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Not Very Far

Doug Batchelor


Doug Batchelor

Speaker and Director of Amazing Facts, Senior Pastor of Granite Bay Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist Church.




  • February 17, 2012
    6:30 PM
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I'd like to thank thank Alan for the very high introduction and wasn't all true rooms very high nonetheless and it is a privilege to be back here with you at seven Athens University and am delighted and honored that some of you came out and we are looking forward to our program in the fall and hope that you'll be now trained for that series where were going to be looking at what the ultimate purpose is and talk about how to take it from theory to experience in your Christian life of in our time this weekend I just like to talk you from my heart about what I think is really something that is very important we forget and that is the truth that God is much nearer than we think it's easy for us to forget the presence of God years ago when I was living up in the mountains of filling the mountains now it will Bush 's year of I remember reading a book someone gave me to talk about practicing the presence of God and they said that if you could come to the place where you could just really believe in and recognize that God is with you all the time the Christian life is at the lights and it's really the key to knowing and loving Jesus enough of the power comes from but sometimes we become so preoccupied with our horizontal perspective that we forget how God really up close got really is because after all there are so many people in the world and the world is so big and the universe 's soulmate must be so busy I heard something that is really not new news but I read it more thoroughly for the first time just this last year about a fascinating experiment that happened with the Hubble telescope a few years ago where you don't it costs a lot of money to focus that telescope for a refinement on direction and the various learning institutions and universities they want to read times for expensive fix a lot of energy and I decided to do something a little risky visit were enough focus the telescope and a part of the sky or we don't think there is anything and so they found a piece of the sky believe it was near the Big Dipper and for you and I would be a piece of the sky about the size of a grain of rice when you hold it out at arms length that's all the sky that it covered and they walked down the telescope and a focus on this one spot open the aperture for ten days capture enough like this it we may get a whole lot of nothing but let's find out what happens and after leaving the telescope focused there for ten days they evaluated those white images that are transferred and I found that in that little spot the size of a piece of rice at arms length there were three thousand eight galaxies and huge galaxy they calculate as an average has two hundred billion star 's well a few years later the upgraded Hubble the Hubble telescope and they thought let's try this again and so now maybe this is two thousand four they focus the telescope in another part of the sky in the constellation Orion upsetting size and the fact is that it was more like the size of a grain of sand and elected open I think for eleven days this time what you think they found found a piece of sky where they thought they would see nothing with their earth -based telescopes it was blackness and a focus that they are to capture all the way for eleven days and they found ten thousand Catholics see in what they thought was nothing keep in mind galaxies can have millions of stars some as many as a truly inspired survey averages out to two hundred billion stop that the universe some calculations are that the observable universe is twenty four billion light years across meaning if you travel the speed of light a hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second you won't get a ticket if they can catch it means that if you go that's a thing about how far you going to say underneath six thousand miles it's been it take you twenty five billion light years to get across it's a mind-boggling and Howard God made all that we probably are tempted to think like the DS that you noted this goes from place to place and university spins things in the motion and then he goes off and does the next thing but I want you to know that God is very in fall in your life and is extremely interested in the minute details of your life life and lives cares so much about us is very close to us and we tend to forget and I would just like you to know how close he know there's another verse in the Bible similar to our Scripture reading easier remember Jeremiah twenty three twenty three to get your Bibles Jeremiah twenty three twenty three I am a God near at hand says the Lord and not a God afar off I've never heard anyone say that that's a memory verse we should remember but I think it's a wonderful works have you ever felt like God was too far away he's promising us I am a God near at hand says the Lord and not a God far off these close to us that sometimes I forget until something happens providentially to remind me that God is a God in Europe and you may be heard about this 's theory that that we are all really no more than six degrees apart by separation what that really means is six degrees of separation is a concept that there are no two people in the world that really are separated by more than six introductions of someone that you know that knows someone that knows someone and you do that six times and you could theoretically connect everybody on the planet were not really that far apart quick story to illustrate how that works last year family went on not letting quite a year ago family went on a little mission trip to Central America mixed with some vacation to Karen the boys went to the country police preaching save some time for some diving all younger bachelors and gutters the license of the matter Daniel also has his life and what it takes some time so we went to this place we found that with that south end of beliefs driving under roads for long ways found this resort out the middle of nowhere but good diving areas and was wonderful checked in without on the beach and it doesn't have ever wished you could get away from it all is a little part of me that's a permit if you didn't know that and does so for me I was very attractive because I don't like being cold and done the beautiful weather here I still looked very soft song but it was so nice because I put on a bating suit went down from the hotel to the beach there on the Gulf of Mexico laid down on a cushioned lounge chair wasn't very windy light breeze warm water lapping not hot not holding this later and thought piece and I could finally relax while I was in the land care cameras and lounge chair next to me and there's nobody on the beach and were all by ourselves kids were out on a block up the beach somewhere else and these two people came walking up the beach and as they came by the man who is a husband and wife he stops and he says his wife is a hang is done caricature him and had to be there it is one thing you know I usually like get out there into the bathing suit in public you know Joe Cruz wrote about me swimming it's like I look both ways no one knows me here is personal you can get it anyway but there's more the story we introduce ourselves very nice couple introduced a result of them I have their name on my desk at home and I thought I need to call these folks all do it when we get back from our vacation I had never called him before no I run into them at the remote corner of the world out of the middle of nowhere what are the chances of that and it turned out to be one of those providential meetings and arrogant your friends today so many things happen every day that we take for granted and God is trying to tell us that he's real that he is a God close at hand and he is interested in the small things in your life that's another story you may think these are silly but for me I think sometimes got asked to do things like this for me to realize that he's real I play racquetball with a friend and I have a candidate put my racquetball sin it's a classic p.m. screw the lid on it actually keeps unpressurized secure racquetball fresh because nobody wants to play with the state must write but they also say you attended holding a little rubber seal and so I was finishing the game with a friend one day and I put my racquetball back and to keep it fresh and I'm putting the lid down and also they popped and I took the lid off and the seal blew out about a segment from well I guess I've got to buy another racquetball can is the sealed Mona and he looks at it this is what you know my job is that I also repaired Jacuzzis and I happen to have a couple of seals in the back of my truck but still see you resize O-rings or are out there human order is like an infinite number of O-ring possibilities and the fact that my friend just happened to have in the back of his truck the exact O-ring that fit my cans like and have to pay eleven dollars chose the Lord loves me it was up for science is still there today and I convinced one more story maybe to reflect I was traveling this year and I use a GPS most of it in my car right now and is very helpful because not all rental cars have a GPS and you need to new places it's easy to get lost if you miss an appointment after flying somewhere so I think this little portable GPS with me in it it's great to have a lot of trouble him rushing for a plain one day I'm unpacking a rental car trying to quickly get to the shuttle and is a little suction cup that holds my GPS to the front of the car I wish corruptly RPM because I never really paid attention to anyway and it wasn't until I got to the ticket counter and I realized was too late I forgot to pack such a fellow associate and really bummed me out as the Lord is there any chance that the rental car company will like search me out and send it to me not much chance of that well next day I had a staff meeting son sitting around central church with our pastors we've got our church and the church with planets about Oedipus Roundtable I don't know what possessed me to mention it we were talking about it all being cheerful even in file if you know I would almost let it ruin my day and I lost my suction cup for my GPS and I managed to get over it and and one of the guys at the table overpasses is a debutante liposuction cuts that you like yours stick to GPS to their MacArthur he said no but even from some interesting and I went to the Salvation Army store and bought a used piece of luggage and infrequency great deal like five dollars such at home sitting in one of the pockets with the GPS suction cup of the writer I would not I didn't even think to do this except I thought you have part of it in my car wonder what the chances you have a GPS is there are other this little novel is the exact model of line and he finds it in a used piece of luggage the day after I lost my line and I just happened to mention that little detail is not busy chair that you care more about O-rings and suction cups then he does about you if not shares that much about those little details in our life that wishes to care about whether nine hundred and be saved if he loves you so much that he doesn't want you to have to buy a new suction cup for your GPS they does he love you enough for you to go to heaven I mean maybe I am the only one that thinks that way but to me it just senses also evident first of all that the finger whence there has to be a God and I didn't try about the O-ring in the suction cup of sorrow if complaining his prayer the Lord is real and I think we're can did to forget that you know the Bible tells us that God was a God at hand is not a God afar off his kingdom is not far as a man who came to Jesus when he was teaching Monday Mark twelve verse twenty eight you have your Bibles Mark twelve twenty eight and one of the scribes came having heard them reasoning together eat her describes repetitive arguing with Jesus and he listened to the brilliant answers Jesus gave and that he answered them well and he said to the Lord which is the first commandment of all and Jesus answered him the first commandment is here over Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one now shall love the Lord your God with all your heart all your soul with all your mind with all your strength this Jesus said is the first commandment in the second is like it you shall love your neighbor as yourself there is no commandment greater than the subscriber said that Jesus well said teacher you spoken the truth for there is one God and there is no other but he and the love him of all the heart of all the understanding with all the soul with all the strength and to love one's neighbor as oneself is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely he said to him you are not far from the kingdom of God this man was searching for truth in Jesus if you're not far what you like to hear the Lord say you're not far no we don't really know what happened to describe what she could of been among the ones were baptized during Pentecost so the number the priests that would also include some of the scribes came to faith reason you're not far from the kingdom matter-of-fact when Jesus began preaching and when John the Baptist began preaching August the first thing that came out of their mounts repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand leaving a handmaid 's needs with it within reach he might be the God who manages the cosmos and keep in mind it's only twenty five billion light years across from what we can see it could be ten times bigger how would we know we once thought that there was a black spot out there in the sky we found a wistful so think about how infinite his creation 's the Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is at hand eternal life is within reach of everybody think about what would be more important John the Baptist Jesus both began first thing repair turn from our selfishness and our sin why heaven is within reach why would you turn away from further passing pleasures of this world but some of them it you go to the book of Mark chapter can and this is especially relevant here to University for seventeen and by the way you'll find the story in Matthew nineteen and also Luke eighteen now as Jesus was going on the road one came running a note before him and said good teacher what shall I do that I might have eternal life tells us he was a young man wealthy man and Jesus said why do you call me good no one is good but one and that is not know the commandments do not commit adultery do not murder do not steal do not bear false witness not defraud honor your father and your mother and he answered and said to him teacher all these I've observed from my youth I like this furniture twenty one and Jesus looking at him loved him I would like to see now does he only feel that way about that young ruler years ago where does he feel that way about you he was asking about what alive you have eternal life I can ascribe a moment earlier how do you want to know the answer that question yourself I'd like to live forever and you know as you get older you become more and more painfully aware of your mortality when I was the age of a lot of the young people your school will I know if I live the thirty that seem like an eternity looking at him he loved him and he said one thing you lack identical several of the life if you got it down one thing left I wish I could feel I only have one thing left needed sanctification in my life one thing you lack to go your way sell whatever you have given to the fore you will have treasure in heaven and come take up your cross and follow me know that one thing was he said love me first love me most but he was sent this word and he went away for yet great possessions I left word out he went away grieved he went away sad for he had great possessions it seems strange to think of you when away from someone with great possessions you go away happy but he would only with great possessions beautiful Lords is what profit is it if you gain the whole world and you lose your soul anyhow this would be this would be one of my appeals during our brief time this weekend especially for the students are here is I've been all over the world I tried all kinds of things out it's not the book some of it I can't write trying to figure out what is the purpose of life what matters what brings happiness and after I coalesced everything down I came up with is only one thing that really made us know well if you're older they call in the bucket let's not I guess the word comes from when you realize you can get only kicked the bucket before you kick the bucket what you want to do I think that's where that comes from what's in your bucket list I mean what exciting things you want to do before you get too old to do what you want to travel someplace you want to build something great and want to accomplish I was curious last week and I asked our congregation and opened it up but can do that now I learned my lesson but I I opened it up to try and save asking for the hyper spiritual answer but if there was something on the world like as there is among you wanted to climbers is their dream house that you wish that you could someday own in our minds let's face it we all have dreams for this life after the message one lady came up to me she is not sixty she's a bastard I don't raise my hand on the type and my bucket list I want to write a winning horse Kentucky derby one is that all my life as she was standing next to a girl friend of hers about the same agency said I want to own the winning horse effected a I never thought there's something I remember once thinking I began to travel so much as I'd like to make the all fifty four I deny I was so excited when I got to Hawaii a few we are all last a few years ago then why long time ago and outdated of forty nine states and a half admitted to North Dakota yet at the life of me other than fulfilling my bucket list I can't think of any good reason cytosine life people up there I think I fact if you're cited in the Mac strike that from the record delete people in North Dakota can write me but from what I heard is that in a lot of rain and cold up there but not wanting to go to the Lord now as it were some diagnosed and happen all be flying home I pray plane is in a get DH word because it's a mechanical problem that can only end in North Dakota young list especially young people would you admit there's some things that you especially would like to do before you go the reason this life you know Google die fly or talk to friends here on campus and we just started taking flying lessons but we said we wanted to do when the Lord puts things in our hearts like that what would be the most important thing that you would want to accomplish in this life before you draw big question would you let me would let me give you a biblical spiritual answer that question now number one on your bucket list your adventure list should be the most important thing in the world what a shame that you should live your life and never do this thing if you live your life and you never experienced love at the really sad because God is love and if you were to say what is the most important thing you read first Corinthians thirteen he said now wider faith and hope and love the greatest of these is what Islam if you go through your life and you don't experience God 's logic of the leather chicks on the Fokker mother parents will love their kids I'm not talking about back up talking about the level you know that you've experienced the love of God that love the Bible says nothing can separate you from that love we not naturally born with it I would think that if you could go on some pilgrimage requests if you are to go on some exotic adventure for some safari of the most important question adventure you can never go on his I am going to seek after God and you won't know you found him until you know that you've been baptizing his love is code for baptized in Holy Spirit because God is and only those who have experienced that before will know what I'm talking about many people go through the lives health Saturday never experienced what was the big question that Jesus has for Peter before he went to heaven is a Peter oriented and I may get appear to be better fishing matter Peter you can become more refined and sophisticated repeater is a thousand things he summed it up into the most important question you want me answer the BS and again do you love me answer yes yes then again you love what kind of priority you think that love has with Jesus will be the most important thing that we could experience would be the love of God because reform if you've got the love of God is it easier to obey God if you love him it's a pleasure is easier to serve God if you love him everything else you don't like all the other adventures if you're doing it in the pursuit of God but if you love anything more than like this young man we just read about you you may go away with the house and the adventure and a full bucket list but you'll go away sad and empty if you've not experienced love your life will be a wasted life who was a Tennyson that said better twelve loved and lost than never to look at all if you will lose every earthly possession and forfeit every earthly relationship but you have a love relationship with God you're a winner so when you're thinking about your future I'm thankful to have a number of people from the community here but I'm especially talking to the young people when you're thinking about your future and what you want to achieve and what God 's plan might be for you if you ever need a list with some bad for Karen I got married we we went down a checklist to see how compatible we were and you might have a list of things that you'd like to do and accomplish in your life nothing wrong with that they got definitely racquetball with an eagle life coach that's probably a good thing some people need some coaching with their lives all kinds of different life coaches she would how to organize your stuff and some occult you in how to organize your time and prioritize and always wanted to take a time management seminar but I just never had time than any less unlike coaches to organize evenings my friends more specifically he help people use a life coach when it came to their health and health club that would make sense and I decided that when I retire I'm in a coach life coaches you I thought who coaches like coach what's most important coaching that some would give you about planning your life seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness everything else in the attic search for him with all your heart and you find he's not very far away Bible tells us the kingdom of God is right here at hand is within the reach of all of us you believe that friends know we already know that troubles not far away how many believe the troubles not far with temptations not far away it seems like that we got for a everyday part of the Lords prayer notice it says give us this day our daily bread reason it's his daily bread is visited daily prayer and part of that is lead us not into temptation why because it's always ever present the devil is vigilant and he's active and we need to be sober and vigilant because he's going around seeking whom he might devour and just being aware keeps you on your accounts troubles not far away and I don't mean to spook you but I think we all know life is a gift very fragile that can always be near at hand doesn't always happen the traditional way sometime people were surprised by remember reading about the Apollo missions and when Neil Armstrong was first bouncing around on the surface of the moon they were getting used to the low gravity and I don't remember any views from the proceeds of her little black-and-white footage or of Army made even in color three schedule of them to walk around us like the original super jumps full believe at one point one of stumble and he did a hit his knees and initiative when you call faceplates of your helmet on on the loan and if you weren't in the Houston Center at the time you heard an audible gasps because they're having so much fun jumping around they were forgetting that those suits that they were wearing were just very thin rubber and Neil Armstrong said that he forgot for a moment that there was a quarter inch of rubber between human eternity I will handle it that way don't were surrounded with hospital tragedies that's why some people sell life insurance health is not very far away it's only a prayer away some twenty two verse eleven be not far from me for trouble is near for there is none the help that promises my help as far away we just got to ask you a quick story was last year I was traveling down airplane walking down the aisle one of our church members was there and she said she died she was you are recede with her companions is only good to see his sister but we now sat down and got off the plane and not solely sitting up late and she stopped she said you know this is an answer to prayer piece of a couple reasons one I am terrified of flying and I was on the plane free before kickoff and just so nervous in sight of you always understand the story she was a regular hand praying that she is a Catholic human counting repeats at this and I saw my pastor walked by his own thank you Lord I know the plane came crashing out at you and I know that it is rationally I didn't want to tell her that she thought it would be like having Jesus in the boat he can't say enough of the other part of the prayer was she was going to see a friend it was finally opened the Bible studies she said she forgot to take any literature when she said you happen to have anything to Joseph I gave her book as I was freeing those two things that all what am I going to share with my friend old world celebrate the fly and I see examples on the time I got answers my prayers when I need help in a thousand different ways and he is so good for yours not very far away healing is not far away perhaps you remember that woman who was struggling for years with a physical ailment continual flow of blood and everything on physicians treatments and then Jesus passed by I thought if I can just reach out and take advantage of his being here it can make all the difference in my life and she pressed through the crowd it didn't matter what everybody else was doing on a why would people really are Jesus met in real life it their all bumping and Jocelyn Jesus he's right and they don't realize that the son of God Ali Christ stopped the procession says somebody touched me and the disciples thought that maybe Huguenot sons-in-law or your meeting jostled by the crowd whenever he signed Wednesday someone touched me know some lawsuits don't think they knew how close I was in the thick advantage of any review and I just wanted to give the glory to God Mets were the stories in the Bible does Jesus stopped advancing someone realize how close I was a good manager then rich young ruler who walked away from Jesus he was also very close to eternal life and he walked away house is not very far from any one of you right now is close at hand the word of God is near this lot like you don't know what God wants I think it was Mark Twain who said it's not the mysteries in the Bible to cause me sleepless nights as all the truth I know I should do like argue about the things we can't figure out so we don't agree on the things that we do know Moses said Deuteronomy chapter thirty first eleven the word is near for this commandment that I command you today is not to miss you reach for you nor is it far off it's not in heaven it usually will ascend into heaven and bring it to us that we might cure to do it nor is it the own the CD you should say I will cross the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it but the word is very near you by the way Jesus is the word and word became flesh the word is very near you the word is very needed near you in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it about how exciting that is used here were two or three gathered in my name is familiar easy here now is a word crisis the word is herein is true is present in this place any speaking all of us and I got a good plan for your life and whatever you might be going for what you know far away even if you're go into a fiery furnace like centric music in the Bendigo he's saying I'm in the furnace with you might be going through a storm out of the sea of Galilee think I'm in the boat with you I'm a God in your hand on my far away I think we get all upset worried and on the God of all those galaxies is up in heaven that he looks nervous is gone wringing his hands about anything no the only thing that I think God is maybe anxious about the infamous understand that is desperate that you will accept him and trust him I mean he knows everything but a year and use for us to be safe and that's not really something that he is says it all I can't do anything about it he's done something about it he came into this world we cross the expanse of space so that he could come into this world and come in to our lives and be in this place because he wants to save us he is not a God afar off you got close at hand the kingdom of heaven is within reach for each one of you nothing happens by chance even after you walk out of this place tonight it's not like you we've gone on campus you leave them in a church but when the sun goes down Saturday afternoon the dog goes away is omnipresent we just forget Festival we forget and if we could remember how close he is and how really is done by faith he begins the come alive in our lives again he activates his power when we remember him when we reach out to him when we turn to him when we believe him would you like to do that now is putting God first in your life is seeking first his kingdom and his love that part of your adventurer your bucket list should be a knack for just a moment I'd like to invite her singers to come up and don't be sharing with you in song that I like to share closing thought before we have prayer will I in man beautiful one day Jesus was sitting by him well in Samaria there was a woman there and she was wondering about the stranger she was talking to and she said you know when Messiah comes you can help us understand all these things in Jesus 's lure away when he said I did speak to you am he right there talking to the side and she didn't know it Mary was waiting outside of whom one day she said to someone she thought was the gardener if you carried away his body we please tell me where you later Jesus and Mary it's me next day walking down the road to amass actually send it talking to disciples the city does the stranger in Jerusalem invited him home for some to be eaten when he blessed the bread rise relevant had no idea that he was right no I think when we get to heaven were to be surprised to find out that God has been very watching us all along the way we distribute presents I think you'd like to invite each one of us tonight to say Lord I don't want to take for granted your presence I want to reach out and take hold of that kingdom that's within reach Jesus coming is near at hand in other that will be the physical kingdom of God right now the spiritual kingdom of God is within reach eternal life is within reach everybody who comes just as they are and as we again welcome the Sabbath it is brand-new our commitment to the Lord I wonder if you'd like to join me with prayer is a Lord help me to practice your presence help me to believe that you are with me wherever I go we stand together pray and ask him your father as together before you right now we sense your presence in this place we also believe you're here because you promise to be one in a place where we come together in your name the Lord sometimes we forget we get distracted we can become preoccupied with our horizontal concerns in the cares of this life and the goals and an adventures of this world and we forget the most important venture the most important thing that we can reach out for your presence Lord I just created you would be with each person we know in a group like this that is all kinds of dreams all kinds of hopes and struggles tears but we just know that you're right the scientists were meeting facing I pray to me with each person help in the legal guide and regarding your will is not left on Disney to reach out and ask for you and seek with you there but you're right of the door knocking one to be letting you are God that is near and not a God afar off I pray for your blessing on this campus teachers this community Lord and the solicitors are we know you're wondering why everything you have rays who is honestly as a of this media was brought by Hotmail nurse the website is renting guns to the sermon audio and much more I would like to know more about hothouse this is more so than please visit www. audio person .org


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