Posts Tagged ‘Suffering’

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.


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: This or That


  • 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: Equations


  • We want life to be like an equation – something that we can always figure out and make sense of.
  • We often have this expectation that if I live with wisdom and in obedience to God, then my life will go well. We might even accept this as a rule.
  • I want to talk tonight about how Ecclesiastes presents us with some exceptions to the rule.
    • I before E…except after C…or when it sounds like “A”… or in the case of the word “science.”
    • Proverbs tells us that in general if you live a wise life and obey God, things will go well for you.
    • But Ecclesiastes points out that there are exceptions.
  • Life in this world doesn’t always add up. Life in this world doesn’t always make sense.

Big Idea: Life in this world doesn’t always make sense.

 Passage: Ecclesiastes 2:12-17; 3:16-4:3

  • There are things in the passage we read that should shock us. There are things we read that we don’t expect to find in the Bible.
  • It’s as if we walked into Chick-Fil-A, ordered our favorite sandwich, and told the employee thank-you, only to have him respond, “I hate my job.”
  • Can you say that? Are you allowed to be in here?
  • That is how we should feel when we read Solomon’s words.

Main Points:

  • Wisdom doesn’t always produce the results that we want.
  • People are often treated unfairly in this life.
  • There is an appropriate hatred for this life.
  • Hope: God judges everything AND he treats me like I don’t deserve.


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 #4: Happiness

Posted: November 12, 2015 by keystoneyouth in EXILE Lessons
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  • Everyone wants to be happy
  • One of the greatest feelings on this earth is the feeling of happiness.
  • There’s not much better than happiness?
  • Think about the best day you had in the past couple weeks… I would guess it was a good day because you were happy most of the day.
    • Your hair was done just right.
    • Everybody was laughing at your jokes.
    • You got back that Math Test that you thought you did terrible on only to find out that you got a 97 on it!
    • That girl who you secretly have a crush on smiled at you… TWICE!
    • You hit a buzzer beater in overtime at your basketball game… and guess who was watching… that girl you have a crush on… guess who just got a 3rd smile… you did.
    • Your parents tell you your allowed to stay out an hour past curfew because you killed it on your math test.
    • Then your driving home and your song comes on… your belting out Bad Blood as you pull into the driveway.
    • You walk inside and open the Freezer only to find DOUBLE DUNKER Ice Cream
    • #Blessed #Bestdayever #nofilter #3smilesinoneday
  • Maybe you’ve had a day like that recently.
  • But here’s the problem… usually for every great day we have like that… there’s also the reverse… a terrible, horrible, no good day. Where everything that can go wrong does go wrong… #shedidntevennoticemetoday
  • See in this world happiness often revolves around our circumstances… when things go well we’re happy and when things go bad we’re unhappy.
  • Which presents a problem for exiles… if happiness is rooted in circumstances… then exiles better prepare for a life of a lot of unhappiness.
  • Why?? Because circumstances for exiles are rarely ideal.
  • This morning, I want to show you that happiness, or joy as I’ll refer to it from here on out, does not need to be rooted in circumstances.
  • And I’ll argue that exiles actually have a joy that can’t be broken.

 Big Idea: Exiles have a joy that cannot be broken.

 Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-12: 4:12-16

 Main Points:

  • Christian joy is rooted in a future reward.
  • Christian joy is Christ-centered.
  • Christian joy is confounding.


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Attention Funnel:

  • Best Boat Videos/ Magic Video


  • We left Jonah last week on a boat, and that’s where we pick him up this week.
  • He has rejected God’s call to go preach to Ninevah and instead has made his way to a boat to head for Tarshish.

Big Idea: There’s more to sin and grace then meets the eye.

  • Like an illusion

Passage: Jonah 1:1-16

Main Points

  • Sin has a downward drag.
  • God’s anger links arms with his grace.
  • Storms can be idol crushers.
  • Hope: Jesus is the true and better Jonah