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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20111204: "Overcoming Christmas Distress"

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OVERCOMING CHRISTMAS DISTRESS

SERMON STARTER

Whether you like it our not, whether you are prepared or not, the Christmas Season is upon us! Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, is the known as the busiest shopping day of the year. I overheard one lady say she left home at 4:30 a.m. to get her day started at WALMART.

Ladies, you need to know that it is a scientific fact that shopping is more stressful on men than it is on women. According to a report in “The Oregonian,” British psychologist David Lewis found proof that shopping is hazardous to men’s health. Testing volunteers’ ages 22-79 by sending them out Christmas shopping, he recorded blood pressure rates that “you’d expect to see in a fighter pilot going into combat.” In the same test, only one in four women showed any significant signs of stress from shopping.


        “A few days before Christmas two men in Florida decided to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. While the men were out sailing a terrible storm arose and they had great difficulty keeping their boat under control as they maneuvered their way back to land their boat got grounded on a sandbar. And they had to jump overboard and they had to push with all their might trying to get the boat into deeper water. And as they did the wind was blowing terribly, the waves were rushing upon them and they were soaking wet and knee deep in mud. And one of the guys looked at his buddy and said,

‘You know it sure beats Christmas shopping though.’ ”

 

The Seven Irrevocable Laws

of the Christmas Holidays

1. The time that you spend find a parking space is inversely proportional to the amount of time you have to spend shopping.

2. The other check-out line always moves faster – if you don’t believe me, change lines and see what happens.

3. Beware of the three most frightening words – Some Assembly Required. Be aware that unassembled toys take three times as long to assemble as they say, because the guy who wrote the instructions speaks 3 languages, English not being one of them. And while there will always be at least one missing part, there will always be a pile of nuts and bolts and washers left over.

4. The three most often overlooked words are – Batteries Not Included. Be aware that toys that require batteries seldom if ever come with them.

5. When you return to the store to buy the gift that your husband, wife or child showed you the previous day, it is gone and they will not be receiving any more.

6. If you hear a loud crash in the living room, it is highly probable that your Christmas tree is probably lying on its side. (We once had this happen to us three times in one season until I discovered the tree had a crooked trunk and nailed it to the floor).  (Our current cat, Tulley doesn't think its a Christmas Tree. To her its a "Tulley Tree." She lives in it every Christmas. To accommodate Tulley, we nail the tree to the floor each Christmas.)

7. If your toilet is ever going to break or your sink plug up it will be when at everyone is at your house celebrating.

 

 

 

 

 

OVERCOMING CHRISTMAS DISTRESS, Texts:

Luke 10:38-40

38  Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.

39  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.

40  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."

41  And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

42  "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

 

Psalm 46:1-4

46:1  God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

2  Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3  Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah



 

December 4, 2011 – Second Sunday of Advent

Pastor Phil Roland - Sheepfold Ministries

 

OVERCOMING CHRISTMAS DISTRESS

Luke 10:38-40 - Psalm 46:1-4

 

”We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”    2 Corinthians 4:8,9

 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”      1 Peter 5:6,7

 

I. DISTRESSING EVENTS OF THE FIRST CHRISTMAS

          A. Angels show up at strange times and places

B. Mary, engaged to Joseph, is Pregnant Out of Wedlock

            C. Joseph wants to quietly break off the Marriage

            D. Joseph is told in a Dream that Mary is carrying the Son of God

            E. Joseph is required to go to his homeland for a census

1. Distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is 80 miles

2. Normally was a four day journey at 20 miles per day

            F. Joseph was probably an older man, his wife was full term PG

                        1. No rest stops

                        2. No restaurants

                        3. No comforts

                        4. Cranky wife  (I’m interpreting)

            G. Late arrival in Bethlehem finds no vacancies

            H. Forced to sleep in a Barn, which becomes an DR Delivery Room

 

II. HUMAN LIFE IS FILLED WITH DISTRESSING SITUATIONS

  1. A.     Martha in today’s text is very Distressed – Text, Luke 10, esp. v.41

”And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried

  and troubled about many things.”

                        1. Can be Distressed about things that Annoy You

                        2. Threatens you, Worries You, Hurries You, Angers You

                        3. Can be anything that Frustrates you

            B. Symptoms of Distress

                        1. Frequent Headaches

                        2. Irregular Heartbeats

                        3. Dizziness or Light-Headedness

                        4. Indigestion or Nausea

                        5. Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep

                        6. Awakening in the Morning Exhausted

                        7. Anger or Irritability

            C. Martha probably showed all these Signs of Distress and more

 

OVERCOMING CHRISTMAS DISTRESS, cont., p.2

 

C. How many of Martha’s Distress Signs do you show?

            1. Plan your Days Unrealistically

            2. Always in a Hurry

            3. Do not allow for Relaxation

4. Feel guilty doing anything other than work

5. Unforeseen problems seen as Setbacks or Disasters

            a. “Awful-izing” - "This is the awfulest thing. . ."

            b. Taking things personally

7. Always thinking about “Shoulds” when working

8. Needs Recognition and Over-Promises for Approval

 

III. STEPS TO OVERCOMING HOLIDAY DISTRESS
            A. Set Realistic Expectations for yourself – Luke 10:40

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"          NIV 1984

            1. Focus on the Distractions and miss what is Important

            2. Keep in mind the Reason for the Season

B. Jesus reminds Martha only One Thing is Important – v.42

“but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

            1. Martha PRESUMED her arrangements were Important

            2. She decided in advance on her own elaborate plans

            3. Expected others around her to aid her

            4. Martha “oozed” Guilt, Projecting it on those around her

C. Jesus’ “One Thing” was spending Personal, One-on-One Time

            1. Too easy to get involved in Activities

            2. Lose our Involvement with Christ Himself

            3. Cross off the Stressful Events, Save only the Essential

            4. Be Kind to Yourself: Set Realistic Expectations

D. Remember Why you are Doing what you are Doing

            1. POEM: “Can this be Christmas?

            2. "Worship Christ, not Christmas!"

            E. Don’t Wait Too Long to Place your Hope in Jesus

                        1. For some, Christmas is a Reminder of What they are Missing

                        2. Some are like the Little Kid, nose pressed against the glass

     at the Candy Store       

3. Spectators: Outside Looking In wishing they were Inside

4. Longing to be like others who Lose Themselves in Worship

5. For them Christmas reminds them of Spiritual Emptiness

6. Don't wait too long to place your hope in Jesus 

F. Decide to Make a Difference in Your World this Christmas

            1. Mend a Quarrel, Give up an old Grudge

            2. Tell someone how they have blessed your life

            3. Forgive an Injustice

 

OVERCOMING CHRISTMAS DISTRESS, cont., p. 3

 

 

            4. Turn Away Wrath with a Soft Answer

            5. Visit Someone who is Lonely

                        6. Use Nine Powerful Words w/someone you have a conflict

                          "I'm sorry, I was wrong! Will you forgive me?"
                        7. Show Kindness to a Co-Worker

                        8. Give like Jesus, w/o Obligation, Reservation or Hidden                                         Meaning

 

 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

 

 

 

Can This Be Christmas?
  
“What’s all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and scurry?
Why all the lights—the Christmas trees?
The jolly “fat man,” tell me please!

Why, don’t you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

  So this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He’s not here—you’ll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, “Come in to stay.”

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow

For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.


I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.
In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ—not Christmas!


[M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible - www.bible.org/illus/c/c-59.htm]