Sermon "Finding Spiritual Equalibrium"
Rev. Lonnie Richardson
Sunday, February 27, 2000

(THE FOLLOWING WAS USED FOR AN ORAL PRESENTATION WHICH INCLUDED EXTEMPORANEOUS AND PERSONAL REMARKS NOT INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION. THIS HAS NOT BEEN EDITED FOR PRINT.)

Rev. Lonnie Richardson

First Congregational Church

 

FINDING SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM

LAST WEEK, MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH SENT ME THE FOLLOWING PRAYER. IT WAS ORIGINALLY WRTTEN AND USED BY REV. JOE WRIGHT AFTER HE WAS ASKED TO OPEN THE NEW SESSION OF THE KANSAS SENATE. EVERYONE WAS EXPECTING THE USUAL GENERALITIES, BUT THIS IS WHAT THEY HEARD:

"HEAVENLY FATHER, WE COME BEFORE YOU TODAY TO ASK YOUR FORGIVENESS AND TO SEE YOUR DIRECTION AND GUIDANCE. WE KNOW YOUR WORD SAYS, 'WOE TO THOSE WHO CALL EVIL GOOD,' BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE DONE. WE HAVE LOST OUR SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM AND REVERSED OUR VALUES. WE CONFESS THAT. WE HAVE RIDICULED THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH OF YOUR WORK AND CALLED IT "PLURALISM". WE HAVE WORSHIPPED OTHER GODS AND CALLED IT "MULTICULTURALISM". WE HAVE ENDORSED PERVERSION AND CALLED IT "ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE". WE HAVE EXPLOITED THE POOR AND CALLED IT "THE LOTTERY". WE HAVE REWARDED LAZINESS AND CALLED IT "WELFARE". WE HAVE KILLED THE UNBORN AND CALLED IT "CHOICE".

WE HAVE SHOT ABORTIONISTS AND CALLED IT "JUSTIFIABLE".

WE HAVE NEGLECTED TO DISCIPLINE OUR CHILDREN AND CALLED IT "BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM". WE HAVE ABUSED POWER AND CALLED IT "POLITICS". WE HAVE COVETED OUR NEIGHBOR'S POSSESSIONS AND CALLED IT "AMBITION". WE HAVE POLLUTED THE AIR WITH PROFANITY AND PORNOGRAPHY AND CALLED IT "FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION".

WE HAVE RIDICULED THE TIME-HONORED VALUES OF OUR FOREFATHERS AND CALLED IT "ENLIGHTENMENT". SEARCH US, O GOD, AND KNOW OUR HEARTS TODAY; CLEANSE US FROM EVERY SIN AND SET US FREE. GUIDE AND BLESS THESE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN SENT TO DIRECT US TO THE CENTER OF YOUR WILL. I ASK IT IN THE NAME OF YOUR SON, THE LIVING SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. AMEN."

THE RESPONSE WAS IMMEDIATE. A NUMBER OF LEGISLATURES WALKED OUT DURING THE PRAYER IN PROTEST. IN SIX SHORT WEEKS, CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH, WHERE REVEREND WRIGHT IS PASTOR, LOGGED MORE THAN 5,000 PHONE CALLS WITH ONLY 47 OF THOSE CALLS RESPONDING NEGATIVELY. COMMENTATOR, PAUL HARVEY, AIRED THIS PRAYER ON THE REST OF THE STORY OVER RADIO AND RECEIVED A LARGER RESPONSE TO THIS PROGRAM THAN ANY OTHER HE HAS EVER AIRED.

THE PRAYER BEGINS: WE HAVE LOST OUR SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM AND REVERSED OUR VALUES. THIS MORNING WE WILL LOOK AT REBUILDING THAT SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM. THIS IMPORTANT TASK IS CONCERNED WITH HOW WE THINK. IMPORTANT BECAUSE UNLESS THERE IS LORDSHIP OVER LOGIC OUR THINKING IS IN GREAT DANGER BECAUSE THE MIND HAS AN INFINITE CAPACITY TO RATIONALIZE. SO WHERE DO WE BEGIN? WE BEGIN WITH REVIEWING AND RENEWING THE BASIC FOUNDATIONS OF A BALANCED CHRISTIAN FAITH. I WAS RECENTLY REMINDED ABOUT A STRATEGY OF VINCE LOMBARDI TO GET THE PACKERS REBUILT. HE HELD UP A FOOTBALL AND ANNOUNCED” GENTLEMEN, THIS IS A FOOTBALL" HE GOT THE PACKERS BACK TO THE BASICS OF FOOTBALL.

I. FAITH IN GOD

PEOPLE, THIS IS A BIBLE. IT IS A BOOK ABOUT GODS FAITH IN PEOPLE AND THEIR FAITH IN GOD. THIS BOOK NEVER SAYS HAVE "FAITH" ONLY BUT HAVE "FAITH IN GOD". SO FIRST, HAVE FAITH IN THE OBJECT OF YOUR FAITH... GOD.

WHEN A SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM IS BUILT AROUND FAITH IN GOD, A HOLY EXTRAVAGENCE HAPPENS. THERE'S NO FEAR WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE LOVE OF GOD. THERE IS NO UNCERTAINTY WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE POWER OF GOD. THERE IS NO DESPAIR WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE ETERNAL CHRIST. HAVE FAITH IN GOD.

FAITH IS ALWAYS AN ACTION WORD BUILT ON WHAT WE COME TO KNOW ABOUT LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE FROM THE BIBLE. HOW IS IT SHAPING YOUR LIFE? IT CAN BE AN ACTION WORD FOR YOU!

II. KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

JUST BECAUSE WE ARE NOT A CREEDAL MOVEMENT DOES NOT MEAN WE DO NOT HAVE THEM. IT JUST MEANS THAT THEY ARE PERSONALLY DEFINED AND APPROPRIATED. (THE PERSONAL CREED OF ROLLIE SPRINGER WAS SHARED)

III. TRUST GOD WITH YOUR FUTURE.

GOD IS NOT ONLY THE CREATOR BUT GOD IS ALSO THE RECREATOR. I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.

(PHILIPPIANS 4:13)

DR. LESLIE WEATHERHEAD HAS SAID, "IF WE HAVE IN OUR MINDS A PICTURE OF OURSELVES AS FEAR-HAUNTED AND DEFEATED NOBODIES WE MUST GET RID OF THAT PICTURE AT ONCE AND HOLD UP OUR HEADS. THAT IS A FALSE PICTURE AND THE FALSE MUST GO. GOD SEES US AS MEN AND WOMEN IN WHOM AND THROUGH WHOM HE CAN DO A GREAT WORK. HE SEES US AS ALREADY SERENE, CONFIDENT AND CHEERFUL. HE SEES US NOT AS PATHETIC VICTIMS OF LIFE, BUT MASTERS OF THE ART OF LIVING; NOT WANTING SYMPATHY, BUT IMPARTING HELP TO OTHERS, AND THEREFORE THINKING LESS AND LESS OF OURSELVES AND FULL, NOT OF SELF-CONCERN, BUT OF LOVE AND LAUGHTER AND A DESIRE TO SERVE."

FINDING LOST EQUILIBRIUM: GO BACK TO THE BASICS-

  1. HAVE FAITH IN GOD

2. KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

3. TRUST GOD WITH YOUR FUTURE.


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