Declaration of Dependence Part 1

Dependence Day

John 15:5

Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies,[2] then at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states, and no longer under British rule. Instead they formed a new nation—the United States of America. John Adams was a leader in pushing for independence, which was passed on July 2 with no opposing vote cast. A committee of five had already drafted the formal declaration, to be ready when Congress voted on independence. The term “Declaration of Independence” is not used in the document itself.  John Adams persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document,[3] which Congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The next day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail: “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.”[4] But Independence Day is actually celebrated on July 4, the date that the Declaration of Independence was approved.

So this weekend we celebrate our countries’s Declaration of Independence. 

We will celebrate the Fourth of July.  

We will celebrate our Independence Day.  

In a sense we celebrate our birthday.

Now for years I thought this day was about ribs, potato salad, and fireworks.  But the date is really significant in our country’s history.  It is the day that we declared that we did not need to be under the rule of Great Britain.  That we were free to be our own country.  We wanted our freedom and we took it!  So today we are one of the greatest nations in the world.  And in the greatest nation in the world slaves were not free until June 19,1865.  Two years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  That is why we celebrated Juneteenth a few weeks ago.  And in the greatest nation in the world we still have problems.  

We are still battling racism.

We are still battling bigotry.

We are still battling discrimination.

We are still battling hatred.

We are still battling poverty.

We are still battling police brutality.

We are still battling inequality.

We are still battling racial injustice.

We are still battling voter suppression.

And we may not be happy with everything that is going on in our nation, but I don’t think we’d want to be anywhere else either.  Because here we are free.  We enjoy the luxury of freedom.  We can go where we want to go.  Do what we want to do.  Marry who we want to marry.  And worship any God we want to worship.   That is the idea anyway.  The American dream. Wow, when you think about it.  That kind of freedom can be scary.  But with that freedom we are free to choose.  And today I choose to be totally dependent on God.  

With all that is going on in my life I need to depend on God.

With all the darkness in the world.

With all hell breaking loose in my life.

With the rise of racial unrest in our nation.

With the uncertainty that COVID -19 has brought.

With all the madness going on in Washington DC.

With a friend and colleague going through the wringer because of a FB post.

With the true colors of friends and loved one beginning to show.

So today I am making a declaration of dependence.  Today is my dependence day.  As a matter of fact, every day is my dependence day because every day I am depending on God.  Because I cannot do this thing called life on my own.  So for the month of July we will be talking about our dependence day.  Because everyday we should be depending on God.  There are at least four things that I would like to share with in the month of July that we depend on God for.  And the first thing that we depend on God for is His forgiveness. 

Shall we look at the text.  First let’s look at the passage in The Gospel according to John the disciple whom Jesus loved.  In this chapter of John Jesus is talking to his disciples.  He is basically telling them that he is the vine and his father is the gardener.  And the gardener is going to cut off every branch that does not bear fruit.  He reassures the disciples that as long as you remain in me and I remain in you, you will bear fruit, but apart from me you can do nothing.  In other words, you need me.  You must depend on me, and if you depend on me I will never leave you or forsake you.  We can do nothing without God.  Does anybody believe that this morning?  You see I tried it on my own…

Now in Colossians 1:13-14 Paul is addressing the Christian Church in Colossae.  He tells them how thankful he is for each and everyone of them and how grateful he is that they have heard the Gospel story.  He expressed to them how him and Timothy had not stopped praying for them since he heard that they believed.  He wanted to reassure them of their faith and reminded them that God has rescued them from the dominion of darkness and brought them into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Paul wanted them to know that because you believe.  Because of your faith in God you have been rescued from the darkness and brought into the kingdom of the son.  You have been redeemed.  Your sins have been forgiven.  Your sins have been forgiven.  I don’t know about you, but knowing that my sins are forgiven gives me a freeing feeling that I just cannot explain.  It is like a huge weight that is lifted off of my life.  Does anybody know what I’m talking about?  So as we thread the needle between these two scriptures we can see that we can do nothing without God, we depend on God, and one of the things that we depend on God for is His forgiveness.  

One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick.

Suddenly, my son Matthew spoke up from his relaxed position in the front seat. “Mom, I’m thinking of something.” This announcement usually meant he had been pondering some fact for a while and was now ready to expound all that his seven-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.

“What are you thinking?” I asked.

“The rain,” he began, “is like sin and the windshield wipers are like God, wiping our sins away.”

After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. “That’s really good, Matthew.”

Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little boy take this revelation? So I asked… “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?”

Matthew didn’t hesitate one moment with his answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.”

I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on. Isn’t it comforting to know that God does keep forgiving us?

Is there anybody in the room excited about the fact that God keeps on forgiving us.

No matter what we’ve done God forgives us.

No matter how many times we’ve done it.

No matter how many times we mess up.

No matter how many mistakes we make.

No matter how many times we relapse. 

No matter how many times we fall off the wagon.

No matter how many times we go back where we should not go.

No matter how many times we back slide.

No matter how many times we disappoint Him.

It does not matter, God will always forgive us, because God will always love us.  And this forgiveness does three things for us.

The first thing God’s forgivenesses does for us is give us freedom.  Which is such an appropriate point the day after we celebrated Independence Day!  God’s forgiveness gives us freedom.  Remember how free you felt the first time you left home and you were on your own.  It was you against the world and you were ready to take it all on.  Well the freedom that we receive from God’s forgiveness is so much more liberating.  That is why we love to sing that old song.

I am free praise the lord I’m free, I’m no longer bound.  

No more change holding me. 

My soul is resting. It’s just a blessing.  

Praise the Lord, hallelujah I’m free.  

Anybody free this afternoon.  

Here are three things that we are free from.

We are free from our former selves.  

You are a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come.  

You are free from the person you used to be.  

You are free from the things that you used to do.  

You don’t have to be that person anymore.  

You don’t have to do those things anymore.  

That is a beautiful thing!  Let me be a little transparent for a moment.  The old Brian was a no good, dirty, rotten scoundrel, that would try to get over on anyone that I could.  I was always on a hustle.  I was always looking to take advantage of a situation or circumstance, but thank God that he looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.  That he took me and made something beautiful out of my life.  We are free from our former selves.

So we are free from our former selves and we are free from the facade.  

We don’t have to put on a show anymore.  

We don’t have to fake it til we make it.  

We don’t have to act like we have it altogether.  

What are you saying Pastor Brian?  

I am saying that we can be vulnerable.  

We can be open.  

We can let people in.  

We can let people help us.  

We can let people see us hurting.  

We don’t have to front like we have it all under control.  

That’s what we used to call it when I was growing up.  

We called it fronting or putting on a front when you were trying to be something you’re not.  

Like trying to be tough when you’re weak.

Like trying to be cool when you’re a nerd.

Like trying to be hard when you’re soft.

Like trying to be sophisticated when you can’t even spell sophisticated.

Like trying to act good when you know you’re bad.

I thank God that we are free from the facade.

So we are free from our former selves, we are free from the facade and we are free from fretting.  And fretting is just another way of saying worrying.  We don’t have to worry.  As a matter of fact this is what the Bible says about worrying in Matthew 6:25-34 

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  I cannot say it any better then the word of God.  What in the world are you worried about?  We are free from fretting!

The first thing that God’s forgiveness gives us is freedom and the second thing that forgiveness gives us is a Fresh Start.  How many people in the room will be honest and testify that you are thankful for your fresh start.  Things got pretty bad out there.  When you were, when we were out there doing our own thing.  Things got a little bit out of control.  We made some terrible, horrible, regrettable mistakes.  That put us in some compromising positions.  We were in some unbelievable situations and circumstances so thank God for your fresh start.  Here are three things that you can do with your fresh start.

Since you have your fresh start your can begin to Formulate.  What in the world are you talking about.  Just give me a minute and I’ll explain.  You have a fresh start.  So what are you going to do with it.  You need to formulate. You need to make a plan.  You need to set some goals and objectives for your life and plan out how you are going to reach those goals and objectives.  It is not going to happen overnight, but if you are committed to the plan, and place the plan in God hands, as a matter of fact, don’t even make the plan without consulting God first.  That way you can make sure that your plan is in alignment with God’s plan for your life.  That’s the problem that most of us have.  We make plans without consulting God.  We make plans without even considering God’s point of view.  We make plans that are not consistent with God’s plan for our lives.  That is why people say that we make plans and God laughs.  Our fresh start allows us to formulate.

So our fresh start allows us to formulate and then our fresh start allows us to Facilitate.  This is when we put the plan into action.  It is so great to write a plan.  The Bible even tells us to write the vision and make it plain.  But the plan will do us no good if we do not put it into action.  Why else would James say that faith with our works is dead.  You had the faith to make the plan. Now have the faith to put the plan in motion.  This is going to require some action on your part.  Don’t just make the plan and put it on the shelf.  As a matter of fact,  someone in the room has a plan already, and you put it on the shelf.  God told me to tell you to get that plan off the shelf.  Dust it off and put that plan into action.  It’s not over.  You still have time.  It’s not too late.

To start that business

To go to school

To get out of debt

To buy that house

To get that car

To answer your call

To write that book

To write that song

To write that grant

To start that program

To get involved 

It’s not to late.  Our fresh start allows us to facilitate.

Our fresh start allows us to formulate.  Our fresh start allows us to facilitate.  And our fresh start allows us to Fascinate.  This is what I love about God.  He forgives us.  Gives us freedom.  Freedom from our former selves, the facade, and fretting.  He gives us a fresh start by allowing us the formulate and facilitate which give us the ability to fascinate everyone around us.  Because when we become all that God has called us to be.  When we formulate and facilitate with God on our side this is going to fascinate the world around you.  And they are going to ask and even wonder how in the world could this happen to you, and that’s when you lift your hands, shout hallelujah and give God all the glory which leads me to the third thing that God’s forgiveness does for us.

The first thing that forgiveness gives us is freedom.  The second thing that forgiveness gives us is a fresh start and the third thing that forgiveness gives us is a Fruitful ministry.  And I don’t know about you but I want a fruitful ministry.  I do not want to be one of the branches that is cut from the vine and thrown into the the fire.  I want to be fruitful.  Back in biblical times if a tree did not bear fruit within in three years they cut it down and threw it in the fire.  

I am not trying to be an unfruitful tree.  

I don’t want to preach just so people can hear me talk and tell me how much they enjoyed the sermon.  

I want souls saved and lives to be changed.  

I want to be fruitful.  

I just don’t want to stand in front of my students and entertain them.  

I want them to be better readers, writers, and mathematicians because of the time I spent with them.  

I want to be fruitful.  

But I don’t want to be fruitful for me, I want to be fruitful for God.  Here is how we make a fruit ministry.

We make a fruitful ministry by Framing it around God.  God must be the focus of the ministry.  Think about it!  When you put a frame around a photograph or a beautiful piece of art, no matter how wonderfully crafted the frame is, the frame is not the focal point the photograph or the art work is.  You don’t want the frame outshining the picture.  If that’s the case why even bother putting anything in the frame.  You could just hang up the empty frame. You have to keep the main thing the main thing and God is the main thing in any ministry.  Take it from me, I have made the mistake of creating a ministry around me, and the moment I left the ministry the ministry died, because it became Brian’s ministry instead of God’s ministry and I will never make that mistake again.  So how can you avoid that?  First you make Jesus the focus of the ministry.  Then you build a team around you with the same mindset, that this is about God and not about us.  Then you train up one, two, or three people to take your place or fill in the gap when you’re not there.  The ministry should be able to operate in your absence.  A fruitful ministry must be framed around God.

A fruitful ministry must be framed around God, and a fruitful ministry must include Fostering relationships.  Everything in this world is built on relationships.  Whether those relationships are good or bad.  But in order to have a fruitful ministry you must be willing to foster relationships.  This means that you will have to put others needs before your own.  This means that you have to think about others before you make decisions.  This means that you have to genuinely care about other people. Because as John Maxwell says, no one cares what you know until they know that you care.  And when you foster relationships in your ministry to the point that everyone is on the same page, on one accord with a leader they know cares there are no limits to the success of the ministry.  It will bear fruit.  A fruitful ministry must foster relationships.

So a fruitful ministry must be framed around God, it must include fostering relationships, and it must include Fulfilling your call.  Because if you are not operating in your gift and doing what God has called you to do you are wasting your time and the time of everyone around you.  God did not forgive you, free you, give you a fresh start so that you could be unfruitful in a ministry that he did not call you to.  So make sure that whatever you are doing, that you are doing it because that is where God has called you to be.  And if you don’t know just ask him, and he will tell you!  But I am pretty sure that you already know what God wants you to do.  So be like Nike and just do it.

Called to teach!

Called to preach!

Called to dance!

Called to usher!

Called to organize! 

Called to give!

Called to clean!

Called to cook!

Called to sing!

Called to play an instrument!

Called to lead!

Whatever it is that God called you to do, Just do it!

In order to have a fruitful ministry you must be fulfilling your call.

So I am making my declaration of dependence on God today!

And the first thing that I am dependent on is his forgiveness.  

His forgiveness gives us freedom.

His forgiveness gives us a fresh start.

His forgiveness gives us a fruitful ministry.

Today is our dependence day.

And everyday is our dependence day because everyday we depend on God.

Give God praise for our independence. 

Now, Give God praise for your dependence.

I don’t no about you, but I depend on God.

I depend on the Immanuel. 

I depend on the Savior.

I depend on Jesus.

I depend on Yahweh.

I depend on El Elyon.

I depend on Jehovah.

I depend on Jesus Christos.

I depend on Adonai.

I depend on the balm of Gilead.

I depend on the rose of Sharon.

I depend on the bright and morning star.

I depend on the the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

I depend fountain on living water.

I depend on the God of all comfort.

I depend on the God of all grace.

I depend on the God of hope.

I depend on the God of peace.

I depend on the God of my life.

I depend on my God, the great I am that I am.

I depend on the father.

I depend on the son.

I depend on the Holy Spirit.

And that’s why I sing….

I need the oh I need the, every hour I need the.

Oh bless me now my savior, I come too the.

A Summer of Scandal! Part 3

Summer of Scandal 3

John 4:1-14, 39-41

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

Three weeks ago we began a series entitled a summer of Scandal.  And we talked about a scandal being something that people talk about.  And I encouraged you to give the people in your circle of influence, your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors something to talk about.  And if we’re going to give them something to talk about we need to give them Jesus.  We talked about a man by the name of Zacchaeus, who was a tax collector that wanted to see Jesus, and because of his short stature he climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus.  Jesus came to the tree and told Zacchaeus to come down from the tree because he would be going to his house today.  Immediately the people began to talk and say he is going to the house of a sinner.  The scandal had begun.  So we discussed that in order to have a summer of scandal we need to know what we believe, and we believe in the father who produced us, protects us, and provides for us.  We believe in the son who preaches to us, parishes for us, and presents us.  And we believe in the Holy Spirit that prepares us, produces through us, and prospers us.  Two weeks ago we talked about having a summer of scandal by the way we behave.  We talked about the ten lepers that Jesus healed between the cities of Galilee and Samaria, and how only one out of the ten lepers came back to to praise God for his healing.  And I told you that in order to have a summer of scandal you need to display the following three behaviors. Practice, prayer, and praise.  We practice with patience, peace, and perseverance.  We pray personally, people minded prayers, and persistently.  And we praise God on purpose, for a purpose, because it is our purpose.  And today we are going to close out the series when I tell you not only is our summer of scandal based on our beliefs, not only is our summer of scandal based on our behavior. But our summer of scandal is based on the benefits we receive from God because of our beliefs and behaviors.  

Now there is a reason that Shannon and I ended up in Columbus, Ohio 20 years ago to be teachers.  We had family here.  They recruited us, basically hiring us on the spot in Pennsylvania, and the starting salary was pretty good compared to other stated that we looked in to, but the benefits were even better.  

Insurance was good.  

Dental was good.  

Vision was ok.  

The retirement plan was good.

We could go to The Ohio State University for free.  

And let’s not forget summers off.  

But as good as our benefits are they do not compare to the benefits we receive as children of God.  Remember who your daddy is!  How many of you know that there are benefits when you are a child of God when you are living the Christian life?  And if we are living it right those benefits will cause a scandal.  Those benefits will get people taking about us.  But more importantly, those benefits will get people talking about Jesus!

ZShall we look at the text… I know we were just looking at this particular text last month, but this just shows how rich God’s word is.  Many things can be gleaned and learned from the same passage of scripture.  So if you remember in this story Jesus is heading back to Galilee and he passes through Samaria because it is the quickest way to get there.  On his way he ends up on a plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph, and Jacob’s well is there.  And since Jesus was tired from his journey he stopped to rest and get a drink. So let me say parenthetically on the way to where I’m going, if Jesus got tired and rested, don’t you think that it’s ok for us to get tired and rest every now and then.  You can’t keep going like the energizer bunny!  You have to take time and rest, relax, and refresh.  Because if you don’t your body will take a break on you!   You have to rest!  You have to relax.  You have to refresh, and this gives you time to reflect.  Let’s get back to the text.  So Jesus was at the well and about noon a Samaritan woman came to the well.  

Somebody say scandal.  

Most women came to the well in the morning to get water, but this woman came at noon to avoid the crowd, to avoid the stares, to avoid the gossip, to avoid the pointing fingers.  

Somebody say scandal 

But Jesus is there, an unexpected surprise, and he asks her for a drink.  

Somebody say scandal.  

Jews don’t associate with Samaritans.  

Somebody say scandal.  

Men do not talk to woman in public.  

Somebody say scandal.  

But Jesus did.  And she responds, how can you ask me for a drink.  Because Jews do not associate with Samaritans and Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  And they go back and forth for a while because this woman is trying to figure out how in the world is Jesus going to give her water when he has nothing to get the water out of the well with.  

Little did she know that he was not talking about physical water.  He was not talking about natural water.  

He was not talking about spring water.  

He was not talking about purified water.  

He was not talking about distilled water

He was not talking about Dasani, Evian, Fuji, Aquafina, or Ice Mountain.

He was not talking about H2O at all.  

He was talking about living water.  

He was talking about the Holy Spirit.  

Because he told her, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  

So she asked for the living water!  

She asked to be delivered!

She asked to be saved!

And they continue the conversation in which Jesus gets all up in the woman’s business and she acknowledges him as prophet. And goes onto say how the Jews used to worship where they were.  And Jesus told her a time is coming when we shall worship God in spirit and in truth.  Because that is what God desires.  Regardless of your race, color, class, gender, or ethnicity.  God wants true worshippers.  And true worshippers worship the father in spirit and in truth.  

The disciples return, and the woman leaves and goes into town, and tells everyone, come see a man that has told me everything I’ve ever done.  The people come and the people believe. 

Somebody say Scandal!

So let me share with you three benefits that will assist you in your summer of scandal and then I will bid you good day.

One of the first benefits that we receive from God is his protection.  Now I know we discussed this when we talked about our beliefs.  When I expressed to you that we believe that God is our father and because he is our father he protects us.  But today I want to go a little deeper and tell you what he protects us from.  He protects us from dangers seen and unseen.  He protects from the things that go bump in the night.  But I would like to get a little more specific than that.  Here are three things that God protects us from.

The first thing that God protects us from is people.  

Yeah I know you have 500 Facebook friends.  

I know you have 736 twitter followers, and everyone is always liking your pictures on instagram.  

I know you think that everyone loves you.  

And everyone has your best interest at heart.  

But let me drop some knowledge on you from the great theologians the O’Jays, they smile in your face and all the time they wanna take your place. The back stabbers.  

Everyone is not your friend.  

And everyone does not have your best interests at heart.  

As a matter of fact there are a number of people that don’t like you at all.  

They may even hate you.  

And it’s not because of anything you’ve done to them.  

It’s just because of who you represent.  

And there is a scandal all around you because of what you believe,  how you behave, and the benefits you receive.  

But if I’ve told you once I’ve told you twice people only hate on people that are doing something.  So if you don’t have any haters you must not be doing anything.  But I thank God that he protects us from people.  

He protects us from their lies

He protects us from their flattery

He protects us from their jealousy

He protects us from their gossip 

He protects us from their drama

He protects us from their mess

He protects us from their agendas

Is there anybody in the room excited about the fact that God protects us from people.

But not only does God protect us from people, he protects of from Personal Sabotage.  You guessed it, he protects us from ourselves.  He protects you from you and he protects me from me!  How many times have you messed up on purpose?  

Failed on purpose.  

Made mistakes on purpose.  

How many times have you got in your own way and did not achieve all that God had in store for you? 

Think of all the times you doubted yourself.  

All the times you thought you could not do it.  

All the times you thought you couldn’t make it, but you did.  

Why?  Because God protects us from personal sabotage.  God protects us from ourselves.

When you want to go where you know you shouldn’t go.

When you want to do what you know you shouldn’t do.

When you want to say what you shouldn’t say.

When you want to watch what you shouldn’t watch.

When you want to listen to what you shouldn’t listen to.

When you want to visit that person you have no business visiting.

God protects us from personal sabotage.

So God protects us from people, he protects us from personal sabotage, and he protects us from the prince of darkness.  Yes, the devil is real.  The enemy does exist.  And he has come for no reason but to steal, kill, and destroy you. But Jesus said, I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.  And that is why the devil hates us because he hates God, and he hates the fact that God protects us because God loves us!  

He wants us to fail.  

He wants us to suffer.  

He wants us to go through.  

He wants us to doubt ourselves.  

He wants us to give up.  

He wants us to give in.  

He wants us to give out.  

He wants us to throw in the towel.  

He wants us to fall so far away from God that we forget that God loves us.  

We forget that God called us.  

We forget that God has a purpose for our lives. 

We forget that God sent Jesus to die for us.  

Check out this letter from Satan…

A letter to you from Satan

I saw you yesterday as you began your day.  You awoke without kneeling to pray.  As a matter of fact, you didn’t even bless your meals, or pray before going to bed last night. You are so unthankful, I like that about you.  I cannot tell you how glad I am that you have not changed your way of living, fool, you are mine.  Remember, you and I have been going steady for years, and I still don’t love you yet.  As a matter of fact, I hate you, because I hate God.  I am only using you to get even with God.  He kicked me out of heaven, and I’m going to use you as long as possible to pay him back.  You see, Fool, God loves you and he has great plans in store for you.  But you have yielded your life to me and I am going to make your life a living hell.  That way we’ll be together twice.  This will really hurt God.  Thanks to you.  I’m really showing him who’s boss in your life.  With all of the good times we’ve had……  We have been watching dirty movies, cursing people out, partying, stealing, lying, hypocriting, fornicating, overeating, telling dirty jokes, gossiping, back stabbing people, disrespecting adults and those in leadership positions, NO RESPECT FOR THE CHURCH, and bad attitudes.  Surely you don’t want to give all of this up.  Come on, Fool, let’s burn together forever.  I’ve got some hot plans for us.  This is just a letter of appreciation from me to you.  I’d like to say “THANKS” for letting me use you most of your foolish life.  You are so gullible, I laugh at you.  When you are tempted to sin, you give in HA HA HA, you make me sick!  Sin is beginning to take a toll on your life.  You look twenty years older, I need new blood.  So go ahead and teach some children how to sin.  All you have to do is smoke dope, get drunk, cheat, gamble, gossip, fornicate, and get high .  Do all this in the presence of children and they will do it to.  Kids are like that. Well Fool, I have to let you go now.  I’ll be back in a couple of seconds to tempt you again.  If you were smart, you would run somewhere, confess your sins, live for God with what little bit of life you have left.  It’s not my nature to warn anyone, but to be your age and still sinning, it’s becoming a bit ridiculous.  Don’t get me wrong, I still hate you… IT’S JUST THAT YOU WOULD MAKE A BETTER FOOL FOR CHRIST…  This is what the devil thinks of us.

So aren’t you glad that God protects us from the prince of darkness.  Now we could all go in right there.  If we just took a few moments to think about all the things God has protected us from.  Someone in the room needs to give God praise for his protection!

So the first benefit is God’s protection.  The second benefit is God’s presence.  Now I have to be honest this afternoon.  I do not know what I would do without the presence of God in my life.  The fact that he walks with me, and talks with me, and tells me I am his own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there. No other has ever known.  Grounds me and allows me to walk in my purpose.

His presence is what keeps me.  

His presence is what completes me.  

His presence is what holds me up. 

His presence is what keeps me going.  

His presence let’s me know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

His presence let’s me know that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.  

His presence let’s me know that I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me.  

Is there anybody here that wants to give God praise for the benefit of his presence?  His presence comes in three ways.

The first way that we have God’s presence is in the form of peace.  Now I told you two weeks ago that we need to behave with peace.  Meaning we should have peace among our family, friends, and neighbors.  As children of God we should operate with peace with other people.  But the peace I’m talking about today is an inner peace that can only come with the presence of God.  That is why Paul tells the church in Philippi, and the peace of God which transcends or passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  God’s presence gives us peace.  

How else could you stay so calm, cool, and collective in the midst of all the hell you’re going through?  

God’s presence gives us peace. 

How else could you stay so steady in the midst of the storm you’re going through?  

God’s presence gives us peace.  

How else could you be worry free on the job that is firing people at will?

God’s presence gives us peace.  

How else are you holding it together when your world is falling apart?

God’s presence gives peace. 

How else could you make it through this COVID-19 pandemic?

God’s presence gives us peace.

How else could we stand in the midst of the racial injustice and unrest that we continually face?

God’s presence give us peace.

But not only does God’s presence come with peace, God presence comes with passion.   Because we have his presence we have his passion.  If we remain in him, he will remain in us.  Have you ever been sitting alone or even in the midst of a crowd and you begin to think about the goodness of the Lord and all that he has done for you.  And you begin to feel his passion for you.  His love for you.  

That love that sent his one and only son to the cross.  

That love that forgives us no matter what we do. 

That love that calls us.  

That love that uses us.  

That love that keeps us. 

That love that sustains us.  

His presence brings his passion.  

And because we have his passion we must share it with others.  We can’t keep it to ourselves.  

We must love our neighbors as ourselves.  

We can’t be stuck up Christians and turn our noses up at other people whether they are believer or not we have to share the love and the passion of Christ with everyone.  

Even if we are mad at them we have to love them.  

Even if they’ve hurt us we have to love them.

Even if they get on our last nerve, we have to love them.

Even if they’ve offended us, we have to love them.

Even if they have done something or are doing something they should not be doing we have to love them.

You know why, because when we have done all of the above and so much more God still loves us!

His presence brings his passion.

So his presence brings us peace.  His presence brings us passion.  And his presence brings us a person.  What are you talking about Pastor Brian?  Well we seem to think of the Holy Spirit as a ghost or something eerie and weird, like beetle juice or Casper the friendly ghost.  But the Holy Spirit is a person, and this person lives in us.  And because he lives in us we can be all that God has called us to be.  

We can serve the way that God wants us to serve.  

We can walk the way he wants us to walk

We can talk the way he wants us to talk 

We can go where he wants us to go

We can do what he wants us to do

God’s presence gives us a person.  That person is the Holy Spirit that is why we sing anointing fall on me…. Which leads me to the last benefit.

The first benefit that God gives us is His protection.  The second benefit that God gives us is His presence.  And the last benefit that God gives us is His Power.  Now there is a number of things that we think we can accomplish on our own.  But those things that we think we accomplish on our own we really don’t accomplish on our own.  Nobody does it on their own!  So I dare you to tap into the power of God.  I double dog dare you to tap into the power of the true and living God.  As a matter of fact, I triple dog dare you to tap into the power of almighty God.  Because when we tap into the power of God the sky is the limit to all that we can accomplish for His glory.  Here are three things that happen when we tap into the power of God.

The first thing that happens when we tap into the power of God is that we’re able to Proceed.  With all this woman at the well had gone through she was able to proceed.  Oh you thought I forgot about her didn’t you.  Remember Jesus got all up in her business.  You’ve had five husbands and the man you’re with now is not your husband.  With that alone she could have tucked tail and ran off, but she accepted his invitation and received the living water giving her power to proceed.

The power to keep going.

The power to keep on keeping on.

The power to persevere.

The power not to give up.

The power to press on.

Which leads me to my next point.

Because the power of God allowed her to proceed she was able to go back in town and Promote.  Promote?  What in the world are you talking about preacher?  She ran back to town and told everyone come and see a man that told me everything I’ve ever done.  

Come see a man that looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.  

Come see a man that loves me in spite of myself.  

Come see a man that uses me in spite of my mistakes.  

Come see a man that talked to me when he was not supposed to.  Come see a man that was willing to start a scandal to save my soul.  The power of God allowed her to promote God, and because she could proceed, because she was able to promote she was able to produce.

The final thing that tapping in the power of God allows us to do is Produce.  I know what you’re thinking.  What in the world did this woman produce besides a bunch of bad relationships?  What in the world can we produce?  Look at the text.  

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  Because she tapped into the power of God she was able to proceed, she was able to promote, and she was able to produce.  And you know this caused a scandal.  So ask yourself, self, what am I producing?  If your answer is nothing, than it’s time to get to work.  

It’s time to get off the bench.  

It’s time to get in the game.  

It’s time to stop window shopping.

It’s time to put your hands to the plow.  

It’s time to get to work.

It’s time to get your hands dirty.  

It’s time to get down to business.

It’s time to produce!

Now I don’t know about you, but I thank God for the benefits.  

We have a pretty good retirement plan.  

We have great health benefits.  

We have great life insurance policies.  

We have a few annuities.  

We have some great benefits.  

But none of those benefits can compare to the benefits that come from God.

The market can crash

But God’s benefits remain the same

The insurance claim may be denied 

But God benefits will always remain the same

You could lose your job and lose your benefits 

But you will never lose the benefits of God

The insurance company may not cover preexisting conditions

But you will always be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Is anybody in the room excited about the fact that your preexisting conditions are covered. 

Your lying is covered!

Your stealing is covered!

Your over eating is covered!

Your bad attitude is covered!

Your fornication is covered!

Your mistakes are covered!

Your short comings are covered!

Your depression is covered!

Your lack of faith is covered! 

Your health is covered! 

Your bereavement is covered!

What a great benefit to know that no matter what your preexisting condition is, you are covered.  And this is going to cause a scandal.  

People are going to wonder how in the world are you receiving all these benefits when you use to do this and you use to do that?

But that’s what I love about Jesus is he uses us in spite of ourselves.  And he knows that you have to catch a fish before you clean it and he has called us all to be fishers of men and women.

And he blesses us with his benefits 

He blesses us with his protection 

He blesses us with his presence 

He blesses us with his power

And these benefits will give us a summer of Scandal

Let’s give them something to talk about!

Let’s give them Jesus.

My hope is built on nothing less.

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame.

But Wholly lean on Jesus name.

When darkness veils his lovely face.

I rest on his unchanging grace.

In every high and stormy gale.

My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, and blood. 

Support me in the whelming flood.

When every earthly prop gives way.

He then is all my hope and stay.

When he shall come with trumpet sound.

Oh, may I then in him be found.

Clothed in his righteousness alone.

Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

A Summer of Scandal

What we believe.

How we behave.

The benefits we receive because of what we believe and how we behave.

Let’s give them something to talk about.  

Let’s give them Jesus.

Who’s your daddy?

Who’s Your Daddy?

Romans 8:14-17

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.

17 And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.

When I was growing up I never thought too much about Father’s Day.  As a matter of fact it was just another day in the Holland House.  We may have got Dad a card, a bottle of Pepsi, or a carton of cigarettes.  Filterless Pall Malls, if we only new then that we were slowing aiding in his death.  What kind of gift is a carton of cigarettes anyway?  If we were feeling really generous we may have gotten him a can of Right Guard or a bottle of Bruit by Faberge.  But pretty much, that’s how it’s always been, we roll out the red carpet and ring all the bells and blow all the whistles on Mother’s day, but Father’s Day is not really given all that much attention.  But now that I am a Father I want the red carpet rolled out.  I want all the bells and whistles!  And I must say that my wife and boys do an excellent job of making me feel appreciated not only on Fathers Day, but throughout the year.   Now I am sure that you all have sufficiently planned for Father’s Day, but just in case you missed the mark this year,  this is a heads up for next year.  Because it’s never too early to start planning.                                                                           

Now we all know that God has many names.                               For example…

Jehovah, the Lord. 

Immanuel, God with us.

Yahweh, The Lord

Elohim, God

El Shadai, God almighty.

El Elyon, God most high. 

El Roi, the God who sees.

Adonai, Lord Lord.

I Am that I am!                                                                           

But since its Father’s Day I would like to focus on one name in particular, and that name is Abba.  According to Strong’s concordance Abba is an Aramaic word meaning father, which is a customary title of God in prayer.  For example, our Father which art in heaven…  It is equivalent to papa.  This term conveys intimacy and respect for the Father.  Jesus called God Father, and he gave that same right to his disciples, and therefore to us, but we will get into that in a few moments.  A number years ago I was driving home from work and I saw this huge billboard with Maury Povitch on it that said in big letters, “who’s your daddy?”  The sign was referring to a topic that was and still is running rampant on the talk show circuit.  This topic was and is the topic of paternity.  Jerry Springer and Maury Povitch discuss paternity issues on their talk shows.  This topic has even entered the courtroom/judge shows like Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, and Divorce Court.  These T.V. shows bring in these couples and/or single women and their so-called baby daddies on national television to air out all of their dirty laundry.  A wife will tell her husband after 10 years of marriage that she had an affair and the child that they have loved and raised over the past 8 years may or may not be his biological son or daughter.  So after embarrassing the man on national television the talk show host offers to give the family a paternity test.  A few moments later an envelope is brought out with the test results.  The suspense is building, and tears are running down everyone’s face in the room.  The man says that he does not care what the test says, he is the baby’s father and he will continue to love and support the child.  The talk show host opens the envelope to view the results and looks at the awaiting family with pity in his eyes and recites these five words, “You are not the father!” The man runs off the stage in frustrated anger as the mother sits on stage crying on the talk show host’s shoulder.  Another scenario had a young lady on the show over 7 times and she still did not know who the father of her baby was.  Now some of the shows have had a happy ending with the man who wanted to be the father, or thought he was the father actually being the father.  But for the most part a number of these women leave the show not knowing who the father of their child is.   It is a shame to think of how crazy our society has become that a woman would have to go on a television show to find out who the father of her child is.  I don’t know about you, but I thank God that I know who my father is.  Both biologically and spiritually.  It will be 21 years this November since my Dad has gone onto glory, but I thank God for Walter Kelly Holland.  He wasn’t winning any father of the year awards, but I know that he did the best that he could, and I love him for that.  So if your parents are still living, show them that you appreciate them now, cherish them now, honor them now, and give them their flowers now.  Don’t hold grudges, and spend as much time as possible with them now.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to see my father again.  Just to see that smile that told me he was proud of me because he would never tell me to my face.  I would hear it from his friends.  Your Dad is so proud of you!  The closest my father ever got to saying something positive to me was when I was student teaching in Las Vegas.  I may have shared this with you before, but I would call him every Sunday, and one Sunday as we were talking he said,  “I was talking to your mother the other day and I told her that I miss you.”  He has missed out on so much.  My graduate school graduation, my wedding, buying our first house, and those wonderful grandsons of his.  The most comforting thought I have in his absence is that he got saved the day before he died and I will see him again.  That is a fact, and I thank God for that!  

Well even though many people may or not know who their biological father is.  (I have friends that have never met their biological father and could care less, and I have friends that have just recently met their biological fathers within the past decade) But today, I want to talk to you about your spiritual father.  Look at your neighbor and ask them, who’s your daddy?”

In the text Paul is writing a letter to the Christian church in Rome.  He wants to visit the church, but at the present time he needs to be in Jerusalem, so he decides to write the church in Rome a letter of introduction.  In this letter he discussed the spiritual condition of mankind and how he has discovered that both Jews and Gentiles are sinners in need of salvation.  A salvation that can only be accomplished through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In this particular portion of the letter Paul is explaining to the believer that because of your confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you are now a child of God.  Look at your neighbor again and ask them, “Who’s your daddy?” Paul expresses it like this, for all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.  So in other words if you are saved you are a child of God.   If you are born again you are a child of God.  If you are in the fraternity of the twice born you are a child of God. Who’s your daddy?  Your daddy is God!  Now let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going that God is the father of all in the sense that he created all, and his love and providential care are extended to all.  But not all are his children.  Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews of his day, you belong to the devil.  According to John 8:42-44 Jesus says, If God were your Father, you would love Me and respect Me and welcome Me gladly, for I proceeded (came forth) from God [out of His very presence]. I did not even come on My own authority or of My own accord (as self-appointed); but He sent Me. Why do you misunderstand what I say? It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying. [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching.] You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false.  In other words if you are not saved, your spiritual father is the devil.  People become children of God through faith in the son.  So ask your neighbor again, who’s your daddy?  

So that’s great Pastor Brian that we become children of God and God becomes our father through salvation and we can refer to him as Abba, but exactly how does the process take place.  I am so glad that you ask.  I will give the three ways the process of being able to call God Abba (Father) happens and then I will bid you good day.  

The first way that we are able to call God Abba (Father) is to accept the spirit (accept means the act of taking or receiving).  Listen to what verse 15 says, for the Spirit which you have received (accept) is not the spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received (accepted) the spirit of adoption (the spirit producing sonship) in the bliss of which we cry Abba Father (Abba meaning father or adopted).  That is one of the many things that I love about God he never forces himself on us.  He never forces his will on us.  He just offers us a path and we can choose to take it or go our own way.  When someone offers us something we can accept it or decline it, but I am so glad that I accepted the Lord’s invitation.  I am so glad that I have accepted him into my life.  When I think about what my life was like before I accepted him I thank God for bringing me such a mighty long way.   When I look back over my life and think of all that the Lord has done for me my soul cries out hallelujah.  Because I realize that if it was not for God’s Grace and Mercy who knows where I would be.  I definitely would not be at Second Community Church as the pastor preaching the Gospel.   So I thank God for looking beyond my faults and seeing my needs.  

I thank God for picking me up.  

I thank God for turning me around.  

I thank God for placing my feet on higher and solid ground.  

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to accept him.  

I thank God that he is my daddy, and that I can call him Abba!

 But not only are we able to call God Abba when we accept his spirit.  We are able to call God Abba when he adopts us.  The second part of verse 15 says but you have received the spirit of adoption the spirit producing sonship in the bliss of which we cry Abba, or Father!  Adoption is defined as taking into one’s family through legal means and raising as one’s own child.  In biblical times an adopted son received all the rights and privileges of the natural son including inheritance.  Why are ya’ll so quiet.  Did you not just hear me say that as adopted children of God we are entitled to all the rights and privileges including the inheritance of the natural son?  Who is God’s natural son?  That’s right Jesus!  So we have rights to the same things that Jesus does.  Not only that, but we are his heirs.  So if cattle on a thousand hills belong to my father, why am I worried about making ends meet?  

Why am I worried about finding a job?  

Why am I worried about feeding the kids?  

Why am I worried about the light bill?

Why am I worried about the car note?

Why am I worried about the rent?

Why am I worried about the medical bills?

Why am I worried at all?  

And if Jesus rose from the dead with all power in his hands, why am I worried about a little pain in my body.                You better lay hands on yourself and pray!  If a man who is evil will not give his son a snake when he asks for a fish, how much more will my father in heaven give me the desires of my heart?  I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed (if we are his seed, that means we are his children) begging for bread.  And we call him Abba, and that means that we have a close relationship with God.  In other words we can call him daddy.  And if my natural father who did not give his life to the Lord until the day before he died could give me everything I wanted when I asked him.  How much more will my daddy in heaven provide all of my needs according to his riches in glory?  Did I not just mention that the cattle on a thousand hills belongs to God, and if he is my Daddy, that entitles me to few burgers, sirloins, rib eyes, t-bones, prime ribs, porter houses, and even a little bit of that filet minion.  Who’s your daddy?

So not only are we able to call God Abba when we accept the spirit, not only are we able to call God Abba when the spirit adopts us, but I will bid you good day when I let you know that we can call God Abba because the spirit will assure us.  Verse 16 says the spirit himself thus testifies together with our own spirit assuring us that we are children of God.  Assure means to promise, pledge or guarantee giving us confidence and freedom from doubt.  Basically that means that when God says something that you can take it to the bank.  You can stand on his word.  If God has made you a promise he will be true to his word.  It will come to pass because God cannot lie. God is not a man that he would lie.   So if God says that we are his children, guess what?  We are his children.  So the next time someone asks you who your daddy is?  You tell him or her with confidence that your daddy is the Lord.  Tell him or her that your daddy is God.  

That your daddy is the creator of heaven and earth  

The alpha and omega the 

The beginning and the end 

The author and the finisher

The first and the last

The bright and morning star 

The lily of the valley

The rod of your strength 

The refuge from the storm 

The balm of Gilead

The hope of tomorrow

The way maker

The miracle worker

The promise keeper

The light in the darkness

The healer

The redeemer 

The prince of peace 

Jehovah 

Immanuel 

Jesus Christos

Your daddy is the great I am

And because he is our daddy, 

And because we are his children

We are more than conquerors 

No weapon formed against us shall prosper 

We are new creatures in Christ  

We are the temples of the Holy Spirit 

We are delivered from the power of darkness 

We are blessed 

We are highly favored 

We are the elect of God 

We are friends of God  

We are set free 

We are strong in the Lord 

We are joint heirs with Christ 

We are healed 

We are delivered  

We are the righteousness of God  

We are the light of the world 

We are the salt of the earth 

We are called of God.  

So let me close with this story entitled….

Learning God is Good (Source: reported by Randy Hoyt, “Seeing God,” Pentecostal Evangel, January 21, 2001, pp.14-15)

What should have been a joyous occasion turned into a nightmare of grief. Randy Hoyt watched helplessly as his wife Kris went into the hospital for an emergency Caesarean section operation when only 5 months pregnant. The bleeding was tremendous. Kris required 30 units of blood. As the doctors battled to save her life Randy cried out to God “God, what do you want? I know you can heal her; why don’t you?”

God didn’t heal her. Kris and 16 days later their prematurely born daughter Grace lost her struggle for life. Randy was left the single parent of six children.

“What about our plans, God?” he asked. “Who will teach the kids, guide them, and love them like their mother?”

Randy soon found out. A program was started which became known as “Help Bring Hope to the Hoyt Kids.” Over the next six months, hundreds of people worked, sent money, donated meals and supplies and poured love into Randy’s family. Randy received more than 500 letters, e-mails and cards from people who said they were praying for them.

At the end of the six months the medical bills are all paid, the mortgage has been paid and Randy is back at work. God did not save his wife, but God’s love was ministered to Randy and his children in deeply profound ways after Kris’ death.

The pain of Kris’ and Grace’s death of course remained. Yet when he started to sink into despair Randy could imagine the two of them in heaven together, fully alive, healthy and full of joy. “See her as she is now,” he felt the Holy Spirit saying. “She is alive.”

Reflecting upon his experience Randy says, “I asked God for the life of my wife; I received instead a lesson on the nature of God. God is good. Armed with that knowledge, I have no fear for today or the future. God will always be enough…for any situation.” So not only is God Good, but this Good God is our daddy…

So stop worrying about your health and remember who your daddy is.

Stop worrying about the job.

Stop worrying about the bills.

Stop worrying about how you will feed your kids.

Stop worrying about the pain.

Stop worrying about the diagnosis.

Stop worrying about the addiction. 

Stop worrying about the problems.

Stop worrying about your unsaved loved ones.

Stop worrying about what someone else has. 

Stop worrying about your past.

Stop worrying about your present.

Stop worrying about your future.

Why because we know who our daddy is.

I know COVID-19 is on your mind.

I know the Black Lives Matter Movement in on your mind.

I know the upcoming election is on your mind.

I know the state of the economy is on your mind.

I know the condition of the world is on your mind.

But remember who your daddy is!

There is no need for me to go on any talk show to find out who my daddy is, because I already know.  I have accepted the spirit, the spirit has adopted me, and the spirit has assured me.  But if I did go on a talk show when the host opened up the envelope (Envelope with picture of Jesus on the cross.) the results would read Brian you are a child of God, God You Are the Father!  The Blood test proves it!  Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!  Who’s your daddy? Your daddy is The Lord!  Everyone in the room stand to your feet and give Your daddy praise!

Because the blood test is in…

We are the children of God

Jesus paid it all

All to Him I owe

Sin had left crimson stain

But Jesus washed it white as snow

What can wash away my sins…

The blood that Jesus shed for me…

Why, because it reaches to the highest mountain…

Who’s your daddy?

Summer of Scandal Part 2

Summer of Scandal 2

Luke 17:11-19

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 

12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 

13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 

18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 

19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

It is has happened again, another black man killed by police in Atlanta Georgia Friday evening, shot in the back as he fled the scene, 27 year-old Rayshard Brooks the father of three girls 1, 2, and 8, and a 13 year-old stepson.  I am tired church.  I am tired of being tired.  This thing has got to stop.  I don’t think there is anything worse than being mistreated, discriminated against, abused, and killed because of the way that you look, the color of your skin.  As if there is anything you can do about the way that you are born, and you should not have to.  Raise your hand if you have ever been stopped for a…

DWB, Driving while black, I have…

WWB, Walking while black.

PWB, Parked while black.

SWB, Shopping while black.

BWB, Barbecuing or bird watching while black.

HWFWB, Hanging with friends while black.

SHWB, Sleeping at home while black.

DWPWB, Dating a white person while black.

GSWB, Going to school while black.

or a simple BBWP,  Being black in the wrong place.

You see this is what privilege blinds people from seeing.  Most have know idea what we go through on an average day.  There is a great commercial on BET by P & G…  But I must admit that I am thankful for those that are trying to understand.  But like I said a few weeks ago until we get to the heart of the problem and change the hearts of men and women that treat others this way we will never see a change, that is why our summer of scandal is more important than ever.

Last week we began a series entitled a summer of scandal.  And we talked about a scandal being something that people talk about.  And I encouraged you to give the people in your circle of influence something to talk about.  And if we’re going to give them something to talk about we need to give them Jesus.  We talked about a man by the name of Zacchaeus, who was a tax collector that wanted to see Jesus, and because of his short stature he climbed a tree so that he could see him.  Jesus came to the tree and told Zacchaeus to come down from the tree because he would be going to his house today.  Immediately the people began to talk and say he is going to the house of a sinner.  The scandal had begun.  So we discussed that in order to have a summer of scandal we need to know what we believe, and we believe in the father who produced us, protects us, and provides for us.  We believe in the son who preaches to us, parishes for us, and presents us.  And we believe in the Holy Spirit that prepares us, produces through us, and prospers us.  Well today we are in our second installment of the series and I want you to know in order to have a summer of scandal not only is it based on what we believe, it is based on how we behave, our behavior.  Yes you heard me correctly.  I said behavior because our behavior should cause a scandal.  

The way we act should cause a scandal. 

The way we interact with others should cause a scandal.  

The way we carry ourselves should cause a scandal.  

The way we treat one another should cause a scandal.

The way we are when we’re alone should cause a scandal.  

So ask your neighbor is your behavior causing a scandal.  

Is your behavior getting people to talk about Jesus?  

Is your behavior drawing people closer to the Lord?

Is your behavior a good representation of the God that you serve?

So let’s take a look at the text. In the text today Jesus is traveling between Galilee and Samaria.  There is a group of lepers, 10 to be exact that notice Jesus, and they cry out master have mercy on us.  And when he saw them he said go show yourselves to the priest and when they went they were cleansed.  

Somebody say scandal.  

Jews did not associate with people who had contagious diseases.  It was in the law.  They were considered unclean.  This is why they were outside of the city in the first place.  They were not permitted in the city because they were lepers, but Jesus spoke to them anyway.  

Somebody say scandal.  

Jesus healed them anyway.  

Somebody say scandal.  

Jesus sent them to the priests because they had to be seen by the priest to prove that they were healed, and you know they told the priest who healed them. 

Somebody say scandal.  

But here is the crazy part.  Out of the 10 that were healed only one came back to thank Jesus for healing him. 

Only one out of 10 came back to give Jesus praise.  

Only one out of ten had the sense to give Jesus praise for what he had done.  

And the wild thing about it was, not only was he a leper but he was also a Samaritan.  And Jesus asked where are the other nine.  Has no one came to praise God except this foreigner?  And I just have to ask on the way to where I’m going is there anybody in the room or online that is going to be the one out of ten to give God praise.  

Is there anybody here or online that is going to be the one out of ten to give God glory?

Is there anybody here or online that is going to be the one out of ten to lift up the name of Jesus?

Is there anybody here or online that is going to be the one out of ten to magnify the Lord?

Is there anybody here or online willing to be the minority?

I told you this before, that something happens when you come into Jesus’ presence.  Things change when you come into the presence of Jesus, and as you can see the behavior of the Samaritan leper changed when he came into the presence of Jesus.  He began to praise a Jew for healing his body, and I am sure this caused a scandal.  

So the relevant question is, what behaviors should we display in order to cause a summer of scandal.  I will give you three behaviors to cause a summer scandal and then I am going home because me and my baby girl, my boo, my best friend and my number one fan have been celebrating our anniversary all weekend long, and we are not finished yet!

The first behavior that we display is our practice.  Now I am pretty sure that I have shared this with you before, but a doctor has a medical practice.  A lawyer has a law practice.  An architect has an architectural practice.  Mothers have a mommy practice.  And the week before Father’s Day I want to encourage all of my fathers to have a daddy practice…

And as children of God we should have a Christian practice.  Our practice is the way that we live our lives.   And if we claim to be Christians we should be living our lives in a certain way.  Meaning there should be a distinct difference between us and the world.  We can’t watch what everyone else’s watches, and go where everyone else goes.  And do what everyone else does.  We are a peculiar people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.  Our practice is displayed in three ways.

First our practice is displayed in our patience.  Patience is one of the most difficult things to master in the world.  When I tell people that I’m a first grade teacher.  Their first response is, you must have a lot of patience.  And the truth of the matter is, I don’t, but I am working on it every single day.  

We have to be patient because we are not going to get what we want when we want it all the time.  

We are not going to become the person that God has called us to be over night.  

We are not going to rise to the top of the company in a month.  You’re not going to lose the weight you want to lose in a few weeks or even months it took years to put on the weight and it will take time to get it off.  That’s why we used to sing that song, please be patient with me, God is not through with me yet.

You have to practice with patience.

First we practice with patience and secondly we practice with peace.  We must live our lives in peace with our neighbors, family, and friends.  And right now that is not an easy thing to do…  If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves practicing with peace should be a no brainer.  

We are not always going to get along.  

We are not always going to agree.  

We are not always going to be on the same side, but that does not mean that we cannot have peace.  

We can disagree without being disagreeable.  

It’s is okay to have a difference of opinion as long as you know that I am right and you are wrong.  But seriously, we are all wired differently and our points of view are not always going to be in alignment but that does not mean that we should not have peace.  That is why Paul told the church in Ephesus make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.  We must practice with peace.

First we practice with patience.  Secondly we practice with peace.  Thirdly we practice with perseverance.  

We keep on keeping on.  

We don’t give up.  

We don’t throw in the towel.  

Because living this life is not easy, but it is definitely worth it.  Getting saved is easy.  We say it all the time.  Getting saved is as easy as ABC, but living saved is a whole new ball game.   That’s why you have to do it with perseverance. 

When you get knocked down you get back up.

When you fall down you pick yourself back up.

When you fail you try again.

When you miss the mark you try harder next time.

When you make a mistake you learn from it.  You persevere.  

That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.  We practice with perseverance.

So the first behavior you must display to have a summer of scandal is practice and the next behavior you must display to have a summer of scandal is prayer.  In the words of my spiritual father Bishop Timothy J. Clarke, “If we are ever going to move forward we must do so on our knees.”  We have to pray continually.  We have to pray consistently.  Prayer is not something that we just do in the morning, at night, before we eat a meal, or when we need something.  Prayer is a continual conversation with our father.  Let’s just have a little talk with Jesus…  And we pray in three ways.

First we pray personally.  We pray for our personal wants and desires.  

We pray for our faith

We pray for our family

We pray for our fitness

We pray for our finances.  

We pray that we don’t stray.  

We pray for strength.  

We pray for stability.  

We pray for the things that we want and for the things that we need.  

We pray personally!

First we pray personally.  Secondly we pray people-minded prayers.  

We pray for the people in our neighborhood

We pray for the people in our communities 

We pray for the people in our city

We pray for the people in our county

We pray for the people in our state

We pray for the people in our nation 

We pray for the people in our world

We pray for our leaders 

We pray people minded prayers.  It cannot and should not always be about you.  You must pray people minded prayers

First we pray personally.  Secondly we pray people-minded prayers, thirdly we pray persistently.  We don’t stop praying because our prayer does not get answered in the first hour, day, month, or even year that we prayed it.  We have to be persistent in our prayers and I think that the best way to accomplish this is to pray with expectation.  I honestly believe that most of us don’t get our prayers answered because we don’t expect to get our prayers answered.  This is when our faith truly comes into play.  Do you truly have faith that God is going to do what you ask him to do?  Because if you don’t you might as well not waste his time or yours by asking.  You have to have expectations when you pray persistently.

So the first behavior that we need to display to have a summer of scandal is practice.  The second behavior we need to display to have a summer of scandal is prayer.  And the third behavior we need to display to have a summer of scandal praise.  Isn’t that what the Samaritan leper did when he was healed of his leprosy.  He came back and gave God praise.  And I am pretty sure that there are some people in the room that owe God some praise this morning including the man on the microphone for something he’s already done for us. 

Has he touched your body?

Has he made ways out of no ways?

Has he made the impossible possible?

Has he fed your family?

Has he given you a job?

Has he took you and made something beautiful our of your life?

Has he found you when you were lost?

Has he picked you up?

Has he turned you around?

Has he turned your mess into a message?

Has he turned your frown upside down?

Has he turned your test into a testimony? 

Has he turned you from a victim to having victory?

Give him praise.

Praise him in the morning.

Praise him in the noon day.

Praise him when the sun goes down.

Oh I love to praise him.

I love to praise his holy name.

And we praise him in three ways.

First we praise him on purpose, meaning we do not accidentally or incidentally praise the God of our salvation.  We do it on purpose.  The leper purposely praised God because he wanted to thank him!

We do it because we want to.

We do it because he’s worthy.

We do it when we don’t feel like it.

We do it when we’re up. 

We do it when we are down.

We do it on the mountain. 

We do it in the valley.

Because we have to take every possible opportunity to give our God praise because from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the name of Jesus is worthy to be praised. 

So we praise him on purpose and then we praise him for a purpose.  The leper praised God for the purpose of his healing.  I truly believe that when the praises go up the blessings will come down.  The more that we praise him.  The more he will bless us.  Now this is not the reason why we praise.  It is just a benefit of praising him and I don’t know about you but if he never did anything for me I could not praise him enough for what he’s already done.  But we praise God for a purpose.

So we praise him on purpose, we praise him for a purpose, and we praise him because it is our purpose.  The soul reason that God created us in the first place was to give him worship and praise.  Psalms 150:6 says, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  So if you can inhale and exhale you should be giving God praise because that is our purpose.

So no matter what’s going on in our lives we need to give God praise because it’s our purpose.

No matter how we feel we need to give God praise. 

Now matter what we’re gong through we need to give God praise.

No matter what the situation. 

No matter what the circumstance. 

In sickness and in health. 

In want and in plenty.

In the good times and the bad times we have to give God praise because that is our purpose.

We have to PUSH. 

We have to practice until something happens.

We need to pray until something happens. 

We need to praise until something happens.

We have to push.

So as I close this out I was just wondering is there anybody here willing to behave in a manner that will cause a scandal.

Is there anybody here willing to behave in a manner that will give people something to talk about.

Is there anybody here willing to behave in a manner that will get people talking about Jesus.

Is there anybody here willing to behave in a manner that will show people the love of Jesus.

Is there anybody here willing to behave in a manner to show the world that Black Lives Matter.

Is there anybody here willing to behave in a manner to show the world that enough is enough.

In other words, do I have any scandalous Christians in the house today?

Do I have any scandalous saints in the house today?

That are willing to get down for the Lord. 

That are willing to practice for God.

That are willing to pray to God.

That are willing to give praise to God.

Well stand to your feet. 

Put your ten stringed instruments together and give God praise. 

Because I don’t know what you came to do.

But I came to praise the Lord. 

I came to clap my hands.

I came to stomp my feet.

I came to do my dance.

I came to do a victory lap.

I came to praise the lord.

And you know what else, I don’t care what people say about me.

I will dance like David danced and tell them I will get even more undignified than this while I’m giving praise to my God.  

Because this joy I have the world did not give it and the world cannot take it away.

So let them talk about us.

Let them point their fingers at us.

Let them say whatever they want to say.

As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what we want them to do.

Because if we are behaving in the proper way it’s not us that they’ll be talking about.  They will inevitably be talking about God and that’s what the summer of scandal is all about.

It’s all  about….

God!

The great I am!

The high and lofty one!

The great shepherd! 

Jehovah Elyon, the Lord most high!

Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide!

Jehovah Nissi, the lord my banner!

Jehovah Rohi, the lord my shepherd! 

Jehovah Rapha, the lord my healer!

Jehovah Sabaoth, the lord of hosts!

Jehovah Shalom, the lord our peace! 

Jehovah Shammah, the lord is there!

Jehovah-Tisidkenu, the Lord our righteousness! 

It’s all about God.

 A summer of scandal.

Let’s give them something to talk about.

Let your behavior causing a scandal.

A Summer of Scandal Part!

Summer of Scandal

Luke 19:1-10

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Today I am beginning a new series entitled A Summer of Scandal.  There have been several scandals in our world lately.  The Ahmad Arbery Scandal.  The Breanna Taylor scandal.  The George Floyd Scandal.  The police brutality scandal.  The “all lives matter” scandal.  The Law and order President scandal.  The Drew Brees talking about kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful scandal.  The COVID-19 scandal.  There are scandals all around us.  And people love talking about a scandal.  By a show of hands how many people have heard of or seen the TV show Scandal starring Kerri Washington.  I must admit, that I was sucked into the story, and I rarely missed an episode.  Although I do not agree with or condone much of what is portrayed on the screen, the story line is pretty good.  Olivia Pope is a bad mamma jamma, and her and the associates always handle their business no matter how bad the scandal is.  The OPA, Olivia Pope and associates are fixers.  People bring their problems to the OPA and they fix it.  No matter how big, small, crazy, sick, or deranged the scandal is, the OPA can fix it.  They can make it seem like it never even happened, or turn it around to the persons advantage.  But let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going that aren’t you glad that you do not have to go to a fixer when you are going through…  

You don’t have to go to an agency to get you out of your mess.  You don’t have to go to a company to fix your problem. 

You just ask the savior to help you, comfort strengthen and keep you.  He is willing to help you.  He will carry you through.  Is anybody excited about the fact that God will carry us through.

In spite of racism

In spite of COVID-19

In spite of the division of our nation

In spite of unemployment 

In spite of police brutality

In spite of poor leadership

In spite of political unrest

In spite of it all, God will carry us through!

But as I was saying the TV show scandal revolves around Olivia Pope and her associates fixing scandals.

So today I want to suggest to you that you have a scandal of your own.  

I want to suggest today that you give your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers something to talk about.  Now don’t get too excited.  I am not talking about an illicit affair, going off on your boss, causing a drama at the Walmart, or doing something crazy on social media, rioting, or looting.  

I am talking about stirring up a scandal about the God that you serve.  

The Christ in your life.  

The Jesus in your heart.  

The reason for the season

The captain of your salvation

The hope of the world

If you are going to give people something to talk about.  Give them Jesus.  

Yes, I said it, I want your scandal to be about Jesus.  Usually when you think of the word scandal you think of something that is bad, negative, and immoral, because by definition, that is exactly what the word means.  But I also believe that a scandal is something that people like to talk about.  So, let’s flip the script on the word scandal and turn it into something positive and have people talking about Jesus! 

With all the negativity in our nation lets start a scandal about Jesus.  

With all of the racial unrest lets talk about Jesus.  

With all the friction between Democrats and Republicans lets start a scandal about Jesus.  

With COVID-19 numbers on the rise lets talk about Jesus. 

With all of the social injustice lets start a scandal about Jesus.  

Girl… Did you hear about Jesus.  Yeah girl he is still in the miracle working business.  He saved my cousin Day Day just the other day.

Since people love to talk, lets give them something to talk about.

Shall we look at the text.   

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Here is the inside scoop of this story.  

Zacchaeus is a tax collector.  

He is not an ordinary tax collector, he is a Jew that is a tax collector.  

He is a traitor.  

A turncoat.  

A backstabber.  

He is not well liked.  

As a matter of fact he is despised by his people.

Not only did tax collectors work for the Roman government forcibly taking money from their own people to support the Roman Empire, but they usually took more than they we’re supposed to in order to line their own pockets.  They actually benefited from the mistreatment and abuse of their own people.  So they were not very popular.  So when Jesus sees Zacchaeus in the tree and invites himself to his house, this caused all kinds of drama.  

This caused all kinds of dialogue.  

This caused all kinds of discussion.  

This caused all kinds of rumors.  

This caused a scandal.  

Zacchaeus hears the crowd and says, look Lord, here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor and if I have cheated anybody out of anything I will pay them four times the amount.  Jesus says, today salvation has come to this house, because this man is a son of Abraham too.  Then he tells the crowd one of greatest things ever said by Jesus in the Bible. The son of man came to seek and save the lost.  

He came to seek and saved the lost.   

He came for you and for me.  

He came for the drug addict.  

He came for the street walker.  

He came for the gambler.  

He came for the bookie.  

He came for the dirty politician.  

He came for the crooked preacher. 

He came for the fraudulent doctor.  

He came for gangbanger.  

He came for the juvenile delinquent.  

He came for the racist.  

He came for the bad cop.  

He came for those that need him.  

And that is why we need to start a scandal about Jesus.  People need to know who this Jesus is that came to save them.

So, the relevant question is how can we have a Summer of Scandal.  I am so glad that you ask.  I am going to share with you several things over the next few weeks to help you achieve your summer of scandal.  And today I would like to start with your beliefs.  Your summer of Scandal is based on your beliefs.  What exactly do you believe?  What do we as Christians believe?  What are our basic beliefs?  And when someone asks us what do we believe, what do we say?  I am so glad that you asked.

First we tell them that we believe in the Father.  

We believe that God the creator of heaven and earth is our father.   The great I am that I am is our father.  

The alpha and the omega is our father.  

El Shadai is our father.  

Yahweh is our father.  

Jehovah is our father.

The king of kings and the Lord of lords is our father. 

And because he is our father he does the following three things.

Produces us, he created us, and he created us in his own image.

Protects us, he makes sure that we protects us, just like any good father protects his children, our heaven father protects us

Provides for us, he makes sure that all of our needs our met.  Food, clothing, shelter.  I know you think it was your job, but it was God.  I know you think it was…

Not only do we tell them we believe in the father, we tell them that we believe in the Son.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not parish but have everlasting life.  And the son does three things for us.

First the son Preaches to us, he wrapped himself in human flesh.  Came to this world, lived a perfect life and preached to us.  He shared everything thing about the father with us.  Preaching means to proclaim the gospel or the good news.  And this is exactly what Jesus did.  And when he wasn’t doing it with his words he was doing it with his actions…

First the sone preaches to us, secondly the son parishes for us.  He dies so that we can live.   He goes to that cross bearing our sins.  He did nothing wrong.  He parishes for us.  And even in a moment of weakness in the garden when he asked God to remove this cup.  He said not my will, but your will be done.  So he had a made up mind to do what he was sent to do.  He would not come down from the cross…  The son parishes for us.

First the son preaches to us.  Secondly the son parishes for us,  and lastly the son presents us.  I say it every Sunday as part of the benediction,  Now unto him who is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless before his throne with exceeding joy…  Do you know why the son, Jesus is able to present us faultless.  It is because of the blood that he shed.  The blood that washes us white as snow.  The blood that reaches to the highest mountain.  The blood that flows to the lowest valley…  is any body excite about the blood.  Is anybody excited about the fact that when Jesus presents us all God sees is us faultless because of the blood.  All he sees is the blood. The son presents us.

Not only do we tell them we believe he is the father.  Not only do we tell them we believe he the son.  We tell them that we believe he is the Holy Spirit.  Holy Holy Holy lord God almighty early in the morning I song shall rise to the.  Holy Holy Holy merciful and mighty God in three persons, blessed trinity.  Yes we let them know that we believe in the Holy Trinity.  The father.  The son.  The Holy Spirit.  And it is the Holy Spirit that resides in us.  The comforter that arrived on the day of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit does there things for us.

Fist the Holy Spirit prepares us.  The Holy Spirit gets us ready for everything that God has called us to do…  Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true, with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.

First the Holy Spirit prepares us.  Secondly the Holy Spirit produces through us.  I keep telling you that Jesus does not save you for you.  He did not save me for me.  He does not save us for us.  He save you.  He saved me.   He saves us so that we can go into the world and help save other.  And this is how the spirit produces through us.  The Holy Spirit uses us to the the work that God has called us to do.  We do not do it on our own it is the power of the Holy Ghost.

First the Holy Spirit prepares us.  Secondly the Holy Spirit produces through us.  And thirdly the Holy Spirit prospers us.  Now I am not talking about name it and claim it.  But there are rewards for being a child of God.   He prospers us.  We have his favor.  We have faithfulness.  And we shall wear a crown.  When its all over.  I’m going to put on my robe and tell the story of how I made it over.  The Holy Spirit will prosper us.

And when we live our lives according to our beliefs it is going to cause a scandal.  People are going to talk about you.  Just like that talked about Jesus for hanging out with Zacchaeus.  What are you talking about preacher?

When you stand up for what is right people are going to talk about you.  

They are going to say you need to have an open mind.  

You need to be more tolerable.  

When you say a man and woman should wait to be married before they have sex.  This is going to cause a scandal.

When you say that you believe that a man should be with a woman and a woman should be with a man.  This is going to cause a scandal.

When you do the right thing when all of your coworkers, friends, and family are doing the wrong thing.  This is going to cause a scandal.

When you say that George Floyd and other black men should not have died.  This is going to cause a scandal.

When you say that kneeling during the national anthem is not disrespectful to the flag or the soldiers that fought for our freedom this is going to cause a scandal

When you say Black lives matter.  This is going to cause a scandal.

When you say this is why Kolin Kapernick took a knee in the first place.

When you say Jesus loves everyone.

When you say that its not your place to tell her what she should do with her body

When you say that your sin is no different than their sin

When you say as for me and my house we will serve the Lord

When you make up in your mind that for God I live and for God I die.  This is going to cause a scandal, but that’s okay.  

Lets start a summer of scandal.

Let’s give them something to talk about.

Let’s give them Jesus.

Let’s give them the lamb that was slain.

Let’s give them the hope of tomorrow. 

Let’s give them the only way.

Let’s give them the righteous one.

Let’s give them Immanuel. 

Let’s give them the great I am.

Let’s give the the will in the middle of a wheel.

Let’s give them the way maker

Let’s give them the miracle worker

Let’s give them the light in the darkness

Let give them El Elyon.

Let’s give them Yahweh.

Let give them Jehovah Jireh.

Let’s give them Jesus Christos.

Let’s give them the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Let’s give them the father.

Let’s give them the son.

Let’s give them the Holy Spirit.

Let’s give them the answer.

Jesus is the answer for the world today

Above him there’s no other Jesus is the way

If You Have Some Questions In The Corners Of Your Mind

And Traces Of Discourgement And Peace You Cannot Find

Reflections Of The Old Past, They Seem To Face You Everyday

There’s One Thing I Know For Sure That Jesus Is the way

Jesus is the answer for the world today

Above him there’s no other Jesus is the way

I Know You Got Mountains That You Think You Cannot Climb

I Know That Your Skies Have Been Dark, You Think The Sun Won’t Shine

In Case You Don’t Know

I’m Hear To Tell You That The Word Of God Is True

And Everything That He Promised

I Tell You He Would Do It For You

Jesus is the answer for the world today

Above him there’s no other Jesus is the way

Let’s give them something to talk about.

Let’s give them Jesus.

Let’s start a summer of scandal.

Ordinary women that did extraordinary things. Part 4

Ordinary women that that did extraordinary things

My best is a product of my worst

The 1% Miracle

Mark 5: 25-34

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

During the month of May we have been discussing ordinary women that have done extraordinary things, and how our best is a product of our worst.  Our best is a product of our worst.  Our best is a product of our worst.

In the midst of all that is going on in our nation with the unnecessary brutal death of yet another unarmed black man.  With continued protests, riots, and curfews.  With a president refereeing to his fellow american citizens as thugs and saying things like when there’s looting we’ll start shooting.  With things so tense and turbulent these names come to mind…

Trevon Martin

Eric Garner

Michael Brown

Laquan McDonal

Tamar Rice

Sandra Bland

Rumain Brisbon

Tony Robinson

Eric Harris

Walter Scott

Philando Castile

Alton Sterling 

Terence Crutcher

Stephon Clark

Ahmaud Arbery

And now George Floyd

This is the time for our country to truly be what our pledge of allegiance states one nation under God.  This is our nation’s opportunity to allow God do what only God can do.  God please help our nation turn its worst into its best.  Many people like to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 in times like this.  If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their lands.   This was a specific promise for a specific people and many times it is quoted out of context, but there is always a lesson to be learned in the word of God.  Humble, pray, seek God, and turn, all of these actions can be summed up in one action, repentance.  We as a nation must turn away from our ways that have lead us astray and turn to God.  I woke up this morning with a heavy heart as many of you today.  As I was walking my dog this I just heard God saying to me… Symptoms, symptoms, symptoms.  So I was like God what are you trying to say.  And he said we keep trying to fix the symptoms instead of the problem or the cause of the problem.  We want to put a bandaid on a symptom of a problem that requires surgery.  Cold medicine does not cure the cold, it gives relief for the cold symptoms. Think about it… Emancipation Proclamation, bandaid.

Civil Rights Movement, bandaid. 

Voter rights, bandaid.

Desegregation, bandaid.

Affirmative Action, bandaid.  

They were all really nice bandaids, but bandaids all the same.  They only dealt with the symptoms of the problem, not the heart or cause of the problem.  And the heart of the problem are the hearts of men and women.  Until we all see one another as equal human beings these symptoms will continue to consume our nation, ultimately destroying us from the inside out.  But there is hope, because God is still God.  He still sits high and looks low.  So this is our moment to allow God to make our best a product of our worst, because we are at our worst right now, and it is time to let go and let God turn it into our best.  

I am looking forward to the day when we can say that we did it.  

I am looking forward to the day we can say that we made it.  

I am looking forward to the day we can look back and see what God brought us through.  

I am looking forward to the day when this nation can say our best is a product of our worst.

Now let me try to preach this sermon.  In the month of May we have been talking about ordinary women that have done extraordinary things.

I have explained to you that by calling these women ordinary we are not putting them down or throwing shade.  We just refer to them as ordinary because their names are not mentioned in the Bible, and despite them not being named they were able to do extraordinary things and just like us their best was a product of there worst.  Three weeks ago we talked about the woman at the well. Jesus knew the same thing about her that he knows about us, that our best is a product of our worst, and that is why he used ordinary woman in the Bible to do extraordinary things.  Jesus is able to see our potential because he looks beneath the surface, he looks between the signs, and he looks beyond our sin.  Two weeks ago, we learned about the woman that washed and anointed the feet of Jesus.  I stressed to you the fact that she was so focused to get to Jesus that she went to a dinner party that she wasn’t even invited to, knowing that people would talk about her and judge her, and mistreat her.  But she new that her best would be a product of her worst if she did what we need to do, humble ourselves, have a heart to serve, and hear the savior.  Last week we talked about the Canaanite woman that was willing to go to her enemy to ask for help because her daughter was demon possessed and suffering greatly.  We talked about how a mother or father will do just about anything for their children because they are distressed, they will be deliberate, direct, and determined, and God will see that and deliver them.  So today I would like to close out this series.  I actually was going to preach something totally different, but God wanted me to complete this series.  So we are going to talk about one last ordinary woman that did an extraordinary thing.  One last woman whose best was a product of her worst.  One last woman to show you that miracles still happen even if there is only a 1% chance.  Let me share a story with you.

One summer day a young boy named Josiah went to the neighbor’s house to go for a swim in their pool.  It was just an ordinary summer day, hanging out with friends and having a good time.  The kids were jumping in the water and playing with water toys when Josiah decides that he was going to dive through a hula-hoop.  The only problem was that the hula-hoop was in the shallow end of the pool.  When Josiah dove into the water he went straight to the bottom of the pool hit his head on the pool floor.  When they pulled him out of the water he said that he was all right, but he was not acting like himself. The neighbors called his mother and then they rushed him to urgent care.  At the urgent care facility they examine him and x-rayed him and found that he had broken the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth vertebrae in his neck.  The doctor said that there is a saying in the medical profession that “if you break c-four you breath no more.” In other words the chances of Josiah surviving were slim to none.  As a matter of fact the doctor told Josiah’s mother to prepare for the worst because when the c-four vertebrae is broken there is a 1% chance of survival.  Josiah was then life lighted to the nearest hospital and they would not let his mother ride in the chopper with him.  In the mean time his father was on a business trip when he heard the news and he just knew that it didn’t sound good.  So as the mother traveled to the hospital she called her pastor, friends, and family and they all began to pray.  His father dropped to his knees in the middle of the airport and began to call out to God.  When Josiah reached the hospital and they reexamined and x-rayed him.  They brought in his mother and the doctor had the x-rays from urgent care in one hand and the x-rays from the hospital in the other hand and he says to Josiah’s mother these cannot be the x-rays of the same thing because our x-rays show no signs of any of his vertebrae being broken.  Josiah is going to be just fine.  Josiah had a full recovery that did not even require physical therapy.  Josiah said that when people tell him that he is lucky or that his experience was good luck, he simple tells them that it was not luck it was a fact of what God can do and how he can do it.                                                                                   

Now I know that we hear bible stories like the woman with the issue of blood all the time.  And many of us think that miracles like that only happened in the biblical times.  But the story of Josiah was published in June of 2013. Just 7 years ago!  In other words, God is still in the miracle working business.  As a matter of fact I know that a couple of miracles are watching this service right now!  

Someone watching has walked away from a car accident.

Someone watching is a cancer survivor.

Someone watching has survived the abuse.

Someone watching has turned it around.

Someone watching is better today than yesterday.

Someone watching made it in spite of everything and everyone that was against you.

So, I stopped by this morning to let my SCC Family know… 

The God we serve is still able.  

The God we serve can still make ways out of no ways.  

The God we serve can still open doors.  

The God we serve can still move mountains.  

The God we serve can still provide for you.  

The God we serve can still regulate your mind.  

The God we serve is still using ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

The God we serve is still making our best a product of our worst .

The God we serve still performs miracles. 

The God we serve can still heal you even if there is only a 1% chance of you surviving.  

I don’t know about you, but in my experience that is when God shows up.                                                                        

When it seems like its hopeless.  

When it seems like the situation is impossible.  

When your back is against the wall.  

When there is no other way.  

When you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  

When you hit rock bottom.  

When the odds are stacked against you.  

When you are down to your last dime.  

When your money is funny and your change is strange.

That is when God shows up right on time, and brings with him a miracle.  You see that is what happened in the text today.  There was a woman who had an issue of blood.  Many scholars believe that this issue of blood had to do with here menstrual cycle.  That she was constantly on her period or time of the month for twelve long years.  Could you imagine what this woman had been through in the past twelve years?  I try to be understanding of how uncomfortable and inconvenient that time of the month can be for women.  

You see my wife is a woman.

My mother is a woman.

My grandmothers were women.

My sisters are women.

My aunts are women.

My nieces are women.

Most of my coworkers are women.  

So I hear the stories.  

I have made the late night runs to the store.  

But this was nonstop bleeding for twelve years.  And this was way before the convenience of feminine products if you know what I mean.  There were no maxi pads or tampons.  There were no wings for extra protection.  Now I know this may be a bit uncomfortable to hear, but I want to paint a picture of what she was going through.  

She went to many physicians and no one could seem to help her.  She spent all of her money trying to find a cure.  

She was all alone because of the fact that she was constantly bleeding she was considered unclean and no one could be around her or they would be considered unclean as well.  Someone say my worst, my worst, my worst.

But she heard that Jesus was in town.  And she thought to herself if I could just touch his clothes, I will be healed.  So she pressed through the crowd and touches the hem of his garment and as soon as she touched his clothes the blood dried up.  Jesus felt the power leaving his body and he said who touched me?  The disciples looked at him like he was crazy.  All these people around you and you’re asking who touched you?  Jesus said, I know someone touched me because I felt power leaving my body.  As Jesus looked around the woman knowing what she had done and the healing that she received fell down before him and told him the truth.  And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.  You see beloved this woman had no other option but to go to Jesus.  Nothing else she tried worked out.  If I were a betting man, I would bet that all the doctors she went to see would have only given her about a 1% chance of surviving her issue of blood.  But the thing about only having a one percent chance of surviving is that even though it is only a one percent chance.  It is still a chance.  Just like Josiah’s story, the doctors said that there was only a 1% chance that he would survive, and his family took that one percent chance and fell to their knees and prayed to God.  And in their one percent chance of surviving prayer God gave them a miracle, and healed their son.  So what would you do if you were only giving a one percent chance?  Would you fall apart or would you fall to your knees?  Just like with the women with an issue of blood.  She may have only had a 1% chance of surviving, but she pressed her way through the crowd, touched the hem of Jesus’ clothes and was made whole.  Just like it seems that with all this turmoil in our nation that our chances of survival seem to grow smaller and smaller every day I still believe that God can turn it around.  I still believe in miracles.  What it all boils down to is this?  No matter how bad the situation is.  No matter how difficult the circumstance may appear, even if there is only a 1% chance of survival.  If God is in it, chances are we are going to win it!  So how do I get my one percent miracle?  How can my best be a product of my worst?  How could such an ordinary woman do such an extraordinary thing?  I am so glad that you asked.  

The first thing that you must do to get your 1% miracle and make your best a product of your worst is pray.  In my spiritual imagination, I have to believe that this had to be a praying woman.  There is no way that she could have gone through 12 years of this condition without talking to God on a consistent basis.  Besides, she did not have anyone else to talk to.  Praying is probably how she knew that Jesus would be able to heal her.  I am sure she heard the rumors about him, but she had faith that Jesus could heal her.  And this faith did not come from rumors.  It came from a relationship with God that was created through prayer.  In other words my brothers and sisters, we have to pray!  Every single solitary day we need to have our own personal time with the Lord.  If we ever want to experience our 1% miracle, our best becoming a product of our worst, we have to pray.  

But not only do we need to pray, we also need to press.  If we are ever going to move forward we must do so on our knees, but when we are done praying we must get up and press.  We must do something.  Prayer alone is not going to cut it.  Prayer alone is not gong to do it.  The woman knew what she needed to do, but she also knew that there were consequences for her actions, but she pressed.

She was already considered unclean, but she pressed. 

Because of her unclean status she was not permitted to enter town, but she pressed.  

She obviously wasn’t feeling very well, but she pressed.  

In spite of the many obstacles standing in her way she pressed.  She pressed through her fears.  

She pressed through her tears.

She pressed through her emotions.  

She pressed through her shame.  

She pressed through her guilt.  

She pressed her way through the crowd.  

She pressed her way to the hem of his garment, touched it and was made whole because she pressed.  

And we don’t want to even press our way to church because we don’t feel like logging in.  

We don’t want to press our way to bible study because we heard it all before.  

We don’t want to press to be the change we want to see.

We don’t want to press the issues at hand.

We don’t want to press to do our part.

But if we want to experience our 1% miracle and make our best a product of our worst we are going to have to press. 

Press through the drama.  

Press through the unemployment.  

Press through the health issues.  

Press through the marital problems. 

Press through our wants.

Press through our issues.

Press through our desires.

Press through our-SELVES.

Press through the mess so God can give us a message.  

Press through the test so God can give us a testimony.  

We have to press.  

So in order to get our 1% miracle and make our best a product of our worst we must pray, we must press, and we must praise.  Now you had to know that I was going to go there?  We have to give God praise.  Even with the state our nation is in today we must give God praise.  We have been through this so many times before, but sometimes you have to hear something over and over and over and over again until you get it.  If you really want your miracle you have to give God praise.  Giving God praise is not an optional part of the relationship.  Think of it like wedding vows. I Brian Kelly Holland take you God to be my God. To praise and to follow you from this day forward, for better and for worse I will praise you, for richer and for poorer I will praise you, in sickness and in health I will praise you, to love and to cherish you till death on earth till I see you in heaven where I will praise you for all eternity.   

You have to praise him in the morning. 

Praise him in the noonday.

Praise him when the sun goes down.  

Praise him in the good time.  

Praise him in the bad time.  

Praise him when you’re happy.  

Praise him when you’re sad.  

You have to praise him when you don’t feel like it.  

And I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel like praising him today, but I decided to follow Job’s example, though he slay me, yet will I trust him, and if I can trust him, I can praise him.

Now as I was preparing this message it struck me that all of the ordinary women that we have discussed have had their own issues.  The woman at the well had men issues.  They woman that washed Jesus’s feet had personal issues, she was assumed to be a street walker.  The woman that asked Jesus to heal her daughter had family issues.  And this woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment had a blood issue.    This last woman had blood issues and the more I thought about her blood issues the more I thought about The Blood of Jesus.  Stay with me because I am going somewhere.  You see the truth of the matter is if the miracle of Jesus Christ did not happen over 2000 years ago there would not have been any more miracles to follow.   

Without Jesus no miracle would be possible.  

Without Jesus the man with leprosy would not have been healed.  Without Jesus the paralytic would not have picked up his mat and walked.  

Without Jesus water would not have been turned to wine.  

Without Jesus the blind would not have received sight.  

Without Jesus Peter would not have walked on the water.  

Without Jesus the storm would not have been calmed.  

Without Jesus the five thousand would not have been fed with two fish and five loaves of bread.  

Without Jesus the adulterous woman would have been stoned.  Without Jesus the demon-possessed man would still be. possessed.  

Without Jesus Lazarus would not have been raised from the dead.  

Without Jesus the deaf would not have heard and the mute would not have talked.  

Without Jesus the woman at the well would not have changed.

Without Jesus the woman with the alabaster box would have never been forgiven.

Without Jesus the the Canaanite woman’s daughter would not have been delivered from the demon./

Without Jesus the woman with the issue of blood would not have been healed.

Without Jesus we will never overcome the disease of racism that is devouring our country.

Without Jesus there would be no sacrifice.  

Without Jesus there would be know resurrection.  

Without Jesus there would be no salvation.  

Because the 1% miracle would never be possible if it had not been for the miracle of Jesus Christ being born of a virgin, so that he could live a perfect life, be crucified on an old rugged cross, and resurrect three days later so that everyone that believes in their hearts and confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord shall be saved!  Which is the ultimate miracle because I don’t know about you, but out of all the people in the world I had 1% percent chance of survival before Jesus looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.  

I had a 1% chance of survival before Jesus picked me up, turned me around, and placed my feet on higher solid ground.  

I had a 1% chance of survival when I was out there in the world doing what I wanted to do the ways I wanted to do it.  

I had a 1% chance of survival before Jesus pulled me out of the muck and the mire.  

I had a 1% chance of survival before Jesus took me and made something beautiful out of my life.  

I had a 1% chance of survival before Jesus touched me and made me whole.  

I had a 1% chance of survival before I placed my life in God’s hands and we all know that little becomes much when you place it in God’s hands.  

But I have to be honest this morning.  I still want more.  Not more stuff.  Not more money, but more of God’s miracles.  I want what he has done for me done for all of my family, friends, and the lost in the world.

So I’m looking for a miracle. 

I expect the impossible. 

I feel the intangible. 

I see the invisible.  

The Sky is the limit to what I can have.  

Just believe and receive it. 

God will perform it today.

Is anybody in the house looking for a miracle?  Do you want your 1% miracle?  Do you want your best to be a product of your worst?

Well stand to your feet and give God praise.

The beginning and the end

The author and the finisher

The Alpha and the Omega

The great I am

The king of kings

The lord of lords

The bright and morning star

The lily of the valley

The friend that sticks closer that a brother

The balm of Gilead

The banner of the nations

The captain of our salvation

The chief cornerstone

The chief Shepard

The deliverer

The faithful and true God

The Father of mercies

The Fountain of living waters

The glorious Lord

The God of all comfort

The God of all grace

The God of all hope

The God of all peace

Emmanuel, God with us.

Praise God for Jesus.

Praise God for your 1% miracle.  I am trying to end this, but when I think about the goodness of the Lord and all that he has done for me my soul cries out hallelujah.  Now we have talked about having a one % chance of survival, but consider this as I close this out.  The woman with the issue of blood was healed, and she did not even touch 100% of Jesus.  She did not even touch 50% of Jesus.  As a matter of fact she did not touch Jesus at all.  She touched a piece of his clothes and she was made whole.  Imagine what would have happen if she had actually touched Jesus?  

Just imagine what you could do if you let him touch your heart by accepting him into your life.  

Imagine what he could do if you prayed to him on a consistent basis. 

Imagine what he could do if you pressed.  

Imagine what he could do if you gave him praise. 

Imagine what this nation could do if it allowed God to touch it.

Imagine your miracle coming to pass.

Imagine your ordinary becoming extraordinary. 

Imagine your best becoming a product of your worst.

And on Pentecost Sunday when they were all together on one accord, and the Holy Ghost came upon them causing them all to speak in different tongues or languages Peter preached his first sermon.  On that day more than 3000 people gave their lives to the Lord.  We need that power to fall today like never before.  We need to people of the world to experience the full power of the Holy Spirit.   So if you are not saved I cannot think of a better day for you to give your life to the Lord.  

Ordinary Woman that did extraordinary things. Part 3

Ordinary women that did extraordinary things.

My Best is a product of my worst!

Matthew 15: 21-28

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 

22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

In 1972 a two year old Chinese boy, Hu Jen-chuan, fell from a table and went into a coma. When he woke up after six days he was not able to talk or move. Like any parent, his mother, was terrible distressed. Yet her distress was multiplied by the fact that she could not afford to place him in a nursing home.

Instead she has cared for Hu Jen-chuan herself, and her care has shown the unfathomable depth of her mother-love. You see, because he is unable to move Hu Jen-chuan is liable to get terrible bed-sores. So for the past thirty years his mother has done the unbelievable – she has carried her son on her back. As of May 2002 Liu Kuei-lan was 65 years old and weighed 40 kilograms (88.18 lbs.). Her son, now a grown man, weighed 82kg (180.7 lbs.). On many occasions Liu has fallen and fractured bones while carrying her son. Yet she continues to carry him. When asked how she can do it her reply is simple: “he ain’t heavy, he’s my son.”

Two weeks ago I began a series entitled Ordinary women that did extraordinary things, with the subtitle, my best is a product of my worst.  We talked about the woman at the well, and how Jesus spoke to her in spite of the fact that Jews did not associate with Samaritans, men did not speak to women in public arenas, and she had some baggage. She had man problems.  But despite all of that, Jesus knew she had potential.  Jesus knew the same thing about her that he knows about us, that our best is a product of our worst, and that is why he used ordinary woman in the Bible to do extraordinary things.  Jesus is able to see our potential because he looks beneath the surface, he looks between the signs, and he looks beyond our sin.  Last week, we learned about the woman that washed and anointed the feet of Jesus.  I stressed to you the fact that she was so focused to get to Jesus that she went to a dinner party that she wasn’t even invited to, knowing that people would talk about her and judge her, and mistreat her.  But she new that her best would be a product of her worst if she did what we need to do, humble ourselves, have a heart to serve, and hear the savior.  And today I would like to talk about another ordinary woman.

Another ordinary woman that was able to do an extraordinary thing.  

Another woman who’s best was a product of her worst.  

The woman that I would like to talk about today is the Canaanite woman that begged Jesus to heal her demon possessed daughter.  Have you ever been so desperate to help your child or your children that you would do just about anything.  I believe this is the place this Canaanite woman was in, in our story today.  Shall we look at the text.  

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 

(That place Jesus left was called Gennesaret, where he just corrected the Pharisees on ceremonial cleansing.  Letting them know that it does not matter how much you wash your hands if your heart is not right.  It’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of a man’s mouth that defiles him.  Because what comes out of your mouth is what’s in your heart. So he was leaving that situation and walking into a different situation). 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

This ordinary woman did an extraordinary thing.  Her best was a product of her worst.  She was able to get Christ’s attention. (Have you ever needed to get God’s attention before?) This woman was able to get Jesus’s attention.  Ask Him for assistance, and convince him to act!  This was no small feat and many scholars believe that this is the point in Jesus’ ministry when he realizes that he is not here just for the Jews and he begins to extend his love to others.  Which is a great thing for you and I have mentioned this many times before, I don’t believe that there are many people in our church or watching online that are Jewish. So let me share with you why such an ordinary woman could do such an extraordinary thing and how we can do the same as well!

First of all this woman was Distressed just like the woman in our opening story, distressed is suffering from anxiety, sorrow, or pain.  Her daughter was demon possessed and suffering terribly.  

She was suffering from anxiety, sorrow, and pain. 

She needed help, and was willing to do anything to get it.  

Like go into a crowd of Jews when she was a Canaanite woman and cry out to Jesus, have mercy on me!” 

So let me ask you parenthetically on the way to where I am going, have you ever needed to cry out to Jesus.  Because you knew that only Jesus could hear your cry and actually do something about it.

You could call your husband

You could call your wife

You could call you mother

You could call your father

You could call your brother

You could call your sister

You could call your cousin Pookie

You could call your best friend

You could even call the pastor

But you know the only person that can help you is Jesus

So you cry Jesus, have mercy on me! 

This is where this Canaanite woman was in our story.  This is how any mother feels when their baby is in trouble, hurt, in danger, sick, or just messing up.  And you can be 2, 22, 30, 40, 50, or 60 years old and you are still your mamma’s baby, and she will be right their when you need her.  And its not just mothers, fathers feel the same way.  We may not act like it, but we do.  A kids arm will be falling off and mom is losing her mind and dad is looking at the kid and saying, I don’t think its that bad.  I think he’s going to be alright.  Fathers play the tough role, but we care just as much!

But this woman was distressed to the point of desperation, and we all know that when a parent is desperate to help their children there is not much that they won’t do.  

Has anybody ever been desperate before.  

Has anybody ever needed something so bad before that you were willing to do anything to get it.  You were distressed, and all you wanted was for someone to notice your pain and suffering and do something about it.  This is where we find this woman in the story.  Her baby girl was going through and she was distressed. 

But not only was she distressed, she was deliberate.  Deliberate is defined as done consciously and intentionally. For example, “a deliberate attempt to provoke conflict”

She was intentional 

Calculated

Conscious 

Intended

Planned

Studied

Knowing

Willful

Purposeful 

Premeditated 

Voluntary
She knew exactly what she was doing and she knew exactly who she needed to go to.  She was a woman and not even Jewish, but she went to Jesus on purpose because she new that he could heal her daughter.  That is like going to your mortal enemy and asking for help.  I remember when one of my co-workers told me a story  about a parent….  

Anyway could you imagine going to your enemy or a person who does not like you to ask for help.  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice and act like you don’t have any enemies and everyone likes you.  I know you have over 500 friends on FB and 200 instagram followers, but all those people are not your friends, and most of them don’t even like you.  They’re just nosy and want to know our business.   There is not a person in the world that does not have an enemy or two or is liked by everybody.  So think about what this woman was going through, she was willing to go to her enemy because she knew only her enemy could help her.  She was deliberate.  If you want to make the best a product of your worst you have to be deliberate.

So, she was distressed, she was deliberate, she was direct.  I learn something researching this point.  Did you know that the word direct has about 28 different definitions?  I would like to focus on definition 18 for this point which is to be straightforward, frank, and/or candid.  The Canaanite woman did not beat around the bush she got straight to the point.  Jesus have mercy on me.  My daughter is demon possessed and is suffering terribly.  

She didn’t mix her words

She didn’t try to flatter Jesus

She didn’t try to fill his head with compliments 

She didn’t try to break the ice

She wasn’t trying to act like she was his friend to get what she wanted.

She got right down to business 

She told him exactly what she wanted…

This is what we don’t do enough of.  We always want to play games and act like we really don’t know what we want.  But I truly believe that if we were direct with God more often we’d have much more success in our prayer lives.  If our best is going to be a product of our worst we have to be direct.  

She was distressed.  She was deliberate.  She was direct.  And she was determined.  Has anyone ever been determined before? Listen to this exchange between her and Jesus.  After the disciples tell Jesus to tell her to go away!

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.  

No matter what Jesus said, she had a rebuttal.  

She had a come back.  

She had a response 

She had an answer

She had a counter offer

Many of us would have given up when we heard the disciples telling Jesus to get rid of her or when Jesus said no the first time.  But this woman continued to plead her case until she got the answer that she wanted, until she got her desired outcome.

She was determined 

She wasn’t backing down

She wasn’t giving up

She wasn’t throwing in the towel

She wasn’t taking her ball and going home

She wasn’t playing games

She was all in

She was committed

She was willing to pay the price 

She was willing to sacrifice it all

She was determined and we must be determined too if we want our best to be a product of our worst.

Check this out beloved, because she was distressed, because she was deliberate, because she was direct, and because she was determined her daughter was delivered.  The Bible says at that very moment the demon left her daughter. 

And I was just wondering if there is anybody here distressed enough

Is there anybody here deliberate enough 

Is there anybody here direct enough

Is there anybody here determined enough

To get an at this moment blessing

An at this moment breakthrough 

An at this moment healing

An at this moment revelation 

An at this moment word from the Lord

An at this moment solution to your problem 

An at this moment escape from your temptation 

An at this moment deliverance from your predicament 

An at this moment reason to go on

If this is you, do me a favor and take your distressed circumstance 

Get deliberate 

Get direct

Get determined 

By standing on your feet, putting your ten stringed instruments together, opening up your mouth and giving God praise.  A patty cake praise is not going to do it this time.  

God desires a total praise this afternoon like we talked about last week.  

You need to praise the God of your salvation with every ounce of your being.  

Because I don’t know about you, but the God I serve is worthy to be praised!

The God I serve is worthy to be lifted up

The God I serve is worthy to be glorified 

The God I serve is the true and living God

The God I serve is the creator of the world

The God I serve is the lamb that was slain 

The God I serve is the balm of Gilead

The God I serve is the rose of Sharon

The God I serve is the prince of peace

The God I serve is the king of kings

The God I serve is the lord of lords

The God I serve is the alpha and omega

The God I serve is the beginning and the end

The God I serve is able to do anything but fail

The God I serve is the great I am

And when you praise God…

He will deliver you!  

He will make your ordinary extraordinary!

He will make your best a product of your worst!

Ordinary women that did extraordinary things. Part 2

Ordinary Woman who did Extraordinary Things

 My Best is a Product of my Worst

Luke 7:36-50

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Last week we began a series entitled Ordinary women that did extraordinary things, with the subtitle, my best is a product of my worst.  We talked about the woman at the well, and how Jesus spoke to her in spite of the fact that Jews did not associate with Samaritans, men did not speak to women in public places, and she had some baggage. She had man problems.  But despite all of that, Jesus knew she had potential.  Jesus knew the same thing about her that he knows about each and everyone of us, that our best is a product of our worst, and that is why he used ordinary woman in the Bible to do extraordinary things.  Jesus is able to see our potential because he looks beneath the surface, he looks between the signs, and he looks beyond our sin.  And today I would like to talk about another ordinary woman in the Bible that did an extraordinary thing.  Now please bear in mind that I am only referring to these women as ordinary because the Bible does not mention their names.  Ordinary does not mean unimportant or insignificant, it just means regular.  Just like Theo Huxtable told his father, Cliff Huxtable in the first episode of the first season of the Cosby show.  I just want to be regular people.  But as we all have seen, these ordinary women have done some extraordinary things.  So today, we are going to look at one of the women that washed and anointed Jesus’ feet.  Yes, if you did not know there were two different women that washed and anointed Jesus’ feet.  The one that is most common is Mary the sister of Lazarus.  Who washed Jesus’ feet at Lazarus’ house near the end of his ministry to prepare him for burial.  And the disciples jumped on the woman (Judas especially) because the perfume was expensive and could have been sold to make money.  This story is found in the Gospel of John.  But the woman in our story today her name was not given, and she washed and anointed Jesus’ feet in the home of Simon, the Pharisee in the book of Luke.  Shall we look at the text and see what this story teaches us.

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 

37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 

38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 

42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 

45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 

46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

This woman had been through so much, seen so much, and did so much.  They referred to her as a sinner, which probably meant that she was a prostitute.  Which is something that she probably did not plan or want to become.  That is why the human trafficking issue in our world is such a huge problem.  These woman and men boys and girls are forced, manipulated, and made to do things that they would have never imagined or willingly do, and this may have been this woman’s situation.  That is why the old saying is true, don’t judge a book by its cover.  But in spite of it all Jesus saw her, saw what she could be, and He forgave her, He saved her, and He gave her peace!   And because he forgave her of so much, she loved and appreciated him all the more.  So before I move on, I want that to sink in for a moment.  Think of all the things that God has forgiven us for and will forgive us for.  Should that not make us want to love and please him more?  That is why Jesus told the story of the two people that owed the moneylender money.  One owed fifty denari and the other owed 500 denari, but neither one had the money to pay and the money lender forgave both of their debts.  And Jesus asked the question, which will love him more.  And Simon responds the one that owed him more. The same is true for the the woman in our story and for each and every one of us.  Because of our sin we all owe a debt that we cannot repay, but God has forgiven our debt.  God has wiped the slate clean.  

The more that God forgives us for the more we should love him.  

The more jacked up our lives are, we’ll love him all the more for delivering us.  Why else would this woman be kissing his feet, washing them with her tears, and using expensive perfume to anoint him, because she knew all that she was forgiven for, we need to take note of this act and apply it to our lives!  If you are saved, delivered, and redeemed you should be going all out for Jesus.

You see church in the story of the woman at the well we talked about what Jesus did for the woman and does for us.   Today I want to focus on what the woman who washed and anointed the feet of Jesus did because it serves as a great example of what we should do today in order for our best to be a product of our worst.  So let me share three things that the woman did that we must do so that our best can be a product of our worst.  Three things that can turn our ordinary into something extraordinary.

First, we must humble ourselves.  This is a very difficult thing for many of us to do because we think that we are more important than we actually are.  

Some of us actually think the world revolves around us

Some of us actually think that the show will not go on with out us

Some of us actually think that no one can do what we do

Some of us actually think that we are not replaceable (Bishop Clarke always says if you believe that you are not replaceable, just die and see how quickly they replace you!)

Some of us actually think that only we can do it

Some of us actually think that it won’t get done or it wont get done right unless we do it

Some of us actually think that we are the cat’s meow

Well I have news for you baby, you are not.  I am not!  We are not!

And just like this woman in the text we have to humble ourselves.  Do you have any idea what God can do with a humble person?  Let me give you a few examples

Noah was humble

Abraham was humble

Gideon was humble

Esther was humble

Ruth was humble

Daniel was humble

David was humble

Jeremiah was humble

Paul was humbled

And Jesus was the epitome of humbleness as he hung on the cross, bore our sins and said father forgive them for they know not what they do.

If our best is ever going to be a product of our worst we must be willing to humble ourselves.

First we must humble ourselves.  Secondly, we must have a heart to serve.  This woman came into a Pharisee’s house knowing she was unwelcome, but she had a heart to serve.

Knowing that she would be talked about, but she had a heart to serve.  

Knowing she would be ridiculed, but she had a heart to serve.  

Knowing she would be stared at, but she had a heart to serve.  

Knowing that she could be thrown out, but she had a heart to serve.  

She wanted Jesus to know that she appreciated everything that he had done for her and would do for her, and she did this by having a heart to serve.  

She didn’t go to ask him for anything.  

She didn’t go to get on his good side.  

She didn’t go to be seen.

She didn’t go for the attention.

She didn’t go for recognition.

She didn’t go so she could say she saw Jesus.

She went because she had a heart to serve.

Let me ask you a few questions.  

Do you have a heart to serve?  

If so, what are you doing?

What are you doing in and for the kingdom?

How are your serving?

In what capacity are you making a difference?

How are you showing the love of Jesus Christ?

Are you open to all or are you judgmental and convicting?

Are you giving to the needy or are you hoarding it all for yourself?

Are you lending a helping hand or are you lining your own pockets?

Are you helping people up or kicking them while they are down?  That’s what the Pharisee was doing in the text, he was kicking her while she was down.  Do you know what type of woman is touching you?  As if he was God’s gift to the kingdom.  I know Jesus probably thought you think I don’t know who this woman is?

If our best is going to be a product of our worst, we have to have a heart to serve, and then we must actually serve.  And not just within the four walls of the church!  

We must have a heart to serve in our community 

In our neighborhoods 

In our city

In our schools

On our street

On our block

On our job

In our family 

In our friendships

In our circles of influence

In every area and arena of our lives we must have a heart to serve.

First we must humble ourselves.  Secondly, we must have a heart to serve.  Lastly, we must hear the savior.  Listen to the last few things that Jesus told this woman.  

Your sins are forgiven.  

Your faith has saved you.  

Go in peace.

Many people struggle with hearing the savior.  As a teacher I see it every single day!  People just don’t listen.  I believe that anything this woman did from that moment on was blessed because she heard the savior.  

He told her, you sins are forgiven.  Does anybody remember the moment you realized that your sins were forgiven.  The moment you truly understood the words to that old song Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, but he washed it white as snow.  He told her your sins are forgiven.

The he told her,  your faith has saved you.  This is one of the great mysteries of our Christian walk.  We can do nothing to earn our salvation it is freely given by faith.  Yet and still this act of faith that this woman displays by humbling herself and having a heart to serve let’s Jesus know just how real her faith is.  I guess that is why James said faith without works is dead.  In other words, your faith saves you and that same faith that saves you should cause you to do good words, but we do not do good works to get saved.  We do good works because we are saved!

He told her to go in peace.  

That means that she could move forward without being haunted by her past.  

She could move forward without looking over her shoulder.  

She could move forward knowing that her past does not determine her destiny and at the same time realize that her best is a product of her worst.  

She now has that peace that passes all understanding!

No wonder she had no problem humbling herself or having a heart to serve.  There is so much freedom in our sins being forgiven, our faith saving us, and having peace.  That is why Paul tells the church in Corinth, where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.  Is there anybody in the room excited about the fact that you are free.  I’m free…  And you are free because you hear the savior.

You hear the savior tell you he loves you

You hear the savior tell you, its ok, come back home

You hear the savior tell you I will never leave you or forsake you

You hear the savior tell you it doesn’t matter what you did

You hear the savior tell you greater is he that is in you than her that is in the world

You hear the savior tell you, you can do all things

You hear the savior tell you, you are more than a conqueror 

You hear the savior tell you that nothing is impossible for him

You hear the savior tell you you’re forgiven

You hear the savior tell you your faith has saved you

You hear the savior tell you go in peace

Your best us a product of your worst when you hear the savior!

So that is why the song by CeCe Winans, Alabaster Box is so powerful even to this day.  Because even though she was referring to Mary the sister of Lazarus, the message is still the same.

The room grew still

As she made her way to Jesus

She stumbled through the tears

That make her blind

She felt such pain

Some spoke in anger

Heard folks whisper

There’s no place here for her kind

Still on she came

Through the shame that flushed her face

Until at last she knelt before his feet

And though she spoke no words

Everything she said was heard

As she poured her love for the master

From her box of Alabaster

And I’ve come to pour

My praise on Him like oil

From Mary’s Alabaster Box

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears

And I dry them with my hair

You weren’t there the night He found me

You did not feel what I felt

When He wrapped His loving arms around me

And you don’t know the cost

Of the oil in my Alabaster box

I can’t forget the way life used to be

I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound

And I spent my days

Poured my life without measure

Into a little treasure box

I thought I found

Until the day when Jesus came to me

And healed my soul with the wonder of His touch

So now I’m giving back to Him

All the praise He’s worthy of

I’ve been forgiven and that’s why

I love Him so much

And I’ve come to pour

My praise on Him like oil

From Mary’s Alabaster Box

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears

And I dry them with my hair

You weren’t there the night He found me

You did not feel what I felt

When He wrapped His loving arms around me

And you don’t know the cost

Of the oil in my Alabaster box

I just want to know if there is a anybody in the room and online that wants to poor out your praise like oil from an alabaster box for all that God has done for you….

Look at your neighbor and say you don’t know what God has done for me

You don’t know what he saved me from

You don’t know what he pulled me out of

You don’t know how he made ways for me

You don’t know how many times he picked me up

You don’t know how many times he turned me around

You don’t know how he place my feet on higher solid ground

You don’t know how far I went

You don’t know how lost I was

You don’t know how depressed I was

You don’t know how lonely I was or am

You don’t know how suicidal I was

You don’t know how many games I played

You don’t know how high I was

You don’t know how many tricks I turned

You don’t know how drunk I was

You don’t know how many people I scammed

You don’t know how low I fell

You don’t know the cost of my alabaster box

So I don’t know what you came to do

But I came to praise the Lord

I came to clap my hands

I came to stomp my feet

I came to do my dance

I came to lift my voice

I came to give him glory

Is there anybody here that knows that God is worthy to be praised

From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the name of Jesus is worthy to be praise!  

Because my best is a product of my worse. 

Ordinary women that did extraordinary things.

Ordinary women who did extraordinary things!

My Best is a Product of my Worst!

John 4:17-18, 27-30, 39-42

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

The Mountain by Jim Stovall

There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them back up into the mountains.

The lowlanders didn’t know how to climb the mountain. They didn’t know any of the trails that the mountain people used, and they didn’t know where to find the mountain people or how to track them in the steep terrain. Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountain and bring the baby home.

The men tried first one method of climbing and then another. They tried one trail and then another. After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only several hundred feet. Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.

As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them. They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn’t figured out how to climb. And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back. How could that be?

One man greeted her and said, “We couldn’t climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn’t do it?”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It wasn’t your baby.”

Source: Jim Stovall, You Don’t Have to Be Blind to See. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This story is a wonderful illustration of the depths that a mother will go through for her children and the strength and determination of a woman.  Since the month of May contains one of the most important man made holidays of the year, Mother’s Day.  We are going to focus on a few women in the Bible this month.  There is so much that we can learn from the strength, intelligence, love, compassion, and honor of women that I think it is important that we spend some focused time learning from some women in the Bible.  Now these women we are going to talk about are not the women you may be thinking of.  I’m not talking about Ruth or Esther or Hannah or Sarah or even Mary the mother of Jesus.  Which would all be great choices.  But I would like to focus on what some may say ordinary women of the Bible that did some extraordinary things because how many of you know that God does not need much to work with.  Little becomes much when you place it in God’s hand.  And he uses ordinary people like you and me to do extraordinary things everyday!  That is why your best is a product of your worst.  Because it is usually at our worst that God looks at us and sees our potential.  He picks us up, turns us around, and places our feet on solid ground producing our best!

It was when we were at our lowest point that God showed up

It was when we hit rock bottom that God picked us up

It was when we had lost all hope that God showed us the way

It was when we could not even recognize ourselves in the mirror, God whispered he loved us

It was when we did the thing we swore we would never do that God forgave us anyway

It was when we went to far, that God’s love brought us back.

And this is what the story of the woman at the well teaches us today.  I don’t know about you, but just like the woman at the well my best is a product of my worst.  Everything that I’ve done and gone through has made me who I am today.  

The good, the bad and especially the ugly!  

I had to be forged in the fire of life for my best to come out.  

I had to go through the pressure for my best to come out.  

I had to go through the process for my best to come out… and many of you know exactly what I am talking about, but here’s the kicker Church, there is still more best to come out us!

Shall we look at the text…

Now this story is actually 42 versus long.  I started to read the entire passage to you, but was lead to give you the cliff notes instead.  Jesus was leaving Judea on his way to Galilee because he learned that some Pharisees were up to no good again.  Talking about how many people he had baptized compared to John the Baptist.  And the truth was that Jesus wasn’t baptizing anyone, His disciples were. You see how easily rumors get started.   I could preach a whole sermon series on that alone.  Anyway, on the way to Galilee he had to pass through Samaria and while traveling through Samaria he came to a town called Sychar where Jacob’s well was located.  And being tired from his journey he sat down at about noon.  Then a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well and a conversation begins.  A conversation that should have never taken place for several reasons.

She was a Samaritan

She was a woman

She was drawing water at noon

She had men issues

I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that nothing can keep Jesus from us.  

Not our past

Not our presence

Not our personal issues 

Because if that were the case, none of us would be saved today!

But imagine if that was one of us at the well, BC, before Christ of course, we probably would have ignored the woman, especially if her reputation had proceeded her. (There she goes…)  But not Jesus, he made it his mission not only to have a conversation with her, but to convert her, and use her to his glory….

So they have this long conversation about drawing water, and then he flips the script and tells her that he can offer her living water which is the Holy Spirit, revealing to her who he is, and at the same time airing out all of her dirty laundry in away that does not offend her or push her away, but draws her in.  She realizes that she has just encountered the Messiah.  She goes back to town and tells all that will listen. Come see a man that told me everything I ever did.  So they came…. when they got there they asked Jesus to stay a while and he did.  He stayed for two more days and at the end of two days many Samaritans believed.  They said to the woman we no longer believe because of what you said, now we have heard for ourselves, and we now know that this man is the savior of the world.  So the best thing this woman ever did, telling people about Jesus, was a product of her worst.  Because I truly believe that she was at her worst when she came to the well that day, but God.  Somebody say, but God…  Jesus saw something in her just like he sees something in each and everyone one of us today.  So the relevant question is how does God see what he sees?  

How can he look at us when were jacked up from the floor up and see something Good?  

How can God look at us in our sinful state and see potential?  

I am so glad that you asked.  

I will give you three ways God sees the best in us in the midst of our worst and bid you good day!

First God looks beneath the surface.  

Aren’t you so glad that God looks beneath surface.  

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at the outward appearance, God looks at your heart.  Isn’t that what God told Samuel when he was at Jesse’s house to anoint the new king of Israel….

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our pedigree

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our political affiliation 

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our gender

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our race

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our economic status 

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our faults

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our imperfections 

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our failures 

God looks beneath the surface and he sees the man or woman that he created

He sees the all that we can be not what we are

He sees all that we can become not who we are right now

He sees his promise being kept

He sees his plans coming to pass

He sees his purpose being fulfilled 

Could you imagine if God treated us like we treated one another and took us at face value.  

What we looked like.  

What he heard about us.  

What he thought about us.  

What he imagined about us.  

Without actually taking the time to get to know us by looking beneath the surface.  

I am so glad that God does not treat us like that.  

I am so glad that can’t nobody do me like Jesus.  

I am so glad that can’t nobody do me like the Lord.  

I am so glad that he is my friend 

Look at your neighbor and tell them that God looks beneath the surface!

First, God looks beneath the surface.  Secondly, God looks between the signs (or the lines).  I don’t know about you but I am so glad that God looks between the signs and you know why… I’ll tell you why… because we can be stupid sometimes.  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Besides, I’m not talking about you unless I’m talking about you!

Because we always try to act like everything is ok.  

We always want people to think that we have it all under control.  

We want everyone to think that we can handle it. 

We don’t need any help.  

We can do it all by ourselves.  

We have it covered 

We don’t need anything from anybody 

When that is the furthest thing from the truth.  

But when Jesus saw this woman at the well all by herself knowing that in that culture the women rise early in the morning to draw their water.  

Knowing that this woman not only does not have a husband, but she has had five husbands and the man she is with now is not her husband.  

Jesus was able to look between the signs and see that she was hurting.  

Jesus was able to look between the signs and see that she needed living water.

Just like he does for us.  

Jesus looks between our signs of pride and sees our struggles

Jesus looks between our signs of prejudice and sees our pain.

Jesus looks between our signs of self preservation and sees our suffering

Jesus looks between our signs of procrastination and sees our fears

Look at your neighbor and say, Jesus looks between the signs!

First God looks beneath the surface.  Secondly, God looks between the signs.  And lastly, God looks beyond our sin.  I want you to think about that for a moment…. God looks beyond our sin…  he looks beyond the fact that we choose our way over his way.  He looks beyond the fact that we choose our will over his will.  He looks beyond our sin…

Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise

For it was grace that bought my liberty 

I do no know just why he came to love me so

He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs

I’ll shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary

To view the cross where Jesus died for me

How marvelous was grace that caught my falling soul

He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.

Is there anybody in the room besides the man holding the microphone excited about the fact that God looks beyond our sin

Just like he looked beyond the sin of the woman at well, he looks beyond our sin as well

He looks beyond the lies

He looks beyond the adultery

He looks beyond the fornication

He looks beyond the coveting

He looks beyond the hatred

He looks beyond gluttony 

He looks beyond the pride

He looks beyond the bad attitude 

He looks beyond the disobedience 

He looks beyond the disrespect 

He looks beyond our sin and sees our needs!

Look at your neighbor and say he looks beyond our sin

Because of these reasons my best is a product of my worst.  Not because of anything that I have done, but because of everything thing that God has done.  What did he do?  God so loved the world…. and he did it while we were yet in sin!  While we were doing all the aforementioned sins and many many more God sent Jesus to die for you and for me.  All because in spite of our worst God brought out our best because he saw something in us.  He saw our potential!

That’s why Marvin Sapp Said…

He saw the best in me

When everyone else around

Could only see the worst in me

Does anybody have that testimony?

When folk wrote you off

Said you would never make it

What did He see?

He saw the best in me

When everyone else around

Could only see the worst in me

Can I tell y’all one more thing?

I just need to tell you one more thing

He’s mine, and I am his

It doesn’t matter what I did

He only sees me for who I am

Does anybody know that today?

He’s mine, and I am his

It doesn’t matter what I did

He only sees me for who I am

Does anybody know that today?

Is there anybody in the room today that is excited about the fact that God sees the the best in you, when everyone else around you including yourself can only see the worst in you!

They see loser God sees the best 

They see failure God see the best 

They see alcoholic God see the best 

They see drug addict God see the best 

They see gossip 

They see prostitute

They see pusher

They see pimp

They see the banger

They see adulterer

They see whoremonger

They see abuser

They see depression 

They see a lost cause

They see drop out

They see unemployed

They see sick

They see homeless

They see juvenile delinquent

They see ex-con

They see has-been

They see what they want to see, but God sees the best in you!

I need somebody in this church to get on your feet and give God praise that he saw the best in you.  That your best is a product of your worst.  And you would not be standing here today if God had not brought you through your worst to bring you to your best!

Something to think about while we’re sitting at home 2.

Serve or Save

Colossians 3:23-24

2 Timothy 4:1-5

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (English Standard Version)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

So the last few weeks we’ve been discussing things to think about while we are sitting at home.  First we talked about overcoming hypocritical judgement by examining ourselves, exposing ourselves, and extricating others.  Then we discussed protecting the witness by our attitudes, actions, and affection.  And this week while we’re sitting at home I want us to think about the differences between serving and saving, and which you should focus on more.  Or better yet, how should you prioritize serving and saving?  Let’s go to work.

I think that many of you know that I am a huge superhero fan.  Someone asked me one day if I am a Marvel or DC superhero fan and I responded, I like all superheroes!  And in February of 2018 one of the greatest superhero movies ever was released.  The name of the movie was Black Panther, and if you have not seen it yet, you do not know what you are missing.  I’ve seen it too many times to count myself!  The movie has grossed billions of dollars world wide.  If you don’t know, Black Panther is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character, the Black Panther.  T’Challa who is the prince and soon to be king, returns home to claim the throne of Wakanda, which he does successfully, but he soon finds his crown challenged by a new adversary and unknown cousin, named Killmonger.  Killmonger defeats T’challa, taking the thrown and initiates his plan for world dominance.  Now as T’Challa’s loyal followers attempt to escape and devise a plan to get Killmonger off of the throne there is a great scene between Nakia, T’Challa’s love interest and Ayo, the general of the Wakandan army.  When Nakia tries to get Ayo to leave with her, Ayo refuses to go, and says “I am loyal to the throne, no matter who sits on it.  I must serve my country!”  Nakia responds, “you stay and serve your country.  I’ll go and save my country.”  And soon after the movie came out a friend of mine, Pastor Leon Harrison, posted on FB how we so often get so caught up in serving that we forget about saving.  And the more I thought about that, the reality of this statement sunk in.  Most people would rather serve the church than save the lost.  Now don’t get it twisted.  I am not saying that serving is not important or that we save anyone.  But we all have a part to play.  One plants, another waters, and God gives the increase.  But we can’t get so caught up in serving that we are not concerned about saving.  Look at you neighbor and say are you just serving or are you saving?  

Let’s look at the text….

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (English Standard Version)

Simply put, Paul is telling the church in Colosse to work for God and not for man.  

You see many of us don’t mind manning our post.  

Many of us don’t mind being in position.  

Many of us don’t mind going the extra mile.  

Many of us don’t mind doing what we’re told

Many of us don’t mind being on the job

Many of us don’t mind going to work, especially now…

But are you doing it for man or are you doing it for God.  

Do you want the approval of man or do you want the approval of God.  

Because when you do it for God there is a reward.  He does have an inheritance for you, and it is better than anything that man could possibly give you.  

Its better than fame.  

Its better than fortune.  

Its better than success.  

Its better than fancy cars.  

Its better than big houses.  

It’s better than cold hard cash

And as a matter of fact, my father is rich in houses and lands and he hold the power of the world in his hands.  The scripture says in my father’s house are many mansions.  I think you missed that.  In my fathers house are many mansions!  In his house there are mansions.  (Illustrate with dry erase board)

So what can man do for me, when my God has many mansions in his house.  

What can man do for me when the cattle on a thousand hills belong to my father.  

What can man do for me when the creator of heaven and earth is my father.  

When we work for the Lord, when we serve the Lord our reward is great.  And this type of service is wonderful.  

But when our service becomes more important than saving souls we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than showing the love of Jesus we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than reaching the lost we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than feeding the hungry we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than sharing Jesus we have a problem.  

When our service dims the light of Jesus we have a problem.  

This was the problem with the Levite and priest… you know the story of the Good Samaritan…  A man was on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem when he was robbed and beaten…  

I believe the Levite and the priest could not be bothered with the traveler who was robbed and beaten on the side of the road because they were on their way to the synagogue or the temple.  They were too busy with their service and were not willing to reach out and save, but God sent the Good Samaritan… who did not even associate with Jews, who decided to save rather than serve.  And I was just wondering, who in here wants to be like the Good Samaritan?

We want to serve the Lord, but we cannot let our service get in the way of our call to save.

That’s why Paul tells his son in the Ministry Timothy, I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (An evangelist is a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching)

Paul was telling Timothy to get ready for what God has called you to do.  

Get ready for the task that God has given you.  

Get ready for everything the Lord has in store for you.  

Get ready for everything God has planned for you.

Get ready get ready get ready 

Paul was not just telling Timothy to serve the world, he was telling Timothy to do his part to save the world.  Remember we all have a part to play, one plants, another waters and God provides the increase.  So how do we do our part in saving the world?  I am so glad that you asked…

The first thing that we must do is Preach the word.  It is right there in the text.  Paul tells Timothy to preach the word.  I know what your are thinking, so stop looking your screen in that tone of voice.  You may not have been called to preach, but we all have a little preacher in us.  What are you saying Pastor Brian?

I am saying that if you are saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost you should have a story to tell.  

If you’ve past the test you have a testimony.  

If your made it through a mess you have a message.  

If you’ve gone through a storm you have a weather report… the son is still shinning.  

If you’ve been healed you have a positive diagnosis, prognosis, and the cure… by his stripes we are healed.  

So don’t tell me your are not a preacher, and that you don’t have nothing to say because most of us talk about everything else under sun!  We talk about our children 

Our spouse

Our grandchildren 

Out family

Our neighbors 

Our jobs

Our hobbies

Our sports team

We have no problem talking so we should have no problem speaking about Jesus.

Because if you are save, you are a walking, living, breathing sermon!  

So share your story.  

Share your victory.  

Share your failures, because failure is the best teacher, the father of success.

Share your battle.  

Share your struggles.  

Share your set backs. 

Share your come backs.  

Share your wounds.  

Share your scars.  

Share your game winning strategies. 

We must preach the word… and we do so in three ways…

We must preach with authenticity 

We must preach with authority 

We must preach with the author in mind

We must preach the word!

Not only must we preach the word, we must be prepared.  You can not preach the word if you do not know the word.  And you guys know how I feel about reading the Bible and studying the word of God.  I shared with our deacon and ministers yesterday that effective ministers are good stewards of God’s word.  Me singing they study the word and share the word.  It has to be a part of who you are and a part of what you do on a continual and consistent basis.  When you get a new job you try, well at least you should try to learn everything you can about the job so that you can do it to the best of your ability.  You read the manuals, you go to on the job training.  You might even find a mentor to help you get better.  Why should it be any different in your preparation to share the word of God.  That is why Paul told Timothy to be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching.  

If you do not prepare you will not be ready in season and out of season.  

If you don’t prepare you will not be able to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching.  

How many times have you not been prepared to share a word with someone that really needed it. 

How many times have you not been prepared to rebuke that demon?  

How many times have you not been prepared to patiently teach with the love of God.  

Look at your neighbor and say, not on my watch!  If we are going to do our part in saving the world we must be prepared.  And we do so in three ways.

We prepare by paying attention, we pay attention to what’s going on around us and in us while we study the word.  But most importantly we pay attention to what God is telling us while we prepare.

We prepare by acknowledging the source, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

We prepare by anticipating the challenges, we anticipate and prepare for challenges along the way.  There will be challenges.  It will not always be smooth sailing. 

We must be prepare!

Not only must we preach the word, not only must we be prepared, we must press on.  We must understand that…

We are too blessed to be depressed.  

We are too blessed to be stressed.  

We are to blessed to be impressed.  

We are too blessed to deal with mess.  

We are to blessed not to press.  

Paul tells Timothy For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,(in other words, People don’t want a word that corrects them and builds their character, people want a word that makes them feel good so they can continue to do what they’ve always done!) and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  Paul was telling Timothy that you have to press on.

That is why we sing that song that we are on the battlefield for my Lord.  

Because the battlefield is deadly, but we must press on

The battlefield is dangerous, but we must press on

The battlefield is bloody, but we must press on

The battlefield is messy, but we must press on

The battlefield is scary, but we must press on

The battlefield is unknown territory, but we must press on

The battlefield is ugly, but we must press on

Why must we press on?  Because the state of the world is at stake and we must do our part to save a dying world.  

And there is victory on the other side of the battlefield

There is glory on the other side of the battlefield 

There is salvation on the other side of the battlefield 

There is hope on the other side of the battlefield 

There is peace on the other side of the battlefield 

There is a crown on the other side of the battlefield 

And we press on for three reasons…

We must press on because we’ve been assigned, your assignment is where you go.

We must press on because we’ve been appointed, your appointment is what you do when you get there.

We must press on because we’ve been anointed, the anointing gives you the power to do what you’re assigned and appointed to do.

And it is the anointing…    

And its the anointing that will give you the power to press on!

I started this sermon talking about a movie, so I will end this sermon talking about a movie…

The Titanic’s Last Hero by Elesha Coffman

The most famous ship of all time is possibly the Titanic, the supposedly unsinkable ship that went down on its maiden voyage. Many movies have been made and many books written about the fateful journey. Few will include the story of Scottish evangelist John Harper. Harper was a passenger on the Titanic.

In 1912 Harper was traveling to Chicago to take up his appointment as Pastor of Moody Church. He had his daughter Nana on board with him. His wife had died a few years earlier. When the Titanic struck the iceberg and began to sink he put Nana into a lifeboat and then ran throughout the ship yelling “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!” When the ship finally went down he had already given his lifejacket to another passenger. Survivors report that to the very end Harper was witnessing to anyone who would listen. One survivor recalls clinging to one of the ships spars when Harper floated near him.

“Man, are you saved?” cried Harper.

“No I’m not” replied the man.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” pleaded Harper.

The waves carried Harper away and brought him back a little later. “Are you saved now?” asks Harper.

“No, I cannot honestly say that I am” says the man.

Again Harper pleads with him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”.

Shortly afterward Harper went down. The man who survived was one of only six people rescued, but in a public meeting four years later, recounting this episode he said “There, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper’s last convert.”

So my final question to you today church is are you willing to preach, prepare, and press on until your dying breath to do your part in saving the world, because that is exactly what Jesus did for us, and that is what he is calling us to do today.  Or are you so caught up in serving the church that you don’t have time for the lost.  Are you so heavenly bound that you are no earthly good.  Are you so satisfied with your own personal salvation.  Your get out of hell free pass.  That you are not willing to share what you have with someone else.  I hope that is not the case. Because God did not save you just for you.  He saved you so that you could help somebody else get saved.

David went from serving as a shepherd to saving as king

Ruth went from serving as daughter-in-law to saving as Boaz’s wife

Ester went from serving as her uncles niece to saving her people as Queen Hadassah

Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew went from serving as fishermen to saving as fishers of men

James and John went from serving in the family business to saving with Jesus

Levi went from serving Rome as a tax collector to saving as Matthew a follower of Christ

The woman at the well went from serving men to saving men by telling her story

Saul went from serving as a Pharisee to saving as Paul

Jesus went from serving as a man to saving as the son of God 

I just want to know is there anybody out there that is willing to save rather than just serve.  If so, get up on your feet and give God praise… open up your mouth and put your ten stringed instruments together!

It is good to serve, but we must be willing to do our part to save!

We must be willing to preach

We must be willing to prepare

We must be willing to press on!