One Is the Loneliest Number

This past Sunday we covered one more load we carry when we try to do life apart from Jesus as we draw near the end of our series, A Heavy Load. This week we talked about the load of loneliness. Life was not meant to be lived alone. We were made for relationships. When we do life without Jesus, though, maintaining those relationships because entirely more difficult than it should be. Read on to find out why and how we can fix this.

One Is the Loneliest Number

Have you ever spent a significant amount of time alone? I don’t mean simply hanging out at home when nobody else is around for a couple of hours. I’m talking about a time when you didn’t have anybody around for an extended period of time. Honestly, Covid subjected a lot of folks to that in ways and times they were neither expecting nor for which they were prepared. And maybe you’re sitting there thinking how much you would like to have an extended amount of time by yourself because you can’t think of the last time you weren’t being constantly bombarded by people, but it’s a different animal wanting something like that because you can’t have it and being stuck alone because you can’t be around people like you want to be. Being alone…isn’t good for us. 

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All Fired Up

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series called, A Heavy Load. So often, as we go through this life, we seek to do it on our own. We try and solve our own problems. We overcome our own challenges. We bear our own burdens. And at least in this culture, we’re taught to do just that. If you can’t manage your own stuff, what good are you anyway? But doing life on our own gets heavy after all. The weight of it all can begin to drag on our lives in all kinds of ways that add up and have an impact over time. The better approach is to quit trying to do life on our own and start doing it with Jesus. Over the next five weeks we are going to look at four specific loads we try and bear on our own, why that doesn’t work, and why doing life with Jesus is better. Then, in the final part, we’ll explore just why exactly life is so much better with Jesus. You won’t want to miss a single part of this conversation. Thanks for reading and sharing.

All Fired Up

I want you to do some remembering with me for just a minute this morning. I want you to think back to the last time you were genuinely angry about something that did not impact you directly and over which you had no control. If that seems oddly specific, there’s a reason for it which we’ll get to in a little bit. I’m not thinking about that time you saw something that was mildly irritating on one social media platform or another. I’m talking about the time you were angry – really and truly angry – but the object of your ire was not something that was having any sort of a direct impact on your life, and you weren’t really able to meaningfully do anything about it anyway. 

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
— ‭‭James‬ ‭1:19-20‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I don’t usually come back to the same passage quite so soon after talking about it on a given day, but I just couldn’t think of any more relevant a word for what I am seeing happen in my little corner of the world right now than what James wrote here. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about anger and why people seem so angry all the time these days. Then, this past week, I’ve watched people be angry and stay angry and my mind went back to James’ wisdom. What are they angry about? On the surface, a bit of cloth, thread, and elastic that can’t cost more than about fifty cents. Let’s talk this morning about masks.

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:19

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you noticed lately that everyone seems angry? No matter what the issue nowadays, it feels a bit like anger is the only tool in our toolboxes anymore. You pick what the situation may be. Someone is arrested and things don’t go as smoothly as they normally do. Anger. The markets drop like a stone. Anger. Covid infection rates go up…or down. Anger. Schools wrestle with what will be the best approaches this year to keep students safe while fostering a genuine learning environment. Anger. The Olympics are starting. Anger. Congress acts. Anger. Congress doesn’t act. Anger. The line is longer than usual at the grocery store. Anger. Anger, anger, anger. What’s wrong with us? This morning I don’t have any recent media reviews for you. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why we are so angry as a people. I’d like to share some thoughts if you’ll have them.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:19

“He replied to them, ‘You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent, have you ever finally lost it with your kids? I’m not talking about a time when you fussed at them and they settled down from whatever tiff they were working out among them. I’m talking about a time when you finally blew your top. They had been at each other’s throats and argumentative with you over an extended period of time. You tried to be patient at first, but that ran out an hour ago. You upped the ante to sterner warnings and assurances of punishment if the chaos didn’t abate and that failed to take. At last you just erupted at them. Everybody got yelled at. Everybody’s feelings were hurt. Everybody was then sent to their rooms to sulk for the rest of the day and probably forever. My take is that if you haven’t hit that particular parenting milestone, one of three things is true: Your kids are too young and haven’t quite gotten to the age where that kind of thing starts happening; your kids are too perfect and you need to check to make sure they haven’t been replaced by body doubles; or you are Jesus. Actually, scratch that last one. As this passage reminds us, even Jesus hit His frustration max on occasion. Let’s talk about it.

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