Amazing Savior, Part 1

Pastor Jay breaks from his regular sermon series to begin a special 2-week series, Amazing Savior, with Part 1 from Matthew 20:17-19.

Matthew 20:17-19 (ESV)

And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Be amazed at the Savior’s character.

  • He is brave.
  • He is meek and humble.
  • He is confident of His Father.
  • He is obedient beyond our comprehension.
  • He is loving beyond degree.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What is the first picture that comes to mind when you think about Jesus?
  • What makes it so sad about the people who were singing “Hosanna” the week before Christ died?
  • What is the characteristic of Jesus from the sermon you like the most?
  • Think of one way you can be like Christ this week by using that characteristic.

Owning Your Light

Pastor Jay continues his sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers with “Owning Your Light” from 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8.

1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 (ESV)

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Know yourself to be a child of the light.

  • Accept the label of “light.”
  • Reject the darkness.
  • Stay sober.
    • Embrace your identity.
    • Take a militant posture.
      • Put on the breastplate of faith and love.
      • Put on the helmet of the hope of salvation.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What was something that was hard for you to do, but you knew it was the right thing to do?
  • Have you ever done something you knew was right, but others didn’t like what you did?
  • Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. How can having a relationship with Christ make it easier?
  • Think of one thing you can do this week to stand out for Christ.

When He Comes

Pastor Jay continues his sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers with “When He Comes” from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 (ESV)

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.

Let’s be clear about the timing of his coming.

  • It will overtake them by surprise.
  • It will not overtake us by surprise.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Have you ever been scared? What was the situation like?
  • Would you have been scared if you knew how things were going to work out beforehand?
  • Jesus promises to return. We don’t know when, but we do know it will happen. Is that scary at all?
  • Take time this week to thank God for his plan in sending Jesus again for us.

Secret Church Simulcast

This year, we will once again be hosting a simulcast event called “Secret Church”. We invite you to join us for this intense time of worship, prayer for the persecuted church, and Bible study as David Platt leads us in our study of “Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action.” This event is sponsored by the missions team at Grace Community Church, so we are pleased to make it available at no cost.

Click here to register to attend the simulcast (free).

The culture around us is constantly changing, and successive changes are often accompanied by significant challenges. So how does the call of Christ compel us to respond to these challenges? How does a Christian respond to the rapid rise of so-called same-sex marriage and the increasing acceptance of homosexuality? How does a Christian live in a world of sex slavery and rampant pornography, a world where babies are aborted and widows are abandoned? How does a Christian think in a culture of pervasive racial prejudice and limited religious liberty? What does a Christian do in a church that exalts prosperity amidst a world of extreme poverty? During this Secret Church, we will explore biblical foundations for answers to these questions and come to significant conclusions regarding how Christ calls every Christian to engage culture with a firm grip on the gospel in the church and a fervent passion for God’s glory in the world.

The idea for Secret Church came when David Platt visited a part of the world where Christians regularly face persecution for their faith. Believers in countries like this who have been found worshipping in secret have been shot, burned and imprisoned.

However, it turns out that the vast majority of believers in these situation are undeterred. They risk persecution, and many travel for hours to study the Bible, pray and fellowship. These “church” gatherings usually happen in a home or other small location, and are often done in secret. Pastor and author David Platt observes “These small groups of Christ-followers often meet for many hours in study, prayer and fellowship, as it is dangerous to travel to ‘church’ and they want to make the most of their time together.”

When Platt first traveled to a country where such persecution was normal, he was convicted by the dedication and seriousness of the national believers. They saw their time with other believers in prayer and the Bible as precious. He realized that in the United States, with such a low “cost” for church attendance, we too often approach our gatherings very casually. We don’t want the service to go too long, and prefer to be rather passive in our participation.

In response, he decided to have a gathering called “Secret Church” in Birmingham, Alabama. The idea was to challenge Christians in the United States to meet together for 4-6 hours with the resolve and focused intensity that he had observed in these other countries. Additionally, he wanted to take time to pray intentionally for persecuted Christians in other parts of the world. Those are the two key elements of Secret Church–intense, focused Bible study and prayer for the persecuted Church.

This gathering has since become a regular event, happening once or twice a year, and “Secret Church” has expanded beyond Platt’s former church in Alabama to simulcast locations around the country. And this year it will be right here in Great Bend. Grace Community Church will be simulcasting Secret Church 15 on Friday, April 24. This event is open to the community, and it will run from 6pm-Midnight.

Please consider coming, but do not consider it lightly. The theme this year is “Christ, Culture and a Call to Action”. We’ll be diving deep into the Bible regarding this subject. It’s “not for the uncommitted or the faint of heart.” But doesn’t that describe the life of following Jesus?

Click here to register for our simulcast (free, but registration is required). More info about Secret Shurch is available at secretchurch.org.

An Informed Hope, Part 2

Pastor Jay continues his sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers with Part 2 of “An Informed Hope” from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

We can be informed about the Christ’s return.

  • Expect that the Lord Himself will descend.
  • Expect angels.
  • Expect a trumpet.
  • Expect the resurrection and rapture.
  • There is proof that these corners are fixed.
  • There are good reasons why we need to grasp the basics.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What is one thing you’re excited about?
  • The Bible tells us Christ is coming. How hard is the wait for that?
  • What makes his return so important to Christians?
  • What is one thing you can do this week to remind yourself of his return?

An Informed Hope

Pastor Jay continues his sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers with “An Informed Hope” from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 (ESV)

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

We can have a firm grasp of the hope that is ours beyond the grave.

  • Our hope softens our grief.
  • Our hope rests firmly on the resurrection of Jesus.
  • Our hope is that God will bring the dead with Christ at his return.
  • Our hope for the dead in Christ is no inferior hope.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What is one thing you hope to get for your birthday? Why?
  • What does “hope” mean?
  • What does it mean to have hope in Jesus?
  • What is one way you can remember the hope we have through God?