The Great Treasure of Suffering

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The sufferings, which appear so hard and objectionable to us in our lives are in reality full of the greatest treasures a Christian can find. They are like the shell in which a pearl rests. And what is the pearl, the end result of the sufferings? Hope. Suffering produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us. Where there is still hope, there is no defeat; there may be every kind of weakness, much clamor and complaining, much anxious shouting; nevertheless, because hope is present, the victory has already been won. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Quoted in In Search of Deep Faith

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • This weekend was one of those as a pastor that you despise and love at the same time
  • It was brutal preaching yesterday
  • On Friday, I found out that good friends of ours, people we used to live in the same neighborhood as, he became a Christian in our MC, baptized in our church that she has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and it has spread to her liver and lymph nodes
  • It was a punch in the gut on Friday when Katie and I found out
  • Sitting with them at the hospital was one of those holy moments you don’t forget as you could just sense the Holy Spirit there
  • It was raw, tense, hopeful and yet realistic
  • Brutal
  • There are no words that can describe that
  • You can read more about their situation here
  • Be praying for them and their family
  • I was able to pray with their MC leaders today
  • Love the leaders God has placed in our church and their desire to shepherd and care for the family of God
  • All weekend then I felt unsure about my sermon, where it was going but I didn’t have any better ideas than what I had already written
  • Until…
  • 11pm Saturday night
  • I ended up staying up til 2am rewriting my sermon and then got up at 6am to keep my morning routine to pray over my notes, listen to the worship set and focus my heart
  • By the time I got up to preach I was beyond spent
  • God definitely carried me through
  • The connection during my sermon was incredible
  • I talked about how a follower of Jesus should handle adversity and walk through pain and suffering
  • Timely as I planned on preaching this passage in John over 18 months ago
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Next week, we’ll look at how God turns pain and tragedy into joy
  • Speaking of pain and adversity, how about my Steelers
  • Holy cow we are horrible
  • Unreal
  • I mentioned today a book that has been helpful to me on the topic of pain, suffering and adversity is Tim Keller’s Walking with God in Pain and Suffering 
  • It has definitely been a long season for me and our family and I’m looking forward to my monthly retreat day tomorrow
  • Always helpful to get away with my bible and Jesus, listen to worship music and walk around the woods praying and refilling my soul
  • Speaking of working ahead, we landed on our preaching calendar for 2014
  • We’re going to go through Habakkuk, do a series on the life of Samson and walk through 1 Corinthians
  • Should be fun to cover suffering, heaven, hell, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, speaking in tongues, healing, getting drunk at church and a whole host of other topics
  • So cool to meet so many guests at Revolution today
  • I’m blown away by how many new people keep coming to our church and are getting plugged in
  • Awesome to hear how Rev Up and Planet Rev are growing
  • So excited for the leaders we have in those areas
  • Huge prayer need for our church: praying up new MC leaders

This Weekend @ Revolution | Why God Allows Pain and Suffering in our Lives

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The question of pain and suffering, and why God allows things to happen in our world and to us is one of the most puzzling questions we have. It is also, according to Tim Keller, “the biggest roadblock for people believing in Jesus.”

I’ll often get questions like this:

  • Why did God allow ___________ to happen in my life?
  • Could God have stopped ____________ from happening to me?
  • Does God care that ____________ happened to me?

You’ve felt that frustration in your life, haven’t you! God, I need you to help me. Would you please make him love me back? Would you please heal me of the chronic pain? Would you please allow us to get pregnant? Would you please help me get this job?

And nothing. So you pray more.

And still you wait. And nothing seems to change.

One of the reasons I am so excited for this Sunday as because the passage I’m preaching from John 11 answers where Jesus is in the midst of our pain, hurt, suffering, questions and darkest moments. Not only that, it shows us how to handle those times, how to handle the times that don’t make sense.

So, if you’ve ever asked those questions or felt that way or know someone who has, then be sure to bring them with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).

And don’t forget, September 15th Revolution Church turns 5 years old and we are having a celebration (and a baptism)! If you are interested in taking that step of obedience and getting baptized, email Ciara Hull.

I’ll see you this Sunday (and next Sunday for our celebration).

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.

Cheap Kindle Books 8.27.13

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Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

Sermon Recap || Our Problem with God

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On Sunday, we continued our series at Revolution on the book of Ecclesiastes called MeaningWe looked at Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 15 and our problem with God.

One of the biggest roadblocks to following Jesus, trusting in God has to do with the question of suffering and the presence of evil in the world. Not necessarily on a grand scale, like why are there wars, genocides and orphans (those are part of it), but our questions typically hit closer to home:

  • Why can’t I get pregnant?
  • Why did I get abused?
  • Why did she leave me?
  • Why did he cheat on me?
  • Why can’t I trust anyone?
  • Why am I too trusting and get hurt all the time?
  • Why can’t I talk to my teenager?
  • Why can’t I make ends meet?

The questions we have usually come from our expectation of how we think our lives should be, how we think other people’s lives are or a combination of those.

What the writer of Ecclesiastes points out (vs. 11) that is that God has placed within us, a desire to know the answer to the questions of the universe, to wonder why things are the way they are, but that we will be frustrated.

The key verse to chapter 3 is in vs. 11 where the writer tells us that God makes everything beautiful in his time. Everything in the universe (what we see and don’t see), falls under God’s authority and rule (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and everything is made redeemed by God in his time.

That’s where it gets hard and frustrating for us. It isn’t in our time, on our schedule or maybe even how we would want it.

Why?

Because we can’t see the whole picture.

Tim Keller said:

“With time and perspective most of us can see good reasons for at least some of the tragedy and pain that occurs in life. Why couldn’t it be possible that, from God’s vantage point, there are good reasons for all of them? If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. Indeed, you can’t have it both ways.”

The end of all of this believing and trusting what Scripture tells us: That God always does what is good, right and perfect. 

That’s the truth of God’s sovereignty.

If you missed Sunday, you can listen to it here.

If something jumped out to you in this post or in this sermon, here are some recommended resources or some related sermons from Revolution on this topic.

Recommended Resources:

Related Sermons:

How we Should Approach Suffering

I’m very excited to read the new book from Tullian Tchividjian,Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free. Check it out…

In this world, one thing is certain: Everybody hurts. Suffering may take the form of tragedy, heartbreak, or addiction. Or it could be something more mundane (but no less real) like resentment, loneliness, or disappointment. But there’s unfortunately no such thing as a painless life. In Glorious Ruin, Tullian Tchividjian takes an honest and refreshing look at the reality of suffering, the ways we tie ourselves in knots trying to deal with it, and the comfort that the gospel brings for those who can’t seem to fix themselves—or others.

This is not so much a book about Why God allows suffering or even How we should approach suffering—it is a book about the tremendously liberating and gloriously counterintuitive truth of a God who suffers with you and for you. It is a book, in other words, about the kind of hope that takes the shape of a cross.

This looks great. Go grab it!

HT: Steve McCoy

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Point of Pain

Easter is finally here!

We’ve talked about what we are doing on Good Friday and Easter for weeks. I hope you’ve been praying about who you will be inviting to Easter and that you’ve reached out to them. As a way to help you prepare, here is a list of 10 ways you can do to prepare for Easter weekend.

One of the biggest questions in our culture has to do with pain and suffering. When you turn on the news, images and stories of hurt, abuse, bad people getting away with things, defenseless people continuing to be hurt.

Maybe you’ve experienced this in your own life. Maybe you’ve endured the pain of a parent breaking promises, abusing you, walking out. Maybe you’ve watched a spouse walk out and say, “I don’t love you anymore.”
In those moments, we wonder, Is there a point to this pain? Can God stop it? Does he know what is going on? Does he care?
On April 7 at Revolution Church, we will look at this very question. As part of our Easter services, we will be celebrating baptisms. If you haven’t taken this step and want to, please email Mike Miller.

It is definitely a week you don’t want to miss.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4 & 5:30pm at 6620 E 22nd. St. See you Friday & Saturday.

Easter Weekend at Revolution Church

One of the biggest questions in our culture has to do with pain and suffering. When you turn on the news, images and stories of hurt, abuse, bad people getting away with things, defenseless people continuing to be hurt.
Maybe you’ve experienced this in your own life. Maybe you’ve endured the pain of a parent breaking promises, abusing you, walking out. Maybe you’ve watched a spouse walk out and say, “I don’t love you anymore.”
In those moments, we wonder, Is there a point to this pain? Can God stop it? Does he know what is going on? Does he care?
On April 7 at Revolution Church, we will look at this very question. We hope to see you at one of our Easter weekend services at 4 or 5:30pm.
Click here for directions.

This Weekend @ Revolution: Loving God by Suffering

This is an unbelievable season at Revolution Church. Every week, we continue to see God bring more and more people to Revolution, and see more people take their next steps with God. Over the past 2 weeks, I preached on the topic of marriage and had a ton of conversations with people, and it was clear how God is moving in the lives of singles and couples. If you missed the sermons, you can listen here and here. The live Q&A I did with Katie each of the weeks is at the end of the podcasts.

We are getting closer and closer to Easter and I want you to be praying about who you will be bringing. It is going to be a powerful night as we look at Jesus’ death and resurrection and how that brings us hope in our lives, the only hope that lasts and changes anything. We will also be celebrating baptism that night (if you’re interested in getting baptized, email Mike Miller), so it is going to be a powerful night of changed lives. We are praying to have 500 people worshiping with us on April 7 and hearing the gospel that night as we look at “What pain and suffering teaches us.”

Also, a few weeks ago, I announced that we will be moving to a new location at the end of the summer. We are getting closer to finalizing where that will be, so please continue praying for the leadership as we look at places.

This weekend, we will continue our Weird series and look at 1 Peter 3:8 – 22 and what we can learn about suffering. What if I told you suffering was a sign of blessing and not the opposite of blessing?

When it comes to pain and suffering in our lives, we often ask, why does suffering exist? What is the point of the pain and suffering in our lives, our world? Does Jesus understand the pain and suffering we are going through? If so, does that change how we see it?

I think this can speak to where so many of us are as we try to make sense of the pain and hurt in our lives and try to see how God is able to redeem those things. How we handle the pain and suffering in our lives, I believe, says more about us than it does about God. And that’s what Peter shows us in the passage I’ll be preaching from.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4 & 5:30pm at 6620 E 22nd. St.
See you Saturday.

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Hope we Long For

This past Saturday was a great night as we kicked off our brand new series Weird on the books of 1 & 2 Peter. I got more comments about this message and what the Holy Spirit was doing in the lives of people than any sermon of recent memory. If you missed it, please check out the podcast. Also, if you didn’t pick up a study guide, you can download it here, along with this week’s personal devotional questions and our family devotional questions found here. Our family is heading out today to do our “weird family activity.” You’ll have to see the devotion questions to see what I’m talking about. But it has been cool talking about the gospel with our kids and seeing how the Holy Spirit is working in their lives.
This week, we are continuing in 1 Peter and looking at 1:3 – 5 and what our hope is, where it comes from, who holds it and what it means for us to build our lives on the only hope we have. Many of us are barely getting by, just trying to catch our breath or get through the trials, pain or hurt that we find ourselves in. Yet, our culture tells us to try harder, have more positive thoughts. But, does that work? Does more work, more positive thinking, will that deal with the pain in my life?
It is going to be a powerful night as we consider what God calls us to in the midst of hard times and how that looks weird in our culture.
On top of that, we will be introducing another missional community this week in our services. If you haven’t gotten plugged into a missional community yet, this is a great week to join one. You can go here and see when and where they all meet.
So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.
Remember, we meet at our NEW services times at 4 & 5:30pm at 6620 E 22nd. St.
See you Saturday.