pastor brandt gillespie

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

"Struggle is part of God's plan." Brandt Gillespie

it's been so much prayer and praised and

joy in this house this day I could look

over there and I could see a smile from

ear to ear on her brother because he's

just received something special from God

it really is our portion we actually can

anticipate that and just be a part of

what our hearts not only yearn for but

in an appropriate way not not in a way

where were we're we're looking as as

though God's got to bless me you know we

never want to be presumptuous about the

presence of the Lord you know there's

illustrations in the Bible that are

clear that figures in the Bible didn't

even know they weren't aware that the

Spirit of the Lord had departed from

them and so we want to always be in a

posture of appreciation of valuing what

the presence of God can bring to be in

that appropriate posture of expectation

saying lord I know you have something

for me today I didn't just come here I

didn't just sit in this seat I didn't

just find myself in this moment because

it's part of the drill and it's part of

the routine but Lord you have a purpose

and you've brought me here in your

purpose to be able to be in a place of

receiving from him

so we just enter into this day from that

kind of a posture and we say holy spirit

continue continue in us Father I ask

that you would put salt on our tongues

the salt the Spirit gives that salt that

causes us to be thirsty you know we're

not always thirsty we sometimes feel

very satisfied but this morning would

you just join me in asking the Lord to

rekindle the thirst that our souls would

thirst after him because he says those

at hunger and thirst shall be filled

shall be filled so father we just thank

you that it is your desire it is your

pleasure to Minister your life to assist

your people but Lord we ask that you

would put that salt on our tongues

father that our spirit man would begin

to internally rise up and reach out and

lay hold on the truths lay hold on the

things that you want to give us God we

just ask father that you would

accomplish this because you can and Lord

we can be on the receiving end we've

done it before we know it's available

and so lord I just pray that you will

just settle in this place Holy Spirit

you're the teacher you said that we

would have no need that any man should

teach us

but you Holy Spirit would be the teacher

so we invite you to come into this place

and be our teacher thank you Father

thank you Father in fact I'm going to

give you a charge right now you have the

Liberty in this place not to listen to

me I want you to listen to the spirit of

god you don't have to hear one word that

I say what I say doesn't matter I'm not

saying it's not important I'm saying

what is important is what the Spirit of

God wants to speak to you if your mind

goes elsewhere as guided by the Holy

Spirit I rejoice with you go go get what

God has for you today so that your inner

man will receive what he wants to give

and what he wants to deliver into you

and to your soul so that you will be

rich rich by hearing and hearing the

Word of God now for those of you that

need a little bit direction i will share

a message and in this message I want to

just go back to the year was nineteen

eighty-four I had pastored for about six

and a half years in western New York had

planted our first church that I was

actually the pastor off and had come to

what was the end of that season about to

come over to from Grand Island New York

over to quincy massachusetts where I'd

been called to pasture in an assembly of

god church over over there and and we

put in about eight years over there but

we were in this period of transition and

and the Lord opened this opportunity for

me to go down to Brazil and I had the

privilege of being actually sent there

by if you can believe this of all things

the Rotary Club who would know the

Rotary Club they sent me to study the

ministry in Brazil for five weeks and if

any of you know anything about Brazil I

mean we know a little bit about it

because what's happened there the last

the last month or so but anybody knows

much about Brazil you would know that

there is really some phenomenal things

that are happening they're spiritually

and they were happening there

spiritually at that time as well I I

remember preaching in this in this

church in rio de janeiro and the

missionary old brother Olsen who had

brought me was sitting on this side of

me and the pastor of the church was

sitting on this side of me and before I

preached I leaned over and I was talking

to the pastor who spoke very broken

English and I asked him I says how many

do you have in your congregation and he

said 700,000 and I mean the church was

big but it wasn't that big and it was

like I didn't get it so I leaned over to

the other side and I said to old brother

Olsen I said he says he's got seven

hundred thousand in his church how many

does he really have and he said well

give or take a hundred thousand he's

about right

give or take a hundred thousand how do

you get your head around that well the

way I got my head around it was simply

to find out but that was a mother church

in what they count as everything that's

come out of that church all these

daughter churches they are part of that

church there under that church and

actually in their authority structures

amazingly they were they actually

functioned under that authority and they

were able to like on the Monday

afterwards got together with the 300

daughter churches in Rio alone that was

there and they gave them assignments you

go here you do that you did this knew

that I don't know and off they went and

they executed it and they had they had

churches literally in every nook and

cranny of that area in fact that was one

of the 13 large quote-unquote the column

ministerios and there were 13 within the

Assemblies of God that make up the

Assemblies of God in you know in that in

that nation that's just how they do it

down there I mean it's so different it's

just different but they think that's all

their church and I was preaching and

talking with a man whose name was Don

stamps and I I went to this Hacienda

that he had on this beautiful plane and

you know you think of Brazil as being

you know hot or whatever buddy it wasn't

there it was just it was on it was

elevated and it was dry and beautiful

blue skies and these lovely clouds that

would come and just you know it was just

a really beautiful no insects to speak

of he didn't have screens he would came

out and he had as all of his books and

all of his learning and all of his

education and he was down there to be

able to write the the study notes for

the entire lat

culture in and so he was American but he

went down there he learned Portuguese he

learned Spanish and he became this

wonderful resource and and the

culminating work of his life was this

Latin American study bible and the study

note that he knew that he had to take

this work extremely seriously extremely

seriously because he recognized that

people don't just read the Word of God

but they read those notes and those

notes inform them and shape the

understandings that go along with the

scriptures and Don stamps said to me as

we along with his two sons were out on

horses riding he did this in the

evenings okay he would go out and that

would be his break that would be a kind

of enjoyment so we went out on these

horses and we're just kind of walking

got a quick pace with just kind of

walking along and he says to me he said

if anyone tells you that the Bible that

all you need to do is just read it and

it's plain and simple to understand you

said they're crazy they've never read

the Bible now that's not to suggest that

the plain reading of the Bible doesn't

make sense and I don't want to get off

into some weird doctrine or kind of get

your mind look looking like you know the

Bible is so complex it nobody can

understand it but it's not easy there

are things in the Bible but it does take

a deep sense of agonizing with wrassling

for comprehending and taking into your

spirit what is the intent of those

scriptures what is the point of those

scriptures what are those two things

that are being said at the same time

that sound opposite to each other what

is that

about i remember when i was up at some

classes at gordon-conwell and i was

driving down 128 and as I was coming

back to the church in Quincy I remember

getting this knock you off your horse

revelation anybody ever had one of those

like Paul you know where all of a sudden

you're going along you're trotting along

you're thinking that your understandings

are this way and then something happens

and B you get a whole revelation that is

transformative that happened to me on

128 as I was driving down and I we've

been wrassling in some of the classes

and in some of the understandings trying

to kind of figure out the difference and

this of course was you know the classic

one the one about justification by faith

and and and and God His sovereignty and

us and our are entering into this union

with God by the will of man and it's not

you know God's will that any should

perish but all should come to him and

and and it sounds like opposite things

and God spoke to me and he said you know

what every great truth is held in these

tension points and our understandings

because they're limited float oh we kind

of lean to one side and we kind of move

over and lean to another side in our

understandings and we need to do that we

need to do that I don't want to make it

too complex but what that's pointing to

the fact is that struggle is a part of

God's plan

format write that one down if you want

struggle is part of God's plan for man

you have to struggle Hebrews chapter 4

verse 11 says in the King James Version

I'm going to read it in three different

versions and it's also the same thing it

says let us labor therefore to enter

into that rest now isn't that in

congruent labor work to rest well it's

there again and again but it's so true

so let us say try as hard as you can

this is the English revised version try

as hard as you can to enter God's place

of rest and then the NIV says let us

therefore make every effort to enter

rest what that's talking about is this

struggle that we must partake of that we

must be a part off the struggle of

everything from the little chick inside

the egg I mean that little chick inside

the egg grows up until it can't have any

more room and it's just got to get out

and it starts pecking away just and it

breaks open that egg and the egg which

was its protection and the egg which was

this encasement for it to grow safely

becomes a prism and it's got to break

out of it it's got to struggle it's got

to break out of it you think of the pupa

as part of the cocoon mechanism in going

from a caterpillar to the pupa stage to

the butterfly

now I've heard it said that if you

literally take and you cut open that

pupa case so as to release the butterfly

without the struggle it will die it will

die it needs the struggle in order to

get the strength you wonder why on earth

you have to go through the struggles

there are struggles in life there's no

way around it it's part of God's plan

it's part of God's work it's the way

life happens and you have to struggle if

you don't struggle you'll not enter into

his rest you've gotta work and labor to

comprehend things that are complex

things that are difficult things that

are past finding out and you know what

here's a little secret you'll never get

there in the end because it keeps

getting infinitely mysterious as part of

God's purpose isn't it odd that the God

of all creation who wants us to know him

hides from us and reveals in little bits

what we need to know in the moment to

keep us pressing in it's just how it

happens it's his wisdom and it's his

love if he gave it all to us if he gave

us full bore full revelation we'd be

dead I mean look at Moses wanting to see

God and I suppose in the Bible there's

nobody who actually saw more of God and

Moses in the physical

how did God reveal himself he says you

just stand there behind the rock and I

will slip around here so you just see

just back hurt me cuz if you get to see

all of me you can't live the holiness

the righteousness the might the power

it's just so overwhelming our flesh

can't stand in the presence of holy God

because we are carne carnal we are flesh

will fry I want to tell you about a

probably one of the greatest theological

and spiritual questions that I've had to

grapple with through the years I am

aware of and know a little bit about the

Great Commission GUI and all the world

and preach the gospel to every creature

mark 16 15 and the great commandment

which is Matthew 22 verses 37 to 39 thou

shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy

heart with all thy soul with all their

mind this is the first and Great

Commandment and the second is like unto

it thou shalt love thy neighbor as

thyself I'm even aware of the new

commandment and I don't know if any of

you have read the book that has been

written by Gaylord ends who is a pastor

and an eloquent teacher about the new

commandment that was almost a forgotten

part of our christology and our

understanding our ecclesiology of the

church but in John chapter 13 verses 34

and 35 a new commandment I give unto you

that you love one another as I have

loved you that you love one another

by this mesh al all men know that you

are my disciples if you have love for

one another I understand the Commission

the Commandant and the new commandment

but the question in my mind that I've

struggled with and I struggled with it

deeply is how could Jesus how could he

come to the earth and give the greatest

truth that the earth has ever seen and

then leave it in the hands of very

flawed broken human beings I struggled

with that a lot I struggle with it every

time I see a preacher fall I've fallen

so I know I struggle when I see the fal

ability of our humanity trying to

communicate and hold dearly these

essential truths that set the captives

free the heal the brokenhearted the do

all these mighty miracles and works

think with me about this dilemma for a

few minutes if this the most important

message to the planet given by the

creator of all things is put into the

hands of the likes of us what hope is

there or hopeless you know what I know

what we do we're we're just we're Rex

you know it's not all right I'm going

somewhere with this

but we are we are look at I want I want

you to look with me yet at Peter for

instance especially look at at Jesus

leaving his message in the hands of

Peter I mean if you were the god of the

universe and you were going to leave

your message to the earth in somebody's

hands wouldn't you look for the most

wise and brilliant articulator all that

message wouldn't you look for somebody

who was a studied individual who is

serious had a sense of gravitas whoo-hoo

really accepted the responsibility and

and shouldered it well I mean wouldn't

you do that what's wrong with God

nothing nothing

think with me about this think about

Peter here he is braggadocious Peter

saying Lord I'll never leave you I'll

never forsake you and then just a few

hours later here he comes at the trial

of Jesus and this little girl says to

him and Luke 22 verses 54 through 62 I'm

not going to read all of it aren't you

this man Jesus who is now on trial don't

weren't you with him I'm sure I saw you

with him just a while ago and then this

brash Peter who had been out there you

know defending Jesus cutting off the ear

of the high priests servant you know

think about it here we go again he says

no I never knew him I never knew and

then it happened again and and you can

read the entire set of scriptures there

that I've articulated and talked about

up to up to verse 62 where it says three

times different people confronted him

and three times he denied him and then

we see how Jesus turned around and he

looked and it said his eyes caught Peter

and he realized he heard the cock crow

and said three times you will deny me

before the cock crows and they heard the

rooster do his thing the eyes met and

it's modem in the heart and he began to

weep and he turned and we know that

Peter Peter did many things of similar

foolishness it didn't just end there he

had to be challenged by Paul and I don't

want to go on and the labor Peter but

all of these people all of them

who follow Jesus they were really a

ragtag bunch they weren't brilliant

people they were fishermen they're

common now what was Jesus thinking why

was he doing this lesson number one is

it's not about us it's not about us the

brilliance of what God did with the

message of the gospel is he put the

power in the message not in the

messenger the power is in the message

that was one of those lightbulb moments

that came to me is it's not about us as

the courier's are the carriers it's

about the message it's about the truth

that is being articulated the power of

Christ is in the message it is the power

like an in Matthew 9 verse 6 the power

to heal bodies but that ye shall know

that the Son of man hath power on earth

to forgive sins then saith he to the

sick of the palsy rise take up your bed

and walk and he did the power is in the

word the power is in the message Matthew

10 verse 1 where he gave them the power

the disciples that says he gave them

power against unclean spirits to cast

them out and to heal all manner of

sickness and disease that's the power

that's in the message God said you can

do this and you can I can the power is

in the word the power is not in the

people the power is in the Word of God

and its articulation under

the unction under the anointing like all

I want is for you to be under the

anointing because the Holy Spirit will

teach you if you get under the anointing

of God's Spirit you will be alive alive

you'll be transformed you'll be changed

you'll go through metamorphose you'll

have to struggle to get there but you

become powerful in him lesson number two

although it's not about us but about the

power that is in us yet we still have

the responsibility and the pleasure of

cooperating with being led by the Holy

Spirit so that he can do his work

through us he'll do it he's waiting to

do it he actually is wanting to do it

and there's a piece and a part of it

that we play we play it because the word

gets into US and the word changes us it

transforms us it renews us it makes us

mighty and strong and lesson number

three God knew that he could leave the

gospel in the hands of inadequate people

like us because the power is in the

gospel the power is in the gospel that

my friend is truly the greatest miracle

of all time and eternity that God would

do like he does in in creation like he

does with people you know you you think

of the seed of a human being

an egg and a sperm and it becomes that

zygote and it grows and inside of a

woman's body and it becomes that fetus

and that it becomes a baby in there and

then his birth then it becomes a living

breathing human being like we all are

that is God's Way God did that by

sending Jesus into the earth and he

liked the DNA code brings that into

humankind and when we are exposed to the

Word of God when we are exposed to the

message of God when we are touched all

of a sudden it hooks up in us and we

begin to change we can't help it we can

fight it and some of us do but

ultimately the power of God and the

gospel is so irrepressible it can't stop

the kingdoms of our Lord and of his

Christ are going to come to earth and

become the kingdoms of our God and King

here and he will rule and reign for all

eternity all of creation is groaning all

of creation according to Romans is in

this tension this struggle waiting for

the manifestation of the sons of God you

know what or hey you're a son of God

when you walk in the anointing there's

power all around your life

Sheldon power power through you David

power power Steve power power Marcus

power in your life you know we we

struggle because it's like Wyatt said

thinks of logs like I don't feel

powerful and ed and we aren't we're not

different than Peter we're not but the

power of God at work in us will do the

miracles will do astounding things will

cause mighty acts Charlotte and I are

going to go this summer in we're gonna

be here next week but we're going to

leave on the monday probably we might

leave sunday afternoon or evening but

we're going to leave we're going to go

up to the gaspé Peninsula in Quebec

when we were young people we went there

and we did work with the establishing of

churches we took young people with us

from all over the United States and

Canada and we've had teams we had as

many as the smallest team was I think 25

and the largest was about 50 that we

could handle on these teams every summer

we did this summer after summer after

summer and we went and we would go in

and we do prayer in the morning and

teaching afternoon would be door-to-door

evangelism in some town or city that we

were focusing on and in the evenings we

would do street ministry we be out there

singing and preaching and making a noise

and people would come around to see what

these weird English people were doing in

Quebec you know and we had this this I

heard stories of this one but I wasn't

there at this

but but of this this little priest on a

scooter coming around and saying you

know don't listen to them don't listen

to them their accountant but we just

preached the gospel we just hey listen

I've come a long ways in my love for

Catholic people and so I don't think

that I'm judging Catholic people and

being negative towards them because I'll

tell you i have seen God work in

Catholic people and them be on fire for

God absolutely on fire for God in fact

i'll make an advertisement if you get a

chance to go to the lift ministries

catholic service that they have in

milton on a tuesday evening once a month

where they have a worship service you

will be blessed out of your socks so I

mean a lot of things have changed and

God's at work in a lot of different ways

and I that would take me a whole other

message to talk about what I see as as

God's divine way of doing different

things through different people through

different agencies to accomplish his

divine purpose that is really Universal

it's way beyond how we can get it but he

doesn't he doesn't but anyway here we

were out there preaching and singing and

testifying and one person who'd get a

mic and we get up and we preach and talk

and you know people come around and they

look and think you're weird and that but

but we just love them and we just

preached the gospel and you know what of

the five churches we planted for are

thriving and one of the churches that we

try to create kind of like a mission

station send out sin and the mole on the

north coast of the of the gaspé

peninsula didn't really take hold but

now it's got a church you know and so

we're going to go back and we're going

to be with these churches and these


stay at the property that we had our

outreach center at and we ended up

giving it over to them and they use it

as a camp now to be able to do their

outreach of working there and and to

bless them and as a family camp there so

we're gonna go and enjoy you know what

we were just kids went behind their ears

you know we just didn't know what we

were doing it didn't matter it really

didn't matter you know the team's going

to Honduras you can think oh who are we

you know I don't have much to say you

know I what's ya look get over it you're

carrying a treasure you're carrying a

treasure it's not about you it's not

about you by god it's not about you I

mean if it were about you who love me

what I forget it you know God and his

work and his message would never have

worked it were about us but it's not we

just have to say it we just have to tell

it we just have to point to him if we do

that you'll do the work he'll do the

work he'll do the work what do I want

you to do here in these moments that we

have left I got a couple of things that

I'd like to make us suggestions I want

you to begin to ask the Lord to help you

flee the fear of failure a lot of us

don't dispense the Word of God because

we feel like you know where either a

failure or we might fail and we might

let somebody down so i don't i don't

think i want to tell them this powerful

message that Jesus can set them free

that Jesus can heal them I'm gonna ask

you just to give some thought to that

would you would you just begin to kind

of look in your heart and ask have I

been afraid to really be bold in telling

about Jesus and his love what he can do

and if you have been I'm going to invite

you to just lay that aside reject that

and say I'm not going to give place to

any fear of failure in my life we've all

failed God we've talked about it God

uses flawed people to get his work done

so don't worry about it and I want you

to press on to know the Lord to learn

how to listen to his still small voice

and the voice of his spirit realizing

that you can blow it and that you likely

will but not have that be an inhibiting

factor then I want to ask you to begin

to be confident to take risks you know

it is attributed to Martin Luther this

statement love God and sin boldly

doesn't that seem like an oxymoron seems

like a disconnect it's not it's really a

good word it really is love God love him

and if you sin don't be afraid of it I

mean sin is not have any rule over you

under God I'm not making excuses here

don't misunderstand what I'm saying okay

don't misunderstand what I'm saying but

you know where we get trapped is that we

sin privately quietly hidden and then it

has control over us because we we don't

want anybody to know and we want to keep

that so put it out there deal with it

get God to work in your life who some

folk here with Living Waters ministry I

tell you it's a great ministry I've been

through it I've taught in it we know

that it works really you got issues in

your life just get to work but don't

stop living for God in the midst of it

don't stop administering His grace well

you have to work through the struggles

of your development if you waited until

you are all right before you declare him

you'll never declare him so declare him

declare his power declare what he can do

now this this week I i was i was down in

DC in fact we didn't get the entire

shoot done so i got to go back tomorrow

morning at seven-thirty and we were

we're on a site survey in baltimore

before this broadcast that is going to

be done on September the 14th it's

called star-spangled sunday it's going

to be we're going to be doing the

broadcast out of Charlotte North

Carolina vote with FRC family research

council and tony Perkins will be the

host of it he's the head of that

ministry but we were shooting pieces of

it at Fort McHenry in Baltimore because

that's where the poem was written for

the star-spangled banner

from Francis Scott Key and I don't need

to give you a history lesson right now

because it'd probably be a little longer

a little late but but how how that he

was there and he was looking in over the

British ships that were doing the

bombardment of fort mchenry and then the

flag the guy who was the major of the

garrison hoisted up this huge flag and

we actually went to the house where

Betsy Ross actually it sewed it and we

did a little piece with a reenactor and

it'll be in that you know it'll be part

of a part of the program that comes up

on the on the 14th but but anyway he's

looking and they hoist this huge flag it

was 30 feet tall and 42 feet wide and

the flag was still there in the morning

and that's what the star-spangled banner

is written around and about it comes out

of that incident and it's 200 years

since that battle on the seven September

the 14th and so that's why they're

calling a star-spangled Sunday but we

were doing a site survey and trying to

park my van and this guy who was

homeless and had had a few to drink came

up but he wasn't trying to hustle me it

was just interesting it was just

different and because I I grew up my

parents were salvation army officers and

I grew up kind of where there was a lot

of conniving that went on to get money

and they mark the salvation army and

they went there and as I as a kid kind

of gave away money to some of these

people and I felt we kind of used so I

got a little bit of a jadedness in my

heart against some of some of that the

shenanigans that sort of goes in and

around that this young man

I don't know what it was except that the

Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and he

said don't just put him off take some

time and so I I had him come with me

over I dropped off the others for lunch

and and I trot over there with this this

young man or to the place where we're

having lunch I said hey make room for

women and they're kind of looking at me

like you know what what are you doing

you know but I felt really directed of

the Lord now hear me I've never done

this before so it's not like I do this

all the time but I was directed of the

Lord for this young man's soul and we

sat down and the man who was sitting

next to me on on my right hand side this

young man J Justin was on on my left and

the and the man his name was b.o.b e al

l is his last his last name and he was

he kind of a had worked with Campus

Crusade for Christ for a lot of years

and so he and I were just in

conversation with this young man and we

began to talk and this this man this mr.

Beale he knew a fella who it worked in

the mission there in baltimore had

pastored a very large and a very

successful church and just felt like God

had something else for him and so he

just stepped down from that church and

he just started a ministry in the inner

city of Baltimore and so this young man

knew him and had a positive sense about

him so when we were sharing and talking

to him about the Lord God was at work it

was one of those God things that you

could just see actually unfolding and

actually happening so I didn't see him

make a prayer of commitment to Jesus


but I know that the gospel was planted

in his soul and he said he prays every

day you know what he's just another man

in process that's what I believe he's

just another man and process but they

were able to hook up and hook up him

with that with that man who runs the

mission and and God's gonna put his arm

around that young man just like i did to

bio a meal and gods going to Stewart and

Shepherd him through a process in life

you know why i have confidence in that

because he did it in those churches that

we planted in quebec years and years and

years ago and now we're going back to

see them that's the gospel so don't

think oh I don't have anything to say

yes you do yes you do and don't be

afraid of saying it God's gonna cause

you to be a mighty missionary you know

God had God had one son and he was a

missionary he set him to earth right

we're gonna be like him as we press in

we're going to be more and more like him

worship team would you come on up I do

want you to do that examining with me

flee the fear of failure cast your cares

on him repent of thinking that I'm not

good enough I can't articulate well

enough I can't defend the faith strong

enough I don't know how to share the

gospel effectively

just do it I like Nike huh I just do it

just do it and allow the Holy Spirit to

have his way I'll be confident in God

take risks take risks