I'm Not Ok - #1 Preview Service
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

I'm Not Ok - #1 Preview Service

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sometimes we just need to acknowledge it – “I’m not ok.” Why is 2020 so hard? I just want to do well and live a good life. But I’m not doing ok. Not everything is good, but God does use all things *for* good. It may just be possible to find a little meaning in the middle of all the mess.

I want to start off by showing you a picture. Let's see if you can see that. There is a picture of a car that's a little dark. Well, it's pretty too dark, but there's a car over here and it is at the bottom of a hill, it looks like. And then at the top of this hill it feels like there's a hill that's rolling down there. I'll just pretend you can't see it. And so this is what is called a gravity hill. Has Anybody ever been to a gravity hill before? A gravity hill is where you are at the bottom of this hill and you put your car in neutral and it looks like from the outside that you roll backwards up this hill. It doesn't seem to make sense from the outside. It doesn't really look like it's possible, but it happens. And I've never actually been to one of these. This one is in Bedford. There's one in Bedford, Pennsylvania. When I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and Alicia, my wife, was in Pittsburgh with her family. I would travel from Delaware down the Turnpike to Pittsburgh and I'd see off the Turnpike at exit for Bedford, Gravity Hill, gravity hill, and like that's interesting and I've actually talked about it and used it as illustrations many times, and maybe if I keep doing I'll eventually get there. It's like twenty minutes off the turnpikes, like who wants to take that detour? But this place is special because you put your car in neutral and you roll up a hill. You don't ever roll up a hill. Nothing rolls up a hill. You put a ball, it rolls down the hill. Everything always goes down. It's called gravity, except here, and there's other places around also that do this. And so what is the explanation? The explanation is it's a optical illusion. That's the explanation. I mean somebody got their GPS out and said the altitude down there is six hundred and nine feet and the altitude up here is six hundred and six feet. So obviously it's rolling down the hill, even though it doesn't look like it. It's just our eyes are playing tricks on us. But you know what, that's not good enough for some people. And so there are countless pages on the Internet with stories explaining why this happens, and one of the stories that still always stood out to me, and they're all kind of similar, but this one in particular was there was a school bus. This is the story to explain why this happens. There was a school bus that was coming and it was coming up over the hill and it went down the hill and the brakes went out and it went into the intersection and something, a car, hit the school bus and unfortunately, very sadly, many of the children on the school bus passed away. And so now, because of that terrible tragedy, the ghosts of the children on that school bus push the cars up the hill and get them out of the intersection. That's the meaning. That's the explanation behind why it looks like your car rolls backwards up the hill. That's just what it is. So why is it that we're always trying to find meaning in life? Why do we make up stories that explain something? And sure there might be a good explanation to it, but we're always trying to wonder, is there something more? And so let's bring it to your life. Let's bring it to twenty. Twenty. This was supposed to be a year of vision, of hope, of new...

...opportunities. Two Thousand and twenty vision. They had this, this is going to be great. And then two weeks ago it was Friday the thirteen, two thousand and twenty, and I think pretty much everybody literally thought the sky was going to fall on them, because this year has been a crazy, crazy year. Many of you, or others that you know, you lost your job this year, and that's not easy, and others of you wish you lost your job this year so that you can make an extra six hundred dollars a week, because why not? Right? But we just move on from these events like nothing ever happened. Right, you know, something major happens and we just move on with our life and we don't ever ask the question why. No, we ask why all of the time. Why does this happen? And then maybe the more important question is, why does this happen to me? Like that's a personal question, and the personal question is the hard one, because you're thinking, do I deserve this? Did I do something to deserve this happening in my life? And these questions run through our mind because we're trying to find meaning for what is going on. We're trying to find meaning to it all, and it doesn't help that our culture and our world tells us that life is supposed to be great. You're supposed to be happy, everything's supposed to go well. There's you're supposed to be successful, make a lot of money. That's what we hear everywhere we go and that's why when you watch a drug or pharmaceutical commercial on TV, you see a picture like this, usually two older people smiling, enjoying themselves, playing Bocci, going around doing all the fun things, and the person that's narrating the whole thing is talking about some drug and some thing that you can take in order. If you're feeling tired, you could take this and then it'll make you feel better and life will be better. And it has nothing to do with the picture actually on the screen. There is nothing actually that relates. And then at the end of these advertisements, you know some of the talks really fast and tells you if you take this, you might have experienced the side effects of heartburn and indigestion and diarrhea and the like. You will experience these side effects, but you don't ever see those pictures. Why don't they show those pictures on the screen? And why why don't they show the older adult that is tired and worn out, that needs to take the medicine and not the one that's smiling, moving around, playing Bocchi or lawn bowling. Because they're selling you a dream, they're selling You a vision for the future. I hope they're selling you a picture of what the world could really be, and that's the meaning that we try and fine. So what happens when life doesn't look like this? What happens when two thousand and twenty? Happens when happy, successful, great experiences, pleasure doesn't exactly characterize your life? What do you do and where do you turn? Some of you, some of us, we turned to trying harder. We're going to make...

...it right, we're going to figure it out, we're gonna work longer hours, we're going to take control of the situation however we can. We're going to make that phone call and try and manipulate that person to help us. We try harder, and then there's others of us that give up. We say there's nothing that we can do, there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm just not going to even try. And before we even though it, we found ourselves in a pit of despair or depression. That that's further down the lane, down the hold than we ever thought we'd be. And so when life doesn't seem to be going our way, some of US try harder, some of US give up and we wonder, you know, what in the world can we do about it? And so I've taken this time to build up to this particular point because I do want you to sit and kind of experience this reality, because it's real and I believe that healing really only ever comes when we acknowledge that there is pain. Jesus said something similar. He said that he didn't come for the healthy, he came for the sick, because the sick, no, they need a doctor. And so when it's true and when we are experiencing things that aren't right, that aren't okay, then I encourage you to just acknowledge it and say, you know what, I'm not okay. So I don't know if you're feel comfortable with that. I don't know if that's something that you do or not, but wherever you fall in that line, I want to give you the opportunity right now to just say it and practice saying those words. So I'm going to say it and you're going to say it with me. All Right, interaction time ready. One two, three, I'm not okay. There we go. Let's try one more time. I'm not okay. I'm not okay. One more time, I'm not okay, and that's okay. And God, we just come to you in moments like this where things may not be okay in our life, in our world, and Lord, we trust that you are here with us. We need you. Amen. So, Hey, that's the sermon today. Thanks for coming. We'll see you next week. Just Kidd it. Don't go anywhere. Don't go anywhere. I realize that this is heavy stuff and it is real stuff. It's and I hope it's as we dig into and what we're going to talk about next, that it will be really helpful stuff. But I don't want to take this moment of transition lightly because we feel I'm not okay. We feel not okay many times, maybe more times than we want to, in our life, and it's in those moments that I really challenge you to consider. What do you do next, like, where do you go? What do you do? Who Do you listen to? And we're going to turn to the word of God now. We're going to open our Bible, we're going to see what God has to say about this, because my heart breaks for those of us that try so hard to fix it all and we never seem to make it work, and my heartbreaks for those of us that are in difficult situations that just give up and say there is no hope. See, I think there's a different meaning to live your life for. I think there's a different way...

...of thinking and a different way of looking at the world, because we can find that when we turn to God, when we turn to God's word and we listen to his voice, because you get to choose what voices in your head you listen to, what thoughts you hold on to, and you get to hold on to certain ones and you get to tell voices, tell thoughts in your head to get out of here, because I don't want to listen to that, I don't want to listen to you, and I want you to choose to hold onto the words of God. So I encourage you, if you have your bibles today, to turn to Romans Chapter Eight, and if you don't, the words will be up on the screen and you can also take a free Bible home with you before you leave today from the lobby, because we really want you in those moments whenever those happen, wherever you are, to open the word of God, to open the Bible and see what God has to say about it, because I think it is really helpful and important. And so in Romans, Chapter Eighteen, we see what the Apostle Paul says to the church in Rome and he writes yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. So the first thing I want us to see today from the Scriptures is that I'm not okay this idea of I'm not okay. It's temporary. See, suffering is suffering and hardship is hard and but it's temporary and it's nothing compared to the future glory that God will reveal. has anyone ever been to Fox meadows for their ice cream? A couple of you, and if you haven't been there, we need to go. All right, we're going to get in the car, we're going to go there, because their ice cream is the glory of God revealed to us. It is incredible. It is the place where we can taste and see that the Lord is good. It is amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing ice cream. So Alicia and I, when we live there in effort of for like five years. We live right down the street and we were at Fox meadows for like all the time. So now when we have ice cream from literally pretty much anywhere else, we suffer through it. I mean ice cream and suffering in the same sentence doesn't often go together, but we do. We suffer through it. We're like, this isn't even ice cream because we've seen and we've tasted and we've experienced this other reality that is so much better and so much just amazing, and I think Paul is communicating a similar concept to us about our lives, is that, whether small or big, we suffer and we experience hardship and we go through difficult things in this life right now, but what God has for us in the future is so much better than what we could ever experience now that what we're experiencing now is temporary, it's small, it's in the grand scheme of things. The future is so much better. There is so much hope, there is so much amazing, abundant life and glory for God to reveal to us that it makes what we're going through now even the biggest, most painful things. It makes it kind of disappear. In a sense, in the future it will certainly disappear. And Paul goes on and he says that for all creation is waiting eagerly for the future day when God will reveal who his children really are. against its will, all creation was subjected to God's...

...curse. And See, this is an important verse, because things aren't okay a for a reason, like you'R don't always make the right decisions, for a reason, the weather outside isn't always perfect, for a reason. There is a reason that things aren't right and that reason, as we read about in the Scriptures, goes back to genesis chapter three, where Adam and Eve, the first human beings, the aid of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as a result of that, God cursed the creation. It's not perfect, it's fallen, it's broken. And so without this understanding of why the world is the way that it is, why you are the way that you are, why I am the way that I am, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to try and make things right, like if it's all up to me, if I have the power always to do everything right all the time, then like, why do I mess up and if I mess up, then it's my fault and oftentimes and sometimes it is our fault. But when we get a bigger perspective of why the world operates the way that it operates, it gives us an understanding of what's really happening, what's going on. It's not random, you know, it's not just some random thing that there's a reason for it. And so Paul says that. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children and glorious freedom from death and decay. See, God is going to make all things right, and I'm not okay that phrase. I'm not okay, will be no more. It's looking forward to the day of that glory to be revealed, for we know that all creation has been groaning, as in the pains of childbirth, right up until the present time. And we believers also grown, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us, as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering, for we to wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised to us. So there's a lot about this hope. We're hoping for this thing to come, this future glory, for God to reveal. There's a hope that we have in that. But then you might say, I'm not sure I have that hope, I'm not sure I'm really hopeful for that future. Well, Paul says, we were given this hope when we were saved. So have you been saved? And if not, I want to give you the opportunity at the end of this message to do that, because notice that this is something, this salvation, is something that is received, it's given. This hope is given to you. It's something that you receive, it's not something that you achieve, and it's God in you. And because of this you can have hope. And Paul says that if we already have something, we don't need to hope for it, but if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. So we have this future glory in the future. It is promised to us, it's guaranteed to us. We're not hoping in it like I hope it will happen. It's like I'm hoping in it because I know it will happen. I have a patient waiting, a confident waiting that it will happen and one day I'm not okay, will be no more so. Believer in Jesus. How well do you do with that, with waiting, with putting your hope in that thing to come? How...

...well do you do with it? Because, Paul says this gives you some comfort here. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. So if you're not sure, you do a great job. The Holy Spirit is with you and helps you in your weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words, and the father who knows all hearts get knows what the spirit is saying, for the spirit pleads for US believers in harmony with God's will. See, sometimes you just don't have the words to express what you are going through, what you're feeling, and things can get really bad and really dark and you don't even know what to say and maybe you're wondering if I can even say the words that are coming into my head right now. And it's in those moments that we have this amazing promise from God that he, the Holy Spirit, is in you and is praying to the father, talking to the father for you. He's giving you words to things that you can't even express. You know, when you're crying under the covers and you just can't even form a word, let alone a sentence, the Holy Spirit is speaking on your behalf to the father. That's an incredible promise. And now comes the big verse, Romans Eight, Twenty eight. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose for them. How well do you know this verse? Have you experienced this reality like? Do you believe it? Like right now in the middle of your circumstance, you can point at it, you can look at it and you can say God is going to work that together for good for me. Can you look back at a time in your life and say, like, God worked that for good? In the moment I wasn't sure, but I look back at it now and say God worked that Together for good for me, or can you look at something in the future and see that God's going to work even that together for good as well? Something that we don't even know about and God's going to work that together for good. See, it's a it's a big promise. It's an important promise, because we're always going to experience something. And what is the purpose behind it all? Well, one we know that God is the behind it all. He causes all of this to happen, he's in control, he's sovereign, he knows everything, and nothing happens that catches God by surprised. God wasn't surprised that your health issue. God was a surprised at your financial struggle. God wasn't surprised that Covid came into the world. God is the one that is with he's above it all, outside of it all, and he's the one that's causing all of these things to work together for good. So notice that not everything is good, but he's causing all of the things to work together for good. Think of it like a stew. You ever had a do? You got a pot and then what are you throw in this in the pot? You got salary and carrots and beef and you throw all these different things into the pot and individually, some of these ingredients or good, some of them aren't so good. But then what happens? You Stir it together, you mix it together, you work it together and you're making something that's good. And God does the same thing...

...with all of the things in your life, the good things, the not so good things, the great things, the terrible things, and God's let me tell you this. God is a good chef. You know you can trust a good chef. What what they're putting what he's going to put in front of you? What that that's do, that that thing that he's making, it's going to taste good. And God's a good chef and he's putting all of that stuff together, he's working at all together, and what is going to come out of it is going to be good. God causes all things to work together for good. For who, the verse says, for those who love God, and is is that you? And the verse says, are who are called according to his purpose. For them. See, God is in control of everything. He's giving you, you salvation, he calls you, he has a purpose for you, and notice that it's God's purpose, it's his purpose. God cause all things to work together for good for those that love God and are called according to his purpose, not your purpose, not your boss's purpose, not your loved ones purpose, God's purpose. So what is his purpose? Well, I don't think his purpose is to be super wealthy like that could be part of God's purpose for your life, but it's not the purpose. There was a guy that lived over to three thousand years ago that wrote in our bibles, the book of ECCLESIASTIES. We believe his name was King Solomon. King Solomon had everything that anyone could ever imagine. He had all wealth, all power, all everything. He's the wealthiest guy who ever lived up into that point and on the earth. He had every everything he could want. And he writes in this book that we have today in our bibles, he says life is meaningless. He's like, you could take all of this money, get all of this stuff, and then what's going to happen? You're going to die and somebody else is going to get all of that stuff. Some body else is all going to get the reward of what you worked so hard for, and that is meaningless. Really, that can't be the purpose of life. It's not God's purpose. It can't be the purpose of living a very pleasurable life experiencing every pleasure. Again, certainly God has designed this world where we experience great pleasure and we love it and that's great, but that's not God's ultimate purpose for your life. You know, we can plan the craziest parties with people and have the most sexual encounters with somebody and and we can do all of these things that gives us pleasure. We can go on trips, we can we can have these great experiences, but guess what, once you do those things, they don't give as much pleasure after a certain time. You gotta keep adding more to it, keep adding that next level, going to that better place, doing that thing little differently, and they never fully satisfy. That can't be the purpose of God for Your Life. And now what about the purpose of being super successful in your career and in your life? Like maybe, again, that is a part of God's purpose, but it can't be God's full purpose for your life. To achieve that title that you always wanted to get to, that pay grade that you just wish that you would get there,...

...to be famous, to get that blue check mark next to your name on twitter, whatever that successful definition is for you. That can't be God's promise for your life because people that have those things, people that have already achieved that they realize that there's something still missing, there's something more, there's something different. And I came across a story of somebody that that was this way and one of the sermons I've listened to over the years, and it was a story about how this guitar player was like, really, really good, like he was playing for all the top bands. Everyone wanted him and he was extremely good at what he did and the fact that it was all about him and his skill and his ability to do well that crushed him, like he just fell into this deeper, darker pit than he never thought of depression, of anxiety, of just not knowing what to do, because it all fell on his shoulders. That was all his responsibility, and it was in those moments that he realized like he's been given and an amazing gift from it was moment someone. He's been given this amazing gift from someone, and he acknowledged that. You know what, I think, I have to honor the giver of my gifts. And when he did that, he talks about how he was now free to live a whole different kind of life, a hope for a whole different reason, a whole different purpose. I get all didn't rest on his shoulders and his ability and and everything that he was doing. But he had changed his mind about that and he had said, know what, I'm going to trust in this giver of my gift. I'm going to live for a different purpose, the purpose of pleasing God, of honoring God, of trusting in God, of living for God. And I just wonder, has this change happened to you? What purpose are you living for? Are you trying to find meaning in all of the wrong places? So I invite you this morning to find your purpose and meaning in honoring God. And this is how Paul puts it in the coming verses. Here he says, for God knew his people in advance and he chose them to become like his son. And this is the purpose, to be like Jesus, so that his son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him and having called them, he gave them right standing with himself and having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. This is God's work and purpose in your life. This is God's work and purpose in your life. He's given you all of these things he's called you, he's given them right standing with God. It's amazing. And Paul says, what shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? What a verse, what a promise? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Are you convinced? Yet? Acknowledge you aren't. Okay, and that's okay, but don't stay not okay. Realize there's something better to live for, something different. And when you aren't sure that...

...you can believe or trust in God, Paul tells us to remember this very important thing. When you aren't sure, he says, since he did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else? So this is where I want to stop this morning, because when you forget that God sees you in your darkest moments, remember the cross. And when you forget that God has a purpose and a plan for your life, remember the purpose in the plan that God had at the Cross. And when you forget that God works everything together for good, even the death of his own son, remember the cross. Is the God did not spare his own son, and he did that for you. See, he knew we weren't perfect, we were falling, but God wanted to make everything right, everything good, and so God had this plan where he was going to become a human being in the person of Jesus Christ, a hundred percent God, a hundred percent man, and he lived a perfect life so that he could die in place of us, as our substitute, as our sacrifice. And then Jesus was buried and in that moment everybody that was with Jesus at that time thought God lost, this savior of the world, this one that said he was going to come and save the world. He died, he was buried and it was over. God lost, it's done, but it did not stay there. He did not stay there. It was not over. Jesus came back from the dead three days later rose again so that anyone, and that includes you, who believes in him can have eternal life. He overcame sin, he overcame death, and so can you because of what Jesus has done. That is the incredible, amazing news that believing in Jesus is all about. So do you want to have a purpose living for God? Do you want to find a positive meaning even in the darkest moments. Do you want to be saved and to trust in Jesus Christ? I believe someone here or watching online, if that's you, just encourage you to just raise your hand, like right where you are, to say yeah, I need that. I need that positive meaning in my life. I need that hope that it yes, things can come back from the dead. I need that forgiveness in my life. Wherever you are watching online here and then just just say that prayer with me. Say something like God, I know I'm not okay. I trust in you, I need you, Lord. I believe you died for me. I believe you rose again to give me life. Today, I'm trusting in you and Jesus name. I pray. Amen. And Hey, if you made that decision today, I encourage you to write it on the connection car. But let us know, or let me know, or or send us a text or email if you're watching online, because we want to celebrate with you. Want to thank you so much for being with us and walk with you as you take these steps...

...to follow Jesus. We're excited about that. But we got to end the service this way and I wanted to seat for this because wherever we are and whatever we're doing and whatever were facing in our life. Sometimes you just have to say that I'm I'm not okay, and I think I humbly sit here before you now and say that about me. You know I'm not okay, and our what we're going through and our families going through is is tough. And I was looking back at my notes and I planned to preach this sermon today a year ago and I designed the logo, the I'm not okay theme and logo, on September two and then on September seventeen, fifteen days later, we went to the doctors and our daughter, Kinsley, was found with the Echo cardiogram that something in our heart wasn't right, and so they did another test at the hospital and then on Tuesday we have a heart surgery to do for Kinsley, and I think it's safe to say that this is probably, I mean, I'm just speaking for myself, but probably the most difficult season of our life and thing that we've walked through. And and to say that you know, I'm not okay. And so it's like in these moments where I preach that sermon back to myself as much as I can and I remind myself of these truths that we talked about, that like this is temporary, like it's the surgery is happening on Tuesday. There's a seven to ten days in the hospital. We're going to find out, and then it's a sixweek recovery and then, like, we're going to be looking back at this time in our life and see the amazing things that God is doing in the future and we're going to be looking back on it. It's a temporary thing and I rest on the fact that my eternity is secure, like, no matter how much hardship and struggle and pain that I experienced right now, I know for a fact that in the future, in heaven, one day with Jesus is going to be incredible. It's going to be out of this world. It's going to be everything that we ever wanted and it's going to make everything okay. And I know that God works at all together for good. It's not good to go to the hospital on Tuesday and pray to God that the surgery goes okay, like that's not good, but I know that God is causing all of these things to work together for good, for his good, and I know that he is a purpose in all of this. I might not understand all the purpose, but I know that he does and I trust him and I know that he god loves Kinsley, my daughter, more than I love her, and I love her a lot and I know at leasta loves her a lot. But God, my God, my heavenly father,...

...loves her so much more and has a purpose for her and a purpose for us, and so I keep coming back to these things and while I'm not okay right now, these truth from God keep me going, keep us going, and we're so thankful for you and your prayers and your support and your love. We couldn't do it without you and we believe that God has us right here for a reason, and so thank you so much for that. So, Vadim, I have a song that I want to play from my computer and I don't know if it's plugged in or we could play the song from your computer, but it's at the end of the presentation. It's the black slide and I want to close the service today listening to this song and praying through this song. So, whether you know, whatever your face seeing, whatever your struggle is, whatever I'm not okay about, I encourage you to take the next it's six minutes long. The song, to just sit and rest in that God is here, God is with you, and these truths, that this is temporary, that there is any turn of these so much better, that God's working all of this stuff for good and he has a purpose through it all, that you would just realize that and just talk to God about it. And then afterwards I encourage you to go to the first step group and be a part of that and have a conversation with Tony. Thanks so much for Sharon and talking. He is a great guy to talk to and we look forward to getting to know you a lot better. And then on December thirteen, that is we're having a movie night here, and so we're going to buy popcorn for everyone that comes to watch a movie and we're get to tell them about our church. So you can come and watch a movie and get free popcorn or you can help meet people as they come watch a movie. That's up to you, but that is going to be happening before our next service here, which is December thirteen. So, all that being said, when the song is over, you may feel free to go. I'm going to sit up here and pray and Bedeem when you're ready. Can you play that awesome.

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