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Summary: Message 1 in a four part series about "U" and growing in Christian community.

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CenterPointe Christian Church – 7.10.05

Series: U-ology -- Message 1: U & Your Friends

Sophie and Shirley, two elderly widows in a Florida adult community, are curious about the latest arrival in their building -- a quiet, nice looking gentleman who keeps to himself. Shirley says, "Sophie, you know I’m shy. Why don’t you go over to him at the pool and find out a little about him. He looks so lonely." Sophie agrees, and later that day at the pool, she walks up to him and says, "Excuse me, mister. I hope I’m not prying, but my friend and I were wondering why you looked so lonely."

"Of course I’m lonely, he says, "I’ve spent the past 20 years in prison."

"You’re kidding! What for?"

"For killing my third wife. I strangled her."

"What happened to your second wife?"

"I shot her."

"And, if I may ask, your first wife?"

"We had a fight and she fell off a bridge."

"Oh my," says Sophie. Then turning to her friend on the other side of the pool, she yells "you’re never going to believe this, Shirley. He’s single."

• Who are your Friends?

• Who do you fellowship with?

• Hang out with?

• Develop community with?

Let me tell you about the Smith’s:

• To all appearances and by all standards the Smith’s have a wonderful life.

• They own a house in a nice suburb with 4 bedrooms, two baths, and a 2.5 car garage.

• Their house is surrounded by a six foot fence to provide privacy

• Their backyard is filled with a pool, sand box, barbecue grill, and beautiful patio furniture

• They have 2 children. A boy and a girl.

• They are both college graduates.

• Everyone in their family is in good health.

THEIR HEARTS

• They have dreams and fears no one else knows

• They have an increasing sense of isolation, distress, and powerlessness growing inside of them.

• They have done a find job of “keeping up with Joneses

• But inside they are not content

• They are unfulfilled

• They are not happy

• HOW COULD THIS BE? They are living the American Dream

This personal dilemma, which is quietly gnawing at the Smith’s, is actually a national epidemic.

Pollster, George Gallup Jr. concluded from his studies and polls that Americans are among the loneliest people in the world.

HOW CAN THIS BE?

• We have the availability of transportation to anywhere in the world

• Billions of dollars are spent on entertainment

• We Americans buy any activity we want

• More than three-fourths of American population lives in metropolitan areas and more than two-thirds of those live in suburbs.

• We are surrounded by more people than ever before in the history of our country.

• We can communicate with anybody at any time by house phone, cell phone, e-mail, two way paging, black berries, and palm pilots

HOW CAN THIS BE? LET’S LOOK CLOSER AT THE SMITH’S

• John & Jane Smith have been married for 10 years

• 8 years ago John took a job at an office located in a growing suburb.

• This job took them both further from their families but they are making more money now so it will be feasible to fly home when ever they want and the airport was close.

• John & Jane rise at 5:30 a.m.

• After getting ready for the day, eating a breakfast bar, skimming the newspaper, and running out the door at 6:30am with coffee in hand John heads to work.

• He leaves early to beat the traffic so it takes him 35 minutes instead of 55 minutes

• He gets in the car, opens the garage door, pull out and sees his neighbor taking out the trash. Gives a wave.

• He has the thought, “we’ve been neighbors for 2 years and I don’t even know his name.”

• That thought doesn’t last long and now he’s on to thinking about the projects for the day.

• Jane takes the children to school so she wakes them when John leaves.

• She rushes to get them ready to be out the door by 7:15 am

• After going through the same ritual of opening the garage door and scooting down the driveway she realizes she forgot a lunch.

• As she pulls back in the driveway she sees one of her retired neighbors beginning the yard work. Time is crucial so she runs in the garage with out looking at the neighbor so to avoid any conversation.

• She jumps back in the car and off she goes.

• After dropping the children off to school at 7:55 she’s on her way to work.

• Arriving at 8:30 a.m. as long as there is no traffic problems.

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Joseph Vest

commented on Aug 15, 2007

Well done Brian. I certainly got a sense of the lonliness that many of us feel and the need for community.

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