Grant had prepared a message for today, but felt compelled to change it in light of the earthquake devastation. With so many fears and concerns, this felt like an appropriate step to provide hope and comfort for our hurting church community. So, yesterday was busy praying and creating a new message that would hopefully speak to the lives of those who attended our service this morning. Here is the general outline that he delivered:
Psalm 46: 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Intro: Highlight the event and shock, which will be a memory that we won’t forget. We all have questions and fears. Such as, Why? Are we safe? What is going to happen?
1. How We are Feeling
a. We are shaken emotionally b. Nervous for the future c. Grieving alongside the nation’s loss.
b. Where is God in this? He is not distant and indifferent to our suffering. (Lk. 19:41) We see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and his friend Lazarus. He cares for cities and people. He also suffered himself on our behalf. This is a God who understands and is with us in our suffering.
2. Where can we turn for hope now? Psalm 46
a. vs. 1-3: God is our refuge, strength; we don’t need to fear.
b. vs. 4-6: God is in heaven and in control. Ask ourselves: Is God still God? Despite what we have experienced, is He still the same? Faithful? Sovereign? Present?
c. vs. 8-9: He can overcome problems
d. vs. 7,11: Refrain- God is with us
e. vs. 10- Therefore, in light of all of this, we can “Be still and know that He is God.”
3. How this event can change us
a. We are aware of how dependent we need to be on God, not ourselves. We cannot control everything in our lives and surroundings, no matter how hard we try.
b. Appreciate life, as it is brief and fragile. (cf. James 4:14- life is like a vapor) Make the most of each day we have been given, along with appreciated what is most important. People stood in long lines to make phone calls on Friday, not to check on the damage to their possessions but that their family and those closest to them were safe.
c. Hopeful for a world without pain, fear, and loss—– Heaven! cf. Rev. 21:1-5- God will wipe away our tears, we will have no more death or pain. Our hearts long for such a place as this world is filled with pain and uncertainty.
Big Idea: When everything is crumbling around us, God is our refuge and hope!
(p.s. Please continue praying for Japan, especially as more earthquakes have been happening around the country. The seismic center seems to be moving southward, which worries us as it could possibly hit the Tokyo area at any point)