City Lights Church is a contemporary Vineyard church located in the northwestern part of Richmond, VA. City Lights Church is a part of the Vineyard USA network and an ARC family member.
Hey there, and welcome to the City Lights Podcast. City Lights is a church located in the northwestern part of Richmond, Virginia. For more information about City Lights you can visit us at wearecitylights.com. Now enjoy today’s message.
Well welcome to our Wednesday pop up service, my name is Jacob and I’m on the team here. We have been in a series called how’s your soul. Now that could be a big thing. What is the soul? What is all that? Okay, so my hope for you in this series is that you will have self-discovery by discovering more of who God is. So I think once we see more of God, we can begin to have more of our inside life healthy and fulfilled. Jesus put it like this when he was questioned by religious leaders. Matthew 23 He says, “What sorrow awaits for you teachers of religious law and Pharisees, you hypocrites.” Dang, Jesus was harsh. “For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy, full of greed. You blind Pharisees, first wash the inside of the cup and the dish and then the outside will become clean, too.”
Now that’s pretty intense, but it’s not about the outside looking great, it’s about the inside, your heart, your soul. Like I am more and more convinced, you know, as I grow in my relationship with God that God is not just interested in the external things that happen around me, but he’s far more interested in the condition of my heart. And I think out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks, so once your inside life is healthy, well, I believe it will overflow to your outside world.
So last week, we talked about four things to have in order to have a healthy soul and that’s rest, restriction, responsibility, and relationships. You know, this week, we will explore the question, “Why does my soul have hope?” Why does my soul have hope? So if you’re like me, you probably experience moments when your emotions or thoughts seem like they’re spiraling out of control. And when you’re surprised and confused, if you’re like me, you’re also very dramatic. So maybe you’re not like me, but maybe you are, okay, we’re dramatic people. Maybe that’s not a good thing to celebrate. Okay, anyways, but what do we do when that happens? What do we do when that happens? When everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control?
One time, I got a story, one time I was playing outside with my daughter Kingsley, and we had this balloon, and we were bouncing it around and she loves balloons, she calls them “boons, boons,” you know, she loves balloons. And so we were playing outside and we went for a walk to our mailbox and we were living in our apartment complex here in Richmond. And as we were walking to the mailbox, the wind took Kingsley’s balloon, the wind took it and this thing like, it was like, whoosh, and just took her balloon. And the wind took it so fast and so far the balloon was literally in the middle of the street. And at first I was like, “Well, too bad for that balloon. I ain’t getting that thing for her.” You know, like, I ain’t about to risk my life, you know, to get that janky balloon.
But then she’s crying and she doesn’t want to go inside until we go after the balloon and she’s like, “boon, boon, boon,” she’s so sad. So I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I hate to see her this sad.” So I picked her up, and we started to run towards the balloon before the wind takes it even farther into the street. And this was the best part because I was running because I was seriously just trying to get the balloon before it went any farther, but as we were running, Kingsley’s laughing and smiling so big like me bouncing her up and down while we were running she was like literally having a blast. And here’s the best part: when we get to the balloon. Guess what? She doesn’t even want the balloon anymore. She’s not even thinking about this balloon, she had a great time. There was more joy for her running with me bouncing in my arms than the balloon.
And I think this is a good picture of hope, too. I think this is a good picture of how we can have hope, how our souls can have hope in our Father God. See in times of trouble and distress, we have to be intentional about directing our souls back to God. See, the psalm writer writes and gives us this example by speaking to our souls. Psalm 42 says this, “why my soul are you downcast? Why are you disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God.” When emotions run high, we need to be intentional about directing our souls back to God. You gotta speak to it. Like, I’m not gonna be upset about this anymore. Like I refuse to live in discouragement. I refuse to live defeated, I refuse. And then here’s one thing that I believe, though, it’s not good for you just to say, “I’m never going to be like this, I’m never going to have this.” You’re going to start speaking the things that you do want in your life, you’re gonna say, “I will have victory in this season, I will have hope in this, I will have joy in this.” You got to speak into existence the things that you want.
See, because here’s the truth, there are only two real options for you when you go through hard times. There’s only really two options. Either you conclude that there is no God and life is meaningless or you believe that there is a God and our lives are a result of his plan, even when things are tough. See if God put us here, if God put us on this earth and God put us here, then he is good enough to know about and care for our everyday lives. He’s good to care for us, even when our souls are out of control, God is still in control. And he has a plan. He has a purpose for our lives. See, God is a personal God. God is greater than our feelings. He’s greater than our emotions. He’s greater than our own souls.
And so I want to leave you with this: that means even when we feel discouraged, even when we feel condemned by our own mistakes, we can have hope in Him because He loves us, and He cares for us, no matter what’s going on so you can put your hope in Jesus.
Pray with me. God, I pray that we will put our hope in you, Jesus. Like that story of me holding Kingsley and running, God you hold us, you hold us in the journey, not just at the destination; you hold us in the journey. We can laugh in your arms. We can have joy in your arms, because you are a good father. So God, I pray that people will experience that joy, experience that hope, that their souls will have peace. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Amen. Now, there’s going to be a weekly challenge posted on our social media. I want you to look at that challenge and try to make it happen this week until next Wednesday, you know, I truly believe that God is for you, and he’s with you in this season. So hey, I want you to know, your next days are your best days and God is with you.
Thanks for checking out the City Lights Podcast. If you’d like to partner with us financially, you can go to wearecitylights.com/give, or you can text any dollar amount to 84321. Thanks for joining us today.