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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Sermon - How to Win over Worry

Philippians 4:4-7
Retired Pastor Neal Neuenburg visited us this week and shared some thoughts on worry. Pastor Shim is on vacation.

Frank and Ernest passed away, Ernest first. When he met Frank by the pearly gates, he told Ernest, "You're going to love it here. It's always just the right temperature, the scenery is beautiful, the food outstanding, and everybody's always happy."
Frank had a hard time believing everyone could be happy all the time. "What about those who are only happy when they can worry?"
"Well," replied Ernest, "For those folks we have a an emergency button. It doesn't do anything, but they can worry about it."

Most of us worry. We worry about family, money, health, and the future. Jesus said we shouldn't worry, that we should turn over the things we worry about to God. And remember the story of Martha and Mary? Thirteen extra people showed up for dinner. Martha scurried around readying the meal, and there was Mary sitting at Jesus' feet listening to His stories.

Pastor Neal said he was a lot like Martha. He didn't usually get the blessings of a worship service for a few days afterwards, like on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Worry can be addictive, just like hobbies, sex, liquor, or FaceBook. We rationalize our fixes, but really, they're just another addition.

Psychiatrists say that worry is a learned habit. If it is learned, we should also be able to unlearn it. We need to remind ourselves that worry is fruitless. We can't change the past, and it does no good to worry about the future. Pastor Neal says he often prays the Serenity Prayer used by AA, Al-Anon, and others.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Let go, and let God take care of the things we cannot control.

Read the New Testament book, Philippians, over and over. Notice how many times the words joy and rejoice appear. Life wasn't easy for Paul. He endured prison, cruelty, and an unidentified thorn in his side for years on end. If anyone had a reason to be negative, it would be Paul--yet he told us to rejoice, that he had joy.

Here in the United States, we don't usually have to worry about anyone killing us for being Christian, but we could face other terrors and worries.

There was once an elderly lady in a rest home. She informed a friend who came to visit she was worried sick. The friend asked her why. Did the nursing staff mistreat her? No. Was she in pain? No. Then why? Because all of her closest friends had gone on to heaven and they must be worried about where she was.

Worry is a choice. We can choose to worry, or we can choose to pray. We can choose to be anxious over things, or we can choose with Horatio Stafford to say, "It is well with my soul."

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