Sermons

Summary: There are too many people who become recluse when we can’t get up. Instead of getting surrounded with people to help us, most of us try to eat the problem away or starve the problem away and stay behind closed doors.

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I was chatting with my younger sibling brother this week and I told him what I was preparing my sermon for Sunday. I gave him my subject, “When you can’t get up.” He said, “Sing I’m satisfied with Jesus here and stay in bed.” After we laughed that one out he asked what it was really about. When I gave him more information he agreed it made much more sense than his earlier comment!

• Obviously not about bed rest.

Max Lucado, pastor and author describes the topic title best when he speaks of having “doubt storms”. He said, “Sometimes the storm comes after the evening news. Some nights I wonder why I watch it. Some nights it’s just too much. From the steps of the Supreme Court to the steppes of South Africa, the news is usually gloomy…thirty minutes of bite-sized tragedies…Story after story of homes that won’t heal and hearts that won’t melt. Always more hunger than food. More needs than money. More questions than answers. On Sundays I stand before a church with a three-point outline in my hand, thirty minutes on the clock, and a prayer on my lips. I do my best to say something that will convince a stranger that an unseen God still hears. And I sometimes wonder why so many hearts have to hurt.”

• “Can’t get up” is about being in your “doubt storms” and there’s no rest in sight; no calm in view.

Psalms 42 and 43 for answers.

I love the Psalms. The writers’ speak to life and I can often say, “I know exactly what that means. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”

• Attempt to understand the Psalmist’s heart, to add our own questions to his and try to understand how he handled it and hopefully provide some tools to help in our own “doubt storms”.

Psalms 42 and 43 are really one Psalm. It is easy to see from the recurring phrase in 42:5, 42:11 and 43:5 (“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?”). These verses form the three-part breakdown of the Psalms and even cast a glimpse of the potential breakdown of the writer!

These Psalms take us on a pilgrimage. The wonderful lesson is, in our life journey with our pain, our questions, and our burdens there is a probing desire to experience God, to know God, and somehow, with unanswered questions and tough issues, we go to God continually, knowing that with his help we come to him and he receives us and hears us.

Asking the tough questions is good medicine! James L. Mays, Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation at Union Theological Seminar in Virginia talks about how “Christians who live in a world that constantly raises the question ‘Where is your God’ {shows} the real nature of our souls’…thirst for God.” It is fascinating to realize that people often ask as if they doubt and have excuse to say “there is no God” but the truth is, their hearts are yearning to believe!

The journey before us this morning is one of dealing with being overwhelmed with the world’s demand for a sign as it required of Jesus when he lived and moved in his circles of social interaction and community. We will spend a few moments evaluating THE TROUBLE, which is, the question plaques us continually, often leading us to a sense of torment at not having the right answer, an easy answer and often times, no answer at all. As a matter of fact, if we will be honest with ourselves, the same question sometimes screams for an answer in our own minds now and then. We don’t voice it because we think to speak our doubt is to slap God in the face or we have this strange idea that we must defend God at the expense of not showing our true feelings. As we face THE TROUBLE of “the question” and enduring the torment of our own minds, we come into the experience of THE TEMPEST, which will be our second consideration. We seek to know some semblance of an answer that helps us believe God is somewhere, even if it is not where we prefer he be or in the way we would like for him to be present yet through that searching and longing, the question is often more strong. For many people it overpowers them and they become completely defeated. Through the tough stuff of TROUBLE and TEMPEST we need to know where to go when we can’t move past the questions, stuck with doubt or we find ourselves in a place where we can’t get up. We need something to pick us up and move us forward or we need what I’ve called for our third point, THE TONIC.


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