Summary: This is the first of a series of sermons based on movie themes, an idea I borrowed from West Family Church in the Kansas City area while I was visiting there this summer. We are not wired to play God.
Stop Playing God and Discover God Almighty’s Plan
Good morning and welcome to Bethany—greet guests, etc.
How many of you have been to the movies this summer? It seems like I get to the movies more in the summer than any other time. How does that work with you? Summer is sometimes seen as the season for “Blockbusters” to appear on the big screen. So I thought I’d bring the summer to a close here at Bethany by using Summer Blockbusters as the theme for my messages for the next 4 weeks. I’m kicking off the series with “Bruce Almighty.” How many of you have seen that movie? It is an interesting and funny movie.
Here’s a synopsis of the movie in case you haven’t seen it. Jim Carey plays the lead role as a TV news reporter in Buffalo. The movie opens with Jim playing Bruce, complaining about God ruining his life.
God, played by Morgan Freeman, decides he’s had enough of Bruce’s complaining. God decides he’s going to teach him a lesson. So God encounters Bruce and agrees to give up his power and give it to Bruce—Bruce will have all of God’s power for a short time—hence the name Bruce Almighty.
(Audio clip will play when you click on this slide)
Well, in the process of acquiring the power of God, Bruce begins to realize it’s not all that it’s not as great as he thought it would be. Why do you think that is? Because Bruce is not wired to be God. Neither am I or neither are you.
So today’s lesson could really be named “Me Almighty” -- How to deal with the need to be in control—to be in charge. Or how to stop playing God and discover God Almighty’s plan for you and me.
(Many of the ideas ffor this message come from a simliar message by Dan Southerland)
I like telling people what to do—don’t you? Don’t you like having the power and authority over your relationships? If you’re honest you’ll admit it, I think. So how to you deal with that desire to control and take charge of everyone and everything. That’s the idea behind the movie Bruce Almighty. So I want to take that humorous but true reflection about human beings from the Bible and explore what the Bible has to say about wanting to be in control.
Hear what Paul wrote to Timothy, a young Pastor in the early church: (Read it out loud with me—this will help you wake up this morning)
1 Tim. 6:11,12 (NLT)
“But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we believe. …..”
How do we deal with the desire to be in charge?
Have you ever been to a family reunion or had large gatherings of extended family together? What happens often in that setting is you have about 25 chiefs but no Indians. Everybody wants to be top dog.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE DESIRE TO BE IN CHARGE?
How do you deal with desire to be ME ALMIGHTY?
If you’d like you can write the suggestions down.
1. STOP PLAYING GOD.
Paul says to Timothy in the letter he writes to him:
“But you, Timothy, belong to God…..” 1 Timothy 6:11.
What’s that got to do with what I’m discussing?
Paul is mentoring this young Pastor. Timothy is his star pupil, he is like the super stud of the churches. Every church he pastors grew and flourished; everything he tried seemed to work. Hw was sharp, young, intelligent, good-looking, gifted, talented. There was a chance that Timothy could think, “Hey, I’m pretty cool. I’m Timothy Almighty.” Paul wanted to remind him that it is all about God. Don’t get the big head Timmy.
I think this a big temptation for Pastors. This is the root of so much of the clergy abuse we’ve heard now for months in the news. Pastors—and it happens in other professions too—sometimes think hey “I’m Preacher Almighty.” We have feelings just like anyone else. I want to be liked and needed and feel important. And it so easy to begin to feel like it’s all about me—not God and helping a person form their own relationship with God.
One of the most painful times in my vocation as a ordained minister in the United Methodist Church was last year when I was called by the Bishop to be on what was a essentially a jury panel to hear charges against a fellow Pastor in the Conference. The charges were that he became sexually involved with a female parishioner. I sat and listened to testimony and evidence for an entire week last July. And the verdict was that the Pastor was guilty of the accusation by this woman. The evidence was overwhelming. The pastor was so flattered by this woman’s attention and needs that he thought he could become God to her. He forgot that he was entrusted to care for her soul and to place boundaries on his behavior.