How Are You Shaped In Challenging Times?
Sunday May 9, 2021
Children and those with a childlike heart – I have an activity for you. I would like you to make a paper airplane….. you can do that right? Go ahead. How long does it take you to make a paper airplane…. 15- 30 – 60 – 90 sec – what you are done! That was amazingly quick…. does it fly? Cool. If you have not made your paper airplane let us make one together – listen to some instruction of how to make one… it flies too.
“Todays focus is on How Are We Shaped In Challenging Time”
Now I wonder what are some challenging times you have faced?
- Each time we come up with a tough challenging time – we are going to trim the wings of the airplane: (because we know it is challenging to fly when wings are cut)
** Can you help me with what is a tough time…..?
not getting a hug when I see people I love …. that is tough!
Now your turn….. call out a challenging time
yes that is tough
wow that is tough
Challenging times, difficult times, shape us. Just like the airplane has changed its shape.
Let us all open up the hood of our paper airplanes to see its engine…. open up the paper and lay it flat…. see anything?
This one has the shape of a cross… it took a little longer to make! However it reminds me:
that in tough/challenging times God is with me.
that it is God who is my strength
3) not to rush ahead on my own …. it is important to pray – listen for/ask for God to help…. for God will carry us in tough/hard/difficult times.
So remember be shaped by God’s word…
We all face difficult/tough/challenging times in our lives and how we navigate the situation is critical as it shapes us – it impact our call to respond to life. So when I face those times – I think about biblical stories or a biblical character – trying to see if there is one that resonates with my heart, my soul, my mind during that circumstance.
My favourite biblical character is Moses … So I often look at Moses’ journey in life. For today I share what resonated with me as life presents challenges/tough times. This Scripture is taken from the story of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) and their tough/difficult/challenging experience in Egypt.
Then the Lord said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and so I have come down to rescue them.
Did you hear that?
God had seen cruel treatment,
God has heard them cry out and
God known all about their suffering
God response is to his people -
“so I have come down to rescue them.”
Our relational God “comes down” to be in the midst of the people and their circumstances.
Our Relational God -who knows us – knows our need for guidance. So he comes to be with his people.
Does that not give you hope?
Does that not encourage you in the midst of you challenges, tough times?
****That is the story of the Israelites. What is your story – what is/are the challenges you face in life?
Who are you crying out to in challenging times?
who or what is shaping your heart, your soul, your mind during challenging – difficult- tough times?
who do you call out to…. ?
who are you listening to…?
who is walking/guiding you…?
God is in the midst of our life circumstance – in our object lesson the cross was at the core of the paper airplane – it did not look like it originally did – beautifully and unexpectedly – at the core was the cross!
…are you allowing God to be at the core?
…are you allowing God to shape you?
In life our character:
can grow by feeding on external circumstances or it
can grow by feeding on the internal strength and love of the Lord
What shape is your internal – spiritual heart in?
Has hardship/challenges hardened your spiritual heart? If so, delight and rest in these words
Hear these words from Ezekiel 36:26
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
God can turn a heart stone to flesh pumping love of Lord through us
b) Do your actions align with your spiritual heart? Do you present well/health to people yet your heart holds grudges, bitterness, anger Hear these words form 1 Samuel 16:7b
“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God sees – turn to him and release the grudges, bitterness – receive in return joy and peace.
c) Our relationship with God takes time to nurture…. we need to tend to it otherwise like the Parable of sower who scatters seed ….found in Matthew13:6-9
But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
The world is facing challenging times – Allow God to shape you. Allow the cross to be the at the core of who you are. Jesus at the centre of your life circumstance. Perhaps you long to experience joy again, the abundant blessing of God – pause right now and talk with God tell him…. your longing, your desire.
Let us long to be people God shaped to encourage others to come follow Jesus – who is the Giver of True Life… Jesus our hope and strength.
Some ideas that can help us be SHAPED by God so we have strength and hope in times of trouble/challenges.
Read the Word of God – get to know God – discover that God is relational – we talk about how important relationship is and spending time building into one another life …. it beings with a healthy relationship with God.
There are great Bible Apps that can keep us daily in the Word of God, present a daily devotion. Reading an actual copy of the Bible. These can be a few verses , they need to be Meaningful, helping us Grow in faith. Keeping is connected to scripture presents opportunities to discover more about God.
Memory verse – Mrs Faye has been helpful and I know she has plans to continue with Bible memory verse – let us rise up and learn to grow strong in God Word.
Talk openly to God sharing what is truly going on in our heart. Importantly we also need to LISTEN.
sit and be still in God’s presence… God I just want to be with you.
Sometime we struggle to find words:
use a passage of scripture – often psalms
use lyrics from a song or listen to a song as a prayer
- literal breath – Yahweh inhale & exhale
- short prayers
Name of God which reveal his attribute
(Shalom (peace); Jehovah Jire (Provider); El Shaddai (All sufficient One/ Lord Almighty)
Image of God – Shepherd, Light, Gardner, Potter
I CANNOT (hands down) – YOU CAN LORD (hands raised)
Gather up concerns/needs (cup hands), then offer (keep hands cupped and extend them forward to God) and then give release them into God’s care (raise and open hands).
lift hands in thanksgiving or pleading with God
tears – of sadness, grief or joy
Immense yourself into a biblical story
Engage with the story and pray as if talking to Jesus who is present in story.
Being in God’s Word, Praying are ways in which we are shaped by the Spirit of God.
So I encourage you to allow yourself to be shaped by God rather than being shaped by the circumstances surrounding you.
Be assured that in joyful times, in challenging times the Spirit of God which is within us…. longs to lead us, guide us, counsel us… providing wisdom from God to shape our response to life.
Let us be shaped into relational people of God, reflecting the love of God to those who are around us.
Let us be generations that gather together, grow together, goes together into the world – our homes, our community – shaped by God sharing generously the Good News of Jesus.
continue to reach out and connect with someone within the generation and someone from your community
continue to read scripture & pray
continue to pray for leadership in world, country, province, church
Special – we ask that you take time this week to draw a picture (children & you can call the office and) and send it to a shut-in from our church family
you can call the office and provide a name and address
or drop picture off in mailbox and we will post
Mother’s Day – take time to connect your Mother today, the women who have been positive influences in your life. If not possible to connect offer silent prayer of thanks or perhaps forgiveness.
Please remember Verlie, Doug, Jasmine, Nick and Chris – mail a card
Please remember Pastor Dave, Shannon, Josh, Andrew & Caleb too – meal, cards
Please remember Carol and Peter – call, card, email
Please remember Larry and Joan too.
Remember our paper airplane – those built quick did not have the shape of the cross. Those that took a little longer to make for they took time to listen to instruction – were shaped by the cross.
i) Please slow down – sit with God – immerse yourself with a few verse of scripture each day. Commit to memory the Word of God.
ii) Pray – be honest as you talk to God and allow God to shape your heart. iii) Don’t react to circumstances – allow the Spirit of God to shape our response to life circumstance.
Lord be gracious – the world is in turmoil and we desperately need you … we long for your return. Lord