Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

High Hopes

Posted: April 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Stand Firm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: In Early May 2017, four men attempted to do something that seems almost impossible (Show Video). They set their hopes on running 26.2 miles in 2 Hours or less… which means running 26.2 miles in 4:34 pace. They went through hours of training, testing, and preparation all because they hoped they would break the 2-hour marathon barrier.

 Big Idea: What you hope for shapes how you live.

  • Tonight, as we look back into 1 Peter 1, we are going to see that what we hope for, or what we place our hope in has a big impact on whether or not we live courageously in this world.
  • Everyone hopes for something in this world. In reality we all probably hope for many things, some small and some big.
  • I hope that I get to sleep in tomorrow. I hope that I get to enjoy my vacation to Florida in a couple weeks. I hope I don’t screw up my brother-in-law’s wedding next week and actually end up marrying Micah to the bride. I hope GQ one day recognizes my modeling potential. I hope I one day have a daughter. I hope Oliver likes to read and run and I hope I get to see him married with kids of his own one day (To Matt and Kim’s daughter of course). I hope Bri and I live to be 90 years old together. I hope I’m a youth pastor until I’m 90 years oldJ
    • There are lots of things that we hope for, both consciously and unconsciously. And everyone hopes for something in this life.
  • So, the question I set out to answer this week as I was looking at 1 Peter 1 – a chapter that so clearly talks about hope – is what sets Christian hope apart from all other hope? Or in other words, what is unique about Christian hope?

 Main Points:

  • Christian hope is otherworldly.
  • Christian hope causes us to have joy… even as our hopes in this world get crushed.
  • Christian hope gives us courage to live differently.


Look Up

Posted: April 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Stand Firm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Things that take courage – Guy getting hit by a truck, Body suit flying, Free solo rock climbing


  • We live in a time where it is becoming increasingly difficult and unpopular to be a Christian.
    • If you believe the Bible and specifically what it says about Jesus, Hell, Salvation, Sexuality, and Sin, you are more and more likely to be seen as ignorant or backwards at best and as hateful and a bigot at worst.
    • Christians and what they believe are being pushed more and more towards the margins of society.
  • Now, before we start sounding alarms, running around screaming, or complaining about how bad things are… let me say several things.
    • First of all, we don’t have it that bad… Western Christians, especially Lancaster Christians, are still very privileged.
    • Secondly, we don’t need to look at the past like the good ole days… they weren’t.
    • Thirdly, this is nothing new. The Bible (Specifically the NT) is full of letters written to people who were living in situations where it was difficult to be a Christian. They were written to people who desperately needed courage in order to stand firm in what they believed and live out those beliefs well.
  • One Such letter is First Peter.
    • He wrote to some churches in Modern Day Turkey to encourage them in their faith and remind them to stand firm, even as they were pushed to the margins, made fun of, misunderstood, and even hated.
    • He wrote to them because he knew that holding to Christian beliefs and living as a Christian was going to take more and more courage in the years ahead.
  • Not the type of courage that looks within, but the type of courage that looks up.

 Big Idea: Courage is found in looking up to God.

 Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-2

 Main Points:

  • Christians are outsiders.
  • Christians are chosen.
  • Christians have an anchor.


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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Attention Funnel: Greatest Enemies/Rivalries


  • 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.


For Such A Time As This

Posted: November 29, 2016 by keystoneyouth in Esther Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Opposites Game


  • Two things that often seem to be opposite are God’s sovereignty and our action.
  • God’s sovereignty means that he is in control of everything that happens. He has directed history to the exact place that we are ate right now. Nothing has happened that he did not plan and purpose to happen.
  • Currently he is directing every detail according to his will, nothing happens that is outside of his control.
  • And he knows all that will happen in the future because he has planned for it to happen already and he has the power to make it happen.
  • Verses: Ephesians 1:11; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 44:7; 64:8.
  • It’s easy to respond to this by saying, “Well then it doesn’t matter what I do. If God is entirely in control, if he has worked out history, is guiding the present, and already planned out the future… then why does it matter what I do?”
  • Like going to a restaurant where they give you a menu and there’s only one choice – “Do you want the roast beef or the roast beef?” You don’t have any choice. This is how we can often paint God’s sovereignty and our action… it’s one or the other, but they can’t go together.
  • But Esther Chapter 4 and 5 show us something different

Big Idea: Faith in God’s sovereignty leads to action.

  • Set the Stage for where we are.
    • Persia – Most powerful empire in the World.
    • Xerxes – The current King who is self-centered and over-indulgent.
    • Esther – Has risen to become queen through an immoral situation.
    • Mordecai – Esther’s cousin and adoptive father who is also in a position of power.
    • Haman – The second most powerful man in the Empire – Mordecai disrespects and refuses to show him honor and Haman responds by coming up with a plan to kill all the Jews in Persia.

 Passage: Esther 4-5:8

Main Points

  • Theology is more than just head knowledge.
  • You are where you are because God wants you there.
  • Faith translates to risky obedience.
  • Jesus took the ultimate step of risky obedience for us.


Where is God?

Posted: November 15, 2016 by keystoneyouth in Esther Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Where’s Waldo?

Series Introduction: Esther: When God is Silent

  • What do you know about the story of Esther?
    • God is never mentioned.
    • It takes place in Persia during the reign of Xerxes
    • There are 4 main Characters (King Xerxes(Ahasuerus), Esther, Mordecai, and Haman)
    • It’s a bit like Where’s Waldo? God seems to be absent, and yet God is hidden in the story and once we see him we can’t believe that we missed him all along.
    • The author uses things like coincidences, sudden reversals, and irony to help us see how God’s hand is at work even as his name is not mentioned.

Big Idea: God NEVER abandons His people.

Passage: Esther 1 and 3

Main Points:

  • God often seems distant or absent.
  • Your life will not go as planned and expected.
  • God is in control of every circumstance.
  • The cross is God’s exclamation point of faithfulness!


EXILE Lesson #1: Homelessness

Posted: November 12, 2015 by keystoneyouth in EXILE Lessons
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Attention Funnel:

  • Old Pictures of Senior High Leaders


  • Sometimes people seem strange in old pictures… whether it’s because they are acting strange… or because they have changed so much that they seem strange… or because the fashions have changed so much that what they are wearing seems strange. They seem so strange that sometimes they belong to a different time and world.
  • Tonight I want to show you how Christians may sometimes live and appear as strangers in this world because they are ultimately living for another world… another home

 Big Idea: Christians live as strangers in this world because they are looking forward to a future home.

Passage: Hebrews 11:8-22

Main Points:

  • God’s promises are mainly for the future.
  • Christians long for a future home.
  • Christians live like strangers in this world.


Extreme Makeover: Gospel Edition

Lesson 2: The Walking Dead (Ephesians 2:1-10)

– In order to hear and believe the good news of the gospel, we have to first hear and believe the bad news

-Christianity is not about becoming a better you. It’s not about trying harder to be a better person. It’s about God doing all that is necessary to save us and to bring us back to him.

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Main Point: God does all the work in saving us.

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10.

  • Before: We were separated from God and had no hope for change

    • What is death?
      • Death is separation from life.
    • What is spiritual death?
      • Spiritual death is separation from spiritual life
      • Spiritual life is to know God (John 17:3).
      • So spiritual death is to not know God.
    • If I separate a branch from a tree it will lose all life.
    • If a person is separated from God he or she is spiritually dead.
      • This is the sense in us that there is something more, something better out there.
      • The grass is greener on the other side
    • The dead person seeks to find that thing through self-salvation. (more…)

Apologetics Lesson #5

Posted: March 12, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Apologetics Lessons
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Lesson #5



Main Points:

  • Christianity explains what evil is and provides a basis for why it is wrong.
  • The Christian God is the only one to suffer, and he does it because he loves us.
  • Perspective allows us to see the reason for the suffering.


Apologetics Lesson #4

Posted: March 5, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Apologetics Lessons
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Lesson #4



Main Points:

  • The Bible is not a science textbook that explains the process of how everything happens.
  • Truths correctly discovered through science and truths correctly interpreted from the Bible are not in conflict.
  • Science cannot answer certain questions because it based on a premise that everything can be explained through natural causes.