Hold on to Hope

The story of Easter is that Jesus died but then three days later he came back to life. Where did he go after that? (Is he peering down on me from heaven, like my dead grandma?)

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    Well, good morning, everyone.
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    Welcome back to Crossroads, especially if
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    this is your first time with us after Easter,
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    maybe this is your first normal weekend,
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    although those of you
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    who have been around here for a while,
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    do we ever have normal weekends?
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    I don't know.
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    If this is your first weekend after Easter,
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    I want to say a big welcome back to you.
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    My name is Alli Patterson,
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    I'm one of the teaching pastors here at Crossroads.
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    And Easter was amazing in our community.
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    And today we're going to talk about
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    how do we hold on to the high and the hope and the joy
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    that was Easter and live that out in our everyday life.
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    And last week it certainly was a high, right?
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    Like, power and miracles and empty tombs
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    and all those baptisms, all those baptisms.
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    I was at East Side for most of the weekend
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    and it just -- I would stand in the back and cry,
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    especially when my own teenage daughter
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    decided to get baptized last weekend.
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    So we were -- it was extra sweet for us as a family.
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    And we were talking that night and she said,
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    "You know, Mom, I know what baptism is,
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    so I know what has changed for me, but also
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    it doesn't really feel like anything has changed."
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    I said, "Exactly what I'm going to talk about next weekend,
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    exactly what I'm going to talk about next weekend,
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    because He's alive,
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    and then you wake up and it's the day after."
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    The day after, we literally live in the day after,
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    and the day after is never the best day, right?
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    I mean, the day after your birthday,
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    you just go back to work.
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    The day after Christmas is never the best day.
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    The day after vacation, if you're me,
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    you do laundry for six people that's piled up over a week.
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    That's not a good day.
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    The day after, that's actually where we're living.
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    And we have to handle the disconnect
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    of the day after Easter that we live in,
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    because if we don't, we might be tempted,
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    and maybe we have been tempted in the past,
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    to treat Easter almost like a fairy tale,
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    almost like this story of something
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    that you kind of know should happen
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    and it seems really great
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    and there's definitely elements of life in it that you want,
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    but at the end of the day,
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    it's just a little hollow to your real experience.
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    So we're going to take a page
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    literally out of my friends fairy tale book.
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    This is her actual Cinderella book.
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    And she grew up with a very wise mom
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    who wrote some words
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    at the end of every fairy tale story that she had,
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    in any book where it ended with
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    "and they lived happily ever after,"
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    her mom would handwrite in
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    "with a few problems every now and then."
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    That's what those words say right there,
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    "with a few problems every now and then."
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    So we treat Easter like this happily ever after,
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    and we wake up to the day after and we're like,
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    "with a few problems every now and then."
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    And if we're not careful,
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    we might empty Easter of its power because
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    it's a disconnect with what we're living.
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    So to hold on to that hope,
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    today we're going to deal with that
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    by getting a reality check
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    on where we really are in the story of God.
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    And we are going to finish the story.
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    Let me pray for us.
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    Lord, we thank You that You have given us
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    a clear picture of who You are
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    and where this is all going.
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    Help my words to be clear today.
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    And I pray that you would fill this place with Your hope,
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    that all of us would walk out more alive
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    and more hopeful than we were when we walked in.
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    Do that work in us today, Lord. Amen.
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    So Jesus was resurrected,
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    which is the story of Easter, right?
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    And He appears to his disciples
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    and actually to hundreds of other witnesses
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    for about 40 days after the resurrection.
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    And then there actually is a moment in time
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    and we have a record of it in the Bible,
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    in the Book of Acts,
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    where the last sets of human eyeballs
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    actually laid eyes on Jesus for the final time
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    of His era here on Earth.
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    Here it is in the Book of Acts chapter one.
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    Then they gathered around Him and asked Him,
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    This was it.
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    This was the last time that anyone here on earth
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    has physically seen the resurrected Jesus
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    during His lifetime here on Earth.
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    And He's alive, and all of a sudden He's gone.
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    Only nothing is actually fixed.
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    And did you catch what He said?
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    He said, like, there's a mission
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    and you're going to get power
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    and you're going to be this and do that.
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    And then He's out. You know?
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    He leaves and you've got to believe in that moment
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    because nothing has really changed for them yet.
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    That his disciples and all the people who saw Him alive
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    were like, "What is going on? Where did he go?
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    I thought he was going to do the thing He came to do now."
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    They thought that when He was alive.
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    And then they thought that
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    when He was resurrected from the dead,
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    and now He's out and they're alone.
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    And you've got to think they've got to be anxious.
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    They definitely didn't know what was happening.
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    Their lives hadn't changed.
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    Very few people, relatively speaking,
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    even knew about the resurrection.
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    Rome was still oppressing the Jewish people.
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    Nothing that they thought was going to happen
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    had yet happened.
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    Their daily life was no different.
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    And you've got to believe they were anxious
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    and alone thinking, "Jesus, where did you go?"
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    I want you to consider
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    whether that's where we are as a people.
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    We are most definitely anxious and alone.
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    Every single stat you can get your hands on
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    says that these two things, these are two core things
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    that are growing and growing rampant in our population.
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    Did you know that 50% of our country of adults
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    would say that they currently struggle
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    with controlling anxiety? 50%.
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    If you're in your 20's that number is 60%.
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    Struggle to control daily anxiety and loneliness.
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    Friends, loneliness is a worldwide epidemic.
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    80% of teenage girls would say
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    they regularly have feelings of being sad and alone.
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    Do you know the UK actually appointed
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    into their government a Minister of Loneliness in 2018?
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    The UK has a Minister of Loneliness
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    in recognition of this deep problem that causes
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    real everyday things to happen as a result of it.
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    And here we are down here going,
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    "Jesus, where did you go? And what are you doing?"
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    Actually, Peter gives us a little bit more information
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    about what's going on where Jesus is.
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    1 Peter 3 says this:
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    So here we get a little glimpse.
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    Jesus went up. He ascends into heaven.
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    He's with the Father, and He has all power
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    and all authority and everything in heaven
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    and on earth submits to Him.
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    And yet we're here in the day after.
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    And today I want you to consider that
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    Jesus is actually using all that power
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    and all that authority to give you three things
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    to help you live in the day after.
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    And those three things are really simple,
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    but they're deeply and desperately what we need.
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    We need help, we need hope,
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    and we need a vision of our home.
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    We need help, hope and home
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    more than any other time in human history.
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    We are -- It is so obvious that
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    we are living without these things.
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    And I just want you to consider that Jesus,
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    in all that power and authority
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    that He has at His fingertips,
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    is trying to give them to you right now.
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    Jesus wants to help you.
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    I wonder, do you wake up every day and think that?
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    Do you wake up every day and think,
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    "Jesus is going to help me today?"
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    You know, maybe on your best days you do.
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    But we do have a version of what help looks like, right?
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    We go to Jesus, and I admit I do this, too.
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    Sometimes the way that we want help is very specific,
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    and we're happy to tell Him
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    exactly the ways that we need His help, aren't we?
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    We go to Him and we're like,
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    "If my kid could just get into this college,
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    that would be the best way that You could help me right now."
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    "If I could just get rid of these sniffles
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    or this relationship could be repaired,
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    or I could finally stop dragging around this thing in me
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    that I can't quite get rid of, the habit, the whatever."
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    We go to Him with our lists,
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    and sometimes those things do get helped,
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    and sometimes they don't.
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    So, again, we're left in this disconnect of the day after.
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    What if help looks a little different than we thought
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    or than we actually want it to look?
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    I was thinking about this, because in college
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    I had sort of a living, breathing example of that,
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    only I just didn't know it at the time.
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    But looking back on it, I kind of wonder,
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    was God trying to say something to me with this?
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    But I struggled with some anxiety in college,
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    but I don't even think I really would have
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    called it that at the time.
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    I just knew I couldn't fall asleep.
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    And for any of you who have a racing mind
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    in the middle of the night, you get that extra fun
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    of once the clock hits 2:00 or so, you're like,
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    "Now I'm extra stressed because I can't fall asleep."
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    And so you're just sitting there
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    and all the things are pressing on you.
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    Do you know the Hebrew word for anxiety
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    in the Bible that gets translated anxiety
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    is actually something that threatens your very life.
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    And so you're laying there.
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    You know, I would lay there at night in my apartment
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    and I would -- you feel those things pressing on you
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    and you feel like they are threatening your very life.
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    And yet I had come into a relationship with Jesus
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    that was very real when I was 16 years old.
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    And then I went to college.
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    I'm sure none of you have that type of story.
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    So here I am several years into college,
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    and it's almost like I had forgotten
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    that there's a God that I can reach.
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    And sometimes in the wee hours I would remember,
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    "Oh, I can talk to Him.
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    I could actually reach out to Him
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    and say something right now."
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    And almost as soon as I would do that,
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    I would be asleep.
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    And this happened repeatedly.
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    And now I look back on that and I think,
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    "Why didn't I get a clue
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    that maybe God was trying to send me the message
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    that I Am what's vital for your life?
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    All of those things that your mind is racing about,
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    I Am what you really need.
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    But I didn't see that, right?
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    But I look back on that and I think
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    that's kind of a living example of the difference
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    between how we want help and how God offers it.
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    See, we're very transactional about how we want help.
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    And God is very, very relational with how He gives it.
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    Hebrews 7 says this about what Jesus is actually up to
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    up there in heaven, in His resurrected body.
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    He's not a floating spirit.
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    He's not a see through being.
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    He has a resurrected body and He's with God
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    and He's doing something.
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    Listen to this from Hebrews 7:25, it says:
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    This is what He's doing.
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    He's living to intercede for you.
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    To intercede means, you know, to step in the gap,
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    to go advocate, to connect two parties,
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    to intercede into a situation that needs reconnected.
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    So the job of priests in ancient Israel
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    was to be that party between people and God.
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    And primarily their job was to deal with
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    the sin of the people that was disconnecting them from God.
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    And so a priest would go through cleansing rituals,
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    so he would be more pure
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    and he could step into that space
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    and receive sacrifices that people would bring
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    primarily for their sins, to connect them to a God
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    who needed somebody in the middle,
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    somebody to intercede.
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    And this is what Jesus is actually doing for you
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    and for me in heaven right now.
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    He has a permanent priesthood.
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    He is in the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job
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    of dealing with your sin and my sin.
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    Let me tell you, you're a handful.
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    You know what I'm saying?
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    Like, for real, I'm a handful.
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    We need constant intercession, constant connection.
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    And this is what He's providing.
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    And when I think about, like, the fact that
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    as soon as I would connect to God,
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    something would change, that's the kind of help
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    that He actually offers us.
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    He keeps us connected in relationship.
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    He actually talked about this in John 15
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    to his disciples before He left the Earth,
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    and He called it abiding.
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    If you've been around a church for a while,
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    you might have heard that word.
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    And all it means is a constant oneness,
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    a constant connection to God.
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    So that means when you're in the dark at 2 a.m.
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    and you reach out to God, He is there.
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    He is able to be reached because
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    Jesus was not just the priest that connects you,
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    He was the once and final and perfect sacrifice.
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    So to be connected to God,
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    you don't need to bring anything with you.
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    You just need to come through Him
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    and there He is standing as the priest to connect you
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    because He was the once and perfect sacrifice for your sin.
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    We want God to do something for us
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    and He wants to be something.
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    What if our help actually comes not from a transaction,
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    not from checking off the list of the things
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    that we say we need, but rather
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    it comes in being changed with Him, through Him,
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    by Him over time in relationship, a connected,
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    ongoing, constant access relationship to God.
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    That's the help that Jesus is offering to you right now.
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    But some days, I'm just going to confess to you,
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    I think I know best what I need.
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    Like, I just want what I want
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    and I'm pretty sure it's right.
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    The worst days for me of this day after era
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    that we're living in, the worst days lately
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    are the ones where I wake up in the morning
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    and I hear the news there's been another shooting.
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    And you all, I'm on the edge with this.
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    These are just regular people like you and me
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    going to the grocery store, going to work,
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    sending their kids to school.
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    And I don't know if I can take another day
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    of listening to the horror that has become
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    almost a regular thing in our culture.
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    And the school shootings
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    are the bottom of the barrel for me.
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    I have four kids at three different schools.
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    And so these feel like deeply, deeply close to home.
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    My kids do these ALICE drills.
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    If you don't have kids in school,
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    you might not know what that is.
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    It is the active shooter drill.
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    And so at their school, friends,
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    we live in a time where our children
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    go to school and they practice, what happens
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    when an active shooter comes into their school.
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    I don't even have words for that.
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    And I had a real low point with God on this
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    because there's a specific kind of help that I want.
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    Right? Stop those.
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    And I'm pretty sure I'm right.
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    But when my kids come home
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    and they talk about these drills, I tell them,
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    "I want you to assume there's a God who wants to help you.
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    If you're in this situation,
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    then He's going to help you through this training
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    and He's going to help you through the adults
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    and He's going to help you through the covering
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    that you have over the school authorities
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    that are going to try to help you
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    and tell you what to do.
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    And also, I want you to pray.
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    I want you to pray.
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    I want you, please, Lord, the presence of mind
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    to reach out and say, 'God help me.'"
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    And I can't tell you how that help is going to come,
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    but I believe we have a God
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    who wants our children alive.
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    I believe we have a God who is big enough
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    and is powerful enough to intervene in any situation.
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    And so then I sit there the day after
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    when the news comes on and I'm like, "No. Where'd you go?"
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    And I dropped my girls off at school
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    the day after one of the recent shootings.
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    And you all, I watched them walk into the building
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    and I couldn't even drive the car away
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    because that morning was the day after
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    for too many parents.
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    And I just sat and sobbed.
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    I got nothing. I just sat there and cried.
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    I couldn't even drive the car away.
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    An I'm not sure I would ever drive the car away again
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    if I thought that Jesus's only job
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    was to try to intervene
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    in all of our messes here on Earth right now.
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    I don't think I could do it.
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    In order to make it through this day after we're living in,
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    we cannot just view Jesus as the checklist,
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    the timely help for all the things we need.
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    We have to hold that desire in tension with something else.
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    And that something else is that He is a hope
  • 00:18:05
    that exists far, far beyond our earthly reality right now.
  • 00:18:10
    That we actually exist in a reality
  • 00:18:12
    that is His and that is eternal.
  • 00:18:14
    And He is not just a help, He is also a hope.
  • 00:18:18
    Jesus is a hope.
  • 00:18:19
    Listen to this word about this from 1 Thessalonians 4:
  • 00:18:46
    We've got to realize, guys, the story of Easter,
  • 00:18:49
    the resurrection of Jesus,
  • 00:18:51
    it is everything that that we hang our hat on.
  • 00:18:55
    So we do not grieve like the rest of mankind
  • 00:18:58
    who has no hope.
  • 00:18:59
    If you are in Christ, what is the reason that they gave?
  • 00:19:03
    That Jesus died and rose again.
  • 00:19:06
    This is it. This is the core.
  • 00:19:09
    If we don't get that the message of Easter
  • 00:19:11
    is absolutely everything about our future hope,
  • 00:19:14
    than we've totally missed the core of Christianity itself.
  • 00:19:18
    His death and resurrection means that you and I
  • 00:19:22
    get the chance to live inside of a bigger reality,
  • 00:19:25
    an eternal reality that goes so far beyond
  • 00:19:28
    what's happening here on Earth right this very moment.
  • 00:19:31
    And we get there, the sign of it, the promise of it,
  • 00:19:34
    is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
  • 00:19:39
    This truth will change your life if you let it,
  • 00:19:42
    because it means that we're not at the end of the story.
  • 00:19:46
    There is an end to the story, and Easter, wasn't it.
  • 00:19:49
    Easter reads like a happily ever after.
  • 00:19:51
    It really does. Right?
  • 00:19:53
    And in many ways it should be, it is.
  • 00:19:57
    We're just not living the full reality of that yet.
  • 00:19:59
    We are living instead in the day after.
  • 00:20:02
    So what is the end? What is the end?
  • 00:20:06
    We don't talk about this enough.
  • 00:20:09
    We actually have a picture in the Bible
  • 00:20:12
    of the next time human eyes that are alive
  • 00:20:15
    here on Earth will see Jesus coming back here.
  • 00:20:19
    And it's from the Book of Revelation.
  • 00:20:21
    It's in chapter 19, and it's given to us
  • 00:20:24
    inside of an angelic vision.
  • 00:20:27
    So Revelation is a difficult book.
  • 00:20:29
    If you've ever opened the Bible, you know that.
  • 00:20:31
    It's a book written by John,
  • 00:20:34
    one of Jesus's closest friends,
  • 00:20:36
    one of the original apostles,
  • 00:20:39
    and he penned this as he gets, like, an angelic visit.
  • 00:20:44
    And he writes down what he sees in these visions.
  • 00:20:47
    And so what we're reading, it is a mix of fantasy
  • 00:20:50
    and reality that communicates the truth of God.
  • 00:20:53
    And so we're not going to go too deeply into that,
  • 00:20:56
    but we can absolutely take away
  • 00:20:59
    some very high level understanding of what is
  • 00:21:02
    being portrayed here in this vision.
  • 00:21:04
    So let me read it to you from Revelation 19.
  • 00:21:58
    I wish I had the time.
  • 00:22:00
    You'd probably get tired of me if we did this,
  • 00:22:02
    but I wish I had the time
  • 00:22:03
    to take you through every single line.
  • 00:22:05
    Because, friends, every single inch of that
  • 00:22:08
    is packed with layer after layer
  • 00:22:12
    of messianic description of the returning
  • 00:22:15
    living Jesus Christ the Messiah.
  • 00:22:18
    It references scriptures from hundreds of years before
  • 00:22:21
    that Jesus lived and spoke about.
  • 00:22:23
    It is filled with meaning that means very simply,
  • 00:22:28
    at the very least, we can say there is a Messiah
  • 00:22:31
    who is alive and well and He is coming back here.
  • 00:22:38
    And artists and musicians and people who are
  • 00:22:42
    really good at tapping into those spiritual eyes
  • 00:22:45
    and try to depict this through music and art
  • 00:22:47
    for generation after generation
  • 00:22:49
    in every nation and every tongue.
  • 00:22:52
    We even sing one of these songs at Christmas time.
  • 00:22:54
    We think it's about Christmas.
  • 00:22:55
    Psst, it's not about Christmas.
  • 00:22:59
    We sing Joy to the World the Lord is Come.
  • 00:23:03
    That's a song about this passage.
  • 00:23:05
    That's a song about The Second Coming,
  • 00:23:08
    The Return of Jesus.
  • 00:23:09
    There's another one, if you were in a choir
  • 00:23:12
    or a really good chorus, maybe you sang this one.
  • 00:23:16
    [music: Handel, Messiah]
  • 00:23:21
    I sang that when I was a senior in high school,
  • 00:23:24
    Handel's Messiah, The Hallelujah Chorus,
  • 00:23:27
    maybe one of the greatest musical compositions ever.
  • 00:23:31
    And what are they saying?
  • 00:23:34
    He shall reign forever and ever,
  • 00:23:36
    King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  • 00:23:39
    Later, if you know the words of all the verses,
  • 00:23:41
    it says, "The kingdom of our God
  • 00:23:43
    has become the kingdom of this earth."
  • 00:23:45
    It's about the day that Jesus returns to this earth.
  • 00:23:50
    And I mean, we really couldn't talk about music
  • 00:23:53
    around this passage without mentioning,
  • 00:23:56
    oh, the great Johnny Cash
  • 00:23:57
    and his truly bizarre song about it.
  • 00:23:59
    [music: Johnny Cash, The Man Comes Around]
  • 00:24:04
    Who knows the song?
  • 00:24:05
    It's called The Man Comes Around.
  • 00:24:07
    If you don't know it, you should go listen to it.
  • 00:24:09
    Truly bizarre, but so fascinating.
  • 00:24:12
    And it's rich, rich with this imagery from this passage.
  • 00:24:18
    There's something about it that has captured
  • 00:24:21
    the minds and hearts of our artists and musicians forever.
  • 00:24:24
    And I think we shy away from talking about it
  • 00:24:27
    maybe a little too much in the church because
  • 00:24:30
    we have a vision of it, right?
  • 00:24:34
    And because we only have a vision of it
  • 00:24:36
    and it's trying to depict something
  • 00:24:38
    that our human eyes have never really been able to see
  • 00:24:42
    and that we can't fully comprehend.
  • 00:24:43
    That one day every single pair of eyes on earth
  • 00:24:46
    is going to see Him return.
  • 00:24:48
    And that, like, blows our mind.
  • 00:24:52
    And so again, we're tempted to treat this
  • 00:24:54
    as though it's some maybe story.
  • 00:24:58
    Boy, wouldn't that be nice?
  • 00:25:00
    No, listen, if you give this up,
  • 00:25:02
    if you give this up, you will never live a life of hope,
  • 00:25:06
    because that is your hope.
  • 00:25:09
    The fact that you're your Savior is alive
  • 00:25:12
    and that one day He's coming back here
  • 00:25:14
    to claim what's His, this is the entire deal.
  • 00:25:17
    The entire deal.
  • 00:25:18
    This passage, my favorite detail,
  • 00:25:20
    such a geeky little detail, but I just love it.
  • 00:25:22
    So I'm going to tell you, it says He was wearing many crowns.
  • 00:25:25
    In one translation it says he's wearing many diadem crowns.
  • 00:25:29
    Well, a diadem crown
  • 00:25:31
    was a crown associated with a certain geography.
  • 00:25:33
    Like, if you were the king of Judah,
  • 00:25:35
    you might wear a crown.
  • 00:25:36
    If you were the king of Moab, you would wear a crown.
  • 00:25:38
    If you were the king of the Midwest,
  • 00:25:40
    you might have a crown.
  • 00:25:41
    If you were the king of China, you might have a crown,
  • 00:25:44
    You know, whatever.
  • 00:25:45
    All the geographies at that time
  • 00:25:47
    had crowns associated with them.
  • 00:25:49
    So here we get this picture of a returning Savior,
  • 00:25:53
    the returning Messiah,
  • 00:25:54
    and He's wearing every single one of them.
  • 00:25:57
    Because guess what?
  • 00:25:58
    This place is His and it was created through Him.
  • 00:26:02
    And when He comes back, He's going to be wearing
  • 00:26:04
    the crown over every single geography
  • 00:26:06
    because they're all His.
  • 00:26:11
    And when He comes, He's coming to take you home.
  • 00:26:15
    This is the vision of home.
  • 00:26:16
    This is the one that we've got, friends.
  • 00:26:18
    I know it's tough.
  • 00:26:19
    I know it's in the Book of Revelation.
  • 00:26:21
    I know that we don't understand it,
  • 00:26:22
    and our minds have a hard time conceiving of it.
  • 00:26:25
    But you cannot let loose of the truth
  • 00:26:27
    that Jesus will return, not this time as a baby.
  • 00:26:31
    Not this time to live as a humble life
  • 00:26:34
    and die a death on a cross.
  • 00:26:35
    This time He's coming back as a warrior.
  • 00:26:39
    He's coming back to claim what was His.
  • 00:26:41
    And He's bringing some armies with Him
  • 00:26:43
    and He's going to defeat His enemies.
  • 00:26:45
    And this is the picture of Jesus that we get
  • 00:26:49
    when He comes back here to create your everlasting home.
  • 00:26:53
    And when we don't teach this enough
  • 00:26:55
    we let it be some fairy tale.
  • 00:26:58
    But if we let loose of Easter
  • 00:27:00
    and then this being the end of the story,
  • 00:27:02
    then we give up the very source of our hope.
  • 00:27:05
    Guys, He is alive.
  • 00:27:07
    And this is what happens when He comes back.
  • 00:27:11
    Modern psychology and the Bible, by the way,
  • 00:27:13
    are in lockstep agreement that
  • 00:27:15
    when you fix your eyes on a living hope,
  • 00:27:18
    something you know is going to happen in the future,
  • 00:27:20
    but it's not quite here yet,
  • 00:27:23
    your everyday life right now today changes.
  • 00:27:27
    Everything about you changes.
  • 00:27:29
    Listen to some of these things.
  • 00:27:31
    When you fix your eyes on something tangible
  • 00:27:34
    that you believe is coming to you,
  • 00:27:36
    that you know is coming to you out in the future,
  • 00:27:39
    here's how your today changes
  • 00:27:41
    from all kinds of academic psychological research.
  • 00:27:44
    Physically, you have better immunity.
  • 00:27:48
    You have a higher pain tolerance.
  • 00:27:50
    You are better at delaying gratification.
  • 00:27:53
    These are the trends of people with a living hope.
  • 00:27:56
    Intellectually, it's a better predictor
  • 00:27:59
    of academic or work performance
  • 00:28:01
    than intelligence or any personality trait.
  • 00:28:04
    Hope changes the way you work. That's crazy.
  • 00:28:09
    Emotionally, very unsurprisingly,
  • 00:28:11
    I know you'll be with me on this one,
  • 00:28:13
    lower levels of anxiety,
  • 00:28:15
    lower levels of depressive symptoms,
  • 00:28:17
    higher resilience, higher self control.
  • 00:28:21
    These are general trends that have been proven
  • 00:28:23
    over and over and over again that when we live
  • 00:28:27
    with something we know is coming to us in the future,
  • 00:28:30
    it actually changes who we are today.
  • 00:28:33
    It changes our body, our mind, our heart, our spirit,
  • 00:28:36
    the very way in which we go about our life.
  • 00:28:39
    This is ours to live in right now, right here today.
  • 00:28:45
    Here's what one researcher said about hope.
  • 00:28:55
    Hope is an equal opportunity resource.
  • 00:28:58
    That is so amazing.
  • 00:29:00
    If we got that, then we would join Peter
  • 00:29:03
    in his words, in 1 Peter 1, when he says:
  • 00:29:21
    In His great mercy.
  • 00:29:24
    God has mercy on us.
  • 00:29:25
    He knows what we're living through.
  • 00:29:27
    He knows we're living through the day after.
  • 00:29:29
    He knows He doesn't check all your boxes
  • 00:29:31
    for the help that you want right now
  • 00:29:34
    in the way that you want it.
  • 00:29:35
    And in His great mercy, He's given you a sign
  • 00:29:38
    and a promise and a certainty of a living hope.
  • 00:29:44
    And how he gave it to you,
  • 00:29:46
    the reason you can hang your hat on it is Easter.
  • 00:29:50
    The hope that one day
  • 00:29:51
    that Jesus is coming to take you home.
  • 00:29:53
    If you don't believe that,
  • 00:29:56
    you will not walk out of here with a smile on your face.
  • 00:29:59
    If you do, it's going to start to ooze out of your life.
  • 00:30:02
    Maybe it's only a tiny trickle at first.
  • 00:30:04
    Maybe you're just going to consider this thought.
  • 00:30:06
    And maybe someday in the future somebody will go,
  • 00:30:08
    "Why are you okay right now?"
  • 00:30:11
    Because something's happening to you or around you
  • 00:30:14
    or with you or someone you love.
  • 00:30:16
    And the answer is, "If Jesus died and rose again,
  • 00:30:21
    I know I will live that life too."
  • 00:30:26
    And I also know you're not going to get there
  • 00:30:29
    by me standing up here going be more hopeful.
  • 00:30:33
    And you be more hopeful and you be more hopeful.
  • 00:30:36
    You're going to be more hopeful
  • 00:30:38
    when you catch a glimpse of it.
  • 00:30:40
    And here's the thing, when we start to understand
  • 00:30:42
    what is written in the Bible and that this has been
  • 00:30:45
    the core of our faith from the very first Christian
  • 00:30:47
    to anybody in here who's in Christ,
  • 00:30:51
    we begin to have this exchange
  • 00:30:54
    with the Spirit that lives in us.
  • 00:30:56
    Because when we fix our eyes on this and we go,
  • 00:30:58
    "Okay, I believe You, You're coming
  • 00:31:00
    and we're in the middle of a mess,
  • 00:31:02
    but You're coming, You're coming.
  • 00:31:03
    You're going to give me help and hope, in the meantime,
  • 00:31:05
    and You're going to come and take me home.
  • 00:31:07
    And I believe it."
  • 00:31:08
    And you start to live that.
  • 00:31:09
    Then you start to actually see the evidence around you.
  • 00:31:12
    You start to actually hear the words of hope
  • 00:31:15
    from other people.
  • 00:31:17
    And friends, hope is contagious.
  • 00:31:18
    I have a podcast that I started doing
  • 00:31:20
    a handful of months ago,
  • 00:31:22
    and if you listen to one of the episodes,
  • 00:31:24
    you will hear a story of hope,
  • 00:31:26
    because the first words out of my mouth are,
  • 00:31:28
    "This is a podcast of hope where we tell stories
  • 00:31:30
    about a real God who's coming into our real life
  • 00:31:34
    with help and hope and redemption."
  • 00:31:36
    And we start to catch little glimpses.
  • 00:31:39
    And the Spirit that lives in you tells you,
  • 00:31:41
    "Yep, that's true."
  • 00:31:42
    That's a little foretaste. It's a little glimpse.
  • 00:31:46
    So I would encourage you to anchor yourself,
  • 00:31:48
    root yourself in the truth that is in scripture
  • 00:31:51
    about this return, because it is everything to a life of hope.
  • 00:31:59
    I want you to catch one more glimpse.
  • 00:32:02
    The words of Revelation 19 are going to be read one more time.
  • 00:32:05
    And I want you to just consider
  • 00:32:06
    what is it in your life right now
  • 00:32:09
    that you need this God to help you with.
  • 00:33:24
    - The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords,
  • 00:33:27
    He's coming back here to take you home,
  • 00:33:32
    to take you all the way home.
  • 00:33:34
    And when He does,
  • 00:33:35
    He's going to be wearing all the crowns.
  • 00:33:38
    All the crowns.
  • 00:33:39
    And the coolest thing is,
  • 00:33:41
    if you keep reading in the book of Revelation,
  • 00:33:43
    even though this battle scene is set up,
  • 00:33:45
    there is no battle that ever takes place.
  • 00:33:48
    Jesus speaks a word and His enemies are gone.
  • 00:33:51
    And you know why? Easter.
  • 00:33:54
    Because He died and He rose again.
  • 00:33:56
    And the victory was won
  • 00:33:58
    the moment He started to breathe again,
  • 00:34:00
    the moment that he stepped out of that grave,
  • 00:34:02
    it was all said and done.
  • 00:34:05
    And that's the reality that you and I get to live in
  • 00:34:08
    right now today.
  • 00:34:10
    And in that day, every knee will bow,
  • 00:34:13
    every tongue will confess
  • 00:34:14
    that Easter is no hollow fairytale.
  • 00:34:17
    It's just the first glimpse
  • 00:34:19
    that your hope was always alive and well.
  • 00:34:22
    I want to invite you wherever you are
  • 00:34:24
    to stand up with me right now.
  • 00:34:26
    And I want you to just worship Him,
  • 00:34:29
    The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords,
  • 00:34:31
    the one that is coming back for you.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend-Follow Up This is the group part of the Bible Challenge, so your questions are based on specific Bible passages from the weekend message. Each week, your group will discover what God might be saying to you, and how you can respond through a group discussion.

  1. What is giving you the most anticipation right now? Is it that vacation you’re planning? Your team on a winning streak? Seeing the end of the school year nearing?

  2. What stood out to you most from this week’s message? Why did that spark for you?

  3. When was the last time you felt hopeful? Where did your hope come from?

  4. How hope-filled (or hopeless) does your life currently feel right now? What contributes most to that feeling?

  5. Jesus lives to help us, but sometimes it doesn’t always feel like it. Where in your life is it hard to see Jesus as a helper?

  6. What do you think about Jesus’ promise to return? Is it hopeful, scary, too distant to matter?

  7. Read John 14:1-4. If Jesus is preparing a place for you, what does that mean for your life today?

  8. What steps can you take this week to invite Jesus into the places where you have no help or feel no hope?

  9. Let’s end with prayer. You can say something like, “Jesus, thank you dying for us. Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for always helping us and constantly being a living hope. Give us the faith necessary to embrace the help and the hope that you offer. Amen.”

More from the Weekend

Bonus Questions! Check these out if you’re on a roll and want to go a little deeper.

  • What makes it difficult to believe in Jesus’ promises? What would have to be true for that belief to be evident in your daily life?
  • How might your life change if you lived as if your home on earth was not actually your final home? How could you take a step in that direction this week?

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(This stuff helps us figure out how many fruitcakes to make come December)

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Got it! Enjoy your discussion.

Apr 16, 2023

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