english

Jonah the Reluctant Prophet

 really a wonderful time

already I don't know about you but I

know that my soul has been really fed

and I felt the rich anointing of God's

Spirit and God's presence for the past

two weeks I've been really living in the

Book of Jonah I don't know about you but

sometimes I find that my Bible reading

or my time of reflection my time when

I'm waiting in the Lord is is just

returns again and again again to a a

given place of Scripture and that's what

was happening with me over the last two

weeks because it's a very short book and

because sometimes I was reading it and

sometimes I was listening to it and in

audio as we have the privilege of doing

nowadays on being able to have in our

devotion somebody else's voice reading

the scriptures and we can be driving or

whatever I listened to and read the Book

of Jonah at least 20 times probably more

and just found in it's something that I

felt like God was wanting to speak into

us as a community of people as a as a

body of individuals really needing to

hear something fresh from the Lord but

before I go into that portion of

Scripture which is the primary focus of

what I'm wanting to look at on Wednesday

evening when we were gathered in the e-l

room up in the old building I felt so

strongly that the Lord was speaking

about that portion of scripture in

Jeremiah and the potter's house that I

felt like well how am I supposed to

process this you know I've got this

focus on Jonah

and yet I feel prompted as well about

this other portion of Scripture and so

I'm going to begin even though our focus

is on the story of Jonah I want for us

to look at what Jeremiah experienced

here because God was speaking to him and

it says in chapter 18 and we were going

to be reading verses 1 through 10 this

is the word that came to Jeremiah from

the Lord go down to the potter's house

and there I will give you a message so I

went down to the potter's house and I

saw him working at the wheel but the pot

that he was shaping from the clay was

marred in his hands so the Potter formed

it into another pot shaping it as seemed

best to him then the word of the Lord

came to me he said can I not do with you

Israel as this Potter does declares the

Lord

like the clay in the hand of the Potter

so are you in my hand Israel if at any

time I announce that a nation or a

kingdom is to be uprooted torn down and

destroyed and if that nation I warned

repents of its evil then I will relent

and not inflict on yet the disaster that

I had planned and if at another time I

announce that a nation or a kingdom is

to be built up and planted and if it

does evil in my sight and does not obey

me then I will reconsider the good I had

intended to do for it

what I see this posing and we can

actually look at another another verse

of scripture it's and we don't have this

ready for the rejection but Romans 9

verse 20 the battery is dying Oh

interesting

thank you well we can't do without

batteries can we not in this day and

dive over in Romans chapter 9 verse 20

it says but who are you a human being to

talk back to God shall what is formed

say to the one who formed it why did you

make me like this this is really what I

feel in my heart we need to look at

there is in our society a very very deep

sense of mistrust for how we have been

made or how we have been formed I'm not

going to take this on kind of a normal

trajectory of that thought but I really

I really want for us to begin to examine

in the process of our life wherever we

are are you at peace with how God has

made you Romans 9:20 it talks about this

but who are you human beings to talk

back to God

who are we to say why have you made me

this way why have you called me to do

this thing I want to do that I want to

be something other than what I am and I

will say to you the processes of God are

long whether we like it or not we

are given this thing called lights and

through the process of light and living

God is at work all the time all the way

through even when we feel like nothing's

happening there's a lot happening when

you think nothing's happening some of

what happens is just waiting and how

good are any of us about just waiting

right how many of you like to wait for

the bus

not too many how many of you like to

rush and go through traffic and get to

the airport and and and go through all

of the things that you have to go

through where they kind of strip you

down and make you walk through machines

and and pat you on your behind or

whatever you know and then you say okay

you can go through and then you you're

at the gate and you wait you know we

don't want to wait we're not happy about

some of these processes that God gives

to us but we have to trust him we have

to trust him we're going to talk today

about Jonah the reluctant prophet and as

a backdrop to this story I want to just

talk for one minute about when this word

came to Jonah and I'm not going to read

it all right now but it says and the

word of the Lord came to Jonah go to the

great city of Nineveh and preach against

it because it's wickedness has come up

before me now to get a little

perspective on this I want us to think

about the city of Nineveh now

what would be perhaps III don't want to

take you there today I want us to go

back to to 2014 Isis has taken over

almost all of Syria and most of the

western portion of Iraq and one of the

cities that is really an absolutely

dominated area is the city called Mosul

and Mosul if you know they literally

were destroying every vestige of

Christianity everything that was there

that that represented anything of

Judaism or anything other than their

particular brand of their Islamic belief

I mean you have it you can look it up

you can see the buildings that were all

torn down if anybody works was to go in

there you know what would life be like

for them imagine if God called you in

2014 to go into Mosul and be a witness

for him and tell them to repent from

what they're doing now we have a slide

here and we're going to show the city of

Mosul and if you look up here it's

exactly the same place as Nineveh

exactly the same place Nineveh was on

the east side of the river most of Mosul

is on the west side of the Tigris River

but you get the perspective here this

huge city and just as it was in 2014 and

you can put the slide down just as it

was at that point and that time when

Jonah was getting ready to go in he was

having to go into a horrible place

we're people tortured and killed or

there were armies that absolutely

dissembled people and this is what Jonah

was being called to go into and it

wouldn't be an inappropriate kind of

parallel to be able to speak of ancient

Nineveh as going into Mosul four years

ago now I'm gonna read this first

portion of it and the word the lord came

to jonah son of amat i go to the great

city of Nineveh and preach against it

because it's wickedness has come up

before me but Jonah ran away from the

Lord and he headed for Tarsus he went

down to Joppa and he found a ship that

was bound for a port and after paying

the fare he went abroad and he sailed

for Tarshish to flee from the Lord then

the Lord sent a great wind on the sea

and such but such a violent storm arose

that the ship threatened to break up all

the sailors were afraid each cried out

to his own god and they threw the cargo

into the sea to lighten the ship but

Jonah had gone below deck and he lay

down and he fell into a deep sleep and

the captain went to him and he said how

can you sleep get up and call on your

God maybe he will take notice of us so

that we will not perish then the sailors

said to each other

come let us cast lots to find out who's

responsible for this calamity they cast

lots and the lot fell on Jonah so they

asked him tell us who's responsible for

making all this trouble for us what kind

of work do you do

where do you come from what is your

country from what are your people he

answered I am a Hebrew and I worship the

Lord the God of heaven

who made the sea and the dry land this

terrified them and they asked what have

you done they knew he was running from

the Lord because he had already told

them so the sea was getting rougher and

rougher so they asked him what should we

do to you to make the sea calm down for

us Nick Mia throw me into the sea he

replied and it will be calm

I know that it is my fault that this

great storm has come upon you and then

in the seventeenth verse so it says now

the Lord provided a huge fish and it

swallowed Jonah and Jonah was in the

belly of the fish three days and three

nights and from inside that belly of the

fish we see Jonah begins to cry out in

his own repentance in his own sense of

sorrow in his own sense of despair

clinging to life itself and then he gets

thrown up onto dry land in verse 10 of

that chapter two it says and the Lord

come out of the fish and he vomited him

up onto dry land and then in chapter 3

it says then the word of the Lord came

to Jonah a second time go to the great

city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the

message I give you Jonah obeyed the word

of the Lord and went to Nineveh now

Nineveh was a very large city and it

took three days to go through it Jonah

began by going a day's journey into the

city proclaiming 40 more days and

Nineveh will be overthrown and the

Ninevites believed God a fast was

proclaimed and all of them from the

greatest to the least put on sackcloth

verse 10 when God saw that they did and

how they turned from their evil ways he

relented and did not bring on them the

destruction that had been threatened now

I want for us to look at what's

happening here we have another slide

that I'd like to show and this shows

Jonah is over here in Israel and he gets

the call of God to go over to Nineveh

but instead he books passage for where

Tarshish that might show at all Nineveh

this way

where is Jonah GUI he as far as he could

get I mean as far in the other direction

I mean in that then that part of the

world then this is probably all he knew

about geography and this was as far away

from the call of God on his life as he

could get and that's the direction that

he headed out in well this is not

abnormal for our humanity and I want us

to understand you know it's it's easy

for us to sit piously in our comfortable

seats and judge another man in this case

Jonah and say you know he wasn't

obedient to God he went exactly the

opposite direction but I'm gonna ask

this very plainly haven't you gone in

the opposite direction yeah I mean if we

went to each person and you asked almost

every individual in this room at some

point some part of your journey when God

asks you to do something you just went

the other way you went the opposite way

isn't that what happened with Adam and

Eve given one command do not eat of the

fruit of this tree you could have

off the fruit of every other tree in

this wonderful garden so what do they do

they get the fruit of that tree you know

this is just our we call it's in nature

it is just the human reaction you see

Moses being told of God speak to the

rock and he strikes it and anger and and

so he is not able to go into the

Promised Land that he had been have been

promised to and and and we can look on

and we look at Jacob and we can look at

David and Bathsheba and we can look at

Samson and Delilah and and you can look

at even great Abraham and here he is

lying about his wife saying she's my

sister implying that this King could

have her and so we look and we see the

human nature is to run from the call of

God on our lives

all of these people ended up in their

own pits we've ended up in our own pits

sometimes a pit of our choosing

sometimes a pit of deception that we've

fallen into but every person finds

themselves like Jonah running but aren't

you glad that God pursues us I am so

glad that God doesn't just let us go and

he sent this great fish and so the pit

that Jonah fell into Jacob fell into an

actual pit his brother's cast him into

the pit because he was so arrogant they

couldn't stand the man

Jonah is in his own pit the pit is the

belly of the great fish I wonder what

your pit is I've seen mine I don't want

to go back there

this story begins with talking about

this great city and how that God looks

at this city the city that came up

before him it says go to the great city

of Nineveh and preach against it because

it's wickedness has come before me

do any of us understand what happens in

God's mind when somehow cultures cities

nations or persons step beyond that

point of almost like no return and then

judgment comes it's really a thing

genuinely to be feared in a holy way

that we do not go beyond the measure of

grace that God is willing to grant to us

and he's always willing to if we're

willing to repent but like Pharaoh in

Egypt he hardened his heart he hardened

his heart he hardened his heart God sent

another miracle showed a way of escape

and he relented but then he hardened his

heart again and he hardened his heart

again after all of those plagues he

hardened his heart what we have to be

really attuned to and really careful of

is that and it happens on an individual

basis but God also deals with nations

and he need any deals with cities as we

see with Nineveh there are times when

things get so bad that the the most

gracious thing that God can do is God

sends judgment what we do with that

judgment is ultimately something that we

have to measure we have to examine we

have to pray about

but God cares you know God cares about

everything and I'm gonna just go back

here a little bit and in the scripture

and I'm gonna read about Jonah chapter 4

where it says but did Jonah

all of this the fact that Nineveh

repented and turned and that God forgave

him and held back but to jonah it says

this seemed very wrong and he became

angry he prayed to the Lord isn't this

what I said Lord when I was still at

home and that is what I tried to

forestall by fleeing to Tarsus I knew

that you are gracious and compassionate

God slow to anger and abounding in love

and God who relents from sending

calamity now Lord take away my life for

it's better for me that I die but the

Lord replied is it right for you to be

angry is it right for you to be angry

what is our natural response in these

things if God told you to go and tell

somebody that they were going to be

destroyed because evil had come up to

that such a such a height that it was

almost like going to beyond the pale

and God was going to send judgment and

UN declare that and then nothing

happened because they repented you can

understand a little bit of his reaction

you can understand a little bit of his

sentiments that's going on there but we

see here that God had a different view

and in the latter part of this chapter

four it says but the Lord said you've

been concerned and I got to back up just

a little bit and develop the story there

because I I'm not going to read all of

it but we see that there was this plant

that grew up in chapter 4 and it covered

Jonah and he found refuge under it from

the heat

because was very hot and he was happy

about the plant then the next day the

Lord it says the Lord caused a

caterpillar a worm to go and eat at the

plant and kill the plant and Jonah was

very very angry about this and so what

I'm the point at the point that I'm I

want for us to get about this is that we

look at the little things we look at the

tiny things we look at the circumstances

about a plant and the Lord said to Jonah

he said you have been concerned about

this plant though you did not end it or

make it grow

it sprang up overnight it died overnight

and you and should I not be concerned

for the great city of Nineveh in which

there are more than a hundred and twenty

thousand people who cannot tell their

right hand from their left and most of

the commentaries on this say that means

they were children they were little

children a hundred and twenty thousand

people who didn't know their left or the

right hands and also many animals so God

God sees the big picture but here's

Jonah in the midst of this situation and

what is he looking at he is looking at

himself he is looking at his comfort he

is looking at a plant that's giving him

shade and when the plant that's giving

him shade is no longer there he is mad

at God now I I mean that kind of puts it

into perspective again are we going to

judge this man Jonah no this is about

this is about more than that it's really

about us it's about how we look at

things you know God he has it all

he has the whole of mankind he has all

of creation he has all of the cosmos

from the greatest thing of that we

understand the universe all the way down

to the quarks and gluons that make up

the subatomic structure that we know of

now and there's more that we don't know

yet and he understands it all and he

keeps it in perspective and he's

ordering things rightly okay what are we

supposed to do in the midst of it we

need to be able to say yes to the Lord

in whatever he is calling now pastor

Roberto said something last week that is

very important for us to hear and so I

am going to just quietly attempt to

restate it very very briefly he talked

about how we are becoming a people of

war that we have to be prepared for

battle and it was kind of a warning to

get your heart into a resilient place

because you can't necessarily take pity

on absolutely everybody and everything

when you are going into war when you are

going into battle now I am believing I

believe that the Lord is very clear that

he is taking this church and he is

taking all of us as both individuals us

as a church how we fit into the body of

Christ in the city of Boston and the

region of the United States he is

reshaping and reforming us just the same

as Jeremiah going down to the potter's

house and said Lord you're giving me a

lesson here you're giving me a message

and what is the message the mess

is that God reforms things he reforms

things for his purpose and he's

reforming things right now I don't know

what it means but I do know this that

we're not to be afraid of it I know that

were not to be afraid of it

and one of the things that he is

reforming us into is making us into a

people who can do battle now does that

mean that you stopped caring for

individuals no no it doesn't you have to

have you have to have this capacity as

God has this capacity to have the care

and the love and the affirmation for

individuals but yet have this larger

scale and this bigger vision this

greater understanding of what's going on

we're in the midst of a very very

difficult time to be able to navigate

and the navigation of this time is very

very important we are going to have to

be men and women that are strong

resilient powerful we are going to have

to understand that there are kingdoms

that are going to come crashing down and

I'm not sure what that all means I don't

have to be sure and neither do you you

have to stay close to God and you have

to listen to what he's telling you to do

and you have to be obedient to do that

but obedience is very important in this

season we have this announcement that

was made just moments before about

evangelism and you know what there there

is somehow in the minds of some people

the idea that well if you're going to be

evangelistic and you're going to be

doing that then you're going to be in

people's faces and and confronting them

about sin and and different things you

know what there may be times when that's

necessary and we have to be okay about

that but we never

ever want to lose sight of god's heart

of compassion for everything his heart

and his compassion is there but it's

also a time where we are going to have

to be really really strong I I had the

opportunity of spending some time with

the gentleman one of the gentlemen who's

going to be speaking there James Sedaris

and you know a James was asking the Lord

Lord I believe that you're wanting to

win souls and and he prayed about it and

he thought that he heard a number and

then he or he thought of a number and he

and he put it before the Lord and the

Lord said no ask for more and so he

prayed again and and and he had a number

and he and he put it out there and and

he said ask for more and and it it began

to grow in in his heart almost like

something to be overwhelming and because

I might tell it wrong and I don't want

to do that I'll let him tell you the

whole story but in essence what he came

to is he came to believe Lord I want to

believe you for a billion souls over the

next 20 years to come into the kingdom

and I was in a conversation just a week

ago with somebody over in in Colorado

Springs a friend of mine and and he said

you know when we talked about this he

said well maybe that's too small

God wants every he's not willing that

any should perish but that all should

come to repentance now what does that do

to you in a certain sense what it does

to me is it makes me feel so

insignificant and so inadequate to the

task the mat the matter of it is is it's

God's business and it's God's call it's

nothing to do with us I mean yes we have

to say yes to

he's giving to us to do what he's

putting before us what he's calling us

into but I'm telling you this God wants

millions and millions of people to get

saved and they won't get saved unless we

somehow change our perspective if our

perspective is simply that well the Lord

cares and he's watching over everybody

and well they'll yeah the God will save

the ones he's gonna he's gonna say

that's not how it works folks it doesn't

happen that way the moves of God that

you can look down through history happen

when people begin to own a sense a

burden a sense of care now I'm not

talking about putting anybody under

condemnation I'm not talking about

putting heaviness on anybody that they

cannot bear William Booth who had one of

he he stewarded one of the great moves

of God's Spirit in in the 1870s through

the 1890s the the year 2000 even he said

rather than send people three years to

seminary or Bible College he said I

would rather take a person and hang them

over hell so they could see people in

hell

for one minute and that would do more to

change lives and put a fire in them you

know I mean it's really what do you

believe it comes down to that if you

want to see people saved you have to

believe they have to get saved from

something and you know what I don't

think people in our culture and in our

time want to think that way we I don't

think we want to think that way but that

is how God sees it who taught about Hell

more than anybody it was Jesus literally

oh is this it uncomfortable now Brandon

you have

really done it this is not comfortable

is it gonna make you comfortable knowing

that you could have spoken to somebody

and you could have prayed for and cared

for them and you didn't and they ended

up being lost for eternity out of

fellowship with God you know I know I

know this isn't delicate I'm not being

seemingly kind what is kind what is the

word of God say I mean let's return to

the Word of God people let's return to

the Word of God what is the word of God

teach what does it say it tells us there

is a dividing line it tells us that God

cares about that dividing line it tells

us that if we want to be like him we're

going to own that conviction and God's

gonna have to do something inside of us

God can do that but it's gonna feel

almost like Jonah wanting to run most of

us want to come to church because we

want to feel his presence and because we

want to experience the fellowship and we

need that I need that I want

I love his presence I'm telling you

there is no thing on earth that I

treasure more than to be in the presence

of God with God's people worshiping him

and having that transcendent moment

where the Spirit of God just opens up

the heavens and you just sense him and

you feel him and you experience him

God wants that for everyone God wants

that for our neighbors God wants that

for people who are destitute for people

that are troubled and they are trouble

to your life I mean they're just trouble

you know it's like we're inviting

trouble when will you talk that way

we're looking for problems and and we're

gonna find lots of them because getting

people through the process of coming to

Jesus of getting saved of really getting

turned around getting their life

straightened out moving on in God I mean

it is a journey and it's a mess and it's

troublesome and it's troubling but it's

all good it's the good kind of trouble

so I'm gonna ask us to stand and we're

just going to pray that as God begins to

put in our spirit this passion for souls

you know you can't really do evangelism

effectively without having a love for

the lost and so I'm with you folks this

is not me pontificating from a pulpit

and not feeling the impact of this Jesus

you know we are desperately in need of

your heart for the lost I confess to you

Lord that when I see people with their

hand out on the street

I feel troubled over my hardness of

heart

lord I feel troubled when I see the

people on mass Avenue stumbling but God

that feeling troubled has got to

translate into action it's got to

translate into tangible systemic

effective ways of loving the lost Lord I

pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to

begin to rise in us as a congregate body

we cannot do this in our own flesh we

cannot do this Lord we can't even get a

burden for the Lost

without it coming as an impartation from

you

but lord i simply ask not all of us are

called to go to great cities like

Nineveh and make bold declarations there

but every one of us are called to make

bold declarations to our neighbors to

our friends and father I ask that your

Holy Spirit will begin to give us the

strength that comes from above strength

that comes from you

transforming strength Lord father your

disciples seemed to be so impoverished

after you left and you told them to

tarry and to wait in Jerusalem until

they were endued with power from on high

me and Lord it just takes you doing the

work you imparting your passion

father we think of Jonah angry with God

angry at you Lord angry because a worm

had come and devoured a plant

[Music]

he had compassion on the plant you have

compassion on people you have compassion

on the lost father I ask that you would

lift up our eyes so that we could see

the city with new eyes with different

eyes I ask Lord about this worship

experience that's going to be happening

in Boston on the common on Thursday Lord

you'd show us whether we're to

participate whether we're to be here at

the evangelism class whatever it is just

being obedient to you is what's

important

father there's so many things that you

are going to be doing to raise us up to

transform us we ask Holy Spirit that you

would have complete Liberty to do so in

Jesus name

God seeks a resolved heart

second chronicles chapter 16 second

chronicles chapter 16 and that let me

let me just read and before I start

because then if I start with the prelude

it's gonna become the sermon and I won't

even get a chance to read it it's

important to focus on this particular

scripture first a second chronicle 16

says in the 36th year of Aizaz reign ASA

is the king that we want to focus on in

the 36th year of aces reign that is his

kingdom his government Baasha king of

israel went up against judah and

fortified Rama to prevent anyone from

leaving or entering the territory of ASA

king of Judah so it sounds complicated

let me just simplify for you we have a

situation of war two kings

they're both Israeli Israelites but this

is the time when the Kingdom of Israel

was divided between the northern kingdom

and the southern kingdom and often they

were at war with each other usually the

northern kingdom was a very pagan very

sinful they had a lot of sinful kings

and the southern kingdom the kingdom of

Judah had a lot more opportunities where

they had very just good god-fearing

Kings and so they were at war with each

other what we have here is that the king

of the north even though he's an Israel

an Israelite comes and surrounds the

kingdom of the south and he's going to

attack it is preparing to siege it's

laying a siege on that and so it's a

moment of great danger and pressure for

the king of Judah okay whose name is åsa

so that's the does the idea here so what

does this King do it says that he then

took the silver and gold out of the

Treasuries of the Lord's temple very

important keep that in mind what he does

and of his own palace

and center to Ben Haddad the king of

Aram who was ruling in Damascus so what

does ASA do in the in the light of this

situation of siege and danger he goes

into the temple and takes out all of the

utensils and all of the objects that are

used for the worship of God there was a

lot of gold and silver in those utensils

he takes it out of the temple these

consecrated utensils these consecrated

objects and also goes into his palace

and takes out a lot of the Treasury that

he had treasure that he has and he goes

through this other powerful king who is

a pagan king he's not a believing King

he is a pagan man and it's a pagan

country that often was at war with

Israel as well and so he takes this

these consecrated objects and his own

money and property and gives it to this

third powerful King to bribe him into

going to war against the king of Israel

the north and northern kingdom to get

him out of the picture and to get him

away from attacking Israel so it says

took the silver and gold gave it to this

King ben-hadad and says to him verse 3

let there be a treaty between you me and

you a treaty and an agreement between a

believing King ASA and an unbelieving

King Ben Haddad as there was between my

father and your father see I'm sending

you silver and gold now break your

treaty with Baasha king of Israel the

surrounding King the attacking King so

he will withdraw from me this is a

diplomacy it has always been conducted

throughout history by all kinds of

governments based on reality not on

principles you know just realism sheer

interest that's all no spiritual

principles involved how can I get out of

this situation how can i establish an

agreement it doesn't matter about the

spiritual things I'm in a bind I need to

get out of it no matter how I do it I

just want to get out of this situation

so ben-hadad agreed with king ASSA and

sent the commander's of his forces

against the towns of Israel and they

conquered a john dan Abell my aim in all

the store cities of Naphtali when Basha

the king of Israel heard this he stopped

building Rama or Rama and abandoned his

work he was building a fortified city so

to speak to wage a siege and to just

wait it out until the Israel the Judeans

the people of Judah would give up and

you know accept defeat so he stops

building this fortified city and

abandoned his work then King ASA brought

all the men of Judah and they carried

away from Rama the stones and timber by

Asha this attacking King had been using

and with the materials that he gets from

this abandoned half fortified city he

built up GABA and Mizpah right so he

gets some benefit out of it he gets this

King out of his hair and he also gets a

lot of materials to build other cities

and so on and so forth not a bad deal in

a way right so verse 7 it says at that

time this is after the danger has passed

this is really important at that time

Hanani the seer in other words this is a

prophet of God sometimes prophets were

called seers because they saw in the in

the supernatural world they could see

visions they could hear from God they

saw things okay so this man is a prophet

of God full of the Spirit he sees in the

supernatural and he comes to the word

from God at that time Hanani the seer

came to ASA king of Judah and said to

him this is interesting because you

relied on the king of arum and not on

the Lord your God this is very important

again here you know he committed a grave

violation

he put his trust in a merely human

instrument instead of relying on God and

I don't clarify why in the case of ASA

this was particularly Grievous and

offensive to God

because you relied on the king of Arum

and not on the Lord your God the army of

the king of Arum has escaped from your

hand you know he simply left he wasn't

attacked he didn't lose man nothing he

just had to abandon the siege so he

escaped freely without any consequences

except that he had to abandon his plans

to attack so he has escaped from your

hand and this is the question that he

asks Aiza referring to a previous

situation that ASA had confronted and

that he had navigated appropriately

before the eyes of God and he says were

not the Kushites and Libyans a mighty

army with great numbers of chariots and

horsemen you can read about that in

chapter 14 by the way another situation

that he faced of grave threat we're not

they a mighty army yet when you relied

on the Lord he delivered them into your

hand so if you see that there's a

principle here being worked out in this

narrative whether you rely on the Lord

or whether you rely on human instruments

and methodology in your life and by the

way you can put any situation in your

life anything that you're struggling

with any great project that you have

your ambitions for the future in my case

you know heading a congregation and

wanting to build an English ministry in

a spanish ministry and be used of God in

the city it depends how you on whom you

rely and on what principles and systems

you rely and what you use are you as

your governing methodology your

governing principles okay so it's just

when when you this mighty army you don't

you remember before when you had an even

more powerful army and you relied on

spiritual principles and the Lord

delivered them into your hand and this

is one of the most famous verses in all

of Scripture and I urge you to underline

that verse and maybe even learn it

memory it has been a verse that has

governed my life when I've been wise

enough to pay attention to it I haven't

done it always and I've paid the

consequences when I haven't but this is

one of the most powerful verses in all

of Scripture right here very famous

verse very well-known verse says for the

eyes of the Lord

range throughout the earth that is they

hover over all the earth to strengthen

those whose hearts are fully committed

to him in other words God is always

looking for a man or a woman who has a

committed consecrated decided heart and

is totally committed to his plans his

methodology his principles and and whose

love is for God in the Spanish version

of this text it says that los de corazon

perfecto those who have a perfect heart

the idea is that committed is of strong

sort of focused laser-like commitment to

the Lord God is always looking for that

individual man or woman child or

adolescent it doesn't matter God is

always interested in a man or a woman a

child or an older person who is

committed to God in a in a ferocious

undiluted sort of way to show himself

strong

that's what again you know if you look

at other versions of this this is the

NIV version God wants to show himself

strong and powerful and favourable to

the person who has a committed heart to

him and he's always looking for he's

like a good employer looking for good

employees and and when you find a good

employee or a good leader for your

organization and you grab him and God is

looking like that is testing the hearts

of you and me always trying to determine

what is the what is the purity of this

man this woman's heart this young

person's heart are they willing to risk

everything for my glory or not and when

God finds that kind of individual he's

he's just ferociously in their favor

while ago my wife preached on Daniel

you're some of you might remember that

Daniel and his companions were like that

they had a strong heart for God it

didn't matter that they were in the

middle of a a hostile environment that

wanted to just extirpate and destroy

everything that every remnant of

godliness in them

and they said no we are determined to do

God's will and Daniel was characterized

by that commitment single-hearted

commitment to God's Way of doing things

he didn't care whether he got in trouble

or whether the King didn't think that he

was a team player he was resolved to

live according to God's principles and

this is why God then blessed him with

knowledge revelation success

effectiveness in what he did because he

was committed to God and the Bible is

full of such individuals and narratives

that show that when you put God first

when you resolve I'm thinking of this

verse that says I have decided to follow

Jesus no turning back no turning back

it's that idea you know you you have to

be resolved you have to decide if you

don't decide who you're going to follow

and how are you going to live your life

believe me life will make sure that

along the way you lose the vision it

will try to seduce you and wear you down

slowly through micro interventions at

every moment of your life to slowly

blunt your blade and take away any

sharpness that you have in terms of your

commitment to the Lord's principles in

methodology and loyalty you have to

resolve it you

have to absolutely think of a man right

now the image comes of a person who's

facing a strong headwind and you know

there is windy and the wind is headed

this way and he's trying to get the

other way what do you have to do you

have to lean into the wind because if

you go like this it'll blow you back so

what would be a normal stance which is a

vertical stance is not good when you

have a strong headwind against you you

need a an incline that kind of stance

and I think that this is the kind of

error that the church is living in and

each one of you and me are living in is

an era where the winds of a culture and

secularism are so strong that unless you

lean forward and you are militarily and

militantly and Phatak about what you are

determined to incorporate into your life

and into the principles of your life

unless you are absolutely decided and

determined you will blow you'll be blown

back the the times that we are living in

are not good enough were are not good

for just neutrality and kind of a casual

you know sort of normal commitment to

the Christian life these are times for

militancy these are times for resolve

these are time for determination these

are times for radical commitment and and

you know radical commitment is never

elegant if you want elegance in your

spiritual life I'm afraid that you do

not will not make the cut I love

elegance but I have found that resolve

and passion and effectiveness in

military circumstances require sometimes

stands and an attitude in a behavior

that will not seem that kind of

objective dispassionate weighing both

options and yeah you know I could go

this way or that way because you know a

new

it's not a good value I think for war I

wish I could break that down a bit

soldiers and in armies at war are they

they don't have time for subtlety now

they know that subtlety may be

applicable but they also know that they

need a resolve heart and if they think

too much about the from the perspective

of the enemy they will lose their

resolve so they cannot afford to be too

even-handed when they're at war for

example if I'm at war and I'm in gonna

be in a fight against a man in a trench

from the from the other side and I stop

to think that that man is a father of

children back home wherever he came from

or that he is a son of an elderly woman

whose heart is dedicated to that son or

if I think that he is just as committed

as I am in his belief system and I

stopped to think too much about the man

that I might be killing to save my life

in the situation of war I may not do it

it will it will it will dilute my

resolve I cannot afford it to look at

things too much from his perspective at

that moment that moment requires that I

be totally committed to neutralizing am

I making myself clear here you see

sometimes I think we in the times that

we live we think too much about the

other side and and it's not that we

shouldn't but if we do we should do it

only so that we know how that other side

thinks and does things not to adopt

their perspective or to let their

perspective dilute and mix our resolve

and I think a lot of Christians make

that mistake in our time they spent too

much time in the enemy's camp

breathing in and absorbing and

processing how what the enemy thinks and

says and so it's not strange that when

the time for war comes they will be

lacking in the resolve and the clarity

that they require you see so that's an

important principle to keep in mind now

I've gone so far from where I was that I

don't remember what drew me into that

but that's it you know what I mean it is

this it is this thing about fully

committed full laser-like total

commitment to what you believe and and

and being in a situation of war and

being in a situation of great hazard you

need to be totally resolved because if

not you will be blown over you will be

defeated you will be co-opted and we are

people of God listen we are at war and I

know those images of war often do not

are not pleasurable to us when we are

very sensitive because Christians are

not supposed to be in war but the Bible

is full of imagery of war it's not just

it's not just the Old Testament such as

in this passage the Apostle Peter I

think it is says you know to be vigilant

because in sober because our adversary

Satan like a roaring lion prowls around

seeking to whom whom to devour the Bible

says that this weapons of our warfare

are not of the flesh but they are

powerful for the destruction the tearing

down of strongholds and the imagery of

war is all over Scripture now there is a

sensitive interpretation of this concept

in modern times that runs away from this

understanding of a kingdom at war which

is the kingdom of God

and what we do then we try to fix

Scripture we try to put some makeup on

it make it less rough less aggressive

but the fact is that Scripture is

aggressive the Bible says that the

kingdom of God marches in you so you can

find that passage the kingdom of God

advance

forcefully and forcefully means like

violently in the in the original

language the kingdom of God in this

earth always advances in a context of

force and struggle because we have a

mighty enemy who has no qualms about

realizing that he is at war with us and

so whatever inch the kingdom of God

acquires of land of territory of

cultural solidity is gained that at the

cost of great aggressiveness and

forcefulness I want to inject into you

this morning an attitude of forcefulness

aggressiveness militancy radicalness

because unless you do that you will not

please God and you will not stand in

this radioactive context that you live

in and I live in this church lives in

and the kingdom of God moves in if you

want to live life within the outlook and

the world of view of the Scriptures you

have to be aggressive you have to be

committed you have to be militant you

have to be resolved let the people

around you say whatever they want you

have to be according to how God has

prescribed it not according to how the

world or how elegance dictates so this

this prophet having seen the wishy-washy

way in which Asia deals with this

situation rebukes him directly from the

Lord it says you you're you're crazy

you've done a crazy thing that's what it

says in the Spanish translation by the

way you've acted in a crazy way for the

eyes of the Lord

ranged throughout the earth to

strengthen those whose hearts are fully

committed to him says you have done a

foolish thing you have done a crazy

thing and from now on you will be at war

in other words he could have destroyed

enemies for permanently the first time

if you would have just used God's

methodology which admittedly was very

risky but he did not he got a he got a

quick victory or a quick getting out of

a difficult situation but now this enemy

that he failed to destroy was free to

continue attacking him whenever he

wanted so he exchanged a minor temporary

victory for what would have been a major

Thoreau

culminating victory and this is the

question in your life I mean you know

many times we find ourselves in

situations where we can cut corners and

we can do certain things according to

principles of efficiency and human

effectiveness and practicality and all

these things and we may get away with

things at the short-term but in having

violated a structural systemic principle

we are simply pushing the machine either

wrinkle of the rug as we say in Spanish

a little bit further sooner or later you

have to pay the piper Satan never

forgets when you owe him a debt

Satan never forgets when you very subtly

made a pact and then at the end a deal

with him he will keep it there in his

pocket he has a long memory and he'll

get back to you and he'll you know just

like Don Corleone in The Godfather he

does your favor yeah great but then he

calls you one day and says hey you

remember that favor I did for you now I

need you to do this for me Satan is not

generous one bit okay so that always

keeps me sober and I tell you many times

this man who is preaching right now with

such conviction does wimp out this is

what I want from my life every day but I

I I sometimes do not have the courage

the courage fails me and and I confess

to you it's a struggle every day

but when I have had the integrity and

the courage to do that

man over the years I've seen the the

blessing and the benefit I just want to

encourage you come with me and live in

that struggle to to do things according

to God's methodology fight the war build

your life according to God Lee biblical

principles and you will have the victory

ultimately or before in the middle or

systemically in subtle ways but you will

have the victory and I'm addressing many

of you here this morning who are

struggling in different ways I mean you

know your life may be you may be trying

to get out of a rut in terms of a mental

struggle or a dependency that you have

or or you know family situations or

financials or your past is just a mess

and you're trying to get out of it and

break into normalcy or you want to have

a good career and you want to prosper

you know professionally and or you want

to just be a good mother and have

children that will be blessed of the

Lord and do a good job as a mother or as

a father whatever it is you're trying to

build this something you're trying to

vanquish an enemy you're trying to break

from the gravity pool of life that wants

to pull you down always use godly

principles use biblical principles use

Kingdom principles and you will never be

disappointed I will go to the bank with

that any time and so this is what this

prophet says - you have done a foolish

thing from now on and now this is

another point here ASA look how he

reacts because that's another thing

depending on on your heart how how

humble you are how willing to accept

correction in your life how willing you

are to abandon what you have set your

mind on you know many people don't

accept the truth just because they're

haughty

and they are simply proud and to admit

that somebody knows more than you is a

difficulty and so you just stand your

ground and you find ways to evade the

truth of what your pastor may be saying

or a counselor or your mentor or your

wife whatever just because you cannot

accept that other people may have more

the truth than you do so you you

obstinate and you stand there and you

simply continue and you find ways to

evade the truth people of God you need

to be pliant you need to ask God to give

you a soft plastic heart that will allow

itself to be molded according to the

principles of the word of God if you are

in a different place than I am right now

as I speak to you don't be offended by

what I'm saying don't continue don't

continue a monologue where you are

resisting the Word of God because I know

this is the word of God I cannot imagine

how you could find anything wrong with

what I'm saying

not because of who is saying it to you

but because I know that I'm standing

fully in the center of God's Word right

now

and so you need we need a humility we

need that pliability of heart to when

the truth comes to us bow before it and

stop the internal monologue long enough

to hear what God is saying to us I know

about that I also struggle with that

inclination to resist truth when it

doesn't come from me so ASA was angry

with the seer because of this instead of

saying God I have sinned like David did

for example when Nathan came to him he

had done a grave grave sin and the

prophet Nathan came to him in a similar

situation admonished him rebuked him and

and David bowed his head he didn't try

to justify himself he didn't try to come

with a counter-argument he said man you

caught me you got me

I repent you know so we have to do we

have to repent of the mind games that we

play there's a very well-known book in

the 90s I think those games people play

written by a psychiatrist if you ever

get a chance to read it

you know psychiatrists and psychologists

know about the games that we place

psychologically mentally to shield

ourselves from the truth all the

subterfuges all the escape routes that

we devise in order to run from the truth

and it hits us and if you have that

attitude that you will never grow in the

kingdom of God you have to have a soft

heart to know truth and to accept that

when you hear it so a Issa was angry

with the seer because of this as a

matter of fact he was so enraged that he

put him in prison and you imagined that

this man of God comes to correct them

and he puts him in prison and then it

says at the same time easily brutally

oppressed some of the people in Israel

what happened is hard became hardened he

proudly said well you know I've done so

many good things that I've done for God

I've served him here done it he had done

many great things if you read the

biography of Asia in the preceding

chapters he was a good king he made many

reforms and he did many great things

that honored the Lord but he did not

finish well and there's another

principle that we need to always keep

before our eyes but as his heart was

hardened when you resist the Word of God

and you become obstinate and you hide it

from yourself even if you think that you

didn't do it God knows the Holy Spirit

knows and the devil knows and so your

heart gets hardened you become more

obtuse you become more resistant you

become less sharp when the Lord speaks

to you the Holy Spirit is grieved that

because the Holy Spirit is grieved by

arrogance by pride by obstinacy these

attitudes that we have they grieve the

Holy Spirit and they hold back the

further revelation from God and so what

happens ASA

becomes hardened spiritually when you

persist in a sin that God has admonished

you against know that he won't reject

you completely but you will be fighting

the war of a blessing and success with

one hand tied behind your back at the

very least the enemy will have more

freedom to move as he wants in your life

because now you are entering into some

sort of agreement with him I'm going to

resist the Word of God no matter what it

says and so the enemy says ah that's one

of my principles that means that I have

entry into your life this is the way the

supernatural world moves by the way very

subtle ways so Aiza becomes hardened and

now he becomes an oppressor of his

people not only does he oppress God's

servant who told him the truth now he

begins to brutally oppress this good

king you know in a significant moment of

his life when he had he had a great

opportunity and a great temptation he

went the wrong way and then instead of

repenting he remains and he he ends up

in disgrace because this is the end of

his life the next few verses are just

you know about just the the final period

of his paragraph instead of finishing

his life well and gloriously as he had

lived it he finishes it badly and that's

something that stirs terror into my

being that after serving the Lord

I might end badly in this grace it sends

shudders through my being pray for me I

say I tell you right now

pray for your pastors pray for your

leaders let's pray for this church we

have had a good run quote/unquote let's

not abandon the price in the two thirds

of the way in two or more who knows you

know the the the image that comes to the

mind many times is a Billy Graham this

guy dies at a hundred years of age

almost and he had a glorious run public

like no other full of temptations I'm

sure this

somehow he finished well I'm sure when

he was dying he probably was breathing a

sigh of relief when I die if I die

before the Lord comes I hope I'll

breathe a sigh of relief my last breath

will be Wow thank you God I made it

I pray that that'll be the case you know

that I'll be able to when the gates of

heaven open for me

I'll go in with joy rather than regret

and pray that your life will you'll

stick to the end that you will come to a

glorious ending amen we got to be

pursued by that that consideration I

want to finish well Lord I want to

finish well every day get up and say I

want to finish well today I want to live

well in order to finish well and I will

be attentive to whatever correction

comes into my life one of the most

important principles are a godly life

and a successful living and good

leadership is make a covenant with the

truth make a covenant with the truth

psychiatrists and psychologists will

tell you that that is the key to good

emotional health neurosis always comes

from some denial of the truth in one way

or another emotional health comes from

openness to the truth and the whole

process of psychiatry and psychiatric

counseling is revolving around this idea

of allowing the client to become aware

of some truth that is repressed from the

past or from somewhere and to unify

himself with that truth when you unify

yourself with the truth you are covered

ASA resisted the truth and so he became

prey to further temptation now there's

so much that I want to say to you you

know I know time is passing but I'll

continue this sermon that I'm sharing

with you this morning is part of what I

hope will be a series of sermons

really what I'm most interested in is

not ASA but Jehoshaphat his son and his

biography and I hope to extract some

very deep spiritual truths from the

biography of Jehoshaphat Aizaz son who

succeeded him after he died so remember

that number one with my my meditation

this morning is part of something larger

in terms of other topics that I want to

discuss with you but I'm gonna go

further to frame this this sermon and

the few the ones are gonna follow which

is that I hope it'll be an opportunity

for me as your senior pastor to have a

dialogue with you so that you will get

to know me a little bit better and how I

think and why I do certain things and

why I don't do certain things because we

have a relationship here between you and

I and all the other pastors what I'm

gonna speak for myself as a senior

pastor so if you hear me if you hear me

say as your pastor know that I'm saying

as you've seen your pass or knowing that

there are other pastors I heal myself in

health as they say in Spanish just to

say that um

why because I think we have a kind of a

marriage between you and and myself and

you must know me and you must know why

this church does what it does and why we

do things in a certain way and what we

believe and why me as your spiritual

guide which I hope you'll see me as and

and your spiritual father which I hope

you'll see me as not because I am the

greatest thing in the world because

that's the position that I been placed

in and and I believe that when I speak

from here I speak with a certain

authority that is not mine and half of

the time I'm preaching at myself and

knowing how painful it is to preach

things that you know you have to apply

to yourself so I'm not only the

president of the Hair Club I'm also a

client I am I am always listening to

what the word is telling me as well and

that's what makes it so impress and many

times to preach these kinds of sermons

because they're risky as well because I

know I haven't gotten there completely

yet but I am a spiritual father

and the fact that I'm not simply sharing

some things as a you know just one more

person I have a certain Authority and

there's a certain price that you pay

when you come into relationship with a

spiritual father you you have to believe

that there's wisdom coming from him and

there's a certain level of integrity

that you need to be you you have to

allow yourself to be taught that's what

spiritual guidance is all about we live

in a time in the 21st century where you

know the the the the the pastor is like

a consultant you know you hear him and

then you decide whether you want to

listen to him or not then he's like just

a good friend who maybe a little wiser

than you but just a little bit that's

all and you have the luxury to say yes

or no or whatever I'm not I'm not asking

you to by the way throw your whole life

at my feet no I'm not I don't think is

this a controlling spirit in my being

but there is an expectation that as you

submit to the teaching of a a spiritual

guide having assumed that he has good

intentions and he won't manipulate or

exploit you there is blessing in that

and there's a covering that takes place

in that as well

it's a great responsibility I know how

great it is because I feel it all the

time in my life but really what I want

to talk about it's precisely why when

you see me do certain things you don't

understand why I do it and why I don't

do it because I'm trying to live

according to certain principles and so

this sermon illustrates one more thing

which is this that this congregation and

my ministry especially after this this

Sabbath that I took this sabbatical I've

come back with a resolution about my own

life to consecrate it further and I

think that this fact that I was baptized

just recently it's part of what God had

you know this level of consecration that

I am hungry for right now in my life

there are there loose loose pieces in my

mechanism that I need to strengthen I

know that and that I'm committed more

than ever to to cleaning up my life

strengthening it consecrating and

completely and and this congregation is

being called to do the same so

we need to revisit something some

assumptions some principles and know why

we do things and how we do it and why

you know and what methodology were using

and so on and we need to redouble our

efforts to continue following Kingdom

principles there is no change regarding

our adherence to principles of the

kingdom of God in this congregation more

than ever we need to redouble our

assumptions and our foundations and stay

Adam and if anything we need to tighten

our beliefs and the principles that

govern our life and you will find that

many times I will do things that may

seem kind of strange to you and it's

because I'm trying to stay in the

balance that I see in the scripture so

many times some of you in the

congregation may be alienated by some

things that I do for one reason and

others may be alienating by the same

thing that I do for other reasons but I

am I assure you I'm being lucid most of

the time and I know what I'm doing and I

know what you're thinking as well

and yet I've decided no matter what I

will continue doing what I'm doing until

you get tired of me but when you have

the perfect right to fire me of you like

you have that right by the way legally

and governmentally but the point being

last sunday for example let me give an

example last Sunday there was those of

you who were here Sunday and I'm looking

at the time here because we have the

Santa saint of the Lord's Communion I

hate to get into something that's you

know take a few minutes but please hold

on hold on it's important last Sunday I

I invited actually I didn't invite I

accepted the self invitation of a

ministry Christians for C F Christmas

for Israeli communities Christian

friends of Israeli communities the woman

who was here is a Jewish non-christian

woman she's an Orthodox Jew a woman of

principle who works with Christian

communities all over the world

strengthening

Jewish communities that are in places of

great peril what they were called

settlements which are an object of

controversy in our time because many

people in the secular world in Europe

and in that liberal News see Jews who

are moving into the areas of like

Samaria Judea Gaza the West Bank they

see them as trespassers even though that

is Israeli land it's Israel but they

because of a because of a narrative that

has been adopted by the secular world

they are put into perspective as as if

they're trespassers and they are

invaders of Palestinian land which it is

not legally and internationally this is

Israeli land and but there has been a

narrative that has been adopted by

liberal organizations secular

organizations that do not accept the

narratives of Scripture when you take

out the the scriptural narrative of

course then you're going to determine

the rights of Palestinians and Israelis

in the light of international

governmental principle secular

principles and you will have a very

different perspective of things I have

taken the time I assure you of reading

the the relevant documentation about

this and I think I know enough and I

don't want to be presumptuous here about

this issue probably as much as any of

you here because I responsibly have

taken the time to read all kinds of

resources both from one side and the

other and to go even beyond what

normally most people do to read about

these principles I think I'm in good

ground here so I invite this is she said

Roberto because we know each other and

you know we visited Israel a while ago

and her ministry was very helpful to us

in visiting a couple of places that you

know actually her her representatives

that Sandra is Sandra is coming in a few

months this was done like him back in

February or March last year of this year

and so would you like to have her on a

Sunday I saw this as an opportunity to

enrich the congregation by having a

unique perspective

and I know again this is fine we are

very complex congregation here we have

highly educated people people who read

and who explore you know I know that uh

some in this congregation have a very

nuanced view of the palestinian-israeli

thing and of Israel as well others are

very radical pro-israel and so on and so

forth you know others are they say that

they are they would believe very

sincerely that they are pro-israel but

then are very sensitive to the

Palestinian perspective as well and

criticize Israel for the way that it

conducts itself and so on and so forth

so one or two or a small handful of you

may have been offended by the fact that

this was not a Christian woman speaking

from this pulpit but I believe again

that if we only hear first of all this

woman she has great experience in

speaking to Christian audiences and so

she would never say anything that would

be offensive to a Christian audience

actually her livelihood depends on that

by the way so I knew that it was safe

number one number two everything that

she said was biblical actually she was

reading the Hebrew Scriptures I was

trying to find out what chapter she was

on so I couldn't because it's all Hebrew

she was reading the Hebrew Scriptures

her teaching was very biblical her

perspective was very biblical and she

had a unique position because she is a

if you know if you hear some of these

things from from a Gentile who loves

Israel this this you know that's good

but if you hear it from a Orthodox Jew

who lives there with her family there's

a brilliant woman who could be making a

lot of money here in America but she

relocated to Israel decades ago with her

family out of principle I admire her for

that and I think that she could offer a

unique perspective about this situation

now some of you could have felt for

example that you know as I had a

wonderful conversation earlier someone

about the fact that you know maybe these

issues should not be placed on Sunday

but maybe should be talked about in a

smaller

or something under during the week let

me tell you I think when we make that

assumption we are making before that

another assumption which is that these

are issues that you know are to be

discussed in a sort of a partial sort of

way I think that the pulpit the Sunday

gathering is the moment and the time

when you are receiving doctrine as a

whole often you know small groups will

come and you know 10% of the

congregation may come to us discussion

the vast portion of you will not be

there at this moment when I'm speaking

to you from the from from this moment is

when the family of God comes in and we

are taught about the principles of the

kingdom of God now sometimes we have

visitors you know one of the mistakes

that many churches make is that they

have turned the moment of family

instruction into a moment to be overly

sensitive to a visitor or two who may be

offended by what is being talked about

in the family

my idea is that if you come into my

house and my wife and I and our children

having a conversation you will come in

knowing I'm coming into the house of

this person they are allowing me to come

in and you will listen to the discussion

of the family the intimate discussion of

the family but I think many

congregations in our time the 21st

century particularly have adopted the

idea that this time should be a neutral

time it should be a time when nothing

scandalous or upsetting should be said

where we reduce the gospel to its lowest

common denominator when we avoid

anything that may offend anyone and you

know what happens we end up serving just

like a a stale tasteless soup that does

not nourish anyone and that sacrifices

the needs of the congregation you see as

a pastor as your teacher your main

teacher let's say when I use the pulpit

I believe that these moments are moments

were young people and people who are in

the marketplace receive good arguments

and good teaching and encouragement to

go out there again to the University

that's going to try to destroy their

faith they're going to go into the

marketplace where people are going to

say shut up don't say that and don't

even believe it where our

religious rites are subtly being

wrenched from us under the guise of a

diversity and a liberalism that is not

liberalism is just it's a dictatorship

like any other because of the games that

people play again and that cultures play

and we many times fall into that

horrible demonic game and we bow to it

and the only time where you can be

instructed and and taught and enriched

and encouraged and indoctrinated in the

best sense of the word in the Catholic

sense of the word catechized is this

moment so while I love to be

encompassing and subtle and gracious and

inclusive you know I have a greater duty

which is to feed my flock and so this is

why this moment you know sometimes will

alienate people

I never seek to be needlessly alienating

I don't have a chip on my shoulder I

don't happen to believe that the more

alienating and the more confrontative

you are the better a Christian you are

the better a church you are no I

confront only when I have to but

sometimes the Word of God is this is

like a sharp it's a sword it cuts a

confronts it divides Jesus divides Jesus

is not just a unifier Jesus is a divider

this I this narrative that Jesus is only

a unifier is of the devil forgive me I'm

getting too intoxicated with my own

rhetoric let me lower it down a bit

the enemy has used that idea Jesus is a

sword that devices I have come to divide

divide families divide culture divide

the churches

he's a divider because truth divides

that's the nature of truth and that

truth confronts

sometimes when people come with lies in

their system in their heart when the

truth hits them it's like it's repulsive

all the demons of Hell inside sometimes

people who come to the church they were

they rebel and I'm not saying that

you're demonized by the way I'm saying

that some every once in a while there's

one or two people I've seen people come

to church and as soon as they hit the

atmosphere of the church they start

having headaches they start getting

angry and and ultimately they discover

that and they discover they have demonic

entities in them that are confronted by

the power of the presence of God in a

place many times so you know that that

moment when I make a decision like that

let me tell you I'm not making it

innocently half of the time I'm in agony

wondering what you think because I'm

very sensitive to what you think but I

am also deciding this is what I believe

as the father of this congregation this

is what I think it's good for them and

I'm gonna do it and you know I believe

me as I say it trust trust me in these

things you know and many times as I say

you know I will end up not pleasing a

lot of people for different reasons so

the people who think that only a

Christian should occupy this pulpit will

be offended the people who think that

we're too strong on Israel will be

offended the people that who think that

we're not strong enough will be a friend

I have people here who think I should be

more resolved toward Israel they are

offended Jesus never pleased everyone by

the way not even today the Son of God

and alienated many many people I happen

to believe that if you are walking and

Usher's please be ready so if you're

walking in the in the Word of God you

will walk a very perilous balance you

and I told somebody the other day I was

thinking I'm if this is the center of

the word I move like this I'm always

vibrating between one or the other like

that I'm you know sometimes I'm a little

bit off one side or the other I try to

stay close to the center as close to the

center as possible and sometimes

sometimes you may see certain things

that will you know rankle you a little

bit and so for me for example this idea

of Israel is at the heart of the health

of a congregation if a congregation is

ambivalent and ambiguous about Israel

it's it's a dangerous position to find

you

and spiritually this is not some minor

detail that you can choose whatever you

want this has to deal with the the

health of your understanding of

Scripture and how close you are to

prophecy to principles of the scripture

the Bible says that those who bless

Israel will be blessed we have to pray

for the Peace of Israel God gave that

land that to Israel as I say an eternal

inheritance it says and he took the he

took the the time to delineate precisely

the boundaries of that land and this

doesn't have to do anything with the

fluctuations of history or how armies

move and decide you know what kind said

this has to do with God and what he has

decided he doesn't change in his

principles congregations that bless

Israel will be blessed and will be

prospered this is not some minor issue

is a central issue so when I choose that

moment know that I am I'm parsing many

things that may not be apparent to you

but my desires to have a healthy

congregation and this is one of those

basic principles I will speak about

others you know if God gives me grace

and I pray that I ask you to pray for me

in the next few weeks I will be speaking

about issues that will have me hung by

some of you I will speak about racial

reconciliation I will speak about

immigration I will speak about gender I

will speak about other issues that

normally and I pray that the Lord will

give me the wisdom and the generosity

and the soberness to do it in a way that

is God glorify you and I want you to

know that if I speak that way I am doing

it with uh sincere heart I may be

mistaken at times you may not agree with

me but know that it is a sincere man

that is speaking to you

Promise to Possession

Sandra Barris who I'll present to you in

a moment is a woman who exemplifies the

love for Israel she is a Jewish woman

educated and you know grew up in a an

Orthodox Jewish home and she is a Jewish

believer she's not a Christian she

adheres to the faith of the Jewish faith

of Israel but she has a particular

relationship with the Christians through

an organization that she heads

Christians for Israeli communities that

correct CFO I see and it's a partnership

organization that is Jewish in origin

and and in composition of its leadership

but also cooperates with Christians all

over the world to support communities in

Israel especially communities that find

themselves in those borderlands

sometimes called settlements a very

controversial concept unnecessarily

controversial I would say because it

really deals with the Jews recovering

land that God has decreed upon them as

their as the property of the of the

Jewish people through eternal time and

yet you know the many Jewish people are

find themselves in these communities

seen as sort of intruders and invaders

and it causes a lot of conflict all over

but there are communities there that

need the love of Christians like us who

love Israel support Israel and she's

here to speak to us about the nature of

her work and I hope that you know in the

future Lion of Judah will become more

and more involved in that missions work

and I hope that her being here this

morning will advance us toward that goal

now let me say something you know I told

Sandra that I would take a couple of

minutes before I introduced her fully to

share with you something about you know

our position as a line of Judah whose

name by the way congregation Lion of

Judah which is a name that I believe

the Lord gave me through that dream that

I had off the Lion of Judah many many

years ago and I encoded in our name a

lava forest on a particular relationship

with Israel that is slowly unfolding and

becoming more and more realized and will

continue to become more and more

realized during my sabbatical which has

you know just the ended a couple of

weeks ago you know the Lord spoke to me

about the need of our congregation to

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read if not redefine but really to

re-emphasize some of the things that we

believe as a congregation to revisit

some of the pillars of our beliefs and

you know some people might say well the

pillars of our theology are of course

the divinity of Christ is virgin birth

is death on the cross his resurrection

his ascension is coming again the unity

of Christ as a means of salvation these

are truly yeah they are the basic these

are the pillars the postulates of our

faith but you know there are other

things as well that I believe make up

what I think is a healthy Christian

spirituality in our time in this modern

times that we live and they may not seem

as important but they the way the

position that you adopt toward them I

think defines in a way your relationship

with many other aspects of the Bible

prophecy and salvation and other things

they may not seem but but by virtue of

how theology you know it's made up of

interlinked beliefs things that are

related to each other I believe that the

posture that we hold toward Israel has

it is an indication of the of the

ultimate and that may be controversial

to you of the ultimate health and

wholeness of our faith and that's why I

feel many times as a pastor I have the

the obligation to alert us to water

position should be toward Israel and we

know that the Apostle Paul speaks in

Romans I think chapter 11 about the the

fact that you know by Israel we are

blessed God is not through with Israel

God is a dealing with Israel no kinds of

ways and I'm going to make believe that

Sandra is not here so that I'm not

addressing her at all I'm addressing

these beliefs that we have you know that

God is working in and the Apostle Paul

is very clear on our loving Israel and

seeing God's special plan with that

nation throughout the ages we believe

that you know God called the man Abraham

establish a covenant with him we are

linked to that covenant through Christ

it was a continuation of that covenant

and we believe that you know God call

this man and call this seed into a

special relationship with him you know

Israel is a chosen people and God makes

it clear in the prophets make it clear

that God did not choose Israel because

of its justice or its righteousness

Israel has been a rebellious nation even

according to their own prophets and

according to the Old Testament and you

know there are many Jews even now we

realize and believe that Israel is not

what God wants it to be completely

Israel is a secular nation and there are

places in Israel that might as well be

Europe and so on but God loves Israel

has a special plan and has a special

love for Israel that is unique and the

Bible says also that we bless Israel we

will be blessed and if we curse Israel

as so many nations are doing these days

you know they will be cursed and Israel

is a beleaguered nation in other words

it is a nation that is surrounded on all

sides by powerful nations that hate

Israel and would want to destroy it and

kill it their sworn enemies of Israel no

amount of argument no amount of

appeasement will change a visceral

hatred that these nations have toward

Israel Israel has tried I mean if you

read the history you will see Israel has

given land and Israel has done all kinds

of things to try to you know establish

good relationships and we have seen that

any time Israel concedes anything or

gives anything it is used just to attack

more and to hate more there are many

nations that don't even acknowledge the

right of Israel to exist Israel is a

nation the size of Rhode Island it is

surrounded by men

nations and even that little piece of

land that has been given to them which

by the way it was an unfair distribution

which should have been much bigger but

the Jews in their desperation to have a

land of their own back in the 1940s

accepted that little piece of land which

is so much smaller than what the Lord

gave it to Israel through Abraham and I

think anybody who knows scripture and

and when you enter into the ethos of

scripture when you when you get into the

mentality that is there in the Old

Testament and in the new in many ways

you have to realize that you know God's

relationship to the Land of Israel is

something very unique and very sacred

and very mysterious it's not just you

know inches of dirt that can be

negotiated back and forth something very

sacred about the way God relates to his

people regarding the land that he gave

them and I out said that not even the

Jews have a right to give away their

land or to negotiate it it is something

that is beyond any generation of a Jews

to deal with and we should be respectful

of that all these other nations they

have many many resources and they have

many people advocating for them the Jews

are very few people who advocate for

them and I think our love for Israel our

advocacy for Israel our respect for

Israel our defence of Israel should be

passionate and that should not be subtle

I believe in nuance I believe in

subtlety in many things but I think

Israel requires a very strong love a

very unambiguous love on the part of us

Christians we have God knows we have

done enough to destroy any kind of

affection that might exist between Jews

and Christians we have made every effort

to persecute them and and and it's not

we I mean Christians depends who who

adopts the name of Christian there's a

lot of people certainly Hitler was not

Christian and Nazi Germany was not

Christian in it in their essence and in

their nature but they call themselves

that just as many people you know

there's no unfortunately there's no no

right to say what what is Christian or

what is not it's not a legal thing you

know anybody

call themselves Christians but the fact

they see is that Christians like Martin

Luther and others you know have

persecuted Israel and have been guilty

of anti-semitism we this generation

should be very very clear on our love

for Israel and as a church we need to

double down on that doctrine on that

belief because I think it is important

more important than ever and I hope I

will have time because I know that what

I'm saying is can be controversial to a

few of you and it requires a lot of

detail and you know just working through

these things and I hope to do that at

some point as I do other doctrines and

other beliefs that we hold to but for

this morning I do want to declare that

this church is committed to Israel and

that we love this that nation of Israel

and I encourage you to read the Bible

from Genesis to Revelation in the light

of God's unique love for that nation and

the call of Scripture for us to defend

and love Israel as I say it's not a

perfect nation no nation is especially

one that is facing such complex issues

as this or a look at our own nation we

make a mess of them even more even less

complex things than Israel does so it's

not perfect but I believe that it is

worthy of our support and our blessing

and so this morning with that as a

prelude I invite uh Sandra she won't be

as controversial as I am I am the pastor

here so I I can afford to do that but

she's a gracious woman who was born here

in the United States educated in an

orthodox home left all kinds of

privileges he's a graduate of a Columbia

Law School and of Columbia University

has an undergraduate degree as well went

to Israel to ally herself with her

nation has been working there

sacrificially living in the frontiers of

lands that are very very much right now

in struggle and she as I say she

straddles he works with both Jews and

Christians and does a tremendous job we

have great affection for her give her a

good hand and Sondra come forward and

she will talk to us about a few things

let me just say that there are some

materials up behind there as well about

her about her work and she'll tell you

ittle bit more about them some of them

are to be purchased that some on the

right hand side of the table there and

others are free for the taking and we

will

see her people pretty soon we go back to

Israel in February and we'll be working

with them as well in some tassel Sandra

thank you for being here welcome and

it's a joy to have you with us

so you're among friends god bless you

good morning everyone does everybody

have this brochure yeah okay wonderful

all right now one more thing of business

before I start I represent as pastor

said I represent an organization called

Christian Friends of Israeli communities

it's actually very unique I'm not

Christian myself but it is truly a

partnership between Christians like

yourselves all over the world who love

Israel and Jews like myself who are

actually living in Israel we'll talk

about more about that soon but I would

like to pass her on a sign-up sheet

because we have regular emails and snail

mail that go out with information and

inspiration from Israel so I hope you'll

choose to get on our list and I'll start

this around thank you very much okay so

let me start by just giving you a little

bit more of a background about myself

thank you Pastor for introducing me so

graciously I as pastor said I was born

here in the United States I grew up in

Cleveland Ohio I'm an Orthodox Jew

always was and what that means is that I

mean there's a lot of Jews and I'm sure

here in Boston many of you have

encountered Jews and there's all kinds

Orthodox Jews are people who take their

Judaism very very seriously study the

Bible adhere to the commandments we

believe for example that when God said

you need to rest on the Sabbath that's

relevant in 2018 every bit as much as it

was relevant at Sinai so we do that

yesterday the Jewish Sabbath of course

is on Saturday and I did not work and I

didn't go to the movies but we went to

synagogue and enjoyed meals and rest and

spiritual gathering and that is what the

Sabbath is so that just you know one

example and what that also means though

is that from a very young age I studied

the Bible I

went to a Jewish school not a regular

public school and I learned how to read

Hebrew before I learned how to read

English in kindergarten we learned how

to read Hebrew we only learned how to

read English in first grade even though

my native language is English I grew up

in an American family Jewish family but

my parents both had been in the United

States since they were children for me

therefore what I want to try to express

to you is why would somebody like me

growing up in the United States speaking

English I went to college here went to

university went to law school I had an

excellent job on Wall Street why would I

pick up and leave all that behind to go

to Israel you know many people can say

oh I understand why the Russian Jews

wanted to go to Israel because they were

living in Russia and they had a lot of

problems and financial difficulties and

persecution okay

but why would someone from the United

States who had it all so to speak I'm

not sure it's all but you know and the

way people usually look at why would I

pick up and go to Israel in fact I

decided to move to Israel before I had

ever even visited Israel for the first

time when I was 13 years old I was

exposed more and more to this idea of

Zionism and the modern State of Israel

and all of a sudden I realized that that

same Israel that I had read about in the

Bible and had been exposed to since I

was five years old by reading you know I

read about Abraham and Isaac and Jacob

and Joshua conquering the land and you

know if you read the Hebrew Scriptures

you can't help but notice that Israel

the Land of Israel is one of the main

characters and so much of God's promise

to the Jewish people is surrounding the

Land of Israel

so I suddenly realized that that young

teenage age that wait this land of

Israel thing it's not just something

that is back then in Bible times it's

today there is a modern Land of Israel

there is a State of Israel they

is the ability for the first time in

almost two thousand years for Jews to go

and live in the Land of Israel and live

as proud Jews fulfilling our destiny

taking part literally in the fulfillment

of God's promises to us so I at that

point says my goodness how do you not go

to Israel I started and it had hacking

but you know nagging my parents knew we

have to go to Israel parents being what

they are well you know have to make a

living all the cost of all I was not to

be convinced my parents by the way did

move to Israel eventually but that's

really how it began for me when I was 18

I went to Israel for a year to study

Bible in Jerusalem can you imagine

anything more exciting than studying

Bible in Jerusalem I mean that's pretty

exciting and it was really quite an

amazing year this was 1975 76 the school

year that now you know how old I was I

am anyway and that was a year when the

settlement movement was getting started

in Samaria just to kind of recap briefly

and I will give you an organized history

of this soon but in 1967 Israel was

attacked by the Arabs and in response

Israel liberated the entire area that is

often referred to as the West Bank and

what we refer to as Judea and Samaria

and initial settlement of Judea began

very shortly after that victory and then

kind of came to a halt and everybody

kind of went to sleep in 1974 when the

Yom Kippur War was over now the Yom

Kippur War was a war when again Israel

was attacked and this time on the day of

atonement the holiest day in the Jewish

calendar Egypt and Syria launched a

surprise attack on Israel unfortunately

Israel was surprised it was a major

major failure of the Israeli

intelligence

operations and it took it was it was a

very very terrible few weeks when

literally these enemy nations were on

our doorstep and threatening to destroy

Israel but then there was a turnaround

God came in protected us and and but it

took many many months until things

settled down and soldiers were able to

come home that summer in the summer of

1974 there was a search and stirring a

spiritual stirring throughout the

community of faith in Israel and people

started asking what is it that we just

experienced this Yom Kippur War what is

God trying to tell us and there were a

group of people who said God is waking

us up because we did a bit of God gave

us this amazing gift of the Land of

Israel and except for setting up a few

communities in Judea we went to sleep we

did nothing with it and so they

interpreted this war as a wake-up call

to again look and begin settlement and

this time in Samaria an area that had

been empty of Jews for decades and there

had actually been some Jewish

communities in Samaria before the State

of Israel existed that were then

destroyed by the Arabs but serious

Jewish presence in Samaria well that

went back more than 2,000 years the

destruction of the northern kingdom

which happened a hundred and fifty years

before the destruction of the first

temple so you could imagine we're

talking about thousands of years here

that was the last time there was a

serious Jewish presence in Samaria they

were too determined to bring this back

again and they tried a number of

different attempts they called

themselves the oak of Moreh group named

for the place where God first spoke to

Abraham promising him the land Genesis

12 when God speaks to Abraham and calls

him out from his home from Mesopotamia

and

the Lord says to Abraham go forth from

your land from your land from your

birthplace from the house of your father

to the land that I will show you verse 6

Abram passed through the land to the

place of Shechem to the oak of Moreh and

it is there that God speaks to Abraham

and says I will give this land to your

children so this group going jumping

forward again we love to jump from

Abraham - to present-day times it's just

kind of how we live our our lives in

1974 this group of people called

themselves the oak of Mora group and

they were determined to start a new

Jewish community right near at that same

point or somewhere nearby where God

first spoke to Abraham and promised him

the land what more significant a place

could there be for the start of Jewish

life in Samaria that at that place were

God first promised the land to Abraham

where our story as the what I like to

call the coming together of a very

unique threesome the God of Israel the

Land of Israel and the people of Israel

where that those three came together for

the first time that was at the yoke of

Marah and they tried a few different

times to settle there and each time the

government of Israel forced them to

leave because at that time the

government of Israel was ruled by the

labor party who were very hesitant about

settling in these areas of Israel there

was tremendous international pressure on

Israel even at that time not as bad as

today but it was significant - for

Israel to withdraw completely from all

the land that it had acquired through

this miraculous war in 1967 so the

government at that point felt maybe we

have to hold this land aside as a

bargaining chip that we can use to

enable us to live in peace with our Arab

neighbors but this group of people were

coming from faith they were coming from

a commitment to fulfill what they

believed God was calling them to do so

they

persisted and they kept trying and

eventually in December of 1975 they went

up to this area called Sebastia Sebastia

was a Roman name given to the area of

the ancient capital Samaria the capital

of the northern kingdom back in biblical

times go into its book of 2nd Kings

you'll see all about it first Kings as

well and no second Kings book of 2nd

Kings you'll see all about it anyway

this time there was so many people that

join them and had really become a mass

movement grassroots people of faith from

all over the land had come and gathered

calling upon the government allow us to

settle here in this spot and as a result

the government compromised and said ok

we'll let you settle in this particular

army camp 30 families it was a

compromise but it was certainly the door

being opened for what became massive

massive Jewish settlement in Samaria I

was in Israel at the time that was the

year that I was in Israel studying Bible

Jerusalem and I was absolutely swept by

this movement it was so clear to me in

the same way when I was a young teenager

it was clear to me that I personally had

to go live in Israel because this is

what God was calling the Jews to do I

knew I knew as well as I knew my own

name I knew that this settling in

Samaria was what God was calling the

Jewish people to do and I wanted to do

go to now the that day that they

actually went up to the oak of Moreh

it was all very big secret that

everybody knew but it was a secret you

know those kinds of secrets you know she

don't tell anybody but like everybody

knew and it was very like a hush-hush

thing you had to go at 2:00 in the

morning and I was in Jerusalem and I was

told you know 2:00 in the morning you

got to get up you got to go to this

place they'll be a bus they'll take you

out there and I went to sleep in my

clothes with my you know a sleeping bag

and I overslept and I missed it

oh well but I did know it what exit that

was successful that was the time when

they agreed to let these 30 I mean there

were thousands of people there but they

selected 30 people who were actually the

mainstay of the group that was really

seriously interested in settling and

they said they could stay in this

military camp

two weeks later I went with two friends

to visit that little fledgling community

in the military camp and then I had my

opportunity to sleep in my clothes and

my sleeping bag and all that because it

was freezing

they were the military camp was not

exactly a luxurious place to hang out

and the families they actually had been

in and barracks and all the visitors

were in tents and this was January not

quite as cold as Boston but not warm

either very cold for sleeping in a tent

I was absolutely freezing I hate the

cold that's another good reason to live

in news world by the way it's not as

cold but in the winter and the mountains

of Samaria it's very cold but to me this

was an experience I will never forget

and I will say that that so much of what

I am doing today was rooted in that

experience where and just stood in the

most physical way possible that here we

were returning and bringing life to

these hills of Samaria Friday morning we

could we went out Thursday evening by

the time we got there it was dark Friday

morning woke up gorgeous glorious

sunshine went out looked around empty

hills everywhere and that's something

also that's very important to realize

there's this myth out there that we came

into areas that were very heavily

populated by Arabs and we threw them out

and we you know elbows our way in and

and set up camp not true I mean yes

there are Arabs living there that were

Arabs living there then there was our

villages and Arab cities but this

community was established on a

completely empty mountain surrounded by

completely empty mountains not only

empty of people empty of houses empty of

agriculture empty of trees empty of

everything that that is indicative of

life barren rocky area

and these people came and little by

little turned it into something

beautiful and living that became the

community of Cadoo meme which actually

is located just 10 minute drive down the

road from where I live today which is in

a community called carnation Rome

another Jewish community that was

established on barren rocky hilltops

actually if you if you study where the

Arab communities were let's say

throughout the 20th century but through

the first half

where did they establish themselves they

established themselves mostly in the

valleys mostly in places where there was

at least a bit of flat ground where they

could have some farming where water

which is not particularly abundant

anywhere in Israel was a bit more

abundant because you would have the

runoff water from the from the hills and

you had a bit of flat land that could be

plowed and crops grown they had no

nothing to do with the hilltops they

didn't know how to pump up water they

didn't know how to clear the rocks they

didn't know or want to know how to

develop the hilltops

so when we came in to settle the land

the hilltops beckoned us there was

nothing there and what we did is we came

in and literally in fulfillment of

prophecy turned an area that was

completely desolate into an area that

blooms what began in 1967 with a handful

of Jews who settled in Judea after this

war after the six-day war we have now

grown to close to four hundred and fifty

thousand Jews living throughout Judea

and Samaria I think that's a miracle and

I thank God every day amen but what I

want to do now is kind of give you an

understanding of from a biblical point

of view how do we get to this place

not just biblical as in let's be

scholarly here and review the Bible but

what I call biblical personal okay how I

as a young woman and even to this day

I read some of these scriptures and how

they affect me personally so I read to

you already from Genesis 12 when you see

where God first promises the land to

Abraham but God also makes it clear to

Abraham what does he say says I'm going

to give this land to your children so

it's not Abraham himself that will

inherit the land although Abraham was

already in the land he has a certain

mission being in the land as he walks

the length of breadth of the land it is

if he is taking spiritual possession of

the land laying a spiritual foundation

for the physical possession that God

promises will happen later on in fact

God says this to to Abraham in Genesis

13 verse 17 he says rise up and walk

through the land to its length and its

breadth for I will give it to you and

that's basically Abraham's mission in

his own lifetime but later on God then

enters into a covenant with Abraham and

as part of that covenant this is in

Genesis 15 he says his father's he says

to Abraham you should know that your

children will be a stranger in a land

that is not theirs and they will be

enslaved and tortured for 400 years and

also the nation that will that will

enslave them I will judge and afterwards

they will come out with the great

property continues and then he says and

they fourth generation will come back

here God then says to Abraham he sets

out this scheme that's going to happen

for over a four hundred year period

where the nation of Israel will be

enslaved in Egypt after which God will

will liberate them bring them out of

Egypt and bring them back here here is

to the land of Israel and at that same

time God says to Abraham on that day

verse 18 God entered into a covenant

with Abraham saying I have given this

land to your children from the

river of egypt to the great river the

river euphrates now by the way the river

Euphrates is in Iraq we have never

possessed the Land of Israel all the way

to Iraq but we do have faith that the

time will come what God will indeed

dispel bestow upon us the Jewish people

all of that land but one thing that's

very very important as we view the

promises that God makes to us we today

in our lifetime we are not given the

commandment to God to begin a war and

conquer a land what we are doing is

being given a promise that we have to be

aware of and as God fulfills that

promise to us recognize it and then take

our cues now I want to jump forward -

towards the end of their enslavement of

Egypt and I think the message that we

can see here from the scripture is

something that at least for me it's

resonates so powerfully and I think not

just me but it's these scriptures that

Jews took with them into exile where for

close to 2,000 years we were dispersed

across the globe as pastor mentioned

Jews were persecuted tortured murdered

in so many countries in Christian Europe

and in the Muslim Middle East and in so

many places across the globe and here

and there we found refuge this country

the United States has always been a very

good place for Jews and God then says

but after that there will be a time

where that exile will end and you will

come back to the Land of Israel but this

idea of God making a promise to the

Jewish people to the children of Israel

which he will then fulfill that promise

has made a few different times but it is

God's relationship to the forefathers

Abraham Isaac and Jacob culminating in

the liberation from Egypt that actually

lays the foundation for us to be able to

understand that indeed God keeps his

promise

we have that original promise that God

makes to Abraham telling the nation of

Israel which is not yet a nation it says

something that Abraham surely passed on

to his children there would probably a

tradition that the children of Israel in

Egypt knew vaguely well there was this

God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and God

had promised them that after a period of

exile we would be delivered so when God

speaks to Moses in Exodus telling him to

go into Egypt what does he says he says

tell the children of Israel the Lord God

of your father for father's the God of

Abraham the god of Isaac the God of

Jacob has sent you to them and he goes

on to say this is what you say to the

children of Israel the Lord God of your

forefathers appeared to me to Moses the

God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob saying I

have remembered you and what has

happened to you in Egypt and I will take

you out from the from the poverty of

Egypt from the suffering of Egypt to the

land of the Canaanite the heat tied the

amorite the perizzite that he writes the

Jebusite to a land that is flowing and

milk and honey

so Moses comes to the people of Israel

saying remember you heard this vague

promise passed down to you that God made

this promise to Abraham guess what that

God the God of Abraham has sent me to

tell you the time has come to fulfill

his promise and of course he does and it

is that generation that is able to

witness that they are redeemed from

Egypt and indeed are taken out of

slavery after hundreds of years in

slavery and furthermore when Moses sins

when Moses sins he sees what God says

Moses to speak to Pharaoh

how does he tell what words what

language does he put does he tell him to

say he says so sayeth the Lord my

firstborn son

Israel say to him

and out my son so that he may worship me

God makes it very clear to Moses that

there is this relationship of father and

son father and firstborn son

God has despite the trials and

tribulations that they are suffered in

Egypt God has never abandoned us and he

remains our father and he remains

committed to us the people of Israel as

his firstborn son and it is the

knowledge of this relationship and the

knowledge that God is fulfilling his

promises that these this nation that

generation that left Egypt is able to

witness with their own eyes and the

ultimate of this of course how does all

of this translate them into promises

that are given to the nation this this

people that left Egypt that wander in

the desert and then indeed be

combination they are no longer just

family descendants of Abraham Isaac and

Jacob they are a nation of Israel and in

Deuteronomy as they are about to enter

the land of Israel and conquer it for

the first time

Moses speaks to the nation and he talks

to them and Deuteronomy 30 he talks to

them about what will happen and again

this is in Deuteronomy and we see this

earlier as well but into anaronnie

there's already this another covenant

that is set forth another covenant in

which God sets up a paradigm of the

relationship between God the nation of

Israel and the Land of Israel and he

says if you obey my Commandments you

will be blessed in the land and you will

prosper and the land will prosper and

you will live at peace and your enemies

will not bother you but if you sin and I

heard you speaking about sin today okay

there's individual sin but there's also

national sin when the whole nation sins

the punishment to the nation is national

God said and he knew it's going to

happen why because we're all human

beings we all fail we all sin and God

says

if your sin gets bad enough he kind of

knew would but he said yes even though

he knew it was when you know your sin

gets bad enough and you abandoned me as

a nation and you worship idols and do

all these other terrible things then God

says and God will bring a curse upon the

land a curse upon the people the land

will be devastated

enemies will conquer the land and the

nation of Israel will be exiled now if

this were an ordinary contract or an

ordinary treaty any of you here have

legal background you would know this is

breach of contract one side breaches the

contract doesn't obey the commandments

doesn't follow what God says finished

over get out of the land except God had

said something he had used these two

very special words when he first

promised this whole business to Abraham

he said ever lasting possession so what

do you do when there's a breach of

contract ah this is where Deuteronomy 30

comes in because in Deuteronomy 30 God

says even after you breach the contract

and I bring the curses upon you and you

will have been distributed and dispersed

all over the world God says I'm not

going to abandon you what does he say he

says though you the Lord your God will

restore your captivity he will take

mercy upon you he will return and gather

you from all the nations to which the

Lord your God has dispersed you if you

will be dispersed to the ends of the

heavens from there the Lord your God

will gather you and from there he will

take you and the Lord your God will

bring you to the land which your fathers

have inherited it and you will inherit

it and you will prosper and be

multiplied even more than your father's

this is a text that is read to the

nation of Israel when they are in the

plains of Moab about to enter into the

Land of Israel but it is repeated to the

nation in Joshua 8

when they are standing before Mount

Gerizim and Mount Ebal and they are

listening and going through this

covenantal ceremony with God that lays

forth the blessings and the curses if

you obey God you will be blessed and if

you disobey God you will be cursed but

ultimately God promises even with you

and this is said to them they've just a

second walked into the land they've just

stepped forward on the land and got a

saying you can stay here and you will

prosper so long as you follow God and if

you don't you will be exiled but God

says I will bring you back and the

nation of Israel standing there at Mount

Gerizim and Mount Ebal

look across and see the oak of Mohra

they see exactly the place where God

first made that promise to Abraham I

will give this land to your children and

they know of the promise they know of

the covenant with Abraham they know

about the four hundred years and they

experienced it themselves

how God fulfilled his promise to Abraham

took them out of Egypt and is now

bringing them has just brought them into

the land of Israel so as good as they

know anything they know that God is a

God who keeps his promises and at that

point hearing this promise again saying

now that you're in the land this is not

a contract that can ever be breached

completely it can be breached

temporarily but the Covenant will always

always exist for centuries Christianity

made the mistake or the majority of

Christianity made the mistake of

believing that the covenant with the

Jewish people had been severed and that

Christianity was the heir to Israel but

that is not true and today thank God we

have churches like this Church

pastors like this pastor and so many

others around the world that are coming

to the realization that God never never

abandoned his people that the promises

he made to Abraham are true even to

today in the same way that we believe

that the God God is is true and that his

word is true he doesn't change his mind

and that promise that God made to our my

ancestors thousands of years ago is

coming true today Deuteronomy 30 speaks

about the children of Israel dispersed

to the farthest ends of the earth coming

back to Israel to the land of Israel

there is only one time in history in

human history there's one time in all of

human history that the children of

Israel were dispersed to the far ends of

the earth and have returned to the Land

of Israel and that is in our time when

the Jews were driven from the land of

Israel with the destruction of the of

the temple by the Babylonians they all

went to one little part of the globe

they will in Babylon in Persia

well it was Babylon and Persia conquered

it that's it and they came back from one

little area today there are Jews in what

country aren't there Jews they're Jews

in Africa and Asia and in that would

Jews in the Middle East most of them are

not there anymore they're in Israel and

they were Jews in America here Canada

South America Australia New Zealand I've

been in Australia New Zealand many times

and there are Jews there let me assure

you but they're also Jews from those

countries that are coming back to the

Land of Israel little by little in 1948

there were half a million Jews in Israel

in the Land of Israel by 1952 there were

almost 2 million the miracle of the in

gathering of the exiles is something we

witnessed with our own eyes and continue

to witness every day today the Jewish

community in Israel is the largest

Jewish community

in the world with more than six million

Jews it's amazing and think about it for

a second

we were dispersed all over the world no

other nation survives a dispersion when

you're dispersed you assimilate you

disappear we remained as a nation that

was God's hand on us protecting us

preserving us so that his promise

could be fulfilled and that promise

refers to all of the land of Israel if I

look at Ezekiel 36 Ezekiel 36 he

addresses himself to the mountains of

Israel the mountains of Israel are the

mountains of Judea and Samaria and God

says through Ezekiel to the nation he

says you mountains of Israel he says

prophesied to the land of Israel and say

to the mountains of the valleys verse 8

you O mountains of Israel should forth

your branches and bear your fruit to my

nation Israel for they are soon to come

verse 10 I will multiply upon you man

all the house of Israel the cities will

be settled and the ruins will be rebuilt

the mountains of Israel that's Judea and

Samaria six-day war 1967 was not a war

that Israel asked to fight and and it

was very I was very pleased

pastor Miranda that you that you said

something very significant that the Jews

did not want to compromise they did not

want to give up the land but they made

practical decisions to do that in the

night in 1947 Israel was presented with

a plan to partition the land such as the

vast majority of the land went to the

Arabs and we got a bit and there was a

tremendous controversy within the nation

of Israel should we accept this and

ben-gurion made a very important speech

he says we are accepting this because we

are desperate we need to have a State of

Israel in some part of the Land of

Israel he

but don't let our acceptance of this

plan mean that we are giving up our

national eternal claim to the land of

Israel he says we living in 1947 have no

right to give up a claim to a land that

has belonged to the Jewish people for

thousands of years and that has been our

attitude all along does that mean we

will conquer the land to get it back

because we think it's ours no always we

have believed and I have to say even

secular believe this although they would

express it in a different way we have

believed that when the time is right God

will open the door and then all we need

to do is hear all we need to do is

respond that's our job and in 1948 the

State of Israel was established and the

borders there wouldn't even borders the

lines were determined by by the results

of the war and in 19th but we didn't

have Judea and Samaria and if you look

in the maps I've given you a lot of time

to go in it read the maps go through it

you'll see that area that is often

called the West Bank it's because Jordan

illegally occupied that area and we

would never have started a war to take

it even though that area included the

oak of Mora were God first promised the

land to Abraham even though that land

included Hebron where some of you may

have visited hab Braun where Abraham

settled in where he made the first

purchase of Jewish real estate and where

Abraham and Sarah Isaac and Rebekah

Jacob and Leah are all buried and yet we

didn't have that area and then Jordan

and what I believe was God driven Jordan

attacked Israel 1967 and in just six

days we were able not only to repel that

attack but joy of Jordan out of that

land and at that point when that land is

given to us by God and in a miraculous

victory at that point it is our

obligation to respond and to act and to

go in and settle the land so that we can

be taking part in the fulfillment of

prophecy that God has said in Ezekiel so

that the trees will shoot for their

branches and the cities will be rebuilt

and

we will once again prosper and settle on

the land of Israel amen amen

so that's what we've been doing and

through Christian friends of Israeli

communities we are reaching out to

people like you so that you will accept

and understand what it is we're doing

and I hope that you will choose to join

with us and support what we are doing

there's great controversy about this

people don't understand people who don't

read the Bible especially and the truth

of the matter is I could have given you

a whole lecture today without very much

hardly a mention in the Bible and I

could give you a legal lecture on why

legally the land belongs to Israel

including Judea and Samaria so we'll do

that another time

trust me though okay we have every right

from a biblical point of view and from a

legal point of view we have every right

to be injured and Samaria we don't want

to drive the Arabs off their for away

from their homes we welcome them to live

with us in peace but no one can say the

land does not belong to the Jewish

people and if you understand what I'm

saying and you want to help us I hope

you will I hope to stay in touch I'll

hope you'll be on our mailing list I'd

like to hear from you personally did the

signup sheet go all the way around on

the table

okay please sign up wait and your way

out because we'd love to be in touch and

I hope every one of you today will take

it into your own hearts to do what you

can to help us and to stand with the

Jewish people as we settle the biblical

heartland Judea and Samaria thank you

very much

[Applause]

got a couple of minutes but that tell us

a little bit more about what Christians

working on behalf of Israeli communities

exactly what are you doing I know

there's a lot of projects and they'll

read about it we just give us a little

bit of information about that we have a

couple of minutes okay so we are

representing the Jewish communities in

Judea Samaria when I talked about how it

began with a handful settling in Judea

and then a handful in Samaria we now

have more than a hundred and fifty

communities which are small communities

towns even cities in Judea and Samaria

and these communities like communities

all over the world there are people

there and people with needs

unfortunately though unlike most

communities in the world we are the

subject of intense controversy and

boycott by people all over the world and

by philanthropies we also though have

needs that are greater than many other

communities because for example security

we are in areas that are often more

at-risk more vulnerable and so the

security costs are much higher now the

Israeli government does a great deal

investing in our security needs but

there's never enough so we are there as

a voice and as a an answer to to the the

needs of these communities communities

submit projects to us and they can be

things just to make lives easier

playgrounds for the children educational

programs special education programs

helping needy families and of course

security and emergency needs

surveillance cameras equipment for

ambulances and a whole variety thing we

also have programs for senior citizens

and for children and for youth our

current projects are in a booklet in the

back you're welcome to look at it and so

basically what we are doing is putting

these needs out to Christians all over

the world so the Christians can support

our educational work as we're speaking

and teaching this

this issue all over the world but even

more importantly supporting the people

themselves who are settling in the land

and have real needs and this is what

we're doing and this is how we're

reaching out to you one other thing that

we are involved with is tour tour groups

as we did for your group pastor when we

had one of our representatives meet you

in Hebron unfortunately I was in

Australia when you were in Israel but I

do hope to meet your group next year

when you come we arranged programs for

groups in Judea and Samaria and we come

and meet the groups and speak to you to

help you getting a better understanding

on the ground of what's going on

so congregations often will team up with

a particular community or with one

project that the community would need in

order to enhance its life and these

congregations or Christian groups can

provide funding and support and maybe

even get to know a little bit of what's

going there personally you're not trying

something like that and partner with

them to supply a particular need of

those armies absolutely absolutely and

we have these relationships going all

over the world individuals churches

prayer groups all kinds of things and

what we really like is to have a kind of

multiple approach the the church

sometimes churches take up regular

offerings for the project and then

there's communication back and forth but

the best thing is then when the people

from the church itself to can come and

visit and then come into the community

and meet the people and bonds of

friendship form I think it's a great

opportunity for us to both do

quote-unquote tourism get to know Israel

but at the same time really engage with

the land and with the culture in a very

profound sort of way I don't think

there's anything more genuine more

authentic than what is happening in

those settlements and that gives you a

sense of the life in order themes that

right now affect the life of Jews as the

the settlements do so I think it's a

great opportunity night I hope that you

know as the Lord leads us in the near

future our church will become more

involved in that and if you feel your

heart being talked by you know anything

that Sandra has said and the materials

there you know please pursue them and

keep me honest by pushing about that

because I think you know we have a lot

of different missions works in Latin

America

and here but I think work with Israel is

one of those areas that we need to

strengthen and this is the time to do

that so you know I want to challenge you

to keep pushing on that so that we can

materialize this whole beginning and do

something really that will build our

church will bless it will edify it will

educate it I think it's a great

opportunity Thank You Sandra for being

here would you give her a good

enthusiastic hand for her work with the

Leiter to have you and look forward

Sandra will be here in the in the

Spanish service as well so if you want

to hear it in English and Spanish I'll

be translating for her let's let's pray

for Sandra and the extraordinary work

that her organization is doing and for

the love to just strengthen the bonds of

affection more and more between

Christians and Jews father we thank you

for we have heard we thank you for the

opportunity to get to know your word

better it challenges us and I pray that

our congregation will always be a

community that is in sync with these

eternal truths these mysteries of the

way you have you have taken of people

and bonded with them and engaged with

them through a sacrificial love that

goes even beyond the human sinfulness

and you have shown your faithfulness and

your grace to this nation and now father

we pray that as a community we will also

be able to look with enlightened eyes

at what you have in store for the world

at this time and for Israel in

particular and that we will not be

caught asleep or neglectful in our

responsibility and our call or missional

call to support this nation that you so

loved and that has blessed us through

the seed of Abraham Jesus Christ I we

pray for Sandra we pray for health for

her and her family we pray for

protection in that community where she

finds herself and we pray for protection

over all of these different communities

all over Judea and Samaria

that you will cover these courageous men

and women and their children in Lourdes

yes we do pray for illumination for the

Arab nations for the Palestinians as

well that they will be able to overcome

a sense of offense and that the

mysteries of Ishmael and Isaac and and

the hurt that is in the heart about so

many Arabs father will be healed and

that they may be able to accept their

brother Israel as well

father we pray for the bonds of demonic

hatred that have so possessed so many of

those lands even brothers against

brothers even within the same religion

father such violence and such hatred

Lord we pray that you will heal the

Middle East and bring peace to that land

but only you can do it father only you

can navigate this extraordinarily

complex situation we pray that you would

do that and that we would be found on

the right side of your heart whatever

that might be keep us tethered to your

word father I bless your people this

morning I pray for peace in our hearts

Lord if anyone has come this morning

with a brokenness with the wounds with

needs Lord we so believe that Jesus

Christ is perfectly capable of being

that medium of access to you into your

heart and we pray that they will be

touched this morning father that anybody

who has come with a need they will feel

that need supplied and and satisfied

this morning father that this will not

be something that will add just

controversy or whatever no that we pray

that there will be peace they will be

healing that your love would be manifest

this morning that we will leave this

place with joy in our hearts father

celebrating your goodness and your mercy

thank you father we bless our sister and

we pray for continued of vitality and

effectiveness in the work that she is

doing and now we close this time with

gratitude and hope

Jesus name and the people of God say

Amen

It is I. Do not fear!

I want to lead your attention or direct

your attention to the Gospel according

to Matthew chapter 14 verses 23 to 34

Matthew 14 23 beginning at verse 23 and

I want to start reading it so in the

interest of time it's a well-known

passage where Jesus comes to the aid of

his disciples as they're being attacked

by a terrible storm

it says that immediately Jesus made the

disciples get into the boat and go on

ahead of him to the other side while he

dismissed the crowd after he had

dismissed them he went up on a

mountainside by himself to pray

and when evening came he was there alone

but the boat was already a considerable

distance from land buffeted by the waves

in other words attacked moved the back

and forth by the waves because the wind

was against it verse beginning verse 20

we are now in verse 23 now during the

fourth watch of the night during the

fourth watch of the night Jesus went out

to them walking on the lake we're

heading on now on verse 25 the

projection there verse 25 walking on the

lake when the disciples saw him walking

on the lake they were terrified it's a

ghost they said and cried out in fear

but Jesus immediately said to them take

courage it is I don't be afraid I mean

he probably said a little more excited

than that no take courage it is I don't

be afraid Lord if it is you Peter

replied tell me to come to you on the

water

come he said then Peter got down out of

the boat walked on the wall

and came toward Jesus but when he saw

and this is that this is for me it's

sort of one of the crucial moments in

this entire narrative but when Peter saw

the wind he was afraid he became afraid

and what happened beginning to sink

cried out lord save me immediately Jesus

reached out his hand and caught him you

of little faith he said why did you

doubt and when they climbed into the

boat the wind died down then those who

were in the boat worshiped him saying

truly you are the son of God when they

had crossed over they landed at

Gennesaret and when the men of that

place recognized Jesus they said word to

all the surrounding country people

brought all their sick to him and begged

him to let the sick just touch the edge

of his cloak and all who touched them

were healed praise the Lord father we

commit this passage to you open it up

before our eyes open it up before our

spirits and maybe maybe your mouth

speaking this morning to your people who

need the sustenance of your word in

Jesus name Amen and amen this morning I

found myself praying as before I began

my sermon kind of preparation and I

usually take the very early morning to

do that and having had a very busy

weekend hadn't had the opportunity to

really even consider what I was going to

pray this morning I knew that God had a

passage for us and that he was going to

provide but I have no sense of uh you

know I mean there's so many passes you

can choose from Scripture and I'd like

to really deliver something that comes

right from the heart of God and as I as

I was praying I found myself praying in

a using imagery from this passage and it

was about remaining focused on Christ as

opposed to focusing my attention on

Satan

the trials of life and other

difficulties and challenges of life but

rather to remain focused on the power

and the lordship of Jesus and so I said

as I literally as I prayed that prayer

at around 6 a.m. the Lord said to me was

this your passage and and it was it was

so apropos regarding the time that we

are living as a congregation here we

need to just remain focused on Jesus our

supplier our provider our Jehovah Jireh

the the one who fills every need and so

I said yes I'm gonna dedicate you know

my my my meditation on this idea and you

know this passage so incorporates this

this thought that our our power to

overcome any situation in life and you

name whatever trial you're going through

whatever situation you're facing right

now it may be a negative situation or

maybe simply a challenge you may be a

student and you know you got homework to

do and you got exams to take and you got

a graduation to work toward you want a

promotion in your job and you're having

a little bit of challenges in being up

to speed and what's required of just too

technologically whatever you know that

the solution though our hope in any

situation that we find ourselves in life

as Christians is to remain focused on

the person of Jesus Christ and his power

amen his presence in our lives his

faithfulness his promises the

methodology of the kingdom that he has

so taught us through his teaching and

his word in the whole word that

surrounds Jesus life and teaching and

there was another element that was in my

mind I remember as I prayed that this

morning

you know last Sunday after we left here

on my first Sunday returning from my

sabbatical I knew my wife knew that we

had to get up at 1:31 a.m. Monday

morning that say the next day to go with

a bunch of crazy prophetic people to

walk the freedom trail to wage spiritual

warfare and to bless the City of Boston

and the area of New England we were

doing this and by the way was a glorious

time we spent five six hours walking a

two-and-a-half mile Freedom Trail with

14 I think it is stops of 16 14 16 stops

that mark part of the history of the

revolution and you know the beginnings

of the American nation and so on and so

forth and if you've never done the

Freedom Trail I really encourage you to

do if you go up into the internet Google

there's all kinds of resources how you

can do it on your own even and learn

about each of those stops long story I

could spend the whole summer just

relating to you Friday before I came on

Sunday I had gone to a service where we

had been called a bunch of pastors here

Latino pastors to hear from a prophetess

woman who's a prophet from from Costa

Rica and she had had a revelation of God

regarding precisely that play the

freedom trail and it was so mysterious

and the way that we arrived at this

conclusion that it was the Freedom Trail

and so on was amazing just you know

really out of a page from the first

century from the book of Acts how many

know that God is still moving in this

time in history he's the same God the

gifts of the Spirit have not disappeared

or anything even remotely like that

anyway back in Costa Rica they had had a

revelation about a serpent that was

acting like a sort of a constricting

holding back influence on the the

revival that God wants to bring into

this part of the world New England

Boston and the nation God wants to bring

revival to America and America is not

post Christian at all I think if

anything is just pre-christian but

certainly not post Christian but you

know this prophet had a revelation about

them

this serpent that kind of weight

exercises a passive resistance against

revival and the progress of the church

in this area and of course a serpent is

a symbol for a demonic influence you may

remember that months ago I preached

among the things that I was preaching in

my sermon was about this dream that I

had of a serpent that was sort of coiled

and I could see part of it I couldn't

see its head I couldn't see its tail but

I knew that part of it was a sort of

coiled and running along the basement of

my house don't get scared I I believe

I'm a man of God and I serve the Lord so

don't don't read too much into that the

Satan invades whatever place you know he

cares and he wants to and but I did see

that I was walking you know I knew

exactly what part of our basement I was

seeing and I could see this greenish

muscular thick body of a serpent kind of

just resting it was not angry I was I

didn't feel that I was in any kind of

immediate danger but I knew that it was

there and that it needed to be addressed

and confronted and so on long story but

I I spoke about that and then a pastor

friend of mine Sergio Perez who was a

man of God and serves a church in a part

of the city here had had a dream

independently of my dream and he called

me one day and said Roberto I had this

dream of a serpent

that is huge and it sort of extends all

over this New England region and that

it's exercising just an influence

holding back things and and I couldn't

see its body it looked like he had just

refreshed its skin you know servants are

known to snakes just to shed their old

skin and you know it was there I didn't

feel any danger about it but it was just

wild around this area

and I just felt that it was stopping

things it was a calm it was holding back

the blessing of God on this region and

so he called me and then I shared with

him my own dream that I had had and I

have had other dreams of a similar

nature with different kinds of imagery

that speak about the same thing of

containment holding back this power in

this area that holds back the progress

of the church and the blessing of the

church

well this prophet back in Costa Rica had

had a very similar dream connected to

this Freedom Trail the history of New

England and so on and long story because

maybe someday I'll take time to share

all the pieces overnight that's not

really where I want to go centrally but

you know the idea was to go and to visit

walk the entire trail but there were

five places where she felt that they

were places of power that needed it this

this influence needed to be confronted

and we we had a glorious time we prayed

through this entire Freedom Trail and we

were absolutely blessed half of the time

I I was praying to the Lord that we

would not be arrested simply you know

making so much noise and moving around

the city of Boston but it was just a

beautiful beautiful time I believe that

we we achieved some major breakthroughs

in that and that we will continue seeing

the blessing stuff that I don't think

were the only ones praying for these

things but the fact that we were obeying

a prophetic word and that we were acting

in obedience was really huge but then

you know afterwards I found myself

thinking that well if we believe that we

have achieved something in the realm of

the Spirit you know now we need to stop

focusing so much on that serpent

and we need to start just declaring the

lordship of Jesus Christ over this

region amen you know we can do both we

can wage a spiritual warfare we can

declare the defeat of Satan but we also

need to declare the lordship of Jesus

Christ and many times declaring the

power of God and asserting the

superiority of Jesus Christ over any

demonic influence can be an extremely

effective weapon of spiritual warfare

and we can apply this to our lives as

well many times were like you know crazy

rebuking Satan and you know fighting

against the demons and and complaining

to God that those demons that are

attacking us and so on and so forth

instead of you know saying hey Jesus

Christ is the Lord in my life I do not I

refuse to accept any ownership of Satan

in my life I wash myself in the blood of

Jesus Christ and I declare that Christ

reigns in my home Christ reigns in my

body Christ reigns in my family my

finances my health and you know beep use

that positive conviction of the benign

power of God in your life as a weapon of

spiritual warfare we can do both

actually it's not either/or but we need

to remain focused on the person of Jesus

Christ

you might remember years ago that dream

that I had that is the reason why we're

here in Boston and our church is called

congregation Lion of Judah that dream of

this swarm of venomous poisonous spiders

huge spiders arresting over the

skyscrapers of the City of Boston

exercising just a passive influence over

the city by their presence these these

were huge tarantulas full of venom and

very intelligent I sensed intelligence

in them but but then you know my eyes

were led to look on top of that scene of

skyscrapers that the downtown area of

Boston serpent rather spiders over those

skyscrapers way on top the face of a

I'm looking confidently benignly

sovereignly over that whole scene and in

the dream I I knew that by looking he

was exercising a superior influence he

was in control in other words he knew I

was going on he was not perturbed he was

not surprised he was just a vigilant and

probably overseeing a process that he

was allowing for his own sovereign

reasons to go on until a certain moment

in time when he would act differently

but then from where I was standing I

looked at that lion's head which was

human in at the same time with eyes that

were very powerful and loving and wise

and I declared from my point at a street

level looking afar as a screen this

entire scene and I pointed my finger

through the Serpent's through the

skyscrapers through that lion's head and

I said three times you are the Lord you

are the Lord you are the Lord in Spanish

and I think God understood what I was

saying even though I was saying in

Spanish and it was an assertion I was my

spirit was led to just to proclaim yes

what you're saying to me is that you are

sovereign over everything that is

happening in this city that you are

ultimately in control and sometimes you

know just the idea of declaring Christ's

sovereignty as I think we did in one of

the courses that we sang this morning

this is lordship I mean the whole

worship was centralized around this idea

and maybe we can sing one of those just

a bit as we end this idea that the

sovereignty of Christ you know we see so

many things happening in America right

now

all over the world North Korea Turkey

the Middle East

you know Iran with the nuclear bomb and

you know intimations of disaster

everywhere the polarization in our

country the hopelessness the suicide

rates that the violence the the mass

killings and you know we are tempted to

just focus on the storm and and to think

you know all hope is lost

and to fill ourselves with anxiety and

with fear and pessimism but God is

inviting his church to remain focused on

Jesus Christ on his unchanging purposes

on his church being invincible Jesus has

said that the gates of Hell shall not

prevail against the church you know why

I'm not scared about what's happening in

America people think that America is

becoming too secularized and that the

church somehow is gonna be swept into

the sea and that you know church is

gonna become empty all of a sudden and

nobody's wanna go want to follow the

Lord I'm not concerned about that

because that's a promise

there is a testament that was left 2000

years written in this in the words of

scripture that says that the the gates

of Hades shall not prevail against the

church and I know that at the end of the

word of God there is a promise that we

will be victorious that the Church of

Jesus Christ is here to stay and that

when all history has ended when time and

space become totally irrelevant the

Church of Jesus Christ will be here to

reign forever with our Lord and no

cultural fluctuation no no change in

politics or finances or sociology will

change the fact that God is committed to

his people he is committed to goodness

justice will prevail goodness will

prevail grace will prevail the plans of

God will prevail on human history and we

should not fear the ultimate results in

that process yes there is flux there is

change there are things that happen but

we should remain focused on the person

of Jesus Christ and his power we need to

be Christ centered God spoke to me

during this sabbatical about that I need

to remain centered on Jesus Christ I

cannot allow myself to be distracted by

the the quotidian by the daily coming

and going of life you know sometimes as

pastors we are so distracted by all the

things and

necessary by the finances of the church

by the crisis of people in the church by

the problems by the counseling by the

need to preach a sermon every Sunday or

Wednesday by all the difficulties and

the daily concerns of ministry and you

know the thing that the devil wants most

is to just wear us out and wear us down

to wear our armor down to take our sword

and - you know blunted and take away the

enthusiasm the passion by simply being

distracted with all the little things

you know the devil loves to kill us a

little bit at a time he doesn't

necessarily throw a grenade at us he

just takes a little we call it in

cuchito they Paulo a little wooden knife

and just saw shadows a little bit at a

time until he gets through and we need

to keep our eyes on Jesus I think we

need to take time every every once in a

while during the day many times a day to

refresh our awareness of the presence of

Christ in our lives the great mystics

throughout history have talked about

that that we need to and refresh the

presence of God that's why they pray you

know in monasteries you have all these

hours of praying where the monks come

into the holy place and and they pray

again and again because you know life

can just take your eyes off of Jesus and

lead you to kind of focus on the

concerns on the attacks on the

difficulties on the problems and before

you know it you've lost your your sense

of direction this is what happened to

Peter in this passage you know this

passage has so many wonderful things and

I've already preached some of it as I've

gone but you see here many things that

help us to deal with situations of

stress and difficulty in our life the

first thing I've seen verse 22 it says

that Jesus made the disciples get into

the boat you know these disciples are

going to enter into a great trial

they're going to enter into a storm that

will threaten to destroy their lives and

to just have them perish in

this huge lake which is so big and we've

been there in Galilee that it seems like

a sea and Jesus tells them get into the

boat and wait for me on the other side

so it is Jesus that is making them get

into the boat they're not doing it out

of coincidence and you ask yourself what

did Jesus know what they were gonna get

into I believe that he did he was God

and we have all kinds of declarations in

Scripture that he knew the future the

past the present and so on he knew what

was going to happen to them and yet he

tells them get on the boat and go

without me and wait on the other side I

will join you there how is he going to

join them everything he knew that he was

gonna be walking on water and that he

was going all that was gonna happen was

in place and that that leads me to

something which is that you know many

times we find ourselves in situations of

difficulty it's one of things that we

need to learn as believers that you know

God is always in control even of the

trials in our life many times God in His

sovereignty under standing will lead us

into trials and temptations not because

he wants to do harm to us but because he

wants to strengthen us he wants to forge

this weapon that he's gonna use for the

blessing of humanity he wants to

strengthen our faith he wants to

exercise us in our belief and our trust

in Him he wants to break us trials do

all of those things and so many other

things when you find yourself without a

job and you know the finances are

lacking and so on and so forth I mean

are you gonna commit suicide as so many

people do are you gonna just trust in

the Lord and wait

heavenly spiritual warfare and use those

weapons of our warfare which are not

fleshly to find the solution and to have

a breakthrough in your life and God

sometimes you know I don't like to

apologize for God sometimes you say oh

there's this passive will of God and the

active will I understand all that

but there are times in your life well

God Himself will put you into the fire

and the one thing that you can trust

though is that he has every intention to

have you come out of that victorious and

escape god never tests you

to destroy you or to humiliate you or to

you know somehow we can you he tests you

to strengthen you to teach you a lesson

to prepare you to be more powerful and

to be more ready for the next trial that

then you can become victorious so much

more quickly

God is the consummate teacher and he

uses the events of life and the

circumstances of life to form and shape

his people because the ultimate concern

of God is that we become like Christ and

we know that sometimes trials

difficulties are the best way to break

us to break our pride our self

sufficiency our bad temper our tendency

to criticize to feel superior to others

to be overly dependent on ourselves and

our own resources all of those things

and many more that I could mention here

trials difficulties the awareness of our

weakness without God work toward

improving and making making us better

and I know that without that trial and

testing and moments of great weakness

and deficit we cannot become like Christ

God will not be able to use a man or

woman until he has broken them

completely until you have found yourself

sobbing in your bed and acknowledging

that only he can deliver you from a

situation and sometimes at the moment of

weakness in our life are the moments of

greatest strength the Apostle Paul knew

that and God himself gave the Apostle

Paul it says a thorn in his flesh to

keep him humble so that the devil would

not have advantage over his life so you

know it helps me every day in my life to

know nothing in my life happens outside

of the will of God

it's not like God is having lunch while

the devil is doing something and then he

has to rush over to try to solve the

situation God knows he's sovereign God

there's nothing lost on him your life is

in the hands of God from the moment that

you enter into this intimate

relationship of God you are his as that

chorus was saying in Jesus is in the

midst of your life and everything that

happens in your life every micro detail

the most minut movements of your by our

are being determined by God for your

good he has a good purpose as in your

life I read Jeremiah 29:11 last Sunday

for I know the purposes in the plans

that I have for you plans to bless you

and to give you a future not to harm you

and God is always operating in the micro

dimension of a life on behalf of his

people and that gives me confidence it

leads me to when I mean in situations of

great trial and testing to ask Lord not

why are you allowing this to happen and

how could this happen if I'm your

servant knows Lord what are you trying

to teach me how can I learn from this

how can I grow stronger

how can I exercise the the weapons that

you have given me the the resources that

you have given me to come out of this

stronger than ever and to see your glory

being manifest that's why for example I

said last Sunday yes Greg is leaving us

and you know it's a huge loss for all of

us his colleagues and you know the

church and the English ministry in

particular has been so related that to

him but I also know that there's a

reason for that and there's a reason

that applies to his life and his

family's life and to our life as well

and that if God is in control he knows

the best and everything would be okay

we just need to confront the situation

with godly principles and we need not

fear because every everything would be

alright and what we need to do is not

panic not fear not get all hype and just

declare the goodness of God God is not

asleep he neither slumbers wasn't no

sleeps it says something like that right

everything works for the best in the

life of a chosen one so Jesus makes his

disciples go into the boat knowing then

knowing that he's initiating them into a

very very difficult time in their life

it's interesting I said that while he

dismissed the crowd you know this

passage is so eloquent is so full of a

teaching but while he dismissed the

crowd it has always impacted me why

because

this is that loving detail-oriented

Christ who is taking the time he has

been with this crowd of people preaching

to them

he has just fed them these 5,000 with

loaves of bread you you see the story

here and fish and so on and he has

taught them some wonderful lessons and

but then he wants to like you know a

master weaver he wants to put the final

touches on his teaching and he wants to

dismiss this crowd in peace and he wants

to bless them as they go on to their

homes

he doesn't want to just say well guys

get out of here we're through I got to

the next stage of our mission no he

takes time to bless him it says in

another passage interesting enough that

when when the multitude experienced this

multiplication of fish and loaves of

bread and so on they wanted to make

Jesus King they thought yes you know

he's the one who's gonna free us from

the Romans and so on and so forth they

became exalted it was almost like there

was a threat of of a or an uprising to

make Jesus King and I believe that maybe

he wanted to just hey say hey guys it's

not my time yet and this is not my

mission I'm on to something else

these miracles have a certain purpose

now relax chill and you know keep

praying and waiting the time will come

later on and so you know this is this

this detail oriented Christ who loves

his people takes time to finish his

lessons before he dismisses them is this

loving Christ who is in control of your

life he cares for you the Bible says

that you know we sing this hymn that

that God cares for the birds of the air

he cares for the flowers and if he cares

for my new things that have no

utilitarian value except to adorn the

world how much for us when you compare

one leaf to the beauty that is a human

being the the universe that lies within

a human being and yet God takes care of

those plants you know and loves them as

much as he cares for you he's the

combination of his creation and so you

know this did this this loving Christ he

he

he loves us with the apple of his eye

and he has called you for purpose he has

called you for success he has called you

for goodness he has called you for grace

and you need to fill your life with that

expectancy of wonderful things that

gonna happen in your life you need to

reprogram yourself if you have lived a

life of fear and and failure and abuse

and victimization and so on you need to

ask the Lord to start reprogramming you

and to put you in our honor on an

intensive course to change the way you

look at the world and the way you look

at yourself and to begin expecting good

things that are gonna come to your life

if you expect good things in the Lord

they will materialize they will happen

in your life train yourself to expect

from that good Christ that reigns in

your life he wants you to have blessing

and sometimes yes he will put you

through testing and difficulties and

lack but I think the default position of

a child of Christ is one of sufficiency

blessing and at victory over the storm

that is my conviction so he dismisses

the crowd he goes by himself as went up

on a mountainside by himself to pray

that was the key to this to the success

of Jesus he prayed he prayed like crazy

why did the son of God pray I think it

was more like just to refocus himself it

was to intercede on behalf of his people

sometimes I pray just because I need to

like my iPhone I need to connect it to

get some more juice from the presence of

God you know when I'm connected and I'm

praying I I feel like you know just the

energy of God is going through me I

don't care what I say I don't think it

ultimately I don't know that it matters

so of you know if you are connected to

Christ in prayer in reverence and

submission he's reading he's scanning

your biology he's scanning your

neurology he is scanning your brain and

he is blessing blessing blessing every

area of your life just connect to Jesus

you need to pray because as I say the

the cares of life

and the the demands of the quotidian

will SAP the sense of the presence of

God in your life and you know me my

favorite time for prayers early in the

morning before I leave my house or

before even my wife gets up if at all

possible I'd like to take that time to

be prepared and I am deathly afraid of

leaving my house without having

presented myself and my family and my

church and my loved ones to the Lord and

declaring the goodness of God in my life

and everything around me and and that

gives me peace and you know you cannot

depend on Sunday you know many

Christians they come on Sunday and it's

very religiously and even

superstitiously they believe that by

coming on Sunday sitting down on their

bed with their best dress on and

spending an hour and a half a couple of

hours that somehow okay they've done

their job and then they can wait until

the next week you got to pray everyday

you got to pray many times a day the

Apostle Paul says pray without ceasing

prayer is the breathing mechanism of the

church prayer is what keeps you tethered

to God your attention on him on the

principles and promises of God you need

to pray preemptively you need to pray

remedial e you need to pray when

everything is going well and when

everything is going wrong when you are

in prosperity and blessing and health

pray like when you put savings into the

bank for the time when things may go

wrong later on but you have to pray

always continually for that day of evil

that we spoke about there in Ephesians

chapter 6 okay so you he stay he's in

prayer he's praying for them you know

the another passage I believe it's John

I'm not sure which one because there are

parallel passages of this narrative says

that Jesus could see them where he was

from and when you've been to the sea of

galilee you can see that there are

mountains around and you know you could

conceivably see from there this is the

needed topological advantage but you

know it

was an additional thing he could see

them from where he was praying and he

could see that they were in trouble but

he keeps praying you see he intercedes

with him Jesus is always watching us

he is always aware of the most minut

movements of your soul when you are

sweating bullets and thinking that God

is a thousand billion miles away he's

right there looking at you praying for

you wanting you to come through

victoriously he delights in his children

coming in passing the test with an A+

the devil wants you to get an F but

Christ wanted to get an A+ write that

down somewhere and remember that okay it

says the the the boat was buffeted by

the waves because the wind was against

it you know many times we have the wind

against us and you will have the wind

against you many other times in your

life this world this world is a fallen

dimension sin penetrates it it is a sad

that creation it's not a creation that

God put forth on the day of creation

fallen human beings broken deformed our

our our psychologists twisted our

emotions our undependable the economy of

this universe of this cosmos is

completely warped and broken and we move

in this world and we move in a world

that is also inhabited by demonic beings

I want to kill maim destroy steal Mar

the image of God in us and every day

we're walking through this radioactive

wasteland and yet somehow God invites us

to remain aware of his presence his love

even in the midst of the greatest storms

of life remember that God life cannot

give you any good thing willingly even

if it wanted to the devil certainly

can't and the only one that guarantees

your success and your blessing

is Jesus Christ in your life the wind

may come against you many times they

will it will but with Christ in your

boat you can be sure that there is no

destruction he will come out stronger

than ever but remain trusting in him

when those storms began to boil in your

life it says that on the fourth watch of

the night on the fourth watch of the

night and I'm gonna invite our

worshipers to get ready so that you guys

can be encouraged that I'm gonna finish

this sermon soon on the fourth watch of

the night you know what time that was

the fourth watch of the night where a

system established by the Romans three

hour intervals of 12 hours it was

between 3 and 6 a.m. between 3 and 6

a.m. and he had that he had said goodbye

to them when I was light so these poor

devils were in there in the sea being

taught by the storm the whole night

you know just rowing and going around in

circles they couldn't break the the

current and there's Jesus watching this

whole thing praying for them and not

intervening is it because a Jesus

somehow is you know just just reveled in

their agony no I think that again there

was a time God has a time for everything

as I said God doesn't arrive too early

or too late and he he knows exactly the

moment when you are ripe for an

intervention he as I say he wants to

perfect you he wants to work in your

life and sometimes you may think you

know this is that God I'm through I

don't have anything else left and God

says no no I know you you have more in

there still that can come out you know

the Bible says in 1 passage that nothing

that is not human has come into our life

to attack us and God gives the exit with

along with the test there's a solution

that comes with the test and God knows

how long you need know he will give you

more than you can deal with you know the

rivers will not overwhelm you the fires

will not burn you the Bible says there's

a lot in you that you more than you

think and many times the the trials just

being in the in the the oven it's gonna

take a while we have so many impurities

many times many times in us we have so

many deformations of character so many

deficiencies so many defects and even

sometimes we're asking God deliver me I

want to be free of this drug addiction I

want to be free of this mental addiction

or whatever and you know what deep

inside ourselves of constantly we're

saying no God not yet I love this too

much take a little bit more time if we

play games with ourselves and God reads

the true intimate messages of our soul

and he just says no I need you to wait

you need to there's still a lot of stuff

that needs to be taken out so God will

take his time many times I've known many

times that you know they're they're

their petitions that I have before the

Lord I've said that before decades and

God has still not answered them but I

keep presenting them to the Lord every

day like I wash my teeth I also present

my prayers before the Lord every day and

and I know that he has his moment and

his time even also we're waiting for

major revival in this area you know we

need to believe no in God's time and

moment it's not that serpent that many

of us have seen that is holding back

revival ultimately yes in an immediate

sense it is doing that but only because

God allows it the moment that God says

enough that serpent just has to flee it

will burst in a thousand pieces and be

completely scattered and destroyed

meanwhile the Church of Jesus Christ

does what we have to do we pray we

intercede we wage spiritual warfare we

declare the goodness of God we we serve

we preach the gospel we do the business

of the church here on earth and then God

has a piece of the whole puzzle and in

his time he will do what he needs to do

God always does things in the strategic

moment the specific special moment god

wants to in and will intervene in your

life exactly when you need it exactly

when he knows it may be in the fourth

watch of the night

That moment when you feel I can't take

it anymore you know they say that that

the moment of deepest darkness in the

course of the night is the moment right

before dawn and sometimes it is the

moment of despair when God then comes in

as Jesus does he comes walking on the

water I mean he could have create

another boat or something you know he

could have just appeared inside the boat

no but he again because he's a detail

oriented Christ he comes walking on the

water why as a signal of his superiority

over every storm in life his power his

lordship can you think of something more

graphic and poetic than walking on water

in the midst of a storm praise the Lord

you know Jesus wanted to just indelibly

put into their psyche an image that

would last them until the day of their

death Jesus walking on the water

sovereignty violating all the laws of

gravity and physics and saying I am the

Lord of lords I am the God of gods I am

the Son of God and I have control over

every storm of life and I care for you

and I will come to your rescue when you

need it all people of God I need to

believe that myself even as I preach it

Jesus is Lord yes Jesus is sovereign he

will not allow anything to happen in

your life for your destruction right now

I want you to breathe in the commitment

of God to your life he's committed for

the long term there may be loss and

crisis in your life but it's only for a

season it's only until the fourth watch

comes to attend and then the Lord will

come and you can walk on the water

yourself by the way this is why you know

we have that last detail there of a

Peter as as impossibly as always saying

lord if it's you well you know let me

walk on the water myself there's pride

and that but there was also to his

credit you know belief he was putting

his life on the line here that Jesus

could do that he said alright you you

you you have enough courage in you come

on let's see come on out and he comes

out and you know in as he why he is

moving based on the word of Christ that

Christ is giving him it was not the only

time that he had acted on the word when

he cast the nets for that miraculous

catch another beautiful passage that I

hope to talk about some point soon he

says Lord this is not the best time to

to fish but in your word I will cast the

net and so he's walking on the water

based on the word of Christ he said yeah

come on walk it is me and he starts

walking you know you can walk on the

water you can do great miracles in your

life you're gonna power over

circumstances you can it be an overcomer

you can take everything that the devil

tosses at you and you can just bat it

with a home run out of the field

if you have Christ in your life you can

walk on the waters just as Jesus did

mm-hmm but you have to keep your eyes on

him you have to keep yourself in total

communion with him you have to depend on

his power on his glory you have to be in

other intimate communion with him

never take your eyes off of Jesus never

let the trials and the details of life

wear you down to the point that you

stopped being in communion with this

powerful loving faithful Christ because

the moment you start thinking about the

devil too much or about the difficulty

of your situation or how intimidating it

is how insoluble the problems of life

that you are confronting the moment that

you become obsessed with the details of

the drama

that's the moment you start thinking

[Music]

refused to do that refused to take the

bait and just obsessively obstinately

declare the lordship of Christ in your

life and is goodness amen

lower your head for a moment or close

your eyes or whatever it is but I want

you to say you know I believe that this

word that I have received that today is

from God it's not from a man it's not

from some sort of overly enthusiastic

preacher intoxicated with his own

rhetoric it is the Word of God for my

life right now

and I receive it and I accept it and I

confess it come on you can do that right

now and if you have not established your

relationship with that Christ that I'm

talking about and you want to do it

right now I even invite you to come

forward or raise your hand and

invitation to Christ to come into your

life or invite him deep inside your soul

but make make a move why don't you move

actively toward that Christ right now

and he will draw near to you he says

draw near to me and I will draw near to

you why don't you make a move of your

will and God can read that kind of

motion and he will draw near I want you

to invite Christ whatever it is that you

need right now you may need the

emotional healing you you may be dealing

with a crisis in your life there may be

some situation right now that seems

absolutely without solution oh if you

have Jesus in your life

if you have given your life to him if

you have committed yourself to him

you have acknowledges lordship you have

acknowledge his divinity he is the

Christ he's the same today yesterday

forever so I invite you to invite Christ

into your life right now invite him into

your life and confess your dependency

and your trust in him this morning

hallelujah let no one leave this place

without a sense of the the presence and

the company of God in your life asking

to forgive you for thinking somehow that

you could survive without him one

millisecond and make him the the the

continued presence in your life and

thrown him put him in the center of your

life that beautiful chorus Christ at the

center hallelujah so father yes I know

that there are people right now

reaffirming their belief in you and I

bless them yes Lord

I pray that you will break through their

hearts their minds that if the enemy is

somehow waging artificial resistance in

their inner being that that bondage will

be broken right now father whether it's

intellectualism or or just suffering

from the past or in credulity whatever

might be unbelief father in Jesus name

we break through into their heart and we

pray for a fresh anointing for faith for

confidence trust in you wherever you

might be right now I bless you with a

fresh anointing of God

we declare that you will not drown your

boat will not perish Christ will be

there for you and with you just stay

close to him invite him into your life

keep him there through your affirmation

of your belief in him we invite you Lord

be with us be with your people may we

live like what we are absolutely

dependent on on you intoxicated with you

addicted to you we cannot survive

without you Christ and we thank you for

your promises of goodness and

faithfulness may your people leave this

place obsessed with that idea that you

are in control of their lives in every

detail and we give our life to you in

this church and its future we thank you

for your goodness

God Provides in the Midst of Change

I want to take a moment to frame this

entire time that we are experiencing and

what we have just heard here today and

put it in the purpose in the perspective

of the Scriptures because that's really

what we live in every a moment in our

lives should be somehow interpreted in

the light of the eternal words in the

eternal Word of God and that gives us a

the right perspective the right way to

interpret things and allows us then to

celebrate even in moments of a trial and

testing that great Epistle of

Philippians I'm not gonna preach on that

which is a call the Epistle of joy was

written by the Apostle Paul as he sat in

a dungeon unsure of whether he would

emerge alive or not but God allowed him

even in that moment of trial and testing

to exude a joy and a hope because his

frame was okay what advances the kingdom

how is God's kingdom being blessed what

are the purposes of God what mysterious

is what mysterious our results he is

bringing about and accomplishing he was

able to see beyond his own situation and

I know that there are mysteries that it

takes time for us to unfold them

completely and to explain them but the

Word of God gives us the right

foundation to confront these situations

and much as I wanted to escape the

scripture that I left you with when when

I left it seems like an eternity ago

three months ago and the base in the

book of Joshua or the Lord brought me

back to two that to another passage in

the book of Joshua but I yeah well let

me let me just take a moment and I know

that the time is just like flying

through us wait if I had a title for

this sermon I would say be strong and

courageous

Joshua Joshua 1 verses 1 through 9

because we see here a time of transition

as well thankfully it's not like here

the death of a leader but it is a

transition actually

to a greater life and and you know

greater productivity for the kingdom and

we are in a time of transition as a

church as well you know with Gregg's and

Kenny's leaving I mean all kinds of

considerations emerge for us in the

light of this individual who has filled

there's so many spaces in the life of

the church and how do we fill those

spaces and what does God having in mind

ahead just as I'm sure these questions

were floating in or percolating almost

in Joshua's mind as well with the death

of Moses but it says here in chapter 1

verse 1

Joshua after the death of Moses the

servant of the Lord the Lord said to

Joshua son of noon moses 8 Moses my

servant is dead Moses my servant is

going to California

now then you and all these people get

ready to cross the Jordan River into the

land I am about to give to them to the

Israelites you'll remember this theme

when I last spoke about crossing over

into a new time of a realization and of

going from provisional provisions of God

things that were kind of symbolic and

hold holding up holding off until the

true came which was the promised land

the Israelites benefited from things

that were there to hold them while they

were in the desert and now as they get

ready to cross over you know and Greg is

crossing into his own promised land of

whatever God has in his family and we

are also because the God has a plan for

this congregation as well and what he

has in store for us but he says I will

give you every place where you set your

foot as I promised Moses and I declare

that on your lives also that God gives

you every dimension that you will occupy

every challenge that you will face every

thing that you will undertake God get

made a declaration gave him a title a

legal document through his word that

success was what lay ahead

for them your territory will extend from

the desert to Lebanon and from the great

river the Euphrates all the hittite

country to the Great Sea on the west God

was very clear about the borders and the

boundaries of that great land that he

was giving them no one will be able to

stand up against you all the days of

your life and I declare that as well on

their lives as I was with Moses we could

say you know I mean as I have been with

the line of Judah and with Pastor

Roberto and this congregation so I will

be with you I will never leave you nor

forsake you we declare that on their

lives as well and and on you as well in

times of transition God says hey I am

the same people change but I'm the same

one of the great exercises of this

sabbatical has been the fact that we all

have been weaned a bit from each other

you have discovered that you know

Roberto Miranda is you know I mean I'm

relative I'm an instrument I'm a piece

I'm a pawn in God's extraordinary chess

game and that's what we all are

nobody is irreplaceable I'm not

irreplaceable never put your face your

eyes on any man on any Church on any

authority that is human your eyes must

always be said only on God for he never

changes and he's always the same be

strong and courageous because you will

lead these people to inherit the land I

swore to their forefathers to give them

be strong and very courageous be careful

to a boy to obey all the law my servant

Moses gave you do not turn from it to

the right or to the left that you may be

successful wherever you go your greatest

assurance of success will be remaining

absolutely tethered and centered and

founded on God's Word on changing

principles never compromise never

negotiate the Word of God or the

principles of God it is your only

security

your only point of security against the

power of the enemy is the unshakable

unchanging Word of God do not let this

book of the law depart from your mouth

meditate on a day and night so that you

may be careful to do everything written

in it then you will be prosperous and

successful have I not commanded you be

strong and courageous third time do not

be terrified and not be scared of what

lies ahead do not be discouraged for the

Lord your God will be with you wherever

you go and I will leave it there for a

moment so as I say the purpose of this

meditation is to encourage you

encouraged me encouraged our dear

servants of the Lord

Kenneth and Greg too to be secure in the

midst of insecurity to look forward to

look our place our eyes on God and to

put our trust in him he has a plan we

don't know all the pieces of the plan

but he knows I want to encourage us as a

church but also Greg and Kenneth's as

they transition and go on into their own

promised land that God has for them I

want to point as I said our face toward

that faithful providing God that never

fails us when we undertake things in his

name and trusting in him and secure that

we have examined ourselves we have

examined our motives we have examined

circumstances and that we know that we

are pursuing things with a clean heart

and with the desire to see his name

glorified for me that is the guarantee I

can never be sure that I have I'm clear

that I that I'm seeing the way I should

be seeing or deciding the way I should

be deciding but my only concern is how

is my heart as I undertake a new role a

new vision a new project am i doing it

for my own glory am i doing it for the

wrong motives am i doing it to sort of

gratify some aspect of my personality or

am i doing it because I believe that I

have heard from God and that I want to

glorify him and that I want to advance

his kingdom if I can answer in the

affirmative within myself that this is

the motivation that I have

even if I were to be wrong I am sure

that the mercy of God in His grace cover

me and that if I am wrong he will

correct me on the way and that he will

extract glory and blessing even in our

mistakes that we make what a heart has

to be clean our motivations have to be

absolutely focused on him so we must

remember the sermon that I began this

year with January this word that

exploded in my being about the fact that

we were entering into a new time that we

were walking a road that we had never

passed by before a new dimension that

was unprecedented new and and that the

solution as we went into that unfamiliar

territory

thoroughly unfamiliar was what to keep

our eyes fixed on the Ark of God that's

what they told the Israelites keep your

eyes fixed on this Ark that will be

ahead of you with the priests walking in

front of you stay at a certain distance

that you can have the proper perspective

and keep the holiness of that Ark in in

perspective but follow it wherever you

see it going you can imagine a million

people following this distant object

that was showing them how to move and

where to go as they cross the Jordan and

went in the store into this thoroughly

unfamiliar territory and I said God is

taking this congregation into a new time

a new space a new dimension now when I

made that declaration the last thing on

my mind

I assure you was the idea that today

today and that it would be so quick

because I'll tell a little bit about

that in a second that we will be

formally announcing Greg and Candice's

departure that this was part of this

newness now we have been talking about

this and I'll tell you a little bit this

as I say about that but when I preached

I preached in a certain level of

innocence

I didn't factor in this new element of a

major piece of our life as a

congregation our leadership being absent

and having to rearrange many things in

the light of a Gregg's in

ending absence now greg has been

gracious and had had the integrity to

tell me for a long time many many months

ago I remember over lasagna you know we

we talked and he said you know Roberto

I'm I'm feeling now that God is that God

may be calling me to leave Lion of Judah

I have no plans specifically and this

time I do feel that you know this is

something very intimate very personal

that there's a very active purpose in

God doing that so I just want to let you

know I don't have any specific plans yet

or anything like that so we spoke in a

very tentative manner but I thanked him

because he prepared me in many ways and

he has always done that you know over

the years so he perhaps he has proceeded

with impeccable integrity in this

process but you know you know how it is

you can you hear certain things but you

never give it the immediacy that it

requires so that and you know and then

as the time drew near he also you know

as things became a little more specific

he told me but there were some concrete

things that he was considering and

there's some specific possibilities but

there was nothing yet

firm at a certain moment so I want to

release him you know in the sense that

he really but III tell you in my own

innocence I didn't quite when I preached

that sermon that that thing came like a

bolt of lightning into my mind this

thing I'm taking you you're walking

you're gonna be walking in a road that

you have never walked before so when I

was pronouncing these words I did not

have that in mind but indeed it is one

way that this prophecy is fulfilling

itself because this is a new road for us

I mean 20-some years of very significant

ministry where Greg and Candace have

failed very very deep deep spaces in the

life of this church and so many of you

are really he's been more of a password

to you than I have in many ways and so

definitely this is a new territory

uncharted and now we have to remake the

world in many ways and new things have

to crop up and new elements have to come

into play in this congregation but this

is just one of the many ways that I

believe that this prophet

see will be fulfilled just one

significant way there are others

although that was not what I had in mind

but definitely you can see that

aqualified and this is why more than

ever we need to look toward the Lord the

Ark to show us the way as we walk

through this unfamiliar Road the Ark of

God by the way has been made more

complex in my understanding because I

always thought as I saw it as an

instrument of power but as I've looked

into it more in Scripture it is an

instrument of intelligence as well and

in teaching and instruction the the

Bible says that we're the wings of the

Archangels met the cherubim in in the in

the ark as you can see over here in that

point of touching the two extremes of

the wings God would speak to Israel so

it's a speaking instructional instrument

as well as an instrument of incarnating

God's power so God will provide

instructions as we go both to Greg and

his family in their new situation and to

us in ours

that gives me consolation in the moment

of the of devastation that I experienced

I've also felt a strange peace and

that's why you know that's how you know

believers and people of faith can speak

about both have you ever realized that

you can be both anxious and uncertain

and at the same time peaceful that

there's a deep anchor inside of you how

do these two dimensions coexist beings

of faith and we are also emotional

neurological beings our neurology is

fallen it's biological its fleshly and

that neurology can experience

uncertainty anxiety pain all kinds of

things but then our spiritual goes

beyond time and space it is tethered to

the Spirit of God and that knows

everything is okay I've always depended

on that inner voice in my moments of

tribulation and uncertainty it is there

that says it's okay

nowhere yes you're experiencing certain

things but that's just

craziness of your human nature listen to

the other voice so I'm always excited

when I find myself in situations whose

outcome I cannot predict and for which I

don't have a solution because it

represents an opportunity for God to

come through with shining colors I wish

I had more time to just expound on that

I've told you I don't know if I've

shared with you I carry with me I don't

have it in there took it out this

morning I had it hidden somewhere a

little card that I had I had laminated

in a time of many many years ago we're

just beginning our marriage and and

there was a financial crunch that we

were facing and I was walking through

Union Square in Somerville and I don't

know from where I put my hand in my

pocket and I pulled out this card which

I had I I assure you I did not know how

it got into my hands I have no idea to

this day and and that said leave it to

the Lord I wish I'd sits inside my in my

bag leave it to the Lord and God struck

my chest with that word and all of us

also all of us and I knew that it was

all right but to this day I carried that

thirty years ago thirty years that card

because there was a an assurance of the

provision of God God was saying to me

hey don't carry that load leave it to me

and surely enough I mean I don't even

remember what the problem was at that

time God has blessed us beyond our

wildest expectations and he will bless

you and he will bless us as we

contemplate this new time that we have

before us God is a provider hallelu can

you say amen to that God is a provider

yova GA your vajira the Lord will

provide when the time comes he God has

always delighted me with the solutions

and I'm sure this time it would be no

different God never changes he remains

the same in the midst of changing

circumstances this promise of

faithfulness in the middle of changing

circumstances applies both to Greg and

Kenneth who are leaving and facing new

and unpredictable circumstances and to

us

who have to reconstruct many things in

the light of their absence I remember

the only church split it wasn't even a

split it was more like a annan gendered

separation good 25 26 years ago just

actually when Greg came right around

that thing I don't know if you were here

it was right after thank God that you

didn't you know the Lord had been moving

in Our Lives taking us into a new stage

of the the gifts of God we went from

being a traditional Baptist Church into

the gifts of the Spirit and we started

doing all kinds of crazy things in the

church and adding music and all kinds of

stuff by the way when we used to say you

know hallelujah or something like that

we wouldn't say hallelujah or clap will

go like this you know very very decent

very like the Queen of England you know

that was our way of being reverent

before God that changed because the Holy

Spirit visited us and that prompted a

great turmoil in the life of the church

and you know some of the founders of the

church were intimidated and concerned

and offended God started bringing new

people into the church or crazy

Pentecostals who were helping me how to

navigate this new iteration of line of

it was congregation bautista iglesia

Batista central Central Baptist Church

at that time and so you know the Lord

gave me wisdom to engineer a a peaceful

separation if there is ever such a thing

up in churches and unfortunately about

15 to 20 percent of the church left and

went with our founding pastor that I had

invited to come from Florida to take

this over this group that I did not want

just be left out there offended to fend

for themselves and we we planted a

church in Everett and that we got a

building and all kinds of great things

and and they left you know the problem

was that that 20% was the creme de la

creme this is the elite these are the

tithers they were the teachers they were

the solid conservative elements of the

church our whole music ministry went

overnight we had nothing

from having a very lovely worship team

and a choir that was very good and

highly gifted musical people we're left

music lists there wasn't such a word and

there was a time of great great sorrow I

mean for my wife and I and for the

church because I mean we had lost such a

significant part of our church and we

were like a lamb after it's been sheared

you know just we were looking like you

know

where's-where's a wool just just skinned

naked and you know but the funny thing

is that since we were navigating in the

Lord's timing and purpose and we'll and

as I said before when we do things we

have to make sure Lord am I doing this

with the clean spirit and with the

loving attitude for your glory and your

honor

I want to tell you that in a year's time

we not only we had recovered exactly the

same attendance the same number of

people came in to the church new people

we had the same budget the same finances

and from that moment on about you know a

few months several months later God

started bringing some of the most gifted

musicians and that just came unsolicited

to the door of the church and since then

for the glory of God we have never

lacked wonderfully gifted musical people

from Berkeley and from all all the kinds

of places that God has anointed and you

know we have never lacked good worship

and from that time also the revelation

to come into Boston also emerged in my

spirit this dream that I had about the

Lion of Judah and our call into the city

and this vision of coming here and

leaving everything back in Cambridge and

Greg is one of the gifts and blessings

you know of that time and did these

wonderful Christians who left us would

not have had the vision for whatever

reason long story

to come into a crime-ridden place as

this was when we came here they didn't

have the attitude I mean that God gives

people in different ways for and those

things enable them to do certain things

and prevents it from doing others

annoying things are like that

but I know that that kind of separation

was necessary but

my point is that God provided beyond our

wildest dreams and he filled spaces that

I couldn't imagine how he was going to

fill them at that time but this is what

you know awaits us and you as you go as

you move actively in that conviction now

here's a couple of things that will

guarantee a positive outcome in this

present time of challenge number one I

just have intimated it already fixing

your eyes upon Jesus Christ not on men

not in changing circumstances Peter when

he started looking at the waves and the

sea and the storm and took his eyes away

from Jesus as he walked triumphantly

over the waves started sinking because

his two kisses took his eyes off of

Jesus when you look at Jesus as I focus

my hopes and as you do also on this

great provider as you saturate your

spirit with that unchanging gaze of

Jesus that does not falter does not

repent of any blessing that he has

promised you has absolute power to

provide in every situation that gives

you courage hope and his abundance of

capacity is transmitted to you as well

and the blessings and the promise of God

then become activated in your life but

you have to gaze upon him every time our

gaze may be tempted to deviate toward

the absence

that's dangerous turn it toward the

presence wow I should write that down

before I forget it keep it focused on

the Lord and number two let us be

patient as we establish our new normal

and as we go through we neverold

inevitable periods of stress and unmet

needs you know there are there are many

things that Gregg and Kenneth

have done that now you know I know for

us the English ministry you know so many

of you have been

pastured in very significant ways in a

very personal way by Gregg's ministry

and you know you may be wondering who's

gonna who's gonna take over you know

what's gonna happen on and on I could I

can I could stay here the whole time

asking the questions that I'm sure

you're asking but be patient we are

confident that the Lord would be

providing and he will show us the way

the Ark will give us instruction amen

but be patient because it's not gonna be

done overnight

you know processes are like that they

they you know what I mean the

supernatural blessing of God has to land

on human circumstances but be patient

and given give it time

exercise a long time long term vision

and God will do it by the way for your

hope and and comfort my wife just showed

me that my time is running out so don't

worry I'm uh I'm winding this down as

best as I can now number three in the

case of us here not looking so much at

Greg and Kenny's right now let's assume

you must assume the best intentions from

your leaders and authorities and give

them time to find new solutions that's

kind of a collateral of the first one

assume best intentions assume that we

know what the needs are assume that we

know what the voids that are left now

are assume that we are understanding of

the deficiencies that we have and assume

that this English ministry is a

significant and as integral a part of

what is Lion of Judah in its total body

as the Spanish iteration Hispanic

iteration all right please just inject

that into your heart this is not somehow

a second-rate aspect of line of Judah

this isn't a lovely beautiful Wow I'm so

proud of what this body represents

for the glory of God and and you are so

much a part of what God has in store for

this city and so assume that and that we

we will act accordingly and please pray

that God would give us the wisdom to

find the way to affirm you and validate

this ministry we must remember the well

mentioned how many times have you heard

about the fact that in Chinese and I

hope it's true I just say it because

other people say it but I've never

looked at Chinese myself it says that

the the character that in Chinese and

Mandarin expresses crisis it's also the

same character that expresses what

opportunity and I could see how because

sometimes crises are the moment for new

inventions new things to happen new

discoveries it depends how you navigate

crises you you you might navigate them

from a perspective of deficiency and

victimization or you may navigate them

from a perspective of sufficiency and

expectancy and celebration of what can

happen now that things have changed and

so this may be this is this moment

represents create opportunities for both

Gregg and his family and for us as well

even as we grieve the separation

opportunities for what to put to the

test and to confirm God's faithfulness

and provision it's a great opportunity

and three years from now two years from

now we may be laughing our heads off as

to how God provided and Gregg and Ken is

as well we may be watching them on

television you know the next iteration

of the PTL god forbid or something why

not

you know I mean it's just a it's an

opportunity to see God to show himself

absolutely delightfully faithful number

two to bring forth new leaders and new

gifts that have remained undiscovered

until now

sometimes when you leave an open space

that then only can God fulfill in fill

it you know this three months I of

absence you know I hope that they have

enabled all of us to to to need new

people to emerge I saw as a Greg was

saying new new washers here I see new

people coming aboard God do we need you

we need you and I pray that you will see

yourselves as necessary the newcomers

who are here for the first time perhaps

we need people of good heart and Kingdom

mindedness and sacrificial outlook don't

wait for us to assign you a role because

sometimes we can we ourselves cannot do

that ask Lord what can I do for you Lord

what do you want me you know I saw

Elizabeth greeting people this morning

I've seen some of you do that and peg

and others who have taken it upon

themselves just the ministry the unction

of greeting new comers do you know what

that signifies for a church like ours

that's so significant before you begin

the service instead of looking at your

iPad or whatever go and greet two people

and pray for them welcome them into the

kingdom into the church ask them is it

tell them your name asking if you can

pray for them somehow

there's a thousand things you can do for

the kingdom if you own the kingdom and

you see yourself as called to serve the

Lord this is an opportunity now more

than ever

who's gonna call some of you when Greg

might have recalled them before or

somebody else you are anointed you are

gifted of God the the what the only

thing that is required however is for

the people of God to get off their seats

to give up this idea this is my privacy

this is my time

this is my rest and to become roaring

lions for the kingdom of God you'll have

enough opportunity to rest when you get

to heaven you have millions of years to

take a long vacation now spend yourself

here on earth waste yourself here I I

personally don't want to leave this

world anything of my energy when I leave

I want to leave burnt up for the kingdom

of God I don't want one single iota of

energy in this body when I leave because

I would have expended at all for the

advancement of the kingdom of God I

don't live for myself I died already I

can I think I can this this time of

being a way I've committed personally my

life and my family in marriage and

everything to the kingdom of God told

the Lord I everything that I have owned

aspire to that you have invested in me I

want you to extract every measure of

benefit and you got to live like that if

you live like that and you begin to

express it right here in the life of

this congregation you will be a monster

I mean you'll be unstoppable for the

kingdom of God so this is a time for new

kids new ministry to be developed and

it's a time to exercise and expand our

faith only through trials and unforeseen

circumstances do we grow in our trust in

God as we are forced to rely on him and

discover that the principles of the

kingdom when exercised show themselves

to be true and effective I will jump

over many many things that I wanted to

say but I just want to leave you right

now with the words of Jeremiah chapter

29 verse 11 one of my very favorite

theme verses in all of Scripture stand

up and receive it right now stand up and

Greg and Candace as well let's get ready

I'm gonna ask the ushers as we do this

to get ready for the communion supper

just prepare everything this is like

Japanese Kabuki theater make believe

you're not seeing them get this stuff

ready here get yourselves ready because

we're going to celebrate

the Lord supper I would like Greg to

come forward also and to accompany me in

this so the Lord says to you

congregation Lion of Judah to you

Kenneth and Greg to each leader here to

each visitor to myself Roberto Miranda

who travails and suffers more than he

ought to at times for I know the plans

that I have for you I know the plans

that I have for you declares the Lord

plans to prosper you and not to harm you

plans to give you hope in the future

receive that word own it personally I

can't wait to see how that promise would

be fulfilled in this moment in the life

of our congregation in the life of our

dear servants Greg and Kenneth's so

father we thank you because life in use

and adventure life in you is never

boring life in you is never predictable

life in you is the warriors journey life

in you is an epic it is a saga of great

accomplishments and great challenges and

great suffering and great hope and

celebration

you allow us to live heroic lives and we

would not have it any other way

when we put our swords down it's only

for a moment when we enter into our

castles to rest our bodies and our

emotions it is just to prepare ourselves

for the next struggle and the next

challenge and to live an uncommon life

we would not have it any other way the

net do not ever allow us to rest for

more than just a moment and only to

recover the strength for the next stage

of the journey and please allow us to

live like that every day every second of

the existence of this congregation Lord

may we never live in the predictable or

in the generic never we renounce that

privilege right now lord allow us to

live in the blade of the sword every

moment of our lives

for your kingdom for your glory because

we know that you will be with us so

infuse in us right now a double portion

of your spirit of your joy and of your

certainty father and we thank you

because you have such wonderful plans

for us and we already revel in them in

Jesus name

Keep looking ahead

if you have a Bible with you I ask that

you turn with me to Genesis chapter 19

if you don't have a Bible with you worry

not we will be displaying the biblical

verses on the big screen above very

shortly my version might read slightly

different but very close to what you

will see up there on that screen but

we're going to be reading various verses

from chapter 19 of the book of Genesis

it's going to be verses 12 through 17

and then we're gonna skip to verses 24

through 26 so that's

Genesis 19 verses 12 through 17 and then

24 through 26 and the scriptural reading

reads the following way then the man

said to lot have you anyone else here

sons and law sons daughters or anyone

you have in this city bring them out of

this place for we are about to destroy

this place because the out cried against

its people has become great before the

Lord and the Lord has sent us to destroy

it so lot went out and said to his

sons-in-law who were to marry his

daughters up get out of this place for

the Lord is about to destroy this city

but he seemed to his sons-in-law to be

jesting when morning dawned the Angels

urged lot again saying get up take your

wife and your two daughters who are here

or else you will be consumed in the

punishment of

city but he lingered so the man sees

them and his wife and his two daughters

by the hand the Lord been merciful to

him and they brought him out and left

them outside the city when they had

brought them outside

they said flee for your life do not look

back or stop anywhere in the plain flee

to the hills or else you will be

consumed then verses 24 to 26 then the

Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur

and fire from the Lord out of heaven and

he overthrew those cities and all the

plain and all the inhabitants of the

cities and what grew underground the key

phrase here but Lot's wife behind him

look back and she became a pillar of

salt now before I begin there is

something I want you to tell the person

seated next to you when I give the

indication for it it is going to be this

God is not finished with you yet so keep

looking ahead I'm gonna repeat it and

then it's gonna be your turn okay it's

going to be God is not finished with you

yet so keep looking ahead now turn to

that person and tell them that

alright alright okay now Amen if you

remember nothing else from today's

sermon and I know you will remember

other stuff but if you remember nothing

else at least remember those words that

is the central message of today's sermon

and I have titled it keep looking ahead

keep looking ahead and I'm gonna begin

this way I don't know if you have

noticed that the last two times I have

preached here I have preached on stories

of the Bible the last time I preached I

spoke about the woman with the issue of

blood and we learned that the great

faith displayed by Veronica

that's what early Christians actually

called her Veronica was even more

remarkable than dat admirable than we

have imagined the time before that I

preached about naming the army general

who had contracted leprosy and was

healed by the prophet Elijah and that

Sunday we learned that there is much

about the perseverance named and

displayed in pursuing his healing that

we should admire and emulate today I am

going to speak about the story of Lot's

wife now I don't know if you see a

pattern here you can see where I'm going

probably already but basically in all

three cases I have preached on a

biblical story and this speaks to

something that has occurred in me more

recently in the last two or three years

I have become thoroughly fascinated with

the stories of the Bible and I have

spent some good time studying them

hoping to arrive at a better

understanding of their meaning in and

for our time now I must confess that a

motivation for my doing this has been

the realization that we today find

difficulty coming to a fuller and deeper

understanding of the meanings of these

biblical stories some of their nuances

are lost on us and oftentimes we may

sauron some important details as a

result I think sometimes we fail to

understand them properly and to

comprehend what they could mean for us

today and it is quite understandable

that this happens to us I think the

truth is that these are stories that

were told and written down a very long

time ago many thousands of years ago in

fact and they were told and written down

in a cultural context very different

from our own and in a different language

from our own and in a different area

even of the world so it is no wonder

then that we encounter difficulty

understanding their fuller and deeper

meaning when you stop to think about it

sometimes we have a hard enough time

understanding and relating to things

that occurred more recently closer to

our time little details of life from

just a generation ago can be lost on us

I'll give you an example recently in one

of my classes at the University where I

teach I try to make an analogy for my

students using the example of some

television shows I remember seeing and

that were popular in the 1990s so and I

heard an amen hopefully we hear a few

others of those so I made a reference to

television shows like Seinfeld friends

and Frasier for example and I thought it

was a pretty brilliant idea and

illustration I said then you outdid

yourself today but then the look on the

faces of my students told me something

else

all I saw looking back at me were blank

stares in the faces of those students

almost as of saying to me professor

Valentin I don't get that example does

not register with me well of course it

didn't you see I had

failed to take into account when

preparing that lesson plan that these

graduate students mostly between the

ages of 22 and 27 had not grown up

watching Seinfeld friends or Frasier

this is a generation that relates more

to shows maybe like Game of Thrones

madman orange is the new black The

Walking Dead and master of none for

example so my attempt at a teaching

moment using example from the 90s was

lost on them even though we were only

talking about a difference of 15-20

years here but a lot can change in 15 to

20 years apparently another example

would be talking to our teenagers about

experience with things like rotary

telephones connected to house walls

you remember those or cassette tapes

god forbid 8-track tapes I'm not talking

about that or typewriters the reaction

you might get when talking to one of

them about that is what what are you

talking about and we can continue to

give other examples about those sorts of

things and my point is that it is

sometimes hard enough to relate to the

details of life that were experienced

just 15 20 years ago right here in our

own cultural context in our own language

in our own part of the world so imagine

what it is like trying to understand the

stories of the Bible this is not easy we

think it is but it's not easy trust me

I've been trying to for many years it is

why we need to get into the habit I

think not only of reading the Bible but

reading it slowly attentively and I like

to say with the eyes ears and heart of a

curious student well here today I want

to tell

deep into the central message of the

biblical story of Lot's wife but before

I do so I want to offer three

interpretive keys that will prove

helpful in understanding this story and

I think many other stories of the Bible

so in the first place it is important to

note that biblical stories almost always

contain a moral what I mean is that they

usually contain a lesson that they are

trying to communicate they are usually

trying to make a point and we need to

try and focus on finding the moral of

the story in order to understand the

teaching it is trying to impart I say

this because sometimes we spend a lot of

time debating details and questions

about the biblical stories that miss

their point to give you an example

I googled again that now that's a verb I

understand

googled I googled the biblical story of

Lot's wife to see what people were

saying about it and I noticed that many

people were going back and forth

debating the way in which God could have

turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt

they were asking questions like could

this really have happened is this true

or false how is it possible that a woman

could be turned into a pillar of salt

and what proof exists of this well

whether you find them interesting or not

I want to emphasize that these questions

missed the point entirely

and they distract us from focusing on

the central message and teaching of the

story the biblical stories are

oftentimes parabolic narratives

expressing truths that are much more

than ordinary facts now that's a big

concept a lot to chew on so I'm going to

repeat that again the biblical stories

are oftentimes parabolic narratives

expressing truths that are much more

than ordinary

a fax so the questions I think that we

should be asking of them are what

inspired the telling of these stories

what is the moral of the story what is

it trying to say what is it teaching me

and how can I put that teaching into

practice in my life and this brings me

to the second interpretive key biblical

stories often leave a little room for

different interpretations and different

applications across time one way they do

this is by not providing all the details

we may want they also leave some things

inconclusive and the reason they do this

is because they want us to become

participants in their interpretation and

they want us to find different ways in

which we might apply their lesson and

finally a third interpretive key to hold

in mind is that some of the biblical

stories in the Old Testament especially

were national stories that were told and

retold across many generations among the

people of Israel they were originally

told and then eventually written down by

the leaders of the Israelite people and

often they were told during crucial

moments in the life of the community and

they were told and eventually written

down in the hope that their message and

teaching would spread widely and reach

widely among the masses of the people

across many different generations it was

through the telling of stories that the

leaders of the people would get their

message across we must remember that in

these times there was no Facebook no

Twitter no what app no emails no text

messaging no smartphones no radio no TV

no Boston Globe or New York Times etc

etc etc

so the way you made sure to reach the

masses with an important message and

memorable teaching was through the

telling of stories a good example of

this in our times could be found in the

stories told by grandfather's in our

families if you think about it many of

our grandfathers were or are good

storytellers in fact often when they

want to give you an advice or if they

want to teach you something or if they

want to give you what we can call in

Spanish only de gallo

they give it to you through a story

I still remember well my grandfather

from my father's side and we're in

father's day so I think this is very

appropriate he was very good at this my

parents would take me and my brother and

my sister to Puerto Rico every other

summer for a month they did this not

only to have his visit with family but

also to make sure that we remain

familiar with our culture with our

Spanish language and with our heritage I

still thank them for this till this very

day but my grandfather was very famous

for his stories and I recall that every

time my grandfather wanted to give me

some advice or reg ano or some sort of

teaching he would do so through a story

so usually would go something like this

he would say Ile de naka you've heard

that before right

hijo usually is trouble and you just

knew what was coming next and I must

admit that I used to hate it back then

yeah I hated it because I knew that this

was going to take like 30 or 40 minutes

at least probably longer than this

sermon will be so I would roll my eyes

and I would think inside of me Oh Lord

here goes an hour of my life but I

wouldn't say anything out loud oh no no

no no

No the thing was that up well or didn't

only have a gift for storytelling you

see he also had a gift for using like

aurilla

to apply a little bit of discipline if

necessary you know what that is right so

I won't need to translate you will

probably later so I would just shut up

sit next to him and listen to his advice

all wrapped up in a long story but I

will say this I remembered most of the

advice and teachings upworld offered me

because they came with a story and this

was the medium the leaders of Israel

often used to get their advice their

teachings they are Agana their admission

and admonitions across to the people and

today I want to disclose the moral of

one of their stories because I think it

has very important teachings to deliver

to us today on this June 17th of 2018

I'm referring to the story of lot and

Lot's wife which is actually part of a

larger story about the destruction of

Sodom and Gomorrah the story goes that

one day God sent three angels to deliver

a message to Abraham the message wasn't

a pleasant one it was that the structure

was going to befall the cities of sodom

and gomorrah due to the great evil and

wickedness that was prevailing in them

in our churches we have made a big deal

of the sexual transgressions that appear

in the narrative these have gotten a lot

of attention through the years but it

should be clear that this wasn't the

only kind of offense taking place in

Sodom and Gomorrah in fact if we read

Genesis 18 and 19 slowly and carefully

we will notice it the biggest violation

God held against the people in these

cities was for their in hospitality

strangers visitors migrants and

residents were being treated badly and

without respect or courtesy hello as

much as times changed

remain the same how are we treating our

migrants in biblical times and in

ancient near in the ancient Near East

the practice of hospitality was

considered one of the highest virtues

one could demonstrate we should keep in

mind at taking care of the traveler the

poor in the needy in the midst of a

hostile desert environment could mean

the difference between life and death

so hospitality was serious business and

it was something God valued highly and

expected of his people but the people of

sodom and gomorrah were famous for their

in hospitality for their cruelty for

their coldness for their crudeness and

for their lack of care and grace the

picture what should have in mind here is

of a place that was unfriendly

vulgar crime-infested lawless out of

control and dangerous because of this

there was much suffering going on in

sodom and gomorrah and this suffering

worried God it worried him to the point

that God felt it would be best if these

cities didn't exist so he sends three

angels down to Abraham to tell him that

Sodom and Gomorrah are going to be

destroyed now I imagine that this news

was unpleasant on his own but what made

it worse and even more worrisome for

Abraham was that he had beloved and

cherished family members living in one

of those cities in particular his nephew

lot who lived in Sodom with his family

now the Scriptures don't say this but I

imagine the Abraham not only interceded

for the sparing of these cities like he

did but also for the salvation of his

nephew lot and of lots family once he

realized that God was determined to

bring an end to Sodom and Gomorrah and I

believe the prayer was answered because

in chapter 19 of Genesis

we are told that two angels appear to

lot in the city of Sodom this time and

they proceeded to tell that that the

destruction that destruction was coming

to Sodom and Gomorrah and that he should

gather up his family and leave as soon

as possible

lot according to the stories spoke with

his sons and law first but out of

consideration I think for his daughters

but they refused to believe him a little

more time pass and as the time of

destruction drew near lot was still

hesitating so the two angels appeared to

lot again and urge them saying and this

is Ben's Revised Standard Version get up

dude get up dude take your wife and your

two daughters who are here and flee this

city and I find it interesting that the

scriptures say and they do say this that

because a lot continued to hesitate the

Angels took matters into their own hands

so they grabbed lot Lot's wife and their

two daughters by hand and they brought

them outside the city then they urged

lot to flee to this to the mountains but

lot requested instead to permit him and

his family to go to a nearby nearby town

called Zohar which was actually not too

far from Sodom and Gomorrah conceding

the map and here is where things get

really interesting so you can see up

there here's Sodom and gomorrah's or

would be just slightly to the south of

the two cities and this brings me to the

part of the story I want to highlight

because the key figure in my sermon and

what remains of it is Lot's wife our

biblical story goes on to say that

before they let lot and lots family go

the Angels instructed the family not to

stop anywhere and not to look back at

the destruction that was going to come

down upon Sodom and Gomorrah and the

reason God instructed the angels to tell

this to the family was because God

wanted to spare them the agony of seeing

the destruction and devastation of these

two cities

and the people inside of them God wanted

to spare them the agony have seen the

destruction and devastation of the place

they had called home for a while and

also of the neighbors and people that

they probably had known their God was

being merciful but Lot's wife disobeyed

the mandate and as they were walking

through the hills from the city she

looked back and became a pillar of salt

as a story now through the years there

has been much speculation as to why

Lot's wife decided to disobey the

ordinance of the angels and to look back

towards Sodom the truth is that the

Scriptures don't say why remember what I

said earlier that sometimes the biblical

stories don't give us all the details we

may want and they leave some things

inconclusive in order to leave some room

for interpretation the most common

interpretation that has been has been

that Lot's wife looked back at Sodom

because she had been tainted by its

sinfulness and had become so accustomed

to it that she desired it and didn't

want to leave it behind she not only

loved Sodom but also what occurred in it

and what it represented and this is

certainly possible but we cannot

discount some other possibilities I will

note that a number of rabbinic texts

from the 8th 9th and 13th centuries

focus on the story of Lot's wife the

story also appears prominently in the

writings of some of the early church

fathers like Clement of Rome in the

first century and Iranian in the second

century and these writings

open up other avenues of interpretation

that are part of our Christian tradition

for instance they point out that she may

have felt anguish for the two

sons-in-law who stayed back and were

going to be consumed in the destruction

of the city and she no doubt would have

felt bad for the suffering this would

bring to her two daughters she also

likely had friends and neighbors she

knew and hung out with who were going to

die in the destruction she also had

established a home in a routine in that

place and no matter how bad a place may

be we always develop attachment to the

places in which we live some of the

writings also mentioned that she

cherished mementos from her childhood

and adolescence mementos that she was

forced to leave behind and abruptly so

there may have been different reasons

why she looked back towards Sodom is the

point this must not have been easy for

her and I don't know if we taking time

to think about that so a lot of times we

slammed the characters in the Bible but

take a little time to have a little

compassion here but that is also most

likely the reason why the angels from

God instructed her not to look back now

whatever the reason may have been that

led her to look back I think we can

conclude that Lot's wife committed a

fatal mistake the mistake my dear

brothers and sisters was basically this

she allowed her past to define her and

because of this she closed the doors on

a new future that God desired for her

her attachment to the past did not allow

her to move forward into a new future

that God was preparing for her the force

of her past experience paralyzed her in

the present

it did not permit her to live into a new

future filled with new possibilities she

probably thought that her life was over

or that it was going to be worse than

before

she may have been worried by the

uncertainty that awaited her and her new

and her family in a new land she may

have been frightened by the thought of

having to start over again in a new

place she may have been concerned about

how God was going to provide for her and

her family in this new and unknown place

you see the past was something she knew

the future was unknown so she decided to

look back instead of continuing to look

forward in faith oh but what a fatal and

preventable mistake this was you see

what Lot's wife needed to remind herself

was that God had not finished with her

God wasn't done with her so she needed

to look ahead in faith God was not

abandoning her on those hills so she

needed to look ahead in faith God had

grabbed her in her immediate family by

the hand and spared them their lives so

she needed to do what look I had God had

provided for her and her family and

protected the wild they were living in

Sodom so she needed to look ahead in

faith God had not shown any signs of

failing her or a family so she needed to

look ahead in faith just keep looking

ahead keep looking ahead that's what she

needed to do

what Lot's wife needed to believe was

that the same God who was opening up a

safe way for her and her family to

escape destruction the same God who sent

angels to alert them of coming doom the

same God who took them by the hand and

escorted them to safety outside the city

that same God was more than capable not

only of providing for them but also for

blessing them with greater prosperity

into the future what Lot's wife needed

to do was to make room in her heart and

mind for the possibility that the life

in front of her could be better and more

important than the life behind her I'm

gonna repeat that again make sure that

you remember it what Lot's wife needed

to do was to make room in her heart and

mind for the possibility that the life

in front of her could be better and more

important than the life behind her and

that's the moral to the story my good

people the moral of the story is that we

shouldn't let the pass the fineness nor

should we let it paralyze us in the

present we should remain fluid mobile

agile and open to a future that God may

be designed for us even if or when it

looks uncertain sometimes we need to

leave that little bit of room for the

possibility that that life in front of

us

could be more important than the one

behind us the story of Lot's wife you

see is a warning to us of the dangers of

becoming stagnant inert and complacent

it is also a warning of the dangers of

letting the past and letting our

attachments carry too much weight in our

lives

in the case of Lot's wife it was an over

attachment to a place that kept her

stuck in place in her case it was an

over attachment to a place that kept her

from experience experiencing more life

into the future and this sort of thing

could be happening in our lives too over

attachment to things places and people

could sometimes be problematic

it could be limiting sometimes but in

our cases in our lives it could be other

things keeping us from experiencing

growth from experiencing development

from experiencing new life in some cases

it could be the past traumas of life

that hold us captive in place and keep

us from experiencing healing and freedom

no doubt the traumas of life leave a

lasting mark and they could be very

difficult to get over but we must try

try try to minimize their power and

their damage we must try and find ways

to look ahead and hope perhaps you can

tell yourself God is not finished with

me yet

keep looking ahead in other cases it

could be a physical condition or an

emotional condition like a depression or

an anxiety condition that afflicts us

that makes us miserable and that holds

us captive in place not allowing us to

contemplate the possibility of better

brighter days ahead when it comes to

depression I know how the billeting in

agonizing those can be usually I try not

to be personal I'm gonna do so here I

struggled with one of these myself nine

years ago and it was bad that was a very

dark moment in my life and I didn't know

if I could come out of it but after a

struggle of about a year and a half I

broke free from its chains and so can

you

whether it's an illness and injury or an

emotional condition you're struggling

with you can tell yourself this illness

this injury this condition doesn't

define me I am more than this illness I

am more than this injury I am more than

this condition and you too can remind

yourself God hasn't finished with me yet

so keep looking forward keep looking

ahead now in some cases it could be a

struggle with an addiction or a history

of substance abuse and you may try try

and try to break free only to fall back

into the addiction time and time again

and you may have experienced freedom

from the bondage of substance abuse for

a while not only to relapse more

recently and you may be feeling helpless

and you may be feeling like you are

turning into a pillar of salt being

consumed in place to you I say nothing

is impossible while you are alive there

is always a possibility of moving ahead

of moving from one place to another of

moving from a place of captivity

confinement and constrained to a place

of freedom and liberation and you too

can remind yourself that God hasn't

finished with you yet so keep looking

ahead now this may sound odd to many of

you but sometimes our own notions of

spirituality can hold us captive and not

allow us to enjoy the fullness of life

that God desires for us sometimes we

hold ourselves to such high and

ultimately impossible standards of

morality that all we do is set ourselves

up to live lives captive to feelings of

guilt and worthlessness we think that

defying God's favor and to be saved we

have to be perfect we think that we have

to be perfectly holy 24 hours a day

seven days a week

good luck with that we think that to

find God's face

to be safe we have to be holier than the

angels in heaven but here on earth and

sometimes we see everything through the

lenses of sin and everything is bad and

everything is going to hell or about to

go to hell

everything is doom and sin and tainted

by darkness and we imagine God in the

heavens with a magnifying glass ready to

pounce on us at any moment if or when we

slip and all we do with this mentality

and attitude my dear friends is that we

set ourselves up for moral and spiritual

paralysis and we deny ourselves the

opportunity to see and experience the

beauty of God's world to enjoy the

beauty of God's creation to experience

God's grace and compassion and we deny

ourselves the opportunity of rejoicing

in Jesus's declaration that he has come

so that we may have life and have it in

abundance I have come Jesus says in John

chapter 10 so that you may live life to

the fullest and let me tell you this

while we are on this subject if lot the

husband and father in our biblical story

he had needed to be morally and

spiritually perfect irreproachable and

faultless - to be saved he would not

have passed the test he would have been

doomed if you look at chapters 13 and 19

of Genesis you will discover many

questionable traits connected with lot

from his materialistic mindset so his

greed for land to his disputes with

Abraham to his hesitation moving from

sorrow to his drunken foolishness and

disgrace narrated towards the end of

chapter 19 I can go on and on and on if

you want me to lot was far from a

perfect specimen of holiness the

morality that

the point what saved lot was his trust

in God his faith in God his willingness

to make room in his life for God his

willingness to follow God and to move

where God led him to what help lot 2 was

that he had an uncle interceding for him

Abraham let's not forget that but

perfection wasn't his and neither can it

be ours so free yourself from a life of

guilt thinking you must be perfect and

holier than thou in God's eyes God

hasn't called you into a life ridden

with guilt he has called you into a life

of Grace and devotion but that is

different from a perfect life so if you

are struggling under this disappointment

of being morally and spiritually

imperfect just remind yourself that God

doesn't expect perfection from you and

neither should you and tell yourself

this God hasn't finished with me yet I'm

getting better I'm looking forward I'm

looking ahead as Billy Graham used to

always say at the end of his messages

come as you are come to God as you are

and all of your imperfections and allow

yourself the chance to experience God's

grace and salvation as it is provided to

us in and through Jesus Christ coming

towards the end now it is Father's Day

so you know I had to end with something

special for our dads well here it goes

I hope it's special

sometimes we men cede to the weird and

faulty expectations of certain cultural

customs and we prevent ourselves from

progressing in our relationships with

our spouses our children and our

families for example this notion that

man shouldn't cry this notion that men

should always be strong and not show any

sign of weakness in difficult times

what a bunch of baloney now that's not a

curse words well we can use any Church

and unfortunately this baloney can lead

to damaging effects all this leads to is

to a lack of tenderness to harshness to

repress feelings to emotional immaturity

or very emotional stunts and to

unrealistic expectations and this could

get in the way of our being able to

develop healthy sympathetic and

supportive relationships with our sons

and daughters fathers you can you can do

better than this you can be better than

this let me tell you there is nothing

more beautiful and more attractive than

a man was in touch with his tender side

I said it and my point here is that

sometimes faulty cultural norms and

expectations can stop us from developing

from evolving from growing from moving

forward with healthier relational lives

in a similar way there are cultural

stereotypes that try to suggest that

taking care of the children that

changing diapers that giving a baby its

bottle that helping around the house

that doing the laundry that helping in

the kitchen that doing these sort of

things are a woman's job well good luck

with that

you might need some of that marital

counseling

do you think you're gonna get away with

that this way of thinking about gender

roles is not only problematic it's

unjust men have historically been seen

as being providers and not nourishes but

this mentality is very limiting white

can it be both just as women can be

nourishes and providers men can be

providers and nourishes so let's get

with it fathers let's get with it these

sorts of stereotypes can stop us from

moving forward in our lives from from

progressing in our relationships and

homes so as you can see there are many

things that can turn us into a pillar of

salt there are many things that can hold

us in place and not allow us to witness

an important and possibly better

tomorrow there are many things that can

cease as and rob us of the opportunity

to live into a different future don't

let what happened to Lot's wife happened

to you don't look back don't get stuck

in place look forward look forward to

where God may be wanting to lead you so

I want to take this moment to ask you to

reflect on your life examine it examine

yourself in your situation what is

threatening to turn you into a pillar of

salt

what is threatening to hold you in place

and to not allow you to experience a

different better and possibly more

important future whatever it is you can

choose not to look back and move forward

and courage and hope and in faith you

can remind yourself that God isn't

finished with you yet and choose to look

and move forward just look ahead just

look ahead just look at just look

you can also place whatever is

threatening to turn you into a pillar of

salt in God's hands and ask him to grab

you by your hand and lead you to safety

like he did lot and his family I don't

always make an altar call and I know

that before we had something like that

but I'm going to extend one today I'm

going to ask the whole congregation to

rise at this moment but I am going to

ask those who are struggling with

something in their lives those who are

struggling with an illness or some past

trauma or an emotional condition or an

addiction or some internal turmoil anger

or hurt whatever is holding you in place

I'm going to ask those of you who wish

to push put these things in God's hands

and you want to ask God to grab you by

the hand and help you I'm gonna ask

those people to have the courage to come

forward to come to the front of this

altar and as you do so as you make your

way here from the first floor second

floor third floor wherever you may be I

want your movement here to be a symbol

of something every step you take coming

up here to this front is going to

represent a move away from the

possibility of becoming a pillar of salt

and a move towards a new future and a

new you so every step you take coming

here will be symbolic of your refusal to

look back it will be symbolic of your

refusal to be stuck in place it will be

some Baalak of your willingness to keep

moving forward and to keep looking ahead

I'm going to ask Greg

to come up and he's gonna lead us in a

prayer of deliverance but I'm also going

to ask this I'm gonna ask the associate

pastors of our church or here to also

come up at this moment

those who are here they may also be

leaders of the church I invite them to

come up and I want some of you to stand

to my left and I want some of you to

stand to my right

[Music]

and what you're going to do while Greg

leads us in prayer the rest of our

church leaders are going to simply

extend their hand out towards the people

you can extend your head out towards the

people and your extended hands will be a

symbol of the helping hands of the

angels who has scored it lot and less

family outside of the city to safety and

I ask you to put whatever is holding you

in place in God's hands and look forward

in faith

[Music]

thank you that you haven't finished with

us yet Lord God thank you Lord God what

is in Christ is a new creation the old

has gone the new has come god I thank

you that you are the God who makes all

things new Lord God you the God who

lifts us out of the miry clay and puts

our feet on a rock puts a new song in

our mouths ice on the praise to our God

I thank you that you're the God who has

a new name for us who gives us a new

spirit who gives us a new heart who

gives us a new vision for our future

Lord Jesus God you have come that we

might have life and have it abundantly

lord I thank you that what has happened

to us whether it be good bad whatever a

bringing need not define us lord god we

need not look back lord god i thank you

that we can look forward in faith Lord

God knowing God that you hold our future

Lord Jesus and God it's not just a blind

Courage's because you are there you are

ahead you are leading us by the hand

into that new place and father I pray in

Jesus name Lord God for people who have

suffered things God that feel like they

can never get free that they say I'm

just gonna be this way it's just gonna

be this way forever I just I'm just

gonna have to live with it

in Jesus name we rebuke that thought

that temptation to look back and we say

God no we are new in you Lord God we

have a new future a new hope Lord God a

new plan God that you're designing for

our lives Lord God father I thank you

God that certain people men and women

among us Lord God they feel trapped and

stuck Lord God can today say God I thank

you Father that you have a new vision a

new plan I am gonna give glory to you

and my life will be a living example of

what you can do Lord Jesus living and

breathing God I pray God that you would

come against any lie in our thought that

we're stuck where we are Lord

no father we are going forward in Jesus

name Lord God Holy Spirit breathe on us

breathe on us today Lord God Oh father I

pray Lord Jesus you'd birth in us a new

hope Lord not oh my god I'm gonna father

I thank you Lord Jesus your spirit is

freshly moving here among us Lord God I

pray in Jesus name Lord God that you

would break addictions in this moment in

Jesus name

Lord Wuan where the Spirit of the Lord

is there is freedom there is freedom in

Jesus name I speak to that addiction

addiction to substances addiction to

drugs addiction to pornography and it is

broken in the name of Jesus father I

pray for households that feels stuck

Lord God for marriages that feel like

it's never gonna get better

relationships with kids that feel like

these relationships are broken forever

in Jesus name we rebuke that thought in

Jesus name Lord God father just like a

person can be born again a relationship

can be born again a household can be

born again a marriage can be born again

a family can be born again Oh Lord God

for people feel like they've just hit

one dead end after another God that

there's no new doors are gonna open I

thank you God that that's alive from the

bed your the there is a door in heaven

and the doors you open no one can shut

you have the keys Lord God in Jesus name

new opportunities god I pray for new

courage and hope in your people father

people who are afraid of trying

something new a new job a new ministry

new something that you think oh that

couldn't be for me in Jesus name it

might be look ahead

look ahead the only failure is not

trying in Jesus name Lord God but your

people would be courageous God about the

new futures ahead of them Lord in Jesus

name father I pray for people who

struggle has been shared with emotional

struggles that are you feel like you

just can't cure it there's not a there's

there's not a medicine can cure an

emotional problem a neurosis of anxiety

or depression or whatever it is and in

Jesus name Lord God there is a medicine

your Holy Spirit can infuse our minds

and our hearts with living water Lord

God and the joy of the Lord can be our

strength and the peace of God can pass

all understanding I pray we will look

forward and not back in Jesus name

god I pray God for people who are living

under the accusations of the evil one

Lord who reminds them of things they've

done that haunt them and in Jesus name

we declare that you have cast our sins

as far as the East is from the West Lord

God you have thrown them in the sea of

forgetfulness Lord God and your grace

Lord God all things are made new your

that father on Father's Day that runs

out to meet us Lord God who puts us with

a new robe and puts a ring on our

fingers Lord God and kills the fatted

calf and celebrates and says this son of

mine was dead and is alive again was

lost and is found because we're looking

forward to coming home to you

and not back to the to the the mud where

we were before no back to Egypt no back

to Egypt Lord God there is a promised

land before us and even if we have to

fight even if we have to fight

once we get there Lord God there is no

going back to Egypt in Jesus name we are

slaves no longer the one whom the Sun

sets free is free

The armor of God a solid life in dark times

so I'd invite you to open your Bibles to

the book of Ephesians chapter 6

Ephesians chapter 6 and we're we're kind

of bringing at home there's just two

more messages and we're done with the

book of Ephesians where we're almost

there it's only been a year of kind of

working through it right and here we are

so I'd like to begin by sharing a we're

getting to that famous passage about the

armor of God and before we get into it

I'd like to share a little story because

some of you might know that or maybe you

don't know that I'm Biddle a little bit

of a civil war geek sort of a history

geek

yeah and I'm in good company here

another one of the pastors who will

remain nameless Sammy is also a Civil

War geek we even played hooky went away

for a weekend went to Gettysburg once

and I had my wife and kids looking at me

you're gonna ditch us for a weekend to

go to a Civil War battlefield like I

guess so so I would like to share a

story from that battle for those people

we might have people who don't know the

history it was during the American Civil

War in the mid-1800s when the North and

the South were fighting slavery was

really the provoking issue in this

country it was a big important war if

the South wins then there's two

countries one with slavery for a long

time and if you think race relations are

bad now they would have been even a

whole lot worse had that war turned out

differently so it was an important war

in this country's history and the north

which was the side fighting against

slavery and for the Union wasn't doing

too well

they just kept losing and losing and

losing and there was a big battle in

Gettysburg Pennsylvania and there was a

particular part of that battlefield the

whole army the northern Union army was

spread out on pretty much good high

ground in a huge three-mile line and

curving around they had a great position

but the southern army was going to try

to attack them and flank them and come

around from behind and it was a huge I

must have been over half a million men

in the Union Army there and there was a

little battalion from Maine called the

20th Maine that by a quirk of fate ended

up on the end of the line

this group of maybe 200

cultures from Maine had the privilege of

being the very last or first depending

which way you measure it the last group

of soldiers on this whole line of over

half a million men and they had a

particular position that they assumed at

the last minute of the battle called

Little Round Top a little mountain a

little hill that it was not so little

but it was sort of a rocky slope and

they were up at the top of that and the

southern army well over half the

southern army was focused on that spot

because they knew that if they could get

up over that hill they could circle

around take the Union Army from behind

destroy them and then there was nothing

between them and Washington South wins

so the commander of this little group of

soldiers from Maine

his name was Joshua Chamberlain he was a

professor became a soldier he was told

you must hold this spot at all costs you

cannot retreat at all you must stay here

if you give up if you yield the

Confederate Army will come over the

slope sweep around flank the army war

over you must hold your ground

and so Joshua Chamberlain there sit and

say yes sir I hear you yes sir and he

kept saying do you understand me he's

looking him in the eye so yeah I get the

message yeah kind of wishing him gone so

that he could get things ready cuz they

were coming finally he goes and then he

sits down with his men and he sets him

up and he says gentlemen we are going to

have to be stubborn today we cannot move

from this spot if we do the consequences

are much bigger than any of us can

imagine so he set up his men along a

Stonewall and it happened all these just

Davitt you know Brigade after Brigade

came up coming up that hill and they

were there now fortunately they're

behind a stone wall in the high ground

but it's just 200 men at the end of the

line and they resisted wave after wave

after wave of attacks reloading and

reloading and reloading until finally it

came to the poor

where they were out of ammunition they

were filling up their guns with bullets

from wounded or deceased comrades and

finally came to the point where there

was nothing left

they had not another bullet in their

guns and and they were coming again

another attack and he says we can't

fight we don't have any bullets left we

can't retreat so put on your bayonets

we're gonna have to just go at them and

we'll have the benefit of going downhill

we'll swing like a door on a point and

so these men with no bullets and their

guns just stood there decided well maybe

if we yell really loud they'll think

there are more of us and so they didn't

know how to do the rebel yell that was

more the southern thing but they did it

they stood there and as the army came up

but then they just yelled and swept down

that hill and the southern soldiers put

up their arms and surrendered and that

little xx main group 200 men now down to

less than a hundred won the battle 1 the

next day battle of Gettysburg

and even though the war went on for a

long time after that another couple

bloody horrible years that little battle

may have been the one of the pivotal

points and saving it and the key line

that I want to emphasize was when that

commander looked at his soldiers and

said gentlemen we have to be stubborn

today there are some things we cannot

give up on we can't move we have to

stand firm right here if we move then

all kinds of things go behind us and

that I believe is the spirit behind what

the Apostle Paul was writing to the

Ephesians at the end of this letter we

all know that the letter ends with this

passage we're about to read about

putting on the full armor of God and

taking our stand is because the people

of Ephesus knew that they lived in the

middle of a spiritual war their city was

the center of the worship of the goddess

Diana or Artemis and they it was a

center of paganism there was a spiritual

battle so intense that when the people

who practice witchcraft

came and burned their Scrolls publicly

the value of their magical Scrolls added

up to well over two and a half million

dollars of their witchcraft books they

knew that they were in the middle of a

spiritual battle they knew that they had

to stand firm they had to be stubborn

today and the whole book of Ephesians is

preparing the people of Ephesus to see

themselves in this spiritual perspective

to realize that there is a heavenly or

spiritual dimension to life there's a

spiritual battle going on in the

invisible realm and that they as

Christians have a part to play in it and

the all that has been talked about about

holiness about unity about the gospel

all of that leads into this final

chapter telling them we must be stubborn

today so let's read the text together

Ephesians 6 starting in verse 10 it

starts by saying finally because the

whole book is leading up to this message

finally be strong in the Lord and in his

mighty power now just take a minute

right away there remembering back to

chapter 1 of the book of Ephesus where

it says that power that mighty power

that same phrase is the same mighty

strength that God exerted when he raised

Christ from the dead and seated him in

the heavenly realms far above all rule

and authority and every name that can be

given not only in the present age but

the one to come the same power that

raised Jesus is available to me and you

and I know we may feel like again you

gotta be kidding me I'm me Lourdes just

be you see all my stuff my problems my

weaknesses God says my power is made

perfect in your weaknesses so be strong

in the Lord and in his mighty power not

your confidence not your wisdom his

mighty power put on the full armor of

God so that you can take your stand

against the devil's

games that word scheme is very

intentional it's a very unusual word

Methodius it indicates that we have an

enemy a spiritual enemy who does plot

and plan creative ways to undermine the

gospel and to attack us you know the

beginning of the fourth spiritual law

says the God loves you and has a

wonderful plan for your life it is a

fact that the devil also hates you and

has a terrible plan for your life and we

need to know that I know it's not a

positive thing to talk about it's better

know the truth

than to be a victim for our struggle the

word use there is the Greek word for

wrestling wrestling matches our

wrestling is not against flesh and blood

but against the rulers against the

authorities against the powers of this

dark world another translation is this

present darkness that surrounds us in

this world against the spiritual forces

of evil in the heavenly realms therefore

put on the full armor of God so when the

day of evil comes you may be able to

stand your ground and after you have

done everything to stand stand firm then

with the belt of truth buckled around

your waist with the breastplate of

righteousness in place and with your

feet fitted with the readiness that

comes from the gospel of peace in

addition to all this take up the shield

of faith with which you can extinguish

all the flaming arrows of the evil one

take the helmet of salvation and the

sword of the Spirit which is the word of

God and pray in the spirit on all

occasions and with all kinds of prayers

and requests and with this in mind be

alert and keep on always keep on praying

for all of the Lord's people but also

for me that whenever I speak words may

be given to me so that I will fearlessly

make known the mystery of the gospel for

which I am an ambassador in Chains pray

that I may declare it fearlessly as I

should amen

father I thank you God that we are the

Asians today and God that you are

telling us you are that commander

telling us that we must be stubborn

about some things about the gospel and

so father I pray that you would speak to

us God that it would be your spirit

speaking and your mighty power at work

in Jesus name Amen amen

so the beginning thing we need to

realize so most of us live our lives as

if the world is a perfectly normal good

place right we live our lives we go to

work we want to go on vacation to do

good things we have goals we have plans

because the earth is a beautiful place

God created it there's nice trees and

things there's ocean there's sports

there's really good Sun culture there's

all kinds of great things in this world

but what we need to realize and always

remember that this world is not the way

it is supposed to be that there has been

a rebellion in the heavenly places that

there was a spiritual being that at one

point rebelled against God

that angel that became that chief angel

the Satan the accuser that rebelled

against God and people became

collaborators with him even Adam and all

the rest of us have joined that side of

things and this world actually became

because people the rulers of this world

God delegated to people the authority in

this earth Adam and Eve were created in

the image of God that means that they

were like statues of God on earth

reflecting God's rule on earth they were

given authority and power to rule and

cultivate the earth people were meant to

rule this planet in God's name but they

abdicated that authority they rebelled

against God and turned to the evil one

and this earth became enemy occupied

territory Jesus refers to the devil as

the Prince of this world

so this world in a sense came under the

authority of that evil fallen angel it

became the dark planet if you ever read

some science fiction from CS Lewis you

know what I mean it's

planet that went dark when the devil

took over and this reminds me of another

little historical analogy if I may

indulge myself again please let me

indulge myself I like history just this

past week June 6th was the anniversary

of what day anyone know Sammy I know

you're a history geek you can't answer

it right away come on let someone else

it d-day d-day was a specific moment

January 6 1944 during World War two

where Adolf Hitler had taken over most

of Europe and France and Belgium became

Nazi occupied territory and they were

just about to go across the channel take

England and then they would have their

eyes set on the United States and we'd

all be speaking German if things hadn't

gone a different direction I am of

German descent so the language isn't the

bad thing it's all the other stuff

that's the bad thing right so Europe was

enemy occupied territory but on January

6 1944 there was an invasion in the

United States with England France the

Allies invaded the beaches of Normandy

and a bunch of young 18 19 20 year old

boys got out of boats and got shot to

take that beach and it was the beginning

of the end for Hitler now the war didn't

end that day but it was the beginning of

the end because now the Allies had a

foothold in Europe and they worked their

way all across Europe and eventually

into Germany and Hitler lost the work of

the war now in the same way this earth

in the same way but in an analogous way

this earth is enemy occupied territory

the evil one rules now all you have to

do is look out your window to know that

the world is not the way it's supposed

to be right they have to do is turn the

news on for five minutes and you know

this planet isn't right

something has gone dreadfully wrong here

there's innocent people that that die in

volcanoes there's attacks there's evil

there's terrorism there's racism there's

all kinds of bad things the world is not

the way it's supposed to be but the good

news for Christians is that our d-day

has already happened our God

our God became a man those two thousand

years ago he became one of us he went to

the cross and he took on himself he

absorbed the full evil of sin all the

penalty of sin on him on the cross the

power of death upon him three days dead

and in the grave and after three days

God exerted his mighty power and he came

out of that tomb again and won the

decisive victory over Satan sin and

death he took the beach god invaded the

earth it's the beginning of the end at

that point for the devil and the

Apostles ass okay is it over so you're

gonna set up the kingdom now we win

right

they can't kill you and Jesus said huh

not quite it's not for you to know the

times and dates that the Father are set

by its own authority but you will

receive power when the Holy Spirit comes

upon you and you will be my witnesses

right here in Jerusalem out in Judea and

to the ends of the world in other words

you with the power of the Holy Spirit

are gonna retake this planet for God

because this is your planet kids that's

what God's saying this is your planet

your humans I put you here and you with

my power are gonna retake it for the

kingdom of God by preaching the good

news that Jesus has paid the penalty on

the cross he's died he's risen and

everyone who repents and believes in Him

can be part of that kingdom the kingdom

that's coming on earth and one day when

the time is right Jesus will come back

from the heavenly dimension where we

can't see him but he's there and there

will be an unzipping between the

invisible dimension and the physical and

there will be the clouds of glory from

that side and the son of man Jesus will

come from the heavenly side to the

earthly side and the kingdoms of this

world will become the kingdoms of our

God and this earth will be transformed

and returned to the way it's meant to be

and there will be a resurrection and

everything will be the way it was

originally meant to be but even much

better because in the kingdom of God his

plan B is even better than plan a

sometimes so God has a plan and we're

part of retaking this planet for God

there's a spiritual war going on

coming against the enemy but we need to

remember that our situation right now is

not neutral this earth is still enemy

occupied territory we are at war we are

the army of God now it's interesting one

of the analogies that I like to use a

lot for the church is that the church is

a hospital right and I love that image

that jesus said that the healthy don't

need a doctor it's the sick right that's

us right people who know we're sinners

we come to God and say Jesus I need help

and that's what God's here for where a

hospital come with your wounds your

brokenness your saying your problems so

we believe in all that there's another

analogy though in Bible and that's that

the church is the army of God and we are

soldiers of the Cross we need to

rediscover some of these old hymns of

mighty fortress is our God and we shy

away from that because war is an evil

thing right war is not supposed to be

that's part of the sinful fall so it we

get uncomfortable making the analogy but

it's an analogy from the Bible because

our enemy is not humans it's not people

it's not Nations but it's spiritual

forces that are at work in this dark

world we are at war in the book of

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 2 it explains

that the air that we breathe is

contaminated with sin Ephesians 2:2 says

following the course of this world

following the Prince of the power of the

air which is the spirit now at work in

the sons of disobedience in other words

there's a way of this world around us

the way people do things that seems

normal

that is not normal you know it's very

interesting sometimes when people try to

do things God's Way

everyone's like are you crazy that's

bizarre because what's normal seems

crazy because the way of this world the

way people normally operate follows the

Prince of the power of the air

this invisible sort of atmosphere that

we all breathe and there's a prince

ruling behind it that permeates the

attitudes in the worldviews and how we

operate it's a spirit that is at work in

the sons of disobedience the sons of

disobedience are all of us who have

so bade God but then God fishes us out

of that and makes us instead clothed

with Christ but we'll talk about that

later but it's important for us to

realize that our society is infused with

spiritual evil now again I don't believe

in separatism we don't it's very obvious

that we are very involved in the culture

and the society around us education the

arts politics all kinds of different

things but it's important for us to

realize that this world is not neutral

that the governments of this world all

to one degree or another are infused

with demonic lies with a love of power

and evil that the media the media the

news the entertainment systems it's like

the devil has used these as megaphones

to amplify his influence over the world

schools and universities and don't get

me wrong a big fan of school and

university I hope my kids go to one

someday right but we need to realize

that they there is evil behind many of

these in such all of these institutions

in one way or another that the enemy is

in the air the very ecology itself the

nature around us and people all people

because we have sinned have become

collaborators with the enemy who's

occupying this planet the Prince of this

world has set up a mock government in

the spiritual realm

that has to be dislodged now I don't

want to get all freaky and science

fictiony some of you who were you know

kind of knew and I have kids in the

house I don't freaking went out but the

very fact is that there is a spiritual

government in the invisible realm

surround us with organization where

there is there are rulers and

principalities it says we wrestle

against rulers authorities cosmic powers

over this present darkness spiritual

forces of evil in heavenly places as if

there are some demonic rulers or

principalities or personalities that

rule different nations and that

influence nations with their own

particular lies their own particular

temptations and sins and every nation

has demons assigned to them including

our own States regions

cities neighborhoods schools businesses

there are different governments and I

really do believe that there are

different spiritual forces in different

places there's a spiritual geography so

to speak and you can really see this I

mean if you travel you may feel when you

go to certain places that just you could

just feel it in the atmosphere there's

something different here there's

different temptations at work there's

different types of evil and spiritual

air in the place we need to realize that

there is a prince of the power of the

air but thank God again just to come

back to it that Jesus has descended like

the book of Ephesians says to the lower

earthly regions he came into this dark

world and then he suffered the cross and

God raised him from the dead seated him

at his right hand in the spiritual

invisible dimensions remember when Jesus

was risen from the dead after he said

guys I'm going to give you my spirit and

you're gonna take over the planet in the

name of Jesus by preaching the gospel

then what did he do he ascended and a

cloud emerged like a supernatural cloud

and he disappeared from view so Jesus is

still physically alive and present but

in that spiritual dimension and from

that side he sent His Holy Spirit into

this dimension so that we can spread the

kingdom on earth he is exalted to the

right hand in heaven of God in heavenly

places far above all rule and authority

power and Dominion and every name that

is named not only in this age but in the

age to come it's important for us to

realize the war is already decided okay

the war is already won our God is

already the victor over sin and evil we

don't have to live in a fearful timidity

like oh no what's gonna happen no no God

is in charge he is seated on the throne

above all else

but the battle continues and we are

called to stand firm in his power that

he sends from that other side we're

taking this earth for the rightful king

and we need to pick sides now again the

Ephesians were very sensitive to this

oddly because as I've talked about at

other times and if you read about this

in the book of Acts chapter 19 you read

about what happened when the Apostle

Paul visited the city of Ephesus that

when he was there the first thing he did

is pray for people to receive the power

of the Holy Spirit so they needed power

then the Bible says that extraordinary

miracles were done through Paul to the

point where even his sweat rags when he

was making tents he throw him in a pile

the throw away and some brilliant person

says I'm gonna pick up this sweat rag

and I'm gonna put it on my sick

grandmother and hope she's healed now

please no sweat rags I mean let's just

let Jesus heal by his power we're not

gonna sell sweat right we're not gonna

sell but God was doing crazy weird

bizarre miracles okay and then there was

this weird encounter with some people

who tried to use the name of Jesus on a

man who was demonized and he beat him up

because I don't even know who you are

I'm going to come back to that there was

a public confession where everybody who

had practiced different types of

witchcraft and different types of magic

brought their expensive scrolls into the

center and and burned them now we're not

in favor of book burnings usually but if

they're magic demonic incantations then

ya may need to throw it in the furnace

because these are things that they would

use to invoke the power of evil among

them and then finally the Apostle Paul

was preaching about Jesus and then some

of the idol makers the craftsmen began

to feel economically and politically

threatened uh-oh we make a lot of money

by making statues of the goddess Diana

and Artemis and now this guy's saying

that they're not real gods and suddenly

this guy named Demetrius got very

religious and he was like how can they

offend our faith in our precious goddess

Diana of course he's like making all

this money from it right and he's like

we're gonna get in trouble so we've got

to stop him and they gathered in a in a

theater in a Coliseum thousands of

people from Ephesus and began chanting

for two hours great is Artemis of the

Ephesians it was so dangerous they

didn't allow the Apostle Paul to go in

because the Principality over Ephesus

had incorporated into the person of the

goddess Diana now do I believe in Greek

mythology Zeus Diana Artemis upon course

not that's mythology but the devil is

not picky and he adopts sometimes

certain types of superstitions and

beliefs and takes on that personality so

they new we live right where Artemis

lives and we're gonna need some power if

we're gonna stand firm and it was not

easy because remember how it was in

those days or I've talked about this in

other sermons that if you did not go to

the idol feasts to worship the idol you

could lose your job because the union

was part of the idolatry you'd have to

go with the union to worship the idol

and in these idol feasts they would they

would offer sacrifices to the idol

they'd commit sexual immorality and if

you don't play ball you could lose your

job and even be in danger of going to

jail the Ephesians needed to know their

spiritual identity and stand firm and

that's why the book of Ephesians begins

with this amazing line and I'm going to

get to the armor in a minute so just

stay with me but it begins by saying

blessed be the God and father it says

Ephesians 1:3 blessed be the God and

father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has

blessed us in the heavenly places with

every spiritual blessing in Christ in

other words you've got nothing to be

afraid of Artemis cannot defeat you that

you have a power and an identity in the

spiritual realm that not only do you can

you move in that spiritual realm but as

I said before you could fly first-class

you have authority you have power you're

blessed in the heavenly places with it

every spiritual blessing in Christ even

though you were once dead in your

trespasses and sins God made you alive

together with Christ and by grace you've

been saved he raised you up he seated us

with him in the heavenly places in

Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages

he might show the immeasurable riches of

his grace and kindness towards us in

Christ Jesus you were dead but you're

not dead anymore if you believe in Jesus

your spirit is alive and you might be

sitting here physically but your spirit

is sitting on a throne next to Jesus and

I know something you're saying Greg

you've gotta be kidding me do you know

you know what I've going through this

week your spirit in Jesus is next to

Jesus you're seated with Christ in

heavenly places you are a new creation

in Christ your feelings are real but

they're not your reality your reality is

a spiritual power and authority and

dignity you're blessed in heavenly

places you once were darkness but now

you are light in the Lord so now we

learn to live as children of light so

that's why the whole book of Ephesians

talks about how to live out our

spiritual identity all the teaching

about being unified as a church all of

that is in a spiritual warfare context

because an army that is divided is an

army that will be defeated so our unity

is not just so we can be one big happy

family it's because our real enemy is

not the person in the church who bothers

you your real enemy is the devil who's

trying to divide you from that person in

the church so that you won't lock

shields and fight together all the

teaching in the book of Ephesians about

holiness and morality all we're gonna

see comes from a spiritual perspective

because the devil is an accuser he is

like a prosecuting attorney who does

good research about the ways we fail and

our sins and our shortcomings and he

accuses and he uses those openings to

get at us so in Ephesians all the

teaching about morality and holiness and

unity and all of that has to do with

spiritual warfare did the it talks about

remember we preached this was several

months ago how Jews and Gentiles coming

together to be one new person was part

of a glorious reality so also here at

line of Judah in a time when the devil

is trying to separate people based on

race and economics and ethnicity and

politics we are one people from many

tribes and nations and tongues

and languages not because we're just

liberal and idealist but because we all

have the same King and there's a new

kingdom on earth we have the same father

and we're a new family on earth they men

and so that's why we come together

strong against the work of the enemy

talks about holiness it says we should

no longer live as the Gentiles do that

means the collaborators with the ruler

of this world in the futility of their

thinking that we shouldn't let the Sun

go down on our anger and let that

bitterness allow the devil a foothold

that we need to stay alert because the

days are evil don't get drunk on wine

but be filled with the Holy Spirit

because this is not the time to let our

guard down to check out or to go on

spiritual vacation the days are evil we

need to stay alert

Jesus's Prayer he taught us ends by

saying lead us not into temptation but

deliver us from evil every day we put

our guard up and that's why he's saying

we have to stand firm we must be

stubborn today stand stand stand firm

put on the full armor of God so let's go

through it okay so the first one in the

armour of God that we're going to talk

about is the belt of truth put on the

belt of truth and this is that garment

that holds it all together the concept

of truth I think is so important for the

church today oh hey she found some cool

illustrations awesome thank you the belt

of truth that holds it all together we

don't want to be caught with our pants

down please it's all about authenticity

earlier in the book of Ephesians it says

that speaking the truth in love we will

grow up in all things into the one who

is our head but you know that that is a

translation that's a little complicated

because it's very unusual that verse

earlier in the book of Ephesians doesn't

say speaking the truth but just true

thing in love it's weird it's it's a

unique use of that word as if to say

it's not so much what you say although

what you say is important but who you

are it's about being authentic being a

genuine sincere Christian that you're

not playing games

no double life then we won't be infants

tossed back and forth by the waves blown

back and forth by every wind of teaching

in the cunning and craftiness of people

in their deceitful scheming the book of

Ephesians says now there were some

people as I mentioned in Ephesus who

tried to fake it in the spiritual

dimension and I referred to it but I'd

like to go back over the story a little

bit you read about it in Acts chapter 19

they were the sons of a particular

priest named

Eva I think there were seven of them

right I don't know there were a few of

them there's a bunch of these guys and

they were exorcists right there were

ghostbusters so you got a demon did you

just call me for a small fee I'll come

and take care of it and they had ink

incantations that he would use in magic

sayings and amulets and things and then

they saw what God was doing through Paul

and if I hey I'm gonna try this Jesus

trick I'm gonna try the Jesus

incantation and so there was a demonized

man a man who had a demon in him and

they came to do their Ghostbuster thing

and they come in and they say in the

name of Jesus whom Paul preaches come

out you know and you know the story

right the demon threw the man looks at

him and says yeah I know Jesus and I've

heard about Paul but who are you

have we met and the Bible says that that

man that one man overpowered the seven

sons of sceva and sent them running out

into the street bloody and with their

clothes torn and that's what really

shook the town you know why just can't

use the name of Jesus if you don't

belong to Jesus that's like identity

theft right you're using a credit card

that's not yours are saying hey wait is

this really your name on the car you

might be able to fool someone on the

Internet but you're not going to fool

the devil right he's been lying a long

time he's the father of lies and so he

can spot a phony a mile away no faking

it in the devil in the heavenly

dimension we need to be real no double

life if we lead a double life

if we're faking it the devil will eat us

for lunch

we need to walk in the light as he is in

the light and let the blood of Jesus

cleanses and make us all truth now that

doesn't mean that you're perfect right

people like oh man I just I gotta get

out of here man I got struggles I got

problem it's not about being perfect

it's about being genuine

that's why confession is so important

right you don't have to confess to me

because I just don't have time to hear

everybody's but you gotta find someone a

man or a woman of God if you're a guy

find a guy if your girl find a girl

somebody who is a man or woman of God

someone you can trust someone who knows

how to keep a secret someone who's not

going to tell you not to worry about

what you're doing but who also won't say

you're doing what and tell them what

you're struggling with walk in the truth

the devil hates truth he's the father of

lies

he lives in darkness and he hates light

doesn't mean you're perfect but it means

you have your belt of truth on you've

told the truth

to people you're told the truth to God

and you genuinely belong to him the next

one the breastplate of righteousness it

says and with the breastplate of

righteousness in place so this is the

part that goes over the chest and the

heart and the lungs there's this great

proverb I I didn't write down the

reference I should have it memorized

like I'm a pastor and stuff but it says

keep your heart with all vigilance for

from it flow the Springs of life the NIV

says above all else guard your heart for

from it flow the Wellsprings of life the

breastplate guards your heart see God

cares about what's here about what comes

from inside us what's within us and this

is talking about righteousness that

guards our heart now we as Christians

and I'm going to come back to this at

the end we believe that we have a

righteousness that is not by our own

efforts we have a righteousness that is

given to us by faith that when I believe

in God he just credits righteous it his

righteousness just on me praise God and

he covers my heart with the blood of

Jesus

and as Christians it's not about earning

your way to heaven it's about having a

righteousness from God imputed to you

now with that said the book of Ephesians

takes chapter after chapter to say God

gives you righteousness to cover your

heart but now you need to live it out so

that your life matches your faith it

says you were once darkness but now you

are light in the Lord

time to walk as children of light see

the devil lives in darkness he's the

Prince of Darkness in a way he has

authority and a right to live in

darkness and when we have areas of

darkness in our life and shadows in a

sense that is area where the devil has

access to us if we don't deal with it

and bring it into the light and confess

the way I talked about it and seek help

he belongs there

he has her right there that's what Jesus

when Jesus said the Prince of this world

is coming and in the book of John Jesus

says he has nothing in me he has nothing

in me but this is the hour when darkness

reigns

what would he mean by that it meant that

Jesus because he was without sin the

devil had nothing to grab on to no

handles no darkness anywhere with us

there's a lot of handle there's a lot of

darkness there's all kinds of sins that

he can accuse us of and we need to begin

dealing with this aggressively that's

why it says do not let the Sun go down

on your anger and do not give the devil

a foothold it's not that being angry is

sin in of itself but if we hold on to

bitterness and hate one day after

another afternoon

the devil has a right to live there he

can get a foothold in us through that a

little later in Ephesians it said but

among you there should not be even a

hint of sexual immorality or of impurity

or of greed which is idolatry for these

are inappropriate for God's holy people

you were once darkness but now you are

light in the Lord live as children of

light the point being our daily life is

spiritual what I do the way I speak the

way I handle

my relationships my attitudes the way I

deal process life around me have

spiritual implications everything about

life is spiritual sexuality is spiritual

when there is a sexual union the two

become one

it's a spiritual union it's no accident

I believe that Mary Magdalene who worked

as a prostitute needed to have seven

demons cast out of her it's almost as if

there's a spiritual transference that's

why it's so important for our sexuality

to be consecrated to the Lord in

marriage one man one woman for life

holiness we believe that sexuality not

because sex is bad it's because sex is

so good it's so created by God that it

is ordained for that relationship our

our words our spiritual Bible says let

certain things not even be mentioned

among you you ever be in a room where

someone begins to gossip and complain

and criticize and it's like you can feel

a darkness fall on the room our words

are spiritual that's why it says speak

to one another with him songs and

spiritual songs instead of complaining

and negativity Thanksgiving be filled

with the spirit and not that negativity

money is spiritual greed is idolatry

idolatry now to the Ephesians they're

thinking Artemis

Diana offering sacrifices blood

sacrifices chickens and offering that

and bulls in and doing immorality all

kinds of it he said that's what it's

like when you love money more than you

love God the way we treat money instead

of you know that the one who was

stealing steal no longer work is

spiritual but let him work with his hand

so we can share with others work is a

spiritual thing family is spiritual the

relationships of husbands and wives and

children and parents boss an employee

that we talked about all of these things

have spiritual implications if I think I

can come to church and praise and

worship and then in some other of my

life area of my life I'm doing exactly

the opposite I'm playing games with

myself

and it's dangerous my breastplate could

have some openings cover our hearts let

the breastplate of righteousness be in

place let your feet be fitted with a

readiness that comes from the gospel of

peace can you imagine a soldier in bare

feet you know I remember I especially

appreciated this verse when there was

flooding I remember this was about 10

years ago and our basement in Dorchester

was flooded about 6 inches of water and

someone I think about 75 years ago

spilled oil in that basement and so it

wasn't just water but it was yucky water

and I remember I I couldn't find a pair

of boots anywhere in Greater Boston and

I looked everywhere I went and that was

before Amazon days when you could just

think something in the mail it to you

right and and I'm like I just need some

boots man I just need some boots and I

remember someone lent me these you know

purple polka dot boots and I didn't care

I was so happy I felt like I could

conquer the world man I got my boots I'm

gonna gonna let our feet be fitted with

the readiness that comes from the gospel

of peace we need to put on those shoes

as in athletics the right pair of

sneakers goes all the way right the

right pair of cleats well all the more

for a soldier right it has to do with

being alert being ready not letting our

guard down I think all too often and I

think we struggle with this we go

through times when we take our spiritual

shoes off we said I'm just gonna go on

vacation from God for a little while

don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of

vacation everyone needs to go please go

on vacation go to the beach go to the go

camping if you can even if you don't

have the means find a way to take a

break because you need it we need it

we're humans even God rested one day a

week right but when we're on vacation

from work or from our normal routine

we're never on vacation from God right

we can be even closer to God on that on

those down times that's called Sabbath

rest where we rest in God's presence and

you breathe deeply and renew your faith

and energy be alert don't take your

spiritual shoes off because you never

know when you have to run outside fast

keep yourself girded and ready for

service

the master comes he finds you dressed

and ready and doing what you're supposed

to do remembering always that I'm always

a missionary I'm always on a mission

I've always there's always something to

do the Bible says how beautiful on the

mountains are the feet of those who

bring good news keep the shoes on the

gospel of peace because you never know

when someone's going to boom be right

there next to you on a bus or in the

elevator or at work or at a dining room

table that needs to hear the gospel do

you have your shoes on are you ready or

you so checked out that those

opportunities come and go take up the

shield of faith it says in verse 16 in

addition to all this take up the shield

of faith with which you can extinguish

all the flaming arrows of the evil one

now what kind of faith does this refer

to we believe as Christians that we are

saved by faith faith in God faith in

Jesus faith in the gospel that is I

believe the foundational type of faith

we need but we need to take up that

faith every day and say God I believe

not just 20 years ago when I came to the

altar and accepted you but I believe in

you today I believe in your word today

why because their fiery darts being shot

at us in the Roman times they would

shoot arrows that were on fire and they

would have shields that were apparently

doused with water whatever that would

put out the darts right what are the

darts that are flying around us they are

thoughts that the devil can Fleck shoot

into your mind now I know that sounds

silly but it's just a fact some people

ask us can God read my thoughts because

maybe if I don't say something or know

that they asked can the devil read my

thoughts

so if I don't say something he won't

know it right I hate to say this but the

devil doesn't know what you're thinking

he can even shoot thoughts into your

mind sometimes it's just a fact it's

better to just trust Jesus rather than

freak out about whether I'm saying

something so he shoots thoughts into

your mind and we need to realize that

some thoughts are not even dumb things

I'm thinking the devil put that thought

there he's whispering suggestions into

my ear now here's the question will I

listen or will I

snuff out those thoughts immediately and

say that is not of God and got to be

careful because the devil lies real

pretty right he does in the book of

Genesis we read how the devil was able

to make Eve discontent in Paradise

itself if you take a few minutes to

think about what's bothering you it's

not going to take long for the devil to

come up with a whole list of things you

can be angry about about your life about

your boss about your spouse about your

church just give it a minute and the

devil will come up with a whole list of

accusations to suggest to your mind and

we need to say that's from the devil I

rebuke that thought we need in the book

of a Corinthians talks about we take

every thought captive and make it

obedient to Christ the battleground is

in the mind that's where the battle is

going on we need to deal with our

thoughts and think this thing I'm

thinking this attitude I have is this of

God is this in line with his truth or is

it from the enemy and we need to be able

to say that is Alaia won't let myself be

brainwashed by the evil one that's why

when kids go to college you know I'm

concerned yes about the different types

of immorality that they'll face the

different temptations of different

lifestyle issues those are very

significant but an even more subtle

attack are is the worldview that will be

inculcated around them to where if you

disagree with this worldview you are a

narrow-minded bigot how can you possibly

believe in Jesus being the way to God

how narrow-minded it's those kinds of

things that's the real battle it's the

battleground to end the mind where we

need to take the shield of faith and say

I know that my redeemer lives I know in

whom I believed and I'm not ashamed of

the gospel because it is the power of

God for the salvation of everyone who

believes first the Jew then the Gentile

finally it says take up the helmet of

sell or it doesn't not quite finally but

almost finally then take the helmet of

salvation and the sword of the Spirit

which is the word of

that helmet of salvation the most basic

piece of equipment but wait a minute how

many times does a person get saved right

right you pray to accept Jesus and

you're saved once and it's done you're

saved so why do I have to take up the

helmet of salvation

I already did 20 years ago when I

accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior

look your salvation doesn't disappear

every night but your awareness of your

salvation often does right you ever

woken up and forget you're a Christian

now some people you know very religious

no no I wake and but every morning you

got to wake up and remember I'm a

Christian today I believe in God today

I'm gonna raise my hands and take up my

cross today now just because you for God

didn't mean God forgot so you were still

a Christian but I need to remember and

put my helmet on don't assume you slept

in your helmet you got to put it on and

a person without a helmet on a

battlefield is a sitting duck won't last

minutes the days are evil it's not a

time to be trying to dabble in spiritual

things without knowing Jesus that's why

getting involved in different types of

spiritism and spirituality people who

aren't Christians it's just so dangerous

tell them put on the helmet of salvation

and believe in Jesus finally it says

take up the sword of the Spirit which is

the word of God here's our offensive

weapon the sword the word Hebrews 4:12

how many people have it memorized for

the word of God is living and active

sharper than any double-edged sword

piercing to dividing soul and spirit

joints and marrow discerning the

thoughts and intentions of the heart

take that word of God

because the devil's fighting you by

shooting thoughts into your head well we

need to replace it with thoughts that

are in line with the truth of God Jesus

himself did this didn't he in the desert

he'd been fasting for 40 days guess how

Jesus felt hungry he was human folks he

was hungry the devil comes in and tempts

him with what bread the devil knows

where it itches right he knows what

you're hungry for

he's gonna offer you what you want now

is it evil to want to eat bread no

that's not evil but he's like I'll eat

bread in my way in my time I don't want

to eat your bread and Jesus said man

doesn't live by bread alone but by every

word that proceeds from the mouth of God

every time the devil came at Hope with

something if you're really the Son of

God why don't you you know throw

yourself down from the temple and he

said it is it is written you will not

put the Lord your God to the test Jesus

his answer to the devil was it is

written it is written it is written

Jesus says I'm not even going to talk to

you you just talked to the hand here

okay it is written it is written it is

written and he's saying look I'm not

even gonna argue with you devil it's

just it is written and that decides it

okay I'm gonna stay with the Bible Jesus

says this is our sword Jesus used it to

pierce the evil one and we need to

memorize some verses - if you do if

you're wondering where to start I'll

teach you one right now right now we're

gonna memorize a verse together huh how

about this one Philippians 4:13 anyone

got that one for I can do I can do all

things through Christ who strengthens me

Philippians 4:13 look we force our kids

in Awana to memorize verses right we

stuff verses into their little brains

whether they want it or not why so that

then when they're a teenager they're

going to college those verses they just

can't get away from it it's in their

head

ha we got it in there hey that's okay I

got no problem with that I'll bribe them

with whatever just get the word in there

for I can do all things through Christ

who strengthens me now when the devil

comes at you today and tempts you with

this or that the other thing I can't

make it I'm not a good I know I can do

all things through Christ who

strengthens me and I have an answer for

him I see you just get behind me

I can do all things through Christ who

strengthens me it's all about having

that sword and fighting and finally and

I'm going to pick this up again in my

final sermon on this in the future he

invites them to pray in the spirit on

all occasions with all kinds of prayers

and requests he says with this in mind

be alert and always keep on pray

for all the saints and please pray for

me so that I can be bold and that words

will be given to me and I could preach

the gospel boldly as I should prayer is

the way we open up we push back the

spiritual darkness that is blinding

people to the gospel you cannot convince

someone to become a Christian the Holy

Spirit needs to remove the veil as we

speak the words so that God opens their

heart to receive the word it's your job

just to speak the message and as we pray

God opens it up so that people can get

in there we need to be alert and be

praying for each other I thank God that

we have people in this church who are

alert who pay attention I know we have

people in church who wake up in the

middle of the night praying for

something and they text me Greg I was

praying for this that the other thing

I'm like wow how'd you do about that

it's because God spoke it to them

because they're intercessors where we're

all called to cover each other in prayer

that's like in that battle on the on the

wall you're covering your your

companions back pray for each other pray

for each other it doesn't matter how new

you are or what you're going through

pray for each other there's nothing God

can't do and that's when we pray we're

exercising our authority as people made

in the image of God to channel down I'm

sorry to use the word channel I'm not

trying to get new agey but to sort of

conduct down that power from the

heavenly dimension from the throne of

God into this earthly dimension and the

kingdom is spreading pray it works it's

not symbolic it's not just to make

ourselves feel good it makes a

difference pray pray pray pray pray

there's a war on

finally Lion of Judah just gonna want to

end with this we need to be stubborn the

world around us is darker than it ever

has been just watch the news there's

evil pressing around us in a thousand

subtle ways we need to stand firm in the

gospel or the enemy will find chinks in

our armor take our lives

seriously take our unity and our love

for one another seriously take our

attitudes and our mentality our words

our sexuality everything about us make

it spiritual and come into the light

before God

and I have good news for you if you feel

like you can't put on the armor if you

feel like you're not doing it well I do

have some good news for you there is

another who is put on the armor for you

two in the Book of Isaiah chapter 59 the

people of Israel were horribly aware of

their own sin and they said our offenses

are so many in your sight our sins

testify against us our offenses are ever

with us we acknowledge our iniquities if

that's you if you're feeling like I

don't I just know how short I fall a

little later it says that the whole

world around us has gone dark truth has

stumbled in the streets

whoever shuns evil becomes pray for

those who are evil and finally it says

in the Book of Isaiah 59 years before

Jesus it says the Lord looked and was

displeased he was appalled that there

was no one to intervene so his own arm

achieved salvation for him and his own

righteousness sustained him he who's he

talking about Jesus put on righteousness

as his breastplate and the helmet of

salvation on his head and then at the

end of it it says when the enemy comes

against us like a flood the Lord will

raise up a standard against him put on

the armor of God by putting on Jesus in

your life it's not about your perfection

it's about your genuine faith in Christ

and saying Lord your armor is going to

cover me today

cover my openings Bible says for it is

by grace we have been saved through

faith and this is not of ourselves so

that no one can boast

we're as workmanship created in Christ

Jesus for good works but it's all about

God's grace and favor for you that you

don't deserve and didn't earn but we

need to put our faith in Christ so as we

close this time I want to invite you

we're gonna pray if there's anyone here

that maybe you're not sure you've put

your faith in Jesus we're going to have

a prayer time and I'm going to invite

you to

when your heart to Jesus right where you

are and say Lord I want you in my heart

I want to be a Christian I want to be on

God's side of things so I invite you to

stand with me right now and stand

together a father we come before you as

your people Lord God and we know that

you are that commanding officer telling

us that we need to be stubborn today we

need to stand firm on the truth of the

gospel and Lord I pray in Jesus name

Lord that we would stand firm in the

evil day God that we would be unified

that we would be in the lights that

would be clothed with Christ and know

that we're blessed in the heavenly realm

with every spiritual blessing in you Oh

Lord God I thank you God for your mighty

power available to us and it doesn't

matter what is coming against us God

your power is greater to help us

overcome and I thank you that we don't

fight alone we're all together in this

Lord God and together Lord Jesus your

kingdom will come your will will be done

here on earth as it is in heaven

and so now with every I can ask everyone

to close their eyes and and just pray

quietly and I invite you just to let the

Holy Spirit minister to you right now

just everybody in a spirit of prayer and

know that God loves you he's clothing

you he's giving you the strength to

clothe yourself in that armor that you

need and if anyone here wants to accept

Jesus as your Savior maybe this is your

moment and I don't want to pressure you

or force you to do anything crazy but

just right where you are if that's a

decision that you want to make I'm gonna

invite you to raise your hand so that we

can say a prayer together god bless you

bless you yeah god bless you over there

yes god bless you anyone else

right where you are you can either stay

where you are or as they saying you can

come forward but I'm gonna invite you

and I see you right there and I say this

prayer with me okay I'm gonna say a

prayer I invite you to repeat this with

me it's going to be a prayer if that

comes from your own heart where you're

going to be accepting Jesus into your

heart as your Lord and Savior so

everyone's still praying with your eyes

closed I invite you to repeat this with

me dear God I thank you that you love me

I don't deserve it but you sent your son

for me to die on the cross for me and I

believe and I accept you Jesus in my

heart as my Lord and as my Savior come

in Holy Spirit and take over wash me

cream I am your son or your daughter and

I belong to you in Jesus name

and Holy Spirit I pray God that you

would cover this entire congregation

Lord God and all of us together Lord

would breathe in the grace of God right

now and know that whatever is going on

Lord God whatever we're dealing with

Lord Jesus you are here to forgive us

and cleanse us and to make us strong

Three essential chracteristics to understand the success of the believer

acerca de esta mañana la predicación

que realmente me ha motivado a predicar

el tema

es uno de los retos que como creyentes

día a día

tenemos que encarar

jamie face

y quiero comenzar con dos historias

de

quince años atrás

uno de mis compañeros en seminario

después de haberse graduado

y obtener uno de los lugares más altos

en su promedio un call center binner y

ugt reiteran se ven airways united eric

steele break point a rogers de ningún en

escalas me coloque habla manos después

de la graduación

[Música]

y él me decía isaías después de esta

graduación voy para la india como

misionero

bueno voy a empezar una segunda maestría

seis meses después

recibimos una noticia que mientras

estaba en la india

sale un domingo en la mañana de su casa

hacia la misión

seis meses después 66 man slater mi

amigos de su caso en la india para la

misión my my friend

su esposa no se sentía bien y no le

acompaña es guay fue seinfeld e inglés

se lo llevó los dos niños

cuando llegan a cerca de la misión

fueron interceptados en décadas

el endeavour interceptó

por personas que no eran creyentes o

simpatizantes de la manera de word de

equipo fútbol y verse en word action

against the gospel y mantengan en mente

que esto está pasando seis meses después

de la graduación de terminar de manera

grotesca pensé que este grupo de

personas no creyentes y no simpatizantes

del evangelio

james

mataron a mi amigo

mataron a los niños

y quemaron el carro

cuando la noticia llegó a eeuu

yo me pregunte

dónde está el éxito de mi amigo

west texas en el poder de la

glorificación

porque en el mundo que vivimos y el

contexto social

que es nuestro día a día define el éxito

de otra manera

dyn

el otro caso

desde un pastor

que tiene la visión de ir a un país en

centroamérica

en centroamérica en los años 70 en de

ser feliz

y dice que estando en la ciudad la

capital en managua

siente ir a los campos de nicaragua de

buen nivel y negro dicen de series

managua y falta de country side

y estando en los campos comenzó a ser

una obra misionera

work

y por 10 años todo fue fructífero

por 10 años y tiene éxito

sin sexo

el mundo secular dice que tiene éxito

porque tiene una iglesia tiene los

números y tiene las finanzas

escribí numérico y las finanzas sin ser

a pie se quiere invitar pero ustedes

saben

[Música]

en los ochentas y nicaragua

hay una guerra civil

movimiento sandinista sea denis tememos

caminen y en un momento la guerrilla

entra a esta iglesia en el buen momento

de la música

insiders

y preguntan quién es el pastor y dónde

está su familia

él se levantó yo soy el pastor y este es

mi familia

tiene fighters els tomaron a su niña de

dos años de hecho que involucró y le

dieron al pastor

para mantener tu niña viva debe salir de

nicaragua

y el contexto

quien me dio las órdenes para venir a

nicaragua todavía no me ha dicho que

tengo que dejar nicaragua dice de buen

rugby guardarse 6000 y nécora weston

hess natur micheli

ellos tomaron la niña

la tiraron al aire y que haya una

bayoneta

en vez de que un destructor

y le preguntaron al papá al pastor y

ahora qué vas a hacer

y yo le digo a la guerrilla

el sacrificio de mi hija

le va a enseñar a ustedes la profundidad

del amor de dios se temía ha tenido que

morir para que ustedes entiendan que yo

no los voy a odiar porque jesús el que

me llamó a nicaragua ha permitido esto

para que tú entienda lo que es el amor

de dios

goldman escritorio y fiscales en mejor

calidad de gasto y yo vence

como este momento se puede ver como

éxito del momento pasado y vivir ese

sexo generalmente cuando vemos una

situación de esta naturaleza

nos fijamos solamente un evento

yo soy bueno y si el barça tenga wifi es

just different

pero la 2 historia tiene un final de

éxito

en el líder de la guerrilla que mata a

mi amigo ya sus hijos en la india se

convierte al evangelio

15 años después es pastor de una iglesia

en la india

en ispaster church en india el líder de

la guerrilla en nicaragua

que da la orden para que maten a la niña

del pastor es conmovido por el amor de

esta familia se convierte y hoy en día

es pastor en los campos de nicaragua

ciudad

y en regiones en 40 si dejamos la

historia

en lo negativo en el momento parece un

fracaso

[Música]

al aire sin fin

pero en el plan divino de dios

un evento no define la victoria o el

éxito

texas el déficit sigue el final oficina

gestión and fine y eso me lleva al

pasaje de esta mañana

smith el pase de frontera mateo capítulo

11

wells

verso 3 y 4 se ríen fort

muchas veces muchas veces perdiendo la

cabeza tenemos éxito many times

amanece yemen

a mi casa

one está preso

y él dice

y envía sus discípulos

para que le pregunten a jesús fiel era

que había de vivir

no deberían esperar a otro el world

trade center se necesita inversión

dirige

además hay licencias de seis bolsas que

me ayudaban en la huasteca por ser week

spect semanales

juan el bautista

crece en un hogar como un regalo como

una bendición para esa familia

hayden 15 steinberg ranking después

entidad se llama ley sacaría a su padre

y elisabeth su madre

zacarías es un sacerdote

dentro de esa sociedad en la que en

aquel entonces

zacarías era un hombre importante su

vida

por ser un hombre importante que no

tenía hijos

y el y sabe su esposa

no podía tener hijos en hesse wireless

veces was in the heart tour en una

sociedad que él no tener hijos era como

una maldición

yo no me puedo imaginar la situación de

elisabeth

mi esposo es un hombre importante el cen

kings y más sienten que in my heart

bienes en informe and pero mi persona le

trae a él vergüenza porque no le puedo

dar un hijo

child which is where is needed regenerar

estarás en nuestros aires

muchos de nosotros queremos tener

hijos ellos varones para que el apellido

siga en el quinquenio y eso me recuerda

a mi primera experiencia con mi primera

hija

en aquella época no tanto tan atrás

ya no se permitía al padre tal en el

parto

viviane está dando a luz sin mí

está con su mamá

y yo estoy trabajando esperando esta

llamada de que lo que tuvo que ser

pensando que va a ser un parto rápido

que vendrá al hospital y ya para dos

antes de su regreso del trabajo estoy en

la casa esperando la llamada del

hospital

celebrando no pensando en que vamos a

jugar béisbol baloncesto lucha libre en

el teléfono es mi suegra

isaías

adivine que tuvo biblia

yo dije estuvo un varón

no

una niña sabe cuál fue mi reacción

[Aplausos]

de hecho mi niña jugó

escapar pero más grande fue reciben de

creer este gas

yo fui entrenador y western trainer

fin

[Risas]

sólo la alegría y la alegría de jardines

finalmente reina elisabeth está

embarazada

finalmente su vergüenza ante su

comodidad va a parar

james yo me imagino esa primera mañana

después de recibir la noticia de que

está embarazada

morning news

ella se levantaría por la mañana muy

erguida muy contenta muy orgullosa

porque finalmente puedo complacer mi

posición con la sociedad

libre

pero feo más social yury de comes with

my pensionen césaire y puedo hacer a

zacarías un hombre feliz

apyme porque he dado un hijo

no voy a estar más estéril

me voy a estar marginada

no voy a ser dejada sola a lo lejos

això ley de ninguna termino mi lucha

interna y emocional si no imagine turnos

estrado les restan si pudiera mostrar

elizabeth al siglo 21

y elisabeth entrada es la primera mañana

que sabe que está embarazada

en su momento

sábado en la mañana tarde en el morning

en boston

en baster

ella entra a un beauty salon hispano

la china yuri sarran ella vendrá con su

cabeza

yo estoy embarazada yo estoy embarazada

cat vícam tengo algo de que puedo hablar

a epson de jack bauer y estrés ya no

estoy imaginada dejaron de filmar yo ya

no soy menos dejar un fiesta mejor que

dios se ha fijado en mi hogar es pensar

eso en mí

y aunque no tenía hijos en invento

arts

aunque era marginada y vender sigüés

smarter west aunque la sociedad decía

que yo estoy condenada o maldita y

vendió césar y ceder a wisin yandel

world first ella no dejó su posición de

esposa sin neverland ser persistentes

wise el sacerdote baptista

ahora bien

juan bautista nace de wones

ashburn

yo creo que zacarías y elizabeth jamás

pensaron

que el lugar de trabajo de juan no sería

en el templo ni tampoco se vería como

sacerdote

de expectación de dinero y ver imágenes

de burning y rope bill frist working en

de tiempo

ellos están zacarías y dice están

entrados en años ya que nace juan

one nace y crece con sporting grados

están esperando que va a ser juan ahora

que es adulto

usted se imagina

y tener un hijo

o una hija

que crece usted le ayuda lo desarrolla

esté esperando ha pasado la escuela

elemental ya la mira school a high

school

y el próximo paso es el colegio

zakaría está esperando que juan le diga

padre yo quiero entrar ahora a la

escuela rabínica

cuando dice padre

yo me ha llamado al desierto

entonces ya garcés con mi chico ya

search yo creo que con eso como no dice

en inglés se igual

pero qué

tanto dinero envuelto en su educación

de keyser el tiempo dedicado para tener

un gran futuro

y ahora este muchacho quiere ir al

desierto como anticongelante a ser el

desierto tenía tres implicaciones en

aquella época de wolfram por cage john

senden era era el lugar de muerte

un lugar de purificación perfecta y un

lugar de renacer en el país alpino su

rival river sacaría pensara

cuando va a morir

él no tiene que ser purificado porque es

mi hijo

mayer él no tiene que renacer porque yo

he dedicado mi vida para que tenga una

buena educación

no para de que este es el sitio que voy

a comenzar mi ministerio

washington faces will begin yes men

street

a mí me encanta

yo amo

cuando el dios creador y soberano tiene

un plan que nosotros no entendemos pero

él tiene un plan la vergüenza de saber

gara se fueran de winona les quiero

hacer los waris que hoy el desierto no

es un sitio para comenzar un ministerio

hablando humanamente jiménez que no hay

agua no hay vida en el desierto

- animales que son dañinos hermosos de

nice ones no es atractivo

no se ve bonito pero dios decide

llamar a juan

y decirle a juan venid elche

tú vas a anunciar un wing chun vas a

preparar el camino de mi hijo

los generales

donde no hay vida

donde no hay nada que te ve a ti ningún

tipo de gloria

y haciendo ustedes en el desierto verde

una gloria de gloria si no entonces no

es atractivo

no es entonces atractivos porque

humanamente queremos ir a los mejores

sitios

yo quiero es donde me vean donde me

conozcan donde yo pueda ser famoso

pero jesús bellezas necesitaba a alguien

ir en sangre que fuera suficientemente

humilde

ambos y el apóstol pablo recoge esto en

una frase en una de sus cartas en mi

paso por otro de sus formas visuales

cuando pablo dice

porque ya no vivo yo más vive grito en

porque ya no vivo yo

más vive cristo en mí y sin mí yo no

necesito un sitio de gloria

yo no quiero un sitio atractivo de unir

el extracto yo quiero que dios me llame

y dio y me envíen de ser así fue a un

desierto porque si dios me llama si dios

me enviasen él va a ser que la cosa

florezca en el desierto

whitney white en el desierto yo voy a

tener la autoridad de jeter

contra todo lo que es dañino

yo voy a poder pronunciar si viene uno

atrás de militares wenham en sterling

que va a dominar el desierto

min 7 domina jerusalén para dominar el

mundo

no se va a quedar en la cruz se va a

quedar en la cruz

[Aplausos]

para tener éxito como creyente de sexo

es bolívar

self binaria autonegación

tiene que ser parte de nuestra vida

cuando los líderes religiosos

vinieron de juan y le preguntaron

porque yo quería saber quién es este

juan

eres tú jesús ayuda argentina salió de

mensaje eres tú elías ayuda white ya

eres tu moisés hay un moisés

él dijo no quise no

el pudo haber dicho y que se desempeñan

es bueno yo no soy elías y moisés

y jesús

pero yo estoy preparando el camino para

el hijo de dios

yo soy un gran profeta

yo soy el primo del mesías anders hansen

de mensaje mucha manera de contestar

para robarle la gloria de quien él iba a

hablar de urbem anyway si quieren ser

sus shows en south forbes pero el reto

que tenemos nosotros hoy y siempre

cuando nos viene la misma pregunta de

juan que vamos a contestar porque no es

acerca de nosotros es acerca de aquel

que nos ha llamado a este gran

ministerio ya esta gran salvación

william pérez nada

as

josep boix

witness testigos ustedes lo puedo

entender

you can adversidad sobre gregory ya lo

siento creo

a mí

repitan

amén

we are your voice

en messenger

we are just witness

de dios y padre celestial en los cielos

así sea en el desierto

así sea en la calle en weber bien de

suite así tenga más de 70 años

así sea un mujer

o sea un diácono por enrique o un

maestro de discipulado durante seis o

siete o un líder de ministerio

yo solamente soy una voz

soy un mensajero soy un testigo witness

ya que que ha de venir nuevamente por su

iglesia

fest binario es auto negación

el problema continuo de luchar con

nuestro yo es este que entiendo

esperable de william spratling es él

te digo nuestro yo están tan grande

que a veces estamos robando la atención

y aquel que se levantó dentro we can

still de transcend from the way we were

sin fronteras

se nos olvida a veces

que nosotros no fuimos crucificados

que nosotros no nos levantamos al tercer

día de wazzen este browser terry days

gracias a dios' cerca

en puerto rico hay una religión

pero de el sobradillo en el sector

en el área de san juan' santurce

que lleva como nombre los mitad y mitad

imitar una profeta evangélica en los

años 50

los transfers cities y algo pasó que

ella cambió

james y comenzó a predicar que ya era

jesús en la tierra ingersoll pues sin

carné de ganar

cuando ya está en su cama para morir

ya en sus últimos días

ella profetiza

que ya se va a levantar al tercer día

three days

y eso fue anunciado en los periódicos la

televisión

bueno me murió si están las personas

esperando que me estás resucite

pasaron tres días 94 días por la

entierran de perder

su asistente quedaron recibe una

revelación en gb

revelations y dice que me está resucita

mitad

en aarón mgm su ahora él predica de

afiches mixta en aaron mitad

no hace sentido

el momento más importante

según los eruditos en la vida de juan el

bautista

es el momento en que jesús desciende al

río jordán

igual lo bautiza

la culminación he preparado el camino

yo el trabajo get the work ahora puedo

bautizarse siendo quizás grande para que

comience el ministro del hit en big en

el semestre

es el final

y una vez tenemos el seminario went to

hardhats show style

necesitamos un corazón de firma

porque para poder bautizar a jesús había

que tener un corazón de firma

sirvent

wang no lo va a hacer para que le

recuerdan cómo que fue el único que

bautizó a jesús yanes ingrediente de

bieber 'never de gestión de pacto

quizás cuando lo quería bautizar

marcos se levanta nos dice que one decía

que no era digno de desatar

las sandalias

121

los zapatos no es tan digno

ward y en aquel entonces

cuando llegaba el dueño de la casa

era el honor para el invitado de la casa

en esa ocasión quitarle los zapatos al

dueño de la casa será un honor

efe

esa idea como que no funciona ahora no

esa idea no funciona

imagine usted que usted tenga un court

en casa y llegan 30 personas pero ni

tipo k

- usted saliendo a la acera los vecinos

no saben qué está pasando pero está de

rodillas en segway se personan denis

quitando de los zapatos

ellos dirán el widget

o está bajo los efectos del alcohol

grande o estaba a los efectos de las

drogas

o ha perdido su estabilidad mental que

van más

no está ahorrando al que llega

pero wang no se siente

lo suficientemente digno para hacer algo

así

world sound en gaita

juanes está ahora en el pasaje está

preso

peter ricketts por interesante

one tenía

dos mensajes en su vida que él predicó

uno era aplicable al desierto y el otro

aplicable a la ciudad

de ser bueno para ti

decían en el desierto

arrepentíos

y sean bautizados en un bautismo de

arrepentimiento

en vida ese es el símbolo de la versión

freeware cachets no me imagino que las

personas que le escuchaban al predicada

así en el desierto

alguien le sugirió a él porque no vas a

la ciudad

y predica ese mismo mensaje en tres

meses en la ciudad

en ese día

lo que no sabía quién lo invitó para que

aguante mía otro mensaje en la ciudad

cuando wang llega a la ciudad

va a hacer que el palacio de herodes

y comienza predicarle al rey herodes

eres un adúltero

porque tomó la esposa del hermano sixto

es brothers white yo me imagino en la

biblia no lo dice a quien invitó a one a

predicar en la ciudad y estaría pensando

en que él y yo yo me he metido que se

vayan más el dinero porque one no está

predicando de salvación

está señalando el pecado que afecta al

pueblo este tipo ese mensaje

en la cárcel

y yo me pregunto juan en la cárcel

no tiene libertad

está solo abandonado

ya no tiene multitudes que viene a verle

al desierto de agitarse

ya nadie habla de él

ya nadie se acuerda de él neuer members

m

situación angustiosa situación depresiva

situación que no tiene sentido ni

situación humillante yumbel y de cómo es

posible que yo haya sido escogido para

preparar el camino

web y ahora yo estoy preso igualmente o

no tengo dignidad

aronián de ti no tengo ningún valor iron

and awards emiten en ir no hay gloria es

no hay razón para ser felices y happy

quizás one pensó

si yo preparo el camino a jesús

y yo bauticé a jesús

quizás cuando jesús escoja a sus doce

yo voy a hacer el simio de los apóstoles

y vender va a ser este plan de juan y

ese puede ser tu plan

pero este en este en este juego del

evangelio prendes 1 500 de campo no es

el plan que yo puedo construir

el plan que yo me puedo imaginar no es

el plan que me conviene a mí

no es el plan que me da mejores

beneficios

es el plan para cual yo he sido llamado

aunque yo

en vez de tener una promoción ha sido

promovido

tú sabes qué

one nunca se preguntó eso hasta porque

entendió que aún estando en la cárcel de

living él nunca fue el el centro del

mensaje kiwis enero del g20 center of

the world never the reason nunca la

razón y never the reason nunca fue la

razón one cuando le envía a sus

discípulos a preguntarle a jesús

suficientes de seis bolsas quizás eres

tú el que ha de venir

wang no pregunta y pregunta jesús y te

dices cuándo me va a sacar de la cárcel

bueno tiene que enviar pregunta de jesús

sinceras quizás cuando voy a recibir mi

libertad

cuando voy a disfrutar del ministerio

van a recibir

cuando pude haber dicho jesús

quizás si te fui fiel en el desierto

de ser y ahora estoy en la cárcel y me

niego que es lo que está pasando en

directo colocamos como que nos suma

entonces mi ex en esto como que no suma

jesús más adelante quizás confort

hace una acepción de un statement bien

bien peculiar y ji ji ji

si jesús giles ya veces perdemos de

vista ese segundo sistema métrico tan

santas wim este es para representar es

decir

cuando jesús llama a sus apóstoles

y le dice que le sigan

y dejaron en un camino de la cruz

más adelante slater de pequeño tienen un

país de lo que ellos el que quiera

seguir en poses y venimos estafado me

niegues el consell tome súplica que es

cruz y sígame enfado mí

en el siglo 21

de esta manera

jesús félix ustedes no tiene que negarse

en actos de nada

la cruz no es parte del llamado de todo

el mundo

versión más cosas

corazón de ciervo de hearts ha de ser

france

vive al que está a tu lado aceite de

presión de chayo tenemos un corazón de

firma güi güi jaf arts

ahora biblia el señor en esta mañana el

dios que hace mi corazón make my heart

un corazón de firme y servent

que aunque yo esté preso y aunque yo

esté en el desierto y vehemente de ser

aunque nadie ve lo que yo hago en la

iglesia viviendo una figura de enteros

tengo un corazón bartz y nada de lo que

pase en atender a pence va a dañar ese

corazón escrache que cuida porque yo he

entendido desde el principio estoy

frontini que cuando yo acepte el llamado

del señor

jane el safa con todo mi orgullo

toda mi experiencia todo mi conocimiento

en bote mis pies

y ahora he decidido que si dios me tiene

que pasar por mí

me llama un gran odio metiendo donde

quiera que sea

y yo he entendido aleluya

yo he entendido que yo estoy

comprometido a no conmigo

y yo no con lo que yo soy whitwell no en

comida fuerzas y no con mi experiencia

whitman no con la gente a winky sino con

el dios que me ha llamado aleluya

[Aplausos]

los apóstoles bandos de jesús se

desplazó sobre jeans es

y le preguntan

eres tú

jesús no habla

y nada me quitasen say the right way

jesús le dice a ellos y sus causas

vayan donde juan

y digan las cosas que ustedes han visto

ya los indecentes de giuseppe sheen y

han oído medio

los ciegos 20 donde sí

los cojos andan

los leprosos son limpiados y los sordos

oyen dejar ir los muertos son jesús

teresén y a los pobres es anunciado

elevan yo me imagino que cuando one

escucha este reporte

me imagino a one brincando en esa cárcel

mi misión cumplida

ha llegado jesús escartín ha llegado el

mesías y sus promesas ya que yo he

predicado

puedo decir como simeón cuando vio el

bebé jesús

está bien ser bonito dice se

desarrollaron ahora

despedir a tu siervo en paz

he cumplido mi misión

me imagino que el compañero desde el

agua

está preso

never about it was never about

se trata siempre fue acerca de que yo no

puedo predicar de otra cosa

aquí en principales contenidos eso es lo

que esta mañana en la web the morning

tenemos que luchar

extracto web porque el mundo piensa

diferente

transexuales en el tercer way

yo tuve un compañero en la escuela

juntos

efe

y eso como que no se ve como que no hay

futuro

después de muchos años después many

years later muchos años después many

many years later

esto es un viaje a puerto rico estoy de

vacaciones

y estoy en una pizzería

y yo veo a mi amigo

pero no me reconoció

elisa ya que yo conocí

132 libras

una cintura de 30

y usted está ahora

con mucho temor

estudiante

y el médico

soy yo no yo no puedo hablar

y él me dice es permitido tú me puedes

preguntar que como lo hizo jesucristo

que eras mi hija bayern al newell's

stent

y dice que cuando entró a la universidad

conoció a dios

y escuché un salmón en níger server

que para el creyente

el éxito no tenía límite aunque fuera la

cruz

y lo envían a la base aérea en españa se

siente de weissen spain

se puede estudiar en españa terminando

de hacer también su maestría en el

másters y entonces él me dice a mí

pues no tienes idea

donde yo hice doctorado

steve y yo estaba parado no dejamos

entrar a ese señor

y él me dice me gradué de harvard y yo

le dije a él

realmente yo soy grande

porque fíjate

para poder tener éxito en la vida

power line tenemos que tener un first

binario tiene que verse autonegación

tiene que haber un corazón de ciervo

pero también tiene que haber una

rendición absoluta

orgullosa me deja de absolut surinder

agua

absolutamente full day

algo muy complicado en esta época

en una ocasión

esta joven se más cerca

pastor estoy

como consigo un buen nombre de dios

para empezar

yo no tengo wifi para más

esto busca en tu compañero oriundo que

informe con genial hermanos y hermanos

brothers and sisters esta joven decían

women con una lista que ahora es de 100

requisitos

y bueno esa persona

esta persona está presente en este siglo

en this century todavía dios no la ha

hecho carne suma medida actor set

una revisión

[Música]

sobre él

a la voluntad de vuelo y el trabajo

cat

si no estamos rendidos

absoluto comprometidos del corazón

katz huevo de navajas veremos el

desierto

como lo que es un lugar de muerte un

lugar de purificación y un lugar de

renacer

respecto a ser ciudad space jack weiss

rivers whiting barbour vive en la web

si no tengo una revisión absoluta

cuando vengo a la iglesia

en general

no vengo buscando ver su gloria

no vengo buscando que voy a recibir en

esta mañana que va a beneficiar mi vida

que voy a encontrar en la iglesia que

puede cambiar donde yo estoy porque no

me he rendido absolutamente a dios

cuando yo vengo a la iglesia

en una conducta completamente de

rendición y de compromiso yo vengo con

mi mente mi corazón y mis ojos a ver la

gloria explícita e inclusiva de ese dios

grandes y poderosos pero no importa que

yo esté en un desierto el desierto no

puede definir al dios que yo mismo

vender

por howie que ver sets borja women of

benjamin walking fe de comunicar el buen

with you that the jester street and in

your face of color' y bulgaria serbia

uruguay yo no quiero que dios me llame

donde yo quiero yo quiero que dios me

llame

porque en el desierto yo voy a ver su

gloria esther and win chelsea school el

desierto va a cambiar de ser mainichi no

es para toda la vida

y si tengo que morir

gloria a dios porque he cumplido mi

misión

porque detrás de mí viene otro interés

no hasta como dijo wang más poderoso que

yo

esta mañana

poderoso de 120 más poderoso que yo que

puede cambiar las situaciones lavados

[Música]

desierto

ríndete absolutamente al señor dios en

tu oficina

tu comunidad

para que al final de los días cuando tú

veas que él ha venido when you syderis

carmen como tú sabes que era vendido es

un examen porque los ciegos ven los

cojos andan

no importa como yo esté es nada hawaiian

eso no importa estacionar es importante

de quien yo estoy predicando

yo estoy ensayando

puedo contener si estando vivo y pueblo

si se debe ver a los meses los

beneficios los beneficios los beneficios

no sólo importante tener sesionar en por

dios quiere beneficio celestial cargas

que cuando yo llegué al cielo

bueno hay que ver aunque usted no sepa

mi nombre si vendo you know my name

diga me inhibo ser miembro más bien

se refiere el señor no señor

ríndete

para que dios vea su gloria en

inquietudes que las circunstancias que

afecten yo noté que afectó las noticias

te afecta

no soy una excepción no es acerca de

nosotros estar de obras es acerca del

cristo crucificado

fighters

dios le bendiga siempre

The gift of tongues and the fullness of the Holy Spirit

we dig into this I want to share a brief

testimony and then we'll pray a little

testimony about when I was first getting

to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior

I was 16 years old and I was raised in

the Catholic Church and very grateful

for my religious upbringing I learned a

lot about the Lord and and did my

parents taught me very well but when I

was 16 I started reading the New

Testament for myself and really

beginning to discover the the reality of

what it means to have a personal

relationship with Jesus I actually was

away from home for a summer staying with

relatives in Cape Cod just a summer

vacation thing I was working with some

friends of my cousins and my cousins

attended a Pentecostal church Assembly

of God now I had never been to a

Pentecostal church but they made a lot

of noise they sang they said praise the

Lord and did all kinds of weird things I

wasn't used to all right but to play on

the softball team you had to go to

church on Sunday something like okay why

not

and I was seeking frankly I really

appreciated that the sermons were right

from the Bible I found that interesting

I appreciated the personal nature of

people's relationship with God it really

meant something to them worked on a

construction site with some of these

people and I knew that their language

was a little bit different from their

co-workers language and they were happy

fun people I could see there was

something good so I visited the services

and I would sit through the singing time

slightly uncomfortable but I would sit

through the singing time and then I

would sort of tune into the sermon and I

was praying and starting to get to know

God in a personal way and one day at the

end of a sermon I'll never forget it I

was 16 years old it was the summer of

1984 if anyone wants to do the math and

I was 16 years old and they the sermon

was on the topic of suffering and it was

a deep sermon about how sometimes God

allows suffering in our lives and he

uses it to form us and I thought it was

just a profound message it was right

from the Bible and right near the end of

the message there was a prayer time and

we were praying

and I felt something different I felt it

was almost like water I could feel like

starting at the top of my head and just

trickling down and I felt something I

felt a presence in the room it was a it

was an incredible moment and I remember

in that prayer time looking down at the

floor and thinking I feel something I

don't know what I feel but I feel

something special going on right now and

then during that prayer time there was a

pause and a woman in the church a very

tiny little church there were maybe 30

or 40 people there stood up she happened

to be latina and she stood up and

started speaking in a language I had

never heard before and I thought that

must be Spanish it wasn't though she was

speaking in some language that I didn't

know and no one there seemed to know but

she was speaking this message apparently

in this unknown foreign language and as

she was talking that feeling increased

right near the top of my head just

trickling down and I was like what is

going on in this room then there was a

pause and then I don't know if it was

the same woman or someone else my eyes

were closed but somebody then spoke a

message in English and it was a message

that was clearly a message from God to

the people reinforcing what had been

said in the sermon saying my children

sometimes you will go through suffering

but I want you to know that I'm with you

and that I love you and that I have a

purpose and it's like God was speaking

right through that person and the words

were like each one of them was like a

water balloon going down my body I just

felt the presence of God and I

afterwards and I found myself crying I

had never done that before in church and

afterwards they asked my cousin I said

what was that and he said oh it was a

prophetic message in tongues that was

then interpreted and I'm like well thank

you that that elucidates things now I

get it completely right and like tongues

what's that's disguise

Tong's what what do you mean in tongues

what was she speaking was she speaking

Spanish it was a long time ago and he

says no no one knows what she was

speaking and I was like well could it

have been like some other language

French Arabic I don't know he said maybe

it was the language none of us know or

maybe it was an angelic tongue and I'm

like what he says yeah maybe angels talk

and maybe it was what they speak in

heaven and I'm like wow and I'm like

woah what was then the the English

message afterwards and he said well God

revealed to somebody the interpretation

of what she had said and it was a

message from God for the congregation

and I was like oh why why would God give

a message in some language no one knew

and then interpret it into English for

people that why would God do this and he

just shrugged he says I don't know but

it's in the Bible and he pointed to me

to some text in the Bible where the

Bible talks about it and I was like this

is wild I don't know what I think about

it but it blew my paradigms because at

that time I believed in God but I

believed in God as a very special idea

and I had a faith in God and I believed

in Jesus as a wonderful historical

figure

you know like Gandhi and Martin Luther

King in Jesus right then I realized well

Jesus might be a little something more

than Gandhi and Martin Luther King and

maybe God is not some distant concept

maybe God is right here and he can do

things and he can speak to us and he can

do miracles and he can change our lives

it blew my paradigms and marked a

definitive moment in my own spiritual

process right around that time and just

to finish the story they gave an altar

call for people to come forward and

accept Jesus and I figured I'm Catholic

I don't know if I'm allowed to answer so

I'll just pray where I'm sitting right

so I was sitting right where I was

sitting and I prayed to accept Jesus in

my heart as my Lord and Savior

went home for a weekend it was the end

of July 1984 and decided I would share

it with my older sister with whom I'm

very close and before I could talk to

her she said Greg in the two months

you've been away I've started going to a

youth group at a local Protestant Church

and I think I've discovered that

Christianity is a personal relationship

with Christ and do you think I'm crazy

and I'm like you gotta be kidding me the

same thing that I was gonna tell her she

told me and that was my final little

miracle to push me over the edge or I

said Jesus I am in and then I went back

and I started actually enjoying some of

that singing and craziness and people

crying and stuff but I share that

because that experience of hearing a

prophetic message in in tongues in a

supernatural language was it fulfilled

something directly out of the Bible

where it teaches about how to use the

gift of speaking in tongues the gift of

speaking in an unknown supernatural

language in the church context that we

need to be careful not to just make

noise that'll freak out visitors

although every now and then things can

get noisy but we need to be sensitive to

visitors but sometimes God might give a

message in a foreign language and then

turn and translate it and it'll hit an

unbeliever to the heart and they'll say

God is really among you and that's

exactly what happened to me I'd never

read that text but I lived it

and so today I wanted to talk about as

promised as advertised last week I would

like to talk about the gift of tongues

today and how that fits not just

focusing on that gift but how it fits

into God's calling to us as a people to

be a supernatural people that are hungry

to experience the presence of God among

us that's what it's about it's not about

a specific manifestation it's about a

heart that says God I want everything

that you have for me hunger for God and

taking the lid off what God can and

can't do among us amen and being willing

for him to do unusual things in my life

and in our

Church so let's pray together father we

come before you and father I thank you

for the privilege of being part of a

church that believes in you and is open

to whatever you would do among us God I

know that we are not here by accident

today

you brought us because you have an

appointment with us and I thank you Lord

that there is always more in you God

that each day is better than the day

before in the spirit and Holy Spirit I

pray that you would move among us that

you would speak to us that you would

bring clarity but most of all that you

would spark a hunger in our hearts for

more that we would taste and see that

the Lord is good and that we would

acquire a taste for you

bless this time we pray in Jesus name

Amen but I actually did find a picture I

don't know if we have it my land a

picture of the gift of tongues this is a

special spiritual photograph of the gift

of tongues I don't know if we can show

know you did we weren't able to get that

down remember in the email okay we

weren't able to get it next time next

time well I'll show it to you some other

time okay it's anyway it's a long story

but I want to come back to this so if

you would open your Bibles and if you

have your notebooks and want to take

notes I'm going to talk about what was

experienced in the early church in

relation to this gift how the first

Christians experienced the gift of

tongues so if you'd open your Bibles to

the book of Acts chapter 1 in verse 8

and we're just going to go right through

the book of Acts so you're ready to do

some some thinking today some learning

we're gonna go through what the Bible

has to say about this

so the book of Acts chapter 1 verse 8

the book of Acts is the historical book

about the early Christians after Jesus

went to heaven okay so it's about Peter

and Paul and spreading the church and

and how the Holy Spirit worked through

them so in acts 1:8 they had just asked

the question Jesus are you now going to

restore the kingdom to Israel they

killed you you rose from the dead they

can never kill you again

let's take over you're the new king what

could they possibly do to stop us and

Jesus said yes but not quite yet it's

going to be different than you expect I

am going to be taken to the heavenly

dimension I'm gonna send to heaven and

I'm gonna be in the heavenly dimension

in the flesh but I'm gonna send my

spirit upon you from that dimension so

that through that spirit you are gonna

take over the world okay so he says not

for you to know the times and dates of

when the political kingdoms of this

world will come under the authority of

God but in verse eight he says but you

will receive power when the Holy Spirit

comes upon you and you will be my

witnesses in Jerusalem that's where they

were and in all Judea and Samaria the

region around and to the uttermost parts

of the earth in other words Jesus said

we are going to take over the world

together Jesus says I'm not just going

to take over the world by myself I'm

gonna take over this planet through you

by sending my spirit from the other side

and I'm gonna work through you and

you're gonna have supernatural power so

the Holy Spirit is actually is key

because Jesus is calling the shots from

the throne but his through his Spirit he

is actually present among us and so that

was his plan and that was fulfilled in

Acts chapter 2 and you can bring it up

in verse 1 I don't think I'm gonna read

the whole thing but they were all

together in one place waiting for God to

fulfill his promise so they're in an

upper room about 120 of them just

waiting and praying and just being up

there together and I I imagine I don't

imagine a bunch of spiritual superheroes

by the way I imagine Peter still

remembering that he denied the Lord

perhaps a little bit of bickering going

on up there

a crying baby or two you know

so people are in the upper room they're

praying they're waiting what's gonna

happen and one day there was the sound

of a rushing wind you know some of you

know the story it was on the day of the

feast of Pentecost which was the feast

of

in gathering for the Jews first fruits

in gathering from the harvest though

there was a sound of rushing wind and

and the house where they were was shaken

and and then they saw a visible science

fiction like manifestation of little

pieces tongues of fire became and rested

on each one of them and each one began

speaking in a language that they didn't

know they began speaking in tongues it

was so while there it is that's a

picture of the gift of tongues right

there there you go and that's a picture

of Pentecost it's happening right there

and then anyway you get the picture

let's move on so the the fire is on them

I have and they are experiencing this

they're speaking in languages they don't

know it was such a crazy moment that the

people down below apparently it was an

upper room with it was open you know

with a porch and open windows and people

are looking up at them thinking these

people are drunk out of their minds

right thought they were completely

intoxicated and that's when the Apostle

Peter gets up and says these people

aren't drunk is you suppose it's only

9:00 in the morning we haven't had time

you know these kind of makes a joke to

open his sermon but at that moment they

heard people speaking other languages

and they were languages that they

understood right so let's say you are

from Northern Honduras you would hear

God if we're not going on up there

you know we t banoffee that's the for

the one Garifuna to God he fulness in

the room and maybe you're from from

France you hear French maybe you're from

you hear your own language being spoken

by one of them so it was a gift of the

Holy Spirit where they were actually

declaring the wonders of God in

languages they didn't know but people

there did isn't that interesting it's

the opposite of what happened at the

Tower of Babel isn't it

remember the Tower of Babel when

everyone spoke one language and God

scattered them they all spoke different

languages

well now it's as if God is saying I'm

now bringing the whole world together

again there's going to be a new Kingdom

on earth people from every tribe and

tongue and

and language and they're gonna

understand each other in the spirit and

I'm gonna have a new humanity on earth

I'm gonna fix what the devil broke and

so they're preaching and people are

hearing the gospel and Peter gets up and

under the power of the Holy Spirit this

man who just a month or two before had

denied Jesus gets up there and preaches

a message so boldly that three thousand

people accepted Jesus that day so God's

Spirit began to move on the day of

Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out

and there was a gift of speaking in

another language by supernatural power

amen now the story continues right so

Pentecost happened but the story doesn't

end there the story just begins

Pentecost is the feast of firstfruits

the beginning of the story not the end

of the story so that event of Pentecost

even though it was a one-time event when

Jesus at the throne sent his spirit but

that spirit being sent continues to be

sent after Pentecost now then in Acts

chapter four starting in verse seven

just a couple chapters later they're

preaching the gospel spreading and then

they start getting in trouble because

they're basically saying that the Jewish

authorities there in Jerusalem had had

executed Jesus and there were some

authorities who felt that they were

being criticized they were being

attacked by this so they called Peter

and John before them they were about to

throw them in jail and they had just

done a miracle where they had walked by

a man who who was who was crippled he

couldn't walk and he would sit and he

would beg and Peter and John look at him

and say silver and gold we don't have

but what we have we give to you in the

name of Jesus of Nazareth get up and

walk they take his hand BAM he gets up

and walks he's leaping and jumping and

giving glory to God and a big crowd

comes around and they're preaching the

gospel and the authorities are like this

is getting out of control these crazy

Christians are making too much of a

splash so they called Peter and John in

and they asked them by what power or

what Authority and what name have you

done these miracles who gives you the

right to do this

and then look what the Bible says in

verse 8 it says then Peter filled with

the Holy Ghost with the Holy Spirit I

want to stop right there for a minute

wasn't he already filled with the Holy

Spirit at Pentecost he was already

filled with the Holy Spirit why does it

say Peter and then in the Greek it's

very clear that it's happening at that

at that moment just filled with the Holy

Spirit he begins to speak in other words

he had the experience once and then he

had the experience of being filled with

the Holy Spirit again and look what he

says he says you rulers of the people

and elders of Israel if we're being

called to account for an act of kindness

to a crippled man then okay I'll tell

you by what authority I did this I want

you and everyone to know that it's by

the authority of the power of the name

of Jesus the one you rejected the one

you crucified that this man has been

made well because there is no other name

in verse 12 it says under heaven given

to men by which we must be saved and

people are like wow where did he get

this some of the authorities start

looking at each other and say where did

he get this boldness and this eloquence

these are uneducated men they had not

been to school they were fishermen they

were not rabbis right and in fact the

word agreed for uneducated is II do die

these are in the old thigh and speak

each other didn't have exactly the same

connotation it means now this is I may

be an idiot i but I'm filled with the

Holy Spirit and I know what to say here

right because there was a new type of

education that would happen a new type

of equipping and capacitation that would

happen by the power of the Spirit even

an uneducated fisherman could preach to

thousands okay so it's an experience of

the Holy Spirit that continues

empowering them to share the gospel okay

and they were shocked now the story

continues like I told you there's gonna

be a Bible study here right

so if you've got your notes or if you

got your Bible Acts chapter 8 in verse

14 through 17 a persecution was

unleashed they were persecuted some

people went to jail the the Christians

had to run away and they ran from

Jerusalem to Samaria okay now remember

acts 1:8

where Jesus said you will receive power

when the Holy Spirit comes on you and

you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem

and where else in all Judea and Samaria

in other words it's going to start here

but it's gonna spread just like saying

imagine it starts in Boston then it's

gonna spread out to Metro West and and

south and Norwood and up in Chelsea and

then it's gonna go to all New England

and then it's gonna go to all the United

States and then sort of in concentric

circles going out so the way God sent

missionaries at that point persecution

right they ran away so we don't want it

to be that it's much better to send

missionary so God doesn't have to send

them for us amen

otherwise he'll send a persecution and

scatter them and send them out so anyway

so they're spread out as they go

different people were preaching the

gospel saying you know what the gospel

is too big just for Jews let's preach to

some of these messed up people in

Samaria because the Jews looked down on

the people in Samaria for a lot of

different reasons but Philip and some

others preach the gospel demons would

come flying out of people people are

accepting Jesus Samaria is accepting the

gospel so the Apostles back in Jerusalem

so my goodness we should send some

people that help out right to help you

know help Shepherd what's going on here

so they get out there and it says in

verse 14 of Acts chapter 8 that when the

Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria

had accepted the Word of God they sent

Peter and John to Samaria and when they

arrived they prayed for the new

believers that they might receive the

Holy Spirit okay I want to I want to

know to emphasize that they prayed for

these Samaritans who just accepted Jesus

that they might receive the Holy Spirit

because the Holy Spirit had not yet come

on any of them

they had simply been baptized into the

name of the Lord Jesus so Peter and John

placed their hands on them and they

received the Holy Spirit now it doesn't

talk about what that looked like if they

spoke in tongues whatever it just says

they received the Holy Spirit

the point I want to make is that these

new believers had accepted Christ and we

have no reason to doubt that they didn't

do so sincerely but that there was a

further experience with the Holy Spirit

that they needed to have somehow they

needed more they needed sort of a

spiritual second touch so to speak now

Peter and John go and they lay their

hands on them if you ever wondered if

you're kind of new to the church why we

sometimes will lay hands on people here

at the altar right we're not doing magic

tricks right we're not being weird or

anything or just trying to comfort

people we actually believe that the Holy

Spirit flows through people to other

people and there's power in that

physical touch there's almost a

transference so to speak now we don't

believe it has to happen that way God

can touch people without someone else

touching them but there's something

special about when a person with the

Holy Spirit lays their hand on another

person and prays for them now we ask

people to do that just a little side

note appropriately the altar people who

are leaders usually men with men women

with women we try to be appropriate with

all that unless you're a pastor and then

we do our job but the whole idea is that

that you're touching people and it's

almost like it's contagious that Holy

Spirit that is in you flows through you

to that person in this case through the

leaders Peter and John so it's a very

special moment the gospel is going out

and there's no mention of tongues in

this case it doesn't say that the

Cimmerian Christians then spoke in

tongues they might have we don't know it

just doesn't say either way but it does

say that it was sort of a second

experience they had I don't know how

many people we have here from a Catholic

background or a an Episcopalian

background or a church tradition that

has confirmation in it how many people

are familiar with the concept of confer

Meishan if you could raise your hand

okay got about half of us here what it

is in the Catholic Church the language

is beautiful they believe that at

baptism and they baptize babies that at

baptism the the baby receives the Holy

Spirit we believe that that happens when

a person accepts Jesus as a as a person

who understands what they're doing but

the baptism they receive the Holy Spirit

but a confirmation or I shouldn't say

they received the Holy Spirit that

they're marked as Christians at

confirmation the bishop not like a

relative of mine you know but a bishop

bishop in the church lays hands on the

the the people and the language is that

they receive the Holy Spirit the power

and the gifts of the Holy Spirit at that

moment now this is a church tradition

that very often doesn't have any

spiritual reality to it sometimes it

does some people really they go through

their confirmation it really means

something to them for some people it's

just what you do because you're 13 right

so you do it and but whatever the case

isn't it interesting that they separate

out baptism from receiving the Holy

Spirit through the laying on of hands I

believe I think that in the early church

2,000 years ago it was happening like

this that people would accept Jesus

people would lay hands and pray for them

they would receive another experience of

the Holy Spirit and they codified it in

a liturgy that has survived the

millennia and whether or not it really

has that spiritual significance we can

see the outlines of what we read here in

the book of Acts all that to say that

once a person becomes a Christian

doesn't mean you're done spiritually it

means you're just beginning there's more

amen okay now let's keep going you with

me I know this is a there's a lot of

some of you are like Greg I'm just

trying to wake up I haven't had my third

cup of coffee yet you hang with me okay

it's gonna be all right okay okay

Acts chapter 10 verse 44 remember how

Jesus said the got the the the gospel

and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit

will spread in concentric circles going

out from Jerusalem well it goes even

further a gent

eyal and a Gentile centurion no less a

military captain then is spoken to by an

angel who asked him to seek for Peter to

come and talk about the gospel with him

in Acts chapter 10

so Peter because he had had a vision

telling him don't reject these people

just because they're Gentiles the

Gospels for everybody

Peter goes and he goes into the house of

Cornelius forbidden for an Orthodox

Jewish person to do you'll make yourself

ceremonially unclean but he says God has

shown me I shouldn't call any person

unclean God has a purpose for all of

humanity so I'm here to share the gospel

with you so Peter is there

Cornelius invited a bunch of his

neighbors and friends over the house

it's a great model for evangelism

they're over the house these are people

he knows Peter comes in and says well

I'm just gonna talk to him about Jesus

he says you have all heard stories about

Jesus he was a man approved by God who

went around doing miracles in doing good

and and talking about how people should

repent and believe in the father and he

just starts talking about Jesus in terms

that they could understand

they weren't Jewish and look at what

happens in verse 44 while Peter was

still speaking these words the Holy

Spirit came on all who heard the message

the circumcised believers who had come

with Peter were astonished circumcised

are the Jewish ones right they've been

circumcised were astonished that the

gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured

out even on Gentiles how did they know

that the Holy Spirit had been poured out

on them verse 46 for they heard them

speaking in tongues and praising God so

in other words Peters preaching he did

lay hands on anyone he's just preaching

and suddenly boom the Holy Spirit fell

on the room and everybody just starts

going nuts there start as a God praise

you thank you and some people are just

speaking in tongues and so it's like

Peter's like my sermons been interrupted

here I'm trying to preach it's sort of

like you're praying for a thunderstorm

and it starts raining you don't get

angry that the rain interrupted

your prayer right that's what you were

praying for right so it was okay that he

was interrupted because that's what he

wanted was for them to meet Jesus and be

filled with the Holy Spirit but it just

mayhem cut loose right there he says

well they're already baptized in the

Holy Spirit immersed saturated in the

Holy Spirit they may as well be baptized

in water now a couple things I want to

point out here one sometimes we can fall

into religious patterns where we think

God is always going to move in the same

way now in Samaria Peter and John laid

hands on people and they received the

Holy Spirit but here in in this place

wherever Cornelius lived further away he

didn't lay hands on anybody the Holy

Spirit just poured out sometimes we can

become religious and try to fabricate or

repeat the same experience because we

wanted to be exactly like it happened

last Sunday or just like it happened two

years ago here's a little story I heard

again I'm taking a little break from the

Bible study for this story apparently

during a electricity blackout of some

sort in New York 30 or 40 years ago

people would still could work their gas

stoves and they would sit by their gas

stoves to warm up and there was one lady

who was sitting by her gas stove and she

was a Christian and she was praying and

just as she was there by the gas stove

praying the Holy Spirit fell on her she

started speaking in tongues and was just

filled with the Holy Spirit in a

beautiful way and so guess what all the

people in her church started doing

sitting by their gas stove and praying

for the filling of the Holy Spirit

because God must move through gas stoves

they meant okay I'm obviously being

ironic the point I'm trying to make is

just because the Holy Spirit moved in a

certain way and one moment doesn't mean

that he is going to do the exact same

thing in the same way in another person

or another situation okay things are

going to be different the Holy Spirit is

compared to the wind the wind can be

unpredictable you can't control the wind

the wind is going to move and manifest

in different ways so we see that here

another thing I'll point out the people

in the room with Cornelius we're all

speaking in tongues and it doesn't say

that anybody understood what they were

saying okay it doesn't say and every one

of the rooms started speaking in tongues

and one guy over here said wow he's

speaking Swahili how did he know that it

doesn't say that the impression that we

get is that people were praising and

praying and exclaiming things to God in

their language and in another language

and no one necessarily understood what

was being said it was just a spiritual

way of expressing themselves to God it

was not being used for evangelism for

preaching or for prophecy okay it's

really important for us to notice that

that it was a little bit different from

what happened at Pentecost in that sense

okay now hang with me here the story

continues the gospel keeps spreading way

out to a town in in Asia Minor in Asia

Minor and Turkey called Ephesus so go

with me to acts 19 verse one to seven

acts 19 one two seven and so while

they're out there the gospel spreads way

out too far away we're not talking just

Boston we're not even talking Norwood

we're talking all the way down to

Foxborough do I just get it yeah

far away right to a place that would

seem very far away to people they'd

heard some things about the gospel but

it was only partial they were very much

only half informed about what

Christianity was all about because look

what happens when they arrive it while

Apollo's was at Corinth Paul took the

road through the interior arrived at

Ephesus so he's way out far away and

there he found some disciples so these

people are disciples that's a word used

for followers of God in some way and he

asked them did you receive the Holy

Spirit when you believed so they

believed in God we assume they had some

knowledge of Jesus they believed he said

did you receive the Holy Spirit and they

answered no we haven't even heard that

there is a Holy Spirit okay so in other

words they needed to take too

bullshit level one right away okay and I

think that happens actually a lot among

us two people may come and and believe

in God and have some experience but

their knowledge is very partial they

don't really understand much about

what's going on so Paul asked them what

baptism did you receive and they said

John's baptism John and he said John's

baptism was a baptism of repentance

remember John the Baptist saying repent

of your sins and believe in the one

coming after me

well Paul told him he told people to

believe in the one coming after him

that's Jesus so hearing this they were

baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus

so now they're really getting their

ducks in a row about what it means to

believe not just about repenting and

believing God but believing in Jesus in

the gospel all that and then in verse 6

it says when Paul placed his hands on

them the Holy Spirit came on them and

they spoke in tongues and prophesied and

says there were about 12 of them isn't

that a funny coincidence there's about

12 of these guys so just like God there

were twelve apostles well there's 12

Ephesians who are getting filled with

the Holy Spirit in this way what I want

to emphasize here again Paul laid his

hands on them so that happened again

they received the Holy Spirit they spoke

in a supernatural language and also

prophesied the word prophesy some people

might not know what that means

prophesy means you speak a message from

God the story I told at the beginning of

the of this message was a story about

prophecy it was a story about God giving

a message to God's people and he did it

through a supernatural language language

that was then interpreted into English

so prophecy is a message from God so

these people were speaking in

Supernatural language and also getting

messages from God so it was awesome so

the Holy Spirit was beginning to be

poured out here so we see again the this

expansion of the gospel the outpouring

of the Holy Spirit with different types

of manifestations going in outward

concentric circles out of Jerusalem and

here's what I believe there are some

people who believe that when the Bible

was written it stopped the gospel keeps

spreading but no more of the miracles

that are described in the

book of Acts my only theological

question you know for that is why why do

we believe it stops the book of Acts is

still being written right the gospel is

still spreading out around the world

until Jesus returns the gospel spread

out of the Middle East throughout Europe

now if it been throughout Asia here to

the west to the new world and the gospel

is spreading here in Boston and there's

more places for the gospel to spread so

why should we expect the outpouring of

the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders

and miracles and manifestations to stop

we still need God's power to spread the

gospel to people we still need it

there's no reason to think that the

story is over it will end when Jesus

comes back and were in heaven there will

be no need for miracles then because our

whole life will be supernatural right

we'll be in heaven but while we're here

we still need everything that God might

give us to spread the gospel with power

and that includes and that's what we're

talking about today the gift of speaking

in tongues speaking in a supernaturally

given language for different purposes

and that ability we believe still

continues today after 2,000 years now

one thing I would say is that we believe

it is a frequent that speaking in that

supernatural language is a frequent sign

of the Holy Spirit being poured out what

we believe in this church is that that

is not the only sign of a person being

filled with the Holy Spirit there there

might be people filled with the Holy

Spirit who experience just a burst of

joy or a burst of love or a healing or

the ability to prophesy or maybe they

don't receive the gift of tongues at

that moment we're not going to say that

they have not been filled with the Holy

Spirit that there are different ways

that that can manifest what we will say

is that the ability to speak in a

supernatural language is a common and

frequent manifestation of the Holy

Spirit and it's a gift that opens people

up to the spiritual dimension

a powerful way that can be life-changing

so I do believe that this is a common

gift we're not going to say it's the

only sign of people being filled with

the holy spirit so you with me up to now

now people don't have to agree with

everything I'm saying okay there can be

questions there could be disagreements

we believe we've that's okay all right

but I just wanted to present what I

believe in ice and I'm pretty confident

that I speak for our senior pastor as

well now I'd like to talk a little bit

more about this okay

if you'll go with me to the book of

Corinthians first Corinthians chapter 14

because speaking in tongues can get kind

of weird sometimes right I don't know if

anyone's ever been in a church where

speaking in tongues can get a little

weird

right maybe in our own church we could

get weird sometimes right well we're not

the first right in the old church in the

early church in the city of Corinth

there was a church where people were not

very mature there was a lot of people

with different types of immature

attitudes and yet they were receiving

the power of the Holy Spirit and

apparently some of these people because

they had the ability to speak in tongues

began to think that they were better

than everyone else they started thinking

I could speak in tongues and this person

can I'm better than you

or maybe we both speak in tongues but I

speak in tongues better than you do

right and there was something called

spiritual pride that got into the

picture

dividing Christians into being first

class citizens and second class citizens

and apparently in their services things

would get wild there would be people

just making noise everyone would be

yelling at the same time speaking in

tongues at the same time kind of talking

over one another and visitors were like

this is nuts right the Apostle Paul says

look the Holy Spirit does want to move

among you but God is not a God of

confusion he's a God of peace he's a God

of order and so he talked to them about

doing things in order about being

sensitive to other people and yet not

squelching the power of the Holy Spirit

I think usually

our problem as Christians is not that we

are too crazy in the spirit it's that

we're too careful to control things I

think we need to open up more not less

okay so I just want to say that from the

get-go but let's look at what he's got

to say in 1st Corinthians 14 starting in

verse 13 by the way anyone know what you

know Bible Quiz 1st Corinthians 13

anyone know what that chapter is about

first Corinthians 13 it's the famous

love chapter right people read it at

weddings and that kind of thing you know

how that chapter starts it says if I

speak in the tongues of men and of

angels but have not love I have become a

clanging cymbal or a gong a noisy gong

and he's talking about how the

importance of the move of the Holy

Spirit is love expressing itself through

miraculous manifestations and I will

tell you that when the Holy Spirit is

moving and and I have had the privilege

of being close to that or being a

channel for that there is always a

supernatural love that is transferred

you just feel an affection for the

person you know God's moving God's

moving and so love and power go together

amen

so in verse in chapter 14 the Apostle

Paul explains about the gift of tongues

so go with me there 1st corinthians 14

verse 13 for this reason the one who

speaks in a tongue should pray that they

may interpret what they say for if I

pray in a tongue my spirit prays but my

mind is unfruitful so what shall I do I

will pray with my spirit but I will also

pray with my understanding I will sing

with my spirit but I will also sing with

my understanding otherwise when you are

praising God in the spirit how can

someone else who is now put in the

position of an Enquirer or say Amen to

your Thanksgiving since they do not know

what you're saying you may be giving

thanks well enough but no one else is

edified okay so I want to stop right

there so the Apostle Paul is talking

about the ability to speak or say

in tongues isn't that cool and I just

want to stop right there you this

language is not just for speaking it's

also for singing then things get really

interesting okay but we'll come back to

that but the ability to speak or spacing

in another language is not just like it

was an actor to to speak messages in

known languages but just a way a

person's spirit is speaking to God and

singing to God in a way that the person

doesn't even understand what they're

saying now again I just want to pause

for a minute isn't that bizarre why

would God give someone the ability to

pray or to sing in a language that they

don't even understand I don't know if I

have fully the answers but have you ever

thought about that why would God do that

why why you know why not just be in a

language that you know why would God

give you the ability to do it the

language you don't even know I don't

really have a clear answer for you on

that except that that's just the way it

is

amen preach it sister she does know amen

it's a language perhaps

from heaven perhaps it's the tongues of

angels right it could be a heavenly like

for some reason I can't understand

things of the Spirit completely with my

mind right supernatural things are

beyond my ability to comprehend I don't

even understand my own spirit so when my

own spirit is talking to God why not

speak a language my mind doesn't even

understand it's not anti-intellectual

it's beyond the intellect it's another

dimension

it's a heavenly dimension where it's a

portal into the invisible supernatural

heavenly dimension of my identity and my

connection with God

and it's almost like heavens being

opened up and there's a spirit talking

to spirit and my brain is taking a break

and I don't mind you guys but my brain

needs a break periodically right and

you're talking to someone who you know

is as geeky as you get when it comes to

learning in school right you know I was

that

but I'm not anti intellectual but I'm

saying that our spirit can commune with

God in a way that goes beyond the

intellect the Apostle Paul says it here

you maybe you know what are we saying

when we do this he says you could be

giving thanks and you don't even know

what you're giving thanks for but your

spirit is giving things you could be

praising you could be interceding it for

whatever reason you your spirit is

communicating with God now maybe you

have a hunch of what you're saying

especially when you're singing because

you just know your spirit is praising

God you don't know what he's saying but

it must be good and I can't wait to get

to heaven when I'll understand what my

spirit just said to the Lord right but

there is a communication going on now

here's a clarification the Apostle Paul

says that when you're in church you want

to be careful too if you're gonna speak

in a way that takes over the service if

you're gonna grab the microphone and

give a message in tongues or in an

supernatural language you shouldn't do

that unless you're praying also for an

interpretation like the story I shared

at the beginning of my message because

otherwise you just spoke in tongues and

everyone sitting there saying wow I have

no idea what that dude just said some of

you are hearing sermons in your own

language and you're thinking I still

don't understand what he's saying

but it's bad enough right and so the

idea is when a person is going to lead

in prayer that there should be an

expectation that if the spirits going to

move in them to speak in tongues that we

should pray for an interpretation to

that message now that does not mean that

a person is never allowed to pray in

tongues in church there are some times

during our worship time when we're all

just quietly praying to the Lord and

expressing our heart to God and I don't

know how many languages we have in this

room but even natural languages I think

we must have well over a dozen languages

here that people speak and if your

original language is Swahili I hope that

when you're praising God you're able to

express yourself in Swahili to the Lord

right or Spanish or English or French

Creole or polish or whatever language it

is and so there are

times where we're all sort of praying

and crying out to God and I think it is

perfectly appropriate at that time for a

person to pray in tongues sometimes when

we're interceding for other people and I

have to be careful with myself sometimes

I'll be praying for someone and I'll be

like god I don't know what to pray and

so I'll say god I pray that your Holy

Spirit will pray through me for this

person and maybe I'll pray for them in

tongues but then I need to be careful

because I'm other person look I say

what's going on here what was that of

course watch them turn around and say

how did you know Garifuna you know that

would be really funny right but the

whole idea is that sometimes the spirit

can pray through us but we need to be

sensitive that we're not distracting

people as we do that but I don't believe

I believe if you have that gift use it

right I don't think this is saying we

shouldn't ever speak in tongues but we

should just be aware of our surroundings

it is not anti spiritual to think about

others when you're in church

it's just loving to think how does my

experience with God affect the people

around me that's not an inappropriate

question we should be sensitive when

we're in a group but also there should

be freedom for the Holy Spirit to do

things even strange things sometimes

amen okay let me keep working on this

another point I would make and by the

way I heard an interesting story about

this a particular friend of mine who

might or might not be in this room when

she was a young woman she received the

power of the Holy Spirit began speaking

in tongues and was wondering God she'd

never even heard about it she'd never he

had heard a sermon like this it just

happened to her and she was like god I

wonder what I'm saying so she sat down

and she wrote down some of the phonetics

of what she was saying and at the end of

every line was the word Abba and she

didn't know what I meant

at the time she was brand-new is it Abba

is the Hebrew word for father and and

the Bible says the Holy Spirit cries out

through us Abba Father right so I

believe that the Holy Spirit was moving

her to talk to my father she didn't even

know it you know I wonder what else was

being said there so that's just because

I don't understand what I'm saying

doesn't mean that it doesn't have

meaning

here's another point the Apostle Paul

says that you can do everything in order

which means that when a person is

speaking in tongues they have control

over what they're doing okay I really

want to emphasize that some of us think

and some theologians who don't know what

they're talking about

call speaking in tongues ecstatic

utterance right that's what they call it

as if a person goes into an ecstatic

trance they lose control of themselves

and they start speaking in another

language

that's not speaking in tongues speaking

in tongues is the ability to speak

another language just like you speak

French or English or Spanish it's not a

a trance where you lose control of

yourself it's it's really normal

actually I know you he doth protest too

much but what I am gonna say is it feels

really normal

it doesn't feel in fact speaking in

tongues does not always have a spiritual

feeling associated with it it might and

and I think if a person prays in tongues

it can kind of get them into the zone

look at it this way when you pray or

when you sing do you always feel the

presence of God always no I'm most I'd

hate to even say this but most of the

time when we start praying and singing

we don't feel anything we're just

talking to God we're just singing out of

sincere obedience but we don't have

emotions associated with it

but then once you get rolling things can

change right how about a worship service

very often we start out just singing

without any emotion at all and then by

the end of the worship time we're

swimming right we're swimming in the

Holy Spirit and in emotions because you

started and eventually you entered into

a zone where your emotions are lined up

with your spirit and your mouth

well speaking in tongues is the same way

very often there is no emotion

whatsoever associated with it a person

just does it and then over time it helps

them enter into a spiritual zone where

their emotions are more sensitive to

things of the Spirit but the person

who's speaking in tongues has full

control over what they're doing if they

go into a trance and they have no

control that is the exception not the

rule that is a highly unusual thing it's

not the normal way that it happens so

okay now that's the end of most of my

Bible teaching on this but I do want to

say that at the very beginning of this

chapter the Apostle Paul says that when

you're in church you should be looking

to edify others he says but when I pray

in tongues I edit I myself it just helps

me it doesn't help me be a better

Christian than you it helps me be a

better Christian than I otherwise would

have been because that's helping me get

in the zone what do you do to help edify

yourself maybe you listen to Christian

music you read the Bible you go to

church you take a discipleship class you

listen to sermons it's the same thing

it's one more thing a person can do that

helps them connect into God and walk in

the spirit now I'd like to share some

stories if I may am i cool with that

we're just bringing it home and I just

want to share some a couple stories here

the key whether a person agrees with

every little detail of what a church

believes about this what is absolutely

essential is that every Christian brings

to God a humble attitude before him that

says God I am up for whatever you have

for me that any gift you want to give me

I'm not going to say no thank you

right there's a beautiful section where

Jesus says which of you fathers though

you are evil right if your son asks for

a fish would give him a scorpion if you

ask for bread would give him a stone if

you though you are evil know how to give

good gifts to your children how much

more will the whole that your heavenly

Father give the Holy Spirit to those who

ask him there is always more of the Holy

Spirit for those who are hungry and

asking and willing to receive and we can

trust that if God has a gift for me it's

good and we need to bring before him an

attitude of saying god I don't care how

silly it is I don't know how kind of how

crazy it is God if something is from you

I want it sort of that attitude of a

child that's

if it's if it's from you I know it's

something I want and that's how I

reacted as a as a 16 year old new

Christian we had a little discipleship

group of Catholic boys who we we adopted

a Pentecostal Episcopalian priest kind

of Casa to give us discipleship and he

started teaching us about the experience

of getting filled with the Holy Spirit

and different gifts of the Holy Spirit

speaking in tongues and I heard this I'm

16 years old and I thought hey why not

sounds like fun

you know how's that for a sophisticated

theological it was just like well some

people are doing drugs I'll do this why

not you know I just I just looked like

why not and I think that I hate to say

this guy's but sometimes that's not a

bad thing to say so it might be so why

should I speak it says well why not if

it's something God has for you why not

in that attitude so so I decided okay I

want to pray for this you know I want to

have the own by the way a really good

friend of mine who you know I won't name

his name but he's about 10 feet tall and

he's a missionary in the Middle East

okay just Inc I'm not going to name his

name though because I don't wanna give

away his identity when I first met that

person he would pray for two hours a day

everyday for missions and for the world

he was the most godly person I'd ever

met 18 years old freshman in college

right two hours a day without fail

praying for missions sharing the gospel

and he never had had the experience of

speaking in tongues and of course I was

18 and I was Rambo and I'm ready to pray

for anybody right I said hey hey brother

that's pray for this you know and he

said he says you could pray for me for

whatever I want whatever God said I've

never had that gift and so one day we're

praying together and he was actually

just about to step into leadership of

our college group at that time and I

felt led by the spirit I felt God's

presence that I felt like God wanted to

anoint him for leadership in a special

way and he happened to be really like

nasty sick with a horrible cold you know

sniffily whatever we're praying so I

pray God please heal my friend and then

I said and I said God I also pray that

you would fill him with the Holy Spirit

in a special way and give him the gift

of tongues if that's what you want to do

right now as I prayed for him and

and then we ended our prayer time I went

back to my room he came in an hour later

with a big smile and said hey Greg you

prayed for two things one of them was

answered and I'm still sick that's

that's the way he worries that's his

mind that's and he said he said this is

this is great he says now I can pray for

three hours when I run out of things to

pray I'll just let the Holy Spirit take

over he was very he wasn't a real if

he's not a real emotional person God has

made him extremely steady so he didn't

have all kinds of Tears but he was just

now he just had another another

instrument another way to pray and he's

like oh that's very handy I appreciate

this this is nice well that's it you

know he wasn't all you know he would

still himself but he had that gifts had

that ability and because he had the

attitude of God I don't even see why I

would need that but God I want whatever

you've got for me and I'm not gonna say

he was already a more mature Christian

than I was he was already a man of God

already anointed already a prayer

warrior but he just had an attitude of

God I want whatever I'm gonna need it

for what I'm called to do I need

everything you're gonna give me right so

when I first heard about this I'm 16

years old I'm hearing about it sounds

like fun pray for me guys so of course

we get in a circle and my buddy drew

played guitar and so he just played okay

we're gonna pray for you and he's

playing guitar and by the way Charles

Finney was our hero you're gonna hear

about him later and they lay down hands

on me Andy and they all had the gift of

tongues so they start praying for me and

I'm like well what is this you know I

but I really wanted it so I prayed

really hard you know and I learned as a

five-year-old in Christian preschool

that if you squint really hard it's more

powerful right I'm squinting really hard

I'm really you know it's got to happen I

don't want to speak in tongues and I

just tried it because they said just

speak so right like something we did

last week so I tried it I said oh this

feels goofy it's not real I feel like

I'm just making it up and oh like what

happened what's wrong with me and then

of course I thought well it must be that

I'm in sin right maybe I'm maybe I'm bad

I'm not good enough for God to give me

the Holy Spirit you know it started to

feel guilty and like no it's not like

that

God just has his timing like well

whatever then there was another time

where we did the same thing went through

the same rigmarole a couple weeks later

nothing happened finally I'm like God I

don't know I'm just gonna leave it in

your hands then after a Wednesday night

prayer meeting at this at this

Episcopalians priest church they

gathered up to pray for a couple of us

and it was a quiet quiet prayer meeting

and during this prayer meeting there

were some adults there too and two

ladies had messages for me that I

believe were prophetic messages they

didn't know me but they told me things

that they had no way of knowing that I

felt like God was speaking through them

and I just felt very peaceful and quiet

I didn't I wasn't squinting really hard

I wasn't trying really hard I just felt

quiet and I found myself just whispering

some words again I thought oh no no I'm

not gonna and and then after the prayer

meeting the lady who had prophesied to

me said you know I thought I heard you

whispering something she's like you know

God's not gonna you know force you to do

this you know just just try see if you

feel like some words are coming just try

saying them if it's of God it'll flow if

it's not it won't yeah there you go so I

was like well okay we'll see so I'm

driving home right sixteen years old

driving home but put where my parents

think in right anyway sixteen you're

allowed to drive 16 it's good right so

I'm driving and so I'm going home and I

figured you know I'm just gonna start

speaking so I start just saying some of

these words and I thought I felt so

silly I was like gods up there looking

at me like kid what are you doing I

don't understand the word yours and I

thought I must be just making this up

but then I thought I'll say a few more

words and I'll just be goofy about I

just got the next thing I knew within a

minute or two it was flowing and I knew

I'm not making this up and I'm like okay

okay now it's real okay now I can feel

the difference and so I'm just and then

when I get in close to home I start

really feeling something too I start

feeling God's presence and then I got

worried I was like am I gonna be able to

speak English to my mother when I get

home so I get out of the car and I'm

practicing right hi mom

I'm practicing so I get in the house

right hi mom you know I just had this

I'm not good at hiding things I never

have then I just and she's just looking

at me and and I go upstairs and I pray

and then I was so excited though I had

to tell her right so I come down I tell

my mother said mom guess you're not

gonna believe what just happened cuz

she's like what are you doing at this

prayer meeting because I had this look

right like what's wrong with you

like what are you doing and I was like

mom I now speak in tongues and she does

these were her literal words I don't say

that her real words don't tell your

father he'll call the child psychologist

those were her words and if she's

watching she knows she said that to me

don't tell your father he'll call the

child psychologist you know that night I

couldn't sleep I was you know the

closest thing compared to is being

intoxicated in love for the first time

you know I couldn't sleep I was just

speaking in tongues all night I would

just speak in tongues in the show what I

apparently I was speaking in tongues in

the shower the next morning because my

such like Greg I heard you speaking over

there in the shower it's getting really

strange you know and and I go to school

and someone looks at me as like what are

you on today and I'm like it's God man

and I and I just start sharing the

gospel with I just couldn't keep it in

the gospel just flowed out of me and

then I got so excited I'm like I just

want to serve Jesus all out so I read in

Charles Finney about confessing all your

sins everything you can ever remember

doing so I sat down I wrote down all the

sins I could remember and I go in my in

the bathroom right I got all these pages

and I light it on fire and and put it in

the toilet and and my parents are not

gonna throw Greg what are you doing in

there you know we smell smoke I'm like

nothing I'm just praying what are you

doing I smell smoke it's just like

Seinfeld it was it was anyway with

anyway I was just blitzed with the Holy

Spirit so and I should remember the date

that was all December 5 1984 I'll never

forget that day you know December 5 1984

the Lisa Campos anniversary and and

that's what

never forget that because it opened up a

new supernatural dimension for me now

after a week or two I came back down to

earth and I was a normal 16 years old

with moods and whatever and and but the

gift of tongues remained and the ability

to pray in tongues became a part of my

daily life that is just part of what

just as I'm doing my thing it helps me

just my spirit stay in touch with God

and the beauty of it is you can pray and

not think which is wonderful when you're

supposed to think about something else

right sometimes you need to think about

something else like when I'll be well I

don't want to weird people out but I'll

be doing things you know driving

ministering listening and I'm praying in

tongues to myself because I'm my spirit

is trying to open up to what God wants

to do in that moment and just part of

daily life it just comes in handy now

and it helps me write sometimes I feel

something usually I don't write usually

it's just part of normal life you're

walking through your day the ability to

pray incessantly so this is what

speaking in tongues is all about and

again it's not just this particular gift

what I really want to leave us with

today and I want to leave with a

testimony I'm going to read from Charles

Finney is that it's not about having

this gift or that gift it's all about

being hungry to experience whatever God

wants to do in my life whether you speak

in tongues or whether you sing or

prophesy or whatever you do if you're

experiencing the fullness of God that's

what it's about and we always should be

hungry for more

jesus said if you'll give good gifts

your children your heavenly Father give

the Holy Spirit to those who ask him

there's always more

but Jesus makes it very clear that it's

the pushy friend who receives from his

other friend remember the story it says

which one of you has a friend who comes

to you late at night knocks at the door

and says hey I've got company over I

don't have any food to give him give me

something and the friend from inside

answers and says don't bother me I'm in

bed with the kids already the guy keeps

knocking and he says he will not get up

and give him anything because he's his

friend

because of his shameless audacity he

will get up and give him everything he

wants

Jesus Mexican you might be a friend of

God God loves you and you love God but

unless you are shamelessly pushy with

him then your spiritual life will suffer

because God gives to those who ask he

says ask and you'll receive seek and you

will find knock and the door will be

open everyone who asks receives but we

need to knock at the door we need to be

hungry and I'd encourage you don't look

to have a particular experience in a

particular way

just look for more of whatever God has

for you and say God I am up for whatever

with you I want more of you amen now I

want to read to end this time you'll

stick with me a little bit and then

we're gonna have a moment of Prayer

but I'd like to read a testimony written

by Charles Finney who's my favorite

evangelist from the early 19th century

he would go to towns and just look at

someone and there would be a revival

with you know thousands of people

accepting Jesus and he was anointed in

fact his revivals were really the steam

behind the abolition movement in the in

the early 19th century but he was a

lawyer very intellectual and look at

what happened to him in 1821 he tells

his story it says but as I turned I was

about to take a seat by the fire he's in

his law office and I received a mighty

baptism of the Holy Ghost without any

expectation of it without ever having

thought in my mind that there was any

such thing for me without my

recollection that I had ever heard the

thing mentioned by any person in the

world the Holy Ghost descended on me in

a manner that seemed to go through me

body and soul I could feel the

impression like a wave of electricity

going through and through me indeed it

seemed to come in waves and waves of

liquid love for I could not express it

in any other way it seemed like the very

breath of God I can recollect distinctly

that it seemed to fan me like a men

swings no words can express the

wonderful love that was shed abroad in

my heart I wept aloud with joy and love

and I do not know but I should say I

literally bellowed out the unknowable

gushing z' of my heart

maybe I hinted tongues there the waves

came over me and over me one after the

other until I recollect I cried out I

shall die if these waves continue to

pass over me I said Lord I cannot bear

it any more yet I had no fear of death

now how long I continued in this state

with this baptism continuing to rule

over me and go through me I do not know

but I know it was late in the evening

when a member of my choir for I was the

leader of the choir came into the office

to see me in the state of loud weeping

and said to me mr. Feeny what ails you I

could make him no answer for some time

and then he said are you in pain I

gathered myself up as best I could and

replied no but so happy that I cannot

live that awesome now he didn't says as

I as I mentioned throughout there amen

you can he didn't speak in tongues but

he was baptized in the Holy Spirit

immersed in the Holy Spirit and that is

what sparked the anointing in him that

led to the revivals through him brothers

and sisters God has things for you and

me to do but we can't do it on our own

power you're going to need the power of

the Holy Spirit through you to

accomplish your destiny let us not hold

short with questions and doubts let's

come to God and say God whatever you got

for me I want it and I need it and it's

all about God it's not about just

electricity the love is what flowed

through him because the Holy Spirit

isn't a force but a person who exerts a

force and his love is here for us so I

invite you to stand with me

and just right where you are we are

going to end with a worship song and but

and as we do this and as we pray I want

to invite you we're just gonna take a

moment it's just in the quietness of

your own heart in your own way to open

yourself up to the movement of the Holy

Spirit in your life to the baptism and

filling of the Holy Spirit if you want

to come forward during the song you can

or right where you are you can pray this

but we're going to take a minute Holy

Father we come before you right now we

thank you Lord that you are a generous

father and that you give to all without

finding fault lord I need your power to

do what you've called me to do we need

your power to be the church that you've

called us to be and I'm gonna invite you

if you want to raise your hands you can

whatever you need to do to open your

heart to God in a physical gesture and

Holy Spirit we invite you to fall on

this gathering right now Holy Spirit

that you would whisper among us that you

would move among us like that gentle

dove resting upon your people

I might you to pray with me Holy Spirit

I open my heart to you Jesus baptized me

in the Holy Spirit fill me to

overflowing I want more of you I give

you full freedom to take control of my

life and to fill me to overflowing

whatever that looks like Lord that you

would fan to flame that the gift that is

in us right now I pray God that you

would release gifts Lord that you would

release power right now in the name of

Jesus that you would release the

anointing that you have for people in

the name of Jesus God that right now you

would unleash the full variety of the

giftings you have for this gathering

gifts of tongues gifts of prophecy gifts

of healing gifts of leadership gifts of

worship Lord gifts of administration

Lord God most of all God the gift of the

power to proclaim your word in a way

that saves souls Lord God let your power

fall on this place Holy Spirit fall in

this place we knock on the door Holy

Spirit we knock on the door Holy Spirit

we push like that shameless neighbor and

we say God give us what you have for us

Lord God we are hungry for more of you

whatever you have for us we wanted Lord

God God we repent for putting limits on

you we repent for putting boundaries

around what you can and can't do in our

lives we want everything that you have

for us Holy Spirit move move among us

Lord God

we lift up the name of Jesus we worship

The Value of One

so before I get going with my message I

just really am so excited to show you

this video this next video really shows

you all there is to know about what

happened in Pakistan but you see when I

go to these places then the Lord has

called me specifically to reach into the

Islamic nations see the greatest message

that I can preach to them is the message

of who Jesus really is the revelation of

Jesus to mankind because in the Koran

they believe in Jesus Jesus there's a

whole chapter on Jesus on the miracles

of Jesus they believe it was the son of

Mary the son of Joseph but they don't

believe he was the son of God they don't

believe he was God the Son and Jesus

says unless you believe that I am he

that I am the great I am who became a

man then you will die in your sins so

this really was one of the themes of my

message if we can just show the video

[Music]

[Music]

[Music]

I travel to the nations but I love

coming to Pakistan

you're the most alive people I've ever

met

[Music]

this great iron became a man

[Music]

it wasn't the Jews that cheered crucify

him that killed Jesus I'm gonna say

something outrageous now it was you that

killed Jesus it was me that killed Jesus

was a sin that killed Jesus he was

saying I am the God of Abraham Isaac and

Jacob

[Music]

[Applause]

in the name of Jesus he shall go because

today is the day of salvation

[Applause]

[Music]

you say I'm the creator of the heavens

in the air

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

and that Jesus is the revelation of God

to mankind praise God

[Music]

whether we are eternally lost or

eternally foul

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

you know that just in that meeting that

one meeting alone there were 80,000

people and when I made the order Call of

salvation I mean everything's just a

blur it's just the sea of heads a sea of

people so I can't really count how many

you there how much so I rely on the

organizers because they're the ones

telling me now when I made their order

call for salvation you know I I said to

the crowds I says who prayed the prayer

of salvation and invited Christ into

there into your heart for the first time

tonight and all these hands went up I

said to the person next to me how many

people was that how many lifted their

hands for the first time to receive

Jesus and he said to me well based on

the number here I would say that's

around 40,000 people can we give God

praise come on you know when heaven is

rejoicing we cannot be silent and then

it gets better I I invited people to be

baptized in the Holy Ghost and so I said

anybody who has yet to be baptized in

the spirit of God and who doesn't speak

in another tongue now's the time to

receive this is the day of Pentecost and

you might say well it wasn't the day of

Pentecost back then a few weeks ago this

was today is that there of Pentecost

right 50 days after the resurrection of

Jesus is that their pen did you not know

that but you know it's the day of

Pentecost but the Lord corrected me the

Lord showed me there is no day of

Pentecost there are only days of

Pentecost and we are living in one of

them right now every day we live in an

era of Pentecost and the Holy Ghost has

already fallen and he's still falling

and falling and falling every every day

hallelu

to everyone who believes and calls upon

the name of the law

well anyway I prayed for people to be

baptized I ask God to open the heavens

to pour out the Holy Ghost of fresh for

fresh fire to come and now I had to

build them up on on Acts chapter two I

had to kind of for ten minutes just open

my Bible and give him a little teaching

about what happened on the day of

Pentecost and so I said are you ready

are you ready to receive and so they're

saying yes I said well look God's not

gonna wiggle your tongue he doesn't move

your tongue you have to move your tongue

you know it's something but many times

to end up in the spirit you have to

start off in the flesh and when you do

everything that you can in a natural

then God puts the super to your natural

and releases the supernatural hello

and so I said right now for those of you

who are yet to speak in another tongue

just move your tongue and just begin

appraise him in what language you know

just praise him in your own tongue and

then as you move this tongue of flesh a

tongue of fire will connect with your

tongue of flesh and release a new

language hallelujah and so this is what

happened and then as I said after three

one two three now raise your voices and

I ask God to open the heavens and so I

just begin to hear this this simmering

tongue in the background just this mixed

sea of tongues and it got louder and

louder and louder and it got so loud

that all I heard were was a mass of

people speaking in other tongues and

then when it calmed down I I asked the

person next him I sort of nudged him

again so well how many people is that

so I said whoever spoke in tongues for

the first time who got baptized for the

first time raise your hand and all these

hands went up when I and I I couldn't

count the number so I said well how many

is that

and he said mmm I asked him eight that

is about 20,000 P

that just got baptized in the Holy Ghost

for the first time isn't that amazing I

mean there were only 120 people under

there Pentecost and here we have 20,000

getting baptized in the Holy Ghost

speaking of the tongues but you see this

is what was prophesied Haggai 2 verse 9

it says that the glory of the latter

house shall be greater than the former

house says the Lord and you know we go

from glory to glory the Bible says and

when the devil comes uses all your best

days are behind you I've come to call

that devil a liar I'm calling him out

and I'm saying no your best days are

ahead of you your best and your most

blessed days are ahead of you can you

say Amen and if you've gone for a season

of difficulty a season of trial who's

gone through some difficulty here hands

up who's got who's been mourning during

the night while I'm coming here to tell

you today when you stepped into church

you didn't step into just a Sunday

morning you stepped into a new season

and I'm here to declare that there's a

new season as beginning right now today

is the day for your salvation today is

the day for your miracle God as only

what God won't one day on his calendar

and that day is today and he's not a

procrastinator he doesn't wait to do

tomorrow what he can do today God is

willing to release it right now so some

of you you know you've been crying

during the night and it's been a long

night it's been a long season of

difficulty well I'm here to tell you

that the Lord says it's over you who've

been down and out it's time to get up

and over because morning has come

hallelujah turn to your neighbor and

nudge them and say morning is here

morning is here joy has come just say

good morning it's morning

crying a morning my and your front light

but joy comes in the morning the Bible

says and we are living I believe we are

living on the precipice of the greatest

revival that the church world has ever

seen and really I'm looking at all the

signs in the world right now Jesus

predicted all of the signs before his

return and I just want to read from

Matthew 23 verses 37 and 39 and here we

have Jew Jesus standing before ancient

Jerusalem and he's saying o Jerusalem

Jerusalem the one who kills the prophets

and stones those who are sent to her how

often I wanted to gather your children

together as a hen gathers her chickens

under her wings but you were not willing

and then he warns them see your house is

left to you desolate for I say to you

you shall see me no more till you say

blessed is he who comes in the name of

the Lord Jesus chastised the religious

leaders of ancient Jerusalem because

they never knew the time of their

visitation and I wonder what Jesus would

say today to the prophesied last

generation of today who do not

understand the signs of the times and

that his visitation is drawing so near I

believe all the signs for Jesus return

have been fulfilled we've seen

earthquakes we've seen wars many Wars

rumors of wars storms tsunamis how many

red blood moons have we seen all the

signs for Jesus return have been

fulfilled

and I believe that the Great Tribulation

is coming the Beast is coming the

Antichrist is coming but I also believe

that Jesus is holding back the storm for

us to gather the greatest harvest the

world has ever seen and it's time for

this generation to wake up morning has

come revival is coming and I prophesied

that it's already here it's coming and

it's coming to Boston and every one of

you have been brought into the kingdom

for such a time as this it's time to man

those battle stations it's time to sound

the alarm

it's time for the truths to rise the

harvest is gonna be so big it's gonna be

bigger than what any evangelist can

reach it's gonna take the whole body of

Christ you see nobody can reach

everybody but everybody can reach

somebody can you say me and I see an

Elisha generation rising up to challenge

the gods of this age the gods of atheism

the gods of agnosticism and secularism

and humanism and Islamism and every

other ISM you can think of challenging

them and saying our God is the true and

living God there is no one beside him

there is no one

and we shall demonstrate to you by fire

that he is not dead

but he is alive

to break every bondage to open every

prison door to set every captive free

can you give God a shout and I believe

it's going to happen in Boston I didn't

waste my time coming to Boston because I

saw too many cheers programs I used to

like to Starsky and Hutch but that's not

the reason why I came I was quite

comfortable living on in Paradise kids

will tell you we lived in Cyprus for 11

years right next to the sea a beach

waking up to a beach view every morning

but the Lord said your time has come at

you you're too comfortable here I'm

sending you somewhere else and he

impressed upon my heart this city of

Boston out of all the places in the

world that I could have relocated to I

came here and I believed revival is

coming to Boston I believe what you saw

in that video up there that's going to

be the site one day of Boston Common

thousands upon thousands upon thousands

of people as the heavens open and the

Spirit of God descends like fire and

people groaning in the street cut to the

heart with conviction of sin they will

cry out what must we do to be saved

and we will see a great revival and I

believe the revival that is coming is

going to be bigger and will Eclipse all

other revivals so I'm saying Lord you're

not done with America I'm saying Lord

you're not done with this nation Lord

come and visit America one more time one

more time do it again the Antichrist can

wait he can wait

until we get the job done and every one

of you has a has a calling I loved the

man who was given the oratory about the

cost of the cross and every one of us is

called to win souls I mean that is the

language of an evangelist but you might

say well I can't cross the Seas like you

brother James

another fellow evangelist another greek

cypriot his name is J John he said this

he says we're not all called to be

evangelists but we are all called to

evangelize and to Timothy four or five

says do the work of an evangelist

fulfill your ministry and I believe no

matter what ministry you have if you

don't do the work of an evangelist

you're not fulfilling your ministry

everybody is called to win souls Jesus

put it this way Matthew 4:19 follow me

and you and I will make you a a keeper

of aquarium's did he say that he said

Fisher of men if we're not winning souls

we're not following the Lord hello

but that's what the Lord was implying

right there wasn't he he says if you

follow me you'll be a Fisher of men if

you're not a Fisher of men who are you

following because if you're following

the Lord you'll be a soul winner and

that's what the Lord is calling this is

the clarion prophetic call to the body

of Christ right now you know my job when

I'm not preaching in in the mission

field I'm and I'm preaching in churches

it's to go wake up the Saints that's

part of my ministry as an equipping

evangelist there's too many Saints

asleep in the light and the Lord is

saying go away come up they need to wake

up because morning is here we need

to discern the signs of the times the

Lord's coming is imminent hallelujah and

God is getting ready to tear the veil

off the heavenlies so that what's been

held back can be released and God has a

purpose for you now you might say well I

can't cross the seas no but you can

cross the street

hello you see a missionary is not one

who crosses the seas it's one who sees

the cross you like that one it's one who

sees the cross if you have bowed your

knee at the cross if you've come to the

cross and you understand the message of

the Cross you're a missionary God had

one son and his son was a missionary he

seemed missions is not a location you

know gone are the days well I'm just

gonna set up everything I'm just gonna

go on into the mission field and be it

no you are a missionary Leonard

Ravenhill we heard he said every member

is a missionary or was that CT stud

anyway one of those greats this is not a

theological lesson so if I get my

references wrong that's why you have

pastors like pastor Greg great great man

of the word

sometimes I see Vangelis we you know

we're not teachers I can teach but you

know there are teachers we respect the

fivefold ministry we all have a place

but you see missions is a mentality

you're called to missions you're called

to be a missionary hallelujah and I want

to talk to you this morning about the

power of reaching the one the value of

the one you may not be reaching

thousands you don't have to you can

reach one

if each one reached one this church

would double and if those people reached

another one it would quadruple and it

would just keep increasing exponentially

amen turn to neighbor and say reach one

Jesus didn't just follow

he didn't just preach to the crowds he

was intent on reaching the one look at

the man of the gadarenes the man of the

gatherings in chapter 5 of Mark Jesus

just finished preaching to the crowds

and he's walking through the gatherings

and this demoniac came to him and the

Bible says that the person was demon

possessed with a Thousand Devils he had

a whole Legion and the Bible declares

that he saw Jesus and he ran and he

worshiped at his feet isn't that

interesting

not even a Thousand Devils could stop

that man from worshiping Jesus and yet

we say Oh Lord I'm tired Oh Lord you

know I've had a heavy day at work or

I've got some other things planned today

or we didn't put our alarm clock on we

couldn't wake up in time we find all

sorts of excuses oh we've got a birthday

to go to oh I've got to do overtime out

you know we find all sorts of excuses

not to worship the Lord and here we have

a man from the gadarenes possessed with

a Thousand Devils I'm telling you right

now there is no devil in hell I don't

care what problem there is it doesn't

matter how demon possessed a person is

no one can stop a person from worshiping

Jesus the king of kings no one can stop

you and the Bible declares as soon as he

began worshiping Jesus immediately of

this thing doesn't fall off immediately

Jesus set him free

immediately the Bible says he commanded

those spirits to leave and the demons

cried at all but can you send us into

those 2000 pigs over there so the Lord

said okay go I love that simple word go

carries so much authority when you say

go in the name of Jesus your problems

can't out-compete God's promises the

devils no cannot overcome gods yes

when God says yes when God says go the

problem is gone and they left but isn't

it interesting how all the people from

the villages from where that heard about

this they came running and they saw them

the man who's now free sitting down and

they and the two thousand pigs they they

heard that the two thousand pigs had run

off the cliff and destroyed themselves

they'd rather kill themselves and be

possessed by unclean spirits and isn't

it interesting how they didn't focus on

the one that was set free they were

probably focused on the two that oh but

you know Jesus they in beckoned Jesus

turn pleaded with him to leave he just

freed a man who was demon-possessed

screaming and cutting himself living

among the tombs and they commanded Jesus

go instead of praising God I reckon

there was a few animal activists in that

group

no by Jesus how dare you you know those

pigs those pigs matter pigs lives matter

to Jesus it's they're interesting how we

often focus on the wrong thing

Jesus was focusing on the one that one

had more value in all those 2000 pigs

put together you can somewhere in Boston

you can buy a pig a 50 pound pig for

about a hundred and twenty-five dollars

now times that by 2000 I've done the

math already Jesus figured well that one

soul is worth more than 250,000 dollars

in fact one soul is worth more much much

more than 250,000 dollars I think I

think so I have a $20 bill right here

this dollar bill $20 bill I could step

on it I could step on it right now

I could twist it it could get all soiled

and dirty but its value never changes

hallelujah it's still worth $20 and you

might life may have stepped on you and

crushed you and twisted you and you may

be stained by the troubles of life but

you still have the same value in the

sight of God because you're created in

the image and likeness of God in fact

you are worth more than all the gold and

silver in the world just one soul just

one song because that one soul was

purchased by the precious blood of Jesus

Christ and his blood is priceless so

next time that Devil says to you you're

worthless you're nothing tell the devil

you're a liar

I've been purchased by the blood of the

Lamb I am valuable to God I am beyond

measure I am God's property I belong to

God

so get behind me you'll no longer part

of my life in fact get under my foot our

foot belongs on the devil's neck keep it

there never give him any opportunity I

also like what our brother talked about

sanctification sanctification there's an

inner working of there's a

sanctification that is imputed to you by

the blood of Jesus

it's a work of grace you become the

righteousness of God it's a work of

grace you can't earn it you don't

deserve it

but it's given to you because of what

Jesus did at the cross he paid the price

for your righteousness but there's also

an inner working of sanctification and

righteousness where we have to learn to

walk a sanctified life we have to learn

to live out the salvation that is in us

and that's a life long journey how many

of you know so that's why I dislike this

hyper grace message which says God

doesn't see your sin he doesn't care

about sin you can sin or your past

present and future sin is under the

blood they don't matter whether you sin

Jesus paid the price even for your

future sin so just go ahead and live

like you want do whatever makes you

happy but that message is not the Bible

that's the distortion of grace because

to Titus sorry Titus chapter 2 verse 11

and 12 says the grace of God has

appeared to all men teaching us that we

should deny ungodliness and worldly

lusts and live soberly righteously and

godly in this present age so grace is

not a license to sin it's the power to

overcome sin hallelujah and if you want

to walk in the power of the Holy Ghost

you've got to learn how to live a

sanctified life there's so many symbols

of the Holy Spirit in the Bible one of

them is a dove doves don't sell pigeons

we'll settle on anything Falcons and

vultures will come along on settle on

dead bodies dead carcasses eat rotten

flesh not so with doves doves only

settle where it's clean nothing unclean

nothing dirty nothing defiled

what does that teach us about the Holy

Ghost if we really want to walk in the

power and the anointing of the Holy

Ghost we have to learn to live a

sanctified life you see to become a

believer it doesn't cost you anything

salvation is free but it didn't come

cheap and I tell my kids okay they'll

clothes that you're wearing

they didn't cost you anything the food

on the table that didn't cost you

anything it's all free

even your university fees all paid for

it's all free but it cost somebody else

something I say don't forget it may be

free to you but it didn't come cheap to

me it costs me and when you understand

the value and the cost of Christ on the

cross you not only understand the value

of your Redemption you understand the

value of yourself and the greatest value

that you can put on yourself the

greatest honor that you can give to

yourself is to live a holy life holiness

is the utmost expression of your value

your value to God and God has set you

apart sanctified you and sealed you with

the Holy Ghost so you can be sent to saw

it as a lot of s's there by the way

you're keeping track to saw in Christ

Jesus and be a soul winner hallelujah so

Jesus went after the one we need to

understand that the Bible is full of

examples the woman with the issue of

blood blind man Bartimaeus jesus went to

them the woman with the issue of blood

the Bible declares that her faith made

her whole she pressed through the crowds

let me tell you something if you want to

draw close to God you're going to come

across some resistance there will be

some pressure the devil's gonna kick

back on you but if you continue pressing

in every time

pushes on you you're gonna turn into his

worst nightmare hallelujah because

you're a carrier of the glory of God and

so Gaea there was a crowd around Jesus

just I'm gonna finish with this there

was a crowd around Jesus but that woman

continued to press through probably on

her hands and knees

because the crowds were so thick and

dense but she managed to touch the hem

of His garment and the Bible declares

immediately the issue of blood was dried

up she became whole and Jesus did a

peculiar thing he turned around and

started saying who touched me and I can

just imagine Peter James and John saying

what do you mean Lord there's so many

people here touching you they're

touching you hands all over you what do

you mean who touched me is the Lord

going a bit you know crazy and the Lord

said no no somebody touched me and the

woman just fell at his feet and said I

touched you and the Lord said to a go

your faith has made you whole there is

something about faith that causes God to

pass over a million people just to get

to you just to get to the one jesus said

have faith even as a mustard seed you

see it was on the hand of a woman that

stopped Jesus it was the hand of faith

that calls Jesus to stand still

hallelujah

faith is the hand that tapes from God

you see when you and I want to do

business we need money we need the

currency of money if we're going to do

business but if you want to do business

with God you need the currency of heaven

that currency is the currency of faith

without faith it is impossible to please

God but faith is not mere mental assent

faith is a fact but faith is an act it's

easy to see who's got faith just look at

their actions faith manifests faith is

visible it's not some invisible force

it's a very visible force that's

manifested in and through you hallelujah

and it moves the hand of God why did

everybody get healed it they weren't

pressing in

they weren't pressing in we got a push

we've got to keep praying until

something happens keep pushing and

pushing and pushing

that's called hunger we are too easily

satisfied you know that you know what

Smith Wigglesworth once said the great

man of God who documented raised 11

people from the dead when I first

started out as an evangelist I used to

travel with a an Australian evangelist

called Steve Ryder he's now in the Gold

Coast now I travel with him to hungry I

was with him in check and I remember

what when he was in Miami Burma even

before he got preaching somebody handed

him a dead body of a small baby baby was

dead before he even began preaching I

wonder what we would do pastor Greg were

we haven't even spoken or preached the

message if someone hands us a dead baby

what would

but this is faith he said well actually

I just lifted the baby up and he just

lifted the baby arm and said Heavenly

Father that's all he said he just said

Heavenly Father and that baby came alive

right there started coughing and crying

for the first time hallelujah the baby

was risen from the dead and so here's a

man Smith Wigglesworth 11 people from

the dead he said this I am satisfied

with the dissatisfaction until I am

satisfied again and again and again and

again you see we are too easily

satisfied like CS Lewis once said he

said we are like children playing with

mud pies in the slum when God gives us a

holiday by the sea - easily satisfied

with the crumbs when God has something

much much much bigger much bigger than

what you can imagine and God has called

you to greatness God doesn't call you to

do what you can do he calls you to do

what only he can do through you we need

to change our thinking not your neighbor

and say get rid of that stinking

thinking some people's minds are just

like concrete they're thoroughly mixed

up and permanently sinned and we need to

break those strongholds amen you see God

did not save you just so you can go to

heaven Christ paid the price for heaven

to come into you so that everywhere you

walk on this planet you can destroy hell

on earth

hallelujah that's your purpose that's

your calling to plan the hell and

populate heaven as Rana bunkie says

hallelujah Africa shall be saved and I

prophesy to you the Boston shall be

saved

[Music]

[Applause]

amen hallelujah I want to finish up with

this because I realize time has gone on

but there's this gonna be a special

moment I've already seen it in the

spirit you say yes there are days of

Pentecost not just one day we're living

in a day of Pentecost right now but the

book of Acts now hear this

it's not a historical book it's an

existential book it's a book of the

here-and-now God is still writing the

book of Acts he's writing your acts

what will your book of Acts say about

you and on that day of judgment God is

gonna read it out your acts and when you

meet him on that day he's not gonna ask

or how many conferences did you go to

how many Holy Ghost feathers did you

catch did you get some gold dust

see we get carried away with the wrong

thing this is the focus he's gonna ask

you did you obey my command to go and

make disciples see while we're waiting

for the whole world to come to the

church Jesus didn't commander he

commanded the whole church to go to the

whole world you see the greatest thing

that you can do is win a song because

that song is priceless Jesus says what

will a man profit if he gain the whole

world and lose his own soul what was

Jesus saying he was implying that one

soul is worth more than the whole world

the whole world priceless just reach one

just reach another soul there's nothing

worse than being lost and no one looking

for you get on your hands and knees and

be travailing have the heart of a

shepherd had the heart of God the Father

you know in the parable of the prodigal

son the heart the father was broken it

was travailing over there over that lost

son Jesus demonstrated the heart of the

father when in in the parable of the

Good Shepherd he left the 99 to go after

the 1 the value of the 1

there is value in just one soul just go

after the one you don't have to be like

me go after the one God's heart never

rests it's always looking on the horizon

waiting for a prodigal God's heart is

breaking for protocols and we must

travel with the father and we must bend

down these and when was the last time we

got on our knees and fasted and prayed

for the lost for that lost aunty for

that lost brother for that lost sister

daughter son father mother friend peer

work colleague hell is real

and you can live a good life there's a

lot of people in Hell right now who

thought they were good enough without

Jesus they thought it was just about

living a good life like Spurgeon once

said he said morality may keep you out

of jail but only the blood of Jesus can

keep you out of hell only the blood of

Jesus the sinner will never know peace

until he knows this sin is cleansed by

the blood of Jesus hallelujah so before

I go any further is there one here who

has yet to be cleansed by the blood of

Jesus oh there is a fountain filled with

blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins and

sinners plunged beneath its flow lose

all their guilt and stains is there one

here who doesn't yet know what it means

to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus

every head bowed every eye closed if

that's you if you don't know what it

means to be born again if you don't know

what it means to be cleansed by the

blood of Jesus and come into union with

Christ if you don't know where you're

going if you breathed your last if you

if your blood stopped right now and you

breathe your last if you're not sure

that you're gonna heaven if there's the

slightest doubt while every head is

bowed every eyes closed I want you to

raise your hands only I can see it

raise your hands right now if that's you

god bless you god bless you

anybody else god bless you isn't that

wonderful there are people here god

bless you god bless you let the

conviction come Holy Spirit right now

god bless you god bless you be sure do

not leave this place until you are sure

if that's you I want to do something I

want you to do something bold we're not

out to embarrass you but there's a

principle here Jesus died openly for you

not in secret he shed his blood for you

to give you life eternal life the least

we can do is stand before him in public

and acknowledge him acknowledge the

Savior if that's you I want you to stand

to your feet

those who lifted their hands we're here

to welcome you we're not here to judge

you if that's you stand to your feet and

I want to pray for you come to the front

and I'm going to lead you through a

prayer of salvation come on can we give

these people a hand of praise isn't this

wonderful

we've gone after the one hallelujah

hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah you

know this is just as precious to me as

40,000 being saved just the one just

reach one each one of these people more

valuable than the whole world all the

gold and silver priceless hallelujah

[Music]

that's the how much Jesus demonstrated

his love the greatest demonstration of

love the world has ever seen and even if

you were the only one Jesus still would

have come just for you is that they're

wonderful how the God who flung a

hundred billion trillion stars into

orbit created 8.7 million different

species of being goes after the weary

goes after the lost the least and the

last he goes after the one he goes after

you isn't that wonderful

hallelujah this is going to be the

greatest moment of their lives I want

you to stretch out your hands to them

some of them already crying in the

presence of God I'm telling you God's

presence is here God's presence is

manifesting God's presence is here to

bring new birth and regeneration

and I want you to look at me right now

and pray this prayer after me in fact

all of us pray but you here in the front

pray this prayer out loud from your

heart God will hear you if you pray from

your heart pray this out loud so heaven

can hear you say Heavenly Father say it

from your lips Heavenly Father I'm a

sinner I come to you now I received

Jesus to cleanse me from all sin make me

born again I accept Jesus as the Son of

God I believe in my heart that God

raised him from the dead now coming to

my life give me eternal life thank you

for saving me I am saved I am saved I

have called upon the name of the Lord

and I am saying now come and lift your

hands and give Jesus praise

stay where you are just look at me I

want to welcome you into the family of

God isn't this wonderful

your sins are washed away only by the

blood of Jesus hallelujah now now to

stay we are because I've seen this when

I'm on the mission field they get saved

they get healed they get baptized in the

Holy Ghost all at the same time we're

gonna pray for the baptism I felt that

from the beginning this is Pentecost

Sunday we're gonna pray for the baptism

I did grab Brandtner me did a video on

pray TV and where I've been getting

reports that people watching the TV

program are getting baptized in the Holy

Ghost speaking in other tongues just

watching it on TV

hallelujah it's gonna happen now if you

have yet to come into the experience of

Pentecost and what I mean by that is to

be filled with the Holy Ghost with the

evidence of speaking in other tongues

then come to the front I'm gonna pray

for you I'm gonna pray for you come to

the front I'm not talking about having

the Holy Spirit I'm talking about filled

to overflowing I don't want to get into

a theology discussion right now but if

you're not speaking in other tongues you

are not filled with the Holy Ghost we

have the teaching another time but

believe me believe acts 2 the Bible says

that we'll all feel with the Holy Ghost

and began to walk

began to speak in tongues as the Holy

Spirit gave them utterance that's what's

going to happen here come anybody not

speaking in other tongues you want the

baptism

it's Pentecost Sunday hallelujah is

going to happen

it's gonna happen I've seen this happen

all over the world I see it's gonna

happen right now come now this is how

we're going to do it this is how I I do

it I do it according to the book of Acts

real simple the Bible says they were all

in one place gathered in one a cool

doesn't it they were all in one place

in one Accord we are in one place and in

case you're thinking that this gift is

not for you it is for you jesus said if

we being evil know how to give good

gifts to our children how much more

without Heavenly Father give the Holy

Ghost to them that ask and on the day of

Pentecost Peter said this promise is to

you to your children and to those who

are afar off 2,000 years ago we were

very afar off we were those who were

afar off and I want you to come to the

Lord right now and say Lord I've heard

about your promise and now I've come to

collect it hallelujah I've come to

collect your promise this promise is for

me I who was once afar off now we're

going to raise our voices all at the

same time as they did under their

Pentecost they all pray together they

all prayed in one a cold they raised

their voices together star up in the

natural and God will put the super' to

your natural

[Music]

start off by moving that tongue of flesh

and God will give you a tongue of fire

and there's a full and the Bible says a

flame sat upon each and every one of

them there is a flame with your name

here this morning right now there is a

flame with your name

so all at the same time and those who

can speak in tongues in the back let's

all raise our voices together along with

these and if you don't raise your voice

in English or Spanish whatever language

you speak start off in the flesh start

off in the natural and God will give you

a new prayer language I was in Cyprus I

was praying this prayer with a group

there and the woman said is she she got

filled with the Holy oh she she she said

i stiii here tongues I here tongues I

said speak them in the name of Jesus she

heard them but she wasn't speaking them

and I said speak she began occurring in

other tongues as the Spirit gave them

utterance so what you hear speak it out

it might start off softly some new

tongue you've never spoken before some

strange unfamiliar tongue but speak out

[Music]

after three we're all gonna raise our

voices and you in the back after three

let's all pray we're all going to raise

our voices together in one Accord you

can say hallelu if you don't speak in

tongues you start off saying hallelujah

praise God just pray the blood of Jesus

the blood of Jesus whatever words you

want to use in whatever language now

after three we're all going to pray

those in tongues and those not yet

filled in tongues lift your voices after

three one two

three lift your voice father release the

Holy Ghost release come on don't stop

don't stop

Lord release the Holy Ghost Heavenly

Father Jesus you are the baptizing with

fire release the fire release the fire

release the fire release the fire

release the fire right now take it take

it there it is there it is be filled be

fell be filled be filled

be filled be filled night now thank you

I'll catch it catch it catch it catch it

catch in Jesus name be filled right now

be filled be filled be filled be filled

in Jesus name I'm gonna get down here

I'm gonna get down be fill in Jesus be

filled in Jesus name right now filling

Lord fill this man fill this woman be

filled be filled right now be filled

don't look to the person next to you

forget about the person next to you be

filled in Jesus name touch your Lord in

Jesus name

filled right now Thank You Heavenly

Father touch this man filling with the

Holy Ghost filling with the holy keep

keep praising him don't stop

Giving Birth in the Spirit

well I'm going to invite you to open up

your your Bibles to the book of 1st

Samuel Chapter 1 but as you do I just

like to begin with a little Bible Quiz

if I'm a little Bible Quiz today okay

ready ready how many people like quizzes

all right you don't have to okay there's

always there's always one or two in

every class who likes quizzes and tests

usually you don't omit that if you can

tell me what all of these mothers have

in common okay I'm not gonna offer you

prizes but you'll get the glory of

knowing the answer these ladies these

women what do they have in common

Zuba Jack olya

no Jack Alya excuse me ah Suba Jack Alya

Abijah Jedidiah and maka what do they

have in common

close close but no cigar if we believed

in cigars you wouldn't quite get one

close these are all mothers of kings who

did what was right in the eyes of the

Lord their royal mothers Queen Mother's

these are women who raised boys who

served God and led the whole Kingdom of

Israel to serve God too

now in one case actually the son had to

go against what his mother had taught

him and so is if you really know your

Bible there there's one king maka was

the mother of Oz ASA Zuba was the mother

of Jehoshaphat Jekel ayah the mother of

Isaiah Abijah the mother of Hezekiah

Jedediah the mother of Josiah but in the

case of aza and Makkah Asin makka makka

was actually a bad mother okay she

worshipped idols and so aces first order

of business was actually to depose her

as the queen mother it says he even

deposed his grandmother or his

grandmother makka from her position as

queen mother because she'd made a

repulsive image for the

worship of Ashura as I cut it down and

burned it in the Kidron Valley for

Mother's Day so okay so sometimes it was

necessary to break with what these

mothers had taught them but usually

these are people who lived out the

legacy of their mothers who took what

their mothers had imparted to them and

it multiplied through their lives to

bless the entire nation

same thing with Moses isn't it every

story it seems in the Bible of a great

man of God begins with the story of a

godly mother or grandmother who trusted

in the Lord right how about Moses what's

Moses's mother's name some of you might

have that haka bed Hoka bed Xhaka bed

right something you knew that that's

good David's great-grandmother roof how

about that you've read about roof thanks

to her we have David and David's

great-great-great great-great-great

great-grandmother Rahab

a woman who trusted God and believed in

Yahweh so these are the people who led

to great things

how about Timothy one more little Bible

quiz and then I'm gonna leave you alone

Timothy there's a beautiful verse where

the Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy

in second Timothy 1 verse 5 and he says

I'm reminded of your sincere faith

Timothy which first lived in your

grandmother Lois and in your mother

Eunice and I am persuaded now lives in

you also amen

the faith passed down from grandmother

to mother to son a son who gets two

books in the Bible named after him God

passes on anointing through the

generations this really this verse

really struck me because on my wife side

of the family we have two aunts one of

which is named Lois and the other is

named Eunice so I think someone was

reading this verse when they were naming

all the kids and there was a bunch of

them and I think of a particular story

and I want to start with this story and

then we're gonna pray

of a again on my wife side of the family

the grit my wife's grandmother in

Japanese they call her your Bachchan

Bachchan and one day kennis and I this

was in the middle of summer in los

angeles we were going to visit from from

kena's parents house we were going to

visit Bachchan and we were calling and

she wasn't picking up the phone we

started getting worried it was like 100

degrees out right and we know that she

often didn't turn on the air

conditioning because why waste

electricity when it's just me right

so we like what's going on in there is

she okay what's wrong with Bachchan

we're calling she's not picking up the

phone we're leaving messages and these

are the days you know she has one of

those answering machines where you could

hear the voice on the answering machine

you know Bachchan were worried about you

is everything okay what we're sitting

over there going through the freeways of

Los Angeles we get to the house we get

in there and she's sitting at the

kitchen table with her Bible open in

Japanese she's got her tape recorder

because her church would send her the

sermons and so she had her cassette tape

in the tape recorder listening to the

sermons and she had her Bible open with

highlighted couldn't raise all in

Japanese and she's highlighting parts of

it and she looks up at us and we're like

bojong we were so worried about you we

were calling why did you pick up and she

said well I'm praying can't you see

and we're like aren't we like the center

of your universe you know wouldn't you

pick up the foot drop anything and pick

up the phone for us it's like well I

love you kids but you know God's first

right and the blessing down the

generation and I thank God for the way a

praying mother and grandmother can pass

it down and we last week May che was

talking about Daniel in Babylon how is

it that this young man was able to stay

faithful even when he was surrounded by

evil how did he keep his values and she

suggested I bet you he learned at home

what it was to serve the Lord and how to

be faithful and I wonder what kind of

mother Daniel had what kind of father

what kind

grandmother Daniel hat now the question

that I want to address in this message

this reflection how do we see to it that

the faith passes down the generations

how do we raise a Daniel now there's all

kinds of counsel that we can talk about

and we're going to see that this relates

not just to people who have children but

to everyone in the body of Christ

because it has to do with transmitting

the faith spiritually to those around us

so don't think this just applies to

people who have biological children

we're all spiritual parents in the body

of Christ so talking about how does it

go down now there's all kinds of advice

you could get there's books you can read

and in fact we've we're looking for some

good curriculum we've got some ideas and

Jonathan is looking into some things he

can go over with the parents but today I

want to talk about the spiritual work

the first call of any parent or

grandparent which is to give birth not

just physically but to give birth

spiritually to transmit not just by

teaching an example as important as

those are but to transmit the faith by

praying the way God calls us to pray and

this is something that applies to men

and women grandmothers grandfathers

aunts uncles

this applies to all of us giving birth

in the spirit so I invite you to open up

with me to the book of 1st Samuel

Chapter one First Samuel chapter one and

we're gonna read the story of of Hannah

okay First Samuel chapter one you with

me there starting in verse one says

there was a certain man from Rama theam

a zoo fight from the hill country of

Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of

jehoram the son of a lie who the son of

Tohu the son of zeus unlike in some of

these names huh Zef and f rhea might he

had two wives one was called Hannah the

other pen Anaya pen Anaya had children

but hannah had none remember how we

talked a couple weeks ago how God

tolerated and worked through polygamy

but polygamy was never

a happy state of affairs it was never

God's will it says in verse three year

after year this man went up from his

town to worship and sacrifice to the

Lord Almighty at Shiloh where hophni and

Phinehas the two sons of Eli were

priests of the Lord and whenever the day

came for Elkanah to sacrifice he would

give portions of the meat to his wife

but not pen ania and to all her sons and

daughters but to Hanna

he gave a double portion because he

loved her and the Lord had closed her

womb because the Lord had closed Hanna's

womb her rival kept provoking her in

order to irritate her and this went on

year after year

whenever Hanna went up to the house of

the Lord her rival provoked her till she

wept and would not eat her husband

Elkanah would say to her Hanna why are

you weeping why don't you eat why are

you down hearted don't I mean more to

you than 10 sons this dude had a very

healthy self-esteem verse 9 what when

they had finished eating and drinking in

Shiloh Hanna stood up now Eli the priest

was sitting on his chair by the doorpost

of the Lord's house in her deep anguish

Hannah prayed to the Lord

weeping bitterly and she made a vow

saying Lord Almighty if you will only

look on your servants misery and

remember me and not forget your servant

but give her a son then I will give him

to the Lord for all the days of his life

and no razor will ever be used on his

head and as she kept on praying to the

Lord

Eli observed her mouth hannah was

praying in her heart and her lips were

moving but her voice was not heard Eli

thought she was drunk and he said to her

how long are you going to stay drunk put

away your wine not so my lord Hannah

replied I am a woman who is deeply

troubled I've not been drinking wine or

beer I was pouring out my soul to the

Lord do not take your servant for a

wicked woman I've been praying here out

of my great anguish and grief and kneel

I answered go in peace and may the God

of Israel grant you what you've asked of

him and she said may your servant find

favor in your eyes then she went her way

and ate something and her face was no

longer downcast and early the next

morning they arose and worshipped before

the Lord and then went back to their

home at Rama

Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah and

the Lord remembered her so in the course

of time Hannah became pregnant gave

birth to a son and she named him Samuel

which means because I asked the Lord for

him when her husband Elkanah went up

with all his family to offer the annual

sacrifice to the Lord to fulfill his vow

Hannah did not go and she said to her

husband after the boy is weaned I will

take him and present him before the Lord

and He will live there always and then a

little later we'll skip down where she

does so she comes before Eli in verse 25

when the bull had been sacrificed they

brought the boy to Eli and she said to

him pardon me my lord as shortly as you

live I am the woman who stood here

beside you praying to the Lord I prayed

for this child and the Lord has granted

me what I asked of him so now I give him

to the Lord for his whole life he will

be given over to the Lord and he were

assuming Samuel worshiped the Lord their

Father in Jesus name I thank you for

this story I thank you for Hannah and I

thank you for the many Hannah's among us

and I thank you for your calling on our

lives Lord God as a church to pray like

Hannah did speak to us I pray open up

the eyes of our spiritual understanding

to understand what you would say to us

today we are listening in Jesus name

Amen

now to understand this story we need to

realize that Hannah

was living at a time of extreme

spiritual sterility Israel was dry as a

bone spiritually you can read about this

epic of this era at the end of the book

of

judges where it says that at that time

Israel had no king

everyone did as he or she saw fit people

were doing crazy things their behavior

looked more like the behavior of sodom

and gomorrah than it did of the people

of God at this time sin was rampant and

religion was dead the priest Eli was the

priest at that time and I don't mean any

disrespect but the religion he led was

just lame it had no power no energy no

vitality the people of God were not

worshiping Yahweh the way he had called

them to do the Bible says the Word of

God was rare there weren't many dreams

or visions Eli's sons were serving as

the priests at that time and they abused

their positions of priesthood by taking

advantage of the young women who worked

in the tabernacle and also stealing the

sacrifices of the people this was a time

of religious dryness religious

corruption and at the end of his life

Eli is described as extremely obese so

that he could not get up and this wasn't

meant to ridicule him his weight but to

give a picture of the spirituality he

led and his eyes were shot so he could

not see the point being that just like

him the spirituality of the people at

that time was fat and blind it was a bad

time it's a tough time to raise kids

there's a time when all of the

influences around any kids you raised

were going to be negative it was a time

of sterility and I don't think it's any

accident that we meet this woman a good

woman who is physically infertile at the

same time that the people of Israel were

spiritually infertile because the birth

of Samuel isn't just the birth of a

person but the birth of a new generation

and here's where we're gonna see how

this applies to all of us that there is

only one way to break spiritual

sterility the same way there's only one

way to break physical infertility and

that's by giving birth

not just giving birth physically but

giving birth spiritually now in order to

give birth and I'm not gonna go into too

much detail but I remember on a couple

of occasions in my own life observing

the process of child birthing right

which no matter how much they prepare

you it's a messy business right it's a

painful business because in order to

give birth there are labor pains and

there is no spiritual epidural to come I

know that when Candace and I were going

through this and I don't want to get in

too much trouble here

see what I can share but they would

teach you to have a little focal point

like I don't know if they still do this

but a focal point like a little toy like

some sort of a something that the woman

can focus on when she's pushing and so

of course we had this stuffed animal

right that we could look at that stuffed

animal lasted about five seconds before

he got grabbed it shocked across the

room I'm just glad that I didn't get it

in the face right so things got a little

messy a little touch-and-go there right

now look at how hannah is praying she's

in anguish of soul her mouth is moving

but words are not coming out like she is

in labor giving birth in the spirit I

think the text is trying to point to

that that something is coming forth and

there's a groaning there's a travail

that happens in the spirit now it's

interesting because Eli is watching this

with an unspiritual eye and what does he

think she's drunk we read that anywhere

else in the Bible where people are under

the influence of the Holy Spirit and

people think they're drunk well that

wasn't the first time at Pentecost when

they're speaking in tongues the Holy

Spirit came on them and tongues of fire

and they're praying and everyone's like

they've had too much wine and Peter's

like come on it's only 9:00 a.m. what's

going on you know well here that

happened here she's moving in the spirit

and the unspiritual eye doesn't

recognize what's going on

just thinks she's drunk when really

she's travailing in the spirit she's

experiencing what it says in Romans 8

the Spirit Himself makes intercession

for us with groanings which cannot be

uttered he me endow groaning in the

spirit there's a desperation there have

you ever come before God with that kind

of desperation that can be a powerful

thing when we cry out to God like that

and we push through in the spirit and

this isn't just for women this is for

anybody who's going to pray for a

breakthrough in the Holy Spirit in the

Old Testament it talks about the prophet

Elijah who was prophet during a time of

spiritual evil under King Ahab they were

all worshipping idols and there was a

drought for I think three years and when

it came time to end the drought the

prophet Elijah says I'm gonna go pray

and the Bible says that he sat down and

he put his head between his knees and he

prayed and again the image I'm not

trying to get all weird here and gross

but the images that he's birthing in the

spirit he prays and he asked them go

look and see if you see anything over

the lake he sends his his servant to go

look nothing

Elijah goes back and does it again prays

again go take a look now nothing one

more time Elijah prays pushing and then

he goes back and looks and what does he

see a little cloud coming up over the

water and a lie just like the

breakthroughs starting it's just a cloud

but that means the rain is coming so you

go tell that King Elijah that prepare

for rain get your umbrella we are gonna

get his hide and he starts working

because he knew the breakthrough had

happened because he had travailed in

prayer he'd pushed through like Hannah

did it's weird but it's biblical folks

in the Book of Isaiah 42 verse 14 the

Prophet says for a long time I have kept

silent I've been quiet I've held myself

back but now like a woman in childbirth

I cry out I gasped and pant this is a

biblical idea of

prevailing of praying with such

intensity where you're crying out to God

so that life will break through

sterility and as Hannah was praying she

was giving birth spiritually and she has

given her son Samuel right and Samuel

means there's a couple ways to interpret

it but the name in Hebrew Shima el

shamah you know the Shema hear o Israel

the Lord your God is one God it means

here and ale means God God heard me and

here he is Samuel Shem well God heard

and gave me this little boy now it

didn't end there

for those of you mothers who know

mothering doesn't end after giving birth

it's just getting started

and it hurts sometimes even more and she

began as this little boy by giving him

over to the Lord and that's what we

dramatized here today taking that baby

and saying god I recognize that this

baby is a gift from you and I give him

or her back to you

you know it's interesting the Hebrew

word here forgiving him over to the Lord

is actually the word for loaning loaning

the law loaning something and it's

mysterious because it's like what does

she mean by that that she's gonna come

and reclaim him after a couple years you

know she makes it very clear that no

it's for his whole life and I've thought

about that and I think this means she

realizes that this baby has been loaned

to her from God and now she is loaning

him back recognizing that she is not

mine he's been given to me on loan and

I'm loaning him back to the Lord he is

this baby is God's a gift from God and

not holding too tight but then the

question is she's leaving him there at

the temple with Eli and Eli's sons right

think about that for a minute you would

think that the church leaving him at the

temple would be a safe place not not

this temple you know what these boys

were doing these young men they would

when they would offer the sacrifices and

not aside from their sexual immorality

right there in the tent and all of that

they when people would come and offer

their sacrifices it was very clear in

the Old Testament that when you they

would burn the meat and the fat was to

be burned off and given to God because

and now for us fat is a bad thing but

for them the idea of fat is a good thing

that's a nice juicy steak right and so

the idea is you give the best part to

God and then you take the leftover meat

that's been boiled and you can give you

can eat some of it and you give it to

the priest but Eli and his sons would

come of a naughty lie he didn't do this

he was a nice enough guy he was just

impotent spiritually but his sons would

come up while they're cooking the meat

and he said give me some of that and

they would take the fork and they would

stick it in and they'd grab it out with

the fat on it and the person would say

no I'm not done offering the best part

to God and like you give it to me or

I'll take it by force and basically they

didn't even view these sacrifices is

worship they just viewed it as something

to eat in Spanish I would say they

didn't see it as alabanza they saw it as

a Geisel this was a literal Geisel a

stew they just saw this as another gig a

way to make some money and so they were

doing this samuel was growing up around

these guys I would have been a little

nervous wondering what kind of influence

is gonna happen but the Bible says that

every year she would go up and if you

look with this in verse chapter 2 verse

18 and 19 she would go up but Samuel was

ministering before the Lord of 1st

Samuel to 18 and 19 he was a boy wearing

a linen ephod which was a little priests

suit right and each year his mother made

him a little robe and took it to him

when she went up with her husband to

offer the annual sacrifice in other

words she says even though I left him

there I'm not trusting Eli and his sons

to raise my kid I would just say a

little thing on the side I certainly

hope that our church is better than Eli

and his sons okay I certainly hope we're

better than that but don't trust the

church to raise your kids right you as

the mother and the father primarily but

also the influence of family members

uncles and an abuelo sand and you have

the authority to

packed the spiritual well-being of your

kids now that was symbolized by Hannah

making the little robe every year it's a

great image of her sewing bringing it up

to him every year but in the Bible a

robe or a mantle is much more than just

a garment it has spiritual significance

doesn't it in the Bible it talks about

the robe of given to the priest their

priestly garments it also talks about

the prophetic mantle or robe we talk

about Elijah had a special robe and when

he designated that Elijah would be his

replacement

he put the mantle over Elijah and then

when Elijah was taken up to heaven what

did Elijah do he took that robe but

saying I want a double portion and he

used the robe to hit the water and it

separated the waters of the Jordan the

robe is a symbol in the book of isaiah

61:10 it says the robes of salvation

instead of a garment of hay instead of a

spirit of heaviness you've given me a

garment of praise

you've clothed me in the robes of

salvation I believe that every time

Hannah gave him one of those robes she

was conferring on him a renewed blessing

at each stage of his development she was

saying Samuel I bless you in the name of

Jesus as a little 10 year old as a

little 11 year old as a 14 year old as a

she was blessing him at each stage of

his growth we need to bless kids in

their development at each stage of their

development each stage of their growth

we don't give birth spiritually just

once to them this is an ongoing process

and I've got news for you abuelito Suzie

hos todavía lost necesitan a message I

would give grandparents your kids still

need you even when they're in their 40s

and 50s and have kids of their own and

maybe grandkids of their own

they still need you to pray for them

because that blessing is something that

is always there at each stage it's

needed because the challenges are new

aren't they the difficulties the

temptation

we need to be prayed for like to share a

story a family that had hosted me to

live with them for a couple years while

I did campus ministry when I was right

out of college beautiful family and they

shared that in the very bed that I was

using a couple years earlier their

grandmother had passed away in that very

bed and she was in the final month of

her life and her dementia had gone to

the point where she was reliving

experiences from the past have you ever

observed that that that can happen with

people people remember a childhood

language they used to speak or something

that she would relive experiences from

the past and sometimes they would be in

there and they'd be talking to her and

and she would address them as somebody

who's been dead for 30 years right and

they realized she was having a

conversation she was reliving a

conversation that she'd had 30 40 50 70

years ago it was it was wild and

sometimes they would they would stand

around feeling kind of like are we

eavesdropping is it are we allowed to

listen I feel like we're listening in on

her private life from the past but there

came a moment now some of you might

think if I ever get like that just you

know close the door don't it but in this

case she was reliving some of this she

was saying things and they realized she

was praying and she was saying father

please bless my kids my boys as they go

off to college lord I pray that they

wouldn't give in to the drinking in the

den and the bad behavior around them

drugs weren't on the radar as much keep

them from doing that guide them to godly

women that they can marry that they

would be godly husbands and godly

fathers and they're standing there

listening to their mother praying for

them when they were 18 years old wild

stuff that's Hannah praying for Samuel

and those prayers are like a blessing

that remains hovering over a life from

generation to generation

God has them recorded in heaven and they

follow us and so some of us many of us

here

your mothers or grandmothers are already

with the Lord there with Jesus and glory

they're perfectly happy worshiping God

but their prayers continue to hover over

you and increase from year to year and

to grow and mature as God fulfills the

purpose that he has for your life bless

them and that worked for Samuel he

became a great man of God he became a

great prophet who saw visions a priest

who led in worship and I keep in mind

his name means here's God heard but if

you think of it this way it could be a

wordplay

it's Shama here el god it could also

mean not just that God heard Hannah but

that her son would hear God and Samuel

becomes a prophet pretty much the first

and most important prophet since Moses

and that really strikes me that when God

hears our voice in prayer our children

will hear God's voice in prophecy I

repeat that when God hears our voice in

prayer our children will hear God when

God hears our voice in prayer our

children would hear God's voice in

prophecy samuel was a great prophet who

was not just a prophet who heard the

voice of God with a soft heart

responding to God but he led a whole

generation to do the same

we need a samuel generation in our

society we need young people and young

adults and children who will hear the

voice of God and not listen to other

voices but they will hear the voice of

the Shepherd and respond to him and

follow him and worship God in God's way

Anna birthed kanna birthed a revival

when the Word of God was rare and you

know what he was the first prophet in a

long time but he was also the first

prophet in a whole era of glorious

prophets after him came Nathan who

prophesied to David after him a

generation or two after that came Elijah

pretty much the father

of the prophets and his his protege

Elijah who received the double portion

and Hosea and Isaiah and Jeremiah and

Ezekiel and finally many generations

later Daniel himself because Hannah

prayed it unleashed a whole era of

prophetic anointing that followed her

but it took agonizing in prayer Samuel

didn't just prophesy he led them in

spiritual warfare against their enemies

to fight against the Philistines who

were oppressing them he led them in

worship it was under Samuel that the

people of Israel discovered King David

who had it in his heart to build a

temple and then the next generation the

temple is built and the Shekinah glowing

fire of God dwelt among them who was the

mother of all the the father of all that

is God the mother of that was the woman

who prayed and agonized in prayer and

gave birth in the spirit

there was a blessing down the

generations because of what she did the

question is for us will we pay the price

if we want kids who will listen to God

when there's all kinds of other voices

and the Word of God is rare if we want

kids who see spiritual things in a time

when society is blind if we want kids

who worship God in spirit and in truth

and who stayed true to God's values even

in Babylon then we need to pray and we

need to pray in a way that gives birth

spiritually and opens up a new

generation you know it's always been

this way too even in the New Testament

before God does something for some

reason he doesn't he could just do

things if he wanted right he could just

do a revival but instead of just doing a

revival he moves

someone to pray and ask him to do

something and then he does it okay and I

don't ask me why I don't really get that

I except for the fact that maybe because

he's organized things in that way we

need to talk to him

we need to depend on him we need to work

together with him so maybe that's why

but whatever the case before God does

anything he moves people to pray for it

and you know I'm going to say something

even kind of crazy even the birth of

Jesus didn't happen without prayer think

about it when Joseph and Mary were

presenting the baby Jesus in the temple

who did they bump into there one more

Bible quiz here who did they bump into

there

an old man named Simeon and an old woman

named Anna it's the same name

Hanna Anna it's the same name in Spanish

it's exactly the same it in Hebrew it is

soo it's no accident that the woman who

was in the temple for four decades

fasting and praying for the people of

Israel is named Anna Hanna same name

it's because God is saying just like

Hanna gave birth to the samuel

generation in the spirit this anna and

other abuelito simeon are giving birth

in the spirit to what goes behind Jesus

coming the Word of God being made flesh

on earth amen that these two people

spent decades fasting and praying

laboring in the spirit and then at that

dedication Simeon was able to take the

baby Jesus in his hands and say Lord you

may now dismiss your servant in peace

for my eyes have seen your salvation

prepared before all nations the baby is

born he and Anna didn't give birth

spiritually physically but they sure did

spiritually right

how about Pentecost what did they do

before the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost

the people were there praying waiting on

the Lord and it's no accident that among

the disciples it specifically mentioned

Mary was there because it was time for

her to give birth in the spirit now

she'd given birth physically already now

it's time to wait for the Holy Spirit to

come in the history of revivals whatever

God does a revival on earth and changes

a town or a church for a country and

when people come to know Jesus and there

is a true change in society there is

always this kind of travail or labor in

prayer you always see it do

a little reading on any history of any

revival you've heard of the the

Salvation Army right the founding of the

Salvation Army was a man named William

Booth who was a mid 19th century

revivalist in England and it was all

about revival sharing the gospel in

helping people's physical needs and one

of the the captains under his

supervision had started a an outreach in

a particular City and nothing was

happening he was trying to share the

gospel but no one was responding he was

trying to help people but no one was

changing and he wrote a letter to

William Booth saying general booth

because their general and captain in

Salvation Army he said nothing's working

I've tried everything what do you think

I should do he got back a letter in an

envelope that had two words on it

try tears you've preached you have

wonderful programs but you haven't wept

before the Lord like Hannah did try

tears how's that those old school

revivalists well it's not just old

school folks if we want God to move in

Boston and in our society we're gonna

have to cry before the Lord we don't

have to do some childbirth thing in the

spirit it's gonna take time child labor

giving birth to children the process of

labor can be long it can be painful it

can be unpredictable we need to take

time in God's presence and let the new

generation come forth and you know I'm

so convinced of this because I see this

in in the work I get to do on the

pastoral staff here I get to see the

fruit of this almost every day I will

meet people and especially I experienced

this when I was working with the young

adults more closely a couple years ago

as things were just getting started I

would meet the young adults and a young

man or a young woman beginning to seek

the Lord with incredible sincerity and

passion and I would find myself thinking

wow I wonder who prayed for this kid

somebody prayed somebody somewhere

prayed for them and that's why this is

happening and you know in some cases I

knew who it was

because I had taught them discipleship

20 years earlier I'd had mother in class

and now I have the son in young adults

I'm getting a little old here maybe and

I'm there saying I know your mother I

know how she's prayed these years I know

how she's fasted for you and wept for

you and now here you are a man of God

prophecy ministering preaching getting

messages I'm like wasum I know who Lois

and Eunice are because I know the

timothy's among us maybe you are Lois

maybe you are Eunice that you would know

God has heard your prayer and he will

continue to hear your prayers with every

stage don't give up you have power in

the Lord because some of us yeah I see

this also not just with the the kids the

Timothy's right but I think about this

even among them our pastoral staff I

have the privilege of knowing some of

our pastoral mothers anyone remember

pastor Roberta and Medina Nancy's mother

hermana thornado those of you that are

that are newer might not have known her

but she was a woman of God where the

anointing was so heavy on her just an

anointing it's no accident that there's

the blessing that is on the matanda kids

all of them because she has prayed for

them

I think of Jonathan's mother I'm sorry

to put people on the spot I know if

Jonathan's here you're gonna you know

someone's gonna tell on me give me a

trouble you met Jonathan's mother in the

wedding and when he gets married next

month you gotta meet Jonathan's mother

Jesu nama harer de watashi or not I

still owe on people a dominicana

she's got the old-style Dominican prayer

style

it's these mothers who pray I think of

our very own somewhere right doesn't

happen by accident it's cuz there's a

mother who prayed and even when there

are prodigal 'he's

you know when i think about this a lot I

don't think about this just for the

young adults and the young men and women

who serve God but in the ministry we do

with people who are coming from the

streets people who live in shelters who

are in transition many of them deal with

addictions

on a regular basis on a Saturday morning

someone will come in there new to the

breakfast and maybe Yorick and I get to

greet them in the sanctuary we're

welcoming them and they take off their

hat and they say wow I'm in church and

they start crying and they say I haven't

been in church in 20 years and I say

you've got a mother who prayed for you

don't you and they'll say yes I do

and I'll say well this is the answer to

her prayers you're not here by accident

you're here because someone prayed for

you and brought you and God kept you

safe and you could have died how many

times but you didn't and here you are

because someone prayed for you

maybe it's the mother of the prodigal

son we don't hear much about the mother

because he was the father was at the

door waiting but the mother was in the

back room praying I think but the

prodigal come home when mothers and

fathers pray it's never too late it's

never too late do we do cos I said

unsolvable you and your house will be

saved when we pray for our kids we can

know that certainly goodness and loving

kindness will follow them all the days

of their life they will dwell in the

house of the Lord for ever and ever they

can run but they can't hide right God

will chase them and find them and bring

them back because God does it and you

may be on the receiving end of that

maybe you are that young adult maybe you

are that that Eco Pro League oh that

prodigal son or daughter and you come

into church with mom today on Mother's

Day good for you because you're coming

you're responding and I would tell you

what the Apostle Paul told Timothy fan

into flame the gift that is in you

through the laying on of hands there's a

blessing in you now just let it activate

the anointing that your parents and

grandparents had can be on you in a

double portion in your own way in your

own style your own technology but the

anointing is the same and even greater

upon your life now we are all called to

this kind of spiritual motherhood men

women we are all called to give birth in

the spirit you can be a mother without

having biological kids brother

and sisters the Apostle Paul once when

he was writing at the end of Romans he

said please greet Rufus there was a guy

named Rufus that was a good friend of

his please greet Rufus and his mother

who's a mother to me too and I think

that means that she cooked a mean you

know sancocho and stew but I probably

was more than just that it was probably

was because she also prayed for him like

a mother

the Apostle Paul himself was like not

just a spiritual father I know this is

hard for the guys gets a little

uncomfortable talking about this but he

was also like a spiritual mother to

people of the Thessalonians he says just

as a nursing mother cares for her

children

so we cared for you because we loved you

so much we can love people with the

spiritual heart of a mother even men can

do this in intercession the Apostle Paul

who was agonizing for the Galatians who

were drifting from the faith and he says

my dear children for whom I am again in

the pains of childbirth until Christ is

formed in you when we pray for people we

agonize we give birth in the spirit and

they become our spiritual children now

God is calling us at Lion of Judah to

not be satisfied with where we are but

to pray and to be like Anna and saying

God we want spiritual life to be born

among us spiritual life to be born

through us in our biological children

and descendants yes but also in the

spiritual children that are waiting to

be born and God is waiting for us to cry

out to him with the desperation of

Hannah and this is part of a general

move of God creation itself the Bible

says is is in eager expectation for the

children of God to be revealed the Bible

says in Romans we know that the whole

creation has been groaning as in the

pains of childbirth right up to the

present time Jesus when he talked about

the signs of the end times in the world

he said they're like the beginning of

birth pains wars and rumors of wars

earthquakes

volcanoes blowing up he says those are

the beginning of birth pains the world

itself is about to give birth to the new

creation the end time revival is coming

that woman Israel clothed with the Sun

and 12

crowns on her head is giving birth to

the new generation brothers and sisters

we are called to travail like Anna and

Simeon like Hanna for Samuel to give

birth to what God wants to do among us

now it says that God is looking for

spiritual mothers and fathers for royal

mothers Queen mothers doesn't matter how

old you are but God is looking to bring

forth a prophetic generation in our own

time but we must pay the price

God hears prayer he hears our voice the

question is will we hear his will we

hear that prophetic message to us

calling us to go deeper Jesus when he

was talking about prayer he said when

the Son of Man returns will he find

faith on the earth do we believe enough

to pay the price in prayer let him find

faith here at Lion of Judah when he

returns amen now it's time some of you

young adults you are here because

somebody prayed for you now it's time

for you to pray for someone else some of

you still far away it's time for you to

come close and say I've been prayed for

I'm not going to stay away any longer

I'm going to enter in to my spiritual

inheritance that is waiting for me and

some of you Hannah's need to know that

God has heard your prayer even if you

haven't seen Sam you'll be born yet

don't give up keep praying keep pushing

God will give you the answer and you

will hold Samuel in your hands you'll

give him back to God and you'll say God

heard my voice amen amen I invite you to

stand with me

and I'd like to close with a moment of

intercession many of us have people that

we're thinking of that we're concerned

about members of our own family our kids

grandkids cousins siblings nephews

nieces in our family and we need to

intercede for them right now and I'd

like to take a moment just in this

moment of prayer where you think of the

people in your family and in Jesus name

together we pray God we pray for our

descendants we pray for our families we

pray for our siblings and our nieces and

nephews

we pray God in the name of Jesus for

Spiritual Life to be unleashed God it's

not enough that we just drag them to

church sometime or or just put them in a

wanna God we want them to know you Lord

God we want them to have an experience

with the Holy Spirit Lord God we want

them to hear the voice of the Shepherd

like little Samuel did at age 10 we want

them to pray and mean it from their

heart Lord God Oh father

unleash the life of the holy spirit upon

our families some of us are might not

have our biological children but we've

got our nieces and nephews and our

relatives God we proclaim a blessing

over our family we cancel the

generational curses the idols of makka

we destroy and we pray for a

generational blessing over our families

we cancel the work of the evil one

and we declare life and abundant life

over them and father for our church God

during the pastor sabbatical Lord it

might just be three months but before

you we're going to count it as nine we

pray God that this be a time of of

gestation a time of something coming

forth and being born

father I pray you would visit him in

prayer visit this church in prayer

during this - in-between time that

Samuel might come forth Lord God that

your true

purpose for this church would be born

that the generation of Samuel that hears

you God that responds to you would come

forth Lord God we believe all of this in

the name of Jesus we we agree before you

God that we will pray we will enter into

the intercession of Hannah with faith

God knowing that you will hear us in

Jesus name

Resolve to live in Integrity

every single day each one of us is

required to make many decisions some are

very cotillion very simple and others

carry a lot more weight and have you

ever stopped to think if your actions

matter to God does what you do the

decisions you make how you handle your

affairs does God think of those and have

an opinion of how how you move in your

life and of course what's the answer to

that yes of course he does mind he

doesn't matter about what decisions and

how we act in life and the Bible says

that he created us in His image and

likeness each one of us is not just one

more being on the earth doing their own

individual thing minding their own

business and living a somewhat

meaningful life that's that's not who we

are

we are God created it created us to be

much more he has put in us destiny and

purpose and and he is a God that has

equipped us in many ways so he does care

how we handle our lives in a very

intimate way he wouldn't have invested

so much in us not to care right that

doesn't make any sense he does care

about the way we live and there's a

verse in some 37 that says if the Lord

delights in a man's way or a woman's way

he makes his steps or her steps firm

though he or she stumble they will not

fall for the Lord upholds him with his

hand and Daniel is one of my favorite

Bible characters as a young child I was

fascinated by hid the stories in the

Book of Daniel and one beautiful thing

is that Daniel because of his behavior

the like the verse says

because of his ways he provoked the

blessing of God what a thought that with

our behavior we provoke God's blessing

as as a verse says that the way he lived

you know taking Daniel s example

provoked that the Lord delight in him

that he made his steps firm that the

Lord strengthen him so that he would not

fall under the pressures of life and he

provoked the Lord

Daniel provoked the Lord to keep him

close and in his safe hand imagine that

and that promise is not just for others

it's for each one of us we can provoke

the Lord's blessing in our lives so

let's go to Daniel we're going to mostly

focus on the on chapter 1 verses 1 to 20

first but we will also touch on other

verses in in his story and the first few

verses of chapter 1 the Book of Daniel

set up the context in which Daniel came

to Babylon many of you know his story

but it tells us that Nebuchadnezzar and

that's a mouthful I had to practice a

lot Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon

and and possibly he was the most

powerful King in the earth the world of

his time he conquered Judah this

imperial Imperial King not only killed

or deported the inhabitants of Judah but

he also destroyed the city and Solomon's

Temple which was the pride and joy of

the people of Judah and he displayed his

despise for the God of the Jews by

taking the Articles dedicated to the

Lord that were in the Lord's temple and

taking them to Babylon and placing them

for the worship of his own gods in his

God's temple specifically his favorite

God's temple

Nebuchadnezzar adopted also the policy

of bringing and listing the most

promising young people of

lands that he conquered training them

and bringing them to Babylon to serve in

his court these young men

says in Daniel 1:4 there's the

qualifications that they needed to have

young men without any physical defect

handsome showing aptitude for every kind

of learning well-informed quick to

understand and qualified to serve in the

king's palace so they were to be trained

for three years and it was a very

rigorous and demanding training it was a

pagan education to serve in a pagan

society and at the end of those three

years they would be tested by the king

himself

imagine all the pressure that these

young people had so verse tells six

tells us among these were some from

Judah and it lists their names Daniel

Hananiah Mishael and Azariah so these

four teenagers that were born and raised

in Judah where they had learned to

worship the God of Israel find

themselves in a completely foreign

society completely foreign environment

that they were not prepared to live in

they have been plucked out of everything

familiar to them just just put yourself

in their shoes they have been taken away

from everything that was familiar

they have lost contact with their

families their parents their other

relatives might have been killed by neck

Nebuchadnezzar or they might have been

deported in exile you know somewhere

else that they nobody knew they had lost

their faith community and had no hope of

having one in Babylon and although there

is some debate about this it is

suspected that they were also castrated

made eunuchs what what a thought you

know they really went they had a lot of

trials and tribulations to adapt to this

new society where they were living now

and if this were not enough even their

names were changed their names were

rejected and

they were changed to new names because

Nebuchadnezzar wanted a full immersion

of the Hebrew young children in this

pagan society of Babylon verse 7

continues to say the Sheep official gave

them new names to Daniel the name builds

Chasseur to Hananiah Shadrach to

Michelle Michelle and to Azariah

Abednego their Hebrew God honoring names

you know that each one of those names

has a part of it has the name of God you

know so their names were God honoring

names and what they wanted to do was to

erase their allegiance to the work to

the God of Israel and instead give them

give them a new name a pagan name that

would kind of set the worldview of

Babylon over them you know even in their

names so Daniels name just an example

which means God is my judge that's what

Daniel means God is my judge

he's changed to build Sasser which means

Bell a Babylonian God protects the king

Bell protects the king a very different

name from the one he had before and

there's nothing new Under the Sun we

know that at least justice says so and

we know it by experience and although it

is clear that Daniel and his three

friends we're in a situation a lot more

extreme than we are that we have today

that we're living in today we still have

to recognize that there are many

pressures of our secular society that

are there have some similarities with

the ones that Daniel faced and in his

time from the beginning of humankind

what has been stays Satan's strategy his

strategy has always been to separate us

from the true living merciful God that

provides has the power to give salvation

eternal salvation and an abundant life

here that has been his strategy from

from day one we know that from the

Garden of Eden that's what he has been

doing all along he doesn't mind

creating our own gods worshipping

anything that's not the true God he

doesn't mind even and we have very

sophisticated and illuminated ideas as

long as they don't as they don't point

to the Living God you know that is his

strategy and we have to recognize that

we live in a in a world of competing

ideas and worldviews you turn on the TV

you turn on your computer you anything

your child is playing a game on their

little you know tablet or whatever and

what the there's influences there in

every single thing that surrounds us

that competes or or that is in

opposition I rather say to the Christian

worldview and what is a worldview it's

the way a person sees and understands

their world and it so it it in it guides

or influences or informs our values

choices our behavior and even the way

that we define what's good and what's

evil everything everything in in our

system belief system is influenced by

our worldview and we all have one you

might say well maybe I don't have one or

but if you if you took the time to

examine yourself you would understand

yes I do have a worldview and sometimes

it's not a 100 percent Christian

worldview and what happens is that there

is an increasing globalized and

connected world that we are exposed to

on a daily basis like I said through

everything that we listen to everything

that we see it's it's there's competing

ideas and and some of these are ideas

can come into our own Christian

worldview in subtle ways and change the

way we think so that we adopt a system a

belief system that is maybe not fully

Christian in an article written last

year barniz research group reported that

only 17

percent of Christians and they define

Christians as people who consider their

faith important and attend church

regularly it's kind of a loose

definition right but that's what they

had to work with so they reported that

only 17% of people who define themselves

as Christians actually have a biblical

worldview this means that according to

this research if you do the math

eighty-three percent of people who

identify themselves as Christians in the

United States agree with ideas that are

rooted in non-christian belief systems

like new spirituality or what we used to

be called the new age or post-modernism

or any secular view of course you know

what happens according to their research

there is a certain demographic group

that is more prone to accept those

beliefs then than others and of course

Millennials and the Generation Xers are

the ones that are that they they found

out that they were eight times more

likely to accept these views than people

that had that were from previous

generations and why is that because they

have been exposed to a less

Christianized United States it's logical

right so this indicates that many people

who profess a belief in Jesus Christ

have allowed ideas that are inconsistent

with the gospel to infiltrate their

belief system and that in and we cannot

really point fingers towards somebody

else that is sometimes us well we

sometimes I know I have had to kind of

look at my ideas and and consider some

that maybe they're not exactly 100

percent Christian or a hundred percent

biblical so it's important to look at

the of those and you know examining them

these these ideas have impacted how we

view God the role that God has in our

lives and the freedom that we have to

make decisions outside of God's design

and principles

that's the you know the dangerous part

and I'll give you two very simple

examples of subtle beliefs beliefs that

have infiltrated our thinking one is I

have the right to be happy have you

heard that you know I have the right to

be happy I can do this because I have

the right to be happy we are so entitled

you know to our happiness and that's a

you know it seems like a not not a

dangerous thought but what does it do it

opposes many of the principles of

Scripture principles of love generosity

and sacrifice because then you know if

I'm if I'm entitled to my happiness I

can do whatever I do I don't have to

take in consideration other people I can

do what I want to do and that has an

impact in marriage in relationships in

the way we handle our money in many many

different areas another idea is that

what is morally right or wrong

depends on what an individual individual

person believes you've heard that too

right in other words moral values are

fluid and subjective there are no moral

absolutes as is included in you know

talk so clearly in the scriptures there

are no moral absolutes so even you know

these two apparently simple and non

dangerous or innocent ideas have creeped

into our thinking process and have had a

big impact in in our lives

although these statistics by barniz

research are you know they're very grim

in respect to the state of the church I

also am so encouraged by the many adults

and even young people who I see taking a

stand for the Lord and declaring their

their professing their love in an open

way and and you can see them you know in

in the least context inning contests for

example your there are some there that

stand up and they declare I am a child

of God and they choose the the songs

glorify the God God so you know there

are many examples in politics you know

just recently the vice president vice

president pence was ridiculed in a big

way because he he stated that he

believes in God and that God speaks to

him that he speaks to God and he was

told that he's a nut because he was

thinking that who who would in this

enlightened enlightened age think that

God speaks to us so you know there are

people out there taking a stand I hope

that we too in whatever we live do the

same thing so it is supremely important

to educate ourselves and to be aware of

the ideas that the secular society is

bombarding us with and you know I I

understand it's hard to be intentional

about examining these things it requires

time and what happens to us we are so

full of commitments we have so many

things to do that it is difficult to

really focus on ourselves and our

thinking that requires taking some alone

time and and understanding what the

world of Word of God says and and

deciding to apply it so it is a

difficult process but it is but we are

responsible for guiding you know

ourselves you know - for us to grow in

this and we are responsible for guiding

our children as they seek to understand

the world we need to understand that in

the same way that the Babylonian king

changed the Daniels and his three

friends names this that same way the

secular society is seeking to change the

Christian identity not only of us but of

our children and future generations it

is a reality there it is there's a push

to get Christians principals out of the

way and establishing a purely secular

system of beliefs in our world and so

the world is seeking to do what to

immerse us in gotten a godless value

system where God is something that's

lived our spiritual life is live

on a corner somewhere in our own private

time and it has no bearing to be in the

public eye you know and and that is has

happened in a very significant way

already and it will continue to be a

push in that direction the only antidote

that I can see for that opposes the

indoctrination of the world is what

happens in the home that's the only

antidote for that

it's that children be raised in in and

future generations also in the disciple

encoder hearts their minds and their

souls in the context of the home you

know a home that is based in prayer

where the modeling of God's principles

are applied in the in the day in and day

out in the practical things of life that

that is what really makes the difference

with and then it's with the church

coming alongside the home reinforcing

what is already taught and modeled at

home it is not the church prerogative to

raise our children it is or teach them

the principles of the Scriptures it is

the home that is where it needs to

happen and we need to invest time in

that because the time that our

children's are using in filling their

minds and their souls in other ways that

are not consistent with the scripture is

the same time that they don't have to

listen to the counsel of God and to see

his principles applied in the home this

this is I can't think of anything more

important than this that we really take

time to model the Christian values in

the home in a way that makes sense you

know according to the age of the child

and so forth and and you know I

congratulate some of many of you that

dedicate your lives also to teaching

children in the church

those of you who bring your children who

take the time and bring them to too so

that what they are already learning at

home be reinforced by what the Church

teaches so those are very good things so

our actions and our priorities at home

speak very loud for our children and

really do make a difference and as we

read before there was no part of the

four young men's training or education

that was left on planned everything

there was a plan for every aspect of

their lives including what they ate

verse 5 Daniel chapter 1 verse 5 says

the King assigned them a daily amount of

food and wine from the king's table and

look at Daniel's response to this choice

food the best food in Babylon verse 1:8

says but Daniel resolved not to defile

himself with a royal food and wine and

he asked the chief official for

permission not to defile himself this

way and again I read I repeat Daniel

resolved not to defile himself what a

powerful verse it should be a life verse

for each one of us another way of saying

it is that Daniel purposed in his heart

or made a decision based on his

commitment to do what he knew was right

before the Lord he didn't want to defile

or to contaminate himself and you wonder

where did this teenager find the

authority and the clarity of purpose

that he showed in that verse evidently

he must have learned it back in Judah

right in his home he probably saw his

parents living their faith before him

and they probably took a time to

seriously train him not only in in

practical things of life but also in

their faith Daniel also most probably

knew what the prophets had

as a matter of fact Jeremiah was a

contemporary of Daniel so maybe he heard

Jeremiah commanding the nation of Judah

to repent from their idolatry and

disobedience he must have heard the

warnings of the Lord of the destruction

of the imminent destruction of Judah if

they were to continue in their

rebellious state toward him so you know

he he had been exposed to - we can't

call it a Christian world we because

Christ was not a reality on earth at

that moment but he did have a godly

worldview the issue at hand was that

food even as delicious and an tempting

and as attractive ideas as it was

because it was the best food of the land

presented that the issue was that that

food had been presented to idols it was

a custom of the time yet before the the

king ate his food it would be presented

to idols to pagan idols and then it

would be eaten at the Kings table and

Daniel knew firsthand of the results of

his nation's disobedience he knew he had

lived through it he was he was living

the consequences of his nation's

disobedience

so even as a young fourteen to seventeen

year old that's what people calculate

that he had at the time he set a

standard for his behavior in this pagan

land that now he was he had to call

forth but he had to call home it would

you know it would have been a lot easier

for him to comply and eat the food and

not make a fuss about the food it would

have been easier it would have been

easier to cave in and behind under the

pressures of his of the other young

people that probably you know in tried

to influence him to you know stop it

don't there's no that's not a big issue

let's just eat what they give us it

would have been a lot easier but what

happened his godly values and his belief

system guided him in the decision and he

acted we

integrity what an example for us you

know that such a young person could take

such a vertical stand for what he knew

was true he took a clear a very clear

moral stand before the pressures of a

pagan society Daniels behavior in this

situation is an example to all of us it

is to me and the principle is just that

firm Christian principles should precede

the decision-making and not the other

way around you know we need first to

grow in our Christian principles and

then when when situations come we can

make godly decisions that's the way it

goes we don't we don't wait to see the

fire at our door - oh I should have an X

term what you call those a fire

extinguisher I should have bought a fire

extinguisher when I was told to when I

bought this Woodhouse you know it we

have we have to there's has to be a

value system a platform from which we

behave and carry our lives some and many

people what happens we are thrown a

curve ball in life and we take the easy

road it's it's a it's a lot easier to do

that just let me do take the path of

less resistance and then and just go

with whatever comes and in its in

moments like that

like those like the one that Daniel was

experienced it that we have to know that

we know that we know what we are called

to do you know and I realize more and

more that a superficial is skin-deep

superficial religion or a religious

value system is not only not enough to

manage our lives in this world it's not

only not enough but it is also dangerous

it's very dangerous when our allegiance

to the Christian worldview is only

superficial we run the risk of acting in

ungodly ways in when you know when we're

confronted with certain circumstances

for instance how do I solve conflicts in

real

chips how do I maintain purity when

temptations come and buy purity not only

sexual purity purity and my finances in

the way I used my time in my thought

process how do I maintain purity when

temptations come how do I behave when I

see everyone around me

apparently everyone around me doing what

the word word of God says I am NOT to do

you know those are the questions that we

face on a regular basis and our children

our young people are facing them every

day

big time even from the moment they step

out of our home and get on the bus

it's a it's a reality and all of the you

that have children and/or teach children

you know that that's the way it is so

Christian conviction and worldview the

Christian worldview just doesn't happen

by accident right nothing really happens

by accident they require careful

awareness and and training let's take

the example of the training of soldiers

and of pilots you know they train on a

daily basis they read their manuals like

there's no tomorrow you know day in and

day out they cannot wait until a

challenge comes up to them oh let me see

what the manual says about this no they

have to to have it all in there in there

and it's it's a part of them when you

get on a plane for instance you are

trusting that the pilot knows what he or

she is doing right you you have to trust

otherwise you wouldn't get on that plane

recently we admired the the resolve and

the the clarity of mind of a pilot that

landed the did an emergency landed in

Philadelphia probably some of you heard

it on the news what happened the motor

and one of the motors exploded and

caught fire in midair and this woman had

the clarity of mind of landing

that plane in such a dire circumstance

you know very very dangerous those

people could have just died but she was

able to maintain her focus and put in in

plane what she had learned in pilot

school and I bet you know the people in

that plane were very grateful that she

had done a good work of training herself

right so it's the same with us in our

Christian world we we have to really

train ourselves and what is our manual

it's the Bible right and and there's a

lot of learning to do you know and I

know there are many people that are new

to to Christianity you know they're

there they're new to knowing the Lord

and it's it's hard sometimes to know

what should I do

what what am I called to do but you know

don't don't lose heart you will learn

you will learn you know the same way I

learned and everyone that has been in

the Lord for a number of years we have

learned there are many challenges that

the that life brings but you know be

absolutely clear that God was with you

and that he if he sees in you a heart

that desires to honor him he will teach

you and guide you by the hand as the

verse that we read before he will do

that so the way that Daniel approached

his request of a change of diet is also

exemplary it's also an example and a

model to us if let's read daniel 1:8

beep the second part of 8 and 2:10 he it

says that he asked the chief official

for permission not to defile himself

this way now God had counseled the

official had costs at cost the official

to show favor and sympathy to Daniel but

the official told Daniel I am afraid of

my lord the king who has a sign your

food and drink

why should he see you looking worse than

the other young men your age the king

would then have my head because of you

so the guards response is very logical

he know his King Nebuchadnezzar was

known to be a sanguinary despot

who delighted his hobby you know what

his hobby was to separate people's heads

from their shoulders that was his hobby

so he knew the garden knew what he was

coming against here and you know later

on in the story we hear of how the king

ordered the murder of thousands of

people just because no one could guess

what he had driven guests and give him

the interpretation of a dream that he

had had and had forgotten just for that

you know something totally unreasonable

and that that was in had was enough

excuse for him to kill many thousands

thousands of people it didn't happen the

Lord intervened and used Daniel but but

it was just to tell you what the Kings

attitudes were so and we also see that

behind Daniel's request to the chief

guard we see God working preparing the

way to honor Daniels faithfulness with

what with the favor of the chief of the

guards which you know again is it has to

be a miracle and it's because of what

Daniel the way Daniel acted provoked the

favor of this man but it was God's doing

the Bible is very clear that that it was

it was a gift from God so let's read

from verse 11 and on to see the strategy

that Daniel used in her in his request

because again it's an example to how we

need to conduct our business Daniel then

said to the guard whom the chief

official had appointed over Daniel and

Hananiah Mishael and Azariah this is the

request please test your servants for 10

days give us nothing but but vegetables

and water to drink then compare our

appearance with that of the young men

who eat the royal food and treat your

servants in accordance with what you see

so he agreed to this and tested them for

10 days so what happened here Daniel

demonstrated that he cared enough

about his request to propose a specific

plan and he did it respecting the

authorities over him he didn't get nasty

he said any foul used any foul language

or any curses he just came to them and

presented his case trusting that God's

favor was with him and what it happened

was that he dare to ask in order to be

able to act according to it so it's an

act of faith you know he knocked on the

door and gotten the Lord opened the door

for him so that he would be granted his

request of not defiling himself and the

result of Daniel and his friends

resolved not to be defiled by eating the

Royal fool is revealed in verse 15 that

there it says at the end of the ten days

they looked healthier and better

nourished than any of the young men who

ate the Royal food so God saw their

faithful heart and moved in their favor

and this reminds me of one of my

favorite verses that is in 2nd

chronicles 16:9 it's a great promise for

all of us it says for the eyes of the

Lord run to and fro throughout the whole

earth to show himself strong on behalf

of those whose heart is loyal to him

that's for you and for me too then the

Lord is looking for faithful men and

women who act according to his heart

their God honoring requests did not have

the logical result of making them pale

and undernourished

on the contrary they were you know

healthier looking and they looked much

better than all of the other children or

young men so the water the vegetable and

water experiment was successful in how

do we know it was successful because

birth verse 16

this so the guard took away their choice

food and the wine they were to drink and

gave them vegetables instead so that was

the end of that matter no more choice

food presented to them they were they

got what they wanted to have in order to

respect and honor the Lord and not only

that you know God gave them even an

extra a bonus and the bonus was to these

four young men get God gave knowledge

and understanding of all kinds of

literature and learning and Daniel could

understand visions and dreams of all

kinds so not only did they get what they

you know their immediate requests God

gave them even more and more than they

had asked for and it's the same for us

that's the way where God is his math is

not like ours it's a supernatural math

so the story continues saying that these

young men along with all the others were

presented before the king remember I

said that the the training should be it

was a three year training so at the end

of that they were presented before the

King to be tested to see if the training

had been successful and if they were

worthy of being of service to the King

and it says that in every matter of

wisdom and understanding about which the

King questioned them he found them ten

times better than all the magicians and

enchanters in his whole kingdom so they

were commissioned for the King's service

so the request for a change in diet in

order not to defile himself by eating

the spiritually contaminated food was

the first recorded exercise of faith in

Daniels book that's the first one it was

a small beginning in his faith journey

that prepared him for even bigger trials

that would come this is the first one

but there were many many others most of

you are familiar with the story of when

Daniel was thrown in

the den of lions right everybody knows

that from an early age we know we see

those pictures of Daniel in the den in

the lion's den and just to quickly

summarize when Daniel was around 80

years old and was serving under another

king he had distinguished himself so

much that the King thought of him just

so to place him in the second-most

powerful post in the land

so after him would have been the most

powerful men in the land would have been

Daniel but what happens when the Lord

promotes someone or or in a job when

someone is promoted what happens

sometimes jealousy and envy arise right

with a vengeance and that's exactly what

happens the other administrators got

very envious and jealous of Daniel and

they were seeking you know very fine

picking how to what to find you know

finding a reason to accuse Daniel before

the king of some wrongdoing wrongdoing

you know something that he had done

wrong and Daniel chapters 6 states that

they couldn't find any imagine that they

inspected him followed him for days but

they found nothing worthy of having him

accused of wrongdoing finally these men

said we will never find any basis for

charges again this man Daniel unless it

has something to do with the law of his

God you know

the demonic wisdom hmm you know acting

could it be said of you and me we cannot

accuse her of or him of anything

if someone carefully followed you or me

you know four days around us like

happened to you know Billy Graham there

were he had a very strong stance of

purity you know maintaining his purity

throughout his ministry

he had some journalists follow him

because they wanted to find him doing

something inappropriate so it is a

reality you know it does happen but you

and I if someone followed us would they

be able to say at the end of they're

following us that they found no

inconsistency or corruption in us that's

a good question

has someone protested about your

integrity instead of finding you a

willing partner in joining in in an

ungodly action you know that that's a

good thing if people around you are

protesting because you are you know too

good and and too and have too much

integrity say Amen god that's what that

that's what I want to hear and that

reality is that know it or not there are

people who are observing our behavior on

a daily basis you know those in our

family those are our neighbors our

co-workers our other church church

members as we go on the roads everywhere

there are people of serving us and and

making conclusions about our behavior

and we want to be found

non corrupt and you know and to be found

with integrity there's a a true story of

a pastor in London after preaching on a

Sunday on Monday he went he headed early

to to his office in downtown London so

he took the train got on the train

paid his fare and as he sat down to

count his fare he discovered that the

driver had given him too much change and

he counted it several times and he

confirmed that he had been giving much

more than what he was that he had to

receive so the pastor said in his seat

pondering several thoughts like and

maybe you find your you can identify

with those huh maybe the

is God's provision the Lord knows that

I'm short this week and money and he

knew that you know there was he needed

to give me some money or I didn't bring

a lunch but maybe I can this is the

Lord's provision for my lunch today

he got off the trolley to head toward

his office but was troubled by that

extra money that he has in his hands in

a moment he turned around and he fast

rushed toward the driver he handed the

extra change to the driver and he said

please take this money you by mistake

you gave me too much change and the

driver smiled and replied no pastor it

wasn't by mistake you see I visited your

church last night and heard you preach

about honesty and I decided to put you

to a test so the same way things like

that are happening to us people are

putting us to a test so going back to

the story being the evil minded people

that they were Daniels enemies devised

another plan they manipulated the King

in to uShip issuing a decree in those

times under their law they were not the

king not even the King was allowed to

cancel a decree once a decree was made

it had to follow through no matter what

so these men knew this about the

decrease it was announced so they might

manipulated the King and it was

announced by the king that anyone that

prayed to any God or man except to the

king would be thrown to the Lions Den

that was a decree and let's see how did

Daniel respond to this decree let if we

read verse 10 of chapter 6 it says now

when Daniel learned the decree had been

published he went home

to his upstairs room where the windows

opened towards Jerusalem three times a

day he got down on his knees and prayed

giving thanks to his God just as he had

done before

so Daniel heard the decree and what did

he do he did what he had been practicing

a lifetime he was he prayed God honoring

prayers to his Lord and thanked him for

everything

the same that he had done in spite of

this new circumstance it did not face

him that he had to do anything

differently he did exactly the same that

he had been doing for many many years so

the accusing men knew exactly where to

find Daniel and what he would be doing

right they had followed him around they

knew so they went to his house they

arrested him and brought him before the

king to accuse him of the wrongdoing of

praying to another God that was not the

king and the the story says that the

king was very sad because the king loved

Daniel and mired him a lot but he could

not do anything because he had issued a

decree already and so you have read the

story you know the ending that God saved

Daniel from being the Lions lunch right

so he was safe from that and this

miracle in Daniels life impacted the

king so much that he issued a totally

opposite proclamation instead of

promoting praise to himself and were in

worship to where himself the king

himself praised the god of Daniel and

also those who had conspired again him

against him ended being thrown in the

lion's den that's how God acts you know

we just need to be faithful in all

situations now I'm not important not

minding how sacrif what the sacrifice we

have to make or the cost it makes

so think about this there would have

been no liens then victory if first

there hadn't been a vegetable and water

victory it was not possible to have the

Lions won without the first one the more

the simpler one and it's the same with

you and with me we first take a small

step of faith and then another and

another and that's how it works and what

happens as we do this and I've

experienced it in my own life as we take

those first steps of faith and I and

again if you are new in the in the Lord

you know there are many challenges that

face you but just take that first step

of faith the first one is accepting the

Lord as your Savior but just the steps

of faith in your daily life when when

you're when you know that there are

challenges or issues that it want to

take you separate you from the Lord what

happens when we do this our faith is

strengthened our resolve to glorify the

Lord gross and what happens again also

we receive more power and gifting from

the Lord you know the Lord knows whom he

gives gifts he knows it when we need in

a way we need to be his his gifts are

out of grace and love but he won't give

us something that he knows we are not

ready to receive so you know continue to

walk in the Lord continue to have those

steps of faith and your faith will be

strengthened and He will give you more

power and more gifting in in different

things that you couldn't even imagine

possible happen and we have a choice we

definitely have a choice you know all

young people here adults here even

children we have a choice we can choose

the life of conformity to the world or

we can choose to conform every

thing in us to the will of God those are

the only two choices we have there is no

limbo in between there is no land in one

in between one and the other you know

it's it's that's the reality you know

either we conform to the world or we

conform to God's will in our lives you

know I don't know about you but I want

you know more and more I want to live a

life of integrity a life of courage and

commitment that honors God in everything

and I definitely want the practical

wisdom of God that that only he can give

the worldly vision the wisdom is not as

good for nothing we need the wisdom of

the Lord so as I asked at the beginning

you know are you convinced that your

actions matter to God and if you are

then you have to resolve purpose in your

heart commit with everything in you you

know mind heart soul spirit not to allow

any worldly contamination take hold of

you in any way it's an easy slippery

road we don't want that to happen to any

of us and we need to glorify the Lord in

everything we do regardless of the cost

and the sacrifices that we have made and

before concluding in prayer let me leave

with you the promise found in James 1

verses 2 to 5 please listen very

attentively to these words from James

consider it pure joy my brothers and

sisters

whenever you face trials of many kinds

because you know that the testing of

your faith produces perseverance let

perseverance finish its work so that you

may be mature and complete not lacking

anything if any of you lacks wisdom you

should ask God who gives generously to

all without finding fault and it will be

given to you amen for God's promise so

let's let's pray so pray pray with me

lord I ask for your wisdom

Lord shinin me Lord strengthen me in my

belief system in my worldview that I be

able to examine myself before you and

your word and that I be found pure and

not corrupt in any way in my life Oh

Lord Lord use each one of us as

testimonies of your power and grace and

of what you do in a life that gives

freely to you and that desires to honor

you in every single way Lord make us

each one of us like Daniel that when we

face circumstances difficult challenges

in our lives especially when our moral

issues arrive arise Lord that we be

found faithful

Lord give us your wisdom your practical

wisdom Lord allow us to live in such a

way in our homes that our children

desire to have what we have that they

understand that there is nothing better

than loving you and serving you and Lord

each one of us as we we present our

children before you make of each one of

them Daniels young children young women

and men willing to do whatever it takes

to take a stand for you Lord we I ask

you that we do not underestimate your

power in the lives of our children and

our young people that we do everything

in our power to help them come closer to

you by our testimonies Lord raise up a

generation of Daniels in this house

young children young men and women who

put you first who take a moral stand

wherever they are that say no to the

influences of the world and that

transform this world

so that it honors you through their

faithfulness and obedience to your Lord

and have those Daniels be raised in our

own homes that they minister in this

same house that they change and

transform the world and use us in that

endeavor Oh God thank you Lord amen

Work is Worship

if I'd you open your Bibles to the book

of Ephesians chapter 6 verse 5 to 9

we're working through the book of

Ephesians here in in these sermons when

I preach I'm going through it and we are

almost getting to the end the book of

Ephesians ends with a powerful image of

putting on the full armor of God and

taking our stand against the devil's

schemes and struggling against powers

and principalities in spiritual darkness

but before it gets there the Apostle

Paul into the anointing of the holy

spirit teaches about the call of

Christians to consecrate their life not

just spiritually but relationally to the

Lord so he takes time at the end of

Ephesians 5 to talk about marriage and

the relationships between husbands and

wives then he takes time to talk about

children and parents and the

relationship between parents and kids

and then finally he's going to be

talking about the relationship between

slaves and masters and the point that

he's making is that our earthly

relationships have spiritual

implications the way we use or abuse

Authority opens us up to spiritual

attack from the evil one

that the proper exercise of authority

and the proper response to Authority in

our daily relationships prepares us

spiritually to be strong and to resist

the attacks of the evil one so we're

going to be talking today about the

concept of work that the way we treat

our boss and the way we treat our

employees matters spiritually amen

that work is spiritual as Felicia put up

that verse Genesis 2:15 we learn that

the concept of work was invented not by

the devil but by God himself and the

concept of work was invented by God not

after the fall of man and woman but

before work

existed in the Garden of Eden in the

world the way it is supposed to be the

Lord God took the man and put him in the

Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep

it work believe it or not is meant to be

a blessing work is meant to be spiritual

and consecrated to God now that might be

challenging for some of us to believe as

you think about your work situation

you're thinking it sure doesn't look

like the Garden of Eden

because our work situations have been

tainted by the curse of sin in the world

that now Adam had to work the land by

the sweat of his brow and there were

thorns and thistles and work became

difficult but you know what the original

purpose of God is stronger than the

effects of sin in the world and even

though work has been twisted and cursed

in a way the blessing of God remains

upon it and we are called to honor God

with work how many people here believe

that God is not only the God of Sunday

but also the God of Monday that there is

no division between that which is

secular and that which is sacred see all

too often we want to draw a line and say

when I worship God when I'm praying when

I'm singing when I'm in church when I'm

teaching the Bible when I'm preaching

the gospel that's spiritual but when I'm

at work in the office

that's secular and that's different and

God says no no no God is not just the

God of church he's the God of all

creation God is not just God on the the

altar here on Sunday morning but he's

also God at the factory in the classroom

in the hospital room in the cubicle at

the worksite Jesus is Lord and for a

Christian Jesus is my boss amen

you ever seen that bumper sticker my

boss is a Jewish carpenter right because

Jesus worked

and we work and he is our boss and

here's the questions as we read this

text that I'm going to ask can people at

work tell that you are a Christian can

they tell the difference I wants a

little story many many years ago I went

to a store that sells clothes I think

Bob's does Bob still exist even haven't

seen it forever I've given a commercial

here they're gonna pay me ten bucks for

saying this now Bob's clothing or

something and I bought my pair of jeans

right and if you buy them there they

hemmed them there for you for a buck at

that time now it would be like ten bucks

I'm sure but for a dollar or two dollars

they're gonna hem your jeans for you and

like okay that's a great deal so I'm

buying the jeans and I'm I mean I'm at

the counter this was on the North Shore

right off Route one and I say you know

so get can these get hemmed when that

when will they be ready and the ladies

looked at each other and says oh you

know technically we're not supposed to

promise them for a week but they'll be

ready tomorrow and they will be perfect

and I said really

I said yeah the lady that does this

she's amazing we don't know how she does

it but whatever we throw at her she gets

it done immediately and it's always

perfect so you can come in tomorrow and

they'll be ready in like wow awesome

about two months later a sister from

church came up to me just after services

hey Greg how'd you like the jeans like

it was you she's like yeah I was me I

worked there I don't think that was you

they were talking about that was a

sister from church and you know what her

name is

her name is loose which in Spanish means

light and I thought that is a message

from God because our people when they do

their jobs for Jesus are lights that

shine in darkness are examples of the

power of the gospel on earth and I was

so you know I felt a certain pride not a

sinful pride but uh but a God pride

pride in a job well done by someone else

of course but I'm like that was my

sister in Christ who did those genes

that

this reputation for doing everything

well and I think about that when we work

for Jesus not only do we do evangelism

but we also worship work is worship when

we do it for Jesus when we offer

anything to God it's an offering and

that make turns it into an act of

worship and praise every bit as much as

what we just did here today amen

so let's pray together father in Jesus

name I pray that you would bless this

word God that comes next that you have

ordained for us today and lord I thank

you that you have commissioned us and

sent us into the world to be light that

shines in darkness to praise you and

worship you from our hearts not just on

Sunday morning here at the altar but on

Monday morning Tuesday morning every day

everything we do in the name of Jesus

for the glory of God the Father speak to

us through this text I pray in Jesus

name Amen

Ephesians 6 5 to 9 I'm reading from the

ESV because I liked the way they

translated it it begins by saying

bondservants obey your earthly masters

with fear and trembling with a sincere

heart as you would Christ not by way of

I service as people pleasers but as bond

servants of Christ doing the will of God

from the heart rendering service with a

good will as to the Lord and not to man

knowing that whatever good anyone does

this he will receive back from the Lord

whether he is a bondservant or is free

masters do the same to them and stop

your threatening knowing that he who is

both their master and yours is in heaven

and there is no partiality with him amen

now this text is written to bondservants

people in slavery right so I want to

talk about this for a minute I don't

want to just skip

over it and just apply it to the

workplace for us because we might ask

the question does the Bible approve of

slavery there were some people many

times in history of this country who

took texts like this and argued that in

churches and the whole south of this

country from pulpits all around said

that God approves of slavery and they

would use these verses we as Christians

need to know how to read the Bible

wisely and intelligently and understand

what the Bible is really saying so that

when people try to twist it that we know

what they're doing that we are thinking

and receiving what the word has to say

so I want to talk about this and the

first point I want to say about this

before we get into the application that

I began with is that the Bible often

teaches us how to be a Christian in an

unchristian world okay that the Bible

often teaches us how to behave as

Christians in situations that are not

Christian situations and slavery was a

part of the Roman world some historians

believe that at the time of this writing

as many as one-third of the members of

the Roman Empire were in some sort of

slavery now in those days sometimes

people would willingly sell themselves

into slavery for a few years to pay off

the debt so there was partial slavery

there was lifetime slavery there was

sometimes they would conquer another

nation and they would enslave them as

prisoners so there were all kinds of

different forms of it but it was

extremely widespread and common in the

Roman Empire so the fact that this

scripture is teaching Christians how to

behave within this system does not mean

that God is endorsing this system any

more than God endorsed the Roman Empire

when John the Baptist gave advice to

Roman soldiers and tax collectors about

how to do their jobs in a Christian way

right remember that moment some soldiers

Roman centurion soldiers leaders Roman

tax collectors came to John the Baptist

and said what should we do we're getting

baptized now if I'm there I'm like well

you should quit your job right you're a

tax collector for an evil oppressive

Empire quit your job and do something

else okay but John the Baptist just

tells them if you're a tax collector for

the Roman Empire okay just collect what

you're supposed to collect don't use

extortion to collect too much which is

what tax collectors typically did if

you're a soldier then do your job

accept your pay don't use your sword to

extort money out of people which is what

Roman soldiers typically did at that

time so John the Baptist doesn't tell

them to stop being soldiers in the Roman

Empire or stop being tax coaches he said

do your job in a Christian way okay

now that does not mean that God approved

of Caesar or of the Roman Empire at all

in fact there's all kinds of prophecies

later in the book of Revelation against

the Roman Empire as the horror of

Babylon right so God is not approving of

a nation just because he teaches people

how to function within that nation now

another point I would make here and

Jesus by the way jesus healed the

servant of a Centurion he didn't tell

that guy to quit his job Cornelius with

Peter accepted Jesus received the Holy

Spirit Peter didn't say quit your job

the point so if they're not approving of

the government but they're just saying

be a Christian within that situation now

another point I would make is just

because God in the Bible sometimes

permits a situation does not mean that

he approves of that situation okay

sometimes God allows something to

continue it doesn't mean that he blesses

what's going on for example if you read

the Old Testament and I've had to do a

lot of explaining to my 11 year old son

lately as we go through the book of

Genesis you ever read the book of

Genesis right all the family dynamics

you know if you think your family is

dysfunctional

you ain't seen

Yeah right and some of the reason why

the family of Abraham Isaac and Jacob

were so horribly dysfunctional is

because they practiced polygamy which

was typically practiced in the ancient

world and God blesses and works through

these families but at no point is

polygamy presented as a happy state of

affairs it's always miserable there's

always drama

there's always fighting there's always

sin but God works through these

situations so the fact that he works

through these situations does not mean

that he endorses polygamy at the

beginning of the Bible it was one man

and one woman in one garden right for

life and at one point and it gets very

confusing cuz Moses allowed divorce even

he would give certificates of divorce so

the Pharisees came to Jesus said Jesus

Moses used to give us say that a man

could just give a certificate of divorce

and we could divorce what do you say

and Jesus said well Moses permitted you

to do that because your hearts were hard

but in the beginning it wasn't that way

God presented the wife to Adam and he

said this is bone of my bone and flesh

of my flesh so even though God may have

permitted something to go on for a while

does not mean he approves it so what I'm

saying here is that these texts are

written into a situation of slavery but

God did not then nor did he ever approve

of slavery that was never good slavery

it was always a bad thing and you see it

in the Bible think about where you see

slavery in the Bible the Israelites

enslaved by the Egyptians and God

judging the nation of Egypt and the

plagues and the war and the Red Sea and

all that setting the captives free

there's other laws for the people of

Israel that every seven years they were

to release any Israelite who was in

indentured servitude the jubilee you had

to release them because slavery is not a

natural state of affairs you need to set

them free in the New Testament the

Apostle Paul tells people do not sell

yourself in slavery to pay off a loan

because you were bought with a price do

not become slaves of man slavery is a

bad thing even in this text it says that

he's writing to those who are slaves

according he tells them to obey their

masters according to the flesh the point

he's making is they may be masters of

your flesh but nobody owns your soul God

is the master of your soul that in

society there are structures that

involve subordination some just some

unjust but in God's eyes each person has

equal value and dignity both their

master and yours is in heaven and

there's no partiality with him is an

interesting little letter and again I

don't want to take too much more time on

this because I want to get into the

application I wanted to talk about but

there's this interesting letter in the

New Testament I would recommend to you

called the letter to Philemon it's one

chapter long and people never read it

unless you're in Sunday school with the

kids over there they read it right but

it's a little letter that the Apostle

Paul wrote to a friend of his because a

runaway a person who'd been enslaved ran

away met Jesus became a close friend of

Jesus but he was running away from the

authorities and the Apostle Paul is

sending him back to his owner and

encouraging his owner to receive him not

as a slave but as a brother he refers to

this man as a dear brother a fellow

human being and he says this is the man

who is my very heart and the Apostle

Paul says I'm not going to insist but

remember that you owe me your soul right

I presented Jesus to you so you better

listen to me throughout the Bible we see

that God took a timebomb and planted it

in the institution of slavery so that

over time slavery would explode as an

institution that it couldn't exist

anymore because he planted the concept

that every human being is created in the

image of God and because of that it's

only logical to say that every person is

endowed by their creator as the founders

of this country said with certain

inalienable rights the right to life

liberty and the pursuit of happiness now

the people who wrote that own slaves

but not for long because they saw the

inconsistency how can a Christian

believe that this person is made in the

image of God who is equal to me who's

purchased by the blood of Jesus with

whom I will spend eternity how can a

Christian possibly rationalize enslaving

that person and so it's no surprise to

us that the leaders of the abolition

movement in this country were Christians

the anti-slavery movement in the United

States grew out of the revivals of the

early 1800s people were meeting Jesus

and they were saying God is is setting

the captives free amen and so there were

great revivalists like Charles Finney

and in England a hundred years earlier

than us there was a Christian politician

praise God for Christian politicians his

name was William Wilberforce who said

enough and he led a movement an

anti-slavery movement in England and

England abolished slavery a hundred

years before we did because a Christian

did his job in the name of Jesus and so

it was the revivals that led the

anti-slavery movement and when Abraham

Lincoln signed the Emancipation

Proclamation guess where people were

praying down the street in Tremont

temple that's where it was announced and

that made the papers because Christians

were the ones who stood up and said this

is wrong so we cool with that does that

that makes some sense to us so want to

take a little time to talk about that

that I'm not going to charge you for

that okay that's a little extra but I

wanted us to know because sometimes we

read these texts and as Christians we

don't believe in just cutting pages out

of the Bible and saying oh well that's

old-fashioned so I'm just going to cut

that no we need to understand what God

was saying and what he's not saying when

he's went in the different different

text of the Bible amen

so you've had more questions please

approach me about that afterwards the

way we'll apply that to ourselves is the

fact that today we all are in some way

working now the question is as a

Christian how do you work and for whom

do you work now even as I get into this

I am very aware of the fact that there

are some people who are in between jobs

right now and desperately wanna work but

are having a hard time finding a job and

I was just telling someone before the

service if you are looking for a job

then looking for the job is your job and

God sees your heart there's other people

who might be physically dealing with

with health issues or with different

addiction issues until work isn't really

possible for them if that's your

situation getting healthy is your job

amen if you're a student maybe you're

paying to work well you might be paying

them but studying is your job amen you

might be 10 years old in school and

going to school and doing what your

parents tell you to do and is your job

we all work before God and it says

bondservants will be your earthly

masters with fear and trembling with a

sincere heart as you would Christ and

here's the fundamental point I want to

begin with for a Christian your boss is

now and always will be Jesus Christ you

don't go and work for him or for her or

for that company we are working for

Jesus he sees and thank God he pays very

well in verse 8 it says knowing that

whatever good anyone does this he will

receive back from the Lord

whether he is bondservant or free

Christian's work for Jesus not for

people now coming back to the text if

you look at it it says in verse 6 the

Christians should not work and it says

not by way of it it's very strange word

not by way of I service as people

pleasers now that they translate it like

that because the greek words that are

used here are very unusual words that

are only used in the bible in one other

place in a parallel text in colossians

and i get the feeling this is just my

little theory alright again i'm not

going to charge you that for this

because it's just my theory but i'm just

kidding i don't charge for anything but

i think this is slang

there's a lot of slang that people use

at work about people who do not work in

the best way right now what do you say

eh I remember I was working I was

working on a construction site 16 years

old doing a roofing and siding and I and

I was asking is it is it 3:00 yet and

the boss is like what are you a

clock-watcher

you a clock-watcher is that were you our

kid it was good for me it's good for

Bill character right a clock-watcher

no I don't know what other phrases you

might have heard a time-waster how about

that how about the person at work who

looks really good in front of the boss

they just go along with whatever the

boss says the yes-man there's other

phrases that are slightly craft so I

won't use them slacker

you know all these things I get the

feeling this I service people pleaser

that these were Greek ways of saying

that same kind of thing basically people

who were experts in the ancient art of

looking busy right it's just an ancient

art that has been cultivated over the

centuries how to look like you're

working when you're not right anyone

here ever research that getting away

with the minimum right I'll share a

little bit later I one of my I had many

many jobs you know I've done a little

bit of everything and one of them was as

a security guard right I were security

guard at night you know I often stays

because I like to shoot people no just

kidding the security guard in a quiet

Insurance Building where nothing ever

happened right because I like to study

and the boss knew it everyone was kosher

with it I actually learned my Spanish

there speaking Spanish with people at

night but security guards are

world-class experts in sleeping on the

job

amen your only responsibility is to stay

awake sometimes that's your only

responsibility and it's the one thing

they become experts and how did you and

you it was really funny when I was

travelling around Latin America in in

the late 90s I was staying in a building

in Argentina I got to be friends with

the with the watchman at the door and he

in if we got talking and he started

telling me all his

of how he sits so that he people will

wake him up at a certain hour to heal

here's something he'll sit a certain way

and sleep and he'll even set little

booby traps so things will make noises

and he'll you know and and I was like

wow you know what it's one world you

know humanity is the same everywhere you

go you know time wasters I pleasers hack

slackers you name it

Christians are called to be different

amen we're coughed to eat different

Christians are called to work in the

name of Jesus I love the verse that

Felicia put up whatever you do it says

in Colossians whether in word or deed do

it all how anyone know the verse in the

name of the Lord Jesus with all your

heart the verse she put up was a

different one that do it heartily as

unto the Lord is another way whatever

you do do it in the name of the Lord

Jesus with all your heart doing it for

Jesus because he sees and he's pleased

and he's blessed by what you're doing

and that is what we're supposed to be

warranted around has anyone heard of the

great baroque classical musician called

Johann Sebastian Bach you ever heard of

him he's a Christian composer from the

Baroque period he he wrote this

classical music back in the in the 1700s

during the revivals in Europe of the

first Great Awakening and he was a

Christian and his job was to be the

worship leader and he would play Oregon

and he'd write songs and he wrote

everything he wrote he would write at

the bottom of the manuscript three

letters the letter s D G which in Latin

stood for soli Deo Gloria I think we

know what that means right solamente

adios say la gloria only to God be the

glory and he'd write that on every

manuscript some of his writing was so

anointed

that that he would put in the music it

would be beautiful music but he would

actually draw pictures with the notes

that would have a Christian message

there was a guy in college I studied

with anti-christian atheist but he

studied music and he said listening to

Bach's music that described the Passion

of Christ going up the mountain he

discovered in his thesis that this music

was not only exquisitely beautiful but

the notes formed the shape of a cross

going up a hill it's almost like ancient

backmasking it's like how did he plan

that he put pictures that were Christian

pictures sometimes in the music itself

how does a person do that only because

someone's doing what they do in the name

of Jesus with the anointing of the Holy

Spirit that friend of mine said you know

what I'm as close to becoming a

Christian as I ever have been he's

sharing that he says I'm not but I'm

close because we took a long time to

talk about I don't know I prayed for him

we talked hopefully he came around but

doing something in the name of Jesus

means that when I do something I can

sign God's name to it my name but I can

also say to God be the glory

can I put God's name on what I'm doing

doing something in the name of Jesus

means I do it by his power for his

pleasure unto his glory in the name of

Jesus by his authority by his power for

his pleasure unto his glory in the world

I tell the whole world that a Christian

wrote this song a Christian built this

deck a Christian took care of this child

a Christian wrote this report a

Christian led this school soli Deo

Gloria to God be the glory there's a

great stuck that I would recommend

called practicing the presence of God

it's written by a monk named brother

Lawrence

know if he had a last name but he didn't

have it when he wrote the book and he

decided I want to be a monk this was an

awfully long time ago I don't know what

year it was and he's ready to be a monk

right and do monks stuff you know pray

copy manuscripts teach the word go out

and help the poor do godly monk things

he's all excited and they assigned

brother Larry brother Lawrence to wash

the dishes for hours and hours and hours

every day his job was to wash the dishes

and for a long time he grumbled and

complained about it I don't want to wash

dishes I came here to be a monk I'm not

a dishwasher you know like dr. McCoy

that's what I'm not and he's rumbling

and he's complaining and then the next

thing you know God broke through to him

and he said wait a minute I'm gonna try

wot washing this dish for Jesus and then

the next dish for Jesus and then I'm

gonna do it for Jesus and I'm gonna pray

as I scrub and I'm gonna sing as I scrub

and next thing you know he just wanted

to do nothing but wash dishes all day

because as he washed those dishes he

felt the presence of Jesus and he

worshiped and he practiced the presence

of God doing the most menial tasks I

told you that I was a security guard

right and this is gonna be true

confession time I wasn't gonna share

this maybe I shouldn't someone might be

watching I'll get in trouble no I'm

working a security guard in a place in

Salem right I'm in seminary at this

point studying the Bible and I get a

night a job at night it was great from

11:00 at night to 7:00 in the morning

all night I'm alone I can study I just

have to get up every hour and walk

around this big facility and it happened

to be a facility that was a research

facility making light bulbs and it was a

big big dark dingy creepy haunted house

kind of factory okay in Salem huge you

know and I'd lock it up and I'm in Salem

Massachusetts right right and it was

right on the right on the parade route

for the for the pay for the witches on

Halloween

saw them walk by another way night and

so I'm walking around the first week of

this and it's like 3:00 in the morning

and there's some machines making noises

you don't expect and it's kind of dingy

and it's like it's just like if I were

to write a Edgar Allan Poe horror novel

I would base it there

you know the innocent seminarian working

in the factory and then behind him Flay

you so I'm in this place and I'm working

there at night and I'm getting the

creeps

I guess you're gonna get the creeps I

feel like this is just creepy you know

I'm feeling it I'm into spiritual

warfare I'm like wow this is a really

creepy place so I decided well they make

light bulbs here so I'm gonna turn

everything on for a few nights forgive

me I've wasted a lot of electricity for

a week so but then you know what started

happening I just figure you know what

I'm just gonna start singing in praise

song as I do my tours I'm gonna start

singing and praying and I start and of

course I know I'm alone right so no I

could hear me so I'm just singing and

I've totally I've got it locked up I

know no one can hear me except the

powers and principalities and so I just

start singing in there and I started

longing for those shifts because that

that prison became a palace all of a

sudden it became a temple it started

it's almost like one night I could see

almost a spiritual light fill that place

then I stopped you know what I would do

I would turn out all the lights before

my tours now at night because I had the

tour memorized I did it a thousand times

and I would just walk around and worship

God right and I'd you know do other

things and pray and worship and that was

when God started really unleashing

Spanish in my heart because I I would

pray and worship in English in Spanish

and I felt an anointing on that and that

was before I found this church and God

was getting God moved and sometimes we

feel like our job is a prison but God

wants to move and change our mind and

our attitude so that our prison becomes

a palace and the word for Palace in

Hebrew is the same word for temple

sometimes and a temple where King Jesus

lives God wants to meet you at work he

wants to give you wisdom in what you're

doing you know they did an interesting

poll of

college students about ten years ago and

they asked these college students does

God no nuclear physics as a question and

a shocking number of students answered

saying no God does not understand

nuclear physics because he's too

old-fashioned it's just it's too

scientific for him he just doesn't get

the math right well had news for you

God knows nuclear physics he knows math

he knows geography he knows English if

you're a student and you're taking a

test just try praying first you do

anyway right you know my father used to

tell me that Greg is that fair for you

to pray if he's God like cheating for

you here is that the deal no I was

praying for God to give me wisdom

because he invented this stuff if it's

history he was there he knows what

happened if it's if it's math it's the

code in which the universe was created

he's the expert the revelation know if

it's biology well these are human beings

made in His image animals made for his

glory God knows if I'm building

something well he's the ultimate builder

and creator of the universe he's called

us to build and exercise dominion and

creation I can say God showed me how to

build this deck help me how to take care

of this difficult child if you're a

child care provider help me know how to

manage this business according to your

principles and you might be stunned by

the wisdom God would give you in the Old

Testament there's characters these guys

named bezalel and oholiab where the

Bible says God gave them a spirit of

wisdom and revelation in craftsmanship

and artistic designs and all of that and

they were anointed by the Holy Spirit to

build the tabernacle God can give you

wisdom and accounting God can give show

you the colors of heaven for your art if

you're a musician he can reveal to you

the sounds of heaven he can show you how

to build a deck that you would want to

carve in SDG into that deck because I

did this in the name of Jesus amen we

can do that we can work for Jesus and

our work becomes worship when we do and

we do it for his pleasure we do it for

you Jesus is your box

there's a great scene from from a movie

I like that if you see it every time I

mentioned a movie people watch it and

say that was really boring Greg I can't

believe you like movies like that it's

called a man for all seasons and I like

the 1966 version okay so don't watch the

new one there's an old version it's

about Sir Thomas Moore in England an

awfully long time ago but there's one

scene where Sir Thomas Moore is talking

to a young man Richard rich and this

young man was very ambitious he wanted

to be a politician in England he wanted

to be famous he wanted to be famous and

and he's asking Sir Thomas more about

this and Sir Thomas More says you know

what we're opening a school it's a

little school in the country

you're a very intellectual man Richard

why don't you be a teacher and Richard

says and Sir Thomas More tells him you

you be a good teacher maybe a great one

and Richard answers and says but who

wouldn't know it who would know it

mr. Thomas Moore answers and said you

would know what your students would know

it your friends your family God not

about not a bad audience lad right yeah

who would know it who knows it when you

do a good job I think so many things we

do at work no one's ever gonna say thank

you you do so much that no one sees and

you're taking care of things and you're

putting out fires before they start and

you're going the extra mile and your

hemming those pants and most of the time

people aren't even going to notice or

say thank you but there is one who knows

it there's a couple people it's not just

God you know it - doesn't that feel good

that feel good to do something well

pride in a job well done not for your

glory but for God's glory and that

brings me to the final part of doing

something in the name of Jesus when we

work in the name of Jesus we do it for

God's glory we announced to the world a

Christian did this and you can see

something of God's beauty and what I did

for his glory and we can do that and

know that it works like Bach wrote and

we do a good job for his glory and his

honor we don't just share the gospel at

work we should share the gospel

through our work okay I'm going to talk

about this because I do believe God puts

us in jobs so that we're mixing with

non-christians so that we can talk about

Jesus to people otherwise we're all just

in a little Christian community in

subculture we never share but it's very

hard to share the gospel with coworkers

and your boss if you're a bad worker

right that's all they know you you snake

you know what you do it's hard for me to

have you telling me the meaning of the

universe when I can't count on you to

show up on time and sloppy work defames

the gospel no proverbs 18 9 whoever is

slack in his work is a brother to him

who destroys I learned a special word in

Spanish recently or it's actually 15

years ago we were moving into a condo in

Dorchester that was being rehabbed it

was being flipped and I'm not an expert

in these things but about halfway

through the construction process I got

the feeling that the best work was not

being done right I started to suspect

that things were not being done well

right I just I just had that impression

right so I invited our very own at mano

well I won't even the the craftsmen who

built the Harrison building who lives in

the church yeah he came over there and

he was looking around this condo and and

literally tears were in his eyes and he

and he used a word that I'll never

forget in Spanish he said chop basiago

which help me chop Asiago true si algo

sobre Chaput cio chapel sale it means

what does it mean it means sloppy hack

garbage shoddy and he's like got tears

in his eyes he's like how don't people

love their work how can people sleep at

night and he's like me bastard no Bobby

Viet IKEA nasty Chaput say oh they were

in Vasudha you know my pastor killed

you know I'd like you well come on let's

relax here but he made a really good

point though and so it was good I glad

he helped me with all this Christians do

not do chapel sale right every

profession has its shortcuts and you

know in your job there's things you can

do to take shortcuts that no one will

know the difference but you know and God

knows that you took a shortcut you did

something sloppy right in our house and

we're very grateful for our house it's a

beautiful house but the window started

leaking this past week after you know

seven years or something and someone

went in there and no one had put

flashing I didn't even know what

flashing was but apparently flashing

keeps water out of windows do you put up

windows without flashing cuz it's

quicker all right and then no they won't

know the difference for ten years but

eventually but there's someone who knows

the difference right away and you know

right chapel sale no there's a

difference between a no and I'm gonna

I'm gonna use words in a creative way

here there's a difference between a

contractor and a craftsman right they

don't get me wrong

yeah someone might technically be a

contractor but there's a difference

between a contractor and a craftsman a

craftsman loves their work goes above

and beyond it goes the extra mile they

do things well for the love of what

they're doing for the glory of God in

that house where the condo was being

flipped it was a house that was a

hundred years old

and some things that had been done a

hundred years ago were better than the

things that were done right then because

people were craftsmen and doing it and

when we do our best when we take pride

in what we do God is glorified one more

little story well I've got a couple more

but another little story here I was new

at line of Judah it was called iglesia

Bautista Central is about 22 years ago I

was starting to come and and I decided

okay I want to get to know people I'm

gonna go to Lawrence and get my hair cut

in Lawrence my sister told me I was

starting to look like a geek you know

you need to go somewhere you know she

can tell me that she's like go to go to

Lawrence and have someone knows what

they're doing so I went to Lourdes and

there was a family in the church and

there

brother in the church who was a had a

salon he had a haircutting barbershop

but you know nice one so I go there get

my haircut and that guy happened to play

congas right and he was up up here I'll

never forget he's playing congas and I

came to church the next Sunday

and while the pastor was making

announcements he was just looking at me

nodding like this like and I could just

tell he's like yeah I'm good I'm good

I did a good job that kid looks a lot

better than he did before he came to me

man just gonna fix him up and now is

that arrogant

no that's godly pride in the glory of

God you did it for his glory and we

rejoice and what he gave us the

privilege to do doesn't that feel good

to be able to nod and know you did and

now sometimes our best is maybe not

gonna be perfect right but that doesn't

matter if we do it for God it becomes a

worship we give God our best there's

another word in Spanish I want to teach

you today haha to say haha to say help

me with this that means you give it your

all you try really hard what can I do

how do I turn pull up your bootstraps

and you just roll up your sleeves and

you get dirty and you do the best you

can do for the glory of God I'm gonna

divide that up into four peas okay four

peas perspiration punctuality

proactivity and pizazz amen what did

Thomas Edison say the great inventor of

the light bulb and the phonograph

he said that genius is is 1% inspiration

and 99% perspiration got a sweat in the

Bible and the book of Timothy the

Apostle Paul uses the images of the

farmer and the soldier and the athlete

the the rocky who drinks the raw eggs

and goes running and 5:00 in the morning

and punches raw meat and he talks about

the farmer gets up early and sews and

just does back-breaking work that God

sees that when we put on our game face

at work and we declare war on mediocrity

and say I'm a Christian I will do my

best for his glory when I decide that

there's power that flows through me

punctuality and and I want to make you

know I I kind of struggle with that too

so okay so I'm talking to me here Sarah

a goatee a worse with the youth it

talked about this great phrase that she

would use with everyone early no no no

how does she do this okay early is on

time in other words on time is to be

early for something early is on time on

time is late and late is unacceptable

right not a good phrase and like oh oh

okay you got me all right I feel guilty

proactivity there's this great proverb 6

in verse 6 through 8 if we could pop it

up proactivity Christians should be

proactive there's a great proverb that

says go to the ant you sluggard look at

an ant consider its ways and be wise it

has no commander no overseer no ruler

yet it stores its provisions in summer

and gathers its food at harvest they

don't need someone telling them what to

do they know what needs to be done and

they take proactive initiative to do it

god bless people who do that and final

pea pizzazz you know what that means it

means you dress it up a chili picante

put a little spice in it put a little

heart in it whatever you're doing make

it a little bit better than it has to be

why because it doesn't matter what they

think anyway it's what Jesus thinks of

what I think's and I'm looking this guy

did that well you didn't just dunk the

basketball your tongue was hanging out

and you you know put some Jordan into it

amen

now finally when we work in a way that

worships God because what makes our

worship most beautiful at the altar now

the excellence is important that we do

our best the music but at the end of the

day what's it all about it's all about

love it's all about loving our heavenly

Father worshipping God is essentially

loving God in an expressive way I'd

encourage you in your job and what you

do to do it with love love for God as an

offering for him love for your

co-workers love for your co-workers do

you love the people you work with do you

care about them do they know you care

about them or do you hate them with

blood-sucking hate you think about it

there's so much drama at work right

isn't there there's office politics

there's people who are but Gregg's every

job I get everyone's out to get me you

said now maybe sometimes you are in jobs

where someone's out to get you because

the devil will try to get you there

right that might happen once maybe twice

but if every job you've ever had

everyone's out to get you maybe it's you

never heard that phrase you know it's

not you it's me

maybe it's you not them maybe there's

something you're doing that's maybe

drama follows you for a reason huh

let's think about it just want to

suggest it okay just suggesting it do

you love your boss do you love your boss

no now I know what you're saying grad

you don't know my boss well hey if

Joseph in the Old Testament could work

for Pharaoh if Daniel could work for

Nebuchadnezzar then you can work for him

or her because you're not working for

them you're working for Jesus right and

you're being such a good worker to the

glory of God the Bible says that a bad

worker in proverbs 10 26 as vinegar to

the teeth and smoke to the ice or

sluggers to those who said them you ever

brushed your tree teeth and then tried

to drink orange juice the Bible says

that's what it's like to try to

supervise a bad worker I don't want to

be like that for an employer I want

someone to be I'm so grateful I have

this person here they bless the

office we want to be people who are a

blessing to our boss

but finally I want to challenge us to do

our work and then I'm going to talk

about bosses briefly before I end do

your work with love for your clients or

the people you serve I am so grateful

for the people I have known who have

done their job for me not just because

they had to but they did it out of love

no I think of most recently a social

worker that I've been dealing with that

has found resources for an elderly

friend of mine and taking care of them

and has been on top of it and has gotten

them things that they need and and I'm

like God they didn't have to do that

they spent hours on the phone thank you

they cared that person wasn't just a

number that was a human being that was a

person last year the principal of my

sons and daughters Grammar School

retired she was a great principal Tuffle

grandmother real no-nonsense kind of

lady and when we were having a bit of a

tough time with Noah trying to you know

get him to focus you know the whole

thing these days she just sat down with

Kenneth and it's like gave us

perspective said everything's gonna be

okay he's fine

this and that and she gave advice and

counsel and comfort to Kennison me and

when when I was saying goodbye to her

when she was retiring I was like you

have blessed our family you've cared and

I found myself getting all teary I'm

like I'm a grown man at the school in

Norwood getting all teary with this you

know it was like okay stop the

conversation got a walk out of here she

did her job not because she had to but

because she loved kids and families and

parents I thank God for an insurance

agent who helped us redo our basement

after it leads you know I feel like I'm

on a commercial for Allstate or

something but Liberty Mutual does to

give credit where credit is due but this

guy went above and beyond he came he

visited he do he answered texts and

emails and I was like dude you're an

insurance guy you're supposed to be the

devil but you're like trying to help me

and he clearly dude and just didn't do

it just because he had to he went above

and beyond

I'm grateful for it I'm grateful for a

mechanic I know that is honest and I

bring him the car sometimes I had a

junker right a real junker for a while

that I was really worried about driving

the kids around in it I bring it in and

I'd say hey could you take a look and

just tell me if it needs anything I mean

you do that with most mechanics and what

are they gonna do gonna be paying

$10,000 you know like that but I knew

whatever he says is true I thank God for

him they did it in the name of Jesus I

thank God for a day care provider that

we we went to in in met in Dorchester

who loved the kids who would stuff them

with you know rice and beans and they

come home reeking of dominican garlic

and and and they loved them and and and

they would talk to them and teach them

and they'd give us input without making

us feel dumb but they give us suggestion

encouragement and they loved I felt I

was so confident that the kids were

loved and well taken there that even

when we moved to Norwood I would drive

right up Blue Hill to that place in

Dorchester for the next year because

they cares torture leaving your kid is

like now what are they gonna do thank

God that they didn't just do it they

cared they loved the kids right my

little girl was the only girl it was all

boys and she ruled that place with an

iron fist

I thank God for something as simple as a

waiter in a restaurant who makes you

feel like their dude you're doing them a

favor for letting you serve them right

you ever had someone like that have you

ever had a waiter that makes you feel

like you're imposing okay okay

whoops hello there we go all right so

maybe I said something inappropriate so

finally my mother you know I thank God

for good doctors and good nurses just

most recently my mom spent a little time

in the hospital she's home now and she

was reminiscing about when she had my

sister and me an awfully long time ago I

won't give you the number and she had

some very serious health complications

at that time and at those times they

just keep you in the hospital for a long

time and she never forgets the night she

woke up at 3:00 in the morning she'd had

the baby she hadn't seen the baby yet

she's totally disoriented totally

anxious all the hormones going just

crying and anxious you could say she

talked about the nurses

her there and just campsites and treated

her like a daughter came alongside

prayed with her I've never met those

nurses but I will in heaven because she

knew they were Christians they said Lord

bless you you know then they prayed for

her and I know I'll see those nurses in

heaven I'll thank them personally

because they didn't just do their job

they did it with love they did it as

worship to Jesus and they and God was

glorified through it hlaa more put your

heart into it and Jesus says when you've

done it to one of the least of these

you've done it unto me

I had one brother from the church when

he was about to fix something say I'll

do it as if I were doing it for my own

son my own mother

I encouraged us when you go to work and

you serve and you do your job from your

heart for Jesus he sees it and he

rewards and every little thing you do is

money in the bank in heaven God will

reward you for what you're doing now

finally if you're a boss do you have any

bosses in the room you don't have to

raise your hand but we got a few bosses

I know I know I know who you are

we got bosses in this room we got

supervisors if you're a boss I want you

to know that Jesus is the boss's boss

right a Christian boss is a slave of God

no the way you treat your employees is

the way you're treating Jesus at that

time with respect as people who are not

below you but people made in the image

of God people who deserve to hear from

your heart thank you and know that you

care about them

the Bible says stop you're threatening

stop you're threatening people think

that the way to get more out of people

to threaten them you'll get fired if you

don't do this be on top of them the way

to motivate is by leading with love and

sacrifice and integrity but did Jesus

say the Gentiles lord it over each other

but not so with you the one who wants to

be great among you should be the least

of all and Jesus modeled it when he got

down on his knees and washed the feet of

his of his disciples and he says I've

given you an example so that you should

do as I have done now people might say

but people gonna walk all over me

well do you know better than Jesus right

Jesus says the way to lead is by serving

and that works not just in church it

works in the world too now don't get me

wrong we need to be shrewd a serpent and

innocent as a dove but serving is the

way some great CEOs and you could read

books I should remember their names is

that well there's some of the most

successful billionaire CEOs very often

are Christians who believe in the value

of humility and service and taking care

of people when you are that kind of boss

you represent Lord Jesus in a very

special way to the people that you serve

one more story so many stories one no I

got two more stories so one more story

got a lot of stories today I played

cards with an elderly man when I was in

high school we did it as a community

service project and I got to know this

man and we formed a friendship band and

I kept doing it and he died eventually

at the age of 104 okay 104 we would play

cards he'd put the cards way out there

to see them and I would just somehow not

remember what I saw but he would died

104 he was from Sweden and he died in

eighteen in in 1989 so he was born and

do the math 1885 right and he one day

was telling me a story about when he was

a recent immigrant to this country from

Sweden and he worked in a factory and he

was a teenager so this must have been

around nineteen Oh something right a

long long time ago and he talked about

his boss that would go from person to

person at the machines and would would

ask about them and their families and

would tell them he was praying for them

and how that boss took help helped him

out as a recent immigrant teenager and

as this man was talking he got all teary

it had been 80 years and he still

remembered that person with tears of

gratitude

we have no idea the lives we touch at

work brothers and sisters the things you

do will be remembered in heaven and on

earth for years to go and I concluded

with this we are bond servants of Jesus

when we work

in a worship of love we are God's slaves

and we work for him and God's glory

shines in the world Lion of Judah has

people we have people in the schools we

have students we have teachers we have

administrators we have Herc we have

people in the hospitals

we have administrators nurses doctors we

have people in the finance sector people

who do finance people who are social

workers we have people take care of

children and touch families we have

people who do trades and and different

types of construction we have all kinds

of people in this church and God has put

you there as a missionary to shine for

Jesus don't miss your opportunity to do

so make it count for Jesus final story

and I'll end with this I was a teacher

for a year one of my many jobs and I

worked with a guy who was not a

Christian but when he heard I was a

Christian he said oh you're a Christian

he says I remember a student I had once

who was a Christian his name was Johnny

and he was a really good kid you know

and this guy not a believer he didn't

have to tell me this he's like he was a

really good kid you know he was not very

bright but he was a really good kid he

was a great athlete you know but he

would come in and he would he would do

extra work with me and he would study

and I would give him the tests privately

and and you know really he never got

above a C and but I knew he did the very

best he could with the best attitude he

could and he says I'll never forget that

kid one day after a test I told him I

said Johnny you know I'm really proud of

you Johnny you did the very best you

could and you really worked hard on this

and you know what this boy said to him

he said and I'll change the name he said

mr. Jones I know who's number one in my

heart mr. Jones

Jesus is number one in my heart this kid

said that to his teacher and that

teacher never forgot it

and that teacher told me why so you're a

Christian like that and that's a yes I'm

a Christian exactly like that he's like

uh-huh God wants to use you right where

you are

make it count work for him it makes work

more fun too when you work for Jesus

because you know he's he's pleased with

what you do even if people don't

recognize it I'm gonna invite you to

stand with me and let's pray and I just

ending invite you to raise your hands

with me and first I want to pray for the

people who for whom this is a very

painful message because you're in

between work or you can't work for some

reason and you wish you could or you're

in a difficult situation so father I

pray God for those of us for whom this

area of life is a very painful one and

god I thank you Lord that work is a

blessing and a gift from you and I pray

for those who are looking for employment

to find it in the name of Jesus that you

would open doors before your people that

no one can shut Lord I pray for people

whose job right now is to cultivate

their own health and to get their life

in order God that you would let them

know that you're with them in the

struggle of their efforts that they make

to get healthy that they would do that

for you Jesus and that they would be an

example to the people around them and

father now I pray God for everyone who

is working and God I want to start with

students kids and college students

father I pray in Jesus name God that our

youth would shine like lights and

darkness Lord God that our kids would

gather with other Christians at school

as they have the legal right to do to

pray on campus and to be a lighthouse in

darkness and God that the work that they

do would be a witness to fellow students

to teachers and to principals Lord God

father I pray Lord Jesus for people who

work in the healthcare profession so

many people in the hospitals and in the

administration of hospitals and I pray

in Jesus name for divine wisdom to

administer health to the glory of God I

pray you give them grace to deal with

complex situations and administration I

pray God that you would use doctors and

nurses and and therapists God to come

alongside people who are suffering and

say the Lord Jesus cares about you that

the love of Jesus would shine through

their eyes and that they could share the

gospel with their patients father I pray

God for people who work in the schools

as teachers or administrators with all

the pressures going on trying to keep

them from sharing the gospel

father I pray in Jesus name that they

would teach with such excellence and

such love and integrity God that the

kingdom would come through them Lord God

that they would administer schools Lord

with the wisdom of the kingdom of God

that you raise up Daniel the way you did

in Babylon Joseph and Egypt God that we

would have wisdom to pick our battles

and what to do and how to do it and how

to say it

make us fruit as serpents and innocent

as doves god I pray for people who work

in trades Lord God who work with their

hands

hard god that they would know that they

are following in the path of the

carpenter Jesus and that everything they

make everything they fix everything they

do they could sign it only to God be the

glory

father I pray for people who work in

offices give them wisdom to deal with

the gossip and the sand the corruption

and the politics of the office that they

would shine like a light in those

offices Lord God Father I pray for

people who work at home raising children

and are dedicated to their homes and

father that they would know that their

job is precious and holy before you and

God that even though it might not pay

you pay Lord God Father I pray bless

your people I thank you for the people

in our congregation the hundreds and

hundreds of people who quietly do the

right thing every day and sometimes have

to work two and three jobs and no one

says thank you I thank you God that you

see what they do you see why they do it

and you are able to reward your people

bless your people Lord God uses his

lights and darkness we pray in Jesus

name Amen