Sermons

Summary: We’re focused on so many things outwardly that it’s a challenge for us to focus inwardly.

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This past week my wife got me an amazing little device… you’ve probably heard of it… it’s called

an iPhone. It’s remarkable. You can connect to anything… anywhere. There’s one button for email

… another text… (one button connection with the thousand contacts I have on my phone.. … some

I actually know)… another web (where there are now 165 million websites… and countless web

pages)… another YouTube video (note: Americans viewed more than 11.4 billion videos for a total

duration of 558 million hours during the month of July 2008… 1.2 million self published videos in

2007 alone)… another for weather anywhere… another maps (satellite zoom onto any location on

the earth). It’s even a phone.

It can send me everywhere …. everywhere out there… but potentially at the cost of anything

inwardly. (Kind of ironic that it’s called the “I” phone… because it connects me to everything

but myself.) Nothing that really connects me to myself… and no button for God.

I think it can reflect our own challenge of seeking to connect with God. Our attention is sent

outward… and has a hard time being present.

Continuing series… ‘Becoming friends with God’… focused on developing intimacy… walking in

companionship-like relationship.

As much as we naturally desire to engage God’s presence… I wonder if we are present.

It’s common to ask the question ‘Where is God?’…. but interesting that the first question in the

story (Bible) is that of God asking the first human lives… ‘Where are you?’

It may be helpful to think a little bit about the nature of feelings.

One of the things that some of us may struggle with is ‘feeling’ close to God.

It’s such a natural desire. However, I think we need to stop and reflect on that desire… that

expectation a bit.

What role do feelings play in life?

As we all know… they are a complicated part of our human experience.

I want to take A Closer Look at Feelings…

I. Allowing Feelings to Direct Rather Than Distract

Feelings regarding closeness are a subjective reflection of our complex internal state.

If I ask whether you “FEEL” close to a spouse… friend… or anyone… the answer as to what you

feel reflects many things that are at work inside you… more than simply whether the other person is

close:

• When we feel discouraged or disappointed… we can become detached. (The very word

‘discouragement’ reflects the loss of courage… even courage to engage God.)

• When we feel guilt and shame … we can become avoidant.

• When we feel anxious … we can become ‘flooded’ with internal thoughts and lose the ability to

center our attention on anything or anyone.

The point is that feelings do NOT reflect objective closeness… connection.

Feelings reflect many things that interact with our connection to another, but are not the

connection itself.

• Like the buttons on my iPhone… they can send me many places… except where I am.

This may help us to understand why Jesus never simply promised that we can FEEL close to God…

but rather that we can BE close to God.

The issue isn’t whether we place too much or too little value on feelings, but how we

understand their role in being connected to others… including God.

So to our lives, flooded with so much inside… it shouldn’t surprise us to read …

Psalms 46:10 (NIV)

"Be still, and know that I am God..”

This isn’t about simply freezing our body… but focusing our inner heart.

Becoming still reflects focusing on a presence greater than what is controlling our inner

attention.

We are responding to so many things…

Like a parent who needs to get their children’s attention.

And the truth is that most of us have ADD and … and often do little to gain focus.

To this God says… “Be still… and know that I am God.”

The Hebrew word that is translated still actually has the sense of ‘loosening’… in this sense,

loosen yourself from what you have become so attached to.

= ‘Still your many thoughts… center your focus…you’ve got too many windows open … using up

all the RAM I’ve given you.’

How do we still them? What are we suppose to do with all the thoughts that run inside of us?

Should I just try to pretend they are not there? ... just try to ignore them?... just deny them?

That will likely prove futile… even further our sense of disconnect us.

Rather God wants us to bring them TO him.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Connection with God comes with allowing Feelings to Direct Rather Than Distract

Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into

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