SERIES: The struggle is real…. Peace May 20/21, 2017 – Corinne Gunter
BIG IDEA: Peace is possible as the Holy Spirit works in your life.
Sticky Point: Peace is possible.
Element: Movie Clip about Rwandan Genocide
Opening Illustration Highlights
What you just saw were scenes from 2 movies: Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April.
We wanted to give you a glimpse of what occurred in RWANDA just 23 years ago.
Where Nearly 1 million people were KILLED –
AND many more were attacked, beaten & brutalized.
How do you survive such a thing?
Admit that 5 years ago – I knew very little about Rwanda – Actually, I wasn’t even sure where Rwanda was located.
In the past 5 years – I’ve traveled there times –
I’ve had the opportunity to meet and GET TO KNOW some of the genocide survivors through a leadership development program we are offering to 55 women leaders alongside ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries) one of our outreach partners.
1. All 55 women ARE survivors of the genocide –
· the youngest was 2 at the time of the genocide – she was found wandering the streets alone / everyone in her family had been killed --
· all of these women bear the PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL SCARS of the genocide
As they share parts of their stories with us – I am UNDONE -- the trauma they’ve experienced seems UNBEARABLE
2. YET we are seeing (with our own eyes) the REALITY of the hope and healing that’s available through Jesus Christ.
We've watchedJOY flow from them as deep connections and communityhas formed among the women–they entered the program as strangers–BUT now they are sisters.
We've watchedhealing and hope EMERGE from places of deep sorrow and pain.
AND We are AMAZED at the PEACE that is present in the lives of these women.
If PEACE is possible in the lives of these women–
THEN I have to believe that peace IS POSSIBLE for us.
That’s where we are headed next in our SERIES – the struggle is real:
We are continuing to look at being healthy in body, mind and spirit.
Last week, Tim helped us uncover the Biblical meaning of JOY. Not an inward, individual feeling BUT rather a
JOY that comes from the community-wide realization that GOD is at work IN and THROUGH us.
He said this “if you look carefully at the letter to the Philippians you’ll see that…”
All the mentions of joy are communal. They all have something to do with people who have a common mind and heart celebrating God’s goodness together… even in difficult times. -- Tim Ayers
TODAY We want to look at another indicator of a HEALTHY mind, body and spirit.
The kind of PEACE that is NOT dependent on our circumstances but the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life.
So let’s dig in and figure out what I am talking about.
To start – let’s look at what JESUS HAD TO SAY ABOUT PEACE –
Keep in mind that what we are getting ready to read was JUST before JESUS arrest, trial, death and resurrection
And he is talking to the disciples – trying to prepare them for what’s to come
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. John 14:1
· The disciples were confused, uncertain and afraid – and the worst was still ahead He is preparing them for what lies ahead
· Don’t let your hearts be troubled -- IMPLYING THERE MUST BE ANOTHER WAY
· INSTEAD – Trust in God, and trust also in me.
o Trust in what you know to be true about God and trust in who I am and what I’ve come to do.
He continues a bit later –
25I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.26But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
He says this:
· V. 25 - instructions to our children when we are getting ready to send them off on their own for the first time
· V. 26 – WHEN Father sends the Advocate (HS)– as my representative – he will pick up where I left off and TEACH you and REMIND you
· V. 27 – This is going to a gift for you – HE is going to give you peace of mind and heart (not like this world – but like only I can).
· V. 27 finishes thought we So don’t troubled or afraid.
HERE’s WHAT HE IS SAYING :
“the struggle is real” BUT you are not alone / you don’t have to do this on your own.
The Holy Spirit is coming and will dwell in you – and He will give you peace.
I’d summarize it this way:
Peace is possible as the Holy Spirit works in your life.
IF -- PEACE is possible as the Holy Spirit works in your life…
Why is it so hard?
There’s a lot to worry about.
There’s definitely NO shortage of things to be concerned about.
· Our own internal wiring coupled with
· the DELUGE of information and data that is readily available that is often INCONSISTENT and CONTRADICTORY –
· CONCERN for the future
· DIFFICULTIES you are facing right now
· THEN ADD our own uncertainty about who God is and what role He plays in our lives and world.
· The atmosphere is saturated with reasons for us to be anxious and worried.
Truth be told -- Many of us (if not all of us) live with some LEVEL of anxiety and worry each day.
We just can’t seem to find PEACE.
And this anxiety and worry
· wreaks havoc on our bodies and minds.
· We feel it – our hands getting sweaty, our hearts start beating fast, we get sick to our stomachs, and our heads start hurting
· AND I get this big ole knot in my neck.
Not only does anxiety and worry put stress on our bodies and minds –
anxiety or worry distract us from living our lives with purpose.
So how do we find peace in the midst of WHATEVER we are currently facing?
Let’s visit Philippians again – the same letter Tim spoke from last week.
Philippians 4:-9 on page #
Remember things were tough.
Paul was in prison writing this letter.
He had been falsely accused
He had his Roman citizenship ignored -- AND
He had been severely beaten and thrown into jail.
Got the picture?
(key points / verse by verse)
· V. 4-5
o Two points
1. be joyful – because you are part of what God is doing IN and THROUGH a community of people. Together you remind each other of God’s faithfulness and celebrate all that he is doing.
2. This life (here is temporary) only part of the story / there is day when Christ will return where all the broken places of our world will BE RESTORED and REDEEMED. – Remember that!
· V. 6 - is pretty straight forward --
o Why does he say this?
§ Because God is listening
§ Because God cares
§ Because when you look back at what He has already done you know that He is listening and that He cares.
§ We often see His hand more clearly when we look back at our history with God.
· V. 7
o Will experience God’s peace – that exceeds what we can understand
o it doesn’t make sense
o we can’t understand or manufacture this inner peace – God gives it…
o His peace has power – because it GUARDS your heart and minds / imagine God’s peace standing guard around our heart & mind (keeping at bay the anxious thoughts that can consume our mind and heart)
§ Peace that protects and strengthens our minds and hearts.
· V. 8-9
o Fix your thoughts on what is good and REAL -- God and his kingdom and His work in our world.
o finishes up this section with this.
o Keep putting into practice = keep at it!
o Then the God of peace will be with you.
It’s not one and done – REPEAT as often needed. (review quickly)
READ: V. 6-7
Key point: Surrender your life to Jesus. There is no other way. The HS comes to dwell in you and empower you.
And HE is the one who gives peace.
I have to tell you that the life God has for you will ONLY be so if you surrender your life Jesus. Remember, Peace is possible as the Holy Spirit works in your life.
PRACTICAL TIPS – when you are feeling anxious or afraid
1. Find a way to Refocus your attention.
a. Take a few deep breaths, take a walk, find a way to care for yourself that refocuses your attention and refreshes you.
2. Read, meditate and memorize scripture so it comes to mind
3. Pray and live The Serenity Prayer
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.
Difference between worry and concern.
Worry is cyclical – worry saps our energy and increase stress and anxiety AND is often associated with things we do not have the ability to change.
Concern is good – it helps us CARE about important issues THAT we do have the ability to CHANGE. Concern motivates us to take positive steps forward.
Wisdom knows the difference!
HERE’s another way you can remember this…
4. Wage WAR on worry. Source: Linda Dillow, Calm My Anxious Heart
WHAT are you worried about? (name it)
What ACTION is GOD asking you to take?
If something is out of your control, RELINQUISH it to God.
CLOSING: 3 minutes
3 years ago my mother died
She battled a degenerative neurological disease for several years – it began with somewhat benign symptoms continuing to escalate and ultimately taking over her mind and body.
Overtime we watched her disappear before our eyes – this strong, vibrant woman disappearing.
How did we do it?
Moment by moment living into Philippians 4 /
praying and living The Serenity Prayer and all the practical tips I just shared.
Moment by moment / day by day. The HS gave us the strength to walk this path together.
He gave us eyes to see some of the ways God was at work – and we couldn’t see – he helped us to TRUST and HAVE FAITH that God had not abandoned us.
Two of my favorite verses are:
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I clung to these verses and did my best to live out Philippians 4 (some days better than others)
I know the struggle is real – BUT so IS the PEACE that God promises that exceeds anything we can understand. It’s true – Peace is possible as the Holy Spirit works in your life.
In the next few minutes we are going to take communion and provide opportunity to have one of our pastoral staff members pray with you if you’d like.