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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Lessons

Pastor David Miller preached a sermon based on Luke 2:22-32.  The key verse was Simeon’s praise “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised….”(NIV). His sermon topic was that God keeps his promises.  In Sunday school we covered five lessons from the Upper Room.  The first lesson taught from Mathew 11:28 (NIV): “Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest.’”  The scripture for the second lesson was from I Corinthians 3:7 (NRSV)” “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”  The scripture for the third lesson was Ephesians 3:20-21 (NSRV): “Now to [God] who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory.”  The lesson taught that “God takes our efforts and blesses them, bringing results far richer than anything we can possibly imagine—and certainly far beyond any specific outcome we might narrowly envision” (UR, 12/29/10).  The fourth lesson taught “As the seed must die in order to become a living plant, we too must die in order to enter fully the kingdom of eternal life.”  The fifth lesson was based on Colossians 3:17 (NRSV): “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

After lunch Kathy and I viewed the film Good Will Hunting. This film showed that bravado can be a cover for deeply rooted fears.  The essential fear is that closeness with any human being will uncover one’s underlying unworthiness (even blameworthiness) and will inevitably result in one being yet again rejected and hurt.  This was the story of a young man who had been abused in his childhood and had come to feel that he was to blame for the abuse.  He began to gain freedom from slavery to this belief only after a trusted counselor told him “It is not your fault.”  It is a good movie to see for anyone who may feel that if people get to know them too well, they will be disliked and rejected—a not uncommon fear.  The key to overcoming this fear is the realization that ironically the real you—with its imperfections—when honestly presented is much more acceptable to others than a carefully tailored fragile and defensively phony façade.  Such honesty tends to build trust and love while phoniness tends to produce distrust and wariness.  It is best to assume that people have a sixth sense about this—antennae that can sense defensive unease.  Based on our own feelings and experience with others, we should know which approach is preferable.

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