Summary: This is the first in a series about changing our lives to one based upon God. this sermon deals with the void we feel in our lives.


Once Upon a Time…

They’re perhaps come of the most widely used words in the world. Stories from all over the globe have begun with them for centuries. Chances are that when I say them in a just few more moments that imagination all over the sanctuary are going to be turned on.

All because of four little words.

“Once upon a time…”


I told you. All over the room people are already having visions in their heads. Children have turned their attention this way because I’ve said them.

“Once upon a time…”

The truth is that when those words are said the imagination is set free. Some are thinking about great adventures. Others are thinking of beauties to be rescued. Others may be thinking of gingerbread men, ducklings that turn into swans, and hobbits that go on grand adventures to the very ends of the earth.

But even as I speak there are those that are already tuning me out. Why would anyone want to listen to a sermon about fairy tales anyway? Real life isn’t anything like a fairy tale. There are no knights in shining armor, no frogs that upon being kissed turn into princes, and no lands that exist on the other side of the wardrobe.

No. Real life is boring. It’s a dismal existence where one day blurs into the next one. Each day goes on and nothing ever really changes. It’s time to grow up and face life as it really is.

You want to know what?

I can’t believe that. I know in my heart that there is something more than just this hum-drum existence. There’s got to be.

You see I have these desires in my heart. I crave adventure. I want to ride the white horse and rescue the beauty in the tower. (I found the beauty a while back. It’s the rescuing part that I still don’t quite have right yet.) I want to be someone more than I am right now.

Chances are pretty good that you want something very similar in your life too. You want to clash swords with a dragon. You want to be the princess rescued from the top of the tallest tower. You want you life to be… different.

But something important is missing. Something is still desired.

The writer of the Narnian Chronicles, C. S. Lewis, wrote these words about the desire he felt, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was for another world.”

The truth is that Lewis understood a fantastic concept. He didn’t belong to this world. No. He wasn’t saying he was some kind of alien dropped off by some mother ship. He just knew that the life he was living wasn’t complete. Something was missing. You and I are meant for that other world too. We’re not aliens and yet nothing in this world can’t begin to fill the desires that are so set into our hearts.

The problem begins because the heart feels a longing for another place. It leaves us desiring to fill our lives with something, with someone. And we certainly try to do that. We try to fill it with work. We try to fill it with spouses and children. We put in hobbies, spots, TVs, computers, books, and friendships. And still nothing seems to be able to fill the void.

In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiates, King Solomon talks about just that. He knows that there is an emptiness in his life. Throughout the book he tries everything he can to fill the void. He puts work in there. He tries using the pleasures of life; food, wine, and sex. He had servants, vineyards, fields, and palaces. He gained gold, reputation and status. And yet he begins the book of Ecclesiates with these words in verse 2, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” (NIV) Another version says “Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Because all those things had had been putting in were useless. None of it could fill the void in his life.

Some of you know exactly what he felt like. You’ve been in his shoes. You’ve done the very same thing. I know that I’ve been down that path myself. I’ve been at that point in my life where nothing could reach within me and fill that emptiness I felt.

And I’ve come to believe in the last few years that the soul is really crying out for two things. First, I think one of our desires is or a place. The second desire is about a relationship.

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Tom Shepard

commented on Feb 13, 2009

This sermon was very well done. Keep it up.

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