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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland


              Pastor Ray Scott


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          I am driving U-Haul’s largest cab-over truck in late August, 1976 on a California high desert highway outside of Amboy following the old route 66 on my way toward the Arizona border. I am 36 years of age and leaving my California home, friends and loved ones behind. Lois is following me with one of the kids in the family Maverick. It was 112 degrees in the evening shade. You could fry eggs on the hood of the truck. We were on our way to our new life in NE Ohio. I was to be the new pastor at a country community church. It was an exciting adventure for me and my family in my new role as a senior pastor for the first time.
          At 6 pm I was reflecting on my 18 years in Southern California. I was not joyful as the sun was setting on my past life. Even though my family was with me, I felt isolated  and very lonely. When I left that church 11 years later, I felt that same loneliness and isolation. There is always the last day, the final closing and locking of the doors and finally turning in the keys on the past.
          In that profound leaving-California moment I was experiencing loneliness, grief and depression all at once. I didn't know what was awaiting for me in the immediate future. All I felt was the sadness of  leaving behind all the family and friends that had nurtured and loved us.
          Most of the Biblical patriarchs experienced loneliness. Consider, Adam and Eve after sinning and being banished from the Garden. Or, Noah, his wife and family, a total of eight after the flood. What about Abraham after he leaves his homeland to obey God? The list goes on. . .Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemane, or crying out from the Cross. The list is endless. One thing is sure, God has made us for Himself. We are lonely until we find Him in life's  darkness.
Pastor Phil  <><<


June 24, 2018 - Sheepfold Ministries
Pastor Phil Roland

Romans 8:35-39

"The world's people are lonely. In 2012 one in thirteen of the world's population were using using Facebook. Now in 2018, just six years later,
one in four of the world's 7.5 billion people are using Facebook. There are a lot of lonely unconnected people seeking someone."          Pastor Phil  <><<

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."     Matthew 11:28-30

16 So He (Jesus) Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

          A. All the Biblical narriatives are filled with times of solitude
              Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, John the                         Baptist, Jesus, Paul, John, all knew solitude
1. Acrostic, STOP - Wait, be still for a  moment - Psalm 130:5,6
                                        5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.
                        6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the
                          morning-- Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
                    2.   S top
                          T hink
                          O pen your heart to God
                          P ray
B. Involuntary - There is a solitude that you may not choose
               Prison, Illness, Suffering, Rejection by Another
1. Individuals suffer
                    2. Marriages, Families suffer
                    3. Illness and sickness causes involuntary solitude
          C. To experience the Power and Presence of God we need . . .
                    1. Silence - The world's noise is deafening
                              Eg. 2nd Anniverary we spent in the Calif. High Sierras.
                                    You could hear nothing but wind whistling down the pass.
                                    It was in the silence you could hear, God's still, small voice
                    2. Solitude - There are so many distractions: I-phones, texts
                    3. Jesus showed us the importance of solitude - John 4:32
                              32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
                    4. To Jesus solitude is as necessary as food
          A. Celebrity Loneliness
                    1. Celebrity Suicides increase every year
LONELINESS and JESUS, cont., p.2

                        Robin Williams - Anthony Bourdain - Kate Spade - John Belushi                                  Michael Jackson 
                    2. Large and Small Church pastors get lonely
                        Eg. Suicide of Larry Haines / Grace Chapel
          B. Vocational Loneliness
                    1. Fired at work
                    2. Unemployment / Underemployment
          C. Aging Loneliness
                    1. Chronic illness and Infirmity can cause loneliness
                    2. Loss pf mobility can isolate
          D. Escalating Divorce rates promote loneliness
          E. Addiction alienates
                    1. All addiction isolates
                    2. Separates families
          F. Prisoner Loneliness    
                    1. Prison is isolation from family and friends
                    2. Prisoner Family Loneliness
          G. Undocumented immigrants are lonely
                    1. Leave their family / homeland, travel 1000's of miles North
                    2. Arrive in this country, cannot speak the language,                                      3. Unfamiliar with our culture
Eg. A Honduran mother holds her two-year-old as U.S. Border Patrol as agents review their papers near the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas on June 12, 2018. The asylum seekers had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center for possible deportation. Pulitizer Prize winning photographer John Moore
CORRECTION: (Posted June 19) The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she was taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.

". . .My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?. . ."
          A. Physical Suffering
                    1. Suffering from birth defects, inherited diseases
                    2. Suffering from accidents
          B. Emotional Suffering
                    1. Mental Illness Isolates
                    2. Personality Disorders can alienate
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
          A. Heavy Grief can cut you off from self, others and God
          B. Without God in your life there is no hope beyond the grave
                    1. Jesus promised never to leave us, or abandon us - Heb. 13:5
                    2. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you - James 4:8
LONELINESS and JESUS, cont., p.3

4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
          A. All sin has the result of Alienation / Loneliness
                    1. No one can say they haven't sinned - Romans 3:23
                                         23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
                    2. Mankind's sinning brings Isolation and Death - Romans 6:23
                                        23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in
                               Christ Jesus our Lord.
          B. Only Jesus can remove our Isolation
                    2. Only Jesus can take away our inner sense of loneliness
                    3. Only Jesus can purge the sin from our hearts
                    4. Only Jesus can set us free
          C. Call upon His Name for Salvation - Romans 10:13
                      13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
          D. Romans 10:8-13 (NKJV)
8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your
              heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess
              with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has
              raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one
              believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto


Jesus is with you in your Loneliness


Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He is the God of our Loneliness




I Met The Master Face To Face

I had walked life's way with an easy tread,
Had followed where comforts and pleasures led,
Until one day in a quiet place
I met the Master face to face.
With station and rank and wealth as my goal,
Much thought for my body, but none for my soul,
I had entered to win in life's mad race,
When I met the Master face to face.
I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see,
That His Eyes full of sorrow, were fixed on me,
And I faltered and fell at His Feet that day
While my castles melted and vanished away;
Melted and vanished, and in their place
Naught else did I see, but the Master's Face;
And I cried aloud, "Oh, make me meet
To follow the steps of Thy Wounded Feet!"
My thought is now for the souls of men;
I lost my life to find it again,
E'er since that day in a quiet place
I met the Master face to face.
Author Unknown







Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)
24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The profound loneliness over losing your loved ones lasts throughout a lifetime

Isaiah 41:10 - Fear not I am with you. . .

I was born under a wander'n wander'n star, Lee Marvin

Cut off
FB Social media aimed at curbing loneliness,
          still we are alone.
SIN separates us from God and One Another
Political Loneliness
          We're no longer Americans
          We're Liberals / We're Conservatives
Religious Loneliness

Mega churches cannot grant you relationships
                    Cannot offer real friendship        
                    Cannot hug you when you're down
                    Cannot visit and pray for you when you're ill
                    Cannot comfort you when you are broken hearted

Psalm 31:12 (NKJV)
12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
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.'

Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV)
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Isaiah 43:1-4 (NKJV)
1 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
4 Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.

1 John 1:5-10 (NKJV)
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Physicians tell us the majority of their patients suffering from      

Social scientists in 2001 related that loneliness had the same physical effect on the human body as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Current research adds to the list of maladies: increased rates of infection, cardio-vascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, etc.

For the past 26 years we have offered grief recovery support groups for sad and lonely people. We still meet with our secondary group we started in 1993.
Contemporary approaches on death move us toward more isolation and loneliness. . .
          Eg. Cremations w/no funeral or mourning rituals

It wasn't just God we were cut off from in the garden of Eden, we were also cut off from one another.

Pain isolates us
Disease isolates us
Suffering isolates us

After leaving Ocean Gate Southern Baptist Church in 1972 I felt so very lonely. I was in the process of making new non-denominational Christian friends, but I still felt alone.
Everyone is lonely from time to time, but we in psychology call it different things: anxiety, depression, mental illness.
Times of personal isolation
          Eg. Man. Bch. First Baptist
                Treatment of Doc. Smith
                Left the church in a huff
                Scanning the crowd and asking,
                    "Do I even know these people?"
                Went into 9 months of ISOLATION
                Taunted in my mind with the leering faces

Unresolved Conflicts isolates
Bitterness Isolates
Unforgiveness Isolates
Harbored Revenge thoughts Isolate



         There are 2.9 billion of the world's people using Facebook. There are presently 7.5 billion people that make up the world's population. That means that roughly 1 in 4 people in the world use Facebook.

         I read about a man at the age of 71, who had retired in the state of Detroit who spends most of his everyday playing solitaire - which is a card game that you play with yourself. In ten years playing this came he has recorded completion of 132,400 games, he has recorded the results of each one, and he can show any visitor six ledger books full with all the figures.
         There was once an advertisement in a Kansas newspaper that read like this: 'I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for five dollars'. It sounds like a hoax, doesn't it? But it wasn't long before that individual who had placed the advertisement in the newspaper was bombarded by about 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness for some is so sharp that they were willing to try anything for half an hour of companionship.


          In this life we are born alone, and we die alone. The Ecclesiastes writer said, “As he (man) came (naked) from his mother's womb, naked shall he return. . .”  How many times have you been alone?
Here are a few of my own times of naked aloneness:
1) Standing over the grave of my 34 year old father, killed suddenly in a small plane crash. I was 14 and the oldest of 5 children. I looked up into the sky and saw a flight of geese and felt totally alone.
2) Driving U-Haul’s largest cab-over truck in late August, 1976 in California high desert outside of Amboy on the old route 66.
It was 112 degrees in the evening shade. You could fry eggs on the cook of the truck. I was leaving my friends and family behind, traveling to a new life on NE Ohio. I felt very lonely and alone.
3) I met an older former parishioner from my first church I pastored in Hartford, Ohio. His kids were adults. His wife has passed away the year before. He regularly went to one of three stores in our region that had electric carts. He would get a cart and drive aimlessly through the store. He was lonely and scared as he faced an unknown future. As I looked into his eyes and saw his profound isolation, I felt alone.
          Michael Jackson died last week. He was fifty years old. Michael was a profoundly lonely man. He was a complex, talented man raised in a extremely dysfunctional family. He and several siblings were probably incested by his father. His talent granted him untold riches, but he regressed into substance abuse, regressed narcissism. He ended his life with gender and sexual confusion, disoriented by worldly power and accolade and deceived by the pure emptiness of empty materialism. He died disillusioned and lonely.
          In this morning’s text King David knew a lot about alienation and loneliness. He was. . .
1) Secretly anointed by God to be Israel’s next King thru the Prophet Samuel,
2) Chosen by Saul for his musical talent and abilities to comfort him in his mental affliction,
3) Favored by God and given victory against the enemies of Israel,
4) Languishes in the hot desert wilderness sands, pursued by Saul more than a decade,
5) Eventually through great struggle, David, became Israel’s King,
6) Suffers from a divided latter reign through an unsuccessful coupe by his son, Absalom,
7) Finally, dies a tired, lonely old man.

Pastor Phil   <><<


1. Only Jesus can remove our Isolation
                    2. Only Jesus can take away our inner sense of loneliness
                    3. Only Jesus can purge the sin from our hearts
                    4. Only Jesus can set us free