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Summary: This is the fifth message in my NASAR-themed "Finish Line" series, focusing upon a biblical pattern for dealing with stress in life. (05-08-05)

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Hanging on Through Life’s Turns

Philippians 4:4-9

**Special Note – I utilized Pastor Paul Fritz’s sermon entitled Paul’s Eight Point Stress Reduction Plan - Phil. 4:4-8 from sermoncentral.com. I adapted his study and many of his main points to my NASCAR themed message. I am very grateful to his insightful exposition of Philippians 4:4-9.

Opening Comments

Does anyone remember what we learned about last week? What was the topic of our study? That’s right! Pit stops. Taking time to have a daily quiet time with God. Did anyone put this new information to work in their lives this week? Do we have a testimony that someone would like to share about their quiet time with God?

Let’s take a minute to review what we learned about last week…

A Little Review from “Life’s Pit Stops”

What does it take to have a daily “Pit Stop” with God?

1. Read … spend some time in God’s Word.

2. Pray … talk to God about what is on your heart. And listen to what is on the heart of God.

3. Write … keep a journal of your daily journey with God.

Stop making excuses! Make time for a “Pit Stop” with God … every day!

Transition

As we prepare to tackle a new issue in the Word today, let’s pray so that we can be well-prepared for what God has in store for us today.

Opening Prayer – Pastor

Opening Illustration

I know for sure that I have told you this story before, but it is just so perfect for today, that I have to tell it again. Please forgive me if you already know the “punch line.”

A woman took her husband to the doctor’s office.

After his checkup, the doctor said, "Your husband is suffering from a very serious infection."

The husband, who was hard of hearing said, "What did he say?"

His wife said, "He says your sick".

The doctor went on. "But there is hope.

You just need to reduce his stress.

Each morning, give him a healthy breakfast.

Be pleasant, nice, and kind.

For lunch and dinner make him his favorite meal.

Don’t discuss your problems with him,

it will only make his stress worse.

Don’t yell at him or argue with him.

And most importantly...just cater to your husband’s every whim.

If you can do this for your husband for the next 6 months to a year,

I think your husband will have a complete recovery."

The husband said, "What did he say?"

His wife said, "He says, You’re going to die".

(Contributed by: Larry Brincefield to sermoncentral.com)

Transition

It seems that fellow was not going to have any significant reduction of the stress in his life, was he? And most of us can relate to his situation, right men?

We can laugh about that silly, old story. But stress really isn’t anything to laugh about, is it? How many of you feel that you suffer regularly from stress at your job, or at home, or maybe even in some type of education? I believe that I can safely say “yes” to all three. We all suffer from various forms of stress in our lives. Stress is real. It is hard on our bodies, lives, and spirits. In fact, you’ll probably be pretty surprised by some of the facts that I have discovered regarding stress. For instance:

• The Mayo Clinic claims 80-85% of total caseload due directly to worry and anxiety.

• Many experts say that coping with stress is the #1 health priority of our day.

• One leading physician has stated that, in his opinion, 70% of all medical patients could cure themselves if only they got rid of their worries and fears.

• We know that medical science has closely tied worry to heart trouble, blood pressure problems, ulcers, thyroid malfunction, migraine headaches, a host of stomach disorders, amongst others. For example…

• 25 million Americans have high blood pressure due to stress/anxiety; 1 million more develop high blood pressure each year. 8 million have stomach ulcers

• every week 112 million people take medication for stress related symptoms.

(Contributed by: Craig Simonian to sermoncentral.com.)

So, you see, stress is bad in a whole lot of ways. It eats away at our bodies. It weighs upon our hearts. It pulls at our spirits. And it attacks our families. So, we can agree, stress is a universal factor in our lives … it is something that we are going to have. But what do we do with it? How must we deal with it?

As we continue our study this week, “It all comes down to the finish line…,” I want us to talk about Hanging On Through Life’s Turns. I want us to talk about stress. Living with it. Dealing with it. Conquering it. So, as we dig into the Word today, we are going to listen to some wise words from Paul as he wrote to the church at Philippi. But before we start diggint, let’s lay a foundation for our study and thought:

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