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!

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

We want grace when we look in the mirror, but cast judgement when we look out the window!

Judging Others

“[a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you. Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

I know that this sermon title is a bit long, but that is the way that I heard it.  But then again this passage of scripture that we draw our text from is a part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.  Which is arguably one of the longest sermons or lessons that Jesus spoke at one particular time.  And to be completely honest this morning, this sermon title and topic is not an original thought.  I heard it in a sermon some time ago, and thought to myself that will preach.  As a matter of fact, that happens quite often with me.  

I will hear something, and think to myself that will preach 

I will see something, and think to myself, that will preach.  

Sometimes when I am in my devotions, I’ll read something, and think that will preach.  

A few weeks ago when we were having our ministers meeting I said something, and then I said, that will preach.  So I paused and wrote a few notes down.

And then there are the times when God specifically tells me, you are going to preach this or that!  

But no matter how the message comes to me I believe with all my heart that it is the Lord giving the message to me.  With that being said, we want to have grace when we look in the mirror, but cast judgement when we look out the window.  In other words, we want God and everyone else to show us grace when we mess up.  

To show us grace when we fall

To show us grace when we make mistake 

To show us grace when we are in the wrong.

To show us grace when we fail

To show us grace for our shortcomings 

To show us grace for our sins 

But when our brothers and sisters are in the wrong we want to judge them unfairly and send them straight to hell.  

That is why we are going to talk about judging others this morning, and what that looks like in the life of the believer.  

This is just one of the things I want us to think about while we are at home.  

One of the things I want us to consider while we are quarantined.  One of the things I want us to contemplate while we are on lock down.  

That way when we come back together again this issue will be dealt with so we won’t have to be bothered with it, and we can do what we need to do!  This issue of judging others, and how quick we are to point out others’ faults without even acknowledging the fact that we have faults of our own can be a real big problem.  I believe that it is called being a hypocrite, and this is exactly what Jesus was talking about in the text today.  Lets take a look.

Judging Others

“[a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you. Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

The Footnotes of the Holman Christian Standard Bible explain…

  • Matthew 7:1 This is not a prohibition of judgment, nor is it a command to stop using godly wisdom, common sense, and moral courage together with God’s written word to discern right from wrong, to distinguish between morality and immorality, and to judge doctrinal truth. There are many judgments that are not only legitimate, but are commanded (cf John 7:24; 1 Cor 5:5, 12; Gal 1:8, 9; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 10); however, you cannot judge another if you are committing the same type of sin.

In other words, Jesus was not condemning all judgement,  he was condemning hypocritical judgment.  There were times when Jesus commanded believers to use discernment or judgement when viewing the actions of others, as he did a few verses later in Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravaging wolves.  That is a judgment call or discernment at its best.  Jesus also warns that the harsh standard  that you use to judge others, God will use to judge you.  He does not want us being hypocrites.  The word hypocrite is rooted in the Greek word hypokrites, which means “stage actor, pretender, dissembler.” So think of a hypocrite as a person who pretends to be a certain way, but really acts and believes the total opposite.  So we have to be careful with judging others hypocritically.  I believe that judgement and/or judging others hypocritically is similar to what a bully does.  

You see normally a bully puts others down, roasts others, talks about others, make others feel bad because they do not feel good about themselves.  

They put others down in order to lift themselves up.  

They tear others down in order to build themselves up.  

This is exactly what the people Jesus was talking about were doing.  

They were judging others to make themselves feel good.  

They were judging others to build themselves up.  

They were not trying to help anybody but themselves.  

And you all know people that do this.  As a matter of fact, you may be guilty of doing it yourself.  

They say things like, I may lie, but at least I don’t steal.  

They say things like, I may cheat on my taxes, but I don’t cheat on my spouse.  

I may do this, but at least I don’t do that.  

I may do that, but at least I don’t do this.  

That is what Jesus was saying when he said how are you going to tell someone to take the speck out of their eye when you have a plank in your own eye.  How are you constantly pointing out the mistakes in others with out acknowledging  your own mistakes.  We all know people like this and they drive us absolutely crazy and we just want to tell them to shut up,  but what if you are the person that needs to shut up?  I have to be honest this morning, I have been guilty of this myself on more than one occasion, and if you are honest this morning you have to admit that you have been guilty of this as well.  But I have good news.  I just don’t want to point out a problem.  I want to offer some solutions to fix the problem.  So here is the relevant question.  How can we stop looking in the mirror wanting grace, but judging others when we look out the mirror?  Too wordy?  How about this?  How can we stop hypocritical judgement?  I am so glad that you asked.  Here are three things that we can do to stop the hypocritical judgement.

First, we must examine ourselves,  it is right there in verse 5, Jesus says, you hypocrite first get the log out of your own eye… you have to examine yourself to get the log out.  

You have to take a long look in the mirror.  

You have to evaluate yourself.  

You have to give yourself a check up.  

Just like women and men have to examine their bodies to check for lumps.  

We have to examine ourselves to check for logs.  

We have to examine our lives for sin.  

Sin we don’t want to see.  

Sin we don’t want to admit that we have.  

Sin that is causing us to be hypocrites.  

We do this in the following three ways.

First we must explore ourselves.  

We have to go beyond the surface and look into our hearts.  

We have to do more than acknowledge the sin.  

We need to figure out the cause of the sin.  

Is it a learned behavior?  

Is it something that we’ve seen over the years and just thought that it was okay?  

Is it a generational curse?  

Do we do it because our daddy did it?  

We have to explore ourselves.

First we must explore ourselves, secondly was must excavate ourselves.  Excavate means to form by hollowing out.  To remove by scooping or digging out.  With the help of the Holy Spirit we have to remove the sin.  We have to ask him to take it way.  This is something that we cannot do on our own.  If we could do it on our own there would be no need for salvation.  There would be no need for a Jesus.  But that is not the case.  I don’t know about you but I need salvation.  I don’t know about you but I need Jesus.  I need the oh I need the. Every hour I need the. Bless me know my savior.  I come to the.

First we must explore ourselves.  Secondly we need to excavate ourselves.  Thirdly we need to exfoliate ourselves.  Exfoliating means to cause a surface to shed material in scales or layers.  It means to smooth things out.  To take away the rough edges.  And how many of you can admit today that because of the sin in your life you are a little rough around the edges.  Well when you examine yourself,  you can explore yourself, which allows you to excavate yourself, and then you can exfoliate yourself. The Holy Spirt can and will smooth out the rough edges of your life.

First we examine ourselves,  secondly we expose ourselves.  We make ourselves vulnerable.  Now you cannot share everything with everybody,  but I do believe in the power of transparency.  Something our politicians struggle with at times.  Why do you think your testimony has so much power.  Because people see that the struggle is real, that you came out of it.  Which gives them hope that they can come out of it too.  I know it seems scary but we need to expose ourselves.  We expose ourselves in the following three ways.

First we expose ourselves by explaining.  

We explain that we are sinners that cannot save ourselves.  

We explain that we are not perfect.  

We explain that we make mistakes. 

We explain that we mess up.  

We explain that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  We explain that we have been through it too.

First we expose ourselves by explaining, secondly we expose ourselves by expressing.  I know these two points sound the same, but they are different.  Explaining is telling the story.  Expressing is sharing with your tone, body language, facial expressions, and actions what the story means to you.  I just got a vision of the clear eyes guy talking about red and dry eyes in is bland and boring voice. “These are dry eyes”!  He is explaining what the drops can do for dry eyes.  There is no expression whatsoever.  But as we expose ourselves we must express it.  People should know how we feel when we expose ourselves. That will give them a better understanding of our situation and their ability to relate to our story.

First we expose ourselves by explaining.  Secondly we expose ourselves by expressing.  Thirdly we expose ourselves by expecting.  We expect more out of ourselves because hopefully we have learned from our mistakes.  You see I have personal philosophy about expectations.  I believe that people will do exactly what you expect them to do, and this same philosophy applies to ourselves.  You or I will do exactly what we expect ourselves to do.  Let me show you what I mean.

If you expect to lay around all day, you’re going to lay around all day

If you expect to do nothing but watch TV, you’re going to do nothing but watch TV

If you expect to exercise, you’re going to exercise 

If you expect to eat right, you’re going to eat right

If you expect to live right, you’re going to live right

If you expect to pull the plank out of your eye to get yourself right before you address the speck in your brother’s eye, you will pull the the plank out of your eye before you address the speck in your brother’s eye.  Its all about what you expect yourself to do, because I believe that you will hold yourself accountable by your expectations.

You see the first two points were about how we deal with our hypocritical judgement, but the last point is about how we deal with our brother and our sister once we take care of our own issues.  That’s why verse five says, You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

It is really difficult for you, me, or anyone to point out the faults in others when we are unable to point out and deal with our own faults.  We must remove the plank out of our own eye, before we can help anyone else remove the speck out of there eye.  We cannot be hypocritical judges.  This is what Jesus was talking about.  So once we remove our own plank then we can help others, and this is how we do it.

We extricate others, extricate means to free someone or something from a constraint or difficultly.  Once we have freed ourselves, it is our responsibility to help free others.  It is our job to let our brothers and sisters know when they are in the wrong, and we must do so in love.  We do so because we love them.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I am messing up.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I make a mistake.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I’ve fallen short.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I offend you.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I’ve gone too far.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I hurt your feelings.  

If you really love me you will extricate me.  And we do this in three ways.

First we extricate others by helping them extract the issue that they are dealing with, the speck in their eye.  Sometimes people do not know that they have a speck in their eye.  They don’t know that they are doing something that they should not be doing.  Its is like when you see something on someone’s face or hanging from their nose and you let them know so they can clean themselves up.  Please don’t call yourself my friend if you’re not willing to tell me when there is something on my face or hanging from my nose.  A real friend or brother or sister in the Lord will let you know in love that you have some area in your life that you need to be extricated from in your life and they will assist you by helping extract those issues.

And once those issues are extracted we extricate others by helping them expel the speck and or the issue.  You see the extracting is bringing it to the surface, making the person aware of the speck or the issue.  Once it has been extracted it needs to be expelled.   Isn’t that what they do with students in school when they don’t want to follow the rules and they been given chance after chance after chance.  They are expelled.  I always loved that scene in the movie Lean on Me…  some people have been dealing with the same issues for years and those issues need to be expelled 

The same stumbling block that needs to be expelled

The same habit

The same addiction

The same lie

The same action

The same thought

The same altercation 

The same excuses

The same setbacks

The same detours

And they need to be expelled and we can assist them with that.

First we extricate others by helping them extract their speck.  Secondly we extricate others by helping them expel their speck.  Thirdly we extricate others by helping them exemplify the fact that God loves us, forgives us, and uses us in spite of our speck. Here is where the rubber meets the road.  

So many people think because they have specks that they can’t be loved and used of God.  

So many people think because they have planks that they can’t be loved and used of God.  

So many people think just because they have issues they can’t be loved and used of God.  

Let me make it plain.  

So many people think because they have sin they can’t be loved and used by God.  

But that is not the case.  God loves and can use anyone he chooses to love and use.  

It does not matter how imperfect the package.  

It does not matter how damaged the package.

It does not matter how jacked up the package.  

God desires to use each and everyone of us and we can be help others exemplify this fact once we extricate them and help them extract and expel the specks, planks, and issues of their lives.

We want grace when we look in the mirror, but cast judgement when we look out the window.  But we can get over this issue if we examine ourselves, expose ourselves, and extricate others. Just something to think about while we’re sitting at home during this quarantine.  

Let’s come back better than we were before this all started.  

Let’s pray that God will relieve us of our hypocritical judgmental attitudes and actions.  

Let’s be the women and men that God has called us to be.

Here it is, let’s be the church that God has called us to be.

Now give God a hand clap of praise.

Still I Rise

Still I Rise

Mark 16:5-6

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Force bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a floundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater when he is captured by the Japanese and taken to a Japanese prison camp where he faces unimaginable cruelty  and brutality. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. The movie Unbroken, based on this true story, is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.  He was able to rise out of an unimaginable situation!

I used to mime to the song, still I rise by Yolanda Adams.  As a matter of fact, I believe I mimed to that song last year for Bishop Clarke’s pastoral anniversary service.  I used to love to minister to this song because it describes that no matter what life throws at you with the power of God on your side you can rise.  Here are a few lyrics from the song.

Shattered but I’m not broken 

Wounded but time will heal 

Heavy the load the cross I bear 

Lonely the road I try I dare 

Shaken but here I stand 

Weary still I press on 

Long are the nights the tears I cry 

Dark are the days no sun in the sky

Yet still I rise 

Never to give up 

Never to give in 

Against all odds 

Yet still I rise 

High above the clouds 

At times I feel low 

Yet still I rise 

Sometimes I’m troubled 

But not is despair 

Struggling I make my way through 

Trials they come to make me strong 

I must endure I must hold on 

Yet still I rise 

Never to give up 

Never to give in 

Against all odds 

Yet still I rise 

High above the clouds 

At times I feel Low 

Yet still I rise 

I stopped by this Easter Sunday to let my SCC Family and those watching online know that it does not matter what your situation is.  

It does not matter what the circumstance is.  

It does not matter what you have been through and it does not matter what you are going through.  

No matter how many times you have fallen.  

No matter how many times you have been knocked down, you are not knocked out.  

You can still rise.  

You may take licking but you will keep on ticking because you can still rise just like Jesus did in the text to day.  

He had been beaten.  

He had been whipped.  

He had been flogged.  

He had been ridiculed.  

He had been talked about.  

He had been mistreated.  

He had been spat upon.  

He had been punched in the face.  

He had been impaled in the skull by the crown of thorns forced onto his head.  

He had been forced to carry the cross.  

He had been nailed to that same cross.  

He had been hung between two criminals.  

He had been pierced in his side.  

He hung on the cross for six long hours.  

He gave up the ghost and died.  

They placed him in a grave.  

And three day later he rose with all power in his hands.  

So when the women came to anoint his body for burial he was gone.  They were afraid that someone had stolen his body, but the angel of The Lord said, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And just like Jesus rose over two thousand years ago assuring us of our salvation, if we are saved, if we are washed in the blood, if we are members of the fraternity or sorority of the twice born, we to can rise out of any and every situation or circumstance that we may be facing.  Because Jesus rose we can rise!  So the relevant question is, how do we rise.

First, We rise because of God’s greatness.  It takes a great God to rise from the grave and that’s exactly what our great God did!

We rise because we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.  

We rise because no weapon formed against us shall prosper.  

We rise because greater is he that is me than he that is in the world.

We rise because of the greatness of God!  Why do you think that song was so powerful and popular.  Nobody greater, nobody greater, nobody greater than you.  And you do know that there is nobody greater than God. 

Not your mother or your father.  

Not your sister or your brother. 

There is nobody greater than God.  

Not President Trump!  

Not Barack Obama.  

Not Lebron James.  

Not Steph Curry.  

Not Carson Wentz.  

Not Oprah Winfrey.  

Not Superman.  

Not Batman or Spider-Man. 

Not Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny!  

Nobody is greater than God.  We rise because of God’s greatness.

Secondly, We rise because of God’s grace.  Grace is defined as God’s unmerited favor.  In other words, we receive favor we do not deserve.  

That is why the grace of God is so amazing.  

That is why the grace of God looks beyond our faults and sees our needs.  

That is why the grace of God is sufficient enough to keep us.  

Is anyone in the room grateful for God’s grace.  

Because you know that it was nothing that you did that saved you.

It was nothing that you did that brought you out.

It was nothing that you did to bless you.

It was nothing you did to deserve it.

There is nothing we could do to deserve it.

We rise because of God’s Grace.

Lastly, We rise because of God’s glory.  And here is the crazy thing, we don’t even rise for ourselves.  We rise to give God glory.   We don’t rise to glorify ourselves, we rise to o glorify God.

So you came out of the storm, give God the glory

You’ve fallen but you got back up, give God the glory

You graduated from college

You got the job

You got the raise

You overcame depression 

You survived the abuse

You walked away from the accident

You came out of the chemo

You survived the scandal, give God the glory.

We rise because of God’s glory!

That’s great Pastor Brian we rise because of God’s greatness, grace, and glory! 

So what do we do after we rise?  In other words, why do we rise?

First, We rise to live.  Jesus rose to live again just like he said that he would. And he rose with all power in his hands.  So we rise so that we may live.    Let me pause for a moment and say that we don’t rise to live the way we lived before we rose.  That is what’s so significant about baptism, water baptism represents an outward expression of an inward experience.  We go in the water as a symbol of Jesus’ death and burial and we come out of the water as a symbol of his resurrection.  In other words we cannot rise and do the things we did before.

We don’t rise to talk about people

We don’t rise to lie, cheat, and steal

We don’t rise to doubt God

We don’t rise to dishonor our leaders

We don’t rise to disrespect those in authority 

We rise to live.  We rise to live the life that God has called us to live.  And he called us to live a life of abundance.  Not abundance in the things of this world, but abundance in the things of God.  We rise to live!  Does anybody want to live this morning.

You shall live and not die. 

Secondly, We rise to love.  Because we live and we live because of God and God is love we rise to love.  One of God’s greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Now this is extremely hard for some of us because we don’t love ourselves.  

So how can you love anyone else when you don’t love yourself.  

How can you care for anyone else when you don’t care about yourself.  

How can you take care of anyone else when you don’t take care of yourself.  

The devil is a liar!  

I rebuke the spirit of self doubt this morning.  

I rebuke the spirit of low self esteem this morning.  

I rebuke the spirit of self hate this morning.  

I rebuke the spirit of depression this morning. And I plead the blood of Jesus over anyone that does not love themselves this morning.  You are lovable and you deserve to be loved.  God so loved the world….  And he would have sent his son if it was just you. That’s how much God loves us.  And we must love one another the same way.  And not just with our words but with our actions.  We have to show people that we love them.   You can tell me you love me all you want, but until you show me that you love me I won’t truly know that you do!  We rise to love! 

We rise to live, we rise to love, and last but not least, We rise to lure. We rise to live so that we can rise to love and we rise to love so that we can rise to lure!  Don’t let this be another Easter Sunday that you use as an excuse to to get a new dress or a new suit to look good at church or online.  Let this be the Easter that you decide to be the woman or man of God that God has called you to be and begin to lure people to Christ.  A fishing lure is used to attract fish to the hook, so the fisher can real them in.  And God has called all of us to be fishers of men.  

So what are you going to do to lure people to Christ.  

What are you going to do to help save a dying world.

What are you going to do in the kingdom

What are you going to do in the church

What are you going to do at school

What are you going to do at work

What are you going to do in your neighborhood 

What are you going to do in your home to lure people to Christ 

Still we rise but what will we rise and do

You must rise to live

You must rise to love

You must rise to lure

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

So no matter what you’re going through remember still I rise

The storms may come

The billows may roll

The haters will hate

And the rumors will fly

They may scandalize my name

They may knock me down 

I may fall down

I might mess up

But still I rise because of God’s greatness, because of God’s grace, and because of God’s glory.  

I rise to live 

I rise to love 

I rise to lure

Still I rise!

And at this very moment I rise to give God glory

I rise to give God praise

I rise to worship the God of my salvation 

I rise to lift up the name of Jesus 

Is it there anybody here that is glad about the whole thing 

Noah once asked me, why is it called Good Friday when Jesus was killed.  I explained to him that although Jesus died it was good for us because his blood saved us…

And early Sunday morning

Jesus rose from the grave

Just like he said he would 

Defeating death

With all power in his hands

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today…

And I just want to know…

Is there anybody here is that is excited about the fact 

That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow

And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

If so, magnify the lord with me

Let us exalt his name together

Stand to your feet and put your ten stringed instruments together

Stand to your feet and give God praise

Give God praise for his greatness 

Give God praise for his grace

Give God praise for his glory

Give God praise because you rise to live

Give God praise because you rise to love

Give God praise because you rise to lure

Give God praise because Still you rise!

Somebody say still I rise!

The first time and the last time.

The First Time and the Last Time

Luke 22:14-20 and John 13:3-5 

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a]

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

How many of you remember the first time?  Now get your mind out of the gutter… I’m not talking about that first time.  But you remember…

The first time you rode a bike.

The first time you drove a car.

The first time you were left home alone.

The first time you had ice cream.

The first time you rode a roller coaster.

The first time you shot a gun.

The first time you saw him or her.

The first time you went on a date.

The first time you danced with someone.

The first time you kissed someone. 

The first time you got in trouble.

The first time you had your heart broke.

The first time you won.

The first time you lost.

The first time you did it by yourself. 

You see where I am going with this, the first time is usually special and we normally remember the first time.

What about the last time?

The last time you saw your dad.

The last time you talked to your mom.

The last time you went to work.

The last time you felt that way.

The last time they held you.

The last time you looked into their eyes.

The last time you talked to them.

The last time you said I love you. 

The last time they said they loved you.

The last time!

In many cases the last time can be just as special as the first time.  Depending on who the first and the last time is with.  In our text today Jesus is sharing some very special first and last time moments with his disciples.  Shall we take a look…

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a]

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Now these passages of scripture are very familiar stories in the Bible.  Communion and/or the Lord’s supper whatever you choose to call it, and the washing of the disciples feet are two Christian ordinances described in these stories, but what we may not realize is that it was the first time and the last time that Jesus participated in these activities with his disciples.  What a moment this must have been for the disciples.  I wonder what they were thinking.  

What do you mean this represents your body and your blood?  Why does he keep saying that he’s leaving?  

Where on earth is he going?  

Well, he is not going anywhere on earth.  He was going to prepare a place for them and for us.  And what were they thinking when he was washing there feet.  Well we know what outspoken Peter was thinking when he said,  No Lord you will never wash my feet. And Jesus says if I don’t wash your feet than you will no part with me.  To which Peter responds, not just my feet wash my hands and my head as well.  But then again this was the same Peter that told the Lord he would lay down his life for Jesus, but denied him three times before the crow of the rooster.  But no matter what the disciples where thinking.  No matter what was going through their minds. This was the first and the last time that they would be with Jesus like this.

So, I want to share with you three firsts and lasts that Jesus shared with his disciples, then we will go to the table, and I will bid you good evening.

First, it was the first and the last time Jesus served the disciples like this.  He served them the Lord’s supper explaining what each of the elements represented.  Then he served them by washing their feet.  And we discussed this last week when I told you they needed and we need the suffering servant.  But I can not express this point enough that Jesus did not come to be serve, he came to serve.  And on this last night together with his disciples he served them in a way that he had never served them before for the first time and the last time.  His service to them is an example of how the people of God should serve.  

How Christians should serve.  

How ministers should serve.  

How elders should serve.  

How deacons should serve.  

How trustees should serve.  

How church boards should serve.  

How pastors should serve.  

How evangelist should serve.  

How preachers should serve.  

How prophets should serve.  

How apostles should serve.  

How bishops should serve.  

I don’t know what it is about some people that get a title and think they should be served instead of serving,  well I got news for you baby if Jesus serves.  

If Immanuel, God with us serves.  

If the lamb of God serves.  

If the son of the living God serves.  

If Yahweh serves.  

If Jesus Christos serves we should be serving too, no matter what tittle we have earned or given ourselves.  Yes I said it and I’m not taking it back.  Some people are expecting to get served based on titles and credentials that they did not even earn.  They just thought it would be cool to call themselves that.  But it is going to be a sad moment when God says, I never knew you!  But those who serve with a sincere heart will hear the master say, well done good and faithful servant, come on in and take your rest.  It was the first time and the last time he served the disciples like this!

First, it was the first and the last time Jesus served the disciples like this.  Secondly, it was the first and the last time Jesus spoke to his disciples like this.  He gave them very explicit directions and information about what he was doing and what it all meant.  When he was serving the lords supper he told them as he broke the bread that this bread represents my body that was broken for you.  He told them as he passed the cup that this represents my blood that was shed for you.  And he told them as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me.  As he washed their feet he explained to them what he was doing and he also told them that they should wash one another’s feet as well.  He wanted them to know that none of them was more important than the other.  And not only should they be serving each other they should be serving the world.  He had a very intimate and private conversation with his disciples.  Has God ever had an intimate and private conversation with you?  When he told you exactly what he wanted you to do for him.  You know what I am talking about because for years you’ve been trying to act like the conversation never happen or God must have had you mistaken for somebody else.  But I stopped by to let you know that he was talking to you.  It is time for you to do what God has called and told you to do.  And if you haven’t heard him speaking to you yet that just means that you need to spend some one on one time with the lord, close your mouth and listen to him talk.  So much of our time with God is filled with our wish list and telling him our problems, our needs, and our desires.  And there is nothing wrong with that, but every now and then we need to shut our mouths, be still and listen to God.  That is what the disciples did that night, and Jesus spoke to them in a way he had never spoken before for the first time and the last time.

First, it was the first and the last time Jesus served the disciples like this.  Secondly, it was the first and the last time Jesus spoke to his disciples like this.  Thirdly, it was the first and the last time Jesus saw his disciples like this.  What are you saying preacher?  I am saying that he he knew Judas was going to betrayed him, and he still served him the supper, and he still washed his feet.  Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times, and he still served him the Lords supper and washed his feet.  

He knew that most of his disciples would scatter like roaches when the lights are turned on, but he still serve them the supper, and washed there feet.  In spite of what he saw in his disciples he still served them the supper and washed their feet.  In spite of what he saw he was still determined to do what he came to do. You still don’t see it do you.  It was the first time and the last time he saw them like this because in less than 24 hours he would be arrested.  

In less than 24 hours he would be convicted in a make shift trial by a weak judge and a stacked jury.  

In less than 24 hours the same people that were screaming Hosanna last week would be yelling crucify him.  

In less than 24 hours he would be tortured, beat, kicked, struck, spat on, mocked, ridiculed.  

In less than 24 hours he would be nailed to a cross.  

He less than 24 hours he would be pierced in his side.  

In less then 24 hours he would die for their sins and ours.  

And he saw them for the first time and the last time like that because when he seen them again he was the risen savior.  When he seen them again their sins were washed away.  

When he seen them again they were forgiven. 

When he seen them again they were redeemed.  

When he seen them again they were saved. 

Is there anybody in the room and online excited about the fact that the first time and the last time God seen you before you gave your life to him, He knew that you would saved because of what Jesus did for the first time and the last time.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me happy.

I don’t know about you but that gets me excited.

I don’t know about you but that tickles my fancy.

I don’t know about you but that makes me want to shout.

I don’t know about you but that makes me want to kick my heels up.

Oh magnify the lords with me, let us exalt his name together.

Because from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same

The name of Jesus is worthy to be praised.

He served them like never before for the first time and last time.

He spoke to them like never before for the first time and last time.

He saw them like never before for the first time and last time!

And we need to give him praise like its our first and our last time!