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UNBROKEN: The Blessing After the Breaking (07052020)

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PASTOR NATE: Praise the Lord, Bethany Community Church This is the day the Lord has made

We shall rejoice and be glad in it Why don't you join me in prayer before we enter into our praise and worship? Heavenly Father, we thank You We thank You for the opportunity to come before You We thank You that You are a sustaining God, that You are a keeping God, that You are a covering God, and that You have continued to do all those things for us We pray now that You would be in the midst of our worship, that even in our homes and our cars or wherever we are, as we participate in this message, that You might be there and that we might cry out to You with our praise and our worship for all that You are, for all that You do, for all that You have done and will do in our lives

So now, Father, receive our worship, in Jesus' name, amen Let's praise God together, everybody Come let us worship our King Come let us bow at His feet He has done great things See what our Savior has done See how His love overcomes He has done great things He has done great things O Hero of Heaven You conquered the grave You free every captive and break every chain O God You have done great things We dance in Your freedom awake and alive O Jesus our Savior Your name lifted high O God You have done great things You’ve been faithful through every storm You’ll be faithful forevermore You have done great things And I know You will do it again For Your promise is yes and amen You will do great things God You do great things O Hero of Heaven You conquered the grave You free every captive and break every chain O God You have done great things We dance in Your freedom awake and alive O Jesus our Savior Your name lifted high O God You have done great things Hallelujah God above it all Hallelujah God unshakable Hallelujah You have done great things Hallelujah God above it all Hallelujah God unshakable Hallelujah You have done great things You've done great things O Hero of Heaven You conquered the grave You free every captive and break every chain O God You have done great things We dance in Your freedom awake and alive O Jesus our Savior Your name lifted high O God You have done great things You have done great things O God You do great things BOBBY:Amen When I stand accused by my regrets And the Devil roars his empty threats I will preach the gospel to myself That I am not a man condemned For Jesus Christ is my defense My sin is nailed to the cross My soul is healed by the scars The weight of guilt I bear no more Praise the Lord, praise the Lord When my doubt and shame hang over me Like the arrows of the enemy I will run again to Calvary That rugged hill of Hell's defeat My fortress and my victory My sin is nailed to the cross My soul is healed by the scars The weight of guilt I bear no more Praise the Lord, praise the Lord My sin is nailed to the cross My soul is healed by the scars The weight of guilt I bear no more Praise the Lord, praise the Lord It is finished, sin is vanquished Hallelujah, praise the Lord All the glory, all the honor To my Savior, Christ the Lord It is finished, sin is vanquished Hallelujah, praise the Lord All the glory, all the honor To my Savior, Christ the Lord When I stand before the throne at last His blood will plead my innocence I will worship Him with holy hands And raise the song that never ends Of Jesus Christ, my righteousness My sin is nailed to the cross My soul is healed by the scars The weight of guilt I bear no more Praise the Lord, praise the Lord My sin is nailed to the cross My soul is healed by the scars Now I'm alive forevermore Praise the Lord, praise the Lord Praise the Lord, praise the Lord TAMMY: Hallelujah! LAUREN: Good morning, Bethany family If you are new to Bethany Community Church, welcome! Please make sure you get on our email list

Email us at office@bethanylaurelorg so we can get to know you and so you can get our weekly mid-week email updates We will send you announcements, encouragement, and links to our many resources What you're about to see is a sample of the types of things you'll get in your inbox and reminders to the Bethany family If you haven't checked out our new online platform for the church service, head over to bethanylaurelmd

onlinechurch What this has available is a chat where you can talk to other congregants as well as a private chat where you can get prayer live; you can talk one on one with someone who is waiting on the other end You can talk about what you're learning, what you're going through, or what you're hearing in the service There are also links to other places on our website, like our "give" page and other information that you might need

Bethany is hosting its first virtual Financial Peace University class It starts on Thursday, July 23 If you follow the link on the screen, fpucom/1120475, you will find our class and you can sign up If you need sign language interpreting, please email interpreting@bethanylaurel

org This is a very valuable class It helps you to create and stick to a budget, save for emergencies, and plan for the future We also are holding Tuesday night prayer times at 5:00 pm

over Zoom You can find links for that in our weekly emails as well as on the website If you can't make it to these prayer times, we know that you're still praying, and I just encourage everybody to keep praying for our church, for our community, for our families God is listening, and He is close by The children's ministry invites you to join them at 11:30, after the service

Email them at children@bethanylaurelorg for more information They have plenty of fun activities and Bible stories and stuff for the whole family to do So make sure you check that out and connect with them Now it's time to worship through giving

There are many ways to do this You have the text, you have the website, you have the app You even can mail in a check But I just want to say that God has been so gracious to provide for us And one of the things that I learned through the Financial Peace University class is how exciting it is to be able to give, knowing where my money is going and having a budget just for this giving category

It's exciting to get to see that money going towards helping others And that's really what we're trying to do The money that you give to Bethany goes to help out needy families in our own church community and also into our greater community, so thank you for being generous Let's pray Father God, You have provided so generously for us

I pray that You would make our hearts more and more open to each other, more and more open to the Holy Spirit Father, You are so faithful You are so gracious I pray that You make us gracious as well Let us reflect Your kindness and Your generous heart to each other and to our community

Father, thank You for our church Thank You for our community of believers and the presence of the Holy Spirit with us Please bless Your people with Your word today Thank You for going before us It's in Your name, Jesus, amen

ANDREW: Good morning, Bethany family We're going to sing a new song next called "I Choose to Worship" It's a song that came out right at the beginning of quarantine, and it's been playing in my head on repeat for the last 8 or 12 weeks or 4 years or however long we've been doing this And it's a song that's meant a lot to me and brought me a lot of comfort If you don't know it and you need words, you can look it up on your phone — it's called "I Choose to Worship" by Rend Collective — or turn on the closed captioning hopefully if you're watching this on YouTube or church online or wherever

But part of the song says, "When the enemy says I'm done, I lift my praises When my world comes crashing down, I lift my praises high Until the darkness turns to dawn, I lift my praises I choose to worship I choose You now

" I've found a lot of comfort in those words over the past few months, and I hope it's something you can take comfort in as well I choose to worship I choose to bow Though there's pain in the offering, I lay it down Here in the conflict When doubt surrounds Though my soul is unraveling I choose You now I will praise You through the fire Through the storm and through the flood There is nothing that could ever steal my song In the valley You are worthy, You are good when life is not You will always and forever be my song I build my altar right here and now In the midst of the darkest night it won't burn out For You are perfect, no matter what In the joy of the suffering I'll sing it loud I will praise You through the fire Through the storm and through the flood There is nothing that could ever steal my song In the valley You are worthy, you are good when life is not You will always and forever be my song When the enemy says I'm done, I'll lift my praises When my world come crashing down I'll lift praises high 'Til the darkness turns to dawn I'll lift my praises I choose to worship, I choose You now When the enemy says I'm done, I'll lift my praises When my world come crashing down I'll lift my praises high 'Til the darkness turns to dawn I'll lift my praises I choose to worship, I choose You now I choose to worship, I choose You now I will praise You through the fire, Through the storm and through the flood There is nothing that could ever steal my song In the valley You are worthy, You are good when life is not You will always and forever be my song When the enemy says I'm done, I'll lift my praises When my world come crashing down I'll lift my praises high 'Til the darkness turns to dawn I'll lift my praises I choose to worship, I choose You now I choose to worship, I choose You now I choose You now PASTOR NATE: Praise the Lord It's time for the word, Bethany Community Church For those of you who are friends or simply just stumbled across us, I want to welcome you first My name is Pastor Nate, and I'm glad that you've joined us this morning

Will you pray with me? Heavenly Father, we thank You We thank You that You have allowed us to come together and gather for worship even at a distance So now, Father, I pray that just as You allow us to connect via these networks, that Your Spirit will be manifested in every location that is viewing, observing, or rebroadcasting this message I pray that Your word would go forth and that it would touch the lives and hearts of those that You desire to impact, that it will cause us to grow closer in our walk with You and our understanding of who You are, and that it will have us to more adequately represent You to a world that desperately needs You In Jesus' name, amen

Turn with me, if you will, in your Bibles to Acts 1 as we continue this series entitled "Unbroken," with a message titled "Blessings Birthed from the Breaking" As you arrive there, let me tell you why this is the case You see, this book of Acts is actually a second part of the book or the gospel according to Luke And what we have here is the transition beginning from Jesus, Who has come and served the people, He has prayed, He has preached, He has healed, He has done miracles, and He has even gone to the cross for all of those who were there and for us He died for those who were crucifying Him and those who would yet come to know Him years and years later

And in that process, He was broken When I say "broken," I'm thinking back on right before He goes to the cross He said "This is My body" He's referring to the bread that was broken, but His body had to go through a breaking Although He wouldn't break a bone, He still had to go through the breaking process so that we might be unbroken

And in doing that, we find now that Jesus is alive He has been resurrected from the grave And that's enough to celebrate If we wanted to spend a message on that, we could do that We could just sit in the reality that our Lord is a living Lord, that He did not die and stay dead, but after all that He went through for you and for me, He rose again

It's after this that we find this letter, or this accounting, that is a continuation of the gospel of Luke And some places you may even hear it referred to as Luke/Acts because it's a two part I want to read these first 11 verses, and then I want to break them down so that we can get some practical application so that we do this one thing Just remember this — write this down — that we don't quit in the broken places, because God has a plan that is birthed from the broken Don't quit when the situation seems dire

Don't quit when the situation seems hard Don't give up when people around you are sick or you are sick Don't give up when situations seem like you can't overcome them, because God has the ability to birth His plans right out of those broken places Before I get too heavy into the word, I want to remind that you today is first Sunday, so we will have communion after this service So if you haven't got your juice and your bread, please do so

And we'll give you a moment at the end of the service to go ahead and do that before we begin So let's take a look Acts 1:1-11 The Bible says, "In the first book, O, Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God

And while staying with them, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, 'You heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now' So when they had come together, they asked Him, 'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?' He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the time or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth' And when He said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the heavens? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven

'" Blessed is the word It is here where we begin the introduction into what we will see is the forming of the church post Christ's earthly ministry And it's important that we take time to do this And I'll probably work my way through Acts just so that we can get an understanding of how we have arrived where we are in the absence of Jesus' earthly ministry You see, it's here where we find some things in this text that I think we may gloss over

And I hope that we don't, and I want to make sure that we don't, and that's why we're talking about this today Some of the things I want to pull out of this text, the first thing is quite simple in my mind, is that the broken can breathe again What do I mean by the broken can breathe again? There are some things and some places in our lives that we have written off because they feel like they have died There are situations where we looked at them, some of us have canceled our marriages, some of us have given up on our kids, some of us have given up on our friendships or family members simply because they seemed to be in unfixable places The relationships have become so broken, and our hope for any type of restoration or resurrection of those things is lost

And yet we find here that in the midst of all those things, while we still live and have an opportunity to fix them, we seem to give up However, Jesus went to the cross and died and rose again When we look at verses 1-3, you see an accounting that connects this account or the acts of the apostles to the first writing, which is Luke And the Bible here says, "In the first book, O, Theophilus" So he's addressing and the connection

He says "I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day that He was taken up, and He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen He presented Himself alive" is where I think we need to pause for a minute, because Luke tells Theophilus, I've accounted for these things I've accounted for the words that Jesus spoke I've accounted for the fact that He gave His commands to the Holy Spirit But then in verse 3, he says, "He presented" — He being Jesus — "presented Himself alive, then, after His sufferings by many proofs

" I think it's important to notice that he makes it pretty clear that Jesus is not — this is not a figment of his imagination This isn't a mirage But no, Jesus being alive again, having been broken, now breathing, speaks to His apostles And when He speaks to them, the Bible says that He presented Himself alive, living, in the flesh, to them after His sufferings, and He does it, the Bible says, by many proofs Now, understanding this "suffering" is that He experienced harm and pain

We know this when we account for the crucifixion So we understand the suffering But what we sometimes, if we're not careful, can get so used to hearing is that He rose and that Jesus here with His apostles, He presented the wounds, He presented Himself with all of the scars and all of the things that would prove who He was The Bible says "proofs" And the word here actually means convincing proof, any extremely convincing factual evidence that helps to establish the truth of something

So when Jesus arrives, He shows the evidence of the wound in His side, and He shows the evidence of the wounds in His hands and in His feet as evidence to those who had once walked with Him Now, this is important because you would think that if you know someone and you know them intimately and you just spent the last 3 years with them and they died and you saw them die, that even though they had died in front of you, if you saw them again, you would believe who they were And yet Jesus, when He has risen, goes to His apostles and presents the wounds and the evidence that He indeed is the same man who walked the earth, that He indeed is the same One who died on the cross and that death did not have the final say Now, while we might not be rising from the dead today, and understandably so that Jesus did this, we must understand that in our lives, there are some places that seem dead that by the power of God can be resurrected The relationship you gave up on, the hope and the dream that you had

God has the ability to make the dead things breathe again And just because it was broken, just because it was hard, just because it was difficult doesn't mean that it's over You see, I believe there were some who hoped for, even the Pharisees when they had Christ crucified, they were hoping that He would stay in the tomb They were hoping that the message of the Messiah would die and be buried in the tomb And some of us operate the same way

We are willing to write off things that we have allowed to be broken or they broke in such a way that we felt broken and we would rather them die and stay where they were buried than to trust that God could build them up and make it so that they might breathe again But that's not what happens here Jesus is alive and He is breathing again And because He is breathing and because He is walking and because He has a message that goes beyond the grave, we now have access to the Father I think that's important that we catch that, because Jesus then gives them His commands of what they are to do

That's what the sense here is when it says He was speaking about the kingdom of God He was giving, the word here is, the orders or to give instructions to someone He's talking to them about the kingdom of God, and He is giving them directives of what may come to pass I think that's important to recognize this because Jesus is talking to His disciples, and disciples, that process of discipleship allows someone to learn and to produce within themselves the lessons learned so that they might go and reproduce those things in someone else Now, if He's talking to His disciples about what they must do and therefore they will go and make disciples as Matthew 28 tells us, then those disciples would have inevitably done things that now allow us to follow these same commands that Jesus gives

And in doing so, the dead, us being the dead, those of us who were dead in our sins, dead in our trespasses, may live again But it's not just that the broken can breathe again, because many of you and I were once broken and because of Christ we now breathe again, but it's also that there is a benefit birthed out of the breaking There is a benefit in the breaking This is hard for some of us to feel because breaking doesn't feel good Let's take a look at verses 4-8 of Acts 1

The Bible says in verse 4, "And while staying with them, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, 'You heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now' So when they had come together, they asked Him, 'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?' And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the time or the seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and in Samaria and to the end of the earth' And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight" When you look at verses 4-8, although I read through verse 9, there are a number of things that manifest themselves

The first thing comes up where Jesus now talking to His disciples begins to receive questions from them, but while He's talking to them, He tells them what they must do In verse 4, He says, "Then He tells them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise" Now, see, the promise can't come until Christ goes, which means after He has been broken, after He's gone to the cross, after He's arisen He does all these things, having told them of what was to come after this And therefore there is a promise birthed out of the breaking

You see, one had to come before the other And some of us need to grasp that in our spirits because we tend to get too caught up in the problems that we face and in the breaking that we may be going through that we think the thing that we're facing is the final say But God is saying, if your story is still being written, then I still have a plan and a purpose for you And if I still have a plan and a purpose for you, that promise still exists in spite of the pain you're going through And Jesus tells them this

He says "But wait for the promise of the Father, which He said you heard from Me, that, yes, John baptized you with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" You see, the Father has already planned how He will extend toward His promise, and it's birthed out of breaking Now, understand this Jesus was broken and went to the cross, but I imagine, let me give you from a different perspective Imagine you walk with someone and you've gotten to know them and you've learned to love them and you see them like a father or a brother or a sister or a mother, and then one day they die horribly

Imagine how broken that feels inside And then after that happens, they're back and you're excited because you're now back with the person that you loved and thought you lost, and then all of a sudden, you realize they have to leave again This is where the disciples are now They just really reconnected back with Jesus, and Jesus is telling them, yes, I'm back, but now I'm going, but there's a promise that is already in place for you, but follow My commands until the promise gets fulfilled This is where we find these disciples, but it's not the only thing that comes up there, that the promise extends beyond the breaking

But there's also, He says to them, they say, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?" Now, they had an expectation of what the Messiah is meant to do, and they're asking Jesus, now You've gone to the cross, You've conquered death Are you going to fulfill the promise right now in our lifetime? And He says to them, "It is not for you to know the time or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority" I think we need to pause there for a second, because Jesus doesn't tell them that it won't happen What He tells them is that the Father has fixed a time when it will happen, and it's not for you to know And sometimes we glaze past that, that oh, we're not supposed to know the time or the seasons

But the reality is, He finishes that statement by saying that the Father has fixed a time when this will occur Let me read that again for you so that you see it right here in your Bible in verse 7 "He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the time or the seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority'" The Father has fixed a time when He will restore or when He will renew or do whatever He's planned in your life And while it may seem like those days are far off or not going to happen because you're at your darkest moment or your lowest season, God is saying that if I planned it for you, I've already fixed it in time that it will come to pass

He goes on beyond that He says, you're not meant to know when this will happen, but understand that there is something you are meant to know "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" Now, that gives me hope in two ways, because it says I'm going to receive power, but more importantly, it means I'm also going to receive the Holy Spirit That means the Spirit of God, the Breath of God is going to come upon me, and in that alone is a blessing, but then on top of that, I will receive power

The word here comes from a word called "dunamis" It's where we get our word "dynamite" from And He tells them that you will receive this power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, which means you'll receive the Holy Spirit, you'll receive power, but then you will also have a mission, which means you can't quit at your lowest point You can't quit because Jesus has gone up to heaven, for the disciples You can't quit because you feel like you've lost what you thought you wanted

And the reason you can't quit is because after this, what Jesus says is that, "And" — in the middle of verse 8 — "you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth" What He's telling them is, I'm going to go to heaven, where I'm meant to be, and in due season, you're going to receive the Holy Spirit And when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power And with that, you will then walk out and be my — the word here is “martyres,” and what that now means is the word we get "martyr" from, but then it meant you will give testimony to what you have seen Later on we would get an expansion of the definition to mean those who have died for their faith because that's what happens to many of the disciples

But the reality here is that Jesus was telling them that when I go to heaven, you have an opportunity and a responsibility to go into the world and tell them what I have told you You have a responsibility to go into the world and tell them what you witnessed, what you walked with Me and that I walked with you, that you talked with Me and that I talked with you, and that when I was teaching, you learned And you watched me tell you that I was going to the cross And when I went to the cross, before I went, I told you that I would not stay in the ground, but that I would get up with all power, and you noticed that when I went to the ground, I went to the tomb And you watched and you waited and you were panicked

You didn't stay at the cross But three days later, I rose and you witnessed that too And now as you witness, you're going to witness Me go to heaven, and as a result, I need you to do your part You can't die with me You can't end here

No matter how low it seems and no matter how hard it feels, because you're still here, you have a role and a responsibility to tell the world about Me And this is what He says to His disciples And I believe that extends to us, that no matter how dark our night may be, we have a responsibility to trust God enough and to trust His Spirit enough that we have the power to overcome whatever we face, and that as we overcome what we face, we are able to bear the testimony of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world In their case, Judea and Samaria In our case, the entire world

For those of us at Bethany, that means starting in Laurel with your neighbor We have a responsibility to share the gospel with those closest to us It doesn't matter that we're facing COVID It doesn't matter that we're facing injustice We are still the living embodiment and testament carriers of Jesus Christ

And in that, we are meant to share the gospel with those that are nearest us, even if it means waving at your neighbor, establishing a Zoom, getting them on it and telling them about the love of God You have a responsibility Because in this, there is a benefit that came from the breaking The next thing I want to give you is that — and this is my final point — there is a blessed return that comes from the breaking There's a blessed return that comes from the breaking

When we look at verse 10-11, the Bible says, "And while they were gazing into heaven, as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into the heavens'" Now, this is something that I think is huge in my mind because when I look at this, we see that Jesus has already come from the grave We already saw the resurrection And many times when we talk in our churches, we talk about Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, but we miss His ascension We miss that right before the people who watched Him die and right before the people who watched Him live and right before the people who now know that He has been resurrected, they watched Him go into heaven

And that's enough to celebrate, that they watched Him go up, they watched that death could not hold Him, the earth could not hold Him Could you imagine standing there? Could you imagine there standing with someone you've lived with for 3 years, watching them be taken away, knowing they've been beaten, terror grips you and you watch as they are taken and led away to the cross? You know that everyone else who has ever gone to the cross has never returned You know that anyone who has ever gone to the cross has been buried and/or left on the cross to be eaten by the vultures You know that He went into the tomb And then you come to know that He has indeed kept His word, that He has been resurrected from the dead

And now as He's been resurrected, He now walks with you again and He talks with you again and He reclaims you as His own Imagine being Peter, who denied Him three times, and having the same person that you denied call you back to Himself and then give you a mission to feed and cover and lead His own sheep And right where you feel forgiven, imagine that for 40 days you spend time with them, and then you get to watch them go into heaven This is the place where the disciples find themselves, and they're still waiting for the restoration of Israel If you look at verse 6, the question came from them, will you do what the Messiah was called to do in the earth now? And instead what He does is He gives the answer that they may not yet understand

And as He's ascending, they're watching Him go into heaven and they're wondering what comes next And now we have these two witnesses stand by and speak to them And they tell them, why are you looking into the heavens? And when I read that, the first thing I thought it was, why are we wasting time when He's given you your mission? You see, while you're standing here watching, He's already told you that God has a plan He told you that the Holy Spirit is going to come upon you He told you where you need to be

Are you where you are supposed to be instead of watching where He has already gone? Now, this doesn't mean we're not looking for the return of our Savior, but what I'm saying here is that in the midst of our waiting, we should not just be watching; we should be working He told them that they were going to take the testimony to the world And if we are an extension of the command to go and make disciples, then we should be about the work In spite of how broken our society is, in spite of our broken our laws may be applied, in spite of our broken our relationships may be and may have felt, we need to continue to do the work We need to continue to walk according to our faith and seek reconciliation with one another

We need to seek to be the image of our Lord and Savior We need to seek to take the gospel to our neighbors, both near and afar Not just missions across the oceans, but the missions of our neighborhoods We reside in Laurel, Maryland We should have an impact of taking the gospel into our community in such a way that Laurel recognizes who Jesus is just as much as anywhere else we go

But the blessing in it comes at the back end of verse 11 The Bible says in verse 11, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven" — it points out exactly where He's gone and where they're looking, it says "He will come in the same way you saw Him go into heaven" What that says is there's a promise of the return of Jesus Christ You see, He can't return unless He had gone And He wouldn't have gone unless He had died and rose

So there's a blessing in the return Even today, we wait and await the return of our Lord and Savior We know that He's a living God We know that He did not die and stay in the ground but after the breaking happened at the cross, and after now what might feel like a second breaking of losing your Savior again as He goes into heaven, there's a promise that they won't stay gone You see, as you receive the Spirit of God in your life and as you carry out the mission that God has for you, there's an additional promise at the end of it

And that is that at the appointed time, at the time that the Father, according to Jesus here, in verse 7, at the time that the Father has fixed by His own authority, jump over to verse 11, Jesus will return in the same way He left He will come on the clouds He will come back down to the earth just as He went up, and in that time, He will do all that He has said and finalize the scriptures as we know Which means no matter what the situation feels like, no matter how broken things may be, there is always a blessing at the end of it God has the ability to birth new life out of broken places

He can give breath to the broken He can make what was broken beneficial And He will bless you in His return Heavenly Father, I thank You for each and every person who is listening to the sound of my voice, watching an interpreter or reading a caption I pray now that they would look at this word anew, that they would see that when Your Son died for each and every one of us, it was all a part of Your plan

And that the plan did not die with His earthly death The plan did not die with the breaking of His body The plan does not die when we walk through broken situations But instead, Lord, you have the capacity to make the broken breathe again You have the ability to make the things that are broken and seem useless beneficial

And that we have the ability to look toward the blessed return of Your Son So now, Father, change our hearts, guide our hearts, lead our hearts that we might have the passion to take the gospel in the same way you expected Your disciples to in this chapter, that we might take it to our local communities, to our extended communities, and to the world In Jesus' name, amen I'm so glad that you are still here because there may be someone who is on this stream that is thinking to themselves, I feel broken You may be here and you're saying, I never thought about the fact that all these things are there, that You have — that God has a plan for me and God has a purpose for me, and that regardless of how broken I feel, I'm still useful and beneficial to the kingdom of God

And if that's you and you haven't decided to follow Jesus and you're on our online church platform, please raise your hand right there Click the button that says "I raise my hand and I choose Jesus" And if you're saying, I just need prayer, click the "live prayer" button We are here and we are waiting to pray with and for you If you're not on that platform, I want to pray for you now, that if you want to make a decision for Jesus, that you would do it right here and right now

And it's simple The Bible says that "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" And it's that simple It says that "Those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" Jesus died just for you, and in doing so, He rose again and told His disciples what they must do so that you might hear the word of God

And I pray that this word touches you So if that's you and you're saying, God, what do I do now? Pray with me Repeat after me this prayer: Father, I know I'm a sinner But I also know that You sent Your Son You sent Him to die for me

You sent Him that He might live for me That He might teach for me And that after He died, that He might rise again for me And that He would ascend into Your heavenly spaces with the promise of His return Lord, we believe that You did raise Him from the dead, and now, Father, we ask that You would take us into Your arms as children of God

We turn away from our sins We turn away from the things that displease You, and we ask that You would guide our steps, that You would direct our paths, that we might truly be Your children In Jesus' name, amen If you're here and you're saying, you know, I already had decided to follow Him but I haven't been committed, click that "prayer" button so that we can pray with you, so that we might connect with you, because we believe that our mission is to help others begin and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ I'm so grateful for each of you, and now as we begin to transition into communion, if you have your bread and/or your cracker and your juice, let us prepare to transition and have communion together

I'll give you a moment to get your things in order just in case you have them Amen, amen, amen On the night that Jesus was betrayed, before He was taken, He had taken His disciples into an upper room And in that space, He repurposed something that was called Passover You see, the Passover commemorated the account in Egypt where the death angel was coming but the blood of the lamb was put on the doorpost of those who were children of Israel

And in doing so, the blood identified them with their God and separated them from others So when the death angel came and was wreaking havoc in the region, those who were covered by the blood were covered from the penalty of that In the same way, Jesus is that lamb His blood is the blood that covers us He doesn't need an atonement annually because His blood was sufficient one time for all time

So when He takes them, He says, as often as you remember being covered by the blood, remember Me, that I am the lamb that was slain for you So He took the bread, and He said, this bread which is broken is My body It is broken for you As often as you do this, do so in remembrance of Me So now, Father, as we take this bread, let us remember what You did for us

Let us be in right standing with one another and right standing with You Let us not take this moment lightly, but, Lord, let us honor You as we remember You Let us love one another as we love You, and in doing so, let us eat together After He took the bread, He took the cup, and He said, this is a new covenant of My blood which is poured out for you You see, throughout the scriptures, there were several covenants, but Jesus was making a new covenant

He was making a covenant that meant that you didn't need atoning sacrificing over and again But His blood was enough to cover you and to keep you So now as we remember what our Lord did for us on the cross, let us take the juice and remember our Savior and the blood that was shed one time for all time, and the grace to which it provided and the justification that it rendered, let us drink together Amen I thank each and every one of you who join us weekly and those who support the ministry financially

What you do allows us to take the gospel to so many If you would like to connect with us and be more connected with us, you can reach us at wwwbethanylaurelorg, and it's there where you can find out more information on the church You can connect with us through our connection cards

If you desire to be a member and even if you're not here, we have that opportunity available to you We would love to connect with you and help walk alongside you for those of you who have begun and those who are continuing to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ Well, until we meet again, I pray the blessings of God rest, rule, and abide over you, that His favor will go before you, and that you might receive the peace that surpasses all understanding, realizing that no matter what you face, God has the ability to use the broken God bless you Have a great day

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