Posts Tagged 'frustration'

The Living Word: What Can’t You See

What Can’t You See

John 9:12-41

There are at least three kinds of blind spots: the physical blind spot~ where the optic nerve enters the back of the eye; the angular blind spot~ where certain angles can’t be seen (like in a car); and the psychological blind spot~ attitudes or biases that are present in our personality that we can’t see ourselves. As we read today’s Scripture, let’s ask ourselves: who’s REALLY blind here?

Sometimes, What ISN’T Seen Is

* The Fallout ~ (verses 12-17)

: the Pharisees heard this man was blind, but can’t accept his account that Jesus is sent by God (He does religious things they can’t do)

  • 16 caught in a dilemma: either miracles are from God, or not – but then how can this miracle be true?

* The Fact-check ~ (verses 18-23)

: the Pharisees can’t accept his testimony, so they want to discredit him as a person (if they accept it, then Jesus IS from God and they’re in trouble)

  • 18 easy answer: he wasn’t really blind! Fake news!
  • 19/21 troublesome testimony: he really WAS blind, and he really CAN see

* The Frustration ~ (verses 24-34)

: the facts check out; the testimony is sound; they have no logical reason to disbelieve, so they retreat into fear and frustration

  • 24 they hold to their belief regardless of evidence “this man is a sinner”
  • 28/9 THEY ARE RIGHT no matter what facts are found
  • 33 the reasonable conclusion
  • 34 the rejection of reason

* Final Faith ~ (verses 35-41)

: the previously blind man can now see Jesus, and connects his previous experience with Jesus at work.

  • 35/8 Jesus asks: “do you trust Me?” HE STILL ASKS THIS OF US

Is our hindsight leading us to faith as well?

The Living Word: Walking And Working

Walking And Working

John 5:1-18

Sometimes it’s tough to stand alone.

When all his teammates fouled out of the game, high school basketball player Pat McGee finished the game for his school alone–and won! This happened in 1937 at St. Peter’s High School.  (Bore No More, M. & A. Nappa, Group Publications)

Sometimes it’s tough to stand alone… but it can be worth it.

Even In Our Current Situation, We Can

* Face Our Frustrations Together ~ John 5:1-9a

  • 1/5 the context
  • 6 Why would Jesus ask this? To get the man to THINK about his situation
  • 7 notice: the man can’t get in ALONE; he needs HELP – WHAT ARE YOU NEED HELP WITH THAT YOU’RE FACING ALONE?
  • 8/9a Jesus heals this man, and the man responds in obedience

* Find Our Field ~ John 5:9b-18

  • 9/11 some will always be upset with Jesus at work
  • 12/13(&15/16) notice the healed man didn’t know MUCH about Jesus, but believed Him anyway
  • 14 Jesus FOUND him – that means He was searching to give the warning; not all sickness is due to sin, but THIS man’s was;
  • 17 God is at work every day; Jesus joins Him
  • 18 the religious leaders are upset because Jesus isn’t conforming to their ideas of what God is about; THIS STILL HAPPENS


I know it feels incredibly difficult to “be” the church when we can’t be together. But the image I want us all to remember is the first Resurrection Sunday morning: just a couple of women with heavy hearts and embalming spices showed up at the Master’s tomb to prepare Him for His final resting. Instead, they arrived at an Empty Tomb and heard the most stirring news ever: He Is Risen! And while I may not be able to hear you respond, I know that you’re saying along with me: He Is Risen Indeed!

Prelude to the Passion: Fruitless Frustration

Prelude to the Passion: Fruitless Frustration

Matthew 21:12-22

When was the last time you had a goal blocked? Often, we think of that in sports terms: wanting our team to win, and watching as the points needed can’t be gained because the other side is playing better defense than our side is playing offense. But the games we watch aren’t as important as the life we live. What happens when our goals IN LIFE are blocked?

What are the foundations of our frustration?

* Putting the Wrong Things in God’s Place ~ Matthew 21:12-13

  • 12 court of the Gentiles: the largest area of the Temple was reserved for those who weren’t very religious
  • 13 Jesus was upset because the religious elite of his day would rather use that space for making money with animals than making space for people

* Refusing to Credit the Work of God Around You ~ Matthew 21:14-17

  • 14/5 the religious elite were offended by the presence of the needy who saw God at work
  • 16/7 important to remember: children weren’t valued in the 1st century like they are now; they had ZERO STATUS; when the lowest of the low praised Jesus, the elite were offended; kids didn’t have the **right** to say anything at the temple

* Not Seeing Expected Results in Your Life ~ Matthew 21:18-22

  • 18/9 Jesus EXPECTED fruit to be there, and was frustrated when it wasn’t
  • 20/1 disciples focused on the PROCEDURE; Jesus concerned about the POTENTIAL

Answer frustrations with a choice of joy (Hab 3:18),
and shared prayer (Mat 21:22)
prayer requires 1) recognition of God [GOD answers prayer];
2) reception of God’s faith [God GIVES faith];
3) release of mistrust
(we can’t hold on to our own agenda and expect God to conform to IT; we’re supposed to conform to HIS)

Gems from Genesis: God Watches Our Choices

Gems from Genesis: God Watches Our Choices Sermon Audio Here

Gen.29:15-28; Rom.8:26-28

Jami and I went on a mini-vacation the beginning of this week. We visited family, and on our last day, we thought it would be nice to have barbecue for dinner. We did our research, found the barbecue place with good reviews, drove to that town… and could not find the restaurant. After searching on our own for a while, we went to a neighboring business and asked, only to discover: the business was hidden BEHIND another business… but it didn’t matter because it was closed that day anyway!

Hold Your Plans Loosely, Because

Our Plans Don’t Always Pan Out ~
Genesis 29:21-28

  • SETUP 15/18 Jacob (trickster) wants to marry Rachel  19/20 no tricks: works for 7 years
  • 21 time’s up: let’s get married!
  • 22/24 Father-in-law tricks the trickster!
  • 25 Jacob is indignant!
  • 26/28 Jacob gets Rachel a week later (for another 7 years of work)

Our Ignorance Doesn’t Block God’s Influence ~
Romans 8:26-28

  • 26 “We do not know what we ought” – We can’t know the complete end game
  • 27 Spirit in us is working WITH God’s plan
  • 28 God isn’t surprised by our choices: He KNOWS what’s going on

Rest of Jacob’s marriage story: he ends up the father of 12 boys: the 12 tribes of Israel, INCLUDING the line through which Jesus is born!

God Calls Us; that means God is prepared to bring about His purpose for our lives… even when we don’t know it yet! Therefore: RELAX: God’s got this!

How “unique” is our pain?

pain I read an article today about pain that pastors face. The article itself was okay; it mentioned areas where pastors can feel challenged. (For the curious, the areas are: Criticism, Rejection, Betrayal, Loneliness, Weariness, Frustrations, and Disappointments.) I won’t repeat the entire article here, but one phrase really caught my attention. Right before these various challenges are presented, this phrase was written in bold, to make sure I didn’t miss it:

“Some of the unique problems that pastors face are…”

And THAT got me to thinking. Why would I assume that the problems of criticism and rejection are uniquely related to the role of pastor? Doesn’t everyone face criticism occasionally? Aren’t we all rejected at times? There’s nothing special or unique about a pastor being betrayed or lonely: people from all walks of life experience these things.
I think the “unique” matter in all of this (that the article did NOT mention) is that there is often an unspoken expectation that these issues will not show up in the church – at least, certainly not to the extent that they might be known in “the world”. However, I don’t think that’s correct. After all, everyone has times of frustration, or disappointment, or weariness. That’s part of the human condition, and there’s no getting away from it.
Jesus experienced everyone of of these issues personally, and some of them frequently. That alone tells me that, as a follower of Christ, I’m going to be going through the same things as well – just not to the same degree as He did.
We, called to be God’s people in this time and place, will go through them all; there will even be times when we are responsible for *inflicting* them on others around us, whether people of faith or not.
I think the KEY is this: we cannot, should not, indeed MUST NOT try to walk through this life alone, or pretending like “we’ve got it all under control”. We don’t. We *know* that – and we know it’s true of everyone else if we stop and think about it – but when we’re tired, or under stress, it’s more of a challenge to remember our shared condition; we often just think it’s unique to our own situation.
Hebrews 3 has a good word for us: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:13) Every day, whether you think you need it or not, encourage someone else. Find a good thing to say; tell them they look nice, or that you appreciate their smile, or perhaps you’re refreshed by their candor. As we encourage one another, we ourselves receive encouragement. And the greatest encouragement we’ll receive is from God Himself: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
Don’t give up – and don’t be a stranger. Share God’s grace with others at church on Sunday, so you’ll be encouraged to do it the rest of the week “out there”.
Keep Following Jesus –

Pastor Ed Backell

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