It is Easter Sunday. In this week’s sermon, Pastor Phil shares how the resurrection was a disruptive event. There was an earthquake. It shook the ground. But not only did it shake the ground; it shakes history, our lives, and the darkness. We rejoice in the victory over death that Jesus won. We rejoice in the shaking still going on today. He moves the stones, he moves the mountains, he moves whatever challenge we might face. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. If death can’t defeat him, then nothing else will.
- “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9, ESV)
- “A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”” (Isaiah 40:3–5, ESV)
- “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1, ESV)
Behind physical and safety needs, our #1 need is our need for love and belonging. God created us as relational beings. He said it is not good that man be alone (Genesis 2:18). There is a whole host of troubles that we encounter when we are isolated from others. But living in a culture that values individualism, we have slowly grown more isolated from each other. The technology that is designed to help us better connect often leaves us disconnected from real authentic face-to-face relationships. Loneliness is grown to epidemic proportions. So how do we respond? How do we build better relationships?
Our lives are filled with daily struggles. We are hurting physically. Many of us are tired and have low energy levels. We are out of shape. Others of us are in debt and struggling financially. We find it difficult to make ends meet. Others of us have lives filled with relational strife. Marriages are especially hurting.
But Jesus came to give us hope not just for life eternal, but also for the life we live now. As we face the struggles in life we are invited to submit ourselves to his will in these areas of our lives to discover the abundance he desires to give. It is called discipleship.
If you want something to be different in your life, you have to be willing to do something different. Discipleship is all about discipline and doing the difficult thing that will give us lasting freedom and joy.
Our theme for the week is strength. There is physical strength, but there is also strength of character. Strength gives us the ability to endure and accomplish more. In difficult times we call upon strength to push through. Strength gives us the ability to aim higher and run farther.
The source of our greatest strength is not found in ourselves. It is found in Jesus. We are reminded in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. If we are relying upon our own strength we will not get far.
Human strength is fleeting. It runs out. You may be physically strong today, but one day age or illness will take that strength from you.
Human strength is also limited. Eventually you will encounter forces that are stronger than yourself. You may be strong, but there is always something or someone who is stronger.
But God’s strength endures. God’s strength is always replenished. And there is no force in the universe that is stronger. There is nothing that stands against God’s strength. So if we are to find true strength, it will be God’s strength.
This week we will look into how we tap into God’s strength:
This is the final message in our series “Understanding Worship.” Throughout this series we have shared how worship is not about what we get, but about what we give. Worship is about living our lives for the glory of God. It is to surrender our lives to Him.
We do not worship for our benefit. We worship for God’s benefit. Nevertheless, there are benefits we receive from worship. In this message Pastor Phil shares what some of those benefits are.
Worship is about more than the greatness of a song. It is about the greatness of our God. God is greater. He is more beautiful than the most beautiful image we can imagine. He is more powerful than anything of this world. When we are truly confronted with his greatness, there is no other response than a response of worship.
This Sunday we did not sing any music during worship. Pastor Phil explains the reason for this and how sometimes the most significant act of worship is to be silent before God. When we encounter some of the most amazing sites in this world, we don’t sing a song, but just stand there in awe. Sometimes the best response is to just stand in awe of our good and gracious God.
What time do we worship? Good Shepherd Worships at 8am and 10:30am on Sunday mornings. That is the time for our corporate worship. Those are times when we come together for worship. But we individually engage in worship more than just those times.
We sing the song “Come Now Is the Time to Worship.” NOW! Anywhere. Any time. Worship is an activity we engage in around-the-clock. It may not be in the corporate setting called the church. But we all worship as individuals.
This message is about being intentional and mindful during the week so that our worship is focused on the creator God rather than the created things. It is about having our cup filled during the week so that it will overflow when we gather with other believers in the corporate setting.
Worship is not for us. It is for God. It is a natural response to what God has done for us. It begins and ends with him. The goal of worship is that God would receive glory and praise.
When we engage in heaven’s worship we will be lost in the wonder, mystery, and majesty of God. Nothing else will be matter. We will be oblivious to everything but God.
What if we worship in that same way today? Our worship might look a lot different.