Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary....Half Empty or Half Full?

As I mentioned in a previous post, a group from our church went on a mission trip to Kenya Africa. Our pastor, Ken, was included in the group. Yesterday was his first Sunday back after returning from Kenya last Thursday night. He began his sermon by sharing some pictures and a few stories....one being how it was no hotter than 75 degrees there....the congregation sighed with envy! He talked about meeting the Aids orphans that our congregation is sponsoring....my girls were thrilled at the idea of people that they knew traveling to Africa and meeting our "African brother, Purity" as they refer to him. Ken's mother, Emily, was able to accompany him to Kenya this time as well....she has always wanted to go....and told me it was life changing. The picture below is of Emily with an African mother and her twins....when I saw it, it took my breath away. Each time I look at it, my heart is filled up; and I want this picture to be visible somewhere that I can look at it every day. Emily is an amazing woman....she is definitely a blog post waiting to happen. Ken said that the one thing that makes him most nervous each time he goes to Kenya is what he is going to deliver a sermon about. They always want him to do a sermon while he's there visiting the churches....and although I'm sure their pastors are wonderful....I can't blame them for wanting to hear Ken speak. He is a wonderful pastor who delivers meaningful, heartfelt and applicable sermons each week. I learn something from him every time I hear him speak....we are a blessed congregation to call him our pastor. Truly blessed! He decided this time that he would prepare a sermon just as if he were preparing one for his home congregation here in America, and that is what he did. He said the sermon was successful, and he decided to deliver it to us right there that morning....and he did.
Then he began by holding up a glass of water. The glass was about halfway full or empty....depending on how you look at it. His sermon was basically about perspective and struggles that we have in life and how times the glass looks half full and other times all we can focus on is the empty part. He said in Kenya, all the people he meets.....through all their hardships and the overwhelming need....see the glass as half full! Ken talked about how it's good for him to go to Kenya, because it grounds his spirit.....living in a place of such abundance, going to Kenya keeps him grounded and focused on the great needs that there are in the world. I heard his wife, Kenda....I know isn't that cute that their names are Ken and Kenda?.....back to topic....talking during our VBS while Ken was in Africa about how he had called and told her the need was so overwhelming. There are orphans everywhere who have lost parents to Aids....most of these orphans are HIV positive as well. These are the orphans that we have agreed to sponsor. I heard Kenda telling someone that they didn't have enough funds to care for all of the orphans, so some of them had to be sent back onto the street....as a mother, as a person, this broke my heart. There is a 50% rate of unemployment. People had lost their businesses and even their lives during the last election where riots broke out....some are living on $4 a day and are grateful....grateful....we could learn from their attitudes of thanksgiving! Ken had some people ask him about what Americans worship? "What other Gods do we battle?" "Do we worship trees and sky as some Kenyans do?" He told them that Americans don't really worship trees and sky, but we tend to worship money and material things....those are the other "gods" we battle, because we can fall into a state of greed and want....by the way that last part was my opinion, not his words. He said they couldn't even imagine worshipping money, and they thought it was so odd....just as odd as we may think worshipping trees and sky may sound. Nonetheless we do tend to take for granted what we have in America.....ABUNDANCE! I think Americans have the tendency to forget about being grateful and focus on what they want.....I'm not suggesting everyone does, but definitely the majority of Americans. Many of us may view the glass as half full, because we are grateful....and many of us may view it half full, because we have an over abundance. Then there's those who view the glass as half empty, because they are struggling....and those who view the glass half empty, because they are greedy and want more. As I face struggles, and believe me I do, I have really made a conscious effort to think of my struggles and compare them to the starving people in Kenya, or the people who are nursing a dying child, or the people who are facing a diagnosis, or the people who have no hope....the list goes on....and really my struggles can't compare to any of theirs; so I definitely see the glass half full....sometimes I have to remind myself when things seem to be piling up....of all I have to be grateful for, and I am grateful.....even in my struggles.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

I think we all need that reminder once in awhile to put things back into perspective!!

We should be content in all things, but it's hard to sometimes!