Hey, everyone. Welcome to refuge church. I'm Jason, and it is so
good to see you this morning. If this is your first time watching,
we want to reach out to you this week and just say, thank you and
give you a free gift to right now, media, you can fill out our
digital connect card in the post above if you're online, or if
you're watching on the Valley cw@findrefugehere.com. Listen, I
want to remind you that this Sunday and next Sunday we are online
and on the Valley CW only as a church leadership, we just wanted
to make sure that everyone stayed healthy after having family
gatherings for Christmas. We love you, and we cannot wait to see
you again in person on Sunday, January the 10th. I am so excited
about this morning. It is a special morning because of the one of
my pastors, pastor Frankie Powell is going to be sharing God's
word with us.
And he has a powerful message about having hope in a hopeless
world. Pastor Frankie has been there with me and for me in some of
the most difficult times of my life, he has encouraged me and
poured into me. Pastor Frankie has been in ministry for over 30
years. He is the president of the vine network who ministers to
pastors here in the U S and around the globe. I love this man. And
I know you will too. Let's pray together. And I'm excited about
what God is going to do in our midst today. Jesus, we love you.
Thank you God, for this opportunity to worship you in our homes.
God worship you wherever we're at father. I thank you for pastor
Frankie. I thank you for us, heart God, I thank you for what
you've done in him. What you've done through him and God, I pray
that you would just anoint him this morning, a fresh and a new as
he brings your word, as he preaches your word, God, that he would
bring hope into our hearts and into our homes today, father, we
love him. We're thankful for him and father. We love you and we're
thankful for your son, Jesus, and God, we just thank you again for
this opportunity to lift the name of Jesus. Hi father. We're going
to give you the honor and glory for what you do and it's in Jesus
name. We pray.
I just appreciate pastor Jason Parks for allowing me to be with
you on this last Sunday of 2020. Can I have an amen on that? I
know, I know we're glad 2020 is coming to an end. I know when 2020
started, I mean, everybody thought, man, this is going to be the
year of clarity, 2020 vision. And uh, I'll never forget March the
16th. I'm standing in a hospital room with my brother and suddenly
they tell me I'm going to have to pack up and leave. And I had not
even heard about COVID-19 or the Corona virus. I know maybe I was
out somewhere, but I didn't even know it took me by surprise. I
didn't even know what it hit me. Kind of reminds me of the story I
read about chippy. The parakeet chippy was a very happy little
parakeet that set perched in his cage every day and just sang his
And one day Chippy's owner decided to clean out the cage with a
vacuum cleaner and took off the attachment. And she put the hose
over into Chippy's cage when suddenly the phone rang. And uh, when
she reached down to get the phone, suddenly she heard oops, and
she looked and chippy was gone down into the vacuum cleaner. She
drops the phone, cuts off the vacuum, cleaner, opens the
container, pulls out the bag, rips it open. And there's chippy in
his eyes is blinking and he's covered in Sutton in Dustin. So she
grabs him, runs to the bathroom, turns on the water, hose him
under the water nail he's shivering. And she realized, Oh, he's
cold. And so she pulls out the blow dryer and starts blasting him
with hot air. Think about it chip. You didn't know what hit him.
He got sucked in washed up and blown over a couple of days after
that, the person that was talking to the owner on the phone calls
and says, how has chippy doing?
And the owner says, well, chippy doesn't sing anymore. He just
stands perched in his cage and stares. I think that's kind of the
way some of us feel, you know, who couldn't blame chippy. Some of
us kind of feel sucked in washed up and blown over. That's kind of
what 2020 has done to us. And we may have lost our song. Even the
stout hearted can lose their song in a season like we've been
through. It reminds me of the story of God's people, the nation of
Israel, when they found themselves in a circumstance, uh, they had
kind of been, uh, carried off. They had been taking his captain
from their Homeland to a country called Babylon and they'd become
slaves. And, uh, and the, and they had been known for their
worship, their instruments, their devotion to God, their songs
that they had written and sung in worship to God.
And now the Bible says in this hopeless country, in this hopeless
situation that taken their instruments of worship and devotion and
literally hung them on trees. And the Bible says that there, their
captors kinda mocked him and said, okay, now sing us one of the
songs from your Homeland. And this is what it says in Psalms 137
verse four. They said, but how can we sing the song of the Lord in
this foreign wilderness? You know, they had not only lost their
homes that not only lost their jobs in their incomes, that not
only had to shut their church down, their church got destroyed.
And now they had been taken off into a foreign country. And I
don't know about you, but that's kind of what 2020 has done to a
lot of us. And you may be watching today and you've lost your
You may have even kind of wrestled with doubt and struggled in
your faith a little bit, questioning God, how could this happen?
Everything that's went on in your life. And, and maybe you have
literally hung up some of your tools of devotion, but you know
what God did for the people that were there in that foreign
wilderness, God sent a prophet. He sent a messenger. He sent a
preacher, maybe even sent me to you today. And he sent him, it's
found in the book of Jeremiah may be a very familiar scripture
that you've heard about read about. It's called Jeremiah 29, 11,
and God reached down to those people and that foreign land. And
here's what he said to him. I know the plans I have for you says
the Lord, they are plans for good and not for disaster to give you
a future.
And a hope. I know you're in a hopeless situation. I know that
that everybody around you is hopeless, but listen, I know where
you are. I see you. I know what you're going through. And I have a
plan for you. I have a plan not to hurt you, but to help you, I'm
not gonna leave you there. I'm gonna bring you out. My plans for
you are going to be good and not bad. In other words, God reached
into their hopeless situation with a message of hope. You still
have a future and your future is going to be greater than your
past, right? I believe that that's the same message God's wants
you to hear today that you have hope that God knows where you are.
He sees what you're going through and, and listen on this last
Sunday of 2020, God says he wants you to look forward to 2021 with
hope, but you know, Jeremiah 29 verse 10 kind of was a reality
I want to read it to you. He says, this is what the Lord says. You
will be in Babylon for 70 years, but then I will come and do all
the good things I've promised. Yeah. And I will bring you home
again. Talk about reality checks. That's what I want to make sure
you understand. It may not happen immediately. In fact, as we
looked at 2020, I believe that's why 20, 21, I believe that's why
some people, people are still kind of wrestling with hopelessness.
It doesn't look like things are going to get much better, very
quickly. And it may not. But here's the thing. God knows the right
time and the right moment. And he knows what he's doing in your
life. In fact, God's not getting ready to deliver you. He's not
getting ready to bring you back. No he's getting you ready.
And that was the message that he took to the people, people of
Israel down in Babylon. I want to just back up a little bit more
because you see what God is saying is you may feel displaced and
you may have even misplaced some things in 2020 in this season. So
God has given you a message to tell you, to prepare and repair
and, and make plans so that you'll be ready when God gets ready to
move in your life. Look what he says in Jeremiah 29, verse five,
six, and seven, he says, build homes and plan to stay plant
gardens and eat the food they produce, marry and have children.
Then find fan spouses for them so that you may have many
grandchildren and listen, this is the message multiply and do not
dwindle away. In other words, even in those circumstances, I want
you to have a hope.
I want you to go to work. I want you to build your hope and
prepare, and I don't want you to decrease during this season. I
want you to increase. It may not happen immediately, but it will
happen eventually. And then look what verse seven says and work
for the peace and the prosperity of the city, where I sent you
into exile. Pray to the Lord for it for its welfare will determine
your welfare. Think about that. You know what God is saying? God
is saying, I don't ask you to understand my plans. I just ask you
to obey my commands. You don't have to understand. God is saying
to you and me today, listen, you control what you can control. And
I will take care of what you can't control. In other words, God is
saying, listen, I want you to start right where you are with what
you have the church that you're a part of the job that you have,
the family that you're with, the community that you live in.
And I want you to do it. Now. Don't even wait until 2021. Don't
wait till everything turns out. Don't wait till you get a vaccine.
Don't wait till everything else works out in your life. No, God
says, I want you to go. I go to work right now. In fact, I believe
that what he's saying when he says, I want you to build and plant
is to realize building and planting is a process. It doesn't
happen overnight. It doesn't happen in a day, but it will
eventually happen day by day. As you do your part, I don't know
what you need to build and what you need to plan. What's been
misplaced during this season that you need to put back into place
and maybe your spiritual disciplines, maybe your relationships,
maybe just your faith and trust in God, afresh and anew. And so I
believe that's the message that God wants me to give to you today.
And I want to break it down this way. As you wait on God, I want
you to not waste your time. Make the waiting time a working time,
not a wasting time. And I believe God is saying this to all of us.
If you will work while you wait, I'll also be working while you're
waiting. It reminds me of the song. And I love it. It's so
encouraging that our God is working. Even when we don't see it,
he's working. Even when we can't feel it he's working, he never
stops working. No, he says, I know where you are. I have a plan
for you and I'm working that plan out. And I want you to work with
me. See, that's the kind of God we have. He's the way maker, the
miracle worker, the promise keeper. He is our light in all of this
And so he wants us to begin by working, by building our hope,
building our hope building, our hope in God, not in politicians,
not in people, but building our hope in the promises of God. How
do we do that? Well, there's two ways. We build our hope. We build
our hope in the promises of God. First of all, in other words, I
don't know. Do you have a devotional life? Are you, are you taking
the word of God out and reading the word of God? Do you memorize
the promises of God? The word of God will build your hope. See
God's promises will never fail you. I want you to think about that
way back in 1998, uh, I purchased a one-year Bible. I love it. I
recommended if you don't have a Bible reading plan. And I was just
going to read through the Bible in one year, it has every day of
the year, month, and day, and already has a portion of the old
test and a portion of the new Testament.
A portion of Psalms and a portion of Proverbs takes about 15 to 20
minutes to read it. I started that in 1998. I've been doing it
every year. Since there's something about when I began to read the
word of God, faith begins to rise within me. Hope begins to build
within me. In fact, when this pandemic started, I decided that I
memorize a portion of scripture every day and share it on my
Instagram and Facebook story on my social media platform every
morning. It doesn't matter what happened the day before. It
doesn't matter what tomorrow looks like in the circumstances that
I'm facing. When I start memorizing that verse of scripture and
quoting it, something begins to change the atmosphere around me,
the attitude inside of me, no matter how dark it's been, the light
of God's promises begins to build hope and bring it out in me.
I just have to start praising God and thanking him for his
promises. I want to recommend that to you right now. Don't wait
till 2021. Don't wait until the Sunday or the Monday after new
year's no, go ahead and start today with the promises of God. And
then with the people of God, I'll tell you this pandemic has
caused a lot of separation and isolation, but I want to say this.
There's an old saying. We used to say where there's a wheel.
There's a way I want to say it much bigger than that. Where
there's God's wheel. There is a way, and it's all throughout the
word of God. God wants you and I to be together, to encourage one
another, to serve one another to love one another to honor one
another to pray for one another. And if that's the will of God,
God will make a way.
And you need the of God to encourage you to build your hope. I
love what the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 24, verse 17. Let me
read it to you. It's a powerful verse of scripture. Here's what
I've learned through it. All don't give up. Don't be impatient. Be
brave and courageous and never lose hope. Yes. Keep on waiting
for, he will never disappoint you. That's the promises of God.
That's what hope will do in your life. Listen to me, hope is great
expectation. And while hope is not a strategy. It is a start in
your life and hope is the very foundation of vision. It's the
focus of our faith. It is the fuel for our future. Listen to me,
hope is the engine of ingenuity. It is the antidote to fatigue in
your life. Hope is the friend of discouragement. Hope is the
mission of ever leader, the message of ever preacher and the best
gift you can ever give to anyone.
So if you're running empty on hope, get the promises of God inside
you and get the people of God around you and hope will begin to
ignite in your life again. And if you're full of hope today,
listen, people all around. You need that hope. So find a way to
give your hope away today. It will never disappoint you. It will
be an anchor to your soul. It'll steady you in the storms of life.
And the next thing I believe God said to the people of Israel
there. And I really want to talk to you about, as I close today
is, is about relationships. He talked about spouses and children
and, and I would say this instead of just preparing for 2021,
maybe we need to repair some relationships in our life. Let me say
that again. I believe God is speaking to us to prepare and repair
our relationships.
Relationships fuel 90% of your life. In fact, the best days of
your life are because of relationships. And the worst days of your
life are because of relationships. The greatest joy in your life
is relationships. And the greatest challenge in your life is
relationships. In fact, I'll even say it a step further, uh, your
relationship with God hinges, own your relationship with other
people. I want you to understand that, that, that depth of your
relationship with God, the depth of your intimacy and the, and the
sincerity of your worship is contingent on your relationship with
other people you say, wait a minute, pastor. Well, I want you to
think about it. I want you to think about it. God said the two
greatest commandments in the new Testament Jesus said was to love
God and the second, just like it to love your neighbor as
Do you realize that God forgives us us is dependent upon our
forgiven others in the book of Peter, God said that our prayers
could be hindered in how we treat our spouses. In fact, the Bible
says, if you want to live long on, on the earth, then you honor
your father and your mother. It goes a step further in the book of
James, it says, how can you love God and hate your brother? Me,
give it to you out of the words of Jesus, Matthew chapter five,
verse 22 and 23. It says, therefore, if you are offering your gift
at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has
something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar
first, go and be reconciled to them. Then come and offer your
gift. Do you hear what God is saying? God is saying before you
come to me to worship, before you come to me to pray.
If you know that someone has ought against you. In other words, it
may not be something they did to you. It may be something you
need, you did to them. You know what God is saying to us. We need
to stop right now on this Sunday, December the 27th, the last
Sunday of 2020. And we need to take responsibility for our
relationships. And if we've offended someone, if we've hurt
someone, then we need to take the step, right? We need to call
him. We need to text him. We need to email him. We may even need
to go and visit them. Take responsibility, repent to them, ask
them to give you and reconcile and repair those relationships. You
see, connecting with people is more important than correcting
people. I believe today. We need to take responsibility for our
relationships and, and you might be sitting there saying, well,
listen, it's not me.
Listen to me. Listen to me, unresolved conflict is devastating.
Our lives unresolved conflict will, will literally take control of
your life. It'll alter your life. It'll dictate your decisions. It
will Rob you of your joy. It will hinder your prayers. It'll block
your fellowship with God. It'll literally begin to form your
future. You know, Y we'll begin to meet like our decisions based
on our conflict or strive rather own the will of God for our life
are being led by the spirit of God. Okay? So today we need to do
whatever it takes to forgive those who have heard us who have
offended us who have did something wrong to us. You say, forgive,
yes. It's the greatest way that you can show love. First
Corinthians 13 verse seven says like this love forgives
everything. No, how I do it, I just put myself in their shoes.
Kind of like what Jesus said when he said do unto others, as you
would have them do unto you, you see, I don't want people to judge
me on the worst days of my life. I want them to judge me on the
best days of my life. And when I do stupid things and I do, and I
have, and I say hurtful things. And I do. And I have, I want
people to give me mercy, give me grace. I want them to forgive me.
I want them to believe the best in me. I want them to let me off
the hook. So that's what I want people to do for me. And I believe
that's what you want people to do for you. Then that's what we
should do for others. Let me tell you the power of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the deepest need in the heart of every human being.
It's the greatest desire in your life today. It's the greatest
desire in my life today. And it's the greatest desire in the lives
of those who knows they have hurt or offended are done or said
something wrong about you. And they long to be forgiven by you.
Ernest Hemingway wrote a story once about a father in Spain, whose
son Pako, which was a Berry very popular name. In those days, the
son had left. He had rebelled against his father and he had went
to Madrid, the capital one and got into a profession called bull
fighting. That was a very dangerous and deadly profession. And
this father wanted to find his son. He didn't know how to find him
in those days. So he put an ad in the newspaper and this is what
he said. He said, Pocco meet me at the Monaco hotel at noon on
Tuesday, all this forgiven Papa, he waited patiently excitedly.
And when Tuesday came, he made his way to the Monica hotel only to
find a crowd of people and the police trying to handle the crowd.
What had happened over 800 boys named Paul Coco had showed up
looking for their father's forgiveness. Father had already
forgiven Pocco, but Pocco didn't know it. Who needs your
forgiveness? Who needs you to remove the guilt and the shame out
of their life, whose life is being controlled by their own guilt,
their own embarrassment, their own needs to hear you say, all is
forgiven. I forgive you. I'll let you off the hook. And you know
why we can do that? You know how we can do that because Jesus
Christ let us off the hook. He paid for our sins. He died on the
cross for you and I. And when he paid for every sin that we would
ever commit
Every wrong that we would ever do. Guess what?
He also paid for every sin of every person that's ever done. You
wrong hurt you offended. You are said something about you see
their sins. It's already been paid for it too. That's how you can
forgive them because you know,
You have been forgiven. That's what love is God is saying to us,
that's, that's repair our relationships and let's get ready
because God has a plan. God has hope God has a future for us, but
he wants us to be ready. When God's plan begins to unfold, I
realized today that some of you that are watching may have never
really experienced the love of God in your life. Maybe you think
God is mad at you. Maybe you think that God is ready to just beat
you over the head and throw you into hell. Maybe religion may be
tradition. Maybe people misquoting or rep rate misrepresenting.
The word of God to you has left you to believe that that somehow
God can't love you, that your past is too bad. That, that, that
it's been too long. That what you did is too wrong. But today I
believe God allowed you to watch this program.
To hear this message to say to you, God's not mad at you. He's mad
about you. He loves you so much that he sent his own son, Jesus
Christ to die on the cross for you. And then Jesus Rose again. So
that the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead could live
inside of you. And you can literally not only receive the love of
God, but experience the forgiveness of God, all your shame, all
your guilt, all your embarrassment could be washed away,
liberating you and giving you the freedom then to forgive others
today. If you'd like to make that decision right where you are,
then I want to pray a prayer for you. And when I do you just say
it in your heart, right where you are, no matter how you you're
watching this program, maybe listening, riding down the road in
your automobile, just saying, say, father, God, thank you for
loving me. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me. Thank you
for paying for my sins. Thank you for raising Jesus from the dead
so that I could receive your love and experience your forgiveness.
I'm a sinner. I've been arrogant. I've been stubborn. I've been
rebellious. I've been wrong. But today I surrender my life to you.
Come into my life. I give you the rest of my life. Thank you for
loving me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for forgiving me in
the name of your son. Jesus. I pray. Amen.

Welcome back family to the last Sunday of 2020, today we are hearing from Frankie Powell, about finding hope in a world that seems hopeless.