River Church NOLA
2022 April 17 Easter Sunday
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        River Kids

        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        River Kids

        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
        Ask your kids what they learned
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        Tweens Class

        December 5, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        Tweens Class

        November 28, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
        5th Grade through 7th Grade
  • Happy Day
  • My Jesus
  • Scandal Of Grace
  • Worthy Is The Lamb
  • pic of empty tomb
    Happy Easter… Resurrection Sunday. I am glad Jesus got up out of that grave.
    If you are checking us out, welcome. We want to take you Spiritual Journey - We believe you are on a spiritual journey already even if you don’t know you are on a spiritual journey because you are made in the image of God and no matter how hard you try, part of you longs for a relationship with God.
    The Bible says in Eccl that he has set eternity in your heart so you can’t get away from it.

    We want to take you on a Spiritual Journey

    I believe the Bible teaches these things…
    put all four on the same slide

    Know God

    You can actually have a relationship with God… just like we have with each other. Because of this, you can

    Find Freedom

    We can overcome those things that cause you to not be the best version of yourself.
    Once you settle your yesterdays, you can see tomorrow. It’s there is smudge on your glasses, you can’t see anything. But when you clean your glasses, you can see clearly and you can

    Discover Purpose

    If you try to do that through your career or ambition, it will be kind of fun, but it will not fulfill you like you thought. The reason is that God is the only one that knows the plan for your life. Once you know God, Find freedom and Discover your purpose, you can join others of us and …

    Make a Difference

    You life is not about paying bills and breathing air. God wants you to make a difference. I believe that each of us, in some way… it might be hidden … we all want to be able to make a difference.
    So I am kind of like a tour guide and I want to take you on this spiritual journey.
    Here is a great Easter verse…
    Romans 8:11 NLT
    11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
    Spirit of God (HS) raised Jesus from the grave and that spirit … that power lives inside you and He will give life to you. Not necessarily physical here… but life to dead dreams… relationships… Hopes… emotions… your mind. Listen. God’s Power is available ofr every area of your life that’s dead and needs to be revived.
    Some of us have experienced this rebirth of life… of dreams…

    The resurrection of Jesus wasn’t just an event to celebrate, but a power to be experienced.

    You don’t just celebrate Easter, you experience it. You can have it working in your life.
    Here is the catch… There is a word in the Bible that becomes a condition for the power of God to work in and through your life. You have to

    Believe

    This is the condition for that power to come into your life and help you through life. You have to believe.
    Sounds easy, but it’s not. It’s not easy to put your faith into something that you can’t see… that you are not sure of. That’s what doubt is. Doubt is being uncertain of something.
    My goal is to make this word easier for you.
    John 11:25–26 NIV
    25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
    The answer for most people is… I don’t know. I’m not sure....
    So today we will look at how we move from being a doubter to a believer.
    Check this story out. This story shows how we end up in doubt.
    Mark 9:17–24 NIV
    17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
    But if… put yourself in the dad’s spot. This boy has had issues all his life…
    Before I finish the verse… look at this. The dad says if you can. Jesus kind of got caught by that phrase and said, if?
    Jesus had a sense of humor. He had kids climbing on him everywhere he went so he was kind like that favorite uncle that always came around with candy… So he said if?
    Everything is possible for the one who believes. So why don’t we believe?

    We don’t think God does the right thing

    Sometimes we may think that since God didn’t do what WE wanted him to do that he did it wrong. The father in this story had doubts and didn’t realize that Jesus was going to set his son free. We have in our minds what God should do…

    We’ve tried to believe and it didn’t work

    The father tried to believe and he brought his son to the disciples and they couldn’t do anything. Maybe you brought your child to church and it hasn’t seemed to impact them… maybe you have been praying for something that hasn’t happened yet.

    We’ve listened to the doubts of others

    Jesus said we live in a generation of doubters. It’s getting worse and let me say this. If the church doesn’t rise up and really know what we believe and live it out, this whole generation will be an unbelieving generation and that can’t happen on our watch.
    ILL - Story of the guy who came to the office to debate evolution… He received Jesus. He experienced God… not an intellectual. I am praying for you to experience the peace and the presence of God so that you can take another step towards Him.
    ILL - Debate Evolution… if you believe that there was a big explosion and a particle of matter landed in a pool of water and out of that water came a creature with a tail and legs… the the ice age came and the tail fell off and then it became a person… you have way more faith than me…
    You can’t intellectually know God, you have to experience God and I am praying for you to experience God. You may not understand everything, but I am praying for you to experience him.
    1960’s - space race. Soviets publicized that they were sending a cosmonaut into space to see if there was a God or not. It was part of their propaganda that there was no God. the Cosmonaut went to space and left the space craft while tethered to it and declared. That there was No God. How many of you know that if he had unhooked that tether from the spacecraft, he would have found God that day. ...
    We end up with these doubts, but how do we move towards belief. So today we will look at the most famous doubter… doubting Thomas…

    Doubting Thomas

    Before I tell you how he went from doubt to believe… let me tell you the end of the story. Thomas becomes a strong believer. He was the first person to spread the Gospel to India. Christianity spread tremdously and he eventually was captured by people of a different faith and told to renounce Christ to which he replied that could never do that because he had experienced Him personally so they killed him and his is buried in India.
    So after the first resurrection, Jesus hung around for 40 days appearing to people at least 10 different times that are recorded in the Bible. One time Jesus appeared to the 12 disciples, but Thomas was not there.
    John 20:24–25 NIV
    24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
    Thomas kind of gets mad and says that he has to see proof. He went beyond doubt to unbelief. He would not believe and was adamant about it.
    A week later, Jesus appeared to them again.
    Look,
    John 20:26 NIV
    26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
    He said peace be with you… Look at this.

    How to Overcome Our Doubts

    1. Realize that Jesus will always search for you

    Let me say it this way....

    Your doubts won’t keep Jesus away

    When you think that he doesn’t understand or that he can’t help you, Jesus is saying to you, I know how it feels. I was a human for 33 years… I have been where you are. He doesn’t say what we struggle with is ok, He says he understands it. He doesn’t say it’s ok to go out and get hammered… to yell at your family. He understands and can help.
    He didn’t give the disciples a sermon, he gave them peace. Only God can give you that peace on the inside, that internal joy … no matter what’s going on on the outside.
    CS lewis - Chronicles of Narnia - grew up in church of Ireland and by 15 declares himself an atheist. From 15-29 he defends his Atheism and trys to keep people from following the Lord. . At 29, he met JRR Tolken… author of Lord of the Rings. He witnesses to CS Lewis for 2 years.
    At 31, CS Lewis came out of Atheism to become a strong on fire Christian. He writes his autobiography about his experience with Christ. Even though he writes Mere Christianity, a defense of the Gospel, his autobiography was titled, Surprised by Joy. He didn’t’ defend his faith with his intellect, he defended it with his experience. I tell you this so that you will look for him. You can declare you are an atheist all day long but it won’t keep him away. You never know, He may just surprise you with some joy.
    Look what he did with Thomas. I’ll come to your level....
    John 20:27 NIV
    27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
    Reach out - Jesus was encouraging Thomas to reach out and take a step towards belief. He was encouraging Thomas to step towards something he had not yet experienced.
    This teaches us that we will have to

    2. Take a step to discover who Jesus is

    You have to keep moving toward him because,

    Belief won’t come to you, you have to go to it

    In the old days church made you believe before you came and behave before you came.... Listen, at River Church, you are welcome to come and keep taking a step towards Jesus.
    Some of you may be waiting to believe before you pursue, but listen to me, you have to pursue before you believe.
    Try it. Give me a year of your life and see if God doesn’t do something great in your life. Go all in. Maybe you are a believer and you have been hanging around… go all in. Go all in for a year. Take the journey.
    Look at the next verse. Thomas becomes a believer right here. it’s easy. Being a believer is actually easy, but it will cost you everything.
    John 20:28 NIV
    28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
    My Lord - I belong to you and I am committed. He personalized it. He said MY Lord.
    So here is what you do....

    3. Give your life to the One who gave His life for you

    You devote your life to him.
    Christianity is not a set of beliefs. Belief is not belief in it’s belief on…

    Belief isn’t faith in something, it’s faith on Someone

    1824 Charles Bloundin. Age 5 Acrobat School and he became a very good tight rope walker. At age 21, his family migrated to America and lived in NY. He had his tight rope act across Niagara Falls. He would go across over and over again. He had to keep thinking of new ways to do it to keep people coming. He did in in a sack, wheelbarrow, blindfolded, on stilts. One day he asked the crowd.
    How many of you believe that I can do this with someone on my back? Everyone roared yes.... So he said, OK, I need a volunteer. crickets no one would volunteer. They had belief in, but they did not have belief on.
    There too many people who have belief in but do not have belief on. You have never put your belief on. Today is your day. If you do, it will change everything.
    Conclusion
    Here is what we are going to do. Take out your Connection Cards and on the back you will see the letters ABCD.

    A - I already have a relationship with Jesus

    B - I’m going to believe on Jesus today

    C - I’d like to consider it a bit more first.

    D - I don’t ever intend on making that decision.

    We are going to pray for you anyway. Fill this out.
    Prayer
    If you chose B, I want to lead you in a prayer so you can become a Believer.
    Salvation Prayer -
      • Romans 8:11NLT

      • John 11:25–26NLT

      • Mark 9:17–24NLT

      • John 20:24–25NLT

      • John 20:26NLT

      • John 20:27NLT

      • John 20:28NLT

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