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Friday, November 4, 2011

Who? What? Me Worry?

A Flood Might Come

Don:    What’re you all sitting here for? We've gotta go and get ready?

Kie:     Get ready for what?

Don:    The flood!

Kie:     What flood?

Don:    The flood that’ll come if Etobicoke Creek overflows its banks.

Kie:     Etobicoke Creek?

Don:    Yeah! Etobicoke Creek.

Kie:     You mean that little creek in the ravine behind those buildings across the street?

Don:    Yeah – that creek.

Kie:     Are you serious?

Don:    Of course! Do you think I would stay awake half the night planning for something that wasn’t important?

Kie:     It wouldn’t be the first time.

Don:    Well I’ve got this all figured out.

Kie:     What figured out?

Don:    How to prevent the flood from affecting our church.

Kie:     We aren’t going to have a flood.

Don:    How many times do you think Noah heard that?

Kie:     Well you’re not Noah.

Don:    We’ll just fill enough sand bags to build a wall around the property

Kie:     How will people get in and out of the parking lot?

Don:    Maybe a few bugs still need to be worked out.

Kie:     Has Etobicoke Creek ever been known to flood?

Don:    Not that I know of.

Kie:     Then I really don’t think you need to worry about Etobicoke Creek flooding.

Don:    But what if…

Kie:     Don’t worry about what if… I think you need to pay attention to what you are supposed to be doing this morning?

Don:    What’s that?

Kie:     Talking to the young people here about worrying.

Don:    Who? What? Me Worry?

Kie:     I think you should put the umbrella away.

Don:    What if the roof leaks?

Kie:     I give up.


Good morning!

Thank you for asking me to come back again.

This is the first weekend of June…and that means the end of the school year is coming soon.

How many of you are looking forward to the end of the school year?

Do you have any plans for your summer break?

I haven’t been to school for a long time and I’m sure some things in school have changed over the years – do you still have to study and write final exams?

Do you like writing exams? Or is that something you just have to put up with and get through?

Do you ever worry about passing or failing?

When I was in school, I used to eagerly wait for the last day of school and the long summer vacation that would follow.

But in between the first weekend of June and the last day of school was this long dark valley we used to go through…called final exams.

At exam time, one particular verse from Psalm 23, always seem to take on a special meaning...something in the Bible that I could really identify with, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” (Psalm 23:4)

Exam time was just like that…an approaching valley of death and destruction.

The second part, “I will fear no evil” is the part I didn’t understand. How could David write that? Did David mean to say “I will not worry about it?

What the Bible really says is, “I will fear no evil, because you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
That is a comma after evil, not a period. David could write that because he knew that God would be with him.

Looking back now, I think I actually dug part of that valley of death and destruction…with my shovel of worry… making the road deeper into the valley than it needed to be – making the route longer than it could have been.

What I should have done was leave this behind (umbrella)… and studied instead.

Have you ever watched those construction guys who fix the roads and highways? There is always a big guy on a steam roller… rolling back and forth over the same bit of pavement to flatten it… back and forth… back and forth... making it smoother but it never seems to get any smoother… and then you wonder why he doesn’t go over there and do that part over there, so you can go around here and get going.

Well worrying is a lot like that…. your mind becomes just like a steam-roller that goes back and forth over the same problem… again and again… but whatever is causing your anxiety just doesn’t seems to go away and leave you alone. You wish you could think about something else…and get rid of that cloud of worry… and then get on with your life.

Exam time was like that… this cloud of worry that would hang around as the start date came closer. I did learn one method for dealing with exam worry though… it was called procrastination.

Who knows what procrastination means?

Procrastination: putting off doing something today, for some date in the future.

Actually opening a book and getting started studying was hard… and I would finally choose to start tomorrow instead… hello procrastination and good-bye worry.

Wrong! The next day meant twice as much to do and even more to worry about.
Procrastination really does not work… and there is no guarantee about tomorrow. “Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42)

At exam time I was always very good… at getting the right wrong answers. Who knows what a right wrong answer is?

I learned this from one of my math teachers: if you ask students the same math questions, the wrong answers are often the same… so he called them the right wrong answers.

And students quickly learn what the right wrong answers are… these are the other answers you see on multiple choice exams.

Here’s an example:

2 + 2 =

a.)    22 – everyone knows that 22 is two and two
b.)    1 – is that a plus sign or is that a division sign?
c.)    4 – this is the correct answer – but some don’t know or recognize this form
d.)   \sqrt[3]{-8} – maybe you’ve never seen this before but…what if it means something divided by...???
e.)    None of the above – I hate this choice… because what if it's a trick question and the above are all wrong?

If you are seeking answers about life, then don’t be fooled by the right wrong answers.

Jesus warns us, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, I am the Christ, and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)

Jesus also said, “At that time if anyone says to you, “Look! Here is the Christ!” or, “There he is!” do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.” (Matthew 24:23-24)

Jesus also gave us an example of having the right wrong answers when he said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “When evening comes you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,” and in the morning, “Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”  (Matthew 16:2)

What Jesus was saying to the Pharisees and Sadducees was, “You can look at the sky and forecast the weather…but you are unable look around you, see what is going on and understand what is happening.”

Are you like that in your life? Are you like that at in your life at school?

I was like that… I didn’t understand what was going on in my life at school.

In school I was what you would call a D student… but this didn’t mean that all my marks were D… but sometimes they were.

Here are my definitions of a D student:

D – Disinterested
I wasn’t the least bit interested in school. If some of you here today aren’t the least bit interested in school, then I can understand how you feel.

A verse in the Bible says this: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24)

My wish for you is this… that one day you will have a teacher who will inspire you to develop a genuine interest in one subject… so that you will do well in it, and find a real satisfaction in it… because that interest or satisfaction will be from the hand of God to you.

D - Distracted
My mind was usually on other things except the subject on hand… mostly on what I was going to do after school… and on Sundays, what I was going to do after church.

The Bible says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1)

Drift away - if you fall out of a boat and drift farther away, your chances of being rescued become less. If you fall away and drift in school, the longer you drift, the harder it will be to come back and catch up.

D - Discontented
I didn’t like being in school and I didn’t like a lot of the stuff I had to learn in school. School was like a jail sentence… and the time had to be served.

“The Bible says this, “God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” (Philippians 2:13-14)

This is a tough one… even now for me… this is a really tough one.

D - Defiant
In French class I would openly refuse to do my homework, and then not do it.

And the Bible warns, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

D – Denial
Learning French isn’t important and if I don’t learn it, nothing’s going to happen. Anyway, the teacher’s probably not going to check to see if the homework is done.
How many of you have made this gamble… and then lost?

One example of denial in the Bible is what Jesus said, “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” (Matthew 24:38-29)

Some of what you will learn in school is useful and is necessary to prepare you for the years that follow.

D – Detention
Detention was real - I was forced to stay after school the next day to do the French homework that I didn’t do the night before…and of course my mother would want an explanation why I was more than an hour late getting home.

The Bible says, “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” (Proverbs 19:19)

D - Discipline
In the evening my father would lecture me and then end up telling me that people who don’t finish school end up being ditch diggers. That was a common analogy when I was young. Anyway, I didn’t know what my father was talking about – he never finished high school and he didn’t dig ditches – what he was telling me didn’t match how we lived.

Years later I learned that my father worked in a job that he really hated, but he could not go and find work somewhere else… because he did not have the education credentials to find a better job… so he was in what he often called a rut… which is really just another word for ditch.

Therefore, if you think your parents like to lecture you too much, then chances are that they may really know what they are talking about.

This is what the Bible tells us, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8)

D- Determination
I developed a determination not to fail in school… only so I would not have to repeat a year of the stuff I disliked.

The Bible tells us, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” (Ephesians 6:7)

If you knew you were going to fly out of Pearson International Airport early tomorrow morning, would you want the people doing the maintenance work on the aircraft engines tonight, to do 45 percent of the work wrong?

Would you even get on that aircraft?

Then why would you settle for low marks in school?

But not all of the D words are negative.

Develop – develop an interest in something useful at school
Direction – do something constructive to find or change the direction of your life
Drive – that is something you will have to discover within you… but it is there.
Discover – search out for yourself some of God’s promises for you in His word

 What is the difference between worry and fear?

My dictionary defines fear as this:
a.)    An uneasy feeling that something will happen contrary to one’s desires
b.)    The possibility that something dreaded or unwanted will occur
c.)    A continuing state or attitude of fright, dread, or alarmed concern

My dictionary defines worry as this:
a)      To be uneasy in the mind; to fret
b)      To pull or tear at something with the teeth
c)      To bother; to pester
d)     To mangle or kill by biting

Fear and worry really don’t sound very different from each other… could this be the reason why the two often go hand in hand?

What does the Bible tell us about worry?

How many of you here would describe yourself as someone who worries or frets?

You don’t have to be very old to know how to worry.

I can remember a time when Kimberly was very young, and we had moved her from her crib to a new bed. On the first evening in her new bed, she was all tucked in and ready to go to sleep.

A while later we heard Kimberly whimpering. When we went in to find out what was wrong, she was worrying about a bump in her new bed.

When we figured out what that bump was, we tried hard not to laugh… we explained what the bump was but she just would not believe us… until we finally touched the bump and Kimberly knew the bump was her toes under the blanket.

Jesus had something to say about worry, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)

We ask, “If life is important, don’t we need food and drink? If the body is important, don’t we need to clothe it?”

The answers are yes, and this is what Jesus is saying, but Jesus is also saying that we should not be focusing on these things alone, Jesus is reminding us that God already knows what we need – and who would know better than God who made us?

But right now you don’t worry about food, drink or clothing…these automatically come from your parents.

Have you ever argued with your parents about what you want to wear to school? Why?

Do you ever worry about what you can or cannot be “Caught dead being seen in” at school, or anywhere else? Why?

Have you ever not eaten something because of what you think it may do to your body…such as give you zits? Why?

We all worry about these things in different ways. Age doesn't matter.

But Jesus tells us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus also said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6”34)

Will Etobicoke Creek ever flood? I don’t know. I really don’t worry about it.

But if it does flood, then maybe I can help to fill sand bags.

But I do know this: God is in control… and God truly does care about each of us.

Message for the young people
February 06, 2007
The Oddblock Station Agent

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