*For those who did not or could not watch the live video you can find it below.*
Find the sermon notes HERE.
Questions to consider:
1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week's message?
2. What comes to mind when you hear the phrase kingdom of God?
3. How should the kingdom change your view of the gospel?
4. In what way do you see Jesus as king of your life? In what way might you still need to recognize his lordship?
5. What biblical image or illustration of the kingdom connects most with you?
That verse (John 1:5) hits home to me. It is a truth and a promise that has played out not once, but thrice in my life. When I was very young, I suffered from childhood depression. It was pretty severe. I was ashamed, and not had shared that with anyone. One night, at a very low point, I called to Him. He answered. I do not think I would be here today if it was not for His mercy. The second time, is that I was of the world afterwords. College life was a worldly experience, and I sought after many idols. However, through His lovingkindness, He gave me mercy and grace always turning me into His direction. But the third time is more recent. I have to admit and feel ashamed that I slipped recently with our current circumstances. When our state went into a no travel, stay at home, social distancing mode, I started losing hold of my faith. I struggled everyday. In the beginning my heart was filled with anger. As I worked, I noticed many had not taken the governor's orders seriously and were traveling from a distant place to another. I had seen an influx of strangers in Ken's hording whatever they could buy. My heart was not in a good place. On top of that, my anger was fueled by the anxiety and negativity of my coworkers. Instead of being that reflection of His love, I wanted to pick up that stone and throw it at the next person that said "we have just came up from downstate, do you have any toilet paper." Again, my heart was reflecting not God, but fear and anger. Every shift I worked, I felt that way. I was exhausted by the time I got home and slept a lot. If I was not sleeping, I was not really motivated at home. My studying stopped, and eventually postponed it because I could not honestly honor God by not giving it my heart and attention that it deserved. I even fell out of my morning's reading and communion with Him. I could not get up to do so. I suffer greatly missing that connection with Him through the church. I need that support, uplifting, and even conviction from other fellow believers. I felt I was becoming of the world again. The funny thing about God, He promises to never let go, and so He kept me from drowning, and pulled me up. I felt compelled to pray again, earnestly. I started reading about Elijah and comparing him to Jonah. This was about a couple of weeks ago. This morning I awoke my mind buzzing with some answers to my questions and bringing awareness back to what I once knew. First, I am reminded to guard my heart at all times from evil. Second, I have to acknowledge, again, that I cannot do anything without Him. I have no strength, will, or desire to fight this world if I try to do it on my terms and my own steam. Thirdly, when ever I feel troubled or alone, I need to be more diligent in going to Him. Prayer and Scripture is the key to finding comfort. Also, I have learned that without Him and the help of the Holy Spirit, studying Scripture on man's knowledge and wisdom is inconclusive, burdensome, and can lead to major errors in interpretation. If it is done by His teaching, His way, and with the Spirit, studying Scripture is very joyful, fulfilling, and allows one to see Truth for what it is. This is my confession. In sharing this, I feel compelled to say that if you suffer greatly in this, just know that you are not alone. He is there for all of us, even if you do not see or hear Him at the moment. I pray that you find strength and hope through Him by prayer, Scripture, and fellow Christians. God Bless. - Jeff L.