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Under Pressure CS

Jun 29, 2014 - Rev Paul Rasmussen / 2 Corinthians 1:8-11




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Reflection Questions

When is a time God helped you through a pressure-filled situation?

How does it make you feel to hear "You're not that important"? What do you think it means?

Are you in the habit of asking other people to pray for you? If not, who’s one person you trust who you could ask?

What pressure do you currently feel in your life, and how might you rely on God through it?

Water guns. Olive oil. The greatest roast of all time. And of course, the World Cup.
 
All of these things have one thing in common: they’re better under pressure.
 
This weekend Reverend Paul Rasmussen challenged us to think about something we deal with every day: Pressure.
 

  • Will another paycheck come in?
  • How can I raise my children now that my spouse has left?
  • Will I close this deal at work?
  • What will people think of me if I finally decide to come to church?

We all face spiritual, emotional, and physical pressure, and often that pressure causes us to think crazy thoughts and do crazy things. Paul challenged us this weekend not to blame others for the pressure we’re under or wish it away, but instead, to embrace it. Knowing how to handle pressure separates the good from the great. Great doctors know what to do when things go wrong in the operating room. Great moms know how to help their kids handle homework, hard times with friends, and a billion extra-curricular activities.

So how can we coach ourselves through pressure? Paul directed us to the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 where he started with, “We were under great pressure…” Here are this week’s takeaways:
 
Tell yourself, “I’ve been here before.” 
Pressure tries to get us to panic and make us think whatever we’re facing is new. Paul encouraged us to relax and tell yourself you’ve done this before. When he was navigating his new role as Senior Pastor, preaching in front of people like the President of the United States, Paul had to remind himself that he’d been in the pulpit many times, and God had always gotten him through it. The Apostle Paul faced arrest, a shipwreck, beating, and persecution, and through it all had this to say about the pressure: “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us… he will continue to deliver us” (1:10). The pressure of unemployment, loneliness, work, family life, and more can often be unbearable, but God gets us through it every time. Remind yourself daily that God has delivered you before; He will deliver you again.
 
Realize you’re not that important. 
A lot of the pressure we feel is often unnecessary because we assume weight and responsibility we were never meant to bear. In 2 Corinthians 1:9, Paul encourages us to rely on God, not ourselves. The next time you feel the pressure to be exceptional, remind yourself the world doesn’t revolve around you. It can feel great to let go and experience the freedom of doing simply what God has called you to do.
 
Ask other people to pray for you. 
When pressure mounts, our natural go-to is frantic prayers to God. Lord, help me through this! God, give me what I need to endure. Rarely do we take the time to ask others to pray for us. In 2 Corinthians 1:10-11, Paul trusts God to help him as other people are praying. He relies on God not only to hear his prayers, but also the “prayers of many” who are asking God for his deliverance. Asking for prayer is difficult and humbling, but it’s an important part of the Christian life.
 
If you do all of the above, you will not wash away all bad circumstances in your life, but you will realize that you’re actually better under pressure. After all, pressure creates power. Your sleepless nights over work might help you make better business decisions in the long-run. Restlessness over your children very well can make you more fervent in your prayer life. Feeling the weight of a cancer diagnosis undoubtedly opens your eyes to the suffering and pain of others. Pressure strips away arrogance, gives humility and compassion, and challenges us to rely on God. There’s no reason to run from it; we’re better under pressure.
 
In Christ,
 
Erin Williams
Director of Adult Ministry
HPUMC