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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option One: "A Letter From A Once Depressed Prophet"
1 Kings 19:14-18
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

(Setting: immediately after the great contest with the Prophets of Baal--cf 19:1-3)

  I. Depression has much to do with self-talk--v14

 II. The way the Lord helps--vv11-12; Ex 34:6; Zech 4:6

III. It is never as bad as we think--Rom 11:4-5; Ps 42:5-6. (Note: the term "downcast" has application to sheep keeping. It points to a sheep rolled over on its full back of wool and unable to right itself. See Phillip Keller’s book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, chapter 5, "He Restoreth my soul." While some most certainly need medication, correcting the faulty self-talk is essential to recovery. See Ps 42 and its closing self-talk in v11)

Philip Keller: "Christ is our Good Shepherd. He has the same sensations of anxiety, concern and compassion for cast men and women as I had for cast sheep. This is why he looked upon people with such compassion. It explains his magnanimous dealings with down-and-out individuals for whom society had no use. It discloses the depth of His understanding of undone people to whom He came, ready to help, to save, to restore." (A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, p64.)

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Children's Message

Visual aid: bandages

I don’t have to tell you what these are for. Maybe you skinned your knee while riding your bike. Or maybe you cut your finger and your mom had to wash the wound and then put one of these on you.

I want you to imagine that you are about 10 years older. You know for yourself what to do if you hurt yourself. You may not even live at home 10 years from now. You may live hundreds of miles away from your folks 10 years from now. I left home when I was 18, when I went to college. Some of the young men and women who are serving as soldiers are very young, maybe only 19 or 20 years old.

Here’s why I am asking you to think about this. Some young people who are 10 years older than you are right now get hurt and they don’t know how to fix it. I don’t mean that they have skinned knees or a cut on the finger. The kind of hurt I’m talking about is the hurt you get inside, the kind of hurt that no one can really see unless you tell them about it.

Some people hurt so bad on the inside that they think about taking way too much medicine so that they die, or maybe they get a gun and end their lives that way. Now you wouldn’t tell the doctor to cut off your leg because you skinned your knee. You wouldn’t go to the emergency room and tell them to amputate your hand because you cut your finger. That sounds pretty silly, wouldn’t you say?

But that’s what some people 10 years older than you do with the pain inside. Instead of getting the right kind of help, they end their lives. One young man was loved by everyone who knew him but I guess he didn’t like himself too much. You know what he did? He went to Chicago and jumped off a tall building and  he died.

The great prophet Elijah was depressed, very sad inside, because he thought he had failed and that there weren’t many of God’s people left. The queen wanted to kill him, and he had to run away. But God told him something I want you to know today and 10 years from now and for your whole life. Things are never as bad as they look. It’s never so bad that you have to think about ending the life God gave you because you hurt inside. Talk to your pastor or a Christian friend or a good counselor, but get some help before it’s too late.

After all, Jesus died for you so that you could have hope for this life and for eternal life in our Father’s house. Nothing could ever be so bad that you give up on God. Like Elijah, he has something for you to do before He takes you home. And that’s the way that it is.

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Option #2: "He Will Survive!"
1 Kings 19:14-21
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
The Point: Christianity can and will survive regression and suppression
 
The Problem: our limited and non-eternal view of the world, history, and our own lives, resulting in self-focus, fear, and despair (Hab 1:2)
 
The Promise: God will again and again reveal Himself to us in both temporary (Mt. Carmel) and ultimate victories (the cross and tomb)--in His own time and way (Hab 2:2-4; Heb 11:1; 2 Cor 5:7; Matt 16:18)
 
Notes:
 
1. .in the end it is not what we are doing here that will secure the kingdom of God, but what God is doing here... It is not for us and our efforts to secure the victory of God: God will always raise up for Himself what His kingdom requires. His call to us, like his call to Elijah, is to be faithful in the work that He gives us to do, trusting that He knows what He, and we, are doing here. (David Adams)
 
2. How does God work in our world? This story does not have all the answers. It does have one. God works through ordinary men and women who serve him in the nitty-gritty areas of life. God often speaks silently through people who not long before were ready to give up. There are more miracles wrought where our humanity meets God's grace than this world dreams of! (Dennis Bratcher)
 
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM