Sunday, March 8, 2009
Feb 21, 2009 - Pastor Don Key Scripture: Mark 4:34-41 Today our pastor did not give a sermon on the pre-planned topic. Instead he wanted to talk about fear. With the condition of the economy today, there is a lot of unrest and people are very concerned about their jobs, about their families, about their future. Here is a link to the .mp3 file for you to want to listen to the entire sermon, or at the very least listen to the opening story about George Frideric Handel. Fear Factor download Here are my notes from that sermon, which he titled "Fear Factor." Fear can be our undoing. Root Cause of fear is when we lose control. Often times; however, we don't really have control, we just like to feel as though we do. And then when the rug is pulled out from under us we realize just how little control we have at times. Here are some of the things fear causes: * fear can cause Panic. When in panic mode, this is NOT the best time to be making decisions. * fear can lead to being Paralyized. In Matthew 25: 14 - 30 , we read the story of the three servants and the talents/money. The servant who received only one bag of money in his own words was "afraid." This fear caused him to be completely paralyzed. He did not even try, because of that fear. * fear can lead to Procrastinating Indefinitely. * fear can cause us to lose Purpose. We need a Purpose that is Bigger than our self. So, what do we do with this fear? 1.) Operate on Facts, Not Fear / Feelings. Fear can make us miss critical facts. In the key scripture, Jesus was in the boat with them. We must not miss the critical fact that in our storm of life, even though it looks like our boat will sink, that God is in your boat. 2.) Don't Stop! Get up & Keep Moving! Just like the treadmill. It seems like useless activity. We work so hard step after step working up a sweat, and yet we get no where. Literally we end up exactly where we started. At least that is how it seems on the surface. But below the surface, where it isn't easily seen, is where the benefits and results are happening. So keep on moving even when it seems pointless. 3.) Keep eyes on Jesus. Jesus said "Don't be afraid." Jesus minimizes fear. 4.) Help someone else. ************ Here is where I'll discuss the points above and see if any of those principals can be applied to adoption. Adoption all starts with an expectant mom, and her baby; therefore, most of my thoughts are going to focus on her, the Expectant Mom (E-Mom). Any E-Mom is going to deal with some level of fear. A child brings with it a lot of responsibility. When that E-Mom is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, the level of fear is greatly heightened. If you talk to an E-Mom who is considering adoption, you will find a lot of commonly mentioned reasons. But if you listen, really listen to her, the primary reasons is FEAR. The entire time I listened to this sermon, I just thought how much I wish E-Moms could hear these words. I wish she would gain strength and courage by facing the fear. I'll just start from the top of my notes and work my way down... "Fear can be our undoing." But it does not HAVE TO BE SO! There are ways to deal with the fear and move past it or go on in spite of feeling afraid. "Root Cause of fear is when we lose control." We've all encountered a time where the rug was pulled out from under us. For a woman not intending to be pregnant, hearing that the test result is positive definitely is a rug ripping moment and it powerfully demonstrates she not in control, and fear is rampant. "* fear can cause Panic. When in panic mode, this is NOT the best time to be making decisions." Here is where I feel like people need to readjust their thinking about adoption. People in general, not just Christians. When it comes to adoption, people often tell an E-Mom, "do what you feel is best / right for you." Now, take a step back for just a moment. If an E-Mom is consumed with fear, and is in Panic Mode, do you really think you are supporting or helping her by saying that? If she is in Panic Mode, how do you expect her to sort through everything on her own? How can she really make the best decision with that underlying fear and panicky feeling that clouds one's judgment? If she is considering adoption, she needs someone to be her friend and help her look at ALL sides to adoption so she can make a decision based on all the facts. If she only hears about the "win/win" idea that is the most prevalent in society, she is not making an informed decision. If she is in Panic Mode, she may not even realize she is missing critical information. "* fear can lead to being Paralyzed." The sad part of that story is seeing that how much this man lost by not even trying. If you meet an E-Mom who is afraid about parenting, help her realize that the best decision she can make is to first try parenting. There is a myth that an adopted baby should be placed immediately with the replacement parents to avoid damage to the child. This is a tactic used by agencies to try to get an E-Mom to commit to what is called "pre-birth matching." Basically that means she selects a couple to parent her child while she is still pregnant. The hidden motive of "pre-birth matching" is to make the E-Mom sympathetic toward the couple so she would feel guilty if she changes her mind. If an E-Mom is considering adoption, you can help her to not be paralyzed by the fear and try parenting first. If she tries first, and it just is not working out, she can always look into adoption later. But you are doing her and her baby a greater service to encourage her to try. I've been in the post-adoption circle long enough now to tell you about the many natural moms who are later tormented by the reality that they did not even try. "* fear can cause us to lose Purpose. We need a Purpose that is Bigger than our self." Right off the bat here, I am going to make a statement that you may need to just stop reading, walk away, and ponder it before you read any further. No where in the scripture does it indicate that God puts babies in the wrong bellies. It just is not in there. So when we are talking about "Purpose" and E-Moms dealing with an unintended prenancy we must avoid the falsehood that God causes one woman to become pregnant for the sole purpose of satisfying a different woman's desires. You can search the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find one instance where an infertile woman pleads with God for a child, and He answers her prayer by giving her someone else's baby. If God has allowed a woman to become pregnant, then we need to support her in taking on that purpose of becoming the best Mom possible. Titus 2 instructs older women of the church to "...train the younger women to love their husbands and their children." So it is the church's responsibility to help E-Moms and new moms in this way. I am going to wrap up with on this last note 1.) Operate on Facts, Not Fear / Feelings. Fear can make us miss critical facts. In the key scripture, Jesus was in the boat with them. We must not miss the critical fact that in our storm of life, even though it looks like our boat will sink, that God is in your boat. . . . "3.) Keep eyes on Jesus. Jesus said "Don't be afraid." Jesus minimizes fear. " We've already covered decision making. So what I want to stress here is that Jesus minimizes fear, whereas the enemy capitalizes on it. It is the enemy, not Jesus, who using Fear to it's advantage. It's the the enemy who Diverts our attention from the facts that could be missed or hidden, yet they are so utterly critical. In our spiritual walk, the enemy is Satan. In the case of an E-Mom who is struggling through an unplanned pregnancy, her enemy is the pro-adoption crowd. This can be either adoption professionals, or a school nurse, or even a friend of the family. I list them as an 'enemy' because they cause her to focus on her fears by planting seeds of doubt in her mind. The seeds of doubt are tiny, and subtle. They come in the form of questions or comments like these: "How will you be able to afford a baby?" and "Babies are expensive." "Do you want your baby to be deprived of college" or "You're too young to be a Mother." "You aren't ready to be tied down. You shouldn't let a baby hold you back from accomplishing your dreams and goals." or "Don't be selfish, a child deserves a better start in life." "Children deserve a stable 2 parent home." "You could provide a family to a loving couple who cannot have children of their own." These seeds of doubt are to make her afraid - to make her think that she can't parent. - to make her think that she is selfish if she tries to parent. - to make her think that she isn't good enough, her baby deserves better. - to make her to think that it is her responsibility to provide a child to another couple. Stirring up fear is not from God. All this fear is shifting her focus from God's promises of giving her strength and providing for her needs. The adoption professionals also steer an E-Mom away from operating on facts by hiding from her critical facts that shows the affects of adoption on both the natural mother and on the child. Adoption agencies in particular tell a woman that she will "feel sad for awhile, but she will get over it and go on with her life." They don't discus the risks such as PTSD, or that 40% will not be able to have another child. With the talk of how adoption has changed and she can have contact with her child, they don't reveal that 80% of the adoptions close without any explanation from aparents. They will tell her "babies are blank slates, it doesn't matter who parents them as long as they are loved." They tend to hush and hide the studies showing that adoptees often feel abandoned. Many question their own value and have very low self-esteem. There is a common problem with adoptees not being able to develop strong lasting relationships. There are many adoptees who just never felt as though they belong or fit in their family. I hope that anyone who knows of an E-Mom facing an unplanned pregnancy would share this sermon with her. Especially if she is considering adoption for her baby. If she is, here is a link to an excellent pamphlet for her to read as well. http://www.cubirthparents.org/booklet.pdf This pamphlet discusses facts she should be aware of, these are things adoption professionals would try to hide, because this knowledge would permit her to Operate on Facts, not be Manipulated by Fear.