Sermon Series “It’s Up to You”

Nine week series addressing questions from the KirkWood family.

Video MessageResources
Week 1:
How Can We Disagree as Christians and

Still Stay Together?
Monday Memo notes

Resources on Disagreeing Well
1) A very simple, memorable technique to use when you disagree with someone – the 3 As: 
Disagreeing without being disagreeable – the 3As technique
2) Two articles on how to navigate and facilitate disagreements in groups, which are chalked full of tips that you can use in interpersonal disagreements too: 
Disagreement Doesn’t Have to Be Divisive (
  The Three Reasons People Disagree (& What To Do About It)
3) Why listening is so important in disagreements, and how to do it well: 
How to Have Less Disagreeable Disagreements
4) Dive into the work of Dr. Christena Cleveland, whose book, “Disunity in Christ,” may be the single best and well-researched resource in the last 10 years on the topic of disagreements among Christians:
   – A short 3 min. video from Dr. Cleveland about the topic: 
‘Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart’ by Christena Cleveland
   – A longer sermon from Dr. Cleveland on the topic: 
Christena Cleveland – “The Joy of Unity in the Body of Christ”
   – A book summary of “Disunity in Christ”: 
Disunity in Christ | Reflections & Notes
Week 2:
Jesus “De

to Hell?”
Monday Memo notes

A few resources from the PCUSA on Jesus’ descent to Hell: 
Did Jesus really descend into hell?
What did Jesus do on Holy Saturday?
‘He Descended into Hell’
Week 3:
How Can I Hear God’s Voice
Monday Memo notes

1) This week, try a little spiritual experiment: each day, ask God to speak to You, with no exceptions of how or what He might say. Then go about your days with your eyes and heart open, waiting to see what He might say, not to mention when, how, and through whom/what. Take stock at week’s end at what He’s said to you.
2) Check out this fascinating article by Richard Foster about his own intentional effort to listen to God’s Spirit over the span of 3+ weeks:  
An Everyday Experiment in Hearing God – Richard J. Foster
3) A great article about barriers to hearing God by the late Dallas Willard: 
Barriers to Hearing God – Dallas Willard 
4) Scripture reading this week: 
– Check out Ezekiel 16 as an example of how God still speaks to us even at our lowest or worst (pay attention to all the times the Lord keeps talking throughout the chapter): 
Ezekiel 16 NRSVA 
 – Read 1st Corinthians 12-13, written especially about the danger of comparison (whether about spiritual gifts or the more flashy ways God might communicate): 
1 Cor 12-13 NRSVA
Week 4:

Passages in
the Bible?
Monday Memo notes

Here are some ways to keep leaning into the help we glean from our Presbyterian roots and identity in regard to how we read, interpret, and engage with the Bible: 
1) Two pieces from the PCUSA and Presbyterian Mission Agency: 
How Presbyterians interpret the Bible 
Presbyterian Mission Agency The Bible — The Living Word
2) A video and booklet that cover the same ground – the official PCUSA guidance on how to read the Bible rightly, as passed by our General Assembly. The 2nd half of the video covers these, as does pages 8-16 in the booklet (this way you don’t have to read the whole booklet): 
Presbyterian Understanding and Use of Holy Scripture
Biblical Authority and Interpretation: A Presbyterian Perspective
3) A short piece on Martin Luther’s shift in how he interpreted scripture, and how this fueled his own spiritual rebirth, as well as the Protestant Reformation: 
Luther and Biblical Interpretation
Week 5:
How Can We

Better Reach
Young Families
and Adults?
Monday Memo notes

1) Talk to a 25-40 year old this week about the content of the sermon, church in general, their spirituality, generational tension, you name it. Go into that conversation with the goal of just listening and learning.
2) Two short online resources: 
– Top 10 church faux pas that run off Millennials (25-40 year olds), reporting the findings of The United Methodist Church’s research project: Top 10 church faux pas that turn off millennials
– 5 things you need to know about Millennials (25-40 year olds), also from the United Methodist Church’s research project: 5 key millennial research findings churches should know
Week 6:
Help Me Not

Feel So Overwhelmed
by All the Pain
and Evil in the World
Monday Memo notes

1) Use some of the key sentences from yesterday’s sermon daily in your own prayer life this week, or as the focus on your meditation or centering/breathing prayer. Let them ground you, stretch or expand you, comfort you, and challenge you: 
– “The world is not ours to save.” 
– “Only God can answer the question of hope.” 
– “The cosmos is in process, and is yet to be completed.” 
– “Help me imagine how Jesus would run the world.” 
– “I cannot do everything everywhere, but I can do something somewhere.” 
– “We do our small parts and know a powerful ocean…is downstream.”
2) If applicable, ask God to show you what your something somewhere is. Come back to that several times over the week, and then see by week’s end if you have any more clarity about that sense of calling or focus. 
3) So how can we cope better with a world that is so overwhelming on occasion? Here are some practical articles about that:
What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed by the World
Feeling overwhelmed by world events? Treat yourself the way you would a friend
When the State of the World Overwhelms You
4) A book recommendation – cited in the sermon: 
In Defense of Kindness: Why It Matters, How It Changes Our Lives, and How It Can Save the World: Reyes-Chow, Bruce
Week 7:
Is Religion a

Human Construct,
and What Should
We Make of All
the Different Religions in
the World?
Monday Memo notes

1) The book of Acts is full of encounters between Christians and non-Christians that embody the principles you discovered in The Confession of 1967. Check out these two, the first a master class in identifying and using nonChristian cultural beliefs to explain Christianity (Paul’s sermon in Athens) and the second an account of God’s work in the life of Roman centurion prior to him ever hearing the good news of Christ: 
  Acts 17.16-34 NRSVA
  Acts 10 NRSVA
2) Two PCUSA resources: More counsel from our denomination about how Christians should – and should not – interact with other faiths. Note – the second resource is significantly shorter, but both can be downloaded for free as PDFs. 
– Turn to the Living God – A Call to Evangelism in Jesus Christ’s Way (1991): Turn to the Living God: A Call to Evangelism in Jesus Christ’s Way 
 – The official interreligious stance of the PCUSA (2014): Presbyterian Mission Agency Interreligious Stance 
3) Some basic principles for good interfaith dialogue and engagement: 
Some Basic Principles for Interfaith Dialogue
Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue
4) An exemplary interfaith friendship – the Dalai Lama and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu: 
MISSION: JOY • Official Trailer • Documentary About the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu’s Friendship
The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
 5) A 30 minute presentation by Miroslav Volf (quoted above) on religion and human flourishing in a globalized world: Dr. Miroslav Volf, “Religion and Human Flourishing in a Globalized World”
Week 8:
How Can I

Regain Hope?
Monday Memo notes

1) Scripture reading this week: No other part of scripture uses the verbiage of “hope” as often as the Psalms. Read some psalms of hope this week, one every couple of days: 
  Psalm 33 – Psalm 33 NRSVA
  Psalm 42 – Psalm 42 NRSVA
  Psalm 62 – Psalm 62 NRSVA 
Psalm 71 – Psalm 71 NRSVA 
2) Spend some time this week reflecting on or journaling about your own “bad” and “good” hope. You can use the bullet points in section A., specifically #3-#10 to as a guide. This would also make for a great conversation with a trusted friend.  
3) Three of the best, more brief articles on the psychology of good and bad hope: 
  – On the differentiation between good and bad hope: 
Good Hope and Bad Hope
  – Some steps to change hopelessness to hope: 
How to Overcome Hopelessness
  – On some downsides to “bad hope”: 
7 Downsides of Hope
4) Perhaps no one in the 20th-century has spoken as eloquently and knowledgeably about hope and meaning transcending suffering than Viktor Frankl. The first link below is a great overview of his life – his suffering at a WW2 concentration camp, and how it shaped his understanding of meaning in life. The 2nd video is a five minute recitation of his book’s most well-known quotes – great to use for a devotional or reflection time. 
  Viktor Frankl Biography: A Search for Meaning
Viktor Frankl: Life Changing Quotes (Man’s Search For Meaning)
5) For those interested in the Good Will Hunting reference at the end of the sermon, the first link is the scene in which the painting is described, and the second happens a week later, in effect it’s the psychologist’s response. Warning – lots of profanity: 
  Good Will Hunting (3/12) Movie CLIP – The Painting (1997)
Good Will Hunting | ‘Your Move Chief’
Week 9:
What on Earth

is Going on in Job?
Monday Memo notes

1. As was mentioned in the sermon, the best way to appreciate the great work of ancient literature we call Job is to read it for yourself. 
Two options:
  – If you want to read the whole thing this week, you need to read seven chapters a day beginning today. You’ll finish on Saturday. 
  – If that seems like a little much, try this curated list of readings that take you through the whole book by Saturday:
The opening – Job 1-2 NRSVA
  Early dialogue between Job and his friends – Job 3-6 NRSVA 
Later dialogue between Job and his friends – Job 22-24 NRSVA
Job’s fourth and final friend, Elihu, arrives and summarizes – Job 32-34 NRSVA 
God speaks to Job – Job 38-41 NRSVA 
The conclusion – Job 42 NRSVA 
 2. A journaling/reflection exercise for the week, which will help you personalize the insight gained from how God responded to Job beginning in chp. 38: 
  – Part one: Today and tomorrow, write down all the questions you’re asking God right now, even those that might be a little like Job’s – indelicate and blunt. 
  – Part two: Beginning Wednesday, pay attention and spend time in prayer watching for two things – a) how God answers you in surprising, seemingly-unrelated ways, and b) what questions God asks of you in reply. 
3. A week’s worth of great devotionals on Job: 
What Not to Say
I am Suffering; Hear Me Roar
Keep Asking Questions
Let the Spirit of the Lord Rise 
Surely You Know
4. Philip Yancey reading the entire chapter on Job from his book on the Old Testament, “The Bible Jesus Read” (think of it like a mini-audiobook, about 30 min. long) – Job: Seeing in the Dark