Sunday Sermon Notes - @coe22 & pastor @ryanstone
We started a new series today called MESSENGERS, focusing on the angels who appeared to tell of the birth of Jesus. When the angel came to the shepherds in the field, they were filled with great fear. These were no cuddly cartoon character angels, but warrior messengers for God. Their presence, surrounded by the glory of the Lord shining around them, elicited fear. But, the first words of the angel were, “Fear not.”
So, how do we fear not when we are in a frightening situation and there is so much to fear engulfing us? Because the reality is, there are things to fear all around us. Health issues, broken relationships, financial hardships, loss, and more. How do we fear not?
The person of Jesus overcomes the power of fear.
Remember the story of Jesus and the disciples in the boat during the storm. The boat is taking on water and the disciples – many of whom were experienced fishermen and worthy navigators of stormy conditions – were terrified. Meanwhile, Jesus slept. Overwhelmed with fear, the disciples awaken Him. Jesus rebukes the wind and waves. All is calm. Jesus asks, “where is your faith?” Luke 8:25 continues, “And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’”
The disciples were afraid AND they marveled. Our fear can pale in comparison to the One we marvel at. Yes, there are things to be feared, but our faith can be placed in the One who has all of these things under His authority and control. Our response to fear is directly connected to our answer to the question, “Who is this man, Jesus?”
Pastor Ryan Stone closed with three ways we can respond in the face of fear:
Properly placed fear leads to passionately placed worship. The waves and wind still know His name. The storms of life still listen to His voice. Everything is under His control and authority. Let go your soul and trust in Him.
Happy Sabbath, friends.
So often I am sure God is telling me to do something. I’m on fire about it, full of excitement and energy around it...even if it scares me. I feed off the nearness of God in it...
...until some time passes. I get in my head. Satan gets in my head. I start to look around instead of up. I start to doubt...that God really wanted me to do it, that I even can do it, that I have time to do it. My fire around it is gone when I place it all on myself and lose that connection to God over it. I want to dig up those freshly planted seeds and toss them. Ugh!
God, if something is from You, help me to cling to it; to water it and watch it grow, no matter how slow and scary it feels.
Can’t sleep. I’ve been awaken by the beeps. In my case the beeps of my husband and son’s pumps / blood sugar monitors for type 1 diabetes. Apparently the only people who hear the beeps are the people who don’t have the beeping mechanism attached to them.
The beeps start as just a vibrate. A gentle prompt to get your attention...a wide span between each vibrate, hopefully anticipating you are on it. Without response, the interval time between each notification decreases, though still just a silent vibrate. With no attention, the sound kicks in. A quick beep...gently spread out to not cause too much disruption; still hopeful a response will follow. With still no attention, the sound gets louder, longer, more consistent. Begging to be noticed and addressed. It’s for your own good after all!
Beep................ beep......... beep...... beep.... beep. BEEP! BEEP!!!!!!!!!!
Realizing they are not going to act, I reach over and shake my husband awake...and walk across the hall to shake my son awake. And finally, they check their machines and make the necessary corrections.
And I was thinking we all have beeps. These warnings from God when things are veering off track. They come in all forms and frequencies. Sometimes we are alert and grateful for the beeps, and switch course quickly. But most of the time we ignore our own beeps. We wait for someone else to care enough to do something (which is great in the moment, but does nothing for the long term), or we ignore the beeps and hope they go away (they don’t!), or we sadly don’t even hear them anymore because we have conditioned ourselves to ignore them.
So, friends...keep listening and responding to the beeps around you and give that shake when needed... there are so many...we ALL have stuff we are battling. But also become more attentive to your own beeps. Ask God to help you hear more clearly and respond more quickly.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
If you had this kind of day, remember this truth too: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Watch and pray.
A story that always makes me laugh is in Acts 12 when Peter is miraculously freed from prison and goes to the home the other followers are hunkering down in. Standing outside, he knocks. A girl comes to the door, joyfully sees it is Peter, promptly leaves him there, and turns back inside to tell the others. So Peter continues to knock while the others inside tell the girl she is crazy for thinking Peter is at the door. Meanwhile, Peter keeps knocking.
Outside of the humorous image of Peter unable to get anyone to open the door, it is sad and telling at the same time. Because before Peter knocked on the door we are told that earnest prayer to God was made for him by the church. They were inside praying Peter would be freed from prison and spared death.
And here Peter stands outside the door knocking. Their prayer answered and they don’t even believe it.
@jessaconnolly posed these questions the other day that have been working on me...”Would you be ready if God did what you’re asking Him to do? Would your character and life sustain it? Would you be shocked if He showed up and answered prayers or ready to ride the wave of spiritual momentum if the Spirit suddenly started moving in a wild way?”
Do you really believe God will answer your prayers? Do I believe He will answer mine? Or do we just go through the prayer motions hoping the odds are tipped in our favor, but not really expectant. Do we consciously or subconsciously already have our rationale worked out...you know, the, “it might not be Gods will” “God’s timing is different than mine” “God sees things I can’t see and this may not be it” ... and not that these things aren’t true, but do we use them as excuses for non-belief?
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! Strengthen my faith and help me pray bold and expectant prayers...and then help me to be ready when You answer them!
I get a little paralyzed about starting something if I think (know!) I won’t be good at it. Days, months, years pass without even trying, even though it is something I REALLY want to do...and even something I feel like God is leading me into.
But the truth is, no one is very good at anything without practice. We just have to START, no matter how painful and ugly (and maybe even embarrassing) it is at first. We’ll never get better if we don’t start, right?!
And I would much rather look back and say, “boy, I really stunk at that back then...” than to say, “I can’t believe I never even tried.”
Our inclination is to look for the quick fix to push us over the hump to meet our goals or do something bigger than ourselves. We search YouTube, webinars, experts, podcasts, friend’s advice, pills, more training, self-help books…anything.
But the truth is, if we want to do something big in God’s kingdom, the formula is different. The secret sauce is in Acts 4:13… ”they had been with Jesus.”
The religious leaders are wracking their brains trying tor figure out how these lowly fishermen and other nobodies – uneducated and unqualified – can be so empowered to heal people, give killer sermons and even call the Jewish elite out so boldly. They are unafraid. They are different. In the face of continued persecution, thousands believe the message they are preaching. “What is it?” they ask themselves. The only common denominator they can come up with: THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.
Perhaps we simply overcomplicate things with so many voices pulling us in the world’s direction. What is impossible for man alone is quite possible with the Holy Spirit. But we have to be with Jesus to receive it.
Do you feel unqualified, uneducated, lacking credentials and experience, possessing the wrong personality type, afraid, intimidated, unworthy? Then you just might be trying to do things on your own, and we know all too well how that works out for us.
If we want to be bold and do the impossible in the kingdom of God, we need to be with Jesus. Abiding in Him, filling ourselves with God’s Word, searching the Scriptures, asking for wisdom, being still and listening. It’s that simple (and that hard in our busy culture full of distractions). Spurgeon says, “Live in such a way that men may recognize that you have been with Jesus.”