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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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