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How to Deal with How You Feel - Anger

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Today's sermon continued the series "How to Deal with How You Feel," looking at the emotion of Anger.

The Scripture passage was a short one, Ephesians 4:26-27.

Our hearts are important.  This can be seen in Proverbs -- 4:23; 14:30; 15:13; and 17:22.

Our emotional life is critically important to our overall health.

Dangers to avoid:  Ascribing omnipotence to our emotions or denying them.

Anger is especially susceptible to denial.

Anger is a secondary emotion.  It surfaces from hurt or frustration.  It's more powerful, less vulnerable than those emotions.

Scripture makes it clear there's a way of being angry that's not sinful.  God gets angry (Psalm 7:11; Exodus 4:14; Mark 3:5).

Identifying sinful anger:

1)  When it's for the wrong reason.  (Selfish)

2)  When it controls us.  Prov. 16:32

3)  When it becomes the dominant feature in our lives.  Prov. 19:19 (There are consequences.)

4)  When it is brooding or fretting.  Psalm 37:8

5)  When it keeps a running record of how you've been mistreated.  I Cor. 13:5

Sometimes we ball up our wrongs and keep them in the freezer.  Then we bring out the ice pellets in a surprise attack.

6)  When we pretend not to be angry.  Eph. 4:25

7)  When we return evil for evil or attack the one with whom we're angry.

8)  When it drives us to attack a substitute.

Why do we get angry?

1)  We don't deal with our emotions healthily and honestly; we push frustration or hurt or insecurity underground.

Pastor Ed gave a personal story.  He's found that every time he was angry with his wife, he was feeling minimized.  But hadn't necessarily noticed that feeling.

Pushing hurt underground brings out anger.

This happens through denial or immaturity or lack of emotional discipline.

2)  We see anger modeled and we internalize it.

This isn't about blaming, but about getting to the solution.

3)  We don't bond healthily.

Anger is a natural protest to isolation.

Jesus is the only place where the true need for deep bonding can really be met.

4)  We don't sort good and bad well.

We see the world in black and white, which causes perfectionism, judgmentalism, guilt, etc.

How do we move forward less angrily?

1)  Do not hang out with an angry person.  Proverbs 22:24-25

Are their angry people in your life?  Do your environments nurse your anger?

Step away.  Do the work.

2)  Accept the gift of limits.

You're limited: Accept it, welcome it.

Jesus regularly retreated from crowds.

What mattered to Jesus wasn't his limits, but his mission.

Also accept the limits of those around us.

This is work you must allow God's spirit to do in you.

3)  Check your anger meter.  Proverbs 29:11

You have the capacity to keep your anger under control.

Check with the people you know and love.

If you're asked, "Why are you so angry?" stop and check!

You're not alone.  This is work you must allow God's people to speak into.

Do I have an anger problem?

4)  Get some exercise.

 

Also from Ephesians 4, "Do not give the devil a foothold."  We live spiritual lives whether we believe it or not.  We're surrounded by spiritual beings and some of them mean us harm.

Anger gives the devil a megaphone.

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What's your reaction to the thoughts here?  Do comment below!

Armed Forces Sunday - Christ and Culture

This past Sunday, Gateway celebrated Armed Forces Sunday.

We enjoyed a slide show of pictures of military and former military members of the congregation and family members.  Pastor Ed interviewed Eric and Valerie Johnson, both members of the military.

We also had special visitors from Boy Scouts troop 2013.  Gateway has agreed to be a charter sponsor of this troop.  I hadn't realized that Boy Scouts look for community sponsors, and Gateway has begun that relationship with a local troop.

The sermon pointed out that Christians have always had a problematic relationship with the military.

We are commanded not to kill, and Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

But freedom needs to be defended, and we honor those who have served.

Christ-followers have also always had a problematic relationship with the culture around us.

How should we relate to the culture around us?

Some approaches:

1)  Christ against Culture.

Reject any claim of culture over us, trying to be totally separate.

Not effective in the long run.

2)  The Christ of Culture.

See the best parts of culture as inspired by Christ himself.

Make spiritual life approachable.

May have compromised their message to gain an audience.

3)  Christ the Transformer of Culture.

In the culture, but not fully of it.

This is the approach in Jeremiah 29:4-14.

The Israelites could have attacked Babylon or could have been absorbed by it.

God said, if Babylon prospers, you will prosper.  But don't forget your home and don't forget Me.

*Don't Miss This*!

***

1)  God knows where you are!

2)  You're here on purpose!

3)  If you seek him with your whole heart, you will find him.

***

God carried me here.

This has always been his promise.

These are true for those who have experienced the death of your dream.

These are true for those who have been doing it a long time.

This is exactly what we see in Jesus.

Jesus didn't abolish the law and the prophets, but his message was transformative.

Jesus showed us how to be transformative.

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