A Question For God—Habakkuk 1:1-11

Series: Trusting God in Trying Times

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Kids are wonderful for their honesty. I found a whole collection of questions and concerns that kids had for God. Here are a few:

 

Dear God,

I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in my family and I can never do it. Nan

 

Dear God,

Please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now. Ginny

 

Dear God,

Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each so much if they had their own rooms. It works for me and my brother.

 

Dear God,

We red that Edison made light but in sunday school, they said you did it. So, I bet he stole your idea. Donna

 

Dear God,

If you let the dinosaur not go extinct, we would not have a country. You did the right thing. Jonathan

 

Dear God,

I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that ok? Neil

(onlinewithananda)

 

What kinds of questions and concerns do you have for God? Probably on the top of the list for many Christians is, “Why are things so bad?”

 

We’re going to look at the book of Habakkuk in a series I am calling, “Trusting God in Trying Times.” Habakkuk, like the kids we read about, was also very honest, and asked tough questions of the Lord. Before we’re done, we’ll see that God was calling Habakkuk to trust him even in trying times.

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The Remnant—Isaiah 10:20-34

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The most terrifying class for me in seventh and eighth grade was PE. Physical Education class was horrible for a geeky, gawky, uncoordinated country boy who just wanted to disappear into the background. The worst of the PE classes was when we played Dodge Ball in the gym. 

 

In Dodge Ball, two teams would throw rubber balls of various sizes at each other. If a ball hit someone, that person was out—meaning knocked unconscious. Well, if a macho boy threw the ball, that would be the case, because they could throw the balls at high speeds that really stung when you got hit. 

 

Us geeky boys, well, it looked like we were just throwing the balls back to our opponents to catch—we weren’t, those really were our best high-speed throws.

 

My strategy for Dodge Ball took into account two things: (1) I couldn’t throw worth a hoot and (2) I really, really didn’t want to get hit. Therefore, I, and a few of my select friends, would hang out on the back wall of the gym. 

 

It gave us the maximum amount of time to react to an incoming ball, which meant that we could barely cover our face and pray a last prayer. 

 

The strategy, however, had a terrible consequence—we would be the last ones left on our team. We would be the remnant. A remnant is whatever is leftover, like carpet remnants. It can be a terribly difficult place to be, whether in Dodge Ball, or, as we’ll learn here, the remnants of God’s faithful people.

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Why Are Things So Bad?—Genesis 3:14-19

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

There’s a book about a boy named Alexander who had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Alexander tells about the day himself. Let me read part of what he says about his bad day…

 

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on the skateboard and…

 

At breakfast Anthony found a Corvette Sting Ray car kit in his breakfast cereal box and Nick found a Junior Undercover Agent code ring in his breakfast cereal box, but in my breakfast cereal box all I found was breakfast cereal.

 

I think I’ll move to Australia…

 

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

 

At school Mrs. Dickens liked Paul’s picture of the sailboat better than my picture of the invisible castle.

 

At singing time she said I sang too loud. At counting time she said I left out sixteen. Who needs sixteen? 

 

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

 

I could tell because Paul said I wasn’t his best friend anymore. He said that Philip Parker was his best friend and Albert Moyo was his next best friend and that I was only his third best friend.

 

I hope you sit on a tack, I said to Paul. I hope the next time you get a double-decker strawberry ice cream cone the ice cream part falls off the cone part and lands in Australia.

 

There were two cupcakes in Philip Parker’s lunch bag and Albert got a Hershey bar with almonds and Paul’s mother gave him a piece of jelly roll that had little coconut sprinkles on the top. Guess whose mother forgot to put in dessert?

 

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

 

That’s what it was, because after school my mom took us all to the dentist and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me. Come back next week and I’ll fix it, said Dr. Fields.

 

Next week, I said, I’m going to Australia…

 

When we picked up my dad at his office he said I couldn’t play with his copying machine, but I forgot. He also said to watch out for the books on his desk, and I was careful as could be except for my elbow. He also said don’t fool around with his phone, but I think I called Australia. My dad said please don’t pick him up anymore.

 

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

 

There were lima beans for dinner and I hate lima beans. There was kissing on TV and I hate kissing.

 

My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas.

 

When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse nightlight burned out and I bit my tongue…

 

It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.

 

Why are there days like that? Why do we have, like Alexander did, problems with relationships and problems that just seem to happen to us, like getting a cavity? Why are things so bad in the world?

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Using Our Freedom To Love Others For God’s Glory—1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

What are you free to do? If I wanted to, I could, thanks to my Discover Card, buy a plane ticket for Europe. There I could start walking (because Tami will cancel the Discover card when she found out what I did) through the nations and seeing the great historic sites like battlefields and castles. I could wander through the quiet villages and farms that dot the hillsides because that sounds relaxing to me (and because Tami would have the police in every large city looking for me). 

 

What is wrong with me expressing my freedom in this way? You know right away, don’t you? I have a family—and a persistent wife—that I am responsible for. You would tell me that I would be using my freedom irresponsibly.

 

The overall issue in 1 Corinthians 8-10 is the Christian’s freedom. What things are we free to do? In Corinth, some Christians were saying that they were free to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols (they weren’t involved in the idolatry, just eating the leftover meat). But that upset some of the weaker Christians who viewed it as participating in the idolatry itself.

 

The principle that Paul has laid down for them is that while you may be free to do something, is it being responsible to others around you to do so? Or to state the principle another way, like he did back in 1 Corinthians 6:12—

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Table Manners At The Lord’s Table—1 Corinthians 10:14-22

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

What table manners do you have at your home? [Ask the kids]

 

One mother, desperate to have a more enjoyable dinner time with her children, bought a rubber pig to put in the center of the table. Along with the pig came certain rules:

 

  • If you burp…or make an inappropriate body noise, You get the Pig!
  • Every time you have a sharp tone or rude words, you get the Pig!
  • If you chew with your mouth open, or try to throw food into somebody else’s mouth while it’s open, you get the PIG!
  • Napkin in your lap, not on top of your sister’s head or else, PIG!
  • Rocking in your chair, getting our of your chair, falling out of your chair, PIG!

 

How did that help? Listen to the last two rules:

 

  • The pig will move from person to person as laws are broken.
  • Whoever ends up with the pig at the end of dinner does everybody’s dishes. (Hendrix)

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Fighting Our Jealousy By Focusing On Jesus—John 3:22-30

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Jealousy. Itʼs been around since Adam and Eve. In fact, when Adam came home each night, Eve used to count his ribs. 

 

Why should we be concerned about jealousy? Because jealousy (and it’s twin, envy) are dangerous, as an ancient Greek legend illustrates:

 

It seems a young Greek athlete ran in a race and placed second. In honor of the winner his village erected a large statue in the town square. 

 

Envy and jealousy attacked the runner who came in second to the degree that he made plans to destroy the statue. Each night, under cover of darkness, he went out and chipped away at the foundation of the statue, expecting it to fall on its own some day. 

 

One night, however, he chipped too much. The statue’s weakened base began to crack until it popped. The huge marble statue came down upon the disgruntled athlete. He died under the crushing weight of the one he had come to hate.

 

The truth is he died long before the statue fell on him. In giving up his heart to envy and jealousy he had ceased to live for himself. He became a slave to the giant of jealousy. His heart had become a picture of the Greek word “envy,” which means “to boil within.” (Jeremiah, 118)

 

What do we get jealous about as Christians?

 

  • We might get jealous when another church has more attendance or more kids at their youth program. 
  • We might get jealous when someone else is elected deaconess or deacon and weʼre not. 
  • We might get jealous when someone else is more liked than we are.
  • We might get jealous when someone else intrudes into our ministry. 

 

I could say more, but you see the point: every church is a fertile field where the weed of jealousy can grow. 

 

Weʼll see it happen in our passage and weʼll see the way to kill jealousy in our church and in our lives.

 

Before we do, it might be helpful to distinguish between jealousy and envy—they are very much related, in fact, they’re twins, but they are also different. How are they different? One explanation I found said:

 

To envy is to want something which belongs to another person. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife or his servant, his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 

 

In contrast, jealousy is the fear that something which we possess will be taken away by another person. (Collins)

 

But another person said:

 

(1) Jealousy is what makes us act in a certain way.

(2) Envy is what we may passively feel. (Kendall, 360)

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