Looking Beneath the Surface

Emotions are like an iceberg: we only see 10% of them, yet it’s the 90% that drives us relationally and causes us to respond in ways that surprise everyone. This sermon gives 4 tips on how to dive under to see and begin to take a look at the 90% of your emotions that are causing you to be who you are.

Most people don’t want to “Look Beneath the Surface” because they know of a situation in their life that is painful or shameful. As we look beneath the surface, it’s important to remember, “The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you dared believe, yet you are more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope because Jesus lived and died in your place.”

Has anything ever happened when you’ve responded in a way that was overboard? That you’re not sure why you responded in such a way, but realized something was triggered in you. It’s an indicator for you to slow down and spend time thinking and praying as to, ‘Why did this just happen’? To be emotionally healthy requires hard work, but it also requires you have a trusted friend with you who can share in the journey as to why you responded in such a way. While this may be painful and scary, it’s critical to remember that, as John 8:32 says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” 

Scripture: John 8:32; Proverbs 4:23

Thou Shall Not Judge… Oh Really!

Have you ever been judged unfairly? Chances are most of us have, and yet one of the biggest complaints from young people (and older people too) about the church is that they feel ‘judged’ all the time by people in the Church. People who are no better than they are and who also have ‘issues’, therefore making them hypocrites. Maybe you’ve been made fun of because of something with your appearance, how you speak, where you live, what school you go to, where you shop, if you drink, smoke, etc. These are all behaviors that the Church has cast judgement against others despite what Jesus appears to be saying in Matthew 7:1-2.

Listen to this sermon to see if you find yourself in this same story. Listen to see if Jesus is really against judging.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6

You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide

David, traditionally thought to be the author of Psalm 139, has a deep encounter with God–and comes to realize that he can run, but he can’t hide from God. David wrestles to wrap his head around three attributes of God’s character, and ultimately accepts the fact that God isn’t who he thought God was. In fact, God is much bigger and greater, and knows everything about David–and you and me, too.

Scripture: Psalm 139

The Lost Art of Lament

Most of contemporary church worship music is high energy, uptempo, happy-go-lucky praise songs. So, one is shocked to hear that the most common genre of the Psalms – ancient Israel’s and Jesus’s worship book – was lament (a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.). The most common theme of the Psalms is lament. Yet, virtually zero of the top 150 worship songs played in churches right now include lament – grieving, mourning, etc. Over and over again, the Psalmists are brutally honest with their grief, doubt and anger with God.

Jesus, too, used this very same Psalm of lament as he was dying on the cross. Not only, then, does he model this for us, but he also comforts us when we do not feel the presence of God in the midst of suffering because that’s exactly what he himself went through on the cross – he was abandoned by his own Father.

Meaning, God is not only the God of the sufferers, but the God who suffers. As one author puts, “Instead of explaining our suffering, God shares it — because He knows mere answers are cold and His arms are warm.”

Fascinating, though, is that most of the psalms of lament (including Psalm 22) end with hope and praise. Just as we can follow Jesus in grieving, we can also follow Jesus in grieving with hope.

May we honestly express our grief to God knowing that because of the cross He is a God who is with us in pain and because of the resurrection He will eventually rescue us.

Scripture: Psalm 22; Mark 15:33-34

Oaths (To Tell the Truth)

Life in Jesus’ kingdom is set to a higher standard. This is true in the things we say and how we communicate. Jesus challenges us to make statements that are truthful. An oath is simply making a statement and calling God to witness to the truth of that statement; and invoking a curse from God, if you’re not telling the truth. The instruction Jesus gives is to practice truthfulness. Do not lie, but actively seek the truth and pursue faithfulness. When you make a promise, be faithful to the vow you make, with God as your witness, and remember that the words of your mouth reflect the condition of your heart. Let your heart love Christ fully and honor God completely.

Scripture: Matthew 5:33-37