You missed the point!
How many times have you heard a sermon on the feeding of the 5,000? Really, that many times - well get ready for one more. What if I told you that we have been missing the point of this miracle? While this miracle shows us God can provide everything we need, the truth it is about so much more than that. We will focus in on verses 16-18 of Matthew 14 with this thought in mind: "Expect More".
You're being lied to!
Not sure if you caught that, but every day you are hearing a lie. No, I'm not talking about that political ad you just saw on TV, or the story your kid just handed you about how they didn't do what you just saw them do.
I'm talking about your life. Every day we hear two stories - one heavenly and one earthly, and one of them has to be a lie. Which one is the subject of our 20th spiritual battle lesson and it just so happens to also fall on the observance of the Protestant Reformation. We will study 2 Timothy 4:10 and our theme is "The Problem with Jesus".
I'M ANGRY! I [Pastor Krause] was trying to find a good way to describe what we will be studying this weekend so I googled "anger" and the results kind of made me angry. Seems there is no perfect way to reference anger - I found one list identifying 4 kinds of anger, one says 7, one says 10 and another says 12 different kinds. Argh!
So I'm going to skip Google and go right to the expert, the man of our spiritual warfare lesson this week - Jonah. We will be studying chapter 4:9-10 with the theme "Anger Mismanagement".
I [Pastor Krause] think it is a pretty safe guess that you all know I am a huge Packer fan. I am excited the Pack is off to good start this season. But I am a bit concerned how our defense has been playing, especially with Sunday's upcoming game against Dallas.
I hope the Packers prepare for the game with a philosophy this weekend's lesson teaches us about spiritual warfare. We are going to study another prophet who was at the point of wanting to quit. And so God taught Jeremiah to "Bend, but not Break".
How strong are you? Strength can be measured in any number of ways: the amount of weight that can be lifted, the ability to stay focused in difficult circumstances, and even good old fashioned horsepower. As important as it is to be strong while fighting our spiritual battles, the real question is how much strength do we really have? Our next "I Quit" lesson shows us a man who thought he was weak but in reality he was really just afraid. We study Judges 6:11-16 and hear God tell Gideon, and us, "You are stronger than you know!"
The best time to win a spiritual battle is before it starts. Guard your heart! Our lesson comes from 2 Samuel 11:1. Let's strategize so we don't give up!
Words mean things. I am not a fan of people misusing words. Brain Anderson, one of the Brewer's TV announcers, often misuses the term "anxious" when the word he really should use is "eager" - “ i.e. so and so is eager to get another at-bat.
Many people also confuse the words "alone" and "lonely". Alone means being by one's self while lonely is that feeling of being unwanted by others, maybe even feeling unloved. Our next "I Quit" lesson is another look at the prophet Elijah and his spiritual battle with loneliness. Our lesson is 1 Kings 19:14 and our theme is "Alone or Lonely?
Ever been in a conversation where a person's words do not match their facial expression, that is, they are hiding what they are really thinking and feeling?
Ever try to have one of those conversations with God where we put on a brave face outwardly, but inwardly we are "dying". Our next "I Quit" lesson takes us to another Old Testament great - Elijah. But, like us, Elijah had his bad days too. This weekend we studied 1 Kings 19:4 and our theme is "Worth Less".
There is one universal topic you can discuss with just about anybody - the weather. Either it is too hot, too cold, too dry, to wet, etc. Everybody has an opinion about the weather. But the real hot topic is storms. How much rain did we get? Is it going to snow? Did you hear that thunder last night? Storms always get peoples' attention, especially the big ones. But what about spiritual storms? How many of us discuss the spiritual storms we need to weather? This week we have that discussion with our next "I Quit" lesson: Mark 4:38 “When the storm isn't really the problem!"
EVIL - How do you know for sure if a person is evil? And looks can be deceiving since we are unable to look into the hearts of others to examine if their motives match their words and actions. Often it seems we are unable to recognize true evil until it is too late, or so we may think. As we prepare for the next battle in our spiritual warfare on a personal level Jesus gives us a view of evil we might not ever considered. Our lesson comes from Matthew 13:24-30. And our study will be all about "Necessary Evil".
Problem Solving - Wouldn't it be nice if everything in life was simple, easy and fun? (That's the way it was supposed to be). But much like a muscle, without exercise, our faith would atrophy if everything were easy. And so God wisely allows challenges for our faith. Our next lesson in the "I Quit" series displays a challenge for the man whom this series is patterned from - Moses. Moses faced a big challenge and unfortunately he thought he had to face it alone - that became the real problem, the real spiritual battle Moses was fighting. Our lesson is specifically on Numbers 11:13-15 - but I'm adding verses 10-12 for a fuller understanding of the question on Moses' mind, "Why Me?"
NO END GAME?
Imagine this: I ask you to help out here at church but give you no information about how long the job will last or even how to know if you are meeting expectations. My goal here is not to describe how some churches recruit volunteers. It is about defining details. This week we begin the Trinity season and our new sermon series "I Quit" (spiritual warfare on a personal level). There is no better place to begin than with the details of what spiritual victory actually looks like as we study Luke 10:17-20. Our theme is one, glorious word: "Victory!"