Good morning, everybody. Welcome to church!! It is so
good to see you. I am so excited about what God wants
to do in our midst. Today. We have been praying for you
all week long that God would speak to your hearts, that
he would speak to your life. And I believe he has a
special word for us in this season today. Hey, there's
an old song that we used to sing. You probably remember
it from kids church. We'd say I've got the joy, joy,
joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my
heart. You remember that for most of us though, in this
season, it's I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my
heart where we're without joy. Aren't we, for many of
us, we're walking through this season and it feels like
we have lost the very joy that we've come to know and
love in our life. And that's concerning to me because
the Bible says in Proverbs 13, nine, the life of the
godly is full of light and joy, full of light and joy.
Can you imagine, can you imagine what our homes, our
workplaces, our church, our community would be like if
Christians, if believers in Jesus Christ truly
exhibited light and joy in our lives this morning,
we're starting a brand new series called I've got the
joy. And over the next few weeks, we're going to do a
good old fashioned word study on the word joy, because
I want you to understand what joy is, what joy
produces, how to get it and how to maintain our joy,
even during the tough times. But before we jump into
God's word, let's pray and let's invite the power and
presence of God into our, and into our homes this
morning. Jesus, we love you. We thank you, Lord, that
you are the God of joy and father. I pray over these
next few weeks. God, you would just pour joy into our
hearts, that we could be light, that we couldn't be joy
to people all around us. Father. I pray in the name of
Jesus. Would you send your spirit today to be in our
midst, whether we're here in person, whether we're at
home, God, that our hearts, our homes will be filled
with your power and presence and that God, you would
change us as we dig into your word. We love you, Jesus.
And it's in your name. We pray a mint. So let's start
by answering the question this morning. What is joy?
Now? The dictionary describes joy as an emotion evoked
by wellbeing success, our good fortune or bod, the
prospect of possessing, what you desire. But I believe
this definition leaves something lacking because I
believe that biblical joy is so much more joy is like a
deep abiding. Joy is an orientation of our heart. It's
a feeling, but it
is also a confidence. A hope that we have as we abide
in Jesus Christ. One of my favorite pastors, Rick
Warren, he writes joy is the settled assurance that God
is in control of all of the details of my life. The
quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to
be all right. And the determined choice to praise God
in every situation. Seat church, family happiness is
dictated by external circumstances, but joy rises from
the confident assurance of God's goodness now and into
the future. My concern though is that there's this one
verse that we have taken out of context, and we have
allowed to define our Christianity in our faith. In
Isaiah, there is a prophecy that refers to the Messiah,
refers to Jesus as a man of sorrows stricken and
afflicted. Now this prophecy is true. Jesus bore our
sin and our shame and our guilt and our grief. He was
betrayed and he was despised by others. No
circumstances. It did happen, but Jesus was known for
his joy. In fact, Jesus had to be filled with joy
because I love what one scholar I read this week, how
he put it. He said a joyless life would have been a
sinful life. And because we know that Jesus was the
sinless son of God, then joy would have been a part of
who he was. Now. You may be asking yourself, Jason,
where do we see? Jesus is joy. We see it
all throughout the new Testament because we know that
Jesus enjoyed being around people who listen, Jesus
went to weddings. He talked about parties. Even the
religious accused him of being a glutton and a drunk
Jesus even taught about parties, including one heaven
of a party. See what I did there, that everyone who
trusts in Jesus will be invited to Jesus. Enjoyed being
around people. Children enjoyed being around Jesus. If
Jesus looked somber or unhappy, those kids would not
have moved towards him. Even if pushed by their
parents, kids can spot a joyful person and children
wanted to be around Jesus. We also know from the
scriptures that Jesus was funny, maybe not by our
standards, but in the traditional form of Jewish humor.
In those days, he was hilarious. They used what was
called exaggerated comparison. Things like a camel,
going through the eye of a needle or a log in your
neighbors are these things that Jesus said. They were
funny. Jesus had a light hearted and fun approach to
life. And there's a story in the Luke chapter 10, where
Jesus sends out 72 of his disciples. You see Jesus had
his 12 disciples that he was pouring into, but there
were many more people who followed him. And in Luke
chapter 10, Jesus sends out 72 of these disciples. He
sends them out ahead of him to all of the towns that he
planned to visit. They were going to kind of
prom the pup that were going to get people ready for
Jesus to come. They went and they did ministry. And
when they returned these disciples, the Bible says
we're pumped up because they found that they could tell
demons to leave. And even the demons had to obey them.
If they spoke in Jesus's name, Jesus actually said to
them, I saw Satan fall from heaven, like lightning, as
they were out doing ministry that I love what verse 21
says, Luke 10 21. It says at the same time, Jesus was
filled with the joy of the Holy spirit. Don't miss
this. I don't do this often, but there is a Greek word
here for field with the joy Agora, Leo Hegel, Leo, and
the word literally means much jump today. We would say,
jump for joy. Jesus was jumping for joy. And that
sounds like something that Brian Denny or Jordan Hare
stadium does it, but Jesus was jumping for joy. He was
excited. He was full of joy. As his disciples came back
and told him what they had seen and done. We need the
joy of Jesus in our lives. When Jesus was teaching his
disciples, the important of staying connected to the
vine, staying connected to him. He said in John 15, 11,
I have told you these things. So you will be filled
with my joy. Yes. Your joy will over flow. When Jesus
was praying before his crucifixion, he prayed in John
17, 13 to God. Now I'm coming to you. I told them many
things while I was with them in this world. So they
would be filled with my joy. Jesus's prayer for you is
that you would be full of joy. And the book of Hebrews
speaking about Jesus says this in Hebrews one nine, you
love justice and hate evil. Therefore, Oh God, your God
has anointed. You pouring out the oil of joy on you.
More than anyone else you see. There has never been
anyone who has had more joy than Jesus, but Jason, you
don't understand. Yes I do. You found out last week you
have cancer and you're not sure how bad it is yet.
You're pretty sure you're about to be laid off your
car, broke down at the same time that your heater went
out at the house. You've got family drama that you need
to fix, but every time you try to fix it, it just gets
worse and worse. Your kids keep getting in trouble at
school. I get it. But we have to remember. Those are
circumstances. And as difficult as those circumstances
may be, you can have joy. Despite the chaos. Let me
give you five steps this morning to having joy like
Jesus. If you're taking notes first, invite his
presence and invite his presence. Psalm 16, 11 says you
will show me the way of life. Granting me the joy of
your presence and the pleasures
of living with you forever. Psalm 21 six, you have
endelved him with eternal blessings and given him the
joy of your presence, there is joy in the presence of
God. And if it is joy that your seeking, I encourage
you. And I challenge you to invite the presence of God
into your life. It's something that we do as a church.
It's core to who we are. You've heard me say it for
years. We want to be a church that attracts the power
and presence of Jesus Christ. Why? Because it has
presence. There is joy and it's not something that we
can just do in church. It's something we can
individually do in our own lives. And in our own
hearts, pastor Steven Furtick once wrote the presence
of God will not always fix your problems, but it will
clarify your perspective. Sometimes we don't need our
problems fixed. Sometimes we need our perspective
changed. And when our perspective changes, it doesn't
matter how bad things get. We can find that there is
still joy because joy is something that bubbles up
within us, not something that is affected by what is
going on around us. We need to have an openness to the
presence of Jesus in our lives because his presence
equals joy. Second, we need to embrace his word. I know
what you're thinking, Jason, that is such a pastor to
say, you want me to read my Bible, right? Absolutely
not only
read it. I want you to embrace it. Listen to what the
Bible says in Psalms 19 eight, the commandments of the
Lord are right. Bringing joy to the heart. The
commandments of the Lord are clear giving insight for
living in a world full of confusion and chaos. God's
word is consistent and it is clear. And like a child
who needs boundaries, we can more fully operate from a
place of joy. When we follow God's instructions in our
life. I'm just going to tell you, there is nothing
quite as special as opening up the Bible and reading
the verse. That was meant just for you. Just for that
moment, man, it'll make you want to run around the
room. It'll fill you with excitement and joy. Knowing
that God spoke directly to my life and my situation. We
embrace the word of God. Next we recall his works. If
we want to have the joy of Jesus, we recall what Jesus
has done. Psalm 28, seven. The Lord is my strength and
my shield. I trust him with all of my heart. He helps
me and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in
songs of Thanksgiving. You see, there is a principle in
the Bible that teaches the importance of remembrance.
You know, sometimes when we've had a bad day, we can
think back on a joke or a funny situation in our lives.
And it just makes us laugh. Doesn't it sometimes
at the most inappropriate times. But when we recall
what Jesus has done for us, it fills us with joy. Why?
Because it reminds us that we are loved. We have value.
We are not alone. We are not defeated. We are
overcomers. And although it may not be all right now,
it is going to be all right, because Jesus is in
control. Next we accept his forgiveness. Accept his
forgiveness. Psalm 32. One says, Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven, who sin is put out of
sight. Great. During my ministry, the biggest smiles
have always come from those who have experienced
forgiveness from what they thought were unforgivable
sins. Did you hear me? The biggest smiles always come
from people who have been forgiven for things that they
thought were unforgivable. Forgiveness fills us with
joy. And for some of you in this room today, for some
of you that are watching online or on TV, listen, the
reason you are without joy is because you have not been
forgiven and you are living with guilt and shame and
condemnation. Let me tell you something. Jesus wants to
forgive you. That was his very purpose. That was the
reason he came to earth. He wants to forgive you. He
wants to give you freedom and with freedom comes. And
lastly, if you want to have the joy of Jesus, you need
to receive his unfailing. Love, receive it today. Psalm
59 16 says, but
as for me, I will sing about your power each morning. I
will sing with joy about your unfailing. Love for you
have been my refuge, a place of safety. When I am in
distress. Jesus's love for you is unfailing on shakable
and on deniable. But for some of you in this room, for
some of you watching, you have never experienced that.
Love. God loves you so much that he sent his one and
only son, Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, to be
the sinless lamb of God. The one who could stand in our
place as a sacrifice for us. One who is willing, even
though he was sinless to take all of our sin, all of
our shame, all of our guilt on himself and to receive
the wrath of God in his life. Punishment, that was
meant for us. Jesus took it upon himself because of his
unfailing. Unrelenting love for you and me. Jesus died
on a cross. He was put in a borrowed tomb, but three
days later, he Rose again from the grave to prove to
everyone that he is exactly who he says. He is the son
of God in the flesh. And because Jesus, Jesus Rose from
the grave. We can believe his promise that whoever
believes in him, whoever places, their trust in him
will be forgiven of their sins and will get to
experience eternal life and heaven with God when they
die. But not only
that, they can be forgiven and set free and live in
abundant life, live a life full of light and joy as
they placed their trust in Jesus. Maybe you're
listening, maybe you're watching and you know that you
need to give your life to Jesus today. I want to give
you that opportunity wherever you're at, whatever's
going on. Let's just stop a moment. And if you need to
give your life to Jesus, I want to ask you to pray this
prayer with me. God, I've been going my own way with my
life. I've been trying to do my own thing. God, I've
been trying to be my own boss. Really. I've been trying
to be my own God. And today I realize that I need a
savior. And that savior is Jesus Christ. I believe
Jesus died on a cross for me. And I believe that three
days later, he Rose again and he is still alive today.
Changing lives father today, I asked for forgiveness. I
asked for freedom. I ask for your joy, Jesus, you are
my Lord. And I love you. And I want to follow you for
the rest of my life and Jesus it's in your name. I pray
amen. Now, if that was you, that is the most important
decision that you can make in your life to place faith
in Jesus Christ. But I want you to understand your
faith. Doesn't stop today. No, it starts today and we
want to help you become everything that God created you
to be. You are full of purpose and you are full of
potential. We want to help you get rid of the hurts and
the hangups and the bad habits in your life. But you've
got to let us know. Please do not leave here. Please do
not turn off this video. Do not change the channel
without letting us know the decision you make. If
you're online with us this morning, you can go to that
digital connect card. It's in the post above it's in
the comments below, or you can go to our website and
send in the digital connect card. Give us a name and
email address a phone number some way to reach out to
you because we want to send you a free ebook called
next steps for new believers. We want to help you grow
your thing. Now, at the end of every service, we
dedicate time to prayer because we believe that prayer
is powerful. We believe that God hears us and we, that
we can hear from God. And so in just a moment, we're
going to worship together one last time today with a
worship song. And while you were worshiping, I would
encourage you to be in prayer, be in prayer for those
things that are deep in your heart. If you need joy,
being prayer for joy, pray for our church, pray for our
community. But if there
are anything that you need prayer for, please let us
know. You can comment below. You can email us. And we
have a 10 team of people that stand ready to pray with
you and pray for us. So let's worship. And if you need
prayer, let's pray right now. So heaven meets Jesus. We
love you. We adore you. We lift you up. We magnify your
name and God I pray right now for every person that can
hear the sound of my voice father. If they are lacking
in joy father, I pray in jesus' name that you would
fill them with light and joy that Jesus, you would fill
them with your joy God, a joy that cannot be shaken by
what is going on around us. Button God, a joy that
burst forth from within us, regardless of what we come
up against father. I pray that they would know without
a shadow of a doubt, that they are loved, that they are
cared for that. They are valued by you, Jesus, that
they are victorious, that they are overcomers and
father of those that are listening or in need of
healing. Lord, you are the great physician. And I ask
him the name of Jesus for healing, for those who need
provision God, you are Jehovah Jarrah the provider. And
I pray in jesus' name that you would provide an only a
way that you can so that you would get honor and glory.
for those dealing with depression and anxiety and fear,
you are the Prince of peace. And I asked Jesus that you
move peace their way. Jesus, we honor you. We love you.
And it's in your name. We pray.

everybody. Good morning church. It is so good to see
you today. Thank you so much for choosing to worship
with us. Listen, I know there are so many great
churches that have amazing online worship experiences,
and we are so thankful that you chose to worship with
us this morning, that you are a part of our family
today, before we go any further, I've just got to take
a moment and say, thank you yesterday. We had an
incredible time feeding our community in partnership
with the rocket city, trash pandas, and one generation
away in other local churches. And I want you to know
that you are a part of everything that God did
yesterday. It doesn't matter if you came and serve. If
you prayed, if you gave listen, you are a part of
making a difference. And I just want to say thank you
to one gentle way to pastor Chris Whitney for the
vision that God has given him and his obedience to step
out and say, listen, I want to feed people all across
this country. He has allowed us to build relationships
and minister to so many in our community because we
know we saw Jesus, do it. Taking care of physical needs
and spiritual needs is a powerful thing. It's what our
Jesus did. And it's what he has called us to do. Hey,
last week we started a brand new series called I've got
the joy. And what we looked
at is a biblical definition of what joy is and how to
have joy like Jesus. And what I want us to do today is
I want us to go a little bit, diff deeper, go a little
further into what God would have us to do, how God
would have us to have joy, but before we do, let's pray
and let's invite the power and presence and the joy of
the Holy spirit into our hearts and into our homes.
Jesus, we love you. Thank you for the opportunity to
worship you this morning, right? Where we're at God, we
thank you that your spirit lives in us. And God, we ask
you to pour out your joy to overflowing this morning.
Father, would you speak through me? God, would you move
me out of the way? And all the words that come out of
my mouth, God come directly from you. And it's in
jesus' name. I pray. And everyone said a men. Now last
week, we said that joy is a deep abiding in Jesus. It
rises from the confident assurance of God's goodness
now and into the future. Remember we said there is a
principle in our faith that things may not be okay, but
they're going to be okay because our God is in control.
Even when our circumstances don't warrant happiness, we
can still be full of joy. And this morning, we're going
to dive a little bit deeper into this word, joy
out. Once you to look at two verses with me from the
Psalms, the first is Psalm 43 four. It says there I
will go to the altar of God to God. The source of all
my joy, I will praise you with my harp. Oh God, my God.
Now the second one is in Psalm nine two. It says I will
be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises
to your name. Oh, most high. You see what's happening
here throughout the scriptures. We see a connection. We
see a relationship between joy and praise. Think about
it for a minute. Have you ever been to a sporting event
where the crowd was quiet? The silence is almost
unbearable. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to
go to the st. Jude classic in Memphis and watch
professional golfers play golf, man. I almost got
kicked out of there when I wanted to stand up and shout
for my favorite golfer. But when it's silent, then
that's almost unbearable. The best part of a sporting
event is cheering for your team. Clapping, shouting
singing with the songs over the loud speakers. It
brings a smile to your face. It is an experience that
most enthusiastic fans remember and talk about those
moments over and over again. Joy and praise go hand in
hand. You see the Bible goes even further and explains
that part of Jesus's mission was to be an example for
us and bring
joy and praise to the earth. There is a prophecy in
Isaiah that lists the things that the Messiah would do.
And two of those things you're in Isaiah 61, verse
three, it says to give them the oil of joy for mourning
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. I
think in this season, we've all experienced our share
of worry and anxiety and fear and uncertainty. Haven't
we, many of us have had a very difficult time
describing how we feel, but when I read this verse, it
resonated with me when it said a spirit of heaviness
heaviness. I really believe that's a great way to
describe what we're feeling. Isn't it, there is a
natural heaviness that we feel heaviness because of
poor decisions that we've made a heaviness because of
the things that are happening to us or the things that
are happening around us in this world. But we also have
to see that the Bible is clear. There is a spirit of
heaviness, a demonic spirit of heaviness. Please
understand there is a real battle going on in the
spiritual right now. I believe the devil is real. I
believe that demons and spirits are real. The Bible is
clear about that. And I believe in this season, our
enemy, the devil has unleashed this spirit of
heaviness. The evidence is all around us, friends, an
increase in depression, anxiety, addictions, people
considering suicide. It's a spirit beard of heaviness
to steal and kill and destroy. But God has given us a
solution. He has given us a weapon to fight back
against the spirit of heaviness and to bring back our
joy. And it's called the garment of praise. It's
important that the Bible describes praise as a garment
because it's something that we have to choose to put
on. We must decide to use this tool. You've got to put
on your praise. It's not in you. It's all in you. Let
me ask you a question. Have you ever gone to church on
Sunday morning or have you ever got up, got some
breakfast, went to turn on the service and thought I
really don't feel like praising today. Sure. Me too.
Because praise isn't a feeling that we have. Praise is
a choice that we make. And so what I want us to do is I
want us to answer the question this morning, because I
really want you to see this connection today. How does
praise precede, joy? How does praise proceed? Joy
first, if you're taking notes, praise gets our focus on
God. Praise puts our focus on God. So one 52 says,
praise him for his mighty works. Praise his unequaled
greatness. You see the thing about praise is, is that
praise changes our perspective. For many of us, we are
only focused on ourselves. Listen, we live in a selfie
culture, a selfie focused world, and we need the
constant reminder. That
life is not just about us. When we praise it gets our
eyes off of ourselves. It is a reminder that we're not
the only thing that's going on and it gets our eyes on
God. And when we get our eyes on God, it gives us joy.
Because when we think about ourselves, it becomes very
easy to find ourselves throwing a pity party. I don't
know about, I don't want to throw a pity party. I want
to throw a praise party. You've heard me say this
before. If you want to throw a pity party, put your
problems on Facebook. But if you want to throw a praise
party, take your problems to Jesus. When we get our
eyes off of ourselves and our eyes on God, it gives us
joy. Second. If you're taking notes, praise, nullifies,
negativity, praise, nullifies, negativity, Psalm one Oh
three, two through four says, let all that. I am praise
the Lord. May I never forget the good things he does
for me. He forgives all my sins and he heals all my
diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with
love and tender mercies. You know, sometimes even
within our prayers, we contend to complain and be
negative about our problems. God knows our hearts. He
cares about everything that concerns you. But through
praise, when we get focused on God, we learn to no
longer give too much attention to our struggles. What
we start doing is
we stop telling God how big our problems are. And we
start telling our problems how big our God is. We are
reminded of everything he has done in our lives. And we
are reminded that he is capable of taking care of
anything that burdens us. Why? Because he forgives all
my sins. He heals my diseases. He redeems me from
death. He crowns me with his love and his tender
mercies. Listen, praise and negativity cannot coexist.
And because praise and negativity cannot coexist.
Praise opens the door for your joy. Next praise invites
God's presence. Psalm 104 says enter his Gates with
Thanksgiving, go into his courts with praise, give
thanks to him and praise his may. Now remember what we
said last week. We said that God's presence equals joy
and praise is the process to get into the presence. If
you want to get into the presence of God, you got to
praise your way there. This is why we start our church
services with praise. Why it's because it is how God
instructs us to approach him. Worship is important.
Don't get me wrong. I love worship. There's something
special about it. There's something powerful about it.
But praise is just as important. Praise is more
outward, focused and expressive. While worship is more
inward focused and reflective. And while worship tells
God how much we love him and how much we adore him.
Praise is what gets us to his presence. I love
this verse from Hebrews 13, 15, it says through Jesus.
Therefore let us continually offer to God. A sacrifice
of praise. The fruit of lips that openly profess his
name. Now you may be thinking to yourself because I was
too. Why in the world would the Bible call praise a
sacrifice? Well, think back to what we said earlier, do
we always want to praise? No. The Bible calls it a
sacrifice because you may not want to praise. You may
not feel like praising. It may be the last thing in the
world that you want to do, but praise will bring you
joy even on your worst day. Now I get it. I know that
people start getting uncomfortable. When we start
talking about expressive praise, I get it. I'm a
recovering Baptist. I love all you Baptist out there,
but expressive praise. Isn't just refuge, churches or
church at my house's style of praise. It's God's style
of praise. The Bible teaches us. Clap, lift your hands,
seeing shout, play musical instruments. I don't want
you to praise like me. I don't want you to praise like
everyone else around you is praising. I want you to
praise the way God tells you to praise because
ultimately it doesn't matter what I like church. It
doesn't matter if I like the songs or not. It doesn't
matter if I like the message that God has told me to
preach or not. None of them, what matters
is what God wants. What matters is what God loves. What
matters is what God is looking for from us. We are his
servants. We are his children. One of my favorite
stories in the Bible is the story of what we now call
Palm Sunday. If you remember this story, you know that
Jesus was moving steadily towards the city of
Jerusalem, God city. And he knew he was going to be
crucified. He knew that's where he was going to make
the sacrifice for the sins of mankind. And the Bible
says that as Jesus entered Jerusalem, something amazing
happened. We see it in Luke chapter 19, starting in
verse 37. It says right at the crest where the Mount of
olives begins its descent. The whole crowd of disciples
burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty
works they had witnessed blessed is he who comes in the
King in God's name. All's well in heaven, glory in the
hot places, some farracies from the crowd told Jesus
teacher, get your disciples under control. But this is
what Jesus said. If they keep quiet, the stones would
do it for them. Shouting praise. The religious leaders
wanted Jesus, his disciples to be quiet. They didn't
want them praising. But Jesus said, if they don't act
that way, the stones and the grow, the rocks will cry
out and call out praises. I need you to understand the
enemy does not want you praising the enemy. Doesn't
you clapping the enemy. Doesn't want you shouting the
enemy. Doesn't want you lifting your hands because he
knows when you praise, if you truly praise, then you
will have joy. And he does not want you to have joy. He
wants to steal. He wants to kill. He wants to drain
that joy from you. But when you praise, you have the
joy of Jesus. Praise is our response to our mighty God.
Here's what I want to do to listen. I want to do
something different than what we normally do. And I'm
not doing this to show you how smart I am. I got all of
this out of a book called Strong's dictionary. Okay? I
want to teach you the Hebrew. The Hebrew that is behind
praise. You may not realize this, but the Bible is
written mainly in Hebrew, in the old Testament and
Greek in the new Testament. And both of these languages
are very beautiful. They are expressive. They are
pictorial. They paint a picture. And so while in
English we have one word for praise in Hebrew, there
are seven words that describe praise. So when you see
it in the English, in your Bibles, it can mean so much
more than just praise. Like we think of it. God loves
praise. I love this Psalms 150 chapters, the largest
book in the Bible. Guess what's it about it's about
praise. So here's what I want to do. Let's walk through
of these words here. Their first is Hillel. Hillel is
where we get our word. Hallelujah. The highest praise
it means to rave, to boast, to celebrate, to be
clamorous Slee, foolish, Psalm 35 18. I will thank you
in front of the great assembly. I will praise you. I
will boast about you. God, I will celebrate you. I will
be foolish before all the people, God, I will praise
you. I will Hillel you. The second is yada yada to
acknowledge in public some one 38 one, I will praise
you. I will yadda you. Oh Lord. With all of my heart, I
will acknowledge you to other people said, I think that
one of the issues we had in the Christian Church today,
especially American Christian Church, is we don't want
people to know about our relationship with Jesus. We
don't want people to hear us or see us praising God.
But the Bible says that we are to acknowledge God in
public. We are to tell God how much we love him in
front of other people. The next one is Barak. Barak
means to bless by kneeling our bowing. Sometimes that's
the position of our heart. I'm going to take a position
of humility before God in my heart. Sometimes it means
that we physically get on the ground before God. I'm
going to tell you some of the most powerful times of
praise and worship in my life or the times where I
changed the position
of my body and got down before God and recognized who
he is and who I am. Psalm one Oh three, one praise the
Lord. Oh my soul. All my inmost being praise his Holy
name. God, I'm going to get down before you. I'm going
to kneel. I'm going to bow before you Lord, because I
praise you all my soul with everything that I am. Zamar
making music to God with strings Psalm 92, one, it's
good to praise the Lord and make music to your name.
Oh, most Thai. If you're like me, you love the worship
that you see before service. You love to praise with
our band. God says that he loves to be worshiped
through instruments. It is good to pray. It is good to
praise God with strings. The Bible says Shabbat.
Shabbat means to address, address and allowed tone to
shout. You know, many times we don't shout much unless
we're at a football game or an athletic event dewy. But
the Bible says that when praising God, it is okay to
shell because your love is better than life. My lips
will glorify you. I will praise you. I will. Shabaka
I'll will shout. As long as I live and in your name, I
will lift up my hands, that Psalm 63, three through
four to die, to lift your hands and adoration. I know
this is one of those things that people can get
uncomfortable about. Should I lift my
hands here? Lift my hands here, lift my hands. Listen
to Dom means to lift my hands. But I love about
lifting. My hands is that it reminds me of my kids were
little and I would come in after work and they would
run to me with their hands raised. Want me to pick them
up? Sometimes your hands raised. It's a sign of
surrender. God, I surrender to you. But the Bible says
he likes to be praised with uplifted hands and
adoration. He who offers praise glorifies me. He who
lifts his hands, glorifies me and to him. The orders
has conversation. All right, we'll show the salvation
of God. And then lastly to Heela, which means exuberant
singing Psalm 34 one, I will extol the Lord at all
times. His praise has to Heela. Exuberant. Singing will
always be on my lips. God is worthy of our praise. And
some of you were watching. Some of you are listening
right now and you're saying, Jason, I don't have any
joy at all. Listen, if you want to get your joy back,
start with praise. I don't feel like pray. Start with
praise. Praise him at church on Sunday mornings. When
you've had a hard day at work, put some praise on the
radio, put some praise on your phone. Praise him. Even
when you don't feel like it, but the kids to bed and
praise get up on Saturday morning and clean the house
and praise.
Whatever you've got to do praise. If you want to get
your joy back, start with praise. Listen, in order to
praise God, you've got to know God. When you know God,
you will want to praise. You will have the desire
within you. So if you're here, if you're watching
online, I need you to understand. God loves you more
than you could ever imagine. He loves you so much that
he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on a cross so that
you can be forgiven and set free. And the Bible says
that if you will choose to follow Jesus, he will
forgive you of your sins. Everything you've ever said,
thought or done, that goes against God's word. He will
forgive you. He will set you free. Not only past sins,
but present sins and future sins. Your sins will be
removed from you. As far as the East is from the West.
You will be washed what is snow? You won't be clean
before God. You will become a son or daughter, a
coworker with Christ. You'll have a home in heaven when
you die and you'll have joy while you're on this earth,
but it's a decision only you can make. And I want to
give you that opportunity. If you're watching, if
you're listening and you want to give your life to
Jesus, please stop what you're doing right now. And I
ask you, I'm going to pray a prayer. If you
want to give your life to Christ, I invite you to pray
this prayer with me. God, I know I've been doing life
my own way. I've been doing my own thing. I've been
trying to do things to get to you. God, I've been doing
things to try to earn your love and your favor, but God
I realized today. There's nothing I have to do because
you've already done it. All. You sent your son Jesus to
die on a cross. For me, his body was placed in a
borrowed tomb. And three days later, he Rose again from
the grave and he is alive and he is calling me to
himself today. God, I trust you today. Jesus, you are
my Lord and I want to follow you for the rest of my
life. Thank you God. For forgiving me for changing me
for saving me. God, I'm going to praise you for the
rest of my life. It's in Jesus name. I pray amen. Now,
if that was you, that's the greatest decision that you
can make with your life. But I ask you, please don't
change this channel, please don't turn this video off
without letting us know you can fill out the digital
connect card that's on our website or that's in the
post above or the comments below. Give us a name and
email address a phone number some way to reach out
because we want to help you grow in your faith.
Listen, your faith doesn't stop today. It starts today
and we want to help you become everything that God has
called you to be. At the end of every service, we
dedicate time to prayer. If you've been with us for any
period of time, you know that we are serious about Tom
in prayer with God, God hears our prayers, God answer
prayers. And I know that some of you may be listening.
Some of you may be in this room. Some of you may be
watching and you need prayer. So in just a moment,
we're going to worship one last time together this
morning as a church family. And I invite you. If you
need prayer comment, let us know so that our team can
be praying for you. Maybe it's something that's
confidential. Shoot us an email, shoot us a private
message. And I promise you that we have a team of
people who love you and will be lifting your name up to
Jesus. You need to worship and praise you that if you
need Jesus, thank you again. Thank you for every person
in this room. Thank you for every person that's
watching and listening. God, they are not here by
accident. No father, you knew that they needed joy. You
knew that they needed you to pour into them today. And
so God, I ask you in the name of Jesus to the power of
your Holy spirit, God, would you give people
joy? Would you give people a deep abiding in Jesus? God
that no matter what they come up against, no matter
what they go through, no matter how they feel God that
their faith would be greater than their feelings, their
joy would rise up within them so that they know they
can make it through that. They would have a confident
assurance in. You got to know, there are people that
are dealing with very specific things and God, I may
not know everything that's going on, but Jesus, I know
that you do, you know, every hair on their head, you
know, every tear that has been crossed. And so God,
your word says you are our heavenly father. Would you
write people up in your arms right now? Could they feel
your presence and know that you're aware that you care?
Jesus. We love you. And we're going to give you the
honor and glory for what you do and it's in jesus'
name. We pray. Amen.

well, good morning, church family. It is so great to
see you this morning. I'm excited about what God is
going to do in this place. I have been praying all week
for these next two Sundays worth of messages, because I
believe they are going to be life changing. I believe
they are going to be game changers in our life. If we
allow God to speak into our hearts, if we allow God to
do something in us. And so before we jump into God's
doorless morning, let's pray. Let's invite the power of
the Holy spirit into our homes in Jesus name, father.
We love you. And we thank you for this opportunity,
God, to meet online, to meet on TV. God, we thank you
that you are in our midst. God, that you are in our
homes, that you are in our hearts father. I pray in a
season that has just been tough God, through the power
of your Holy spirit, you would fill us with your joy
and fill us to overflowing father. I pray that the
words that come out of my mouth today will come
directly from you father, that they would be life
changing. We declare life change over people this
morning, and it's in Jesus name. We pray. And everyone
said a men. We are currently in a series called I've
got the joy, learning what it means to have biblical
joy in our lives. And we said that first
Sunday, that God's goal on earth was not to make us
happy. You see God's goal for your life is not to make
you happy. It's to make you grow up. It's to help you
grow into spiritual maturity. It's to be like his son,
Jesus Christ. You see in heaven, you're going to be
happy for all eternity here on earth. We're in our
growing stage. This is our development stage and not
everything is going to go the way that we want, because
God is not necessarily interested in our comfort. You
see, God is more interested in our character because to
God, character is always greater than comfort. Do you
realize that you could become a Christian and stay a
spiritual baby, your entire life. And unfortunately
that's where many Christians are stuck, but that is not
what God wants for you. He wants you to grow in his
spirit. He wants you to bear fruit. He wants you to
grow in love and joy and peace and patience and
gentleness and goodness and faithfulness and meekness
and self control. And one of the ways that God grows us
is through a series of tests in our lives. You see
these tests, test our faith. They test our character,
they test our patients, but we have to understand the
theory has a purpose behind the problems in our lives.
Problems don't happen simply by chance problems help us
become the men and women of God that he
has called and created and purposed us to be. Now you
may be wondering to yourself, Jason, what in the world
the problems have to do with joy, but what in the world
to the test of God, that doesn't sound very joyful at
all. And I want you to listen to what Jesus's brother
James wrote in James chapter one, verse two, it says
dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind,
come your way, consider it an opportunity for what? For
great joy. What? Wait a minute. God, you think my
problems should bring me joy. Now, if I just stopped
there, it wouldn't make any sense. But James gives us
the reason for joy in verses three through four, he
says for you know that when your faith is tested, your
endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow for when
your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect
and complete needing nothing. One translation says you
will be strong and character and ready for anything.
You see church, family. I want you to be strong and
character. I want you to be ready for anything. I want
you to be resilient. And I want you to learn how to
maintain your joy. Even when you were tested, even when
you were facing troubles in this life. What I want us
to do over the next two weeks is I want to take you
through a series of six tests that God takes
us through in our life. And we're going to do this in
two parts. We're going to cover three today, and we're
going to cover three next week. Let me ask you a
question. Have you ever taken an open book test in
school? They were always a little harder, right? But
you could look all the answers up. Here's the good
news. These tests that we're going to talk about. God
wants you to pass them. In fact, God has already given
us the answers to the tests in his word. Listen, when
we know the tests and we know the answers, we can
maintain our joy. Even in the toughest times. Now, what
we're going to do is we're going to look at the lives
of three men in the scriptures, Noah, Moses, and
Abraham. And you'll see they experience the same tests
that we experienced in our lives today. And I believe
we can truly learn something from them and how they
reacted, how they responded to what God was doing in
their life. So if you're taking notes, number one, test
number one is doing something new, doing something new.
Now when God created the world, it was perfect. No
problems, no sorrows, no sin, no sadness, no suffering,
no tears, no trials, no temptation. It was perfect. But
Adam and Eve brought sin into the world when they
disobeyed God and the world got worse and worse until
the Bible says that God was grieved,
that he had even made the earth. And so God decided to
start over. And when he looked down on earth, the Bible
says that every one was evil. He could find only one
righteous person on the planet. And his name was Noah.
And the Bible tells us that Noah found grace in the
eyes of the Lord. So God comes to Noah and says, I'm
going to flood the earth. And I want you to build this
huge boat. We're going to call it an arc. And I'm going
to bring animals to you. And I want you to put your
family and the art. And we're just going to start over.
We're going to have a reset in this world. I mean, if
God came to you, would you even believe that? What
would you think, God, what am I hearing right now? What
are you even talking about? Some of you are going
through a test like this in your life, and God has come
to you. And he has asked you to do something new. He
has given you a new dream. He has given you a new task
for your life. God's going to come and say, here's what
I want you to do. Here's what I'm asking you to do. I
know it doesn't make sense, but I need you to do
something new and it could be so big that it just seems
impossible in your life. Here's what the Bible says
in Hebrews chapter 11, verse seven, it says it was by
faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family
from the flood. He obeyed God who warned him about
things. Listen, that had never happened before. The
Bible tells us that up until this time, it had never
rained on earth. A mist would come up out of the ground
and what are the animals and the plants. It had never
happened. Rain had never happened before. And God said,
listen, water is going to fall from the sky. So you
better be ready. You better get this boat built before
the waters Ross. Sometimes God's going to ask you to do
something you've never done before. And it just seems
impossible. So what did he do? How did Noah pass this
test? We see the answer in Hebrews 11, seven. Noah
built an Ark by faith and faith is doing what God has
told you to do without knowing the outcome in advance.
So many of us want to know what's going to happen
before we do things. God says, Jason, I want you to go
do this. And my question is, okay, God, what's going to
happen next. But faith, the Bible says is doing what
God has told us to do. Being obedient without knowing
what's going to happen. See God can see everything. We
can see limited Tom, but Hebrews 11. One says faith
shows the reality of what we hope for. It
is the evidence of things we cannot see. God is going
to ask you to do something you've never done before.
Are you willing to do it without knowing what's going
to happen? Next number two, the second test test.
Number two is a significant change. A significant
change. We see this in the life of Abraham, Hebrews 11,
eight says it was by faith. That Abraham obeyed God
when God called him to leave home and go to another
land that God would give him as his inheritance. He
went without knowing where he was going. You see that's
a significant change in Abraham's life. God called him
away from his home. He was living in the city of earth
in an area we would now know as our rock and he was
living there. And God says, I have picked you out and
I'm going to take you somewhere else. And I'm going to
turn you in to a great nation, but I'm not going to
tell you where we're going. What you see, God was going
to take Abraham into an area. We now know is Israel,
but Abraham didn't know that he didn't know where he
was going. God just said, get ready and move. And to
make it even more difficult. Abraham is 75 years old.
When God says move, I'm about to take you into the
greatest victory of your life. At 75 years old, and
Abraham has a lot to move because the
Bible says he was a wealthy man. He had years of
accumulation. He had cattle and sheep and goats. He had
family and he had a lot of employees. And God says, I'm
taking you to a new place, a new land, a new country.
Abraham says, where are we going? God says, I will let
you know when we get there. Oh, how, what direction I
will let you know, I will take you step by step. Let me
ask you a question. Would you move? If God said, I'm
not telling you where we're going or how long it takes
to be there. We're just going to go. Just listen to me.
Just trust me. And the Bible says that Abraham had
faith like Noah and obeyed God and left home to go to
another land. Sometimes God might say, I want you to
quit your job. Well, what's the new job. I'll let you
know. Sometimes God's going to say, I want you to sell
your house. Will where are we going to live? I'll let
you know. What's the answer to this test. Once again,
it's faith because faith is following God's leadership.
Without knowing where you're going. Faith is following
God's leadership without knowing where you're going. So
Abraham does this. He packs up his wealth. He takes his
employees and he goes off in the direction. God told
him to, to not knowing where he's going to stop. And
eventually he gets to the
land of Canaan. But when he gets to the land, God does
not allow him to settle. In fact, the Bible says that
Abraham has to live in tents for the rest of his life,
which brings us to the third test. And that's waiting
on promises, waiting on promises. Did you know that God
has over 7,000 promises in the Bible for you? He does
not guarantee that every one will be fulfilled
instantly. God's not a vending machine. Will we just do
the right things and press the button and stuff comes
out. Now, God doesn't work for you. We work for God and
God has made all of these promises to us. But listen to
me, he has all of eternity to fill them. And that's
hard for some of us to hear, but God does not promise
that every promise will be fulfilled in this lifetime.
And in this test of delayed promises, we find ourselves
asking the question, when God, when are you going to
answer my prayer? When are you going to hear me? When
are things going to change in my marriage? When am I
going to graduate? When am I going to have a baby? When
am I going to get that promotion? God, when send to
Hebrews 11, nine, it says, and even when he Abraham
reached the land, God promised him. He lived there by
faith for, he was lucky foreigner living in tents. And
so did Isaac and Jacob
who inherited the same promise. So Abraham was
obedient. He did what God had told him to. And now he's
living in tents. He couldn't settle down and it was the
same for Isaac and Jacob for three generations. They
were nomads. Even though God promised, I'm giving you
this country called Israel, but you're not going to get
it on your timetable. God wants us to base our lives on
his promises, not on his explanations. If you'll get
that, you'll take a giant leap in your character.
You'll maintain your joy. God does not owe us
explanations for anything in our lives. We're called to
trust his promises. God promised Abraham, this land
that we call Israel, but now there is a delay and I'm
sure Abraham is constantly going when God, when Lord,
when is this going to happen? When are you going to
give me the land? When can I take ownership? When are
you going to fulfill the promise? And you may be facing
a delayed promise test right now. And you have been
waiting for an answer and you don't see that there is
an end inside. Listen. Faith is waiting on God's time
table without knowing when he is going to move. Faith
is relying on God's table without knowing when he is
going to move. I promise you, God loves you more than
you can imagine. He has your best interest in mind. And
his ways are not like our ways. And
his time is not like our time. And if God hasn't given
us to us yet, it's because we're not ready for what
he's going to give. God doesn't necessarily want us to
be happy. God wants us to be like Jesus. And when we
are like, Jesus, our lives are full of joy. But
understand this. If we are going to accept the promises
of God, if we are going to lean into the promises of
God, we've got to know God in a personal way. And there
is a promise that God made a promise that God kept
because back at the garden of Eden, when sin and
hindered into the world, when death and temptation and
disease and all these things that ruin the world. When
they came into the world, God promised that he was
going to make a way that he was gonna make it right.
And he did. He kept his promise by sending his son,
Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life on this earth,
who willingly gave his life up to down a cross to be a
sacrifice for our sin, for our disobedience. He
accepted the wrath of God on him. The wrath of God, the
punishment that we deserve, he took it upon himself so
that we wouldn't have to. And now when we die, we don't
have to experience hell. We can go to heaven and be
with God. If we will trust in Jesus, if we will place
our faith in him, it's a free gift. It is a promise
kept by God. And it's a promise that you can inherit
right now in this moment. And so if you were watching,
if you were listening and you need to give your life to
Jesus, if you know that something is missing in your
heart, I'm telling you you're missing Jesus. Please
don't turn this off. Please don't change the channel
until you deal with God, because you can be forgiven.
You can be set free. You can live a life of purpose.
You can be loved. You can have peace in your heart, in
the toughest situations, and you can be full of the joy
of Jesus each and every day. It is a decision that only
you can make. So I'm going to ask you if that's youth
just right where you're at, if you would just stop for
a moment, and if this prayer reflects what God is doing
in you, would you just pray this with me? God, I've
been going my own direction with my life. I've been
doing my own thing. I've I've been trying to be my own
boss to be my own. God. Yeah. I've been trying to do
things to get to you, but now I realize you sent your
son to save me. There is a better way. And it starts
with Jesus. God. I believe that Jesus died on a cross.
I believe he Rose again from
the grave. And I believe that he did it for me. God,
would you forgive me? Would you change me? Would you
apply what Jesus did on that cross to my life? Jesus,
you are my Lord. I love you. And it's in your name. I
pray. Amen. Now, if that was you, I'm going to
congratulate you. That is the greatest decision that
you can make with your life. But please don't change
the channel. Please don't turn this video off without
letting us know. You can go to our website and fill out
the digital connect card. If you're online, the digital
connect card is in the post above and in the comments
below. But please give us a name and email address, a
phone number some way to reach out to you this week. We
want to let you know that we love you. We want to pray
for you by name. And we want to give you the resources
to grow in your faith and become more like Jesus. We
want you to overcome your problems and we want you to
live a life of joy, but you've got to let us know. Now
at the end of every service, we dedicate time to prayer
because we believe that prayer is vital in our lives.
And so if there's something going on in your heart
today that you need prayer for, I invite you in just a
moment. We're going to worship one last time together.
And if you need prayer, you can submit that on our
digital connect card to our prayer team. And they would
love to be praying for you this week. Or you can even
comment in the comments below. And we have prayer team
members who would love to be calling out your name to
Jesus right now let's worship. Let's pray. And if you
need prayer, let us know Jesus. Again. We love you. We
adore you. We worship you. And I thank you, God, that
all of our problems, all of our tests in our life have
purpose behind them. God, that you don't just allow
things to happen, but God, there is a purpose to help
us become more like your son, Jesus Christ, which means
you are aware of God. You are actively aware of
everything that's going on in our lives right now. And
God, I pray for those who are watching and those who
are listening, everyone that can hear the sound of my
voice father. I pray in Jesus name. That today would be
a day of encouragement. Today would be a day of joy.
Today would be a day of filling. Today would be a day
of wisdom. God, today would be a day of understanding
and perspective change father that we are not victims
to what goes on in this world, but we are more than
conquerors and God, if we know your tests and we know
the answers, then we can
truly live with joy father. For those who are hurting
for those who are struggling, father, I pray for more
grace, more peace in their lives. And ultimately I pray
that they would stay connected to you to lean into your
presence in these moments. And it's in Jesus name. I
pray. Amen.

Hey church family! It is so good to see you this
morning. Hey, before we jump into God's word, I just
want to start by reminding you how much I love you. I
know for many of you, you see me each and every week
online or on the Valley CW, but it is so hard not being
able to see you. I miss you. And I love you so much.
And I want you to know that I am praying for each and
every one of you praying that God would fill you with
joy, praying that God would bless you and know that Tom
is right and you feel comfortable coming back in
person. We cannot wait to see you again. Listen, if you
need anything, please don't ever hesitate to reach out
to our church staff, to call our church number, to
shoot us an email. We love you. And we are here for
you. If you need us in any way, Hey, before we jump
into God's word, let's stop and let's pray. And let's
invite God's power and presence into our homes and into
our hearts. Jesus, we love you. I you, for my church,
family, God, I thank you for those who have been with
us for years. God, I thank you for those who are just
joining us for the first time today, father, I pray in
Jesus name God that you had touched their hearts
this morning father, that you would just give them more
of your peace, more of your grace, more of your mercy,
more of your love and God, more of your joy today,
father, as we just continue this message talking about
the tests that you have in our life, how we can pass
them and how we can maintain it. Our joy father, I pray
for each and every person that you would guard their
hearts. If they're dealing with troubles and God, I
pray that they would be encouraged today, father, that
they can be everything that you've called them to be
father. We invite your Holy spirit into our homes, into
our hearts father. Do what only you can do do today.
It's in jesus' name. We pray and everyone said a men,
Hey, we're continuing our message study about joy.
Today. We are in a series called I've got the joy. And
what we've been trying to do is learn what it means to
have a biblical joy in it. Our lives we've learned the
definition of biblical joy and how to have joy like
Jesus. We talked about the power of prayer. And last
week we started learning about maintaining joy through
the tests and troubles of life. Now, if you'll
remember, we said, when we know the tests and we know
the answers, we can maintain our joy, even in the
toughest times. And let's go back quickly and talk
about these first three tests.
If you didn't have the opportunity to be with us last
week, I would encourage you. All of these sermons are
on our website and you can go back and watch them on
demand at your convenience. I want to make sure that
you get all of this because I truly believe this will
be a game changer in your life. So test number one was
doing something new. There are going to be times in our
life where God's going to call us to do something that
we've never done before. And it may seem impossible.
Test number two was a significant change. God's going
to call us to do something, to change something in our
lives that we may not necessarily want to change. In
Abraham's case, he had to move from his home to a land
where he did not know where he was going. And sometimes
God asks us to do things without telling us what's
next. And then test number three was waiting on
promises, understanding that there are over 7,000
promises in God's word that he makes us, but God does
not have to do all of those on this earth. Some of
those are reserved for eternity and while it may be
hard toyed on God, we also have to understand that God
has a different timetable than us. And so if we we'll
have faith, if we will trust him, God will move in way.
And then his timing. And so let's
continue this morning. If you're taking notes with test
number four, I called this an impossible problem.
Sometimes God is going to allow you to face an
impossible problem in your life. And we've all
experienced this one, right? How in the world am I
going to get through this? It may have been a health
situation. It may be something with your money, but God
hell in the world. And I'm going to get over this
problem. Now, if you'll remember at the end of our
message, last Sunday, we were talking about Abraham.
God called him from his home and to a new land. And he
became a nomad. God told Abraham that not only was he
going to move him to a new country, not only was he
going to get, I gave him this land, but he told Abraham
that he was going to be the father of a great nation.
He told him he was going to have kids who were going to
have more kids who are going to have more kids. And
they were going to populate this land. He wasn't just
giving him land. He was giving Abraham a hero. a great
nation. And everyone was going to come from Abraham.
Now, remember at this time, Abraham is 75 years old
when God gives him the promise. So he moves him to this
land of Canaan, which is going to be called Israel. And
while he's there, he keeps waiting and waiting
for his wife to get pregnant. And by age 99, he still
doesn't have a son. This is what you might call an
impossible problem, right? It's physically impossible.
Now for Abraham and his wife to get pregnant, it is
physically impossible. You know, the Bible says when
God told them that they were going to have a baby and
Abraham was 99 years old, it says that Abraham laughed.
And it says that Sarah left. And when they actually got
pregnant and had the baby, they named him, Isaac, which
means, laughter God got the last laugh in this
situation. Didn't he? God gave them an impossible
problem. Isn't what Hebrews 11, 11 through 12 says it
was it's by faith that even Sarah was able to have a
child though. She was barren and was too old. She
believed that God would keep his promise. And so a
whole nation came from this one, man who was as good as
dead a nation with so many people like the stars in the
sky and the sand on the sea. Sure. There is no way to
count them. Now, remember from last week, each of these
tests have answers and all of the answers have to do
with our faith. These tests are no different. When we
face an impossible in our life, we must have faith
because faith is expecting a miracle without knowing
how it will happen. Faith is expecting a miracle
without knowing how it will
happen. I don't know about you, but I believe that our
God is still a God that does miracles. Why? Because the
Bible says so. And because I've seen it with my own
eyes, I've seen God deliver people from the demonic.
I've seen people healed in an instant. I've seen God
heal relationships did. There's no human way possible
that they could have been redeemed and restored. I've
seen God heal people from addictions. People who were
so far gone, there's no way they'll ever clean up. I
have seen God do the miracles. And for many of us,
there are going to be times in our life where we're
going to face an impossible problem, an unsolvable
problem. And we're not going to know what to do, but
faith is expecting the miracle without knowing how it's
going to happen. I think many times, church, God meets
us at our level of expectation. And so if we walked
through life and we never expect God to do anything, we
never expect God to show himself in power. We never
expect God to do the miraculous. Why would he? Well,
I'm asking you this morning, raise your level of
expectation. Our God is powerful. I mean, we say as a
church that we believe that anything is possible, but
do we really? That is not a marketing slogan friends.
That is our very heartbeat. Faith is expecting a
miracle without knowing how it's going to happen. Test
number five,
if you're taking notes, a senseless loss, a senseless
loss, this fifth test was also in Abraham's life. When
you have a loss in your life that comes out of nowhere,
a loss that makes no sense at all. It is irrational. It
is illogical. It doesn't make sense. I'm telling you,
this is one of the toughest tests that we're going to
go through in our life is a senseless loss, but a lot
of what happens in life, does it make sense? Well,
we've looked for an explanation. We're not going to
fund one. And some of you will spend your whole life
thinking. If I just had an explanation, then I would be
okay. If I just had an explanation, I would feel
better. If I just had an explanation, the grief would
be gone. I'm telling you, and explanation is not going
to stop the hurt. It's not going to help you feel
better about a loss. It's not going to make it any less
painful. So stop looking for the why and lean into the
presence of God. That's what you need in your lie. Now,
after Abraham had had this miracle baby, his wife did
at the age of a hundred, they named him. Isaac. Isaac
is now a young man. And listen, God comes to Abraham
and says, Abraham, I want you to sacrifice Isaac to me.
I want you to sacrifice your son to me. Now, this seems
unheard of seems brutal
and bloody and nonsense. Can you imagine being Abraham
for a moment? God, why would you ask me to sacrifice
the very son that you promised me and that you gave me
through a miracle. This is a test. God knows what he's
doing. He is testing Abraham's faith. God is not a
cruel God. And Abraham knew that. So Abraham is going
to obey, knowing that God is going to do something that
he doesn't understand, but this was the ultimate test
because Isaac represented everything that God had given
Abraham, if his son does. So does the future nation. So
does the heritage that God had promised listen to what?
Hebrews 11, 17 through 18 says it was by faith. That
Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. When God was
testing him, Abraham who had received God's promises
was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though
God had told him, Isaac is the son through whom your
descendants will be counted. Hey, Brian was willing to
do what God had told him to do. Even though that he
knew that Isaac was the key to the nation, to the
heritage. I don't know about you, but I believe this is
one of the most gripping stories in the scriptures.
Abraham is fully leaning in to the goodness of God. He
is trusting God's faithfulness. He's saying to himself,
God is going to figure out a way I'm going to tell you
this is going to be
one of the most gut wrenching tests you'll experience
in your life. When God says the dream that I've given
you, do you love me? Or do you love the dream more?
When God says, do you trust me? So what happened?
Hebrews 1119 says Abraham reasoned in the original
language. That is an accounting term. It really means
he calculated. He analyzed that if Isaac died, God was
able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense,
Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. So how
do we respond? How do we respond in faith to a
senseless loss in our lives? Faith is trusting God's
purpose without having an explanation. Faith is
trusting in God's purpose in your life without having
an explanation to the why. And I know there are people
in this room. I know there are people watching on TV
and online, and you have faced senseless loss in your
life. You are still suffering. You are reeling from the
loss that you have experienced. Faith is trusting that
there is purpose, even though there's not explanation,
there are some things in our lives that are just not
explainable. And God has called us to live by faith.
Lastly, and one of the other most difficult tests that
we can go through in our life is text number six and
that's chronic pain, chronic pain. It could be chronic
physical pain. It could be chronic emotional pain. It
could be
chronic spiritual pain. It can be chronic relational
pain. It could be chronic financial pain. This is
extended suffering in your life. Experiencing suffering
that you may have to live with your entire life. It's a
test. We see it in Moses's life. Moses had incredible
persistence. Moses put up with an incredible amount of
pain in his life. He endured criticism and conflict and
misunderstanding, but listen to what happens in Hebrews
1124 through 26, it was by faith that Moses, when he
grew up refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter. He chose to share in the oppression of God's
people, instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of
sin, he thought it was better to suffer for the sake of
Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt for. He was
looking ahead to his great reward. If you remember this
story, the Pharaoh at the time was putting Hebrew to
death so much. Moses, his mother put him in a basket
and place him in the river as a baby. And as he floated
down the river, he was found by the Pharaoh's daughter
who adopted him. And he grew up as her son. That means
Moses was the grandson of the most powerful man in the
world. At that time, he is living the life of luxury,
but he chose to give it up to lead a group of Israel
lights across the desert. He chose to be mistreated
along with the people of
God, rather than enjoy the pleasure of sin. For a short
time, he knew who he was. He knew his identity, and
that is so counter to our culture today because our
culture says base all your decisions on how you feel.
If it feels good, do it. If it doesn't feel good, don't
do it. You can't go by your feelings because your
feelings will lie to you. They'll tell you that things
are better than they are, or they'll tell you that
things are worse than they are. Our feelings. Lie to
us. Our feelings manipulate. We are manipulated by our
moods. The truth is, is I don't always feel like doing
God's work. Sometimes I'm grumpy. Sometimes I'm cranky.
Sometimes I want to go to bed. Sometimes. I don't feel
like teaching. I don't always want to read my Bible,
but I know that it helps. I don't want to always pray,
but I know it keeps me connected to God. And honestly,
when the Tom's off, I really don't feel like praying.
That's what I need to be praying. The most faith is
being persistent is refusing to give up. Faith is
continuing to persist without knowing how long the pain
is going to last. I said earlier, chronic pain could be
a lifetime, huh? Can you have faith? Can you lean into
God? Can you persist without knowing how long the pain
will last? I would love to stand up here and speak into
homes and tell you that the pain is going to stop, but
I'm not gone. I don't know that. But what I do know
that is, is if you will have faith, if you will lean
into God, that he will get you through. Faith is
continuing to persist without knowing how long the pain
will last. So how do you handle chronic pain? You do
what Moses did. Moses heard from God. We need to hear
from God. Moses got close to God. We need to get close
to God. Moses listened to God and we need to listen to
God. Moses stayed connected and we can stay connected.
You see Moses had a burning Bush and for many of us, we
want a burning Bush experience in our life. We want God
to show up in some great manifests power and tell us,
but we don't need a burning Bush. Why? Because we have
the Bible and the Bible is greater than any burning
Bush. God has given us his word. He has written it down
for us. Does God still speak in visions? Yes. Does he
still speaking dreams? Yes. Does he still speak through
other people? Yes, but we need to stop looking for
visions and start looking for work nurses because God's
word will give you the ability to pass the chronic pain
test. 27 says it was by faith. That Moses left that
land of Egypt, not fearing the King's anger. He kept
on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is
invisible. How did Moses persevere through chronic
pain? How did Moses persevere through the tough times
he saw the one who was invisible. He kept his eyes on
God. And if you want to keep going, if you don't want
to give up, if you want to overcome, if you want to
persist, if you want to break through, you've got to
keep your eyes on God. Because if you keep your eyes on
your pain, everything's going to keep going downhill.
But if you keep your eyes on the pain relieve you, it
live reliever. If you keep your eyes on the savior, if
you keep your eyes on the God who loves you, you're
going to make it through. I believe that we've all
faced incredibly tough times in our life. We've all
been there. And typically I've found friends. There's
two ways that we can react. We can either run from God
or we can run to God. I'm telling you if you want to
make it through run to God, he loves you more than you
can ever imagine. But I'm going to tell you, it's not
enough just to run to him. You need to know him because
if you're truly going to get through what's going on in
your life, if you're truly going to overcome the
struggles, you need to know this. God, you need to know
his son, Jesus Christ.
Maybe you're watching. Maybe you're listening. And
there's never been a time in your life where you have
placed your faith. You've trusted in Jesus Christ. That
might be the very reason that you're watching right
now. Cod may have ordained this moment so that you
would hear about his great love for you so that you may
know that his son, Jesus dot on a cross for you. He
took the wrath of God. Jesus was punished so that you
didn't have to be. Jesus took on your sin was separated
from God so that you wouldn't have to be. He died that
cross. They placed his body in a borrowed tomb. But
three days later, Jesus Rose again from the grave. And
he is still alive today. And he is at the right hand of
the father. The Bible says, and he is interceding. He
is praying for you because he loves you. He wants you
to come to him. He wants to forgive you. He wants to
set you free. He wants you to live a life full of
purpose and peace and joy and love and patience. He
wants that for you decision only, you can make a
pastor. Can't make it for you. A priest can't make it
for you. Your parents can't make it for you. You have
to choose Jesus and listen. It would be the greatest
decision that you ever made with your life to decide to
follow Jesus today. And so
wherever you're at, whatever you're doing, I just want
to ask you to stop, to pause for a moment. And if you
would say, Jason, that's me. I want to give my life to
Jesus Christ. I invite you to pray this prayer with me.
Pray something like this. God I've been so lost in my
life without you. God. I've been wandering, trying to
make decisions to the best of my ability, trying to
figure things out, trying to live with purpose. But God
has been nothing without you, God. Today, I realize
that you have a better way for me in my life. And it
all starts with your son. Jesus, God, I believe now
that I can have purpose. I believe that I can have joy.
I believe that I can have peace father. I believe that
Jesus died on a cross and Rose again. So that could be
forgiven of my sin. And so that I could be set free.
Jesus. I give you my life and I choose to follow you.
You are my Lord and I love you. And it's in Jesus's
name. I pray amen. Now, if that was you,
congratulations, that truly is the greatest thing that
you can do in your life. But listen, your faith doesn't
stop today. It starts today and we will, and to help
you grow, we want to help you be more like Jesus. We
want to help you overcome the hurts and the bad habits
and the hangups that you have in your heart and in your
life. But we can only do that. If you let us know about
the disease that you've made. So I want to ask you,
would you go to our website and fill out a digital
connect quarter? Or if you're watching online, the link
is in the post above or in the comments below. Give us
a name, a phone number, an email address. Some way to
reach out to you this week. Because one, we want to be
praying for you by name. We also want to send you some
resources to help you grow, to help you connect, to
help you be everything that God has called you to be.
Now at the end of every service, we make prayer a
priority because I know each and every one of you
watching, listening, there are things in your life that
you need prayer for. I had a pastor tell me one time,
never turned down prayer. If somebody wants to pray for
you, never turn it down because they may pray something
that you didn't even know that you needed. And that's
my heart for you today. Maybe you're watching. And
there's never been a moment where you've said, yeah, I
really need somebody to pray for me. Maybe today's that
day. If you want to let us know how we can pray for
you, you can fill out that digital connect card, send
us your
prayer requests, or you can comment your prayer
requests in the comments below. If you're comfortable
with that, if you don't mind those being public, and we
want you to know that I'm going to be praying for you
and our prayer team is going to be praying for you,
asking God to move and intercede in your situation.
Jesus, thank you for your word. Thank you that no
matter what we go through in our lives, you are aware
you have, for knowledge, you have purpose in each and
every situation and Jesus. I pray for every person
watching every person that can hear the sound of my
voice. God, I know that we're walking through tough
times. I know that people are walking through difficult
problems, but God, I pray that right now in this
moment, they would be filled with your joy God that
they would know that there is an answer to every test
and that answer is faith. So God may we place our faith
in you. May you place a divine faith in us so that we
will rely on you so that we will lean on you and lean
into you in every situation, in every circumstance,
God, that we would like Moses get closer to you that we
would hear from you. And that we would listen to what
it is that you'd have to say. Father, I pray that
people would abide in your son, Jesus, that we would
stay connected
to him, connected to the vine, through his word,
through prayer. God that we may be filled up, that we
may be ready, that we may be strong and character, God
to do what you've called us to do and be you've called
us to be father. I pray for every specific request.
That's come in online or through the comments father. I
pray God would, would you just meet people, right where
they're at? Would you give them everything that they
need? Would you be their strong tower? Their Refuge
their heavenly father and it's in jesus' name. We pray.