Connecting Point – June 26, 2024

"Trouble is something everyone has and no one wants, but oftentimes the main trouble with trouble is not the trouble itself but how we respond to it." That's a quote I've used many times over the years to remind myself and the people I was teaching or talking to that if we respond to our troubles the right way, God's way, we will experience victory over those troubles.

I was thinking of that phrase yesterday as I read the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16 while reading my Bible. In that story (Acts 16:16-34), Paul and Silas were arrested in the city of Philippi because they helped a demonized woman get free of her satanic strongholds while they were preaching the gospel. However, because some people were making money as a result of the woman's bizarre manifestations, they became enraged when the woman was freed from demonic presences. City officials had them severely beaten with rods, and then they had Paul and Silas placed in prison.

How do we respond to adversity in our lives?

That story reminds me that sometimes even the best of people experience lots of persecution and problems in their lives. Some people believe that if you're walking with the Lord, you won't encounter any problems. That's not true. Sometimes you will encounter even more problems when you're walking with the Lord - because the devil and devilish people will come against you. But the big question is, "How do we respond to adversity in our lives?"

Acts 16:25 tells us that following their beating, and while they were in prison clamped to stocks, Paul and Silas began praying and singing praises to the Lord. Can you imagine that? They should have been moaning and groaning over the treatment they had received. Instead, they were praying and singing praises to the Lord.  How Paul and Silas responded to the problems they were experiencing reminds us how we're to respond to troubles in our lives. That kind of response to troubles indicates our faith in the Lord and our willingness to learn from what we're going through so that we can become better and stronger in our lives.

The Lord can take our greatest tragedies, turn them around, and use them for our good and His glory.

Romans 5:3-4 says: "We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." James 1:2-4 says: "When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be mature and complete." Those verses and other Scripture verses teach us that God allows troubles in our lives so that we can learn from them and become stronger followers of Jesus and difference-makers in the world.

In the last part of that story in Acts 16, the Lord miraculously rescues Paul and Silas from the prison via an earthquake. And then they lead the jailer and his family to faith in Jesus. I encourage you to read that story in Acts 16. It will remind you that the Lord can take our greatest tragedies, turn them around, and use them for our good and His glory.

Beth Moore Celebration Church

We had an incredible weekend at Celebration as we hosted the Living Proof Conference with Beth Moore, and as we continued our THE WAY OF THE WISE series. 1,200 people attended the Living Proof Conference, where the worship was tremendous, and Beth's teaching was life-changing. People on Saturday left feeling encouraged, strengthened, helped, healed, and transformed by God's Spirit. If you attended the Living Proof Conference, we would love to receive your feedback. You can send it to info@celebrationchurch.org.

We also had a great Sunday. Our in-person attendance was 800 more people than this Sunday last year. We also had 30 more baptisms, which gives us 142 baptisms in the last 3 weeks. It's obvious that the Lord is doing some great things in and through people's lives. Thanks for being such an integral part of what the Lord is doing in and through our Church's ministry through your attending, serving, giving, and inviting.

Last night was our ReFresh Night event where we encouraged, honored, and thanked our Life Group Leaders from our Celebration Campuses in Greater New Orleans. I'm so grateful for these men and women who serve the Lord and our people by leading Life Groups where people can grow in their faith, get connected with other Christians, and learn from God's Word and other Christians how to really follow the Lord. If you're not in a Life Group, you need to be in one, because we all need to be connected with other Christians who are also pursuing the Lord's way and will in their lives. If you would like to know more about Life Groups and/or how to get connected to one, go to www.celebrationchurch.org/lifegroups. One of the best things you can do to accelerate your growth as a Christian is to join other Christians in a Life Group.

Remember, Jesus changes everything!

This Sunday at Celebration we will conclude our THE WAY OF THE WISE series, and participate together in Communion. In THE WAY OF THE WISE series, we've been learning from Proverbs 11-15 about the wisdom of living godly, giving generously, working hard, telling the truth, being baptized, learning from the right people, and controlling our emotions. This Sunday we will be learning about the wisdom of using the right kind of words. Please join us, and invite some friends to come with you.

Pastor Dennis

Gratefully yours,

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

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