Sunday, April 16, 2006

Weeds revisited

I posted a blog fairly recently about weeds and their application to weeds in my life. Tonight, I preached a sermon about weeds. I used the text of Hebrews 12:1b-2a to really focus on how to get rid of the weeds in our life. I just decided this, but I am going to post my sermon text for those who are interested. Some of it is a repeat of the earlier blog, but it is only 1.5 pages in Word. I expanded in many places where I felt led, but the general idea is captured in my script. I hope you enjoy.

--Sermon given Sunday night, April 16, 2006--
1. Weed Story
Tanya and I like to joke around with each other. One time, probably about a three months ago, Tanya came from letting Chica (our little toy poodle) in and said that I need to do something about those trees out in our backyard. I laughed out loud because I knew exactly what she was talking about. We just have one real tree in our yard. She was not talking about that. She was talking about those weeds in our yard that were about this high at the time. I thought it was hilarious.

Like many males in our world, I said, “yeah, I need to do something about that,” but I didn’t give too much thought to when I would actually get out the chain saw to cut those suckers down. By the way…this is not good if you are trying to work on your relationship with your spouse (don’t just say sure to get someone off your back). Up until about two months ago, this was a ongoing joke that Tanya and I had between us. Every now and then I would let Chica in and tell Tanya that I almost didn’t find her. It was a great joke. I loved it.

But, about two months ago, I finally decided to tackle this job I was not looking forward to. I got out there and realized that this is not going to be your normal, everyday weed-pullin job. I got serious. I got my gloves on and everything. So, I went to town. Now, you know that this is a big weed-pullin job when you actually think about keeping your back straight so you don’t pull a muscle. And that’s what I was doing. This is a big job!

But, I didn’t finish the job without getting hurt. By the time I finish pulling all these suckers up, my nose is dripping so bad I can’t look down because this huge snot string begins to gush out. At this point, I decide it wuld be best not to mow the will wait for tomorrow. So, I go inside, take a shower, get out, and look down at my arms. They are broken out all over. They are puffy red with welts all over them. And these aren’t your small, ordinary welts. These are big! I can't believe I am actually looking at my own arms! So I call Mark Waldron, end up taking TWO Benadryl (not just one), and I am out! So, I learned a lesson: Get rid of your weeds…early. Don’t let them grow…or they may become so big that they wound you worse than me.

2. Weed Lesson – Why do I tell you this story tonight?

Because all of us have weeds growing in our life. They are just sitting there unattended, minding their own business. I let a bad thought linger in my mind; I quietly let my anger build as I 'valiently' remain quiet when I feel wronged; I just explode every once in a while (its not all the time); I fill my eyes with unproductive TV; I listen to music that would make my mother blush; I have an extra cookie or five when I know I don't need them; I go ahead and have another coke when I know I probably sould drink water instead. All these weeds I just let grow ever so slowly. You won’t notice them if you are looking at them. Then, all of a sudden, they are bigger than I am…these innocent little weeds that I have not attended to. When I finally try to tackle them, [pause] they leave marks that don't go away quickly. I must suffer through my choice to let these weeds grow so big...there is no way around them or the affects they had on my battle against them. But I have got to get rid of them. I’ve got to start somewhere

Let us pull up the weeds of sin that so easily entangle us. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a).

“It is an innocent little show on MTV. They even bleep out the words so I don’t hear them, but, yeah, I still know what they said. That kind of language is not something I say. It really doesn’t affect me at all does it?”

“It is an innocent little sporting event where I just happen to look a little too close at those nice lookin’ women. I mean this is public TV isn’t it. There are regulations here. Those images are okay aren’t they.”

“I’m just listening to the music and the beat, but the words don’t really affect me very much. I might drive a little faster when I listen or I might ignore my parents cause ‘They just don’t understand’, but it doesn’t affect me does it?”

“You don’t understand what he said to me. He obviously cares nothing about me or else he would not say those things. I can’t open myself up to him again until he apologizes! You would be angry for longer than I have been if someone said these hurtful words to you, wouldn’t you!”

“This dessert tastes so good. I mean…I know I shouldn’t have any more; I’m stuffed already, but its really not going hurt that much to have one more little bowl, right?”

Repeat for last time: “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

3. The Challenge

What weed are you going to choose to tackle tonight? There is something there that is growing slowly. God is telling you what it is right now. He is whispering that you need to tackle it…that weed that is just sitting there unattended…you need to do something. Maybe you have tried to start, but realized just how big the project was, felt discouraged, and gave up.

What do you need to do? You need to start by fixing your eyes on Jesus, the one who is helping write your story. He is the author of your faith. You need to fix your eyes on the one who is making you better…stronger. He is the perfector of your faith. Jesus is where you start.

He knows what you are going through. He has been tempted in every way, just as we are; yet he was without sin. Jesus is where you start.

He gave his life so that you can start tackling your weeds. He lives so that you can live. He shows you how real living goes…without weeds choking out life.

Cry out to him. Call out and say, “Lord, I need you. I can’t handle it alone. Come near me and rescue me.”

We are not alone; you are not alone. All of us here have had struggles with our own weeds. We need each other. I want to pray for you. I want you to come down here right now so that we can pray.

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

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