Great Expectations

Dynamic Faith For A Cynical World

Intentional Over Incidental

Genesis 37 - 50 • November 18, 2018 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.

“The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson You and I may not all be able to place such eloquent words on the underlying sense of incidental-ness that plagues most men and women, but the feeling is proven potent, for many life is a series of disconnected and randomized events, of which we must make the most. I remember quite vividly a heated argument I had with one of my dearest friends, years ago at Augustine’s, on Memorial. He spent the better part of an hour trying to convince me that everything in life was a randomised series of events. There was no rhyme or reason to life. We are born, and the people who are most successful, he said, are those who learn to react the best to the randomness of this world. As he closed his bar speech. He turned to me with incredible confidence, raised his glass and declared, “life, in the end, is incidental… a game of chance, and I will win precisely because I see no purpose in it!” He slammed down his empty beer mug, and looked at me with incredible smugness. Without batting an eye, I leaned in close and asked him a question, “If life is incidental, and without purpose, why do you invest so heavily, both politically and financially in trying to make the world a better place?” He sat in stunned silence… and we said little else that evening. Again, you, especially if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, would be unlikely to ever say something so void of belief as Neil DeGrasse Tyson or so depressing as my friend Johnathan—but you would think it. You would wrestle with it. You might even start to believe it. In fact the second biggest lie we ever believe in this world is that we are incidental in it. We believe that our lives are incidental. The first is connected, that IF there is a God, He is hiding something from us that could help us better navigate this twisted and torn series of unconnected events. But the Scriptures teach us something far more dignified about God's greatest creation. Our lives are ripe with redemptive potential. Great Expectations | Intentional Over Incidental | Genesis 37 - 50

Joy Over Cynicism

1 Peter 1:3-9 • November 11, 2018 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.

It is easy to become cynical amid difficult situations. And though the progression towards cynicism is likely unique for each of us, it is the ultimate destination for all of us, if we do not get a handle on how we handle the difficulties of this world. We go from discouragement to detachment. We turn off the news because we want no more bad news. We stop weeping over injustice because we just feel overwhelmed. We forget our commitment to our Compassion kids, because we start to think we are not really making a difference. We ignore the fact that in much of the world our brothers and sisters in the faith are persecuted and suffering. And before long we can only look at the world through cynical lenses. But, and hear this carefully, we do not have to be cynics. In fact, we can even have joy in the midst of the difficulties. We can have immovable joy in this cynical and difficult world. Great Expectations | Joy Over Cynicism | 1 Peter 1:3-9

Faith Over Fear

Psalm 27:1-14 • November 4, 2018 • Dr. Darrin Patrick

The main trouble is that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? “Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of your past. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now David’s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself.” Great Expectations | Faith Over Fear | Psalm 27:1-14

Sovereignty Over Fatalism

Amos 7:1-6 • October 28, 2018 • Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr.

“It is what it is.” Every one of us, at some point or another, has probably said or heard this phrase. It is a modern repackaging of the older saying “Qué será será, whatever will be will be.” Or, if you grew up in the church, “God’s going to do what He’s going to do.” This is fatalism, the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. These phrases are often used by us to describe a future that is already written. It is a way of resigning our past, present, and future to fate, luck, chance, or destiny. “These are just the cards I’ve been dealt,” we say, giving in to cynicism, and embracing the belief that God is either not involved in our story, or there is nothing we can do to change it. More often than not though, Fatalism is the way we mitigate fragile faith, it is the lens through which we interpret our circumstances. Great Expectations | Sovereignty Over Fatalism | Amos 7:1-6