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Arm Yourself

We are faced with enemies all around, but we are given weapons to fight back. Pastor Steve Mickel teaches.


it's really great to see you guys my name's Steve if you've been here last four or five weeks you probably know I'm the lead pastor of this church I haven't been around you haven't either obviously using a laugh at that so welcome back to church good to have you guys here today and excited to say hi to our spanish-speaking congregation as well live in I don't you guys know but there's live interpretation happening right now during this service we have a team upstairs that is translating what I'm saying into Spanish so if you'd like to get a little flavor in your message you might download the app and get more information on our website on that you might not understand it if you don't know Spanish there is that but we're so glad you're part of our community and how many of you like the changing seasons of Central Oregon who's out there yeah if you don't move back to California just kidding I'm just I'm just kidding I really I'm just kidding glad you're here glad you here I love seasons I do I'd love seasons I used to not I lived in Los Angeles for a while I'm from Redmond I don't hold that against me but I did I grew up born and raised in this area but I lived in LA for a while and it's like perfect when it comes to weather if you just like perfect but then I moved up here and I just I've just the seasons remind us of some things and there's some good things for us to be reminded that maybe you've been in a dark season it's a season and the opposite I won't even say you've been at a light season I won't even talk about that but I love the changes of seasons as it reminds us that what's most important anybody drop a kid off at college this fall like I did anybody it's one of the most painful things Evan wait now wait one day you are really young right now but one day you'll be as old as me and you'll be driving your kid to college dropping them off and driving away and seasons seasons the Parnell brothers not on staff anymore we can all celebrate that actually I'm in a mood Amelia I'm in a mood today you can tell it's just this service so far but oh it's really it's really painful but that yeah I mean they're good friends and leaving my son at college is painful right and these seasons remind us what's important and we need to be reminded of what's important we need to be reminded that as we step forward into our future whether you're going back to school can somebody say Amen for kids going back to school this week right whether you're whether you're you know you have dropped a kid off at college or maybe there's just a changing so maybe you took on a new job but what I know over these last several weeks people have been talking about it here there's a sense of newness in our church that a new season that we're about to enter into and and and and I want and I know that as we step into the future that God has for us corporately as a community but also for you individually there's gonna be pushback there always is there's never progress without pushback and I want to talk a little bit about how do we stay focused on what Jesus wants us to stay focused on in the pushback when that actually will come that as we step into this season and and and there's tension what do we hold on to in those moments because what I've realized is that humanity has a target on its back and I want to be depressing or dramatic or but I just I've realized that there that what Jesus said is true that there's an enemy out there that wants to kill still kill and destroy he wants to he wants to make it hard to believe in God he wants he wants us he wants to shake us and I want to talk about how do we what do we hold on to when the shaking happens because we're under attack our children our youth are under attack I've been under attack the last two years since my oldest son chase died at 21 I've been we experienced hardship and what do we hold on to when life happens I want to look at Luke chapter 22 for a moment if you have a body to turn there it'll be on the television in just a second but it's a story of Jesus he's predicting his death he's telling his closest friends that he's gonna have to die and go to the cross and Pete one of Jesus's closest friends says no actually that's not a good idea and and Jesus says well you all are gonna be scattered and Peter says no I'm gonna stick with you to the end I'm I'm not I'm going to walk with you I'm not gonna leave you I'm not gonna deny you even if I have to die with you now if you know the story of Peter what happens is as soon as Jesus is arrested he starts denying Jesus publicly and and so Jesus responds and he kind of knows Peters future he knows his next several steps and so Jesus responds to Peter in Luke chapter 22 and this is what he says Simon Simon which is Peters old name it's interesting I won't talk about it but it's interesting that he uses Peters old name in this dialogue but because the reason I think he is because Peter was living kind of he wasn't living into the future that God had for him and and and so Jesus Simon Simon Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat not just Peter but all of them but I have pleaded in prayer for you Simon that your faith should not fail so when you have repented and turned to me again strengthen your brothers and I want to talk a little bit about this let's take a few minutes and just talk about this because the first thing I noticed is that Satan is asked I was like Jesus is referring here to an enemy that wants to steal kill and destroy once to sift Peter and I thought about sifting the sifting is a what it means it's a shaking you know how they sift wheat it's kind of this idea of shaking and then in this context it's a shaking in order that your faith would fail in God that your faith in God would fail that's why Satan wants to shake Peter and the rest of the disciples and Jesus says Satan's asked to do this so it reminds me of Jove so you might know the story of Jobe that Satan asked God permission to to persecute Jobe and so there's something similar in this and Satan's asked to sift each of you like wheat to shake you I remember years ago I was riding motorcycles out in the Mojave Desert my father-in-law lived out there in that area and in rich Crest California we would every summer all right we were right and we would and we would take motorcycles out into the desert well I was off off by myself on one trip and I went up to this high mountain I was just praying and and just seeking God for the future was kind of one of these pivot moments it was like I the past is is what it was but there's something new happening and I felt that as I was praying I felt like God said Steve you're gonna get sifted I mean I felt that word and I didn't really know Luke 22 all that well but I immediately went to it I was like oh great good word don't you want the other words sometimes you know everything something to the right I had no idea what that word would mean until two years ago I had hard things happen prior to my son's death but when that happened it was a shaking so violent that I like Peter lost faith and that we see that's what happened see Jesus prays for Peter Peter he doesn't pray I wish I mean don't you wish it was a different prayer but I'm so glad Jesus is praying for us I mean that's good but he's not praying the prayer you want to keep you out of the sifting I wish you would I wish you I wish you would pray for that but he doesn't instead he prays that in the sifting your faith would not fail but we know it does why when you've repented I want I'm praying that your faith won't fail that that's the goal that's the ideal that's what we're going after but when it does but when it does when you when when everything that you thought you believed in God crumbles to the ground turn back to me Jesus is saying to Peter turn turn back your eyes toward me and then as a result of the sifting that's happened in your life would you then come along and strengthen your brothers your sisters those who also have struggled in this life Peter would later say we'll see in a moment that the enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour there's this enemy at work and now I want to come back to I said something just a minute ago and maybe you didn't catch it but my faith was not only tested for a moment it went away how could I believe in a God who would allow so much heartache this is the stuff that went through my head and I've talked about this a lot over the last two years and imagine Peter in that moment the Jesus is a rest in his persecution and people are throwing all kinds of accusations in Jesus and Peter sees it from a distance and he starts to question it's just the one that we waited for is he the Messiah and so when they came to Peter and they said Pete do you know this man you weren't you one of his followers he's like no not me Jesus would later and the great great narrative he would later restore Peter and it's an amazing conversation but but I want to come back to this idea that how did Pete strengthen his brothers post failure and repentance how did he come back to to this place and what did he what what did he help us teach us to hold on to when the suffering comes and when the temptations come and when and when the the questions come and and and so I want to spin the rest of our time looking at that and it starts in first Peter chapter 4 first Peter chapter 4 verse 1 says this since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh I love that he puts this in here because he reminds us that that Jesus is acquainted with our grief 'yes he understands our suffering and and out of that peter is able to say as sense therefore arm yourselves with the same way of thinking the same way that jesus thought and we're going to talk about what are some of the ways that Jesus teaches us to think and how do we arm ourselves whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin there's a sense here that it's like when when hardship comes and as we step into the new future that God has for us as kids go back to school as maybe you have a new job there's certainly a new season just in in the weather all of this is this as we step into the new there's an excitement and there needs to be an excitement but there's also a reality check at a moment where you say but I know there's probably going to be something that pushes back on me and as I do that what what I what I found is that the battle for pressing through those moments of discouragement and anxiety the battle happens in the mind that's where the war takes place it's how you think about your situation how what you think about God what you think about yourself in them in those moments of trial and temptation that determine how you can either either be devastated by your situation or you can find a way through your situation to the other side and that and and so there's some ways of thinking ways of thinking okay you know I you know I've fallen you know that I that I've struggled with faith over the last two years and I'm in and I'm in such a better place now because I held on to three things that I want to talk about better before I do that why you need that do a little self-reflection I'm done really vulnerable of here right now have you fallen have you have you have you ever had a moment in your life where you questioned everything where you wondered if it's all true or not if you have or if you might some day here's three things that you can hold on to that you can arm yourself it's a different way of thinking and here's the first one arm yourself with hope hope first Peter chapter 1 verse 13 it says this therefore preparing your minds for action say action it's kind of this idea and being sober minded it's kind of this idea of being wide awake I don't want to be found asleep anymore I don't want I want to be ready for when the the enemy goes after me I want to be ready when life doesn't work out the way I want it to I want to be there I want my mind to be ready I want it I want there to be some self preparation happening and so prepare your minds for action this word prepare is actually like I mean the best best illustration I can describe what this word means in the original language is anybody watch Star Wars so there's this scene between obi-wan and Anakin and they're about to fight anybody with me you know I remember that scene okay Anakin is gonna become Darth Vader's you guys won't know that so here okay so Anakin and his mentor obi-wan they're about to fight the point of the thing is is what they do is this idea of preparing they take off their robes prior to the fight remember those old karate movies and the people tie their robes up you know before they're gonna karate chop somebody that's the idea of girding yourself up preparing yourself for action for when the temptation comes for when the trial comes prepare your minds for action be sober minded and the first thing that I think Peters trying to strengthen us and is set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ put your hope in him and why is this important because we put our hope in so many other things and we are drastically disappointed in every other way and some of you would say well I've been disappointed in God and I get it and I understand it that's why I think it's so important to understand why do you hope in God are you hoping in God so that he'll fix every situation in your life are you hoping in God so that the sifting won't come even though he promises that trouble will come in this life are you putting your hope in God because he'll be with you when it comes and it'll help you find a way out when it does you see what I'm saying we want we want to believe in a God who will spare us from everything that God does not exist but he is a God who sent His Son Jesus to be with us in our struggle in our temptation and you can set your hope fully on him in his reality that's what Peter's trying to get us to think about how many of you seen the Shawshank Redemption anybody out there I know I'm representing a lot of movies it's a great movie if you need a little dose of Hope in your life watch that movie and somebody will say well let's read it or I don't care just I just don't Shawshank Redemption story of a guy named Andy Andy is in prison he's the only one that shouldn't be there it's a running joke in the movie he's the only innocent person in Shawshank everybody says they are but he's the only actually the only one and he is ends up being the librarian for the prison and so he's in the warden's office just him and just Andy and the guard and they get their first delivery of books and CDs and records and vinyls and all that and so he decides to do something drastic to breathe a little hope into the prison so he takes Mozart one of the Mozart vinyls and he locks the guard in the bathroom and he plays it for the whole prison to hear it's this amazing amazing scene of these voices drifting these beautiful voices hope-filled voices drifting over these these prisoners that many of them are life sentences and are never gonna get out and Andy ends up getting thrown into the hole for I think two weeks and he comes out smiling comes out smiling and his friends are like why are you snow buddy ever comes out of the hole smiling and he says hope hope hope is the best of things hope will take you out of your drew gray drab cages and give you life and purpose and meaning hope is the best of things I don't know about you but I can be a little pessimistic I I can watch 10 minutes of news and like the world is like oh my gosh we got to be in Croatia so you may know that we spent five years there as missionaries and we got to go back this summer back in June and we spent some time with our dearest friends and there's this phrase that's kind of a common kind of a phrase that it rhymes in the Croatian language and it's this phrase I've said it before it's bad today it'll be worse tomorrow Thanks can't wait for tomorrow but that but we can so easily get there where we stop hoping in tomorrow that life can cause so much pain and so much anxiety and so much depression that we can stop looking forward to the future and Jesus wants to remind us that there's a lot to look forward to that I'm going to be with you in the middle of it but I am also on the other side of it that this is just a season and that a new season is about to begin a new season is about to begin in your life and in my life and in the life of this church and we got to hold on to hope hold on to hope one of the ways I've done that my wife and I have done that is we've set our minds on things above not below we've kept our eyes not fixated on the problems in our pain it's there I'm not saying to ignore it it's real it's real but I we keep pressing our eyes back up to see him in his glory that he is census sitting at the right hand of the Father where all authority and power resides and he makes that available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit today that we can live in to that hope today that we can live in to the promises of God today by setting our minds on things above not below did you close your eyes just for a moment not some religious weird thing just close your eyes I want you to be focused for a moment would you allow yourself to hope again would you remind yourself why you have hope in God maybe you don't maybe today's the first day you pray a prayer like this I have hope in you god I put my hope in you Jesus I've tried all of the other ways I've tried to put my hope and in in relationships I tried to put my hope in government I tried to put my hope and in in in the political infrastructure I try to put my hope in welfare I tried to put my hope in in everything else in Jesus nothing has worked and so I put my hope in you you promise life after death and you promise life here and now and so I lean into you Jesus and I put my hope in you and you will not disappoint if I keep my eyes fixated on you here's the second way Peter arms our way of thinking the arms are with self-restraint arm yourself with self-restraint acts I'mnot acts first Peter chapter 2 1st Peter chapter 2 this idea of self-restraint is super important and I'll tell you why in just a moment beloved I urge you he writes as sojourners and exiles I just love this this I wasn't even planning on saying this but just be reminded that we don't belong here you know don't get so attached to this place that you don't look forward to the next one you know don't get so attached to think that this is all there is sure absolutely let's make this world as beautiful as we can make it relationally and and environmentally in every way let's make it as beautiful but just remember we are sojourners and exiles and as a result of that abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul I'm not preachers have used this and say you can't enjoy life you can't enjoy the pleasures that this life brings I don't believe that that's what it's saying but there are passions that if if they if there's no self-restraint will wage war against your soul what do I mean let me tell you personally as I walk through the death of my son I I gave myself permission to do things or to be tempted toward things that I would normally not do I felt justified matter of fact I believe that if you are going through a hard season you are you have a more proclivity toward succumbing to temptation than people who are not going through trial and temptation right now when our flesh is weak we are more prone to that and so I found myself starting to justify things that I would never have justified prior to my son's death because the fight listen the fight happens here in our minds and so we allow ourselves to start thinking to certain things to start thinking that I you know it's okay I mean I lost the son even some of you would say well that's okay for me personally it was a temptation to go back to pornography I was tempted after chase died there were moments where I fell in that temptation I went I remember telling Suzanne my wife and a couple other trusted people and I thought they were gonna just keep shame all over me you know I did that pretty well on my own they didn't have to they embraced me and helped me walk out a process of healing and restoration it's and some of you are like I know drinking is not an issue in Bend we use we use all kinds of things to self-medicate and we and when we go through trials and temptations we find ourselves saying yes to things that we typically would have said no to right or maybe you think you're the only one suffering you begin to minimize other people's suffering that also happens you stop being empathetic you know there's things that we allow ourselves that we would have never allowed ourselves before a few weeks ago I got quite a stir in our community matter of fact it was not just in our our community of faith but it was in our city I got I got calls from pastors because I mentioned that I that I started smoking my son's pipe after he died and that's all I said in most of the services and so I walked away thinking nothing like I was just you know no big deal but then I've quickly got text from really good friends who said hey Steve you might want to clarify what kind of pipe you've been smoking I was like I was like what are you talking about and I remember both vocal a good friend of mighty text to me said I know what kind of I know what pipe you were smoking but you might want to let everybody else know and it wasn't pot you guys I wasn't smoking marijuana and then somebody in the evening service that same service they said is that wrong anyway I'm glad I'm glad they're here I'm glad they're here but and maybe I should stop doing that and here's a test and I encourage every single one of you to do this in your life if there's something that you wonder just wonder you don't and I'm not talking out of religious or moral reasons by the way I'm not I'm just talking about what's got you is there anything that has you whether it's smoking drinking pornography whether it's anger maybe maybe there can be any kinds of things that you struggle with it would you would you stop just stop for a second and think if it's something that you can stop doing just stop doing it for a month like if you if you just if you're wondering right now I wonder if I'm drinking too much stop it doing it for a month and you'll know immediately whether it has you or not because if you start saying things like you know after one week of abstinence you go like yeah this is no big deal I mean it's no big deal God doesn't care well keep doing it for three more weeks and see if it's got you or not and I'm not saying this out it like I think that's wrong for you to drink I'm not saying that all I'm just saying that you that it's so easy to allow yourself freedoms that you would have never allowed yourself before you went through trial confusion uncertainties it's just a good practice to occasionally stop doing now if you're not doing anything except sitting on the couch I would reverse this and take a month and start doing something but self-restraint is at the core of Jesus telling us to pick up our cross and follow him when you lay down your life to get his to give your life to gain life you have to lose life this idea all right here's the third one and then we'll finish up I want Peter encourages us to not only arm ourselves with self-restraint and hope but to arm ourselves with faith arm yourself with faith first Peter chapter 5 I love this as we think about arming yourself first beautify says humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God this is a self humiliating kind of humility it's like I am intentionally putting myself under the hand of God to work in my life however he chooses so that at the proper time he may exalt you casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you be sober-minded there it is again be wide awake be watchful your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour don't be unaware of his schemes don't don't just think that life is happening and God's just letting it happening there's an enemy out there seeking to do what he does best is still kill and destroy and Jesus wants to come and say no more to that so resist him and I at first I thought well that's the key resist the devil resist the devil resist the devil I grew up in a Pentecostal church resist the devil nazy the preacher always got that devil part like room you know resist the devil and I'm like now that's not it the way that you resist him is right here stay firm in your faith stay firm in your faith don't lose faith knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your Brotherhood throughout the world this is not uncommon you guys remember when I went went after chase died I went to Africa I went to Uganda to be with our missionaries Britain Virginia ear wicker and I said we went to this conference and I was and it was just months after chase died I was so broken I was I was just like I was just broken in front of them and I'm the main speaker and I'm just telling them what happened and everything pastors came up and surrounded me and Suzanne and Kincaid just with so much love and grace and then over the next several days I started hearing story after story after story of other pastors who've lost lost children it's not uncommon in Uganda it's common place it encouraged me it encouraged me to stay firm in my faith to not let go of what I believe about God about who he is I've questioned I've questioned whether God is still good or not I've questioned whether God is for me or against me I've questioned whether God will sustain me my deepest darkest moments and I've questioned that in their space we know them the Peter narrative there's space for us to question and have doubts and even for our faith to fail but I don't want you or me to live there I don't want us to set up camp in a place that lacks faith I want us to live into this place that says God no matter what happens in this life I will not lose faith in you I will continue to put my faith in who you are and what you promise and if life doesn't make sense I am NOT going to allow myself to be shaken to the place where my faith fails again [Applause] my book is almost done I say that tongue-in-cheek a little bit because I thought it was done about a year ago boy once an editor gets a hold of it is this okay if I take a minute you guys good got lunch plans I am chapter 5 of my book is about the goodness of God and I wrote it I wrote it I sent it to the editor the whole book and she's she's great she's just like really honest and she read that chapter and she sent it back to me was all marked up you know remember those school teachers that marked everything in red it wasn't in red but it felt like it that's how I saw it I read it and this is what she said her synopsis at the end was Steve I believe that God is good but after reading whether or not you believe God is good she says I don't believe you believe God is still good it's a chapter about God still being good and it caused me to go wait I I've let go of some things justified some things because of circumstances in my life that shook so rattled me so hard that I just I dropped some things I let some things go and Jesus is so like merciful he's just like in that space he just he allowed me to grieve the way I grieved and he allowed me to be where I was but then he doesn't want me to stay there he doesn't want you to stay there and he comes back and he gently like he did with Peter do you love me do you love me don't let go don't let go of what you believe about God about whether he's for you or against you because the devil wants to sift you like wheat he wants to shake you until your faith fails and I want I want today to be a marker for you that you look at him and say never I will never let go of my relationship with God because of what life throws at me or what he throws at me what the devil throws at me I will never let go of hope the faith and of self-restraint and when I do because I never will but when I do he is faithful to move me back into relationship with him I want to invite the band back up and I want to give you one last thing it's a catalyst it's a catalyst that will help you not lose hope or faith in the midst of the situations in life it's a catalyst that we often forget about when the battle rages it's a strategy that we need to employ even more as we as we move into the future that God has for us it's something that that will will stir up your faith it will strengthen your faith it will allow you to have hope in the midst of really problematic times and and and it will and if you just hold on to this if you just practice this it will do something in your life when it comes to faith and hope and here it is in Isaiah 61 Jesus actually quotes Isaiah 61 you might remember this where he says he gets up and he opens up a scroll when he first starts his ministry and he reads out of this chapter the Spirit of the Lord of God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim Liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound let me just pause here for a moment and say that he is still doing this work today he is still bringing good news to the poor he is still binding up the brokenhearted he is still proclaiming Liberty to the captives he is still opening up the prison doors to those who have been bound by addictions he is still doing that work today and it's something for us to celebrate to proclaim he goes on to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor today is that day even in the midst of problems even in the midst of temptations that we still face even in the midst of the situations in the world around us I believe that God is saying to us so powerfully that today is the day of my favor lean into it walk into it know that obviously that when the pressure comes and when when the temptations comes that you need to have faith and hope and self-restraint to walk through it but but know that on the other side there is favor there's joy oh my goodness you guys joy verse three to grant to those who mourn in Zion can we just replace the ion with Central Oregon the world my neighborhood my schools to grant to those who mourn those who are sitting in a place of mourning in the Jewish tradition they would put ashes on their head it was just this this time it's like there's nope there's no way through it this like this I just got to sit here in my grief and in my mourning and and he's saying to them to them who mourn I'm gonna give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes I'm gonna do a transfer I'm gonna do I'm gonna do an exchange in your life today I'm gonna start the process today I'm going to where I'm going to finish a process maybe that's happened happening in some of our lives over the last couple of years he's gonna he's gonna do an exchange those who mourn instead of ashes you're gonna have a beautiful headdress the oil of gladness instead of mourning the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit so that they may be called oaks of righteousness the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified our world needs Oaks of righteousness that have had a transfer that I have an exchange for Mourning into gladness from sadness into joy from defeat into victory and I'm not a name it and claim it kind of preacher at all you guys know that if you've been around here for a while but what I do know is that there are promises of God that we need to lean into that the suicide rate in Central Oregon would drop because of you and my influence because of our joy in the Lord because of the victory that God has in our lives we need to exude that everywhere we go in every conversation that we have that there is life on the other side that there's hope where there is hopelessness wherever there is death that there would be life begin to spring out of the soil of those places now we would be the people of God that have exchanged that had this exchange happen how does that happen how does that exchange happen that's why I want to go how does this exchange happen praise praise do something for me with you guys this week when z21 is telling us how bad everything is would you crank up the worship music just leave just leave leave the news is on let it play but what in the background would you hear how mighty and how worthy of praise God is and what I believe is that as we lean in said that and not does God will begin to exchange a spirit of heaviness in our world with a spirit of joy and gladness so we're gonna do that we're gonna practice today which started out as morning I believe will be turned to gladness what begin as despair will turn to hope and as we sing these last just a couple more songs here you guys and then we'll be finished would you allow an exchange to happen in your life which you remind yourself that God is bigger as Joe said I had no idea I had no idea what I was talking about you are so much grander and great greater than I ever imagined you to be and allow the praise of him too to take our morning and our sadness and anxiety and our depression and our addictions and there and our loss and everything that we struggle with an exchange for joy contentment hope faith [Music] in the crazy in the dressing you are making [Music] in the sir [Music] breaking so I [Music] when I traced [Music] a vessel [Music] [Applause] [Music] me why [Music] here [Music] in the crash [Music] you are being [Music] in the zoo so you are ready [Music] you are breaking so [Music] today [Music] your vessel make me an offering God made me whatever you want me I came give me Jesus bring me wine [Music] Jesus bring wine [Music] but we stand we're gonna see one final song today together I'll praise the name of the Lord just let us signify a new season a new moment in your life in my life this church to sing [Music] yes to Calvary where Jesus man and died for me I see his words his hands his feet by Savior that curses his body and rest [Music] injustice to the entrance me by heavy snow and [Music] is the day [Music] [Music] the at breakup that's under [Music] Oh [Music] for Christ's sake [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] we [Music] here's what I wanted to do this week you guys every time that you drive by a high school or a middle school or an elementary school this week would you do what we just did would you praise and pray would you take authority that we have as the people of God to breathe life over into our schools to to speak words of comfort and encouragement to all those that will be there the faculty the teachers will walk when you walk through your neighborhood would you do this would you praise and would you pray but I can't tell you prayer and praise matters it an exchange happens in us but then it also begins to filter out from us to all those around us and how many of you know that Central Oregon and their world needs a little bit of hope more life more joy than what we're experiencing today and why not it comes from the church the one who is and was and will ever be who died and rose again and lives today and every single one of us why not us so Jesus we start today by praying for all those that are going back to school this week Jesus we pray for faculty we pray for teachers we pray for students Jesus that there would be life in every classroom that there would be joy in every classroom that Jesus wherever there's depression wherever there's anxiety we actually rebuke it in the name of Jesus and we pray for life to enter into those places as Jesus for hope to enter into those places Jesus for your presence to enter into those places Jesus wherever your people men women teachers students workers neighbors wherever your people are Jesus the atmosphere would change the atmosphere would change places that maybe are lacking hope and encouragement when I want to when a follower of Jesus walks into that place they would bring hope with them they would bring your presence with them Jesus give us life give us love give us joy give us patience give us kindness give us generosity because this world needs you more of you and so we pray Jesus for all those what we pray for our neighbors we pray for those that are in relationship to us Jesus that they would see hope in us they would see hope in us spilling out and they would ask it house for a reason for the hope that is in us and that we would be ready as the people of God to share with them the hope that we found in you we thank you Jesus for all that you're doing in your name amen prayer teams are available you can see them gathering here over at the prayer wall we decided because it's sometimes it's hard to find who's who's on the pro team and you just want to go up to a stranger assuming they're on the protein and say can you pray for me because that might get weird and awkward so our prayer team has a little blue glowsticks actually it makes it really easy for you to find them and that's sweet starwars that's right thank you for that reference that was my people right there so um you can find them easily more easily that way please don't leave here if you need prayer let them let them partner with you our connect event is happening out in the atrium right now you know this fall a lot of ministries a lot of classes a lot of events a lot of volunteer opportunities open wide up and and sometimes it's hard to feel like you can get connected in a church like ours and then I and then I walk out in the atrium today and I see the mass massive ways of getting connected and it's only a matter of whether you have the time and the ability and and just the passion to step in and go like I want to serve or I want to want to be a part of a group or I need to get involved in this class whatever it might be there's so many opportunities out there make sure you check it out it's a great opportunity for that and then next week I want to invite you back to next week both first Wednesday a friend of mine Josh Cordell is going to be sharing and he I are gonna have a little dialogue about love about how to love radically in our in our world and then this weekend this coming Sunday next week I'm gonna be launching a series called radical kinship and how many of you have heard first Corinthians 13 read at a wedding it's not for married people I mean it is but just like because they're part of the body of Christ first Corinthians 13 was written for people like you and me and how we relate to one another into a world outside of the church and so this is a hugely important and radical message for us about how we're going to love into our future the people around us and so I hope you can join us back for that next week other than that God God be with you guys have an amazing life giving week you can go [Applause]

Other sermons in this series