1.It is “easy to doubt in the dark what we know to be true in the light.” What do you doubt or struggle to believe most often when you feel surrounded by darkness?
2. What is one practical way that you “keep the light in sight?” How do you keep the Truth front of mind, especially when life throws curve balls?
3. Is there something that you struggle with in the darkness that needs to be brought to the light? If so, who can you talk to TODAY?
Good morning! Welcome to our summer blockbuster series, At The Movies. Let
me ask, what is your favorite movie? Favorite movie of all time? Go ahead…
think about that for a second, and then I want you to shout it out all together.
Ready, Set, GO…
Have you ever been moved by a movie? You know…. You’re brought to tears at
the end of it, or you are filled with joy, or you can’t help but laugh through the
movie. Movies connect with people because they reveal not only something
about us, but they also reveal something to us about our world. In our series At
the Movies we are taking a look at how Faith and Film intersect, and even more
than that, we are looking at how God’s truth is revealed through some of
Hollywood’s best movies.
Everyone’s got a favorite movie… and many of those movies that you said are
classics… but there are few more classic movies than the great Mary Poppins.
Well, this year, the Walt Disney Studios decided that they were going to bring the
great Mary Poppins back to the big screen, in “Mary Poppins Returns”… Take a
Mary Poppins Trailer Teaser
Rebooting a classic is never easy. It is always difficult to retain the flavor of a
classic while also reshaping it for a modern audience. But, after seeing Mary
Poppins Returns with my family, I was surprised by how Disney was able to
capture the “magic” of the original, with a new cast, new music, and new plot, 54
The “new” Mary Poppins, Emily Blunt, captures the regal looks, facial
expressions, voice, and mannerisms of Julie Andrews in a remarkable way.
Mary Poppins returns brings us back to 17 Cherry Tree Lane where we find
Michael Banks and his three children living. Sadly, the little house on Cherry
Tree Lane and the grown-up siblings, Michael and Jane Banks, are facing hard
times, during 1930s. Michael’s house is in foreclosure, and he has recently lost
his wife– and the practically perfect nanny, Mary Poppins, floats in from the skies
to lend a hand. This time with Michael’s three kids, John, Annabel, & Georgie.
From the beginning of this movie you can tell that this family needs someone to
set them straight, someone to point them in the right direction and restore hope.
This family needs Mary Poppins!
This is one of those movie scenes, that I can relate to! Not in the details
specifically, but I can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed! This past
week was one of those weeks for me. Well let me tell you how my week started
off… I get a text from Tiffany, “The Orthodontist says it’s time for Braces. And we
need to pay 25% of it by next week.” Then later that night, I was sitting on our
couch, and I could hear something strange in the ceiling above me. Now, keep
in mind, there is nothing but attic above my head. What could be running around
up there? I call my good friend to come over the next day, and sure enough…
there are rats setting up shop in my attic. The very next day, I was getting ready
to start repainting my hallway, and I find that there is tremendous water damage
in my exterior wall, and I’ve got to rip out drywall, and fix a leak.
Any one of these three things I think I could have handled by itself. But all three
piled up on top of each other seemed overwhelming… There are financial
implications, that play on my emotions, and then there is the sweat of putting it all
back together and fixing these problems.
Some days you wake up and you say to your coffee… If we’re going to make it,
I need you to be strong today. Have you had days like that? Of course you
have. You’ve had moments that feel tremendously overwhelming. You’ve had
seasons that feel that way…. Maybe you’re in one of those seasons right now.
You could be walking through the pain of LOSING SOMEONE YOU LOVE, a
friend, or a family member. You could be facing BILLS that are piling up in a
way that you don’t know how to get under control. And you’re just one month
away from having to do something drastic. Or maybe there are tremendous
PRESSURES IN YOUR LIFE AT WORK, OR HOME. You might describe the
way you’re feeling as STUCK or PARALYZED. You feel all alone in the dark,
and you just can’t move.
The Banks children find themselves feeling this way, and yet Mary Poppins good
friend Jack has something to say about what you should do when you’re feeling
overwhelmed by life. Jack was a lamp lighter, or a leerie, and his job was to go
around lighting lamps just like this one all along the streets every night. Listen in
to what Jack says to John, Annabelle and Georgie Banks…
Trip a Little Light Fantastic 1:07
Jack says, “A leerie’s job’s to light the way, To tame the night and make it day,
We mimic the moon, yes that’s our aim, For we’re the keepers of the flame, And
if you’re deep inside a tunnel, When there is no end in sight, Well just carry on
until the dawn, It’s darkest right before the light.”
In other words, Jack says, LOOK TO THE LIGHT! The amazing thing is that
Scripture says the same thing. Look with me at John 1, that’s page 723 in the
Bible’s around you. John is the 4 th book of the New Testament, and the 4 th
gospel, or the story of Jesus. Look with me here at verse 1 of John 1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2
He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him
nothing was made that has been made.
In the very beginning of John’s gospel, he goes out of his way to tell the reader,
“This is where Jesus came from.” What I’m about to tell you doesn’t start here on
earth. The person of Jesus starts in the very beginning with God. And He is
God, and He was with God in the beginning of creation, and He was intimately
involved in that creation.
John says, now that we’ve got that out of the way, now that we understand who
Jesus is… let me tell you a little more about Jesus.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
Remember, Jesus was involved in bringing life into existence, in creation. Jesus
brought life. And this life lit up the room. It was the kind of light that shines bright
in the darkness John says…
Do you know the kind of people that brighten a room when they walk into it?
Sure everyone can be having a good time, but when this guy walks in, or this girl
walks in, the room just gets a little brighter? They bring the life of the party,
right? In a way, John is saying, Jesus, has life to bring to the party. He adds joy
to your life. Jesus brings light to your life. Humanity’s spiritual and physical life
come from Jesus! Light is commonly used in the Bible as an symbol of God;
darkness is commonly used to mean death, ignorance, sin, and separation from
God. Which is why John goes on to say,
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 1
John is saying, there is good news! Darkness is unable to overpower light.
There is such hope found in this verse. The very nature of light is to shine in the
darkness and dispel darkness, to push it out.
Look at this lamp. When I light this lamp, this little flame burns and brings light to
the area surrounding it. There is nothing that darkness can do to cover it up,
force it back down, or prevent it from shinning. John brings us some really good
news, that [point 1] LIGHT REVEALS WHAT DARKNESS CONCEALS. When
life is overwhelming, it can feel as if the darkness is beginning to get a hold on
I was listening to a podcast this week of a person who was describing a time of
their life where they walked through a really deep depression. And they even
described it as a DARK DEPRESSION or a DARK time in their life. They said
that they felt like every day they would wake up in a dark cloud that hung over
their life. There are moments in life that feel this way.
1 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 1:1–5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Divorce can leave you feeling like the sun has gone out in your life. The joy that
you once had on your wedding day, and for so many years… seems like it’s gone
Addictions promise to fulfill you and satisfy you but only leave you scratching
around in the dark for another hit. You wonder, is it possible to ever really be
Pornography promises pleasure and leaves you with a heap of shame instead.
Our sin, and our spiritual enemy would love nothing more than to disguise the
light of life with a life of darkness. The goal is to cover the truth with darkness.
And yet, Jesus, steps in from the beginning and reveals how we can overcome
this darkness. Because, don’t forget that NO AMOUNT OF DARKNESS COULD
EVER PUT OUT EVEN THE SMALLEST LIGHT.
Look back at John 1, vs 9…
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not
recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
This may be one of the most tragic passages of scriptures that we read. John
says, the light of man, was coming to earth, and people missed it. They didn’t
recognize him. John goes on to explain it in verse 14, just how bold of a move
this was for God. Look at this.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the
glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 2
2 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 1:9–14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
God became flesh. The Creator became like the created. Can you imagine
that? Can you imagine what that would be like? Angels would be standing
around saying, what is He doing? Why in the world is God entering into His
creation? Why is He sending Jesus, His only son, to leave Heaven, to leave
eternity, to step into humanity? John says, So that we can see God’s glory.
Jesus came to earth to shine a light on God. God knew that He needed to [pt. 2] KEEP THE LIGHT IN SIGHT.
When we’re tempted to believe that there is nothing we can do, or we are
overwhelmed by our options, or our circumstances, KEEP THE LIGHT IN SIGHT.
It can feel pretty dark, pretty quickly, right? And we can be tempted to DOUBT
in the DARK, what we BELIEVED in the LIGHT.
I shared with you about my issues at home this week… The things that are
overwhelming me at home. Between the rats, the braces, and the damage in the
walls and stucco… I started adding up all of the money that it is going to take to
fix these issues. And it wasn’t good.
I looked at my budget, and the two numbers don’t match. There is no easy way
to make these numbers line up neatly. I looked at the budget and looked at the
first line and have to be honest with you that it would be very easy to explain why
I can’t tithe right now to our church, and support God’s house. I’ve got my own
house to take care of Lord! It will just be till I get my house in order Lord.
Someone else can fill in the gap for a while. I could make every excuse.
And yet, I know that giving, and tithing is a Biblical commandment. I know that
God can do more with 90% of my income than I could ever do if I kept 100% of
my income. And when things are good, it’s easy for me to go above my tithe and
give an offering… Sponsor a child for Day For Hope? Absolutely. But what
happens when it feels a little dark. That’s when it gets easy for me, as a pastor,
to stop tithing, to stop being generous.
This is why we have to KEEP THE LIGHT IN SIGHT. It is too easy to doubt in
the dark what you believed in the light. When we focus on the light, we see often
that God reveals another way. Another way that we would not have known, or
When I turn my back on this lantern, I don’t get to experience the light that it
produces. I don’t have the ability to see clearly any more. But when I face the
light, and I keep the light in front of me, things are clearer. Keep Jesus in front of
you. Keep the Word in front of you. It’s not enough to only be in proximity to the
light… You need to be focused on it. What getting your attention?
Isn’t it true that sometimes we just need some ambient light and that feels good
enough? Like we go throught the dark and we’re just happy to bump into some
light, or any light at all. It helps us ease our fears. We’re not stuck in the dark
anymore, right? Ambient light seems good enough.
You all remember, my love hate relationship with palm trees, right? I am very
allergic to the prick of a needle from a pygmy date palm. And this past weekend
I had to trim these palm trees. I was doing everything I could to do it carefully,
and yet, I still had two puncture marks, with splinters in them. Let me tell you,
this is incredibly painful for me. And extracting the razor-sharp needle was
When I was in pain, and needed to take care of myself, ambient light was not
good enough. Just being near the light didn’t help. I needed focused light to be
able to get what was hurting me, out of me.
This is why we need to KEEP THE LIGHT IN SIGHT. Stay focused on Jesus
because THERE IS NO DAY TOO DARK FOR JESUS TO ILLUMINATE. There
is nothing that you will ever face that Jesus can’t help you through.
When you bring your fear into the light of Christ, He says have faith! Jesus
shines light on our anxiety and says, take courage. Jesus shines His light on our
brokenness and says BE HEALED.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the
glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 3
Remember, the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. In other
words, Jesus moved in, so you could move on. The light of Christ came close so
we could see the healing that is available to us! What are you focusing on? It’s
easy to focus on the pain, or the event that caused the pain. It is entirely another
thing to focus on the healing process. As I’ve been talking, likely there is
something that God has been showing you and he’s saying, Bring that to the
light. Bring that out into the light.
This could be a personal conflict with a family member. What if you brought
that conflict to the light, you brought it out in conversation, you brought it to the
Lord in prayer.
This could be a secret addiction that no one knows about. Maybe it’s alcohol,
or prescription drugs, or pornography…. What’s done in secret festers, but what
is brought into the light can heal.
Jesus says in John 8:12…
3 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 1:9–14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will
have the light of life.” 4
There is an invitation, and a promise here. Jesus invites us to follow Him, and
the promise is that you will never walk in the dark again. In Genesis 1 Light was
God’s first creation. He spoke, and said, Let there be light. And the light broke
into the darkness. What could God bring out of the dark and recreate, or restore,
or heal in the light?
This promise of Jesus reminds us that [pt. 3] A LITTLE BIT OF LIGHT BRINGS
A WHOLE LOT OF HOPE. Let’s face it. Life can be overwhelming. There are
situations that you will face, seasons of life that will cast a shadow in your life.
But even just a little bit of light, brings a lot of hope. When life gets the darkest,
Hope shines the brightest!
Let me be clear, this hope that Jesus is offering is found by following Him! We
can’t expect to be overcome by hope if we haven’t first been overcome by Jesus.
When you’re faced with situations that want to draw your attention, that wants to
suck up all your energy, and consume all your time, let me remind you to bring it
to the light.
But Jesus is making an even more important point here. He says, don’t just bring
it to THE light, but you can bring it to YOUR light. This invitation is personal.
When God sent His Son Jesus to Earth, to take on flesh and move into the
neighborhood, it was personal. It was for you and for me.
4 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 8:12). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
No matter how dark your world seems right now, He is the light. And in a
moment of time, his light can illuminate your darkness, his grace can forgive your
sins, his presence can bring healing to your shame. And you are never
the same again, because when the light of the world becomes the light of your
world, and you follow him, you never have to walk in darkness again. A little bit
of light, brings a whole lot of hope!
Let me ask you… What are you focused on today? What is getting your
What if today instead of focusing on Life’s Circumstances, you focused on God’s
Provisions, and God’s Promises. Your intention directions your attention.
And your attention impacts your actions. This week I texted my mom, and I
told her about what was going on in my world. And on a good day, when I’m
texting my mom, my intentions are to keep my eyes on Jesus. I know that if I
took my eyes off of Jesus, it would be too easy for me to get distracted,
discouraged, and I could let anxiety get a hold of me. It starts with our
intentions… they direct what gets your attention.
Where are you focusing? What is getting your attention? If you need to
recalibrate, or refocus your attention, let’s do that today. Don’t wait!
Every day we get a choice of what we focus on. What could happen this week
for you as you focus on Jesus?