Sermon Study Guide 5 Feb 2012 (Autosaved)

Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

 

(Date: 5 Feb 2012) “A Quiet Mind” Isaiah 40:21-31; Mark 1:29-39

 

  1. Our Collect prayer asks God to help us to have “a quiet mind”. I find I have anything but a quiet mind much of the time- so many things to think about, worry about, get distracted by; so many things and people calling for attention. I find it hard to keep focus but even harder to keep my mind quiet. Without a quiet mind we cannot focus properly or think straight. We have trouble following through on our best intentions. We live in a world of distractions. So how do you think we can get this quiet mind we ask God for? What should we do to get it?

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Leader’s Guide:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder of childhood. It affects about 3 – 5% of school aged children. ADHD is diagnosed much more often in boys than in girls. ADHD may run in families, but it is not clear exactly what causes it. Whatever the cause may be, it seems to be set in motion early in life as the brain is developing. What if our whole cultural age is an ADHD-afflicted age? It is hard to have a quiet mind in such a time. Yet we need to have a quiet mind so that we can serve God fully in our lives. In the Collect prayer it appears that two main things are needed for a quiet mind, so that we can be pardoned from our sins and get around to serving God as He wants: we need the gifts of pardon and peace. They are gifts because we can grasp neither on our own- they must be given to us. How do we position ourselves to get a gift? ______________________________________________________________________

  1. We cannot quieten our mind without help but there are some things we can do: we can learn to wait. God called Isaiah to bring hope to His people in a desperate time. Destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians. First he tells the people to realize who they are dealing with…What they are up to and what they are dealing with is not hidden from the Lord. The Lord sees and knows all things. But Israel is in a tail-spin and in a head-spin at the same time! God does have a plan to renew the nation but it will only be available for “those who wait upon the Lord”. In fact, God’s promises to Israel took 700 years to fulfil- when the Messiah came.

 

We cannot force our minds to be quiet but we can learn and practice how to wait upon the Lord. Maybe I can’t control the thoughts in my head but I can control whether I blurt them out or not. I may not be able to sleep but I can choose to remain in bed and get some rest. What can you do to wait on the Lord? What does that look like? What does that feel like? If we are helpless in waiting who can help us? Guess…!

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Leader’s Guide:

Waiting does not mean doing nothing…it means not doing anything until you have heard from God, and not acting until then. God says that those who wait upon the Lord will be able to act but act on the most important things- the things that really matter and that are important to God- and us. By waiting on the Lord we will renew our strength. Our strength is in God and by waiting on Him we fill up, just as we have to wait at a gas station while we are refuelling. When we wait we will be renewed. And when we are renewed we will be able to do some amazing things- things not possible without God…they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. No crashes, no power surges or failures! A life in sync with God and plugged into the source of our life’s power. Jesus knew about this power source and He took advantage of it! In our gospel Jesus had been out preaching and had been called aside by Peter for a special favour. He had just healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, had time for supper and then the crowds were on him again. What did he do? Burn out? Get angry? Hide? No. Jesus waited on the Lord and renewed His strength for the next day. Jesus never tackled any big thing alone. Jesus never moved from a position of disquiet or reaction. Jesus was always focussed on the will of the Father. His mind was always quiet in God. He always talked things through with His Father before they happened, so He could stay on course when things heated up (as they often did). Jesus always went out into His days in the power and presence of the Father. And we are advised to do the same thing.

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For further reflection:

What is causing disquiet to your mind? How is unnecessary noise entering into your life? Which distractions are you allowing in to your days that you can keep out? Where are you perhaps flirting with disaster, and opening the door for chaos to overwhelm the quiet of your mind and relationship with Christ?

 

These things rob us of a quiet mind and an ability to do the things God has brought us here to this world to do and the message he has given us to proclaim with our lives. The noises are getting us side-tracked. They are not our friends. They exhaust you and deplete your strength for the things you are really supposed to be doing. The good news is that God can and will do something about it. He promises to- but we need to trust in His promises. And we begin to show Him our trust when we start to take the time to wait on Him. Just wait- He doesn’t say how long, just wait. And in the waiting the renewal will come.

 

Is there something presently bothering you that could be addressed by you just simply choosing to wait on the Lord? The various courses being offered in the parish are all about helping busy people learn how to wait and listen. Could you benefit by joining one of these? Do you have time to wait? Can you afford not to take the time to wait?

 

 

 

 

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