Sermon Series: SAD – Spiritual Affective Disorder
Title: Make My Day
Micah 6:6-8, Titus 3:1-11
January 27, 2019
Rev. Sandy Johnson
Prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.
In 2006, JJ and I helped to plant a new church in the Southwest part of Las Vegas. There was a group of about 15 of us who worked hard to start something new, to create a new worshipping community where none had previously existed.
It was hard work. We met at a middle school, and each week JJ would drive his Suburban with a 12-ft box trailer, filled with all our church equipment – tables, chairs, Sunday school materials, sound system, altar, decorations, hospitality, etc. JJ would brew 3-4 pots of coffee and would bring them along when he came for set up.
Each week we would do our best to create a worship environment that didn’t look like a school cafeteria. Setting up, taking down, setting up, taking down. Sound familiar? Right! At least here we don’t have to haul our things in and out each week.
One of the ways that we found to meet new people was through something called, the Conspiracy of Kindness. It was a “unique approach to sharing the Love of Jesus” that we found in the book by the same title by author Steve Sjogren. We loved the idea of doing random acts of kindness to share God’s love. So, we set out to share God’s love in practical ways, just like the book suggested.
We handed out ice cold bottles of water in front of Smiths in July, we had special labels put on them that had our church name, FaithSprings, some people thought it was a new brand of water! If only!!
I remember one young woman who started crying when I gave her a bottle of water and told her that God loved her. She shared that she had been having a really hard time and hearing that brought her hope.
One afternoon we went to the park and we washed windshields of cars in the parking lot. We had a BBQ on another day and gave away 100 hot dogs and soda. One afternoon I took a group of youth and we taped dollars on cards that said, “We hope finding this free dollar made you smile. God loves you!” We went to the strip mall and dropped them on the floors of the stores we went into.
For all the kindness we extended to others, we accepted nothing in return. Ever. No donations…nada!
You can’t buy God’s love, it is a gift.
As we consider ways to lift our spiritual affect, ways to connect with Christ and the joy that comes with that relationship, we are called to show kindness to others as a means of grace, as a means of helping ourselves to be better, to serve better and to get realigned with God as well as to share God’s love with others.
Something surprising happens when we give of ourselves to others. “Did you know that kinder people actually live longer, healthier lives? People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease.
“We feel so good when we give because we get what researchers call a “helpers high,” or a distinct physical sensation associated with helping or being kind. About half of participants in one study report that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.
Our scriptures this morning give us instruction on how we are to live, how we are to engage one another, how we are to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The first from Titus chapter 3. Paul wrote to Titus to give him guidance on teaching sound doctrine to those living in Crete. Paul reminds Titus to encourage his congregation to be obedient and to be ready to do good work. Paul recognized that before Christ his followers behaved foolishly, disobedient and were led astray, doing ungodly things.
In chapter 3 verse 4 we read, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ changes people. And that change comes from God alone.
The scripture from Micah 6:6-8 likewise reminds us of what is important. In this section we see what it is that God requires of his people, “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
“Micah 6 involves an imaginary conversation between the Lord and Israel. In verses 1-5 the Lord introduces His case against the disobedient people of Israel. Verses 6-7 record Israel’s response as a series of questions beginning with, “With what shall I come to the Lord?” (Micah 6:6).
“Israel’s focus is on their external religious rites, and their questions show a progression from lesser to greater. First, they ask if God would be satisfied with burnt offerings of year-old calves (Micah 6:6b), offerings required in the Law of Moses. Second, they ask if they should bring “thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil” (Micah 6:7a).
“This is a monumental exaggeration; such an offering could only be made by someone extremely wealthy or by the larger community of God’s people. Third, they ask whether they should offer their firstborn as a sacrifice for God. Would that be enough to cover their sin? Would God be pleased with them then?
“Verse 8 follows with God’s answer, rooted in the Law of Moses: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good.” In other words, Israel should already have known the answer to their questions. God then says that He did not need or desire their religious rites, sacrifices, or oblations. Instead, the Lord sought Israel’s justice, mercy, and humility.
“The answer to Israel’s sin problem was not more numerous or more painful sacrifices. The answer was something much deeper than any religious observance: they needed a change of heart. Without the heart, Israel’s conformity to the Law was nothing more than hypocrisy.” 
Micah’s audience would have understood “Act justly” as “living with a sense of right and wrong. In particular, the judicial courts had a responsibility to provide equity and protect the innocent. Injustice was a problem in Israel at that time.
“Love mercy” contains the Hebrew word hesed, which means “loyal love” or “loving-kindness.” Along with justice, Israel was to provide mercy. Both justice and mercy are foundational to God’s character. God expected His people to show love to their fellow man and to be loyal in their love toward Him, just as He had been loyal to them.
“Walk humbly” is a description of the heart’s attitude toward God. God’s people depend on Him rather than their own abilities. Instead of taking pride in what we bring to God, we humbly recognize that no amount of personal sacrifice can replace a heart committed to justice and love.
“The message of Micah is still pertinent today. Religious rites, no matter how extravagant, can never compensate for a lack of love. External compliance to rules is not as valuable in God’s eyes as a humble heart that simply does what is right. God’s people today will continue to desire justice, mercy, and humility before the Lord.”
Finally, kindness is just one of the fruit of the Spirit. A byproduct of our faith in Jesus Christ. This means that when we become disciples, when we say yes to Jesus, we are filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. We will know that we are Jesus’ people because the result of the Holy Spirit will come out of our pores.
The fruit or result of having the Holy Spirit dwelling within us is how we behave, how we are different than we were before, and how we are different from others. Showing kindness is a trademark of our Christianity. It is a byproduct of our faith, of our commitment to Christ.
Our antidote to spiritual affective disorder this week is to demonstrate kindness, to make someone’s day, not like Clint Eastwood did, but in your own special, kind way. I’m not asking you to do anything that would be difficult for you. In fact, I would argue that you are made for kindness, you have transformed hearts that yearn to give kindness to others.
This week’s assignment is to go out and perform
random acts of kindness, sharing God’s love with strangers and friends
alike. Then, I want you to post your
acts of kindness on our Facebook page.
Or email them to me and I’ll post.
If you can take photos do so, if not just share a quick line or two about
what you did to bring kindness to someone else.