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When life gets stressful, do you get anxious or aggressive?

When life gets stressful, do you get anxious or aggressive?

JANUARY 1, 2024

/ Programs / Key Life / When life gets stressful, do you get anxious or aggressive?

Pete Alwinson:
When life gets stressful, do you get anxious or do you get aggressive? Let’s talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Steve invited our friend Pete Alwinson to do the teaching this week. Pete is a former pastor, founder of and the author of Like Father Like Son.

Pete Alwinson:
Thank you Matthew. Good morning and Happy New Year Key Life. This is Pete Alwinson and it’s a privilege to start the year with you. You know, I really love New Year’s because it’s a chance to start over, to start fresh and to start focused. And we’re going to talk for the next four days about a topic that we will need big time to take with us into 2024. We’re going to talk about love from I Corinthians chapter 13. But before we do that, let’s begin the week right and the year right. Let’s pray together. Our Great God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we honor you at the start of this year. And we are so thankful that we belong to you. Thank you that you loved us before we loved you. Thank you that you know all about us and knew all about us before you even called us to be your children. Thank you that you’re the sovereign King of heaven and earth. You created us, sustain us, redeemed us, and you hold on to us and never will let us go. So Lord, as we head into this new year, we know a lot is in front of us. Some of us are really motivated and ready, and some of us are scared, some of us are angry, some of us don’t know what to feel or think, so we come to you. We commit 2024 to you, and we ask that you will empower us to trust in the Lord and do good, to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. You’re the king. And so, we ask that you’ll extend your grace kingdom through us every day, and help us to be loving as we do it. So, we pray for the one who teaches that you’d forgive him his sins, and use one who is finite to communicate your infinite truth. For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. All right, well, 2024 is here, and it’s already shaping up to be a really challenging year. And for a number of reasons, I mean, the Christmas season that we just went through was on record to be the busiest travel season ever in the history of the United States. Maybe you traveled and you know it. I stayed home. But there’s still a war in Israel. Hamas instituted it on October 7th, 2023. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that date. Anti-Semitism is through the roof in America and in the world. Our college campuses still have anti Israel protests. The economy is a big issue. Everything costs more. And on top of that, it’s an election year. All right, here we go. I started thinking about this way back in October, that 2024 was going to be a wild and wooly year. And I think it’s going to be that. As many of you know, I lead a men’s ministry here in the greater Orlando area called Forge. And we have a lot of guys who want to become great men as God defines greatness. And one day I was talking at one of the tables about anxiety and one of my leaders said, honestly you know, look, look, I don’t, I don’t get anxious. I get aggressive. And another said, I don’t, I don’t get suicidal, I get homicidal. And I said, man, that is, I get that. I’m kind of the same way. And maybe that’s why Jesus convicted me that we have to take into the coming year something that can help us deal with what we can’t control and that is God’s love. We’re going to face a lot and we need to go into 2024 with a deep seated conviction that God is all powerful, sovereign, almighty. And yes, that we belong to Him. We don’t have to be afraid or anxious or aggressive or suicidal, but you know, we really can enter into every day with His love motivating us in all that we do. So, let me read to you 1 Corinthians 13 and give you some background to this key passage, and I’ll leave you with a question to ponder this week. So, here we go.

If I speak with the tongues of mankind, of men, and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge. And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I’m nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous. Love does not brag. It is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly. It does not seek its own benefit. It is not provoked. It does not keep into account a wrong suffered. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away. If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I have been fully known. But now faith, hope, and love remain. These three, but the greatest of these is love.

Well that is God’s word and what we’re going to look at this coming week. And I want to start off by asking the question, why in the world is Paul talking about love? The question is, what’s the context? Well, the context of I Corinthians isn’t a wedding service. I use this passage a lot when I do wedding services, but it’s not that context. It’s the context of the church gathered together to do ministry. And it’s interesting that it’s sandwiched I Corinthians 13, between 12 and 14, which are talking about spiritual gifts. And so, the context of talking about love isn’t marriage, it’s how the church is supposed to carry out the Great Commission in using the gifts that God has given us. And by the way, as we head into the new year, it’s a good reminder to get back to meeting with the local church gathered. For some of you, I know you can’t for health reasons, but it’s really a good challenge that we need to get back and worship and do ministry with real Christians in a real context. So, the context is how we use our spiritual gifts. And so, the second question that we need to ask here is what’s the purpose of spiritual gifts? Why are they so important? Well, in I Corinthians 12:7 the apostle Paul says.

To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

And so, spiritual gifts are given to us that God could carry out his ministry through us on planet Earth. I don’t know about you, but that’s stunning to me, and that God wants to use me in the lives of somebody else. So, that’s the context and why spiritual gifts are so very important. Read I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4 for a look at all the gifts. But I want to end up today by just asking the question, how am I using my spiritual gifts? Because as we saw, Paul asked some pretty, pretty intense questions or made some pretty intense statements about love, he said.

If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but if I don’t have love, I’m a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.

And you know what? I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I can’t, I sound like that when I sing, but without the work of God in my life, without love, my gifts are nothing. If I have the gift of prophecy, if I have all kinds of faith, but don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give my possessions to feed the poor, it profits me nothing. If I don’t do all of these things in love and out of love. And so, as we enter into this new year that is chaotic and difficult, and that we really don’t know what we are going to face, going into the new year with God’s kind of love is going to be really, really important. We need to go into it understanding that without this love in our lives and motivating us, we’re nothing, it profits me nothing. So, when life gets crazy or aggressive, do I get suicidal or homicidal? Well, let’s do neither. When it comes to the church and God’s people, ask yourself this question. How am I using the gifts that God has given me? Let’s get energized by the love and grace of God. And when it comes to the world that we will face in 2024, may his power be the energizing force behind us. May we be so transformed by grace that we understand more than anyone around us that it is the grace of God that provokes and builds in us the love of God, the love of God for others, and the love of God that motivates all our gifts. May the love of God in us truly energize us to transform the world in which we see. You take it to heart. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Pete. That was our good friend, Pete Alwinson. Steve invited him to teach us all this week on the subject of love. Good stuff from I Corinthians 13, and we will dive back into this tomorrow. Hope you will join us. Well, Pete said it earlier, but I also want to wish you a Happy New Year, such an exciting time of new beginnings. And yet, sometimes it seems the past isn’t quite done with us. Maybe you’re still struggling with issues of doubts and loneliness. In short, you’re looking for contentment. But can we get it? Well, Steve answers this question in a classic sermon titled, How to be Content…Not! Get it on CD for free by calling us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD called How to Be Content…Not! Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope, or give safely and securely through text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, text that to 28950. And listen, if you can’t give, we get it. But if you would, please do pray for us. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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