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Article Notes: The Secret to Dealing with Fear and Anxiety, by Ed Welch

Over at CCEF.org, Ed Welch posted recently on handling fear and anxiety. The secret, he says, is humbling ourselves before we “cast all [our] anxiety on him” (1 Peter 5:7). In the verse before 1 Peter 5:7, Peter writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he might lift you up in due time.” Welch says that we often simply come to God expecting him to take away our cares when we cast them on him–and certainly, we know he can change our circumstances and take away our suffering–but that this approach isn’t always one of humility. Essentially, we can often say in this approach, “Well God, here are my cares–now take care of them.”

For more on this, check out the post.

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Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: In Christ Jesus How the Spirit Transforms Us — Sermon #1: Perfect Freedom

Sermon preached on November 19, 2006.

Teaching is based on Romans 6:1-7; 11-18.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Intro: If salvation is sheerly by grace, why would you change the way you live?

We’ll be looking at 3 principles to profound life change

I) recognize the shape of your spiritual slavery

Anger: If someone blocks you getting a good thing, you get angry; but if something blocks you getting an ultimate good thing, you get epi-angry

–if you’re having trouble forgiving somebody, at the root of it is a spiritual master

Fear: If someone good in your life is threatened, you’re worried; but if something ultimate in your life is threatened, you’re paralyzed

Sadness: If you lose something good, you grieve; if you lose something that’s ultimate, you want to throw yourself off a bridge, because there’s no meaning in life

Martin Luther: you don’t do anything else wrong in your life if you don’t first break the first commandment; idols motivate all wrong that we do

II) realize the scope of your cosmic unity with Jesus

United with Christ’s past

Died with Christ? Seated at the right hand of God in Christ? What does that mean?

  • Ex: A rich man gets rich himself, but when he gets married, all that wealth becomes the wife’s, too—how come? Legal union; grace.

Christ has accomplished so much in his life, and the text says that everything Jesus Christ has done is now legally attached to you. God sees you as free from condemnation from the guilt of your sins as if you had died yourself

Risen with Christ?

You are connected to Christ’s future.

  • Palingenesia: complete cosmic renewal, and the power of that future, where all sadness will be purged and everything will dance

CS Lewis: Imagine yourself as a house… God comes in to fix it; at first you understand what he’s doing… You thought he was making a decent little cottage, but He’s making a palace, in which He intends to live.

III) Live daily out of your new identity

Get rid of your low goals; get rid of your your goals

Anticipate that you will not be able to anticipate the magnitude of the changes that when they come you’ll be so thankful for, but they’ll be way beyond anything you could ever ask or think; there’s no way you’re smart enough to recognize what it is that you need.

v. 6: We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin will be done away with… Who you once were is gone. You have a new identity.

v. 11: Though the identity is the secret, it’s not right away. You’ve got to treat yourself like you’re a new identity. You’ve got to remind yourself. If you’re not changing, you don’t lack the resources if you’re a Christian—they just need to be deployed. If you ever fail to change, you’re not remembering who you really are, you’re not conscious of who you are.

(This is where my notes on this sermon end, although it does not seem at all like this is where Keller would have ended. The sermon in its entirety can be found at Redeemer’s sermon store.)

Notes on Sleeping In

Reasons to hit the snooze button:

  1. Don’t feel like facing the day.
  2. Fear of the day.
  3. Don’t feel good (super tired, achy, etc.)
  4. Laziness.
  5. Didn’t get enough sleep the night before (7 hours, based on last night’s guess and this morning’s feeling and vaguely remembered past experiences, seems optimal for me).
Psalm 3:5 says, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me.”
This was probably originally written meaning this: David, running from Absalom, just wanted to lie down and sleep and survive through the night. I used to relate it to how, when I went to sleep, I didn’t want to get up again, but I did because I had faith that God would get me through the day (this was during my first year of teaching, mostly!). Last year, I began to read it like this: though rest and sleep are so scrumptious, I wake up from them because the LORD, not sleep, sustains me.
I think that today, this latter sense of the verse continues to instruct me most. If anything, I tend to idolize sleep, giving it more time, thought, and faith than I do God. I am the sloth written of in the proverbs; I am the foolish man. Apart from God, I would be living in my parents’ basement playing video games right now, fifty or one hundred pounds heavier.
It is only because of God, because of His redeeming work of transforming grace on my life, that I am anything more than a lazy, slothish, foolish slug of a man. It is only God. It is only Christ. It is only the Holy Spirit Who teaches me daily. Apart from them, I am the other criminal before Christ, I am Cain before repentance, I am Barabas before the switch, I am Peter before the restoration, I am Paul before the road to Damascus.
This is why God deserves all the glory for every good thing that occurs in my home, my classroom, my life. Everything.

Movie Notes – Star Wars, Episode I, The Phantom Menace

Crystal and I started watching the Star Wars movies last night with Episode I. She’s never watched them before and was pretty leery about making a start at it, but she’s hooked already. We decided before we watched them that we’d look for gospel parallels, just for fun. I know, we’re dorks, but what do you expect from Star Wars fans?

Here’s what we found:

Parallels

  • “Fear gives way to anger, anger to hate, hate to suffering.” Yoda says this regarding Anakin. We’re not sure if it’s God’s timeless truth, but undoubtedly these things are all connected in the mess of our sinful hearts. Relying on a sinful “chosen one” spelled suffering for the entire universe in Star Wars.
  • Anakin is the “chosen one” (or is he?) who will bring balance to the force. Jesus came and brought His followers back to Himself by living a sinless life and taking our sins upon Himself on the cross. Anakin will eventually die for the galaxy by sacrificing his busted up body as Darth Vader in Episode VI.
  • Anakin is born to no father. “The Force” spawns him, allegedly. Perhaps God the Father is the force in these movies — the insurmountable problem with this, of course, is that the Force has a dark side, and God is infinitely far from darkness.
  • There is always hope for sinners, even for Anakin, who is given much and eventually uses what he’s given for evil.
  • We leave a legacy of ourselves in those we disciple, just as Qui Gon Jin leaves a legacy in Obi Wan Kenobi. At the start of the film, Obi Wan seems to be more of a straight-and-narrow type, but by the end, after Qui Gon is dead, Obi Wan seems to be ready to step into his defiant shoes.
Non-parallels
  • The Jedi are an elite group, and they  gain entry into the group by born qualities and demonstrated ability. Christians are part of an incredibly amazing group (God’s children), but they are invited into an eternal family based not on their performance or abilities, but rather on Christ’s.
  • Anakin, the chosen one, is sinful. And his son, Luke Skywalker, who may be the real chosen one, is also sinful. Jesus isn’t. He’s perfect.

Sinful motivation for teaching well: reputation

Driving in my car the other night, God revealed something to me in the form of a question: If I trust God for the future of my students, why do I toil anxiously? The answer is reputation. I hear the conversations that go on about others in the faculty room, and I want to protect myself in the faculty room when I’m not in there. Thus, I try to limit office referrals, engage students, propel achievement and learning, and all of these are good things, but the motivation behind them is sinful.

Trying to protect my reputation in the faculty room is placing my reputation as god in my life. Reputation is an evil, demonic god that takes. Instead of giving me complete protection in Christ as God my Father does, reputation requires me to constantly work and toil and worry.

So, while it is good in many ways to seek to limit office referrals, engage students, and propel achievement and learning, these things are for naught when sought after out of fear and sin and reputation worship. These good things can completely destroy me (and any teacher) when they take the place of the One true and Almighty God, Who is a beneficent, all-loving, better-than-life Father that accepts us meandering children on the basis of His perfect Son.

Control

I get itchy with fear thinking about my classroom getting out of control, and even moreso having someone else–especially a colleague–see the chaos. And that’s one reason why Mr. Scriven moving to Woodlawn High next year and Mrs. Maul moving to a different middle school (and all of the other staff changes that seem set to take place next year) may be the best things that’ve happened to me. Mr. Scriven has been like a protector for me, someone I could go to when I knew I needed backing up in a challenging situation. In politics, you collect mutually beneficial relationships; in the gospel, Jesus made Himself bereft of the ultimate relationship so that we might never lack it.

It’s easy as a public school teacher to begin living politically rather than in, for, and through the gospel. As I walk through feelings of bitterness and despair towards what once seemed like a solid and clear future, I’m drawn to reflect on Christ’s victory over my greatest enemies of fear and evil and death. If next year I don’t have a “supportive administration,” let me recall Christ who was not just unsupported by administration, but mocked, beaten, and killed by them. My fear of having a classroom that appears out of control is conquered by Christ’s final day, where it appeared He had no control at all. He could have done an infinite array of things to regain control that day, but He did nothing–in fact, He didn’t even defend Himself from mockery.

If these administrative changes for next year take my friends, my administrative support, my effectiveness at my job, or whatever else, but they give me a greater depth of relationship and intimacy with God, I have lost nothing and gained everything.