Fall Week of Prayer: a Day By Day Update
SLA is proud to announce that this week is the much-anticipated, long-prepared-for Fall Week of Prayer, which is sticking to this year’s spiritual theme- reigniting the passion. To celebrate, the Spiritual Life staff here at the Pioneer have decided to provide a day-by-day summary of the sermons by this week’s pastor, Andre Costa. Besides talking to youth, Costa is a mental health counselor and is providing a few hours each day this week for SLA’s students to come talk to him about problems and issues that might need professional help.
So, without further ado, day one.
On Monday, Andre Costa introduced himself and quickly began. He had decided to talk about faith vs. all of its counterfeits.
He started by telling the story of a time he had gone out to eat with his friends. He had noticed that his food was a bit bland and asked one of his friends to pass the salt. His friend promptly obliged and Costa quite enjoyed his food. However, through the meal, Costa noticed that his friends were laughing and snickering. When they were done, he asked the friend who had passed him the salt why they were laughing, and his friend admitted to him that they had given him sugar instead of salt.
Costa then proceeded to tell a true story of a young man who was struggling with severe depression. Because of his depression, the young man was part of an experiment for a new depression relief medication. Some people were given the real pills and some were given the placebo.
So the young man was particularly depressed one night and he decided that he was going to take his own life by ingesting all of the pills. So that’s what he did. They man could feel his pulse lowering, he was starting to go in and out of consciousness, and then he realized he had made a terrible mistake.
Quickly, he called his girlfriend and admitted that he had taken all the pills. She immediately picked him up and drove him to the hospital. Upon arrival, the girlfriend hastily explained the situation to the doctor while the young man fought for his life.
The doctor called the scientist who was running the experiment and after a very short conversation with him, the doctor came up to the young man and whispered in his ear, “you took the placebo pills. You’re fine.”
Immediately, the young man was better and he went home the next day.
This brought Costa around to his point. Sometimes there are certain things that look like faith, smell like faith, but aren’t faith.
The first thing that isn’t faith, is presumption. We can’t presume that something is true without evidence first. Just like we can’t see God, we can’t see the wind, but we see the effects of it as it blows the leaves from the trees, therefore we don’t just presume that it exists because we have evidence. In the same way, we can see the effects of God as He works in our lives.
The second thing that isn’t faith is rejection of evidence. Costa used the example of a rotten tooth. If you look in the mirror one morning and see that you have a rotten tooth, but you tell yourself that this tooth isn’t rotten and that you are fine, this will still not change the fact that you have a rotten tooth and the evidence of the rotten tooth is still there. Faith should not be used as an excuse for our own laziness.
The third thing that isn’t faith is superstition. Black cats and ghost stories are not the same as faith in God.
The fourth thing that isn’t faith is replacing God’s will with our own will. Making a decision for ourselves and then saying that it’s God’s will isn’t faith, in fact it’s the opposite.
And the final thing that isn’t faith is the placebo. The stuff that feels like faith, but isn’t. Our emotion are not tied to our faith. Faith isn’t a feeling that we should depend on.
On Tuesday, Costa spoke about the greatness of God.
He showed the students a video demonstrating the vastness and size of the universe. Compared to the rest of the world, we are like specks of dust.
Costa asked the students how many of them had big problems in their lives. Then pointed to the video.
“Your problems are so small. How dare you say that your problems are bigger than they actually are?”
His point was that there is no way God is smaller than our problems, and even when we feel small, God sees us as so much more than just a speck of dust.
On Wednesday, Costa shared with us about how the media affects us.
He talked about certain kinds of music, showing that because classical music has a certain timing, it agrees with our body rhythms and therefore makes our mind sharper and clearer.
Costa claimed that other types of music make us tired and unaware of the things around us because of the beat and dissonance.
He talked to the students about the movie industry and how it only takes a little bit for us to be sucked in.
The over-all message Costa was trying to convey is that we have to worship God fully with our heart, soul, and mind, and that if we love Him, we should keep His commandments.
On Thursday, Costa brought up one of the most-asked questions in the church: “If God exists, why do bad things happen?”
Costa began by bringing up the point, that sometimes, God must allow evil to let His glory show through.
“If you had the chance to press a button that would eliminate sin in an instant,” Costa asked the students, “would you do it?” A few hesitant hands raised, knowing there was a catch.
Costa explained that there is only one problem with this. If sin were eliminated, we would cease to exist. How can we say that we are good? We are sinful beings and it is by God’s grace that we are saved.
Furthermore, if we didn’t have sin, we would also have no way of seeing God’s infinite glory. If you hold a light bulb out in the sun, how will you know how bright it can truly shine?
To conclude, Costa shared a verse, Matthew 13:27: “The owner’s servants came to him and said ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your fields? Where, then, did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered. ‘For if you pull them up now, you will take up the good plants as well. Instead, wait until the harvest and then we will collect the weeds and burn them.”
With these verses, Costa implied that the weeds was sin and God must wait until He comes again, or else He will have to uproot the good with the bad.
On Friday, Costa opened with a verse that we all know well, John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Costa painted the picture by talking first about pain.
“We will only ever know the pain of one person,” he quoted. “And when the pain becomes too much for one person, we die.”
He continued by explaining that Jesus didn’t just feel the pain of one person. He felt the pain of all of us, every single one, before he died.
Costa told the students, that there will be one imperfection in Heaven: Jesus, who bore our scars and sins.
He ended the sermon by playing a hymn on his trumpet. The majestic music reminded the students of Jesus returning in His glory to take us home.
And with that fanfare, week of prayer has officially ended! Feedback on ways to improve week of prayer are welcome!
Posted on October 8, 2013, in Spiritual Life, Top Stories and tagged Andre, Andre Costa, big problems, classical music, Commandments, Contemporary Christian, Costa, dust, Faith, God, God's greatness, greatness, greatness of God, hollywood, hollywood demons, Jesus, Lord, Major depressive disorder, media, media affects us, Music, music affects us, passion, Prayer, problems, rap, reignite, reigniting passion, Religion and Spirituality, rock and roll, serving God, small, small problems, week, Week of Prayer, Will of God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.