For those of you who heard my message this past Sunday on learning to live a life without worry, you know that I didn’t finish it! For those who wish to read them, please find the rest of my notes for the sermon below. Find a chair, watch this moving video from Bill Hybels and let go of your worry!
–Rev. Jeff Gannon
The Cure for Worry – where’s Your Chair?
Live in the Kingdom NOW!
33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Who are you?
Child of God. One in whom Christ dwells and one with whom Christ takes great delight!
Where are you?
I live in the unshakeable kingdom of God! The kingdom of God is never in trouble!
“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
“We live in the unshakeable kingdom of God, so that even when we are tested, we never fail. This is why I am confident that our world is perfectly safe….this world is scary and dangerous if you are living outside of the kingdom of God. Inside the kingdom of God we are not in any danger. You could get cancer, hit by a bus, lose your job or lose a loved one in a heartbeat. If we die, we step into glory. When we lose a job, we can learn how to trust God for something better. If we lose a loved one, we can be certain we will soon enjoy their company, for all eternity. As long as we live in fellowship with our good and beautiful God in his mighty kingdom, we have nothing to fear, not even fear itself. For nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). When we know this to be true, we can let go of worry and begin living with confidence and joy.” James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God, p. 182.
Soul training exercise for worry: practice daily prayer
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Do you have a chair?
What is God saying to you today?
What is your next step?
A word to those who struggle with chronic anxiety (obsessive compulsive behavior, phobias, panic attacks, or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). As I said on Sunday, the last thing I want you to hear is that you don’t have enough faith and that is why you struggle with chronic anxiety. That is not biblically accurate and does great harm in the name of God to the people of God.
Some bullet points for your consideration:
- God is not anxious about your anxiety! God loves you just as you are!
- There is nothing wrong with taking medication to assist with chronic anxiety. Lewis Smedes, a clinical psychologist and ordained minister, wrote a book titled, My God and I. Smedes says, “God comes to me each morning and offers me a 20 milligram capsule of Prozac. With this medication, he clears the garbarge that accumulates in the canals of my brain overnight and gives me a chance to get a fresh morning start. I swallow every capsule with gratitude to God.” If you need medication, please get it. If you are on it and you are reluctant to take it, please see it as a means of grace to help you.
- If you know somebody who struggles with chronic anxiety, it is not your job to make it better. You don’t need to assume that doing more could make it better for them….more prayer, more journaling, more relaxing, etc.
- The best thing you and I can do is to listen and empathize. Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.
- The teaching of Jesus is to remember your value. You are a person of sacred worth. The God who created you loves and cares for you on the deepest levels.
- Get a chair and trust the God who loves you. (please watch the video if you want to know more about the chair).