Welcoming Truth

My Sermon at Davison Free Methodist Church

lifeverse welcoming truth sermon dfmc

image: Davison Free Methodist Church

This past Sunday I spoke in both services at the church I grew up in and where I worked for eight years when I first went into the ministry. I didn’t know at the time that the service was going to be streamed on Facebook Live, but was pleasantly surprised to see it.

Below you can view that sermon if you want to, it starts about 26 minutes into the service.

I promise you, whether you are religious or not, there is much to learn here. I hope you don’t overlook it simply because it’s a message I preached in church. It has universal applicability and that was the whole point of preaching it in a church to begin with. I hope you enjoy it. It was a blast.

 

What Is Your Destiny?

... and how finding "TRUTH" came to be mine

What is Your Destiny?

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What Is Destiny?

People have always lauded me for my transparency and authenticity. It probably seems like searching intensely for ultimate truth is my destiny. But I feel like I just realized at any early age that I’m terrible at hiding my emotions, and terrible at acting like something I know is true isn’t true. I cannot hide the truth.

When I was a kid, any time I would feel terrible and attempt to disguise it I’d end up being chastised by someone for being a jerk, or a close friend would see right through me and call me out.

I think eventually I just gave up, decided I wasn’t even going to try. This was no more a courageous decision about being authentic any more than shaving my head was a courageous decision about being bald. In that case, the writing was on the wall. I had already started losing my hair. So I took action that got me to the destination of being bald as a way to skip the painful process of going bald. The same was true with being honest. I couldn’t hide my feelings and opinions, so I just quit trying.

At some point pretty early on, people started applauding me for being honest and transparent and authentic. Of course most of us will take any affirmation we can get, and it was pretty obvious that this was my avenue for being unique and getting noticed. Pair this with a growing chip on my shoulder and an affinity for words, and this “honest” thing must have seemed like a pretty good gig.

Please don’t be mad. If I’m going to be that honest person, I probably need to be honest about being honest, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Could it be that what seems from one perspective to be “destiny” is, from another perspective, just giving in to reality?

I wonder if anybody is the way they are, good or bad, without it being due — in some way — to the discovery that being a certain way was always how they were best able to be accepted on some level by someone.

Maybe that’s what “destiny” really is: finding those ways we are accepted and affirmed, and embracing them. Could that be?

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Why I Need Your Grace

authenticity, vulnerability, and grace

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We all need grace. I try to extend mine to everyone at all times. Here are some reasons why I need yours.

I’m a flawed person.

I am a flawed pastor, flawed teacher, flawed therapist, flawed husband and father. As charming and charismatic as I have learned to be when I’m “on stage” in some way (by which I mean simply being looked up to in one of my roles as pastor/teacher/therapist), I can be equally cold and aloof when the spotlight goes off.

It’s not because I don’t genuinely love people. I love you more than I can say and everything I say in all of my roles is 100% true.

It’s just that I’m tired.

I love people, but you wear me out sometimes.

It’s not your fault, it’s just my own limitation.

If you haven’t heard that from a leader before, it’s probably just because I’m the only one stupid enough to write it down.

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Suffering That Hurts vs. Suffering That Helps

suffering that hurts -- suffering that helps -- man alone suffering

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My original post on this topic concluded with these lines:

Both living in truth and living in falsehood bring suffering.

In my next post, I’ll talk about why the suffering that truth brings is better.

Have you ever had a terrible, miserable, horrible, awful experience that, when it’s over, you look back on it and say, “That was beyond horrible– but I wouldn’t trade it for anything”?

Most people have.

Severe illness of yourself or illness/death of a loved one.

A major business/financial failure.

A divorce.

To live is to have horrible experiences, to go through stuff that really, really sucks.

It sucks away your passion.

It sucks away your enthusiasm and joy.

For a while, it sucks away a lot of what you have always recognized as your life.

But when you look back on those experiences and know you wouldn’t trade them for anything, that’s because they were redemptive. Something good came out of them. You know you’re better for all the suffering you did.

You’re better. Or stronger. Or wiser. Or more compassionate. Or deeper. Or gentler. Or more humble, or calm, or patient, or honest.

You’re just better.

Often suffering isn’t in our control, but sometimes it is.

And anytime you  have a choice in the matter, always choose redemptive suffering over non-redemptive suffering.

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Decide to Never Let Fear Keep You from the Truth

the truth -- never let fear keep you from truth

The most significant moment of my moral life was the moment I decided to never allow fear, or being offended, to keep me from considering whether something is true.

Make that commitment and your life will never be the same. It’s the moral equivalent of taking the red pill.

When you make that decision, you wake up. You start seeing with clarity you never knew was possible. The first thing you start to see is your own fear and defensiveness, how deeply rooted in you they both are, how quickly you become offended and fearful.

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