Hope Hill Community Church
August 8th - Arrested Development
      • Bible Trivia
  • Good morning Hope Hill! It is so wonderful being with you this morning. First things first I want to start with a bit of personal news that I promise relates to the subject we will be discussing today.
    Now, as much as I would love to be a full time Pastor, the Lord hasn’t willed it to be at this time just yet so I do have to still work a full time job and feed my wife and children who just insist of eating every single day! Well as many of you know, I work in the banking industry and while I am truly grateful and blessed for my current employment, it’s not quite working out the way I had originally envisioned and God, being who he is, opened a door of opportunity for me at a new institution with better pay, better benefits and better hours so I can spend more time with my wonderful family.
    And I don’t say any of that to brag or boast but to provide testimony that God’s grace and mercy are constantly at work, because, as we learned a few weeks ago, we are a mess (let me make it personal) I’m a whole mess and I don’t deserve anything other than death and destruction but God loved me enough to die on a cross and provide me and you with the keys to the kingdom of eternal life as long as we accept Him and believe on Him!
    And while one chapter with my current employer is ending, another chapter is just beginning.
    Today we’re going to talk about beginnings. As this church develops in its infancy, I think it’s important that we go all the way back to the beginning and understand the foundational structure of our faith and what we truly believe about the one we worship as God.
    So if you will, please turn with me to the very first page of the Bible, in the first verse of the first book that is Genesis. And honestly, we’re only going to preach this morning from the first four words that say:
    Genesis 1:1 NIV
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    As I was studying, I came across this description of Genesis and had to include it in its totality.
    The traditional Greek name for the first and best-known book of the Bible is Genesis, meaning "origin".
    Genesis tells the stories of the creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's ark, the Tower of Babel, Abraham and his sons, and more—the stories that explain how the world and humanity were created, as well as much about how humanity, and especially the descendants of Abraham, relate to the rest of the world.
    Today we use genesis to refer to the creative beginnings of much smaller things, but never unimportant ones.
    Almost all doctrine and teachings of the Bible find their foundation in the book of Genesis.
    Genesis lays the framework for understanding
    Sin, the eventual fall, redemption, justification,
    He promise of the Messiah and Jesus Christ
    The personality and the personhood of God
    and the Kingdom of God.
    Genesis shows us the origin of:
    the universe
    The solar system
    Life, man, marriage
    good and evil
    language, government, culture, nations, religion
    and if you really pay attention, you’ll notice that the further we get away from Genesis, the more chaos and disorder and death and we see around us and we will never be able to get back to close relationship with our Lord and savior until we confront the truth of our Genesis.
    And so here we are, at the beginning of things. As soon as the Bible begins, we are confronted with our first paradox:

    The Beginning: God

    What’s super interesting to me is that the creator of everything we know and see and feel and hear and smell and touch, has no origin of his own.
    The philosophical thought experiment has always been
    “If all things have a creator, then who created God?”
    In other words, what came before the beginning?
    Now, I’ll admit, it’s easy to get sucked down this philosophical rabbit hole, but the it’s really not as deep as some make it seem. The reality is that only created things have a creator and we can’t place our God in that category simply because he was not created, He always was.
    The problem with this thought and with a lot of our mentality, even as seasoned christians, is mistaking God for a big man in the sky sitting on a cloud looking down on us. The Word says
    Numbers 23:19 NIV
    God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
    It’s super important that we do not conflate the two. God is everything we see, feel, touch, experience and understand. God is always everything we can’t won’t ever comprehend.
    As humans, that’s frustrating. We don’t like the idea that we may not every fully understand something. As a matter of fact, many brilliant scientific minds believe that if something cannot be explained scientifically either now or at some point in the future, then it cannot possibly exist.
    But if we could understand God, He would no longer be God.
    Colossians 1:17 NIV
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    He existed in all of His splendor and glory, even from the beginning of time itself.
    John 1:1–2 NIV
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
    Jesus, being the personification of the Word, was with God in the beginning, waiting his turn to come down and show the world what love really is. He was waiting his turn to show us what perfect connection with the Father really looks like. To show us what true sacrifice and selflessness can be. Jesus didn’t just show up in the new testament, he was always there, waiting on deck.

    Your Beginning: God

    Not only did God create the universe and all that we know, he created you too.
    That’s good news y’all. The Psalmist said that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made each and every one of us on purpose, with a purpose. (Hey that’ll preach all by itself!)
    God made you on purpose and with a purpose.
    Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
    We all have gone through the existential crisis of “who am I and why am I here?” we have all, at some point, asked the question “what is my purpose in life?”
    We contemplate and muse about our past, we worry and stress about what we’re going through right now, and we keep ourselves up at night anxious about what’s going to happen tomorrow but God says “I am your beginning!”
    “I wrote the book. I know what you’re going through right now because I was there in the beginning.”
    The problem is that we have misconstrued the natural order of things. Well what do you mean? I’m glad you asked!
    We’ve put everything before God, instead of putting God first in our lives.
    I know I’m right about it.
    We put our careers before God
    We put our money before God
    We put our material before God
    We put our marriage before God
    And we have the audacity to wonder why everything is falling apart around us all the time.
    I want you to take a long hard look in the spiritual mirror and think about how much time you spend with God, and when you spend that time with him.
    Is it intentional?
    Is it productive?
    Is it meaningful?
    Is it consistant?
    Is it rushed. Is it a quick meaningless prayer after you’ve taken a bit of food and you feel guilty? Does God only hear from you when you need something, or you’re in trouble, or you screwed up? Do you come to God after you’ve exhausted all other resources?
    If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these, then you have a priority problem.
    Matthew 6:33 NIV
    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
    In other words, it’s crucial for us to stay in constant communication with God in all things. At all times. consistently and on purpose.
    I told you all, the first thing I do in the morning before my feet touch the ground is pray. And it’s not because I’m a good christian, but because I realized I was on this list. The list of inconsistent communicators. I looked up one day and thought to myself, “when was the last time I actually prayed?”
    I can promise you with everything in me, that life flows a lot more smoothly when your steps are guided by the Lord. When you include God in all of your decisions, you learn to be content with His will.
    Notice I didn’t say that everything would work out and you would be happy and successful all day everyday, because spoiler, that’s not how it works.
    Even Jesus, in the garden moments before he was betrayed and sent to His death prayed to his Father to remove this cup from me, but never the less, not my will, but thine will be done.
    Putting God first does not release you from the troubles and trials of this cruel world, but it does mean that He is with you in the midst.
    The three Hebrew boys put God first.

    Our New Beginning: God

    The cool thing about being a Christian is that we actually have two beginning.
    We started with a paradox and now we end wit a paradox.
    You may be asking, how in the world can someone who has lived a whole life up to this point have another beginning?
    “If you have been born only once, you will have to die twice. But if you have been born twice, you will have to die only once (and you may even escape that one death if Jesus returns to the earth during your lifetime).”
    John 3:3–5 NIV
    Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
    Y’all, this is such good news because it means that no matter what you’ve done, no matter who you are, no matter how bad a person you think you are or how many terrible mistakes you’ve made, God is right there available to give you a brand new life and identity in Him.
    God loves you so much, that no matter where you find yourself in life, He’s willing to give you a second chance. And then, after you blow that second chance, He’ll give you another chance, and another, and another. as a matter of fact,
    Lamentations 3:22–23 NIV
    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
    This world does not have to consume you! You can be made new if you trust and believe on Him. This life is hard and it seems that every day, things are getting darker and more bleak it’s easy to get lost in the darkness.
    1 John 5:4 NIV
    for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
    Our new beginning can only come through Christ.
    2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV 1900
    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
      • Hebrews 5:11–14NIV2011

      • Hebrews 5:11NIV2011

      • Hebrews 5:12NIV2011

      • 1 Peter 3:15NIV2011

      • Proverbs 18:21NIV2011

      • Hebrews 5:12–13NIV2011

      • 1 Corinthians 13:11NIV2011

      • Hebrews 5:13–14NIV2011

      • 2 Timothy 3:16–17NIV2011

      • James 1:22NIV2011

      • Ephesians 4:13–16NIV2011

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