Summary: This is a sermon in response to the continuing panic and apprehension revolving around the economic crisis of 2009

Opening Song—Meet With Me

Welcome and Announcements

Baptism/Baptism Class

Newcomers Reception next Sunday at 12:45.


What a difference a year makes. This time last year the Dow Jones Average was above 13000. Today is hovering around 7000. Last February unemployment rate was 4.8 and today it’s almost twice that. Last year at this time many of us were like the psalmist in psalm 66.


Shout with joy to God, all the earth!

[2] Sing the glory of his name;

make his praise glorious!

[3] Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!

So great is your power

that your enemies cringe before you.

[4] All the earth bows down to you;

they sing praise to you,

they sing praise to your name."

Song Set—My Glorious

Shout To The Lord



[5] Come and see what God has done,

how awesome his works in man’s behalf!

[6] He turned the sea into dry land,

they passed through the waters on foot--

come, let us rejoice in him.

[7] He rules forever by his power,

his eyes watch the nations--

let not the rebellious rise up against him.

[8] Praise our God, O peoples,

let the sound of his praise be heard;

[9] he has preserved our lives

and kept our feet from slipping.

The writer is looking back to the famous story about God’s rescue of the Jewish people by parting the Red Sea. God saved the nation of Israel from certain destruction.

Song—Because of Your Great Love


[10] For you, O God, tested us;

you refined us like silver.

[11] You brought us into prison

and laid burdens on our backs.

[12] You let men ride over our heads;

we went through fire and water,

but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Many of us feel like this psalmist today. We feel like we’ve been blindsided. Adversity, testing, burdens, fire and water. Some of you were on the cusp of retirement and today half your savings has been obliterated. Some of you were saving up for a down payment on a house and that’s gone or you can’t get a bank to sell you a mortgage. Some of you have worked at the same place for decades and now they’re laying off or shutting down all together.

When I was 29 years old I started a church up in Barbour County. It started really great. The first service 135 people showed up. For about six months everything was great.

Then the wheels came off.

People who had enthusiastically supported me when we first started became fierce critics. The mission of the church that everyone seemed to embrace in the beginning was firmly resisted.

Two years later the church had grown to average about 170 people. We did get some new people. But for every new person who came, someone else left, usually upset and mad about something. Even many that didn’t leave spent a great deal of time criticizing. Some even actively worked to get me removed as pastor.

This was my first role as Senior Pastor of a church and I was feeling like a failure. I was sure that the elders of our mother church were going to fire me any day. Looking back, I realize I was depressed about the whole thing, even though I was too insecure to admit it.

A major factor was that I’d never experienced significant failure before. In my previous ministry experiences I was treated graciously and somewhat like a golden boy. I was precocious yes, goofy yes, but also successful. Like many who experience success early on, I thought I was the one who created it. I figured that the reason things went well was that, compared to the next guy I was more committed, smarter, or I just worked harder.

Now here I was two years into my first church as Senior Pastor without much hint of success. Apparently I wasn’t as talented, godly or committed as I thought.

Then one day I had a huge epiphany. Most of you probably figured this out when you were 12 but apparently I was slower than most. It dawned on me so suddenly and clearly that I felt stupid for not seeing it before.

I realized that the same thinking that caused me to be so depressed about our church’s lack of growth and ministry success was exactly the same thinking that would have made me puffed up and arrogant if things went well.

I was taking too much blame for this as I had taken too much credit for previous victories. Suddenly I saw that results don’t always matter on God’s scoreboard. They can’t be trusted as an accurate measure of God’s approval or disapproval.

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