God Is Closer Than You Think

God-is-Closer-Circle-200x200Easter’s Hope for a Lost and Broken World

We wonder if we’re going to be all right. Is my family going to be okay? Does God know what I’m going through? Does he care? Does God hear my prayers? Starting Easter Sunday, April 4, at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., South Bay Bible Church, 578 Montauk Highway, East Moriches, will begin a new teaching series: God Is Closer Than You Think: Easter’s Hope for a Lost and Broken World. Join us in person or online at southbaychurchli.org/livestream, Facebook Live, or YouTube.

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Easter’s message is more relevant to the modern world than ever before because, at some point, we've all felt far from God. The events of Easter are relevant because they address our greatest fears, which are front and center. But if Jesus was correct, God is closer than you think even in the scariest times of your life.

“When faith collides with your fear, insecurity, and prejudice, you have a decision to make. Do you walk away? Do you save your reputation? Or do you turn and face God Almighty, who is closer than you think?” said Martin Hawley, senior pastor.

In this eight-part series, Pastor Hawley will discuss Easter’s hope for a lost and broken world with the following messages:

  1. God’s Grand Story (Mark 1:1-28; 12:29-34; 1 Peter 1:3; 2:23-24) – April 4: We often read the Bible for application, inspiration, or direction. However, there are times when the author wants to simply point the reader to a big idea—an idea that fits with God's grand story. In the Gospel of Mark, we read about Peter's experience with Jesus that led Peter to believe in one big idea: the kingdom of God is near, and everyone is invited to participate.

  2. Jesus Ignores Religion (Mark 1; 2:2-14) – April 11: Jesus ignored certain religious protocols. He claimed to have the authority to forgive sin. He was uncomfortably comfortable with unrepentant sinners. In this message, we hear about three encounters that showed Jesus came to reverse the order of things.

  3. Remember the Reason (Mark 2:15-27; 1:15; 3:1-6, 21; Matthew 11:29) – April 18: Whether it’s school, sports, or religion, when we focus only on the rules, it can be difficult to remember the overall purpose of something. Jesus reminds us that when we focus so much on the letter of the law, we may forget why the law was written in the first place.

  4. Religious Loopholes (Mark 1:15; 2:27; 3:21-22; 6:54-56; 7:1-13; 8:31) – April 25: From an early age, we learn quickly to look for loopholes in the rules. We try to figure out what we can get away with and still be okay. We tend to take this same mindset into our relationship with God, but it doesn’t work. When we opt for loopholes and workarounds, we find ourselves in a category no one wants to be in: hypocrites. Jesus calls us to move beyond loophole religion.

  5. You Are Different (Mark 1:15; 8:31-35; 9:30-35; 10:35-52) – May 2: Fear invites us to follow the path of self-preservation. However, if we follow that path long enough, we will neither preserve nor have anything to show for our lives. The original disciples of Jesus had the same tendencies at times. On one occasion, Jesus reminded them of what it means to follow him by saying four powerful words that still apply to his followers today.

  6. Abandoning Faith (Mark 1:15; 11:8-18; 12:12-34; 13:1-2; 14:1-50) – May 9: Many times, our faith deteriorates as our circumstances deteriorate. When that happens, our faith is quickly overcome by fear, and the future looks dark. The apostle Peter experienced this, and he temporarily abandoned his faith in Jesus.

  7. Regrets (Mark 1:15; 14:22-72; 15:3-38; 1 Peter 2:24) – May 16: We all have embarrassing moments we can laugh about—later. There are shameful moments that we would give anything to undo. But while our pasts remind us, they don’t have to define us.

  8. The Day No One Believed (John 6:66-69; Mark 1:15; 15:43-47; 16:1-7) – May 23: When Jesus died, nobody believed he was the Son of God, Messiah, or Savior of the world. There were no Christians because there was no Christ. The world had never been darker, and there had never been more fear. But Easter morning changed all that!

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