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Worry Revisited

This past weekend, at Elevation Church, I spoke about worry, anxiety, and fear.

We were able to go over some of the basics in Matthew 6:25-34.

How Jesus tells us, three different times, “do not worry”.

Because worry hurts us, it adds no value to our life, and it creates the potential for idolatry.

We talked about how the word “therefore” is extremely important in this passage. It implies a cause and effect relationship between what was just said and what is about to be said.  Jesus just finished saying that you can’t serve both God and money.  In other words, if we don’t have God at the center, if God isn’t the One we seek first, then ultimately we will serve something else.

Since I didn’t have enough time to cover all that I would have liked to in my message, I thought I would add a few other thoughts in this blog post.

APPLICATION…

People sometimes think that Jesus is making to big a deal out of this worry thing. What about things like our kids or our necessities; shouldn’t those things be okay to worry about?

Good question, but the answer is still no.

The reason isn’t that we shouldn’t be concerned for our kids or necessities.  The issue comes when we begin to worry, and in turn, stop resting in Jesus. We stop taking our worries to the Lord and try to do it on our own.  We try to control something that is uncontrollable.

This is the basic human problem.  We possess an illusion of control.

Knowing that, here are two different thoughts that might help:

1. If there is something you can do about the situation then do it. We don’t need to worry when there is something that can be done. We simply need to act.

2. If there is nothing you can do about the situation then worship through it. If we can’t do anything, then we need to simply take it to Jesus. As worship goes up worry goes down.  Worship isn’t just singing songs; worship is a lifestyle that points towards God in every aspect.

When was the last time you read your Bible?

When was the last time you really prayed?

When was the last time you asked for help from someone in the church?

When was the last time you attended a small group?

When was the last time you attended worship in a Christian community?

Are you starting to see it?

We can’t expect to receive the promises of God without seeking his presence. We MUST seek his face before we seek his hand.  Seek him first is what Jesus says and if we do “all these things will be added unto you.”

Another thing that I wasn’t able to mention on Sunday was the TRUSTING GOD BOX.

You can use any box you want, but label it the “Trusting God Box”. When you have a worry or a fear, put it in the box and seek God about it.  Then close the box.

This is a symbolic behavior that says you are putting it in the Lord’s hands and shutting the lid. If you begin to worry about it again you will need to open the lid to do so.  It creates a barrier to indulging in the destructive behavior of worry.  It allows us to intentionally surrender it to the Lord and prayerfully lay it down.

My hope is that you have found this message helpful in confronting any worry you’ve been wrestling with. If you know of others who are tangled up in worry and fear, please pass this message along.

Blessings,

-Daniel

Anger

Numerous times in my life I’ve heard people say that they have no interest in believing in an ANGRY God.

I get it. I mean, who would want to worship a God who is always angry?

But there’s a problem…

If we don’t believe in a God who gets angry at evil, then what does that say about us? Or at the very least, what does that say about God?

It says that we don’t believe in right and wrong.

It says that we don’t care.

It says that we don’t truly love.

That might sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

Yes, anger can destroy, and in the hands of a fallen world, it can annihilate.

However, anger used properly can redeem.  It can stop the threat and work towards healing.  If I am not angry at sin, divorce, murder, rape—what does that say about me?  What does that say about God?

ANGER IS LOVE IN ACTION.

This Sunday, at Elevation Church, we will be talking about anger. What does the Bible say about it?  Is anger always bad?  Should followers of Jesus get angry?

We are meeting at RiverChase Recreation Center in Fenton, MO at 11:00am.  If you’re in the area, come and join us for some awesome music and relevant teaching.

 

Re-Post

The following is one of Steve Furtick’s blog posts, enjoy:

Daydreams and Sweatshops

I was recently reading Robert McKee’s book on the process of storytelling and came across a sentence that really challenged me. He was discussing the hard work of the creative endeavor and constructing fictional environments and he said:
Worlds are not daydreams but sweatshops.

It got me thinking on a different but similar vein about how we often misunderstand the concept of having a vision from God. For our lives, our ministries, and really for everything in general.

I think when most people think or talk about getting a vision from God, it’s more along the lines of a daydream. We associate receiving a vision from God with being passive. We think that God speaks to you with candles lit and music playing.

He often does. But that’s not where the vision comes to life. It’s simply the moment of conception. The vision really comes to life when the candles go out and the music stops. It’s when you have to get down to the hard work of actually making it happen. Visions don’t come to life in daydreams but in sweatshops.

If you’re a church planter, it’s in the hours you spend setting up your portable location just to be able to preach for forty minutes.
If God has called you to be a doctor, it’s in the years of school and interning that you have to endure to get those two simple letters, M.D., attached to your name.
If you’re a writer or filmmaker, it’s in the days and months of brainstorming, executing, and editing that it takes to make your project a reality.

Being a visionary or receiving a vision isn’t defined simply by what you can think of. My five-year old can think of a lot of things that have no chance of becoming real. Being a visionary has to do with what you can bring to life. God is the Creator not because He imagined or envisioned creation. But because He acted and brought it into existence.

Why should it be any different for the creation that was made in His image?

God Isn’t Fair

“Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and climbed Pisgah Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him the whole land, from Gilead as far as Dan; 2 all the land of Naphtali; the land of Ephraim and Manasseh; all the land of Judah, extending to the Mediterranean Sea*; 3 the Negev; the Jordan Valley with Jericho—the city of palms—as far as Zoar. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.”
-Deuteronomy 34:1-4

This passage of scripture has ALWAYS bothered me!

I’m not sure I know how to make since of it, but I do know that the Lord meets us in scripture. Those feelings that come when we read are given to us for a reason.

The best thing we can do is press into those thoughts or feelings.

Moses had the assignment of leading a massive amount of whiny, cranky, and stubborn people, out of Egypt, through the desert, and almost into the promise land.

Yes, I said “almost”.

He worked so hard. He endured so much. However, he still was unable to go into the land that God had promised to his forefathers.

The reality of the situation is that Moses didn’t do what the Lord wanted (Numbers 20).

When we are disobedient to the Lord we can’t expect that He is going to bless our actions. That’s impossible.

God Doesn’t Bless Disobedience.

Which is why the most frustrating part of the story is that over and over God had mercy on those rebellious people, but when Moses does one thing wrong, he’s out.

It doesn’t seem fair.
But God isn’t all that concerned about being fair.
However, He is just.

Fair means that everyone is treated the same.
Just means that everyone is treated in accordance with God’s known Law.

Moses and Israel were both held to the known Law of God.

Israel was given mercy, and the mercy they received allowed them to make it into the promise land.
Moses was given mercy, but the result wasn’t being able to go into the promise land.

Verse 4 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” 



Even though he couldn’t enter the promise land, Moses was allowed to SEE it.

I can’t begin to imagine how he felt at that moment, but God was undeniably showing Moses mercy and love.

God isn’t the government trying to make sure everyone gets the same amount of this or that service.
God isn’t making sure everyone gets a participation award.
God isn’t making sure that everyone makes the same amount of money. 


Remember the Parable of the Talents? All three men were given different amounts and yet they were all held to the same standard (Law).

They were given different amounts for a reason, but in no way does that make God unjust or unloving. 
 


God loved Moses.
Out of everyone on Earth, Moses experienced one of the deepest relationships with God.

I believe Moses understood that not entering into the promise land wasn’t the end of the world.

He knew he had messed up; however, he also knew, that very soon after he saw the promise land he would die and forever be with God.

We don’t picture death this way very often.
To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Moses desired God more than he desired the promise land.

So, how about you?

-Daniel

Why?

“It’s easier to give birth to a baby, than to resurrect the dead.”

Someone once said this in relationship to the church and the need for church planting.

Many people ask, “why do we need to plant churches when there are so many churches already?” The answer is that the church population continues to decline and yet the overall population continues to increase.

The need for church planting is critical. It is the single most effective way to evangelize. It is through starting new churches that we begin to make an impact on the church decline and begin to reach new generations.

Read over the following statistics:

• 84% of people live in urban areas or near urban areas.
• 70% of United Methodist Churches are in rural areas.

Some Questions:

• Where should we be spending our time and money planting churches?
• Does population matter? Why?
• Should we leave rural areas or come up with different models? Why?
• How many new successful churches do we need to plant to stop the decline?
• How could you support the starting of Elevation Church in St. Louis, MO?
www.elevationstlouis.com

-Daniel