Posts Tagged ‘Evening Sessions’

The Whisperer

Posted: October 25, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Strange Encounters Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Life’s Biggest Let Downs

What do you know about Elijah?

  • He was a prophet, he was a man of great prayer (James 5:17-18), he saw God do great miracles, he was used by God to do great miracles, he was a wanted man during his time because he spoke for God.
  • Perhaps one of the things Elijah is most well-known for is his work on Mount Carmel.
  • It was a faceoff of Elijah against the prophets of Baal.
  • More importantly it was a faceoff of God vs. Baal. Baal was the idol people worshiped to provide them with rain and fertility, and yet it had not rained in the past 3 years.
  • Now Elijah was saying, it’s time to choose – either worship God or worship Baal. Let’s see who is really God.
    • You know what I despise… when people root for multiple teams in professional sports. You have to choose one and go with it. Either you are a Red Sox Fan or a Yankees Fan, an Eagles Fan or a Cowboys Fan, a Pequea Valley fan or an LMH fan. You can’t be both!
  • Elijah was fighting the same battle – either you love and worship God or you love and worship Baal.
  • And finally the day has come to see who is real. And here’s the crazy part… it’s not even close.
  • 450 prophets do everything they can (including harming themselves) in order to get Baal to do something. And nothing happens.
  • But Elijah simply prays for God to show up and God does! He sends down fire and burns up the sacrifice, the water, and the rocks it was on.
    • It’s an absolute route. If we’re keeping score its God – 100, Baal – 0.
  • Not only does this happen. But after this Elijah tells the people grab an umbrella because God’s about to make it rain. And it does!
  • So it should shock us 4 verses later we find Elijah sitting alone under a tree saying, “It is enough now, O LORD, take away my life.”
  • Elijah has just experienced the greatest example of God’s presence in his life… and several days later he is sitting alone asking God to kill him??
  • What happened??
  • Read 1 Kings 19:1-12

 

Big Idea: God is faithful, even when we don’t feel it.

  • There are times when God feels distant.
  • God defines our expectations of him.
  • God never abandons his children.
  •  Trust God’s Word above your experience.

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The Wrestler

Posted: October 25, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Strange Encounters Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Greatest Fights

  • What would you say some of the greatest fights in history have been? Real or fictional?
  • We have been doing this series called Strange Encounters… where we look at some of the interesting encounters people had with God in the Old Testament.
  • Tonight, we look at an encounter where God shows up and literally has a wrestling match with someone.
    • Read Genesis 32:30 – This is the end of the encounter, but I just want you to see it to know that I’m not making up that Jacob encounters God in this story… because it’s all a little bit weird.
  • I want to look at this encounter bit by bit to see what we can learn about what it means for us to know God and encounter him.

Main Points:

  • We encounter God in our weakness.
  • God wants to change us more than our circumstances.
  • It’s in submission to God that we win. 
  • God becomes weak so that we can encounter him.

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Attention Funnel: Pet Peeves – Things that Make You Irrationally Angry

 Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 7.25.11 PMIntroduction:

  • There are certain passages in the Old Testament that people may point to in order to show a problem with God.
  • They are passages where we encounter God’s anger. On the surface, it might seem like God gets irrationally angry and does horrible things.
  • I want to take a look at a couple of these encounters tonight to see if that’s true, or to see if there’s something else they might be teaching us.

Big Idea: We don’t appreciate God’s grace until we appreciate His anger.

Main Points:

  • God’s anger is aimed at sin.
  • We assume God’s grace is ordinary.
  •  Jesus gets what we deserve, and we get what we don’t deserve.

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Attention Funnel:Close Encounters with Animals

  • What’s the wildest encounter you have had with an animal?
  • There’s something about encountering a wild animal in which you are both drawn to try to get close and yet fearful of getting to close.

Series Introduction:

  • Throughout the Bible we see God show up in some unusual and extraordinary ways.
  • This is not to say that God is not always present and working in the world.
    • God does not show up in the world on Sundays and then catch an UBER back to Heaven until he comes back later in the week to pick up his weekly Chick-Fil-A.
    • God is always present and always working. Everything that happens, happens because of him.
  • But at certain times, God pulls back the curtain so that people get a clearer glimpse of who he is and what he’s doing.
    • This is where a Stranger Things comparison is fitting. In Stranger Things there is a parallel world called the upside down. Most people don’t even realize it’s there. And yet and certain times people get a glimpse into the upside down to see what’s really happening. The upside down was there all along, but it’s only when the curtain is pulled back that people actually see it.
    • Now this metaphor breaks down, because it’s not as if God lives in a parallel world where he is constantly trying to break into our world. He is as real, even more real, than the chair you are sitting on right now. But we don’t always see him clearly.
  • These encounters are not regular or often, but they reveal God clearer than ever for us to see.
  • Although our experience may look very different, we still have the opportunity to encounter God.
  • And what we learn from these strange encounters will hopefully make us hungrier to encounter God
  • Tonight, we start with Isaiah.

Big Idea: Encountering a Holy God will change us.

Main Points:

  • God is Holy because no one and nothing else is like Him.
  • Without God’s holiness, sin isn’t a big deal.
  • Without God’s holiness, His love is cheap.
  • Without God’s holiness, we are self-focused.

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Attention Funnel: This or That

 Introduction:

  • Perhaps one of the most common AND most difficult objections to the Christian faith is the problem of evil.
  • Bad things happen in this life. Painful things happen in this life. And they often cause us to ask where God is or why he would allow such things.
    • A pet that you loved dies. A girlfriend or boyfriend breaks up with you unexpectedly. The sport you love to play is suddenly taken away by a bad injury. You get abused by someone you love. You come home one day to find that your Dad has walked out. Your parents sit you down to tell you that your mom has cancer. A close friend commits suicide. These are only some examples… not to mention large scale things like hurricanes, famines, genocides, and war.
  • How in the world can we believe God is all-powerful and a good Father in the midst of all of this?
    • Because if he is really a good father, then he would want to get rid of all this evil, right?
    • And if he is an all-powerful God, then he would be able to get rid of all this evil, right?
    • Take your pick… it’s a this or that. Either he can be all-powerful OR he can be good, but he can’t be both. He can’t be the God of the Bible, right?
  • This is not simply an intellectual question… it’s a personal one.
    • This is a problem WE ALL have to deal with when things go wrong in our life or we witness horrible suffering in the world.
  • This is by no means a new problem. It’s a problem that people have faced since the dawn of the world.

Big Idea: God doesn’t work how we expect him to.

 Read John 11:1-6

  • Notice the sisters don’t invite or ask Jesus to come. It assumed that as soon as he hears his friends are suffering he will be on his way. To think otherwise is inconceivable.
  • Which is what makes Jesus’ response so shocking… He stayed where he was for two days. Why???
    • Because he loves the sisters and Lazarus… that makes no sense to us. God doesn’t work how we expect him to.

Read John 11:28-32

  • “Jesus if you had just been here this wouldn’t have happened. You could have prevented it.”
    • The hidden questions behind the statement is “Why weren’t you here???”
    • Don’t you care? Were you unable to come? Why weren’t you here?

Read John 11:33-44

  • There are many things this passage as a whole teaches us about evil and suffering… I want to draw out several of them.

 Main Points:

  • Christianity allows us to see evil for what it is.
  • Our pain is not pointless.
  • God got his hands dirty with evil.
  • Evil and suffering have a deadline.

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Attention Funnel: Greatest Enemies/Rivalries

Introduction:

  • We started a series last week called Faith Inspection. We said that in this series we want to take a closer look at some of the common questions/objections surrounding faith.
  • Tonight, I want to look at the Question: Doesn’t Science disprove Christianity?
  • At the core of this question is the idea that Science and Faith are rivals and enemies. Either you are a scientific person dealing with facts and evidence or you are a person of faith dealing with beliefs and old holy books.
  • I believe this is a false disagreement that has been painted.
  • My goal tonight is to point out that Christianity and science should go hand-in-hand and that what we believe is based on good evidence.

 Big Idea: Christians have good reasons for what we believe.

Main Points:

  • Christianity and science aren’t enemies.
  • The existence of God makes more sense of the facts.
  • There is evidence that Christianity is true.

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Attention Funnel: What Things Look Like Under a Microscope

Series Introduction:

  • When you put something under the microscope, you take a closer look at it in order to better understand it.
  • That’s what I want to do in this series. I want to take a closer look at some of the common questions/objections to the Christian faith in order to see if there is something wrong with what we believe.
  • I want to do this for two reasons…
    • 1) I want to encourage you to ask questions about what Christianity says is true.
    • 2) And I want you to be better equipped to engage and reach those around you who don’t believe in the gospel.

 Lesson Introduction:

  • What is the worst punishment you’ve received?
    • Dad who were jean shorts all around town in response to his daughter wearing clothes her mom and dad didn’t approve of.
    • Dad who shoots daughters computer in response to something she posted online.
    • The second one is clearly an over-reaction. It’s giving a punishment that seems so far over the top that it’s ridiculous.
  • I wonder if when we think about Hell, we picture God in this way? As the out of control Dad whose punishment seems harsh and unfair.
  • The question I want to look at tonight is: “How could a loving God send someone to hell?”
  • It’s a very serious and very good question to ask.
  • Especially if we may not personally be a Christian or if some of the people that we know and love are not Christians.
  • And my initial response in the form of a Big idea might shock you, but stick with me and I hope you’ll see why I believe the following statement is true.

Big Idea: Hell magnifies God’s love.

  • In other words, hell actually helps us to see, understand, and appreciate the depths of God’s love for us.

Main Points:

  • Behind every question is a set of beliefs.
  • A loving God is a God who judges.
  • Hell is life apart from God.
  • Hell should bring joy to our heart and urgency to our hands.

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