Got Sin?

Romans 7:14-25

 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!   So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[b] a slave to the law of sin.

Does any one remember the old milk commercials where the little boy or girl would be drinking a class of milk looking in the mirror and seeing themselves all grown up in the future?  They would be talking to themselves and saying something like, “I am not going to be this size forever, as a matter of fact I am drinking milk, and I am growing stronger everyday.  I even remember the commercial that simply stated milk does a body good, pass it on.  Well in 1993 they shrunk a 30-60 second commercial into two words, “Got Milk” you would see it on billboards, in magazines and news papers, and on television.  Some superstar like Michael Jordan or Madonna would have a great big white milk mustache and the headline or caption would read, “Got Milk” to stress the importance of drinking milk.  The campaign  re-emerged in 2014 with newer faces like Serena Williams and Dwight Howard.  I have even seen Pittsburgh Steelers fans with T-shirts that said, “Got Rings” referring to the number of super bowl rings they have compared to other teams in the NFL.  Which many Steeler fans believe will soon be seven and counting.  And it may happen soon the way they are playing this year.  I have even seen Christians with bumper stickers and t-shirts that say, “Got Jesus” as to imply if you do not have Jesus, let me introduce Him to you.  And, this week as I pondered over what God would have me speak about this morning it came to me.  “Got Sin?”

And its funny because although we all have been saved from sin.

Although we all struggle with sin.

Although we all have our issues with sin. 

Although we all have are hang-ups about sin. 

Although we try to act as if we don’t have sin.

And we look down on people, who are living in sin, 

outwardly committing sin.

Forgetting that we are all members of the X family and I am not talking about Malcolm X.  I am talking about the family of…

X alcoholics!

X drug addicts!

X fornicators!

X benders of the truth, or tellers of little white lies, or let’s just call it like it is, X liars!

X adulterers!

X gossipers!

X fighters!

X thieves!

X gamblers!

X whoremongers!

X player players!

X woman beaters!

X child abusers!

X gang bangers!

X instigators!

X haters!

And some of us are not an X anything because we are still doing the same old things, only we do them behind closed doors when no one is watching.  News Flash, God sees and knows everything.  

Although we are saved sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost we still struggle with sin, and at the same time we never talk about sin.  Well today we are going to talk about sin.  The first step to fixing a problem is admitting that you have a problem.  Isn’t that what they tell drug addicts and alcoholics that are trying to kick the habit of using drugs and alcohol?  So let’s keep it real today.  And I will start it off myself…  “My name is Pastor Brian Kelly Holland and I struggle with sin!”  Repeat after me, “I struggle with sin!” Well sin begins in the mind.  It takes root in the mind.  First you get an image of a sin in your mind.  Then you start to think about that sin over and over and over and over again, and the next thing you know you are committing that sin.  That is why we have to guard our minds from sin.  You cannot let anything and everything into your mind.  For example, if you are constantly listening to music about a certain thing.  If you are consistently watching movies and television shows about a certain thing.  If you are in the habit of reading books and magazines about that certain thing.  You are going to start thinking about that thing, fantasizing about that thing, and wanting to do that thing.  The next thing you know you will be doing that thing.  You will wake up the next morning wonder how in the world did this happen again?  Then you’ll be at the alter next Sunday again, saying to yourself, why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  Its because you have not been guarding your mind.  You have to guard your mind!  I say this all the time, but as a child of God you cannot watch what everyone else is watching, and listen to what everyone else is listening to.  You have to guard your mind!  But, we are not alone, even Paul the great Christian persecutor turned mighty Apostle had issues with sin.

Shall we look at the text?  In the 7th chapter of Romans, or the letter that Paul wrote to the church in Rome, Paul is explaining his personal experience with sin to the church.  As preachers, teachers, leaders, and witnesses it is extremely important that we make ourselves transparent to the people we are ministering to.  We cannot act all high and mighty.  We can’t be so heavenly bound that we’re no earthly good.  People need to see that we have issues too.  We mess up too.  We make mistakes too.  We are human too. There is no red cape under our robe or suit, and we do not have a big “SC” on our chest for super Christian.  

But back to the text, without getting all deep and philosophical, (which would be easy to do with this scripture) Paul was simply telling the church in Rome, I struggle with sin too.  I do the things I don’t want to do.  And I do not do the things that I should do.  I know what is right, but for some reason I keep doing what’s wrong.  Does this sound familiar to anybody?

Paul goes on to say that this happens not because of him, but because of the sin living within him.  Listen, this is not an excuse for Paul’s behavior, but a statement of the great control sin can have over a Christian’s life.  Notice that I said can, can means that it is only a possibility.  Not that it is a definite.  

I can get sick and die, but that is only one option.  The other option is that I can be healed from my sickness and go on to live a prosperous life.  

I can cheat on the test.  Or, I can study using the ability that God has given me and pass it on my own.  

I can continue to live with my sin, or I can make a decision to live a better life.

My bible tells me that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.  God will not put more on you than you are able to bear, and when temptation comes he will always provide a way out for me.  

When Donnie McClurkin came out with the song we fall down, but we get up.  A number of people thought Donnie was saying it was all right to sin, but I don’t believe that is what he was trying to say at all.  Even in the scripture text, someone could easily bend and twist the scripture to say that sin is OKAY, but that was not Paul’s intention.  Instead of acting like sin does not exist or that it is not an issue because you are saved.  Like many of us do.  We try to keep the sin behind closed doors, to sweep it under the rug.  To keep the skeletons in the closet.  Paul warns us that if we are not careful sin can and will control and destroy our lives again.  Yes, Donnie said we fall down, but we get up, but I believe he was trying to tell us that once we get up we rely on God through prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost not to fall down again.  It is like a parent warning a child of the dangers of playing with fire or touching a hot stove.  They do not want their children hurt so they warn them.  Paul is warning us of the danger of sin, and if we don’t talk about it we are more likely to become overtaken by it.  Sometimes I think we believe that if we do not talk about something, that it really doesn’t exist.  If we just ignore the issues, problems, and situations they will go away.  

We don’t talk to our kids about the dangers of drugs because we don’t think that our children will ever try drugs.  Then we ‘re so disappointed and heart broken when we find out they’re experimenting or even worse, addicted to drugs.  We don’t talk to our children about not having sex before they’re married, because we assume that they will not have sex.  Not my baby! But when they come home with a sexually transmitted disease or a positive pregnancy test we want to scream and yell.  

We don’t think our Christian brothers and sisters will back slide so we do not talk about our weaknesses and concerns with sin, and when they fall we want to get judgmental, act like we are better than them, and tell all of their business.  Did you hear about brother or sister Jones…? But if we would just talk about the issue of sin we wouldn’t have to deal with so many of these situations.

Got Sin?  Yes, we got sin.  So what do we do about it Pastor Brian?  I am so glad that you asked.  Here are three things that you can do with your sin…

  1. Stop:  I know it seems simple, but I am a simple kind of preacher.  As I’ve told you many times before.  Whatever it is that you are doing you need to stop doing it. Lying, cheating, fornicating, disobediance, defiance, cutting up at school, being disrespectful, whatever the sin is just STOP!
    1. Repent, meaning to turn away from the sin and ask God to forgive you.  I once told a coworker  that you cannot better yourself if you continue to hang in the environment you’re trying to get away from.  For example if you are trying to quit smoking you have to quit hanging around smokers.  If you are trying to quit drinking you have to stop hanging around people who drink.  So you don’t just repent in your mind, you must physically turn away from the sin as well.
    2. Return to your proper relationship with God, you have to return to your first love.  Because when you’re sinning you know your relationship with God is not what it should be.  You cannot go to God the way you want to go to God because sin is standing in your way.
    3. Replace it!  They always tell addicts that they need to replace the old habit with something new.  For example, if you were an over eater they tell you to exercise.  If you’re a drinker they will encourage you to drink coffee or water.  So whatever you’re struggling with you need to stop doing it and replace it with something else.  You could easily replace the sin with the word, with your worship, and with your witness.
  1. Drop:  You need to drop it.  You see sometimes we will stop doing something, but we will continue to hold on to it.  Now don’t look at me like I’m crazy you know exactly what I am talking about.  You stopped sinning, but you are still holding on to the memories.  The good old days.  Now in the words of the great theologians Boys II Men, I know it hard to say goodbye to yesterday but you need to Drop it like its hot!  The sin that is.  I think the biggest part of getting over the wrongs that we’ve done is forgiving ourselves and letting things go.  You messed up!  Get over it and move on. 
    1. Let go of the pain
    2. Let go of the guilt
    3. Let go, and let GOD!!! (I’m not where I want to be, but I am not what I used to be.  Please be patient with me, God is not through with me yet!)

3.  Roll:  Now that you have stopped the sin, and now that you have dropped the sin it is time to roll from the sin.  It is time to move on.  God has great things in store for you and you cannot get all that God has for you if you stay in the same place.  You have to roll.  That’s why in Philippians 3:13-14 Paul states, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  We need to roll.  

  1. Roll on by preparing- you must be prepared for the next level in Christ, you must be prepared for the next thing the devil throws your way.  The minute you climb one mountain, there is another one to climb.  So roll on in preparation.
  2. Roll on by praying- if any Christian is truly going to be triumphant over sin he or she must do so on their knees.  You need to be committed to stating in constant and consistent communication with God!
  3. Roll on by praising-I don’t think there is any better way to overcome sin than to praise God!  So praise him in the good times.  Praise him in the bad times.  Praise him on the mountain and praise him in the valley.   Praise him in the morning, praise him in the noon time praise him when the sun goes down!

Yes, you were not hearing things, I used fire safety rules to describe what you must do if you’ve Got Sin, which is so appropriate because the bottom line Saints is that the wages of sin is death, and I don’t know about you, but I do not want to spend eternity burning in hell in the fiery pit.  I told you last week I can’t do hell twice!  I have gone through enough hell on earth already.  So if you are not afraid to admit that you have sin.  And you are tired of the sin trying to control your life, and you are ready to walk in your calling to achieve all that God has in store for you.  

If you are ready for your break through.  

If you are ready for the next level in your Christian walk, just stop, drop, and roll.

If you are tired of…

Doing the same old things.

Getting high and drunk.

Sleeping around.

Lying.

Cheating.

Gossiping.

Stirring up trouble.

Stealing.

Watching pornography.

Being unforgiving.

Not being obedient.

Not following leadership.

Being disrespectful.

Not following the will of God.

Living in sin just stop, drop, and roll

I would rather stop, drop, and roll than end up in hell.  So with that being said it should be easy to stop, drop, and roll if you know that you’ve got…

Got a savior.

Got the alpha.

Got the omega.

Got the comforter.

Got the lily of the valley.

Got grace.

Got mercy.

Got favor.

Got joy.

Got peace that passes all understanding.

Got a doctor in the hospital.

Got a lawyer in the court room.

Got God on your side.

Got hope.

Got the healer.

Got the provider.

Got the prince of peace.

Got the beginning.

Got the end.

Got the creator.

Got the mind regulator.

Got the original promise keeper.

Got the almighty.

Got the maker of heaven and earth.

Got the father.

Got the son.

Got the Holy Ghost.

Got Jesus.

Got God’s faithfulness. 

I can never repay you Lord…

We can stop, drop, and role because we have God’s faithfulness.

Everybody standing.

Look at you neighbor and say Stop, Drop, and Roll.  That is another thing that the church is lacking.  Accountability.  We need to hold one another accountable.   If you see your brother or sister struggling with sin, you are supposed to help them, not talk about them.  You need a prayer partner.  Someone you can trust, who will not tell your business. That’s why that song by Hezikiah Walker was so powerful.  You pray for me. 

I’ll pray for you.

I love you.

I need you to survive.

I won’t harm you with words from my mouth.

I love you.

I need you to survive.

It is His will that every need will be supplied.

You are important to me.

I need you to survive.

Look at your neighbor one last time.  

Tell them to stop the sin.  

Tell them drop the sin.  

Tell them to roll from the sin.  

I Can’t DO Hell Twice!

Romans 6:19-23

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

In 2002 Jennifer Lopez, or J-Lo as many of us call her today, stared in a movie entitled ENOUGH.  In the movie J-Lo’s character, Slim, thought she found and married her Mr. Right.  They had a romantic courtship, the big beautiful expensive wedding, bought the perfect white house with a white picket fence. They had a precious little girl.  She was a stay at home mom and homemaker.  They were living the American dream.  But, before she knew it her American dream turned into a nightmare.  She caught her husband cheating on her, and when she confronted him about the affair he beat her.  Anytime she challenged him he would hit or abuse her in some way.  When she tried to leave he threatened to kill her.  When she finally had ENOUGH, with the help of her friends she managed to escape from her abusive husband and she vowed to never go back.  She recreated herself  and changed her and her daughter’s identity.  She got a trainer who taught her how to fight in order to protect herself if her husband ever found her and her daughter.  She was always anxious and looking over her shoulder because she never knew if her husband would find her or not.  So of course at the end of the movie he found her, but little did he know how prepared she was.  And she kicked his butt!  I mean she beat him down like the Lakers beat the Heat. Like the Saints beat the Buccaneers.  Like the Dodgers beat the Rays and how I hope my Eagles will beat the Giants today. And the final blow she delivered to him sent him falling to his death. She was determined that she’d had ENOUGH.  She had experienced hell on earth in her marriage and there was no way that she could do hell twice.  Look at your neighbor and tell them I can’t do hell twice.  Now just like J-Lo in ENOUGH, there has to come a point in your life when enough is enough.  

When you have to get tired of going though the same drama over and over again.  

Going through the same situation and the same circumstances time and time again.  

Continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. (Personal Hell) 

So maybe it is time to try something else, something new, and something different.  

Come on and say amen, you know that I am telling the truth.

I know that you have trials and tribulations.

Tests and situations.

You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You’re always in the wrong place, with the wrong person at the wrong time.

If it weren’t for bad luck you’d have no luck at all.

You’ve been there done that and you have the t-shirt.

It seems like as soon as you get out of one storm you are heading into another.

Well I woke up early this morning to let someone know that you do not have to do hell twice.  

God is still on the throne.  

He still sits high and he looks low.  

And greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  

So it does not matter what hell that you have experienced on earth.  You do not have to continue to experience it anymore. 

Now by no means am I trying to dismiss your situation and your circumstance, but there comes a time in each and everyone of our lives when enough is enough.  And I am talking to everyone in the room, including the man holding the microphone.  

Now when Paul writes this letter to the church in Rome he was on possibly his third missionary trip, and at the time he was in Corinth and could not get away.  So he decided to write a letter to the church in Rome to prepare them for his future visit.  The theme of the letter is the gospel, God’s plan for salvation and righteousness for all mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike.  In the particular portion of scripture that was read for your hearing this morning, Romans 6:19-23 Paul is conveying to the church that before they were saved they where slaves to sin.  They freely committed sinful and lustful acts. They were basically living in hell on earth, on their way to hell and they didn’t even know it.  Just like when we were in the world.  Some of us were going to hell on scholarship, all expenses paid!  We were totally committed to doing whatever it was that we wanted to do.  And we did it just like Lionel Richie, “All night long!”  Whether it was drinking, smoking, clubbing, or in the words of Marvin Gay, “getting it on”.  We did it all night long!  We just got paid, it was Friday night, we were party hunting and feeling right!   But Paul was trying to get the church in Rome to understand that now that you are saved, the same way that you submitted yourself to sin and an unholy life style is the same way that you must submit your self to Christ and become a slave of God.  

So beloved I ask you this morning.

Why continue to do the same old things that caused you so much pain?

Why continue on the same path that caused so much destruction in your life?

Why continue to stay in a situation that is not good for you?

Why continue to take the abuse?

Why continue to be taken for granted and advantage of?

Why continue in the addiction?

Why continue to be depressed?

Why continue to be broke, busted and disgusted?

You are free from the bondage of sin. 

So, why do you continue to act like you are still in chains?  

No matter what the situation or the circumstance the wages of sin are still the same!  And in this passage of scripture Paul lets the church know that the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  So look at your neighbor one more time and tell them I can’t do hell twice.  I’ve been through too much hell already in my life and I just can’t do it again.  I spent enough time in hell on earth before I got saved.  As a matter of fact, let’s be real this morning some of us have been through hell and back since we’ve been saved.  

The bad marriage was after salvation.

The bankruptcy was after salvation.

The abuse was after salvation.

The addiction was after salvation.

The unemployment was afternoon salvation.

The sexual assault was after salvation.

The depression was after salvation.

The awful work experience was after salvation.

The racial discrimination was after salvation.

The social injustice was after salvation.

You see, that’s what we never want to talk about.  

We want to act like everything has been peachy keen since we got saved.  

We want to act like we’ve been saved all of our lives.  

We want to act like our stuff doesn’t stink.  

We want to act like we have everything under control.  

But we can’t continue to fake the funk.  

We have to keep it real.  

God never promised that the road would be easy, but he did promise that He would never leave us and that he would never forsake us.  

That is why everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.  Not because my life is problem free, but that in spite of my problems I still have joy and a peace that passes all understanding because God is with me.  I am never alone.  So why in the world would I want to do hell twice?  

Why in the world would anyone want do hell twice?   

Why in the world would we not run to Jesus and surrender all to him?  Well I don’t know why anyone would want to experience hell once let alone twice, but here are three reasons why I can’t do hell twice and I will bid you good day!

The first reason we can’t do hell twice is that we are free from sin.  In Romans 6:22 it states now that you have been set free from sin and have become a slave to God.  The chains have been removed. Many people continue to stay in the situations they are in because they do not feel that they are worthy to be saved or work in the kingdom because of the sins of their past. They refused to get involved or be used by God because they think that they are not good enough.  Well the truth of the matter is, no one is worthy, and no one is truly good enough.  

That’s what makes God so great is that he uses us in spite of ourselves.  

That is why his grace is so amazing because he looks beyond my faults and sees my needs.  

I remember when my one of my best friends Tim White preached a sermon at First Church of God in Washington Court House called What’s Holding You Back.  I remember the topic because he preached it at Washington Court House about a week or two before he accepted the call to become their Pastor.  The basic theme of the sermon was, what’s holding you back from being used by God.  And one of the members of the church asked Tim, “What’s holding you back from becoming our pastor?”  And many times what’s holding us back is sin, or guilt from our past sins.  

Well I stopped by this morning to let you know that you are FREE.  You are no longer bound by sin.  

You are no longer bound to sin.  

That is why God sent Jesus, because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.  And Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.  When God looks at us all he sees is the blood!  You are free!  Because of the blood! Is anyone grateful for the blood?  

I am free.  

Praise the Lord, I’m free.  

I’m no longer bound.  

No more chains holding me.  

My soul is resting.  

It’s just a blessing.  

Praise the Lord Hallelujah I’m free.

Not only are we free from sin, but also we are free to live.  Romans 6:22 continues to state, the benefit you reap leads to holiness.  In other words, since you are free from sin and have become a slave to God, the benefit you get is living a holy life.  Holiness means free from sin or purified from sin.  That is why we say the he washed me whiter than snow, or the blood cleansed me. 

What can wash away my sins?  

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  

What can male me whole again?  

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  

Oh precious is the flow. 

That makes me bright as snow. 

No other fount I know.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus! 

And this cleansing blood allows us to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  

It allows us to live the Christian life.

It allows us to live a blessed life.

It allows us to live a life of favor.

It allow us to live out the life that God has planned for us to live.

It allows us to live a life of promise.

It allows us to live a life of purpose.

It allows us to live a life of holiness.  

It allows us to live a free life.

Does anyone in the house want to live a free life.  As Mary Mary sang years ago, take the shackles off my feet so I can dance.  I just want to praise him.  God has taken the shackles off of your life, so live a free life, and praise him, praise him, praise him!

So not only are we free from sin, not only are we free to live, but we have received the free gift of eternal life.  Let’s look at Romans 6:23, for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  In the New American Standard it states that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay for a gift.  

A gift is something that someone gives to you because they care about you.  It is not paid for, and it is not earned.  The giver freely gives it.  If I buy the gift that someone gives to me it is not a gift, it is something that I purchased.  If I do some kind of work or favor to earn the gift than it isn’t truly a gift.  It is payment for the work or the favor I performed.  Now maybe Paul worded it like this because he knew there would be a day and time when there would be gifts that would not be free.  Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.  

Someone offers you a great job, but you have to compromise your character to accept the job.  (The job offer)

Someone lets you order the lobster and steak off of the menu, but you will have to sleep with them in return.  And in some cases you don’t even have to buy lobster you could get lucky for a happy meal.  But that is another topic for another day.  

Someone will marry you if you buy them the five-bedroom home with the three-car garage and the latest Lexus.  

In other words, I will do this for you if you do that for me. 

I will give you this if you give me that!  

I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that God doesn’t operate like that?  He has given us the greatest gift in the world.  

The life, death, and resurrection of His son insuring that if we just believe we shall have eternal life.  The free gift of eternal life.  And we could never ever pay Him for that!  

You can’t be God given, no matter how hard you try.   

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

That just tickles my fancy.  

I mean I get to spend eternity with God.  

The maker of heaven and earth.  

The alpha and the omega. 

The beginning and the end.

The author and finisher of our faith.

The captain of our salvation.

The bright and morning star.  

The lily of the valley.  

The rose of Sharon.  

The balm of Gilead.

The father.

The son.

The Holy Spirit.

Check out this quick story about heaven and hell.

A man spoke with the Lord about Heaven and Hell. “I will show you Hell,” said the Lord. And they went into a room which had a large pot of stew in the middle. The smell was delicious and around the pot sat people who were famished and desperate. All were holding spoons with very long handles which reached to the pot, but because the handles of the spoons were longer than their arms, it was impossible to get the stew into their mouths. Their suffering was terrible.

“Now I will show you Heaven,” said the Lord, and they went into an identical room. There was a similar pot of stew and the people had the same identical spoons, but they were well nourished, talking and happy.

At first the man did not understand.

“It is simple,” said the Lord. “You see, they have learned to feed each other.”  

What are you saying PB?  I am saying that we probably would not experience so much hell on earth if we would learn to live together, and love one another, and look out for each other, and help one another.  That is what I love that old hymn so much!

Oh when we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing there will be.  When we all see Jesus.  We’ll sing and shout the victory.

There is no way that I can do hell twice.  God has done too much for me.  As I look back over my life and see how far the Lord has brought me, my soul cries out hallelujah.  When I think of how He picked me up and turned me around and placed my feet on higher solid ground.  

How could we possible do hell twice when we have a faithful God that loves us the way that God loves us?  

Just how faithful is God?  

Well let’s take a look at Romans 6:23 one more time, it says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. 

I was always taught that when you see but in a sentence you can basically forget everything that came before it. 

In other words.,,

You thought the sickness was going to kill you, but God!

You thought the marriage was over, but God!

You thought your child was lost, but God!

You thought you could never love again, but God!

You thought you would never recover from the divorce. but God!

You thought you would never find another job, but God!

You thought what am I going to do without my job, but God!

You thought you could never stop drinking, but God!

You thought you could never stop smoking, but God!

You thought you’d never get over your friend stabbing you in the back, but God!

You thought you could never be used in the Kingdom, but God, but God, but God.

The great I am.

The will in the middle of a wheel.

The friend that sticks closer than a brother.

The way maker.

The promise keeper.

The light in the darknesses.

Immanuel.

Yahweh.

El Elyon.

Jesus Christos.

Jehovah.

Jesus.

Oh yeah did I mention?  I can’t do hell twice.  Like J-Lo in Enough, I have had enough!  And if you’ve had enough why don’t you stand to your feet and give God a shout of praise?Why don’t you stand to your feet and give him glory?

I know that you may not feel like it, but God is still worthy to be praise.  I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart.  I will enter His courts with praise.  I will say this is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice for He has made me glad.  He has made me glad, oh He has made me glad. Has God made anyone glad in the house today?  

Well praise him!  

Give him glory because we can’t do hell twice.

We are free from sin.  

We are free to live.  

We have received the free gift of eternal life.

ADHA

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Many of you know that I am a teacher.  In fact wanting to become a teacher is what lead me to Slippery Rock University, and if I would not have gone to SRU I would have never met and married the most beautiful woman in the world, Shannon Leigh Holland.   Also, if I would not have become a teacher I probably would not have moved to Columbus and joined First Church of God.  If I would not have join First Church I would not have been there when you called Bishop Clarke asking for ministers to fill your pulpit.  Which led to me becoming your pastor, and celebrating our one year anniversary of the union of pastor and people last week.  In other words, everything happens for a reason.  I am in my 21st year of teaching, seven in kindergarten and this is my 14th year in first grade (it took me seven years to get to first grade), but when I began my educational journey at Slippery Rock University, I earned my bachelors degree in special education.  During my educational experiences at the ROCK I had a number of encounters with the special education population because there was an actual special needs school on campus, and through those experiences I fell in love with that population of students.  I had a great desire to work with them.  As I got closer to my graduation date I had the opportunity to complete my student teaching in Las Vegas.  That’s right Sin City.  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!  What stayed in Las Vegas for me was my desire to become a special education teacher, but not because of the children.  It was because of all of the paperwork, meetings, and acronyms that special education teachers have to deal with. Do you know what acronyms are?  It is a group of letters or an abbreviation formed from the beginning letters of other words, like AYP, which stands for adequate yearly progress or MFE, which stands for multi-factored evaluation.  Now I have the utmost respect for special education teachers because they do what I do to the fifth power.  They have to document everything, individualize instruction for every student in their classroom, complete individual assessments, lesson plans, and educational strategies for every student in their classroom.  They have to write IEP’s, participate in qualifying students for special education, and placing students in the LRE, making sure they receive a FAPE depending on whether they are LD, ED, MD, ADD, ADHD.  Now most of you probably are thinking, “what in the world did he just say”, and that is why I am not a special education teacher today. Plus after seeing Arnold Swartzaneggar in Kindergarten Cop I knew what my true calling was, becoming a kindergarten teacher.  Then this text age began and it was acronym déjà vu because now all people do is use acronyms when they text and email and you have to figure out what people are saying.  Here are a few examples

Lol-laugh out loud

Lmbo-laughing my butt off

Smh-shaking my head

Aap-always a pleasure

Acc-anyone can come

Adbb-all done bye bye

Aitr-adult in the room

BFF-best friends forever

Bf-boyfriend 

Gf-girlfriend 

Bbl-be back later

Cu-see you

IDK-I don’t know

IKR-I know right

PTL-praise The Lord 

And I can go on and on but you guys get the point.

The bottom line is no matter how hard I try I just cannot escape the acronyms.  So this morning we are going to embrace an acronym and talk about ADHD, which is the special education acronym for Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder.  It is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in the country, especially with boys, and even more so with African American boys.  The minute a child starts to misbehave they want to diagnose the child as ADHD and give him or her a pill.  A pill that sometimes zaps the life and potential out of a child.  A pill that sometimes robs a kid of his or her personality and creativity.  Now don’t get me wrong I am not against medication when it is needed and necessary, but many times it is not necessary because most of these kids are not ADD or ADHD they are just BAD and they need BEAT!  And even with that being said I am going to encourage everyone in the house this morning to be ADHD.  Are you saying you want us all to not pay attention and be hyperactive?  Are you saying that you want us to fidget, bounce up and down in ours seats, and stare off into space?  Not exactly, but I do desire for all of you to be ADHD, Attaining Destiny with Holy Determination.

Now in the text today we find ourselves in the middle of a letter that Paul has written to the church in Philippi while he is in prison, well actually he was on house arrest.  He was incarcerated nonetheless.  He had to stay in his house, but he could share the good news to anyone that came to the house to hear it.  Well in this letter to the church in Philippi he wanted to thank them for the gifts they had sent him, let them know how he was doing, and most importantly he wanted to encourage them to stand firm in the face of persecution and rejoice regardless of their circumstances, to be humble and united.  In the particular verses that were read for your hearing Paul is telling the church to press on toward their ultimate goal.  Which was living a life that is worthy to spend eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He tells them that he has not already attained this.  He is in no way, shape, or form perfect, but he is trying everyday to be all that God has called him to be.  And he does this by forgetting what is behind him and pressing towards what is in front of him.  You see life is kind of like the Olympics and Olympic athletes.  Just like each and every Olympic athlete from every country gives everything they’ve got to win the gold medal, we must do the same.  We must strive for the gold!  And let’s be honest this morning, silver and bronze are nice, but Olympians go to the Olympics in hopes of winning the gold.  So we as Christians must push everyday to reach our goal, to receive our prize, eternal life with God.  The life of abundance that God has promised to everyone that believes in him.  We have to be ADHD, attaining destiny with holy determination, and I will give you three ways to do this and then I will bid you good day.  Ask your neighbor are you ADHD?


The first way that we become ADHD is that we must forget.  Just like Paul said.  Forgetting those things that are behind me.  It is so hard for Christians to be all that God has called them to be because they are too busy looking in the rearview mirror of their lives.  Wondering what should of, could of, or would have been.  You cannot change the past so why bother dwelling on it.  Learn from your mistakes and move on.  Learn from the past and move one.  There are three things that you need to forget.

First we forget the accusations.  You have to forget all of the “he said she said” garbage that people have said about you over the years. Whether it is true or not, who cares.  It is like the kid at school that gets mad because someone calls him stupid or ugly.  I simply say to the child, “Are you stupid?  Are you ugly?”  The child will respond, “No!” I give him a hug, and then we move on.  You know who you are and who God has called you to be so stop worrying about the neigh sayers in your life and concentrate on what really matters, being all that God has called you to be.  And always keep this in mind; people only talk about you when you are doing something worthwhile.  Haters only hate on kingdom builders.  So if you have a lot of haters just keep doing what you are doing because that means God is using you.  If you don’t have any haters at all, you might want to consider doing something.

First we forget the accusations.  Then we forget the attitudes.  You have to forget that bad attitude you used to have.  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice you know that you were Mr. or Mrs. Negative.  Why we doing that?  That’s stupid.  That’s not going to work.  Why they always got to sing the lead.  He thinks he’s all that.  Get a grip, who died and left you in charge?  Who made you the Ebert and Roeper of life?  Forget the bad attitude and realize how blessed you are because God is in your life.  You know what a pet peeve of mine is? Mean Christians.  What in the world is a Mean Christian?  How could anyone be a mean Christian?  After all that God has done for you, you have the audacity to be mean to other people.  What in the world is going on with that?  That is the epitome of an oxymoron.  That is what the Road to Racial Reconciliation program is all about this Friday.  We need to forget about our past attitudes about race.  I know its easier said than done.  I know that we have been through a great deal as a people.  It’s is hard enough to forgive, and now you’re asking me to forget.  Well that is what God requires from us because that is exactly what He does.  He forgives us and then He forgets what we did.  The Bible says that he will no longer remember your sins as far as the east is from the west.  Also, when asked how many time should we forgive, Jesus responds 7 X 70.  So what are you saying PB?  I am saying when our white brothers and sisters join us at the table of racial reconciliation we must forget our past attitudes towards them.  See them as we have always wanted them to see us, and take the necessary steps to move forward as children of God.  We must forget the attitude!

We must forget the accusations.  We must forget the attitudes.  We must forget the actions.  Whatever you have done you have to let it go and let God.  ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Let he who has no sin cast the first stone.  We have all messed up including the man holding the microphone.  If we didn’t mess up there would be no need for grace, no need for mercy, no need for salvation.  But because God in his infinite wisdom knew that we would mess up created a plan to save us from sin, to save us from death.  Are there any redeemed saints in the house this morning?  Has anybody been set free this morning?  Has anybody been washed in the blood this morning?  You see when God looks at us he doesn’t see all the things that we’ve done.  He only sees the blood.  Is anybody thankful for the blood?  Oh, I know it was the blood, I know it was the blood for me.  One day when I was lost he died upon the cross.  I know it was the blood for me.  We must forget the actions! 

First to have ADHD we must forget.  Secondly to have ADHD we must follow.  Paul says that he is pressing on toward the goal, the prize for which Christ is calling us upward.  If Christ is calling us upward, the only way to achieve the prize is to follow him.  This is hard for some of us because we always have to be in control.  Things always have to go the way we want them to go.  It’s my way or the highway.  It is time to let Jesus take the wheel.  We must follow the calling of Jesus Christ in our lives, and we do this in three ways.

First we follow the word of God.  You have to read the word and know it for yourself.  Coming to church and hearing the preacher is great and I encourage you all to continue to do that, but you have to do more.  How many of you have personal and private devotional time?  When you spend time alone with God and your Bible. It is a very important thing to do.  For years now Bishop Clarke has been giving the scripture he’ll be preaching from though email before Sunday so that the church can look at the word and be familiar with the text before he delivers the anointed word of God.  That is why you have to know the word for yourself.  You cannot get by on what mommy and daddy know, or what pastor knows, or what your mama or papa know.  You have to know for yourselves.  It is like the story in Acts 19 when a group of Jews try to help a demon possessed man and said in the name of Jesus whom Paul speaks.  The demon said I know who Paul is, and I know who Jesus is but who are you.  Then the demon possessed man jumped on them and beat their clothes off of them.  Now you know that’s a butt whooping if your clothes get beat off of you.  You have to know the word for yourself.  You have to follow the word of GOD

But not only do you follow the word of God, you must follow the will of God.  By reading and studying the word you can learn what His will is for your life.  That is why when Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray He says thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Jesus does not say my will be done, or your will be done, or mommy and daddy’s will be done, but He is referring to God’s will being done.  God has a purpose and a plan for everyone, and the best way to find out what that is, is through the will of God.  That is why you need to study His word and have private time with the Lord, because the more time that you spend with God the more you will understand His will  for you life.  And once you know what His will is for your life you can walk in His way, which is the third thing that you must follow.

You must follow the way of God.  You must walk in his ways.  Not your ways, or Pastor’s way, or Bishop Jake’s ways, or Buddha’s ways, or Muhammad’s ways.  But the way of God.  The Christian way of life.  The road less traveled.  Many people who are not Christians believe that Christians are supposed to be perfect.  But Christians are not perfect.  Christians are supposed to be as much like Christ as humanly possible.  I know what you are thinking, Christ was perfect.  Yes He was perfect, and he was also God!  If we could be perfect their would be know need for God, but that is not the case.  We are to be like Jesus in the fact that Jesus was different.  And we must be different than everyone else.  You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth.  So you must walk in the way of The Lord so that your light will shine and the love of Christ will be seen in your actions and attitudes.

So in order to have ADHD you must forget, you must follow, and you must have faith.  Now I’ve been talking about faith for the last three week so God must be trying to tell us something.  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is the glue that holds it all together.  Faith is believing in something even though you cannot hear it, see it, or touch it.  Also, faith without works is dead.  In other words, if you say you have ADHD and you are not doing anything to attain destiny with holy determination, you do not have the proper diagnosis.  If you are attaining destiny with holy determination you have got to be doing something.  Here are three things that you should definitively be doing if you are ADHD.

First you must pray.  You must have the faith to pray without ceasing.  You have to talk to God constantly.  And just like First Lady and I have tried to teach Elijah and Noah you do not have to use big and fancy terms, vocabulary, and speech.  Just talk to him like you would talk to your father, because He is your father.  You have to have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about your troubles.  He will hear your faintest cry and he will answer by and by then you feel a little prayer will turning you will know that a fire is burning just a little talk with Jesus will make it right.  Just talk to your God.

First we must pray.  Secondly we must perform.  This is how you live your life.  You must have the faith to live a life of faith.  Well if you are a Christian you should have a Christian performance.  Just like I said a few moments ago it is how you should live everyday of your life trying to be as much like Christ as humanly possible because that is the meaning of what a Christian is.  In other words, you cannot do what everyone else is doing.  You cannot watch what everyone else is watching.  You cannot say what everyone else is saying.  You cannot go where everyone else is going.  You cannot listen to what everyone else is listening to. You cannot be at the water cooler talking about the boss.  You have to have the faith to perform the life of a Christian.  Now I don’t want you to get performing and acting confused.  I do not want you to act like a Christian.  I do not want you to pretend to be a Christian.  I want you to be a Christian.  I want you to perform which means to carry out, accomplish, or fulfill a task or function.  To work, function, or do something to a specified standard. Do you see where I am going with this?  Is there anyone here this morning that wants to be the best Christian that they can be?  Just like the old army recruitment commercials would say, be all that you can be in the army of The Lord.  We must perform.

First we must pray.  Secondly we must perform.  And last must not least we must praise.  We must have the faith to praise God in spite of your circumstance or your situation.  How do you think we made it through the last four years?  You have to praise God in the good times and the bad times.  The ups and the downs.  The highs and the lows.  When you’re healthy and when you are unhealthy.  On the mountain and in the valley.  Man it is so easy to praise God when things are going well.  When the rent is paid.  When the car is running.  When your kids are acting right.  When you like your job.  It is so easy to praise God in the palace, but can you praise him in the pit.  I believe that God is looking for some pit praisers in the house this morning.  Is there anybody in the house that is in a pit?  

Anybody in the house that has been knocked down by life but you refuse to stay down.  

Is there anybody in the house that has taken a licking but you keep on ticking.  

Is there anybody in the house that has been knocked down, but is not knocked out?  

Is there anyone in the house that understands this morning that, that which does not kill you can only make you stronger, and you are going to praise God in spite of the fact that the devil has thrown everything at you but the kitchen sink.  

But I am crazy enough to tell the devil that he can throw the kitchen sink as well; because once he throws the kitchen sink he will have nothing else left to throw.  Which really doesn’t matter anyway because the devil cannot take my joy away.  He did not give it to me so therefore he cannot take it away from me.  And I don’t know about you but I am not going to let anything or anybody stop me from giving my God Praise.  Do I have a witness?  The bible says that if you do not praise me the rocks will cry out, and I don’t know about you but God has been to good to me to let a rock cry out in place.  Is anyone in the room ADHD attaining destiny with holy determination?  Now the H in the special education acronym stands for hyperactivity, it is the term that the hip-hop culture got the word hype.  When they wanted to hype up the crowd.  Well I am wondering if there are any hype saints in the house this morning.  I know that you might not feel like giving God praise.

Since you are already up you mind as well get hype for Jesus.  

Since you got dressed you mind as well praise Him.  

Since you came all this way you mind as well lift up the name of Jesus.

Stand up on you feet and give him praise. 

Oh magnify the Lord with me let’s exalt his name together!  ADHD, attaining destiny with holy determination.  

Don’t you know that your destiny is to spend eternity with Christ?  I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you I will return to take you to the place that I have prepared.  

Oh come and go with me to my father’s house.  

There will be no lying there.  

There will be no dying there!

No bullying there!

No peer pressure there!

No mistakes there!

No sickness there!

No fighting there!

No cancer there!

No politics there!

No racism there!

No need for racial reconciliation there!

No poverty there!

No social injustice! 

No elections there because Jesus Christ is my candidate and he is already the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

So since I began this sermon talking about education let me end this sermon with education, and share with you the ABCs of praise.  In order to have ADHD attaining destiny with holy determination you’ve got to get hype and praise.

  1. Alpha and omega
  2. Bread of life
  3. Captain of our salvation
  4. Deliverer
  5. Everlasting God 
  6. Friend who sticks closer than a brother
  7. Great Shepard of the sheep
  8. High and lofty one
  9. I am 
  10. Jehovah Jireh
  11. King of kings
  12. Lord of lords
  13. My strength and my power
  14. New song in my heart
  15. Overcoming lamb
  16. Prince of peace
  17. Quiet spirit
  18. Refuge from the storm
  19. Son of the most high God
  20. True bread of heaven
  21. Upholder of all things
  22. Vine that give us life
  23. Worthy lamb
  24. Exalted one
  25. Yahweh, the God of the covenant
  26. The God of Zion our holy resting place

Have a great day Second Community Church Family!  Happy Anniversary to the greatest ushers in the world.  

I have got to go, but remember to be ADHD attaining destiny with holy determination by forgetting, following, and having faith.  ADHD, Attaining Destiny with Holy Determination!  Let’s get hype for Christ!  Not for The Browns, the Buckeyes, or Biden!  

Let’s get hype for Christ!

The Practice of Praise

Psalms 150:1-6 and Acts 16:25-30

Psalms 150:1-6

1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in 

the firmament of his power.

 2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his 

excellent greatness.

 3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the 

psaltery and harp.

 4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed 

instruments and organs.

 5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high 

sounding cymbals.

 6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Acts 16:25-30

25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto 

God: and the prisoners heard them.

 26And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the 

foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the 

doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

 27And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and 

seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would 

have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: 

for we are all here.

 29Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, 

and fell down before Paul and Silas,

 30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

How many people in here have played some kind of organized sport? Football?  Basketball?  Track and Field?  Cheerleading?  Dance?  Golf? Volleyball? Tennis? Soccer?   I played football myself, and I was a beast with the pig skin.  I played the entire game, offense, defense, and special the teams.  I was tailback, cornerback, and I returned punts and kicks.  I averaged about 11 yards a carry, and about 8 tackles per game.  Oh yeah, I was no joke.  Don’t let this height full you. I may be vertically challenged, but I am still big.  As a matter of fact one of my knick names used to be little big man.  But for an undersized kid the only way that I could excel was if I practiced.  Some say practice makes perfect.  I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I do believe that practice will make you better.   And I practiced all the time.  I ran, lifted weights, completed drills.  What ever the coach told me to do, I did it.  Because I wanted to be all that I could be.  Practice is defined as the repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring a skill or proficiency.  So my brothers and sisters, what we need to realize is that this same idea of practice applies to all areas of our lives, not just the football field, baseball diamond, hoop court, or golf course.  

If you want to be better at your job you have to practice your craft.  

If you want to be a better husband or wife it takes practice.  

If you want to be a better mother or father it takes practice. 

If you want to be a better friend, it takes practice.  

If you want to be a better pastor, it takes practice.

If you want to be a better Christian, it takes practice.  

And I truly believe that learning the practice of praise will help you become a better Christian.  

Most of the book of Psalms is dedicated to praising the true and living God, and as I was reading the 150th Psalm I noticed that it gives us a perfect blueprint for the practice of praise.   It tells us where we praise, why we praise, how we praise, who should praise, and whom we praise.

So this morning I want to walk you through the practice of praise.

Where do we Praise? Verse 1 states that we praise him in the sanctuary and in the heavens. Remember that song by Kurt Karr; we clap our hands in the sanctuary. We clap our hands to give  you the glory. We clap our hands to give you the praise. And we will praise you for the rest of our days. Yes, we will praise you for the rest of our days!  So when we gather together in the house of the God we praise the God of our salvation.  But I believe that we don’t just praise him inside the church.  We praise him wherever we are because we are the sanctuary.  He lives in us.  These are our bodies, but they are God’s temples. So we praise God anywhere and everywhere we go.  

So praise him on the job.

At school.

In the car.

In your house.

On the street.

At the store.

In the mall.

In the good times.

In the bad times.

In the morning.

In the noon day.

When the sun goes down.

Praise God wherever you are!

So don’t be scared or ashamed to give God praise! The bible says that if you are ashamed of me before men I will be ashamed of you before my father in heaven.

God deserves our consistent and continual praise so do not wait to get inside of the church to give God praise.  Oh you missed your cue, give God praise wherever you are!

Why do we praise?  Verse 2 states that we praise him for his acts of power and we praise him for his surpassing greatness.  Has God done anything powerful for anyone in this room?  We have all heard testimonies or given testimonies about how God saved, healed, and delivered.  I am sure that several people in this room have been healed from some type of illness, from some type of hurt or pain.  If you were here at Wednesday noon or evening you may have been healed from some type of emotional pain or mental bondage as Bishop was used in a mighty way before he left for vacation. God has brought someone through a storm or is bringing someone through a storm as we speak.  How many of us have jobs that we are not qualified for, or spouses we don’t deserve? Or homes we thought we could never afford, or cars that a credit would not normally allow us to have.  That is the power of God.  Also, we praise him for his surpassing greatness.  Think of the greatest men and women in the world throughout history.  Dr. King. Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Shirley Chisholm, John F. Kennedy. Billy Graham.  None of them can hold a candle to God.  Who loved us so much that he gave his only begotten son to die for us that we may have life.  And not just some run of the mill life, but an abundant life!  We praise him for his power and his greatness! But even more importantly than that we praise God for who he is! He is… 

The alpha and omega!

The beginning and the end!

The author and finisher of our faith!

The lily of the valley!

The bright and morning star! 

The rose of Sharon!

The balm of Gilead!

The great I am that I am!

You know you are a bad mama jamma when someone asks you your name and you say I am that I am.  We praise God for his power and surpassing greatness.

How do we praise? Verses 3-5 states 3Praise him with the sound 

of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4Praise him 

with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments 

and organs.  5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon 

the high sounding cymbals.  These verses basically describe all of the ways that we can praise our God, from using instruments to dancing.  I believe that we praise God in the words of Malcolm X by all means necessary.  In the 149th Psalm it says to sing a new song to the Lord.  I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart I will enter his courts with praise.  I will say this is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice for he has made me glad!  So we praise the Lord with all of our minds, bodies, and souls.  He deserves our total praise. Richard Smallwood wrote a song and Donnie McClurkin has sang the song called “Total Praise” it goes something like this.  Lord I will lift mine eyes to the hills, knowing my help is coming from you. Your peace you give me in times of the storm. You are the source of my strength.  You are the strength of my life.  I lift my hands in total praise to you.  How do we praise?  We praise God totally!  We praise God with our minds; all of our thoughts should be focused on God.  We praise God with our bodies, whether that is lifting our hands, putting our ten stringed instruments together by clapping, jumping around, doing victory laps, or opening our mouths to shout his praises.  We praise him with our souls because God is spirit and those that worship God must do so in spirit and in truth.  So praise God with all that is within you.  Praise God with all that you got!

Who should Praise? Verse 6 says let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Do me a favor and inhale and exhale.  Do you know what you just did?  You just qualified yourself to give God praise.  Did you hear what I said?

You are all qualified to praise the Lord. 

You are all qualified to magnify his name.  

You are all qualified to give him glory. 

You are all qualified to clap you hands, 

You are all qualified stomp your feet, 

You are all qualified do your dance, 

You are all qualified raise your voice. 

You are all qualified to jump up and down.

You are all qualified to do a victory lap.

The bible says that if you do not praise me, the rocks will cry out.  I don’t know about you, but God has been too good to me to let a rock cry out for me.  He found me when I was lost.  I was a wretch undone, and he picked me up and turned me around, and placed my feet on higher ground.  When I look back over my life and see all the Lord has brought me through my soul cries out…  Oh yes, I am qualified to give him praise! Is anyone in the house qualified to give God praise?

Let everything that has breath.  Praise the Lord.

Whom do we praise? Verse 1 begins by saying praise the Lord!  Verse 6 ends saying praise the Lord.  So we Praise the Lord our God, not Allah, not Buddha, not Confucius, not our cars, houses, boats, or even our spouses.  We don’t praise the buckeyes, browns, bangles, Indians, and even though King James is back in town we don’t praise the cavilers.  We praise God.  The king of kings and the Lord of Lords.  We praise El Elyon. We praise Emmanuel, God with us!

Jehovah Nissi the Lord my banner!

Jehovah Rohi the Lord my shepherd!

Jehovah Rapha the Lord my healer!

Jehovah Sabaoth the Lord of hosts!

Jehovah Shalom the lord of our peace!

Jehovah Shammah the Lord is there!

Jehovah Tsidkenu the Lord our righteousness!

Jehovah Elyon the Lord most high!

Jehovah Jireh the Lord will provide!

We praise God!

Now that is wonderful news Pastor.  You shared with us the practice of praise, but what happens when we get into the practice of praise?  I am so glad that you asked I will give you three things that happen when you get into the practice of praise, and then bid you good day!  Look at Acts 16-25-30.  Paul and Silas are in prison for spreading the good news of Jesus the Christ.  And at midnight they begin to sing, pray and praise the Lord.  Let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going that this is why we need to praise God no matter what our circumstance or situation is.  As a matter of fact you need to praise God in spite of your circumstance or situation.  You hear people say all the time, when God does this or that for me I am really going to give him praise.  Maybe that is why God has not done it yet?  Because you are not praising him yet?  Does anyone have a yet praise for God.  You are going to praise God even though the blessing has not come through yet!  Oh, it is coming it just hasn’t came yet!  It is so easy to praise God on the mountaintop, but I truly believe that God is looking for some valley praisers today.  And Paul and Silas were in the valley called prison.  Remember what I just told you about the practice of praise.  Where do you praise.  Anywhere and everywhere you are! Paul and Silas were in prison and they continued to give God praise. And some people can’t even praise God when they have a bad day, or when they are going through.  But that is when you should be praising God the most.  Why do you praise.  Because of Gods power and greatness.  They thought about all the things that God had brought them through already.  When you can’t come up with a reason to give praise.  Think of all the times that God has brought you through.  Think about all the things that God has already done for you! How do you praise? Totally.  They had been beaten, thrown into prison and they still praised the Lord with all of their might.  So it doesn’t matter what your situation or your circumstance is you need to praise God with all that you’ve got!  Who should praise him? Although they were beat down, they were still breathing, so they were qualified to praise.  Whom did they praise?  They praised the only true and living God.  And this is what happened when Paul and Silas got into the practice of praise. This is what will happen when you and I get into the practice of praise.

The first thing that will happen when you get into the practice of praise is God will show up, Paul and Silas began to praise and suddenly there was an earthquake and the foundation of the prison began to shake.  Look at your neighbor and say God showed up!  Has anybody in here ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place and God showed up right on time.  Grandma use to say, he may not come when you want him, but he is always right on time.

Here are three things that happen when God shows up.

The madness stops. That is why we say that everything should be done decently and in order.  We do not serve a God of Chaos.  You don’t believe me, just read the first chapter of Genesis and see how orderly and organized God created the heavens and the earth. Think of the bible stories that speak of Gods specific instructions to his people.  Adam and Eve,  Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and Jesus.  We serve a God of order, and when God shows up the madness has to stop.  Now I am sure there was madness in that prison for the simple fact that it was midnight, the middle of the night and Paul and Silas were singing and praising.  And I think that it’s pretty safe to say that the other prisoners were not trying to hear all of that noise.  They may have had some choice words for Paul and Silas, but God showed up.  They may have wanted to lay hands on Paul and Silas, but God showed up. When God shows up the madness will stop!

But not only does the madness stop when God shows up, The miracle happens when God shows up! When Paul and Silas got into the practice of praise the miracle happened.  Suddenly the was an earthquake, the foundations of the prison began to shake.  Does anyone in the room need something from God today? Get into the practice of praise. I know that you have been waiting a long time. But don’t give up.  Don’t throw in the towel.  Keep on keeping on!Just hold to his hand Gods unchanging hand.  Build your hope on things eternal, and hold to Gods unchanging hand.  The miracle will happen.

But not only will the madness stop when God shows up, not only will the miracle happen when God shows up, The message gets out when God shows up! Now you don’t think a number of those prisoners left that prison telling anyone that would listen about the goodness of God!  You know how it is when God does the impossible for you.  You can’t wait to tell your family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else that will listen.  When God shows up the message will get out!

When you get into the practice of praise God will show up, and when God shows up the madness stops, the miracle happens, and the message gets out.  Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

You did not know how you were going to make it, but God showed up.    

You thought it was over, but God showed up. 

You were ready to through in the towel, but God showed up.  

You were ready to give up but God showed up.

You were ready to call the game but God showed up.

You had lost all hope but God showed up.

You didn’t know what you were going to eat.

You didn’t know how the bills would be paid.

You didn’t think anyone loved you.

And why did he show up.  He showed up because you got into the practice of praise.   

But not only will God show up,

 But God will show out.  Not only did God make the earthquake, but he shook the foundation of the prison.  Not only did he make the earth quake, not only did he shake the foundation of the prison, but the doors of the prison flew open.   Not only  did he make the earth quake, the foundation of the prison shake, the doors of the prison open, but he loosed the shackles of the prisoners.  So, you see that is, God showing out.  

Here’s what happen when God shows out.

His presence is revealed.  It was obvious that The Lord was present when the earth began to quake, the foundation of the prison began to shake, the shackles came off, and the doors were opened.  But I think the presence of The Lord was more obvious when the guard realized that the prisoners were still in their cells. You see any other prisoner would have ran for the hills the moment the shackles fell off and the doors flew open.  I have to be honest this morning that without the presence of God in my life I would have took off and so would you! So let’s thank God for his presence that we don’t take off when the going gets tough and the tough get going.  Paul and Silas new that their work was not done yet.  When God shows out his presence is revealed and… 

His purpose is fulfilled.  Paul and Silas’ purpose was not to spend the rest of their lives locked up.  They had to get the word out.  It was like fire shut up in their bones.  Why else would they be singing and praising in prison at midnight.  They couldn’t help themselves.  And when God is fulfilling his purpose in your life it will be extremely hard for you to focus on or do anything else! When God shows out his presence is revealed, his purpose is fulfilled, and…

His promises come to pass.  God has made all of us promises. So when you get into the practice of praise his promises will come to pass.  He promised that he would never leave us or forsake us. He promised to pardon us. He promised to provide for us. He promised to protect us. He promised us perform for us.

He could have just made the earth quake a bit, but no he had to shake the foundation of the prison, open doors, and loosen shackles.  Has God loosened any shackles in here, has he opened any doors for anyone in here.  Has he made a way out of no ways?  Has God made the impossible possible for anyone in the room?  Not only will God show up just in the nick of time, but he will also show out and give you everything that you need. And every now in then he will give you above and beyond what you need.  When God shows out his presence will be revealed, his purpose will be fulfilled, and his promises will come to pass. 

I don’t know about anyone else in the room but with all the hell breaking loose in our world I need God to show up and show out…

So not only will God show up when you get into the practice of praise, not only will he show out when you get into the practice of praise.

God will show someone the way.  When the prison doors flew open, the prison guard just knew that his goose was cooked.  He was given strict orders to watch over these particular prisoners, and he just knew that the prisoners had escaped so he decided to kill himself rather than face his superiors, but Paul cried out don’t do your self any harm.  We are all still here, and the guard cried out, what must I do to be saved, and he and his entire household were saved and baptized that night.  God will show someone the way by doing these three things.

Facing the fact that you are in need of a savior. Most people do not get saved because they don’t think that they can be saved or they think that they do not need to be saved.  So when God shows up, shows out, and shows someone the way he opens up their hearts and minds to the fact that they are in need of a savior.  Does this sound like anybody’s story in the room this morning? Don’t look at me in that tone of voice….So God will show someone the way through them facing the fact that they are in need of a savior, and God will show someone the way by showing…

Forgiveness.  I know what you are thinking and I know what you may have thought.  Because I have thunk it!  How can or how could God forgive me for all of the things that I have done.  Simply put, because he loves you! Romans 8:38-39 states 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  God forgives you because he loves you!  And here is where it gets good that God no longer remembers your sin as far as the east is from the west.  But it gets even gooder than that.  When God looks at you he doesn’t see the sinner.  Your status has changed.  Your are a new creation.  So because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross all God sees when he looks at us is the blood.  Is anybody excited about the blood.  The blood, the blood, the blood that reaches to the highest mountain…  So God shows someone the way by having them face the fact that they are in need of a savior, through forgiveness, and through… Faith, now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is knowing that you know that you know that you know that you know that God is real!  Our salvation hinges on our confession of faith that we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is The Lord of our lives. I heard an acronym about faith, faith is simply feeling alright in the heat!  It is through faith that we are shown the way to salvation, and even when our faith is week how many in here can testify to the fact that God is faithful!

Making it out of the storm is the act of a faithful God.

Getting through the divorce.

Overcoming the bankruptcy.

Starting the business.

Earning that degree.

Buying that house.

Getting that promotion.

The salvation of our souls.

You see when you get into the practice of praise God will show up. God will show out.  And God will show someone the way!

The guard and his family were saved all because Paul and Silas got into the practice of praise.  Do you have anyone in your life that needs to be saved? Get into the practice of praise.

Do you know someone that needs to be delivered?

Do you know anyone that needs a savior?

Do you know anyone that is lost?

Do you know anyone that is hurting?

Do you know anyone that needs a friend that sticks closer than a brother

Do you know anyone that needs healing?

Do you know anyone that is looking for his or her break through?

Do you know anyone that is tired of the same old life?

Do you know anyone that cannot find true happiness?

Do you know anyone that needs Jesus Christ in his or her life?

Get into the practice of praise, and I guarantee you that God will show up, God will show out, and God will show someone the way!

Jesus Christ is my Candidate

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,

    and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace

    there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

    and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

    with justice and righteousness

    from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

    will accomplish this.

I know with the election just 9 days away that everyone is on edge.  Who’s going to win? What’s going to happen? Many of you have voted early by mailing in your ballots or going to an early voting site.  Some of you, like me are eagerly waiting for November 3rd to walk into your polling site and cast your vote for your preferred candidate.  I know everyone has their fingers and toes crossed hoping that there will be a change of leadership on November 3rd.  I also know that there those that do not want to see a change in leadership.  I know that people feel a certain way about this candidate and another way about that candidate.  So let me make something perfectly clear. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate.  All men and women are flawed.  So with that being said it does not matter who ends up in the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because God will still be in control.  The last time that I checked he still sits high and he still looks low.  He still holds the whole world in his hands.  And to me that is all the information that I need to decide and to declare that Jesus Christ is my candidate.  Look at your neighbor and tell them as a Christian, as a child of God.  Jesus Christ should be your candidate.  I don’t care if you are a republican, a democrat, or independent, if you’re in the family of believers your candidate should be the son of the living God!

Shall we look at the text…

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,

    and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace

    there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

    and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

    with justice and righteousness

    from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

    will accomplish this.

In this passage as we learned in Bible Study this week.  Isaiah is prophesying during the reign of King Ahaz.  He is telling the Israelites of a time of hope during a time when they are about to be utterly destroyed for their lack of obedience and trust in the Lord.  A time in the future when the birth of Jesus will change the world forever.  And how many of you know that the birth of Jesus changed the world forever.  Isaiah let them know that the child would be born and the government will be on his shoulders.  The government can be on his shoulders because he can shoulder the government.  He can and will handle anything that is thrown at the government because he is a wonderful counselor, a mighty God, the everlasting father, and the prince of peace.  That is why the greatness of his government and peace will have know end.  He is from the line the lineage of David upholding it with justice and righteousness from the time he returns until forever.  It’s is the zeal of the Almighty God that will make this happen.  I don’t know about you, but that is the type of government that I can get behind.  That is the type of government that I can support.  

A government of justice.  

A government of righteousness.  

A government of peace.  

All backed up by the zeal of the almighty God.  

Where do I sign up?

But here’s the thing beloved, we have to get to a point when we get past voting for our party and we look at platform, policy, and plan.  

What exactly do the candidates stand for?  

What are they trying to do?  

And how are they going to do it? 

Well If we just open the Bible we will know exactly what Jesus’ platform, policies, and plan are.  I have already given you my points.  Now let me break them down for you!

What’s Jesus’s platform?  Before I answer that question lets define what a platform is.  A platform is a document stating the aims and principles of a political party.  In other words, a platform is the foundation on which the political party stands.  With that being said, what is the foundation on which Jesus stands? I am so glad that you asked.  The foundation on which Jesus stands was explained best in Matthew 16:13-20 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.  That foundation, the rock on which Jesus stands is Jesus. He stands on himself.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better foundation to stand than the foundation of Jesus the Christ.

Upon this rock I will build my church. 

Upon this rock my kingdom will reign.

Upon this rock a child is born.

Upon this rock a son is given.

Upon this rock the government will be on his shoulders, and he can handle it because he is standing on the rock.

Upon this rock, wonderful counselor.

Upon this rock, mighty God.

Upon this rock, everlasting father

Upon this rock, prince of peace

Jesus’ political platform is Jesus. 

What are Jesus’ policies?  Now a policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.  It is a statement of intent, and implemented as a procedure or protocol.  Things that make you fo hmmm.  That sounds like a law to me.  Jesus’ polices are plainly seen in the law.  The Ten Commandments. You remember the Ten Commandments don’t you? 

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall make no idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. 10.You shall not covet.

You see many people think that because we are saved by grace that the law does not apply to us.  But Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20, 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.  We may be saved by grace, but we are still required to keep His commands.  He is a righteous God and he wants us to live a righteousness life, which ties right back into our text, Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  Jesus’ policies require us to follow the law.

Jesus’ platform is Jesus.  Jesus’ policies are the law.  

So what is Jesus’ plan?  The plan is how you will accomplish

your platform and policies.

Many candidates will discuss their platform.  

Many candidates will discuss their policies.  

Many candidates will discuss the faults and shortcomings of their

opponents, but they never talk about their plan.  

That was the problem with the debates this year other

than a lack of self control and utter disrespect for the moderators

and their opponents.  No matter how many times the question

was asked nobody discussed a plan.  They talked about what

they did and what their opponent did or did not do, but no one

explained their plan.

But if you are going to earn my vote I need to know your plan.

If you’re re going to fix the economy I want to hear the plan.

If you’re going to find a cure for COVID I want to hear the plan.

If you’re going to fight for equity I want to hear the plan.

If you’re going to change the social injustice in our nation I want

to hear the plan. 

If you’re going to make college more affordable I want to hear the

plan.

If you’re going to lower the crime and violence I want to hear the

plan.

Many politicians talk a good game, but they don’t have a plan.

And I was always taught if you fail to plan you plan to fail. And 

Don’t tell me about a problem unless you have a suggestion 

or solution to fix the problem.

But I am so glad that Jesus has a plan.  I am so glad that God let

us in on the plan. 

The plan is wrapped up in that last line of our text.  It says the

zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this.  I see that look in

your eyes, and you are all thinking whatcha talking about Pastor

Brian?  Well let me show you.  I researched that word zeal, in the 

Greek is qinah (kin-aw) which means ardour, jealousy, jealous.  

The disposition of a husband. Ardour means feelings of great

warmth and intensity.  In other words, God loves us and he gets

jealous over us.  Look at his first commandment, you shall have 

no other God’s before me. He has the disposition of a husband

and that is why the church will presented to Him as a bride. But

the only way this can happen is with God’s perfect plan of

salvation.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only

begotten so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish 

but have everlasting life.  

He created the plan because of his zeal for us, because of his 

qinah.  

He stepped into humanity as a baby through a virgin birth.  

He lived a perfect life. 

He was dragged through a kangaroo court system.  

He was beaten.  

He was battered.  

He was bruised.  

He was spat on.  

He was whipped with the cat of nine tails.  

He was hung on a cross between two criminals.  

He was pierced in his side.  

He gave up the ghost.  

They through him in a tomb.  

They thought they had won.  

But three days later he rose again with all power in his hands.  

And now he sits on the right hand side of God interceding for you 

and I.  

The zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this.  

I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that Jesus has a plan!

I’m so glad that Jesus Christ is my Candidate.

I can get behind his platform.

I can get behind his policies.

I can get behind his plan.

One small voice can start a revolution 

In 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine. Vehemently opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency.

On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. The ruling party, not to be denied, tampered with the results. The state-run television station reported “ladies and gentlemen, we announce that the challenger Victor Yushchenko has been decisively defeated.”

In the lower right-hand corner of the screen a woman by the name of Natalia Dmitruk was providing a translation service for the deaf community. As the news presenter regurgitated the lies of the regime, Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate them. “I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”

The deaf community sprang into gear. They text messaged their friends about the fraudulent result and as news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth. Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election. The government was forced to meet their demands, a new election was held and Victor Yushchenko became president.

Philip Yancey writes

“When I heard the story behind the orange revolution, the image of a small screen of truth in the corner of the big screen became for me an ideal picture of the church. You see we as a church do not control the big screen. (When we do, we usually mess it up.) Go to any magazine rack or turn on the television and you see a consistent message. What matters is how beautiful you are, how much money or power you have. Similarly, though the world includes many poor people, they rarely make the magazine covers or the news shows. Instead we focus on the super rich, names like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.… Our society is hardly unique. Throughout history nations have always glorified winners, not losers. Then, like the sign language translator in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, along comes a person named Jesus who says in effect, Don’t believe the big screen – they’re lying. It’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. Mourners are blessed too, as well as those who hunger and thirst, and the persecuted. Those who go through life thinking they’re on top end up on the bottom. And those who go through life feeling they’re on the bottom end up on the top. After all, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

Source: Philip Yancey, What Good Is God, pages 184-186

Who’s report are you going to believe?

I don’t know about you, but I believe he report of Jesus.

Jesus gets my vote because he is my candidate!  And let me tell you why.

Not only do I believe in his platform.

Not only do I believe in his policies.

Not only do I believe in his plan.

I believe that he is a way maker.

I believe that he is a miracle worker.

I believe that he is a healer.

I believe that he is the wheel in the middle of a wheel.

I believe that he is the alpha and the omega.

I believe that he is the first and the last.

I believe that he is the beginning and the end.

I believe that he is the author and finisher of our faith.

I believe that he is the lily of the valley.

I believe that he is the bright and morning star.

I believe that he is the balm of Gilead.

I believe that he is a lawyer in the courtroom.

I believe that he is a doctor in the hospital room.

I believe that he is the great I am that I am that I am that I am.

And he is getting my vote.

And in my sanctified imagination I can here him saying,

I am Immanuel.

I am the Wonderful Counselor.

I am the Mighty God.

I am the Everlasting Father.

I am the Prince of Peace.

I am the light of the world.

I am the son of God.

I am the savior of the world.

I am the Messiah.

I am Jesus Christ and I approve this message!

The Son is Still Shinning!

Matthew 3:16-17 and John 8:12

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Now over the past year I have shared a lot about myself with my Second Community Church Family.  You know how much I love and care for my wife and boys.  You know some of the crazy things that I did when I was out in the world.  I even shared with you that I am a WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment fan.  Today I want to share with you another insight into my personal life.  Now I only share these things with you because I love and trust you guys, and I know that you are not going to use them against me some day.  Well, here goes nothing.  But now that I think about it, I may have told you this before.  If I have, just act like you’re hearing it for the first time.  I am a huge super hero fan.  Superman, Spiderman, Batman, the X-men, especially wolverine.  If they have super powers, I like them.  Many years ago when the Dark Knight came to theaters, I could not wait to see it because it was the sequel to Batman Begins…  There was a scene in the movie when Rachel Dawes the Assistant D.A. was talking to her boyfriend and District Attorney, Harvey Dent who later becomes the villain, Two-Face.  They were talking about the Joker, who was having his way in Gotham and Rachel says to Harvey things are so bad, what are we going to do?  Harvey responded, it is always darkest before the dawn.  

And how many of you know that every time you think your situation cannot get any worse, God steps in right on time.  

Every time it seems like your back is against the wall, God shows up.  

Every time you think that you cannot make it, you remember that God is in control.  

Every time you fee like there is no hope, God makes a way.

Every time you think its all over, God turns it around.

Because it is always darkest before the dawn.

He may not come when you want him, but he is always right on time. 

Do you remember the song My Girl?  I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.  I guess you say.  What can make me feel this way? My girl, my girl, my girl.  Talking ‘bout my girl.  My girl!   This song was basically saying that no matter what was going on in the lives of the Temptations, things were good, or the sun was still shinning because of the women that were in their lives.  So how much more should we as saints of the most high God know that everything will be all right because Jesus is in our lives?  

Now let’s be honest today.

How many of you have problems?

How many of you have issues?

How many of you know someone that gets on your nerves?

How many of  you are dealing with bad relationships with your friends and family?

How many of  you have troubles at work?

How many of  you are tired of messing up?

How many of  you are sick of doing the same old things over and over again?

How many of you have drama of some sort day after day after day?

How many of you are disappointed your health is not what you would like for it to be?

How many of you know your money is funny and your change is strange?

Look at your neighbor and tell them the son is till shinning!  Last week I asked you if your world revolved around the son.  And this week I want you to know that the reason your world can revolve around the son is because the son is still shinning.  In spite of everything that is going on in our world, nation, state, county, city, neighborhoods, and schools the son is still shinning.

I am going to argue today that no matter what we are going through.  

No matter what our situation is.  

No matter how the odds are stacked against us.  

No matter how many times that we’ve messed up.  

The son is still shinning.  You can make it because the son is still shinning.  Now I am not talking about the s-u-n, the yellow sun that gives superman his powers, but I am talking about the S-O-N is still shinning.  The Son of God. That gives the saints of God power!   The storms may rise and the billows may roll, but how many of you know that the SON is still shinning.  Little orphan Annie sang the sun will come out tomorrow.  I am so glad that I do not have to wait until tomorrow because the son is shinning right now! Tell your neighbor the S-O-N is still shining!

Let’s look at the text.  In Matthew we encounter the story of John the Baptist.  John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus through the baptism of repentance. And before Jesus began his three-year ministry he was baptized as well.  

Let me say this parenthetically on the way to where I am going.   That is why we are baptized because we are following the example of Jesus.  Because Jesus got baptized, we get baptized.   It represents an outward expression of an inward experience.  In other words, after you are saved you get baptized too, as a sign that your old self has died and the new self has resurrected.  If you are not saved when you get baptized you will just come out of the water a wet sinner.  That’s why I do not understand why saved folks do not get baptized right away.  Is it because that after being baptized you believe that you will be saved for real.  You were already saved for real when you accepted the SON into your life.  I believe that some people feel that after a public display of salvation, such as baptism, others will be expecting you to live a certain way and they do not want that kind of pressure.  In other words, if they get baptized people might expect them to live right.  

People might expect them to stop shacking up.  

People might expect them to stop sleeping around.  

People might expect them to stop cussing and fussing, gambling and stealing, lying and cheating, drugging and drinking.  I don’t know, it is just a theory, but once you get saved, God gives you the power to stop all of that mess anyway.  You just have to tap into the power of the Holy Ghost.  And you should not be living your life according to what people expect you to do anyway.  People don’t set the standard. God sets the standard, and we should be living our lives according to what God expects us to do.   But, back to the text, Jesus was getting baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist.  When Jesus came out of the water heaven was opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and light shown on him. God spoke, this is my son, whom I love, whom I am well pleased.  Just in case there was any doubt, I wanted you to see that Jesus is the Son of God.  The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she was with child, this child was and is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.  That is why Jesus is the reason for the season.  Now I know that Christmas is months away, but we all know how everyone acts around the holiday season.  People stressing out about getting and giving gifts, Christmas trees, and decorations, but I stopped by to let you know that the greatest gift ever given on Christmas was Jesus Christ.  Because God so loved the world…  So as we prepare for this and every holiday season let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.  Jesus the Son of God!

Not only is Jesus the son of God, he is also the light of the world as seen in John 8:12, I am the light of the world, and he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.  You see saints of  the most high God when Jesus conquered death on the cross and resurrected with all power in his hands he made available to us the keys to eternal life.  Through the light that is Jesus the 

Christ.  Meaning because this light is in you, you can conquer the darkness.  You are the light of the world.  Light changes its environment.  So you should be influencing your environment.  Your environment should not be influencing you. 

So in these two texts we can see that Jesus is the Son of God and the light of the world.  In other words the son is still shinning.  How do you know that the son is still shinning Pastor Brian?  I am so glad that you asked me.  I will give you three reasons why I believe the S-O-N is still shinning, and then I will bid you “good day”!

The first reason the son is still shinning because God loves 

us!

The old songs tell it so well.

Jesus loves the little children all the children of the world, 

red and yellow, black and white they are precious in his 

sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.

I do not know just why he came to love me so he looked 

beyond my faults and saw my needs.

Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so.  Little 

ones to him belong.  They are week but he is strong.

Remember he died for you when he did not have to.

Without his death we would not and could not be saved.  He would not come down from the cross to save himself; he decided to die just to save me.  Because of his love the son is still shinning.  Because he loves you, and when you accept him into your life he will live in you.

So not only is the son still shinning because God loves us, 

the son is still shinning because God lives in us.  I believe 

that song says, he lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today he 

walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.  He 

lives, he lives, salvation to in part, you ask me how I know

he lives.  He lives within my heart.

Because he lives I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone.  Because I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.

When Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and 

Salome came to the tomb he was gone because he lives.

Thomas was able to touch the holes in his hands because 

he lives.

I am saved today because he lives in me.  Do you remember the WWJD craze?  “What would Jesus do” Everyone was wearing bracelets, t-shirts, and hats as a reminder of what would Jesus do in this or that situation.  But you need to know that WWJD has no effect if he is not living in you.  People who don’t have Jesus living in them do not care “What would Jesus do” But because we are members of the family of believers and the fraternity or sorority of the twice born the son is still shinning because Jesus lives in us!  So when he loves you he will live in you and when he lives in you he will lead you.

The son is still shinning because God leads us.  

You know that voice that you hear every time you are about 

to do something you should not do.  That is Jesus leading 

you.  I got saved when I was nine, called to the ministry

when I was 15, but when I got to college I lost my mind.  I 

did a number of stupid things, but there was always this 

voice leading me or guiding me in another direction, and 

many times, I just didn’t listen.  You know that feeling you 

get when you are trying to choose between doing the right 

thing and the wrong thing.  That is Jesus leading you.  You 

know why you did not commit that sin you thought about  

committing, because the spirit lead you to do something 

else.  The bible says in the 23rd Psalm  that he leads me in 

the path of righteousness for his names sake.  You are 

saved, and you are carrying his name.  

He does not want his name going any and everywhere. 

Don’t take him to the health club to gossip with your friends.

Don’t take him to watch that dirty movies.

Don’t take him to listen to things you should not be listening to.

Don’t take him to the barbecue where everyone is drinking, smoking, and carrying on.

Don’t take him to that man or woman’s house when their spouse isn’t home.

Don’t take him to the club to make it rain.  

Because you are carrying his name you cannot go where everyone else is going.  You cannot do what everyone else is doing.  You cannot watch what everyone else is watching.  You cannot listen to what everyone else is listening to.  You are carrying his name.  you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.  You are set apart, and you are a peculiar people.  And the God of your salvation is leading you.

So listen to God, he is always leading you in the right direction.  You might not like where he is taking you, but trust him and it will be alright.  It will be alright because the son is still shinning.

Many years ago, I visited New Covenant Believers Church here in Columbus to hear Bishop Paul Morton preach, and during his sermon he shared with us how hurricane Katrina destroyed everything he had in New Orleans, including his home, his cars, and his church, but because of the God he serves, he did not hang his head, he continued to praise God in spite of his circumstance.  He weathered the storm because the SON is till shinning.  At that time he had become the Pastor of two churches, the one in New Orleans, and the new location in Atlanta and had 1200 members in three months.  Now if that is not the son shinning, I don’t know what is?  

The son is still shinning because God loves us, God lives in us, and God leads us.

Don’t worry about a thing.

I know you messed up, I’ve messed up too.

I know he/she broke your heart.

I know your mother was an alcoholic.

I know your father beat you.

I know you lost your baby.

I know you can’t stop listening too or stop telling the latest gossip.

I know your aunt has cancer.

I know your brother is in rehab.

I know your grand kids don’t visit like they should.

I know you and your children are not getting along.

I know you lost your job.

I know there is no food in the fridge.

I know your are battling your health issues.

I know you have more out go than income.

I know that it seems like your stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I know you don’t know which way to go or which way to turn.

I know it seems like an up hill battle.

I know this world is out of control, but we must always remember that we may live in this world but we are not of this world.

I know it seems like every time we take one step forward we take two steps backwards.

But the son is still shinning.

Let me close with a story about Martin Luther King Jr. entitled

Christ is with us.

The great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King was a person with tremendous courage. He endured vilification, beatings, imprisonments, death threats, his house was firebombed, and as we all know, he eventually was assassinated.

So what kept him going? It was his strong sense of God’s call upon his life. King was just 26 years old when he was appointed leader of the civil rights campaign in Montgomery, Alabama. Apart from terrifying threats from the Ku Klux Klan, King was harassed by police. Arrested for driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit he was given his first stint in jail. The night after his release he was at home when the phone rang. “Nigger”, said a menacing voice on the other end, we are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.”

King was unnerved and very afraid – for himself, for his wife and for his little children. Shortly after the phone call he sat at his kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee. “And I sat at that table” he said, “thinking about that little girl and thinking about the fact that she could be taken away from me at any minute. And I started thinking about a dedicated, devoted and loyal wife, who was over there asleep…And I got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I was weak…

And I discovered then that religion had to become real to me, and I had to know God for myself. And I bowed down over that cup of coffee. I will never forget it…I said, ‘Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think I’m right. I think the cause we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage…And it seemed to me at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you, even until the end of the world.’…I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone.. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”

Three nights later the menacing threat made in the phone call came true: a bomb exploded on the front verandah of the King home. Thankfully no one was hurt. But King was able to get through it: “My religious experience a few nights before had given me strength to face it.” Time and again throughout his ministry Martin Luther King returned to that experience to strengthen him as he faced terrible difficulties.

Just like MLK’s and many others’ experiences it does to matter how dark it gets the son is still shinning.

It does not matter what the situation, God is able to bring you through, and you do not have to worry about another cloudy day.  Even if it is pouring down rain, a blizzard, or a hurricane the son is still shinning. The son is still shinning, Jesus Christ is still on the throne and if you surrender to him he will forgive you.  He will save you.  He will help you get through your situation.  

Because he is the light of the world.

The alpha and the omega.

The beginning and the end.

The savior of the world.

The bright and morning star.

The lily of the valley.

The way maker.

The storm taker.

The balm of Gilead.

The rose of Sharon.

The mind regulator.

And the demon terminator.

He is the great I am.

I am your healer.

I am your deliverer.

I am your provider.

I am your banner.

I am your strong tower.

I am your refuge from the storm.

I am your light in the darkness.

I am able to do anything but fail!  

The SON is still shinning. Have a blessed day Second Community Church.  May the Lord bless you real good! 

Oh I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day, but its not because of my girl.  It is because of my God, my God, my God, talking bout my God, My God!

The SON is still shinning!

Does Your World Revolve Around the Son?

Matthew 22:34-38

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

I have a question for you this morning.  Does your world revolve around the Son?  Turn to your neighbor and ask them, does your world revolve around the Son?

The Solar System[b] is the gravitationally bound system of the Sun and the objects that orbit it, either directly or indirectly.[c] Of the objects that orbit the Sun directly, the largest are the eight planets,[d] with the remainder being smaller objects, the dwarf planets and small Solar System bodies. Of the objects that orbit the Sun indirectly—the moons—two are larger than the smallest planet, Mercury.[e]

The vast majority of the system’s mass is in the Sun, with the majority of the remaining mass contained in Jupiter. The four smaller inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are terrestrial planets, being primarily composed of rock and metal. The four outer planets are giant planets, being substantially more massive than the terrestrials. The two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are gas giants, being composed mainly of hydrogen and helium; the two outermost planets, Uranus and Neptune, are ice giants, being composed mostly of substances with relatively high melting points compared with hydrogen and helium, called volatiles, such as water, ammonia and methane. All eight planets have almost circular orbits that lie within a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic.  

I said all of that to say this, all of the planets, moons, and other objects in our solar system orbit the sun.  They revolve around the sun because the sun is their source of light and energy.  Especially for the terrestrial planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars because they are closest to the sun.  The further away the planets are from the sun the less light and energy they receive.  

I could stop right there and let you know that the closer you are to the Son the more light and energy you will have. The further you are from the Son the less light and energy you will have.  And someone in the room knows exactly what I am talking about…  Your life was at its worst when you were out in the world doing your own thing.  You knew you were raised better than that, but you chose to live a life without God, and you were in darkness.  You had no energy, no power, no get up and go.  But as you turned your life around, came back to Jesus.  You began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  You began to feel hope again.  You started going back to church, praying, and reading your Bible again.  And your world turned from darkness to light.  From night to day.  You began to feel the energy of the Holy Spirit lifting you up, guiding you, and leading you in the path of righteousness for His names sake.  Come on and give God a praise if you know what I’m talking about.  We have to stay close to the son!  The closer I get to you…

But back to my point, these outer space objects orbit or revolve around the sun because the sun is their source.  So just like the planets, moons, and other objects revolve around the Sun, our world should revolve around the Son.  Not the SUN, but the SON.  The problem is we are too self-centered and more often than not our world revolves around us.  

Our world revolves around our wants, our desires, our ambitions, our families, our children.  

Our world revolves around everything except what it should revolve around, the son.  So, I will ask the question again.  Does your world revolve around the son? This is like the question that the Pharisee, the expert in the late, or some say the lawyer asked Jesus in our text today.  Let’s take a look.

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

He was testing Jesus to see if he thought the law was important or relevant.  

He was trying to get Jesus to put his foot in his mouth.  

He was trying to get Jesus to say some thing that would get him in trouble.  

He was trying to get Jesus to say something that he could not turn around or spin in his favor.  

He was trying to get Jesus to say something that would make him look guilty in the eyes of the Pharisees so they would have cause to kill him.  

Little did he know that he was talking to Jesus.  The son of God.  The writer and the creator of the law that he was trying to trick him with.  That’s like trying to trick an author with questions about a book that she or he wrote.  It just doesn’t make sense and its not going to work.  But nonetheless, Jesus answered him, and this is the answer that we should all have when were asked about the greatest commandment.  Or we’re asked about who, how, and what we believe.  Jesus says to Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  

Let’s break that down a little bit more.  What exactly does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind.  Well first we need to look at what heart, soul, and mind mean in this text.

The word heart in the Greek is Kardia, it is where we get the term cardiology.  The study of the heart.  We all know that the heart is the central organ in an animal that pumps blood throughout the body.  It is the organ that sustains our lives.  It is also the center of all physical and spiritual life.  It is the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and the seat of thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors. So you have to love the Lord with all of your heart, with all of your Kardia.

Soul in the Greek is psuche, which is the breath of life.  The vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing.  This is the breath of life that God breathed into Adam after He formed him from the dust.  The body dies, but the soul lives on.  That is why we are in the soul saving and/or the soul winning business.  Because your soul is your life.  You have to love the Lord with all of your soul,  with all of your psuche!

Mind in the Greek is dianoia, which is the mind as the faculty of understanding, feeling, and desiring.  It’s your way of thinking and feeling.  Some may say your spirit.  Your thoughts, either good or bad.  Your conscience!  You must love the Lord with all of your mind, with all of your dianoia!

In other words, you have to love the Lord with every aspect of who you are and when we do this our world will revolve around the Son.  You cannot love someone in this manner and not have your world revolve around them.

Come on now, when you love someone or something, I mean when really love someone or something your world tends to revolve around that someone or something.  Jesus is saying that someone should be Him.  

Just look at the average stay at home mom (which is a oxymoron because there is no such thing as an average stay at home mom).  Her world revolves around her husband, kids, and house work.

Just look at the average mother (again another oxymoron…) Her world revolves around her job, her husband if she has one, her kids.

Just look at the average father or stay at home father.  His world revolves around his family and his job.  And I am not saying that those things are not important.  What I am saying is that our worlds should revolve around Son, and if they did the other areas of our life would be in better shape.  

So here is the relevant question.  How can we make sure that our world revolves around the son?  I am so glad that you asked.

The first way that we make sure our world revolves around around the son is to focus on the son.  I know what you’re thinking.  How in the world do I do that?  How do I focus on the the son?  It’s actually very simple.  You focus on the son the way that you focus on everything else.  Look at your neighbor and tell them, you need to focus on the son the way you focus on everything else.  Now you are all looking at me as if I said something crazy and unbelievable.  So let me show you what I’m talking about.  You focus on your finances.  

You make sure that you are making enough money to pay your mortgage or your rent.  

You make sure you have enough money to pay your gas, electric, water, and cable bill.  

You make sure you have enough money to pay your cell phone bill.  

You make sure you have enough money to pay your car note.  You make sure you have enough money to go grocery shopping. You make sure you have enough money to get your hair and nails done.  

You make sure you have enough money to get that new outfit and shoes because you want everyone else to now or think that you have enough money.  

You focus on your finances.  Now do you see what I am saying.  I don’t think you do.  So not only do you focus on your finances.  You focus on your family.  

What does my spouse need?  

What do the kids need?  

What about my parents?  

What about my siblings?  

What about auntie and uncle?  

What about my grandkids?  

What about my grandparents.  

You focus on your families.  

Do you see where I’m going with this?  I don’t think you do.  Not only do we focus on our family.  Not only do we focus on our finances.  We focus on our faults and follies.  All the the things that have gone wrong in our lives. We focus on our problems.  We worry about this and we worry about that.  We are constantly focused on the wrong things.  But if we would just focus on the Son he would take care of our finances.  

If we just focused on the son He would take care of our family.  

If we just focused on the son he would take care of our follies and faults.  

We have to be like Joshua when he told the Israelites in the wilderness who were focused on everything but, God.  As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.  And have a made up mind to focus on God.  

Have a made up mind to talk to God more.  

Have a made up mind to read the word more. 

Have a made up mind to come to church more.  

Have a made up mind to come to bible study more.  

Have a made up mind to walk in your calling.  

And when you do this you will be focused on the Son, and you will see that when you are focused on the Son, the Son will be focused on you.

The first way that we make sure our world revolves around the son is to focus on the son.  The second way that we make sure our world revolves around the son is to fight for the son.  I do not know why people think that Christians are weak, willy nilly push overs.  We will fight for the son.  We have to fight for what we believe in.  People today want us to change and compromise our beliefs in order to be politically correct.  But if living right and preaching what I believe makes me politically incorrect, I guess I am going to be politically incorrect.  Besides the man in the Oval Office has thrived on being politically incorrect, but we have to stand our ground.  What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.  I am not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings, but the truth hurts.  So here’s a bandage, an ice pack, a hug, and a couple of Tylenol.  Because my Bible tells me that the truth will set us free.  We have to fight for the son.  There were times in the Bible when Jesus did not take any mess.  Like the time he was hungry and when saw the fig tree, but it did not have any fruit on it.  So he cursed the tree and the next day the tree was dead.  Or the time when he went into the temple and did not like what he seen so he started turning over tables and beating people.  Jesus was not a push over and neither should we be.  We have to fight for the son.

The first way that we make sure our world revolves around the son is to focus on the son.  The second way that we make sure our world revolves around the son is to fight for the son.  The third way we make sure our world revolves around the son is to have faith in the son.  Now faith is substance of things hope for.  The evidence of things not seen.  We have to have faith in the son.  

We have to believe in who he says he is.  

We have to believe that he is going to do what he said he’s going to do.  

We have to believe that when he forgives us we are forgiven.  

We have to believe that when he heals us we are healed.  

We have to believe that when he makes a way the way is made. We have to believe that when he makes our enemies our footstools, they are in deed our footstools.  

We have to believe that Jesus is seated on the right hand side of God interceding for us. 

We have to believe that he will come through.  

We have to believe that it will happen.  

We have to believe that this too will pass.

We have to believe that COVID-19 will end.

We have to believe that Social Injustice will end.

We have to believe that yet again we shall overcome.

We have to have faith in the son.  It is so easy to give God praise after he blesses us, but I was just wondering if there is anyone in the house that has a yet praise for God.  You know what I a talking about.  You’ve asked God for some things that haven’t happened yet.  God has promised you some things that haven’t happened yet.  But you are going to praise him anyway.  You are going to be like Marvin Sapp and praise him in advance.  Anybody want to give God a yet praise because you have faith in the Son.

You haven’t got the job yet.

You haven’t got the promotion yet.

You haven’t got the call yet.

You haven’t got the car yet.

You haven’t got the house yet.

You haven’t got approved yet.

You haven’t graduated yet.

Your kids haven’t got saved yet.

You haven’t received your healing yet.

You haven’t gotten over it yet.

You aren’t where you want to be yet.

You’re not out of debt yet.

You haven’t fully recovered yet.

You haven’t made it yet.

We can give God a yet praise because we have faith in the son.

Our world must revolve around the son, and in order for our world to revolve around the son we must focus on the son, fight for the son, and have faith in the son.  And when our world revolves around the son this is what will happen.  

We will receive his light, which is his power and his energy.

We will receive his love, and I can’t think of a better thing to receive from the son than his love.  

We will become his lures.  You know what lures are right?  It’s what fishermen use to entice the fish to bite. When our world revolves around the son.  When we focus on the son, fight for the son, and have faith in the son.  We receive his light, his love and become his lures.  I keep telling you it is not about us, but we want to be used to bring others into God’s orbit.  We want to be used like a gravitational pull that will lure the lost into the kingdom of God.

Let me close with this story.

Jesus locked in the room

Once there was this very wealthy young man. He lived in a great, elaborate house with dozens of rooms. Each room was more comfortable and more beautiful than the one before it. There were paintings and sculptures. Crystal chandeliers, golden, ornate railings on the stairs. More beauty than most have ever seen.

One day he decided to invite the Lord to come and stay with him.

When the Lord arrived, this young man offered him the very best room in the house. The room was upstairs and at the end of the hall.

“This room is yours, Jesus! 

Stay as long as you like and you can do whatever you want to in this room, remember Jesus, it’s all yours.” “Thank you” the Lord replied, and with that the man shut the door and went about his daily business.

That evening after he had retired for the night there came a loud knocking at the front door.

The young man pulled on his robe and made his way downstairs. When he opened the door he found that the devil had sent three of his demons to attack the man.

He quickly tried to close the door but one of the demons kept sticking his foot in. Sometime later, after a great struggle, he managed to slam the door shut and returned to his room totally exhausted.

“Can you believe that!” the man thought,

“Jesus is upstairs in my very best room sleeping while I am down here battling demons. Oh, well, maybe he just didn’t hear.”

He slept fitfully that night. The next day things went along as normal and, being as tired as he was, the young man retired early that evening.

Along about midnight, there came such a terrible ruckus at the front door that the young man was sure that whatever it was would tear the door down. He stumbled down the stairs once again and opened the door to find that there were dozens of demons now trying to get into his beautiful home.

For more than three hours he fought and struggled against the demons from hell and finally overpowered them enough to shut the door against their attack.

All energy seemed to fail him. “I really don’t understand this at all. Why won’t the Lord come to my rescue? Why does he allow me to fight all by myself? I feel so alone.” 

Troubled he found his way to the sofa and fell exhausted into a restless sleep.

The next morning he decided to inquire of the Lord about the happenings of the last two evenings. Quietly he made his way to the elegant bedroom where he had left Jesus. “Jesus,” he called as he tapped at the door.

“Lord, I don’t understand what is happening. For the last two nights I have had to fight the demons away from my door while you laid up here sleeping. Don’t you care about me? Did I not give you the very best room in house?” He could see the tears building in Jesus’ eyes but continued on, “I just don’t understand. I really thought that once I invited you in to live with me that you would take care of me and I gave you the best room in my house and everything. What more can I do?”

“My precious child,” Jesus spoke so softly.

” I do love and care for you. I protect all that you have released into my care. But when you invited me to come here and stay, you brought me to this lovely room and you shut the door to the rest of your house. I am Lord of this room but I am not Master of this house. I have protected this room and no demon may enter here.”

“Oh, Lord, please forgive me. Take all of my house – it is yours – I am so sorry that I never offered you all to begin with. I want you to have control of everything.”

With this he flung open the bedroom door and knelt at Jesus’ feet. “Please forgive me Lord for being so selfish.”

Jesus smiled and told him that He had already forgiven him and that He would take care of things from now on. That night as the young man prepared for bed he thought to himself, ” I wonder if those demons will return. I am so tired of fighting them each and every night.”

But he knew that Jesus said that he would take care of things from now on.

Along about midnight the banging on the door was frightening. The young man slipped out of his room in time to see Jesus going down the stairs. He watched in awe as Jesus swung open the door, no need to be afraid. Satan stood at the door this time demanding to be let in. “What do you want, Satan?” the Lord asked. 

The devil bowed low in the presence of the Lord, “So Sorry, I seem to have gotten the wrong address.” And with that, he and the demons all ran away.

I just want to know that is there anybody here that I ready for their world to revolve around the son because the only way that God is going to be in every part of your world is if every part of your world revolves the Son.

If you want his protection make sure your world revolves around the son.

If you want his provision.

If you want to be blessed.

If you want to be healed.

If you want to reach your full potential.

If you want to walk in your calling.

If you want your children saved.

If you want your breakthrough.

If you desire deliverance.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tird.

If you’re ready to shatter the glass ceiling.

If you’re ready to go to the next level. 

Make sure your world revolves around the son.

We have to focus on the son.

We have to fight for the son.

We have to have faith in the son.

We will receive his light.

We will receive his love.

We will become his lures.

ADIDAS Part 3

Ephesians 1:3-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Today we are going to close out our ADIDAS series, now don’t get the wrong idea, the series is coming to an end but ADIDAS will forevermore be the acronym for all day I’m delivered and saved. Every time you see a pair of Adidas or someone wearing a shirt  with the Adidas logo you will think to yourself.  All day I’m delivered and saved.  In the past couple of weeks I have shared with you my infatuation with Adidas tennis shoes while at the same time making it clear that no shoe or other material item is more important than the God that we serve. I’ve expressed to you that we would not even have any material possessions if it had not been for the Lord on our side. 

No shoes!

No clothes!

No cars!

No house!

No cars!

No boats!

No jewelry!

No hand bags!

No fishing rods!

No fancy appliances!

No name brand nothing… as a matter of fact I have always wondered why people get so caught up with the name on a product when the only name that matters is Jesus.  The Bible says, at the name of Jesus….

I mean Nike didn’t save you.

Adidas didn’t save you.

Prada didn’t save you.

Gucci didn’t save you.

Kate Spade didn’t save you.

Coach didn’t save you.

North Face didn’t save you.

Polo and Tommy Hillfigure didn’t save you, as a matter of fact, I remember hearing that they didn’t even design their clothes for people of color to purchase or wear.

Nautica didn’t save you.

Timberland didn’t save you.

Apple didn’t save you.

Samsung didn’t save you.

Tesla didn’t save you.

Ray ban… let me stop, I’m getting ahead of myself! 

The bottom line is we should be more concerned about the name of Jesus than a name brand.

But aren’t you glad that you don’t have to worry about a name brand or anything because of ADIDAS.  Not the shoe, but the acronym.  All day I’m Delivered and Saved!

But before we had ADIDAS I told you that we had a made up mind.  We made our mark.  And we made a mess.

But since ADIDAS….

We found out that we can make it.

We can make it through. 

We can make it happen.

We can make a difference.

Last week I shared with you that not only can we make it, but we can maintain it.  So many people make it only to lose it after they make it!

They reach the top only to fall.

They succeed only to fail.

They make all this money only to waste it.

They finally have it all only to lose it all. 

But because of ADIDAS we can maintain it.

We can maintain our sanity.

We can maintain our situations. 

We can maintain our sanctification. 

So as we close out this series today, I figured since we can make it because of ADIDAS,  and since we can maintain it because of ADIDAS.  We should have no problem giving the Master praise for ADIDAS.

I mean we praise everyone and everything else, we should have no problem praising the master.  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice.

We praise our jobs. 

We praise our co-workers.

We praise our friends. 

We praise our family.

We praise our children. 

We praise our spouse.

We praise our pets.

We praise our houses.

We praise our cars.

We praise our sports teams.

We praise athletes. Come on now, some of y’all were just praising Lebrun James last night for making his 10th NBA finals.

We praise actors. 

We praise musicians.

We praise politicians.

We praise all these people and things so we should have no problem praising the master.

The ruler of heave and earth.

The king of kings. 

The lord of Lords.

The alpha and the omega.

The beginning and the end.

The giver of life.

This is what Paul was telling the church in Ephesus to do for all the Lord had done for all those that believe.  Shall we look at the text…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.  

So basically Paul was telling the church that they should praise God because he had a plan for saving us.  But he didn’t just have a plan, he let us know about the plan.  That is why we have ADIDAS!  All day I’m Delivered and Saved!  All day we are delivered and saved because God sent his one only son to die so that we can live, and for that reason alone we need to give the master praise!

Since all day I’m delivered and saved, I can make it, 

And since all day I’m delivered and saved, I can maintain it. 

I’m going to give the Master praise because All day I’m delivered and saved.  And I’m going to praise him for the following three reasons.

First, we are going to praise him for being our salvation, 

He saved us. 

He took our place.

He took our sentence.

We were supposed to die.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

Jesus didn’t sin but He died.

Jesus didn’t mess up but He died.

Jesus didn’t lie, but He died.

Jesus didn’t cheat on His taxes, but He died. 

Jesus didn’t commit adultery, but He died.

Jesus didn’t fornicate, but He died.

Jesus didn’t abuse His body with drugs and alcohol, but He died.

Jesus didn’t sleep around, but He died.

Jesus didn’t spread the latest gossip, but He died. 

He died so that I could live, so that we could live.

We were granted a stay of execution. 

We were on death row.

But at last moment God said not today, my son’s got this. 

Is there anybody in the room excited about the fact that we’ve been redeemed.

We’ve been forgiven.

We’ve been set free.

We’ve been given a fresh start.

We’ve been given a clean slate.

We praise the master for our salvation.

Not only do we praise the master for being our salvation.  We praise the master for being our strength.  Now don’t get quiet on me now.  

The only reason we made it was because of Jesus. 

The only way we maintained it was because of Jesus.

The only reason we can stand up tall with our heads lifted high is  because of Jesus. 

The only reason we held it together was because of Jesus.

The only reason we didn’t fall apart was because of Jesus.

That’s why Paul says I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength.

That is why Moses said in exodus the Lord is my strength. 

That’s why Isaiah said He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

That’s why the psalmist said my flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Paul also said it is in my weakness that God shows His strength.

He gives us strength. 

William Murphy has a song that goes like this.

You are my strength, strength like no other. Strength like no other reaches to me. [x4]

In the fullness of Your grace, in the power of Your name, you lift me up, you lift me up. [x2]

You are my strength, strength like no other. Strength like no other reaches to me. [x2]

In the fullness of Your grace, in the power of Your name, you lift me up, you lift me up. [x3]

You are my strength, strength like no other. Strength like no other reaches to me.

Has He given anyone in the room strength today.

Well give the master praise for being our strength!

So not only are we going to praise the master for being our salvation.  Not only are we going to give the master praise for being our strength.  We are going to give the master praise for being our source.  Now I know that strength and source seem like the same thing but they are quite different.  Your strength is your power, but the source is what creates and/or gives you the power. 

For example, the light won’t have power unless you plug it in.  Your phone will not work unless you charge it.  

Your car will not run unless you put gas in it.  

The plane will not take off without fuel.  

You will not operate properly unless you eat the right foods.  

And we can not live our lives the way God has called us to live our lives if we are not connected to the source.  

Look at your neighbor and say get connected to the source!   

Lord I will lift my eyes to the hills.

Knowing my help comes from you.

Your peace you give me.

In times of the storm.

You are strength of my life.

You are the source of my strength.

I lift my hands in total praise to you!

As I close out this series is there anybody in the room that wants to give God total praise for being the source of your strength!

He’s the source.

He’s the source. 

He’s the source.

I know you thought it was you, but it was the source.

I know you thought it was because of your personality. 

I know you thought it was because of your pedigree. 

I know you thought it was because of your degrees. 

I know you thought it was because of your last name.

I know you thought it was because of your socioeconomic status.

I know you thought it was because of who you know and who knows you.

I know you thought it was because of your political affiliation.

I know you thought it was because you’re cute.

But it was because of the source!

So I don’t know about you, but I am going to give the master praise because not only is He our source, He is the source!

He is the source of my joy.

He is the source of my peace. 

He is the source of my love.

He is the source of my healing.

He is the source of my success.

He is the source of my calling.

He is the source of my anointing.

He is the source of my all and all.

Give the master praise for being the source!

Driving God Crazy

A Hasidic story tells of a tailor who approaches his rabbi and says, “I have a problem with my praise. I am a tailor, and from time to time people compliment me on my skills. It is very satisfying to hear their praise. One kind word can keep me going for a week. But if people came to me all day every day saying, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor”, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor”, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor” it would drive me crazy. It would get to the point I wouldn’t want to hear another compliment ever again! I would tell everyone to go away and leave me to work in peace. And this is what bothers me about praise. If just once a week we told God how wonderful he is, and just a couple of us did this each week, that is all God would need, right?  Is God really so insecure that he needs us all to praise him morning, noon and night? Hundreds, thousands, millions of people all praising him. Surely this would drive God crazy?!”

The rabbi smiled and said, “Mendel, you are absolutely right. You have no idea how difficult it is for God to listen to all our praises, day in, day out, 24 hours a day. But God knows how important it is for us to offer our praise, and so, because of God’s great love God tolerates all of our praise.”

Now obviously our praise does not drive God crazy.  As a matter of fact, I believe that one of the reasons God created us in the first place was to give Him praise.  But if in some alternative reality or world our praise drives God crazy.

I guess I’m going to drive God crazy because I have to praise Him!

I believe that our praise may not drive God crazy, but it absolutely makes God happy.  In our text today Paul clearly states, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace.  Now when I think about pleasure I think of happiness, and the word pleasure, referring to God’s pleasure is in this text twice.  So it sounds to me that our praise makes God happy!  And I don’t know about you, but I want to make God happy.  

So I am going to give the master praise.

I can’t help myself.

It’s like fire shut up in my bones.

I don’t know about anyone else in the room, but God has been to good to me not to praise him.

God has done too much for me.

God has provided too much for me.

God has protected me from too much. 

God has look out for me too much. 

God has forgiven me for too much.

God has saved me from too much.

God had taken my place too many times.

God has loves me too much not to praise Him.

So I am going to make God happy with my praise.

Does anybody in the room want to make God happy today!

If so stand up on your feet.

Open up your mouth. 

And give God a ridiculous praise.

Clap your hands and make God happy.

Stomp your feet.

Do your dance.

Run your lap.

Give him glory.

Shout hallelujah. 

If He’s done anything for you.

If He’s healed your body.

If He’s made the impossible possible.

If He’s made ways out of no ways.

If He’s got you out of sticky situations.

If He’s never let you down.

If He’s never forsaken you.

If He’s been your wheel in the middle of a wheel.

Make God happy with your praise. 

Praise God for being our salvation.

Praise God for being our strength.

Praise God for being our source.

Praise God that you have ADIDAS.

Praise God that all day I am delivered and saved!

Adidas Part 2

Philippians 4:10-19

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Last week we began a series entitled ADIDAS, an acronym for all day I’m delivered and saved.  I expressed to you my infatuation with Adidas tennis shoes and how no shoe could possibly compare to what Jesus Christ has done for me.  As a matter of fact, I told you that I would have no shoes on my feet.

No clothes on my back.

No food on my table.

No water to drink.

No roof over my head.

No car to drive.

No job to go to.

No family to love.

No air to breath if it were not for God.  

Now somebody in the room knows what I’m talking about and should give God praise right now!

We talked about our lives before Adidas.  Before all day I’m delivered and saved.  

We had a made up mind.   

We made our mark.  

We made a mess.  

But after Adidas we knew that we could make it.  

We could make it through.  

We could make it happen.  

We could make a difference.  

Now this week I want you all to know that not only can we make it.  We can maintain it.  You hear stories all the time about people making it to the top.  Then years, months, weeks, or sometimes even days later we hear about the same people falling from the top.  

For example, people who win the lottery and are broke months later.  

Athletes that rise to the top of their sport, but fall because of an injury or infidelity.  

Actors and artist that rise to the top only to fall because of addiction and depression. 

Preachers who rise and fall because of pride and the pursuit of prosperity and prestige.

CEO’s that shoot to the top of the company and fall because they cannot handle the pressure.  

How many brothers and sisters have you seen give their lives to the Lord?  They made it, and months later they leave the Lord and the Church because of this or that.  (Usually because of church folks, but that’s another sermon for another day!) 

People make it all the time but they seldom maintain what they make.  So I stopped by this morning to let everyone in the room know that not only can you make it, you can maintain it.  Bishop Clarke talked about this on his Truth for Tuesday segment on Facebook live a while ago.  He stated that the most dangerous times of our lives are the moments right after the victory.  We put so much time and effort into winning that we don’t strategize and plan for life after the battle is won.  

Many times we fail after the battle is won.  

Many times we fall after the victory.  

Many times we mess up after we make it.  

Because we don’t have a plan.

And if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  But I proclaim to you today that not only can we make it, we can maintain it!  

This is what we learn in our text today.  The same text we were in last week.  When Paul had written a letter to the church in Philippi from prison to thank them for the gifts and resources that they had blessed him with.  Let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going, make sure that you say thank you.  Nothing burns my biscuits more than when someone does not say thank you.  As if you had to do whatever it is you did for them, or you had to give whatever it is you gave to them.  Just the other day…  Please make sure you teach your children to say thank you as well.  They should be writing thank you cards for birthday presents and graduation gifts, or they can make a video or send an email.  But they need to do something to show some gratitude.  Anyway, back to what I was saying.  In the midst of this thank you note Paul drops some knowledge on the church in Philippi.  Shall we look at the text…

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

Verse 19 is where I want to focus today.  And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  Someone say Adidas.  Because All day I’m delivered and saved I can maintain.  You don’t see it do you?  Let me show you.  Because of the fact that all day I am delivered and saved I can be like that church in Philippi.  We can live the way God calls us to live.  We can take care of people the ways God calls us to take care of people.  We can give the way that God wants us to give.  Because they were so giving is why Paul says, he wished that more could be credited to their accounts.  And when we are the people that God called us to be because we know that all day I’m delivered and save we can maintain because God will provide all of our needs according to the riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus.  This reminds me of that old song we used to sing…

We’ve come this far by faith.  

Leaning on the the Lord.  

Trusting in his holy word.  

He never failed me yet. 

Oh, oh, oh, can’t turn around. 

We’ve come this far by faith.  

How because God will meet all of our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  In other words, we can maintain it.  And we maintain it in three areas.

First, we maintain our sanity (our minds)… this is so important in the world that we live in today.  From the music, to the movies, to the television shows (The cussing and nudity on regular TV is out of control), to the media, especially social media, the political climate, and all the racial injustice in our land.  Just yesterday one street over on Wheatland three were shot and two are dead.  We need to maintain our sanity.  That is why we have to guard our minds.  

We can’t let everything and everyone have access to our minds.  We have to keep watch and be gate keepers of our minds.  

We have to be careful of what we let into our minds. 

We have to do our part and God will do his.  What are you saying Pastor Brian?  The Bible says that He will keep our minds in perfect peace, when our minds are stayed on Him.  The problem is that our minds are on everything but God…  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice because you know exactly what I’m talking about and part of you is hoping that I won’t go there.  

But I have to go there!

Your mind is stayed on do your own thing.

Your mind is stayed on doing what you want to do.

Your mind is stayed on getting high.

Your mind is stayed on getting drunk.

Your mind is stayed on making it to the top.

Your mind is stayed on buying that big house.

Your mind is stayed on buying that Tesla.

Your mind is stayed on the Big 10 finally deciding to play football.

Your mind is stayed on that woman or that man!

But I truly believe that He will keep your mind in perfect peace if your mind is stayed on Him.

That is why you can remain calm in the midst of the storm.

That is why you can keep your cool in the heat of any situation. 

That is why you can stay focused in the fight.

That is why you are composed in the challenge. 

That is why you can be strategic in the tragedy .

That is why you can see the win in the loss.

That is why you can stand when everyone else around you is dropping like flies.  

That is why you can see the good in the bad.

That is why you can see the silver lining in the cloud.

That is why you can be the light in the darkness.

Because you know deep down inside of you that God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  You can maintain your sanity.

First, we maintain our sanity.  Secondly, we maintain our situations.  We can truly do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

We can climb any mountain.

We can cross any valley.

We can swim any sea.

We can win any battle.

We can reach any height.

We can defeat any enemy.

We can overcome any obstacle.

We can rebuke any demon.

We can triumph over any trial.

We can stand up to any bully.

We can charge any challenge.

We can survive any sickness.

And once we win we can stay there.  We can continue to enjoy the success we have achieved.  This is what I was talking about in my introduction.  There is no amount of success that we can’t maintain.  The same God that helps us attain it is the same God that will help us maintain it.  

If God gets us there He will keep us there.

If God heals us He will keep us healed. 

If God delivers us He will keep us delivered.

If God reconciles our marriage He will keep our marriage together.

If God repairs a relationship He will keep the relationship repaired.

If God brings the promise to pass He will keep us in the promise land.

If God has done it He will continue to do it!

You know what, let me change that if to when because if, if was a fifth we’d all be drunk because it’s not a matter of if God will do it, it’s a matter of when God will do it!

When God gets us there He will keep us there.

When God heals us He will keep us healed.

When God delivers us He will keep us delivered.

When God reconciles our marriage He will keep our marriage together.

When God repairs a relationship He will keep the relationship repaired.

When God brings the promise to pass He will keep you in the promise land.

When God has done it He will continue to do it! 

Won’t He do it!  Yes He will!

We can maintain our situations.

First, we can maintain our sanity.  Secondly, we can maintain our situations.  Thirdly, we maintain our sanctification.  Here is the most important point.  Sanctification means to be set apart for the purpose of being used by God.  We have to be set apart because we are children of God.  We are a peculiar people.  We are a royal priesthood.  And I know I’ve said this before but I will say it until I am blue in the face.  But we cannot be like everyone else.  I know we want to be, but er can’t.

We can’t go where everyone else goes.

We can’t watch what everyone else’s watches.

We can’t listen to what everyone else listens to.

We can’t do what everyone else does.  

I try explaining this to my boys all the time.  It’s not easy to be different, but we have to be different because that is what God has called us to be.  It is easy to fit in.  It is easy to go with the crowd, but that is not what God wants us to do.  We have to be sanctified.  And truth be told church, the only way that we can maintain our sanity, the only way that we can maintain our situations is if and only if, I mean when and only when we maintain out sanctification.  How else will we know all day we’re delivered and saved if we don’t maintain our sanity?

We have to be what God has called us to be.  

We have to be holy because the God that we serve is Holy.  

We have to let the Holy Spirit saturate every single aspect of our lives.  The problem is that we want to be selective in the areas in which we allow God into our lives.  We want to pick and choose.  God you can be in my marriage, but you can’t be in my finances.  God you can be with me on the job, but you can’t be involved in my decisions. 

God you can be in my house, but stay out of my home. 

God is not satisfied with that.  

He does not want some of us He wants all of us.  

He does not want part of us He wants all of us.  

He does not want a portion of us He wants all of us.

He does not want a piece of us He wants all of us.

He does not want a section of us He wants all of us.

And I was wondering if there is anyone in the room today ready to give it all to God.  There is contemporary song by Forever Jones that goes like this…

There’s a voice that cries out in the silence, searching for a heart 

that will love Him.

Longing for a child that will give Him their all, give it all, He wants it all.

And there’s a God that walks over the earth, He’s searching for a heart that is desperate.

And longs for a child that will give Him their all, give it all, He wants it all.

And He says, love me, love me, with your whole heart, He wants it all today

Serve me, serve me with your life now.

He wants it all today.

Bow down, lets go of your idols. 

He wants it all today.

He wants it all.

I just believe that if God wants it all we should give it to Him!

And then there’s the traditional hymn that says the same thing in a differed way.  

All to Jesus I surrender

All to Him I freely give

I will ever love and trust Him

In His presence daily live

All to Jesus I surrender

Humbly at His feet I bow

Worldly pleasures all forsaken

Take me Jesus take me now

I surrender all

I surrender all

All to Thee my blessed Savior

I surrender all

Because when we surrender it all because He wants it all we can maintain our sanctification, and this is the only way that we can maintain our sanity.  This is the only way we can maintain our situations.

Let me close with a story entitled Churchill’s Commencement Address.

Sir Winston Churchill took three years getting through eighth grade because he had trouble learning English. It seems ironic that years later Oxford University asked him to address its commencement exercises.

He arrived with his usual props. A cigar, a cane and a top hat accompanied Churchill wherever he went. As Churchill approached the podium, the crowd rose in appreciative applause. With unmatched dignity, he settled the crowd and stood confident before his admirers. Removing the cigar and carefully placing the top hat on the podium, Churchill gazed at his waiting audience. Authority rang in Churchill’s voice as he shouted, “Never give up!”

Several seconds passed before he rose to his toes and repeated: “Never give up!” His words thundered in their ears. There was a deafening silence as Churchill reached for his hat and cigar, steadied himself with his cane and left the platform. His commencement address was finished.

A very simple but powerful speech but Winston Churchill knew something that he was trying to share with the graduates that day.  They had reached a goal.  They had made it!  And many times when we make it, we give up because we think we have arrived, but in order to maintain what you have attained you cannot give up.

You just got the job never give up.

You just kicked the habit never give up.

You just got clean.

You just bought the car.

You just got approved for the loan.

You just graduated.

You just got accepted into school.

You just got the promotion. 

You just got married.

You just had your first child.

You just accepted your call.

You just made it.

You just attained it.

You have to maintain it!

And you can maintain it because you have Adidas, All Day I’m Delivered and Saved!

You can maintain because God will supply all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  His riches… I know I’ve shared this with you before, but the scripture says that my father’s house has many mansions in it.  Now we talk about rich folks today but they have nothing on the riches of God…

Not Warren Buffet.

Not Bill Gates.

Not Oprah Winfrey.

Not Jay Z and Beyoncé.

Not President Donald Trump.

None of them can hold a candle to what our God has, as a matter of fact their many houses and mansions would fit in God’s house.  The cattle on a thousand hills belong to God and since He’s my daddy He will take care of me and I can maintain!

So do me a favor.

Stand to your feet.

Open up your mouth.

Put your ten stringed instruments together.

And give God praise.

Because the Bible says let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

So if you’re breathing you should be praising!

If you’re alive you should be praising!

If you’re above ground your should be praising!

Praise God that you can maintain.

You can maintain your sanity.

You can maintain your situations.

You can maintain your sanctification.

ADIDAS

Philippians 4:10-13

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a small infatuation with Adidas tennis shoes. That’s just what I like.  You can have your Nikes, Reeboks, Jordans, K-Swiss, Converse, ASICS, New Balance, or any other kind of sneaker, but give me my Adidas.  I have them in different colors, and I have them in different styles.  The song, my Adidas by Run DMC could actually be my theme song!  

My Ahhh-didas, walk through concert doors
And roam all over coliseum floors

I stepped on stage, at Live Aid

All the people gave, and the poor got paid

And out of speakers I did speak

I wore my sneakers but I’m not a sneak

My Adidas touch the sand of a foreign land
With mic in hand, I cold took command

My Adidas and me close as can be

We make a mean team, my Adidas and me

We get around together, we down forever

And we won’t be mad when caught in bad weather

My Adidas… my Adidas…

Yo, whassup?

Now don’t judge me!  We all have our thing or things, and Adidas are just one of mine.  I’d wear them every day if I could, but I haven’t found a pair that go with a suit yet.  Anyway, as I was sitting one day thinking and pondering the word of God, I thought about Adidas and how I feel when I get a new pair or wear one of my favorite pair.  You guys know what I am talking about.  We all have a favorite pair of shoes, piece of clothing, or an outfit that we feel a certain way when we wear it.  You look at yourself a little longer in the mirror when you have it on.  You have a little pep in your step when you’re wearing it.  It just makes you feel good when you have it on.  Maybe it’s because of the person who got it for you.  Maybe it’s because its the first thing you bought for yourself.  Maybe it’s because of the compliments you receive when you wear it.  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice.  We all like to receive compliments every now and then.  Or maybe it’s because you just like it!  But as I was thinking about my feelings about a shoe, I realized that I serve a God that has done more for me than any shoe could possibly do for me.  As a matter of fact, if it were not for God I would not have a pair shoes to put on my feet.  Yet, He has blessed me enough to have pairs of shoes to choose from.  So today we are going to begin a series entitled ADIDAS, yes we are going to talk about shoes all month long.  Of course not, ADIDAS in an acronym for All Day I’m Delivered And Saved.  Shall we look at the text…

As I meditated on this topic God lead me to Philippians 4:10-13.  Now Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi while he was in prison.  And  we all know Paul’s story.  He used to be known as Saul, a Pharisee that sought out and persecuted believers of the way, A.K.A. Christians.  He was actually on his way to continue this work in Damascus when Jesus knocked him off his high horse figuratively and literally.  He came to know Jesus as his personal Lord and savior, and immediately went into the ministry, preaching the word, planting churches, and writing most of the New Testament.  Many of us can relate to Saul’s experience.  We may not have been persecuting Christians, but just like Saul we were doing our own thing and God had to knock us off of our high horse and we realized what fools we had been.  He picked us up, turned us around, and He placed our feet on solid ground and now we can say All Day I’m Delivered And Saved. Listen to what Paul says…

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Basically Paul is saying that it does not matter what the situation or the circumstance that I am in, I will be fine.  I will be ok.  I will be content.  Because I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  The him is Jesus.

When I have food I’m content.

When I’m hungry I’m content.

When I’m clothed I’m content.

When I’m naked I’m content.

When I’m going through I’m content.

When I’m coming out I’m content.

When I’m in the the storm I’m content.

When I’m in the sunshine I’m content.

When I’m on the mountain top I’m content.

When I’m in the valley I’m content.

When I’m sick I’m content.

When I’m healthy I’m content.

When I’m alone I’m content.

When I’m with family and friends I’m content.

It does not matter what’s going on in my life I’m content.

The bottom line is I can be content because I have Jesus and because I have Jesus I have ADIDAS, All Day I’m Delivered And Saved.  And because I know that All Day I’m Delivered and Saved, I can make it.  Which is what I want to focus on today.  Paul knew without a shadow of a doubt that no matter what he was going through that he could make it.  That’s what this discourse in this letter to the church in Philippi was all about.  Letting the people of God know that they could make it.  

Is there anyone in the room today that wants to make it?  

Is there anyone here today that is sick and tired of being sick and tired?  

Is there anybody here that is ready to put your best foot forward?  Is there anybody here that is ready to get out of your sticky situation?  

Well let me share with you three ways that you can make it.  But before that let me share with you what you made before you had ADIDAS.  Before you knew that All Day I’m Delivered And Saved.

We had a made up mind, and I am not talking about in a good way.  We did not have a made up mind to follow Jesus.  

We had a made up mind that we were going to do what we wanted to do.  

We had a made up mind that we were going to do it the way we wanted to do it. 

We had a made up mind that we knew it all.

We had a made up mind that we were grown and no one was going to tell us what to do.

We had a made up mind that we didn’t need anyone but ourselves.

We had a made up mind that we could do it all on our own.

We had a a made up mind that all we needed was me, myself, and I.

We had a made up mind that we could do all things through ourselves.

We had a made up messed up mind.  Give me an Amen if you know what I’m talking about.

And our minds were so made up that we made our mark, and it wasn’t a good mark.  Everyone knew who we were and what we were about.  Our reputation proceeded us.  Because we made our mark for starting trouble.

We made our mark for causing drama.

We made our mark for spreading gossip.

We made our mark for getting in folks’ business.

We made our mark for being high.

We made our mark for being drunk.

We made our mark for sleeping around.

We made our mark cussing folks out.

We made our mark for having a bad attitude.

We made out mark for being a bully.

We made our mark for all the wrong reasons.

So because our minds were made up, and because we made our mark, we made a mess.  I mean our lives were jacked up from the floor up.  We couldn’t recognize ourselves in the mirror and if we could recognize ourselves we did not like what we saw.  If we hadn’t burned the bridges of our relationships with our family and friends.  They had to distance themselves from us, or they abandoned us altogether because we had made such a mess of our lives that we were toxic.  No one wanted to be around us for fear that some of our mess would rub off on them.  Let’s be honest this morning how many people can say that at some point in your life you made a mess of your life because you had a made up mind and you made your mark.

That is why we we need to thank God for Jesus because now that we know Him, He has flipped the script.  We now know that its not about us and it’s all about Him.  Now our minds are made up to serve God.  Now the only mark we want to make is to please God.  And now our mess has become an opportunity to share His message.  Because now we have ADIDAS, now we know that All Day I’m Delivered And Saved.  We know that we can make it, and we make it in three ways.

First we can make it through. Every time I hear someone say I am going through or I’m going through something.  I think to myself they should be praising God that they are going through because they could be stuck in whatever it is they are going through!  We can make it through anything and everything we go through.

Every trial!

Every tribulation! 

Every storm!

Every battle!

Every sickness!

Every disagreement!

Every disappointment!

Every heartache!

Every unfair treatment!

Every addiction!

Every form of abuse!

Every form of depression!

Every attack of the enemy!

Every attempt of our haters!

Every lie told on us!

Every rumor spread about us!

Every pandemic.

Every police shooting.

Every social injustice.

Every bigoted presidency.

Every church building shut down.

We can make it through because All Day I’m Delivered And Saved!

First we can make it through.  Then we can make it happen.  

This is where the rubber meets the road.  

This is where we don’t just talk faith, but we put our faith into action.  

This is where we just don’t talk about God making a way, but we actually get up off of our backside and walk the way that God has made.  

It’s is one thing to sit back and say the Lord will make a way.  

It is another thing altogether to walk the way the the Lord has made.  

What are you saying PB, let me show you.  

You’ve been saying for years how you’ve been wanting to go back to school.  God has opened a door for you to go back for free and you don’t take advantage of the opportunity.  

You have always dreamed of owning your own home.  God has made a way, but you don’t want to clean up your credit to get approved for the loan.  

You always dreamed of owning your own business.  God has opened up an opportunity for you to do so, but you’re so fearful of failure that you won’t step out on faith.  Peter would have never walked on the water if he did not get out of the boat.  It is time for many of us to get out the boat.  Look at your neighbor and say get out the boat.  

That is why I stopped by 311 South Highland Avenue to let someone know today that you can make it happen because All Day I’m Delivered And Saved!

First we can make it through.  Then we can make it happen.  And last, but not least we can make a difference.  Remember, I keep telling you for a year now it is not about us!  So once we make it through and we make it happen we can make a difference in the life of someone else.  Because whether you realize it or not people are watching you.  Now let’s be honest this morning.  Some people are just watching us to see us fall flat on our faces.  But then there are those that have been watching us for a while.  

They seen us when we had a made up mind.  

They seen us when we made our mark.  

They seen us when we made a mess.  

They’ve been watching us as we make it through.  

They’ve been watching us as we make it happen, and they’ve been wondering how did we get from there to here?  

They’ve been wondering how did we turn it around? 

They’ve been wondering how did we flip the script?

They’ve been wondering how did we get it together?

They’ve been wondering how are we standing?

They’ve been wondering how are we smiling?  

They’ve been wondering how are we holding it together?

They’ve been wondering why haven’t we lost our minds?

And this gives us the perfect opportunity to make a difference when we share our story.  When we tell them it has nothing to do with us and every to do with God.  When we let them know that because we made it they can make it too.  And the only reason that we could make it was because we knew ADIDAS.  All Day I’m Delivered And Saved!

The Olympic Games, Mexico, 1968. The marathon is the final event on the program. The Olympic stadium is packed and there is excitement as the first athlete, an Ethiopian runner, enters the stadium. The crowd erupts as he crosses the finish line.

Way back in the field is another runner, John Stephen Akwhari of Tanzania. He has been eclipsed by the other runners. After 30 kilometers his head is throbbing, his muscles are aching and he falls to the ground. He has serious leg injuries and officials want him to retire, but he refuses. With his knee bandaged Akwhari picks himself up and hobbles the remaining 12 kilometers to the finish line. An hour after the winner has finished Akwhari enters the stadium. All but a few thousand of the crowd have gone home. Akwhari moves around the track at a painstakingly slow pace, until finally he collapses over the finish line.

It is one of the most heroic efforts of Olympic history. Afterward, asked by a reporter why he had not dropped out, Akwhari says, “My country did not send me to start the race. They sent me to finish.”

Source: reported on Sydney 2000 Olympics website

So I stopped by this morning to let you know that its not how you start the race its how you finish the race and you can finish the race, you can make it!

No matter how bad you’re hurt!

No matter what the cost!

No matter how you feel!

No matter what people say about you!

No matter what the competition looks like!

No matter how the odds are stacked against you!

No matter who shows up to cheer you on!

No matter how many times you fall down!

No matter how many times you mess up!

No matter what you can finish because God did not create you to just start.  He created you to finish and you have a job to do.

In other words, you can make it.

So keep on keeping on you can make it

Keep your eyes on the prize!

Keep your head up!

Keep pushing forward!

Don’t give up!

Hold on!

Don’t through in the towel!

Hang in there!

Persevere!

You’re almost there!

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

It’s within in your reach!

It’s at the tip of your fingers!

Keep on moving you can make it because you know.

All Day I’m Delivered and Saved!

You know God’s got your back!

You know that God is in control!

You know that God will never leave you or forsake you!

You know that the battle belongs to the Lord!

You know that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!

You know that God is on your side!

You know that Just like Paul, you can do all things through Him that gives you strength!

You know that you can make it!

You can make it through!

You can make it happen!

You can make a difference! 

Because All Day I’m Delivered And Saved!