DONT CHA WORRY! - Wellington First Assembly

Wellington First Assembly

326 W Botkin Lane, Wellington Kansas ........Family Faith Lessons - 9:30 AM........ Sunday Worship - 10:30 AM

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

DONT CHA WORRY!


Have you heard about the two old men who worried all the time? All they did was worry.  They would sit on the front porch playing checkers and worry!  They worried over big things, they worried over little things.  It got to the point where people were getting a little annoyed at how much they worried.

One day, they saw a signboard with these wise words. ‘If you can do something successfully, there is no reason to worry about doing it! If you cannot do something, worrying for it will not make it happen!’

The two men thought, reflected, and decided they would not worry for anything!
But, they still did worry that who would then take care of their problems. So, they decided to appoint a person who could worry for their problems.

After few days, they found a man who survived on temporary jobs. The man asked how much they would like to pay if he worries for them.

The old men discussed and told him that they decided to pay 100 bucks for a week for him to worry for them!

The young man said it won’t work! He continued, ‘you pay too little to worry about something for you. How can I worry when I really worry about the little pay?’
The old men discussed again and told they were ready to pay him 1000 bucks a week!

The surprised young man said, ‘It won’t work again. You pay a huge amount. While I earn a good sum of money, why should I worry?

Now the two old men were worried who would worry for them!
  (adapted from http://www.kidsworldfun.com/funny-short-stories-the-worry-men.php)

The moral of the tale – Don’t Cha Worry!




This week we begin our fall series entitled, Enemies of Gratitude.  In just six weeks or so, we will hit the point of the year where everyone gathers together and gives thanks for what God has generously provided them – right before they go out on an all-night shopping spree!

But for some, it is hard to sit at a Thanksgiving table and find something to be grateful for?  Why is that?  Because the enemy of our soul tries his best to rob us of our joy.  There are five attitudes which can steal our gratitude.  When we let these attitudes shape our lives, take root into our soul, the graciousness that God’s grace has provided us slowly shrivels into a darkened mass.


Today, we look at the first Enemy of Gratitude – Worry.

Stand with me in body or spirit as we join our voices together in reading God’s Holy Word from the letter to the church at Philippians.  Our text today is taken from Phil. 4:4-9.


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God! And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Worry.  Anxiety.  Fear.  Dread. Trepidation.  Unease.  Apprehension.  

Each image drips with prickly goose bumps, a clenched gut, a furrowed brow.  At times worry overtakes us to a point of paralysis. There will be dozens who, after the tragic events of last Sunday evening in Las Vegas, will hesitate to venture into a crowd again, who will shy away from a tall building, who will flinch at a loud noise.  There are others, not even present at that event, will shrink into the corner afraid that something worse will seek them out.  After all, this is what we saw Gideon do.  Terrorized by day, he worked in secret at night.

For others, anxiety will not rise to that level.  That’s not what you worry about.  Finances, rent payment, braces, car insurance, where the next meal might come from.  For others, its, “will this person like me” will they hurt my feelings at school?  Will that bully show up again today?

When a child or an adult encounter that much anxiety or worry, it drives them away from the freedom and calling God has upon their life.  It robs them of the joy and blessing that Christ has in store from them.  This is why God, in his interactions with almost every Biblical character keeps on saying, don’t be afraid; Fear Not.  Be Courageous!  Walk out of the grave, Leave the prison cell, Climb out of the Pit.  Put your fingers on the nail scars.

In other words --   Don’t Cha Worry! --

But pastor, you ask – that’s easier said, then done.  Have you watched the news?  Yes, I have.  But I’ve also read the Book!

Let me be real for a moment.  Events that we do not want to happen, do.  Life has a way of throwing road blocks into our path.  Our natural inclination, since the fall of humankind when we left the full bountiful provision of God’s goodness, is to worry.  That’s the default mode. 

Oh, No.  What am I going to do?  How am I going to fix it?  Will we ever get through this? – I don’t care how many times you’ve actually been rescued from a bad situation – in every new situation, a worrisome thought comes flying by.  The enemy is shooting little darts at us.  If we let one land and take root, it will burn away any gratitude that we have.

You’ve noticed, that haven’t you?  The people who walk around thanking others for holding the door, coming to work, doing the expected things – the ones who live a life full of gratitude – don’t seem like they have a care in the world.  The reality is, they do.  They still have bills, mortgages, unexpected car repairs.  But since their focus is on gratitude for what God does all around them, they have a different outlook on life.  A smile is on their face.  Not fake – but confident that the one who started a good work with them will complete it in the day of Jesus Christ!

Then there are the others – you’ve seen them.  The Worry-Wart.  A frown is tattooed on the face.  The sullen look demands from others and rarely thanks.  Gratitude is gone.

So what do we do when something happens that can make us worry?

Our text today gives us several insights.  And what makes these insights so powerful is the situation that Paul is in.  As he writes this, he has every reason to worry, to be anxious.  As the readers listen to this letter being read in the synagogue, they have every reason to worry, to be anxious.  Paul isn’t sitting in a grand hotel hammering away on his typewriter with room service at his side. Where is he?  Sitting in prison – guarded by some of the meanest, toughest, maybe even hairiest soldiers around.  Don’t even think about escaping this problem.  He’s got a one-way ticket to a death sentence ahead of him.

And the people in Philippi?  They are facing harassment, persecution.  Not as much as Paul – but a lot less than you and I ever faced in our lifetimes.

So what advice comes out?  What wisdom can we take and apply in our lives today?

When you start to worry, LOOK FOR THE LORD!
Surprise!  Ever played Pop goes the Weasel?  Or, do you remember cranking the handle of the Jack in the Box – No matter how much you prepared yourself for the sudden appearance of that clown, you jumped, didn’t you?  Why?  Because you were expecting it – you just didn’t know when!
To demonstrate just how much God can jump out and surprise you with his provision,

 Paul even writes it like that!  He’s writing out his advice, do this, do that, rejoice – and suddenly, without warning, without good grammar, he sticks in like bold print – LOOK OUT FOR THE LORD

You do not know when God is gonna pop up and surprise you.  Look around for Him!  He is there.  Do you want to know where people find God?  I mean, really, really find God?  It’s not on the mountain top, it’s in the valley of the shadow of death.  It’s not in the wonderful, goose bump experience, but in the never letting go hug in the middle of a long cry.  It’s not in the fields of carefree living, it’s in the miry pit that you find yourself in.  Yes, God is omnipresent, he is everywhere – but our eyes are opened and expectations surprised that God is at his best sitting with us in the awful times.  When you start of worry, Look for the LORD

We see this revealed in every tragedy.  In Las Vegas, strangers helped each other to avoid the terror, In Houston, volunteers, who have never met the one they aid, rebuild a home after a hurricane. What happens when the actions of God, the works of his church, the mobilization of the hands and feet of the body of Christ impact a community?  Gushing gratitude.  A Joy. A thankfulness that is contagious.  A warming of the heart that melts chains of worry.

What’s Paul saying – DON’T CHA WORRY!

When you start to worry, PIVOT TO PRAYER!
It’s been a few years since I’ve shared the story of a young simple thief turned 19th century preacher.  In his younger days, when he was worried about food – he stole it.  But the now British Christian pastor and orphanage director George Mueller, facing a barren cupboard for his 300 charges did not revert to worry or his old ways.  Instead, he turned to prayer.

He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. "Mr. Mueller," he said, "last night I could not sleep. Somehow, I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in."

Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.

DON’T CHA WORRY – Pivot to Prayer!  Thank God and wait!

but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God!

I know we each may have a different meal time ritual.  Praying for our food, Asking God’s grace, Praying a blessing.  No matter what we call it or how we say it, a meal time prayer at its heart goes directly to this point.  It’s a point in the day where we stop, reflect on God’s gratitude and give him thanks – even if there is very little there. 
What most people don’t get, the prayer is not for the food that is on the table.  The prayer is one of gratitude that God has provided it for us, and a prayer of gratitude that God will provide our next necessity as well.  It’s not that God doesn’t know what we need.  In his sovereignty, he absolutely knows exactly what, when, and where we need it.  Our responsibility is to present thanksgiving for what God will supply us – even if it ends up being something we didn’t expect!

Most of the time, our worry is caused by being anxious over what we want, instead of waiting on God to give us what we need.  There’s a difference there.  God promised us in Psalm 23, that we shall not go wanting – we shall not lack any thing that is required – “I shall not want.”  When you do not want, you will not worry!

When you start to worry, · Walk in Worthiness  (vs. 8.)
Character counts.  Living a life worthy of praise is what really matters.  Are you living a praiseworthy life?  The list isn’t exhaustive but it covers a lot of things – true, full of honor, commendable, just.
I’m gonna give you a hint.  The 19th century milkman would not have offered his cans to George Mueller’s orphanage if he still thought of George as a thief.  These unexpected droplets of grace that float into our lives don’t appear through a random formula.  When other see how God’s character shines through your lives, they desire to come alongside and be a part of the team.  They desire to donate to the cause, they desire to get on board and help you succeed.

Success breeds success.  Worthiness welcomes worthiness.  By the way, worry and worthiness, don’t go together.  Walk away from worry!

Paul recognized in this passage that there are many from non – Christian cultures who have also learned to be content and not to worry.  He refences the ancient philosopher Seneca in these words here – but is calling Christians to move beyond that which is can be found in just culture.  He desires their worthiness to be found, not just in human goodness, but in the divinity of Christ as well.  It is only then that the promises of Isaiah can come to pass – that the tears of death can be fully wiped away forever.  Walk in His Worthiness and it extends past this lifetime.  Walk in His worthiness and DON’T CHA WORRY anymore.

The final point gleaned from today’s scripture lesson is this.  When you start to worry, Practice His peace.
Practicing peace must be done in a purposeful manner.  It’s an exercise which develops strength and resilience.  Peace anchors deep within your heart.  It must become a core of who you are in your identity with Christ. As peace is practiced, Paul compares it to his guards.  The guards of peace keep out worry, reduce its chances of taking hold.  The contentment and tranquility that one finds in Christ Jesus surpasses all understanding.  In other words, mind explosion!

How do you practice his peace?  Hold your tongue.  Mediate on the scripture.  Sing a song of affirmation:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul.

If there was anyone who had a right to be angry, it was Paul.  Falsely accused, He could be angry at the world.  But he choose instead to practice peace so that those around him could be saved.  Where did he do this first?  At another time he was in jail – in the town of Philippi – the would-be recipient of this letter he is now writing.  Because he practiced peace, because Paul and Silas rejoiced and sang a song of praise, even in their beaten condition, God used them to bring peace to the worried heart of the Philippian jailor.  As the jailor eventually became a leader in that early church, he undoubtedly knew exactly what Paul was referring to.  It affirmed within his spirit, that the key to leave worry behind was to rejoice and then rejoice again.

If you have forgotten to practice his peace, remember when you last were the recipient of it – and you can start practicing again!


REMEMBER THIS
When you think things of thanks,
then worry tanks!
This is way more than Bobby McFerrin’s classic song, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.  This is way more than thinking Peter Pan and Tinkerbell happy thoughts.  Your thinking, your meditating, your every praise from your lips must be one of gratitude towards your Savior.  Most of the worries in our lives or over insignificant inconveniences.  When re recognize that our gratitude should be focused on our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and when our priorities are put into right alignment, we will no longer be anxious, afraid, or worried.


THINK THIS THROUGH
Ridding your life of worry is not a matter of reducing stress,
but of increasing trust! 
—Brian Erickson

This week, don’t focus on reducing the stress in your life, don’t try to hide from things that could worry you – because they will find you.  Instead place your trust in him! 
This is our prayer today – God increase my trust

You know how God responds?  Don’t cha worry – I will.

Shall we pray.