Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When you get blindsided by life, when things get overwhelming, and you find yourself surrounded by pain or terrifying circumstances, how do you handle it? This message seeks to begin to answer those questions.

Where is God When Life is Hard?

Part I: Where is God?

INTRODUCTION: When you get blindsided by life… how do you deal with it? When things get overwhelming, those times where life doesn’t make much sense… you find yourself surrounded by pain or terrifying circumstances… your confused… your hurting… how do you handle it? How do those times affect your faith? Do you find yourself growing in your faith… or do you find your faith being challenged? That’s a good question to ask yourself because reality is… one of the few constants of life that we can depend on… is that life is messy… and will continue to throw curve balls at us.

Reality is…

• Life throws the unexpected at us all the time… we think we are on the right road… going in the right direction… and then out of nowhere the un-expectant happens…

• Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to… we end up in a job that we never anticipated…

• Our family turns out different than what we expected…

• Our kids don’t turn out the way we thought they would…

• Reality is…Life is just unfair… bad things happen to us out of the blue… when we least expects it…

• Life at times seems to go out of its way… just to throw the absurd at us… all most like it is trying to catch us of guard… so it could swallow us up…

• Reality is…Life is just confusing… it’s hard to know which way to turn at times…

• Reality is… Life seems to be flying past so fast… that it feels like we can barely hang on…

• Reality is…the problems Life throws at… at times seem too big for us to handle…

• And lastly… Regardless of why life is hard… it affects everything about us… how we feel about ourselves… how we look! Life is a mess!

Thus the question: So how good are you at handling the messes that life throws at you?

Do you find your faith rises to meet the challenge? Of do you find yourself reacting emotionally in ways that quite honestly embarrasses you? I think if most of us if we are honest… we would say we have more negative responses than positive ones. Why is that?

• I remember reading years ago about someone’s observation on how the faith of the Christian community here in America, doesn’t seem to go very deep! That there is not much substance once you get below our church’s faces! And the reason they say that… is because when most Christians come under pressure… or are knocked down by life… what spills out isn’t pleasant to behold!

• Why is it, when we are commanded by God to forgive everyone… forgiveness seems like a lost commodity?

• Why is it… when we are commanded to be content in all situations, we hear Christians complaining and whining about life… as much as everybody else does!

• And why is it… that there are there so many unresolved issues between spouses, friends or children? Why are there so many people who chose to run from their problems rather than face their problems and work them through?

Here is what I believe…I believe that the problem or the reason we see so much superficially in American Christianity is that because the foundation for our faith is entirely wrong. You see, in America what we have done is conformed our Christianity to an American way of life. In other words… we have tried to get Christ and our faith to serve us rather than the other way around… Where we realize that we exist to serve God!

To help make that clearer Bob Shogren, who is a missionary leader, makes the observation… that the difference between cats and dogs… gives us the perfect illustration of the difference between being God centered and me centered… as seen in this clip

• Clip

• Bob says that… the problem with us in America is the Bible was written for dogs, but it is read by cats! Now here is what he meant, a dog says if you pet me, feed me, you shelter me, you love me, therefore you must be God! But a cat says, you pet me, you feed me, a sheltered me, you love me, therefore I must be God! So now here’s a problem, the Bible was written for dogs, but it is read by cats. You see, a cat says I love Christ because he’d bless his me. A dog says he loves Christ because of who he is. A cat says that Christianity is good so long as it works for me. A dog says Christianity is good because it’s true. A cat says with times are hard and God is not given me what I want, I am going to run from God and run from the church. A dog says when times are hard and God isn’t giving me what I need, I am going to drawn near to God and drawn near to the church. The cat says this whole life exists to glorify me, to meet my needs. But a dog says that this whole life exists to glorify God.

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