Endurance, Encouragement, and Hope
The Bible is our main source of the endurance, encouragement, and hope that we all need.
Title: “Endurance, Encouragement, and Hope”
CHURCH PLANTER Q&A
(Transform Church Slide)
Well today is an exciting day as we are revealing the pastor and location of our 5th church plant!
Our hope is to plant new churches all over the metro to help change the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
And we do this by giving 5% of all of our offerings to help start new churches, giving training & coaching, and by sending some of our people.
Which is all pretty counter-intuitive to how a lot of churches do ministry, but as we always say:
Our goal is NOT to build the kingdom of Renovation, it’s to build the kingdom of God.
And we know that we can do that in a much greater capacity by planting churches.
In fact, check this out:
Right now, already, the number of people in our church plants is equal to the number of people in Renovation.
And the day, this 5th church starts, we’ll cross a cool tipping point, where there will be more people worshipping God on a Sunday morning in our church plants than here at Renovation!
That’s exponential world-change…coming right out of this room.
All right, our next church plant is going to be pretty close to us.
We just planted in Mounds View last year, and this one will be close as well.
My guess is we probably won’t plant this close for the next number of years.
Our next church is going to be in the Andover/Ham Lake area.
We have an agreement in principle with a particular school in the Andover/Ham Lake area, but we aren’t getting the final yes from their Board for another week or so…so that’s why we can’t give you the final exact location.
At this point, I’m going to call up our next planter who is Mark Katzenberger
Many of you know Mark as he has been speaking here since all the way back in 2012!
QUESTION ONE: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do before this? Your family?
QUESTION TWO: Tell us why you feel called to plant a church? And why in this Andover/Ham Lake area?
QUESTION THREE: What is Transform Church going to look like? What kind of church do you want to start?
If you look under your chair right now, you’ll find an interest response card for Transform Church (it’s the white one). Go ahead and take a look at one.
There’s a number of ways you can respond if you have some initial interest.
You can join Mark’s prayer team, give a financial gift to help them get started, OR…
We are looking to send up to 20 people from our church (that includes kids) to go with to help start this church for a period of 9 months.
And then, maybe you come back, maybe you stay.
But for at least 9 months, you go, you serve, you give, you join a small group, you do whatever it takes to help get a new church off the ground and reach even more people for Christ.
If you’re interested in that adventure, you can stick that card in the offering later in the service.
All right, thanks Mark, you can have a seat.
Okay, let’s say you have a question about life, and you want answers…what do you do?
Most of us…we google it.
Or you say, “Siri”
And of course they quickly can give us answers from such experts such as:
Quora, and Reddit…and Wikipedia
In today’s world, you can get quick/cheap advice any time you want.
But it takes some effort to get great advice and direction.
To open a book…
To find an expert to talk to…
To do research…
And sometimes I wonder if living in a world of “quick advice” makes it harder for us to open up the Bible and study it.
Because that’s not fast…and it takes work.
But the results are one hundred times better than what we might just quickly google.
As we all walk in our busy and difficult lives…
We experience discouragement.
We face obstacles.
Deal with depression, anxiety, fear, stress
Many of us have serious questions about life.
And the book with all the answers…often sits on our shelves.
Or the app is unopened.
But I want to tell you this morning, God wants to give you answers for these things…to guide your life.
And so my aim this morning is to help spark a renewed interest for you in the Word of God.
I want to focus in on just one verse this morning…as there is a lot packed into it about the Bible
Let me give you some context on this verse.
The Apostle Paul is trying to help the Christians in Rome solve a problem, and He does so by quoting an Old Testament Scripture to them
And in doing so, he gives us this beautiful verse about the power of Scripture
(Romans 15:4) – NIV – Leave up until next slide
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
The passage says that EVERYTHING that was written in the Scriptures was written to teach us.
Or as Paul says in 2 Timothy ALL Scripture is God-breathed.
And if everything in Scripture is written to teach us…what are some of the important things the writings are teaching us?
If you were going to outline or diagram our verse from Romans, I think we could say:
1) Teach Endurance
2) Provide Encouragement
And those 2 things lead to hope
Let’s start with endurance.
(Endurance, Encouragement, & Hope slide)
We need this.
I’m going to say something that you might not like, but that’s okay because it’s true ☺
We are a weak culture when it comes to our ability to endure pain or trial.
Affluence has a way of weakening one’s ability to withstand suffering.
And thus, our suffering muscle atrophies and becomes weak because we don’t have to use it on a daily basis like maybe our friends in Haiti do
Even in comparison to my grandparents generation who lived through the Depression and WWII…
We struggle with enduring through trials…
We struggle with holding fast to God.
But our verse today says that the Bible will teach us endurance.
When you read the Bible, you read about people like Peter…
And how he was locked up in prison for his faith…
And yet, God was faithful…
We read through the incredible missionary journeys of Paul in Acts.
And you read how Paul was stoned for his faith, beaten up, put in prison multiple times, shipwrecked, and on and on.
And yet, he trusts in Jesus.
So when we feel like our lives our falling apart.
Something went wrong in our pursuit of purchasing a home, or at your job…a relationship is falling apart.
And you open up the Old Testament to the book of Job.
And the guy loses his entire business and all of his kids in one day.
And yet he says:
(Job 19:25-26 – NIV)
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
When you have the discipline…to open up your Bible…
The Scriptures can speak endurance into your life.
When life feels overwhelming, or you feel like giving up…
Often it’s because we’ve gotten so focused on our own story, and our own life.
But the Scriptures remind us that life isn’t all about us.
They remind us that this life isn’t all there is
They remind us that in everything…God is faithful.
And what do those things do in your heart?
They give you endurance…perseverance.
And many of us need that kind of endurance to just soak into our lives.
James Gray, who was one of the early presidents of the Moody Bible Institute, once said that early on in his teaching career he had a Christian friend who had a peace and spiritual poise that deeply impressed him.
Since Gray wanted that same stability in his life, he asked his friend what the secret of his confidence and positive outlook was.
His friend said, “It all started through reading Ephesians” (one of Paul’s letters in the Bible)
Gray was surprised by this simple response. He had read Ephesians many times but had never experienced the same strength he saw in his friend.
Noticing Gray’s puzzled look, the man explained. “On one occasion, when I was on a short vacation, I took a pocket edition of Ephesians with me…
“Lying down one afternoon, I read all six chapters.
“My interest was so aroused that I read the entire letter again.
“In fact, I did not lay it down until I had gone through it some 15 times.”
His friend then said, “When I got up to go into the house, I was in possession of Ephesians; or better yet, Ephesians was in possession of me.
I had the feeling that I had been lifted up to sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus—a feeling that was new to me.”
The book of Hebrews tells us that God’s word is living and active…
God wants it inside of you.
Let me give you an example of this…You ever heard of Ghost Ants?
They’re mostly found in warmer climates around the world…you can find them in the US even if you go to Florida or Texas.
What makes them unique is they have transparent abdomens.
In 2016, a photographer in India noticed this when he saw them turning white after they began drinking milk that was spilled on his floor.
He then got the idea to make sugar water with food coloring…and look at this amazing photo he got:
(GHOST ANT PHOTO)
This is the type of imagery the Bible is giving us today.
As Jesus says:
(Matthew 4:4b) – NIV
4‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
We are to fill ourselves with God’s Word…so that it’s IN US
Are you doing that?
God wants people to SEE it in you.
God wants it in you, so that when the hard times come (and they will)…
That you will be so full of his truth…that you will know deep down in your soul…that GOD IS FAITHFUL.
And that you could give 100 examples of why He is.
We’re also told in our verse in Romans 15:4 that the Scriptures provide us not just with ENDURANCE, but also with ENCOURAGEMENT
You don’t need to live life merely thinking, “Okay, tough it out…endure through this…heaven will come someday”
You can be encouraged in God’s love every day.
Encouragement is found in places like the Psalms of David…
Who by no means had an easy life.
King Saul spent years trying to kill him.
How many of you have had a king chasing you around trying to kill you while you hid in caves?
One of David’s sons tried to take his throne.
Another son dies in infancy
One of his kids killed another one of his kids.
It’s…well, it’s a mess.
And yet, despite all of these things happening to him…
He still finds encouragement…where? In the arms of God.
And he writes of it constantly in the Psalms.
You can find encouragement every day in the Gospel.
Many of us wake up each day…feeling the weight of yesterday’s sins.
And yet, if you open up the Bible…
And you read, that for you, Christian, there is no condemnation today.
That if you believe Jesus died for you on the cross, and you’re His disciple
That you are still saved.
That nothing can separate you from God’s love.
Your sins have been removed as far as the East is from the West.
It’s the encouragement in Scripture that allows us to go on.
And not just to go on, but to thrive.
Are you seeking it out?
So many of us are struggling because we need endurance and encouragement.
But we need it in the same way you need vitamins to keep you healthy.
I know a lot of you, when you get sick…you start taking airborne or something and go on some vitamin binge.
But any doctor or pharmacist will tell you, what you need is daily health.
You need it every day…to build against it.
It works the same with the Bible…
Some of you wait to open it, until you start having troubles…
And what we need to do to build against giving up…to build against discouragement…is a daily dive into the Scriptures
How are you making time to meet with God in prayer and study His Word each day?
Let me give you a really practical way you can grow in your love for God’s Word.
Learn how to study it.
Or study it at a whole new level.
There are A LOT of really unique things about this church.
The fact that we plant a lot of churches, that we have 80% of our people in our very unique House Groups…
And another one is that we offer FIVE free Bible & Theology Classes every summer in what we call “Renovation U”
(Renovation U Slide)
You’ll get more details in announcements, but basically we have 5 classes that go in the order you see on the screen
And they meet for 8 or 9 weeks this summer.
There are sign-up cards under your chair if you want to look at them
First Steps is where you can start diving into what the Bible has to say on core beliefs of Christianity
This is great for those of you who are exploring Christianity, new to your faith, or just never studied your faith.
Mining God’s Word teaches you how to study and interpret the Bible.
Theology 101: You get to study subjects like the trinity, creation, and a ton about Jesus
Theology 201, which I’m teaching this year…and I think we have the lowest amount of people signed up for.
So sign up people…
I’m going to teach about the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, what the Bible says about men & women in leadership, end times…
Going to be great.
And then we have Old Testament Survey 1
Where you will go through the first half of the Old Testament with Dave Anderson (who’s a retired pastor at our church that’s preached about 2,000 times) and you’re going to love learning from him
And I’m spending a minute or so talking about this…because we want you to LOVE the Word of God.
And this is such a great way for you to fan the flame again.
To jumpstart yourself back into finding daily endurance & encouragement
Take a look at this video of how students from last year felt about taking classes
(Renovation U VIDEO)
Last year we had well over 100 people sign-up for classes.
So we’d love to see almost all of you in a class this summer!
The word of God gives you endurance, it gives you encouragement, and we’re told in Romans 15:4…that, together, those two things give us HOPE.
All of these things sound great, right?
Endurance, Encouragement, Hope?
So why aren’t we opening and studying our Bibles every day?
I think it’s a bit like working out.
It’s often hard to get started.
Which is why signing up for a class is a good jump start for many of you.
Think about this…once you get started, and you started seeing the fruits of it…
“Oh, I’m getting stronger, I’m getting faster, I’m losing weight, I have more energy…”
And then…it’s much easier to continue in it…because you see the fruit of it.
That’s kind of what this passage is saying.
When you start getting more endurance and encouragement in your life, you start having HOPE that, YES, God is your ultimate source of life.
And that hope can grow exponentially.
One of my favorite people from history is George Mueller.
I’ve mentioned him to you a few times before.
He lived in the England during the 1800’s, and he was mostly famous for caring for more than 10,000 orphans in his Christian orphanages he started…mostly through prayer.
I came across a quote from him not too long ago about the Bible.
Mueller, who at that time of this quote, had already read through the Bible 100 times, said this:
"I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the Word of God. Friends often say, ‘I have so much to do, so many people to see, I cannot find time for Scripture study.’ Perhaps there are not many who have more to do than I. For more than half a century I have never known one day when I had not more business than I could get through. For 4 years, I have had annually about 30,000 letters, and most of these have passed through my own hands. Then, as pastor of a church with 1,200 believers, great has been my care. Besides, I have had charge of five immense orphanages; also, at my publishing depot, the printing and circulating of millions of tracts, books, and Bibles; but I have always made it a rule never to begin work until I have had a good season with God and His Word. The blessing I have received has been wonderful.” - George Mueller
Mueller, maybe along with the likes of Spurgeon and Moody and Hudson Taylor, did almost more than any other man or woman for the Kingdom of God in the 19th century.
He accomplished more in a day that most of us do in a year.
And He did so because he believed in an important Christian paradox.
Making time to meet with God and study His Word…actually creates MORE time in your life, not less…
Because it is the very thing that will help you prioritize the things you need to do, cut out the things you don’t
And it teach you endurance…and encourage you with hope to do what God wants to do through your life.
I pray that you may be filled with God’s Word
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.