Real People…Real Issues…A Real God

 

sermonsThis sermon series deals with the internal emotional issues we all face and how God enables us to deal with them.  It could also be called Managing Your Emotions, or Facing Your Feelings.  While the topics for a series like this are almost endless and the Bible has so much to say about each of them, we are doing a 4 week series on a select 4 issues.  I have found that while these issues are real and people want and need to know how to deal with them, they tend to be so personal and sometimes painful, that short series are best for handling them. 

One characteristic of a sermon series like this is that it is universal.  In other words, Christians and non-Christians struggle with stress, and feelings of rejection.  It ministers to believers and speaks to the unbeliever where he or she lives.  So, if you are looking for a series that addresses the needs of the unchurched, this works.  If you have a lot of unsaved people who attend your church, this will speak to them.  It also gives your believers something good to share with their unsaved friends.  Each of them has a great evangelistic close since God is able to help us deal with these issues we cannot deal with alone.

This series is for Mesa Baptist Church in Mesa, Arizona where I am currently serving as Transitional Pastor.

Here are the four we are dealing with in April and May:

4-11        Standing Up To Stress
4-18        Beating The Blues
4-25        Overpowering Anger
5-2          Rebounding Over Rejection

These are topical messages and bring in many Scriptures that relate to the topics, however, each one has a primary passage, and all but one have a primary Bible character they relate to.

  • “Standing Up to Stress” is based on Genesis 32 and focuses on the Bible character of Jacob.  When Jacob ran away from Uncle Laban and was about to meet his twin brother Esau who had promised to kill him years before, Jacob felt stressed out.  He was between a rock and a hard place.  It was at this time when he met and wrestled with a man who changed his name from Jacob to Israel. 
  • “Beating the Blues” is a message about Depression or Discouragement.  The primary passage is 1 Kings 19 and it focuses on the Bible character of Elijah.  After a real mountain-top experience, Elijah went down into the depths of depression and prayed for death.  However, God graciously dealt with this depressed prophet.  We can learn how God cares for us when we are depressed and some principles for beating those blues.
  • “Overpowering Anger” takes up the topic of how to deal with the anger we feel at times, and also how to deal with anger that is directed toward us from other people.  This primary passage is Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32.  It is subtitled, “Anger:  The Dragon You Must Defeat” or “How to Tame Your Dragon.”  In other words, everyone has a dragon they must defeat.  No one can “slay” the dragon of anger because it is a God-given emotion.  We must learn how to tame it or train it and keep it under control.  Like all emotions, we either control them or they will control us.  In this message I referred to a new song from Jaron and the Long Road to Love which perfectly illustrates one of the points in the message.  When we fail to deal with anger “before the sun goes down,” that anger can turn to bitterness, wrath, angry outbursts, public fighting, slander, and malice.  The song, “I Pray For You” is a great example of malice which is the expression of unresolved anger.  I will refer to it more in another post.
  • “Rebounding Over Rejection” looks at the serious subject and emotion of rejection.  From our earliest days in grade school sending love notes marked, “Do you like me? Yes or No, circle one.”  We understand rejection.  Whether it is getting cut from the team, losing a best friend, getting gilted, receiving a “Dear John” letter or text, or going through the devastation of divorce, we understand rejection.  However, God also understands rejection.  Many Bible characters experienced the feelings of rejection.  This message focuses on the Old Testament character, Job.  He understood rejection after he lost everything and saw even his friends turn against him.  The primary passage for this message is Job 19:13-19.  How do we deal with rejection in our own lives and how do we trust God during those times?

I have tried to glean from many great teachers and preachers for this series.  Adrian Rogers, Erwin Lutzer, Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll, Warren Wiersbe, and many others who have written and preached on these subjects.  While I also checked out some great counseling books on these subjects and found some great insights, I have found that I received the most help from great preachers who have dealt with them.  Preachers are just better communicators and better at packaging and organizing the materials for the public. 

Here are a few observations.  People who are hurting really respond to these kinds of messages.  More people are hurting in your church than you probably realize.  More people are dealing with private pain than you currently think.  Some unexpected things will come to the surface.  It really gives a Pastor an opportunity to bring healing to some people.  This subject deals with down subjects so you have to be especially intentional to bring the message and design the services in an upbeat way.  You do not want people to leave more depressed than they were when they came in.  You do not want people to leave more angry than when they first arrived.  You do not want them to feel more stressful at the end of the message than they did at the beginning, etc.  So, if you can bring in some upbeat music, videos, and humorous stories, it is helpful.  Also, you have to be open to sharing your own personal struggles in these areas.  Perhaps this is a reason why some preachers do not want to deal with these issues from the pulpit.  The preacher has to be open to being vulnerable about how he has fallen short during some of these struggles.  That is easier for some people than for others.

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About the author

Pastor, Church Planter, Evangelist and Consultant in Chandler, Arizona. Licensed by Second Baptist Church in Lamesa, Texas. Ordained by Trinity Baptist Church in Irving, Texas. Youth Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Irving, Texas 1985-1987. Pastor at Dixon Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas 1987-1999. Pastor at Wellspring Church in Chandler, Arizona July 1999 - July 2009. Currently serving as Executive Pastor at Highland Terrace Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas. Available for Pulpit Supply, Interims, Evangelistic Crusades, Revivals, Bible Conferences, Seminars, Pastoral Consulting, Church Consulting, Capital Campaign Consulting, and Conversation over a Coke Zero.