Blake Coffee and Tony Diamond taught on Sunday, April 6. The videos and listening guides from that lesson, followed by the scripture, are below.
Core Lesson (Tony Diamond)
Live Life Outside the Parentheses
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I put you where you are now, PLUG IN – v. 4-7
“I live here (in a place I didn’t choose to be, in horrible circumstances, with people I don’t like and who hate me, and I see absolutely no chance of it getting better) so I’ll make the best of it.”
What happens when you stop focusing on the worst and instead commit yourself to making things work?
Others tell you what you want to hear: TUNE OUT – v. 8-9
“Stick with it and things may be better some day (but with looking around to see how others got out of the same mess, finding a way to sidestep problems, or just quitting like others do, the pain ends tons faster).”
What happens when you stop listening to others who focus on avoiding circumstances and keep your eyes on the Lord?
I’ll give you your future with me: CONNECT– v. 10-14
“I trust that God has a plan for me, so I’ll seek his guidance (but in the meantime, I’ll think hard and be shrewd, taking every advantage that I can grab and always hedging my bets).”
What happens when we look to the Lord completely, without relying on ourselves for answers?
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Venture Lesson (Blake Coffee)
Hearing God in Seasons of Darkness
Even during the darkest seasons of our lives, God never stops speaking. But it’s always per His agenda, not ours.
Sometimes the most loving word we can get from God is that this is our new normal…figure it out and make it work.
In our dark seasons, learning to discern which voices are speaking truth and which ones are not becomes critical.
Finding my own way forward thru the darkness is one goal. Giving hope and encouragement to the next generation is a higher goal.
For every person who ever has lived or ever will live, seeking after and finding God is the only true picture of success and purpose.
29 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin[a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”