Sermon Recap: Don't Lose Heart

Mercy can no longer be merited, or it is no longer mercy. -Pastor Steve Osborn
Leading us through 2 Corinthians 4, Pastor Steve dove right into the words and heart of Paul, a man who knew what it was to surrender in fulness to a life of both humility and courage for the Kingdom of God. This letter to the church of Corinth was personal to Paul, living in the junction of what he knew and didn't yet know; in the divide of things seen and unseen.

Paul considered his ministry, in every way, a gift of mercy. In acknowledging the gift of mercy, he encourages the church to not give up. When have you wanted to throw in the towel? When have you seen the gift of mercy in serving? I would venture to say that a large portion of people in ministry, or general human services, wanted to or have thrown the towel in the fire. The boundary stretching, over-exertion of time and emotions and demands catch up and we just feel done. Sayonara. But Paul (oh Paul), encourages this:

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

What would it look like to hold on and not lose heart? I had the surprising fortune of sitting in on a WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) meeting last night and was asked, as I am a local school board member, a handful of questions. In answering, I had to laugh at myself because most of my answers came back to the students being my reason. For years before moving to Sonora and marrying my husband, I had the privilege of working with high school students at a San Diego-based church. And I actually was paid for it! Any parent, especially one of either toddlers or teenagers, will tell you that you'll experience their every emotion in a 90 second cycle. Keeping up on current trends, data and relationships was a full-time job. And it was a pure gift! That was fifteen years ago and I am still in sweet relationships with not only my co-workers at the time, but many of the students who are now wives and mothers and dear friends. They are each a merciful gift, to which I am grateful to have received. Those gifts of mercy have carried on as my husband and I were plugged in with junior high and high school ministry for years. It is a pure joy when to receive wedding invitations, hold their babies, and walk out the rough patches in their now adult lives, and I think about what I would have missed had I thrown in the towel of ministry. Praise the Lord for His endurance and each beautifully crafted gift of mercy. Amen?

Pastor Steve reminded us that the power to live well comes solely from our God, which reminded me of how often even Jesus went away to pray. The greatest resource we have when our own courage and boldness fail us is to pray- to surrender, much like Paul did, and trust in a God who sees it all and can carry us through to victory.

We want to thank you for joining us yesterday. Whether you tuned in on YouTube, sat side by side with us in the Worship Center, or are recapping here, thank you. You are an intricate part of the Sierra Bible Church community. As you now know, we are in a major transition. It is with sadness that I accept the elder's prayerful decision to release Pastor Steve. That sadness, however, it also met with the complete trust that God is with us. Is He not? Does He not have the bigger story in play? So, we ask that you would commit to praying with us.

Pray for Pastor Steve and Debbie- that their road ahead is one of ease and peace. That God would give them direction and discernment with the full support of love.

Pray for our elders as they continue to work this out through prayer, conviction and conversations with our congregation.

Pray for the pastoral and support staff teams as we transition as well.

Pray for the health of our church- that God would come against slander, speculation and division, and instead fill us with peace, unity and faithfulness.

If you would like to speak to an elder or pastor, please contact the church office at 209-532-1381. We also send out a Thursday email with important news and announcements. If you would like to be added to that email list, please email And as always, we love you and value you and are so glad you're here. May mercy be upon you today.






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