October 25, 2015
Stetson Memorial UMC
Inspired by Marcia McPhee’s Series:
“Moving out of Scare City”
“Building A Life of Comfort…?”
Philippians 4:6-7New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let us pray:
Loving and Gracious God, we come before You as Your people who want to do Your will and trust in You alone. Speak to us we pray so that we would hear the word You have for us this day. May we leave Your house today with a renewed trust in You and Your goodness. May the meditations of our heart, mind and Spirit be pleasing to You our God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice
I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am here
Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine
What are you afraid of? What makes you so afraid that you may even be unable to move? You know those things that we try to hide from but they always seem to find us any way. I think we all have some kind of fear within us. I believe that there is at least one thing that is we give into the fear our whole world could come apart.
Some of the things that we may fear are things that you can see. Things like someone breaking into your house and robbing you of the things you hold dear. How about things like flying…some of us are afraid to fly…or how about being afraid of our loved ones because they are far away and we are afraid that if we are not watching over them something may happen. We hold these fears within us and some are real fears but some are fears of what might happen.
Things that might happen…have you ever been afraid of something that might happen? Now these scenarios that we rehearse in our heads may or may not happen can really grab a hold of us and not let go. They are so real to us that we are even afraid of not being afraid because if we are not on our guard well it may happen…
What about the fear of scarcity? Have you ever been afraid of not having enough? Have you ever been afraid that though God has promised to be with us always and He will give us peace about all things that we bring to Him as the scripture I just read states? But you just can’t stop worrying about not having enough. We all the sudden realize we have moved from the town of Trusting God to a place called “Scare City”.
The sense that there is not enough drives greed, fear and exclusionary behavior. We begin to live in “Scare City” where it seems that death, starvation, feelings of being overwhelmed and swallowed up can lurk around every corner. The Good News is that this is an illusion. A spiritual journey into the truth of abundance of all that we need offers us an alternative vision of where to live our lives. This fall, we are going to be trying to rethink those fears we may have. This series will have us “Moving out of “Scare City” and traveling to the vast, open habitats of God’s grace.
So how do we react to living in Scare City? One way is found in Genesis 11 verses 1-9 which read:
Genesis 11:1-9New International Version (NIV)
The Tower of Babel
11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The people had a nice place that they settled in. Then perhaps out of the feeling of scarcity…of not having enough…they decided that they would build a tower…not made of the usual stuff but made of stronger material so that it would last. They allowed their fear to take over and when that happens…well let’s just say that a lot of times…bad decision are made out of fear…out of greed… as we see the consequence that occurred in this situation…
More, more, more! Like skyscrapers that begin to loom over us casting a shadow below, our quest for “more” power, prestige, wealth, and domination have created a culture of oppressive “not enough-ness.” We are overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed. Our perspective of how much we actually have is skewed by the immensity of images of what we “ought to have.” In order to have a more Godly vision we must begin to confront the myth of scarcity and focus on abundance.
What does having enough truly mean to us? I know the answer is different for each of us but what causes you to have comfort in what you have? What is it that forms our feeling of being content? What are the messages that are running around in our head as we begin to think about the word “enough”?
God wants us, His Children, to have an abundant life, a life of blessings and contentment. He will meet our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. We need not be afraid of what will come tomorrow because God has already been there, paving the way for us. But this wanting more and fear of scarcity seems to get in the way. But God still holds out His hand, offering us a life of abundance. But we need to change our thoughts from the world’s view of abundance, which never satisfied with what it has always wanting more and afraid to lose what it has already gotten, to God’s promise of abundance. Which would you rather have?
I would like to end my sermon with a prayer written by John van de Laar. I would like for us take in these words of confession and hope as we move out of Scar City into the world of abundance found in and through our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ:
Worry and stress are not hard for us, God,
we do them without thinking.
There is always the potential of threat
to our security,
and we foolishly think that we could silence the fear
if we just had enough money,
enough stored away for a rainy day.
It’s never enough, though;
the voice of our fear will not be dismissed so easily.
But, in the small, silent places within us is another voice;
one that beckons us into the foolishness of faith,
that points our gaze to the birds and the flowers,
that, in unguarded moments, lets our muscles relax,
and our hearts lean into loved ones;
In unexpected whispers we hear it,
calling us to remember your promises,
And, suddenly, we discover
that it is enough.