Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

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    New York, NY
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BAC Sermons

Perception and Performance 7: Escapism and Excitement Addiction

2004-06-06 1Thess 5

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1Thess 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  5  You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night 8  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10  who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Success: progressive realization of worthy goals, (training/skill/education, financial, career, spiritual, ministry, social/relational/trip)

SMART Goal: Specific, Measurable, Activating, Reasonable, Transforming; Leader POSE: Plan, Organize, Supervise, Evaluate

Escapism: neglecting responsibilities (to God, ourselves and others) by squandering one’s resources (time, energy/strength/knowledge, finances) on lower priority tasks to dull the discomfort/pain/anxiety from failure to pay the price necessary to succeed at one’s responsibilities, resulting in further failure and reduction in our capacity to succeed. Avoid reality = not operate on basis of truth.

Ways we escape: a-musement parks, tv, movies, music, reading, games, daydreaming, exercise, cleaning, shopping, drugs, drinking, eating, pursuit of sex, theatre, almost all of which can be legitimate pursuits in the proper context. We need to examine our routine habits.

Excitement: Pursuit of a temporary “high” or feeling of pleasure/significance, because of a lack of enduring worth and pleasure found in immersing oneself in the presence, pleasure, and program of God, and progressively realizing worthy goals (success)

External stimulus excites emotions resulting in motion; dying when emotion dies. We are to live above the circumstances by being hooked in to God’s plan, support and power; Cable car rather than Rollercoaster

To get back to a reality you can live with and for:

1. Focus on (write out) what you want, why you want it, obstacles, and plan for success. (TOYL Goals & Objectives, Project Planner,)

2. Link pleasure with goal achievement and pain with goal avoidance through visualization/meditation and prayer (TOYL Galvanizer)

Commit to a course of action that will result in a God-glorifying, self-satisfied joy.

3. Interrupt pattern of failure as you internalize your goals (diminishing returns of escapist behavior fails to satisfy the way God’s designed us)

Rm 12:1-2 stop being conformed

4. Reprogram your robot (self-image=worthy and capable of goal, habits) creating empowering alternatives and actions; Rehearse.

    Reframe frustration and “failure” ie Edison, sales, each unsuccessful attempt moves you one step closer to goal, or rethink strategy

5. Track, reinforce/reward, and test your progress with accountability and support.

Chip away at your goals like a stone cutter, knowing that eventually your method will succeed (from history, models and will of God goals)

Appalachian trail every delay or detour beyond what is necessary for recovering your strength hampers reaching your objective.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion /Response:

1. What are some of our general & specific responsibilities to God, our self, and others that cause pain when we attempt to meet them?

2. Why do we tend to abandon worthy goals/objectives when the going gets tough? What resources do we have to help us succeed?

3. Think of a goal. What are the benefits of succeeding? Consequences of failure? Why would you choose failure rather than success?

4. Can you share an instance of when you resisted the temptation to escape and instead persevered through the pain to succeed? Why?

5. How are you tempted to escape this week, and what can you do to ensure that you’ll be closer to rather than further from your goal?