The Cynicism Circuit :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 1/22/23 by Pastor Steve Shields.

Cynics are on a cycle that starts with a disappointment, which leads to discontentment with life. Then they decide to protect themselves, which leads to a cynical spirit. Then a negative experience happens, which leads to disappointment, and the cycle continues.

Cynicism effects your faith. It causes some to jump ship. It causes some to stay put but to stop hoping. Disenchantment robs their faith of its enchantment. It causes some to erase the miraculous from their faith. They and their faith are dis-enchanted.

The use of enchantment is to speak of the opposite of mundane. Mundane is lacking interest or excitement or of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one.

Our faith is enchanted. Our faith is founded on the supernatural. A virgin birth is not mundane. Our faith is enacted by the miraculous. The atoning work of Christ on the cross, and His resurrection is anything but mundane.

Our faith is of the Spirit of God. Communicating with God in Spirit and in truth is not mundane.

What factors contribute to disenchantment? Arrogance, ignorance and fear all contribute to disenchantment.

What steps can we take toward re-enchantment?

Drill down to what Christian faith is. Real Christian faith is found at the cross. At the cross, Jesus loved his neighbor as Himself, His enemies and His Father in heaven.

Look into your own heart. The problem of many who are disenchanted is not their lack of faith, but their abundance of arrogance.

Radically open your heart to wonder. Release God from your demands. Look for the miracles and expect them.

The Roundabout of Futility :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 1/15/23 by Pastor Steve Shields.

Have you ever had feelings of futility?

The definition of futile is having no constructive effect, achieving nothing of value.

Everyone experiences futility at some point. These futile feelings are rooted in the mundane.

When we look in Ecclesiastes 1, we see Solomon’s perspective on futility. You cannot escape futility through education, pleasure, wisdom or keeping busy. Instead, you find satisfaction when you make God central in all things.

Some questions to think about. Is the Lord central to my faith? Is the Lord central to my mission? Is the Lord central to my family?

The Control Corridor :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 01/01/23 by Pastor Steve Shields.

God calls us to exercise control, but it can be tricky.

Control can become a problem depending on who is exercising the control in whose life? What is being controlled? When control is executed? Where control is taking place? Why control is happening? How control is implemented?

The engine behind control is often lust. Lust is a deep desire. Biblically, lust can be positive and negative.

Improper control (inappropriate desire) destroys relationships.

Keys for staying out of the control corridor. Know the One who is in control. Trust the One who is in control!

Intrigue Intersection :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 11/13/22 by Pastor Steve Shields.

As we take a look at intrigue as a dangerous intersection, let’s start with the types of intrigue.

There is intrigue with the unfamiliar, intrigue with the forbidden and intrigue of the more. Not all intrigue will lead you on a dangerous path.

So how do you choose correctly at the intrigue intersection?

First, choose your friends wisely. Just like your mother said, you become like your friends.

You consider the outcome of the path. How will the path effect your relationship with God and your relationship with other people?

Stay on target.

How should you respond to intrigue?

Find pleasure in what you have. You find strength in who God is. You find joy in who God is making you.

Escapism Extension :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 11/06/22 by Pastor Steve Shields.

The cross is the crux of our faith. The cross is where forgiveness was purchased. The cross is where our old self died. The cross is where we are called to die daily.

Escapism is the tendency to want to avoid stress, difficulty, pain, heartache, and responsibility at all all cost.

Everyone feels like escaping occasionally. Escaping can be healthy as Jesus shows when He would get away from the crowds and connect with the Father.

Escaping is unhealthy when it becomes avoidance. It can show up as procrastination, over-indulgence in hobbies or unhealthy dependence.

Escapism feels like relief in the moment. Humankind struggles with laziness. Satan deceives us into avoiding responsibility.

How do we get off the escapism extension?

We can pursue wisdom. We can face life’s challenges head on. First, we can take it to the cross!

Entitlement Interstate :: DANGEROUS SIDE ROADS

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 10/30/22 by Pastor Steve Shields.

Pastor Steve begins a new sermon series using the analogy of five dangerous side roads we can take on our Christian walk.

The dangerous side roads are the Entitlement Interstate, Escapism Extension, Intrigue Intersection, Futility Roundabout and Control Corner.

The Entitlement Interstate is dangerous because it distracts you from caring about others, blinds you to personal responsibility, and makes you miserable.

So how do you avoid the danger of the Entitlement Interstate? The answers can be found in Philippians 2!

You can live a life of thanks for what you have received. You can value others highly. You can have the mindset of Christ. You can keep your eyes on the prize. You can recognize the holiness of the gift of salvation you have received.