What's Next? Week One: "Experiencing God"
Today we are launching a brand new sermon series entitled "What's Next?"
As we come to the end of 2020---it's okay, you can sort of cheer out loud at those words... I get it. 2020 has been a dumpster fire of a year. It's almost over, we'll get through it...
But as we come to the end of this year we need to face a very hard truth. We have no idea what the next year is going to bring. It could be another dumpster fire for all we know. So how do we find our way forward into what comes next, especially when all of the ways we used to mark and measure success have been burned in the aformentioned dumpster.
How do we discover purpose and direction in life when everything we used to use as a guide has changed? That's going to be the focus of this series. I think it's pretty timely, quite honestly. Let's step into it together.
Today we are going to be talking about what it means to experience God even in the middle of chaos, and noise and distractions of all kinds.
And the verse we are going to be using as our guide is a verse that is typically used to exhort people to find quiet, and peace... to be still...
But what if that's a bit hard to do? What if there is all kinds of noise in our life? And what if the noise is all the news that is competing for our attention?
There's an old saying that has been bandied about over the decades when it comes to what makes the news cycles, viral videos and the like... If it bleeds, it leads. In other words, the more sensational and outrageous the news---the more it moves to the front of the line in terms of what gets to the airwaves.
There is a dark art to keeping people's attention in our current culture, and it is having some devastating results. We are constantly being bombarded with sensationalism all of the time. Cable news networks spend considerable energy trying to keep us anxious, afraid, angry and tuned in.
But what is the long term affect of all of this news and noise?
Quite simply it's PTSD, acute Stress and even compromised immune systems.
Dr. Carole Lieberman, who has studied the psychological affects of long term exposure to constant sensational news says this:
“Most news focuses on scary stuff to get people to tune in. They’ve got to get your attention and keep it, and so they use headlines, stories and images that are the scariest possible to portray an event."
She cites research following the 9/11 attacks which showed that watching repeated news coverage of the event triggered post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in viewers who were not actually present near ground zero.