Wrestling With God

Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wrestling With God

Pastor Steve Brown

 

We all “wrestle” with God over particular issues or experiences in our lives and the lives of others. It could be our own suffering or the suffering of others. Our wrestling with God over these matters is a reflection of the brokenness we have because of our sin. The great truth about God is that he strives with us through our wrestling with him. God does not abandon us. The account of Jacob wrestling with God recorded in Genesis 32 will be the theme passage for Wednesdays in Lent. During the Ash Wednesday worship people will be invited to fill out and turn in cards that list the matters that move them to “wrestle” with God. In the following Wednesdays, some of those matters will be addressed in the sermons. The title for the Wednesday Lenten series is “Wrestling With God”.

 

After hearing this sermon, we hope you will be honest with God and identify the issues or experiences over which you “wrestle” with God. Ask God to bless you through your wrestling with him.

 

Lessons: Genesis 32:22-32, 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, Matthew 26:36-46

 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wrestling With God: Why Is There Evil and Suffering?

Pastor Steve Brown

 

The Biblical, true, quick, but not very satisfying answer to this question is that evil and suffering are a result of our rebellion against God. The real question we have is this: Why does God allow evil and suffering? This is the classic problem of evil (the Stoic Dilemma). If God is all loving and all powerful, why do evil and suffering occur? On one hand, there is not find in the Bible a simple and clear answer to this dilemma and we will continue to struggle with this question until they day when we will see God face to face and we will know fully God’s plan (1 Cor. 13:12).  But the primary truth of the whole Bible is what God accomplished for us in Jesus. Jesus is God’s answer to the problem of evil and suffering. We continue to wrestle with this because of the extreme pain we experience and our confusion and doubt over what God has ultimately accomplished for us through Jesus.

 

After hearing this sermon, we hope that you will better understand that the problem of evil remains in our lives, but that Jesus is God’s answer.

 

Lessons: Genesis 3:14-19

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wrestling With God: Why Is This Evil Happening To Me?

Youth Pastor Greg Osborne

 

Why is this happening to me God?  I think this is a question we all can relate to whether it is break up in a relationship, losing a job, health issues, death of a loved one and so many other things that cause us to ask this question.  Tonight we are going to wrestle with why do bad things happen to us and what to do in the midst of those struggles.

 

Lessons: Matthew 7:24-28

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wrestling With God: Personal Disappointments

Pastor Steve Brown

 

This is not heaven. We will enter into the back-story of Jacob’s wrestling with God to wrestle with God over our own disappointments. This sermon will continue to turn the screw deeper into the understanding of the problem of evil that was introduced on Feb. 17. The deeper understanding is that we sometimes are fooled into thinking that life should be perfect and we should not experience disappointments, especially if we have been faithful. While our personal disappointments may not seem as terrible as the evil and suffering that others experience, suffering is suffering and it can lead us to wonder where God is in the midst of our disappointments.

 

After hearing this sermon, we hope you will continue to trust that in all things God is working for your good.

 

Lessons: Genesis 29:14b-30

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wrestling With God: Daily Struggles

Pastor Steve Brown

 

Throughout his life, Jacob faced daily struggles that are recorded in the Bible with amazing detail. As his family, wealth, and responsibilities grew, so did his daily struggles. He did not always make wise or faithful decisions in coping with his daily struggles, but at a few poignant times he expressed his trust in God and was better able to wrestle with his daily struggles. This is not heaven and daily struggles are a part of this life that is broken by sin. Genesis 3:17-18 teaches that it is “through painful toil” that we now have our “daily bread.” Our daily struggles cause us to fear the future. There is only one place to turn with our daily struggles, and that is the Lord who promises to give us the peace that passes all understanding and guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I want to make more room for questions and dialogue in this sermon. 

 

After hearing this sermon, we hope you will create a “Daily Surrender Prayer” that you can use as a daily mantra to have greater peace as you wrestle with your daily struggles.

 

Lessons: Genesis 33

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wrestling With God: Struggling to Walk Obediently With God

Pastor Steve Brown

 

Jacob experienced the transcendent presence of God as few people had before or since, even getting a glorious name change from God. And yet, Jacob continued to struggle to walk obediently with God. He was often filled with fear and doubts. He too often tried to take matters into his own hands. Given all this, God continued to walk with Jacob just as he was. The great testimony to this is that generations later, when Moses (like Jacob before him) asked God for His name, God identified himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and (wait for it) … Jacob, not Israel, but Jacob. This teaches us the gospel truth that, in Jesus, God will always accept us and engage with us wherever we are on our path of discipleship. God will identify with us just as we are, sinful, broken, fearful, doubting, and struggling.

 

After hearing this sermon, we hope you will rest in the truth that, in Jesus, God meets you and identifies himself with you in the midst and mire of your sinful struggles.

 

Lessons: Genesis 28:10-22; 32:22-30; Exodus 3:13-15

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