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Resilience - Run with the Right Company

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Yesterday, October 1, 2017, Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series on Resilience.  This time, we looked at Ephesians 4:1-16, with this theme:

Resilient people run with the right company.

(It was a historic sermon, in that Pastor Ed had us all Groupletyze - moving our chairs into small groups and talking together in the middle of the sermon.  We haven't done that since we met in Rachel Carson Middle School!)

Resilient people don't run alone.  We need connection.

Studies have shown that loneliness increases the likelihood of premature death.  But an estimated 1 in 5 Americans suffer from persistent loneliness.  Even back in Genesis 1, the one thing that wasn't good about creation was that it wasn't good for man to be alone.

What kind of company are we looking for?

1)  The right company provides a place of unity.

This unity takes effort (Ephesians 4:3).

What kind of unity?

It is (living) functional unity (vs. 4-6).  We're connected like parts of a body.

It is a spiritual unity.  It's a gift from the Spirit, not natural attraction.

It is purposeful unity.  "One hope to which you were called."

It is doctrinal unity.  "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all."

What's at stake for us is being our best selves.

2)  The right company performs like a symphony.

Ephesians 4:11-13 -- God has given us qualities that work together.  And more become evident as they work together.  These gifts are so that everyone is built up and becomes mature.

All of us are lifted up to greater heights than we could reach by ourselves.

3)  The right company is a place of stability.

Ephesians 4:14.  When something awful happens, you're in danger of losing your footing.  When you're losing your marriage, you don't need an "I hate my spouse" group.  The right company keeps moving forward.

4)  The right company is a place of growth.

Ephesians 4:15-16.

Our challenge:  Gateway isn't the right company yet.  We need people playing their instruments.  We need to make choices to grow together.  Small groups are how we build this company.

Sign up for a small group!  You need it!

For almost all of us, we do have a group of people who influence us.  Is it the right company?

Let's invest and make the right companies for each other!

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.

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And then we shared the mercy meal of Communion together.

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