He was in control of something
that was out of my control. After the biopsy, I was told
that I had a glioblastoma. This is an aggressive
form of brain cancer. There was that word, cancer. Brain cancer. That was a word I understood, and that was a legitimate
reason to be filled with fear. But still I had such a
strong sense of God’s peace even though the news kept getting worse. When you face such a
life-threatening problem like this, faith in Jesus helps you break
the news into smaller steps and face each hurdle one step at a time. This made my fear manageable. The MRI was a small step. The biopsy was another step. Recovery from the biopsy
surgery was another step. Then after being told that
my cancer was inoperable, finding the right hospital
willing to operate was yet another step. Then the full surgery which removed 100% of the tumor was a huge step. Waking up from that surgery with a severely weakened
right arm, right leg, and hand would require another
step of faith and trust. Even holding these papers down right now with a weakened right arm
is not easy, I’ll tell ya. But my therapist says keep working at it. Persistence, and God helps with that, too. But I’m here today to
say this loud and clear, Jesus has been with me at every step, and I’m certain, I’m
sure and I’m confident that Jesus will be with me every step I have to take in the days ahead. Why anyone would choose to go through life facing one fearful situation after another without Jesus makes no sense to me. And if you have not yet begun
a relationship with Jesus yet, I hope you will let Pastor Rick help you establish that today. Because you don’t know,
just like I didn’t know, what you’re gonna face tomorrow. And believe me, you don’t wanna face the worst
without Jesus in your life. People ask me, how have you handled this? Yes, my life and plans were
turned upside down overnight, but Jesus has been the door to six important resources that
have strengthened my life and kept me stable. First, God’s presence has been with me. I can feel him, because I have depended on
his presence for decades. Jesus is not some distant God to me. He is my friend who knows
everything about me. Second, having a history
of watching God work in my life and family gives me faith. If anybody believes in miracles,
the Muchow family does. After watching our son Jordan live through seven open-heart surgeries, three brain surgeries,
and two other surgeries, Jordan is a walking miracle. And he is my personal hero
for overcoming obstacles and trusting God. He is a living example of God’s
power to bring us through. A third door out of fear has been the promises of God’s word. I’ve written many songs over the years based on the promises of God’s word. Now they all come back to me to strengthen my faith. Psalm 56:3 has been very important for me. It says, whenever I’m
afraid, I will trust in you. Another promise is Psalm 119:49-50, which says, remember your
promise to me, oh Lord, it is my only hope. Your promise revives me. It comforts me in all my troubles. I wanna encourage you
to memorize scriptures when times are good, so that God can remind you of
them when times are not good. And you never know what times are good and what times are bad, but God does. A fourth door out of the prison
of fear has been worship. Many of the songs of
hope and encouragement from God’s word that I
wrote to encourage others now minister to me
personally in a deeper way. And the song that I didn’t
write, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, is a real comfort to me today. If you are going through a tough time, you need more worship in your life. A fifth help has been our church. Saddleback Church has been a
great help to me and my family, and it has for the last 36 years. God never meant for us to
go through life on our own. Having the love and support
of not just my loving family, but also my larger church
family, the family of God, has been such a relief from anxiety. So many of you have stood with our family and me. Thank you. One of the first two
faces I saw when I woke up from having brain surgery
was Pastor Rick’s face, and then my son Jordan’s
right by my bedside. They came in together. Finally, I’m not afraid, because I know that God’s plan
for me for my life is good. You know, I’ve written songs about this. As Pastor Rick taught us, not everything that happens is good, but God uses even the bad stuff for good. And he can bring good even out of bad. That’s the promise of Romans 8:28. Coming out of the surgery, my son Jordan leaned down and whispered, and Pastor Rick was right there, that he said, “Dad,
the surgery went well.” Then he asked me, “Dad, are
you gonna be okay, now?” And I said to him, “Son,
every step is a step. “We are going to trust God
for the future step by step.” If you haven’t taken this step to put your trust in Jesus yet, I hope that you do so today, this Easter. He’s not only the exit door from fear. He’s the door to everything else you need in this life and in the next. (chuckles) God bless all of you. Thank you very much. (congregation applauds) – Now if tomorrow morning,
your doctor called you and said you have inoperable brain cancer, would you handle it with
that kind of stability? Would you handle it with
that kind of confidence, that kind of strength? Or would you let it enclose you in a prison of fear and panic? You don’t get that kind of confidence from reading a self-help book. You get it from knowing God. You get it from walking through the door. Jesus says, “I am the door.” How does he help me break
out of the prison in fear? Well, Rick gave you five or six ways. Let me just mention two of them again. You write these down. Number one, how does God
help me break out of fear? First, remember how much God loves me. That is an antidote to the
fears you have in your life. Every time you start to panic,
you start to get afraid, you need to pause and remember
how much God loves you, that he will never stop loving you. He will never love you more
or less than this second. And his love is unconditional, and it is complete, and it is eternal. The Bible says in 1
John 4:18, God is love. And whoever lives in love
lives in God, and God in him. And there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear. When you invite God’s love in
the front door of your mind, fear goes out the back door. Love and fear do not stay together. If you have a relationship
and there’s fear in it, it’s not perfect love. It may be like, it may be lust, it may be immature love,
but it’s not perfect love. Because in real love, there
is no fear, there is no fear. Perfect love drives out all fear. And the more I invite the
love of God into my life, the less fearful I’m gonna be, the more confident, the more
courageous, the more strong. I could handle anything, because I know the love of God is with me, and he’s gonna help me in this situation. Remember the love of God. Number two, the other thing
he said, write this down, remember that God has a good plan. It’s not a bad plan for your life. God doesn’t have bad plans. He only has good plans for your life. That doesn’t mean everything that happens in your life’s good. Obviously, that’s not. But Rick mentioned Romans
8:28, that great promise. It’s there on your outline. In the Bible it says this, and we know, not guess, hope, think, wish. Says we know, that’s a certain hope, we know that in all
things, not some things, in everything that happens in your life, we know that in all things
God works for the good. Doesn’t say it’s all good. It’s not. But he can bring good out of it. God specializes in
bringing good out of bad. He turns crucifixions into resurrections. When Jesus died on the
cross, that was not good. Did God bring good out of it? Yeah, the salvation of humanity. Out of the greatest bad thing, he brings the greatest good thing. God is a special. Anybody can bring good out of good. Only God can bring good out of bad. He could take all the bad
stuff that’s happened to you and actually bring good out of it. We know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him. This is not a promise for everybody. If you’re rebelling against God, if you’re going against God, everything is not working
for good in your life. In fact, it’s working for bad. God doesn’t owe you anything if you’re walking the other direction. But for those who love
God, this is a promise. He said, I will make sure
it all works for good if you love me in your life, and you’ve been called
according to my purpose. Now let me wrap it up. Are you tired of being in prison? The prison of pretending, fake it till you make it, trying to pretend you’re
wealthier than you are, that you’re healthier than you are, that you’re happier than
you are, and you’re not. That you got it all together, and we all know you don’t,
but you’re pretending. You’re tired of pretending. You’re tired of people-pleasing. You please so many people, you don’t even know who you really are. You’re tired of perfectionism. You’re making yourself miserable and everybody else around you. You need to walk through the
door, the door to freedom. Are you tired of the drain on your life because of the constant grip
of a grudge, of resentment, and you’ve held on to a hurt? It’s not helping you. It’s only hurting you. You gotta let it go. And maybe you’re in the prison of fear, and you’re just so scared to death by so many different things. And you have fears that nobody even knows what those fears are, but God does. And he loves you, and he says, if you’ll just let me
fill you with your love, that fear factor’s gonna
go way down on your life. The worry goes down when
the worship goes up. Jesus says, “I am the door.” Have you walked through
that door to freedom? I’m not talking about,
do you go to church? I’m not taking about, are you religious? I’m talking about, have you walked through the door of freedom
to begin a relationship with the God who loves you and his son? Look at this last verse on your outline. And the Bible says this, Acts 10:35, it makes no difference who
you are or where you’re from. Doesn’t matter your racial background, your religious background. Doesn’t matter what
you’ve done in your life, Danny Duchene, bad stuff or whatever. It doesn’t matter who you
are or where you are from, if you want God, and you’re ready to do as
he says, the door is what? It’s open. It’s open. I have had the privilege of helping tens of thousands of people walk through that door. I would like to help you right now if you’ll let me. Let’s bow our heads. And I’m gonna pray a
prayer, a simple prayer, much like I prayed many, many years ago. And you could just make this your prayer. Say, me too, God. Just say, dear God, I’m tired. Say it in your mind, God, I’m tired. I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of people-pleasing. I’m tired of stress. I’m tired of perfectionism and trying to be perfect when I can’t be. God, I’m tired of holding on to hurt, memories that just continue
to cause pain in my life. I wanna let it go. And God, you know the
secret fears in my life, the fear of being found out,
the fear of being exposed, the fear that somebody, if they really knew me, wouldn’t like me, the fear of rejection. God, you know the fears in my life, the fear that I’m never gonna get married, the fear, whatever it is. Lord, I bring you the things
that have imprisoned me, things I’ve been ashamed of, regrets, resentments, worries. Lord, I don’t wanna live that way anymore. I wanna live a life of freedom. And today, I wanna walk
through the door of freedom, your son, Jesus Christ. You said the door’s open. Then I’m gonna walk through it. And so today as much as I know how, I’m saying, Jesus Christ, I wanna follow you. I ask you to come into my life and fill me with your
love, your spirit of love. Push all the fear out. Push all the pain out, and fill me with a new sense of hope. I wanna walk through
the doors in the future that you have planned for
me, the opportunities. And so I don’t wanna
live in prison anymore. And I’m asking you today,
Jesus Christ, to save me. And I ask you to accept
me into your family, and I humbly say this in your name. Amen. Let’s congratulate everybody who prayed that prayer just now (congregation applauds) at Lake Forest and at
19 different campuses. Now, anytime you make a
decision this important, and what you just did if
you made that decision, that’s the most important
decision of your life, ’cause it’s gonna determine your destiny. You need to tell somebody about it. It’s an important decision. How about if I had said to
Kay when we got engaged, honey, let’s get married, but let’s don’t tell anybody about it. She go, what are you
talking about, buster? Are you ashamed of me, or
are you embarrassed of me? No, if you love somebody, you tell people. I proudly say, I love Kay Warren. And if you love Jesus, you
need to be able to say that. Jesus said, if you’re ashamed
of me, I’ll be ashamed of you. So I want everybody, inside your program, you need to tell somebody, take this packet and pull out this card. And it says, Unlocking
the Doors to Your Destiny. It’s a big one, it’s a big card. Unlocking your doors, the
doors to your destiny. And I’m gonna ask everybody here to check one of those five boxes. Let me know about where
you are spiritually. And we’re all at different stages. That’s okay, that’s fine. But if today number one you say, Rick, today I’m deciding to
put my trust in Jesus as the door to everything
God has planned for my life including his purpose for
me, forgiveness, strength, eternal home in Heaven,
you check that box. If you just prayed that prayer,
you can check the first box. If you say, Rick, I’ve
already accepted Jesus as a door to my future, but I’m recommitting my
life to him this Easter, you can check the second box. The third box says, Rick,
I got some questions, and I’d like to be part of a study group that checks out the
implication of trusting Jesus. That’s okay. You got questions, you
said, I’m not there yet. That’s all right. If you’re intellectually honest,
you’re in the right church. Questions are a good thing here. And I believe take the time
to make the right decision. If you take the time and
you’re intellectually honest, you’ll make the right decision. I have no doubt about that. Number four, if you say, I’ll be back next weekend
for Rick’s introduction to Unlocking the Doors to Your Destiny, eight-week life-changing
series, you can check that. The last one is, I’m not yet connected to a Saddleback Small Group, but I’d like to be part
of one during this series. I’m not talking about
the rest of your life, but for the next few weeks. We have over 8,000 Small Groups. Over 40,000 people in this
church meet in homes every week, or in offices during the week. In every city of Southern California from Santa Monica to San Diego
has a Saddleback Small Group. Now, if you finish filling
the rest of that out, normally, you know if
you’ve ever been to Easter, I say, I want you to
put this in the basket while we give our offerings. But I’m gonna ask you
to not do that today. And I just thought since we’ve
been talking about doors, we made a mock-up here of
Jesus saying, “I am the door.” And I’m gonna invite you to come down and just bring this card with you, and walk through this
door symbolically saying, Jesus Christ is gonna be
the door to my future, the door to hope, and strength,
and peace, and forgiveness, and the door to love, and purpose, and confidence, and happiness. Now, this door can’t save
you, it’s just a door. It’s like baptism. Baptism doesn’t save you, it’s just water. But it’s a good symbol. This ring doesn’t make me married, but it’s not a bad idea
to have one of these, because it reminds me of an
inward commitment that I made. And it was that inward
commitment that made me married, and this is the outward reminder. So it’s a good symbol. When I put my hand over my heart and I say the Pledge of Allegiance, that doesn’t make me an American,
but it’s not a bad symbol. It says I pledge allegiance to the flag. It says I’m a patriot. That’s a good thing. And so I’m not saying
this makes you a believer. I’m saying you have made that decision, and symbolically you’re saying, I’m not ashamed to tell
it to other people. Now in just a minute,
the choir’s gonna sing. I’m gonna invite you to
finish filling this out, and then get up here, walk right up here, and let me just shake your hand on the other side of the
door, or I’ll give you a hug. And when you walk through here, we’re gonna have some people who will give you a packet of materials to help you understand your decision. And then you can head on home. If you want somebody to pray with you, I’m sure there’d be people
glad to do that, too. Now in every service, yesterday and today, literally hundreds, thousands of people have walked through this door. And today, you’re saying,
I wanna make it real. And so I’m gonna ask you
to just bring this forward when you’re ready to do that. If you’re with a friend,
you came with a friend, you can lean over to them and go, hey, if you wanna go, I’ll go with ya. Come with your friend,
and that’d be just fine. Let’s begin the singing. (“No Outsiders” by Rend Collective) (uplifting, folk rock music) (choir applauds) ♪ To your love ♪ ♪ No, there are no outsiders ♪ (bright electronic music) – Thanks for checking out
this message on YouTube. My name is Jay, and I’m
Saddleback’s Online Campus Pastor, and I would love to invite you
to join our online community. Here are three ways you
can take a next step. First, learn more about
belonging to our church family by completing CLASS 101 online. Second, don’t do life alone anymore by getting into an online-only Small Group that meets on platforms like Skype, or learn more about hosting a group with your friends in your home. Third, join our global Facebook community to connect with others
with the online community, and be more engaged in the day-to-day. To take any of those next steps, visit saddleback.com/online, or email [email protected] Hope to hear from you soon.