6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Fourth in a series exploring life crisis, based on the promotional materials provided by Outreach in their "Who Cares" campaign. This message explores sudden losses in life.

(This message extensively based on the sermon starters provided in the "Who Cares" package materials from Outreach.)

Show "Who Cares" Video Clip from Outreach tools.

In an instance, life can change. You are cruising along through your day. Maybe heading out to church. Maybe attending a youth rally. Living the same old-same ol’ of every other day. Maybe even a bit bored with the routine that is your life.

And in an instance, your world is turned upside down. In an instant, you would give the world for the boredom of the known. You would pay an unimaginable price to have back the predictable moments that preceded the sudden interruption of your life, and the corresponding loss.

By definition, a loss is any major reduction in a person’s resources, whether personal, material, or symbolic, to which the person was emotionally attached. Often when we think of sudden loss, we think of death and dying. But there are countless other forms of sudden loss that can forever change our lives, and leave us wondering if anybody cares.

The various types of loss that emotionally disrupt our world include not only death, but divorce, loss of employment, long-term disability – the loss of a physical ability, loss of possessions – maybe even to the point of homelessness, disenfranchisement and loss of dreams or goals, even losses brought about by something as common as aging. And of course, on Memorial Day weekend, we can remember any number of these losses that result from living in a world filled with war and violence.

Let me give you some categories of some different types of losses that might help us evaluate and determine the impact of sudden loss in our lives. First, there are. . .


You may have experienced a threat to your security or self-esteem because of the loss of income or employment or through downsizing or, as we like to call it in today’s business world “rightsizing.” You might have had losses because of a crime or a fire. Perhaps you have had financial loss because of gambling or other addictions. In our modern society, you can even suffer financial losses due to identity theft. Though I pity the sad, sad criminal that would steal my identity and figures out what he is holding.

Financial losses are a type of loss that can hit us very suddenly. For example, Tuesday night, driving home on South Broadway, there are suddenly pretty blue and red lights flashing in my rear view mirror, and following a brief discussion with one of Lexington’s finest police officers, I experienced a sudden financial loss.

Another type, or category of sudden loss that people experience are. . .


The most documented being divorce or marital separation, but can possibly even be estrangement from other family members: brothers, sisters, parents. Perhaps there is relationship loss through foster care, or miscarriages. It may even be that your loving pet has died. Regardless, you can sense the pain, the scar tissue of a sudden relationship loss in your life. A third category of loss.


For example, you may experience such a loss because your children grow up, leave home, and now you are suddenly facing “empty nest” syndrome. The feeling of loss in your role as a parent.

Maybe your loss comes from the turbulence of a job change (i.e. Nationwide Insurance restructuring). Many students face the sudden loss of a role at this time of year. Graduation changes a part of their identity, a part of who they have been emotionally and actively for the past however many years. Then there are. . .


We talk about the number of fatalities associated with the war in Iraq, but there are tens of thousands of more soldiers suffering functional losses because of an amputation, a crippling injury, the onset of blindness or deafness. Functional losses can especially strike the elderly as they age. It seems as if one day we are able to do a given task with little or no trouble, and the next day, someone has to do it for us. Functional losses can also arise from drug or alcohol abuse which impacts not only the addict, but the children birthed during times of addiction.

Are we beginning to see the magnitude and span through which sudden loss can impact our lives? Another type of sudden loss.


Ever taken one of those life events stress test? You know, you check mark the events you have experienced in the past few years of your life, and it tells you how close you are to a heart attack? I took one this week. It listed “Christmas”. It listed “Minor Traffic Violations.” I failed miserably.

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