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1 DONT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY (7/17/11) SCRIPTURES: Genesis 45: 1-9 KEY CONCEPTS: The Bigger Picture; Its

NOT always about me; Overcoming personal Importance; practical thoughts to live this truth OPENING THOUGHTS: So, how did you do this past week with our first agreement: Be Impeccable With YourWord? In addition to last weeks sermon on this topic, we had a wonderful group of 14 people who discussed this topic at greater length. If you werent able to make the meeting last Tuesday, feel free to join us this coming Tuesday, July 19 at 7 PM for the study of this 2nd agreement AGREEMENT #2: DONT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. WILL YOU PRAY WITH ME? PRAYER:

AGREEMENT #2 INTRODUCTION: According to Don Miquel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements this 2nd agreement to Not take anything personally is summarized as:  Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say & do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions & actions of others, you wont be the victim of unnecessary pain & suffering TRANSITION: Well, that seems simple enough, doesnt it! Yessimple to say, but not simple to apply or live! Our community, along with the rest of the world, has learned to internalize what Miquel calls Personal Importance which he defines as:
Learning to think we are responsible for everything. Me, me, always me. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me. Companion Book, Page 210.

GENERAL APPLICATION:And the truth is many of us make it about ourselves because of our own issues, not the issues or actions of other people. When youre having a bad day & then to top it off, you DO take everything personally! BIBLICAL READINGGENESIS 45: 1-9:Now if theres ever been a person who maybe had the right to take something personallyit was Joseph. Maybe you remember the story. (See Genesis, chapters 37-45), Joseph was his fathers favorite & he was arrogant toward his brothers; his mom like Benjaminwas Rachel (Jacobs favorite wife); so with all this family drama is it any wonder that his brothers had sold him into slavery (age 17); he had endured some terrible circumstances; over many years, he became a key leader in Egypt2nd only to Pharaoh (age 30); his brothersthe same ones who sold him into slavery came to Egypt 2 years into a famine looking for suppliesafter 7 years of abundance; at roughly 39 years of ageJoseph was reunited with his brothers & father. 22 years after being sold into slaverywe read todays passage. I wonder if Joseph took anything personally. Oh I dont mean 22 years after the fact when he had a good life & was in charge of an entire nation; rather I wonder if during the years he was alone &enslaved if he took things personally or hated his brothers. Did he see himself as a victim & excuse his own arrogant behavior? Or did somewhere in captivity & away from home did Joseph finally

2 see the larger picture & come to understand that even though life is unfair, that he still had a choice regarding his attitude & perspective? Evidentially, Joseph DID grow up. He matured & found a way to follow God in the midst of being separated from his family. He for whatever reason also opted to never travel back home to visit his dad, mom or siblings. Yet, in the fullness of time, he WAS reunited with his Dad & siblingsafter he had grown up some & after enough time had passed. TRANSITION: Sometimes, its like that for us. We need time & space when someone has hurt us AND weve taken it personally to heal, to move forward in our lives & to see that God had a larger plan all along. Joseph did that & so, too, can we. How you might ask? Well SPECIFIC APPLICATION: During the research of this material, I discovered some really helpful insights by an MCC colleague, Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, with her former congregation, MCC San Francisco: (1) Take whats true & leave the rest. When someone says something to you, evaluate IF theres any truth to what s/he is saying. If so, take the truth & let go of the untruth. (2) Detach with love.Often found in the recovery communitykeeps the foundation as love without being drawn into the madness of the moment. (3) Take the long view. Remember that one bad episode doesnt define the entire situationespecially in relationshipsof any kind. Look at the whole picture & evaluate the truth of the entire relationship, not merely one bad episodemaybe the person is just having a bad day or a bad season. CLOSING: In closing, I invite you to join me in the journey to apply this 2nd agreementTo not takeanything personally. This agreement coupled with last weeks agreement to Be Impeccable With Your Word will radically alter our truth and our reality. According to Miquel, practicing these 2 agreements would break 75% of the negative, conflicting agreements we have in our minds & that keep us trapped in hell on earth. These first 2 agreements are difficult because theyre the most value when it comes to radically transforming our lives. These ARE hard AND youre worth it! AND, you can make a change!!! Next week, well look at Agreement #3: DONT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS General References: Ruiz, Don Miguel. The 4 Agreements. Amber-Allen Publishing. San Rafael, CA. 1997. Ruiz, Don Miguel. The 4 Agreements: Companion Book. Amber-Allen Publishing. San Rafael, CA 2000. The 4 Agreements Sermon by Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon http://www.mccsf.org/sermons/sermon_050807_nixon.html