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good morning friends how are you doing this morning great to see you again we’re in the middle of a series that we’re calling searched asking some of the the most googled questions about faith and christianity especially for those of you that might be watching online or maybe here in person that come from a framework of saying I’m not actually sure I believe all this stuff that you believe I feel like I’m kind of sitting on the fringe not quite ready to jump in and so we’re gonna get to week two but first thank you I want to offer an apology for those that were here last week because I looked at the clock afterwards and somehow during the course of last week I managed to talk for 58 minutes which which I will say this uh may have just been to show that you know aaron came and did this great sermon not long ago and he talked for a fair

amount of time maybe I just wanted to show him I could talk for longer or whatever the reason but somehow something slipped and it just went on for a long time so if you came back from last week thank you for coming back if you came back and it was your first time last week and you were like wow that was amazing it was really long I hope it’s like that all the time well we’ll talk about that I don’t know about today but maybe we’ll just make 58 minutes our new regular time no I’m joking we wouldn’t do it week two we’re going to jump into week two but this series as I say is designed to kind of maybe move some roadblocks if you’re a person that would love to believe this incredible Jesus story but there’s some things that get in the way we would love to clear some of the groundwork for you and for those of you that have been following

Jesus for a while you’ve been immersed in this story what we would like to do for you is is something that paul this writer says in ephesians chapter 4 verse 11 he talks about the role of people on stage doing what I’m doing as to equip other people to do the work of the ministry as he terms it your role your incredible privilege is to be involved in this story you have communities you have people in your circle of influence and what you get to do is you get to go out and have great conversations with those people the goal is never just let’s get people to church because that will answer all of the problems it’s how can we as individuals take seriously the fact that that Jesus said of you and I we are witnesses maybe not in exactly the same way his first followers were who saw everything with their eyes but you and I we have experiences if

you are in on this Jesus story you have this relationship with this incredible God who you know loves you and your call is not to keep that hidden it’s to share it with the world so this series has that dual purpose one it’s answers to questions if you’re struggling to believe and two it’s equipping to say you get to play an incredible part in this journey and so we’re gonna move on to question two but I’m gonna start somewhere a little different I’m going to start with this question have you ever had somebody dislike you for no obvious reason now all of us we have these different traits right this is all of us that would say I know my character there’s actually plenty of good reasons to dislike me I’m actually have all of these flaws but the sometimes that I encounter someone I’m like for some reason I just get this sense that you don’t like me and I

can remember distinctly back to a time where I was 11 I had just started high school to give you a frame of reference in england you start high school at 11 I wasn’t a child prodigy or something like that that started really early but I jumped into high school and I remember the first day this this young guy called muhammad came up to me and he tried to pick a fight on me for some reason there was something about me that stuck out to him maybe it was just that I was the smallest child in our grade I know it could be hard to believe that I wasn’t always the dominating physical specimen that you see on stage in front of you today but there was this time where I was the the maybe the weakest kid and so he came looking for me maybe he didn’t like the fact that I was a follower of Jesus and he was a muslim but whatever the reason

was he found something that to me there was no obvious reason but he just came after me time and time again there was this intense dislike and to me it was heartbreaking until I found a solution to it apparently I still had some kind of gift in words so I managed to persuade him to let some of the teachers tires down so I managed to get him to get these tires and flatten them and then I just went and snitched on him to the headmaster and all was well after that it was just like solve the problem somehow some mystery he didn’t come near to me again but I had that experience of dislike and the second most googled question about faith and isn’t this heartbreaking for those of you that have a relationship with God is why does God hate me why does God hate me maybe you have a reason if you’re someone that would say I have asked that

question multiple times maybe there’s a reason that you have uh come to believe that maybe you’ve seen signs like this one this was a sign from a church uh down south somewhere my geography fails me called westbrook baptist church and they would go out onto the streets and they would actually hold up signs that said this very thank God God hates you God hates you for whatever reason whatever the source the second most googled question about faith was why does God hate me and so it turned the question around a little bit and let’s ask it from this point of view does God hate you or maybe does God hate anybody now this is where for those of you that have been again on this journey for a while you might know that the bible gets a little bit interesting we have this book for those of you outside there’s there’s 66 books multiple

different writers there’s the old testament 39 books the new testament 27 books and there are these couple of phrases where it uses the word hate about God’s emotion towards a specific group of people we’ll read a couple of passages here just so we can be honest and just clear some of the groundwork I have loved you says the lord lord means God in this case but you ask how have you loved us was not esau jacob’s brother declares the lord yet I have loved jacob but esau I have hated and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert of jackals in this particular passage in this book malachi picks out these two characters and says juan loved that one the other one hated that one we have this text that we’ve just pulled out that just says apparently God does love some people and and does hate

some others and he goes on to say edo may say though we have been crushed we will rebuild the ruins this group of people says we’re going to start everything from scratch again but this is what the lord almighty says they may build but I will demolish they will be called the wicked lander people always under the wrath of the lord you will see it with your own eyes and say great is the lord even beyond the borders of israel what an interesting passage for those of you that have this idea that God is love what does this mean why would the bible why the writers within the bible say things like this and even in the new testament a guy called paul who was one of the first people to really unpack everything that Jesus taught he will take this passage and say some things about it just as it is written quoting this malachi jacob I love but esau I hate

it what then shall we say is God and just not at all for he says to moses I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion what interesting phrasing what is paul getting to with this does God just pick some people to hate and some people to love what’s interesting about these passages is every single one of them has a specific context it seems like each of these writers is saying that somewhere God has a group of people he is calling and and then there’s other groups outside of those groups and when it uses words like love and hate it seems like these writers use them to distinguish between God’s intense love for this one group of people and then this other group of people that it seems like at least he says you’re outside of what I’m doing right now it’s not a human

emotion of hate it seems like incredibly as we get a little further and God is able to both love and dislike something at the same time he doesn’t talk in just human emotions but to give you some context for this this is paul showing us that this really is talking not about individuals but about groups I speak the truth in christ I’m not lying my conscience confirms it through the holy spirit I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart for I could wish that myself I myself were cursed and could cut off from christ for the sake of my people those of my own race the people of israel paul is looking at this new Jesus thing that is happening all over the world and he’s saying these jewish people my brothers my sisters they’re getting left behind and I long for them to be pulled in I long for them to be pulled in everything that we have seen

here is this idea of a corporate thing it’s God’s umbrella of love but what I’m going to show you for just a few minutes is we’re going to watch as the multiple voices of this book the bible say to us that God’s love for individuals is pure and good and he says come in to this thing I’m doing don’t sit on the outside don’t say I’m gonna be distant come into this thing you as individuals are welcomed come in and find this incredible love that is life changing so we’re gonna for those of you that love to flash through different verses of the bible and get all over the place we’re gonna look at a few different ones here this is paul again speaking to a group of people in athens and I in a very fun way got to go and stand where he did this on the aerial pagas and the sun was coming up and I got to imagine this incredible moment where this paul stands there

and and speaks these words of God’s love God intended that they the whole world that is would seek him and perhaps reach for him and find him though he’s not far from each one of us for in him we live and move and have our being as some of your own poets have said we where his offspring his children although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times he now commands all people everywhere to repent and that word repent means literally to turn around and walk towards something and so the message of this passage is God is saying just come whoever you are whatever your background is coming to this thing that I am doing you are welcomed in you are loved and this follower of Jesus john as he wrestles after Jesus death and resurrection with all of this means says my children I write this to you so that you will not

sin if anybody does sin we have a an advocate a defender a lawyer I stand beside with the father Jesus the righteous one he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and and not only for ours but for the sin also the sins of the whole world this passage gives this breadth of this love that God’s love is beyond understanding it is for each and every person and it calls you in it says come come into this thing that I am doing same rider again dear friends let us love one another for love comes from God everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God whoever does not love does not know God because God is love this is how God showed his love amongst us he sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him this picture of these new testament writers is that we can know that we are loved by God because he came on

a mission for us that Jesus gave his life for us that we might be in relationship with him that new things might happen we might be part of a new story and and that broad thing that thing that defines his like that that group of people the church that he is using and using to shape the world he says come in you are welcome in whoever you are whatever your background and and we’ll look at one last one this is Jesus as he arrives in the city jerusalem and he looks over from the hill over the city and he says jerusalem jerusalem you who kill the prophets and stone those who sent are sent to you how often have I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing that phrase you were not willing it seems that all of the uncertainty all of the hesitancy is on our part not on God’s part so when

we ask this question does God love you at least from the the view of the the bible of the scripture of these different writers the overwhelming answer over and over again is however you feel God loves you he doesn’t hate you you might say that God is love and so his love for us is it’s not a weak emotion it’s not just a feeling it’s a strong action that says not only do I love you but I will come into this world and I’ll give my life for you I’ll take your place but but the question does God hate me my question is this is that actually a theological question is the answer if you’re outside of the church then if your question is does God hate me is the answer you’re looking for well the bible says dot dot dot dot the bible tells me that God loves me I actually wonder if it is a theological question at its heart at all I wonder if it’s an experiential

question I wonder if it’s an experiential question I wonder if it’s this process of looking at the world that we experience and saying why is it the way it is now last week we talked about for 58 minutes so I should have got to say everything that I wanted to say we looked at the problem of evil and why are these things that are broken and you can go back and look at that if that is some of your question but but I think my sense of this question why does God hate me is it’s a little bit more personal because alongside this question in some of the same searches by some of the same people were these other set of questions that seemed to sort of show new light on it it was this question why did God make me dot dot dot and there were all sorts of different answers why did God make me ugly why did God make me stupid why did God make

me gay why did God make me a different color why did God make me and you could go on and on and on and you could watch as people were processing this question if this God made me and if he is good why didn’t he give me all of the things that would make it easier for me to find success in life why didn’t he give me the tools that I needed if you think of this picture of the american dream this thing that maybe we chase after this idea of happiness and some kind of wealth and a family and and however you might describe that it seemed that this question was linked to that question it was linked to the idea that if only God had taken would take away this one trait this one struggle then everything would be fine and maybe you can resonate with that question maybe you’ve sat there in your own sort of humanity and had moments where you’ve

said I don’t like this thing I feel there’s this thing that constantly gets in the way of me getting everything that I would want out of life as a young person I was surprising to people that know me now decidedly low on confidence I can remember back to 16 17 and just been crushed by this weight of expectation crushed by this idea of am I do I have what is needed to be successful I was getting all these pushes from different but you should do this career you should follow this path and I would look at myself and say I don’t feel able to do any of that and and I don’t feel able to talk to girls in the way that I would like to and I don’t feel able to to go into a business and run it the way that I would want to and all of these different struggles I could look at myself and say I don’t feel like I have what it takes and it seems like for so many of us there’s

that question that comes up over and over again am I enough do I add up and oh God if if you made me why couldn’t you have changed some of those traits why couldn’t you take away some of those burdens those things that I hold maybe I’ve phrased this whole question this way in what ways do you find the world you experience to be dissatisfying and how do you wish you could change it because whether you’re in this room or whether you’re watching online it seems like there’s a whole group of people that say I would love to change something about who I am so I might experience the world differently and that that is the thing that would enable me to say that God loves me if he only gave me the tools that I need to be successful if he only gave me the things that I need to find my way in this world now you may not think that

is a good question you maybe feel like you you’ll be on that question but it seems like for a whole bunch of us that question is still incredibly relevant and so we’re going to look at a passage we’re going to look in depth at a passage of Jesus as in john chapter 7 I’m going to read it first if you have a text which is a wonderful thing to bring you can have it on your phone you could have it on a tablet you could have it in an old paper copy because apparently some of us still do that thing where we actually have a book that we carry around and we’re going to read it but I’m going to bring up bits on the screen afterwards so you can follow along in john chapter 7 if you like after this Jesus went around in galilee he did not want to go about in judea because the jewish leaders were looking for a way to kill him but when the jewish festival of

tabernacles was near hold that in your head a little bit festival of tabernacles is this big deal this big celebration Jesus brother said to him leave galilee and go to judea so that your disciples may see the works you do no one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret since you are doing these things show yourself to the world for even his own brothers did not believe in him therefore Jesus told them my time is not yet here for you any time will do the world cannot hate you but it heats me because I testify its works are evil you go to the festival I’m not going to this festival because my time has not yet come after he had said this he stayed in galilee however after his brothers had left for the festival he also went not publicly but in secret now at the festival the jewish leaders were watching for Jesus asking where is he among the crowds

that was widespread whispering about him some said he’s a good man other said no he deceives the people but no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go to the temple courts and begin to teach the jews were amazed and asked how did this man get such learning without having been taught Jesus answered my teaching is not my own it comes from the one who sent me anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own however whoever speaks on his own does not does so to gain personal glory but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth there is nothing false about him has not moses given you the law yet not one of you keeps the law why are you trying

to kill me you are demon possessed the crowd answered who was trying to kill you Jesus said to them I did one miracle and you were all amazed yet because moses gave you circumcision you circumcise a boy on the sabbath now if a boy can be circumcised on the sabbath so that the law of moses may not be broken why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the sabbath stop judging by mere appearance but instead judge judge correctly at this point some of the people of jerusalem began to ask isn’t this the man they are trying to kill here he is speaking publicly and they are not saying a word to him have the authorities really concluded that he is the chosen one but we know who this who this man is when the messiah comes no one will know where he’s from Jesus still teaching in the temple courts cried out yes you know

me and you know where I am from but I am not here on my own authority but he who sent me is true you do not know him but I know him because I am from him and he sent me at this they tried to seize him but no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come still many in the crowd believed in him they said when the messiah comes will he perform more signs than this man the pharisees heard the crowd whisper such things and the chief priests and the pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him and Jesus said I’m only with you a short time and then I’m going to the one who sent me you will look for me but you will not find me and where I am you cannot come the jews said to one another where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him will he go where our people live scattered among the greeks and teach the

greeks what did he mean when he said we will look for him and we will not find him and where I am you cannot come verse 37 on the last and greatest day of the festival Jesus stood in a loud voice let anyone who is thirsty come and drink whoever believes in me as scripture has said rivers of living water will flow from within them by this he meant the spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive up unto that time the spirit had not been given because Jesus had not been glorified man there’s a whole chunk of stuff in there and we’re going to focus mainly on the start and the end and I’m going to bring those passages up on the screen but let’s pray over this part of the text and ask that God would speak to us particularly as a group of people God thank you for this book that you have given us thank you that we as your

followers believe that you speak to us particularly through it that you breathed on this book and it became alive for those of us and I feel this so strongly today for those of us that come in feeling afflicted would you comfort us for those that come in comfortable with you afflict us but would you lead each of us closer to you and give each of us a new sense of the fact that we are loved by you the God the creator of the universe and so we ask that because of Jesus we have read about your love for us now I long for us as a group of people to experience it in new ways would you do that for us today through our friend the spirit amen okay so here we go whole of john chapter seven we just read a huge chunk of it let’s go back to the beginning after this Jesus went around in galilee he did not want to go about in judea because the jewish leaders there

were looking for a way to kill him so Jesus at this point has done some incredible miracles word has got up got around about him people have started to grasp that he is somebody very significant and the jewish leaders who are trying to keep some kind of peace with this roman empire are very decidedly saying we got to deal with this situation it’s starting to get very very political and and so Jesus we’re told goes back to somewhere around the area that he had grown up in in galilee and then there comes the moment where there’s a festival to jewish people festivals were a huge big deal there were multiple big festivals every year things that you may be familiar with like passover but but also things that you may not be familiar with like this one the feast of tabernacles we’re not going to read the passage back in the old testament

but this feast was given to this jewish people as a reminder a remembrance that they had spent multiple years in the wilderness they hadn’t always lived in a set location they had had to sort of go with the flow and move around so once a year this whole group of people would leave their houses would build shelters out in the sort of wilderness areas and they would live in them for a set number of days it was very traditional for as many jewish people as could possibly afford it to go and be in jerusalem uh in these times and and it was a mixture of religious festival and also a real party there was like this incredible energy to it there was this joy to it and so this one particularly was this festival of joy it was a very significant day when the feast of tabernacles or festival of tabernacles was near Jesus brother said to him leave galilee

and go to judea so that your disciples there may see the works that you do no one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret since you are doing these things show yourself to the world for even his own brothers did not believe in him there’s this push Jesus go on go make yourself famous go out into the world and show everybody what you can do why are you staying in this backwater town that we live in it’s it’s like staying in some tiny town in nebraska when you can come to denver or there’s probably a better example than that upstate new york when you could be in the city why are you still here Jesus if you are able to do what you say you can do go and show the world jerusalem at this point was really could easily be described as the religious center of the world and there’s this push from his family go go and make yourself

famous go and let everybody see these incredible works and of course you can hear the suspicion under their voice is right if you can really do it if you really have these abilities that everyone says you do we don’t believe you can but go on go and show us go and prove your yourself to us and to the rest of the world now for those of you that love bible trivia love interesting facts which isn’t everybody but he’s definitely some of you the interesting thing between matthew mark luke these first three gospels and then john is that when you read matthew mark and luke the the idea you get is that the first time Jesus goes to jerusalem is when he goes through palm sunday to crucifixion to resurrection but john says that Jesus had been multiple times before that we get this more detailed information about Jesus life if you

were to just read matthew mark and luke you might come away with the impression that Jesus teaching ministry lasted just a few months when you read john you get this bigger picture and you get to see this multiple years that Jesus spent with his followers therefore Jesus told them my time is not yet here for you anytime will do the world cannot hate you but it hates me because I testify that its works evil you go to the festival I am not going up to this festival because my time has not yet come after this he stayed in galilee however after his brothers had left for the festival he went also not publicly but in secret all the way through these biographies of Jesus lives we get this idea and over and over and over again that there’s this secret that’s just waiting to be revealed Jesus doesn’t reveal himself to everybody it’s this sort of thing that’s

kept hidden for a little bit and then there’s this movement into jerusalem and you can see this tension starting to build you know that these religious leaders dislike Jesus intensely and so what’s going to happen when these two things combine what’s going to happen when you have this big jewish ceremony this big moment and then you have Jesus there being Jesus in that world and we get to wait for this thing and for a while we go through multiple arguments between these religious leaders and Jesus but we’re going to skip over those there’s just too much there to cover because I want to get to this end of the passage that we read which is really for me this significant voice into the conversation that we’re having on the last and greatest day of the festival Jesus says stood and said in a loud voice does anyone who’s thirsty

come to me and drink whoever believes in me as scripture said rivers of living water will flow from within them so I want you to understand some of what is going on here on the last day of the feast of tabernacles there would be this incredible procession that was really the highlight of everything that took place the priests would walk down from the temple to a pool a pool of water that sat in jerusalem known as the pool of silo and they would take some water which I have right here for us I don’t have a pool I don’t have a fountain or anything like that but they would take water from this pool and put it in a basin and then this huge procession would take place where the people would follow as the priests walked back up to the temple mount and they would go into the temple building and they would take this basin of water and as this

culmination of a feast they would take the water and they would spill it over this altar in the original tradition of the feast of tabernacles it was this idea that God we need water for the world to work we need your fresh water we need your rain to come down because we need crops to grow we need everything to be what it’s supposed to be we need this from you and so we pour this water out and say God will you continue to be faithful continue to be good would you continue to give us the water that we need and then think about what it means for Jesus to do this at that moment think about anything from american life that says to you this is like a key moment now we maybe don’t have those big religious moments like they had back in the first century but we have things like mace’s thanksgiving day parade what would it look like for

someone to wander out just as the santa claus float comes past at the last moment what would it look like in the middle of the super bowl for someone to come and say this is all about me or the world series to say this is all about me what would it look like for anyone to essentially hijack this big moment of community life which is just everyone looks forward to and you could probably pick out one or two different examples for yourselves we have these moments in corporate life that everybody has their attention focused on a specific thing a specific detail and in this moment just in the moment everyone’s waiting for Jesus walks out and says these words let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink whoever believes in me as the scriptures said rivers of living water will flow from within them in one of the key moments of religious life in

jerusalem in the whole of the religion of judaism Jesus stands up and says in essence this thing will not give you what you are looking for this thing this religious practice this religious ceremony it will not do what you want it to do and he says over and over again for those of you that feel you are thirsty for those of you that have some sense of dissatisfaction some sense of everything isn’t the way it’s supposed to be for those of you that feel like you’re outsiders for those of you feel like some sense of this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be come to me in the middle of a group of religious leaders that are leading people through a religious practice that is one of the highlights of the year Jesus says this doesn’t work come to me come to me and rivers of living water will flow from within you and then john unpacks that for us a little bit by this he

meant the spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive up until that time the spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified if there was any confusion about just how deconstructing Jesus was being about the religious system of his day john makes sure that we know afterwards he’s talking about a new thing the old thing doesn’t work anymore the old thing can’t give you what you want there’s a new thing you’re invited into I can give you real life I can give you real water and though he doesn’t go into details about just how much of a range of dissatisfaction there might be in each of the people listening I think that question is implied and so my question for you is how are you thirsty and what water are you drinking to quench it how are you thirsty and what water are you drinking to quench it when we look at

that question why does God hate me and the ways that it’s connected to these other questions like why did God make me dot dot and really the implied question of why can’t I get everything that I want out of life Jesus question for us is are you thirsty and that thirst that’s internal that sense of I don’t feel like I’m getting everything that I want what are we looking for to quench that thirst what thing are we going after and and there could be so many right it could be any of these things and more it could be relationships it could be success at work it could be outward appearance it could be wealth and fame it could be freedom and a sense of getting to do whatever I want whenever I want to do it it could be religion and the implication that Jesus gives is I am the only one that can satisfy our idea that if God just made us a little bit different

that we could get everything that we wanted out of life and then we would be happy according to Jesus is nonsense it just doesn’t work that way and this idea isn’t even just brand new to Jesus throughout the rest of the different voices in scripture there’ll be others that will say something similar this is a guy called jeremiah in chapter two be appalled at this you heavens and shudder with great horror declares the lord my people have committed two sins they have forsaken me the spring of living water and have dug their own systems broken systems that cannot hold water the implication across the whole bunch of voices is if you’re relying on something that you think this world can give you for this sense of satisfaction if you’re hoping that this thirst will go away and you’re looking at it looking for it in any one of these things

ultimately it won’t work and even if you could change those things that you think are stopping you getting what you want there it’s just not going to work eventually something will be missing I got to share with you guys a little while ago about my my failure in investing how I recognize that I actually am just not good managing my own money and that’s why there’s some experts that get to help me do those kind of things and yet I’ve had some successes I’ve had some moments of victory and I bought something that looks like this so some of you follow the the news may have heard of something called dogecoin and this is dogecoin and I bought 14 000 of them and I bought each one for naught point naught six cents I don’t even know how to measure that in terms that everyone can understand it means that I bought lots for about a

hundred dollars and then miraculously something happened elon musk mentioned this coin and suddenly its value skyrocketed because he said this coin is going to the moon and so it did and it went up to three cents a coin and so I sold it I made five hundred dollars for my hundred dollars and life felt pretty good I was actually kind of like I could I could do this maybe I’ll maybe I’ll become a financial investor on the side it could be my side hustler I’ll just get everyone in the church to invest in my little thing that I’ve got going on that would be bad there’s no way that that would end well but what happened afterwards is this I sold it and it just kept going up so this week at some point it was now worth 30 or 40 cents a coin and suddenly my 500 that I made it left me with this sense of it could have been 5 000 I could if I just kept it for longer it

could have been more and I got to see in myself this own sense of it doesn’t matter how much success I achieve there’ll still be something that says to me if only I could get more if only more would come my way and it’s just one of those multiple examples we looked at it’s just the the realm of wealth and finance but but I didn’t have enough even the extra I got was not enough for me and so I was left voicing in my own head this quote by dave portney on twitter I am not jealous about dogecoin I am not jealous about dogecoin I am not jealous about dogecoin knowing that deep inside me there was this deep jealousy and frustration if only if only if only I could have had more doesn’t that speak to what this writer in ecclesiastes will say whoever loves money never has enough whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income that

list of things the relationships the work life the wealth the looks everything that we’re talking about if that is what we look for for satisfaction eventually you get to this point if only I had more if only there was another thing if only I could just have a little bit more stuff Jesus talks about himself as the water of life he talks about this him being this thing that can provide in the midst of our thirst and it got me thinking about this thing I find something very deeply I would even say spiritual about the ocean there’s something about it that I just love there’s just this this wonder to it maybe it’s the largeness of it maybe it’s the joy that it brings the sense of refreshing I can just sit there for hours and and just does and yet this thing is beyond comparison so if you were to take the ocean and talk about it in terms of these things gallon

jugs well there’s this many of them I don’t know what that number is I think it’s quintillion uh 352 quintillion gallon jugs of water in the ocean now to give you a sense of what a quintillion is a quintillion is to a billion the same as a billion is to one so there are as many billions in one quintillion as that’s a lot of water right if you want it in bathtubs it’s like 70 quintillion bathtubs or something like that there is so much of this thing it is so broad and when I think about it it reminds me of how we look to quench our thirst that internal sense that we need something out of life there are all these things that are open to us all these options that we can go after the wealth the relationships the religious life all of these different things and yet the problem with the ocean is what in terms of drinking it for water it doesn’t quench thirst we used to have

this saying in england I don’t know if it made it over here but we used to say water water everywhere but not a drop to drink because this thing is great for so many things it’s great for ocean life it’s great for scuba diving it’s great for surfing it’s great for a multitude of things it’s great unless you want it to quench your thirst and that one thing it cannot do without some crazy scientific process of desalinization which some of you will come and give me as your answer to the whole problem later on but there’s this sense within us of I long to be quenched I long to get what I want out of life and yet time and time again it feels like we go back to this as a source we take the beautiful refreshing water that Jesus offers and we say I’m not sure about that one and we we look to something that can never quench this Jesus message to this group

of people is this religious life will not give you what you want this religious life is not enough for you only I can quench that internal sense of thirst and and when we can’t find it we go looking for in all these different places the writer christopher mcgoogle tells this fascinating story about a bunch of ultra runners out in the sierra miatas and at one point two of the younger guys go running without enough of a water supply and so they get stuck out in the wilderness and unsure where to go completely disorientated and completely lost they begin to wander around desperately looking for water and they come to this moment where they find a pool of stagnant water that’s been sitting in the rocks and they know that it’s not good for drinking and yet what is the other option whether your image that you pick is salt water or contaminated water my

sense is that so many of us a dissatisfaction of life is constantly around drinking water that can never do what we wanted to do I would love you to reflect on this question with me what water am I drinking if you have a notepad and paper if you have a phone I would love you to write down where do you get your sense of identity from when you think about your desires for life when you think about what you hope to get out of life when you think about what gives you that sense of satisfaction what are you looking to is the thing for you relationship is it the question I could if only I could have this relationship everything would be fine if only I could get married if only I could have kids if only I could have grandkids if only I could find somebody to love me is it wealth if only I could find a little bit more money then then suddenly everything

would be easy I could start giving some more money if I if I only had some money I could start sort of I could buy a house and then that would be fine as well that would just change my life dramatically is it fame is it sort of the outward appearance is if I could only change this physical feature about myself if only I could get rid of the little bit of extra weight I’m carrying if only I could get rid of one of these facial spots that I have whatever it is is there something that you’re like iphone I could fix that everything would be good think about all of that list that we run if only I could have more success at work if only I could get a promotion if only my business would really take off steve sketched some of that out for us in his call to worship if only if only if only I would the internal sense of thirst that would go and I would be happy and all will be well Jesus

message seems to be the writers of the bible their message to us seems to be it might for a second it might it a moment but eventually there’ll be another thing eventually there’ll be another thing if that question of why does God hate me is related to why can’t I get what I want out of life or why did God make me dot dot because if he didn’t everything would be good well I deeply sympathize with that experience of not being what you want to be but I don’t know that it would ever fix the internal problem there is something that we need and Jesus says I am the only one that can give it and if you’re struggling with that idea of does God hate me is there a physical thing about me why did he make me in this particular way here’s some other good news for you this is what what God says to this prophet samuel who’s picking a king for israel

do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him the lord does not look at the things people look at people look at the outward appearance but the lord looks at the heart there’s this idea that God sees something internal that we don’t see he has a value system that we don’t always appreciate whatever you think about yourself and however broken is the wrong word but however much you feel there’s something about you that you wish God had done differently God says I don’t have the same standards that the world around you has this is helen keller and we’ll finish with her example deaf and blind at 19 years old and went on to do some of the most incredible things and said over and over again in a language there was something about my disabilities as she phrased them that has called me close to God I have

experienced him because of them and her life-changing life was only possible out of relationship with Jesus whoever however you think there’s something about you that that doesn’t fit that doesn’t make sense the overwhelming message of these writers in the bible is God loves you has a wonderful plan for your life and calls you deeper to him God is love and his love for us is not a weak emotion but a strong action based on who he is and he invites us to return that love to him what water am I drinking when I have that sense of I need more out of life what am I looking to what am I looking to I’m going to invite us into a time of communion it’s something that we’re doing every week for the next six weeks because while these questions are important relationship with God it seems doesn’t come out of knowing the right

answers it seems like it comes out of experiencing this God who loves you for yourself and communion is sketched in multiple different ways it has multiple applications sometimes it’s a celebration sometimes it’s a contemplation one of the things Jesus said about it was that it is a remembrance do this and remember me as long as you are in this world remember go back to this story of this God that loves you that gave his life for you and I would love us to invite I would love to invite us into this time one of the the tensions I experience in my own life as someone who is living in the way of Jesus and trying to do it with the heart of Jesus is that in the job that I do there’ll be multiple people that I pray for during the week whether it’s staff whether it’s people in the community whether it’s my family members and there’ll be moments

where I I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve reflected back to Jesus that that statement that idea that his love God is love and his love for us is not a weak emotion but a strong action based on who he is there’ll be a season where I forget to internalize that forget to remind myself that I am deeply loved by God and I would love to invite you into a moment of reminding yourself of that and as we do communion reflecting God’s love for you back to him we’re going to do it through a song my Jesus I love thee it’s definitely an older song for some of you you’ll love it for some of you it will be a new kind of old people I haven’t heard that before but it’s a good one and it’s this this contemplative song that allows us to say Jesus you have loved me well maybe all of these things that you have carried all of these hopes and expectations of life all of the lists

that we talked about all of the ways you have looked for that thirst to be quenched and yet he says I am enough come to me and I will give you living water we’re going to do that through this practice of communion and through contemplation as aaron leaves us on the night that he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his earliest followers and he took the bread and he broke it and handed it to each of them and said this is my body broken for you Jesus came to give himself as a gift in the same way he took the wine it’s the wrong way around and said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world as long as you meet together do this in remembrance of me you are deeply loved by God however much you feel like life has not been what you hoped however much you feel like there might be this other thing that if only you could have it everything will

be good the God of the universe comes and says I am enough I am enough think about the tensions of that song that aaron sang for us I still haven’t found what I’m looking for it was written by a guy called bono who reflects a deep faith but wrestles with the multiple things that the world offers him and wrestles with life with Jesus I think that’s true of so many of us even those of us on that Jesus journey and I wonder if we still feel that way because constantly the salt water pulls us back in we look for satisfaction in so many other things in this time of contemplation I’d love to invite you whenever you are ready to come and take and remind yourself that Jesus came and loved you loved you in death and crucifixion died of death that you deserved and I deserved that we might have new life maybe you’ve never chosen to follow

Jesus for yourself and you can do that in this moment you can say God I have looked to these different things hoping that they work and they never have and now I come to you you can ask him to forgive you for all the brokenness in your own life and to give new life to give living water and these promises that he will do I’m going to ask any of the elders and pastors that are present if they’d like to come up to the front if they’d like to if you’d like prayer during this time