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!

Betting on the Book

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

I had every intention of beginning a new series this morning.  I had a three part series, I could not wait to share with you, but God had other plans.  I guess the series will have to wait because I started something last week when I started talking about the word that God wants me to finish today.  Last week I told you that in the world that we live in we need to BYOB.  You need to bring your own Bible and in order to bring your own Bible.  In order to bring your own word you must lear the word, you must labor with the word, and you must love the word.  Bottom line you have to know the word for yourself.  I am going to stay in that same vein this morning by letting you know that I am betting on the book!  Let’s go to work!

In 1978 Kenny Rogers came out with a song called the gambler.  The song tells a story of a late night meeting on a train bound for nowhere between Rogers and the gambler.  The Gambler tells Rogers that he can tell that Rogers is down on his luck by the look in his eyes and offers him some advice for his last drink of whisky.  After the Gambler takes a drink he give Rogers the following advice.  You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.  Know when to walk away.  Know when to run.  You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table.  There will be time enough for counting when the dealings done.  The Gambler goes on to tell Rogers that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and what to keep and the best that you could hope for is to die in your sleep.  

I think it is interesting how this song parallels to everyday life.  Because in our every day lives we need to know what to hold on to  and what to throw away.  We need to know when to fold, to let it go.  And when definitely need to know when to walk away and when to run.  Why are you looking at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about?  Let me show you what I mean.  

The pains of life should we keep them or throw them away.

The grief

The bad relationships

The addiction

The heartache

The failures

The forgiveness and/or unforgiveness

What about the mistakes

The regrets 

The would of’s, could of’s and should of’s of life.

The so-called friends

The backstabbers

The haters

In the game of life you need to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.  Know when to walk away and know when to run!

And I know talking about gambling is a strange way to introduce a sermon for the simple fact that we as Christians do not gamble.  We do not play the number or the lottery.  We do not shoot craps and hang out at the slot machines.  Well at least we should not be gambling, playing the lotter, shooting craps, and hanging out at the slot machines.  We don’t need to gamble.  We don’t need to rely on luck.  We don’t have to hope the odds are in our favor.  We don’t need a bookie.  We don’t need a sure thing.  

Because we have the real thing.  

We have Jesus.  

We have God.  

We have the Alpha and the Omega. 

We have the first and the last…

But if I were a gambling man, I would bet all I have on the book.  If anyone ever asks you, what I am betting on.  Let them know that I am betting on the book.  

The word of life.  

The Bible.  

The B-I-B-L-E. That’s the book for me!

Basic instructions before leaving earth.  

Everything that I want is in the book.

Everything that you need is in the book.  

The solution to my problems is in the book.

The remedy to my sickness is in the book.

The answers to my questions are in the book.

The rights to my wrongs are in the book.

The role models of righteousness are in the book.

The directions to my life are in the book.

The plan of action is in the book.

Everything is in the book.

It’s like that spaghetti sauce prego… whatever you need, it’s in there.

That is why John tells us that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  Now in this passage when John is talking about the word.  He is referring to Jesus.  Who else could the “He” in John 1:2 be?  Let me prove my point.  In Genesis 1:26 God said let us make man in our image, in our likeness.  Now I was taught in my English classes that the pronouns us and our refer to more than one person.  And I cannot think of another person that would be with God in the beginning other than His son, Jesus.  Now to illustrate my point a bit further allow me to reread the passage and substitute Jesus for word he and him.  In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.  Jesus was with God in the beginning.  Through Jesus all things were made, and without Jesus nothing was made that has been made.  In Jesus was life and that life was the light of man.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.   There is no doubt in my mind that John was referring to Jesus in this passage.  Now that is a great Pastor Brian, but why are you telling me all this when the title of your sermon is betting on the book?  What an excellent question.  9 out of 10 Christians refer to the Bible as the word.  and if John is saying that the word is Jesus.  Then in essence the sermon is about betting on Jesus.  The bible is the representation of God’s actual words to His people.  Men wrote down what God inspired them to write.  So if you are going to bet on anything bet on the word.  Bet on Jesus!  

Listen to what happened to Jesus in Mathew 4.  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,

    and they will lift you up in their hands,

    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”  Now if Jesus is using the word and is stressing the need for the word, which is himself when tempted by satan.  Why do we think that we can get by without the word?  Why do we think that we can make it without word when Jesus can’t even make it without word?    In other words, how can we make it without Jesus?  When Jesus can’t even make it without Jesus.  I will give you three reasons why we should be betting on the book and bid you good day.

The first reason that we should be betting on the book is that there are lessons in the book.  Just like I told you last week that we need to learn the word.  One of the ways that we learn the word is by the lessons that are taught in the word.  

In the old testament, we learned from Adam and Eve how sin entered the world and what happens when we sin against God.  

We learned from Noah the Judgment of God.  

We learned from Abraham the faithfulness of God, and that He always keeps His promises.  

We learned from Gideon that God will and can use anybody. We learned from Moses that God will use you despite your disabilities or where you come from.  

In the new testament, we learn from the apostles that faith without works is dead.  

We learn that nothing is impossible for God. 

We learn that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. 

We learn that we are more than conquerors.  

We learn that all things work together for the good of those that love God.  

We learn that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.

There are lessons in the book.

First we can bet on the book because there are lessons in the book.  Secondly we can bet on the book because there is love in the book.  I told you last week that we should love the word.  We also need to know that there is love in the word.  John 3:16… God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us.  I love my Second Community Church Family, but I have to be honest I would not let Elijah or Noah die for any of y’all.  And here is the beautiful thing about God’s Love.  It is unconditional.  He loves us no matter what.  There are no conditions on His love for us. But we have conditions on our love.  Don’t look at me in that tone of voice…

I’ll love you if you do this.

I’ll love you if you do that.

I’ll love you if you sleep with me.

I’ll love you if you do what I say.

I’ll love you as long as you’re rich and successful.

I’ll love you as long as I’m in your will.

But God’s love is not like that.  The Bible says, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 

While we were getting high.

While we were getting drunk.

While we were sleeping around.

While we were gang banging.

While we were slanging dope.

While we were cheating on our taxes.

While we were taking office supples from work.

While we were having our co-workers stamp our time cards for hours we didn’t work.

While we were playing the numbers.

Christ died for us.

In spite of our most hideous actions He loves us.  

In there are hundreds of examples of His love for us in the book.

There is love in the Book.

First we can bet on the book because there are lessons in the book.  Secondly, we can bet on the book because there is love in the book.  Thirdly, we can best on the book because there is life in the book.  I began the previous point with John 3:16 and I am going to begin my last point with John 3:16…EVERLASTING LIFE!  This is the main objective of the Bible.  Bringing God’s people back into relationship with him.  God desires to be reconciled to His people for eternity, for Life.  That is why He sent Jesus.  Time and time again in the Old Testament God tried to get us back but nothing seemed to work.  

He tried covenants, but that didn’t work.

He tried the ten commandments, but that didn’t work.

He tried judges, but that didn’t work.

He tried kings, but that didn’t work. 

He tries sacrificing animals because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, but that didn’t work.

So then He tried Jesus.  

His one and only son.  

And we know that that shedding of Jesus’ blood works.  That same blood that Jesus shed when He died is the same blood that gives us life.  

It is the same blood that makes us new creatures in Christ.  It is the same blood that gives the righteous eternal life.  

It is the same blood that reaches to the highest mountain. 

It is the same blood that flows to the lowest valley.

It is the sam blood that gives us strength from day to day.

It is the same blood that will never ever lose its power.  

Does anyone in the room want the lessons found in the book?  

Does anyone in the room want the love that is found in the book?  

Does anyone in the room want the life that is found in the book?  

If so you need to be betting all you own on the book.  

You should be betting your life on the book.  

It does not matter what your circumstance is, if you are betting on the book I can guarantee you will be victorious because I already know the cards that you have been dealt.  I know what’s in your hand.  

You are holding all aces because an ace equals 1 and you serve the one true and living God.  

You are holding a full house, because your father is rich in houses and lands, and he holds the power of the world in his hands.  

You are holding four of a kind because the trinity, the father, the son, and the holy ghost plus you equals four and the bible says that we are created in his image and we shall be like him.  

You are holding a royal flush because you are serving the 

King of kings!

The lord of Lords!

The alpha and omega!

The beginning and the end!

The great I am!  

Let me share with you a short story called The Bible versus mobile phones.

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phones?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we used it to receive messages?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it as we travelled?

What if we used it in case of an emergency?

What if we upgraded to include 24/7 tech service from the Holy Spirit?

This is something to make you go…hmmm…where is my Bible?

Oh, and a couple more things.  We don’t have to worry about our Bible losing power because the Bible is powered by God.  So there is not need to carry around a charger and constantly look for an electrical outlet.  And unlike our cell phones, we don’t ever have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!

Jesus paid it all.

All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain.

But He washed it white as snow.

Is there anybody here excite about the fact that Jesus paid it all.

Is there anybody here excites about the fact that you Bible can do more than you than you iPhone, Galaxy note, or Lg whatever.

Is there anybody here excited about the fact that when you bet on the book you are guaranteed victory.

So just bet on the book and I promise you that you will find all you need in the book.  

You will find lessons in the book.  

You will find love in the book.  

You will find life in the book.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bible)

Psalms 119:11

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against 

thee.

This morning I want to take you back.  I would like to take a trip back in time.  I want to take a stroll down memory lane.  Now some of you may or may not want to take this trip with me.  There were a lot of good times in the good old days, but there were also a lot of bad times in the good old days as well.  Some of y’all may not remember the good old days because of the good times you had, or because you have been trying so hard to forget about them.  But lets take this stroll down memory lane anyway.  How many of y’all remember getting excited because the weekend was near, you just got paid, it was Friday night; you were party hunting, and feeling right.  You had some money in your pocket and you were ready to get down.  You were ready to party.  I think that’s why most kids like college so much because you don’t have to wait until weekend to have a good time.  Every night is a potential party night in college.  Anyway, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.  We all looked forward to the weekend so that we could have a good time.  But how many of you remember getting that invitation to the party, whether it was a paper invitation or word of mouth.  And on the bottom of the invitation or in a lowered toned voice you would read or hear the letters BYOB!  Which meant that you had to bring your own bottle.  If you wanted to get your drink on you had to bring it yourself.  And this always reminded me of my daddy because he always brought his own bottle.  He liked a specific type of vodka and that’s what he always had in his brown paper bag.  Now don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about you had your favorite thing to drink, whether it was Seagram’s gin in the bumpy bottle, E & J, Hennessy, Crown Royal, Scotch, or maybe you liked that malt liquor old English, St. Ides (special brew), Colt 45 (in my Billy Dee Williams voice), or you may have been a beer person Bud-weis-er, miller genuine draft, or Heineken, or you may have been one of those who drank whatever you could get your hands on, mad dog 20/20, Ripple, night train, or cough syrup.  Oh, you still are trying to play the kid.  Maybe it wasn’t a bottle that you brought to the party.  Maybe you brought the blunt, joint, or sack of weed.  Maybe you brought the vile of coke, the pipe, or the needle.  Maybe your party pleasure was sex and you just brought a three pack of Trojans.  Nonetheless you brought your own to the party. But today in this party of life we do not need to bring our own bottle.  We do not need to bring our own bag, sack, pipe, or needle to get our swerve on!  If we are going to get through this thing called life, and do it the way that God intended for us to do it we will have to BYOB bring your own Bible.   

With all that is going on in our world…

I cannot believe that I am saying this again, that another unarmed black man has been gunned down.  Another unarmed black man by the name of Jacob Blake was shot seven times in front of his three children last Sunday and the police are walking around not arrested, but on paid administrative leave.

The racism and social injustice in our nation is at an all time high and completely out of control.

This pandemic, this COVID-19 that has our nation so twisted that we are sending our kids to school, placing them in front of computer screens, but yet we still want to send them unprotected onto sports fields.

And I don’t even want to bring up politics, but both sides have totally lost their minds.

And on top of all this…

We still have poverty.

We still have homelessness.

We still have hunger.

We still aren’t taking care of our veterans.

We still have unequal education.

We still have racial issues in the church.

We still have crime.

We have to BYOB.  Bring your own Bible.

We have to bring our own word.  

We can’t bring what momma and daddy said about the word.  

We can’t bring the bible verses that grandma and grandpa use to quote.  

We can’t even bring the passages that pastor preaches on Sunday.  

We can’t bring the empowering word we heard from T.D. Jakes on the radio.

You have to bring your own word.   You have to bring what you know.  You have to BYOB.  You have to bring your own bible.  And I’m not talking about the actual holy book in its physical form, what you literally carry in your hand.  Whether it is fancy leather bound bible with the gold trim with four different translations in it or a paperback New Testament only bible with Psalms and Proverbs. Or any bible app you may have on your phone, tablet, or computer.  I’m talking about knowing the word for yourself.  What good will a weapon do in war if you don’t know how to use it?  The word is our spiritual weapon of warfare that is why you need to know it.  That is why David could not fight Goliath in Saul’s armor.  Not only was it way too big, he did not know Saul’s armor.  He was not familiar with Saul’s armor.  

He was not comfortable with Saul’s armor.  

He was not confident in Saul’s armor!  

And let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going that is why many of us are stuck on stupid waiting on dumb because you’ve been trying to get by in someone else’s armor.  

You’ve been trying to win the battle with someone else’s armor.  You’ve been trying to fix the situation with someone else’s armor.  You’ve been trying to work through the circumstance with someone else’s armor.  

You are not genuine.  

You are a fake and a phony and the enemy knows it. 

You have no power because you do not know the word for yourself.  

Oh, I’m sorry baby did I hurt your feelings.  You’ll be okay because the bible says that the word of God is sharper than any two-edge sword.  That means you will get cut, but you’d know that if you knew the word instead of trying to fake the funk and use someone else’s armor.  

Look at your neighbor and say ouch, I just got cut! But don’t get offended I’m not talking about you unless I’m talking about you!

Now this is exactly what the author of the 119 division of Psalms knew.  He knew that to get through this journey of life that he needed the word of God to make it.  Now the 119 Psalm is referred to as the longest Psalm for the simple fact that it is indeed the longest Psalm and the largest chapter in the bible.  And in each of the psalms’ 176 verses is devoted to the importance of Gods word in the life of the believer.  Now no one is sure of the author of this Psalm.  Many believe that it was David.  Others believe that it was Daniel.  And some believe that it was Ezra.  To me it’s not that significant because either one of these men, the king, the prophets could attest to the power of God’s word through any trial and every situation.  Take David for example that killed a bear and a lion with his bare hands, killed a giant with a sling and a stone, and was anointed king of Israel when he was the least qualified for the position according to the laws and customs of the time.  And then there was Daniel, who was taking from his land and imprisoned in Babylon, told not to worship his God by King Darius, which he refused to do, tossed into a den of lions only proving his God’s power all the more when he was unharmed in the morning and rising to power in a foreign land.  And then there was Ezra who was able to assist in the rebuilding of God’s temple after he returned to Jerusalem from captivity amidst a ton of opposition.  So any one of these great men of God could attest to the important power of the word of God.  The verse that I read for your hearing this morning was only one of 176 that I could have used, but God brought this verse to my attention, and I believe that it is important to know what the author was saying when he wrote in Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  The author was saying that I will meditate on your word to the point that it is a part of my being.  It will be in my heart, and if your word is in my heart it will be difficult for me to sin against you.  If God’s commands are embedded to the very fibers of my soul and my heart how could I possibly break those commands?  Keeping God’s word is not a work of righteousness.  It is external evidence of your faithfulness and love towards God.  So you see by analyzing this verse we can see the importance of BYOB.  We can see the life altering power of bringing your own bible, the power of knowing the word for yourself.  And how do we get the power of knowing the word for ourselves?  How do we BYOB?  How do you bring your own bible?  How do we bring our own word?  I am so glad that you asked.  

The first way that we bring our own word is to learn the word.  You and I must learn the word.  In the bible the word is referred to as HIS commandments, statutes, laws, precepts, testimonies, judgments, and ordinances.  No matter what it is called you need to know it for yourself.  So that means you need to learn it.  That is why God told Joshua before he led the Israelites over the Jordan into the promised land “This book of the law shall not depart from thy mouth, but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein.  For thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have good success.  You have to learn the word.  This does not mean to just read the word, but to think about the word.  Not just memorize scripture, but also think about the word.  Get a dictionary to look up words you do not understand.  Read a commentary that will break the scripture down so that you will understand exactly what God is trying to say through his word.  You need to know who wrote the scripture.  Where he was when he wrote the scripture?  When did he write the scripture?  Why did he write the scripture?  How did he write the scripture?  And by answering all these questions through learning and thinking about the word with guidance from the Holy Spirit you will know what the word is saying.  

But you have to learn the word to bring your own word.  

You have to learn the word in order to BYOB.  And you learn the word in three ways.

First, You learn the word through studying it.  Studying means to devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge, especially by means of books.  To look closely in order to observe or read.  To make and effort to achieve or take into account.  Ask your neighbor are you really studying the word.

Secondly, You learn the word by staying in it.  You have to constantly read your word.  It cannot be an every now and then thing.  How else can you study it if you do not stay in it.

Thirdly, You learn the word by standing on it.  Standing on the word means that you have faith in it, but you can only have faith in what you know.  It is impossible to have faith in the word if you do not know the word.  Remember you did not have faith in God until you were introduced to him and got to know him.  In order to bring your own bible you have to learn the word, and you learn the word by studying the word, staying in the word, and standing on the word.  This is exactly what the author of Psalms 119 did!

So not only do you need to learn the word, everybody say learn the word!  You also need to labor with the word.  Everybody say, labor with the word!  Mathew Henry’s commentary put it this way, those that make the word of God their rule and conscientiously walk by that rule shall both do well and spread well, and this entitles you to the best blessings.  In other words, once you learn the word, you can labor with the word, or shall we say work the word.  And when you work with the word you will live a blessed life!

You cannot say greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say no weapon formed against me shall prosper if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say that you are more than a conqueror if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say I can do all things through Christ Jesus if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say that you are standing on the promises of God if you do not know the promises of God.  

You cannot say all things work together for good to those that love God who are called according to His purpose if you are not working the word.

You have to work the word.  You have to labor with the word.  You labor with the word in three ways.  

You labor with the word through your witness.  Who are you telling about the word?  How are you sharing the love of Jesus Christ with through the word?

You labor with the word through your work.  What are you doing in the kingdom?  Are you doing your part, or are you falling apart?

You labor with the word through your worship.  Now everyone cannot do worship.  Only children of God can worship.  Those of us that are members of the fraternity or sorority of the twice born can worship God.  For God is spirit and those that worship him must do so in spirit and in truth.

You have to labor with the word!  And you do so through your witness, work and worship!

Labor does not mean that you sit back and relax.  

When you labor you have to get your hands dirty.  

When you labor you can’t look cute.  

When you labor you have to expect to mess up your nails and your ponytails.  

When you labor you’re going to perspire.  

When you labor you will have some pain.  

When you labor you will have to push, but what comes out of you through the perspiration, pain and pushing is a power that can only be attained through laboring with the word.  

You have to labor with the word to bring your own bible.

So in order to bring your own bible you must learn the word.  Everyone say, learn the word.  You must labor with the word.  Everyone say labor with the word.  Last but definitely not least you must love the word.  Everyone say love the word.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend two days with Bishop T.D. Jakes at his Project Gideon Conference.  Over 300 pastors, aspiring pastors, and ministry leaders were in attendance.  And he shared his heart with us.  One of the most important things that he told us was that we need to love the word.  And I was instantly convicted because I knew that I was not treating the word the way that it deserved to be treated.  And I know that some of you may have felt that I was beating you up in this sermon, but the truth of the matter is, I’ve been preaching to myself as well.  The word whipped my but in the preparation process!  But we don’t love the word like we used too.  Remember when you first got saved and all you wanted to do was read the word because you wanted to know as much about God as possible.  What happened?  Why don’t you read the word like you used to?  Remember when you met your spouse for the first time.  All you wanted to do was spend time with them.  Get to know them. Every waking moment was spent thinking about them or trying to be with them. You would talk on the phone to the wee hours of the night.  Neither one of you wanted to hang up the phone.  You hang up, no you hang up.  Okay on the count of three we’ll both hang up at the same time.  1, 2, 3!  You still there?  Yes!  Why didn’t you hang up?  Why didn’t you hang up?  You were so in love that you never wanted to say goodbye.  That is what God longs for with us.  We need to return to our first love.  And we need to return to our first love, loving Him the way that He deserves to be loved.  We can’t half step.  We have to be all in because when you learn, labor with, and love the word you are learning, laboring with, and loving God.  John 1:1 states clearly that in the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God!   So when we are learning, laboring with, and loving the word we are learning, laboring with, and loving Jesus.  

We must love the word in three ways.  

We must love The Lord completely. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  

You have to love the Lord with every ounce of you your being.  You have to love the Lord with everything that you’ve got.  

You have to love the Lord like He loves you, unconditionally!  

You have to love God more than a kid loves candy.  

You have to love God more than peanut butter loves jelly.  

You have to love God more than sugar loves kool aid.  

You have to love God more than Joanie loved Chauchie!  

You have to love God more than you love your spouse.  

You have to love God more than you love your car.  

You have to love God more than you love yourself!

You have to love the Lord completely.

We must love the Lord continually.  This is a nonstop love affair. 

You cannot fall in and out of love with God.  You have to love him 

at all times.  That is why Psalms 34: 1 says that I will bless the 

Lord at all times and his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 

You cannot take a break from loving God.  There are no time outs, 

and there are not any half times.  You have to constantly, always, 

frequently, regularly, habitually, repeatedly, recurrently love God.  

There are no “ifs, ands, or buts” about it!

We must love the Lord consistently.  You may not agree with

what the Lord does and how He does it, but you still have to love 

Him.  You can’t love Him one day and not love Him the next day.

Just because He does not give you what you want when you want 

it does not give you the right not to love Him.  

In spite of every situation you have to love God.  

In spite of every circumstance you have to love God.  

I do not always agree with my wife.  

I do not always agree with my children.  

I do not always agree with my family.  

I do not always agree with my friends.  

But I will always love them.  

And we must always love God.

Always and forever, each moment with you, it’s just 

like a dream to me that some how came true. And I know 

tomorrow will still be the same.  Because we have a life of love

that won’t ever change.  Everyday love me your own special way,

melt all my heart away with smile.  Take time to tell me you really 

care and will share tomorrow together.  I’ll always love you 

forever!  I told you I wanted to take you back today!

We have to come back to our first love!

We have to love the Lord like the author of the Psalms 119 when 

he stated…

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the 

Lord. 

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with 

their whole heart.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy 

commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have

learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed 

thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander 

from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against

 thee.

You have to love the word of God so much that it saturates every 

aspect of your life.  That no matter what comes your way you can 

face it because you have brought your own bible and you know 

that God is on your side.  And greater is he that is in you than he 

that is in the world!  

In other words, you have to bring you own bible…

Trouble on the job?

Problems in you marriage?

Kids getting on your nerves?

Struggling at school?

Issues with your health?

Pain in your body?

Drama in your family?

Dealing with addiction?

Fighting against depression?

Having a hard time feeding your family?

Going through a storm?

Losing your mind?

Lost and out of control?

Down to your last dime?

Stuck between rock and a hard place?

Hit rock bottom?

Bring your own bible and you will know that…

The king of kings!

The Lord of Lords!

The alpha and omega!

The beginning and the end!

The author and finisher of your faith!

The lily of the valley!

The balm of Gilead!

The rose of Sharon!

The bright and morning star!

The great I am!

Has your back, but you have to bring your own bible!

You have to learn the word.

You have to labor with the word.

You have to love the word, and when you love the word you love God.  

When you love the word you love the true and living God.  

When you love the word you love the worthy lamb.  

When you love the word you love Jesus!

Does anyone in the room love Jesus this morning?

I love you Jesus.

I worship and adore.

Just want to tell you.

That I love you more than anything!

Satisfaction Guaranteed Part 4

John 6:35

Luke 15:11-24

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Week four and guess what?  Satisfaction is still guaranteed!  Well it it’s time to wrap up this series.  It is time to bring this thing to a close.  Our guiding scripture for this series has been John 6:35, when Jesus tells the Jews of His time I am the bread of life, whomever comes to me shall not hunger, and whomever believes in me shall never thirst.  Someone say satisfaction guaranteed!  In week one I told you that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God loves us and because God loves us we get His attention, we get His affection, and we get His action.  In week two I shared with you that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God leads us.  He leads us because He has a purpose, He has a plan, and He made a promise.  And last week I flipped the script because I told you our satisfaction is guaranteed based on what we do instead of what God does.  And we must long for God.  Because when we long for God we’ll listen to God, we’ll learn from God, and we’ll lean on God.  And as we close this out I want to let you know that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God, The creator of heaven and earth.  The bright and morning star, the beginning and the end.  The Alpha and the Omega.  The king of kings and the Lord of lords longs for us!  So not only do we long for him but He longs for us!

I read this in the daily journal by Sheridan Voysey….

Blaise Pascal once said the now-famous words: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which [can] be filled . . . only be filled by God.” St. Augustine once prayed, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” In Revelation 21 we see the end of human longing—the heart at rest in relationship with its Creator in His eternal kingdom.

Something we spend less time thinking about, however, is the longing that God has—a longing that will also be fulfilled on that great day. Now, to be sure, an omnipotent, self-sufficient God doesn’t lack anything. We don’t meet God’s needs. But throughout biblical history, God has expressed His longing for us: “You will be Mine.”

• “I will claim you as My own people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7).

• “I will be your God, and you will be My people” (Leviticus 26:12).

• “I will put My instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

• “You will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28).

For thousands of years, God has had one desire—a people drawn to Himself. This longing has fueled His missionary endeavors: sending prophets to call back His straying people, sending His Son to find His straying sheep (Luke 19:10). In the kingdom of God, His desire will finally be fulfilled: “I will be their God, and they will be My children” (Revelation 21:7).

God is our King and Judge, that’s true. But we often miss His Fatherly heart—a heart that longs for our free, loving, devoted allegiance to Him; a heart that awaits that longing to be fulfilled.

Has anyone in the room ever longed for someone or something before.  It’s is like you just don’t feel right until you have that someone or something back.  

You can’t eat.  

You can’t sleep.  

You can’t function.  

You don’t feel right.  

Something is missing.  

And this is how this father felt in the absence of his son.  This is how God feels about us before we are saved and when we’ve gone astray.  This parable is just an example or an illustration about God’s longing for His children. Shall we look at the text.

The entire 15th chapter of Luke is dedicated to parables and/or stories about something being lost and then found.  The stories describe the deep longing that the people had for the things that they had lost.  One person lost a coin, another lost a sheep, and another lost a son.  Now we have all heard the story of the prodigal son.  If you have not heard the story before, let me give you the cliff notes or the abbreviated version so that we can get to the heart of the sermon.  There is a man that has two sons, and the youngest son asked his father if he could have his inheritance early.  This young man was extremely bold or extremely stupid.  Anyway his father said yes, gave him his inheritance.  The young man left for a distant country and squandered all of his money on wild living.  He found himself in a desperate situation.  

He had no money.  

No food.  

No place to live.  

He was down and he was out.  

So he hired himself out and ended up in a field feeding pigs, and he longed for the food that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything.  

When he came to himself.  

When he came to his senses.  

When he realized what a fool he had been.  

When he realized how much he messed up, he thought to himself, I should go back to my father and work for him, even his servants have food to spare.  So he was going through the scenario in his mind of what he would say to his father.  He was practicing his lines.  Father I have sinned against you and heaven and I am no longer worthy to be called your son, make me like one of your servants.  So when he got his lines just right he headed home to his father.  Now when his father seen him in the distance he was filled with compassion.  He ran to him, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  The son spoke his prepared lines, father I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  But his father told his servants go and get the best robe and put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again.  He was lost and is found.  And they began to celebrate.  When the older brother came home from work, he was like what in the world is going on.  And one of the servants told him that his brother has come home and the we’re celebrating his return.  This infuriated the older brother and he refused to go to the party.  So his father goes out to plead with him to come in and the brother expresses his feelings. All these years I’ve been here working for you.  Being faithful to you, and you never gave me a celebration like this but this son that has wasted your money on who knows what gets this great celebration.  The father said son you are always with me and everything I have is yours, but we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.  

Now although the text does not explicitly say this, I think that it is safe to believe by the father’s reaction to his son’s return that he longed for his son.  This is evident in the way he ran to his son when he saw him.  

How he embraced him.  

How he kissed him.  

How he gave him the best robe.  

How he put a ring on his finger.  

How he put sandals on his feet.  

How he celebrated his return.  

None of that would have occurred if the father was not longing for his son.  And beloved God feels the same way about us.  Look at your neighbor and tell them God longs for you.  And because he longs for you your satisfaction is guaranteed.  And since he longs for us these three things happen.

He searches for us…. I just have to believe that this father searched for his son.  As excited as he was when he saw his son, I think it is safe to assume that he searched for his son.  

He thought his son was gone.  

He thought his son was lost.  

He thought his son was dead.  

And most parents are going to search for their children if they haven’t heard from them in a while.  And I truly believe that God searches for his children as well.  He did it with Adam and Eve in the garden after they had sinned (notice I said they…). Because the Bible says when he came looking for them they hid in the bushes because they were naked and God called to the man, where are you?  And if he searched for them after their sin I truly believe that he searches for us as well.  Now don’t get it twisted, God does not search for you and I as one who does not know where we are.  I mean He is God.  He knows all.  He knew where Adam and Eve were when they hid in the bushes.  But He searches for us in the sense of meeting us where we are to let us know that there is no place that we can go, where He won’t go to get us.   He searches for us.  And because He searches for us these three things that happen.

First of all He see us.  Just like the father saw his son in the distance, God see us.  

He see us and everything that we do.  

He sees the ups and the downs.  

He sees the highs and the lows.  

He sees the good times and the bad times.  

He sees us at our worst and he sees us at our best.  

He sees us for who we really are, not who we pretend or try to be.

But the important thing is He sees us.  

How many times have you been in a room full of people and felt all alone?

How many times have you been in a relationship and felt all by yourself?  

How many times have you been around coworkers and felt as if no one valued your opinion?  

How many times have you felt as if you did not exist?  

How many times have you felt like nobody sees you?  

Well I stopped by today to let you know that God sees you?

But not only does God see us but God sprints to us.  He meets us right where we are.  I am in the book. When the man sees his son the Bible says that he ran to him.  Is there anybody in the room today excited about the fact that God will run to you.  God will sprint to you. God will come to you.  Think about it, there are a number of stories where people brought their issues to Jesus, but there are just as many stories of Jesus going to the people that needed him as well.  

He went to Zacheuas’ house.  

He went to Lazarus’ tomb.  

He went to the dead girls house.  

He went to the disciples on the lake walking on the water.  

God will meet you right where you are.  So that means you don’t have to get it together before you come to God.  If you have to get it together before you come to God you will never come to God.  This is a trick and lie of the enemy.  God sprints to us right where we are.

So God see us, God sprints to us and then God shows us.  

He shows us just how much we mean to him.  

Just how much he loves us. 

Just how much he misses us.  

Just how much he longs for us.  

Just like the father when he sees his son, then sprints to his son, and then shows his son how much he means to him. The scripture says he was filled with compassion for his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  Now you know that grown men don’t usually hug and kiss their grown sons, but this is how much this father longed for his son.  I can’t pay Noah to kiss me.  But I hug and him and Elijah all the time.  I tell them I love them all the time.  And they asked me once why I did this so much, and I told them I do it because my father rarely did it to me.  

He wasn’t a kisser.  

He wasn’t a hugger.  

He wasn’t an expresser of his feeling.  

He rarely directly told me how he felt…. And I don’t want there to be a doubt in my boys minds that their daddy loves them.  And that’s the way God feels about us.  He shows us all the time how much he loves us. For God… God shows us!

God searches for us, and once He finds us He secures us.  He affirms us.  He lets us know without a shadow of a doubt that we belong to him.  

That He is our God and we are His people.  

That we are His children and He is our father.  

I can just hear this father saying don’t worry about what you’ve done.  

Don’t worry about what you’ve said.  

Don’t worry about what people say.  

Don’t worry about the past. 

You’re home now and daddy has your back.  

I’ll take care of everything.  

And isn’t that what God does for us.  

He keeps us.

He comforts us.  

He wraps his arms around us.

He reassures us that everything is going to be alright.  

He secures us and does this in three ways.

First He stays with us.  He said that He would never leave us or forsake us.  And this father could have easily shunned his son for his mistakes, but he forgave him and stayed right by his side.  He probably watched his son sleep those first couple of nights just to make sure that he was ok, and he was really home.  I am so glad that God stays with us.  If someone would have pulled one eighth of the stuff that we’ve pulled on God we would have left in a New York minute.  But God stays with us. Think of all the times you mess up and God stayed.

All the times we fell short of His glory.

All the mistakes we made.

All the times we failed.

All the times we said the wrong thing.

All the times we did the wrong things.

All the time we went to the wrong place.

All the times we had a bad attitude.

All the times we refused to forgive.

All the times we held a grudge.

All the times we were the cause of the drama.

Someone give God praise for the simple fact that in spite of ourselves God stays with us.

God stays with us and God speaks for us.  The father tells his servants to get his son the finest robe, put a ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet.  The father speaks and things happen.  When God speaks things happen.  He spoke the entire world into existence and this same God speaks for us.   He makes sure that we have everything that we need and He does it just by speaking.  I am so glad that my God speaks for us.

God stays with us, God speaks for us, and God stands up for us.  When the older brother heard what was gong on he was furious and acted like a fool. So his father had to check him.  He said, son you are always with me and everything I have is yours,  but we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and now is found.  And the same way this father stands up for his son is the same way that Yahweh stands up for us.  

He told us that He would make our enemies our foot stool.  

He said that He would prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies.  

He said that the battle is not ours it’s belongs to the Lord.  

So, I am going to give God praise because He stands up for me.

God searches for us, God secures us, and God sustains us.  Sustain means to give support or relief to. Or to supply with sustenance or the necessities of life.  Is that not what the father did for his son. He runs to him, hugs him, kisses him, and then he sustains him.  He gives him a robe, gives him sandals, and prepares him a meal.  Psalms 119:175 says let me live that I may praise you and may your laws sustain me.  I am so glad that God sustains us.  He supplies all of our needs according to his riches in glory.  He sustains us in three ways.

God Strengthens us.  God sustains us by strengthening.  By giving us what we need He strengthens us. I am sure the son was weak, and famished, and suffering from malnutrition.  So his father feeds him giving him strength. His father covers him giving him strength.  Psalms 147:13 He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.  That’s why we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.  Does anyone know what I’m taking about this morning?  

When I’m down He lifts me up.  

When I’m out He brings me in. 

When I am broke He makes me whole.  

When I am lost He makes sure that I’m found. 

When I’m weak He makes me strong. 

Is there anybody here that is grateful for the fact that God strengthens us!

God strengthens us and then God showers us.  This father showered his son with his love.  He didn’t just give him clothes to wear.  He said get him the finest robe.  He made sure that his feet were covered and he threw him a party because he wanted to celebrate the homecoming of his son.  This son that was dead is alive, was lost and now is found.  He showers his son just like God showers us with his love. 

Just like He showered the Israelites with manna and quail He showers us.  

Just like He showered the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread He showers us.  

Just like He showered the blind with vision He showered us.  

Just as He showered the diseased with healing He showers us.  God showers us.

So God strengthens us.  Then God showers us.  Last but not least God seals us.  What are you talking about preacher?  Let me show you.  The father put a ring on his finger.  And considering the fact that this seems to be a very wealthy family the ring probably had the family crest on it.  In which they would use to place their seal on letters and contracts or other important documents.  So by placing this ring on his son he was sealing in the fact that all was forgiven.  He was sealing in the fact…

You are back in your proper place.  

You are in the family again.  

You are my son.  

And I am you father.   

Just like God tells us, the past is gone. 

The old has past the new has come.  

I will be your God and you will be my people!  

God longs for us so He searches for us, He secures us, and He seals us!

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town.

One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak….

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging his bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.

“Take ‘em home and have fun with ‘em,” he answered. I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers to make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ‘em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister.

They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again.

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill.

He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot.

Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation.

Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ‘em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ‘em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you.

They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much? He asked again.  Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!”

And when He said done, it was finished and as long as we believe, just like those field birds we will be free!

So you see Beloved God longs for us so much that in spite of us He still sent Jesus to die for us…

So it does not matter what you’ve done we will be His people and He will be our God.

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve messed up.

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve fallen short.

It doesn’t matter how far we’ve gone.

It doesn’t matter how dark it looks.

It doesn’t matter how impossible it seems.

God longs for us and our satisfaction is guaranteed!

And because my satisfaction is guaranteed I’m going to give God praise.  You know why.  

Because from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the name of Jesus is worthy to be praised.  

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

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.

Has He made anyone in the room and online glad today?

If so give him praise

If not give him praise anyway because your gladness is on the way!

Satisfaction Guaranteed!

I love you Lord

And I lift my voice

To worship you

Oh my soul rejoice 

Take joy my king

In what you hear

Let it be a sweet sweet sound in your ear.

Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Satisfaction Guaranteed Part 3

John 6:35

Psalms 42

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,

    so my soul pants for you, my God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

    When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food

    day and night,

while people say to me all day long,

    “Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember

    as I pour out my soul:

how I used to go to the house of God

    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]

with shouts of joy and praise

    among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?

    Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

    for I will yet praise him,

    my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;

    therefore I will remember you

from the land of the Jordan,

    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep

    in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers

    have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,

    at night his song is with me—

    a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,

    “Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I go about mourning,

    oppressed by the enemy?”

10 My bones suffer mortal agony

    as my foes taunt me,

saying to me all day long,

    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?

    Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

    for I will yet praise him,

    my Savior and my God.

Week three, and satisfaction is still guaranteed!  Now our guiding scripture for this series has been John 6:35 when Jesus told the Jews, I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  I don’t know about you but to me that is the very definition of satisfaction.  

To never be thirsty again.  

To never be hungry again.

To never want for anything again.  

To never have to worry again.  

To never have to wonder again.  

To never be unfulfilled again.  

To never be in need again.  

And this proclamation is made by Jesus the son of the living God.  Meaning that it’s a promise that we can take to the bank, a check that will never bounce, and as I often say, there are sufficient fund in His account.  In other words, our satisfaction is guaranteed.  Week one I told you that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God loves us, and because God loves us we get His attention, we get His affection, and we get His action.  Last week I told you that satisfaction is guaranteed because God leads us.  God leads us because He has a purpose.  He has a plan.  And He made a promise.  This week I would like to flip the script a little bit.  Because this week our satisfaction being guaranteed is not based on what God does, but it is based on what we do.  This week I want you to know that our satisfaction is guaranteed because we long for God.   But here’s the thing beloved we cannot get our satisfaction until we do something.  You hear people say all the time, I’m waiting on God.  I’m just waiting on the Lord.  And the truth of the matter is that God is waiting on you.  He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory, but we have to do something.  

We have to get off the bench.

We have to have to get in the game.

We have to put our hand to the plow.  

We have to put in some work.  

We have to put forth some effort and He will meet us at your point of need.  So what are you saying Pastor Brian?  Let me show you.  Many of you know that I am an avid exerciser.  I used to love to go to the gym.  But COVID-19 caused me to create my own home gym.  So I am still getting it in.  It is such a part of who I am that if I don’t exercise I honestly feel bad and beat myself up about.  If you don’t believe me just ask my wife.  If I don’t workout, I feel as if I have cheated myself.  Because I understand that the odds are stacked against me as a black man, who’s genetic pool has left me with high cholesterol, glaucoma, back issues, and the possibility of high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.  So I am doing all that I can to live as long as I can for my wife and my children.  I was talking with David Clark last Sunday about exercise and when you start out you’re going to be a little sore, but you have to push through that, and keep going.  All of us need to take better care of ourselves through exercise and diet.  But here is the point I am trying to make.  Every morning Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 a.m., go to the basement or outside (weather permitting), and I run or walk about 5 miles and lift some weights.  During and after my workout I am extremely dehydrated.  I am extremely thirsty.  And I drink a ton of water.  What is your point preacher?  If I did not take the initiative to get a drink of water I would still be thirsty.  I would still be dehydrated and this would inevitably affect my health.  After workouts I long for water, and of course my Heavenly Father will provide me with clean drinking water, but I have to go and get the water.  He is not going to fill up my water bottle and bring me the water to quench my thirst.  That is something that I must do.  And I believe this is what David was talking about in Psalm 42.

This is a Psalm that describes a rough patch in the life of King David.  

David is going through.  

He feels down.  

He feels lost.  

He feels alone.  

He feels downcast.  

He feels abandoned.  

He feels low.  

He feels sad.  

Has anyone ever felt like this before.  

You felt like there was no hope.  

You felt like giving up.  

You felt like throwing in the towel.  

You felt like letting go.  

But then you remembered that you serve a God that is able to do anything but fail.  You start to go through the photo album or the scrapbook of your life and you seen and remembered all the times God picked you up and turned you around and placed your feet on higher solid ground.  And you begin to long for God.  You begin to hunger for God.  You begin to thirst for God.  This is where David is in the text.  He realized in his current situation that he needed God, but he did not just sit there and wait for God to come to him and change his situation he did something.  So what did he do?  

He remembered going to the house of God.  

He began to give God praise.  

He began to worship God.  

Because he knew as much as he longed for God.  As much as he panteth for God as a dear panteth for the water that he had to do something to get to God.  Just like the dear has to do something to get the water.  So the relevant question is if our satisfaction is guaranteed based on our longing for God, what do we have to do to quench our thirst?  What do we have to do to be satisfied?  I am so glad that you asked.

First we listen to God.  What’s that pastor?  Huh, I did not hear you.  We have to listen to God.  We have to follow his instructions.  There is a difference between hearing and listening.  I can hear someone talking but that does not mean that I know what they are saying.  To know what the person is saying you have to listen.  

You have to concentrate.  

You have to pay attention.  

You have to make eye contact.  

You have to take mental notes.

You should be able to repeat or paraphrase what a person said. 

Listening is more than just simply hearing sounds.  Listening is to give attention with the ear, attend closely for the purpose of hearing, give an ear. To pay attention, heed, or obey.  And this is how we must listen to God.  That is why Samuel told Saul in 1Samuel 15:22 to obey is better than sacrifice.  We can only obey when we listen to what God says.  We must listen to God and we do this in three ways.

We must listen to His word.  We listen to His word.  Now by now you should know how I feel and what I think about our personal devotional time.  But just in case you don’t know or you have forgotten.  We have to read the word of God on a consistent basis.  For man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:4.  So that means you have to pick up your bible, your, phone, or your tablet and read your bible every day.  

We have to chew on the word like a cow chews on the cud.  

We have to meditate on the word.  

We have to think about the word.  

We have to apply the word.  

We have to be real with the word.  

We have to analyze the word.  But here’s the wrinkle in the chitlin, we have to listen to the word of God.  We cannot be simply hearers of the word, we must be doers of the word, as James says in James 1:22.  If the word says go, we must go…

Not only do we listen to His word.  We must listen to His will.  I don’t know about anyone else in the room but I want to be in the perfect will of God for my life.  And sometimes this can be a hard thing.  I’ll give you a personal example.  When I finally accepted my call to pastor there was a church that wanted me to be their pastor, and to be perfectly honest with you this morning I really wanted to be their pastor.  

I wanted to be their pastor like a kid wants that shiny new toy.  

I started to dream about being their pastor.  

I started to vision about being their pastor.  

I started to plan how I would be their pastor.

But God never told me that I would be the pastor of that church.  And today I believe I am in the perfect will of God for my life which leads me to the third thing we must listen to God for.

We listen to God’s word.  Then we listen to God’s will.  And then we listen to God’s way.  Because I was in the word of God, I was able to know the will of God, and because I am in His will I can follow His way.  What are you saying preacher.  If I was not in God’s word I would not have realized that, that church was not for me, I would have gone against His will and became their pastor, and this would have prevented me of following His way of becoming your Pastor.  God does not make mistakes, Their are no accidents.  Because I listen to His word, listened to His will, and listened to His way I am your pastor today.  And as long as we listen to His word, His will and His way, He will order our steps every single day.  We must listen to God.

So not only do we listen to God, we learn from God.  You see  beloved when we listen we learn.  This is what I tell my students every single day.  That is why I only have one rule in my classroom.  Listen to the teacher.  Because if you do what I say you will have a good day.  God is saying if you do what I say you’ll have a good day!  If you listen you will learn.  Oh you gonna learn today!  And we can learn so much from God.  I mean, He is God, what greater teacher could their be?  We learn from God in three ways.

We learn from God’s wisdom.  You see many of us are intelligent and we have a great deal of knowledge, but wisdom is knowing how to intelligently use our knowledge.  And God’s wisdom is even greater.  That is why God was so pleased when Solomon asked for wisdom opposed to power and wealth.  And when people came to hear Solomon speak, the Bible says that they came to hear the wisdom of God, not the wisdom of Solomon.  But God’s wisdom is woven throughout His word. God’s shows us His wisdom through the Holy Spirit when He leads us and guides us.  God shows us His wisdom through the preached word of God.  All we have to do is listen and learn from the wisdom God shows us.

Not only do we learn from God’s wisdom.  We learn from God’s works.  Now I have said this time and time again, actions speak louder than words.  And I am so glad that not only do we learn from God’s wisdom, what He speaks to us.  We learn from His works, what He shows us.  Now I know that I am not the only one in the room that has seen God work.  

The fact that you woke up this morning in your right mind with the full use of all four of your limbs is the work of God.  

The fact that you can inhale and exhale, that is the work of God.  The fact that you have clean water to drink.  That is the work of God.  

The fact that you you have clothes on your back, food in your belly, and a roof over your head that is the work of God.  

And we learn from his works.  We learn how to love.  We learn how to treat one another.  We learn how to look out for one another,  we learn from the works of God.

We learn from the wisdom of God.  We learn from the works of God.  And we learn from the wonders of God.  Now the wisdom of God is God speaking to us. The works of God is God showing us.  And the wonders of God is God showing out for us.  

You see food on the table, works of God.  

Multiplying two loaves and five fish for five thousand people, wonders of God.  

Waking us up this morning, works of God.  

Healing us from cancer, wonders of God.  

Roof over our heads, works of God.  

Getting approved for the home loan, wonders of God.  

Clean water to drink works of God.  

Keeping you safe during the flood, wonders of God.  

Getting accepted into college, works of God.  

Graduating with honors, wonders of God.  

What do the wonders of God teach us.  

That nothing is impossible for God.  

That God can do anything but fell.  

That greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.  

That we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.  That I once was young, but now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging for bread.  

We learn that there is nothing that God won’t do for His children.

So because we long for God we listen to Him, because we listen to God we learn from Him, and because we learn from God we know that we can lean on Him… sometimes in our lives…. We can lean on God because He will never ever let us down.  

Your friends may let you down.  

Your coworkers will let you down.  

Your family will let you down.  

Your church may let you down.  

Your pastor may even let you down.

But your God will never let you down. 

So you can count on him.  

You can depend on him.  

You can know without a shadow of a doubt that He will always be there.  You can lean on God.  We lean on God for three reasons.

We lean on God for what He does.  We can lean on the fact that God always shows up for us.  He may not come when we want Him but He is always right on time. 

He provides for us.  

He protects us.  

He takes care of us.  

He meets all of our needs according to his riches and glory.  

He fights our battles.  

He covers us.  

He guides us.  

He leads us.  

He surrounds us.   

He watches over us.  

He loves us.  

We can lean on God for what He does.  Then we lean on God for why He does it.  Here it comes.  He does it because he loves us!  Say it with me for God so loved the world….  He does it all because He loves us, and anyone in the room knows that when you love someone you want the best for that person.  

You want that person to do well.  

You want that person to succeed.  

And I am so excited that God wants me to do well.  

That God wants me to succeed.  

That God wants the best for me.  That’s why I like that song by Marvin Sapp,  He saw the best in me when everyone else around me could only see the worst in me.

You see people see failure.

God sees success.

People see drop out.

God sees graduate.

People see bankruptcy.

God sees entrepreneur.

People see addict.

God sees potential.

People see drunk.

God sees deacon.

People see pimp.

God sees preacher.

People see promiscuous.

God sees prophet.

People see drug pusher.

God sees pastor.

People see loser.

God sees winner.

People see lost cause.

God sees hope.

We lean on why God does it, He does it because He loves us.

We lean on what God does.  We lean on why God does it.  And last but definitely not least, we lean on who God is.  Because of who you are I give you glory. Because of who you are I give you praise.  Because of who you are I can lift my voice and say.  Lord, I worship because of who you are.  Who is He?

Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide.

Jehovah Nissi, the Lord my banner.

Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals.

Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there or is here.

Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace.

He is El Elyon, God most high.

He is Immanuel, God with his.

He is Yahweh.

He is the rose of sharon.

The bright and morning star.

The lily of the valley.

The balm of Gilead.

The way maker.

The mind regulator.

The will in the middle of a wheel.

The healer!

The deliver!

The refuge!

The strong tower!

The friend that sticks closer than a brother!

He is Jesus Christos!

The savior of the world!

The alpha and omega!

The father!

The son!

The Holy Spirit!

We lean on who He is!

As the deer panteth for the water

So my soul longs after You

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship You.

I want you more than gold or silver

Only You can satisfy

You alone are the real joy giver

And the apple of my eye.

You’re my friend and You’re my brother

Even though you are a King

I love You more than any other

So much more than anything.

You alone are my strength, my shield

To You alone may my spirit yield

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship You.

Does anybody long for God today?  

Does anybody want to worship God today?

Does anybody want to give God praise to day?

Does anybody want God in their life today?

Does anybody need God in their life today?

If so, what are you going to do about it?

Satisfaction is guaranteed because we long for God and when we long for God we will listen to God.  We will learn from God.  We will lean on God!