Larry Wittmer gave the Communion Meditation this week, asking “What is the essence of Christianity?” Forgiveness. With forgiveness, we are set free from sin without debt. The word forgiveness has incredible meaning and the most incredible power. When we pledge our lives to God, we are guaranteed forgiveness, and with it, we receive inner joy and peace. Jesus paid it all on the cross so we could be offered forgiveness.
Guest speaker Ben Prasko gave the sermon “Inspiring Everlasting Joy.” Generation Z teens and adults (age 13-23) are the most depressed, have the least hope, and report higher amounts of stress than all previous generations combined. Depression and suicide are at all time highs, and there is a worldwide epidemic of unhappiness. But happiness is a response to your circumstances and can be manipulated. What people truly need to be seeking is a spiritual joy, a joy that does not end. We are all broken and imperfect. But when we repent, we wash away our old self, our old expectations and our old habits. We are made anew when we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to fight temptation, conquer depression, motivates us to change, and most importantly, it inspires joy. When we have this joy, we have three responsibilities:
1. Reach the world, 2. Share our hope, and 3. Remember our family.