the one with growing over the summer

Many college students get involved in a student ministry in college and experience great growth in their faith. They get excited about God, learn lots of new things, take steps of faith, experience community and see God work in them and through them.

However, many students see a severe drop off when they leave campus- either at graduation or even just during the summer. What happens?

Was the growth, joy- just a phase, a temporary experience? Or was something else happening? Were there other factors?

This summer you will not continue to grow without intentionality. In fact without intentionality you will likely drift away from God. I hope this summer will be a summer of growth for you.

God is the one who provides the growth, the one who changes us.  Jesus tells us He is the vine and we are branches. The main thing is to be connected to the Vine. A plant is also designed to need other things in it’s environment to grow- such as water, sunlight and good soil. Likewise, a good environment can produce great growth in us.


Many tend to have life-changing experiences at conferences and even more so on mission trips. Working in campus ministry, I believe the most effective thing we do is summer missions. Students come back from these summers with passion for God, desire to help others know Jesus, – stronger faith and stronger love. Many exclaim it to be the best summer of their lives, even life-changing. Unfortunatley for some it remains the best summer of their life, and the life-change is limited. For many though it is the catalyst that does change their lives.

When I came back from my first trip, I wanted to bring it back to my campus. The staff on my campus warned me i could not duplicate it- it is a special experience. While some of that is true- some of the things we do can only be done with the same paramaters, schedule and people- many things we could take with us anywhere.


So why do people tend to grow so much during a summer mission? While there are likely more factors I boil it down to 3 main componenents of the culture created on mission

  1. Faith – in attitude & action
  2. Input from the Word
  3. Community  

 

FAITH

First we start with faith. One of the big reasons we grow at conferences and on trips is we desire to and we expect to. When someone decides to go to a conference or a trip they make a conscious choice to go, they sacrifice other opportunities and they invest both time & money. When they do such things, they are tuning their heart to hear from God. They want to hear from God, they want to grow. And they expect God to work.

Reality is God wants to work in us. Often, however, we are resistant to His work in us or we don’t expect Him to. So we go on not attempting much either.

What if we went into every day asking God to work in us, teach us something,- and expected Him to do it?

As a speaker, I have found if i am speaking at regulary scheduled meeting- no one takes notes. But at a special event- the same content, people take notes. They want to learn – and then they do. Pastors speak at the church every Sunday and some hear what he says but don’t catch anything. Then that same pastor goes to a conference and people take notes and are blown away. Most talks I hear at conferences, most books i read- don’t hold anything new or profound. It is powerful yes, but it is not profound. I could hear these words elsewhere if i gave my attention to it – and so could you.

 

WORD

There indeed is teaching in these places. Perhaps you have some working to build into you. So we certainly do need input. We need God’s Word. God’s Word is available to all of us- but do we take advantage of it. We can hear God’s Word being preached. We can read it. We can study it. We can meditate on it. We can even memorize it. What if we immersed ourselves in God’s Word.

 

COMMUNITY.

Perhaps the biggest factor is the Community. Not only do you expect to grow, but those around you do too. In these environments, we likely discuss what we are learning. We challenge each other. We take of steps of faith together. We begin to share vulnerably with one another and open up. We confess sins to each other – and experience healing. We talk about wounds and deep rooted work begins to happen. We ask each other about things we don’t understand. We learn from others- and we teach others. Our conversation focuses on God and His word and faith. True Comunity, Transformational Community occurs.

Community isn’t just meant to be fun and laughing- though that is part of it- it is to be transformational as we help each other know Christ.

If we are going to walk intimately with God we will need others to encourage us when it gets hard and challenge us when we want to get soft.

God designed us to need one another. We don’t fully experience Him without community- so we need to find like-minded others who will encourage us in our faith, challenge us in love and cause us closer to Christ!

 

FAITH

We started with faith, we’ll close with faith. It starts with attitude, but needs action as well.

We need to apply our faith. As we take steps of faith, we move closer to God.

Roger Hershey said Inspiration without Application leads to stagnation. But Inspiration with Application leads to transformation.

When we take steps of faith, it allows us to see God answer us. It allows us to see God’s power, wisdom, sovereignty, love- see Him in His glory- which builds greater faith. Faith builds faith. When we express faith, we depend on God- and as we depend to God we know God, we cling to Him, we love Him.

We need to take steps that require faith- things that take us out of our comfort zones, that stretch us. This may mean something that requires sacrifice – finacially or emotionally. Maybe it means doing something you are scared of – like sharing the gospel with someone. Maybe doing something uncomfortable like leaving the country or leaving friends. Do something that stretches you- stretching your muscles makes a healthy body. Stretching your faith will make a healthy faith.

 

As you go into your summer

  1. Ask and Expect God to work in you – Pray consistently too
  2. Make a plan for how you will get into God’s Word – and work on it
  3. Find a Good Community that will cause you closer to Christ
  4. Take steps of faith that will stretch you

There are no guarantee of what the results will be. There is no formula. But God is faithful to His people and we can expect big things from a big God who loves us and wants a deeper relationship with us. He has given us all we need for life and godliness- let’s respond to Him and see where He will take us.

Advertisements

My April 2019

April…

Lots of trips, kept busy, good d-ship, God working.
The month flew by.  God did so much there was too much to write about in a prayer letter.

Highlights

  1. Story of Seth coming to Christ, growing
  2. Fun D-ship for both Soo & I, growing students, new student leaders, sending students to the world!
  3. Seeing my mom post chemo
  4. Speaking at home church and our current church, including Easter Sunday sermon
  5. Josiah started baseball
  6. Movies (Harry Potter with kids, End Game)
  7. Field trip with Josiah
  8. Finished the school year
  9. Got sick at the end
  10. Splatoon

The first third of 2019

Usually i write an end of the year review and share about everything from the year.. as we entered May, realized we made it thru a third of the year- which was also the end of the semester for us…

Looking back at the end of the semester there were some dropped balls and missed opportunities, but then i looked at it and said that is just life. Things came up, surprised us. Life has still felt steady, because God is steady. He has taken care of us, provided for us, been with us.

God did a lot of incredible things in lives of students- relationships grew stronger, saw heart-change & life-change. They fell more in love with Jesus and took steps of faith. Had a lot of good conversations on campus talking about Jesus, then others came and sought us and came to Christ- God is working! i really enjoyed evangelism this year and discipleship.

Plus we’re sending to the world! East Asia, South Africa, Croatia, other African nations, after South America for Spring Break… even if we can’t go anywhere this summer, we can send almost everywhere!

One third of the year down

  • Highlights
    • Death, life
      • We’re having a girl!
      • KM John, Sam Kinne, many friends grandparents dying
      • Mom has cancer
    • Student growth
      • Loving Jesus more
      • Taking steps of faith
      • Servant team tripled
    • Students coming to Christ
    • Philippians
    • Students being sent
    • Books
    • Good connection w family
    • Speaking
    • Black History month- cultural awareness talk
    • Harry Potter with kids
  • News
    • Pregnancy is real and affecting us
    • Mom went in for surgery
    • Mom has cancer
    • Lots of people dying (KM John, Sam Kinne, lots of friends grandparents)
    • Black History month- good, but some missed opportunities
    • People kept coming to Christ
    • Disciple relationships getting stronger, disciples getting stronger
    • Students being sent to the world
  • Read 10 books – mostly really good books
  • Saw a bunch of movies, some repeated, not that great
  • Tv shows

1st 3rd of the year reviews

you can keep updated on my goodreads page, but here are my book reviews- i think amost every book i read this year has been better than anything i read last year. A lot of good books on the list. Some have been very enjoyable, some very important.

10. Captain Underpants 7/10

9. Manhood restored by Eric Mason  7.5/10
8. Family Worship by Donald Whitney  8/10
7. cherish by Gary Thomas  8/10
6. Prayer by Tim Keller  8/10
5. you & me forever  by Francis Chan  8/10

4. What Good is God? by Philip Yancy  9/10
Yancy is my favorite writer as far as story-telling. does a great job here and even though it is 10 years old and tells stories even older, very relevant now.

3. Is God anti-gay?  by Sam Allbery  9.5/10
short read, but in depth. very helpful

2. Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby 9.5/10
Such an important book. Tisby does a great job recounting history, telling truth without being attacking and why this is important for us now

1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling  10/10
i want to put another book better, but this was just too good. Now i know why everyone loves them so much.

top tv shows for the first third of the year

  1. Troll hunters
  2. Brooklyn 99
  3. 3 below
  4. The good place (only a few episodes this year)
  5. Kim’s Convenience (only a few episodes)
  6. blackish
  7. talking tom (i watch too much with my kids)

top movies

  1. Avengers: End Game  9.5/10
    Amazing. Didn’t feel like 3 hours. Super enjoyable. Didn’t notice plotholes while watching because there was so much going on – but yeah, really good
  2. Harry Potter & the Sorcerors’ Stone  9.5/10
    watched this after reading the book with the kids. So amazing now that i know the whole story how much she weaved into everythigng from the beginning. So good.
  3. Captian Marvel 8/10
    Really just liked it for the music. Brei Larson- blah? but story was good
  4. Empire Strikes Back  8/10
    Watched on May 4th with kids- much better than Ep 4 but still not that great, slow, and the action isn’t as much as i remembered.
  5. Avengers 7.5/10
    another rewatch, better than i remembered
  6. Wreck it Ralph 2  7/10
    most of the good parts were in the trailer, still entertaining i guess
  7. Spiderman into the spiderverse  7/10
    great graphics, kinda funny, still missing something, maybe my expectations were too high
  8. little prince  7/10
    tugged at the emotions

 

A prayer guide through Passion Week

I’m a little behind on posting, but i think this could still be helpful. After talking with some people, I am realizing also some people need more guidance in how to pray. We want to pray, but don’t know how. Or pray but are led simply by our gut rather than God’s Word.

There are books out there, but i may try to put more of these out there is this is helpful.

Two weeks ago, I was asked to lead our staff prayer meeting. i wasn’t quite sure what i was going to do – i need help too!- i mostly knew i wanted to start with praise and we needed time to pray for each other… and then it hit me- it was Palm Sunday as i was preparing- why not pray through the week. Our time flew by- and we didn’t really get to everything. in 1 1/2 hrs. This was good for group setting, but could be done alone too. Some of it will be specific to our ministry. Use it as it is helpful. It could be good to go through at Easter, but can be done anytime.

  1. Start with Praise. Sing Hosana. Praise Jesus as King, for who He is. 15 minutes in a group
  2. Clean The Temple 7-10min (small groups) Ask God to clean your heart, reveal sin
  3. Lament 5-10 miin (large group) Lament over our country, our city- wickedness, lostness
  4. Pray over the week to finish well, follow Jesus – pray for those you are discipling 15 min (Small groups)
    1. Be servants like JEsus
    2. BE wise stewards of time
    3. Live with eternal perspective
    4. etc
  5. Enter Not into Temptation. Confess sin, ask God for help in areas of temptations (pair up)
  6. Silence
  7. Thank Jesus for His death, reflect on His forgiveness of sin and Salvation
  8. Pray people would hear of the Ressurection (10-15 min in grps)
    1. Pray for boldness
    2. Pray for outreaches
    3. Pray for Churches to be filled and to proclaim the Gospel
  9. After this Jesus sent out His disciples to make disciples of all nations (10-15 min in grps)
    1. Pray for laborers
    2. Pray for summer mission trips
    3. Pray for other countries
  10. They still had needs – pray for one anothers needs

i pray this is helpful

Where is Jesus?

Last week, i had the opportunity to speak on Easter Sunday at Church. As i prepared it, there were a lot of eliteraations – maybe too many.  I thought it was clear but perhaps it was not… There are some things i think i could add… and i may come in here and add some stuff, and i may have missed some things as i spoke.

I much rather write than speak, not because I am a good write but because i feel like a bad speaker. That said, if you would like to listen – you can listen to my sermon here:

https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/383408-the-empty-tomb-(john-20)

 

I rarely write out my talks- but this one i did- so, if you’d rather read it, here it is.

Where is Jesus?

You made it to church on Easter Sunday. And we are so glad you are here.

Some of you may only be here because someone made you come. You don’t really believe in Jesus or at least not to sure about Him and you’re not expecting much.

Many of you follow Jesus, you want to strengthen your faith or prove your faith, becase this is important to you.

Some of you are here, because it is Easter, and well you’re not quite sure why you are here but you’re hurting, alone and maybe this could make you feel better.

 

Everyone of us have come today looking for something – maybe it is the free meal after or the easter egg hunt or to find a friend or to gain some understanding or to feel good about ourselves or to find hope. We are all looking for something.  Some of you have come looking for Jesus. What are you looking for today?

 

I will imagine most of us are at least familiar with Jesus. We have heard about Him, and know this Easter story well. We know all about it. You’re not quite so sure what the easter bunny is or the eggs, but you’re familiar with the story of Easter we’ll read today.

 

But being familiar with Jesus does not mean we have found Jesus, does not mean we have faith in Jesus. Many of us in fact may like being familiar with Jesus. We like the stories. It is inspiring. It is nice. It’s comfortable. There is sense of purpose or belonging… But we’re not ready to fully place faith in Jesus.

 

Life is full of disappointment & despair and we feel saddness. Where is Jesus?

Life is full of difficulty and we feel scared. Jesus where are you?

Our hearts are full of doubt and we feel skeptical. Jesus are you there?

 

So instead of seeking Jesus we seek comfort, safety in community and control apart from Christ Himself.

 

Because I don’t see Jesus anyway.

 

This morning we’ll read about some people who had some simialr feelings and experiences. We’ll be reading from the Gospel of John, the Apostle, the disciple Jesus loved. A book written to people who were feeling despair, experiencing difficulty, facing doubts as he recalls the story of the first Easter Sunday. And we’ll see Jesus was there with them in the midst of sadness, when they were scared and while they were skeptical. Jesus was there.

 

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[a]head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

 

Here’s what happens: Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb to see Jesus. But the tomb is open. The body is gone- so she takes off, she finds Peter and John. They go to the tomb themselves and confirm Jesus is not there.

They are not going about saying “He is Risen!” with people responding HE is risen indeed.

No Mary says “He’s not there!” and they respond “He’s not there?”

They weren’t expecting a resurrection, they didn’t yet understand.

It’s kinda like when i misplace my keys and my wife is like did you look under the cushions? This news Jesus is not there is preposterous.

And even here, it says they believed, but then they just go back home. So what they believed at this point is not clear.

 

Mary on the other hand stays there… by herself… all alone. In other accounts we see she had been with Mary the Mother of Jesus and other women, and she knew where to go to find John and Peter… but now she is alone, all alone. She had probably felt quite alone already. She had just seen her Jesus crucified- one she had been following for some time now, one she had placed hope in, and had felt close to.  She was there with Mary watching.

 

Some of you may have not experienced the death of a loved one. But the feeling of loss, or never seeing someone again, never being able to hold them again – well it can be overwhelming. Perhaps when your favorite tv show is cancelled and you never get to see them again, we get choked up with that. Some of you are dreading saying goodbye to your favorite Marvel hero this next week when the Avengers comes out. But this is more than just someone who we got to know once a week, this is someone we saw all the time. And they’re gone. Death is Final. That’s it. It’s over. Jesus is in the tomb- and we don’t have photos of Him to look back on. We don’t have videos. It’s all in our head and those memories fade, what will we do?

 

We don’t know much about Mary Magdalene from Scripture, though some have theories about her- but we do know from Luke that she was once posessed by 7 demons. She had gone through terror before. But she was following Jesus, but now He is gone. He had helped her, now He is gone.

 

Furthermore, This was not just merely death of a person, but death of a dear loved one but not only that is was a death of hope.  

 

When Notre Dame caught fire this week- many lamented. Some wondered what’s the big deal? But i think the fire of Notre Dame was a big deal to many not because it was a building but of what it represented. There was beauty and hope and stability. And for it to fall awoke within people a great sense of loss and despair.

When Jesus died, they lost not just a friend, but their hope. Their hope to be rescued from oppression, their hope to be restored into a people, their hope for a better life. Their hope for something stable.

So when Mary looked into an empty tomb, I imagined she felt empty inside herself. And i say this because of what is recorded.

 

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

 

Pause one second – did you catch what happened? She saw Angels- and what did she do? She kept talking to them. In just about every other instance when someone sees an angel – they fall to the ground. They at least do a double take. They fear. Mary just keeps on weeping. She is full of despair. She is overwhelmed with sadness. Where is Jesus? Where is Jesus?… And John continues

 

14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b]“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

 

Mary is overtaken by saddness- she is looking for Jesus- just tell me where He is!

And where was Jesus?

Right in front of here, speaking to her, looking at her. With her.

 

Like Mary, In our despair& saddness, we can miss Jesus- even when He is right in front of us.

Have you ever felt despair & saddness like this? Have you felt alone? Have you felt like all hope is gone? Maybe it has been death of a loved one or someone who is deathly sick currently. Or maybe you feel empty because of failed relationships. OR maybe you feel no hope is really out there for Muncie or yourself.  

 

Take note Jesus does not rebuke her for weeping, for beind sad. But He asks her- what are you seeking?

When life is disappointing, when you feel sad- what do you seek? Where do you look? Do you see Jesus?

Jesus is working in all those moments. Jesus used the most disasterous thing to accomplish something good.

Jesus is speaking. He asks us what are we seeking.

 

How did MAry miss Him?

Mary was not seeking a ressurected Jesus.

 

She wanted to be comforted, not necessarily a bad thing, but not what Jesus had in mind.

 


Jesus is right here with us in the midst of our saddness

And He reveals His Power

 

Saw this quote last night

 

Mary didn’t simply need comfort and love. She didn’t need stronger faith. She needed a ressurected Jesus. And So do I, and so do you.

 

Love- the feeling – is not stronger than death.

And our faith has nothing to stand on without the Resurection. Paul say if the Resurection did not happen we are of all men most to be pitied!

 

No, Jesus did come back to life. And John wants to make this clear to his readers. Jesus was not a mere aspiration or a ghost or a good feeling. The disciples did not carry around his memory so he never died. Jesus. really. did. rise. from. the dead!

And in His resurection –  there is Power.

And if JEsus rose from the dead. If HE has power over death! Then He has power over anything in our lives that cause us despair and saddness. This isn’t  just some wishful thinking. This isn’t a vague hope. Thi isn’t a hope that gets us through the day. It is hope grounded in something, hope grounded in evidence of an empty tomb. A hope that has power. Power over death. Death is Final. But not anymore. Death could not stop Jesus here, it will not stop Him later. And So we have hope for this life and the next. Nowadays people don’t talk much about eternity because perhaps it has made me not think about the present. But in our eagerness to see light in this world, may we not forget that Jesus promises a better future. A hope that is sure, where all pain and brokenness will be taken away, So i do not fear death or And so though my sister has died, i know i will see her again. When my mom gets cancer, i have hope in God’s power, that He will be with her now, but we will both with Him for all eterntiy. This world is not the end. My life will not end her and neither will relationships with others for those who know Jesus. HE resurrected hope. He will make things new. He will redeem. HE will restore. HE will rescue. HE can work in us.

 

That power comforts us but is not just to comfort us. This power is displayed so Christ is exalted. Power at work in this world, power at work in me.  It is not my faith, not some love, it is Jesus, the Resurrected King. The One who has Conquered death. He is the one who is exalted this day and every day. He is Risen!

 

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

 

Now, let’s look at his disciples. What are they feeling? They had been following him, learning from Him, seeing Him perform miracles and even doing some themselves. They had placed hope in JEsus but now what?

 

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[c]

 

Where were they when Jesus appeared? They were hiding. Behing locked doors. Their lives were in danger. They were afraid. After all they followed JEsus, and he was killed – perhaps they would be next. What would happen to them. They are being mocked by others. Theatened. They’re scared.

The oringinal readers would realte as they were still mocked and persecuted.

Where is Jesus now?

 

But the disciples they’re not even looking for Him

What are they looking for? Safety.

 

Here is another thing to consider… At this point they know Jesus is not in the tomb. They have heard from Mary He’s alive even. They’re hiding so they are scared. But Jesus is alive and they know His power, but… they’re still hiding

 

Well… i imagine their minds are racing. MAry says Jesus is alive…So… why hadn’t Jesus appeared to them?

 

The last they saw Jesus…

          1. They had been arguing about who was greatest
          2. They had fallen asleep when He asked them to pray
          3. They had run away when He was taken
          4. They denied knowing Him
        1. What feelings might they be feeling? Guilt, shame – they are not just disappointed in Jesus, they are now disappointed in themselves

 

One of the most dominant feelings many people have when someone dies is regret. I wish i would have spent more time with this person, i wish i would said something different. I can’t believe my last words were… How could i have not been there with them… i know i had these feelings when my sister died. I worry about that now that my mom has cancer.

But now Jesus was alive! – so they get another chance… but

 

      1. They were hiding- afraid for their lives.
        1. Where’s Jesus? Can He take care of me?
        2. Where’s Jesus? Maybe now Jesus wouldn’t be there for them

 

Will Jesus look at us – and see our failures, see our weakness and see our sin- and go somewhere else? Will HE contonue to bother with me. I snapped at my kids. I didn’t care for my spouse. I didn’t stand up for my faith.

 

Have you ever felt that way? Do you feel scared Jesus will now abandon you?

When difficulties mount up it is easy to think Jesus has abaondoned me bc i messed up too much.

Or do yoy feel scared that the difficulties against you are too many to handle?

 

… Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

 

When we’re Scared. Jesus gives Peace, His peace.

He gives us PEace with God and PEace of God.

We have Peace with God because through His death and Resurection HE has paid the penalty for our sin. HE has overcome death. I don’t need to be afraid of God. I am forgiven. I do not fear death for I know i will see Him face to face. Trouble yes. Pain perhaps. Difficulty sure. But what can man do to me? What can the world throw at me? Jesus has conquereed death. I have peace with God  for eternity.

And i have peace of God because HE will be with me in my difficulties.

 

He doesn’t take them out trouble. He doesn’t take away the difficulty. He doesn’t stop the problems. HE gives peace.

 

A few chapters earlier John records these words of Jesus: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

 

When life is disappointing, we hide. We look at ourselves- our circumstances, our failures- we live in dread. We wonder where is Jesus?

We can seek safety hide with a group of people, rath/;h f t66tfgtger than trust in Jesus

We can seek safety hide with a politcal party

We can seek safety hide wth a bottle of alcohol

 

We may feel like Jesus won’t show up for me – But He will. His love and grace abound.

 

In our disappointment Jesus brings peace when disappointments stack up

In this world we will have trouble, but take heart Jesus has overcome the world

 

We need Peace – but What are you seeking? Safety? Absence of trouble? OR are you seeking Jesus and the Peace He provides

 

Lastly we come to Thomas- he is often referred to as doubting Thomas. But let’s be honest, all of them had doubts. Perhaps though he was a bit more cynical. Thomas had missed everything. HE had been disappointed before. HE would not let it happen again. It was easier to be skeptical than to be hopeful. Why get hurt again? Why feel stupid again? He’s not evil, he just wants a bit of control. And it is easier to trust what He knows than to have faith.

 

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,[d] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

To Thomas and those filled with doubt and feel skeptical- Jesus offers proof. And that proof is in His presence.

There are many reasons we could give for why we believe Jesus resurection is true, that Jesus is God and that He Saves.

The changed lived and testimony we read here are perhaps the best.

 

When Thomas believes – he exclaims my Lord and my God. He is no longer seeking control over his life. He is no longer trusting in his own knowledge and experience. He has experienced the presence of Christ and submits to Him as Lord. And His life is changed. Jesus is now Lord.

 

You may have doubts too.

        1. Maybe there has been too much difficulty or too many disappointments
        2. Maybe you haven’t had the experiences others had
        3. Maybe you have questions

Jesus comes alongside us in our doubts.

He doesn’t fear Thomas’ questions or seem annoyed by them

He comes next to Him

 

Like Thomas we may hvae doubts, we may be skeptical about trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior- but HE will come alongside us – His presence is wonderful, and He is worth trusting.

 

Most of us only have faith when we have all the answers. When i know everything, when there is no more unknonw, no more uncertainty- then i’ll believe.
Jesus comes along side our doubts.

Sure Thomas got to see Jesus, Yet he also says blessed are those who believe yet have not seen.
When we trust Jesus even when we don’t have all the answers, even when we don’t have it all figured out – we will be blessed with even greater experience of Jesus.

 

What are you seeking?

These are also the first recorded words of JEsus in John’s Gospel- what are you looking for?

 

  • Do you just want comfort from your pain, despair, saddness
    • Do you place all faith in a significant other to take those problems away?
  • Are you seeking safety, deliverence from problems & disappointments?
    • Do you place your faith in money, plans, politcal parties
  • Are you seeking to avoid all unknown & confusion – to be free of doubt?
    • Do you place faith in yourself?

 

Jesus is seeking you. He wants you to find Him. He appeared to Mary, to the disciples, to Thomas. He is calling out to you. HE wants you to experience His presence, reveal His power and give His peace.

 

Will you repsond in faith today

  • Maybe you need to give your life to Jesus and say Jesus i need your peace, i want peace with you and i want a relationship with you. I don’t just want to know about you, i want to know you. I thank you for dying on the cross for my sins, thank you for overcoming death. Come into my life I invite you to be my Savior and Lord today

 

Some of you may need to surrender and submit to JEsus as Lord  and confess sin and ask for faith. Lord i do believe, help me in my unbelief. You are my Lord and God- may i seek you and hope in you.

 

The primary call of John in writing is the Call to Faith

    • Seek Jesus
    • Trust Jesus
    • To find life in JEsus

 

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

However for Further Application in Response to the Resurection – let me show this.

After He appeared to Mary Jesus told her to go tell his brother. HE tells the disciples to preach forgiveness. He foreshadows to Thomas there will be others who will believe – and how? by them being witnesses.

As they had experienced Jesus, they could be His witness to others – and so can we. We have experienced something wonderful and powerful. We have peace with God and others need Him too.

 

Furthermore- for all these people present, none of them really believed until they saw the risen body of Christ. Well, John Perkins has pointed out-  We are the body of Christ. When we reach out to others, when we love and serve others and care for others and go into their communities- they see the body of Christ. And the words we share will be even more convincing. We are His body, We are His witness. We have seen Christ. We can be active in telling others.

 

Jesus really did Rise from the Dead.  

His resurrection

Reveals His Power

Gives  His Peace

Provides Proof

HE is Present with us

We can trust Him.

We can move beyond being familiar to faith.

 

HE is RISEN!

(HE is Risen indeed)

Amen