Hope More. Fearless
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Hope More. Fearless

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Easter 2021. If there was ever a year to be afraid – we just experienced it. What if we could fear less and hope more? There is nothing to be more afraid of than death. But what if even death wasn’t the end? Jesus resurrected from the dead to bring new life and new hope. It’s ready to meet you in the most fearful and hopefulness of situations. It’s waiting for you.

Well, there is hope for your there's hope for whatever you are facing in your life. There's hope that it will be okay. There's hope that you can make it through, there's hope that you can overcome. There is hope, and it's because of this amazing hope that we celebrate today. And it's it's not just the emotional, make you cry, you can do it type hope, although those videos are pretty good at doing that. It's a hope that is grounded and found in a person, the person of Jesus Christ, and it's a hope that is grounded and found in an historical event like literally twozero years ago in near a town, a city, of big city, near near Jerusalem, something happened and event happened and because of that we can have hope that, although Jesus was crucified, he is alive today. And don't you think? Don't you think that if someone can face death and just meet it head on right death, the ultimate end, the ultimant hope destroyer, I mean the death, it's done. It's over face death and beat it, defeat it, overcome it, have victory through it, then if we can face anything in this world and in our life. If Jesus can do that, we can hope more and we can fear less. You know, this video that we showed is a was A. it's a powerful video because those three people, they represent you, they represent me, and if I was to guess what happened in your life this last year, you've probably experienced maybe all of those circumstances that the video so nicely portrayed. I know that because of the resurrection, because of Jesus being alive, that there is hope for my uncertainty. Like I remember the day a year and a half ago or so and I packed up my stuff from life church where I was working and packed up my stuff and walked out for the last time to start connect US church. Talk about uncertain right. You're walking into starting something brand new, a brand new church. How's it all going to work out? There is hope for your uncertainty. You know that feeling. Starting a new job, moving into a new place, a new area. There's a lot of uncertainty that we can feel. But I know, because of Jesus is Resurrection, that there is hope for my uncertainty and I know that because of Jesus is resurrection. There is hope for my loneliness. Now, I remember about this time last year my wife and I were standing at the grave side of someone that we loved and an older lady from our previous church in Annville that they were lowering her body into into the ground, and we miss her and it's sad and it's and we still find things throughout our house that she had given us. I mean she loved our little girls a whole lot and she would just keep giving us these little things and it's like, Oh look, we found something else that Marie gave us, and we just know that there's hope for our loneliness. And and you, whether you've lost someone you've loved this last year or recently, or or you've lost someone relationally in some way like, you know that feeling and there is hope because of Jesus resurrection for your loneliness and there is hope. I know that there is hope because...

...at Jesus resurrection, for our circumstances, for my circumstances. Again, then wasn't too long ago, about a handful of months ago, where at Lasia and I, my wife and I, were standing or sitting next to a bed in the icee you, where my two and a half year old daughter was laying and breathing via a ventilator and she was recovering from open heart surgery. And as we were sitting there with her and praying there with her, we just knew there's hope for our circumstance. And you know, you've been through some tough stuff, some difficult things, some difficult trials. You know, I know that there is hope for our circumstance because of Jesus's resurrection. There is hope. You can hope more and you can fear less. You know, if there was ever a year to be afraid, it was this last year, don't you agree? I mean there was ever a year right, never before in the history of the world, maybe at least in recent memory, has fear been at the forefront of everything. You turn on the TV, it's fear. You look at the palm of your hand when you're holding that device, there's fear. Everything is fear, and I just remember one time I was watching something and somebody came on the screen and was like trying to give a little bit of a pep talk, a little bit of a hopeful message. You know, we can get through this, will push through. It's really not that bad. We can do it, we can do it. And then the camera cut to somebody else and that person was like absolutely not, like if there is ever a time to be afraid, it is right now. You need to be afraid, and it was like what a contrasting perspective, like it's the same thing. We're all looking at the same events and we can look at it in so different ways. Fear is at the forefront of all of our minds. But as we're thinking about fear, obviously it's a scary thing and we're all afraid of something, if we're honest. What catches me off, I like a lot, is you see the long list of things that people are afraid of. You know all the different phobias that are out there. Now, maybe you have some of these or maybe will be diagnosing your phobia this morning. But but we're going to play a little game right now, a little trivia game that I'm calling Zakka digiti phobia, because you know, all the phobias look like that anyway. And if you're wondering, that's not a real one. I just made that up. Type some random words into the keyboard. What is that fear? So here we go. Your participation is required. The first one arch booty row phobia. A racky booty rophobia. Is it Ay, the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to your mouth? Is it be the fear of the color yellow? Or See, the fear of balloons? We gotta be. We got some C's. We got an A. Can I get an a? All right, the correct answer is, drum roll. It is a, the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth. Again, if you have any of these fears, I am not making fun of you, I am just it's a it's a funny interesting words. That's all all right. Number two, Anati dye phobia. And at the DPHOBIA. Is it a fear of belly buttons? Be Fear of being watched by a duck? Or See, fear of dining with others? A be...

...or see? Be? The correct answer is be, the fear of being watched by a duck. Apparently, apparently, it's not a specific doc's just a general feeling of a duck. Again, just just sharing last one. Last one, Lennon, no line, no, no phobia. Is it a, the fear of strength, be, the fear of bathing, or see, the fear of dancing. A be or see, see, we got all all right, here we go. The correct answer is a, the fear of string. Did anyone get all three of them correct? Oh yeah, we got two winners. Congratulations, you win nothing, okay. There are so many things in this world to be afraid of, aren't there? Whether it's these things or some serious things that we talked about already, there's a lot of things to be afraid of. And the day, like the historical day, the first Easter, when Jesus rose again from the dead, that was a scary day for everyone. It was a scary day for the disciples, the people that followed Jesus most closely. And we read about this story of what happened in Jerusalem two thousand years ago in the Book of Matthew and your Bibles, and I encourage you, if you have your Bible, to turn with me to Matthew, Chapter Twenty Eight, where we're going to read this story of what happened tw thousand or so years ago. And if you don't have your Bible, that's quite okay. The words will be on the screen behind me and if you would like to take a Free Bible home with you today, I invite you to do that. Just stop at the new here area on your way out and we'll make sure you leave with a Free Bible. We'd love to get that to you. And So, Matthew, Chapter Twenty Eight, here's the story of that first Easter. On that Sunday morning, that one twozero years ago that we're celebrating today, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb and suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, rolled aside the stone and sat on it, and his face shone like lightning in his clothing was as white as snow, and the guards shook with fear when they saw him and they fell into a dead, faint look. Every time that someone is afraid, some place, some person is afraid in this story. So the angel spoke to the woman. Don't be afraid, he said, I know you're looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here. He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. See just as God says will happen, it will happen. To come and see where his body is lying, and now go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, remember what I told you. And so the women ran quickly from the tomb and they were very frightened, but also filled with great joy. I love that little phrase. They were frightened and also filled with great joy, and they rush to give the disciples the angel's message. And as they went,...

Jesus met them and greeted them and they ran to him and grasped his feet and worshiped him. And then Jesus said to them, don't be afraid, it's becoming a theme right. Go Tell my brothers to leave for Galilee and they will see me there. See, that's the Easter story, the story of the resurrection of Jesus that change the entire world, that changed everything. And do you know what the most often commanded command from God in the Bible is like? The most times God says do this. You know what it is. It's not lie, do not lie, or it's not do not steal or it's not do not murder. I mean, you think that would be important one? It's not even a positive command like love or love your neighbor or love your enemy. The most commanded command that God gives us is do not be a right now. Why do you think that is true? I think because fear is our first reaction when something happens, when an event happens, when a new thing happens, when uncertain thing happens, when something we're not expecting happens, the first reaction we have is fear. And then we have a choice, and so usually we choose to stoke that fear, don't we? We find out all the reasons why we can be afraid and should be afraid. Maybe we'll our mind goes to the worst possible place and say this is happening now, but yeah, if it just continues, then like ten years from now it'll be this and it'll be so bad, and we jump to all these crazy conclusions in our mind and we just stoked the fire of fear in our life. Or maybe we get on Google and we type it out and we've try and diagnose our self and we try and figure it all out and we realized that what we're doing is this causing more fear to come into our life, and we're choosing to be fearful. But we can also choose to not be afraid. And see the disciples. They had every reason to be afraid at this time and twozero years ago. I mean think about it. Their leader, their Messiah, the one that they follow, the one that they worship, the one that they thought was going to say of the world, to change the world, to defeat the Romans, to bring the kingdom to the Jews. He died there leader, there, man, there guy, he's dead. He was executed by the government. Now, if that happened to the leader, they're probably thinking, it's only a matter of time before that happens to me, to us, and they were probably also afraid that maybe this Jesus guy who they were following, maybe he wasn't all who he said he was. I mean he said he was going to do this and do that. He said he was going to rise from the dead, whatever that means. I mean nobody does that. So but he's dead. So we must have been wrong. We must have been following the wrong God, we must have been putting our hope in the wrong person like it's over, it's it's done with. And you know what was happening, what the disciples were doing in this moment of great fear? Well, the Apostle John, the disciple John, records for us what they were doing in John, Chapter Twenty Versus Nineteen through twenty three. And here's what he writes. Here's what they were doing that Sunday evening about twozero years ago. Here's what was happening. The disciples were meeting behind locked doors because, why, they were afraid of the people, specifically the Jewish leaders outside.

Like the doors were locked from the inside. They were locking them selves in and suddenly Jesus was standing there among them. Peace be with you, Jesus said, and as he spoke he showed them the wounds in his hands and in his side, and they were filled with joy when they saw the lord seeing a time of great fear, guess who shows up? Jesus. I believe that he is showing up, has showing up, will continue to show up for you in your moments of greatest fear, your greatest trials, your greatest troubles, Jesus will be right there with you, right where you are, no matter how locked up you feel, no matter how scary it is, Jesus will be with you and he will be peace for you. Amen. Jesus doesn't just bring peace, like he just doesn't show up in your situation to be your biggest cheerleader. So you can do it, you know, help, hope more. You can make it through it, you can push through, you can do it. I'm here with you. You can. You can figure it out. He's not a emotional speaker, he's not an inspirational guy, he is not giving you a bunch of feel good things. What does Jesus do? That brings hope, that brings peace and whatever you're figuring out, whatever you're going through, what we see? That in verse twenty. It says as he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and in his sigh. See, Jesus was giving them every reason to believe. Like our belief. Their belief was not in belief. Our faith is not in faith, it's in the the person and the reality, the historical event of the resurrection. Jesus is who he said he was. He did what he said he was going to do. Like Jesus is saying, look, it's me like for real. It's me. I'm risen, and I could just see the smile on the disciple's face as he's beginning to learn this, as the disciples are beginning to understand the beginning to hear it and like experience that. I could just see it all kind of clicking in their mind. And it's this truth of who God is and what literally happened that we have the ability to hope more and to fear less. You know, it's a it's a scary thing, right. There's a lot of fear when we are facing situations when we don't don't have everything that we need, when we need that next meal to come and we don't know where it's coming from, or we need that next paycheck and we haven't had a job in months years. There's a scary thing that happens when we're in need. But Jesus says into that situation, I am your provider, I will provide for you everything that you need and we can face that situation without fear because of what God has promised. God has promised to provide and he will. And you know, it's a very scary thing to feel alone, like when you lose a loved one when you move to a new place, when you start a new job. Many of you ever walked down the hallway of maybe where you live or the new place you're working and you just walk past a million people and nobody even looks at you? You like, does anyone even...

...care I'm here? Am I here by myself? Right? That is a scary place to be. But Jesus shows up in your loneliest moments when you are by yourself, maybe locked inside of your own room because you don't want to go out there and you don't think anyone cares. Jesus shows up in that place. He walks through walls, he goes through the doors and he sits with you in those moments like you are never alone. And if you are a believer in Jesus, after he ascended into heaven and you put your faith and trust in him, he sent his Holy Spirit to permanently live inside of you, like God himself in the Holy Spirit lives inside of you and you are truly, absolutely never alone. His presence is power and it is it is peace. You know, it's a scary thing to face death again, a death of a loved one or considering even our own death. Your own death, like what what happens after that? I mean that's where a lot of the fears arrived. Is Life over? Is it done? You know, Jesus shows us that that it's not true. Jesus came back from the dead. There is life after death, and Jesus taught he told us that anyone who believes in him will never die. It's like, okay, so the physical body can be buried, but in that moment, like that, the body is dead, but that moment we are more alive than ever in the presence of Heaven, in the presence of God, and the resurrection of Jesus proves this. It makes this point. Sure, it makes life after death something to hope for, something to look forward to, like you don't have to face it with fear. Remember, one of the greatest fears, I think, that the disciples had is they thought if their leader, Jesus, was crucified, then we too will most likely be crucified or killed. And guess what? Their greatest fears happened. All of them faced death for their faith, because of their faith in one way or another. But what change for them? It was their perspective about it all. Like they could face this situation now without being afraid of it. They they didn't run from it, they actually embraced it. See, Jesus's resurrection is proof that everything that he said about himself, about what he was going to do, is true, and it's the central point of Christianity. It's why we're here doing this right now. And guess what, if the resurrection wasn't true, if it didn't happen, then we are just wasting our time. We might as well just pack up and go home right now, because why bother? None of this matters, none of this is true. Might as well just go home. It's that important. And Paul, the Apostle, Paul, and his letter called First Corinthians, and chapter fifteen, verse Seventeen to be specific, tells US exactly that. Like if it happened, it's game on, like everything's different. But if it didn't happen, then this is all just a waste of time, and I think that's why this point of the resurrection has been challenged by so many people, so many skeptics, and why so many people doubt that the resurrection could be a thing, because it's that...

...important. And you know what, I get it. Like resurrection when's the last time you saw somebody do it right? You probably didn't. You didn't, and so that's why there's a lot of doubt, a lot of skepticism. However, I think there's a lot of reason to believe. And let me just say if you're one of those people that are skeptical about it all, that you're joining us today and tuning in and watching and your you've got some doubts, you've got some questions, like I want you to know that you are so welcome here like this is the best place for you to be to explore, to ask those questions, and I'm just so thankful that you are here and watching today, because I think if we look into it, there's a lot of evidence, and it's one of the reasons why I believe one of the evidence of this is this letter that I referenced earlier that the Apostle Paul wrote, called First Corinthians. It's in your Bible, it's in our bibles today, and what's really interesting about this letter is it was written during the first century by a guy named the Apostle Paul. Now, virtually no scholar questions if Paul actually wrote this letter, which is amazing. It's really miraculous. And what's incredible is that Paul, in this letter, written just, you know, decades after Jesus's Resurrection, it quotes something that Paul learned. Like Paul had something passed on to him in just the handful of years between the resurrection and when Paul Wrote First Corinthians, Chapter Fifty, first Corinthians, and what was passed on to him was sort of like a hymn. It was like a song, like a memorizing thing, you know, the oral tradition kind of thing that they were passing down. And he writes that for us in First Corinthians, Chapter Fifteen, verses three and four, and he says this. He's like for what I received, I passed on to you as a first importance, like this is the thing, this is the Gospel, this is the good news, this is it. Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, and he was buried and he raised again on the third day, according to the scriptures. You kind of hear there's a little I mean you don't get it in the English of course, but there's a little bit of a rhythm to it. There's a little bit of a like this is a thing that has been around since thirty a D, thirty to thirty six a D, like right around the time of Jesus resurrection. They can date this kind of back to because of GEE, of Paul being able to pass this on, like he got it and he passed it on. It's already been around. It's really, really recredible. Another very good reason for the resurrection is that what happened to the disciples? We've talked a little bit about that already. The same ones that were locking themselves in a room because they were scared were the same exact people that were out on the streets in the temple preaching the Gospel, telling people about Jesus resurrection. Just a few days and weeks and months later and these guys were arrested, they were put in jail and then they got out of jail and the very next day they go back to exactly where they were. And we're doing the exact same thing, teaching people about Jesus and the resurrection. And one of these guys, one of these disciples, his name was James and James was the brother of Jesus. And what's interesting about James is he didn't believe that Jesus was who he said he was. He didn't believe that he was God. He didn't believe that he was the Messiah, that chosen one that was going to save Israel. He didn't believe that. And just think, what would it take for you to believe that your brother, like yes, your brother, was God? What would it take? Why would it take to believe that your brother was the son of God? I don't you think that if your brother could predict his own death and resurrection and pull it...

...off, that you would maybe believe him? I think so, and you know I think so because that's exactly what happened to James. He didn't believe in his brother, but after the resurrection, when he saw his brother, everything change. James became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and he even wrote a letter that we have in our bibles today called the book of James. But before the resurrection he wasn't a believer. And you know, these are just three examples, three reasons why we can have faith and believe that the resurrection actually happened, and I encourage you to look into it, to Google it, to study it, to find all the evidence that you can into it and I think you'll be surprised of what you find. But for those of us that do believe like we believe, two thousand years ago Jesus did come back from the dead, he did resurrect, one of the things that I think is is the hardest for us, or most fearful for us, is to actually tell people about it, to live out the truth of what happened, to share our faith with people that we meet, our friends or neighbors, are co workers. And why do you think that is? I mean, it could be for many different reasons. We might wonder how our friends would respond. We we don't know. You know they're probably going to reject it, so I'm not going to share anyway. Talking about our faith in our culture is kind of like you don't do that right. You just keep that to yourself and you do your thing over there and you just don't you don't talk about it, and so it is a little bit of a scary thing. But when Jesus showed up to those disciples in that locked room, in the middle of their greatest fear, he gave them peace. He was peace, but he also sent them out of that room. He's like, you can't stay here, and he sent them with peace. Let me sew you and John, Chapter Twenty, verse Twenty One. He said again to him, peace be with you. As the father has sent me, so I am sending you. See, God sent Jesus there for a particular purpose, and now Jesus is sending them with peace to go in peace. And then he's breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit. If you have forgiven anyone sins, they are forgiven, and if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. See, Jesus had a very specific mission and now he was giving them to go and do the same. And what's that line about? Forgive everyone sins and there forgiving and if you don't forgive them, then they're not forgiven. Like, what on Earth does that mean? I think it's the idea found in Roman chapter ten, when Paul is telling us, like how are they supposed to believe? How are supposed people supposed to believe if they never have anyone ever go to them and tell them the good news so that they can believe? Like how can this is what Jesus is saying. How can anyone be forgiven experience forgiveness if they never hear about how they can be forgiven by somebody who has been sent to go and tell them about it. And the opposite is true, right, if nobody ever goes, if nobody ever tells, and nobody will be forgiven and nobody will experience forgiveness. And so we are sent out by God to go in Peace Gut. Jesus showed up in the middle of their fear. He brought peace, he brought hope, and this hope, this peace, is grounded in reality, in the person and the work of Jesus, and then he sends them out in peace and with peace and with the presence of the spirit to go with them everywhere that they go. I think it's really interesting that Jesus said he breathed on them and they receive the Holy Spirit. The same word for breathed in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Genesis to seven, when God created Adam, the first man, and he breathed into him the breath of life, is the same word that is used here.

He breathed life into them, he breathed the spirit into them, breathe hope into them, and I think some of you need a little life breathed into you, a little life spoken into you. Maybe you find yourself in a very difficult situation and you have a feeling that you just can't shake, a situation that is holding you down and making you afraid. We'll take this as a little breath of life. You can hope more and you can fear less. You know, I saw something about two weeks ago. I was driving around here, heading south and I was in line at a traffic light. I was like the thirty car in line, you know, one of those traffic lights, and we were inching along slowly, very slowly, and I'm looking at the car in front of me and I'll give you my perspective of him. Right you're looking. I'm looking at the car in front of me and all the sudden I just hear like a little bit of a stop, sudden stop, of the car and his hands go like this and I just see the emotion of like disappointment and frustration and sadness just in the hands going on his head and I exactly what happened. You rear end of the person in front of them. And in that moment, like all the fear inside of me well's up because, oh my goodness, I've got a million things to do and I've got to like report this accident. I'm going to waste the rest of my day sitting here, like what are all these cars that are doing behind me going to do? Then the thought hits me, like are these people okay? Are Their cars okay? Like is this lady in the Front? Is She fine? Is he find you know, all of these thoughts, all of these fears, start to well up inside of me. And and I've seen people get out of their cars in the middle of the road and usually when that happens, it doesn't go well, you know, like there's usually some verbal stuff that's thrown, maybe some physical things that are thrown or maybe worse. You know, your mind goes to the worst possible places. But thankfully they got out of their car peacefully. They looked around and I guess they saw that there wasn't a whole lot of damage, or maybe none, and they got back in their cars and they they drove off. But in that moment, like again that fear and even for them, for the guy that hit the lady and for the lady that's coming out to meet the like how much stress, how much tension, how much fear is in that moment and I just wondered what makes someone respond the way that they do in a situation like that. Like how does someone choose to get angry and violent and frustrated and explode on somebody, or how does someone choose to just kind of let it go or deal with it more in a better way? Like what makes the difference? And you think about it, can the government make a difference, like can they pass a law that makes you respond in a certain way when you face a situation like that? I don't think so. Can can can you take a class in college and where you learn how to respond in the most stressful of life situations? Is anyone take in that class? How about a business? Could have business make a product or develop a service that would help someone respond and love and in peace in the most stressful and tension filled situations? I don't think so. What makes the difference in someone's heart, in someone's life? I think it comes down...

...to a fired up Jesus follower who most off likely attends of fired up church, that intersects their life with somebody and they develop a some level of relationship ship where they can learn together to respond in a way that honors God and loves people, no matter what throws life throws at them. Well, no matter what comes their way, like it's got to come from us, from you, from me, like God has entrusted this life changing, heart changing, heart transforming message to the church, to you and to me, and that's why, every single moment of our life, what we're doing here, as we leave this place, every interaction with a person, it matters, because you are influencing them, you are leading them somewhere to do something, to respond in a way that literally nothing else in this entire world can change. But you can, because you know the one, the God, who ultimately can and does change people's hearts, change people's lives, and God has entrusted that message to us. So what we do matters. And, you know, instead of responding in fear in those situations, let's respond in hope. With hope, let's tell ourselves the story over and over again and believe that no matter what we face in this life, God is with us and we can hope. More so I want to wit the worship team to come up now as we close our service today, we're going to close in a time of singing because we want to praise God for this awesome, Awesome Day, this awesome celebration of what he's done for us and who he is. And as they get situated here, we're just going to sing that song that we sang a little bit earlier. Oh praise the name, because God, we want to praise you. And would you stand with me now, in this moment and with our worship team as we sing, because let's not wait until we get and we go. We're getting our sound together here, all right, we want to hear it, we want to hear Nice and loud. We want to praise God, and may we not wait until the circumstance that we are facing in our life gets better before we praise God. Right, let's not wait until we come out the other side and we look back and be like, Oh, yeah, got did God did to get us through? Like let's not wait until then. Let's praise God right in the middle of it, because that is where Jesus is, that's where he meets us and ultimately that's where the great power is. And so let's praise Jesus right now.

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