Staycation | Let’s Have Some Fun! | PART 1 | Avalon Church
Staycation | Let’s Have Some Fun! | PART 1
June 21, 2020

Staycation | Let’s Have Some Fun! | PART 1

Speaker:
Series:
Passage: Ecclesiastes 8:14-17
Service Type:

Sometimes we just need permission to enjoy life! Join us as we look at Ecclesiastes 8:14-17.

Series: Staycation,
Speaker: Pastor Don Dodge,
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 8:14-17,
Video: https://www.facebook.com/avalonchurch/videos/266508924567195/,
Sermon page: https://www.avalonchurch.org/sermons/staycation-lets-have-some-fun-part-1/,
Sermon Notes: 2020-06-21_staycation-part-1_sermon-notes.pdf,
Discussion Questions: 2020-06-21_staycation-part-1_discussion-questions.pdf,

Notes:

Intro

Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

As I’ve mentioned before,
My Dad was a police officer.

Our family struggled to make ends meet,
So Dad was always working extra jobs.

He wasn’t around much,
And we weren’t that close.

We weren’t a religious family,
So, when I I chose to follow Jesus in HS
…I proudly, and yes I know, weirdly,
Put this picture of Jesus on my stereo.

…my Dad thought I had joined a cult.

I still laugh at that picture

Which looks more like a Ponce de Leon from Spain
than a Middle Eastern Jew.

Dad and I were never very close.

Then, in my 30’s,

Rae Lynn and I invited dad and his wife
to stay with us while they were in town.

It was the best week ever as we really connected
for the first time in my life.

My dad loves jokes,
…and so I told him one about Baptists and dancing.

I got a lot of flack my first Sunday here when I told the joke,
But my dad laughed and laughed.

That was 20 years ago.
And he passed away almost 4 years ago,

But it was a moment I’ll never forget.

And when I laugh,
I am always astounded at how much I sound like my dad.

A Dad’s influence is so powerful.
Regardless of the mistakes, there is so much grace.

Intro Series

So today, on Father’s Day,
we’re starting a new series called Staycation.

A series about enjoying life
Right where you are.

2020 is the perfect time for this series,
And Father’s Day is the perfect day to start.

After 3 months of shutting down,

…Only to see the number of COVID cases rising
as we begin opening up,

Then, with recent abuses of power,

resulting in murder,
…And country mourning and protesting ongoing injustice

With the heaviness that we are all experiencing,
It’s so easy to forget

…God’s gift of Joy.

Me

As I’ve spent time doing missions,

…In the mountains of Jamaica,
witnessing poverty in Haiti and in Aguascalientes, Mexico,

The smiles on those children,
…And the gratitude of their parents

…Is a reminder that JOY is independent of circumstance.

God

Our focus Scripture today is from OT,
In the book of Ecclesiastes.

Now, Ecclesiastes does NOT tell stories from history,
Like the first half of the OT.

And it’s not about judgment or the future hope,
Like the prophets in the second half.

Ecclesiastes is about right now,
in this present moment.

The author asks a lot of questions,

…And points out a lot of inconsistency in life.
...Knowing they will never get satisfying answers.

That’s what happens in 8:14.

After frustration over injustice in the world,
The author says,

14 And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless! –Ecc 8 (NLT)

How is it that a drunk driver kills some young mother,
While the driver lives?

Why do good people sometimes get cancer,
While bad people get a promotion.

It’s so frustrating.
It’s so.. so… meaningless.

So what do we do?
They continue

15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. –Ecc 8 (NLT)

Isn’t that great!?
You don’t hear that preached very much.

Don’t spend all your time worrying
about the things you can’t control.

Don’t miss out on what’s in front of you
because you’re always thinking

…about what happened in the past,
…or what could happen in the future.

Let God worry about these.

Live where you are,
…in the present.
Look around at the blessings.
Enjoy what God has provided.

Have fun sharing meals with those close to you.
Breaking bread and drinking wine together,
While you share in conversation and interests together.

Don’t get so caught up,
 
Cleaning the house,
…and catching up at work,
…and making sure you look like you have it all together.

I have been told people are leaving a church
because there is too much laughing.

I get that I can go overboard.
And know that I have a wife and a staff that calls me on it.

But where did this expectation come

…that when God’s people gather
it’s not supposed to be fun.
I eventually discarded that first picture of Jesus.
And while I’m not one to seek out pictures of Jesus,

…I do like this one.

Because there are few things better than a good belly laugh.

Laughing can heal a grieving soul.
It can create deep bonds and lasting memories.

…and also get you in trouble.

Why is it things are so much funnier

…at a funeral, or a wedding,
…during a sermon,
…or wherever you’re supposed to be quiet?

The writer says,

15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. –Ecc 8 (NLT)

Hard work is inevitable.
And it’s good.

But it’s not everything.
They continue,

16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim. –Ecc 8 (NLT)

Some of us are constantly working:

Planning stuff,
Accomplishing stuff,
and organizing stuff.

If that’s you, Because it is me,
This message is for us.

We will never finish checking all the boxes.

So make sure that goals and pursuits
Don’t engross your whole life.

It will destroy your soul.
And it will destroy the soul of your spouse and kids.

It’s okay to have fun.
It’s more than okay.

Don’t allow your busy-ness
To cause you to miss out on what’s really important.

…the Joy of eating together,
…and conversation over a cup of coffee,

…or going to the beach with friends,
…or playing Nintendo Switch or Barbie with your son or daughter,
going for a walk

You (Application. So What?)

As the original audience read Ecclesiastes
Their world was a constant tension between different kingdoms.

They remembered the stories of the Egyptian pharaoh,

He was powerful and ruthless.
And he was considered a god.

He required servanthood from Israel,
a harshly imposed, oppressive slavery.

After they were rescued by God,
And after they entered the Promised land,

The struggle continued against the surrounding kingdoms
Who tried to get ahead at their expense,

While their king tried to get ahead
At the expense of the other kingdoms.

Then came Jesus,
Inviting people into his Kingdom,

…A Kingdom where the last are first,
…And the strong take care of the weak,
…Where life is found in sacrificing oneself for others,
…even our enemies.

Jesus turned everything upside down.
And the tension continues.

We still live in a kingdom where we want to be god,

Doing things our own way,
Reaping the benefits of our effort,

Where we want to achieve more, and acquire more.

Frankly, that’s the American Dream.

And we spend the brief time on earth

Ignoring what we already have,
To acquire what we don’t yet have…

Money
Power,
Notariety,
A better title
A new relationship
The next shiny whatever,

Things that will never fulfil us.
And we miss what is right in front of us.

…The people God has put in our lives.
…And we miss our whole purpose,

…a relationship and partnership with him.

God’s kingdom is unlike ours.

In God’s kingdom there is a time to work
and a time to play.

…A time to accomplish
and a time to laugh and dance.

…a time to build
and a time to rest.

…A time to GO,
And a time to GROW.

In God’s kingdom,

there are moments to stop working,
…and celebrate together.

There are times to go and do,
And there are times to stay and be.

In God’s kingdom,

Sometimes the best thing you can do
is give all of yourself to help your neighbor,

And other times the most important thing you can do
is break the bread and share the wine
together with those you most love.

Productivity makes a very poor god.

Let’s look at this passage one more time.

14 And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless! –Ecc 8 (NLT)

15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. –Ecc 8 (NLT)

16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim. –Ecc 8 (NLT)

As followers of Jesus, we dance to a new song,
We listen to a different voice.

We are motivated not by acquiring more,
but by Jesus’ overwhelming love towards what truly matters,

Loving God,
…And loving people.

Laying down our desires and our goals
…Our kingdom,

…And aligning with his.

We live in one kingdom, an earthly kingdom
yet give our allegiance to another.

We are citizens of Jesus’ kingdom,
…yet residents here,

So how do we live, right here, right now?

We live intentionally.

We make time to work,
And make time to stop.

But more importantly, in everything we do,
We seek Jesus and his Kingdom.

It is only through the power of his Spirit,
And him opening our eyes to the way he sees the world

That we can ever truly be
the people we were always designed to be.

Pray:
Relax.
Trust the Lord.
Give yourself permission to enjoy life.
Allow for fun in church.

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