Below is the first sermon I ever gave using my own material , and one of the only sermons I wrote(typed) out. It was some time in the fall of 2013. Please note this was my working draft, I used it as a jumping off point to give the “preached” sermon, so it might read a little more choppy than usual. That saying something coming from me!
I consider it my “coming out party” sermon, the one that wretched my heart out, it was at a turning point in my life— there was a lot of pain being released in that talk, I teared up at points and had issues finishing it.
I hope it can help others to know, there is more out there than the grief, pain and misery many people see in the world. You truly can choose Heaven here on earth! Come with me on the journey!
This is not a sermon for everyone, but I hope its for someone.
So we are saved by grace now What?
Seriously now what?
There is nothing you can do to turn God away from you, nothing-Not Sin, not being gay, not murder, nothing!
So now what do you do with your life if you’re a Christian?
I realized a few weeks ago that I was afraid my whole life, afraid to succeed , afraid to fail, basically afraid to breath. That’s a very hard thing to come to grips with- I cried off and on for days- it was great – was the most freeing time of my life, I am not sure you can understand that if you have never gone through anything like that, it was like opening of my own personal Pandora’s box of my life. My sister kept telling me I needed to read the 4 Agreement by Don Ruiz,I finally got around to reading it, and it changed my life.
Some how I kept thinking of the story about Michelangelo’s David, I read Michelangelo looked at the block of stone and saw David in it waiting to be brought out of the block.
God has always seen me and you in the same way, we are there waiting to be brought out—- He has always been in us,
The problem was I couldn’t see myself
One of those forest for the tree’s thing.
I keep dancing around myself and around and around, nipping at the edges, but I couldn’t pull it all together.
Until recently when I realized I was to full of myself
I had filled myself with Stuff lots of Stuff… from our culture, society, my parents, friends, and most importantly – I was full of myself..
I was afraid- scared of success, failure, of life and death, but especially life- I remember my dad telling me once – son I am worried about your health – your killing yourself.
I told him I am not afraid to die , I know where I am going when I die, I am afraid to live! But I said it as a joke- it took me years to get it. Like another 10 years, I am polish if you remember.
I had filled my life with stuff-
Trying to fill the void, the emptiness within me
you know that empty feeling you get when you lay awake at night-
why are things always worse in the middle of the night
the bible gives us a ton of metaphors about darkness and light
obviously there is something to it, but we can leave that for another time.
Back to that empty feeling________________
Is this all these is_________
There Nothing else____________
There has to be more-doesn’t there?
what’s my purpose in life?
I am a “good Christian” right
I even get up there and preach on some Sundays- I believe everything I said, but I was still empty on the inside ———– craving more.
living a shallow empty hollow life.
So what do you do with yourself now————–
You try to fill the void———
I worked really hard on filling it with stuff all kinds of stuff
I couldn’t get out of my own way!
Sure I had a great family( the most important thing)- more on that later
the big house
the beach house
and on and on and on
I also had the binge drinking
the mood swings
the depression, the stress, the anxiety etc etc etc.
I always wanted more—– but more of what, there is the trick– of what
Mark Twain said if I had more time , I would have said less— pretty profound, especially for me.
Segway here —- fast forward to present time.
I have been listening to a lot of Deepak Chopra ( who knew)
27 of his CD’s to be exact!
He is the Indian spiritualist ( Lisa would say the dot kind- in case you don’t know him) you might have caught him on Oprah
Yes I now watch the OWN network- I have just bared my soul to you about my life, and I am embarrassed to tell you I watch Oprah!
Back to my man Deepak _______________
he says those of us especially in western society i.e. US Canada, Europe etc.
are object referral \ as opposed to self referral.
what does that mean- let me tell you a story.
“There was once a man who had only two things that he valued in his life. One was his son, and the other was a little pony. His whole sense of reality came from referring to these two objects. Then one day the pony disappeared. The man was devastated because he had lost half of what he truly valued. He was in the depths of despair thinking about his lost pony, when the pony returned with a beautiful white stallion. Suddenly from the depths of despair he was in the heights of ecstasy. The next day, his son was riding the stallion and fell down and broke his leg. So from the heights of ecstasy, the man was now in the depths of despair. He was wallowing in misery when the government’s army came looking for all the young men to go to war. They took every young man in the village except the man’s son, because he had a broken leg. So from the depths of despair, this man was now in the heights of ecstasy. You can guess, of course, that this story of object-referral has no ending. By their very nature objects change, and as long as we identify with objects, we will never know our real essence. When we evaluate and understand ourselves through objects, or through the eyes of others, our life is like a roller coaster ride because the only constant about people, things, situations, and circumstances is that they change. If our identity is tied to these, then life is always going to be unstable. The opposite of object-referral is self-referral. When we are self-referred, we identify with our inner self, the unchanging essence of our soul. We feel wonderful regardless of the situation, circumstance, or environment we are in. And why do we feel wonderful all the time? Because we don’t identify with the situation; we are a detached, silent witness of the situation. We are secure in who we are, and we have no urge to prove anything to anyone. If we had the urge to prove this to someone, there we would again evaluate ourselves through the eyes of others. Self-referral is an internal state of joy, and this is different from happiness for a reason”
That’s what it meant to be object referral.
That describes my life to a ” T”
I am sure some of you can relate, or at least I hope so, if not I am going to feel pretty stupid.- I know someone else need to hear this.
So back to Deepak and the self referral bit
our counter parts in the eastern cultures i.e. India , china etc.
They get it there, in our defense, they have been at it a lot long than us poor slobs in the west.
They look inward to get there reference, there focus, they look to family, they are very spiritual .
They are wired differently- there culture respects the process of life more so than ours, we are taught to respect the outcome more.
I watch a lot of cooking shows , when you see stuff for Japan, China, they tell of a family of noodle makers, that’s all they do is make noodles, they could be 10th generation noodles makers. That’s respecting the process , not living for the outcome.
I know you are think to yourself Doug’s gone off his rocker, so let’s bring this back to God.
God made us in his image
God in us
I truly believe when god says he is in us, he is.
He is in every Atom in our being —
There is a whole bunch of Quantum Physics stuff I could get into, but if you want to lean more– see me after class.
We are all made of the same stuff- the pews , the stars, you and me, all the same- God’s essence.
So back to me————
I was object referral for my whole life———
I knew I was saved by grace— —- Now what!
I was miserable and didn’t know why, most of the time I thought I was happy at least part of the time, or so I thought.
Now I know the problem, I was empty on the inside ,, where it counted.
So of course I tried to fill the emptiness with stuff— crap.
The bible says we should be of this world not in it.
I was in it full bore———– If you’re going to do it , do it right!
I was all in , I sure gave it one heck of a try.
So then I was in the weird funk, you realize you’re full of the wrong stuff- SOOOOOO now what?
now I really felt lost
that took me a while to figure out, and believe me, I am still working on figuring it out
I went from being afraid, to being lost—————- a step in the right direction ,,,, right?
right, well yes, sort of
It was then, after reading the 4 Agreements and Love Wins by Rob Bell, that I realized I created my own Hell with a Capitol ” H” , right here on earth.
Lets look at Hell, our concept of it anyway
Its somewhere you go when you die, right, if you been bad.
The grim reaper comes in and carries you off to hell, which of course is in the center of the earth , and all that stuff we see on TV.
well maybe or maybe not.
Remember me telling you a few months ago — what Rob Bell brings out in his book Love Wins— our concept of Hell from the Bible , historically is an actual place that’s was the local garbage dump, where they kept a fire burning to burn the trash and there were always animals there fighting for food scraps–with their Gnashing of teeth. Sound familiar
So maybe it not quite what we think it is this place called Hell.
So here is what I learned the hard way
We have the choice— right here on earth— to live our lives in heaven or hell.
We wake up every day and make choices, and they are choices , to live in Heaven or in Hell, today and every day.
I choose a hell of my own making for many years!
Worry, Stress, Gossip, control, etc etc.
They rob you of your today’s Heaven ,In trade for the hell of re-living your yesterdays and robbing you of your tomorrows
So how often do you sit there, or probably lie there in the dark at night- that darkness thing again— and worry and stress and over think , about past mistakes, or something that might happen in the future.
Guess what it changes nothing- nada- zilch. I did it for years, guess what it changed————–ME, nothing else, except me for the worse — and those I drug into my living Hell
All it did was rob me of my today’s———– this moment, the only moment that exists____
There is nothing else. Learn to live for this moment, forgive the past, if you choose not to, you do so at your own peril, trust me I was an expert at reliving the past.
Funny thing about this Hell on earth———– you’re not there alone,
NO, if your there long enough and deep enough, you get to drag the ones closest to you down into your Hell.
That’s the part that hurts the worst–
That’s what we do to the ones closest to us —- Isn’t love grand!
But I now realize we all do the best we can– Everyday——–don’t we?
I know I must have said it a hundred times, I did the best I could, and that’s something to stand on isn’t it.
What I came to realize is sometime, a lot of times, my best is a pile of smoldering crap! That’s all I had was crap, for days on end, but it was my best—— at the time.
Here is the tricky part, learning to see it in your self is one thing—- the blessing is when you learn to see it in others.
Learn to see their crap moments, or hours or days or months or years.
Learn to meet them where there at, knowing that’s probably the best they have that day, maybe it’s a load of crap too.
It makes me think of that old saying …. until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes… we have no clue what someone else might be dealing with— work problems, kid problems, health problems, Deaths.
I had to learn to see and listen all over again– really listen, that’s hard, I realize we all put our spin on everything, all the time— teach yourself to really listen to what those around you have to say!
Meet them with love and light and grace, the grace from God that passes all human understanding!
Jesus said come to me, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
And it truly is, it took me years to get it, or to get this far, remember we are all works in progress WIPS’s, we are all at different places in our lives and on our journeys with God.
Its all right there for the taking, he gave it to us all from the start,
So back to the beginning—–
We are saved by grace now what—-
Wake every day and choose heaven on earth — it truly is there if you look for it, it’s everywhere in everything if only you can get out of your own way, its freely given by God for all of us.
Wake and chose light and love and most importantly forgiveness
Remember we Christians are in the forgiveness business NOT the judgment business that belongs to someone else!
Fill your void– not with the crap of this world like I did for so many years, but the joy and peace and love God has shown us! Its there for each of us, if we can move ourselves out of the way.
Find your heaven on earth every day! Keep it simpler than I did!
It truly is a love story
God is there for each and every one of us .