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Resilience - Free from the Weight of the Past

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On Sunday, September 24, 2017, Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series on Resilience, beginning by looking in Hebrews 12, where it talks about running with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Life is not a sprint; it's a marathon.  Our past hurts are like trying to run that race carrying a backpack filled with rocks.

Resilient people run free of the weight of the past.

They know that tough things happen, but they must be dealt with well and as quickly as possible. 

The life of Joseph illustrates this.  (Genesis 37:34-35)  Joseph's story becomes an adventure in resilience.  There's no evidence of self-pity or resentment or bitterness in Joseph (Genesis 45:1-3).  Yet his brothers are paralyzed by guilt (Genesis 45:4-9).

Resilient people understand the importance of a healthy memory track.

Any amount of time we spend with unnecessary junk in our backpacks translates into unnecessary and unhelpful fatigue or worry.  Imagine what Joseph's life would have been like if he'd been telling everyone his wrongs.

Resilient people are free to be used by God.

Words in our youth beat us down.  Things done to us  hurt us, but so do things we've done and vows we've made.

We don't intend to carry rocks around, but we store things up because we don't know how to deal with our rocks; or we want to use them; or we have buried them (knowingly or unknowingly).

Resilient people understand the importance of rehearsing what God has done.

Thanks and praise make a difference!  Deuteronomy 5:15

Healthy remembrance builds healthy life habits, healthy courage.  Deuteronomy 7:18

Unhealthy memory tracks build unhealthy habits.  Numbers 11:5

After all Joseph's troubles, he only sees the activity of God.  Genesis 50:15-21  Everything else is swallowed up by God's providence.

Resilient people deal effectively with the negative experiences in their lives.

Important principle:  We are all a mess!

Tools for dealing with negative experiences:

For hurts against us:  Get to forgiveness.

It's not easy, and it may be a long process.  It's ultimately for our own good, that we may live light and free.

For wrongs we've done:  Confess and repent. 

Psalm 51 -- David's not giving excuses.

Breaches in relationships can only be repaired by confession and repentance.  This is also a long, complicated process.

Where do we begin?  Have a good conversation with a trusted friend; do a memory exercise, examining your past.

Jesus gives wisdom - He inspires repentance and enables repentance.  We need mercy!

Resilient people run free of the weight of the past.


And then we shared the mercy meal of Communion together.


This morning, Pastor Ed Allen began a new series on Resilience, using I Corinthians 9:24-27 as a launching point.

Resilient people live with spiritual discipline.  They train to go the distance.

Paul uses elite athletes training as his example.  He gives two directives:

1.  We should live with strict self-control.

"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training."  If we want passing rewards, we don't need this.  It involves saying No to lesser things.  We're not talking about drudgery, but about freedom.

2.  We should live with focused intentionality.

We train to get a reward that lasts.  Far too much is at stake to live casually.  We need to remain focused on our purpose.

Building resilience doesn't happen by fretting about this week's struggles - we need a bigger picture.  We need to check on our connection with God and others.

Discipline means saying no to short-term pleasures for the sake of longer term and greater pleasures.

Take one or two of these and really do them.  Some specific disciplines:

  • A serious time of reflection.  (Take a personal retreat and reflect on your life.)
  • A serious Bible study
  • Regular Bible reading
  • Daily prayer  (Prayer is the easiest and most complicated thing.)
  • Physical exercise  (This helps your spiritual discipline.)
  • A regular time of worship.  (We need time to be reminded that it's not about me, it's about God.)

We're training to follow the lifestyle of our master, Jesus.

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