10/28/18 “4 Ways God Corrects Us”

The title of the message this morning is “4 Ways God Corrects Us.” Did you know that God corrects us? Just like a loving father and mother, God will correct us and get us back on the right path.

I’m in Proverbs, Proverbs 3:9: “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” The key there is “honor the Lord with your possessions.” Honor means to respect. Respect what the Lord has done for you and for me by giving back. That’s how we honor the Lord with our possessions. We realize that everything I own is not mine. It’s hard to get our hands around that, isn’t it? That even the breath that we breath [is not our own]. God has everything. Everything is His. We don’t take anything with us. So we’re to honor the Lord with our possessions.

Now what does that look like? Well, I could spend the whole sermon here, but we all know, individually, if God’s dealing with us in a particular area. I remember when Rick shared on a Wednesday night. He talked about how it was told to him, spoke to him, through just a deep sense of conviction maybe, to get rid of some of the cars in the garage, because it’s collecting and collecting and collecting, and it really had no value in spiritual things. For others, it’s their house—God’s maybe opening up their home for studies. Vehicles—have you ever given somebody a car? It’s a very encouraging thing. I think the church has given away about a half dozen or so and got people cars who needed transportation. It’s just a wonderful thing realizing that God owns everything we have.

So what this is talking about is to honor and respect the Lord through our possessions, and what’s the best way to do that in many cases? You allow people to have certain things, you can give monetarily, or you can say, “You know, Lord, this is Yours. How do you want me to use it? How do you want me to use it to further Your kingdom?” So we honor God with that.

And also I believe he’s saying here that lack can be the result of being stingy. When we lack things, it can be the result of being stingy. But most people say, especially in America, “But I’m doing okay financially.” Yes, but are you honoring the Lord with your possessions and receiving the benefit of obedience in that area? Well, how do I know? Two words: ask Him. In prayer, ask Him, “Lord, am I being obedient in this area? Am I my honoring You with my possessions? Do I have too much?” Because remember, the more you own, the more owns you. Things are a wonderful, wonderful servant but a terrible master. So once they begin to control us, once they begin to take away the joy of just “you know, Lord, freely I’ve received from You, and freely I want to give to You.” And ask the Lord. He’ll convict you. It’ll be hard, right? It’ll be challenging. That’s where the rubber meets the road—when it happens, right?

I asked a few people if I should tell you this story before I tell you it, because people sometimes get the wrong impression from when I share my personal stories. On one hand, I get texts from people who say, “Thank you for being so transparent. You have struggles; you’re not super-pastor who has no struggles.” But, on the other hand, you want to be careful because you don’t want to try to elevate yourself. But I went through a difficult thing. It was Friday. Many of you knew I just flew back from Washington, above Seattle, and there are a lot of believers up there. Praise God, because we think, “Oh, it’s Seattle, like Hollywood, right?” But there are a lot of believers. I don’t know how many pastors and Christian leaders I had the privilege of speaking to. It looked like six or seven hundred or so up there. It was a pregnancy resource meeting for their whole organization for all their county, and they had me fly up and be the keynote speaker to that. When they first asked, they said, “Well, how much do you charge?” I said, “Oh, I don’t worry about that. I’ll be glad to be there if my schedule allows. If there’s anything in the budget, that’s up to you. If not, I’m coming either way.” Many years ago I decided not to put a fee on anything. So there are places where you go, and the Lord rewards you. There are other places where they might have a budget, and so I just leave it up to God. I never come with [an expectation of getting paid]. I would pay people to preach [at their church] sometimes. You guys think I’m joking, but I would give Joel Osteen thousands of dollars if he let me have that pulpit for thirty minutes. I would love that opportunity.

So God dealt with me on this many years ago. If there’s a blessing there, that’s great. But long story short, I was touring their clinic, and it’s in a harder part of town, so there are moms coming in, single moms, and they get diapers and kids’ clothing, like what we have here in CareNet. I was just so convicted, like “Even if she tries to give me a check, I’m just going to give it back.” I didn’t feel good taking the money; I didn’t know if they planned $500 or something. I didn’t plan on anything. So the evening was just about closing, she gave me the envelope, and God said, “Remember, give it back,” and I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely.” So I opened it, because I wanted to put the check back in there, and it was $4,000. I was just like, “There’s no way. There’s no way.” And I actually told them, “In the future, you don’t need to pay somebody this much money when you have them speak,” and just being serious with them. If somebody’s coming for that, you don’t want them there. So anyway, I put the check back in there, and they were just blessed. I said, “Put it where the need is the most.”

I’m sharing that to tell you it hurt a little bit initially. I texted my wife, “You’re not going to believe this. I just gave them back $4,000,” because we’re on a mission to pay our house off early—because of where the culture is going financially. We want to pay our house off at some point, so any extra we get we try to do that. So, she said, “Well, if God told you to do it, I’m glad you did it. He’ll reward in other ways.” I’m just telling you it hurts a little bit. You know, it was not a big deal when it was $500. Even that was like, “Ugh,” but then I opened it, and I just could not believe it. So I just told them to use that. Put it back into their organization. And again, the reason I shared this is because there’s a struggle between what the Spirit of God tells you to do and what the flesh wants you to do. It was telling me, “Well, you don’t have to really commit to that. That will pay off a lot of mortgage,” and “But God told me to do it,” and I just didn’t feel right taking that from this organization whose whole mission is to help those less fortunate. It just didn’t make any sense.

So that was a challenge this weekend. But again, if God puts something on your heart—and the reason I didn’t get into a lot of specifics is God will deal with people differently. Maybe some things aren’t possessions they need to give up. Maybe they need to start honoring God with their time. Maybe they need to start honoring the Lord instead of watching TV all day or Facebook or YouTube. He might say, “Do something for Me.” So we honor the Lord with our possessions.

Then verse 11, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord.” Here we get to the sermon topic. So he is saying, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction.” Those words basically mean discipline. It has linked to it a spanking paddle, and it’s okay to discipline when it’s needed. I remember I went to school right there in Lancaster, Bethel Baptist, and they get out that big paddle, and you can hear it—Pop! Pop! Pop! Three times. I think it happened three or four times, and it was for chewing gum or talking or making noise. Those were the top problems in the schools back then. But that would change us and discipline us. Don’t we see that today? You look at a twenty-two-year-old fresh out of the Marines, compared to a twenty-two-year-old out there protesting and acting like a child. What’s the difference? Chastening, discipline. Because at a young age, God has given us the wonderful ability to help shape our children and guide them and discipline them and keep that spirit in check. You don’t want to wound their spirit, you want to chisel away at that will, that self-determination. That’s what discipline does. It begins to bring us back into the image of Christ in us.

When we despise—here’s why this is so important—when we despise it, we fight against it, and when we detest it, we become better. In other words, if I’m despising God’s correction, I’m going to fight against it. I’m going to resist God’s discipline in my life. And if I begin to detest it, then I will become negative and bitter. Do you know how many people are mad at God right now because of His discipline, and instead of bending their knee to God’s will, they put up fists? So, he’s saying, “Listen, the Lord’s discipline is to correct you because He loves you.” The context though can include chastening, discipline, as a result of being stingy. God can discipline us when we’re being stingy and not giving.

Correction and discipline are essential to spiritual growth. That’s what I said earlier. Actually, if God didn’t discipline or correct us, we would be very immature spiritually. We would be whining, crying, get-our-way Christians, just like a three-year-old who’s not disciplined. Have you seen that before? What little Johnny wants is what little Johnny gets, and he’s not going to do very well as he gets older, because you have to have discipline. That’s why I mentioned the military. That’s why discipline is so important. It’s the number one thing. They’re disciplining you in the military. They’re breaking you of your old self. They’re breaking you of your laziness and apathy.

So God will do that. But let me just give a quick note to parents. Overbearing discipline will break their spirit—don’t punish in anger but love—but passive parenting produces exactly what we see in the news today. Finding that middle ground will be a struggle for young parents. Let me just encourage you. It’s hard to find that exact, perfect balancing in this area. Because sometimes we’ll go to this end, and it’s too extreme, or the other end is “I’m just letting them get away with whatever.” So we have to discipline, in love, just like God does.

Also, we often don’t see the results immediately in this area. That’s why you can have, say, two seven-year-olds that pretty much act the same. You won’t really see the fruit sometimes until they get a little older, eleven, twelve, thirteen, when the freedoms come out and the mouths come out and the self-will and things. You do see it in seven-year-olds, don’t get me wrong, but my point is (don’t worry, there are none that go here) I know families whose kids are like perfect, but they’re not good parents. They’re not in church much. I don’t know how this happened, but as you watch that kid get older, and that discipline is lacking, then that’s when they’ll start to act up and lash out.

Then verse 12, “For whom the Lord loves He corrects.” So if the Lord’s correcting you, it means He loves you. Isn’t that interesting? But we see the same thing in our children or your grandchildren, if you’re helping with them. If they go out into the street, you pull them back: “No, no, no!” You’re correcting them, why? Because you love them. Often when people don’t say anything, and they don’t try to help you, it’s because they don’t love you or care for you. They say, “Do whatever you want.” For example, many people don’t raise other people’s kids like they do their own kids. In other words, if they’re over at your house, it’s like, “Do whatever you want.” But my kids have to act this way. Why? Because there’s a deeper love often. So parents will discipline their children. God would discipline us “just as a father the son in whom he delights” (v. 12).

So here’s the four ways—this what you’ve been waiting for I think. Four ways that God will direct you. So if God’s speaking to you this morning, take heed and listen to the lyrics of that song “Spirit Lead Me.” When you say, “Go,” I’ll go. When you say, “Stop,” I’ll stop. I’m going to follow your lead and not follow feelings. So the first way is He humbles us. There’s nothing like being humiliated, is there? There’s nothing that will change you like being humiliated, being caught maybe red-handed or being exposed or being humbled. If pride knocks us off course, humility gets us back on course right away. When we are doing good financially, relationally, and socially, we often don’t listen. I’m doing good—God must be blessing me. Do you know how many people say that? They’re not living according God’s will. “But look at how I’m being blessed, God.” Well, the devil can bless you with money too—most secular musicians, movie stars—the enemy can open financial doors as well.

James 4:6: “God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.” Psalm 25:9: “He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His ways.” So that’s interesting. God is saying, “If you’re humble, I’ll teach you.” Are you teachable? Are you humble? [God says,] “I’m going to teach that person.” So proud people actually are resisting against the will of God. That pride acts as a barrier. First Peter 5:6: “Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

So here’s the application. If you are being humbled, don’t fight it. Don’t fight. If God is humbling you, exposing something maybe or bringing something to light or maybe taking that job from you, taking that and humbling you, the last thing you want to do is fight it. What does that look like? Well, it looks like Mr. Defense Attorney Within comes to the plate. What I mean by that is excuses. You can know that somebody’s not allowing God to work in their life when they have excuses of why they’re not changing, excuses on why God is doing something, excuses on why this is happening. They won’t take responsibility, or they’ll take partial responsibility. So God humbles them to teach them, and instead of growing and learning, they fight. They resist His area of discipline.

Now this happens a lot in marriage. Maybe a spouse will temporarily leave and say, “I can’t handle this anymore,” and the person should be humbled but instead they put on boxing gloves—“Well, you, you, you.” And God is saying, “No, you, you, you. Look in the mirror. Humble yourself.” God won’t give up. God loves us so much He will not give up. We think God is sometimes like people. “Well, if I resist it long enough, eventually He’ll give in.” No, He never gives in. So God is using humility to humble you. Don’t fight it. The best way not to fight it is to just admit it and say, “Okay, Lord, thank You. I’m being humbled. I know I was wrong.” And then what happens is the Bible talks about growing into the image of Christ, or being conformed, actually, into the image of Christ. It’s like clay. If I had a big lump of clay here, and I start to mold it into an image. So humility is part of that process. “I humble myself” means I become like clay in the hands of a potter. Ah, now I can work with this humility. It’s soft clay. Have you ever tried to work with hard clay? You can’t. It’s not moldable. You can’t conform it into anything because it’s already conformed into its own image. And this is just I guess maybe a point that I’d really like to get across, because so many people think they’re humble, and they’re not. Isn’t that the irony? They think they’re humble, and they’re not.

And then another way that God corrects us—please take this the right way—He hurts us. He hurts us. Pain can be a wonderful motivator, and it usually follows humility. What I mean by that is have you ever had a kid touch a hot pan or a hot stove? “Ow!” They’re not going to do that again. So He’ll often use pain. And often the deeper the pain, the better or deeper the relationship with God. What I mean by pain, I’m not necessarily talking about physical pain but emotional, where you feel the damage that you’re doing. It hurts, and sometimes it hurts our pocketbook. Most people change when their pocketbook is hurt. He’ll begin to hurt us in those areas.

But again, the deeper the pain, often the deeper the relationship, the deeper the anointing. For example, the new song we sing “Spirit Lead Me.” I’d rather hear that sung by a forty-year-old who’s been humbled than a twenty-five-year-old who’s never been humbled by the Lord. A twenty-five-year-old is saying, “Listen to my voice. I’m great. I can do this song.” No, I want to hear the forty-year-old who can weep as he’s singing that song. He’s been broken. He’s been hurt. Then through that anointing, the truths you’re singing become real to you. “When all hope is gone, and your word is all I’ve got, I still believe you’re the God who brings water from the rock.” I want to hear the person sing it who’s lived it.

Through that pain, often the best sermons and the best worship come from broken people who have been humbled by God and hurt deeply—in a good way. Hurt deeply, meaning their pride has been hurt deeply. Some of you guys tell me about these books you like to read about certain people, and these good books often come from brokenness. Sometimes you can say a person is gifted, but they’re not anointed. Yeah, they can sing, they can write, they can preach, but they’re missing that brokenness, that humility, but they haven’t been hurt deeply. Their pride hasn’t been hurt deeply.

So again, the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son. One way He does hurt us is through circumstances. Anybody been hurt through circumstances? You get an email you shouldn’t have or a text you shouldn’t have, or you accidentally come across information that hurts you deeply, or others hurt you, and it’s part of this process. But also, fortunately, in the church, sermons can hurt us, in a good way. I sometimes tell people, when they ask me what I do, I say, “I’m a heart surgeon—spiritually.” Sermons can hurt us.

I’ll just share something I spoke of on Friday night. You could have heard a pin drop. One of the points I talked about to the people there I tried to erase throughout the week and make it something different, but God kept bringing it back. “Oh, goodness. Lord, there are pastors here. Okay.” One of the points was I reminded them the silent pulpit is not God’s pulpit. I said, “Your silence is deafening.” God told Timothy to convince, to rebuke, to exhort. The pulpit can’t be silent on difficult truths. And it convicted people. It hurt, and I’m glad it did, because it needs to hurt us deeply to wake us up. God told Jeremiah, “You go, and you speak to whom I tell you to speak, and you say what I put in your mouth.” That’s amazing. But many times we don’t want to say what God tells us to say.

I went on to explain that there are two main reasons for this. The pastors are either seeking the approval of men over the approval of God, or they’re not mightily filled with the Spirit of God. I got some looks. But I explained it to them, and I’ll explain it you. This is interesting. I’ve noticed I have a problem. It’s a good problem. This might make some sense to some of you who are struggling with certain things. My problem is—and again, good problem—the closer I draw to Christ, the more I read His Word, the more I’m worshiping, sections of my day, the closer I draw to Christ, the bolder I become. I have a reputation of being a hard-nosed, legalistic preacher because of the hard things I say. They don’t realize that the boldness comes from the time with God. When I’m filling my mind with the things of the world, like when you are, you don’t become bold for God. God’s voice becomes quiet: “Well, you can just do whatever you want, I’m not going to say anything.” The closer a person draws to Christ the bolder they will become, the more loving they will become. Yes, of course.

And then another way God directs us is He highlights our weaknesses through the Word, through relationships, and through circumstances. He highlights our weaknesses so that we change. Have you ever heard of constructive criticism? How many like constructive criticism, I’m just curious. One. Two. Three. Okay, that’s not too bad. That’s not too bad. But most of us don’t, right? Constructive means it’s good and from someone who loves you. God will highlight certain areas in our life that He wants us to change. That’s how He directs us. That’s how He says, “I’m going to highlight it. I want to show you certain areas you need to change.” We don’t like the highlighting process. It’s like putting on a big floodlight, a big flashlight, in our eyes. But the Bible tells us to ask God, “Examine me, examine me, oh God. Is there any wicked way in me? God, examine me. Highlight those weaknesses. Show me those areas I need to work on.”

So as God is humbling us, we feel the pain, and then He’s highlighting areas that need to change. That’s part of the directing process. He loves us so much to tell us the truth. But here’s where conviction and condemnation come into play. I talked about this last week. Condemnation is what the enemy uses against you, and he’ll use it like beating you up. “Look at you trying to be a Christian. Look at how you messed up. You don’t deserve this. Look at this.” Just condemning and condemning and condemning.

But convicting is work of the Spirit, saying, “I love you enough to tell you the truth. You need to change that. I’m convicting you.” And you say, “Ah, I need to change this,” and you feel good about it. “Oh, God, you’re right.” Isn’t it beautiful when you’re open for feedback, when you’re open for constructive criticism? It feels good once you say, “Oh, God, thank You for that. Thank You. I do need to work on that.” There’s nothing more powerful than a Christian walking in brokenness and humility. That joy comes from admitting these things, that joy and peace God promises. But when you’re fighting against these things, it’s rebellion. We are fighting against God. We are saying, “I don’t want to be corrected.”

Then He also hinders us. He hinders. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t just let us get our way? Boy, if my kids got their way, we’d have donuts in the morning for breakfast, Cap’n Crunch for lunch, pizza for dinner, and then go get ice cream. Does that sound good? Maybe some of you do that, I don’t know. Well, now this is not going to work. I need a new sermon illustration.

But because parents love, they hinder progress. They will tell their children, “You’re going to hurt yourself. This isn’t good; it isn’t godly.” So God will hinder us from progressing in certain areas. I’ve often told this to young adults before. Let’s say they’re dating somebody, and God closes that door, He hinders that. Don’t try to fight it, because even when God closes a door, I’ve noticed that you can prop that thing open. You get a big cheater bar, and you get in that door—“I’m propping this thing open.” And you push and push and get that door open. People don’t realize that. “Well, God closed the door, but now it’s open again. It must be God.” No, if you’re pushing and pushing and pushing, God might say, “All right, you want it, you got it.” So He will hinder. If God breaks up a relationship, praise Him. Thank Him. But the day you say, “I do,” then it changes. You always put that relationship on the altar until you say, “I do,” and now you’ve made a commitment, a covenant. Now it’s a whole new ballgame.

But often God will hinder us. He will stop us dead in our tracks. Why? Those He loves, He chastens, He rebukes, He disciplines. Have you ever felt hindered? That word means “I’m trying to go in a certain direction, but I can’t. I’m hindered. There is something stopping me.” Is there tremendous joy when that happens? Often, it’s the opposite. So one good way to see if God is in something, or “God, are you hindering this?” is there’s a loss of joy when we’re going in the wrong direction. There’s a loss of purpose and joy. So many Christians are just going through life.

What’s that series people like? The Walking Dead. I don’t know why they like it, but anyway, it’s like many Christians are like that. They just have no joy, no purpose. They’re just going through life—the walking spiritually dead, because they’re fighting against God’s direction. And when He hinders, if you’re pushing that door open, you won’t find the joy when that door is open. You won’t find the peace and the purpose. We have to submit to God hindering us. The failed business venture. Anybody have any of those? The relationship that is not working. You are blocked at every turn. It could be that God is hindering.

It’s interesting too when God grows a church. There’s a book written about that, I think, but it’s interesting. I’ve seen when God grows a church, He often does it one step at a time. Once you’ve got this in place, hang out. Bring in some more people. Now you got this in place. It’s a process. I remember when we started we didn’t have any elders. We didn’t have anybody on staff. Then God began to bring people, and there’s a process. Same thing with our lives. There’s a process, and God will begin to open doors that He shut, if we begin to not be hindered by our own ways and turn to His way.

But how do you know something is worth fighting through or if God is using it to redirect you? What I mean by that is, as believers following Christ, you will have hindrances. Amen? Life is not just a bed of roses. It’s not smooth. So there are hindrances. But how do you know which is something that God is initiating or just a hindrance because of your following God? It might be of the work of the enemy, or it might be the work of the flesh. The question to ask is: where is your heart? If a person is coming before God, they’re praying, they’re removing these things I talked about, they’re fully repentant, they want to be used by God, they’re worshiping, then you can almost rest assured that the hindrance is some other type of hindrance. In other words, if there’s a hindrance to this church, planting this church and growing this church, am I going say, “Well, God, you must not be in it anymore. Let’s close it down.” Or is it a spiritual hindrance—maybe a demonic type of attack, maybe just a difficult season in life?

God will use the difficult seasons also to refocus us and get us back in the prayer closet. So, if you’re saying, “I don’t know if this hindrance is because of disobedience or just a part of life,” take it to God, and look where your heart is. Maybe I’m not talking about everybody here, but I think we know more often than not when we’re out of God’s will. Amen? It’s not often when I say, “Oh gosh, I don’t know if I’m out of His will. I don’t know if He’s convicting me of things. I don’t know if I have besetting sin. I just really don’t know.” We know when God is convicting us of certain things. How do we know? Because the conviction is there; that’s the point of conviction. It’s convicting. There’s no peace, there’s no joy.

Those are the four things. He highlights certain areas. Is He highlighting weaknesses in your life right now? Is He hindering you in any way? Is there any hurt, any pain, that’s being caused because God wants to redirect you?  We often won’t change directions unless there’s some pain involved or feeling just no joy, no peace. Then He also will humble us. Is God humbling you? Even preaching sometimes, as the word is going out, people are being humbled in their heart, they’re being convicted in their heart, they’re being challenged by the Word of God. So, what do they do with that challenge?

Then verse 13: “Happy is the man”—of course you could say “woman.” They’re talking about both. “Happy is the person who finds wisdom.” Isn’t that interesting? You can find wisdom, which is making choices according to God’s Word, or you can find foolishness. Where are you looking? Where you look determines what you find. Where you look—are you looking for wisdom in God’s Word? In the house of God? From Christian friends? From things that are godly and edifying? Are you searching for wisdom like fine gold? Or are you searching for foolishness? Because you will find one or the other.

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For her proceeds [her return] are better than the profits of silver, and her gain is better than fine gold.” He’s talking here about satisfied and filled with joy is the person who finds wisdom. Here he is also taking us back to proceeds again, the return of your investment. “For her proceeds,” or the return on her investment. When you find wisdom, it’s better than silver and gold. Did you know that? I would rather leave my children lots of wisdom instead of lots of money. So many people, even Christians, are pursuing riches, money, and wealth, and they’re neglecting wisdom. God says, “Get wisdom first. In all your getting, get understanding. She will exalt you.” Understanding means the way God thinks. How does God think about the situation?

“Happy is he who makes wise decisions and who seeks to learn more” is what it boils down to. Are any of you struggling with happiness this morning? Depression? But we know that happy is he who makes wise decisions and who seeks to learn more. Again, this what I love about God. If you’re not on the right path, you can get on that right path today. You can just say, “Lord, I’ve been wrong in these areas. I’ve been walking on the wrong path. I’m getting on the right path this morning.” And God says, “Now I can work with you. Now I can lead you again.” Because it’s all about the leading of the Spirit over the leading of the flesh. Those are the two voices you’re going to hear. Those are the two contrasting, conflicting voices that we hear. Here’s why I talk about feeling so much—they will get you in trouble. I just feel like it. I just feel like whatever. But what’s the fruit that’s going to be produced? That’s why wisdom is so important. Wisdom means you actually make choices, when you don’t feel like it, that are good and God-honoring, then the feelings will come later. So Nike’s “Just Do It” is a good slogan for sales but a bad slogan for Christian living. Just do it. However you feel, just do it.

And wisdom is being mocked in our culture more and more, isn’t it? I learned up there that people like you and me, conservatives, are being labeled “anti-choicers,” and—if you can believe this one—there’s a movement to stop saying “breast-feeding” and start saying “chest-feeding” so we don’t offend transgenders. Listen guys, if what’s going on in the culture doesn’t prompt you to pray more, I don’t know what to tell you. We’ve got to get back to that—making wise decisions, electing people who hopefully will make wise decisions (but not counting on them). Chest-feeding! There’s more, but I just can’t say it from the pulpit on what they’re wanting to change. Just remember the Word of God, powered by the Holy Spirit, is your greatest teacher. Your greatest teacher is to get in the Word of God, with the Holy Spirit, and get back on track.

We’re doing baby dedications after the second service, but I want to share with you what I was going to read, and it’s actually the theme verse of where I spoke Friday night. It says, “Let this be written for a future generation that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” (Ps. 102:18). Let this be written—wisdom—for a future generation that a people not yet even created may praise the Lord. Now if you’re like me, you like context. So here’s the context. The psalmist says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; incline Your ear to me; in the day that I call, answer me speedily” (vv. 1–2, NKJV). He goes on to say, “For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. . . . In my distress I groan aloud. I’m reduced to skin and bones. . . . All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse” (vv. 3, 5, 8, NIV). Do you feel like that? Thank God he doesn’t leave it there. “But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of your name to all generations. . . . So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory” (vv. 12, 15 NKJV).

So it’s about giving God the credit. It’s getting everything back to God, and then he says, “Then let all this be written” (v. 18). Let this be the written the word of God, so future generations will know that there is a God who sits on the throne. When all hell is breaking loose, when the news media is coming apart, when civil unrest is escalating, there is a God who hears in heaven, a God who will always sit on the throne. His throne endures forever. Remind the generations, remind the children that there is a God that loves them. Remind them.

Listen, this battle is so huge, that’s what this is about. This whole thing you’re seeing all over the news—civil unrest, whatever—it’s to get God out of the picture, to get wisdom out of the picture, and let every man do whatever is right in his own eyes. And you’ll read in the Old Testament, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6; 21:25) and “Another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord” (Judg. 2:10).

Christians, we’ve got to get back to a praying church, not just here but in our homes. It’s got to be about God and the gospel. “Okay, Lord, I’ve been distracted, I got it loud and clear this morning. I’m not honoring you with my possessions. I’m not honoring you with my time. I’m not honoring you in my . . .” See, your whole lifestyle is worship. Think about that. What we put into our mind. Things we shouldn’t be watching. We just keep filling our mind with the things of the world, and once that happens, you don’t want to do anything for God. I don’t know about you, but after I watch something not good, a movie maybe I shouldn’t have, or spend just countless hours watching sports, I’m just this walking dead. We have no passion for the things of God. I don’t have time for His Word, I don’t have time for prayer, but I have time for all this other stuff. You’ve got to get back to the main stuff. You’ve got to get back to the things that are going to build your relationship with the Lord.

Listen, I don’t just say this to say this; I lived it. People say, “Why are you so passionate?” I want to say, “Why aren’t you?” Passion just comes from time spent with God. All of you can be very passionate if you focus on the right things, because all that is you’re feeding your mind on the Word of God, you’re feeding your mind on worship, you’re being built up spiritually, and what happens is the Holy Spirit is indwelling the believer, He’s filling the believer. Filling what? To come out. I’m not talking about ghost stories and weird stuff but coming out. The Holy Spirit’s in; it’s coming out in the words I say and in my actions, the way I live. Out of your belly will flow rivers of living water. Praise God! Again, I think that’s why God has called me to harder messages, because we have to wake the church up. We have to wake the church up.