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Tuesday, 27 June 2006
Thoughts about David in the caves
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
Psalm 142

In the ascription, it's declared, "By David, when he was in the cave."

The story of David starts out with a lot of promise---he kills the giant, he's anointed as king, he's a general in Saul's army!

Samuel anoints David in 1020 BC; three years later, David kills Goliath. But David does not become king until 1005 BC---fifteen years of caves.

It's easy to skip straight from these victories to David being recognized as king---but the story doesn't happen that way.

1 Samuel 22:1-2: He hides in a cave; the people around him are the scum of Israel. "God! I have been anointed as king! But the only people following me are these losers!" Bankrupt, agitated whiners!

Still, Saul chases David.

1 Samuel 23:28---24:2: Again, David is reduced to hiding ... where?

Have you been in a cave lately? Lost a friend? Lost a dream? Misunderstood? Stressed? Tempted to respond in the flesh instead of the spirit? Hardest thing about being in a cave is that it's tempting to wonder if God has lost track of you.

Psalm 142: (1) Complain to God (v. 2); (2) Want God more than anything else (v. 5); (3) Your purpose is to thank God (v. 7).

1 Samuel 24:3-13: "Covered his feet": As if being in a cave isn't bad enough, it isn't just a cave; it's an outhouse. David could (literally) remove Saul from the throne. But David would rather remain in the cave and be faithful to God than to live in a palace and fail to be faithful.

John 11: Good news is that, even when you're in the cave, God hasn't forgotten.

Posted by timothypauljones at 7:06 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006 11:18 AM CDT
Permalink
Monday, 15 May 2006
The Da Vinci Codebreaker resources
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General
If your church or small group is using The Da Vinci Codebreaker or Answers to The Da Vinci Code, I've prepared some additional resources to help you ...

1. Click here for a teaching session in which I discuss some of the issues related to The Da Vinci Code

2. Click here for transparency masters to supplement your teaching sessions.

3. Click here for student worksheets.

Posted by timothypauljones at 9:50 AM CDT
Permalink
Items I might use for message on communication
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
When psychologists Cliff Notarius of Catholic University and Howard Markman of the University of Denver studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they found a very subtle but telling difference at the beginning of the relationships. Among couples who would ultimately stay together, 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who would later split, 10 of every 100 comments were insults. That gap magnified over the following decade, until couples heading downhill were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as happy couples. "Hostile putdowns act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time," says Notarius, who with Markman co-authored the new book We Can Work It Out. "In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can't get through a week without major blowups." U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994, p. 67.

Five major needs of women: 1) Affection, 2) Conversation, 3) Honesty and openness, 4) Financial support, 5) Family commitment. Five major needs of men: 1) Sexual fulfillment, 2) Recreational companionship, 3) An attractive spouse, 4) Domestic support, 5) Admiration. His Needs, Her Needs

Make love wherever you are ... love is made through communication.

"If you do what I tell you to do for an entire month, I can promise you that by the end of the month, you will be in love with your mate. Are you willing to give it a try?" When couples accept my challenge, the results are invariably successful. My prescription for creating love is simple: do ten things each day that you would do if you really were in love. I know that if people do loving things, it will not be long before they experience the feelings that are often identified as being in love. Love is not those feelings. Love is what one wills to do to make the other person happy and fulfilled. Often, we don't realize that what a person does influences what he feels. Dr. Anthony Campolo

Men and women communicate differently---men usually have a goal in mind, women are as concerned with the journey to the goal as with the goal itself.

Clarification questions ...
"Are you saying … ?"

"What I hear you saying is …"

"Does that mean … ?"

"Let me make sure I understand you."

"It's really important to me that I understand what you mean. Could you say that another way?"

"Intimacy" = "into me you see," tell me the details, tell me the feelings, let me see into you

Gary Chapman's suggestion for the end of each day: Eliminate distractions. (1) Tell me three things you did today, (2) How did you feel about each one. (3) Listen carefully.

1 Peter 3:7: Communicate with your wife---if you don't communicate with her, God will refuse to communicate with you.

What makes your spouse feel honored? Can you name three things that honor your spouse?

Text will probably be James 3, regarding use of the tongue. I will also reference John 1, God spoke to us a word of love and he expects us to do the same.

Posted by timothypauljones at 9:41 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006 9:45 AM CDT
Permalink
Friday, 12 May 2006
Notes for HOW SHREK CAN SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE 1
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
How Shrek Can Save Your Marriage Part 1
MOTIF
--> Great marriages of Bible?: Abraham: Takes his wife's servant, lies/Isaac: Lies/Jacob: Two women/David: Adultery, uninvolved with children/Solomon: 1,000 women/These people need therapy, they need Dr. Phil, Ruth, Spock ... Seuss.
--> They had problems too! Great marriages ... began to look in movies for best example of marriage: Shakespeare: ... but they all die ... this is not healthy, people drinking poison and falling on swords is not going to help improve your marriage/Fairy tale, Beauty and Beast: Unrealistic, if your husband looks like a hairy beast at beginning ... only going to get hairier [lose on top]/Shrek!
--> Shrek/Fiona: Beautiful princess, when sun goes down ... ogre/Kiss make her beautiful/Shrek kisses ... stays an ogre: “You are beautiful.”
--> At end of Shrek 2, Fiona has choice [beautiful, perfect] ... “with the ogre I married.”
> Deep inside, we don't necessarily long for most gorgeous, most successful, perfect---but ... live happily ever after with ogre we married.
> But we can't seem to do that: Divorce statistics.
> Church does a great job of getting people married—but we stink at keeping them married. Match made in heaven, but it quickly goes to the other place ... if divorced, not trying to make you feel guilty.
> > Rodney Smith, Georgia: Premarital counseling with guarantee ... 10 years or refund three times the amount they paid.
> Why such problems? > Cause of divorce: Poor communication, finances, no commitment to relationship, change in priorities, infidelity.
> Deeper: SAME REASON CHURCHES SPLIT: [SBC, GenB, PartB, 7thDB, HardSB, FWB, DuckRiverKindredB, 2SeedSPB]: We've allowed the world around us to determine what we want from the relationship.
--> “Make me happy”/“Fulfill my needs”/“Fall in love”: Fall into holes, love is choice
--> Love is central/1Jn4:16/I don't get to define “love”/Who God is defines what love is./God showed in JC, Rm5:8/If God is love and God showed his love in Jesus: To love is to be like Jesus.
> Purpose of love you share: To become more like Jesus together than you ever could apart.
> Does this person help me to be more like Jesus?---if your goal is anything less than for both of you to become more like Jesus, your marriage will always fall short. [DIAGRAM]
DILEMMA
> What does God want your marriage to be like? If purpose is to be like JC, to understand what God wants marriage to be like ... what God is like. [Infinite, intimate fellowship of Father, Son, Spirit]
> Gn1:26-28: Not saying that God is male/female > Marriage relationship is earthly reflection of God's infinite relationship. Gn5:1-2; 9:6-7 [God is literally one ... closest image on earth]. >>> Don't have to be married, if single God provides other ways of living in his image.
> To find what God wants marriage, look at God's inner relationship: Mk1:11 [delight]; Jn17:5 [glory]; 1Co2:10 [communication/share dreams]; Jn5:19-20 [partnership].
> What I want to do in this series is to help you ... these in your marriage.
> Your spouse cannot fulfill the deepest needs of your heart---only God can do that. But you and your spouse can be a living reflection of the inner fellowship of God.
TEXT
> First place: Beginning of marriage: Gn2:18-25
> Repeated: “Good”: Gn1:3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25 > 2:18: “Not good.”
> God is not alone; therefore, man should not be alone.
--> “I'll make an ezer kenegdo”: “Baby, you're my ...”: Ezer: Strong helper [Ps121:1-2]: Ezer: One who takes stand beside me [Jacob/Rachel: Gn35:18] --> Kenegdo: “Against” ... “Separate from me, taking a stand beside me”
> God looks at his creation and sees every creature has ezer kenegdo ... looks within self.
> Playful, testing Adam: Parades all animals ... at first, creative names: Platypus, hippopotamus, crocodile, porcupine ... cow, large cat lying/lion, fly, mosquito = bzzz ... to name is to take responsibility for what you name.
> 2:20: “Adam, see anything you like?”: No ezer kenegdo. God keeps working until the man's deepest needs are satisfied.
> Reaches in the emptiness beneath his heart, Why the rib? Relationships between human beings always cost something. [COLD/HOT] (Augustine)
> [[[2:22, verb has to do with a potter twirling on wheel, painstaking care, vase]]].
--> Hebrew thought, moves from lowest, simplest to most beautiful, complex ... The woman is the crowning glory of God's creation.
--> Every woman has that longing in her heart: [If woman does not feel that she is the crowning glory of someone's heart—not something you say once, but let her know repeatedly by loving and listening—she will look for it somewhere else: Anything from fantasies of soap operas to an affair or job or simply being frustrated and dissatisfied ... If daughter ... ]:
--> God declares it, even if no one else does/Here, God declares you to be the crown of his creation: “I am the crown of God's creation.”
> God walks the bride down the aisle ... wedding.
> “Yes! This is what I've been looking for!”: Lost a rib, gained ezer kenegdo ... by becoming less, he becomes more ... this is God's way [Jesus].
> First human words recorded, first poem ... names her [takes responsibility].
> “She will be the one who takes her stand beside me” [2:24].
> “Naked and felt no shame”: Even before sin, physical intimacy comes after lives are joined in covenant relationship, after marriage.
> They became “one flesh,” a living reflection of God on earth.
> Glory [wonder, amazement at gift, person God's given you is a gift], delight [Adam's poem], communication [words built her up], partnership [stand together]
RESOLUTION
> All of this was God's dream when he created marriage ... marriages are bent, broken ... God's heart breaks [FREEDOM RINGS].
> Isaiah 53:4-5: The cross isn't only about saving your soul, it's about restoring your relationships.
> What's your goal/purpose in marriage? “Not to kill each other”/“Live happily ever after with the ogre I married”/How about this one: To be a living reflection of the joy of God, to be more like Jesus together than we could ever have been apart.
APPLICATION
> Think about how you treated your spouse this morning, past week: Were my words/actions living reflections of the joy of God? Or were they reflections of what I wanted, what I thought I needed? Did I treat my wife as crowning glory of God's creation? Did I treat my husband as the one I'm called to stand beside?
> Is the purpose of our relationship to be more like Jesus together ... .
> Radio knobs: Pull off knobs: This is the one God has chosen for me, this is our purpose.

*****

>> Marriage is when you agree to spend the rest of your life sleeping in a room that's too warm, beside someone who's sleeping in a room that's too cold.
>>"She is not made out of his head to be above him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him—beneath his arm to be protected and near his heart to be loved."
>>FREEDOM RINGS: Divorced couples in Albuquerque, New Mexico, can take advantage of a new business in town. The company is called Freedom Rings: Jewelry for the Divorced. Founded by jeweler and divorcee Lynn Peters, the company makes custom jewelry out of wedding rings. Each customer at Freedom Rings pays a fee, and the ring-smashing ceremony begins--complete with champagne and music. Just before the smashing the M.C. says, "We will now release any remaining ties to your past by transforming your ring--which represents the past--into a token of your new beginning. Now take the hammer. Stop for a moment to consider the transformation that is about to begin your new life. Ready? With this swing let freedom ring!" She then uses a four-pound sledgehammer to whack her emblem of love and fidelity into a shapeless piece of metal. And the ceremony ends. The fact that women are pounding their wedding rings into pendants and men are grinding theirs into golf ball markers doesn't surprise me.

Posted by timothypauljones at 1:00 PM CDT
Permalink
Thursday, 11 May 2006
Possible illustrations for marriage series
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
"Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," Isaiah claimed. What I understand this to mean is that the cross was not only about saving our souls but about healing and restoring our relationships.

I challenge those who come to me for marriage counseling this way: "If you do what I tell you to do for an entire month, I can promise you that by the end of the month, you will be in love with your mate. Are you willing to give it a try?" When couples accept my challenge, the results are invariably successful. My prescription for creating love is simple: do ten things each day that you would do if you really were in love. I know that if people do loving things, it will not be long before they experience the feelings that are often identified as being in love. Love is not those feelings. Love is what one wills to do to make the other person happy and fulfilled. Often, we don't realize that what a person does influences what he feels. Dr. Anthony Campolo

A braid appears to contain only two strands of hair. But it is impossible to create a braid with only two strands. If the two could be put together at all, they would quickly unravel. Herein lies the mystery: What looks like two strands require a third. The third strand, though not immediately evident, keeps the strands tightly woven. In a Christian marriage, God's presence, like the third strand in a braid, holds holds husband and wife together.

Marriage is not romanticized in the creation account. Its ideal purpose is not one of sweet feeling, tender words, poetical affections or physical satisfactions--not "love" as the world defines love in all its nasal songs and its popular shallow stories. Marriage is meant to be flatly practical. One human alone is help-LESS, unable. But "Two are better than one," says Ecclesiastes, "Because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift the other." Marriage makes the job of survival possible. And the fact that a spouse is termed a "helper" declares marriage was never an end in itself, but a preparation. We've accomplished no great thing, yet, in getting married. We have completed a relationship (though many a fool assumes that the hard work's done with the wedding and turns attention to other interests). Rather, we've established the terms by which we now will go to work. Walter Wangerin

Five major needs of women: 1) Affection, 2) Conversation, 3) Honesty and openness, 4) Financial support, 5) Family commitment. Five major needs of men: 1) Sexual fulfillment, 2) Recreational companionship, 3) An attractive spouse, 4) Domestic support, 5) Admiration. His Needs, Her Needs

1 in 7. A recent survey on marital violence reports that approximately one in every seven American couples has used some form of physical abuse during an argument in the past year. National Institute of Mental Health, Family Happiness is Homemade, Vol. 14, No. 6, June 1990

Marriage is when you agree to spend the rest of your life sleeping in a room that's too warm, beside someone who's sleeping in a room that's too cold.

"To keep your marriage brimming / With love in the loving cup / Whenever you're wrong, admit it / Whenever you're right, shut up!"

When psychologists Cliff Notarius of Catholic University and Howard Markman of the University of Denver studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they found a very subtle but telling difference at the beginning of the relationships. Among couples who would ultimately stay together, 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who would later split, 10 of every 100 comments were insults. That gap magnified over the following decade, until couples heading downhill were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as happy couples. "Hostile putdowns act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time," says Notarius, who with Markman co-authored the new book We Can Work It Out. "In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can't get through a week without major blowups." U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994, p. 67.

Divorced couples in Albuquerque, New Mexico, can take advantage of a new business in town. The company is called Freedom Rings: Jewelry for the Divorced. Founded by jeweler and divorcee Lynn Peters, the company makes custom jewelry out of wedding rings. Each customer at Freedom Rings pays a fee, and the ring-smashing ceremony begins--complete with champagne and music. Just before the smashing the M.C. says, "We will now release any remaining ties to your past by transforming your ring--which represents the past--into a token of your new beginning. Now take the hammer. Stop for a moment to consider the transformation that is about to begin your new life. Ready? With this swing let freedom ring!" She then uses a four-pound sledgehammer to whack her emblem of love and fidelity into a shapeless piece of metal. And the ceremony ends. The fact that women are pounding their wedding rings into pendants and men are grinding theirs into golf ball markers doesn't surprise me.

A man once bought a new radio, brought it home, placed it on the refrigerator, plugged it in, turned it to WSM in Nashville (home of the Grand Ole Opry), and then pulled all the knobs off! He had already tuned in all he ever wanted or expected to hear.

Posted by timothypauljones at 11:36 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006 9:42 AM CDT
Permalink
Wednesday, 10 May 2006
Line of thinking for first part of marriage series
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
> "I want to live happily ever after with the ogre that I married."
> Deep inside, we don't necessarily long for the most gorgeous person, the most successful person, the perfect person---but we would like to live happily ever after with the ogre we married.
> Christians are not doing a good job of this. [Divorce statistics ... how many Christians are truly happy with their marriages?]
> Why do we stink so badly at this? We've allowed the world to define love: World: "Love is god" ... every person defines love differently, their definition of "love" becomes their god, what they want out of marriage/"Marriage ... make us happier": "Happily ever after"? Fairy tale!/Scripture: "God is love"---how God acts defines how we love.
> Purpose of marriage is for you to become more like Jesus together than you ever could apart.
--> Does this person help me to become more like Jesus? [Genesis 1:26-28: God is an infinite, intimate relationship within himself; he created male and female so that, in the closeness of that relationship, we could reflect the inner life of God. Obviously, God is literally one---but it's the closest image on earth to God.]
> Some persons aren't called to be married---the things God wants to do in their lives to make them like Jesus don't require a husband or wife.
> What is God's inner relationship like? Mark 1:11; John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 2:10: Delight, glory, sharing one another's deepest hopes and dreams: That's what God wants your marriage to look like.
> How can my marriage look like that---a relationship of delight, glory, and sharing of hopes and dreams?
> God the Father walks Eve down the aisle, "I give this woman to you."
> Each person becomes less so that together they can become more---more like God.
> "Not all marriages fail for the same reason. Nor is there usually one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage. Nevertheless, we hear some reasons more often than others. They are: poor communication, financial problems, a lack of commitment to the marriage, a dramatic change in priorities, [and] infidelity." --http://www.aaml.org/Marriage_Last/MarriageLastText.htm
> Pastor Rodney Smith of Anointed Believers Baptist Church in Georgia is putting his money where his mouth is. Smith says "it's time for a winner-take-all battle between the Word of God and the current divorce rate." The pastor is currently providing premarital counseling with a guarantee that the marriage will last for 10 years or he will refund the couple's money, up to three times the amount they originally paid.

Posted by timothypauljones at 12:42 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006 10:57 AM CDT
Permalink
First thoughts on marriage
Mood:  down
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
I've been trying to pull together a series entitled, "How Shrek Can Save Your Marriage," but it's been a struggle---I've never preached a marriage series before, so I have nothing from past preaching to draw from. In fact, I've only preached one sermon on marriage in more than a decade of preaching---which is partly why I'm forcing myself to do this. The people need to hear it, and I need to prepare it.

So, here goes ...

PART ONE
Genesis 2:18-25
> Everything is good. Now, God announces something is not good (2:18). So, God parades in front of Adam all the animals, and the man named each one---but none of them was a partner for him.
> God keeps working until the man's deepest needs are satisfied.
> God is not alone; therefore, man should not be alone (Gen. 1:26-28).
> Rib: Reaches in the emptiness beneath his heart, and spins [[[2:22, verb has to do with a potter molding, painstaking care]]]: "Yes! This is what I've been looking for!": First human words recorded.
> Hebrew thinking: Moves from the lowest, simplest to the greatest and most sublime---the woman is the last thing that God creates; she is the high point of all creation. In no other culture's creation narrative is woman formed last and highest (New Interpreter's Bible Commentary, 353).
> By naming, Adam takes responsibility.
> By becoming less, the man becomes more.
> "She is not made out of his head to top him, not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him---beneath his arm to be protected and near his heart to be beloved." (Matthew Henry)
> Your spouse cannot fulfill the deepest needs of your heart---only God can do that. But you and your spouse can be a living reflection of the inner fellowship of God.

Posted by timothypauljones at 10:33 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006 10:07 AM CDT
Permalink
Tuesday, 11 April 2006
News about my latest books
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: General
Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away has been selected as one of LifeWay.com's top books of the year by LifeWay's customers! Click here for details. Plus, it's now being stocked at most Barnes and Noble locations.

The Da Vinci Codebreaker is hitting stores nationwide right now. Even if you're not concerned with The Da Vinci Code movie or book, check it out. It's a great resource for understanding how the Bible came to us and how the books of the Bible were selected. Click here to order The Da Vinci Codebreaker.

Posted by timothypauljones at 6:12 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006 6:14 PM CDT
Permalink
Notes for Lent 6
Mood:  amorous
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
SIX STEPS TO STOP SINNING 5 of 6
Motif
> Review
> Know Jesus, No Fear
Ever had one of those days spiritually? Life with God is going great ... seems like you've beaten sin ... without warning ... derails everything.
> Because we've experienced that, we develop a fear.
--> ... we become afraid to take a stand and say, “I'm not going to do this again,” afraid to say, “I'm not going to commit this sin again.”
--> ... because we are afraid that we'll fall back into the sin again.
--> ... We are afraid of failure. [Word for this: [Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia/Arachibutyrophobia] Kakorrhaphiophobia ]
--> ... so we simply let it remain in our lives, try to hide it, try to ignore it.
--> [[lose temper ... lust ... talk someone down behind back ... embellish truth/lie]]
> TRUTH: Every moment that you allow your fear of failure to keep from fighting against sin, you have failed already—because you've allowed the sin to stay that much longer.
> E.S. Jones: “I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. … I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. … In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath—these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely—these are my native air. A Johns Hopkins University doctor says, 'We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than non-worriers, but that is a fact.' But, I, who am simple of mind, think I know: We are inwardly constructed in nerve and tissue, brain cell and soul, for faith and not for fear. God made us that way.”
> It's fear of failure that keeps us captive to the most stubborn sins.
Dilemma
> How do I get over my fear of failure?
Text
> Mark 14:50–72
> Ever suppose that—if only Jesus walked and talked right beside me—I wouldn't sin? That's what disciples thought: MARK 14:31. After three years of walking every day with Jesus, every one of his disciples fails.
> Haunting image: Young man, slipped into night wrapped in sheet, follows into garden ... runs, naked into the night ... early church tradition: Mark [Lord's Supper in his parents' home].
--> Why does it tell the story in this way? Can you think the other time in Scripture when, in a garden, someone runs naked from God's presence? Same choice Adam/Eve were faced with, humanity is faced with again: Will we obey our Creator or run from him? Humanity fails again.
> Not only do Mark and other disciples fail ... even the inner circle.
> At first, Simon Peter looks like he's going to follow Jesus all the way ... creeps behind, watching what happens ... watches from edge of courtyard, warming hands.
--> ... hears conflicting testimony, hears Jesus say, “I AM” ... high priest rips his robes ... Jesus being spit upon, blindfolded, beaten.
> As he watches, a little slave-girl walks by ... she's seen Jesus and his followers in temple courts: “You were with Jesus of Nazareth”—in truth, there's nothing more wonderful that anyone could say about us.
--> Simon Peter: Bold, brave, fisherman, muscle-bound by a lifetime of hauling fish into boats ... faced by a little girl, a slave ... but he knows that—if this is happening to Jesus/if Peter is known as follower—this is what will happen to Peter.
--> “I don't know—I don't even understand!”
--> This is the failure that Simon Peter feared.
> Just as we do sometimes, once we fail—afraid of saying, “I'm not going to do this again!” ... instead of getting out, we keep going back ... “You are! You have a Galilean accent”—Galilee was the ancient equivalent of rural Arkansas ... cultured people of Judea laughed at their accent.
--> Third time, Peter curses and swears: “May I be cursed/damned if I even know who you're talking about.”
--> His fear has sent him into the sin that he's feared the most.
--> In Luke (22:61), at this moment, Jesus turned and looked directly at Peter.
> Jesus: Face bruised and swelling, blindfold slipping, flies swarming around blood congealing along his jaw, looks at Peter, standing in shadows, face barely visible in flickering firelight—yet Peter knows that, even if Jesus does not see his face—Jesus can see his soul ... Peter feels the eyes of Jesus piercing into his soul ... eyes of love that burn like fire ... at this moment, rooster crows ... Peter stumbles into an alley that's as dark as his own soul and falls to the ground, weeping in great, bitter moans that convulse his body until he retches ... hours later, he still lays in that alley, eyes and stomach empty, and yet he weeps ... that horrible, dry weeping reserved for the darkest moments of human existence. This is what it feels like to be Simon Peter, the big fisherman, curled on the ground at this moment in the streets of Jerusalem.
> His worst fear has been realized; Simon Peter has failed.
> Yet what's most important is what happens next: All four Gospels find Peter next ... with the other disciples in Jerusalem
--> Easiest thing to do? Give in to his failure, give in to his fear, decide, “I can't beat the sins in my life,” run back to Galilee, patch up his fishing boat, forget he ever heard of Jesus. It's always easiest to go back to our old habits, old ways. It would have been for Peter; it is for us.
--> But that's not what he does: He goes back to wait with the other disciples.
--> Are they still afraid? Sure! [John 20:19]
--> Yet they don't let their fear drive them to further failure.
--> And it's in this waiting that, on Easter, Jesus appears to them—but that's the story for next week.
--> Within a few weeks, Peter is boldly proclaiming the message of Jesus—unafraid of his potential for failure.
Resolution
> How do I overcome my fear of failure?
> You can't.
--> Society: From childhood, we're told to be afraid. [“Keep hitting with lightsabers ... eye out”/look both ways]
--> Genetic: people with shorter gene slc6a4 on chromosone 17q12 ... more likely to be afraid. If, right now, you're thinking, "Which one do I have?"—you have the shorter one.
--> Main reason: The reason you fear failure is because it's very possible that you will fail. NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF?
--> Fear that God wants to get out of lives is fear that God is against us, abandoned us. But when it comes to my failures, there is much to fear.
> What do I do with my fear of failing again? You can learn to fear God more than you fear any failure.
> There's a fear God doesn't want, fear that God has forgotten [ISAIAH 43:1-2]/fear that God requires [PROVERBS 1:7].
--> “Fear of God”: Not cowering, terrified, but profound awe and respect for God's character and God's plans.
> The life that God has created for me to live matters more than any fear or failure that I may face.
> That's what happen to Peter: Simon Peter still believed that there was something greater for his life than failure.
--> So, he returns to the last place he had been before he failed Jesus—the upper room, where they shared Last Supper—and he waits there.
> He has failed horribly: God has a plan for my life that is greater than any fear or failure that I may face. HE FEARED GOD MORE THAN HE FEARED HIS FAILURE.
> What sin have you let stay in your life? “I'm never going to beat this, it's been there so long”/“so deep, so dark, I can't deal with it”—that's your fear of failure talking ... “If I take a stand and tell others, 'I'm going to break free from this,' I might fail ... then what?”—that's your fear.
--> God has a plan for you that's greater than your fear of failure.
> You can LOVE LIFE GOD CREATED YOU TO LIVE or you can LIVE IN FEAR OF FAILING AGAIN—but you cannot do both at the same time.
> Will you ever fail again? Perhaps—do what Peter did: Go back, get rid of what caused you to fall, learn to love life God created you to live, start over.
> What sin makes you afraid? Either because you're still struggling with it or because you're closer than you want to admit to falling into it?
> Isn't it time to move beyond the fear and learn to love the life God created you to live, beyond power of that sin? Isn't it time to break free?

Posted by timothypauljones at 5:49 PM CDT
Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Palm and Passion Sunday thoughts
Mood:  blue
Topic: Sermon Staging Area
Mark 15:51-72: Simon Peter failed ... or did he?

Fear of failure is what keeps us in sin---we're afraid to take a stand and say, "I'm not going to do this anymore!" because our first thought is, "What if I mess up?"

Many of these examples are drawn from John Ortberg's sermons ...

Jonas Salk: "I did not fail 200 times; I discovered 200 ways not to vaccinate for polio."

Winston Churchill: Repeated a grade in elementary school: "I never failed anything in my life. I was given a second opportunity to get it right."

No event is, in and of itself, a failure---failure is how you interpret the event.

> What if something happens to your car? You will eventually get another one.
> What if something happens to your wallet? You'll eventually replace it.
> What happens if the preacher preaches a really bad sermon? You can send him to Hawaii on a sabbatical!

Having intense fear and anxiety may even be genetically influenced---people with a shorter gene slc6a4 on chromosone 17q12 are more likely to be afraid. If, right now, you're thinking, "Oh no, which one do I have?"---you have the shorter one.

The ride only lasts a few minutes---there's not enough time in life to spend it in worry and fear. Just do it!

Some of it is the way we were brought up: "You're going to lose an eye hitting each other with those lightsabers!"

Some of it is media: Len Sweet: We long for security, knowing how things will come out. "Fear is dominated by our need for security. ... First we install seat belts, then shoulder belts, then we put the two together. Then we add airbags. Soon we'll be driving around in giant marshmallows." Eileen Gulden: "You can live on bland food to avoid an ulcer, drink no coffee or tea, go to bed early, avoid all controversy, spend money only on necessities, and save all you can---and still fall and break your neck in the bathtub and it would serve you right."

Wear your seatbelt, take care of your health, look both ways before crossing the street, don't talk to strangers---but not because you're afraid. Do it because you love life. The actions aren't the problem---it's the motive that's the problem.

Get rid of fear not because there aren't things to be afraid, not because you won't ever fail in your struggle against sin ... no, get rid of fear because you love life and because life is short and you want your life to be the best it can be, you want to glorify God.

*****

Every moment that you live in fear of failure in your struggle against sin, you have already failed.

You can LOVE LIFE or you can LIVE IN FEAR---but you cannot do both at the same time.

Posted by timothypauljones at 11:27 AM CDT
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