Kason Kedersha/ Sunday April 27th 2014/ Exodus Group testimony
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I’m Kason Kedersha and I’ve been coming to Gulf Coast for about a year and a half. I became a member on December 15th. I’m here this morning to tell you about a group I participated in a few months ago called Exodus. I also want to tell you what I learned from this group and how Jesus changed me through it. I want to start by saying that I remember the day that Jerry Hutcheson was up here giving his testimony to promote the same group that I’m up here talking about. It was a group that he was starting for men who struggle with addictions to drugs, alcohol, and sexual sin. He was telling the church of some sins that he had struggled with. I was thinking to myself how brave it was and how I couldn’t see myself doing the same. I also started thinking about how busy I was and how it probably wouldn’t even be worth it for me to join the group. For me to take an entire night out of my week, dedicated to speaking with a bunch of guys struggling with addictions, didn’t seem beneficial. I’d rather be encouraged by men who didn’t struggle with those things. I felt that I had my sin under control anyways. Even though I had many thoughts about not going, for some reason I still went to Jerry after his testimony to tell him that I wanted to join the group. I’m not sure why I decided to. But since I have had struggles like these in the past, I figured it couldn’t hurt. I was on the verge of deciding not to go. And I almost didn’t go. But I’m glad I did though.
I ended up being greatly impacted by walking through a book called “Redemption” and from talking about it with the guys from the group. The book that we read shed a lot of light on the scriptures by using some lessons from the lives of the Israelites in the book of Exodus.
The main storyline of the book was explaining how the Israelites continued to rebel from God. God was continually compassionate and gracious but the Israelites kept turning their backs on God. This turning from God is something we can all relate with.
In the group we also watched a video called “Jesus loves Barabbas”, which can be found on YouTube. Barabbas was a murderer. And Pilate put it in the people’s hands to choose between him and Jesus (the SON OF GOD) to determine who was going to be sentenced to death. Barabbas was chosen to be set free instead of Jesus. And Jesus didn’t say a word about his false death sentence. Jesus stood there and took Barabbas’ place. There’s no record of Barabbas turning to Jesus saying I owe you everything now for you have set me free. I started to see that I was like the Israelites and I was also like Barabbas. I was caught up in this never ending rebellion. God continually showed me grace but I wasn’t looking to that grace. Every time I saw God work in my life I would quickly forget and turn back to my sin. I was looking to my own ways of trying to control my sin. The thought that I was just going to wake up and start fresh continually came up in my mind. I kept thinking I better work really hard to get myself out of this. But I was no match for the powers of hell and the urges of my sin. And that’s exactly why we need Jesus. You see Jesus died in my place! I am just like Barabbas. What Jesus did on the cross was done once and for all and there is nothing that I can do to change that. I was lost in shame and thinking “I deserve this” and thinking “I am my sin”. But Jesus says let me have your sin. In Colossians it says: Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior but he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation, if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. You see, Christ did all that for us and all we have to do is have faith in the fact that he did… People were trying to tell me this all along and it suddenly became so clear. That it’s not about what I DO. YOU ARE NOT YOUR SIN WHEN YOU ARE IN CHRIST.
My greatest challenge was not my discipline, devotion, or focus… it was: believing the gospel. I kept trying to go back to my own power as if what Christ did was not enough. But his blood is sufficient. He has forgiven my sins. I am not my sins. All of this change in thinking came from seeking God through this group and allowing the Spirit to work in my life. Now that my eyes have been opened to these truths it has allowed Christ to set me free. And praise the Lord that since the group many of my temptations have been removed.
If there was anything that I would want you all to remember most about my story, it’s that I didn’t think the group would be helpful but it changed my life, as I’m hoping you’ve been able to see in me. I learned the gospel in a much clearer way from looking at the storyline of the bible, and looking at Jesus’ life, all the while verbalizing these things with a group of other people who were coming to God for help. If you struggle with drugs, alcohol, or sexual sins, and are possibly considering joining, please do. And if you want to hear more about my story or about the group, please ask.
Learn more about EXODUS GROUP.