Surviving the Chatter!

Baccalaureate
May 26, 2016

WOW!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Alexandria for almost 9 years.  I remember many of you from the 4th grade.  And I can still picture you from way back then.  You’ve all grown up!!  Where has the time gone?

For me, time has flown by.  I remember thinking about graduation in August, and here we are.  It seems like the year has flown by.  Joshua must have misread something on that paper he read.  I’m not 35, I’m 57!  And you know what happens this year for me?  This year is my 40th High School reunion.  Can you imagine what it was like way back then . . .

We didn’t have remotes for televisions, Atari just came out with pong, phones had cords, cell phones, the internet, snapchat, facebook, instagram!  When I went to college I used to call my parents once a week.  That was it.  I would make a collect call – – – ask your parents what that is.  We had a code word, it let my parents know if I was OK, then they would call me and pay the long distance charges!

And that’s what I want to talk about for awhile tonight – – – – Communication!  Have you ever noticed how much noise there is in the world?  One thing that’s changed because of technology, and yet has never changed is the noise.  I’m talking about all of the chatter.

With all of the technology and ways we can escape from reality, we still have to return to reality, and when we do . . . sometimes we listen to what is not good.  Sometimes the one telling us what’s not so good is you!  Understand this . . . we all have fears . . . we all have questions.  Especially, when you move from one chapter of life to another.

A lot of the chatter you hear is not good.  You can fill in the blank – – –

I am not ____________ enough!  Fill in the blank.

Smart            Experienced        Good
Strong            Loved                 Rich
Organized      Awesome           Pretty    Tall

Have you ever been there?  Maybe you’re there right now.  Maybe you’re all excited and scared about the future.

This is part of the chatter we hear in our head and heart.  The sentiment which tells us we are not ____ enough.

We all go through it.  We all question, we all wonder – – – does anyone really care?  What difference have I made?  Why am I stressing over all this?  Does it matter?

what’s the matter with me?
You always do this.
You’re just like . . .
You’re screwing up your life?
If only people knew how bad you are.
You’re a stupid idiot.
Add whatever you hear!

Then you think about what God thinks about you.  How disappointed is God in me . . . and I’m worthless.

And the chatterbox is chirping.  It’s not loud, it’s subtle comments in our heart and head.  We hear things like ~

If God loved you, you, you wouldn’t be going through this right now.
If you had more faith, things would be better.
If things were going to change, it would have already happened.
God’s not listening to you!  Who are you that God should care?
Why would God pay attention to you?

You see, we get all hung up on so many different things in life and when we do – – we lose focus.  We lose our bearings, we get ourselves lost.  Have you ever been lost?  Not like you didn’t know what street you were supposed to turn on.  But really, really lost.  You’re in the woods and you don’t know how to get out.

There was a time when I was snorkeling in the Florida Keys.  I was with a group of people and I was swimming right over a bunch of coral – – – and there was about 20 seconds, where I had absolutely no idea where anyone was.  I felt totally lost and since I was right above the coral I didn’t want to kick it and cut my leg open.  I could feel the panic, the dread coming over me.  I was swimming in circles and couldn’t get my bearings.  Finally, obviously I did.

But that’s the type of lost I’m talking about.  When we’re totally uncertain.  When we’re there it’s easy to get down on ourselves.  It’s easy to tell ourselves we are no good.  We hear all of the lies and we remind ourselves of all of the bad things about ourselves.  It’s all of that chatter we hear and ultimately we start to believe it.  And it sucks the life out of us.

Add to that our obsession with social media.  We worry about how many likes we have.  How many likes did I get on my tweet, or instagram post.  Honestly, who cares!  Really!  Is that what life is all about?  Yet we obsess about it.  Why didn’t so and so like it.  When I post a picture, do I want people to like it, sure, but I don’t care if you do or don’t.  That does not determine my self-worth.

One of my favorite verses is John 10:10.  Jesus said,  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

I want you to understand a couple of quick points here . . . the thief is satan.  He’s out to get you.  Now this is not a doom and gloom message, it will end on a positive note.  But know there are forces working against you.  Hoping to steal your heart, kill your spirit and destroy your sense of worth.  That’s the bad.
But Jesus juxtaposes this by saying . . . I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.  Literally the word abundantly is a poor translation.  In all reality, we are told “we will have life beyond what is anticipated, more than abundantly, exceeding expectations.

That’s the life Jesus offers you.  It’s not always going to be easy.  There are going to be the voices in the background telling you bad things about yourself.  It may be your heart and head saying it when you mess up.  But you need to remember, you can overcome all of that.

So, when the thief is shouting his lies to us . . . leading us to retreat into the land of darkness, we need to STOP and realize the enemy has no power over us, other than the power we’re willing to give him.  When we stop listening to the chatterbox, and we start listening to God’s promises we experience hope, power and strength – – – and the courage to go forward.

In Colossians 3, Paul refers to us as God’s chosen one’s, holy and dearly loved.

Think about that!!  Isn’t that great!  I don’t think I’m willing to die for too many of you.  I may know a few things about you.  But there’s one who said, I’ll die for you.  I’ll do it.  Even though I know every secret, every fault, every blemish.  It doesn’t matter . . . why?

Because you are holy, you are dearly loved, you are a child of God.  Kids, you’re still kids to me, friends, listen up!

You can do it!  There is nothing in this world you cannot do!  As Paul said, you can do more than you ever imagined you could do.

That’s great news.  We named Joshua for the verse from Joshua 1:9.  Imagine being Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites.  Moses is dead, now you need to lead this group of stubborn people into the promised land.  I can only assume Joshua was anxious, nervous, uncertain.  It’s why in the first chapter of Joshua, God reminded him 3 times of a promise.  Finally God tells Joshua again . . .

9 Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

There is power in there.  God’s command to you is this – – – Be strong and courageous – – – why?  Because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

Great news.  Also, don’t be afraid, don’t be dismayed!  Why?  Same reason.  Because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

That’s great news.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, you have the Lord of Hosts, the God of the heavenly armies on your side.  And if God is for you, then nothing, absolutely nothing can defeat you!

You have the ability to shut off the chatterbox!  You can crash the chatterbox and instead of the I’m not good enough mantra, you’ll hear . . .

You can do it!
Try again!
Don’t give up!
Keep going, you’re almost there!
Trust in me with all your heart!
Lean on me!
I’ve carried you before, and I’ll do it again!
I will never abandon you!
I’m with you, even to the end of the ages!
Let me say it again, I’m with you!
I love you!
I died for you!
You’re mine!

VIDEO

CONCLUSION – –

Doctoral story

If we would crash the chatterbox
if we would pound the ground . . .
Then pound again . . . and pound again.

Don’t stop.  Most do, most will.
Don’t go into survival mode
Don’t be content with mediocrity.

Keep pounding
Keep believing
Keep His promises

Pound the ground, make it your song,
Pound so that it becomes your rhythm.
Your song.

Pound the ground until it becomes natural.
Pound and pound and call out to God,
because it is only through God that we can ever crash the chatterbox.

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