August 31, 2014

Sunday, August 31: Back to Basics, Part 3

•  All the readings together
•  Jeremiah 20:7-9
•  Psalm 63
•  Romans 12:1-2
•  Matthew 16:21-27


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  • Quick welcome to visitors and guests
  • Spent the week with our staff. We have a great staff … we a few new people joining our team … I’m excited about our growth as a parish family, about the quality of our team + new team, about our future. It was a great week.
  • God was exceptionally near to me when we were in Diamondhead on retreat.
  • Then, I came home and I noticed a flatness.
  • Great things happening in the office … great conversations with y’all … great being home … I’m so very happy.
  • However, it’s like the air sailed out the balloon, things were dry the last few days.
  • Struggled to rest in prayer … trying what I know to do, but struggled.
  • Discouraged in prayer led to other discouragements.
  • I think we all share this in common
  • I think we all know what it’s like to want more … to have great hope … to hear and see others thriving … and then to struggle > to not know what to do > to leave disappointed > to not get what we wanted >>> to be discouraged
  • I get discouraged … a lot of get discouraged
  • I want more … I think a lot of us want more 
  • I think a lot of us are searching in life.
  • I think we all want more from God; however, sometimes it just seems hard and we get discouraged.
  • So what if … what if God could speak directly to you and the discouragement today?
  • What if God could give you hope?
  • What if you and Him were easier?
  • What if prayer were easy? … or easier?
  • Today's first reading: from Jeremiah 30
  • Jeremiah is discouraged. Listen to his discouragement:
  1. “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”
  2. “All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.”
  3. “Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.”
  4. “I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.”
  5. “I grow weary”
          • Can you hear his discouragement?
          • Ever feel like that?
          • This Sunday is the 3rd week of this “Back to Basics” series. Perhaps you’ve tried the first two challenges … and things went great.
          • Perhaps you tried … and nothing happened.
          • Maybe feeling great … maybe discouraged.
          • Taking it one step further … prayer can be difficult because I think for a lot of us we want to pray, but don’t know what to do.
          • We learned how to “say our prayers;” however, what we learned as a kid doesn’t suffice for what we face as adults.
          • Reach crisis in life > and you pray
          • Worried … or in love … or care for other > and you pray
          • Get hungry for more … take a shot for growth > and you pray
          CORE MESSAGE
          • The third thing we can do to help our spiritual life is to learn how manage discouragements, and learn how to pray
          • Prayer is different from “saying your prayers” and some of us need to learn how to pray.
          YOU (What is the one thing you can do this week?)
          • We can prepare for Sunday Mass + we can go to daily Mass + we can spend an hour a week in the Adoration chapel.
          • However, you might say: “Fr. Mark, I don’t know what to do.” 
          • I made a handout + plus I’m gonna offer an hour teaching this week at three different times!
          • I believe in you. I believe in God. I believe in His desire.
          • I am convinced that this can be the best year of your spiritual life!
          • This week, make one holy hour. Commit praying at home, or in the Adoration chapel, or somewhere.
          • “But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart … (Jeremiah 20:9) … 
          • But listen to what follows! “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not prevail. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor” 
          • What if we all did that?
          • What if discouragement weren’t the end?
          • What if you could pray better this year?
          • What would life look if prayer were easier?
          • What would you life look like if this were the best year of your spiritual life?
          • Let’s pray right now …

          Recorded Sunday, August 31, 2014 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana. © Fr. Mark Toups, 2014