Summary: The night Jesus was born, the Angel of the Lord appeared to a group of shephers, scared them to death, and yelled "Fear Not!"
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” – Jesus from the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:6
· Each North American produces an average of three and a half pounds of garbage per day.
· Five million extra tons of trash is produced between Thanksgiving and New Years Day in the United States.
· The waste generated each year in the U.S. would fill a convoy of 10-ton garbage trucks 145,000 miles long – over half-way to the moon!
· Someone complained in an e-mail about the amount of food being thrown out by Wal-Mart while there are hungry people everywhere. After a little research, they discovered that McDonald’s does it. Safeway does it. Grocery stores and convenience stores and fancy restaurants and hot dog stands do it. While people go hungry in the richest of all nations, stores and restaurants are destroying tons of edible food each day in America.
· According to United Nations statistics, the average North American consumes:
· 5 times more than a person living in Mexico
· 10 times more than a person living in China, and
· 30 times more than a person living in India
· Since the end of WWII, malnutrition in the U.S. has shifted from trends of undernourishment to over nutrition. Many experts agree that the scale of calorie expenditure versus calorie consumption has simply tipped in favor of consumption. The end result, according to the World Health Organization, is “globesity” – a global epidemic of fatness that has millions suffering from an “array of serious associated health disorders.”
Let’s face it: Americans are spoiled!
We have the best of everything. Our average local supermarket offers over 200 kinds of cereal to choose from! Only a very small percentage of Americans know what it really means to go hungry. This week alone we will consume thousands of tons of food on Thanksgiving Day.
UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE NOT ONLY PHYSICALLY SPOILED IN AMERICA. WE ARE ALSO SPIRITUALLY SPOILED.
Every weekend, thousands of Americans make the weekly Sunday morning trek to their favorite local house of worship. There is certainly no shortage of churches. In many cities, it seems that there is a “church on every corner.” We have the best facilities money can buy. Powerful sound systems. Audio/Visual units project worship songs, sermon notes and video clips onto screens. We have great choirs, worship teams, musical instruments/equipment and the latest choruses from Vineyard and Integrity/Hosanna!
We have well-trained pastors, authors and teachers. We’ve got Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Dr. James Dobson, Benny Hinn, Jack Hayford and Tony Evans. We have the best teaching material available in the best Christian bookstores on the planet. We have Christian radio stations, Christian Television (24 hours a day on “Sky Angel”) and Christian Music Concerts. We’ve got all kinds/styles of Christian music. We write and market tons of best-selling Christian books (“The Prayer of Jabez” and the latest book in the “Left Behind” series are available in mass quantities at your nearest Wal-Mart!).
Most of us have computers with e-mail access and the ability to search the World Wide Web for anything and everything Christian imaginable. We’ve got the Bible in more versions than Baskin Robbins has flavors. We’ve got “Our Daily Bread.” We’ve got small groups. We’ve got radical youth groups and cool youth pastors and high-tech church websites. We’ve got DC Talk and the Newsboys and Jaci Velasquez and Third Day (and for those of you who are a bit older – Bill and Gloria Gaither’s HomeComing Video Collection. What have they made now, about 1,000 of those?) And how could I leave out Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber? We’ve got Veggie Tales and 3-2-1 Penguins! We’ve got it all!
And yet, our marriages are falling apart. 50% of the marriages in America end in divorce, including those who consider themselves Christians. Many Christian men, including a large number of pastors, are hooked on pornography. Our families are hurting. We may have a church on nearly every corner, but many of them either sit empty on Sunday mornings or hold only a handful of gray-haired adults who are more interested in protecting traditions than they are in experiencing the power and presence of the living God. How can Christians living in a culture of such excess keep a healthy spiritual appetite? How can we get, and stay hungry for more of God?
I. EAT RIGHT. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” – Ps. 34:8
One of the rules my mom had in our house when I was growing up: “Don’t eat a bunch of junk food before dinner or you’ll ruin your appetite!” My brother and I could have a snack when we got home from school, but that was it. Mom didn’t want us filling up on “junk food” because she knew if we did we wouldn’t have any room left for the nutritious meal she’d be serving for dinner. Being a good mom, she knew that Twinkies, cookies and candy did not have the same nutritional value as green beans, corn on the cob, salad – and occasionally the “dreaded brussel sprouts.”