The Serenity Prayer – God grant me the serenity… To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference…. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right… If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life… And supremely happy with Him… Forever and ever in the next.
Declaration of Independence – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… Is it even attainable…?
Henry David Thoreau: "Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
Apostle Paul – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil. 4:4)
Are you happy…? Those close to me might describe me as… pensive… introverted… moody… contemplative… But probably not happy! But I want to be happy! And so do you….
Some versions of Xianity have said things like, “God doesn’t want you to be happy… He wants you to be holy!”
C. S. Lewis – “The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”
Think of the person living in the 7th century in poverty… the African American slave in the 1700’s… the person struggling with a chronic disease… the person who has lost a loved one… The person in prison… The peasant farmer…
Let me define Happiness… A deep, abiding satisfaction and security from being in God’s favor.
- Deep – Not a surface that this easily lost, it’s not a fleeting emotion that comes and goes with your mood… or whether you have had your caffeine yet!
- Abiding – It’s got stickiness… it is not dependent on favorable circumstances (health… finances… your “team”. Raider fans would never be happy! ☺.
- Satisfaction – A contented spirit.
- Security – I’m okay with God…. I’m okay with me!
There is happiness IN life AND… there is happiness WITH life. They are two different things.
The Science of Happiness – An explosion of research on this over the last 20 years!
- 10% circumstances… If/when thinking ** Caffeine happiness…
50% genetics – Sanguine (happy, hopeful, optimistic people) Melancholy (sad, miserable, downhearted, unhappy, gloomy, pessimistic). We really don’t hate you happy people… you make life more fun! We are jealous ☺.
- 40% choices. Life practices… follow certain disciplines… certain behaviors… HABITS!
Enjoying life…. With Jesus… With others… and For Others! Everything you need to life a happy life is right there!
- With Jesus… You get a sense of significance, worth, value.
- With Others… You get a sense of belonging.
- For Others… Your life has purpose… meaning.
Let’s get really practical… Because some of you are actually undermining your own happiness!
- You’re impulsive… short view… caffeine happiness… pleasure over fulfillment
- You’re getting bad information… fear has captivated your heart…
- You allow toxic people in your life…
- Decisions… how you spend your time… your money… the amount of sleep you get… diet… exercise.
COVID-19 has made things really difficult! More suicides in Portland than COVID deaths… More overdoses in SF than COVID deaths… the average age of COVID death is 78. Before COVID…? 78. 94% of COVID deaths had other health issues. I’ve been a little obsessive with cleanliness since H1N1 in 2009… I take C, D and Zinc… I exercise… I hold my breath when I walk by people in the store ☺.
This is just me… I decided I was going to take precautions… but I’m not going to live in fear. Statistically, I have a 99% chance of living, even if I get it! Hebrews, “It’s appointed for a person to die once… and then the judgment.” I’m going to continue to live a life WITH JESUS… WITH OTHERS… & FOR OTHERS.
Luke 6:40 – A student is not above his teacher, but when he is fully trained, he will be like him.
Shame – comes on the heals of guilt.
** Example of Guilt and Shame at work – you blow it… tell a lie! You feel bad about doing something wrong… but deeper than that… you feel ashamed! You did something you despise in others… you thought you were better than that! You thought you were more courageous than that!
Opposite of guilt… innocence!
Opposite of shame… Glory! (Significance… value… worth)
Who am I…? What names me…? Whose approval really matters…?
Have I tried to build my identity on the wrong things…?
- being a mom
- being the best employee
- having someone’s approval
- being successful
Shame is accompanied by
- strong feelings of inadequacy…
- Uncertainty as to where you fit in…
- a fear of failure…
- inability or unwillingness to take risks… or
- over shyness…
Key: When we violate God’s standard…
Out of love, He brings a deep sense of conviction… but never condemnation!
Romans 8:1 – There is no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus!
1 John 3:20 – 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
2) Phantom Guilt – Like a person who has had a limb amputated.
Phantom guilt can persist in a Xian’s life for sometime if not dealt with… where does it come from…?
- A hypersensitive/weak conscious…
- Unhealthy spiritual upbringing…
- Unhealthy upbringing…
o Don’t feel what you feel… feel what we tell you to feel!
o Don’t show emotion! ** Don’t ever get angry!
o Emotions not validated… You shouldn’t feel like that!
o Abuse… neglect… abandonment…
Phantom Guilt unchecked…. Can lead to:
- Regular outburst of anger
- An inability to have close relationships
- Can lead to physical illnesses!
- Can lead to addictions… from drugs to food to shopping!
Feeling guilty…? Ask: Is my guilt true guilt or phantom guilt…?
Have I violated God’s Word…? Or…
Have I not lived up to my mom’s expectations…?
Have I disappointed my dad…?
Have I not lived up to some expectation that’s not from God…?
Two kinds of guilt:
1) True Guilt – A good thing! Not a good thing when someone never experiences guilt!
Psalm 51:4 – 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
David has a straight edge… it’s God who sets the standard, and its God who determines sin and is 1st offended by our sin. To distinguish true and phantom guilt, we need to go to God’s Word… get good counsel… study, seek advice of scholars…etc…
We can’t resist all guilt! Some of it is right! Don’t you wish Hitler felt guilt…?
* WWII – US slow to believe reports about the slaughter of Jews… Not Germany! A Christian nation… maybe a less sophisticated people… After the war, US soldiers were horrified at what they found… in one city the US general forced the people of that town to clean up the mess… The Mayor and his wife committed suicide the next day! They knew that stuff was taking place, but they didn’t want to believe it could happen.
How do you deal with True Guilt…?
1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 32:5 - 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
“Confess” means to say the same thing. To see your sin from the perspective of the one you have offended. You have to stand in their shoes!
“If I have offended you, I’m sorry”… that’s not confession!!! That’s doing what you have to do so you don’t look bad!
Psalm 32: 1 - Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
“Blessed” – complete wellness of being; profound joy… You must assert God’s truth over your feelings of guilt!
Matthew 4 – 18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Not a cheesy play on words… but a 1st century idiom… follow me and you will become like me! You will become a wise and influential person… An invitation of a lifetime for these “uneducated fishermen – an invitation to walk in and sit in the Dust of the Rabbi!) 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
** Not like some of you might follow the Giants… Jesus isn’t inviting us to be his fans… he’s inviting us to put on a uniform and play the game! “Follow”… 79x’s!
4:21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
John 1 – 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” (and he and Nathanael began to follow Jesus) NIV
Matthew 9 – 9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Not only is following Jesus an invitation to be with Jesus… but it’s an invitation to be with others!
Matthew 9:10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum? ” 12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: (Hosea 6:6) ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” NLT
Welcome to church! A place for scum… for sinners… for the sick… the broken…
** Denver church – “Scum of the earth”. 2nd favorite: “This ain’t your grandma’s church”
Now… think about this with me… good, simple, law-abiding fishermen… a man of impeccable integrity (Nathanael) a Tax collector… literally on the payroll of Rome… traitors to their country… on the level of prostitutes according the cultural ladder. Usually wealthy and educated, they would buy a post and collect taxes for the Roman government, allowed to collect extra for themselves with the enforcement of the Roman soldiers… Hated by Jews! And add to that, Judas Iscariot… and Simon the Zealot. Zealots were “God and Country” (country being more important than God – MIGA hats…) who were known to carry a dagger and when given the chance would attach and kill a Roman Soldier.
Imagine the conversations in that group…? What did Matthew do when Jesus said render unto to Caesar what is Caesar’s? Did he wink over at Simon…? You couldn’t get two more extreme people on the same squad! Its like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump working together!
** Now Imagine… a white supremacist skinhead with a swastika tat…. a bi-sexual transgender… A black, Antifa radical… a couple of blue-caller construction workers with MAGA hats…. And throw in a few Google engineers… and an Apple tech guy just to round it off!
That’s what following Jesus looks like! It’s people who have Christ in common… and maybe nothing else!
And let’s not miss the significance of this scene… tax collectors… fishermen… women… both reputable and former prostitutes… dagger carrying zealots… together! Eating meals together!!
Food meant so much more than nourishment! It meant welcome… it meant friendship… it meant community
NT scholar Scott Bartchy says: “It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of table fellowship for the cultures of the Mediterranean basin in the first century of our era. Mealtimes were far more than occasions for individuals to consume nourishment. Being welcomed at a table for the purpose of eating food with another person had become a ceremony richly symbolic of friendship, intimacy and unity. Thus betrayal or unfaithfulness toward anyone with whom one had shared the table was viewed as particularly reprehensible. On the other hand, when persons were estranged, a meal invitation opened the way to reconciliation.”
Luke – 50 references to Jesus and food… Matthew – 94!
NT Scholar Robert Karris – “Jesus is either going to a meal… at a meal… or leaving a meal! He was ate meals so often, he was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard! Another scholar says, “Jesus was crucified because of whom he ate with”.
Your homework class… Eat together!
Emotional Intelligence – EQ vs. IQ… EQ is The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. ‘emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success’
According to the bible we are not only emotional beings, but we are also complex creatures made up of mind, conscience, spirit & emotions all wrapped up in a physical body! And it’s all connected! Our emotions are not isolated or separate from our conscious, mind or body!
Psalm 32:3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
When we come to faith in Christ… God has so much more for us than to just “be good”. He also desires to reform and transform our lives, which includes our emotions!
A person may come to Christ with very damaged emotions… Either overly emotional… someone who is controlled and subject to their emotions. Or, someone who is almost non-emotional. Both are unhealthy!
The next 4 weeks Pat and I are going to dig into the role of emotions and how to deal with some emotions that become toxic in lives. Guilt, Anger, Fear, Anxiety & Grief.
Today: Dealing with Guilt and Shame –
- Guilt is about wrong doing… you feel bad about something you did wrong.
- Shame is about wrong being… you feel there is something essentially wrong or “bad” about you
In today’s culture…. Guilt is all but disappearing. People don’t feel guilt, because what was once wrong is no longer wrong! Be your own person… you decide what is right and wrong… BUT, what’s not going away is this deep sense that something is wrong in me. Watch just about any movie, Netflix…. You’ll see this over and over… Do I matter…? Am I significant…? Am I important…?
For 80+ years our culture has been working hard to shed the Bible’s morality…. And while more and more people don’t feel guilty about anything specific… I didn’t do anything wrong… But the feelings of worth… of significance… of shame… persist!