River Church NOLA
Dec 27 Sunday Stepping into the Unknown
  • Open Up The Heavens
  • Who You Say I Am
  • The Heart Of Worship
  • Intro -
    2020 What a year. It’s been crazy and this is our last Sunday of 2020.
    Everything was going great in many ways AND THEN the Pandemic hit. No one was ready NOR could anyone have been ready for what this pandemic has done to our world, our nation, our communities and our lives.
    People have lived in fear of catching the virus… losing friends and relatives… losing jobs.
    The riots and the political responses to those have been crazy… I never thought I would see people act like we have seen people act in the streets of America.
    But through it all…

    God has been faithful

    Here is a good scripture for us as we head into the new year.
    Isaiah 43:18–19 NLT
    18 “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
    I love the new year. It’s a time we often make resolutions. It’s a time, we try to put the previous year behind us and look with optimism to the new year. It’s like restarting your computer… it clears it’s mind.
    Going into the new year is like a team getting ready to go play a game. You know what the sportscasters say should happen, but you still have to play the game and you never know what’s going to happen.
    We are moving into 2021 we hope it’s better than 2020. But bottom line, we are looking at stepping into the unknown.

    We are moving into the unknown

    Now as I say that, none of us like the unknown. Am I the only one? It’s probably the biggest stressor we can encounter. We would rather know something even if it’s bad than not know.
    We tend to fill in the blanks when we don’t know whats going to happen… and what we fill them with is usually not good.

    Why don’t we like the unknown?

    None of us like it, but why?

    It’s unclear

    As we face 2021, there are a lot of things that are unclear… that we do not know what will happen.
    What will happen with the pandemic?
    What will happen in my relationships? Get married… divorced… kids...
    What will happen in the economy? Will my business survive? Will I keep my job? Will my job come back?
    Should I get the Vaccine? Will they use it to control or track us?
    Some worry if Trump will leave the Whitehouse if Biden is sworn in?
    Because things are unclear,

    It’s unsettled

    We don’t walk into 2021 with a clean slate. There are things we are bringing with us that we haven’t settled.
    We are carrying over things from 2020… health… relationship issues… Jobs and career… Whats going to happen to our business??? Hurts from past relationships…
    We can’t just bury the past… it will follow you. You may leave a relationship because of something you can’t stand in that person only to end up with someone just like the one yo left… God is trying to tell YOU something.
    Same with jobs… You have a co-worker you can’t deal with… guess what’s waiting for you at the new job? the same type of person…
    Because the future is unclear and it’s unsettled, it’s also

    It’s uncontrollable

    I don’t like it when I can control it. Anyone with me? We like at least the illusion of being in control.
    Think about the
    First day on a new job… You don’t know what to expect...
    The first day in a new city…You don’t even know where to go to eat....
    When you got married… bought a house… got pregnant… Let me give you a promise
    We just don’t like the unknown....

    We don’t like the unknown, but God seems to love it

    Noah was asked to build a boat. It had never rained… they didn’t know what that was. he was asked to build a boat on dry land. It took courage to put the first board in place…
    Moses leading Israel out of Egypt. He didn’t know how they would get across the sea. he had to plant his staff not knowing what would happen. Go through a desert to a promised land they had never seen.
    Esther - asked to go before the king and did not know if she would live… If I perish … I perish
    Paul - go plant churches… where… I’ll tell you later.
    Acts 20:22 NIV
    22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
    Paul was heading into the unknown. He did not know what was going to happen, but he knew he had to go or he would miss out on something God wanted him to do. He suspected it was going to be bad, but he knew he had to go.
    Listen, we can let 2021 happen to us or in Jesus name we can take some steps to face the unknown.
    There is a lot we don’t know, but there are some things that we know.

    Things we Know

    1. We know God is for us

    There are a lot of crazy things in our world… pandemic… economy… politics… jobs… relationships…
    Romans 8:31 NLT
    31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

    Me plus God is always enough

    Romans 8:35 NLT
    35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
    Romans 8:37–39 NLT
    37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Ill - of people who trusted God and saw miracles in their lives. medical… relational…
    Jean - Cancer
    Denise Ditta worshipping … She lost Don this year.
    COVID - God brought you through
    God’s grace is always for us. That guilt… that shame can be taken away.
    Say it with me

    God is for us

    2. We know that anything is possible with the Lord

    Mark 9 there is a story of a father whose son is being attacked by a demon. The disciples could not handle it…
    Mark 9:21–23 NLT
    21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
    Mark 9:23 The Message
    23 Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”
    Look at the father’s response...
    Mark 9:24 NLT
    24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
    Let me say it this way

    If there no “ifs” among believers, anything can happen

    Hebrews 11:1 NLT
    1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
    Faith is hoping for something that you cannot see.
    21 Days of prayer is coming up and that will build your faith incredibly. Put together an “anything can happen” list… faith list. Things that you want in 2021 that only God can do.

    Anything is possible with the Lord

    Why is anything possible? Because God is for us…
    Because God is for you… you can rebuild your business… your relationships… your job or career path…

    3. Now is the time

    This is where the Rubber meets the road. There is a point in our lives where what could be has to turn into what we believe.

    2021 is when what could be turns into what we believe

    Now is the time to start the new thing… It doesn’t have to look the way it’s always looked.
    Hebrews 11:8 TPT
    8 Faith motivated Abraham to obey God’s call and leave the familiar to discover the territory he was destined to inherit from God. So he left with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith.
    Without knowing where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith…
    Abraham had to step out not knowing where he was going…

    When Abraham stepped out in faith,

    He left the familiar

    I don’t mind leaving the familiar when I know where I am going. We put our destination in GPS…
    We don’t like leaving the familiar. We don’t like not being in control.
    Once Abraham left the familiar and went where God told him to go,

    He discovered his destiny

    When he left the familiar, he found his inheritance… destiny. There is nothing unknown for God and even though we may not see the purpose for what we are going through, God does see it. We just have to take the first step and follow God.
    You have a purpose, but you have to leave the familiar.
    Abraham has to make a choice and if he made the wrong choice,

    He could have missed it

    Sometimes we think we can’t do what God has called us to do. You may have been told that you can’t. You may have been told you can never change… that you can’t do what God wants you to do, but you need to take that first step into the unknown.
    Now is the time...
    You see me up here speaking and think I have always done this. I almost fainted the first time I had to give a speech. But I know God has called me. I have spoken to thousands of students per year for years. Every year I wondered… will they listen… But I know God was with me and that he had called me to do what I was doing.
    When we began this church, all the odds were against us. All of them. We did not know who would attend… how we would survive financially… where would meet… all the odds were against us… But here we are.
    Say it with me...

    We have a God who is for us.

    We have a God who has gone before us and has walked though life so that all we have to do it follow in his steps. He went to the cross and paid our sin bill and then rose from the dead to lead us through life.
    Prayer - Intro…
    Salvation -
    Prayer for those who decide that they will take the next step in their faith journey.
    You may be worried about marriage …job situationanxieties about the future. So many of us in this microwave society wonder if life will ever be the same. Folks, this year has been terrible, but it’s been less than a year. In that year, treatments for something brand new have been developed, a vaccine has been developed… normally takes years. There may be someone listening who is considering taking their life… Listen to me. God is for you.
    Maybe your next step in your journey is … 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting… committing to plug in this year … you will be better off this time next year… to read the Bible every day… OYB, First 15… Devotional…
    Let this be an Abraham step out in faith moment.
    Release that unfamiliar situation into your hands… let us leave without anxiety.
    Your step might be salvation… Pray Sinners prayer
    Pray for those who need to step out to do so…
      • Isaiah 43:18–19ASV

      • Romans 8:31ASV

      • Romans 8:35ASV

      • Romans 8:37–39ASV

      • Mark 9:21–23ASV

      • Mark 9:23ASV

      • Mark 9:24ASV

      • Hebrews 11:1ASV

      • Hebrews 11:8ASV

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