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Summary: To help us understand our responsibility to environmental concerns in light of God’s heart and word.

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We’re continuing this morning in our series entitled Holding Out Hope for a Wounded World.

- In particular this morning I want to help us understand our responsibility to environmental concerns in light of God’s heart and word.

…The topic of environment may strike many of us in different ways. There are two feelings in particular that I want to address up front… because I believe they may effect our ability in hearing God’s heart this morning.

1. The first is simply the feeling of being OVERWHELMED

- You may feel that at this point in our series you simply can’t respond to another concern… I can’t become a civil rights activist, a proponent of sexual wholeness, an advocate for the unborn, AND an environmental activist… I’m already overwhelmed and now I have to carry a concern for an issue as global as the environment?

- Let me assure you I know that feeling, and it’s not my intent nor God’s that we become activists in every area of life.

- God may call some of us, and indeed he IS calling some of us, to play a special role in racial reconciliation, others in the healing of sexuality, others to the sanctity of life in the womb, and some to environmental concerns.

- God is not calling all of us to make a priority of every issue; but he is helping us shape our response to every issue… and I want to make that distinction clear.

- We’re not all called to be revolutionaries of every cause, but we are called to responsibility.

- We’re not all called to be equally passionate, but we are called to be equally positive.

- We’re not all called to hold up signs, but we are all called to hold out hope… and that’s our goal.

But perhaps an even more fundamental concern than seeing this issue as one which overwhelms us, is seeing it as…

2. OUT OF PLACE

- Many of us may see the issue of environmental concern as a big change from the topics we’ve dared to consider in recent weeks.

- We may feel it’s only a critical issue for extremists and ECO-nuts, whose ‘Save Our Planet’ t-shirts hint at having wandered outside Christian & Biblical perspectives on life.

- We may feel it’s worthy of a bit of conscious effort, such as bringing our recycling to the church, but we’re a little unsure of a topic for a sermon.

- WHY SHOULD THE ISSUE OF THE ENVIRONMENT CONCERN US? (as I noted in your outline, I believe there are several reasons).

o Because it IS on the minds of Americans… and clearly rising with each generation.

 In 1989… 76% of Americans considered themselves environmentalists and those numbers rise with each generation.

 One of the issues that most concerns those in their 20’s is the future of the environment.

o Because there are many REPUTABLE voices saying it is critical… a tragedy threatening human life… a tragedy born of past ignorance, we are facing the consequences of failures that once were innocent… is now are immoral.

o Scientists from around the world are crying out for political and industrial leaders to face the facts of our future in a number of areas… some point to

 Endangered Species

• Between 1 and 3 species of plants and animals are lost to extinction… EVERY DAY.

 Garbage Overload

• In 1960 Americans threw away 200,000 tons of plastic; in 1989 it increased to 15 MILLION tons.

• They note that every American is now generating on ton of trash every year… and that our landfills are filling up fast.

 Global Warming and Vanishing Forests

• We’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air with the fuels we burn, and over-foresting the trees which consume carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen.

• In the last 30 years, 25% of the earth’s forests have been cleared.

• The U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimates that 124,000 square miles of tropical rainforest are being cleared every year; a rate at which all forests will be gone within 50 years.

And the list of concerns goes on… ACID RAIN, TOXIC WASTE, WATER AND AIR POLLUTION, OZONE DEPLETION.

o Because the issue of ignorance is directly related to a worldview, if we fail to capture and communicate a basis of response based on God’s Words, false spiritual ideas will be turned to… and indeed they are.

 As environmental concerns increase, especially within the younger generation, there is a natural desire to look for spiritual foundations that will awaken our sensibilities. So many see a critical concern and want a source of meaning for their cause; but we as God’s people have been slow to appreciate the cause.

 Too easily we can see those environmentally concerned drawn into New Age spiritual ideas and then call it a New Age agenda, when in fact we simply haven’t captured and communicated God’s agenda.

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