Summary: God can and will help us change so we can be better equipped to handle change. If we will go all in with God and give our lives to Him, He will help us learn to navigate the surprises of life in a way that brings Him honor and produces something good in o
Navigating the Surprises of Life
Intro: How many of you enjoy surprises? I know, I know – it depends on what the surprise is. For example, your tax return comes back with $500 more than you expected – that is a good surprise! Or, back when we used VCR’s… one day you discovered that one of the kids inserted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the slot where the video goes – that is a bad surprise!
-Life is full of surprises. Some of them are enjoyable, and some of them are not. What was one of the biggest surprises of your life? (Allow responses – mine: Noelle)
-Well, one of the most important things I can think of is how we deal with the surprises in life. Especially the surprises that really take some getting used to, or that we just don’t want to accept. What do you do when things don’t go your way? Do you give up? Throw a fit? Fight all the harder and demand your way? Do you get so disappointed that you just bag everything and decide to do what feels good to you. Do you lash out at others to bend their will to yours?
-Regardless of your built-in tendencies and reactions, I believe God can and will help us change so we can be better equipped to handle change. If we will go all in with God and give our lives to Him, He will help us learn to navigate the surprises of life in a way that brings Him honor and produces something good in our lives and in those around us.
-Let’s look at some of the surprises we can face in this life and see what God wants to help us do in each situation.
I. Surprised by Stress
-What are we stressed about? The economy. Finances. Indebtedness. Family problems. Relationships. Our kids. Our schedules – busyness! Our jobs. Our neighbors. Our pets. Our health. Our status. Our possessions. Our spirituality.
-Perhaps the better question is this: What are we not stressed about?
Matthew 11:28-30 28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
1 Peter 5:7 unload all your burden on to him, since he is concerned about you.
Philippians 4:6-7 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-So if you’re stressed, here are some action steps from the Bible: 1) Come to Jesus. 2) Rest in Jesus. 3) Learn from Jesus. 4) Join your life with His! 5) Unload your burdens on to Jesus, because He is concerned about you. 6) Pray instead of worrying!
-Some of you may need to remind me of these things this week during VBS when I’m stressed over things.
II. Surprised by Temptation
-It was one of Oscar Wilde’s characters who said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” Well, without the Lord’s help this is pretty true for all of us at various times in our lives. And like surprises, life is filled with temptations. Most sins carry some promise of reward or payoff which entice us to pursue them. We tend to ignore the negative results of that sin as long as we get our fulfillment. Of course the fulfillment never comes. It is always incomplete, always fleeting, never enough. That’s because we were designed to do life with God! So when we indulge in behavior that is out of sync with His character, we find ourselves separated from God.
-Paul describes a few temptations in 1 Corinthians 10:6-11. He makes the point that the OT Scriptures of Israel under Moses’ leadership were written to teach us how not to live.
1 Corinthians 10:6-11 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-- and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did-- and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did-- and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…