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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.
In week two of “Miracles,” we celebrated Palm Sunday as Pastor Doug taught a powerful message on two amazing miracles: Jesus turning water into wine and Jesus walking on water.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! 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:
The first miracle took place at the beginning of time. It was the moment of creation when God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing or “ex nihilo” (Genesis 1:1–3). And He made it good!
As we see people sick and dying on the news, how can we believe that God is good? Well, the truth is that when sin entered the world, so did death, decay, disease, and plague. All the suffering, sickness, and struggle in this world can be attributed to sin. Now, all of creation is groaning for redemption from what Satan has stolen (Romans 8:22).
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.
When God created the world, He put natural laws in place. But that doesn't mean He's bound by natural laws. Sometimes, God intervenes in our fallen world defying the laws of nature. This is what we call a miracle.
Eugene Peterson once said, "To believe in a miracle is only a way of saying that God is free—free to do a new thing. He is not bound to a creation of natural cause and effect. He is not trapped in His own cosmic machine. He is free above and beyond what we observe . . . He is free to do whatever He wills, whether it conforms to natural laws or not.”
Jesus Uses Miracles to Reveal Who He Is (John 2:1–11): Why did Jesus choose a wedding for His first miracle? It’s a foreshadowing of the wedding feast in heaven we will get to experience and enjoy one day! You see, every miracle is all about showing us who Jesus is and what His kingdom is like!
In this miracle, we see His power over creation and how He can make the ordinary extraordinary. Here, Jesus turned water into wine. This is exactly what He does in our lives, and this is what He uses us to do in the lives of others.
Just as He turned ordinary water into extraordinary wine (the tastiest wine anyone in that wedding party had ever tasted), in the same way He takes our lives from ordinary—and for many of us, not just ordinary but empty, meaningless, full of pain, sorrow, and longing—and turns it into something extraordinary as He fills us with His Spirit, as He works in us, and as He changes our lives. In Him, the world looks different. We see beauty, we have satisfaction in our new identity, we are given purpose, and we experience true belonging as members of God's family.
Just as He took ordinary fishermen and turned them into extraordinary disciple makers and gospel carriers to the nations, He wants to take us from being ordinary people, working ordinary jobs, and living ordinary lives and turn us into ministers of reconciliation and His ambassadors.
He wants to give new meaning and purpose to our jobs, our relationships, and our home lives! Just like He made the wine the tastiest wine the people at that wedding had ever tasted, as He works in us and changes us from the inside out, He can use our lives to make the gospel attractive.
Sometimes Jesus Will Move Heaven and Earth to Meet Us in Our Moment (John 6:16–21): Something interesting to note is how prevalent water is in the Gospel of John. In John 1, we see Jesus' water baptism and we’re told by John the Baptist, “I baptize with water . . . But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11 NIV).
Water plays a major role in Jesus' first miracle found in John 2, and then in John 3, Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about being born again—of being born of water and of the Spirit. Then in John 4, Jesus encounters a woman at the well and offers her the living water. Why did water play such a major role? Because in a land subject to drought, water was truly a cherished gift from God!
And here, we see another moment and miracle of Jesus involving water. After having fed over 5,000 people with just a few loaves of bread and a pair of fish, He sends His disciples on the boat to the other side of the lake. But He doesn’t go with them immediately. Instead, He hangs back to pray. During the nighttime boat ride to Capernaum, a storm came. Strong winds raged and the waters grew extremely rough. It was a raging storm that tossed their ship; a dangerous swell that threatened their lives. As we saw last week, the middle of a miracle is often extremely muddled and messy, which is what we see here as these men were in the dark, stuck in absolute chaos.
And suddenly, in the midst of the storm, the disciples see Jesus walking on the water toward them, completely defying the natural laws that govern creation! And what did He say when He approached the boat? “It is I; don’t be afraid” (John 6:20 NIV). He brings peace in the moment! You see, the presence of Christ is the very basis for courage, it is the only thing we need to combat fear. When He got into the boat, the sea calmed and they were suddenly at their destination. And what did the disciples do? Matthew 14:33 (NIV) tells us, “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
Corrie Ten Boom once said, "You don’t know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” It is when we are at the end of our resources that we appreciate Him most! Christ appears to them in the middle, and they instantly arrived at the other side! In the midst of our mess, the Lord brings a miraculous peace that can’t be explained, and He gets us where we need to be despite how weak and limited we are.
Quote to Remember: Hope is faith that together with God’s help things will get better.—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 tastiest thing you’ve ever eaten?
1. How have you seen Him intervene in your life? How has He worked in your life directly?
2. How has Jesus given your life new purpose? How has He turned the water of your life into wine?
3. In what areas are you praying for Him to work and do the extraordinary?
4. Why is it that God is often most clearly seen and heard and His power most profoundly experienced in storms? How has God worked in the midst of a stormy time in your life?
5. Where are you in this moment? Where do you want to be when this is over?
EASTER BIBLE PLAN
Follow along with our Easter devotional reading plan on YouVersion! Journey with us through the final week of Jesus’ life. Each day, you’ll get to see where Jesus was on His road to the resurrection as you reflect on where He has brought you, the miracles He's done in your life, and how He’s worked in and through you!
To view more of our Bible reading plans, click here.
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 for a night of prayer and worship with Church United.
Then on Friday, tune in for a special, unique Good Friday service as we remember the events of the cross! We’ll also get to take part in communion together from our homes. For more info about communion, check out this article.
And on the weekend, we’ll get to enjoy Easter services together! While this Easter is going to be different than any we’ve ever experienced, what won’t be different is the fact that Jesus is alive, and that we’re going to celebrate our risen Savior as a family!
Enjoy a nice Easter brunch with your family or roommates. Worship in your PJs or put on your Easter best and share pictures on social! Do a sunrise service, add some live worship, start a watch party on Facebook, or spend some time praying with your friends through a video chat platform. Just because we’re not able to gather together in person doesn’t mean you can’t have a memorable Easter!
We look forward to spending this awesome week with you!
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