Thursday, 30 November 2017

There will be trouble

As an itinerant preacher with Youth For Christ, Mike Gordon says he gets to travel a lot, often with Christian bands and musicians.
Speaking Thursday morning at the fourth chapel of Spiritual Emphasis Week at Smithville Christian High School, Gordon said many people had told him that if he ever had the chance to visit Nashville, he should take it.
“Everyone said Nashville is awesome,” Gordon said. So three years ago when he had the chance, he flew down early in order to do some sightseeing.
But on the bus from the airport to his hotel, Gordon was approached by a drug dealer, and while going for a walk to buy supper, he was mugged by some knife-wielding thugs.
Gordon said he was shocked.
Everyone had said Nashville was great. No one had warned him that Nashville had a dark side.
“How come no one told me about this?” Gordon asked. “This is not what I signed up for!”
Some people say being a Christian is great, and that’s true, Gordon said, but Jesus also warns us that trouble is coming: “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33)
There are times when we fail tests, lose our jobs, or find out someone we love is very sick. People die, families break up, and we get rejected by the universities to which we’ve applied.
“Jesus does not hold back,” Gordon said. “He does not say if you go to a Christian school you won’t have trouble. He doesn’t say if you have a perfect attendance record at church you won’t have trouble. He doesn’t say if you memorize the Bible you won’t have trouble. He says we will have trouble.”
Bad things happen, everything changes. “And many of us ask ‘why?’ ” Or we ask if God doesn’t love us, or care for us, or if the Bible is not real or true.
Reading from the Book of Matthew, Gordon used the example of John the Baptist.
“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.’ ” Matthew 11: 2-6
Gordon said John was mentioned in the Old Testament, was a cousin to Jesus, and was baptized by Jesus. Those three “fun facts” mean John is “super-duper legitimate.” Yet in the Scripture passage, John has run afoul of religious leaders and is languishing in prison.
John’s question basically amounts to asking Jesus if he’s really God, Gordon said, “because if you really are God, I probably shouldn’t be in this prison right now.”
And instead of replying with a promise to get John out of prison (“P.S. John does not get out”) “Jesus is saying I want you to know that whatever your circumstance, I am still God.”
Gordon said when we find ourselves in trouble and turn to God in prayer, we often pray for God to fix the things that are going wrong. But sometimes “what we want to hear from God is different from what we need to hear,” he said. What we need to hear is that God is still God, that the Bible is still true, and, most importantly, that God still loves us.
“Just because you feel a certain way does not reflect the truth of how much God loves you. Just because you feel despair does not reflect how much God loves you.”
We often thank God for blessings, and think that the blessings are the good things in our lives.
But Gordon said real blessings are the things that draw us closer to God, and sometimes the things we think are blessings – jobs, relationships, new toys – can draw us away from him. Sometimes it’s the troubles in our lives that we can look back on and see as the things that drew us close.
And the key to this all is the realization that “there comes a time when you have to take it personally,” he said. “You are not a Christian because your Mom and Dad are Christians. You are not a Christian because you go to church.”
No matter how bad things get, because we have Jesus, we win, Gordon said. But the question is, do you have Jesus?
In Matthew 16, Jesus asked Peter “who do you think I am?”
The answer to that question is a personal choice, and it’s one only you can make.

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Student praise team Relentless led in worship with "Come as You Are," " Just Be Held," "Proof of Your Love," and "Tell the World."

Spiritual Emphasis Week also includes a prayer room, Girls Night Out, Guys Night Out, and daily discussion groups led by Grade 12 students. 
Here is the chapel message in Mandarin, courtesy of Yanyan Wu.



       马太福音 11:2-6     约翰 监里听见基督所做的事,就打发 两个 门徒去, 问他说:「那将要来的是你吗?还是我们等候别人呢?」 稣回答说:「你们去,把所听见、所看见的事告诉 约翰 就是瞎子看见,瘸子行走,长大麻风的洁净,聋子听见,死人复活,穷人有福音传给他们。 凡不因我跌倒的就有福了!


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 The final chapel of Spiritual Emphasis Week 2017 will be Friday, Dec. 1, at 9 a.m. All are welcome.



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