Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Upside Down Kingdom

Attention Funnel: Weird Things Only Lancaster County People Know/Say.

  • There are things that are true only of people who live in Lancaster County. They set us apart. They mark us off as a unique (or weird) people.
  • Just as there are things that mark off those who live in Lancaster county as different, the same is true of those who are Christians.
    • We don’t have weird towns, but sometimes we have weird churches.
    • We have words that no one else uses.
    • And most importantly our lives look different than those who are not Christians.
    • Sadly, all too often this is lost, and we end up looking exactly like everyone else.
    • Rather than being lights that stick out in the night, we become chameleons that blend in in order to be safe and comfortable.
  • Enter Jesus’ Sermon the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7.
  • In this Sermon, Jesus tells us what it means to follow him as a disciple, or what it looks like to live in his kingdom.
  • I want to say three things up front as way of introduction to the Sermon on the Mount and specifically what it teaches us about the Kingdom of God.
  • 1) The Kingdom of God refers to God’s rule and reign. Specifically in relationship to Jesus, it refers to people who have submitted to Jesus as their King and Lord. They take their instructions from him and give their lives in obedience to him.
  • This is a very important distinction to get from the start… you cannot look to Jesus as a Savior without also submitting to him as your King/Lord.
    • In other words you cannot say, “I like that Jesus offers me forgiveness, but I don’t like that he demands me to submit my entire life to him. So I’ll take his forgiveness, but I’ll keep living my life however I please.”
    • Jesus is not like building a burrito at Qdoba, where I say yes to the things I like and no to the things I don’t like.
    • Jesus is a king (the King of the Entire Universe), who gives up his life to forgive us, and then calls us to give up our lives to follow him.
    • Jesus is not like a politician who hopes that we will vote for him so that he can gain power. He is a ruling king who generously invites us into his family to enjoy an entirely new way of life.
    • In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is showing us how our lives should look different now that we are a part of his kingdom.
  • 2) And I’ve titled this series upside down kingdom, because life in Jesus’ kingdom often looks and feels so different that it disorients us at times.
    • When I traveled to Ireland 5 years ago, I had to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road from what I was used to. It felt very weird at first. Every time I pulled onto a new road I had to remind myself, this is different. In the mornings I would wake up and often walk out into the car and first open up the passenger’s door because I was so used to that being the driver’s side.
    • When we become Christian’s the life Jesus calls us to seems unnatural at first.
    • But what at first feels backwards, and what looks backwards to everyone else, will soon be found to be the way things were meant to be all along. The way God created us to be.
  • 3) We need to realize before we start, that the Sermon on the Mount is difficult. It will convict us and challenge us if we truly listen to it.
    • “As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means ‘liking’ or enjoying, I suppose no one ‘cares for’ it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledgehammer? I can hardly imagine a more deadly spiritual condition than that of a man who can read that passage with tranquil pleasure. -C.S. Lewis
    • The Sermon on the Mount can and should feel like a sledgehammer at times. But God’s goal is not to use it to bruise us, but to transform us. He is like the home renovator who uses a sledgehammer to tear out the old so that he can replace it with new.
    • The Sermon will expose our need for Jesus, because we will see how far short we fall of his commands.
    • But the Sermon will also show us that by Jesus’ grace and the Holy Spirit living in us, we can really begin to live a life that embodies what Jesus teaches in here. 



Posted: January 30, 2020 by keystoneyouth in Tate and See Lessons
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Attention Funnel:

  • Kahoot – Bible Trivia
  • My goal is to that you would be hungry to hear God’s voice, and desire to open up the Bible to hear from him.
  • Now, I can’t do that for myself or for you… and so we need to pray to God who can do that for everyone, as we start tonight.

Passage: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

  • The Bible is made up of 66 books by 40 different authors recorded over 1,500 years.
  • But what we just read is telling us that God is ultimately the author.
  • That’s what it means when it says, “All scripture… every last word… is inspired by God.”
  • Geoff Robson Quote
  • God is the one who spoke to and through the human authors of the Bible, and he continues to do that today.
    • Now, you may be thinking to that, “Well how can I trust that the Bible is really God’s words?” And my response to you is, that’s a great question. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to answer it tonight. And I would encourage you to come to Keystone two Sundays from now where that exact question is going to be talked about.
  • Tonight, I’m simply working under the assumption that the Bible is true, we can trust it, and God is ultimately the author.

Pathway: Read the Bible to hear God’s voice.


Why Do I Need the Church?

Posted: December 11, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Church Matters
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Attention Funnel: Church Signs


  • There are things people tell me I need, that I don’t really think I need.
    • People tell me I need to get the Flu shot. But I hate needles and my Immune System is an absolute monster.
    • People tell me I need to try essential oils. But I don’t see the point.
    • Dentists tell me I need to floss more, but who really has time for that?
  • There are lots of things people might say that we need, that we don’t really need.
  • Isn’t church just another one of those things that some people say I need… but in reality, I don’t need it?
    • Why can’t church just be optional?
    • Like why can’t I just read my Bible, pray each night before bed, listen to Hillsong every morning, occasionally throw on a Steven Furtick Sermon, and get on with my life?
    • Wouldn’t it have been a better use of your time to stay home this morning or tonight and listen to a Matt Chandler or John Piper sermon?
  • Obviously, you know what my answer is going to be to these questions. But I want to make the case from the Bible tonight of why you need a local church and why it shouldn’t be viewed as an optional add-on to your Christianity.

 Big Idea: You can’t have Jesus without the church. (more…)

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Why is Church Often Messy and Awkward?


  • Why should we care about the church?
  • What’s the point of church?
  • What makes a good church?
    • Did you find out why you go to the church you currently go too?

 Attention Funnel: Kid’s Making Messes

  • Church can be a little bit like those videos.
  • It can be messy.
  • And what I mean by that is it can be awkward, uncomfortable, difficult, and sometimes make us want to run for the doors.
  • My goal tonight is see how Ephesians explains why church is messy, and what God is doing in the midst of the mess.

Big Idea: God is at work in the mess.


What Makes a Good Church?

Posted: December 11, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Church Matters
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What Makes a Good Church?


  • Why should I care about the church?
  • What’s the point of church?

Attention Funnel: What makes a ________ good?


  • Tonight’s lesson is going to be a little bit different… because I’m actually just going to give you questions you should ask tonight.
  • And tonight’s lesson is going to seem a little odd… because it’s kind of geared towards knowing how to choose a church.
    • And that may seem odd to you because you probably didn’t choose the church you are at right now, and you probably don’t have the option to choose a different church.
  • But I want to ask this question… what makes a good church for several reasons…
    • 1) I want you to find out why you are at Keystone or some other church. (Your assignment is to ask your parents why they chose and have stayed at the church they are at).
    • 2) I want you to evaluate your church… I want you to think, where does my church do well and where could my church improve.
    • 3) One day, you will have the option to choose… you will first have the option to choose, “Will I go to church or not?” and second, “What church should I go to?” And I want to help equip you for that day.

Big Idea: There’s not one perfect church for you, but there are good and bad churches.

  • Like Marriage…
  • There is nowhere in the Bible that gives us a specific checklist for what we should be looking for in a local church… and there’s probably not a perfect list.
  • But I came up with 5 questions to help you think through what makes a good church.
  • These questions are all based out of 1 Timothy. I told you at the start of this series that we are mainly going to be in Ephesians because Ephesians is the book where Paul talks a lot about the church.
    • This is the one exception. But interesting enough, 1 Timothy is a book written to Timothy, a pastor Paul has trained and then sent to Ephesus. He sent him there because the church in Ephesus was in some trouble. There were some leaders there teaching and preaching false things, and advocating for ungodly ways of living. And so Paul sent Timothy to clear up the mess and help Ephesus become a good church again.
  • And so, I think it’s fitting to look to this book to get our 5 questions for evaluating the church.


What’s the Point of Church?

Posted: December 11, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Church Matters
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What’s the Point of Church?

Attention Funnel: Where’s The Wonder? (Natural Wonders)

  • Victoria Falls – Zambia and Zimbabwe; Northern Lights – Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia; Paricutin Volcano – Mexico; Grand Canyon – Arizona; Harbour – Brazil; Mount Everest – Nepal; Great Barrier Reef – Australia


  • Refresh from last week – Why should I care about the church?
  • This week – What’s the point of Church?
  • I want to make the argument tonight, that just as those natural wonders, and all of creation exists to make us see how great God is… so also does the church.
  • In other words, just as the natural wonders should make us step back and say “WOW,” so should the church.
  • So to answer the question… What is the point of the church? I would say, “The Church exists to make God look great.”

 Big Idea: The church exists to make God look great.

 Passage: Ephesians 3:7-11


Why Should I Care About the Church?

Posted: December 11, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Church Matters
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Why Should I Care About the Church?

 Attention Funnel: Church Hunters


  • Why a series on the church?
    • 1) Because church is often misunderstood… we either think church is optional… i.e. I love Jesus, but I don’t like the church… or we think of church in me-centered ways. What does this church have to offer me? How does it meet my needs? How does it match up with my preferences?
    • 2) Because church is often maligned… whether it is seen as hindering progress, judgmental, full of hypocrites, or a place where people have everything together and just plaster fake smiles on, church is often maligned.
      • Now, don’t get me wrong… the church has been guilty of doing some awful things… like the crusades, more recent abuse scandals, or committing acts of hate in Jesus’ name. And we need to be honest about these things and not paper over them… we’ll talk more about this in an upcoming lesson. But I also put it out there as small group question tonight.
    • 3) Because I want to see teenagers who understand what the church is and love the church.
  • I wonder how many of you have stopped to ask, “Why do I come to church?” Or to put it a different way, I wonder how you would respond if tomorrow your parents told you, you don’t have to go to church anymore and we’re not going to go anymore either.
    • I know how I would have responded to both of those questions in High school:
      • 1) I went to church because I have to. It’s just part of our Sunday routine… we go to church, watch football, and make soft pretzels… church is the just awkward, boring part we have to get out of the way so we can’t to the good stuff.
      • 2) If my parents told me I didn’t have to go to church anymore, I would’ve said, “Jackpot! I can sleep in Sunday mornings!”
      • I really didn’t understand the importance of church or what it was all about, and if I’m honest, I didn’t really care to.
      • If you are in those shoes, let me say just one thing up front… as I look back, I’m incredibly thankful that my parents forced me to go to church even when I didn’t want to. Because it was far better for me to do something I didn’t want to and be exposed to Christians of all ages, singing, and the bible being preached even as I didn’t pay attention, then it would have been for me to get my own way and do what I wanted on Sunday Mornings.
    • This series is meant to help you see the importance, purpose, and beauty of the church.
    • Now, before we go any further, I need to clarify what I mean by church.
      • The word church in the bible refers to the people of God. And so in one sense we can say the church is the people of God at all places in all times (in other words, everyone who has repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus).
      • But the word church also refers to a specific gathering of God’s people… I.E. the local church.
      • So when Paul writes to Corinthians he refers to a specific gathering of Christians as the church.
      • This is mainly how I will use this word during this series… to refer to the local church, a specific group of God’s people.
    • Over the next 6 weeks we will ask 6 questions about the church. And we will mainly be answering these questions from Ephesians, because that’s a book where Paul has a lot to say about the church.
    • Tonight, we start with: Why Should I Care About the Church?

Passages: Ephesians 2:19; 5:22-30

 Big Idea: If we love Jesus, we should love the Church.

  • My goal in this lesson is to give you two reasons why we should care about the church and then give you a challenge of what that should mean for us.