SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2010-09-19: "Fear And The Future"

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You’ve heard the term, “preaching to the choir?” Sometimes preachers preach to their pulpits. Preaching your own issues when you are in the pulpit is sometimes risky. Fortunately, only your sharpest church members will catch you doing it. With this sermon I chose to tell my listeners what I was doing. I was feeling pessimistic about a number of issues in my life, so I decided to take aim at myself. Martin Luther compares the preaching task to the midieval midwives of his time who succored children with the milk of their own bodies. I can preach only with the passion I feel in my own heart. Many times that passion directs my choice of topics and texts for my sermons. This is a sermon about pessimism. In order to give the sermon I had to closely examine the growing pessimism of my own heart. I am hoping my pessimism is only being influenced by my present economic environment. Unemployment has reached a staggering 14% for Mercer County, PA. The economic spin off has been stark and austere. I’m hoping my pessimism isn’t because of my age. The last thing I hope to have to give up is my basic optimism about life and its people. For too long I have encountered geriatrics that are bitter about life, people and themelves. I’m hoping not to end up there in his last great stage of life. I hope this message challenges you.

Pastor Phil <><<


Pastor Phil Roland, Sheepfold Ministries September 19, 2010

FEAR AND THE FUTURE Isaiah 41:10 “There is a great deal of pessimism and fear about the future of America. Our economic system is being threatened. Confidence of business people in our financial future is at an all-time low. ” Pastor Phil

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” I. PESSIMISM IS MANKIND’S COLLECTIVE PAST

A. Telephone is absurd “Over 130 years ago a Boston newspaper carried this item: “Joshua Coppersmith has been arrested for trying to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by a devise which he says will convey the human voice over wires. He calls the instrument, a telephone!"

B. Submarines not realistic ”Around the turn of the century H. G. Wells predicted many things, occasionally with great detail, such as automatic dishwashers and electric ranges, but he wrote: “I must confess that my imagination, I refuse to see any sort of SUBMARINE doing anything but suffocating it’s crew and foundering at sea!"

C. Television is an impossibility “Lee Deforest, one of the great pioneers of radio, made a prediction that was printed in the New York Times in 1926. Here is what he said: “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible; commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming!"

D. Moon Travel another impossibility ”In 1948 Science Digest Magazine looked to the future and said: Landing and moving around the moon offers so many serious problems for human beings that it may take scientists another 200 years to lick them!”

E. Robert Goddard viewed as a Crack-pot “In the 1920's the citizens of Worchester, Mass., became alarmed at the noisy experiments of Robert Goddard, who was trying to launch small rockets. America owes its space successes to this pioneer in the field of liquid-fueled rockets. Yet, the New York Times, Jan. 13, 1920 wrote of Mr. Goddard, "He seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in the high schools. Mr. Goddard's proposed moon rocket would need something more than the vacuum of space against which to react!” Forty-Nine years later, on the morning of July 16, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and his colleagues left Cape Kennedy for the moon, The New York Times very honorably printed an apology to the long-dead Robert Goddard, a man who had an accurate view of the future!

FEAR AND THE FUTURE, Pessimism, cont., p.2

F. Locked into Paradigms of the Past “In 1874 the American Scientific Association met and made a number of forecasts for the future: 1) Rapid urbanization would make the horse obsolete. The future horse would be a specially bred mini variety developed by breeders to live on a very low oat consumption rate! The said mini-horse would only stand two to three feet high! 2) The work week of the future would drop substantially, maybe only 50 hours weekly! 3) These futurists also recommended that investors should not waste money on such places as Florida, So. Calif., Texas and Phoenix. These areas posed too many health problems to be lucrative investments!

G. Steamships are ridiculous “Napoleon was preparing to invade Britain from his camp at Boulogne, in the year 1810. He was approached by a down-at-the-heel American engineer named Robert Fulton. He explained to Napoleon how the blockading British fleet could be defeated. “What, Sir, Napoleon snapped at Fulton after listening to him only a few minutes, "you would make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her decks? I pray you excuse me. I have no time to listen to such nonsense!” The first primitive steam ships appeared soon after Napoleon's death, but even then the pessimistic view of the future continued.’” An eminent professor in 1820 put it this way: "Men might as well expect to walk on the moon as cross the Atlantic in one of those steamships!"

II. GOD’S PEROGATIVE BLESSING – Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” A. Fear and Dismay are twin scourges of mankind “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed,” B. God’s “I Am’s” cancels our Fear and Dismay ”for I am with you. . .” “for I am your God. . .” 1. God’s choice is to bless you 2. He has a future and a hope for you – Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

III. GOD COUNTERS OUR FEAR WITH HIS PRESENCE A. He promises never to leave us – Hebrews 13:5b "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 1. Children of Israel in the wilderness – Exodus 13:21,22 “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.” FEAR AND THE FUTURE, Presence, cont., p.3

2. His Promised Presence was with them B. Jesus extends the same promise to us – Matt. 28:20b “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

III. HE COUNTERS OUR DISMAY WITH HIS POWER “I am your God” A. “El-loheim” – Great One, Mighty One B. Personal – He is your God. . .Is He? 1. Have you invited Him into your life? 2. Have you asked Him to be your personal savior? C. His transforming power is available

IV. THE PROVISION OF GOD IS A 3-FOLD PROMISE “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” A. “I will strengthen you. . .” 1. God’s strength is revealed in our weakness – 2 Cor. 12:9 “And He (God) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2. Prayer for God’s Strength “God, we’ll furnish the weakness if You’ll furnish the strength” B. “I will help you. . .” 1. God’s promise is to succor / surround you – Ps. 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” 2. God rushes speedily to the aid of His troubled children “You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.” Ps. 70:1 3. Prayer for God’s Help “God, we confess our helplessness, we need Your prompt aid” C. “I will uphold you. . .” 1. God’s promise of support – Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 2. We are in His right hand of strength / power – Jn 10: 28 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”


If you have to get some money, borrow from a pessimist. He doesn't expect to get it back!

A pessimist is a man who gets a clean bill of health from his doctor, then goes to get a second opinion!

A pessimist is somebody who's afraid that somewhere, somehow, someone's having a good time!

A pessimist has the feeling he isn't going anywhere and he's already arrived!

It's always good when the TV weatherman is pessimistic about the weather. People feel so good when he's wrong!

When a pessimist looks up and says, "It's a bird! It's a plane!" it's always a bird! A pigeon!

Pessimist: a person who thinks everybody as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.” George Bernard Shaw, 1856 — 1950

When things are at their blackest, I say to myself, 'Cheer up, things could be worse.' And sure enough, they get worse."

"A man should swallow a toad every morning to be sure of not meeting with anything more revolting in the day ahead." — Sebastien-Roch-Nicolas Chamfort

An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?" — Michael De Saint-Pierre

“I contemplated suicide. My main concern was that I would not make the New York Times obituary page.” Art Buchwald