Connecting Point – July 12, 2023

How important is “faith in the Lord” to your life, and how does it affect your life? Faith in the Lord is an indispensable quality for Christians. It is through faith in Jesus Christ that we experience God’s glorious salvation (Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9).  We also live the Christian life by faith. Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20:  “I have been crucified by Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Thirdly, we overcome the temptations and trials of the world by faith.  1 John 5:4 reads: “This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” We are exhorted throughout the Word of God to live by faith, strengthen our faith and fight the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12)

One of the greatest illustrations of faith in the Bible is found in Acts 27.  The Apostle Paul had requested that he stand trial before the Caesar of the Roman empire to defend his faith in Jesus Christ, and he was being transported to Rome by a ship. The weather on the Mediterranean Sea at that time was very bad, and therefore the ship Paul was sailing on had to make several stops, with one of the stops being appropriately named “Fair Havens.” Paul had warned the centurion who was overseeing the ship to not sail from Fair Havens at that time, because he perceived that the voyage was going to be disastrous, but the centurion instead followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship, and sailed along the coast of Crete.  Eventually they encountered a storm so bad they didn’t see sun nor stars for many days, and they had to get rid of all of the ship’s tackle. It was at this time, after the men had gone without food for several days that Paul stood up and made the announcement. He He told them to have courage, because an angel of the Lord had promised him that, although the ship would suffer much loss and be destroyed, that everyone would safely arrive on shore. He then said: “For I believe God. It will be just as He said” (Acts 27:25). That’s real faith - believing God in spite of the conditions around us.
Can you think of times when you have struggled in your faith – when you haven’t believed all that God has promised to you?” We’ve all been there.  Sometimes we struggle with a “fair-weather faith.” What I mean is that our faith in the Lord is strong as long as there are no “storms” to be weathered or no struggles to be overcome.  When we begin to encounter the tribulations and trials of life however, our faith begins to weaken. Not so with Paul. He believed God when things weren’t going well for him.  He believed God even when he was in the midst of the storm. And we can similarly maintain our faith in the Lord, even in the midst of storms, if we maintain our focus on God, and believe that He is greater than the “storms” we encounter in our lives. The question is, do we have a “storm-weathering faith,” or do we have a “storm-weakening faith?” If we are going to live victorious, joyful and peace-filled lives, we must develop a “storm-weathering faith.” How do we develop a “storm-weathering faith?” We have to constantly remind ourselves about who God is to us, what the Lord has done for us, and what He has promised to us. And when we remind ourselves of those things, our faith will be strong and we will be able to overcome life’s troubles and troublemakers.

We’re looking forward to hosting UNIFY, a Conference about Biblical Justice and Unity this coming Saturday (July 15) at Celebration on Airline (beginning at 9 am). Our keynote speaker for the event is Jonathan Tremaine Thomas. Pastor Thomas is a well known speaker throughout our nation who is the founder of the Civil Righteousness organization. After the incidents and riots that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri several years ago, he and his family moved to Ferguson to become facilitators of peace and healing in that region. One of his great focuses in his ministry is not only to help bring reconciliation between human beings from different backgrounds, but to help people become reconciled to the Lord. I believe that Conference attendees will learn much from Pastor Thomas.

Other key leaders for the UNIFY Conference include:

  • Dr. Kevin Brown - Professor of Social Work at SUNO

  • Sula Kim - WDSU News Anchor and Christian Leader in our region

  • John Gerhart - founder of Urban Impact Ministries in Central City in NOLA

  • Paula Rodriguez - Attorney with the Miguel Elias Group (specializing in immigration law)

  • Pastor Jamaal WeatherSby - Lead Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Central City

UNIFY CONFERENCE • REGISTER HERE
We will also have Panel Discussions and Breakout Sessions with Community Compassion Ministry Leaders from Greater New Orleans, who will share how people can become involved bringing help, healing and hope to people in our region on an ongoing basis. So, if you have interest in learning more about these issues and ministries or you want to be involved in making a difference in our region in regards to these issues, register yourself and some friends for the UNIFY Conference by clicking here or at www.celebrationchurch.org/jutcc/. The Conference is free to attendees and will include beverages and lunch. So register today if you’re interested in attending.
Join us this Sunday for week 2 of our CONNECT MORE series

This past Sunday we had a good kickoff to our CONNECT MORE sermon series. Join us this Sunday in-person or online as we learn how to strengthen our connections with the Lord, other Christians, our Church family and others.

Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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