Hope in the Darkness
Life isn’t easy. We try so hard, only to fail. Grief overtakes us. We may find ourselves doubting what we grew up believing. Honestly, life can seem pretty dark. After Jesus’ crucifixion, things looked dark for his followers too. They had put all their hope in the man they knew to be their Savior, but now he was dead. Or so they thought.
When Jesus rose from the dead, everything changed. Peter’s failure was now an opportunity. Mary’s grief turned into celebration. Thomas’ doubts shifted to belief. And Jesus’ followers found their purpose and mission because of the hope they found in his resurrection.
Even in the darkest of times, you can find hope in Christ. Throughout this series, we’ll be looking at what happened starting on that first Easter. We’ll look at how Jesus’ resurrection filled his followers with hope, and how his promises still give us hope in whatever dark situations we face.
April 11, 2021: Hope After Failure
We all make mistakes. Some of our failures are small and insignificant, solved with an apology or a quick fix. But for other mistakes, those ones that haunt our dreams and change the courses of our lives, we’re stuck with guilt and shame. This is the kind of mistake Peter made. After he denied Jesus three times, he feels like there’s nothing he can do about his failure in faith. But Jesus gives him hope, forgiving him and entrusting him with the mission of sharing the Gospel with the world.
When you feel like you’ve gone too far, when you’ve messed up so much that God couldn’t possibly love you anymore… Jesus is there, forgiving you and giving you hope after failure.
Sermon Text: John 21:13-19
April 18, 2021: Hope in Grief
In the last year, we’ve all experienced grief. We’ve lost opportunities, experiences, and jobs. The way we connect with others isn’t ideal. Some of us have lost loved ones. Many of us have lost hope. On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene, her friends, and the disciples grieved over Jesus. They thought their hope of a Savior was dead with him in the tomb. But then… the tomb was empty. Jesus was alive!
Even when you’re in the depths of despair, when you feel like the grief of the last year overwhelms you… Jesus is with you, bringing you hope in your grief because he lives.
Sermon Text: John 20:10-18
April 25, 2021: Hope in Doubt
With advertising, scammers, and social media, we are forced to be skeptics. If we don’t second guess what people tell us, we run the risk of being taken advantage of. But all this doubt can leave us feeling hopeless as we wonder if we can believe anything we hear. Thomas felt the same way as you. He heard that Jesus was alive, but he didn’t want to believe it until he saw and touched Jesus. And then, when Jesus appeared to him, Thomas’ faith was restored.
Even when your faith is tested, when you struggle to find hope in Christ amidst your doubt… Jesus uses his Word and his people to bring you hope to overcome your doubt.
Sermon Text: John 20:24-31
May 2, 2021: Hope for Life (Confirmation Sunday)
Sometimes, things don’t go the way we plan. Our expectations are dashed by some unforeseen complication, and we find ourselves wondering how we’re going to go on with our lives. We lose hope for the future because things look so drastically different than we think they should. After the disciples’ expectations were dashed, they didn’t know how they would go on. They found themselves hopelessly wandering through life. But all that changed when they realized the stranger who traveled with them was Jesus.
Even when your life didn’t turn out as you expected it, when you aren’t sure how to make it through your day … Jesus is with you, bringing you hope for life.
Sermon Text: Luke 24:13-35