Episode 1
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November 28, 2022

Advent | Hope


Hope has arrived! God sent His Son so that His light could reach your dark places.

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such a powerful song Christmas season is upon us and we're getting ready to to
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celebrate Christmas and we are starting a series uh just called Advent and I
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don't know about you but I just want to make a confession here today I've been in Ministry for 20 years been a
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Christian for 25 and I have no idea what Advent is like I
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that sounds probably terrible but like I've asked people over the years like what what is advent and and it's not
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really in the Bible or anything so I was just like I don't know what that really is and then we were like oh we're gonna
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call the series this so I got to figure it out so I went to Google and somebody explained it to me using
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food and now I get it here's what the internet told me the internet told me that the reason we have
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fruitcake and Christmas pudding is because you mix those things up we Stir It Up and the reason we have those
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during Advent is because we are stirring up our hearts in preparation for
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Christmas so that's what Advent is if you didn't know and I was like oh that makes sense somebody explained it using food right
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and you may sound that say like that sounds like dumb but like basically that's what communion is right is
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explaining something really important with food let me uh begin today
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um I think that that line from that sign song
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sticks out today is long lay the world in sin and error pining till he appeared
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and the Soul felt its worth a thrill of Hope the weary World rejoices for
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Yonder breaks a new and glorious mourn as we go through this series and we talk
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about Advent each week we're going to talk about an important aspect and today we're going to focus in on Hope but this
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line comes across and it's like hey the thrill of Hope and when I think of like the new birth of Jesus I wonder like is
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that is that the thrill of Hope because we all need hope but like when I think
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about Jesus being born is that really that my objective today would be to
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Simply take your desire your need for Hope and connect it to why that is
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ultimately fulfilled and why your hope ultimately should be in Jesus
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because here's the thing we all need hope we thrive on it you've gone through
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some very difficult times in your life because you had hope without that desire or that move to put your hope in
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something you would you would die you can go through incredibly difficult
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things if you know there's Hope on the other side when you were in college and you just didn't think that you could write another paper
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you had the hope that one day you'll graduate and get out of college when you had an infant
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some of you out there that have had the infant experience and you realized how awful that is like what a bummer having
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an infant is and they'll be staying up late and the sleepless nights but then you had the hope that brought you
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through it that one day this thing is going to do more than just suck the life out of you you put your you put your
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hope in something right you you we're always like going through difficult things some of you have had
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loss in your life you've really had to mourn some incredible loss and it felt like a burden that you weren't able to
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carry on your own but you had hope you put your hope in something
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and the object of what you put your hope in is one of the most important things
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about you what you actually because we're all going to do it we're all going to put our hope in something but the but the
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thing that you put your hope in that is the most important thing about you it defines you it it sets the course of
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your actions like you are who you and what you put your hope in but here's the problem we're terrible at putting our
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hope in the right things we have a tendency to put our hope in things that are finite that are that are
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close that are that are simple that are sometimes even superficial and we think man that's gonna fix everything if we if
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we just had that relationship if we just had enough money a lot of times one of the things we put
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our hope in is we put our hope in the future that things are going to get better right that's that's where our hope a lot of
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time goes is just this one line This Too Shall Pass and we go hey things are going to get better and so we put our
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hope that things are going to get better and that's why you end up with old people who are old and cynical because
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eventually they found out what things don't really get better
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it's just a different kind of suck that's what life is
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I'm here to bring hope I don't know I don't know if I was clear about that
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but we have a tendency to put our hope in all of the wrong things and today I want to connect that desire you have
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that that need you have for putting your hope in something and why it's actually found in in Jesus
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to do that I want to identify with a character in the scripture one of the people that was on the earth when Jesus
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was born and his name was Simeon here's what we know about Simeon in Luke chapter 2. it says now there was a man
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in Jerusalem called Simeon who was who was righteous and devout he was waiting
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for the consolation of Israel in other words he was waiting I'll explain this in a minute he was waiting for for God
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to do what God had promised for a very long time in Israel and the Holy Spirit was on him it had been revealed to him
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by the holy spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's
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Messiah Simeon represents all of the nation of Israel and really he represents all of
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the world he is in a place where he is waiting for some for God to do something
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now a brief history on Israel God had given his commands to his people
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and he said hey here's the relationship you do what I command you to do your
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obedient and I will bless you and everything will go fantastic and great for you
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and I could sum up all of the Old Testament by just saying this and then they didn't
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that's the entire if you want just the the cliff notes of the Old Testament God said do all of these things I will bless
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you and then they didn't and if I could I just like to insert you into this story I think we can connect
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with the nation of Israel isn't that all of us didn't all of us grow up maybe if you grew up with faith you're like yeah I'm
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gonna I'm gonna like do what God wants me to do I'm gonna be obedient I'm going to be faithful I'm going to follow after
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God and then you and then you didn't or maybe you couldn't
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or maybe if you weren't raised in church you you were raised with the idea that you need to become a good person
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and you discovered that being a good person was actually difficult and you weren't capable of being that good
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person the nation of Israel represents all of humanity because they're in a place where they just couldn't and
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because of that because of that about six centuries before Jesus they God said it's over and
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he put them into captivity and they were they were put in captivity by the
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Babylonians and then the Babylonians became the Persians and the Persians became the Greeks and the Greeks became
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the Romans and when we come into this place the nation of Israel God's chosen and holy
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people on Earth his light to the world is under captivity and there's this
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heavy burden because it is it is because of their Disobedience it's because of their sin it's because they're far from
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God and so now they're living this way and so now their only hope when you talk about their hope
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is the Messiah that God will send a person who's going to deliver them who's
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going to free them but let's let's connect with Israel just a little bit before we move on but they
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are looking for hope in the wrong places
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and this is what you and I do what they think is the Messiah is going to come and come back and make all of
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their wildest dreams come true and this Messiah is going to come back and he's going to be like he's going to be like a
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king he's going to be strong he's going to be like a Jewish Dwayne The Rock Johnson and he's going to come back he's
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going to be a warrior and he's going to lead them to Victory he's going to overthrow the Roman Empire and the nation of Israel once again be God's
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people so that's where simeon's at that's where the nation of Israel's at and really this is the place where the world is at
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this is what happened next moved by the spirit he went into the temple courts
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where the parents brought in the Child Jesus because he was just recently been born
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to do for him what the custom of the law required Simeon took him in his arms
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and praised God saying Sovereign Lord as you have promised you
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may now dismiss your servant in peace in other words I can die now because you
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have been faithful because for my eyes have seen your salvation
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and I think the people that were holding the baby Jesus the parents as he took them in the arms and they said that they
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must have looked and gone really I mean really
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this this is the Messiah this is the Salvation maybe Simeon was crazy after all maybe that's what they concluded
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and then he goes One Step farther and he says which you have prepared in
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the sight of all Nations a light for Revelation to the Gentiles
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not just talking about the Deliverance of the nation of Israel he's talking about Deliverance of the light to all
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people the Gentile is just anybody that's not a Jew simeon's kind of stepping out on his own
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here and he's saying something that they don't even understand he's saying it's not just going to be for God's people
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it's going to be for every person on the planet this child will be a light to the
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Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel
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now I think what's important for us to note at this point
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is that again people looked at that and just went okay I don't necessarily see that
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you might be in a place where you look and you're like man I need hope right I got things going on in my life there's
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difficulties that I'm facing I I got challenges I need hope and I come to church and I try to put my hope in Jesus
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because we're looking for Jesus to kind of step into to our frustration and our immediate moment and he's supposed to
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give us life and prosperity and blessing and purpose and meaning and he's supposed to heal my anxiety and my
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depression and he's supposed to cure sort of what's going on in my life and and so that's why people come to church
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that's why we celebrate Christmas is because we're looking for hope and just like God did for the nation of
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Israel and for the all of the world God gives us a hope that is far greater than what we're actually looking for
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he gives us the light of the world found in Jesus Christ
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now in order to understand what it means that Jesus is the light of the world the
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light the Gentiles and the light to the entire world the only way to really understand the
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light is to is to understand the darkness I'm going to get a little depressing
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today okay because before we before we talk about what it means that Jesus is the light of
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the world I I think it's important that we understand what is he Illuminating I I really feel like this happens that a
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lot of times on Christmas Eve we invite our friends and family we have a candle lighting service and it's a really cool
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thing or we get up and talk about Jesus as the hope of the world I think we just say that and people are
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okay but unless they understand what he's lighting what's actually broken what's
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actually dark in the world it means nothing
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so today I want to take a moment I want to take some time I want to get a little depressing here and I just I just want
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to talk about what the darkness is that Christ is actually Illuminating
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the first thing is just just simply this people cause hurt intentionally
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since the beginning of time that has been the number one standard people
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intentionally they know they're going to create Earth and they go ahead and they hurt other
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people intentionally 21 000 people last year in the United
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States of America decided it would be a good idea to kill another human being
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maybe it was because of Rage maybe it was out of anger maybe it's just because they wanted their stuff
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21 000 people killed another human being in the United States there are 747
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000 registered sex offenders three quarters of a million and the problem with that I mean the
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darkest part about that statistic is they say that only about one in ten of extra every
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um every uh sexual misconduct about 1 in 10
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are actually convicted so there's a lot of people going around there who have experienced that and
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people that have done that who haven't even been caught we have to have police officers to make
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sure that people don't take our stuff we have to have malware on our computers because there are people out there
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working day and night to try to figure out how to send you a fake Facebook request so that they can request money
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from all of your friends we have people that are actively out there trying to hurt
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other people but that's just the legal stuff I could go on and on about all the things in
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this world that are illegal and that we literally have to have the threat of death or punishment to keep people from
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doing things to hurt other people but probably the biggest hurt in your life is something that somebody caused you
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that wasn't even illegal they cheated on you you were trusting in somebody and they betrayed you they they
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were supposed to be there for you but they let you down they were just downright mean they knew
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what they were going to do to you and that it was going to hurt you and they did it intentionally
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that is the world we live in and we sometimes think of that as just normal
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it's just like yeah that's just life there's awful people out there trying to do awful things and that is somehow
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normal to us that is just life on top of that then you have people who
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cause hurt unintentionally uh there was not even a thing years ago
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was ptsds but now that is a regular thing that we actually diagnosed that we're able to actually see that when
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people experience trauma devastating trauma because of things happening in
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life they are actually in a place where they they didn't know it they didn't step into that they didn't walk into it
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but now they are unintentionally experienced it's an unintentional result
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there's many times where people are out there and they're just having a good time right I'm just maybe you were that guy
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in college you were just hooking up you were just hooking up with different people and it didn't seem like you were
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hurting anybody in fact it actually kind of felt like the opposite it felt like maybe a a compliment or kind of an
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intimate moment you didn't realize till later that you were actually creating harm in yourself
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and you were creating harm and the people around you in fact have you ever done this have you
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ever gotten to a point in your life where you look back and you realize oh I didn't realize the damage I was
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causing in other people's life here's what the old people tell me not
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me I'm not old but the old people tell me what I've noticed anyway
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is the older you get the more regrets you have because you realize there were things you didn't
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even know that you were doing that were creating damage in people's lives
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and all of us are out there and we're we're just trying to avoid the intentional stuff the things that we
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already know are wrong but there's all kinds of things out there that we are doing unintentionally
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hurt people retaliate by causing hurt and other other ways to say this is hurt people hurt people
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it's widely known that there's a connection between abuse this doesn't mean this has to happen but if you're
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abused as a child it is more likely or you're more susceptible to cause that same abuse
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you see this over and over again in the world like people that just we wake up we grow up in this world and everything's kind of fine and then we
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people hurt us and we end up being scarred and wounded by that and we retaliate against other
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people with the same kind of hurt hurt caused by Collective ignorance I
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could go on about this but this is a huge thing if you study history if you look back over time you'll look back into different time periods in life and
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be like how did you guys think that was okay it's okay for us to now look back and go
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yeah slavery was bad duh didn't you get that owning people's bad
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but nobody seemed to get it back then everybody seemed to be like this is just
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the way life is and then when everybody around you is engaged in something and
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they don't call it immoral then it's hard for you to even see it as wrong
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and I can promise you when people look back hundreds of years from now and they look back at us there is something that
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they're going to look at in our culture in our time and go man I can't believe that they thought that was okay
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but we're looking around we don't necessarily know what it is because we are
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ignorant and everybody else around us is telling us it's okay and then the hurt
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I have inflicted on others here's what we spend most of our life
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dealing with the the shame and the pain and the hurt that comes from the fact that we know that what we've done
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we know that we've been the person to create that hurt the one that has done
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something wrong and here's what we do we have a tendency to like really minimize that we really minimize that and we like to
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focus on other people well this is the people that are doing the things wrong and the hurt that they're causing and and we like to minimize what we're doing
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because we don't like to deal with it our our dissonance won't allow us to deal with the fact that we're just like
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everybody else and so we don't deal with it but as we look at these things this is what's
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wrong with the world this is the darkness in the world and what scripture calls that or what
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the Bible calls that is it causes the word hurt is actually called sin
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people cause sin intentional people cause sin unintentionally hurt people retaliate by causing Sin Sin caused by
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Collective ignorance sin I have inflicted on others that's what's broken and wrong with the
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world is that we are all this and so God looks at us at the creation
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at his Humanity that he made and he steps back and and in Romans chapter 3
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it tells us God's opinion of the world it tells us God's perspective on what's
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broken what's wrong with Humanity Romans chapter 3 goes like this
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there is no one righteous not even one
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this is God looking at Humanity he's looking at us and going there's not one there's no one who is righteous no one
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who is good there is no one who understands there is no one who seeks God all have
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turned away they have together collectively become worthless
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there is no one who does good their throats are open Graves their tongues
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practice deceit the poison of vipers is on their lips their mouths of frol of
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cursing and bitterness their feet are Swift to shed blood ruin and misery mark
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their ways and the way of peace they do not know there is no fear of God before
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their eyes I told you it's dark
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and God looks at Humanity he sees the Brokenness he sees the hurt that we cause each other he stands back and he
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realizes that we're all in the same boat and that leads to even more Darkness
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it leads to separation from God that God is holy and righteous and
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perfect can't have a relationship with Humanity because we are all so unrighteous Unholy and we all produce
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the same kind of hurt and pain in the world and God's reaction to that here's
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where things get a little bit darker God's reaction to that but what would you do
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what would you do if you were in God's situation and you saw Humanity for what it really was and imagine you're not
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just evaluating people the way you evaluate people but you can understand people's every thought and heart and
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motive and intention all the time like even the people that look like the
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good people he knows what's going on inside of their mind what would you do
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I think he I think we would do the same thing God does the the same thing we do with our teenagers
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I I I'm not throwing shade at teenagers okay I just want to put I was one at one point and I was awful anybody else in
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here awful as a teenager yeah it's just part of growing up right you're just an
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awful human being for four years but anyway you uh when we were when we were teenagers we
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were this way and I have teenagers I've worked four through my house now and I can tell you during this time in
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their life where they're struggling for the first time with this this brand new ego this brand new sense of Independence
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this brand new sexual drive these brand new desires that they have and they're wrestling with their their sinful nature
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the worst possible thing to do in that moment is to give them everything that
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they want right but the best thing that I can do
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for them is not buy them the shoes that they want or get them the clothes they want or Heaven forsake buy them a car
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like if that's like the last thing that they need I want to be good to them I want to care
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for them I want to love them but I do not want them to to be able to live without a curfew and and go and do
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whatever they want and have complete freedom and Independence all the time what are people who have everything that
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they want when they're teenagers they're spoiled brats and it only leads
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to more problems and so what we do is we have curfews we
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have restrictions we say no we say no a lot over and over and over again
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and that's what God does with Humanity God sees the Brokenness in humanity he sees that what we're capable of what
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we do in in any given scenario and he decides
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to curse the world the darkness gets worse
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and the reason we have earthquakes and tornadoes the reason there's cancer and death the reason that there's so much
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heartbreak and sorrow isn't because God wants that God doesn't want that but the reason that God allows that to
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happen is because it's what Thomas Aquinas calls the the best of all possible worlds
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instead of just giving us complete freedom and allowing us to be whatever we want to be and do whatever we want to
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do he actually curses the world and he says no you need humility you need to find your way back to me you need to not
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have everything that you want which of course results in pain
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loss and sorrow
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what are you going to put your hope in that fixes that
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are you going to put your hope in a relationship oh man if I just had the right person to
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be with that would solve all of my problems
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no it doesn't it doesn't solve that
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so why do we put our hope in people
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you're going to put your hope in money if I just had enough money
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if I could just pay all my bills and have a little excess maybe go on vacations and have that clothes that I want if I could just have the life that
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I want then then everything would be great is that going to fix that
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anybody know any rich people that still struggle in life
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so why do we put our hope in money
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oh well if I could just find my if I could find my purpose in life if I could have this sense of fulfillment that I'm
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doing something that actually is good and like yeah I just get my ego strict in that way then that would be enough
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do you really think that solves this problem does that give you what you're looking for so why do we put our hope there
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listen do you think that there is a political party or a government or a
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president that can solve this problem but only make it worse
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so why with everything that we have do we continue to put our hope there
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it can't help what's broken with Humanity only
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God himself coming to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ through the Redemptive
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work on the cross washing us and making us pure giving us real genuine hope that
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he might change us change an individual From the Inside Out by the washing of
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his blood so that he can make us New Creations in Christ that is The Only Thing Worth
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putting your hope in and everything else is a false hope
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and today when Simeon is holding the baby in his arms and he goes I've seen
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the Salvation from God I've seen the light of the world
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and everybody looked at him and said are you sure Simeon there are many people this Christmas
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season that are going to look at Jesus and go I don't know that that I don't know that that fixes my problems
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that doesn't give me the hope I'm looking for and I'm trying to tell you that God is giving you a hope that is far beyond
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what you even desire the point in First Peter
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first Peter writes this he says praise be to the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ in his great Mercy he has
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given us a new birth into a living a Living Hope
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through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into inheritance that can never perish
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spoil or fade Jesus introduces an ultimate solution
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that none none of the organizations none of the people none of the plans or the processes in this world can even begin
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to offer hope he comes in to offer us hope into an
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eternity where our relationship with him is ultimately restored where sin is no more
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and what's actually broken with the world what's actually broken with us it disappears and goes away
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man if you if you want real lasting
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hope look beyond the things you normally put your hope in
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in fact look Beyond this look Beyond this hope that you normally put to God because a lot of times we just treat God
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like he's a Genie in a Bottle and it's like God could you like yeah okay this is great you're all powerful and stuff
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give my life to Jesus that's good can you fix this and can you fix this and can you fix this
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and God's like I want to I want to redeem
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God's relationship with mankind I want to restore you I want to make you something new would you give me your
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entire heart when the Angels appeared to the
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Shepherds they said but the angel said to them do not be afraid
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I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people today in the town of David a savior has
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been born to you he is in the Messiah the Lord
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There's an opportunity for you to put your faith in the only thing that actually brings hope
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today if you haven't ever made that decision to make Jesus Christ the lord of your life
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make that decision not not a decision to to have faith so that God can
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fix your problems make a decision to yield and surrendered your life completely to him and look to
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him because he's the only one that actually knows what's broken with the world and he's the only one that offers
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hope let me pray for you today father God I pray
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I pray that as we as we get ready to look into this season
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as we begin to wrap our minds around what it means that the Divine all-powerful God
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became a human became like one of us God I pray that you would help us to put
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our hope in something that truly matters God help us to break through the darkness
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help us to Rise Above the Rest of the world and to see the hope that you
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genuinely offer to us and I pray that in Christ's name
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amen right now we're going to move


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