6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Sixth in a series exploring life crisis, based on the promotional materials provided by Outreach in their "Who Cares" campaign. This message explores when a very personal crisis hits the interior of our life at home.

(Extensive inspiration for the sermons in this series derived from the sermon samples in the "Who Cares" promotional series by Outreach Ministries.)

(For this message, I had the stage set as a Living Room and compared it to our Family Room growing up - formal place vs. rec. room: Childhood & Today)

Unfortunately, the American living room is under assault. Did you know that one out of every three children in the United States spend their lives in a living room without a father present? One out of three. And now homosexual marriages, divorce, spousal abuse, violent crimes within the home; these and other alarming statistics are strong indicators that there is a very serious assault being conducted in our living rooms today.

And at the same time there is a very subtle disease within the living room that may be even more damaging than all of the other crises combined. It is the growing number of families that are what some family counselors are calling “driving while intoxicated.” These are the traditional American mom, dad and kids families that on the outside seem to have it all together, but inside the living room things are pretty rotten.

Parents are driven to almost anything in order to grab the brass ring and kid’s priorities are focused on winning at any cost. These are the families that are rotting from within because they are self-consumed, intent on sacrificing everything in order to succeed outside of the family. They are driving at a break-neck speed, out-of-control and in serious danger of crashing.

The story is told of two paddleboats that left port about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River. As they traveled side by side, the sailors began to taunt one another. Challenging words were exchanged, and finally a race began.

After a period of time, one boat began falling behind, its fuel supply nearly expended. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, there had not been enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they began fueling their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burning all their cargo.

Max Lucado calls this a crisis of “program over priority.” Parents that have put their “program” of succeeding at any cost ahead of the precious “cargo” that God has entrusted to each of us. These are the families that seem okay on the outside, but when you to step into their living room after work, after dinner, after the blinds have been shut and the porch light has gone off. They are wasting away. The harder they strive to get to where they think they deserve to be, the more and more of their precious cargo of love, forgiveness, understanding and spiritual growth they burn to get there. They may “win” some earthly race; but getting there without their “cargo” will hardly be worth it.

So whether it is the home that has been split apart by divorce, abuse, unplanned pregnancy or addiction. Or the home that is looking fine on the outside, but “driving while intoxicated.” Almost every living room in America seems to be a complete wreck.

There was once a man driving along the road and he was involved in an accident with another car towing a horse trailer. A few months later he tried to claim damages for his injuries, but the insurance company lawyer questioned his claim.

"How can you now claim to have all these injuries?" he was asked. "According to the police report, at the time you said you were not hurt."

"Well it’s like this," said the man. "I was lying in the road in a lot of pain, and I heard someone say the horse had a broken leg. The next thing I know the police officer pulled out his gun and shot the horse. Then someone came and asked me, "Are you okay?"

There are a lot of people sitting on couches. Relaxing in easy chairs. Flicking the remote controls of this world who say they are okay, but underneath the smiles, the laughter and the “I’m doing just fine” is a huge amount of hurt and a living room in crisis.

And it is not just outside this church that people are hurting. There are families and individuals that are desperately hurting who are sitting in this building today and may even try to cover it up with a brave face. Some of us have old wounds that just won’t heal. Others of us have fresh wounds that are still raw. And most of us, a combination of both.

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