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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
This past weekend, we had an amazing online experience with you! We went to the Lord together in worship, we enjoyed a powerful and timely teaching, and we experienced a refreshing time of community as we had conversations, prayed together, built one another up, and shared in the Word of God through online groups.
Kicking off “Miracles,” a special nine-part series, Pastor Doug explained what a miracle is, how miracles still happen today, why we’re all candidates for miracles, what miracles can look like in the midst of it, and the role of prayer and fasting in the miraculous.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, reflect on some great questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug's message this weekend:
Miracle (mir·a·cle): a surprising event that cannot be explained by the laws of nature . . . A miracle is an object of wonder, something amazing. Consider the powerful truth that at the root of the word in the Hebrew means “to smile,” which is exactly what you do when God works in your life, when He reveals Himself and His power.
If you are reading this right now and thinking, I need a miracle, Jesus wants you to know, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27 NKJV).
Pause and Reflect . . . Have you ever experienced a miracle?
Everyone Wants to Experience a Miracle, but None of Us Want to Be in a Position to Need One (Mark 9:14–22): We can all declare how awesome it would be to see and be part of a miracle moment, but we don’t want to be put in a situation of suffering and uncertainty that would require one. Truthfully, as human beings we spend most of our lives trying to avoid situations that could make us candidates for miracles. We try our best to prevent troubles, trials, and tribulations; to prevent pain, poverty, sickness, and suffering.
There is no greater feeling of helplessness than when a parent can’t help their child and ultimately has to say, “I’ve tried everything!” The father in Mark 9 is desperate for his son’s healing.
Pause and Reflect . . . Have you ever been in a desperate situation like the father in Mark 9?
If You Have a Problem, Then You Are a Candidate for a Miracle (Mark 9:23–24): Think about the miracles in the Bible . . . What does every miracle have in common? Prayer? No, some happened without prayer. Faith? As crazy as this sounds, some happened regardless of faith. Here’s what they all have in common: Every miracle begins with a problem.
Do you have a little problem? You’re a candidate for a little miracle. Do you have a medium-sized problem? You’re a candidate for a medium-sized miracle. Do you have a big problem? You’re a candidate for a BIG MIRACLE! Jesus wants to intervene in your problem.
In our story, Jesus tells the man (and us right here, right now), “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23 NKJV). And the man cries out with tears streaming down his face, through pain and uncertainty, with one of the most profoundly human, raw, vulnerable and important words we’ll ever hear: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24 NKJV)!
Help my unbelief is something a person can only say by faith. Charles Spurgeon once said, “While men have no faith, they are unconscious of their unbelief; but, as soon as they get a little faith, then they begin to be conscious of the greatness of their unbelief.”
Friends, the truth is, even as believers, even if you’ve been walking with Jesus for a long time, life can diminish our faith. The grind, the struggles, the trials, the suffering, all the senseless and needless evil and injustice all around us has a way of beating us down and gnawing away at our fiery faith and bold belief. But here’s what’s so amazing and wonderful and awe-inspiring about our Jesus . . . all we need is a mustard seed of faith, and He can take our small faith and increase it in the moment.
Pause and Reflect . . . In what area do you need Jesus to help your unbelief?
The Middle of a Miracle Can Be Messy (Mark 9:25–26): Upon casting out the evil and unclean spirits from the boy, we’re told that “he became as one dead, so that many said, ‘He is dead’” (Mark 9:26 NKJV). You see, the miracle was not finished yet. There was more to be done. There was a deeper truth to be told in this story. And both in this story and in your story, regardless of what you’re experiencing, God always wants to teach us a lesson in the middle of our miracle.
Some miracles teach that God is holy. When Jesus turned water into wine, it taught that sometimes you have to participate in the miracle (the servant had to draw water). The blind man healed with mud had to be willing to be led through the street, creating a spectacle but bringing glory to God. And with you, with your story, God has something greater than the simple act of the miraculous; He also wants to teach a powerful, paradigm-shifting, perspective-altering, life-changing lesson to you and the people around you!
Pause and Reflect . . How can you engage with God in the middle of your messiness or someone else’s messiness?
Some Miracles Require Prayer and Fasting (Mark 9:27–29): Why? Because something happens when we engage and submit our physical bodies to God. Some might say they pray but don't close their eyes or kneel; they worship but don't sing. Some say they’re generous, but don’t give. When we physically engage, and when we fast, it’s our body expressing what our mind is believing!
Moses’ hands lifted up brought victory in battle. Something happened spiritually when Moses engaged God physically . . . and the same is true for us. We see examples of the power of prayer and fasting all throughout the Bible (Daniel received great revelations, Esther and Jehosophat fasted when death was staring them in the face, Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days in preparation of a great work, Elijah fasted in order to be sustained for in strength for 40 days).
God invites us to respond in the physical as we pray—we are body, soul, and spirit after all! But just as important when we fast is the way we pray when we fast. We must fast with humility, crying out to God with expectation. When is the last time we prayed like that? We need to pray fervent, expectant prayers!
Church, wherever you are, do you have a problem? Do you need a miracle? Do you need Jesus? When you pray with expectancy, He will hear you. Maybe this current crisis has revealed your need inside. The crisis on the outside can magnify the brokenness on the inside. So, pray and fast! Cry out for help in your unbelief, for Him to fill that gap and strengthen your faith, for Him to fuel the fire of your faith and bolster the boldness of your belief. Pray fervently and fast with fullness, knowing He hears you and expecting Him to move!
Pause and Reflect . . When was the last time you prayed with holy desperation and genuine expectation?
Quote to Remember: Pain and faith go hand-in-hand. In God’s economy, pain always has a purpose, and He will always use it to do something greater.—Pastor Doug Sauder
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
Icebreaker: What’s the most amazing, miraculous thing you’ve ever seen?
1. How can the father have both faith and unbelief at the same time? How can you have both at the same time?
2. What does this cry (“help my unbelief”) tell you about the nature of faith? About believers’ exercising their faith?
3. Why is messiness and suffering such an effective tool in God’s hand to bring about something greater?
4. What is the relationship between praying and faith? How have you seen prayer and fasting leads to breakthrough in your life?
5. In what areas do you want to see breakthrough in this fast?
A LOOK AHEAD
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE ONLY.
Join us online this Wednesday as Pastor Doug and others lead us in a special time of prayer, devotion, and worship. Then on the weekend, which kicks off Holy Week (Jesus’ final week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday), we’ll continue our series “Miracles” as Pastor Doug teaches on two amazing miracles: Jesus turning water into wine and Jesus walking on water.
We also want to let you know about some great opportunities available for you to remain connected to the body of Christ during this time of social distancing and precaution:
If you aren't already, follow us on social media!