Messages from Pastor Raddatz

February 6, 2022, Mount Olive Lutheran Houston TX, ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING SERIES 1 of 4 (Max Lucado book)

Celebrate God’s Goodness 

Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again, rejoice.” NIV 

You can’t run the world, but you can entrust it to God.

See Psalm 138: Psalm for the Day, good verses there.


Dear People of God,

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

            You know what anxiety is like: it can be a low creeping uneasiness that something is going to go wrong, or it can be a Tropical Storm of fear.  Our oldest grandchild felt it was his screwed up.   Stuff is going to happen that you do not like.  He wanted to prepare his little brother that people are cruel, and this world can disappoint you, so he took it upon himself to take opportunities to make his brother aware of this reality.  This happened in a most obvious way, when he and his little brother were visiting us here in Houston.  I think we were bowling.  Someone did not wait there turn and so this older brother laid into his younger brother, he needed to toughen up and face the music.  My wife and I did not feel the same way.  This was not the time or place for such a lecture: because it certainly was not a discussion.  He admitted that he felt that it was his job to let his little brother know that things will go wrong, and this world is troubled.  Linda, who is better at such discussions than I am, took the oldest grandson aside and explained that while they were with us, this job was not his.


            The word anxious defines itself.  It is a hybrid of angst and xious.  Angst is a sense of unease.  Xious is the sound I make on the tenth step of a flight of stairs when my heart beats fast, and I run low on oxygen.  I can be heard inhaling and exhaling, sounding like the second syllable of anxious, which makes me wonder if anxious people aren’t just that people are out of breath because of the angst of life.

            According to the NATIONAL INSTITUTE of MENTAL HEALTH, anxiety disorders are reaching epidemic proportions.  In a given year nearly fifty million Americans’ will feel the effects of a panic attack, phobias, or other anxiety disorders.  Anxiety disorders in the United States are the “number one mental health problem…among women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men.”  (Edmund J. Bourne, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 5th Edition, 2010)

            The interesting thing I discovered in researching this; is that immigrants who move to America from nations where the population is more relaxed, end up becoming more anxious, just like every other American.  The reason for this is that change is occurring here at a rapidly alarming pace.  It is even said that the “environment and social order have changed more in the last thirty years than they have in the previous three hundred.”



            I would like to nominate our Bible passage for today to the Scripture Hall of Fame.  The museum wall that contains the framed words of the 23rd Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer and John 3:16 should also display Philippians 4:4-8.  We will consider these four verses over the next four weeks. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let you request be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

            Anxiety is an emotion, so do not be anxious about feeling anxious.  Paul’s prescription for anxiety begins with a call to rejoice.  Envision this old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison.

If there was anyone who had a reason to be anxious, it was the Apostle Paul.  When he penned these words: Paul was about 60 years old, about 30 years now as a Christian, and scarcely a seaport on the Mediterranean he doesn’t know. Can you see how stooped he is?  He received thirty-nine lashes on five different occasions.  He was beaten with rods on three.  Scars spiderweb across his skin like bulging veins.   He was once left for dead.  He has been imprisoned, deserted by friends and coworkers and has endured shipwrecks, storms, and starvation.  

He’s probably half-blind, squinting just to read (Galatians 4:15).  What’s more, he is awaiting trial before the Roman emperor.  Nero has learned to curry the favor of the Roman citizens by killing believers, of which Paul is the best know.     As if oppression from the empire weren’t enough, Paul also bears the weight of newborn churches.  The members are bickering.  False preachers are preaching out of pride and envy (Philippians 1:15-17).   

Yet, to read his words to “REJOICE” seems like he’d just arrived at a Jamaican all expenses paid vacation resort.  To “Rejoice in the Lord” is A CALL, NOT TO A FEELING, BUT TO A DECISION AND A DEEPLY ROOTED COONFIDENCE THAT GOD EXISTS, THAT HE IS IN CONTROL, AND THAT HE IS GOOD!  

Max Lucado tells a story of his father who almost every night would have a glass of buttermilk and a slice of cornbread.  The cornbread was crumbled into the glass of buttermilk.  He would stand at the counter in his T-shirt and boxer shorts and drink it.   After he drank it he checked the doors and stopped by his boy’s room and said, “Everything is secure, you can go to sleep now.  In the same way, God loves his children.  He oversees your world.  He monitors your life.  He doesn’t need to check the doors; indeed, he is the door.  Nothing will come your way apart from his permission.

So rejoice, again I say rejoice and watch: fear diminishes.  When you rejoice in the Lord your soul is stabilized with the cross.   See how God has taken care of our greatest need: the forgiveness of all our sins.  Paul penned in another book to the Romans: If he did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also,…graciously give us all things. (Romans 8:32).

Celebrate God’s goodness.   Others see the problems of the world and wring their hands.  We see the problems of the world and bend our knees.  

May this peace which passes all human understanding keep your heart in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.

Your Fellow Servant, in Christ,

Pastor John Raddatz

Current Weeks Message

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020