Meet Jesus - Grand Opening Service
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Meet Jesus - Grand Opening Service

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

 No matter who you are or what you’ve done, Jesus is for you.
He loves you. He is with you. You can be fully known and fully loved and have a
relationship with God. Stop trying so hard and receive an identity given to you
by God. When real people meet the real Jesus lives are changed forever.

So today it's all about when real people meet the real Jesus, lives are transformed, lives are changed, and every time someone comes in contact with Jesus, there's always a next step. Like even for you today, when you leave this place, there is a next step for you. You're going to do something next. Hopefully it's get home safely through the snow and then it's sit in your couch and turn on the TV. Or there's something next for you. And we all have something next in our life, don't we? For some of us it's big things and for others it's small things, and what we put in those categories really changes, doesn't it? I mean, maybe a big thing is is moving into a new house or getting a new job or or having a child, or or maybe a small thing is, what am I going to have for breakfast tomorrow? Or do I have to take my car in for oil changs? I forgot, whatever. We have these big things, we have these small things, but we all have something coming next. And the beautiful thing is that God is working in your life and in your friend's life and your family's life and people that we don't even know. God is working and he has something next for you and for them. And the funny thing, the way that it usually works is that what we think is next for us isn't always what God has next for us. And so that's why we say we want to connect you to God's next step for your life, not just you know your next step for your life. And so we want to turn our attention every time we get together as connect US church, to the Bible, to the word of God, because we believe God speaks to us through his word. And the Bible isn't just a book. I mean it is, but it's a collection of ancient documents that were written to the three thou years ago by all these different authors over all this course of time and from all these different cultures and backgrounds. I mean it's amazing that this book has been preserved. They were collected and put together and it tells the one single unifying story of how God created the world and the first man and women, they disobey God and Sin Entered into the world. And you know, that's why there's things like viruses and that's why there's things that aren't right in the world. That's why you can't live up to your expectations all the time. Let the lone the expectations of God, because there's this thing called sin, and God knew that and he sent his son, Jesus Christ to this earth to live a perfect life, but the life that we should have lived but we just couldn't live. He lived it for you and he died on the cross in your place, was buried and rose again the third day so that anyone who believes in him can have eternal life. Their sin forgive them their life transform like that could be yours. And that's the story that we read all throughout this Bible and we come in contact with this Jesus, this God, hundred percent God, a hundred percent man, who lived on this Earth and he interacted with people like you and like me, and every single time he interacted with somebody he had a next step for that person. And so if you have your Bible, I encourage you to turn with me to Luke Chapter Eight. And if you don't have your Bible, that's okay. You'll see the words will be on the screen behind me, but we'd love to give you a free Bible on the way out if you would like one, and so we have some in the lobby for you to grab. But in Luke, Chapter Eight, we meet Jesus coming to a man and he had to cross a river, across a lake to get there. And it's amazing because we see they arrived at the region of the Garrisenes, across the lake from Galilee. Now what the previous verses tell us, and it's so appropriate for today. I love it. God had this all planned out. It's Jesus had to go to the other side of...

...the lake. He told his disciples, we have to go to the other side of the lake. There is a man over there that I need to go see. What he didn't tell the disciples. What that was that they had to go through a storm, a really, really bad storm. And now these disciples, they were fishermen, they often lived on the water, they knew storms when they saw one, and they thought they were going to die. And so they went down into the boat because they were all afraid. They're going to die, we're gonna die, we're gonna die. And where's Jesus? He's sleeping. Jesus is sleeping under the boat and they wake him up. Jesus, aren't you worried about me? Aren't you worried? Wake up man and Jesus is like, where's your faith? I love that question. Where's your faith? You little faith are you? Come on, you're better than that. and Jesus gets up and he stands on the edge of the boat and faces the storm and he says peace, be still, and the wind and the waves and the snow stops and the elements listen to this Jesus. And they went through a storm to get to this man. And let me tell you today that God will get through anything to get to you. He brought you here through a snow storm and appendix no storm, because He is speaking to you and he is working in your life. He made you log on your computer today because he is working in your life and he is gonna get through whatever he needs to get through to come after you, because he wants a relationship with you. He loves you and he so much desires to be with you he will get through anything to be with you. And so Jesus and the disciples arrived in the region of the garrisons across the lake from Galilee. And then we continue reading that as Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. So what you're telling me that Jesus went through a storm to get to a naked, homeless man living in a cemetery and God had a next step for that guy. You better believe it. You better believe he does. And as soon as he saw Jesus, this guy, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, why are you interfering with me, Jesus, the son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don't torture me, for Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him, and this spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the Wilderness, completely under the Demon's power. Jesus went through that storm to go find a naked, homeless man living in a cemetery, and you might not identify with that too much, but let me just tell you is that don't you, oftentimes, don't I, oftentimes, go and live in dead places like we keep going to that place, we keep going to that thing, we keep going to that person, and there's just no life there. Like we just keep going and doing the same thing, hoping that this time would be better, but there's no life there. And like this pattern of thinking that we have, which just we just stuck in it and there's just no life there. We oftentimes spend our life living in dead places. And and when we not have our body chained up like this man had, and he had superhero strength to break through these chains. But can't? We oftentimes don't. I oftentimes lose control of myself and lose control of my emotions and explode in anger or lose control of my tongue and say things that I wish I never would have said. See, I think we're a lot more like...

...this naked, homeless man living in a cemetery then we might think at first glance. And Yeah, we might not get the whole idea of demons and what's that all about? And I think in our culture, in our world today, we're a little too quick to dismiss the influence of the spiritual world. But again, just if that doesn't all make sense to you, that's okay. We still are figuring stuff out together. But just think about the impact that these demons had on this man and how much of an impact we also experience in our life as well. And so Jesus goes on and he asked this man, what's your name, and the name that he responded with is really interesting. His name is legion. Does anyone know what a legion is? A Roman Legion, there are troops of like five thousand people, people, and so inside of this man, it might be safe to say that there was five thousand demons, five thousand influences, five thousand people within this man. And my question to you is, how many of you are there? Now? You're like, I think, I think there's one of me, like, that's a weird question. Okay, are you the same person wherever you go? Are you the same person at Church as you are at school, same person at home as you are at work, or are we trying to play these different personalities, these different I got to fit into this group and I got to fit into this group. And how many of you are there? And this is even made even more of a thing now that we live in this social media world, because, guess what, you could put any profile picture you want of you on any social media site. I mean you could be buffed with bustles or you could be skinny and and fit and and that could not even represent anything of you at all. How many of you are there? Are you the same in person as you are on all those different social media sites? Because I think there's something powerful about being good character, of being who you are and knowing who you are and knowing who God says you are. And so this man that Jesus went to go see, his name was legion and he was filled with many demons. And then it's amazing what happens. Jesus told the demons to leave this man. Jesus was healing this man and the demons they knew who Jesus was. And so the demons, they're like, don't destroy me, you know, Send Me, send me into that hurt of pigs over there. There's many pigs. will go into the herd of Pigs. And then so Jesus did that. The demons went into the herd of pigs and the herd of Pigs Ran, ran off the cliff into the water and drowned. Just reading the Bible people, you know, it's a really interesting book. It's really, really awesome. And one of the bad jokes that you could have titled this sermon was the swine flew. You know the swine. It's good on so many levels. You know it's good so many levels. But the pigs they held, they all went in the water and they drowned and so and so. Look what happens next? The people rushed out to see what happened, I bet they did. All those pigs flying off the cliff. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus's feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what had happened told the others how the Demon possessed man have been healed. See, when this man met Jesus, his life was completely transformed. He was healed of what...

...he was dealing with. And not only did Jesus take care of his internal demons, but he also took care of him on the outside and clothed them and and he invited him into a relationship. And they're spending time together, enjoying time together, and Jesus offers that to you today, like right now, that healing, that relationship, that one with each other, and I'm going to give you a moment at the end of the service that you can nail that down if you need to do that today, because Jesus so much desires that for you. And that's what he did for this man. He healed them and then, unfortunately, all the people in the region of the garrisenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. They're like, you just killed all of my pigs, like you need to leave here, because where's all my money? Right? If those are my pigs, that's that's a huge investment, that's that's all of my life savings, that's my what I own, and you just you made them all disappear. Jesus, you need to get out of here. And I think sometimes it's so difficult in our life. Is Like we love God, we think God's great, you know, and things are going well, but as soon as he starts putting his hands on those places in our life that we are holding on too, oftentimes our money, oftentimes relationships, those things that are comfortable, those habits that we have in God starts working. There we're so quick to say, God, I didn't want that, you know, like please go away, like like yes, you healed this man, yes, you changed his life. Yes, it's amazing, but it's a little scary, it's a little too much, and that's what these these people that I mean. Obviously, the results were so clear, and yet they were still afraid. They told him to go away. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake, and the man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. And wouldn't you? Naked, homes man living in the cemetery, completely healed, clothed, relationship with God. Well, which one do you want? Right? I want to go with you, Jesus. You change my life, you forgave my sin. I got a relationship with you, you care about me, you love me at this is awesome. I want to go with you, I want to be with you. I love Jesus. Is Answer, because, he says, he sent them home, saying no, thanks, Jesus. Go back to your family and tell them everything God has done for you. So he went all throughout the town, proclaiming the great things God had done for him. And I love this next step that Jesus tells this man because in it we see so much of the heartbeat of what we want to be as a church, as connect US churches, that we want to go to places where people are hurting, like that man was, like we want to show up there and we want people, all different kinds of people, to encounter Jesus and have their life completely transformed. We want people's lives to be changed, to be healed, to be in a relationship with God and we want to connect people to their next step as individually, as personally as we possibly can. But then, as Jesus said, no, you can't come with me, like he's saying. We we want you to encounter Jesus, but we also want you to...

...join us. But we want to send you out, like we want to send you back to your friends, to your family, like, yes, be here with us, yes, be around, but like our goal, our mission, our our desire, is to send you out back to your family, to your friends, to your coworkers, so that you can tell them about everything God has done in your life, that you can travel everywhere you go with the name of Jesus on your lips and that your life can be evidence that God is working in your life and he's transforming your life and changing your life like that's what we want to do. But I realize that it's much easier to stay in the boat because so often we're afraid that and I just I'm just not sure if I have the right words to say. Or what if I say something wrong and I lead someone in the wrong direction? What what if I open my mouth and start talking about God and and they start to think differently about me, or I might lose them as a friend, like these are all very real thoughts and they maybe excuses that we use about against following God and sharing our faith. But I think maybe the most powerful way to overcome some of these fears, some of these questions and doubts, is don't just tell people what happened, like that's powerful. Right, tell people what happened, but tell people what God did, like that's that's different, because now you're connected to the source, the one that brought the transformation, that brought the life trains, that brought the healing. That not the forgiveness, that brought the relationship you're connected with the person, the one that's making the difference, and you're sharing about that person that you know, that you've met, that changed your life and that makes all the difference in the world. And maybe this morning and run right now, you're just thinking, you know, I don't. I'm not sure if I have that connection with God, like I don't have that that relationship with the source, that one who transformed my life that way. I'm just not sure. And let me just say to you, like, there is no better place for you to be than right here and right now. We are so glad that you are here. We started this church for you. And after the service, where's this thing that we do every week called first step, and it's where we invite those that are new to the church, that we're connections with, where we do those things that we've been talking about over and over against. We want to get to know you. You're not just listening to me talk from the stage, but I'm planning to sit down and hear from you. You get to talk to me. How cool is that? And then we get to hear your story and answer your questions and do anything that we can do to connect you to God's next step for your life, and that happens every week after the service when we have a space dedicated to that. And so if you have questions about God, about faith, about how this all works, about what Jesus Stars like, I invite you to join us there after the service and then in the weeks to come, and that's a great time to nail down your faith. But sometimes some of us just need a moment, a moment with God, a moment to just say, God, I trust you. God. Today is the day that I'm starting a relationship with you, God. Today is the day I understand what you've done from me, and so I want to give us an opportunity to experience a moment like that. There was a church, there is a church in in Oklahoma that put together this song that I thought was such appropriate for closing our...

...service today. It's come as you are and like this man that we've been talking about in our story, and they get homeless man living in a cemetery. He had nothing to offer God and Jesus showed up in his life because Jesus loved him. He went through a storm to get to him, to change his life, and I believe the very same thing about you and your life is that God is coming for you and you don't have to change a thing. He's coming for you and when you meet Jesus, he changes your life. You can come as you are, but he's not going to leave you as you are. And so I encourage you to stand with me. The words will be on the screen as we sing together and we're just going to have a moment of thanking God that we can come to him, no matter who we are or what we've done house, as you are. And...

...then, and that is the heart of this church of this moment, and I want to invite my beautiful wife to come up on stage with me to close us out today. This is Alicia. Say Hi to everybody, everybody, Elisha. This church would not be possible without her. Me would not be possible without her, and I just love you so much and I'm so thankful to celebrate this day with you. You're amazing. And she's the best physical therapist I and many others know and the most caring individual, and so in this moment I asked her to stand up here with me and stand with me in inviting you to consider where you are in your relationship with God. Because this is why it holds us together, it's what we're here for. And we want to introduce you to Jesus and to have him change your life and and we want to be a part of that. And so Jesus, the God, came to this earth, lived a perfect life in your place and died on the cross, the pain, the penalty for your sin. He was buried and rose again the third day so that anyone, and that includes you, can put your faith and trust in him and be saved, be forgiven, have a right relationship with God, and you can have that right now, and at least shouldn't I stand here and say we want you to have that, and so anyone is making that decision, I encourage you. Just pray something like this. God, I know that I'm not perfect, I know that I'm a sinner. I know that you died for me. God, I'm trusting in you. Today is the beginning of my new life with you and men. And if, Hey, if you pray something like that, I'd love to celebrate with you. Would you just maybe raise a hand like this? Let me see you like, Hey, that was me, like, that was for me. Amen. Amen, I see you, rather I see you like. That's for me. That's so awesome. If you're online, just send us an email at info at connect those church dot org or go to connect US church Dot Org and you'll find a way to contact us. We love to pray for you. Sometimes we just need those moments to just say me and God are right, not because of what I've done, but because of what Jesus has done for me, and so it's a beautiful moment. And again, thank you for standing up here with me, because we're inviting you to not only take your next step to following God and whatever that looks like, but we really want to be a place to be a church, be a community, a family where we do this together, where we can stand with one another through anything that we go through in life and be there for each other every step of the way. And so thanks so much for being here and taking that first step. And we are so excited for every day, every moment, every week, every month, every year, of this church, of connect US church accomplishing its...

...mission and leading people to Jesus and connecting people to God's next step for their life. Aren't we amen? Well, Hey, thank you so much for being here.

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