Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
Sometimes, preachers will tell other preachers, “Here’s an outline. Take it and make a good lesson out of it.” Last Sunday morning, I preached a sermon from 2 Corinthians 4 I entitled, “When Life Deals You A Blow!” After overviewing what the chapter is about, I told the story of an elderly bank robber and then had five points that when life deals you a blow…
I. FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSE (1-6)
II. RECOGNIZE YOUR POWER SOURCE (7)
III. PROPERLY VIEW YOUR PROBLEMS (8-12)
IV. MAINTAIN YOUR PRINCIPLES (13-15)
V. KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE (16-5:1)
It always warms my heart when our young people give me a copy of their notes. It tells me they are engaged, listening, and thinking about the sermon. I always treasure these and keep these. I definitely will be doing that with Lilah’s notes from the lesson, which her dad, Josh, gave me. She has his sense of humor. It lets me know she was really thinking.
In bullet points, she wrote…
- When life deals you a blow, blow back.
- When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
- Stuff that is important, take care of it and do it.
- Be a good sport.
- Don’t be a loser. Be kind.
- Don’t rob banks.
The late Cleon Lyles once wrote a book entitled, Wish I’d Said That. I couldn’t have said better what Lilah said in her “retelling” of my lesson. While she took her thoughts a little different direction, think of the nuggets of wisdom from her good young mind.
First, don’t cave in and give up when you face trials. Fight back! We have God on our side (Rom. 8:31). We will gain the victory (1 John 5:4). Resist the devil (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8). “Blow back!”
Second, make the best of your trials. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or dwell on the negative. Find the positives in your difficulties. Trials train us, and that’s God’s doing (Heb. 12:11). We can even rejoice even in our distressing trials (1 Pet. 1:6). “Make lemonade.”
Third, take care of important stuff. Don’t fret over it, worry about it, neglect it, or dismiss it. Deal with it (Mat. 6:33)! If you’re not a Christian, become one! If you’re not a faithful Christ, be one! “Do it!”
Fourth, be a good sport. When it comes to our trials, it’s tempting to be a bad sport. We complain about how unfair it is. We ask, “Why me?!” We allow our trials to cause us to sin. Attitude determines altitude! Paul defines a “good sport” in passages like Philippians 4:11-12.
Fifth, don’t be a loser. The world has its own idea about what makes one a loser. We must forget their point of view in favor of God’s. He says if you gain the whole world but lose your soul, you’re the biggest loser of all (Mat. 16:26)!
Sixth, don’t rob banks. That one is pretty self-explanatory!
Here’s what I know about Lilah. She was not only listening to the sermon, she was thinking about it. She was applying it. She seems like the person James calls us all to be in James one, humbly receiving the implanted, saving Word (21), proving herself an effectual doer of the Word (22,25), and one who wants to abide in it (25). Sweet Lilah preached to me, and she challenges me to be better when trials come my way! Thanks for your improved take on my lesson. Keep them coming!