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When Is It Going to Get Easier?: The Road Ahead

Ron Kelly
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Ron Kelly

Senior Pastor, Village SDA Church, Berrien Springs, Michigan



  • January 9, 2021
    11:30 AM
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May God bless us all with a greater sense that transcend encounter with God that we studied in via Christ His glory fills the skies may we see it today let's pray Lord bless us where in your presence may we be humble before you sincere and humble so we can hear guide us now as we make this journey so that we can live free and be hopeful and courageous in Jesus' name amen last week at 1st service and 2nd service I mentioned a book kinds feed on high places. I think most of them are gone after the 1st service war another 100 copies so in the next Sabbath or 2 hopefully they will be available for you our gift to you and may God bless you as you make the journey to the high places. Last week while I was engaging some of those who watch the service online there was a. Encounter I had with someone that I want to follow up with here this morning I'm going to talk with you about what to expect in the future and in this dialogue a friend wrote on another note the phenomenon I've experienced is that often seems what Ellen g. White calls a strange stupor when we know the signs we feel the call of God to go deeper but it's like there's a strange paralysis within me I've had to wrestle with God and myself but it's still present I'm not sure if it's a spiritual failure on my part or a spiritual attack or something else to which I roll back Russell on and I'll add one more thing make a commitment to something God leading you to some of the rustling will go away some of it lingers. But carry on in the name of Jesus and the response thank you I'm sure you're right about that in this is the phrase I really want to emblazoned in your mind I do have something in mind is a going to get easier Well yes it is I'm going to tell you how for those of you decide to quit fighting the fight of faith it's going to get easier because you're just not going to engage and it'll it'll go back to being easy again and some may be doing that right now and just not really following the Lord into the personal growth moments in the conflicts with self that mark this life life's a battle in a marginal White says and so it's going to get easier because you're going to avoid all the growing moment you're not going to the high places the only problem is with that form of getting easy you're stuck with the end and in the end it gets very hard without redemption and salvation that moment is terrifying to me to think about on behalf of the ones I love now I don't plan to be there you don't have to be there it's going to be a sad thing when whether in the name of God or in the name of hedonism self interest self pleasure whatever people have chosen to not bother going on the journey of growing that's a part of life and then there's the other way it gets easier and that's the way that I want to talk with you about today because I'd really like for you to choose the other way instead of just saying well I'm going to avoid those moments and you know as Americans and Westerners were masters of our own destiny I don't want to do that I don't have to do that and the better educated and well off you are the more of those difficult moments you can choose to avoid if you're poor or you grew up under hardship you couldn't avoid a lot of those moments praise the lawyers. But the fact of the matter is is that there's another way to grow and the other way to grow for it to get easier is to face and to deal with it. Now we've just come through 10 months of a Panday dam Icai I don't know how many months or less and in the midst of those encounters that have we've been forced to confront the motivational side of who we are the decision making side of who we are we've had to make some decisions do I walk into the wind do I swim upstream do I face my fears or do I simply hole up and hide and save myself one way is the easy in the moment at least for yourself and one way is harder but for any of you that have ever exercised lifted weights run a race you know that it can get easier if you follow the principles of growth if you have a coach if you have someone that says in effect you can do it and you need to do it. And good job this morning I want to assure you it is going to get easier the question is which way is the road you're on taking you and do you want to be there this morning I'm assuming you all want to walk the narrow path with Jesus Jesus did make some apparently contradictory statements didn't e he did so we better make sense of them because God doesn't contradict himself so Jesus said The road is narrow and the way is what hard. It's steep it's difficult whatever version of the Bible you're using the road is narrow and the way is difficult or the way is hard it leads to eternal life Jesus said it didn't he but he also said take my yoke upon you and learn of me for my way is what easy so let's figure it out here this morning before we get going it's not hard the truth of the matter is is that there's a balance going to go on in your life one way or the other it's either in the now in readiness for what's coming or it's in the future when you're a victim when you're subject to the powers of bad choices but here's how it works you either have a battle that's going on inside of you in which there is never any peace or you have circumstances in which the battle is outside of you because the devil's Benny Vick did from the Throne Room God's there and you've got peace within peace within battle without or battle within peace without everybody gets to decide it's important for us to understand that that's how it works so you don't get to choose any other option there are no other options it's either peace within battle without or it's battle within peace without Now lots of people choose battle within peace without They tamp down those convictions they shove aside those divine promptings and they walk right on with everybody else so they can maintain peace with that and they only are at peace when circumstances are right God's people on the other hand have learnt that he's master of circumstance as long as he's master of our heart and we can have peace within this morning I want to protect your inner journey I want the inner person the inner man to be strengthened as Paul would write so. I want you parents to think about parenting I know some people that the journey to adulthood was easy nothing was hard the only problem with that was adulthood was hard and. Then there's the other parents who decided that the journey to adulthood would have to be punctuated with some of those growing moments so that adulthood wouldn't be hard I know as a kid you know whether it was the taste of soap or the racetrack or the switch off the tree or standing in the corner or being grounded in my room or any one of the other myriad creative moments of discipline for the eldest of 4 children namely me I figured out along the way a couple of things my mother loved me and it was easier to get inside the laws of life at least the laws of the Kelly home it made me ready for opportunity when it came my way not a new learning circle with someone who didn't love and care about me and so for all of us that are in the journey of discipline in which case that's all of us for someone somehow somewhere or at least the journey of accountability which is for all of us with somebody somewhere I want to show you today it is going to get easier eventually the other thing I want to share is in the book of Ecclesiastes is chapter 3 it says that there's a time it says there's a time to laugh and there's a time to cry All right it goes on to tell us there's a season for everything now the idea that God would perpetually put you in a season of cry is contradictory to the word the other ideas also true is that God's always going to shield you from those moments when the tears come God has seasons in your life and in those seasons there are storms there are moments when you feel like those 12 apostles who are saying or don't you care we're going down. Jesus there's no down when I'm around it's only up and he stands up and he calls the sea to go down and it does so this morning you get to decide I'm inviting you on the front side of the sermon do you want to get stronger and be free in Christ can you accept the seasons do you know there will be some storms and do you believe that God actually wishes well for you and he's the best parent there's ever been if that's the case hang on if you're in the midst of a of a cold barren season rejoice if you're in the midst of a fruitful bountiful one and if a storm is intensely around you be certain Christ is with you but how is it going to get better is up to us this morning I'm going to talk with you about a few things that matter take your Bibles if you would and turn to the Book of Exodus Exodus Chapter 3 and 4 what I want to know is Moses didn't want to go to Israel's deliverance he didn't feel he was the right person he even told God what was going to happen God was not particularly willing to let him off the hook but then when he gets down there what he said would happen happens now Moses didn't want to go because it looked hard as a matter of fact if you go through Chapter 3 The last part. God gives him assurance and when we started Exodus Chapter 4 he's going to have to do it again so God's patience is manifold throughout the Bible so manifold that when Paul write for screens 13 and he did Claire's the declarations of love the 1st statement about love isn't love this patient take good care be of good courage friend your child of God is patient he's not putting you off because you haven't gotten it right as a matter of fact he's the best teacher that ever existed and slowly he will begin a good work and you will finish it so I want to show you this morning what God wants to do is take you on a journey that you're up to he's not going to give you a challenge that's bigger than you are and when it feels that way he's right by your side I will strengthen you I will help you I will uphold you Isaiah writes for God with my right his right hand where are you in that spectrum do you just need strengthening or do you need to be held up with God's right hand he'll do it hang on Moses though is reluctant verse one the Moses said what if they don't believe me or listen to me his shoes are off his posture is attentive What do I say for the say the Lord has not appeared to you for 2 years he's been absent he shows back up he's a virtual stranger to the company of Israel lights the Lord said to him what's in your hand he said to stab he said throw it on the ground he threw it on the ground became a serpent and Moses got out of there fast verse 4 but the Lord said to Moses stretch out your hand and grab it by its tail now how many serpent Teligent are with us today and how many poisonous snakes live here Michigan I've been told only one so nice thing about living in a cold place by the way but you know as a kid we used to go down to the creek. There was the snake grass what a name don't want to be an ass negress when you get down there to be watching all of a sudden from the door darting out from the bank when I get it. I learned real fast you don't get it by the tail we'll turn around give you something to remember that's where God said to grab not an accident you take it by the riskiest position reach out and grab it by the tail Moses knew about snakes he'd been a shepherd for the last 40 years and how many showdowns with those hissing puffy aggressive snakes of the desert it had I don't know but the idea grabbing that snake by the tail was not natural to him that's why God said do it it's going to get easier once you figure out I'm in charge stretch out your hand catch it by the tail it became stiff that it was a staff in his hands that's the 1st sign verse 5 that they may believe that the Lord the God of their fathers the God of Abraham the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has appeared you were 6 then the Lord furthermore said oh now put your hand in your bosom so I put his hand in his bosom when he took it out it was leprous like snow so in other words friends he was infected bad and then he said Put your hand in your bosom again so I put his hand into his bosom again when he took it out the hole that was stored like the rest of his flesh pink and healthy 80 year old man if they will now believe you are he the witness of the 1st sign they may believe the witness of the last sign those words have a little bit of for knowledge in them I suspect God understood they weren't going to believe or they would and then they would human beings are a fickle sore but they will not believe in these 2 sides or heed what you say to them you will take some of the water from the Nile poured on the dry ground in the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground. So how does it work Moses goes down and he talks to Pharaoh and he says we want to take a break Pharaoh says you've got too much time on your hands tell those slaves to go get their own straw it turns out that Moses went from being received by Israel as one sent from God to Moses being the biggest problem Israel had in the last 40 years and they don't want him going into Pharaoh anymore and so the serpent that eats the other serpents and the display of leprosy we're not sure that one was done in the presence of Moses that might have been simply for the Israelites but I do know this those 1st 3 plagues were to recalibrate the attentiveness of the Israel because Israel went from believing in Moses and believing in the signs to not want anything to do with Moses why because Moses put them in a growth zone if your deliverer comes in and immediately gets worse it's a little hard for the deliver to get any influence and respectability and traction isn't it and of course every leader's afraid of this they'll go do something and then all of a sudden they'll be out on a limb they'll feel abandoned and they wonder why did they get themselves in this place to begin with. So what does God do God sends him into Pharaoh we have the snakes God sends him into Pharaoh we have the water turned a blind God does one more thing that actually affects all of Egypt including Goshen and those frogs are everywhere God has to recalibrate the interest of Israel in being willing to listen to Moses just as he's attempting to recalibrate that of Pharaoh Fortunately Israel comes around and says you know what this may be a bumpy rocky ride maybe a bumpy road but we know we need to go a God and God is with Moses so I don't know what the future holds for Hence I don't know if we're going to get passed over 1000 or we're going have a little break in the birth pangs but I know this like when the nations of Rome surrounded Druce I'm at the end of time if there's a break if we have some breathing room it's not just so that we can get out of Jerusalem it's so that the Gospel can go to the world like God intended and we bought of it we ought to be intent about where we're at so what do you want do you just want life to get back to normal are you unwilling to let God be the coach the director the disciple or the father as it were of your lie I'll tell you this as a young man I was introduced to Christ in a turbulent time in my life turbulent time for my family I found in Christ the peace that brought joy to my heart like nothing else could didn't matter what was going on in my home didn't matter what kind of financial headaches and hardships we were up against when I went to God when my heart was right with God I was free. Along the way I made a decision and the good news was it was bequeath to me it was a gift to God for me I never needed to live like I wasn't a citizen of heaven I was destined and given the Parag a given the privilege to live free in other words I never needed to carry burdens they kept me from walking on clouds even though I'm walking on earth and I'm not saying my life as it had its hardships I've had plenty more than I'd like to recount but I will tell you this when the Spirit comes and convicts me and says to me Ron you need to go make that right with somebody I have decided a long time ago that the way I want to live and God said I could live is the way I'm going to live which means I'm not carrying burdens into a day a week a month or a year especially a new year that I don't have to carry and some of those directives are what I want to talk about with you today when it comes to the idea of purpose in your life Moses did not want to go down and do what most would God said to deal and for those of you listen to me here today just like the person texting me who didn't want to live in this potential spiritual stupor or realize that the spiritual appetites since blustered are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness that they're not what they ought to be the maybe there's some kind of spiritual sickness going on and they're vulnerable enough in this text to say you know I'm wrestling with God or wrestling with myself this morning I want you to wrestle with God and I want you to wrestle with yourself because beyond a shadow of a doubt we've experienced a measure of corporate pandemic sickness inside Christianity Adventism has not been left immune alone and it might be that the journey out of this thing is no different than has been for any other human being conviction God said to Moses you're to go most as I don't want to go. Moses doesn't want to make the commitments if you want to live free and you wanted to get easier you're going to have to figure out where God is leading you and like my text or the thing about her text was that she said I think I already know the Holy Spirit speaks to his people he doesn't live them wandering ignorant you can't have a shepherd who says they will hear a voice behind you saying Walk This Way and you go the other way and you live free you can't have a good shepherd who sheep know his voice and you not expect a hearing it's in the word it's in the spirit prophecy it's in relationships with godly people it's sometimes even in circumstance but you got to learn to hear the voice because the shepherd is calling us to the high places and if you want to live free on the inside you have got to let him be God is the only position he's willing to have in your life Moses said no I don't want to go God said Well in my plan you're going Moses finally goes it gets worse before he gets better don't let that escape people whether you're dealing with a relational problem a parental situation an occupational challenge or whatever it is when you go to dealing with it it will almost always get worse before it gets better and a lot of people hit the easy button in the midst eject the canopy flies open your ejected out of the situation I just won't talk to him and by the way friends do yourselves all a huge favor please don't solve problems in writing. Don't text through your problem don't email your problem away if you can't be with the person face to face get on the phone but if you can see them face to face and you've got a moment of growth or somebody do it in person and maximize the benefits of all levels of communication you wanted to get easier in 2021 you're going to know the purpose of God and follow the convictions take your Bibles and turn over to Acts chapter 4 or actually Chapter 9 Acts Chapter 9 in Acts Chapter 9 we have someone else who's dealing with conviction his name is saw but that's about to change ever since he held the coat for all of those that picked up the stones to kill Stephen he hasn't had a single moment where he's free his conscience has bothered him for weeks months and years he's going around though doing what a lot of people do they double down on their default in other words saw has a strength what it's all strength he's intense He's purposeful he's smart he's organized he's going to getting done what he's going to get done all of that to the liability of him taking time to actually connect with God He pre-determined that he's not to have anything to do with the followers of the way except extinguish them and so here he is on the road to Damascus and he has gone further into his default which is or Carter exhaust more destroy them if you can now saw it was breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord when he went to the high priest and he asked for letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus so that if he found any belonging to the way both men and women he might bring them down to Jerusalem. As he was traveling and happened that he was approaching Damascus and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around now what you can do is read this and suspect that God left him alone all these years God doesn't leave anybody alone he paid an eternal price for their salvation and the Holy Spirit speaking which is why when you touch a sensitive subject with somebody that they're under conviction and they get mad at you if you're really seeking truth you don't have to get mad and as a matter of fact you can say what David said someone 41 let the righteous smite me it'll be a bomb to me let them strike me it'll be gladness to my soul the problem is when we protect a spiritual wound and anybody goes to deal with that wound we have to get mad now there is a place for anger in the Christian experience but it's not usually self-protection or self-interest there are relational elements in and care for others anger is an emotion but when that emotion is channeled in resistance to somebodies perspective and idea is problematic so all had not been left alone by God and God isn't going to leave you alone either everybody sort of knows what God wants them to do if it really seems whacked out and weird talk to somebody and be very honest with them one of my sons was giving advice the other day I could tell I was in the room he was talking on the phone I had to tell him some important news I said Son you need to know something about giving advice the people are very good at giving you the information that will get you to give them the advice they want so unless people tell you everything and they put it all out on the table you're liable to reinforce the wrong direction. It's exceptionally important friends that we let God be God he wasn't leaving saw alone and finally the moment came to deal the blow that would break the spirit of pride and resistance to the Holy Spirit don't get in the way of God if he's got somebody in the Pig-Pen so they can come to themselves and don't get him out of the pig pen in the name of God verse 4 they fell on the ground he heard a voice saying to him saw Saul why are you persecuting me and he said Who are you learn and he said I'm Jesus whom you're persecuting the enemy was God he didn't know it but God knew it and some of the ideas you have about relating to God might be in a similar position of resisting the spirit get up and enter the city nobody told you what you must do the men who traveled with him stood speechless hearing the voice but see no one saw got up from the ground and those eyes were open he could see nothing and leading him by the hand they brought him into Damascus and he was there 3 days without sight and neither a drink I want you to think about that period of time saw during that period of time is soul searching like nobody so searched you think you're doing what's right you're grabbing up moms and dads and children you're taking them down Jerusalem to be tried under Jerusalem law Israel I long you're so right that every time you hear a cry for pity it resonates in your heart as legitimate and you run right over it. There is no compassion. Only ruthless orthodoxy doing what you know is right even though what is right is slapping you in the face as you do what you think is right for 3 days in the home of somebody that was a connector point for saw there is no eating and no drinking there is only prayed and Saul is having to wrestle with God wondering if he is simply got everything he deserved is this blindness a new judgement that is perpetual but saw is searching his heart and searching the annals of memorize scripture he is connecting with God And after those 3 days God is going to connect with him verse 11 actually start in verse 10 now there was a disciple of Damascus named Ana niacin the Lord said to him in a vision and a nihilist and he said Here I am Lord send him get up and go to the Street called Straight inquired the house of Judas where a man from Tarsus name saw he's praying and he seen in a vision a man named Ann and I have come in and lay hands on him so that he might regain his sight and and a nice answered a little bit like Moses Lord I have heard from many about this man how much harm he has done to your saints to Jerusalem and here he has the authority from the cheap priest and bind all who call on Him And God said Yeah you're right and a nice this is going to be hard and scary you don't have to do it it gets harder but the Lord said to him Go I'm not going to tell you how it's all working out in the end every time I ask you to do something they'll be a 1000 reasons not to do what I said to do it won't make sense always from your point of view go. And I want to know no I don't deserve to know although it might involve me somewhere along the line or another spiritual leader what's God telling you to go do more than go to church this part of your culture everybody's supposed to go to church maybe say new you go to Sabbath school too because you've got something to learn when you go study that 7 school lesson so you've got something to tell maybe God sing you go and weather looks like it fits in or not or turns out well or not you go you go to that prayer meeting you go to that small group study you go to that foreign field you go down the street I don't know but I know to grow you gotta go and God put us on a bat go for he's a chosen instrument of mine to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings in the sons of Israel for I will show him how much he must suffer for my name's sake wow there's something about this convicting power of God that liberates people and makes them free it gives them strength and purpose I want to talk to you about identity for a moment turned back in the book of Acts to chapter 4 Peter and John and gone into the temple to worship post actually go back to Matthew 26 with start their 1st Matthew 26 Peter is in the temple precinct in both situations Matthew chapter 26 but I want you to see an amazing transition Jesus being tried Matthew. 26 were 69 everybody ran away left Jesus alone but they tended to drift back John never gets right in the mix John watches from the shadows he's not trying to just act like he's one of everybody else. But Peter on the other hand he does what a lot of 21st century Christians do he wants to mingle in be just like them not stand out don't look any different they don't want to bear any shame for Christ he doesn't want to be embarrassed about his 7 day having a sub bringing He doesn't want to be out there as a a pariah an outcast he wants to just sit by the fire and be Ok and watch and act like not bothering him there's plenty of Christians today who haven't counted the cost of follow Jesus and they're living just like this if you raise your kids to just fit in with the culture whether it's advantage culture or whether it's advantage culture and affected with the world you can have a Peter experience for them or you could give them a different experience it could be a little harder now and be easier later or it can be very easy now and very hard later Peter was sitting outside for 69 in the courtyard and a servant girl and came to him and said You 2 were with Jesus the Galilean but he denied it before them all saying I don't know what you're talking about. You know we call that a lie I don't know much how much he thought about it not enough to leave when he got out into the gateway verse 71 another servant girl saw him and said to those are with him this man was with Jesus of Nazareth and again he denied it with a promise an oath which of course Jesus had directly not to do let your yes be yes and you know be no but if you want to impress somebody don't just tell a lie till a really powerful lie and make it look like it's a holy and true statement which is what he did and a little later the bystanders came up and they said to Peter surely you too are one of them for even the way you talk gives you away. And he thought to himself a better talk different and he began to curse and to swear and that seemed to do the job now I don't talk about cursing and swearing very often but I'm going to talk about cursing and swearing right now I grew up around cursing and swearing I don't really think I thought it was a good idea to I heard one of my cousins do it my mother didn't think it was a very good idea even though she did that soap going in and out of the Mao Have you ever heard what the gagging sound sounds like. I don't care who you heard cursing I don't care of every person around you curses the heart of a Christian is pure and clean and beauty the Bible says proverbs 15 I'm at the lips of the righteous are a tree of life sweet This is my addition my commentary now sweet beautiful kind respectful Christians don't curse and Christians don't swear no matter how mad you get you may cry you may fate you may run away and scream but don't curse it's nothing but a poor outlet and an unwillingness to suffer by yourself Peter begins cursing to get the point across and he makes a statement that he regrets the rest of his life he says I don't know the man and sometimes our actions say exactly the same thing to the world we don't really know in the spirit Rob He tells us in desire of ages Jesus looked at him right in no judgement knowing or just pity and he runs away now I don't have the time in this sermon but I do want to go to the different man acceptor for. Peter and John raised up a paralytic now they've got a crowd listening to them. The temple guards are sent to arrest them and they find themselves before the Sanhedrin verse by. On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem and anise the high priest was there and Kay I have pistons and John and Alexander and all who are of the High Priest Lee descent it's the important people when they had placed them in the center they began to inquire about what power and what name as you done this there is an accusation in the question and Peter is not going to answer it then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said to them rulers and elders of the people if we're on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man as to how this man had been made well let me known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ than as a rain whom you crucified and God raised from the dead by this name this man stands before you here in good health he is the stone which was rejected by the elders which became the chief cornerstone and if he wanted to put a cherry on top this is what it is and there is salvation and no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved and there is stunned silence in the hall now how do you go from Matthew 2669 to acts for what happens to a person I'll tell you what happens Peter has an identity shift. When he says all of these people I see all of the Sanhedrin all of the institutional leaders of the church and by the way he still calls them rulers and elders he's not disrespecting them but all of those people and all of the opportunity they might open for him all of the identity had in that system had been traded away for simply one thing they all exceeding surpassing glory of Jesus Christ and it didn't matter to him what these people thought anymore it only mattered what his lord knew about him and his Lord knew he had it in him to betray him to deny him who shapes your identity circle I want to tell you something whether it's the president of the United States or the president of your institution they're all just people. And the sooner you can with proper honor acknowledge their sacrifices and achievements to serve but understand they are as human as you are and liable to mistakes as you are and prone to be bent by the culture as you are you'll recognize what the some a say what the what the proverb writer says Solomon and Proverbs 29 that the fear of man is a snare Now I'm not trying to take out of the social interactions of humanity the dynamics of looking up to people the Bible says Render honor to those for whom honor is due do it but when it comes down to the dynamics of your identity and the compromising elements of wanting the favor or not wanting to deal with the the the the calumny or the criticism of of the masses or even your little circle I want you to remember Jesus put his hands out on a wooden cross and they pierced. So that you could fit in in heaven and if it means you don't fit in here right now quite as well then bear the cross as a badge of honor and be who you're supposed to be you want to be free in 2021 you want to get easier decide whose opinion matters Jesus said If you confess me before men I'll confess you before God and the angels in heaven Revelation $35.00 Can you imagine standing in the presence of a litany of holy angels and jesus walking up beside you and putting his hand on his shoulder and saying to Gabriel and everybody else this is Ron Kelly he's like Abraham he's my friend. Can you imagine just put your name in there but for us to be embarrassed to confess the name of Jesus before arms work associates or our extended family or our immediate family what would that mean it was not too much for Jesus to be naked on a cross and die of exhaustion and thirst in the weight of our sins. Peter said it doesn't matter to me anymore all of this is rubbish but I know one thing Christ exulted in my life is everything and you need him too and he gives a sermon a gospel message to all those members of the Sanhedrin and he says listen you're all confused there's only salvation in one name and it's the name that made that poor paralytic walk and he can make you walk spiritually too and what is the commentary verse 13 misses now as they observe the confidence of Peter and John and understood they were an educated and untrained man they were amazed and they began to recognize something. Is there just like Jesus they're not backing down because they love us too much now of course they didn't connect all those dogs but it was love that motivated them if you have an identity that's built on the conformity of the culture of cult. In other words we never before have we been so shaped by the masters of identity because we carry these devices so we see what school we hear what school or it's not cool friends it's Chryslers much of it it's immoral much of it Itzhak religious much of it and it shouldn't be shaping your identity it shouldn't be on in your home and shouldn't be in your pocket and if you can't control it it will control you. But our identity shaped by the wrong thing will give us burdens to carry because I want to tell you something as soon as you've got to please somebody the wrong way who doesn't hold the values you hold you've got a burden to bear and it's a very manipulable one I want to talk about conscience for a few minutes and some 32 I'm going to David says how blessed it is a man who sins are forgiven. And he talks about how God's hand was upon him and he was just drying up on the inside. God may bring to your mind something you need to make right now I am not wanting to take a person whose conscience is easily hijacked by Lucifer rose the accuser of the brother I don't want anybody to go out of this message just mourning weighted down with something I said applied the wrong way but if there's something you legitimately need to make right and it won't go away and it hangs on you like David sin of murdering your Riah and taking his wife as his wife hung on him confess it and be free. Could anybody say amen and if it involves somebody else is embarrassing as awkward as it may be I told my mother when I saw her when I was talking you're on the phone I said mom I'm going to write a letter to the neighbors and I'm going to apologize for something now I don't live there anymore I don't live it for 19 jollier road anymore but I want to tell my mom I was going to write apologize for a child a thing I did that I should've done and I knew better and I'm going to put a check in the envelope because what I did you're all wondering now aren't you. I'll tell you what I did I'm embarrassed about it but there was a family on our road it's easy to have a whipping boy somewhere somebody scapegoat somebody to mess with somebody to blame everything on somebody look down on somebody the whole community can and I'm not going to use any names or anything else like that but not too many houses from mine was one of those families that just didn't get accepted and so one night I'd like to think it was somebody else who suggested it I don't think it was me but they said why don't we go egg this person's house yeah that's cool dude. So I held those thin shelled little depositories of chicken life in my hand and I made sure they got their target and I'm going to write a letter and I'm going to stick a check in for the damage I caused and I just didn't want my mom being embarrassed by the actions of her eldest son as he goes to make them right so that she knows what's going on besides I was a minor then no excuse I knew it was wrong but if my mother would have found out about it I would have been Dead shows you what great lakes links human folly in the youth can go to aren't you glad David prayed in Psalm 25 hard to remember not the sins of my youth I need to make it right and I'm going to make it right there been other moments when the parishioners and family members I've probably established the greatest amount of credibility because when somebody says they're sorry that goes against everything that the culture says you should do but it goes completely was a cry said to do be a reconciler have the ministry of reconciliation there's one more thing maybe to Jesus said Seek 1st the Kingdom of God Some of you are going to go into 2021 and when we reach herd immunity either through a vaccine or through exposure you're just going to gravitate right back into living the American dream and join all the benefits of your privileges Pastor Larry Lipton Waller sat right here this morning for our Sabbath school session and reminded us this church with its 1100 members comprise this he didn't put it this way but I'm going to put it this way this church with its $1100.00 members comprises one 4th of the total membership for the Middle East North African Union which has. $550000000.00 people in its geographical area now imagine if this church can bribe one 4th of the total 7 day heavens population for all of the United States would you feel like you were standing at the base of an impossible to climb a mountain so there are people listening to me right now or will hear this message online or a watching right now and they need to think about going to the Middle East North Africa Union and attending college there and getting their degree there which will be as good as a degree from many other places and it will be certified and they ought to go as missionaries. And strengthen the week some of the rest of us ought to be going to church more often not just on 7 morning to strengthen the bonds I was reading now this book Extreme ownership that I reference to that mark buggy was reading during our site visit for a Florida marine biology trip I came home I was tell my son about the book My sense is dead you have that book well I do yeah sitting on a shelf went down found I open it up I read the 1st chapter then the other night if I'm not going to read from the beginning I'm just going to read in the middle as I was reading the middle I came across this amazing statement do you know what the Navy SEALs consider to be their most powerful and significant attribute. Above everything else training and equipment strategic advantage it is the bond that they share with each other. I wonder if God doesn't have a special operative Forces group for the endtime who ought to be bonded just like that but they aren't because they're not doing what he said they're not coming together they are forsaking the assembly and consequently they don't have the 1st base of an elemental bond to each other which is what is needed more now than ever before. I'll preach about this till I'm blue in the face because after I'm gone death life or transition this church could be strong until they see the face of Jesus but you're not strong on your own no man is an island John don't would write the English poet no man stands alone and in 2021 we shouldn't be standing alone either because it appears that with another 7 am and standing alone or only together for the opening closing hymns of Sabbath it appears the church can keep losing ground and losing face and losing influence in a skeptical world I'm fighting you out on Wednesday night I invited you last Wednesday night last Sabbath's and once and I'm inviting you again we'll start our 10 days of prayer this Wednesday night I'm inviting you to come why not fill the sanctuary just like this if for the Navy SEALs the most important component of their success in the deepest darkest most evil places is their bond then maybe we better be intentional about bonding with somebody that we don't now and maybe we ought to leave a tapestry so tight in the love of Christ in the knowledge of this true that when the crisis really breaks open on this world we don't fall to pieces Ok the last thing I'm going to talk with you about is forgiveness if you want to get easier forgive the person who didn't ask. If you want to get easier forgive the person who doesn't ask. If you don't want a root of bitterness spoiling everything in 2021 live life with the spirit of forgiveness look at people through the eyes of Christ find power to love and to see their actions in the best light you see friends. I decided a long time ago I'm going to live free when God lays it on my heart to do something I may chafe like Moses chafed I may resist like Moses resisted I may push back and shove it down like Paul or Saul did but gaunt is a good parent God is a faithful shepherd he has a let go you and he has let go of me he's calling us for 2021 to be the very best year the road ahead is not getting easier for the Christian the road ahead is not going to be flatter and with fewer pitfalls and speed bumps than it had before but Christ in our midst is going to make a stronger wiser more loving more unify and we're going to win in the name of Jesus anyway and this morning I've showed you some of the ways you can go into this year and live above the fray fly free and know the joy of the Lord let him be lord of everything whether you eat or drink or whatever you do. Do it all all every little bit every jot to an iota under the Lord and may the road ahead be a road of anticipation and joy we're going home all the way home and whether it's this year or a year to come the next step is another step closer. Media was brought by audio to a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like more about audio for. Life. W.w.w. audio verse or.


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