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Summary: On our life’s journey we’ll face many different situations, experience many different experiences, and meet many different people. Sometimes we have gains, and we laugh. Sometimes we have losses, and we cry. Sometimes our feelings are hurt, and we isolat

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SERMONIC THEME

Opening Statement: On our life’s journey we’ll face many different situations, experience many different experiences, and meet many different people. Sometimes we have gains, and we laugh. Sometimes we have losses, and we cry. Sometimes our feelings are hurt, and we isolate. Sometimes our song is played, and we celebrate. Sometimes we really blow it, and we sink. Sometimes we get it right, and we smile.

Transition: The Bible says that God takes these collective experiences and eventually makes something beautiful out of all of the loose ends.

Text: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Title: Something Beautiful!

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OUTLINE

Opening Statement: Many years ago there were two musical notes that sent terror into everyone who heard them. These two notes worked their way into the psyche of every American. No other notes in the musical scale speak of fear, terror, and death like these two notes. They are an E followed by an F. When they were first played in a particular score, six cellos and three basses played them. When played together, it sounded like this. (Illustrate at piano.) This is John William’s score from Jaws.

Transition: John William’s two musical notes remind me of two notes in life that keep us on the run, terrified about what the future may bring.

Explanation: There’s the “E” note of expectations. It’s all the combined things that we thought life should bring to us: a happy home, a satisfying marriage, a generous salary, and a famous reputation. This “E” note would sound OK if it were just played alone and everybody was able to include it in their life’s score. But when it’s combined with the “F” note of unfulfilled “failed” expectations, the “F” note of divorce, the “F” note of limited income, the “F” note of kids that don’t turn out the way they’re suppose to, then a monster is created. And when we begin to play these two notes together in life, expectations versus reality, we begin to run away as a kind of “Jaws” is released into our lives. We become afraid as we begin to match our expectations with reality.

Question: Wouldn’t it be great if there were some way that all of our young adult dreams could somehow be gathered up along with our unfulfilled expectations, and then something beautiful could be constructed with the pieces? Wouldn’t it be great if we could stop running from unfulfilled expectations? The Bible says that we have this hope in God. It comes from an unlikely place. King Solomon had tried all of life’s offerings. They had left him empty and he journaled skeptically about the whole experience.

Exposition: In Ecclesiastes 3, the idea is propounded that there is an appropriate time for all of life’s experiences and expectations. Notice how the writer uses opposites as a means of covering everything in between. Verses 2-8 are a poem in which Solomon listed 14 opposites.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every matter on earth:

3:2 An appropriate time to be born, and an appropriate time to die;

None of us asked to be born; it was something done to us, apart from us. None of us ask to die or to set up our date with death; it is something allowed by God and we all have an appointment with death that we will keep someday.

an appropriate time to plant, and an appropriate time to pluck up what was planted;

Everything must come in its appropriate time. If you get it out of sync you are in trouble. Try to plant a crop in the middle of winter when snow is on the ground and it will not grow. Half of the problem of life is that we are constantly trying to run this schedule ourselves. But God has already planned the schedule. There is an appropriate time for everything. Agriculture demonstrates this. You plant in the Spring and harvest in the Fall. Try to do that in reverse order, and you’re going to be frustrated. There’s a time to move and a time to stay put. Get these things out of order and you’re frustrated.

3:3 An appropriate time to kill, and an appropriate time to heal; an appropriate time to break down, and an appropriate time to build up;

Youth is the time for building up. Muscles grow, abilities increase, coordination gets better. Then, if you hang on long enough you reach that century mark. That is a time when everything starts to fall apart -- "a time to break down." Type gets smaller and smaller, steps get higher and higher, trains go faster and faster, people speak in lower and lower tones -- "a time to break down." But that is appropriate. We should not fight it. It is not evil to grow older, it is right at this point in life. God has determined this, and no matter what we may think about it, it is going to continue that way. That is what this is telling us. There’s a time to rely on life-support and there’s a time to unplug machines that artificially sustain life.

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Kendall Ramsey

commented on Nov 1, 2006

Absolutely one of the best sermons on this text and topic I have ever read.

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