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Single Again-Cornerstone
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-27; Psalm 34:17; Psalm 55:1...
Track 2 of 7 in the Transforming Families series
Running time: 56 minutes, 47 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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I really enjoyed our lesson last week about the singles in our church, the singles who have never been married. I thought a lot about them during the week and thinking of ways to better minister to them and their needs. I think the discussion was excellent and I was very pleased that so many people spoke up and shared their thoughts. I hope the same happens again this week.

How many of you ever read the little book called, "Who Moved My Cheese?" It is a must read for everyone. It will only take you 1 hour to read the whole book but it tells a very true story in life. It is a story about 4 characters, 2 mice named Sniff and Scurry and two little people, Hem and Haw. All live in a maze and they spend their time eating cheese until one day someone moved the cheese from where they always used to find it. The book focuses on the reaction of the four characters and what each one does when they discover their cheeses has been moved.

This little parable is all about what happens when change comes in the lives of people. Change in life is something that happens to everyone. There is no way of escaping it. The key is, what do you do when change happens? Do you embrace change and see it as an opportunity in life and look forward to what comes next or do you try to avoid change at all cost and find change something that paralyzes you?

Do you agree with this statement, "Change is very, very, very Hard!!!" Does change get tougher to deal with as you get older? Why?

We are in our second of seven weeks looking at the issue of "Transforming Individual Families", but last week we began discussing that the church is also a family in itself; we are "one body", and together we are the bride of Christ. This week we are focusing on those singles who are experiencing "singleness" again… the divorced and widowed.

I have to restate something I said last week, I can't even imagine what it would be like to be single again. I have never experienced that so I have to admit that I am speaking only from what others have shared with me or what I have observed because I have never experienced that aspect of life. Many of you have and I will depend on your thoughts and insights when dealing with this topic. I hope to create a discussion where those of you have gone through this can share with us your thoughts and experiences.

The "Single Again": Getting to Know Them

Who are these people? (George Barna [Christian researcher] research)…keep in mind this research includes all single people, both inside and outside of the church, and that it can be very dangerous to "generalize"…and we especially do not want to infer that the statistical data described below is consistent with our "singles again" population at MPCC

Single adults are skeptical of many biblical teachings
Why might this apply more to those that are "single again" than to those who have never been married?

Divorced adults are "typically middle-aged and have completely different needs, goals, expectations, and issues" than other single people; they make-up 25% of the singles population
Widowed adults tend to be primarily female, are generally in their sixties and beyond, and possess an entirely different view of the future than do their younger, single counterparts; they make-up 1/6th of the singles population; women outnumber men in this group at a ratio of 4.3 to 1.0; in general, widowed singles are "the most active in a range of religious pursuits", in comparison to the other two single groups.
Key issue: all the research indicates that the number of people over the age of 65 will double in the next 30 years, producing an explosion in the number of widowed people, and "racial and ethnic patterns lead us to believe that there will be a continued increase in divorce" rates in the coming years.

What message should all of this research information be saying to use at MPCC? Does our church convey an "openness", and "attractiveness" to the divorced and widowed in Quincy? In what ways do we do a good job, and in what ways can we do a better job? How concerned are we that we should be doing a better job in this area, and are we willing to do anything about that concern if it's there?

The divorced and widowed are similar, yet different…very, very different from those singles who have never been married. What are some similarities that immediately come to mind when you compare those who are divorced with those who are widowed?

One of the biggest similarities that exist between divorced and widowed people is that they both have had to undergo change, and this kind of change is often accompanied by great hurt, pain, anger, bitterness…a "stormy season of life" if you will, that often leads to confusion and despair, and the question: "God, are you really there?"

How can the church, especially those of us who have never experienced what the singles are going through, help and minister to this group of people? What are some of the things the singles need the most from the church?

Show the NOOMA DVD: Rain…before watching tell your group that we hope the video will in some small way, 1) help those who are single again who are still struggling with pain, hurt, and change, 2) help the rest of us who are in the midst of our own personal storms, and 3) help those of us who are not "single again" to be better able to understand, support, and encourage those who are…especially those who are new to being single again.

Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

From this message that Jesus gave, what is He preparing us for? When this happens, what one thing will get us through the storm better than anything else? For those of you who have experienced the "storms of life", is this true?

Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

Psalm 55:17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

God says when we "cry" out to Him that He listens…have you ever felt like God heard you when you cried out to Him?
Have you ever felt like He didn't come through for you? Explain…

The "Single Again" in the Body of Christ

Together, as a collective group, "singles" are often forgotten and neglected when it comes to the church. We talked about how this happens last week. But I think it is much different with the divorced and still different with the widowed.

How does the church's neglect of those who are "single again" differ from what we discussed last week with those that have never been married?

One "single again" person from our congregation shared this: "The biggest challenge is plain and simple for me…loneliness."

Why does this happen?

The Challenges of being "Single Again"

What are some of the biggest misconceptions, stereotypes, etc., that we have of the divorced person?Of the widowed person?

I'm not sure of misperceptions but I do think sometimes singles are not included in mixed groups, maybe because it is perceived that we would be uncomfortable which is not true. I, for one, still appreciate the stimulation of conversation in a group which includes both men and women.

That I am "on the make"

Concerning Challenges:

Probably the biggest challenge, if that is the right term, is to help others see that in becoming a single again, you have begun a new chapter in your life. Seize opportunities to be busy, focusing on and serving others. I read once "that happiness is based on what is happening at the moment but joy is based on an internal assurance independent of outward circumstances. I believe that with all my heart and my inward joy comes from the Lord.

Non-Christians - this group always trying to fix me up with non-Christian.

Christians - not really knowing how to act around single people that are past the age of 20.

We really are not so much a minority group.

Christian friends are priceless. And that continued extension of friends is HUGE. And I have absolutely experienced that. The biggest challenge is plain and simple …Lonely