River Church NOLA
2020 Nov 4 Radical Presence of God
  • One Way
  • Good Good Father
  • Build My Life
  • I want to talk about RADICAL LIVING. And Radical living involves a lot of things we will study over the coming weeks, but it begins with Radical Presence of God.
    If I were to ask you what the most common emotional pain people struggle with in our culture is… many would answer anxiety or depression or guilt and shame…

    The most common emotional pain in our culture is loneliness

    We have been in a pandemic where for a good part of the year, many people have been locked up at home and people are lonely. This is not new to the Pandemic, but it’s worse.
    Today, we have people that try to connect through social media… dating sites…video games… exercise apps… all kinds of networking… I’ll tell you the best networking you can do… you can come to church...

    Why are people searching for connection?

    Why is it that we so desperately want connection in our lives? It’s simple.

    We don’t want to be alone

    Loneliness causes people to make really bad decisions in relationships, jobs, activities… God knew this… look at what he said when he created us…
    Genesis 2:18 The Living Bible
    18 And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.”
    Adam was in a perfect environment… no problems… no disappointments… no heartache… He had everything he could want, but God recognized immediately that it was not good for the man to be alone.
    God hates loneliness. He doesn’t want us to be alone. So he has given us a number of resources to overcome loneliness.

    1. To Relieve loneliness, God Gives Us His Plan to live for

    This is God’s Will for your life.
    Psalm 138:8 The Living Bible
    8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your loving-kindness, Lord, continues forever. Don’t abandon me—for you made me.
    When you’re busy focusing on God’s will for your life, when you’re busy focusing on what he has for you to do in serving him, figuring out his purposes for you, you don’t have time to have a pity party. You’re busy following him and serving him.

    2. To Relieve loneliness, God Gives Us, His people to live with

    This is The Church
    Psalm 68:6 NLT
    6 God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
    We are a family of believers. We are a family. It’s why we have called our groups Connect Groups. We want to connect you to the Lord and to each other. We are wired to be in relationship with each other.
    Galatians 6:10 NCV
    10 When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.

    3. To Relieve loneliness, God Gives Us His presence

    This is what I want to focus on… the presence of God.
    Hebrews 13:5 NLT
    5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
    One of the things I love about what we’re going to talk about tonight is that if you take the principles that we’re going to talk about and the things we’re going to talk about for you to do, and you apply them in your lives and you get tapped into God’s radical presence in your life and you begin to sense that and experience that in your life, you will be changed.
    ILL - 100 year old lady prayed to receive Jesus… I can’t believe I almost missed it.
    Here’s the thing, you and I don’t have to 100. Our friends and family don’t have to wait 100 years. We can experience the presence of God NOW. You can choose that today.
    The starting point for the presence of God… the peace of God is to invite Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord.

    The starting point to experience his presence, is starting your relationship with him.

    So how do I recognize him in my life? How do I recognize God’s presence? What does that do for me? What’s the impact it can have in my life? Where do I begin?
    It actually begins with a change of mind. It begins with changing the way you think about God. Some are scared of God. When you hear about God you break out into a sweat. You think he’s out to get you. Others think He’s mysterious… untouchable… distant… Some are angry at God … or disappointed with God. Others just haven’t thought about God.
    In the Bible, there are many names for God that describe his attributes. He did this because God wants you to know Him. So he has given us these names that let us know who He is and what he wants to do in our lives.
    Seven hundred years BC, Isaiah called Jesus Emmanuel which means God with us. We are coming into Christmas and you will hear that name a lot.
    Today -

    Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is Present

    There is this idea today that God is distant. He’s not. all through the Bible, we see that God is here… with us when we need him. He wants us to know him. He is not some unreachable distant God. He is Shammah… the God who is present.
    At the end of the Great Commandment, Jesus gave us an awesome promise that we need to hold onto.
    Matthew 28:19–20 NLT
    19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    That’s a RADICAL Promise. He will be with you… He will be with you when you go through the loss of a friend, spouse, child, job… He will be with you when you are sick. He will be with you when you are lonely.


    This means that He is everywhere at the same time. There is nowhere that you can go where He isn’t there. We can’t do that, but He can.
    Psalm 139:7–12 NLT
    7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— 12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
    We can’t go anywhere where God is not there. I have a sign in my restroom… Fer not tomorrow, God is already there. Here’s the best part. Even though He is everywhere, He is right here with you and me and He wants you to know him.
    When we experience God’s Presence in our lives, these things become true for us. .

    Experiencing God’s Presence in your life

    1. Because God is always with me, I can trust Him to help me out

    Unfortunately, this is where most of us struggle… experiencing God’s radical presence in our lives.
    A lot of people live on their feelings and react emotionally. When your feelings run your life and things go wrong, you go… Where is God? He must not love me if this happened… You need to know… God is ALWAYS with you.
    Isaiah 41:10 NCV
    10 So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.
    God will make you strong. God will help you. God will support you.
    These are three promises God is giving you and me as we go through difficult times. He is saying He will give us the strength we need to continue on… He will help us put our lives back together… He will be right here to support you even if no one else will.
    Your circumstances may be terrible… you may feel like God has abandoned you. God says, don’t rely on your feelings…

    Rely on the truth - God will not abandon you.

    When you go through addictions and fall back, God will be there to pick you up and give you strength to get going. When you lose your job because of COVID or something else, God will be right there with you.
    The key is to realize that God is with you and to tune into His Presence.
    There is a difference between being alone and lonely. You can be lonely in the middle of a crowd of people. But if you have God’s presence in your life and you sense it, you can be alone in a crowd but not feel lonely.
    ILL Some people feel lonely because of the loss of a loved one. Others feel lonely due to chronic pain or illness… nothing more lonely than suffering alone and feeling like no one understands. God does. Some are lonely because of a divorce or desertion…
    When you go through these things, you have to return to the truth that God will NOT abandon you.
    Psalm 27:10 NCV
    10 If my father and mother leave me, the Lord will take me in.
    Even if those who are closest to you leave… God is there
    2 Corinthians 4:9 The Living Bible
    9 We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
    If everybody walks out of your life, God walks into your life. He is there and He will not leave you.

    2. Because God is always with me, I can trust Him to calm me down

    When things go crazy in your life… sometimes we can get a little wound up emotionally. Anyone ever struggle with that? God will calm you down.
    A lot fo times, we feel this way at night…
    Psalm 4:8 NLT
    8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
    Psalm 31:20 NCV
    20 You protect them by your presence from what people plan against them. You shelter them from evil words.
    God will keep you safe.
    The problem is that we try to distract ourselves instead of focusing in on the presence of God. Here are a couple of practical steps you can take to help you calm down.

    Worship will help you calm down.

    Start singing some worship songs… some of us will scare the devil away just with our singing…

    You cannot worship and worry at the same time.

    Reading God’s Word will help calm you down.

    Open up the Psalms and read how God delivered David. Read Acts where God performs so many miracles or the Gospels…
    You need to know this…

    3. Because God is always with me, I can trust Him to fill me with Hope.

    How does God do that? How does God fill us with hope? We have a part and God has a part.
    Describe what was happening… last supper… feeling alone...
    John 14:26–27 The Living Bible
    26 But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit—he will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you. 27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
    Here is God’s part

    God gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us

    The comforter… the Hope giver. He placed Hope inside you and I.
    Our hope is in a person… Jesus who placed His Holy Spirit in us so that we are never alone.
    Psalm 16:8–9 GNB
    8 I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. 9 And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure,
    God will never leave us. he is right here with us and is IN us. When you are going through a struggle, God is right here with you.
    Here is the part we have to take to be filled with hope.

    We have to always put God First in our lives

    I can’t trust my feelings, I have to trust God. The more you and I trust God and act on that trust, the easier life is. When you keep God first in everything… in every part of your life… life become easier. You learn to rely on faith and on truth and when you get to that point, you will not even be able to imagine what it’s like to be without the presence of god in your life.
    Do you want more joy in on your life? Look what David said...
    Psalm 16:11 GNB
    11 You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure for ever.
    David trusted God with all of his heart and made him first in his life so he experienced the presence of the Lord and it brought him great joy.
    Joy is not based on what’s going on around you… that’s happiness. You may be happy at Christmas until you see the bill for how much you spent. Then you are not happy anymore.
    Psalm 34:18 NLT
    18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
    God says don’t run from me in difficult times, turn to me and when you do, you will sense my presence and it will give you joy.
    Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
    13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
    God is not hiding. He says see me and you will find me.

    4. Because God’ is always with me, I can trust Him to see me through.

    Isaiah 43:2 The Living Bible
    2 When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you.
    God di not promise that we would not go through difficult times. He said the opposite. But he said that the waters would not drown us nor the fires destroy us. He will get us through.
    Life is often unfair, but God will help you through it.
    Psalm 116:8–10 GNB
    8 The Lord saved me from death; he stopped my tears and kept me from defeat. 9 And so I walk in the presence of the Lord in the world of the living. 10 I kept on believing, even when I said, “I am completely crushed,”
    Some of you here or listening feel completely crushed right now with what’s going on politically, in your life, with Covid… God is saying that He will see you through.

    God will see you through

    testimony of loss and newness - a mans’ wife died … despair… now he is remarried and serving the Lord
    God never promised we would not go through difficult times, but he promised to bring us through. He is right here with us…
    Look at this promise from the Lord.
    Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
    11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
    I don’t know what the future is, but I KNOW the ONE who holds the future in His hands and His name is Jesus. He said he will give you a hope and a future. Remember that no matter what you are going through.
    Prayer time
      • Genesis 2:18NLT

      • Psalm 138:8NLT

      • Psalm 68:6NLT

      • Galatians 6:10NLT

      • Hebrews 13:5NLT

      • Matthew 28:19–20NLT

      • Psalm 139:7–12NLT

      • Isaiah 41:10NLT

      • Psalm 27:10NLT

      • 2 Corinthians 4:9NLT

      • Psalm 4:8NLT

      • Psalm 31:20NLT

      • John 14:26–27NLT

      • Psalm 16:8–9NLT

      • Psalm 16:11NLT

      • Psalm 34:18NLT

      • Jeremiah 29:13NLT

      • Isaiah 43:2NLT

      • Psalm 116:8–10NLT

      • Jeremiah 29:11NLT

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