Sermons

Summary: First lesson details some surprising people who had dealt with the issue of depression, including Buzz Aldrin and Charles Spurgeon. The second lesson uses the Olympic sport of curling to cross-compare to Christ, the solid rock in which we stand.

DEPRESSION

A Midwest lawyer was suffering from such a dark period of depression that his friends thought it would be best to remove all razors and sharp objects from his home. He spent hourless nights questioning life’s calling and seemed that every attempt he had at success was thwarted with either another lawsuit or a miserable election run failure. He wrote “I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not.” But somehow Abraham Lincoln gathered enough inner strength to continue and eventually become one of the greatest presidents in American history.

Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. He also flew 66 combat missions over the jungles of the Korean War where his Sabre shot down two MiG 15 airplanes. A 1953 issue of Life Magazine featured a Polaroid he shot of a Russian ejecting from a damaged ship. To say this man is cool and calm under pressure is an understatement. And he also battled depression. This holy man who is a church elder of Webster Presbyterian Church, who administered communion to his fellow astronauts while on the moon, also was given to bouts of emotionally unstability.

Most theologians of history account Charles Spurgeon as the most significant modern pastor in the history of mankind. Our own interim head pastor at First Baptist Church of Lake St. Louis Jim Wheeler was loosely quoted a couple of weeks ago that “Spurgeon has probably forgotten more about the Bible than I have ever learned.” And I can tell you that Pastor Wheeler knows a lot! But in a biography called “Prince of Preachers” written about Spurgeon, the author states that Spurgeon “suffered in those times of darkness, we may not know…even his desperate calling on God brought no relief.” The author goes on to call those times “castles of despair.”

So why do I bring this up? I believe that in this upcoming era of recession, that we are going to have more and more people having feelings of being depressed. With the Dow Jones crashing, a severe energy crisis looming, a war in Iraq continuing, and food prices skyrocketing, people are going to hurt. It’s times like these that the prophet Jonah shouted out the words “I am angry enough to die” in chapter 4 verse 9. And that was spoken AFTER thousands of people just re-committed their lives to living right.

I do not know all the questions that are circulating through the hearts and minds of people reading this right now. But I do know the answer. The answer is Hope. And that hope comes from Jesus. Proverbs 23:17-18 states “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but rather be zealous in fearing the LORD all the time. For surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” If you’re hurting, I suggest to put Him first.

CURLING

The name is blue hone granite—it’s a specialty rock found on a deserted 104 acre island off of the west coast of Scotland. It is also the same rock used for the sport of curling—which has been met with massive fanfare during these Olympic Games. To be honest, the idea of a multiple-player shuffleboard on ice being played before 5000 screaming fans that are so rowdy they’ve been known to halt entire contests, well the idea never really crossed my mind. But despite being played in a frozen arena—the sport is currently red hot.

The sport of curling has historic roots that trace back to 1511 as archeologist have unearthed dated stones while draining old Scottish ponds. Unknown to most of the world despite exclusive New England clubs and those in the Land of William Wallace, curling cast onto the scene in popularity following the 1998 Olympics and for some strange reason has generated high Olympic television ratings ever since.

As for the rock itself—saying it’s unique is an understatement. Blue Hone Granite is known around the world for being the absolute best for sliding on ice, no other rock has the ability to crash so frequently without chipping, no other rock completely prevents even trace amounts of moisture into it, and it is the only rock allowed to be used in the Olympics. Despite all these important facets, supplies are limited.

As I have said before, this rock is found on a deserted Scottish isle—what I failed to mention is that it is found nowhere else. No blue hone granite, no curling. Though it would be as odd as the sport of football suddenly stopping out of a lack of footballs, there is a lifespan until another suitable substitute is found (for those curious, about 30 years is my best guess based on research).

I know another rock that is unique. His name is Jesus. And despite the many claims made by people of all different faiths about their origin, their credibility, and their philosophical theories; on judgment day, as we stand before the throne of God, there is one and only name of salvation. The Bible states in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Reading this clearly and believing the Bible to be true, we must surmise that Jesus is the only way, and unlike the future of curling, there will be other substitute. And just as assuredly we should not take the sport of curling for granite, we should also not take the Lord Jesus Christ for granted.

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