Have you had to deal with difficult people? Not just in your community but your family? Resentment can build and escalate and finally get out of control. Because of interactions like these, fights have broken out on aircraft, in stores, workplaces, lines, and homes. People retaliate against each other. Fortunately, there is another way to deal with troublesome people.
Many of us would rather skip thinking about our upcoming death. We push it out of our thoughts. But whether we like it or not, the subject of death captures our attention. Filmmakers, songwriters, and many others have reacted to the idea of their death. As you might imagine, the Bible also reminds us of our impending death, but it does so that we might gain something. The scripture thinks we might grow a wise heart.
Why do some of us create lives that are so burdened? We don’t consciously want more stress. We don’t consciously want unhealthy relationships. Lack of disciple, disorganization, or a type-A personality might be part of the problem. Even fear can drive us to fill our lives with too many commitments and activities. Surprisingly enough, the Bible and Jesus think this is a problem. Fortunately, they also have a solution.
Our life may be stained. We might be ashamed of something we did or something somebody did to us. We might feel guilty over something we did or by something somebody did to us. How do we get rid of that stain of guilt?
Worship can’t compete with some activities. We can find more exciting programs on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video. In terms of excitement, sports might be more exciting than worship. There are many activities that we could participate in that are way more exciting than attending a worship service. So many people skip worship, no realizing what they are missing.
We make decisions on what we do or say based on our conscience. When you violate your internal moral code you feel guilty. You might find yourself saying, “It doesn’t feel right.” “I wouldn’t do that!” Communities and nations also have a collective conscience that informs the behavior of the group. So what molds our conscience? Is there a degrading of our collective conscience in our communities and nation? If so how do we rebuild it?
We accumulate. Once we have that new item we go on to the next thing. We buy the iPhone 12 and then think about the new features that are in the upcoming iPhone 13 that will go on sale soon. The desire for stuff can direct our actions. We can still be unhappy after having a lot of stuff. If life doesn’t consist in the abundance of possessions, where do we find a meaningful life? Fortunately Jesus told us He came so we might have life abundantly.
Some marriages are in trouble. The couple is ready to call it quits. They are ready to schedule the divorce. So how do we make a marriage last? And then we remember that a good marriage isn’t just about lasting. A great marriage isn’t about surviving. A fantastic marriage thrives. So how do we make our marriage thrive?
A community of Christians can do so much more together than we can as individuals. Yet authentic community can be difficult to find because there are barriers to community that impede it’s healthy formation. In this message we will look at how to hurtle over those barriers to community.
It’s the sideways glace that gets us into trouble. It’s a look in the wrong direction. Jesus tells a story about a Pharisee who has one eye on heaven and his other eye on a tax collector. As a result he despises the Pharisee and tells God that he is thankful he is not like that obvious sinner. Jesus tells this story because as we grow closer to God a temptation to a big ego grows bigger and bigger. How do we fight this tendency?