Stories of Hope – Week 2

This week, Danny talks about our expectations and when our reality doesn't line up with what we thought was going to happen. As a UT fan, he is definitely familiar with disappointment and failed expectations but this can happen a lot in sports, moreso to UT, but as fans we go to a game, or we watch a game hoping for, wanting, desiring, EXPECTING, a win. Sometimes we are left empty, and disappointed because of those failed expectations.

  • "Have you ever had expectations for something that went nothing like you had hoped or expected? "

This unfortunately also happens to us in life, when we have expectations about certain things that don't go our way, maybe you never hoped or expected that the last part of your senior year would be spent at home, that you'd miss out on sports, prom, or graduation. Maybe you never hoped or expected that your parents would get a divorce, that your best friend would pass away in a car accident. You had different expectations.

I bet Jesus' disciples had different expectations than when and how He was led to the cross to die. I have heard that people were expecting the Messiah, the Savior to conquer the roman empire who had overtaken Israel to free them from the oppression of Rome. They even argue at one point over who was going to sit at the right and the left hand of Jesus when He takes the throne. ( Mark 10:35-45 ) When He had come for something so much bigger than what they expected. Jesus said in John 16:33,

' “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”'

John 16:33

Jesus was trying to prepare them for what was going to happen, because He knew what was going to happen, what was required of Him to not just free Israel, but free the world. After His death, the disciples were afraid, because their expectations were totally destroyed. They ran and hid because they were scared that the roman empire was going to do the same to them because they associated with Jesus. Their collective world came crashing down when their expectations did not meet their reality.

In that darkest moment, God was still doing something: Christ had risen. When all hope was lost, God was still doing something. Matthew 28:2-7

John 20:19-23 - When Jesus appeared to them, they were overjoyed. This is what Jesus said He was going to do, but they did not expect it to go this way, they did not see Him being killed to complete the work He started. They did not know in the midst of all this that Jesus was working.

  • Has there been a time when you can remember when something did not go the way you had hoped or expected?
    • How did God work through that time?
    • What good came from that, which wouldn't have otherwise?

Just because things don't work out the way you envisioned, doesn't mean that God isn't working. When you don't feel it, when you don't see it, He is working. We have that promise. Maybe that's where you are reading this, maybe there are things going on now that aren't going the way you expected; be encouraged because He has overcome the world, Have courage because He has overcome the world, have hope because He has made a way to have eternal life with Him, and now this is not our home.

'weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. '

Psalms 30:5

This is the promise that we have. That sadness and despair only lasts a moment, but that our joy, peace, and life with Him will last forever. Just because things don't go the way you expect doesn't mean He doesn't love you, just because you don't see Him working, doesn't mean He doesn't love you, just because you don't feel it doesn't mean He doesn't love you. Sometimes you will feel lonely, but scripture says that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you ( James 4:8 ) and He is faithful to do that.

Just because things don't work out the way you envisioned, doesn't mean that God isn't working.

If you are looking for this hope and peace, and don't have a relationship with Jesus, or just want to explore more, please leave a comment, I'd love to connect with you or connect you with one of the pastors I am covering in my notes.

An introduction to the Eleven Blog

Welcome to the Eleven blog; this is an outlet for the more spiritual side of my writings, thoughts, and feelings to be expressed. So often I would wrap up a devotional in the morning and have something revealed to me through that time spent in the Word and with God but I had no platform, no outlet for many of those thoughts to go, save Twitter or Instagram that in many ways were limiting on exactly what, moreso how much I could publish. 140 characters, or fumbling around in creative mode didn't really allow much room for thought or feeling, and in all reality it was simply blasting out the highlights without much regard for the real meat of the idea.

I also feel that the churches need to be written letters again. The Apostle Paul was onto something in his writings. Thoughts on paper are better worded, better put together and better saved than words shared verabally, in my feeling writing is the superior form of communication. Even Paul mentions how he is untrained in public speaking, (2 Corinthians 11:6) but without him, we would also not have a majority of the New Testament, especially if he had chosen to speak his messages instead of write them. The letters he wrote were most likely read aloud to the early church as they were forming, and are still incredibly relevant today. I seriously doubt this blog will carry that kind of weight, but if it helps one person, it's all worth it.

So, why Eleven? The significance of Eleven is that I lead high school student small groups at my church during the 11am hour at New Vision Baptist in Murfreesboro, TN. While we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted a way to teach and share what is on my heart, while I cannot be with them in person, I am hoping to use this outlet as a way to ultimately share God's love with them, and what He is teaching me weekly. Granted there is a low probability that any of them will read it, but I am generating content just in case. Who knows what boredom will lead them to. Often I end up sharing messages that God is teaching me anyway, so in the end, I'm simply writing to myself.

I will also share what we are doing in the student ministry through sermon notes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, or as I like to refer to it, the coronapocolypse, I have a lot of time on my hands, so I'm using that to build sermon notes which I would normally do for the 11am hour, just in a slightly different capacity.

I hope you enjoy the blog, for as long as it lasts. Everyday God is teaching me something new, I hope that maybe through my writings, something might be revealed to you too.

Thanks for reading,
-Chris

HOPE – Week 1

3/19

Nikki Tigg brings the first message in the NVStudents series "Hope" which coincides with the COVID-19 outbreak. This whole situation has transformed and redefined how we interact with one another, how we communicate and how we get the love of Christ into the minds of the students.

Nikki shared a song that she is listening to right now: Never Lost - Elevation Worship. She said that this song has brought her peace and joy amidst of this storm.

Nikki describes that we are in a battle, or at the very least it feels like we are in a battle, we are scared, there's fear, anxiety, and has caught us off our guard. Nikki reminds us that God can do all things. This virus has not caught God off Guard. "Oops" is not in His vocabulary, God is not in heaven wondering what He's going to do. God is sovereign, He is in control and the source of our hope:

Romans 15:13 NIV - 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. '

We are never alone. We have the hope and the gift of the Holy Spirit that brings us peace and hope that never ends. He is more than we can ever comprehend.

  • Psalm 138 gives us some pictures of God, David says that
    • 2) God's love and faithfulness is unfailing
    • 3a) When we call, He answers
    • 3b) He brings us courage
    • 5) His glory is great
    • 7) He watches over us, protects us, rescues us
    • 8) His love endures forever

As we put our hope and trust in the Lord, it melts our fears away. We can have confidence because we have put that hope in the Creator of the universe, with just the utterance of the words of His voice, He spoke everything we know into motion. This helps my fears melt away because my hope is placed in Him.

As Christians, we need do need to understand the strength that we have in times like this because of where our hope is placed. It starts however, with understanding how we use the word "hope". Many times our hope is misplaced. Nikki used the examples of "I hope it doesn't rain", or "I hope I pass my test." Our hopes do not carry the same weight of the hope in Jesus, it isn't the same kind of hope. Our hope in Jesus is eternal, whereas our hopes in the things of this world are fickle and limited.

Nikki reminds us that the others arounds us may not understand how we remain confident in the midst of this mess as a follower of Jesus, and that she is thankful for her hope in God, that she could not imagine what it would feel like to go through this without that hope.

Ephesians 2:12: 'At that time you were without the Messiah… …without hope and without God in the world. '

So many people need the love of Jesus. That is something that we can do now that we cannot do in Heaven. We have this unique opportunity to share the love of Jesus with the people around us:

Who Is Jesus? Jesus came to save us from sin - which are the wrong choices that we make, that separates us from God. God cannot be around sin because God is holy so therefore the punishment for sin is death. Short story is that we needed a savior, a sacrifice to make amends for our sins which we could not do on our own by our own actions or achievements. This is why Jesus came. He lived a sinless life, died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, rose from the dead three days later and now sits at the right hand of God and testifies on our behalf. It is in Jesus we place our hope.

If you want to know more about Jesus, please send a message via social media or email.

  • REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
    • How are you feeling right now? Are you scared, anxious, afraid, sad - why or why not?
      • Where do you run to when you are afraid? Does that help?
      • What or Who have you placed your hope in?
    • Why is it important to place your trust in God?
    • Are you spending time with Him through reading, and prayer?