SERMON SERIES:

connect to resurrection: envision

04/21/2024

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He is risen! This will be the fourth Sunday of Easter. It is amazing how quickly our society moves on to the next text, the next photo-op, the next Tik-Tok…you get the picture. In our frantic effort to “keep up”, we are drained rather than filled. We are engaging in more content than ever but we are finding less contentment. Maybe this is why Jesus had the disciples wait in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit. If we were writing a script about the foundation of the church, we would probably skip these intervening weeks between Easter and Pentecost because we are addicted to stimulation rather than contemplation. Jesus used this time to reinforce and renew the disciples with his presence. In our sermon series, we are encouraging you to Connect to Resurrection. Life is filled with hardship and difficulty, and we can find ourselves drained of hope and meaning. The disciples of Jesus had an amazing strength to overcome difficulty and confront tribulation as they shared the Good News of Jesus. Were they just better than us? Their lives were not without numerous problems, yet they seemed to thrive, rather than just survive. This week we turn to an important moment of transition in Acts 16:5-15. Paul is at a loss because they are not allowed by the Holy Spirit to enter into Asia to continue to spread the Gospel. They have tried two different times, only to meet with failure. They do not give up or give in! Instead, God gives them a new vision and a new direction! In the sermon Envision, we discover that Luke tells us of this confusion and uncertainty to help early believers who were struggling with confusion and uncertainty. This is also a special moment for him because he becomes part of the effort to share the Gospel. God wants us to envision an enduring hope, a greater joy, and a more powerful love that reflects his resurrection power in our lives! As we confront the temptations, trials, and troubles of life we pray that you will find the same power that brought Jesus back from the dead lifting you into a new vision of what God can do in your life! 

 

Acts 16:5-15: So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. 6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (NIV)