Input sound file: Audio 2018_11_11.mp3
[laugher] amen. I’d like to ask you to remember the last time you went to a scary movie. I have not been to see a scary movie since I went to see Jaws back in 1973 or whenever it was. I don’t like scary movies. They just seem way too real. Because when you’re sitting there in the theater screaming, it doesn help if someone stands up to explain to you, “Hey, hey, calm down. It’s just colored light shining on a wall.” Have you ever thought about that? Your heart’s pounding, you’re screaming, you’re full of fear. But it’s only colored light shining on the wall. It’s not real. Sometimes the things that we feel so powerfully aren’t real. There’s a lot of feeling things really powerfully that’s going along in our society today because it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes of sharing your opinion before you discover that someone else is completely and entirely enraged. You know why? You said something that doesn’t fit with what they’re seeing. And they’re upset about it. And if you try to explain to them that those are not baby kittens with white stripes, they will get very, very angry. Denial is the reality that people believe what they want to believe. And if you tell them something that they don’t believe, they will get furious with you. If you keep telling them, they will try to stop you from talking. And it’s a danger for our country. More and more people are looking for leaders who will not tell them the truth, as much as leaders who will tell them what they want to hear. Friends, one of these days, if we don’t highly value the truth, we’re going to find out that we’ve been petting something than little black kittens with white stripes. And sometimes that’s the only way we learn. Are you willing to see the truth? Are you willing to believe something that–to ask the question, should I examine what I believe? What I think to be true? Should I check it out? Because there’s a whole bunch of things that are true in our society that function somewhat like optical illusions. This is a very famous optical illusion. You see in the shadow of the green cylinder, you see the B? You see up in the top corner, you see the square marked A? Are they different shades? Sure looks like they are, doesn’t it? But if you connect the two of them– and you see that’s what we do when we try to figure out the truth, we connect two things that don’t seem to fit together and we see, we learn every time we make that connect. Here’s the connection. The square in the shadow is the exact same shade [inaudible]. And once we realize the truth, it changes our perspective. And the change in perspective changes everything. Oh, those aren’t black kittens with white stripes. A change in perspective changes everything. Why is this important? Well, stress is a perspective. The way you look at the world around you and perceive any things and threats all around you creates stress inside of you. And you many not know this, doctors have studied this, 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are the result of illnesses which are blamed or related to stress. Stress is the perspective, and it can make you ill if you believe the wrong thing. Now, it used to be people died from germs. But with the invention of penicillin and the science has increased, people are living longer and now are realizing that we’re dying from illnesses that we caused. Heart disease is to a very great degree caused by the perspective that you can eat anything you want, as long as you want, and there will never be a problem. Smoking, of course, is something else we all know about now. Smoking, by the way, is at at all time low in our society. Nearly [a miss?]. But there’s also what’s now developing, is what they call autoimmune diseases, to where your body thinks that another body part is the enemy and begins to attack itself. Because it has the wrong perspective. But a change in perspective changes everything. The scripture that we’re looking at today is about a change in perspective. Let me give you another medical example of perspective. We talked about this several weeks ago. There is a thing called a placebo. Whenever they test a medication, they give it to people and they give half the people the medication they’re testing, and they give the other half a pill that is usually sugar. It’s completely inert. It doesn’t do anything. The new drug, in order to get approved, has to work better than the fake. And here’s what they’ve found. On average, 30% of the people who take the fake pill will get better. You know why? Because they believed it works. I have decided that drinking coffee solves all my problems. That’s why I’ve started today with quite a bit of it. And guess what? 30% of the time it works. Further research, if a person then tells you that coffee cures everything, if they’re an authority figure and you believe in them, it works even better. And if that authority figure is someone you really like and respect, it works even better. Because a change in perspective, drinking coffee cures everything everything. A change in your perspective can work. Because what we believe makes a difference in what happens in our lives. We can’t explain it. But what we believe makes a difference in our lives. Nocebo is just the opposite of placebo. Nocebo means that you think that drinking coffee is bad for you. Guess what, 30% of the time you’re exactly right. And this is where we have to be careful, because you turn on the television, and you turn on the media, and you listen to the internet, and it tells you that this and that, and this and that, and this and that, and this and that causes bad stuff to happen in your health. If you believe that, guess what? That bad stuff will happen. I know of many people who their whole lives have become a part of avoiding certain things because they believe those things will make them sick. And you know something, they’re right. Because they believe it, it’s going to influence their lives. In fact, Henry Ford is the first person who said this, “Whether you believe that you can”, he said, “or you believe that you can’t, you’re right.” And this little phrase is not so much about what you can or can’t. It’s about the fact that what you believe, your perspective, tends to come true. So therefore, if you want to do something that you believe you can’t do, you need to make a mental decision to change what you believe. You need to make a mental decision to change your perspective. You need to see the world in a different way than than it’s automatic. You need to sit there in the theater and just keep telling yourself. “It’s just colored light shining on the wall. I don’t need to be scared. It’s just colored light shining on the wall.” But if you change your perspective, it can change everything.
And here’s the first of three miracles. In fact, it’s actually a chain reaction of miracles. Matthew 9:18, “While he, Jesus, was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him saying, ‘My daughter has just died. But come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.’ And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples.” The perspective that Jairus, this man, has is that even though my daughter is dead, Jesus, you can do something. And because Jairus believes this, he comes to Jesus, and now Jesus is on the way to Jairus. Well, let’s stay with this part of the miracle. Here’s what happens when they get to Jairus’ house, “And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house he saw the flute players and the crowd making a tumult.” A tumult is like a roar, like a loud party or crisis. Verse 24, “And he said to them, ‘depart.” There’s no need need for your to mourn and grieve and carry on this way, depart, just leave. Verse 24, “Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” You see, that was their perspective. Everyone else perceives that she’s dead and that there’s no hope, and Jesus says, “No, no she’s not, she’s sleeping, she’s sleeping.” and how do they respond? Because they don’t have his perspective. They laughed at him. The tears are falling. There’s so much grief. And also instantly they’re filled with laughter because this silly man says this silly and stupid thing. But nonetheless he pushes them out of the house. Verse 25. He went in and took her, the little girl, by the hand. Another gospel says that he speaks to her and says, “Little girl, I say to you, arise. It’s time to get up.” And the girl rose. “Hey guess what? Jesus was right.” Not so much that the girl was not dead, but that he could wake her up. Verse 26, the report of this went throughout all the district. “Can you believe what Jesus did?” It astonished and amazed the people, but it raised the bar and increased their perspective of what Jesus could do, this first miracle. Now on the way to [Giras’?] house there’s another miracle. People even call it the miracle on the way to a miracle. It appears in multiple gospels, slightly different versions. Here’s how it is in Matthew, verse 20. Behold, a woman who has suffered from a hermorrhage for 12 years. The suspicion is that this is the disease endometriosis. But this particular illness is an illness of great psychological and emotional damage for a woman of the Jewish faith in Jesus’ day because to have a discharge like this was not unlike that of leprosy. People would shun you. You were unclean. You were not allowed to come up to people in public. And so, in the crowd she sneaks up behind Jesus and reaches out and touches his clothing. Down out of sight where no one can see it. Now why does she do that? She has a different perspective. She has decided all on herself, “If I’m going to touch his garment, I shall be made well.” Friends, that’s just the silliest. If you are ill and you say to yourself, “You know if I yank on a preacher’s tie, I’ll instantly be healed from whatever I have.” Let me give you my perspective: won’t help a bit. But it’s a ridiculous decision on her part. I’ll even go past that. It’s just plain stupid. So here this stupid woman makes a stupid decision. Oh, and by the way, if you believe it’ll work it’ll work. She was right. If I only touch his garment I shall be made well. And Jesus turned to see her, said, “Take heart, daughter. Your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Jesus makes it very clear. It’s not me, it’s not God, it’s not mysterious and unexplainable. You made a decision to believe and God honored your decision. You made a decision to change your perspective and God’s power flowed to make you well. Because you decided to change your perspective. Makes you begin to wonder what would happen? What would be possible in our lives if we began to let go of the rigid ideas we have and believe that God could help? If we became willing to change our perspective related any problem that we struggled with? Now here’s the third mirror. Couple of verses later in Mark. This is not Matthew. This is in Mark. “Word has gotten around what happened to this woman. Oh, all she did is touch the hem of his garment. And now people hear that Jesus is coming and they line up in the street. They lay the sick on blankets in the roadway, begging as Jesus comes by, that they just be able to touch hem because they heard that that works. They now have a different perspective. They heard that that works. And son of a gun, as many as touched it were made well. Their perspective had changed. The next time you feel hopeless, the next time you feel helpless, the next time you feel that what you want and hope and dream for can never happen, the next time you feel like this, remember that what you believe you can’t do, what you believe God can’t do, might not be true. It might not limit what God can do. It may be as Jesus said to the woman that it is your faith that makes you well. It may be as Jesus said to the woman, “If you change your perspective and believe that God can help, that God can bring hope when you’re hopeless, that God can bring you what you most deeply need to lift you out of whatever hole you might feel that you’re in. If you believe that God can, all of a sudden you’ll find out that God can, that you’re not helpless, that the life you live is not hopeless because if you believe that God can help, maybe you’re right. And so changing our perspective can change all kinds of things in the world. I have a hope. I have a prayer request myself. Jamie doesn’t know, but Jamie, this chair represents where we sit and pray every day. And it sits right here in front to remind us that we need to have a place to where we stop and we pray. Might not look like this, but we need to stop and pray and one of the reasons you stop and pray is so you can let your prayers change your perspective. And when you’re in this place and you read the scripture and you pray, my hope is that you would believe in God and hope for the sake of your own life, but also the lives of your neighbors and of your own community, hope. And then when you get up out of this chair and go walking to and fro in your neighborhoods and encounter your neighbors, where you work, where you spend your free time, your family, even, just the geographical area where you live. I want to ask you to notice your neighbor. Notice where prayers are needed because if they believe it’s hopeless, you don’t have to believe that. If they believe they’re helpless, you don’t have to believe that. You can believe that God will answer your prayers for them and if God does answer your prayers, then you’ll be able to say those beautiful words to your neighbor whose life has been changed. You can look your neighbor right in the eye and you can say, “I’ve been praying for you and God has seen what you’re going through and your faith has made you well.” Let’s create a chain reaction of prayer, not just in our own lives, but that will spread through all of our neighborhoods, through all of our neighbors, until, finally, it reaches all of our community. The best way I know for us to love our neighbor is for each one of us to pray for our neighbor. Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, no one is this community suffers in a way that is unknown to you. There are so many secrets, Lord, but none of them are secret from you. People are in denial and they hide their problems. They hide what they’re struggling with. They hide when they feel helpless. They hide when they feel hopeless. And oftentimes, Lord, depression pulls them into the shadows so that no one sees what they’re going through. But Lord, I just pray that through our willingness to walk through our neighborhoods the light that you give people’s lives will shine in darkness. And they will begin to have hope that you will help them. And Lord, help us to give voice to that hope as we pray. Help us, Lord, to create a church to create a chain reaction of prayer in the name of Jesus Christ
The photo …
This post is based on the sermon “___” from the sermon series “___”
*date*, at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_2018.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.