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  • The Pursuit of True Happiness

     

    Claude Houde

    Date Preached: 
    July 24, 2016

    Pastor Claude Houde examines Psalm 1, and the direction it gives us in pursuing true happiness. For some, happiness can seem fleeting; while for others it seems circumstantial. True happiness from God is spiritual and supernatural. Our life must be truly and deeply rooted in Christ if we want happiness through every season of life.

    I'm going to speak on the Psalms this morning. Everybody turn with me to Psalm 1, the first Psalm. The message would be entitled "The Pursuit of True Happiness" or "Happiness According to God." I'm speaking a series on the Psalms all summer at our church and felt to just bring you a simple summer word to you. In the times we are living, everything happening in our nations and in your nations, I want you to know that Christians around the world are being shaken. Also, praying for you in the United States.

    With everything that has been taking place from Orlando to Dallas and all the events taking place, we are standing in prayer with the body of Christ here in America. Most of the Psalms have been written in moments when the nations were in turmoil, the nations were. The people of God had to stand. The people of God had to shine in the midst of the turmoil. The Psalms are universal expression of every aspect and relationship in the life of the believer. They are written over a period, over 900 years, generation after generation but are profoundly relevant to our 21st century context.

    When we look at the Psalms, we know from history and commentaries that the first Psalm that we believe theologians believe, the first Psalm that was written, it was Psalm 90. Written by Moses, a Psalm that reflects of the frailty of men and life in the light of God's eternal greatness. The last Psalm that we believe is Psalm 137, the one that was closest to us speaking. Because it speaks to direct events that took place that we know like the Babylonian captivity, 586, 538 BC. There are 150 Psalms. David wrote 73 of the Psalms and many different authors.

    David and Moses, Solomon, Asaph, the sons of Korah but certain Psalms are so personal. They're so raw. They're so intense in their emotions and in the realness of what is being expressed that they are anonymous. Almost as if the author says, "I don't want to admit that I said that. I don't want to take ownership of that." Some of the Psalms are so open. A man, a woman crying out to God in such an amazingly, almost violent way sometimes. The deepest expression, nothing fancy, no varnish. Just the heart to God. It reminds us and reminds you today that God is not afraid of your emotions, of what you're going through.

    We can have in certain circles a tendency to pack up prayer, all nice and clean. You're angry. You're hurting. You don't know why. You're suffering inside. You feel anguish. You'll find yourselves in the Psalms. The Psalms are a reminder to all of us that true prayer is not formatted and it's not to be heard by others and to impress anybody. True prayer as the Psalms says, "Pouring out my heart with everything in it before God." Say yes, please.

    When we look at the Psalms, every aspect of the human experience, they're fascinating. Our faith in relationship to God, to others, to ourselves, who God is, in the Psalms' his character, his true nature, his attributes. There are Psalms of prayer, Psalms of worship. There's Psalms of intercession. Psalms of great joy and celebration and dancing and Psalms of the deepest grief and sorrow. Psalms of anger and betrayal, Psalms of forgiveness and reconciliation. Psalms for the family, for marriage, husband and wife. Psalms for the sons and daughters.

    Psalms teaching us how to heal from depression, how to overcome our worst tragedies, how to protect our integrity, the purity of our hearts. How to transcend what we do not understand. There are Psalms that are so pertinent to what we are living through in these days, in these last days where God wants us to and teaches us who he wants us to be in seasons of turmoil. In seasons of where everything is shaken in our lives, in our family, with our kids or even in our nations. The body of Christ in America, we're not taking our cues from MSNBC or from Fox. Who are we to be? How are we to address this? How are we to speak? How are we to stand?

    How are we to shine in this hour comes from the spirit of God to our hearts and the word of God wants to teach us. Say yes, please. The Psalms are at the same time, a window, a mirror in the land. They're a window into the hearts. We see into the hearts, into the very, very hearts of men and of the people of God and in relationship with their God. As they pour out their hearts to the Creator. They're also a mirror, the Psalm. We find ourselves, we see ourselves in the Psalm. They're a mirror but they're a path. They're a path in every aspect of our life. Now, we will look at Psalm 1. It's the opening Psalm.

    It's a wisdom Psalm. It is contrasting two ways of life in the pursuit of happiness. Psalm 1 is literally the gateway to his fulfillment and abundant life. Now this morning, Psalm 1, most theologians believe it was either written by Ezra or by David. Now most would lead them the side of David having written Psalm 1. Now, David wrote Psalms through every season of his life. We have Psalms when he was a teenager in a broken, dysfunctional family, abandoned and treated so terribly by his family. We have Psalms of his highest hopes and dreams when he was just a boy walking the field and calling out to God.

    We have Psalms of his highest aspirations. We have Psalms in the moments of his greatest victories but also Psalms in his most somber defeats. We have Psalms where he writes at a moment in his life like you and me. Moments in his life where he feels the favor of God, where he's pleasing to God. He's walking in communion with his God but we have Psalms of David in a moment where he blew it. Where his failure was to be seen by all, where he broke every vow, broke every commitment, broke everything that was whole, that was dear to him.

    We have him in the steps of the temple in Psalm 51 saying, "Create in me a clean heart, oh, God. Renew in me a steadfast spirit." He wrote and taught us how to build life but also to rebuild our lives. He wrote his Psalms in every season. He wrote a Psalm celebrating the great things of God. He wrote Psalms that some parents might identify this morning. He wrote Psalms in moments where he laments literally, where he weeps over in a season of his life what his own son had become. His son was so far away from what he had dreamed and thought and believed and wanted. And poured into him that he laments.

    One thing that marches from Psalm 1 and there's a sentence there to the very end of the Psalms. At the end of the Psalms from 144 to the end, we have Psalms of David that we know that were written at the end of his life. There was one thing that David emanates. There's something that goes through every Psalm. He writes the Psalms to remind us and to shout to us. David says it in a thousand ways. No matter what I went through, no matter what I went through, no matter what season, what came against me, God always turned it around for his glory. There's nothing that could keep me down with my God. Can you say yes, please?

    This is like golf clapping. If that is your testimony, I look at some of you, there are a lot of young people here but also a lot of seasoned believers. If you can say this morning, "I've been through so many things. Sometimes, I thought I'm not going to make it out of this but God took me through the water and the fires but I came out with true abundance. That is my Psalm." I want you to shout and give praise to God. Come on. We don't look at Psalm 1 in the pursuit of true happiness or happiness according to God. Psalm 1, blessed, happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.

    Nor stands in the path of sinners. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord. In his law, he meditates day and night. When he speaks of the law, the Lord doesn't speak of law in terms of legalism. He speaks his counsel, his word, his kingdom, his promises, his heart to his people, his commands. He delights in the law of the Lord. Then he shall be—here's the contrast—he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season. Whose leaves shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so but they are like chaff, which the wind drives away.

    Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand into judgment or sinners in a congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Now, the Psalmist begins and approaches our pursuit of true happiness with a contrast of our pursuit, a confrontation in our pursuit and the choice of our pursuit. He begins by saying blessed is the man. The Hebrew word speaks of being happy, joyful, peaceful but also being fully developed. I've accomplished what I was to accomplish. I'm fulfilled. It's developed, fulfilled, satisfied.

    Happy, joyful, peaceful, developed, fulfilled and satisfied. The Psalmist begins with an affirmation that I think is still pertinent and needs to be said again. It needs to be believed again. It needs to be laid hold of again. He begins by shouting out happiness, blessedness. Happiness is not only possible but it is God's will of abundance for each of his child. Now, it's important to say that because as we go through life, even if you come from a tough background, I grew up in a horrible background in many generations. It stopped with me. The blood of Christ changed it all.

    Many generations of alcoholic, drug addicts and violence in the home. Yet as a child, most of us who grew up with a thinking that happiness ... Some of you grew up in good homes or places with a sense of happiness is automatic. He'll come one day. At least we always feel that happiness must be in the next season of life, in the next step. When I go to school, after school, when I'm a teenager. When you're a teenager, hard years, teenager years. When I go to college, when you're single, you say, "When I'm married." When you're married, you'll say, "Maybe I'll be single again." You go through this.

    When you have kids, when you have grandkids, every season of life and many of us, many people around us find that as the years go by, we go from happiness must be natural or automatic or in the next season of life. Many come to feel that happiness is hard. It's fleeting. It's hard to find. Some in the darkness of their soul come to a place where happiness is ... They're not going to say it. Happiness is not for me. It's impossible. It's out of reach for me. I come from a place, the nation of Quebec that has the highest suicide rates in the world. Five people, 4.8 people per day take their life in Quebec.

    We have the highest standard of life in Canada. They say one of the three countries with the highest standard of life decades after decade. Yet there's a darkness of the soul. Just two weeks ago, when I preached this at our church, that very Friday, there was an elder in our church who's talking with his neighbor. They're talking. Just shooting the breeze, talking to one another. The neighbor said to our elder, "Okay. I got go to. See you." He went into his garage. That very day, that very minute, he went and hung himself. Now, if you go in Quebec, if you sit in our church in Quebec, you go row by row.

    Everybody has somebody next to them. Everybody knows somebody in their family, in their own lives, somebody that took their lives or try to take their lives. That sense of despair. The Psalmist says, reminds us that if we are to find, if we are to walk and abide in that blessedness, we don't only need to know where to look for it. He's going to teach that but we also need to know where not to look for it. It says, "Blessed a man who walks not in..." He exposes, he reminds us what our pursuit should be but also what our pursuit should not be.

    We will not find transcending deep and authentic happiness if we don't have a basic biblical understanding of where it is not found. Scripture tells us throughout the word that happiness, blessedness is not found in material pursuits only. Now there's a book that just came out in Canada. It's fascinating. It's a bestseller in Canada. They surveyed 50 people that won the lotto at least a million dollars. There was someone with 10 million but from one to $15 million. They surveyed over 50 of them over a period of 25, 30 years. It's astonishing the stories of heartbreaks.

    The book shouts out what the word has been teaching for millenniums that true happiness is not in material things only. I'm hearing some of you saying, I'm hearing. I'm telling you. People that won millions of dollars are not happy. I'm hearing some of you are saying, "I'd like to try anyway." I know. I know. "Let me try. Let me try anyway." No. It's not in material. It's not outward. It's inward. It's not natural. It's spiritual. That state of blessedness is not lateral just in human relationships. It's vertical. It's with God. It is not circumstantial. It is supernatural.

    It's not found in professional pursuit only, vocational. God gives us gifts. There's a fulfillment. If you're only for the next promotion and the gold watch and the next step and the status, you'll find it strangely empty. It's not found in the new pursuit of relational or family only. If your happiness depends solely on a perfect family, perfect kids, perfect marriage, it will be fickle. Often truly disappointing and you can waste years of your life. Happiness is not found in social, sensual or pleasure or hedonism and success and power and influence. He begins by confronting. He makes a contrast.

    He says, "You have to choose what will be your pursuit." He contrasted between two lifestyles. One is compared to a tree planted by the rivers of water who springs forth his fruit in every season. Would you say out loud with me? Every season.

    The fruit in every season whose leaves shall not wither. Then he says, the ungodly, they're like chaff in the wind. He makes a comparison. He says literally there's a way of life that leads to blessedness and vitality and productivity and security and joy and fulfillment and accomplishment and satisfaction that is beyond the temporary and peace of mind and heart. There's a way of life that leads to emptiness, to perpetual disappointment, pain, waste, regrets, hurt. Ultimately, judgment speaks of each man standing in judgment before God.

    There's a lifestyle of faith that awakens and feeds and nourishes and strengthens our soul and our destinies. There are choices that deaden our soul little by little. He makes a comparison. He's asking every one of you here this morning. No matter if you've been a believer, weeks, months, years or decades, if you're in your 20s, 50s, 60s, 70s, it doesn't matter. He asks every one of you a question. What kind of life do you want to have? Who do you want to be? What life will you be? The contrast is so amazing. He says the one type of life is alive. He compares it to a tree that's planted.

    Imagine that's a scenery of a tree but planted with deep roots, in deep water. The two things he says make my heart leap as a believer. Not only as a pastor, as a believer. He says, "That type of life, when you are rooted in God, rooted in him, he says they will bring forth new fruits in every season. Nobody said amen and my notes had said, "The people of Springs Church would say amen spontaneously at this place." If you have to ask, it doesn't count. I'll give you other chances throughout the message.

    As a believer, isn't that my heart, isn't that yours to say, "My God, thank you for the food you gave in my life yesterday, but I want fresh fruit today." The old things are passed away, fresh things. No matter what season I go through, there's a fruit." The Spirit of God would ask a question to all of you this morning. What is your recent fruit? If I'm asking you or asking your wife or your husband or your kids, what is the fresh fruit in your dad's life, in your husband's life? What is your testimony. You say, "Well, in 1983, I was at a breakfast and I accepted the Lord. I was baptized there." That is gorgeous and beautiful and everlasting and eternal.

    It's so precious. Thank God his Spirit says, "I want to call you to fresh fruit today. I want to plant you to fresh fruit today. The other thing that makes my heart leap is that not only fresh fruit but bearing forth fruit in every season. Every season whose leaves shall not wither. I turned 54 recently. I've been serving the Lord for 30 some years. In this season of my life, there's a burning like never before. I think I've always had it but it's so strong to say, "God, I want nothing to wither in me."

    To have the honesty and the humility and also the openness before God to say, "Lord, I bring my life to you. Is there anything that is withered? I don't want my worship to be withered. I don't want my passion for you, my love for people, my sensitivity to your Spirit..." Those seasons where we leaped out and we did what God called us to do and it was amazing. Those moments where I was so hurt, so broken, so touched by what I heard that I gave in an extravagant way. I gave them my time. I gave finances. Lord, God, I want none of it to wither."

    "I want you to renew my worship, my prayer, my love for your word, my love for people, my zeal to serve you." Say amen anytime you like. I say, "God, plant me anew. I want fruit in every season. I don't want to wither. I want to be renewed by your Spirit in every aspect of my life." Say yes, please. That's the contrast. That's the tree planted near deep waters. The ungodly, they're like chaff in the winds. No weight to their lives. No values. No strength. Nothing solid. Nothing lasting. No substance. They have no roots. They have no fruit. They're chaffed.

    The harvesters in ancient times would take their baskets and fill it with grain and chaff and they would throw it in the air. The wind would drive the chaff away. It would fall to the ground just to be trampled over like dirt. He says, "You have a choice in life." As a believer, you have a choice in life. A life of substance and meaning with deep roots in God or a life where your pursuits and just a chaff in the wind. I know the janitor people hate me right now but I'm going to do this anyway. We did three services at our church. They had to clean up after every service. Chaff in the wind. No substance.

    He speaks of the ungodly. Now the ungodly in the Hebrew word here is not people that commit wicked acts. In Hebrew, it's literally without God, ungodly. Their roots are not in the Lord. Their roots are not in God. Some of you would say, "That's unbelievers." The ungodly, people that don't believe in God. I believe it's not only unbelievers. You could be a Christian that accepted Christ and you know Christ and you accepted his message of grace and you received grace but your roots are not in him. You have not rooted yourself in him, your pursuit.

    Your roots are not in his kingdom, in his principle, in his life, in what he loves, who he is, his commands. Your roots are not in him. The philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche says something interesting. 100 years ago, author and philosopher realized that the belief in God was losing its compelling and redemptive power in Western society. Literally, this is one of his most insightful things he said. He says, "When God dies in Western society, all things will seem weightless and hollow." That's what's happening. From the internet to the everything around us, you see it so much.

    Not everything but so much. On social media, there's a sense of hollowness, a sense of nothing has value. It's chaff in the wind. God says, "If you root yourself in him, every other aspect of your life comes to fulfillment." Then the vocation says, "Yes." The vocational, the professional, yes but rooted in God as a Christian. I am working. I have a career. I have aspirations but rooted in God in hard and honest work, in honesty and in integrity, in rest and balance, in keeping of our priorities. Relational, yes but rooted in God, in his plan, in his values, his love, his faithfulness.

    In respect and in honesty and in honor and in lifting up the other and giving yourself for the other. Fulfillment in material, yes. In Timothy, he says, "Tell the rich to enjoy it but to use what God has given them." Now you say he's not talking to me. If you have a roof over your head, you drink clean water and you have two pairs of shoes, you are in the 3% on this planet. You are rich. We are the rich this morning. Say yes, please. I want you to say to somebody next to you, "I don't want to impress you but I'm very rich." Say that to somebody next to you.

    Family, yes. There's blessedness in family but only when we are deeply rooted in his principles, in his kingdoms, deeply rooted, an example for our children in love and security and patience and resilience and absolute trust and confidence in God's love and eternal commitment to our children. I've seen this as a pastor in thousands and thousands of lives around the world. I mentioned that Pastor Gary and I traveled the world. We've been together on many continents. I remember one of the trip that marked me was a trip we did together in Egypt.

    We were together in Egypt speaking at a pastors' conference in Alexandria where pastors have been under severe persecution to radical Islam. We were in Cairo just a few months before everything exploded in Egypt. We preached in Cairo, Egypt. This is a pastors' conference. You can look at the next one and you go to the last slide and you'll see a shot. Gary will remember this. This is the church, one of the largest Arabic Christian church in the world. We preached there, Gary and I. At the end, we met on altar time and there's thousands of people. We spent I don't know how long. It was so long. Praying hours.

    People would take our hands and say, "Pray for me." We prayed with people one after the other. One man that was there that I didn't know at all, there was a man that was there who was a diplomat, a politician in the Egyptian government. He was a copt Christian by family but totally non-practicing but a brilliant man. Everything life can offer. He spoke five languages, two Master's Degrees in Political Science and in Philosophy. He traveled the world. Any nation he was in representing Egypt. He was always living a high life, in limousines and everything else.

    His wife was a believer going to that church but he never came to church. He had everything in this world. Everything that the world can offer and he was a man of influence and power and education. Yet he was year after year into deep depression and depression and depression and depression and a sense if I can say this way, a sense of chaff-ness. He would tell his wife all of this. She would say, "I have something you don't. You come." No. One day, she told him, "There's a Canadian, a French-Canadian who will be speaking at our church this Sunday."

    Because he speaks French, one of five languages he speaks and he likes the French, he just thought, "Canadian. We've never had a Canadian at our church in Egypt. I'll just go and listen." He came that night. Gary and I were speaking. That night where I preached, he was there. When we brought everybody forward to pray with people, I didn't know. Among the hundreds we prayed for but he was there and I prayed with him. He says that as I prayed with him, it was a prophetic word. I prayed with him and said, "You have been pursuing so many things in your life. You've had so many successes but they leave you completely empty.

    God has brought you here for a purpose. If you hold on to him, he's going to lead you in every surprising way." He said I stopped and said that the ways of God will be surprising but he will lead you. He was touched. His wife was so blessed to see him in church. I led him in a prayer of salvation. I don't even remember what he's telling me. It marked his life because that Wednesday following that service, he got called by his authorities and they said, "We're sending you on a new post. You're going into a new country. You're going to be Egypt's ambassador to Canada."

    The embassy is in Montreal. I arrived in Montreal a few days later but a few weeks later, he arrived in Montreal. I got this call from an ambassador. I went to visit him at the embassy in Montreal. Hooked him up with some men in our church, Bible study. He's very cool. He comes to church with the limo and the bodyguards but he parks two streets away. He's in jeans and a polo. He comes to church and nobody knows. His country went through so much turmoil. There's something in that man, when he tells me what he was before, he had contemplated suicide. His family was in havoc. He is rooted in God. He has his Bible study.

    Listen, there's a peace. There's a strength. His children have come. His children have given their lives to Christ. He has as well. I'm telling you. There's a life of chaff but there's a life that is solid. There's a life that is rooted in God that no matter what moves around us, God calls us. Say yes, please.

    I would say that as God called him in the midst of that crowd, he calls you. This morning, he calls you and says, "You come and root yourself in me." There's a contrast but then there's a confrontation to our pursuit. In Verse 1, he says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the path of sinner nor sits in the seat of the scornful." The Psalmist asked hard questions. He asked what do you want your life to be in a year or two years and five years? When you look over the future of your life and you don't know how many years you have, but what do you want your life to be?

    If you are serious about pursuing God's abundant life for you, you're going to have to lower your engagement in certain activities, environments, relationships, habits. You are going to have to dramatically raise your commitment to what brings life to your soul. He's speaking of a pattern. You could say it this way. In everyone of our lives, you see but then you choose where you stop and you choose where you sit. He says, "Walk and stops and dwells." You see but you choose where you stop and you choose where you dwell.

    If you are serious with God, you will limit your exposure to activities, environments, relationships, habits that deaden your soul to his love, to his word, to his kingdom. Listen. Here's the truth in all of our lives. We all know that there are conversations, people, relationships, habits, environments, things we watch, hours we spend that cheapen and weaken our soul. That make God seem distant and silent and deaden our soul a little bit. In 30 years of ministry, we all walk. We walk through this life. We're on this earth but where you will stop and where you will sit is your choice. There's a choice.

    There's a confrontation. As pastors, we see this pattern. After grace and walking in grace and in God, you see this pattern in the use of pornography or substance abuse and cheating and fraud and adultery where you look and you stop. You sat and dwelled there. You watched on the internet the destructive sexual behaviors, illicit sex, bitterness, pride, unforgiveness, arrogance, anger, verbal or physical abuse in the home, carnal and wasted life. This sounds like legalism. It's not fear or legalism. It's feeding the light of God in you.

    No one had a greater revelation of grace and of the finished work of Christ than the Apostle Paul. He had the greatest revelation of what Christ did. He spoke over and over. His whole ministry was declaring the grace of God, the perfect work of Christ. Reminding every believer that because of the cross, when God looks at Jesus on the cross, he saw you. When we put our faith in him, when God looks at me, he sees Christ and his perfection and his finished work. Say yes. That's good news. But Paul will say, 1 Corinthians 11:20, all things are lawful, permitted and allowed but not all things are useful.

    Not all things will edify or build you up. Contribute to build you up or help you become stronger. If you come to the Springs Church for more than a week, you will know that our message here, the message of your pastor and of the teachers, the pastors of this church ... Christianity is not a set of rules and regulation that you have to obey with fear. Christianity is a relationship between human beings and God and God with us in faith and grace and love. Say yes, please.

    Paul teaches there are things in everyone of our lives, from the Psalmist to Paul to Peter to Jesus will teach us some things, choices in your life that will feed, build, develop that communion. There are things that deaden it, that cheapen it, that abort the kingdom desires of God, the counsel of the ungodly. He sees. He stands. He sits. The question of the Spirit today is where do you sit? What do you look at? Where do you sit? Where do you spend your hours? Where are your roots? What are you rooted in in your life for your life to bear fruit and not wither?

    Bear fruit in every season or for your life to be a chaff? Peter will teach it this way. In Second Peter, he'll use the Old Testament model of Lot and says, "Lot oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked tormented his soul everyday by dwelling among them. Those who walk according to the pursuits of their flesh and the lust of uncleanness, they are presumptuous and arrogant. Not afraid to speak evil and mock dignitaries." Here's the question. Do you allow activities, habits and relationships in your life to pollute your soul?

    The question of the Psalm is how much of your life do you waste watching, listening, chatting in the seat of the mockers? According to Time Magazine, the average American spends four and a half hours a day on social media, watching TV or downloading materials on the internet. Over a 65-year life span, that's nine years in front of the TV. Now Barna, in 2014, they surveyed Christians from 30 different denominations. 30 hours a week of watching this stuff, the average believer spends less according to Barna, average believer spends less than one hour a week on devotional pursuits outside of church attendance.

    There's a choice. There's a choice: what you look at, your perception, what you look at, what you feed your soul, what you look at and sit, what you sit in front of will greatly affect how you conduct yourself. What you see in God, how you live your life. Jesus taught on this powerfully. Matthew 6:23-24. He says, "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore, the light that is in you is darkness, how awful will be the darkness." It's an important spiritual dynamic. Your perception, what you look at will affect your behavior. You're not sure. Okay. Let me ask you a question.

    How many of you when you're driving in Colorado Springs or wherever, you're driving in Colorado. You realize there's a cop following you. You see a cop following you. How many of you it affects your driving? The rest of you, just as I am. Liars will come and be and repent. As a pastor in my city, we have week in and week out, between four and 5,000 people coming to church and planted church all around our city. I can't go anywhere in the city. I meet Christians from our church everywhere. I have to confess. It's good that pastors go in different cities to be able to confess their stuff in their own city.

    Recently, I was driving in my city. I was driving a bit nervous and just wanted to get there. I was on my way to a spiritual meeting. On my way, there was a lady in front of me. I could just see the white haired little granny. She's beautiful. She's signaling left, turning right, stopping and I just finally passed. I almost went like this. She goes, "Hi, Pastor Claude." Come on. If Colorado police assigned an officer every morning of your life starting tomorrow morning, you get out of your house. Good morning. Good morning. He's following you everywhere.

    How many of you would confess it would change your driving patterns? Say yes, please. You know why? Because you would begin to see the laws, boundaries, promises and freedom of the kingdom of Colorado according to how he sees them. Are you getting it? Some of you are only going to get it after lunch this afternoon. You're not getting God's perspective watching 50 episodes of Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy and watching a zillion episodes of Game of Thrones. When are you going to go to the throne? Go to God. Go to him where he begins to feed your mind, your heart.

    You plant yourself in deep waters and his truth, his promises, his perspective, who he is, what he's done before, what he will do for you. How he turns things around invades your soul. Say yes, please.

    The only way you could believe and stand strong and bless in blessedness through seasons where it says if you're going through an intermission, as if you don't understand. As if the curtains are closed and it's like, "I don't know what you're doing God." It is a very treacherous thing because as many of you, when you were younger believer, you were more avid in the word of God than you are now. As years go by and sometimes, disappointments or hurts or just a certain... And then many of us or all of us, our flesh, our nature. When we go through hard times, I just want to forget. I just want to...

    Many, many times, things that we're watching to relax are demonizing us. Even worse, they're blinding us. They're blinding us to what God is doing behind the scene. Many years ago, I was preaching in New York in Times Square Church. When I was going to preach, somebody told me that they were playing on Broadway "The Merchant of Venice." It's a Shakespeare, a great play. It speaks of racism and justice. It's a play I know. It was very rare. The actor playing the main role was Al Pacino right there. Al Pacino right there. Somebody helped me and we got some tickets. I brought the kids. We went there. It's so exciting.

    We were watching the play and Al Pacino's right there. There's the intermission in the middle. I went to the back and I said to the kids, "Did you want something to drink?" "Yes. I want a Coke." I went to the back and this is Manhattan. This is New York. I ordered Perrier, which is water. I ordered a sparkling water. The one Perrier was $26. This is Manhattan. I ordered one Perrier, four straws. We'll share. During that time, my son actually spilled $7 of Perrier on his knee. You know, we're talking. We're chatting. The curtains are closed. Nothing going on. The first act is so dark. Everything's dark. The décor, it's so dark.

    We were talking. There's nothing going on. We're just thinking we're going to start where they left. We're talking and the curtains are drawn. They go, "Okay. Second act." When the curtains open, behind the curtain while we're just going through our stuff, they changed everything. It was all luminous. I'm here to say to everyone of us or to you in particular that needs to hear it when you think the curtains are drawn, nothing is happening. There's nothing going on. I don't see what you're doing, God. He is working behind the scenes. His hands are in control of all things. Say yes, please.

    I need to make an inventory, a daily and a yearly inventory of my soul. Blessed is the man who walks, stands and sits not in a counsel of the ungodly. An inventory of our soul. Peter mentioned something that really touched me because it connects with something I went through two summers ago. He says, "Lot tormented his soul surrounding himself with people that were not afraid to speak evil and even to mock dignitaries." Two summers ago, I was sitting home watching tennis in my house. There was a rain delay. I'm just flipping through channels. There's a festival in Quebec called Just for Laughs.

    It's all standup comics. They come from all over the world. We also have tons of standup comics in Quebec. I never go to a standup show or anything like that. Most of it is filth. I was just watching and then a guy appeared. I was just flipping through a channel. I recognized him. I had heard him before do a shtick. It was funny but it was not unclean. He announced his topic. He said, "I want to talk about church and Jesus." I thought, "Huh. That's interesting." I just sat there and watched it. It's called Just for Laughs. There's 2,000 people. It's a live show. People are just screaming in laughter.

    I sat there petrified because the stuff coming out of his mouth, the mockery, the vileness of it, the demeaning of Christ. As he was doing it, my son walked up the stairs. I felt ashamed. I said, "Hey. Forgive me. This is filth. I shouldn't even be watching this." I remember building an altar in my room upstairs after that.

    Just shutting the door and kneeling and saying, "God, I'm in the ministry. I'm serving you. I love your word. Let me never lose that sensitivity. They're talking about you. You're my Savior. You're my lord. The mockers that just speak without fear and mocking what is pure. As a believer, we're not legalist with people I don't know, God. We take care of our own souls." Say yes, please. Years ago, I was preaching with Gary's dad. I was his interpreter in the city. Pastor David Wilkerson. He had preached an amazing message in the morning in a pastors' conference. 1,000 pastors there.

    When the altar time came, it was such a divine moment. It was just a one hour lunch between the sessions. In between the sessions, we went to eat with the organizing committee. They're all pastors. I'm saying this with shame. I'm saying this with sadness. We sat with a group of pastors there. They were the organizing committee. I'm not going to tell you which country. We sat there and as soon as we sat down, Brother Dave is there and I'm there. As soon as we sat down, the conversations were so... they were mocking and they were mocking church and they're putting down this church. Nothing about... we had just come out of the glory of God.

    They talk about anything and they're mocking. I'm sitting there. The menus are coming. We haven't even started. The menus are coming. Brother Dave stood up. He says, "Excuse me, brothers. I have to go. I'm sorry. I have to leave." He starts to walk away and I said, "I'm his interpreter. I'm going to go, too. I'm going with him." We walked away and he says, "Please tell them. I don't want to offend them. I don't want to hurt them. I don't want to appear high. I just don't want them to ruin my spirit. I don't want this to pollute my spirit." I want to say somebody to all of us. There's some tables we need to leave.

    There's some tables we need to leave as we pursue God. Say yes, please. There's a confrontation to this pursuit. There's a contrast and I close, there's a choice. Read verse 2 and 3. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord." His law, he meditates day and night and then he's like a tree planted by the rivers. He brings fruit in its season. His leaves shall never wither. This is the amazing. Whatsoever he does shall prosper. Now, you could go word for word into Hebrew and exegesis of the text. Literally, you could translate them in many ways.

    The best I believe truest way is whatever he goes through, God turns it into blessing. It's a testimony of life. He begins the Psalms with this and he ends the Psalms with this. He said, "If you're rooted in God, if you make your delight," and he's not talking about the law in terms of law versus grace. It's God's law. It's God's word. It's his principles. It's his plan. It's his kingdom. It's his purposes. It's his assembling manual. It's his owner's manual. It's his maker's warranty.

    It's his will, his passion, his absolute desire to teach us how day in and day out, we can live a life of substance, significance with a life of deep, deep roots. Now, Proverbs 4 says it this way. "My son, give attention to his words. Incline your ear to the law of the Lord. Do not let them depart from your eyes. Keep them at the center, at the core of your heart. For there are lives to those who find them. Keep your heart above all things with all diligence for out of your heart will spring all the issues of life." John Lennon sang "Imagine" and as I close, the Psalmist, literally calls out and says imagine.

    Imagine right here in the Springs Church, 2016, this summer. Imagine every believer renewing his heart and every family that comes to the Springs Church and thousands by through the internet and will watch this message. That would choose to dwell, that would choose to cut off any environment. Not legalism. I'm going to cut off environments, habits, relationships, viewing things, hours that deaden my soul. That make God feel distant and just so far from me. Imagine every couple that would have every men, I speak to men, as the priest of your home if you're married.

    Every couple that would go beyond, that would reach beyond the uneasiness or I'm shy. I'm embarrassed. We were never really able to do that. To say, "No. We're going to spend one evening a week spending time in the word together or praying together." By the same survey that Barna had, over 80% of Christian couples that never prayed together except in church or in moments of tragedy. "Oh, God. Spare my son." Imagine every young person walking in grace saying, "God, I want to feed my soul. I want to be rooted in you." Imagine every family with their children. Imagine every single person.

    Imagine every one of us, whatever season we go through, rooted in God every day. Day and night doesn't mean that you're stopping everything else and all you're doing is repeating verses. It just means it's a part of your life. You're feeding your heart. You're feeding your soul. Imagine God renewing, giving you fresh fruit. Imagine God bringing life back to what has been withered in you. Just a forever work of the Spirit of God, a sense of blessedness. Imagine you when the curtains are drawn, "God, what are you doing?" You are going to him.

    He brings his perspective and his peace and the fears subsides. He turns the woes into worship and the pit into praise. He brings it to a place of confidence. God will see me through this. Imagine the magnate of believers in these troubled days. In these troubled times, we don't need more pundants. We don't need more opinions. We need men and women that will shine with a strength that is beyond what everybody else is experiencing. With a courage and with a grace and with a sense of God deeply rooted. Enough chaff. I want my life to bear fruit. Say yes, please. Say yes, please.

    I'm going to ask the musicians to come. We're going through seasons in our nations. I'm not making light of it. Europe is very close. I go to Europe many times a year. In the last year or so, when you saw the terrorist act at the theater in Paris, the Bataclan, 80 died. They were killing people and the blood bath that was there. I preached in that theater with the grace of God a year before. 2,000 Christians there. I preached there for three nights.

    The very place where we preached, the very rooms where we prayed together, the very altars where we lifted our voices were covered with the bodies of people that had been assassinated. You saw in Nice last week on the prom, the Promenade in Nice and when you saw the truck that's mowing people down, I preached there. We did outdoor meetings there. All around us, things are being shaken. When you look at history and everything, the dark things that happen through history, we oftentimes forget that there's always a people of God that were there.

    That stood in the midst and we're sin abound and their grace much more abounded. When darkness was at its worst, their light shone so bright. The people that are different, I'm not taking any political position in your election or anything like that. I'm saying believers are to stand. We have traveled the world and seen and even in post genocide countries, countries that had been through genocides. I'm not going to name the African country because some of the leaders are still very, very involved. I've been to Rwanda. I've been to Burundi and many countries.

    In one African country I was in, it was just months before that they had a genocide with over 250,000 people were struck down. We looked at our nation. We say there's so much division. This was a nation where one tribe historically, over hundreds of years and the other, the division is such that in cyclical ways, demonic inspiration comes. They literally butchered hundreds and thousands of people. I was there preaching at a pastors' conference. 4,000 pastors there. On the way back, we stopped. I think it's Number 21 in the PowerPoint. We stopped and they have these memorials all over.

    I'm there with a brother from New York at Times Square Church and the other one is a pastor from the country who told us that the memorial sites were all over the country. Everywhere it says, "Never again." Plus jamais ça. Never again. On that particular site, we stood there. On that particular site was a gas station where when the genocide started, the soldiers that were killing took control of the air waves. They were telling everybody on the radio, "Go kill them. They're over there. They're over there." On that site, there was this school teacher, if you can imagine.

    Primary school teacher to call the kids on a bus say that the tribe was under attack. They didn't know. They're just boys and girls. Took them on the bus. Took them to the gas station. Soaked them in gas and set them on fire. The kids are under our feet on that shot. It's all over the nation. The next shot is a pastor that was interpreting for me and I'm not going to mention his name but he actually told me that while the genocide was taking place, the darkness is so heavy. He was in his house. They were cut off from any help. They were coming through the town with machetes and killing house to house to house.

    He says, "Some of these boys, I knew. I knew them when they were boys." He's been a pastor there for years. I knew them when they were boys. They came into his house. He's holding his wife's hand. She's seven months pregnant. They came with their machetes. He knelt down, him and his wife holding hands and they started praying. Saying, "Oh, God. Forgive them for they know not. Holy Spirit, speak to their hearts." Thinking this would be his last words. He's like Stephen in the Book of Acts. As he's doing it, they actually shot and sliced his wife. As they did it, he continues praying.

    They in an inexplicable way, they started backing off as if they were scared. They ran out. Took his wife to, it wasn't even a hospital, it just a doctor he knew and helped. She survived and the baby survived miraculously and both healthy. This pastor told me the months after the genocide where the government was literally requisitioning some buildings to put the dead bodies. They put in front of his church plastics. People would come into church with dead bodies piled up. The grief was so intense. I preached in that church where thousands of pastors were there.

    On the wall, they had a mural with a verse from Hosea where it says, "I will take you out of the valley of tears. I will open up for you a door of hope." I said, "Where did you put that up?" He says, "We put that up when we started coming to church and they had requisitioned buildings that were ours and they were piling the bodies." Some of the people would walk in, recognize bodies there. There's a level of hurt. I was there a few years after the genocide. Here are the pastors. I'm telling you, some of you that are troubled. There's a joy. There was a peace. In one of the services, the pastor interpreted me.

    Next service, a young man came up and I said, "Who is that?" He said, "That's my son. He was in my wife's womb when they came in. He's the son of reconciliation. He's the son of feast." I was watching him with the band, with young people his own age, of the different tribes. There is a light. There is a peace. There is a substance. There is a strength. There is a grace. There is a love that God wants to infuse to his people that would be rooted in him no matter what they go through. God will turn it towards fruit, his glory. We want to be that people today.

    Would you stand and give God an ovation? Say, God, we want to be that people today. Would you stand and give God an ovation today? We want to be that people. Come on. Come on. Give him a standing ovation. We want to be your people. I felt a special call this morning if you would allow me. Maybe it's 10 minutes more than usual. I don't know. Before the whirlwind of life takes us out, we go back, we take a moment, a solemn moment this morning, middle of summer. I had this picture in my mind when I was praying for this service of the whole church coming together. We're in one service now so we're all together.

    I know many are on vacation. Could I ask you this favor? I'm going to ask the worship band to lead the song "Forever" because we are standing with the forever God. He's forever. He's forever. We are rooted in him. Would you please just for a moment, just stop everything and just bow your head for a moment. If you're here today and you say I'm coming to this altar with you. My God, I want to have that fruit in my life. In this season, it might be the nations but might be in your heart, in your life, in your marriage, with your kids, with your sons or grandsons.

    Broken relationship and you've been through a divorce or you're single, no matter what you are going through. You say, God, in this season, I want to be planted deep in you. I want my roots to be in you. I want my fruit. I want to bear fruit for you in this season. To have the courage just throwing away the masks and to say, "God, there's something that's withered in me. I'm bringing it to you." Oh, God. Restore my worship. Restore life to my worship. Restore life to my prayer.

    Restore life, oh, God to my love and my patience and my kindness and my zeal and my courage to speak and witness for you. There was a day where I would speak for you. It was a day where I would call on you. There was a day where I would give extravagantly. I would just give because the need was so great. I knew God would bless and use me. Oh, God, if anything is withered in me, I'm giving it to you today. Come and renew me fruit in this season. No legalism. No laws. No dos and don'ts but a deep sense of love and wanting to please him and wanting to bear fruit in him. God, there's some things in my life I need to cut off.

    I've been sitting. I've been seeing, sitting, stopping in places and things. Lord, I want to release it to you today. I want to be planted in you today. I am choosing even when I'm going through what I'm going through now, I am choosing to delight in you. In your promises, in your law, in your grace, in your kingdom, in what you have prepared, in your plan for my life. In these days, we will be your church. We will shine. In these days, we want to be your people. God, put a guard on my lips, my mind.

    No matter what opinions I might have, myself, my culture, my background, God, only the body of Christ can bring true unity and divisions in this nation. Father God, let us not speak with our roots in anything else, anyone else but you and you alone. Your word, your heart, your purposes. We declare today with confidence with the Psalmist, I will walk in this blessedness. No matter what I go through, God will turn it. God will transform it. God will redeem it. God will use it for his glory, his purposes. I will say with the Psalmist anything I went through, God turned it for his glory in Jesus' name.

    Here's the call this morning. Can I ask you this favor? Can I ask the whole church to come forward? Would you all come? Everybody, would you just come right now? Everybody come. I had this picture of all of us coming together. Would you come? As the musicians lead us for singing the forever-ness of God, we sing hallelujah. You need to come and say, "God, here I come." Would you come? Everybody, families coming together, husband and wife grabbing each other's hand. Friends, teenagers, young adults, moms, dads, you're coming together. Coming together. Come on. Come on, church. We come together. They're going to lead us into song and we're going to sing together.

    Even before we sing and we sing the forever-ness of God, men with men and women with women unless it's husbands and wives or friends, of course. Would you put your hand on someone next to you and just pray for one another. The body of Christ, of the Springs Church, we want to shine in this hour. We want to be rooted in you. We want to bear fruit in this season in our lives, in our church history's lives, in my life, in my heart, in my family, in this city, in this state, in this year of election, in this year of turmoil. Oh, God. We want to bear.

    Even before we sing, would you begin to pray for one another. Acts Chapter 4. They lifted their voices together. The place where they were assembled was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit again. Would you pray for the person next to you. Lift your voices. Let me hear the voices of the redeemed. Oh, God. We're planted in you.

    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the path of a sinner nor sits in the seat of the scornful. Our delight is in the law of the Lord. We will meditate and live by it day and night. We shall be like trees planted by the rivers of water.

    We will bring forth fruit in this season. Whatsoever we go through, we will bear fruit. Our leaves will not wither. Our worship will not wither. Our prayer, our courage, our faith, our confidence in you will not wither. Whatever we go through, you will turn it into your glory. God, use us. Let us be your people for such a time as this. In this hour, in our lives, in our state, in our city, in our nation, in the nations of the world but also in our own homes with our children and our families. In this generation, in the name of Jesus. All of God's people shout amen and amen and amen.

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  • How to Worship When I Am Afraid

     

    Tim Dilena

    Date Preached: 
    March 15, 2020

    Fear is something we all experience but with the current pandemic, it's taking over hearts. And when we fear, we take our eyes off of God. When fear is felt, it is an indicator that we are focusing on the wrong thing—the big waves and mounting trials. Ultimately, it's really a faith issue, and ultimately, a God issue. In this powerful sermon, Tim Dilena reminds us of God's character that warrants our worship and faith.

    Father, we thank you that you are our strength. You are our hope. You are, Lord God, everything we need in this time. Though our country is facing an unprecedented time, ground that we've never been on before, I thank you that nothing takes you by surprise, oh God. There is nothing that is, that your arm is too short to extend mercy, kindness, salvation, and even as Ivory sang, amazing grace can be extended to our country and to countries abroad.

    We pray, Lord God, that you would begin just to guide us today. May the Holy Spirit just continue to lift up, Lord God, the people that are affected and infected with this, affected with fear and infected with the virus, but most of all let them turn their eyes upon Jesus who is the healer, the sustainer, and is our hope. Holy Spirit, be with us in these next few moments. Let the word of God begin to come and challenge and change us today. Let the word of God begin to go way down deep, that Lord, when things seem to be forgotten in the midst of fear, let us never forget God is with us. God is with us, and we thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen. Hallelujah.

    Well, once again, all the way from Times Square Church right in the heart of Manhattan, we want to welcome you to our live service here. Though the building is empty, these amazing volunteers have come today to encourage and to bring hope by focusing on Jesus today, I've heard for many years in the church that the Bible says these words, "Fear not" 365 times. That means it says I don't have to fear, think about this, one time for every day of the year. Fear not 365 times in the Bible. How awesome is that for us for what we're facing today?

    But it's interesting. In 30 years of preaching, I have said this, but I've said it without checking it out. I've said, "Fear not" is their 365 times. And I thought, "What an amazing thought." So I decided to investigate it myself to see if it is actually there 365 time. Well, here's the real story. Really depending upon the kind of version of the Bible that you have, it doesn't say it 365 times. In fact, it's not even close to saying it 365 times. In fact, based upon the version that you may have, it may be even less than a hundred times in the Bible. But it doesn't really matter, and I want you to listen real closely because here's the fact. If it was only in the Bible once, that's all we need to hear it so we would never fear again.

    Why? Because with God, once said is enough said. If he says "Fear not" once, I don't need it 365 times. How come? If our God who cannot lie said it once, that's it. Because God says, "Fear not" over a hundred times, boy, what an encouragement to every single one of us. I believe and don't need it 364 times. I just need to know God said it once and that becomes enough for me.

    See, our country and even our planet is faced with a pandemic right now with this virus, with the coronavirus. People are afraid. Not only is the MLB and NFL, the NHL, the NBA suspending seasons, colleges are canceling classes and telling students not to come back even to the fall, from Broadway to literally entire countries that are on lockdown today, and many of it being done to be proactive. None of it's being done without fear that's being instilled in many people's hearts.

    And here's the fact: people are afraid and are afraid everywhere. Even when I was flying in and coming into New York City yesterday, the person that I sat next to, they scrubbed down that seat, they scrubbed down the armrest, they scrubbed down the tray table, and I thought I was going to be next that they were going to begin to scrub down at that point because of fear. They are doing everything they can to take precautionary measures. See, the disposition of a Christian and everyone else should be different because we have a God who told us at least once, we don't have to fear.

    In fact, I love the story of the woman who was on a plane en route from Boston to Los Angeles, and after being airborne and hitting really bad weather for almost the entire trip, everybody on board was panicking because of the tossing and the jostling of the plane, worrying of whether they were actually going to begin to reach Boston. In fact, everyone was concerned for their safety except one old senior citizen who knitted a sweater the entire time on this transcontinental flight.

    People would yell at the number of drops from the turbulence, but she just kept on knitting. And one of the passengers noticed that it seemed never to bother this old lady. So finally somebody when it hit just a little bit of a moment of some clean and clear air, someone went over to this old woman who was knitting again at the time and said, "Why aren't you bothered? Why don't you seem to be fearful while all of us are fearful of this plane and hoping we're going to make it in safety?" Here's were her words. "Young man, I am on my way to visit my son in Boston, but I used to have another son who was a Christian and died not too long ago and went to heaven. So before this day is done, one thing I know. I will see one of them and it doesn't matter which one of them I will begin to visit." That means that woman does not fear and if there's ever a disposition we need as the body of Christ and as Christians, it's really not to have that kind of fear.

    I'm so grateful for our President and I'm so grateful for Washington, DC that called a National Day of Prayer. I'm grateful that our nation and churches all around the country are beginning to pray. That first National Day of Prayer was called by our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, and he said these words when he called the very first National Day of Prayer. Listen to what he said. He said, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." That's exactly what's happening today. We are under a conviction that we have nowhere else to go, but to God himself.

    So that's why we're believing today that through the worship, through the word, and through our service and the services that are being simulcasted all over the country and all over the world, that you're going to be inspired to realize, there's nowhere else to go, but to our knees and calling upon God. Not only are colleges and Broadway and sporting events shutting down, but churches all over America and around the world have had to shut down because of rules that says no more than 250, no more than 500 could meet. But here's the question. Can we with an empty theater right here on Broadway with many of you having not even being able to go to church today, are we still able to worship with fear even all around us?

    I want to teach you something today at the end of these few words on how to worship when fear tries to come and take over our hearts. I want to teach you, in fact, we're going to close worshiping with this brand new way that is going to inspire and challenge your heart today. Let me just say a few things I want you to write down because I want to challenge you as we begin to weather the storm through this that I think it will be important for us.

    Number one I began to realize is this. Fear is a revelation. What do you mean? When we are afraid, it's showing something about us. See, fear makes us focus on the wrong thing. Let me read to you a passage from Matthew 8 where there is fear but there is and there is focus but there is focus on the wrong thing. This is Jesus and his disciples that are about to hit a storm, and their focus is forgetting who is with them and seeing the situation on the outside. Listen to this from Matthew 8:23. "When he," Jesus, "got into the boat, his disciples followed him, and behold there arose a great storm on the sea so that the boat was being covered with the waves, but Jesus himself was asleep." In fact, one version says that a storm came up, that the waves were higher than even the boat itself, which we many of us feel like today.

    It goes on to say in verse 25, "And they came to him and woke him, saying, 'Save us, Lord. We are perishing.' And he said to them," listen to these words, "'Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?' Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm, and the men were amazed and said, 'What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?'" One version says the storm came without warning.

    It almost seemed like these disciples who were with Jesus, going with Jesus comes without warning, comes up suddenly almost like a pop quiz for them, those pop quizzes that many of us experienced even when we were in school were really revelations about us. Not the teacher, not the material, but about us. If we knew the material, if we knew the stuff, and if we were keeping up with what we were being told and what we were being taught from pulpits and from lecterns and from even from professors all around the country. Think about this. I hated pop quizzes growing up. I was one of those guys if I knew there was a midterm and a final, I could prepare for that, but when it was a pop quiz, it meant that I needed to keep up. I needed to know what was happening.

    See, Christianity doesn't work on a midterm and on a final, but usually it's pop quizzes that seem to show up suddenly during lots of suddenlies that begin to come from without and without warning because stuff happens and these disciples were not prepared for this storm just like many Christians who are walking in fear today. But here comes the revelation. It's in verse 26 because the revelation is this. Jesus was telling them this is not a fear issue, but it's a faith issue. It's not the thing that's the problem that's causing the fear, the waves, but it's the little faith in the midst of the waves that is beginning to affect you. Listen to this closely. Let me say this again. It wasn't big waves, but little faith that caused the fear. It wasn't big waves, but little faith that begin to put fear inside of the people that shouldn't have been fearful.

    Here's a note. When you have big waves and little faith, you're going to have a fear problem, but if you have big waves and big faith, then you know God's got this for all of us, and that's where God wants to begin to come and help us. So when we're in a turbulent moment, whether it's on a plane or a boat in Matthew 8, it could even be a cruise ship that can't even find a place to dock around the world, don't bind fear. We just need to get faith increased inside of our hearts. That's what God is beginning to ask us to do.

    Think of the perplexity, think of the fear that came on the faces of those disciples not knowing what's going to happen in the next few moments. I have a friend that even faced that. His fear began to bring this look upon him that he didn't know what was going to happen with his job, with ministry, with everything that was getting ready to take place in his life, and he wrote to me this and said these words. He says, "My wife and I were meeting in a meeting here right here in New York City, and I was hoping," these are his words, "that the meeting would go differently. After while my wife and I were walking to Whole Foods right in midtown Manhattan," he said, "there was fear all over us.

    "And as we're walking, there was a lady begging for money, and I guess my face said it all and said a lot of the fear and I was thinking about the scary future because of what would happen to me just in the meeting, just literally minutes before, and this woman who is homeless begging for money with a cardboard sign literally looked at me and yelled, 'Fix your face. God is good.' I knew at that point I was just rebuked by a homeless woman and realized I can fix my face because God is good, and because God is good, not only should our faces be fixed, but our faith should be full that God can help us through every storm and wave that we begin to affect."

    Fear is a revelation. It makes, it reminds us that are we focusing on the right thing? But here's the second thing. Fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says this: "God has not given you and me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind." Think of that again. When fear comes, it removes those three elements that are so important that we need every single day. We need power, we need love, and we need a sound mind to walk every day, to walk through this crisis that's happening, to walk through this pandemic. I need power, I need love, and I need a sound mind. But what's interesting is when fear comes, it removes those three things. It removes power, removes love, and sound mind.

    Think what's the opposite that happens because I believe fear when it infects us, it takes those three things away. Think about it. What's the opposite of power? But it would be weakness. What's the opposite of love? Listen. Not hatred. It's selfishness. That's the opposite of love. When I'm fearful, I'm weak. When I'm fearful, I'm selfish. And think about this. What's the opposite of a sound mind? But it's crazy thoughts, crazy narratives that begin to come and begin to infect us. That's the opposite of power, love, and a sound mind that we're always facing and we're always dealing with.

    I had somebody a few years ago that was coming to our church that was located in a very, very dangerous area of Detroit, and as they were coming for the very first time, invited them to come, they were looking for a place to park, and because the area was dangerous where the church was, they said fear started to strike them. They saw people on the streets and places that they knew that they'd have to walk a long way, and thought to themselves this fear that was there and the fear that came over them, they literally kept their car going and took off and went back home.

    And then they asked me this question. They said, "Do you think God was telling me and warning me that it was too dangerous for me to park and walk those two blocks to the church?" Think about what you just said. Was fear, was the fear and the concern that I had, was that God warning through fear, through fear that I wasn't supposed to go to church and I wasn't supposed to park there and I wasn't supposed to walk those blocks? And my words to her were this: "Fear is never the language that God communicates with." God does not communicate in fear. If fear is not of God, 2 Timothy 1:7, then why would God choose a method of communication to begin to bring warning to our life?

    God will speak to us from this pulpit through Pastor Carter, Pastor Patrick, Pastor David. He will speak through wisdom of people, the elders. He will speak through the Holy Spirit. He'll speak through a sermon. He'll speak through the word of God, but listen to me close, beloved, he will never speak through fear. That is not a language of God. God begins to communicate with his people as a father begins to communicate. Fear is a good indication that what is being spoken to you is not true. In fact, many times it's the complete opposite of what God is trying to communicate and reminds us that this is not even God.

    Jesus, went after the root of the issue, the root of fear was not the impossible situation needed to be fixed, but it was their faith. It was something internal, not external that God was going after. That's what Jesus always rebukes. As people were trying to, as people could try to fix waves and fix a virus, to try to fix an economy, and to try to fix Wall Street, God goes, "I want to fix your faith. I want to fix your focus on me. I want to fix what's happening in you."

    Let me read just a few of these verses from a paraphrase of this passage. Listen to verse 25 of Matthew eight. "The disciples woke him up saying, 'Save us, Lord. We're going to die.' But Jesus reprimanded him. 'Why are you gripped with fear?' He says, 'Where is your faith?' Then he stood up, rebuked the storm and the sea. 'Be still,' and instantly became perfectly calm." And then listen to verse 27. "The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, 'Who is this man?'" It seemed that Jesus was trying to fix them before he fixed the sea. Jesus was trying to fix the "Who is this man" inside of them. The disciples who have traveled with Jesus, seeing the miracles of Jesus, heard Jesus, are still asking the question, "Who is this man?" Could we actually be sitting in the sanctuary singing the songs off a screen in our churches across this country and still asking the question, "Who is this man that we're singing about?" Think about that.

    Because when fear strikes us, then usually we're not understanding who the person that we're actually singing about and worshiping. Who is this man and they're speaking to the man that's right in front of them. See, faith that God was going after, that Jesus was going after in this passage, faith doesn't rest simply upon promises and the words that are spoken, but rests upon the character of the one making the promises. See, big promises with low character really causes us to have no faith. If we don't know the character of the one that is speaking, then really our faith begins to get lower and lower and lower.

    A promise is never better—think about this—a promise from a person is never better or worse than the character of the one who's making it. A believer's faith can never rise higher, and listen, listen to me close, a believer's faith can never rise higher than who he sees God to be. And if we're sitting here singing songs that we're going to see a victory, then the blood shall never lose its power. And if these are songs that we actually believe, that these are words we actually believe, because we believe in the character of God, then our faith begins to rise up with that. An inadequate view of God has to result in weak faith because faith depends upon the character of God, and that's why this is so important.

    So listen to me close. Listen to me close. If I have a fear issue, remember, fear is a revelation, it reveals to me that I'm focusing in on the wrong thing. I'm seeing waves, that I'm not seeing the man that's in my boat, which is Jesus, and if I know fear is not from God, this is so important, if I have a fear issue, fear of flying, fear of a virus, fear of death, fear that begins to just, that I'm going to be single, fear of failure, whatever that may be. If I have a fear issue, then according to Jesus I have a faith issue. This is what Jesus is saying. "Why are you fearful, you of little faith?" He's connecting those two. Let me say this again. If I have a fear issue, then I have a faith issue.

    And here it is. And if I have a faith issue, then I have a God issue. This is what's so important because my faith is connected to how great I see God, and if my belief that God is great, it not only begins to increase my faith, it begins to dissolve my fear. This, listen to me close. If I have a fear issue, Jesus says, Matthew 8, it's because I have a faith issue, and if I have a faith issue, the disciples kind of revealed what it's there for and they said it's because I don't even know who this man is that's on our boat, if I have a fear issue, I have a faith issue. If I have a faith issue, I have a God issue.

    But if I see God for who He actually is, my faith begins to rise with how I see God, and then my fears begin to dissolve at the same time. As faith begins to rise, fear begins to start dissolving. See, the goal is not to fix our situation because we can't. There is no one in this place. There's not a church in America that can fix what is happening around this pandemic around the world, but we can keep our focus on God at this moment and say, "God, we trust you in the midst of this." So how great is your God? How great is your God? And that's really the question.

    So let me close with this because I want to teach you. I want to teach you a new way to worship. I want to teach you a way to remind you how great God is. Because if there's fear, then there's a faith issue, and if it's a faith issue, then I've missed how great God is. And I want to remind us. I want to go all the way to the beginning that says, let me show you how great God is. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet tells us that fear was beginning to fill the land. And Isaiah the prophet, knowing that the kings, that the men that were stepping into power, that so many of them were corrupt, the people didn't know what to do, backsliding was taking place in their nation. They were being faced with even outside enemies from the Assyrians and the Babylonians coming in and the people were starting to fear.

    And then in Isaiah chapter 40 he teaches us how to deal with this fear issue. Remember, if it's a fear issue, it's a faith issue, and if it's a faith issue, it is a God issue that we're not seeing God for who he is. And what Isaiah 40 does, he begins to deal with this fear issue. Let me read this to you. This is Isaiah 40:9. He says, "Lift up your voice with a shout. Lift it up." Here are the words. "And don't be afraid or fear not, Oh Israel and say to Judah," listen to this, "Here is your God." Did you see what just happened? He says, "I want you to say this loudly. For those that fear, here is your God." This is who he is. This is what he looks like, and what Isaiah does, friend, in the next 20 to 25 verses is he begins to unpack the greatness of God.

    He says, "Are you afraid? Here's your God. Are you in trouble? Here's your God. You don't know what tomorrow holds? Here is your God." What he was saying is if you don't know what the future holds, what the next weeks holds for you, businessman, for you, pastor, for you, church, for whoever you are, if we don't know what happens with our job at a college university because it seems to be shutting down, I want to just give you some hope today. Here is your God.

    And this is what Isaiah does. Listen to what he unpacks and we'll just do one of these and find a way to worship when fear wants to begin to control us. Listen to this. That was verse nine. Let me read just a couple verses. "See the sovereign Lord comes with power. He rules with a mighty arm. See his reward is with him and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young," verse 12, "who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens, who is held the dust of the earth in a basket and weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in the balance." And then from verse 13 down, he goes through constantly, over and over again, how great God is, how great God is, how impressive God is. Remember what he says in verse nine. "Do not fear. Here is your God. Do not be afraid. Here is your God."

    In fact, can I just show you one of those phrases or two of those phrases to show how impressive your God is and why you don't have to fear for what's ahead for us? In Isaiah 40:12, listen to these words again. "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hands and marked off the heavens by the span of his hand." Listen to those words again, verse 12. It says, "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens by the span of his hand."

    I want to close by giving you a reminder in worship on how impressive your God is today and why you don't have to fear. Let's just take the first one. He says, "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand." Okay. Listen for just a moment. Do you know two thirds of this planet that is facing this pandemic? Two thirds of this planet is covered with water. Two thirds. Some places, the water goes eight miles deep. The total volume of water on planet Earth according to scientists listen, is incalculable. Incalculable. Even if you can compute it in gallons, they say that the number is too large to even express.

    So let's realize how impressive God is, and this is what it says. Listen to these words. He says your God has measured that water, you ready for this, in the hollow of his hands? Do you know what to the Jew the hollow was? It's when you put your hand like this. That little crevice in your hand is called the hollow of your hand. You know how big God is? He takes the incalculable number of water on planet Earth and your God says, "I hold it like this. I hold it here." So the next time you lift your hands up and you look and see that little hollow in your hand, you go, "I've got a big God. He holds all of this together. This is the God that I ... so the next time Greg Thomas or Ivory are leading us in worship and you lift those hands up and you open up your eyes and see those little hollows, you go, "My little hollow means nothing, but God can begin to take numbers that doesn't even exist. He can hold it all together. That's how impressive God is.

    Hey, let's do one more. You ready for this? New way to worship. That means when I'm lifting those hands, I'm reminded. It says this. "And with the breadth of his hands," stay with the hands, "And with the breadth of his hands, he has marked off the universe." Okay, get ready, now. There is no instrument that can calculate the distance across our present universe. There is none. We try to send a Hubble telescope, we'll try to send all. We can't even calculate from the distance of our universe, from one end to the other. The nearest, listen to this now, the nearest star, the nearest star other than the sun is four and a half light years away. How far is that? If light travels at 186,000 miles per second, that means the nearest star, get ready for this, is 26 trillion miles away.

    Get ready, now. When a Jew talks about the span of his hand, he is talking about from the top of the pinky to the tip of his thumb. That's the span of his hand. Get ready, now. He holds all the water on planet earth in the hollow. He says, but when I'm about to measure your universe that you can't even calculate, that your nearest star is 26 trillion miles away, you have a God that says, "I measure. I'm so big, I measure the universe from the tip of my pinky to the tip of my thumb," and we actually think that God is that big. I'm telling you, he is that big. He is a God that goes, "I hold it here. I've got it here." Which means that as Greg and the team come back to those instruments right now, when they lead us as we're getting ready to close in a song and you lift your hands up, you go, the span of his hand says the universe is small. The hollow of his hand says that the water of our planet can even fit into the hollow of his hand.

    So when the enemy comes in like a flood, Christians, do the hollow and the span. When the enemy comes in like a flood with fear, maybe you need to do both. Maybe you need to just worship like this once in a while and realize he's got it all together. When I lift my hands and fear comes in, the span and the hollow, say what am I afraid of? God is bigger than anything thrown at me. What if someone coughs on the plane? Hollow and the span. What if someone wants to shake my hand and not do the foot kick? The hollow and the span. What if I have a fever today? The hollow and the span. Our God is greater. Our God is greater, and my word to you is if someone has flu symptoms, even if you test positive for the coronavirus, I want you to listen to me close. God is bigger than a virus. God is bigger than a pandemic.

    If he's bigger than the oceans, if he's bigger than the universe, corona ... let me just tell you something. They're talking about the crown that goes on this protein and all that stuff. There is a crown that says he is the King of Kings, he is the Lord of Lords, and he is able to overcome every single one of these things.

    We're going to get ready to close in worship as Greg Thomas and Ivory get ready to come. I want us to go back to this song. We're going to see a victory. We're going to see a victory, and I just want to encourage you today as we get ready to close, as we get ready to believe that no matter what happens, no matter what begins to take place, we don't know what tomorrow holds. We don't know what the next few weeks hold. We don't know what the next month holds. Some of you students are out of college. There's some students listening around the country that are out of high school, right now out of elementary school. Parents and thinking, "What am I going to do? I have a job. What am I going to do? I'm going to have kids at home. I can't even afford daycare. What am I going to do?" There's a hollow and there's a span.

    God is able. Because the fear wants to come in, that fear wants to come, and we want to believe today that as we sing this last song, maybe you're at home, maybe you're sitting in your car, maybe you're outside, wherever you're at, you're watching on a phone or on a laptop or on a TV, as we sing this song, would you lift your hands and just go, "The span of the hand. You've got the universe. You've got this, God, and you've got me, God." Lord, we're going to see a victory. And maybe you're going to worship with the hollow of the hand today. Your hands are up and you're going to go, "If you have all the water on this planet, trust me, God, I know you've got me. You've got me protected here."

    I want to pray for you. I want to ask God's protection upon you. I want to ask no more fear. No more fear. Fear is a revelation. It tells me that I'm focusing in on the wrong thing, so today we're going to focus on the right thing. Fear doesn't come from God. It's not a language he communicates with. And when we realize that when I have a fear issue, it's a faith issue and when I have a faith issue, it's a God issue. And Isaiah chapter 40 tells us, "Here is your God." You don't have to fear anymore. And that's just one verse. There's over 20 more verses that talk to you about how big your God is.

    Would you close your eyes and bow your head just before we sing and let me pray for you? Father, I thank you that you are a father. You need to reveal that to some that are listening today. Show people the greatness of God today, the span and the hollow, that God, you have it all together. Father, I'm grateful that you're going to give our leadership wisdom, from Washington, DC to New York City and around the globe and around the country. But I'm also thankful, Lord God, that we can't do this without you. We need you, Lord.

    God, if our hope is in man, we're going to have fear, but if our hope and trust is in God, then we are going to see a victory. We are going to see a victory. Our hope is in God, and we say as we sing this song, we say along with Isaiah, shout it, shout it, "Here is your God." We do what Isaiah 49 says. "Do not be afraid. Here is your God." And so, Father, today as we get ready just to sing and worship, I pray let God become bigger. As God becomes bigger, increase our faith and let the fear begin to leave us today.

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  • The Healing of the Home

     

    David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

    Date Preached: 
    November 20, 2019

    Although it may seem impossible to come back from certain marital hurts, God can heal what is broken but it will require intentional work. In this honest and transparent teaching, David Wilkerson speaks to those marriages needing a special touch from God and shares five steps on how to bring healing to your home.

    David Wilkerson: Every head bowed please. I speak to you tonight on the subject The Healing of The Home. Heavenly Father, never have we lived at a time like this, the ends of the world coming apart. We begin to rejoice as we look up and see our dear redemption drawing nigh. Lord, our homes are falling apart, millions being divorced. Millions of children living in broken homes. Never has this message has been so desperately needed. Oh God, give me the courage, the anointing, and the unction of heaven. Speak loud and clear to our hearts, that no one leave this building tonight without being met solidly straight on by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I pray in Christ's name, amen. The Healing of The Home. I'll never forget as long as I live a visit in our home by a well-known country western singer. In fact, she has two songs in the top 20 right now. And this young lady's a beautiful young Christian, but prior to her conversion, she'd been divorced two times. Since coming to Christ, she'd found a very fine young man who was anticipating getting married.

    David Wilkerson: I think she may have been a little apprehensive about it, and I'll never forget what she said to my wife and I sitting in our living room. She said, "The thing that bothers me, of all my acquaintances, I don't know of one happy marriage. I don't know anyone who's happily married." And that shocked me because she attended a "Full Gospel" church. An evangelical Full Gospel Church and her Pastor happened to be a friend of mine. Over 300 members, I was told, in the church. I said, "Well, what about the deacons? Surely you've got some well-adjusted happily married deacons in your church." She said, "I can't think of one." She said, "They almost all have been divorced at least once." She said, "One family's been divorced five times. One Deacon." I said, "What about the pastor? Surely your Pastor has the example for you." She said, "Haven't you heard? They've separated and filed for divorce." And since that time, that Pastor has been divorced. I said, "Would you please then meet your first happily married couple?"

    David Wilkerson: She said, "Well, Mr. Wilkerson, you're not like the rest of us. You live in a different world. We're out there in the front lines of this world, and it's life and making a living and you don't face the same pressures." And I made a confession to her that I'm about to make this evening later on in this service why or how my wife and I just about did not make it. What I speak to you tonight about has been very well tested, I'm just not talking theory. My wife and I have been through it, and I want to share it with you tonight before the service is over. I remember being in Chicago number of years ago for one of these all-night talk shows. Five or six guests. H. L. Hunt was one of them, this is before he died. I was one of I think five guests. It was an NBC show, if I recall, and one of the guests was a well-known comedian who had been divorced 10 times.

    David Wilkerson: He was getting married for the 11th time, and his bride-to-be was waiting in the little greenroom listening on the monitor. It started about 11 o'clock, it would last till 4:30 in the morning. For the first two hours of that all-night talk show, I listened to the worst filth and garbage I've ever heard in my life. I listened as a comedian mocked his 10 former marriages. And what he was saying, "Well, I've tried it 10 times, and it didn't work. I'm going to try it again. I got another girl on the line. If it doesn't work, there's a million more where she came from." Or words to that effect. And I thought to myself, "That poor girl sitting in the back room listening to that, she probably loves him. And even though she's the 11th, one she thinks she can make it work." I've never felt so sorry for anyone is I did for that young lady listening to that man put her on the spot.

    David Wilkerson: For two hours, the host to this show and everybody but Mr. H. L. hunt ... Mr. Hunt said he didn't like it. In fact, he left early. For two hours I sat there with a stone face with my hands folded listening to this garbage. Finally, the host of the show looked at me with a frown on his face. He said, "Mr. Wilkerson, you don't seem to be in with this. What do you think of what's been said here?" He shouldn't have said that. I'd been sitting there two hours waiting my time. I pointed a finger at the face of that poor comedian who had been divorced 10 times and laughed and mocked about it. Mocking the institution of marriage. And I point a finger right in his face. I said, "I think I have just met the saddest loneliest man in the world. That man puts on a big front, and he laughs and he jokes." But I said, "I think he cries himself to sleep. And I have nothing but sorrow and pity for you, sir." And it was like dropping a bomb. I mean, they changed the subject.

    David Wilkerson: The comedian tried to laugh it off, and they started talking about world affairs and politics. Not another word about marriage or divorce. 4:35 or so, I was outside of the NBC studio waiting for a cab to go back to the hotel room. And here comes the comedian and his wife-to-be, and I thought he was ready to rip me off. He came up beside me, said, "Mr. Wilkerson, please don't take a cab. Let us take you back to the hotel. Please, we've got to talk to you desperately." I followed that man around the corner and got in his car in the parking lot, and I saw that comedian, a well-known comedian, who still travels around the country today. I saw him bow his head over the steering wheel and cry like a baby. He said, "Sir, you're the first man that's had the courage to put me on the spot." He said, "Boy, did you hit the nail on the head. Sir, you have met the loneliest, saddest man in the world." He said, "I do cry myself to sleep."

    David Wilkerson: He said, "I haven't been fair with this young lady. She loves me, and I've made a fool out of her tonight and I'm so sorry." He said, "I have an itch in me that can't be scratched. There's a loneliness in me, and I go from one woman to another trying to satisfy that empty feeling inside of me. When she can't touch that spot in me, I go to somebody else. It's not their fault." He said, "10 women couldn't be wrong. It's me. Would you please mind praying for me?", Would I mind praying for him? I had been itching to do that the whole night. Boy, I prayed up a storm. Got ahold of God for him. Now, he didn't get saved, but I know I gave him some good advice. I don't know what's happened to that man since, I've lost touch with him. But when I went up to my room, going up the elevator I thought, "Oh, God, there it is. The big front, and that phony smile of all the loneliness inside."

    David Wilkerson: I'm going to talk very plainly tonight about marriage and divorce. Now, I've never done that in 18 years of preaching to young people. I've always thought my call was to young people. But friends, something's happening in America that alarms me. Something is happening to the American home. For that matter, homes all across the world. Not just the sinner's home, but the Christian's home. And it's an alarming thing that's happening. There was a song a few years ago, country western song and they spelled out the title D-I-V-O-R-C-E. They spelled it out, divorce, so the kids couldn't understand it. But friends, you can't hide from the little children today the dissension we have in many of our homes. You can't hide it when things begin to go wrong. Even in a Christian home. I was visiting, for example, in a home and the parents, the husband and wife, evidently thought I had left and they started a royal argument in the kitchen. And finally, they almost came to blows.

    David Wilkerson: This husband came at his wife, and a little boy who couldn't have been more than two years old had just learned to walk. He couldn't talk. That little boy ... And I was watching from the corner. That little boy went up to his dad and grabbed his leg and his trousers, and started biting and screaming and kicking trying to beat his dad up. He knew something wrong, he sensed it. I'm not saying that all children of divorced homes or broken homes turn out bad. But think of it now. Newsweek projecting 1 million new divorces this year, 10 million more American kids living in broken homes. And oh, the tragedy. Now, friends believe me, divorces caused more kids to go to sex and drugs and alcohol than all the pushers in the world combined. I'll repeat that in case you didn't hear it. Divorce has caused more young people, primarily teenagers, to run off to drugs and sex and alcohol, than all the drug pushers, and bad kids, and influences combined. A mother called me recently to talk to her 13 year old daughter who'd just been released from a mental institution.

    David Wilkerson: She said, "Mr. Wilkerson, the psychiatrist can't find anything wrong with her. She sits like a vegetable, just with her hands folded looking out into space. She won't answer questions, you have to feed her." And I got the story of a very well adjusted 13 year old teenager, who loved her dad so much. That girl outgoing and full of fun and by basis suddenly overnight, turns into a vegetable. Goes for six months into a mental institutions, is released. They can't put their finger on any physical or emotional reason why it should happen. And I said, "Mother, I can't get through to her." She was just like an animal. I said, "There's got to be some reason why this was triggered. A girl just does not call into a shell like that." She said "Mr. Wilkerson, the only explanation I can give you is that this happened the week my husband ran off with another woman. And this girl idolized her dad." And friends, there's a girl right now down in Denton, Texas who has just been released from the Terrell mental institution that I can't touch.

    David Wilkerson: And while I'm talking to you, she's sitting looking out the window staring into space like a vegetable, and nobody can touch her. It makes my blood boil because one day that Dad's going to stand before Almighty God an answer, not only for his own sins, but going to answer for messing up the life of a 13 year old girl who so idolized her dad. She's in a shell and nothing can bring her out now. And friends, that happens now all over the country. Now, I know some of you as Christians sit here right now abhorring the word "divorce." You say, "I even hate to sit in a service and listen to a man preach about it." Because you've been programmed against the word itself. You say, "I would never allow it. Now, my husband I may not have a perfect marriage. But even if we did split up, I'd never allow a divorce. I don't believe in it. My Church teaches against it. I am against divorce." But sadly, friends, this is dropping like a bomb and surprising many, many Christian homes.

    David Wilkerson: Almost daily now Christians come home and the good wife says, "Honey, have you heard the latest news? Guess who's getting a divorce?" And it's usually somebody you never could imagine it happening to. Someone you thought so well adjusted, a minister and his wife. I picked up Time Magazine a few weeks ago and there was a little article. It was amusing, yet it was sad. It said, "Joseph Alioto, Mayor of San Francisco, divorce action sought by his wife, Angelina, after 33 years of married on grounds of irreconcilable differences." Now, here's the catcher of it. At first I laughed, and then I wanted to cry. It said the divorce action evidently took Mayor Alioto by surprise, because he had just left his driveway and a half an hour later after waving goodbye and kissing his wife Goodbye, walked into his office and his wife's lawyer was waiting and handed him the divorce papers. Now, get the picture if you will. His wife knew all the time that her lawyer was in the office waiting for him to serve divorce papers. She kisses him goodbye and waves him off to work, "Bye dear, see you for supper."

    David Wilkerson: Bam. Divorce by surprise. Well friends, that's exactly what's happening now. People say, "It could never ever happened in my home." And yet it is happening. Happening all over the world. Some of you sitting here tonight may be a part of that statistic. Follow me, if you will, please. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ must take a new look at the divorce problem. First of all, let me tell you tonight if you've been divorced, I'm not about to put you down here tonight. There's been enough of that in the church. There are some people who've been victims of divorce. Jesus made exceptions to this problem. For example, in the case of adultery. Also I have found from practically experience after being on the streets for 18 years and working with some of the most troubled cases in the world. A woman who suddenly discovers she's married to a homosexual is in a hopeless situation, unless that man turns to Christ for a cure. Now, friends for the past 10 years, we've supported a home for homosexuals in New York. Upstate New York, we have an estate.

    David Wilkerson: We have a young man there and a beautiful wife who's been delivered from homosexuality. This past month, we baptized seven homosexuals who have been delivered and set free. I know it, their testimony rings clear. There's a witness of the Holy Spirit. Friends, I believe Jesus Christ cures, and saves, and sanctifies homosexuals who are desperate for a cure. There is nothing in the Bible that can prove to me otherwise. Paul, the apostle said, "Some of you were feminine or homosexual, you've been justified and set free." But if a man does not turn to Christ for healing, that marriage is absolutely hopeless. There is no hope. It must inevitably, eventually, end in divorce. There's a Scripture also that suggests that if a man departs from the home and he runs away, don't let him depart. Now, some of you who are here tonight as victims of divorce. You could not help what happened. Probably 10% of the divorces in the world today are cases just like the exception to the general rule.

    David Wilkerson: I'm not about to put you down because the Church of Jesus Christ has done a pretty good job of making second class Christians out of many victims of divorce. We treat them like they have leprosy in the church. We have special classes for them called mates without partners, or parents without partners. We don't allow them to have activities in the church, we want to keep our kids away from the lest they contaminate them. But friends, I think it's wrong. There are people sitting here right now listening to me preach who have tears in their eyes, I'm sure enough, hurt deep in their heart for the way they've been treated. Even though they know before God they've been victimized by a terrible situation in their home, and yet they have been put down and put down and trampled pulled on. And I say it's time we stopped that foolishness in the house of God. But friends, at the same time, something is happening that is absolutely frightening. You see, there are only two restraining forces left against pandemic divorce rate.

    David Wilkerson: And that was the fact that society did not really accept it, still frowned on it. And the church preached against it as being immoral. And now friends, those last two restraining forces are being removed. Society now accepts it. It's no more sinful in many circles to get a divorce when they split across the street. Think of it. Do you know that New York City this past month, there were more applications ... listen to it. More applications for divorce than there were applications for marriages. Think of it. For the first time in the history of New York City, more people filing for divorce than filing for marriage licenses. Frightening. Absolutely frightening. Now, I say that we have to face it head-on, and I have never in my life preached on this subject. Never. But I've been forced to because of what is happening to the kids I work with, because over 95% of all the kids who eventually wind up with us in the Teen Challenge centers, at least where I've been working, always look back to a broken situation in their home. Always goes back.

    David Wilkerson: I've made the full circle, and I'm right back there. And God's beginning to say to me, "David, if you really want to help the kids, get back to talk in some sense to their parents." Yes, we have pandemic divorce rate. We've got situation ethics and people trying to condone it and say it's all right. I had a young Assembly of God minister stop me not too long ago after a crusade, want to walk me back to my motel room. He said, "David, I've got to talk to you. I've just graduated from seminary." And he said, "I'm Pentecostal." But he said, "I work with high school and college students." And he said, "Something's wrong. We have got to come up with an alternative to marriage." And I was so shocked. I said, "Explain what you mean." He said, "Well, Mr. Wilkinson, the kids I work with see their parents go to the altar and go through the formality of saying, 'Till death do us part.' And they go right out and get a divorce.

    David Wilkerson: They see them stand there and spend thousands of dollars and stand there in their beautiful gowns, and then wind up in disaster. And they say, 'Marriage isn't working.' They want to live together just to prove that they love one another." And he said, "Perhaps we should come up with some kind of a spousal ceremony, so we could take the guilt problem out." And I said, "How many young ministers are thinking like you?" He said, "Almost every one of my friends my age thinking the same thing, that's marriage is not working. We've got to come up with an alternative for them." It shocks me friends. If that's the attitude, what happens five years down the line when they start taking their place in our pulpits and pastoring our churches? Now friends, I tell you that God has not changed His mind about the divorce problem. For the Lord God says He hates divorce, Malachi 2:15, "For the Lord God says He hates divorce. Guard your affections, let there be no divorcing of your wives. Let there be no divorcing of your wives."

    David Wilkerson: If you want to see that very clear, get the Living Bible and see how very clearly it's made. "For the Lord God says He hates divorce." God has not changed His mind. I don't care how many church denominations change their stand. I don't care what anybody else tells you in the way of being a Christian psychologist. The Bible says God still hates divorce. "Let there be no divorcing of your wives. Guard your affections. Let there be no divorcing." Now, I've heard all the excuses why a divorce is inevitable, why people are headed for divorce court. You've heard them too, haven't you? It goes something like this, "Well, Mr. Wilkerson, we just don't talk anymore. We've outgrown each other. We're in two different worlds. We don't communicate." Oh, the excuses that I hear all over the country today, and those judges would sit there and listen to all of it. And it's, "Well, she's gotten fat. He's got a potbelly, he doesn't take care of himself. He's always put me down in front of people. He doesn't love me, and we've fallen out of love."

    David Wilkerson: I've heard them all, but you know the number one excuse that you hear? Here it comes. Are you ready for it? "Nobody understands me anymore." And everybody and his brother running around looking for some understanding. If they don't get it from their mate, by golly, they're going to go out and get it somewhere. "I want to be understood." I had pastor of a well known large Pentecostal church ask for an appointment. He said, "Brother Dave, I heard you preach." But he said, "I can't help it. My wife and I are headed for divorce court." I said, "Why?" He said, "Frankly, I've outgrown her. I've been fasting, and praying, and seeking God, and I'll tell you brother Dave, God has shown me revelation and my wife is so materialistic. All she wants to talk about the drapes, and the car, and the kids. I've outgrown her. We don't communicate anymore. If she'd been a little more spiritual, she'd understand my problems in the ministry, but we're not communicating."

    David Wilkerson: I said, "Oh, come off it, Pastor. I've learned something and I'm going to tell you what it is right here and now. I've always learned there's a third party involved." And he didn't like that at all. He said, "No. No. No. No. Well, there is a lady in the church that I've learned to talk to, but that's all." I said, "Oh, come off it. Come off it, sir." Now listen to me, friends, I'm going to preach like you've never heard any preacher preach in your life from this pulpit. I don't care if it's my last invitation to this camp, God told me to preach it and I want you to listen. Right here and now, you leave to normal people alone who have problems and they're really in love, and they could work on any problem in the world. But you introduce a third party, then there's no hope. There is no hope whatsoever. You tell me you're not understood. You tell me you're not getting along. You tell me he's always putting you down. I tell you there's a third party involved.

    David Wilkerson: Now, you would be surprised and shocked at how the Holy Ghost must be grieved at the kind of flirtatiousness happening in the Church of Jesus Christ. And beginning mainly in our church choirs when there are idle moments after practice, and if there is not a spiritual choir leader, and if the pastor is not there to see that things are done right. I have seen all kinds of hell happening. Breaking out through flirtatiousness in the Church of Jesus Christ. Our little social clubs now. And we are beginning to breed inside of our churches, some of these little platonic relationships, especially when there's an unsafe husband sitting at home watching TV. Now friends, I think it's time that every minister, every man, every woman of God, takes a good hard Look at his or her life right now and say, "God, is there any kind of a thing happening in my life that could eventually drive a wedge into my home and my marriage?" How many people are going to stand before God and find out that this is one sin that you do not get away with.

    David Wilkerson: My Bible said, "Be sure your sin will find you out." And sir, ma'am if you've gotten away with it this far, watch out. You're on a powder keg, this is one sin that God always exposes. It has never once in the history of the world dawn unexposed. Never. And if you do not take it to the cross of Jesus, if you do not forsake it and get it under the blood and run from the for your life, you are headed ... my brother and my sister, you are headed for exposure. And then your whole life comes tumbling down. The Bible says, "Why be led away into incredible folly? Why embrace that which is not truly yours?" My brother and sister it's time you and I looked ourselves right in the mirror. And I feel the Holy Ghost right now pulling off and covering off the leads of some of us who think we've got some little secret thing down there. Nobody knows about it.

    David Wilkerson: But my brother and sister, right now the Holy Ghost says to those few that are here right now. "Get it out. Pluck it out by the roots now before you lose your home, your children, everything. Get it out." I'm not playing games, man. I'm on a life and death mission across the United States and God warned me to say it and say it loud and clear. You be careful. My brother, my sister, be very, very careful. The devil is out to destroy every godly home in the world. The pressures are mounting. And oh my minister brother, my minister sister, walk softly, reverently before God and say, "God, guard my steps. Don't let it touch my life." Plead the blood. Now, it's not always a secret affair. That third party can be another person. It could be an in law, like a mother-in-law. Now, don't wink at me like that. I had a beautiful Black couple come to see me for counseling recently, and they had three lovely little children.

    David Wilkerson: The man said, "Brother Dave, in spite of your message tonight, we're headed for divorce." I said, "Why?" He said, "My wife hates my mother, calls her a witch." I turned to her and I said, "Is that right?" She said, "She is a witch. Every time something goes wrong, he runs off to his mother. He spends more time with his mother than he does with me." And I said, "Isn't it a shame that you people are going to allow your home to be broken up over a third party?" And I turned to him and said, "Do you love her?" He said, "Yes, I do." I said to her, "Did you love him?" She said, "Certainly.", "And yet you're allowing a third party to destroy your marriage?" And I got so indignant. I laid hands on them and started praying. I said, "God, break that."

    David Wilkerson: And suddenly a smile broke out in her face and she shook her head a bit. She said, "Mr. Wilkerson, something's happened." She said, "I may never be able to love her like a should, but at least I don't hate her anymore. I can put up with her." He turned to her. He said, "Honey, that's good enough for me." He walked out and he looked at me. He said, "Dave, we're going to make it. We're going to make it." Why some of you men spend more time with your buddies on the job than you do your wife. You never take your wife out once. You say, "Oh, I love her cooking." Folly, you're a cheapskate. That's all. You may laugh about that, but you know there are many wives that are saying, "Amen." To me right now. Just think. This buddy asked me to go fishing, and he'd go a whole week and stick a little thing in the water there without a nibble for a whole week and come over and say he enjoyed himself, and his wife can't even get to go out shopping with him.

    David Wilkerson: This is plain old peanut butter preaching, but that's what God told me to preach. Now friends, it's not only a person. It can be a job, it can be a disease. I'm going to give a testimony at the end of this message on how a disease became the third party that almost wrecked our marriage. It can be sickness that changes the lifestyle. It can be the loss of a job, financial pressures. Recently, 15 couples that came to me for counseling, seven of those 15 just a few weeks ago were headed for divorce court because the husband had lost his job and the financial pressures could not be coped with. It caused such tension in the home, they said they just couldn't possibly make it. That's the third party that I'm talking about. But friends, I can tell you something far worse than divorce. Some of you people sitting here now abhored by the word "divorce", you would never even think of it. But you're guilty of something far worse as far as I'm concerned, as far as God's Word is concerned, and I call it divorce by default.

    David Wilkerson: Those are two people who live together, claiming to be married ... and at the sight of God and the law, they are. But in all practical purposes in the sight of God, they're divorced. Because though they live together under the same roof and are legally bound together, in the sight of God they're strangers and they're divorced by default. They live together as a lie, an abomination unto the Lord. They fight, and they bicker, and they hate, and they cheat. And yet they say, "I would never get divorced." A lot of Christians like that that I know all across the country would never think of allowing a divorce in their home, and yet there's no love in their home. There is no peace. There is no quiet, there is no joy. And if you could just look on a woman and commit adultery in your heart, you can be a stranger in your home and be and be divorced. In your mind. The same practical way.

    David Wilkerson: I think kids in high school or college who just go out live together without a marriage license are far more honest, than Christians who live together without love and understanding and the peace of God. They're more honest. There a lot of you people sitting here right now that need this more you need a psychiatrist or anything else, you need to hear it right now. Mm-hmm (affirmative). You say, "Well, brother Dave, certainly, if you're going to preach like this, you've got to have some plan from God, some message from God in how I can avoid living a lie. How I can bring healing to my home." I do. And I didn't get it out of a book, I got it on my knees and out of the Word of God. Five simple little steps God gave me on how to bring healing to your home and to avoid divorce court. Are you ready? So simple, you probably missed it. But I've got Bible to back it up. I'm not a psychiatrist, and I'm not about to play one either. But I've got some plain old plain English right out of the Word of God.

    David Wilkerson: Are you ready? Step number one, turn down the volume at your house. The Bible said a soft answer turneth away wrath. A soft answer turneth away wrath. The Bible said anger causes mistakes. And look what's happening, our homes like Madison Square Garden Fight Night. Oh we've got people to go to church carrying those big Bibles that look like suitcases, go around waving to Jesus, "Hi." Teaching Sunday school. And I'll tell you, they've bicker and fight all the way to church, and get in their car, and jab, and yell, and scream at each other in front of the kids. But as soon as they step out of the car in front of the pastor, they hold hands and put on that big Colgate smile. They go in there and sing Oh, How I Love Jesus, and talk in tongues. Talk about being filled with the Holy Ghost. Put their money in the offering. Get in a car, and roll up the windows, and bam. Bam. Bam. Go home and gossip about the preacher. I know some people tongue's big enough to lick their way three times around the Statue of Liberty without stopping.

    David Wilkerson: And they wonder why their kids grow up to have disrespect for the house of God. Come on. A soft answer turneth away wrath. But sadly, too many mothers think that loudness is a badge of authority. In other words, the louder you get, the more power you have. That's foolishness. The Bible said a soft answer turneth away wrath. And you know why mothers say, "Well, I yell at my kids all day and they never listen. Dad comes home, snaps his finger, and off they go." You know why? Let me give you a case in point. "Now Johnny, you do that one more time, and so help me, you're going to get it." And he knows. Johnny knows her bark's worse than her bite. She's just making wind with her mouth, and he knows. So he does it again. "One more time." So he does it again. "I'll tell your dad." At the 99th time, he's still doing it, "One more time." Mama says, "One more time." And dad comes home and mom tells him all about it.

    David Wilkerson: And dad looks at that little boy right in the eye and say, "Now son, I'm going to count to 10 and you better move." He gets the tune and that boy is gone. Why? Because she knows he going to do just like my dad. My dad had no better sense than to raise me by the belt and by the Book. My dad taught me two Scriptures before I could quote anything else, two Scriptures. I had to memorize. "Spare the rod and damn the child." And another Scripture, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child and the rod of correction will drive it far from him." And when I did wrong, my dad would take me in the room, he called it a personnel meeting. He always waited till the next day when I thought I'd gotten away with it. And then he sent me down his room. He said, "Now David, you know you did wrong, don't you?" And I'd say, "No, sir." He said, "Well, I'm going to show you what you did wrong." And then he'd get his Bible out and show me that.

    David Wilkerson: He said, "Now David ..." and my dad had a great big leather strap, they used to strap razors with. Great big four inch strap, about a foot and a half long. He'd hang it on a nine Penny nail going down the basement, and that was his badge of authority. My dad never talked much, he just had that leather strap. And boy, he'd say, "Now David, here's what the Bible says. Here, see it. Read it for yourself if you want to. Foolish This is bound in your heart and this rod in my hand is going drive it far from you." Then he'd make me kneel over the bed and it went something like this, he'd come down across my backside, "Now David." Bam. "This hurts me worse than it hurts you." And I could never understand it. The worst part of all was next, he'd made me get up and hug him. Then made me get down and pray, "God forgive me." And then we go out and play ball. Now listen friends, if you just spank your kids, that's child beating.

    David Wilkerson: But if you show them from the Word of God what the Bible says about foolishness bound in the heart of the child of the rod of correction, and you spank that out ... and don't spank them, anywhere except where they're well padded. That's right. None of this business across the face or the head, you can injure a child. God especially prepared the child right on the upholstery. I'm not trying to be facetious friends, I'm trying to give you something practical from God. Now you spank that child, then take that child in your hand love out the hurt. That's Bible. That's how to raise your kids the Bible way. You know what you to do with Dr. Spock's book? Put a handle on it and use it. He sent more kids to hell than anybody I know. We've got some friends of ours that we don't even allow in our house anymore. They're raising their kids by the book, all kinds of books. And I'll tell you, they've got three little white tornadoes.

    David Wilkerson: They come in the house, and they look one way and the other, and boy, down comes everything off the coffee table and then down comes up pots and pans. I want to spank those, that dad and mom. If you say something to that mom, she says, "Oh no." She said, "I don't want to hurt their expression patterns. They're developing their expression patterns." I thought to myself, "Boy, if they can't handle the expressive patterns at six years of age, how are they going to handle at 16 when they're really expressing themselves?" A lot of dads and mothers need the spanking. That's right. Turn down the volume at your house. Oh, the arguing and the bickering. I've had drug addicts come here and say, "Don't ever raise your voice at me again, sir. I've had all that my life, I don't want it anymore." All the screaming, and the yelling, and the bickering in some of our homes. Turn down the volume. The Bible said a soft answer turns away wrath.

    David Wilkerson: All right, step number two ... And I'm going to give you something from the Word of God that could save 95% of all the marriages in America and around the world. It's so simple. I call it the sorry secret. Learn the sorry secret. There was a movie out called Love Story and Time Magazine in a review said that the essence of that movie is love is never having to say, "I'm sorry." Well, friends, that's a lie from the pit of hell. Love is learning how to say, "I'm sorry." Someone asked Jesus, said, "How many times do I forgive the person who wrongs me? Seven times?" Jesus said, "No, 70 times seven." Now, that's 499 times in one day, and that's only the beginning. And furthermore, it says if someone wrongs you, you go to them and you'll be the one that says, "I'm sorry." Now friends, here's a secret that must be learned by every husband and wife in America within the sound of my voice right now. If you master this secret, you will never ever wind up in divorce court. Never.

    David Wilkerson: Learn how to say, "I'm sorry." And be first, and do it often. Oh, but you know how it goes. Come on now. I'm going to give you some red hot truth, "Me? Say I'm sorry? I always have to say I'm sorry. He's never wrong. He's always right, and I always have to take the blame. This time, oh no. Not this time. Well, I've had it with him. I'm telling you if I give in this time, there's no hope. I'm always having to give in. He runs off and gets mad. Now I have to go and say, "Honey, I'm sorry." Oh, no friends. That's not the way. That's not the way. My Bible says even if you're the one who's been hurt, you're the innocent party, you take the step. And I've had married couples say that doesn't make sense. I'm not saying it makes sense, I'm telling you that's what Jesus said. Jesus said, "You go, and you say, "I'm sorry." Not like the lady said to her husband ... This is supposed to be true from what I hear.

    David Wilkerson: She heard me preach like this. She went home, she said, "Well, I know I'm right, but brother Dave said to say I'm sorry. So, I'm sorry. So there." Well, now that's not saying, "I'm sorry." From the heart. The Bible said never go to sleep on your wrath. Never go to bed angry. Well, how many homes there are right now ... How many people are sitting here right now saying, "Brother Dave, I've been deeply hurt." Yes, you have. But if you want your marriage to work, you're going to work at it. There is no well adjusted happy marriage that just happens. This crazy king and a queen living in a castle syndrome has ruined so many of us. You're not a king. She's not a queen. You're not living in a castle. It's an everyday hard full-time job you work at. Boy, my wife and I have learned that. We're always ... she comes and, "I'm first.", "No, I'm first honey. I'm the one that's sorry, we're both sorry." We never go to sleep on our anger, it's been so beautiful. Learn that now. Learn to say, "I'm sorry." First and as often as necessary.

    David Wilkerson: Step number three, quit your jealousy. The Bible said jealousy is more cruel than anger. That suggests to me that it's better to slap your mate across the face and send them reeling across the room in anger than to be jealous over them. Because the Bible said jealousy is more cruel than anger. It's more cruel. How many marriages have had this cancer destroy? Oh, listen, if there's jealousy in your heart towards your husband or your wife, pray for a miracle. Say, "God Deliver me." This is a cancer that must be plucked up. It'll destroy your marriage. The Bible says so. More cruel. That's a cruel thing. You're absolutely cruel against your mate if you have jealousy. You say, "I've reason to be jealous." Take it to God. Pray for a miracle. "Oh God, once and for all, take this spirit of jealousy from me. Pluck it out by the root and bring peace and trust in my heart." Number four, quit being so cranky. I'm going to give you a Scripture you never thought was in your Bible right out of Proverbs. "The constant dripping on a rainy day and a cranky woman are just alike."

    David Wilkerson: All you men smile and you're the one who made her cranky. The Bible say, "You can no more stop the complaints than you can stop the wind." Crankiness. Now, wait just a minute. You know I'm telling the truth. Your wife, if you would get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, you're the one who starts the day. If you could get up and pray that God give you that grace, just a little bit of sweetness, that's all. Just a little bit of tenderness. Now, my Bible says, "Be ye tenderhearted one to another." And that's the word that's missing today in our marriages, tenderness. Tenderness. My wife and I have been working on a case. In fact, we just quit this case recently. A pastor about four months ago called us, pastor of a rather large church. He said, "Brother Dave, I don't know what I'm going to do. My wife ran off, went back to her mother. She's been gone two weeks and I'm about to lose my mind. I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave the ministry. I don't understand for the life of me why my wife left me."

    David Wilkerson: And he said, "The thing that bothers, I me understand that she's swinging a little bit. She's taking karate and jujitsu. I call her and she won't let me in the house. She lived with her mother, she won't answer the phone. I love that woman dearly, and I don't know for the life of me why she's left." And that man called and called for two or three weeks, and the poor man was really upset and I felt sorry. He said, "Brother Dave, please call my wife. She's read The Cross and the Switchblade and you're the only one she'll probably listen to. You can get her to come home." So my wife and I called, and we got a different story from his wife. She said, "I think I could have loved that man." But she said, "I just lost everything, and I'll tell you why. That man is mean and cranky as the devil. Stands in the pulpit oozes love to everybody else. Preaches love. But that man was absolutely mean, always putting me down. I couldn't do anything right for that man.

    David Wilkerson: And that man was absolutely mean, he even slap me in the face and that did it." She said, "I think I could have learned to love that man, if he'd just showed me a little tenderness. If he hadn't been so cranky and so mean." Boy, we got the other side of the story. And boy, a couple days later, he called me back again. And I mean, he was crying. He said, "Brother Dave, I'm going to have to quit preaching. I'm losing my mind. That woman has left me and I don't know why." I said, "Oh, quit your crying." I said, "You're mean. Sir, your wife doesn't want you to come home and flip the keys to a $10,000 sports car at her and say, 'Honey, I love you. There's my poof.' Your wife wants a little act of tenderness. Little bit of kindness. Not some big fancy gift. Quit trying to buy your wife off, show a little love and tenderness. When's the last time, sir, you brought your wife home some flowers for no reason at all?

    David Wilkerson: Because you loved her, nothing else.", "Who me? Flowers?", "Yeah, you. My wife is here and she'll tell you, I've got all kinds of occasions I dream up for sending flowers, and potted plants, and little love poems. Everything else. But don't look at me like that. A woman wants just a little bit of tenderness, sir. Why don't you take out the garbage once in a while, for example? Without complaining about it. Quit yelling at her for three hours watching As the World Turns, inside out upside down when you spend five hours watching football." Are you ready for the last one? All right, right out of God's Word. Quit dancing to somebody else's tune. Jesus said, "How shall I liken this generation? They're like a bunch of little kids sitting in the marketplace and we pipe to you our tunes, but you don't dance." Jesus said, "That's your generation." Everybody's got a tune, wanting somebody to dance to it. And I'm going to tell you why, and here's where I'm going to add a little to what was said this afternoon about women's liberation.

    David Wilkerson: Now, listen to me, I'm not trying to be smart or facetious. I'm on a life and death mission. We've got all kinds of tunes being played to us today through radio, and television, and the written page. And there's a mind programming on right now undermining something godly and holy. You know why we're headed for pandemic divorce rate in America and the world? We're reversing the Bible roles. We are breaking all the barriers that God set up. We are reversing the roles in our homes. Now, my Bible says the man is the head of the house. Jesus. Listen, the Word of God, Paul said this. Listen very closely, "Even as Christ is the head of the church, so is the man the head of the wife. And so let her be subject in all things, even as Christ is the head of the church." Now, many things that are being said by the women's liberation movement need to be heard. Did you hear me? Because too long, we have mistreated women. We have put them down, we've had a bunch of little Napoleon's running around, barking, "Hey Mabel, I want a drink."

    David Wilkerson: So she jumps and has to go get the man a drink of water. I've seen that all over the country. Mistreated them, and wiped our feet on them, treated them like dishrags. And friends, I'm one of those preachers who believe it's possible for a woman to have a career and be a good wife and mother. Thousands and thousands of wives have proved that. In fact, I've seen them grow so much in God because they've had a goal and they've had a purpose in their life, and that's beautiful. But friends, what I am against is this programming that's happening right now the demeaning being a wife and a mother. It comes over the Dinah Shore, the Mike Douglas, the Tonight, Today, Tomorrow, all those shows. And it goes something like this. "You housewife there in the Duz with the Hoover sweeper, isn't it a shame you becoming a vegetable?

    David Wilkerson: Your husband's out there growing, expanding his consciousness and you're stuck there with the diapers and the kids with your hands in the dish water. Why didn't he do the dishes? Why didn't he clean the room? Why don't you vote on it?" Now, hold it just a minute. What I am against with all my heart and soul is the demeaning one of the highest callings of the world, and that's to be a housewife and a mother. That's the highest calling on earth, better than the presidency of the United States. And woman, dear sister, housewife, mother, don't let anybody put you down for being "just a housewife", or just a mother. In the sight of God ... Listen, who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is above rubies. She rises early, feeds your household. Beauty is deceiving, vanity passes away. But a godly woman is much prepared. A godly woman. A housewife. I wish I could say it and scream to the microphone, it is not just a housewife. That's calling in Christ Jesus.

    David Wilkerson: God has a job for you to do. And there will be many that will come to dear housewives, and I don't think God's going to take a male like me, preacher to give you the vision. God's raising up handmaidens and sisters of the Lord, giving the vision and trying to get into you, instill it into your heart. There's wonderful concepts of usefulness and vision to be used of God, and our women today are expanding and doing some marvelous things in the sight of God. And I'm for that 1,000% and I believe in that with all my heart. But at the same time, I am totally against, and I believe the Holy Ghost is against any demeaning of this calling and any reversing of the godly holy roles that He has set. The man is still the head of the house. That role must never be reversed. Never. All right. I told you, I wanted to share with you a confession. Now, my wife and I agreed she would allow me to share with you what I'm about to share.

    David Wilkerson: And though this happened years ago, we felt at this critical time that we should share it because would help a lot of others who are going through something very similar. Because my wife and I just about did not make it. That's right. It began one day when I walked into the kitchen, and I saw Gwen leaning over the kitchen sink, grabbing her side and screaming in pain. And she said, "Honey, come here. Put your hand here." There was a big lump. I panicked. I said, "My goodness, how long have you had that?" She said, "A couple months." She said, "It's like a knife. I'm so tired all the time, and I get these weak spells just drain my strength." She said, "I'm afraid there's something there." I took her to our physician the next day. He probed around a bit and he said, "Mr. Wilkerson, it's just a swollen over. It's infected. Here's some medication. I'm sure it'll dissolve, it'll go away." We were relieved, went home. The medication help for a couple weeks. It was a second or third week after, we were in Pittsburgh visiting her mother.

    David Wilkerson: We were at Gimbels department store, I'll never forget it. She was buying a pair of stockings and all of a sudden that scream, she bent over in pain. She said, "Honey, it's bigger and it's worse than ever. It's like a butcher knife cutting me." I really got scared. I called her mother. We got the name of an internist, a specialist. I took her in. He programed and he called me the next day. He said, "Sir, you get your wife back to New York immediately. Demand the bare minimum x-ray. You've got serious problems, you're in trouble." I start playing a game with Gwen. I just told her a lie, and that's where it all the trouble begins when you're dishonest. When you cheat. Despite being dishonest, even about this kind of a third party, even a disease. Few days later, she's in the hospital. It's 10 o'clock in the morning the following day, the doctor called me up and he said, "David, I'm really sorry I missed it." I said, "What are you talking about?"

    David Wilkerson: He said, "Your wife, sir, has a cancer on her little bow the size of a lemon. I want permission to prepare for surgery. She should be operated on right away." I was angry. I blew up. I said, "What do you mean you missed it? You told me it's just it affected ovary." He said, "Well, we're human, sir. We do make mistakes." Boy, I slammed the phone down. When I went into the hospital, I start playing a game with Gwen again. I said, "Honey, the doctor said that the ovary is infected. It needs to come out, lest it affect the other ovary. So you're going to have to go into surgery." She agreed. The doctor let me wait in the little outer room. He said, "David, I'll be in there about four hours. I'll tell you what happens as soon as I get out." He was in there six hours, and I knew there was trouble when he was two hours overdue. Came out and pulled off that green mask, and I can still see him. He shook his head.

    David Wilkerson: He said, "Sir, it's a shame that a 32 year old woman should have such a black ugly thing like that in her." He said, "I had to cut out all the lymph glands, half her bowels." And he said, "We hope we got it. We don't think it metastasized, but we had to take out all the lymph glands and midsection." He said, "it's in God's hands now." When I saw Gwen at the recovery room, she was coming out. I tried to lie to her again, and this time she said, "David, stop." And she said, "It was cancer, wasn't it? I've known it all the time." I said, "Yes." So the tension was gone. But friends, that was the beginning of a third party introduced in our home that was absolutely devastating. I had no way ... neither of us had any way of knowing how low it would take us in despair, despondency. Some of you people here tonight may have been through it, and maybe you're going to have to go through it, the Holy Ghost is trying to prepare you. And this is very, very difficult for me. But we've lived through it.

    David Wilkerson: My wife and I both agree that so many people could be helped if you could just listen. Because when I was in Bible school, we'd have ministers come and they'd stand there. And I'd be sitting in the chair with all my problems. And all these evangelists, they talked about all the great victories and all the things that they'd accomplished. I sit there with all my problems. I said, "That doesn't make sense. They can't be all right and I'm all wrong." And I thought, "Lord, if You ever give me a ministry, I want to get up and confess some of my problems so that the people who go through it like me can relate to it." That's the reason I'm like this, I can't help it anymore. Friends, she got along for a year or so and regained some strength. But boy, those tired spells would hit her again and then another lump. In the next five years, Gwen had I think, five operations. Three malignancies, two non malignant. The goiter, other midsection problems.

    David Wilkerson: She was cut four times across, crisscross the stomach. And after the fourth operation ... I think it was the fifth operation, she seemed to be gaining strength and becoming very weak. We lived in ... At night, she used to like to walk around the block. We were taking a walk one night, and she really shocked me. She said, "David, they cut me so much, I don't feel like a woman anymore. I want another child." Well, I almost passed out. I said, "That's the worst thing in the world, honey. All you've been through, now to carry a baby." She said, "I want child." And I know now why God put that in her heart because soon after that, she'd not be able to have any more. We planned our fourth child, that's Gregy back there, now 10 going on 11. Healthy and strong, and call of God in his life. He will be a preacher, he said. It was a year later after that, she seemed regaining strength. We were so happy.

    David Wilkerson: We're coming home from Memphis General Counsel, and on the way home, she had one of those attacks. Started to bleed. We rushed her into the nearest town into a hospital, they sedated her, stopped the bleeding. Said, "Get her to a hospital, you've got problems." Once again, dear Gwen was down. This time a surgeon friend of mine did the operation. A very fine Christian, spirit-filled man. Thought it would make a little easier. This time a radical hysterectomy. And I mean that it was radical surgery this time. When Gwen came up this time she said, "They'll never lay another knife on me ever. I don't care, they'll never." They used to greet me. People would come to me and say, "David, you've got faith to believe God for miracles, for drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes. Why can't you believe God to heal your life of cancer?" And it hurt us because God had done something wonderful for us. He had given us what I call the faith of the Hebrew children.

    David Wilkerson: The Hebrew children stood in front of the fiery furnace and they knew in their heart God was able, and their message to the whole world was simply this, "We know our God is able. But if we have to go through the furnace, He'll take us through." And friends, God saw fit to take us through the furnace, but it was in the furnace that we came out with His hand on ours. That's where we met Him in the furnace. God takes you through the blood, He doesn't bypass it. You go through the wilderness, through the fire, through the flood and that's where He makes you. This time, a surgeon calls me in the next room and he said, "Brother Wilkerson, you're man of God, but you've got to know something. We've taken two of the three lines of defense against disease away from your wife. She has no more hormone system being produced, no more goiter. So there's no thyroid, she has to take thyroid hormone." And he listed all the medications she'd take the rest of her life.

    David Wilkerson: He said, "She's going to go through massive sudden changes in her body and in her psych. And she's going to feel depression like she's never felt. She's going to feel fits of jealousy and temper. She's going to go through every range of human feeling so high and so low, it'll be devastating. And unless you're prepared, unless you're patient and understanding, you can only make it more difficult on her and yourself. Sir, be prepared. I'm just telling you, you're in for it. You're going to see things you've never saw before, and your wife's going to be another woman." And I couldn't understand then what he was talking, I couldn't even begin to comprehend it. The first three months, we were able to take it pretty well. When I come home from Teen Challenge and walking the streets, and walk in the house and see her hand shake when she's is drinking coffee, I could take her the room and pray with her and she was relieved. And friends, it went downhill. Downhill. For the next six months, it got worse and worse, until finally it got on my nerves.

    David Wilkerson: I'd say to myself, "Now, look I'm walking the streets, I'm giving my life and to come home to that tournament. Maybe she's not trying." Because I came on one time and she was screaming at the children, and I couldn't understand that. And she'd run to the room and say, "David, why do I do that? You know that's not me." And we prayed. But after a while, friends, the depression got so bad. She slipped so low physically. She said I'll never get it. Came home one day and she said, "You don't love me. The kids don't love me. Nobody loves me. I don't want to live." And suddenly got loss of a will to live. "Nobody cares." And friends, I'd be going around the country preaching and asking prayer, and she had more people praying. We had flowers and telegrams, and people praying, and more friends she'd ever had her life. But the enemy trying to say, "Nobody cares. You don't care, nobody cares."

    David Wilkerson: And boy, I would come home and go into the garage where I had a little prayer room and say, "God, it's not great. I can't care this kind of a battle." And friends, for a whole year I traveled around the country preaching crusades, and have to stand and hearing in my subconscious mind, "David, you're a phony. You preach deliverance, and yet you can't solve your own problem. You're going to wind up in divorce court, and the millions of people who read The Cross and the Switchblade are going to laugh. You're going to bring reproach on the ministry." And one night in California, I was preaching for Miss kathryn Kuhlman, 4,000 people. In the middle of the sermon, it ran through my mind, "You're a phony, you have no right to preach. You're a phony." And I was paralyzed. I couldn't move. I grabbed the pulpit, and nothing came out. I stood there for three minutes, just petrified. And suddenly turned and walked off the stage. Walked off in front of 4,000 people right in the middle of my message. Miss Kuhlman had to take over the service.

    David Wilkerson: I went up to the side, and brother Aaron Vic was there. He said, "Dave, what's wrong?" I said, "I'm a phony." He didn't know what I was talking about. I just walked out. I said, "I can't preach. I can't stand up anymore and tell what God can do until God heals our marriage." Because we were not making, we were arguing now. We were not understanding, we were not communicating. I knew she loved me and I knew I loved her. There was no other third party, but this disease that it was crippling. I knew the enemy was going to use this, try to destroy our home and marriage. Our children knew it, and some of our closest friends knew it. I went home and did what most people do when they're headed for trouble, they think a second honeymoon will solve everything. As if geographically removing yourself from the area of your problem would solve it. Friends, you take your problem with you. You don't solve it by going somewhere, you solve it right here in your heart.

    David Wilkerson: And so I went home and I said, "Honey, I've got to go to California for crusades next week. Let's get somebody to watch the kids. Let's take a second honeymoon." She said, "We need something David." We flew to California, arrived at Friday. Checked into the hotel in Anaheim, and I had a Saturday afternoon banquet for some 400, 500 ministers and their wives. The Southern California District. And then a big crusade that night at the Long Beach auditorium, thousands of people expected. It was Saturday afternoon, I was dressing to get ready for the crusade. I don't know what triggered it, but for some reason or another, we started arguing, and I blew up. I said, "That does it. God doesn't expect out of me." I said, "We're not making it. We came here to California. We're not solving our problem. I said, I'm having a hard enough time preaching. I feel like a phony now. I've lost the victory. You're not coming in the car with me."

    David Wilkerson: I slipped through a telephone number, I said, "Here, you call Ralph and Eileen. If you want to come, you come with them. You're not coming in a car with me." I got in my Hertz rental car and drove off in a huff to the banquet. They had my book set up down in the lobby, and when I appeared kids came running up wanting to autograph The Cross and Switchblade. And if you'd have seen me then, you would have never know with that phony smile on my face that I was dying inside and going through a ravishing period in my life. 10 minutes before the banquet was to start, here comes my wife with the pastor and his wife. And we'd learned by now to put on a big front, so she smiled and side up to me. We walked in hand in hand, and sat at the speaker's table at the banquet. Friends, I felt like I was in an echo chamber. I didn't hear a word for the first hour preliminaries, I was in an echo chamber. I was so low.

    David Wilkerson: I reached in my pocket and I had $500 in traveler's checks. Now, it's not because I carry a lot of money, but the tickets alone were $300. And we were going to be there for a week, we thought. And suddenly a Scripture came to me. It's a scripture that David used. It was what David said when he was going through a trial, and he wanted to run away from it. He said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove, that could fly off to some distant wilderness and escape this tempest and storm. Oh, that I had dreams of a dove, I could fly away to the wilderness." And on my way to the meeting that afternoon, I'd seen a bus pull out of the station there. It said, "Mexico City." And all of a sudden it hit me. "God doesn't expect this of you. You got $500 in your pocket. Just get up, walk out, go to the bus station. Get a ticket, go to Mexico City.

    David Wilkerson: Take your Bible and your clothes. And check into a hotel down there and write another book, maybe on family problems, because now you can relate to them. Fast and pray. Call New York and tell Paul the treasurer to give your paycheck to your wife and take care of the family. Don't let anybody know where you're at. And one of these days when she really tries, when she starts praying and seeking God like she should, then she'll come crawling back to you. Then you can come home." God doesn't expect it. Friends, I did the stupidest thing I ever did in my life. I got up, put the chair under the table and walked out. People must have thought I was going to the restroom. I headed for that bus station feeling sorry for myself, and hurt, and depressed. The lowest I'd ever been in my whole ministry. I got that bus station. I'm standing there getting ready to lay money down for a ticket. And friends, all of a sudden I begin to shake and tremble because the fear of God came on me.

    David Wilkerson: The Holy Spirit fell on me, and I heard it ringing through my subconscious mind, "David, what a fool. What a fool. You talk about being hurt. You talk about not being understood. And yet you haven't had the knife laid on you. You haven't had the tubes down your throat. You haven't had to face the trauma of cancer. She has done all the suffering. You don't even begin to know what suffering is. She's gone through it all. If anyone has a right to run away, she does, not you. Get back before it's too late." Now, I tell you I literally ran. I remember jumping over a car. I put my hands to the front lead right over the front of it, over a fire hydrant. I huffed and puffed my way back, and I got there five minutes before they introduced me to speak. My wife later said she knew what I'd tried to do. She wanted to do the same thing. I don't even know what I spoke, friends, I got through it.

    David Wilkerson: But after the banquet about 5:15, 5:30, I handed my wife the key to the room they'd given us there at the hotel. I said, "Honey, we're not making it." And I said, "I can't go in, I'm at the end of my rope." I said, "You go to the room. You know I love you, and I know you love me. But I can't go on another day." I said, "Now, I've got to preach to thousands of people tonight and I'm not going to do it unless God leads me, unless God heals our marriage, and our home." I went up to a little dressing room, it's still there, up at the Long Beach auditorium. Dirty old filthy dressing room. I slammed the door and I pounded my fist against the wall almost till I bled, and said "God, like Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, I'll not let You go until You answer prayer. God, You've met me all these years, You've met my financial need.

    David Wilkerson: You've healed boys like Nicky Cruz, I've seen Your miracle working power. This burden is too much." And I'll tell your friends, He said you'll make a way of escape. Hallelujah. God said He'd make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. And friends, after an hour or so, something happened in that little room. God poured on me a fresh anointing, an anointing like I had never experienced all my life. Even fresher than when God first called me to the streets of New York. And suddenly, all that poison was washed out. Glory to God. It doesn't take that all night, it just takes God a few moments. He washed out all the fear, and He washed out the depression. I knew God was going to bring healing towards wife and our home that night. Friends, at 7:30 I walked out, and the place was packed and jammed. I didn't even have my Bible with me, I didn't even know where I'd left it. Didn't even have a note. All I remember, I was in a daze, I was in the Spirit and I heard someone introducing me.

    David Wilkerson: I stood before thousands of people. I remember for just a half an hour I preached on love. If God marked iniquities, who among us could stand? He remembers our frame, He remembers that we're but dust. Oh, I began to just pour out of my heart the love that I felt for Jesus, and the love that He was giving back to me. All the love. I spoke for half an hour through tear stained eyes, and halfway through my message ... And I'd never experienced such anointing, it was as though I'd stepped out of my body and, and the Lord Himself just speaking through my lips. Just pouring out. I couldn't wait to hear what the Holy Ghost will say next. Just poured it out and halfway through my message, the Lord let me pick up Gwen space. Way in the back of thousands of people I could see her and her hands were raised, and tears streaming down her cheeks. And suddenly, I had a Holy Ghost premonition. God is healing your wife right now. God is healing, the miracles happen.

    David Wilkerson: And boy, it rolled off of me and I knew it. I knew it. I gave an invitation that night, and over 1,000 people came forward. I'd never seen anything like it. People were crying and making up with each other, it was a beautiful experience. And about 10 minutes later into the altar service, I heard somebody going, "Psst, psst, psst." I turned and there's Gwen behind the curtain going like this. Most informative, "Come here." Boy, and I walked away from thousands of people. I went over and I picked her up and hugged her, and she said, "Dave, I feel like a 13 year old girl. I have never felt like this in all my life." She said, "Do you know you preached your whole sermon right at me? I said, "Honey, there's 1,000 others that are thinking the same thing." She said, "No."

    David Wilkerson: She said, "Halfway through your message tonight, the anointing of God came on you so, your face lit up." She said, "I saw a ring around your face." She said, "And God took that anointing and broke the yoke in my life, the anointing on you touched my life and broke the yoke." She said, "The depression snapped." She said, "The glory of the Lord filled my heart." And she said, "God told me I'm healed." She said, "I am healed." She said, "The depression is gone." She said, "Let's get out of here." And we got out of there. We walked away from thousands of people, didn’t tell anybody or friends, that second honeymoon was 10 million times better than the first. We've been going on it ever since. Hallelujah. It's just been absolutely beautiful. You say, "You got no more problems?" Oh, yes. But we always make sure, "I'm there first, honey. I'm the one that's sorry." We've learned the sorry, secret. Hallelujah. Glory to God.

    David Wilkerson: Let me tell you something, you tell me your marriage is hopeless. You say, "Well, it used to be nice." Come on. You stood one day ... With this, I close. You stood one day with your husband or your wife before an altar. I don't know whether you were in a white dress or not, but you stood there either before a judge, a priest, or a minister the gospel and you said, "I love you, until death do us part." And you were married in the sight of God. I don't know what's happened in the meantime, I don't care if you're retired. Maybe you say, "The magic is gone, David. I'll never be able to sense what I had before." Well, friends, we don't live by feelings. We live by faith. But if by faith you'll come to Him now and pray for a miracle, God can heal you. God can heal your marriage. And He said ... here's what the Bible says, "I've got something against you because you left your first love. You didn't lose it, you left it.

    David Wilkerson: So remember how it was, and repent, and go back and do it all over again." Come on, remember how it was and go back and do it all over again. Now. I used to have people come forward that wanted their marriages healed, and I'd have to repeat the marriage vows until I saw how stupid that is. Those are just words, that doesn't mean anything. It's the act of kindness. It's determining in your mind, "I'm going to make this work. I believe in miracles. I believe in God. I believe God can keep my home. I'm not going to give up, I'm not going to let the devil destroy my home and ruin my kids. Break up my husband and my wife. I'll not allow it. Never." Some of you young married couples needed this so much tonight. Look what's happened, all the pressure in this age. Father, I've made a confession. Now, we've all got to make a confession. Lord, I needed this tonight. This is exactly what I need. I need it. I acknowledge it. I admit that I need help. That's where it begins. Amen.

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  • Praise is the Final Word

     

    Gary Wilkerson

    Date Preached: 
    November 15, 2019

    Leah was a woman who felt unloved and unwelcome, and she hoped that through her first three sons, she'd find acceptance. It's evident by the meaning of their names that she felt giving Jacob children would validate her. But then something happened to Leah, and when her fourth son was born, she names him "praise." She realized that her value wasn't in what she did, but in who she was. Perhaps you've experienced a trauma of absence—something that should have happened for you that didn't. Don't let the enemy steal your praise, but rather, praise God in every season for who he is and what he has done for you.

    Amen. My message, in closing here, is ... You may be seated. Praise is the final word. Praise is the final word. When I was 17 years old, I had moved from New York City, a big city, to a small little town in Texas. How many of you have heard of Texas? It was very different. New York City is big city and fast moving, Texas is slow and cowboys on horses. Everything's big in Texas. One night, when I was 17 years old, my friend invited me to an outdoor Christian concert. And if you could picture the most beautiful, warm evening with a breeze blowing, a full moon in the sky. They had these little outdoor seats for all the ... There's about 700 young teenagers there at this outdoor Christian concert. I was with my friend Kevin and two other friends. Kevin saw this young woman named Kelly, and Kevin said, "I'm going to go over to Kelly. There she is. She's standing over there. I'm going to go ask her out on a date."

    I walked over there with him and as I was walking, I saw Kelly for the very first time in my life and I was smitten. Do you believe in love at first sight? I do. I fell in love instantly. Her face was shining with either the moon or the glory of God or both. Lovely hair and can I say kind of a nice shape. You know, she's, she's looking good. But Kevin was asking her out, not me. And so Kevin gets over there and he's blowing it. She's like, [yawning sound] and I think maybe I have a shot at this, but I'm too shy. I'm not a bold guy. I would never in school, I would never ask a girl out unless I knew she was going to say yes because I didn't want to be rejected.

    And so I would like ask my friend to go ask her if she would be interested in me asking her out on a date and then I'd have somebody else confirm it and then she'd have to write me a promise note saying if I ask her out she'll say yes because I was just afraid she was going to reject me. But I was standing there and I just so wanted to ask her to go out with me to have a meal and I just too afraid. I got froze up and just stood there and you know Kevin was trying to schmooze her, you know what that word schmooze means? He's going to Hey dude, like look at me. My sister walks up and my sister says, doesn't know Kelly and says, "You four guys, whoever picks a number between one and 10 and gets the right number, gets to go out on a date for a meal with Kelly." Kelly looks at her like, "Who is this lady?" I picked the number seven, which is a godly number, right, is the number of perfection. I was just looking at perfection there that East Texas night. And so I said seven and my sister said, you're right, you get to go on a date with her. My sister later told me whatever number I would have picked would have been the right number.

    So I am eternally grateful to my sister. I looked at her, I was in love with her. It took her a little longer to fall in love with me, 17 years. No, it took a little while. Then I remember that day. How many of you husbands remember that day? In the United States, we do this. We get down on one knee and we have a ring in our pocket. And I gave her the ring and I'm still a little bit nervous. I had already asked her before if she would say yes, if I asked her and she said yes. But I was still afraid of rejection and I gave her the ring and she said yes. And she cried and I cried. It was such a beautiful, we had an amazing time. We've been married now for 41 years, as I said to you the other day.

    [applause] Thank you. There's a story and I'm going to try to be brief. There's a story in Genesis chapter 29 of a man named Jacob who sees a girl name, anybody know? Rachel. Finds Rachel. Rachel is just like, Kelly. Rachel is gorgeous. She's a knockdown, gorgeous, drop dead beautiful woman. That's according to scripture. She was amazing and he's just like, "Oh, I love her. I love her. I wonder if she'll love me." And, and then he asks Laban if he could marry her and Laban says, sure, I would love for you to marry. All you have to do is work for me for seven years. If her father would've told me that, I would have said, "Yes." Because that's what beauty and love does to you. He gets excited and anyway he works and works and works, I'm going to follow pastor Claude's lead and use, do an experiment here.

    Have some people come up on the stage. How many of you, is there anybody here that's been married less than a year? Can you wave at me if you've been married less than a year? Anyone? No one. Is there someone, okay. Less than a year. Is your husband here? I need somebody that has both of the husband and wife here. Anybody? Two years. Oh, okay. Two years? Less than two years. Okay. In the back. Is your wife with you? Okay. Come on up here if you would please. They are way in the back. Come on up. Do you mind? Oh, they're getting, they're looking at each other like they're nervous. Where?

    Oh, okay. Well they're already coming, so I'm sorry. Come on up here. Rachel and Leah. No, excuse me. Rachel and Jacob, look at this. Look at Rachel and Jacob. Come on up here. Let's put our hands together. She does kind of look like a Rachel, doesn't she? Okay. You have worked 7 years and now you get down on that one knee and you say, will you marry me? And she says, what do you say?

    All right, good news. Okay, I'm not going to get too graphic here, but on your wedding night. Laban does a trick. I need one more volunteer. I need a Leah. Pastor, would you come help me? Seriously. Come on. You're my Leah. This is my princess Leah. All right, come on over here brother. Again, not to get too graphic. But honeymoon, we call it honeymoon. Do you call it honeymoon here?

    Honeymoon. He wakes up in the morning, and what does he see?

    He's not too happy because the Bible is very nice and it says Leah had weak eyes, which in the Hebrew means she was ugly. Not that you are, you're handsome. But for if you were a girl, you would be ugly. But for a man, you're extremely handsome. But for a girl you have way too much hair on your face. You're like me. Okay. All right. He says, "I don't really love you. I'm not attracted to you. You've not won my heart. You... This is the girl for me. This is the one I dreamed of." So Laban says, okay, well work seven more years and then I'll give you Rachel. He gets excited. He actually gives her Rachel that same week. But then what happens? Yeah, he then he works a seven years after that. So then they're, then they're kind of a happy, weird family. You guys can go sit down. Thank you, and you're so kind. He's been Moses. He's been Leah. He's been the usher. He's been... are you going to... won't you be the song leader at the end of the service today? Just come.

    He could do it. He could do it. So Genesis chapter 29, Leah is brokenhearted. She is wounded by what another person says about her, feels about her, thinks about her. She's an outcast. She's unloved, she's unwelcomed, she's unwanted. She doesn't feel needed. Leah is like a lot of us who have wounded hearts. As a strategy to overcome her woundedness she says, "If I could produce something, if I could make something happen, if I could be good enough, if I could be strong enough, if I could be beautiful enough, if I could prove my worth, then somebody will love me." Real quickly in Genesis chapter 29 Leah has a child. God cares for her and she has a child and his her verse 32 says, and Leah conceived a son and his name was Reuben for she said, "Because the Lord has looked on my affliction." The name Ruben means, look, it's a boy or look, I have a son.

    Look at my child. I want to be seen. I want to be noticed. I want to have affection. I want to have somebody approve of me. I want to have somebody care about me. Now look what I've done for you, Jacob and now you'll love me. But she doesn't win the love through this effort of saying, look at the great things I've done. Sometimes we do that with Jesus. Look at the great things I've done now will you love me. Look at how much hard work I do for you now will you love me? But the reality is he already loves you. You're not working to get his love. You're working because he loves you. And so she doesn't understand this and so she's trying to earn it. Then she goes on and has a second son and it says, she conceived again a son and said, because the Lord has heard that I am hated.

    He has given me also son and his name shall be called Simeon and Simeon's name is 'the Lord heard me' and his name means 'hearing, hear me'. And so the first one we say is, she says, look, see me. The second one is hear me have a voice. One of my wife's, if she doesn't mind me sharing this, the wounds that she had as a child was that she didn't get heard. She had to be quiet, she had to not say anything. And she grew up in an environment as loving as their parents were there was a sense of children are seen and not heard. And so even though she has a beautiful voice, but she went through a struggle of being heard. Some people struggle with being seen. Some people struggle with being heard. Leah says if I have somebody who, a second son, then I'll be heard.

    I can have a voice. I can say something. I can have meaning, I can have purpose. Somebody will listen to me. Being listened to makes us feel we're worthwhile, important. We mean something to people, but it still doesn't work and Jacob still doesn't show her love and affection. And then she has a third son and this time, his name is Levi and Levi means 'attachment' or 'belonging' or 'connection'. And now she's really excited. I have three sons now he's going to really be attached to me. He's going to be connected to me. We're going to have this wonderful relationship and it still doesn't work. And so she has gone through the wounds that many of us in this room have gone through. Not being seen, not being heard, not being attached or loved or connected.

    When you were a child, you were born by the Holy Spirit. He created you as he wanted you to be. You were not a mistake. You were not a random happening. Your parents may, they might have thought you were a mistake, but God formed you from your mother's womb. He built you the way you were supposed to be. You are perfect in his eyes. You are loved by him, seen by him and heard by him and attached to him, but sometimes we don't feel that way and we were created by God and something happened sometimes when we're children, we were built to be attached. Have you ever noticed that children love to just look in their mother's eyes and they have that, oooh, it's my mommy. There's such preciousness and we were built for that attachment, but something happened sometimes in our life is we were built for attachment, but we get detached from people.

    There's a sense of pulling away. Something happens in all of our childhood that causes us to have insecurity, a wound or a detachment. That wound is a thing called trauma. Everybody say trauma. Trauma. There are two types of trauma. One of my friends who went through a trauma of when he was a little boy, six, seven, eight, nine years old, his mother abused him. I mean she beat him. She would punch him in the nose. His mouth would be bloody. His eyes would be closed shut from the wounds of her fist on his face. She would lock him in a closet without food or water for a whole day. He would cry himself to sleep in that closet. That is the first type of trauma. It got so bad. This first type of trauma is something that should have never happened to a child that happened to a child.

    You were not built for that. God never intended for that type of ... something happened to this boy that should've never happened. When he was 12 years old, it got so bad that he went to a tree in his neighborhood, climbed up the tree, got a rope, and put the rope around his neck, tied the other end of the rope to the tree and was getting ready to jump to kill himself as a boy. His brother saw him in the tree, climbed up in the tree and said, don't do it. Don't do it. Don't kill yourself. That is the most severe type of trauma I think I've ever heard in my life. He didn't do it. He ended up moving to New York City where years later about five or six years later, my father met him on the streets of New York City and preached Jesus to him and that day Nicky Cruz gave his life to Jesus Christ. Nicky faced a horrible type of trauma that no child should have faced.

    There's a second type of trauma that's less recognized. People that have the second type of trauma often don't deal with it. Christian counselors will tell you, people who have gone through the first type of trauma are more likely to get healed because they recognize it's trauma and they deal with it because it's a necessity. The pain is so bad. The second one, people kind of hide it. They cover it because it doesn't feel like it's such a bad thing. Or you feel like you might be complaining if you call this trauma because it's not so bad. The first type of type is what I said, is when something that should have never happened to a child happens to a child. The second type of trauma is something that ... listen to this carefully.

    Something that should have happened to you as a child that didn't happen to you and what do I mean by this? You were meant to be spoken to and heard. You were meant to be seen and appreciated. You were meant to be attached and connected and loved deeply and so when that doesn't happen, where there is a withdrawal of affection or a lack of connection, then that is a trauma as well. My upbringing was totally opposite of Nicky Cruz's. I grew up in a Christian environment. We talked about earlier, like seven generations of pastors in our family, but my father, he traveled all the time. He was gone sometimes three weeks in a row, home for four or five days, gone another three weeks, home for a few days. He was always kind. He was always loving. And I am so grateful that he served the Lord with such passion. I am thankful for the souls saved.

    But one of the things that did in my life as a child was a sense of detachment. Like I'm not being seen, I'm not being heard. Maybe I have to do something to get attached. So I faced a trauma, even in a good home. That tells me this, that probably everyone in this room has faced some form of trauma or the other, and those who have suffered horrible traumas, things that should've never happened to you, that did oftentimes deal with it quicker. Those of us who've had trauma in our life, that are things that should've fed us, nurtured us, spoke to us, encouraged us, and it didn't. And sometimes we don't deal with that. And I didn't deal with it until I was in my thirties and it caused all kinds of problems in my soul and in my heart and my emotions, my striving.

    And I thought ... I was kind of like Leah. I'm not loved. I'm not seen, I'm not heard. I'm not attached. And maybe if I do this, look, dad, look, mom, I produced this in the ministry and I created this event and I did this thing and now like now you'll love me. Now you'll be attached to me. And this causes trauma. And we build sometimes even in the church, we build this sense of if I can do something, if I can do enough for me, my trauma resulted in a concept of myself, a core wound in my heart that I said about myself. I'm never enough. No matter what I do, it's not enough. It's not. It's not big enough. It's not effective enough. It's not strong enough. I built this tower of religious events, start a church, let it grow, get it bigger, bigger, bigger, more books to write, more conferences to go, more crusades, to preach that. More sermons, more podcasts, more websites.

    And I'm building this big tower of Christian ministry, but I'm building it on a foundation that says I'm not enough. But look, I built this. Look, I did this. And one day I had this vision. I was standing on top of this tower and I'm thinking, it's not enough. I've got to do more. I've got to be more, I've got to be more aggressive. I'm going to be more powerful and I'm on top of this tower and I have this scaffolding all around it and that's to help build it higher. But the whole building is shaking back and forth and I cry out in this vision that Jesus, please help hold this building I'm doing up. Help hold it up. But he comes and he grabs it at the bottom and I'm going like, "Oh, thank you Jesus for holding that." And instead of holding it up, you know what he starts doing?

    He starts shaking it back and forth. He starts moving it back and forth more and more. And I'm saying, "Jesus, this whole thing is going to crumble unless you hold it up. This thing's going to fall down." And you know what Jesus says in the vision? "Good. Let it come down. Let it fall. Because you're trying to build a life to have God or others say, look, haven't I done something significant? I'll be enough when I get this done. And the truth is you have to move off that what Jesus called the sandy foundation and puts your life on the rock, a solid foundation, and on that rock foundation, it's where Jesus says to you, "You are enough. I see you. I hear your cry." How many times is that mention the scripture, "Call on me and I will answer you. I will hear you. I see you when you were formed in your mothers' wombs and you are attached to me and I love you."

    And something happens in Leah's life where she finally catches this vision. And I'm going to ask the worship team to come if they would, we're going to close it just a moment. She catches his vision and she has one more child. She has one more child and she calls this boy Judah. Judah. And now she's not saying, "Look at me please Jacob, love me, please Jacob, help me. Can I do something to earn love and favor?" Now she says something very different. She says, "I'm going to name this boy Judah and the name Judah means praise." Praise. She says, "Enough of earning, enough of striving, enough of trying, enough of trying to get you to look at me and approve of me and enough of trying to overcome this detachment, overcoming the sense of I'm never enough."

    And that wound in your heart that says you're never enough, Jesus saying to you. "You're enough. I love you just the way you are." Yes, pastor, yes. Be strong. Yes, do exploits, but don't do that to try to earn God's love and God's favor. Realize that the final word is just like the final son. It says she stopped bearing children after this because it was enough. I don't need attachment now because I have something else. I don't need to be seen by you because someone else sees me. I don't need to be heard by you husband, father, mother, because God in heaven hears me and all of a sudden Leah says, "I know what my life is all about. It's about praise. It's about worship. It's about loving you, God. It's not about me. My hurts, my pain, my sorrow, my suffering. It's about you, Jesus, and I will praise you. I will praise you in my pain."

    When I am not seen yet, will I praise you? When I am not heard by others, yet I will praise you. I could be put on a shelf, yet I will praise you. I could be unrecognized as a pastor, yet I will praise you. I could not get credit for the work I've done yet, I will praise you. I can be sick and yet I will praise you. I could be dying on a death bed, yet I will praise the Lord at all times. My soul shall continually bless his name. I will praise him when I'm hurting. I will praise him when I'm crying. I will praise him when I feel defeated. I will praise him when I'm alone. I will praise him on a mountaintop and I will praise him in the valley. How many of you in this room say it's time for me to start praising the Lord to start praising his name in my struggle?

    I praise his name. I praise his name. You see, the devil doesn't just try to steal your relationships. He's trying to steal your praise. The devil isn't just trying to steal your health. He's trying to steal your praise. So when you're sick, you don't praise. And you say, "Why am I sick, Lord? I thought you'd heal me." What's the devil after, you being sick? Not exactly. He's after stealing your praise. When you've lost, he's not after your confidence. He's after your praise. He's not just after your ministry to ruin your ministry. He wants to ruin your ministry so he can end your praise. He wants nothing but you to stop your praise.

    So when your health is not what you want it to be, you still have your praise. When your family is not what you want it to be, maybe your children are prodigals and you're worried and you're stressed when your family is not what you want it to be, you still have your praise. When you are not a Rachel, you are a Leah. You still have your praise. And let me say this, by the way, at some time or another, every Rachel becomes a Leah. You think you're beautiful. You're a Rachel. And you go to a Hollywood and Los Angeles and all of a sudden in Hollywood, Los Angeles, all the Rachel's from the small town are now Leahs.

    So don't worry if you feel like you're a Leah, because to Jesus, you're a Rachel. And so if you feel like a Rachel, don't let it rob your praise. You still have your praise. Oh, I don't have any money, but you have your praise. I don't have a big church, but you have your praise. I'm not talented, but I have my praise. When my body is weak, yet I will praise him. When my journey is hard, yet I will praise him. When the seats in my church there are kind of emptier than I want to be, yet I will praise him. When my heart is overwhelmed with troubles, yet I will praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

    You say to the devil, you can have my body. You can have my money. You can have all these things, but you can't steal my praise. You can't take my praise. You will never take my praise. I will praise the Lord at all times. My praise shall continually be in my mouth. I will bless the Lord, I will exalt the Lord. I will call on his name and he will hear me. He will see me. He will deliver me. He will be mine. I will bless the Lord. I will bless the Lord. When I am not seen, I will praise. When they don't hear my voice, I will praise the Lord. When I don't feel loved or accepted, I will praise the Lord. When I've been wounded as a child and I don't know how to overcome it anymore, I will praise the Lord.

    When the addictions get back in my brain and say go back to that world. I'm going to say, no, no, no. You can't have that because I'm here to praise the Lord. I will not stop praising. I will not give up praising. I'll give up a lot of stuff. I'll give up a lot of popularity. I'll give up a lot of fame. I'll give up a lot of notoriety. I'll give up a lot of affection, but I will not give up my praise. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Hallelujah. Praise him. Praise church. Let's praise him right now. This is how we praise you Jesus. Through the storm, though the difficulties, through the night, through the fire, through the wilderness. I will praise you Lord, I will praise you Lord. Oh, God. Through it all, I will praise you God.

    When I'm struggling, when I'm hurting, when I'm weak, when I'm lonely, when I feel like I'm not enough, I will say I praise you God. I praise you God. I praise you God. Shout it out to him. Praise God. Praise you God. Praise you for the victory. Praise you for the power. Praise you for your love. Praise you that you are enough. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him in the morning. Praise him in the afternoon. Praise him in the evening. Praise him on Sunday. Praise him on Monday. Praise him all week long, praise him in January and praise him in December. Praise the Lord at all times I praise you, I praise you, because you are worthy because you are worthy. No matter how I feel, I will praise you. No matter what the state of my emotions, I will praise you, praise you, praise you, praise you, praise you. Praise you. Praise you, praise the Lord.

    Hallelujah. Yeah. Yeah. Praise him. Praise him. Who's worthy to be praised? Jesus. Who alone should be praised? Jesus. Who takes away all of our wounds and pain? Jesus. And when he takes it away, what are we going to do? Praise him. Praise him, praise him. I praise him because my wife said yes and she married me so I said praise him. But if she had said no, I still have to praise him, right? If you're married here today and you love your wife or husband, you say, praise the Lord. If your husband or wife doesn't love you very much, you say, praise the Lord. If your church is exploding with thousands of people being saved, you say, praise the Lord. But if your church is small and it's kind of struggling and you're hurting a little bit, you still say, praise the Lord. When do you say it? You praise the Lord at all times and his praise shall continuously be not in my emotions, not in my mind, not in my thinking.

    It'll be in my what? My mouth. That's what you're doing here today at church. You're putting it in your mouth, but let it come through your mouth one more time. So I say I praise you Jesus. I praise you Lord. My praise is healing my wounds right now. My praise is healing my wounds. Lord, my praise is healing my rejection. My praise is healing things that happened to me as a child that should have never happened. There are women in this room who were abused, who were abandoned and your praise right now, Jesus says, that this is your Judah. You don't have to strive anymore to get healed. You are healed. That's your praise. There are men in this room. You're still trying to prove yourself. I can prove myself that I'm worthy. You can lay all that down, all you have to do is praise.

    Praise shall continue to be in my mouth.

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  • Not Living Up to Your Label

     

    Nicky Cruz

    Date Preached: 
    November 15, 2019

    At some point in our lives we all get labeled by others, and some of us carry those labels until the day we die. Once applied, labels are hard to remove. They become self-fulfilling prophecies that affect how we live our lives. Jabez, from birth, was called “pain” but he didn't let this label direct his life. Instead, he asked God to give him a life contrary to his label. Let God give you a life that lets you live contrary to the negative labels that have been applied to you.

    I'm going to talk to you about not living up to your label. People put label in a life. Right now in United States we have so many labels. The Christians they have been putting labels to the Christians. We have people from all walk of life, they are confused between masculine and feminine and gender, or whatever you want to call. And we have a problem, a serious problem with revival of drugs, synthetic drugs coming from China all the way to Mexico, across the border.

    And there's one drug that can kill thousands of thousands, that can kill the whole city. And people have been busted or arrested, thank God because these drugs are very dangerous. I'm going to give you warning as a Christian and this warning either you take it or you leave it. In 1st Chronicle, Chapter 4, verse 9 and 10, let me read what it says. Now Jabez was more honorable than his brother. And his mother call his name, Jabez saying, "Because I bore you in pain." And Jabez call on the God of Israel saying, "All that you would bless me indeed and you would enlarge my territory, that your hand will be with me. And that you would keep me from evil." Evil, remember that.

    That I might not cause pain. So, God granted him what he request. This is a book that was written by the name of Wilkerson, not Dave Wilkerson, called the prayer of Jabez. Do you heard about that book? The prayer of Jabez. But there was something that happened when Dave wrote that little book, it wasn't big. That the people twisted, they took whatever was the best for them and then forgot other things. And I'm going to explain that as I've going to go through this. People had label play something from the time they are born to the time they're dying. There are both good and bad labels.

    Labels are difficult to peel off once it placed in the person. Labels become self-fulfilling prophesy. They influence our individual personality, temperament, and destiny. That's what it can happen. But there's good news. We don't have to live up to our labels. I don't know how they called you if you have a nicknames. I don't know, but call your mother call you that you're going to cause pain. That is not a blessing, that is a curse. That is something that is a curse. Why you call, can you imagine why you call your son that you're going to cause pain. The story about Jabez is so beautiful.

    There are only two verses in the Bible about this man, yet a powerful testimony. Powerful. He was a descendant of the tribe of Judah from which would produce the line of David. And subsequently, Jesus Christ. This is Jabez. And here his mother, however, name him Jabez which is mean he will cause pain. Can you imagine Jabez walking down the street, let's put it right now in this moment. Our time. Can you see a guy with a big head walking down the neighborhood and everybody say, "Hey, big head. How are you doing big head? Hey, big head, can we play baseball, basketball? Huh, Big head? Hey big head, come down, let's go dancing. Big head, do you want to try marijuana?"

    Can you imagine call somebody given labels like this? Well, he went to his mom, he told his mother, mom, why they call me big head? Why? And what do you expect from her mother, his mother? No son, you don't have a big head at all. So label is putting in all of the people, but the worst for the Christian is when they call you a hypocrite. When they call you a liar. Where you preach exaggerations. When you walk in the neighborhood and people know what kind of lifestyle you live in. Christians, we are the example of the world. And they expect us that we should conduct ourself properly and spiritually.

    The hardest thing is somebody that call you and put a label on your life. You know something, I can never escape from my label. I can't. People know me as a gang leader. People introduce me as a gang leader. Ex gang leader. Do you think I like it? I was. I cannot denying that I was that kind of person. Yes, in my neighborhood. Parent used to take your children across the street and they're going like this, "He's bad. He's mean. Don't get close to him." Can you imagine that I have a label that I was born in a witchcraft home? Because I said that my father was a satanic priest and my mother was a witch. What a nice label!

    But I can tell you, God didn't change Jabez name, his still was called Jabez. But something beautiful happened. Something beautiful happen in my life and because it happen in my life, one of the hardest thing in life is to reach your own family. I don't know if you've had that experience. But to have a label in my neighborhood, that I was bad. To have a label on my parents in Puerto Rico that they are Satanic people. That was the label that them put on my parents. The great one, the one who do miracle. And when you began to think about this, that's something that I'm so proud to say that I gave my life to Jesus Christ, that I was born again, went to Bible school. I didn't know nothing about the Bible at all.

    Seriously, I didn't know who Adam was. I know a little bit about Eve. I didn't know. I went to Bible school one month and a half converted. I did not know nothing about the Holy Spirit like brother Claude was talking about it. I thought that I was in another country and another land. I saw people speaking in tongue and I just couldn't believe it. I said, "Why these people are talking?"

    He seemed that he was destined to be a troublemaker. From the time he was born, the very mentions of his name reinforce the curse of his future life. However, he did not live up to that name. He refused to allow this label determine his personality, his temperament, and destiny. He came to the conclusion, in his life that he will not cause pain. That he going to reverse everything in a different direction. And then he did the right thing, he called, this is what the Bible say, "He call on the Lord of Israel." That's the key.

    That's the key that can change everything. That's what he was talking about, prayer. It is essential that we pray every day. I miss, right now my devotion with my wife, she's not with me. We have our prayer time, one hour every day. We pray. And I ask you to do the same thing. His life did not cause pain at all. As a result, God granted him what he request and now that is the twist what happen with that prayer of Jabez. Why was misunderstand? Why people went in different direction and here this is his prayer, to be blessed. You want to be blessed, right? Blessings of God, which is mean inherit God promise.

    Enlarge my territory, his territory, the borders. Able to prosper and that's when he came in, what you call today, so many years ago every Bible a prosperity. They twist it. Then is reading all the thing about him, but there everybody was talking about prosperity. If you give $10 God going to give you $100. Bring me your handkerchief and I going to bless your handkerchief, but give me some money. They twist it so bad because everybody was talking about the prayer or Jabez, but then took it as a prosperity type of ministry and that it wasn't what Jabez want. If I wanted to be honest to you, enlarge my territory, it go deeper than that. Enlarge me with faith, with grace, with favor, with love, with forgiveness, with strength.

    No, twist it and say, enlarge my territory and prosperity. Choose which one you want. Because regardless of what, God always going to be there for you and he going to prosper you, But that's not supposed to be the priority of your life. The priority of your life is to live a life of faith and prayer, communion with God. Be with him. Remember, families and all of these in your life. Tell God hand be upon him, which is mean receive first. This is what Psalms 5:12 said. For surely, Oh Lord you blessed the righteous, you surrounded them with your favor, as with your shield. That's what he was trying to say. Your hand will be your upon me.

    And this one, you're not going to like it, but it is true. Keep me from evil, because I'm going to be honest to you. You are surrounded by evil. People want the worst for you as you want the best from God in your life. Some people want to hurt you. This is evil day and you have to deal that you've got to fight all of these things in your life until you die. Look the way King David saw this. Psalm 23, verse 4, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Cast out all fear, that's what love do. You cannot live a Christian life, full of fear, depression. You cannot be negative about this, the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a privilege to really serve the Lord.

    And is through the presence of the Holy Ghost that you're going to be a winner and evil cannot touch you because you will be a blessed child. That to me is the blessing. And you know who put it very beautifully, Jesus Christ himself when the disciple ask him, teach us how to pray. Teach how to pray. And do you know the Lord prayer, there is something in the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 13. Right in the middle where he prays, this beautiful prayer, boom, he make this statement. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We are no exception to the rule. This is going to happen until we die. The devil going to be chasing you, you cannot allow him to be the one who take the victory. You've got the victory already in Jesus Christ.

    You believe in the resurrection, right? You believe that you have been resurrected from your sin. I have been resurrected. The day I gave my life to Jesus Christ. He gave me new heart. He gave me new mind. And this body is temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwell on me. He's here. I can feel him. I'm not afraid. And I came to the conclusion, that I'm going to be aware that the devil is devil. That evil is evil. That he want to try to destroy your family, your relationship, he's going to put in yourself. I'm going to tell you something, I don't want you to ... I cannot watch Christian television. So many new theology that God never heard about it.

    A guy controlling the people mind. You know his name? What his name?

    You are scared of him? What is his name?

    Had to force you to say his name. My goodness. Let me close with this, you was expecting a message of deep, deep message of evangelism. I will do it one of these days. You might not have a choice on the label that was placed on you or me, such cultural background, poverty roots, label placed by your own family members. And that's what I want to warn you, don't call name to your kids. Don't hurt them that way. Because that's what my mother did to me.

    And you know what, I believe it. I believed that I was a failure. I believed that I was evil. All the name that she gave me, one by one, about seven curse. Seven curse. You might try to change this name, but everybody know that I was a ex gang leader. Everybody know about it, but if you listen to my story, do I am still a gang leader? Talk to me. Why? Because the God of Israel, because Jesus Christ had changed my life completely. He have changed me. And the conclusion is, the day you stop crying for the lost, and praying for your families and your neighbor and your barrios, which is the ghetto. I saw when I was driving here. I couldn't believe it, when I look at the mountains.

    You can build the most beautiful places and there is nothing but ghetto. Poverty. Is hurt. Don't forget your family. And your name, what is your name? My name is Nicolas Cruz Velasquez. I repeat myself again, my real name in the passport, Nicolas Cruz Velasquez. But if you want to really put my real name, you know how my mother called me Nicolas? What Nicolas represent? Christmas. My mother called me what she called me and she was prophesying Saint Nicolas. Hallelujah, Saint Nicolas.

    Amen.

    No evil Nicolas, Saint. We are saint people.

    Yes.

    We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

    Yes.

    You've got story to talk about.

    Yes.

    You have been freed. Free in deed.

    Yes.

    The peace of God dwell in you.

    Yes.

    The Holy Spirit is right there with you. God filled me with the Holy Spirit when I was about eight months saved. And there he called me into being evangelist. He didn't call me to go to South America. I thought he going to send me to Central America because I speak Spanish, yo hablo español.

    Yeah. And you know how he call me? With one of the most awesome brokenness that last more than four hours on the floor. A teenager, a young kid broken by just hurt. I would cry until there was no more tears. I didn't understood why he called me, I didn't. Until it dawned on me, Nicky, I'm calling you to be evangelist. Trust me, I'm going to take you every place that you never imagined. And then two days later, a professor from the Bible school, came to me, and he told me you have been called to be ambassador to all the youth all over the world. That's the calling that I got. Gary, that's enough. That's enough.

    Either we are going to believe in the prayer of Jabez or either we're going to twist it in my way. There is a song sing by Frank Sinatra, I did it my way. If you want to go that way, you want to be a loser. If you want to go God way, you're a winner. And you should already praise the Lord because God is good and he is worthy to be praised by all of us. I never ask people to clap because I don't know, I never, but I just want everybody to stand and let's give Jesus one of the biggest standing ovation, one of the biggest clap, and you pray, and you already pray with Pastor Claude. But I want you to lose yourself, renounce all kinds of label. That label is out, you are born again.

    Yes.

    Stay on the rock, okay? All right?

    Yes.

    And if you're having problems with your children or with your parents or friends, release it right now.

    Amen.

    Release it. If you're having a problem with yourself of being real, release it. Don't be a phony. Don't be a phony baloney macaroni. Let's pray. Let's go for the blessing instead of going for the curse. Can you do that? Grab everybody hands and we're going to do it together as a body of Christ. I want you to pray. You know your heart better than anybody. I know my heart, I need quite a few things to change in my own life. I don't have to confess to you, but I know Nicky Cruz very well. Can you say the prayer, the prayer of Jabez in your own words? Can you ask him what you want with your life? Can you believe in miracle that God can change your son, your daughter, your parents? Can you pray as a minister of the gospel that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be upon you?

    You evangelist that God can put his fire in your tongues. Can you pray that? Then open up your mouth. Open up your mouth. If you lack love, ask him to give you that love. Because sometimes we're cold. Let me hear you. Hello, let me hear you. Hallelujah. Blessed be the Holy One. We worship you Jesus. We thank you for the transformation of our life. Thank you for our family. Thank you for the miracle that you have done in our family. Thank you for answering our prayer when we felt completely alone and lost. Thank you Jesus for being so kind to us. Thank you Jesus for supply all our needs. Fill us with your Holy Spirit. God, cleanse us for everything that is not right.

    And now we worship you Jesus. Why don't you raise you hands to the sky and worship him? Say, I worship you. Thank you Jesus. Praise your holy name, Jesus. I thank you for what you had done in my life. I thank you for what you have done in my children life. I thank you that you have delivered us from the evil one. Hallelujah, yes.

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  • The Communion of the Holy Spirit

     

    Claude Houde

    Date Preached: 
    November 15, 2019

    Communion with the Holy Spirit is your supreme calling, the source of supernatural service for God, and what the enemy will attack most in your life. Claude Houde inspires us to seek a daily walk with the Holy Spirit because only though him can we see, speak, stand against and shine for Christ supernaturally.

    Claude Houde: The big question in conferences like this is, how can the touch that we receive become transformation? How can the touch become transformation? We're all busy. We're all working, around the world. We have no interest in coming, speaking, being touched, going home, and things don't change. You have a giant in this nation, with the thousands of churches and the tens of thousands and millions of believers. You have a giant, you have a responsibility. You may not realize this, but in any nation, the people of God are the most important people in the nation. You are the people that hold the keys to eternal life. You are the people and the mass of believers in this nation, you can change this nation.

    Claude Houde: So how can this not just be another conference? How can the touch become transformation? How can the blessing we experience become a break-through that makes a difference in your life, in your family, in your children, in your church, in your city, and together in our nation, the nation that God has called us to touch. How can a conference really bring change? How can we possess, protect, and possess what we feel God has promised? Yesterday the ... hundreds of us that God has been writing His promises again in our hearts.

    Claude Houde: How can we not see them go through our fingers in the next few weeks? How can we not come back next year to another conference, and do it again and again without change? For the younger ones that are here, how can my aspirations become accomplishments? How can I fulfill what I'm feeling in my spirit is from God? To the older ones, the fathers and mothers in the faith, how can I recapture, how can I reproduce, how can I make real, how can I make reality, some of the revelations that I am hearing here in this conference? How can the glory we felt together, how can the glory become growth and fruit in our lives? In our churches? How many of you are like me, like us this morning? We have one heart. We're not interested in just feeling better for one day or two. We want change. We want transformation. We want growth. We want souls, and we want breakthrough in our nation. If that's your heart, I want you to shout yes.

    Congregation: Yes!

    Claude Houde: So how? How can these moments together, as Bishop Noel said, how can the moments become a movement? How can the moments in the Holy Spirit become a movement? So today, I want to share a message, and it'll be a two part. I'm just doing the first part now, and then Pastor Gary will come, and Evangelist Nicky Cruz will come, and we'll flow through the day together. But I want to call you to something that has been the pursuit of my life, and the key, the difference between promise and possessing in ministries around the world, whatever the culture, wherever ... all 50 countries where I've ministered. I want to call you to a fresh commitment to the communion of the Holy Spirit. I want you to say it out loud with me. The communion of the Holy Spirit.

    Congregation: The communion of the Holy Spirit.

    Claude Houde: When the apostle Paul under ... writes 1st and 2nd Corinthians to a large body, to the largest body of believer, the most influential body of believer in the New Testament era, he ends the 1st epistle to the Corinthians with these words. "The grace of our Lord Jesus, and my love, be with you." Grace and love. And we are to walk in grace and love, and be renewed in grace and love. And when he writes the 2nd epistles ... it is a formal way in which he ends many letters, "Grace and love be with you." And we are called to walk in grace and in love. But when he finishes his 2nd epistles to the Corinthians, there's a prompting, there's an urgency, there is a shaking, there is a fire of the Spirit, a warning. There is an admonition of the Holy Spirit upon him, so he writes, last words of the 2nd epistle, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

    Claude Houde: The communion of the Holy Spirit. This is a supreme calling. This is a supreme calling you are to pursue. This is the source of all supernatural service. Your communion with the Holy Spirit. This is what the satanic will most attack in your life, will attack your communion with the Holy Spirit. This is what the satanic will most attack. It will attack it through temptation, through sin. It will attack it through pride. It will attack it through bitterness, and division, and a harshness of heart. It will attack it through offenses that become prisons, and it will attack it through sheer busyness, when you're running around with your phone in your hand everywhere you go, and you little by little forsaking your communion with the Holy Spirit. Please understand. That is a supreme calling, that is the source of all supernatural service, and that is what the satanic will most attack in your life. If you receive and keep one thing from this conference, your future will depend on you cultivating, protecting, and you fighting for your communion of the Holy Spirit.

    Claude Houde: When the band dismantles the instruments and the stage is gone, and we go back to our island, it's what happens tomorrow morning, and the next day, and the next day, between you and God, and your communion with the Holy Spirit, or not, that will determine how much of an impact you will have. The apostle Paul uses an amazing word. He says that's ... communion with the Spirit will be your supreme calling, the source of all supernatural service. This is what the satanic will attack in your life. And this is the communion of the Spirit that will sustain and strengthen you. Sustain and strengthen you.

    Claude Houde: One of my privilege in ministry, 35 years of full-time pastoral ministry, is three decades of service, but to be surrounded and having the privilege of being around men that have served for years and years and years, and to see them being refreshed and being renewed. It is something amazing for me. I'm 57 years old. I am 57 years old. I know you're saying, "That's impossible. You look so young." I know that's what you're saying. I'm 57 years old, and I'm serving God with all my heart, and God gives me health and energy. But I think of my brother. I think of Pastor Nicky, who's a little bit over 57. Am I allowed to say? Last time he almost punched me out when I said his age. And he can do it. So let me say ... can I say 80, at least? Can I say 80? Let's say that I need to serve for about 20, 25 more years of ministry. To those of you who were there at the crusade, he's standing there in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I want to warn everybody over 50, there's no retirement for you. There's no settling for you. There's no, "I'm just going off to my retirement." No. You need today to call out and say, "O God, come and renew me by the communion of the Holy Spirit." Fresh oil! Fresh fire, fresh wind.

    Claude Houde: And the apostle Paul uses something very ... an amazing word. He uses the word koinonía, the communion, the fellowship, the partnership. It is often used and taught in the New Testament as the communion that God calls us to have between believers, when we speak with one another and share deep things with one another. We open our hearts, and we listen, and we hear, and we are close. We're in communion. We are in union. How sweet it is for brethren to be in koinonía, to be in communion together! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who calls us to be in communion with one another. Paul says, "You are to be in communion with the Holy Spirit."

    Claude Houde: Your experience with the Holy Spirit is not a one time. It is not only at salvation. It is not only a one-time event. It's not only at a certain moment. It is a communion. It is a Him speaking to you and you to Him. I would say it this way, and not at all in a denominational sense, but we need a fresh Pentecost. Not a denominational Pentecost, where all the arguing is about exterior, external evidence. I'm speaking of an internal Pentecost. Do you understand that Pentecost, the word Pentecost, means 50? It was one of the feasts of the Old Testament. You had a sequence in the Old Testament where you have the angel of death going across the country, and the blood is put over the doors, foreshadowing what Christ will do for us. And whoever is found under the blood is saved. 50 days later, Pentecost, 50, 50 days later, the law of... God gives this law. It's commandments. He gives them on tables of stone on Moses. That's Pentecost.

    Claude Houde: New Testament. New covenant. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb, is offered, and He sheds His blood once and for all. And whoever is found under the blood will be saved, will have eternal life. Nothing can separate you. Shout yes, please!

    Congregation: Yes!

    Claude Houde: 50 days later, the day of Pentecost, they were all in one place, in one accord, and there came a sound from heaven, and cloven tongues of fire came, and God says, "Now I will not write my desires, my plans, my heart, my convictions, my destinies, on tables of stones. I will write them on human hearts." Pentecost is not a denomination. It is an experience for all of us, day after day, to say, "Lord, come and write your laws, your desires, your plans, your warnings, your admonition, your corrections, your renewing. Come and write that on the tables of my heart." Can God still write something new on your heart? Can God still say to you, after all these years, "That attitude is wrong? Be careful. You have to be more grateful." The Holy Spirit can still write to you. "You have to let go of that offense. It's not about you. It's not about your kingdom. It's not your position, it's not your title."

    Claude Houde: Can God still say to you by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in your communion with Him, can still give you a sensitive heart to someone next to you that you are to speak about Jesus to? Or someone that you are to call that's a backslider, that's hurt you so much, and caused you so much trouble, but the Holy Spirit, can He still speak to you to reach out with the hand of Christ? Can the Holy Spirit still reach a leader, the leaders among us, to be models of unity, as Bishop Noel preached? Can we cry out together for the Philippines, "O God, bring us again. Renew us again. Bring me back in that place of communion with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name."

    Claude Houde: And there's many pictures of the communion of the Holy Spirit in the two epistles to the Corinthians. We're going to look at one. I'm going to start this morning, and sometime during today do the second part. But I want you to look with me at 1st Corinthians chapter 2. Many pictures, incredible pictures. Very practical. Very ... exactly where we live as leaders, as to how this communion is manifested and unfolds, and is alive, and is bearing so much fruit.

    Claude Houde: 1st Corinthians chapter 2, and we will look together at verse 9. 1st Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 9. "But it is written, as it written, your eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things that which God has prepared for those who love Him. That God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so, no one knows ... no one knows, no matter how educated, no matter how trained, no matter how professional in ministry you are, no matter how adept at leadership you are, no one knows the things from God but by the Spirit of God, the Spirit that is from God, that we might know ... would you say out loud with me? That we might know."

    Congregation: That we might know.

    Claude Houde: "That we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. And these things now we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the words ... with the language that the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. But for the natural man does not receive ... doesn't even see them. He doesn't receive, doesn't understand. He doesn't discern the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." In the Greek, they are spiritually possessed. They're only possessed by the Spirit of God. I would like to propose to you, first thought this morning, we'll continue on later on during the day, that through the communion of the Holy Spirit, and only through the communion of the Holy Spirit, can we speak supernaturally. Only through the communion of the Holy Spirit can we see supernaturally, speak supernaturally, and stand against everything the enemy throws our way, and shine supernaturally. By the communion of the Spirit we see supernaturally, we speak supernaturally, and we stand against hell itself, and shine supernaturally, in the name of Jesus. Would you say yes, please?

    Claude Houde: So by the communion of the Holy Spirit, we can see supernaturally. Your eyes has not seen. Your mind cannot conceive. Your heart cannot produce the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. Where there is no vision, the people perish. I thank God for the leadership, what I heard this morning, in these few minutes. I thank God for the vision of your leaders. You have leaders that stand here, and they have a vision for the coming years. The word of God says where there is no vision, fresh revelation ... in the Hebrew it's chazon. When there's no chazon, the people perish. The people cast off restraint. When there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. The people go in any direction. They're like sheep scattered.

    Claude Houde: Whether you have a large church or you are in charge of a youth group, or you have a small church on an island, you are called to be a man with spiritual sight. To be a woman and man of vision, that will see supernaturally. That sees supernaturally. Because your eye cannot see ... we sing it as a salvation experience. "I was blind, but now I see." But the opening of your eyes to salvation is only the beginning. God is calling us in every season of our lives to see supernaturally, to see with the eyes of God. Seeing supernaturally, seeing past the impossible, into what is right now invisible, but is what God calls you to be.

    Claude Houde: To see supernaturally is to see beyond our fears. In every season of fears, where fear is grabbing you by the throat, you see supernaturally beyond your fears into faith. You see supernaturally His promises, so you're not defeated in the seasons of pain, in the seasons of pressure. You see supernaturally His love, His light, in the darkest season of loneliness. Through the eyes of faith, through the communion of the Spirit, you see the potential in people. You don't only see their past and their problem.

    Claude Houde: It's not supernatural to see people's problems. How many of you have great discernment to see other people's problems? You just see it right away? That's not very supernatural. What is supernatural is to see their future in God, it to see beyond their fault, is to see beyond what they are not. Actually a shepherd is called, and a visionary leader is called, to see in people that God confides to us, what they don't even see in themselves. As Jesus looks at you. To see them as Jesus sees them. Supernaturally see His will, and walking in His will through our own wilderness. When you're in a wilderness, and when you're in a season of woundedness, it's only your communion of the Holy Spirit that keeps your eyes open to who He is. To my purposes, to my destiny, to who God has called me to be. It's only through the communion of the Spirit to see and stand for the true measure of success in His sight.

    Claude Houde: It's only through the eyes of the Spirit, and the communion of the Spirit, that you keep your eyes on what is the true measure of success. Before God, not before men. As a servant of God, as a shepherd. All through the Scripture ... we could go all through the Scriptures, and we have these warning ... what I call the Zechariah warning. In Zechariah chapter 11 verse 17, I'm reading it for you, he says, "Woe unto the shepherd." Leaders. "Woe unto the shepherd who does not see, who does not cover, who does not fight for those and does not care for those that are cut off. Woe unto the shepherd who does not heal those that are broken. Who does not feed those that are starving before him. Woe unto the shepherd with a sword in his hand, but he will not fight for the sheep." Why? Because "he turns his back on the day of battle, because his eye has dried up."

    Claude Houde: The eye has dried up. The eye has lost it's spiritual sight, so he's not ... he's concerned about many other things in ministry, but he's not concerned about the sheep. I shudder, as I travel in the nations, to see oftentimes leaders in the highest places tearing each other up, and the whole body of Christ watching leaders that are so ... let me say it this way. Show me a man who's preoccupied with his position, his title in his ministry, and I'm showing you a man that is not in communion with the Holy Spirit. Because if you are in communion with the Holy Spirit, there's something in you that says, "What's important is the sheep, is the people, is the witness, is my testimony, is the kingdom of God, is the name of Jesus that is upon us before the nation." Would you say yes, please? Communion with the Spirit.

    Congregation: Yes.

    Claude Houde: In Mark chapter 9, Jesus touched a blind man. Mark chapter 9. Just like all of us, he was completely blind. Didn't see anything. And he comes to Jesus. Jesus touches him, and He says, "What do you see?" "It's a miracle!" I was completely blind before, like you and me, completely blind to things of God, to the principals of God, to the heart of God. And now, he says, "I wasn't seeing anything before, but now I see men like trees, walking." And the Bible says Jesus touched him a second time. Touched his eyes a second time. Say out loud with me, a second time.

    Congregation: A second time.

    Claude Houde: He says, "What do you see now?" "I see people as they really are." I want to propose to you that all of us need a second time, and a second time, and a second time. That without the communion of the Holy Spirit, we just see people as trees walking. We don't see their need. We don't see how God wants us to serve them. We don't see our situation. We don't see our family. We don't see our marriage. We don't see our spouse. We don't see our kids or grandkids. We don't see our nation as God sees it. We don't see ministry as God sees it. Only when He gives me the second touch. I cry out, after 35 years of ministry, "God, give me the second touch again! Touch my eyes! If my eyes have dried up, come by your Spirit! I want to see what my eyes cannot see, what only the Spirit of God can show me and reveal to me." Would you say yes?

    Congregation: Yes.

    Claude Houde: I will see supernaturally. Jesus and the blind man. In Jeremiah chapter 1, second touch again. God says, "Jeremiah, I have called you. You will go." And He says, "What do you see?" He touched him, and He says, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" And Jeremiah says, "I see a branch like the Olive tree, the saqed in the Hebrew." It was the announcer, the Hebrew word meaning, "That's the announcer of life." When everything was frozen and cold and sterile and lifeless, the branch would spring forth. It's announcing life. Again, he's announcing Jesus Christ. He's announcing the Life. And He says, "Okay, Jeremiah." He touched him a second time, and He asked him what do you see a second time. He says, "I see boiling pots of burning waters about to tip over."

    Claude Houde: And that is the reality! That is the reality of what was happening in the nations. That is the reality of what will increasingly happen in these last days. We will be called to be the announcers of life in the midst of death. The announcers of life in the midst of boiling pots, and the boiling pots of burning water in the nations will never stop the gospel of Jesus Christ. But without the communion of the Spirit, you have ministers ... I was watching ... you have many many Christian programs here. It's a blessing. I was in the hotel last night, watching different preachers on at every hour, and Filipino preachers, and all types of different ministries. And many of them with an emphasis on this is the last days, and this is the dark days, and this is the end of things.

    Claude Houde: All this is true. The burning pots of boiling waters are real. But we are not called to go into a bunker until Jesus comes. We are called to announce life. We are called to announce a new life in Christ. We are called to stand in a stadium, as you did a few days ago, and proclaim the life of Christ. [inaudible 00:23:35]. We are called to 21 days of fasting and prayer. We are called to months where each of us share our faith. We are called to see supernaturally, that we would serve Him supernaturally. Would you say yes?

    Congregation: Yes.

    Claude Houde: I'm going to close with this, and continue on, because He calls us to see supernaturally, that we would speak supernaturally. I want to close with one last verse. I want you to turn with me to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16. I close with this. Matthew 16, please. This is a passage that you know well. This is a passage where Jesus will ask His disciples. Matthew chapter 16. And Jesus came into the region, verse 13, into the region of Caesarea and Philippi, and He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" I, the Son of God. So they said, "Some say you're John the Baptist." Some praise. That's purity, that's repentance. That's the message of John the Baptist. The message of purity, very important. "And some say Elijah." That's the prophetic. The prophetic nature of our message. "And others they say is Jeremiah." Elijah is the power, and John the Baptist is the purity, and Jeremiah is the prophetic.

    Claude Houde: And He said to them, "Okay, but who do you say that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said ... and Simon Peter is amazing. He has the capacity in the same day to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and to be rebuked because the enemy is also inspiring him. How many of you love Peter? You just love Peter? So Peter goes ... this is so inspired by God. He goes, "You are the Christ. You are the Son of the Living God." And Jesus answered and said, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. Flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but my Father has revealed this unto you." The Holy Spirit, the communion of the Father revealing, causing him to see and to speak supernaturally. "And I say to you, you're only a pebble. You're only a small stone. But on the rock of revelation that I give you, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys." Say out loud, the keys.

    Congregation: The keys.

    Claude Houde: "The keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will loose in heaven." Look up for a second. "Who do men say that I am?" And after 2,000 years, we can reduce Jesus to just one portion. "Some say you're John the Baptist." It's all about sanctification, and purity, and holiness. And it's so important, but He's that and beyond. "Some say you're Elijah." It's about the power. It's the power. Yes, it's the power, it's Elijah. But He's more. "Some say you're Jeremiah." It's the prophetic. It's all about the prophetic. It's all the signs, it's the date, Jesus is coming back at that date. No it's beyond that. "Who do men say that I am?" "You're the Christ, you're the Son of the Living God." Oh, Simon Peter. "It's not flesh that has revealed that to you, but my Father in heaven. And as long as you walk in the communion of the Holy Spirit, I ... you're just a pebble. You're just a little stone. But on the rock of revelation that I give you, I will build my church in the Philippines, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you keys."

    Claude Houde: Here's what happens as we travel the world, literally, as we go to nation after nation after nation after nation. Someone is fasting and praying somewhere, and God gives them a key. Some keys are universal. They're for the whole world. It is praying, it is fasting, it is serving Him with all our hearts, it is compassion. It is the grace of God. Some keys are universal. But then we have a group ... somewhere in the nation, we have men fasting and praying, and God gives them a key for their city, for their nation. And in our day and age, the key becomes a book. The book becomes a web series. The book becomes a conference. It becomes a methodology, and pastors come from all over to now study this key. And let's take this key now, whether it be one technique ... and I'm not even going to mention any, because ... one technique, five steps to this five steps to that. The only problem is you go back home and that key wasn't for your city, it was for theirs. You needed to seek God for yourself. You needed to be a voice, and not an echo.

    Claude Houde: This is something the Lord said to me years ago. I'm going to close with this this morning. Be a voice, not an echo. Say it to somebody next to you. Be a voice, not an echo.

    Congregation: Be a voice, not an echo.

    Claude Houde: I will tell you in what context. I will tell you ... I'll close with this. I will tell you in what context the Lord gave me this, and it became something important in my life. As I mentioned yesterday, I have preached over a thousand times to 50 people or less. I was an evangelist in the French world. If you go in the dictionary and you look up the word "extreme poverty," there's a picture of an evangelist in the French world. That was me. Extreme poverty. Going to churches of 50 people, and just my whole life preaching to them. That's all I was doing. But, because I could interpret from English into French ... this is before interpreting for Pastor David Wilkerson.

    Claude Houde: I'm just beginning in ministry, and I get this call for what was, at that time, the most well-known Pentecostal evangelist in the world. Stadiums of hundreds of thousands. His television program was world-wide. And I'd just got married, and we were very ... we have this tiny little apartment, we have this car that only starts by faith. You have to lay hands on it to make it go. My wife married me, I had Bibles, books, and a smile. That's what I had to offer. And preaching 300 times a year in these tiny churches, and no offerings.

    Claude Houde: And I get this call from this American organization, and they call me downtown Montreal into a skyscraper. I showed up, and they're very American. Americans are more in your face. I sat there and they said, "We saw some tapes of you interpreting, and the evangelist wants you to be his voice to the French world. You're going to stand with them in French Africa and Europe and France, six or seven crusades. You're going to do one week a month. You're going to go to Louisiana. You're going to go to their studios. You're going to be the voice and the face in the French world." And they're so American that as I sat there, without me asking anything, he showed me. He says, "This is the salary we will give you monthly." I say before God, no exaggeration, what they were offering me monthly was more than I was making in a whole year.

    Claude Houde: Oh, you should say, "Hmm." Say something. You're all pretending you don't care, but you know what I mean. So I'm thinking, "Wow." But I said what I should say. I said, "Well, let me pray about it." But it was pretty exciting. So I get home, and I'm jumping. I get home and I'm thinking, "I'm going to buy a car, I'm going to buy a house. I'm going to do this. I'm going to be traveling the world. I'm going to be on the stage. This is going to send me in front of nations." And I get home, and I tell my wife, and she says, "Mm. I don't feel it." "You don't feel it, honey?" "No, I don't feel it. No, I don't feel it." I said, "Wait until we get the first check. You'll feel it. You'll feel it." Oh, don't look at me so legalistic. Don't look at me so Pharisee. You know what I'm saying.

    Claude Houde: But I did go pray. And I took a week to pray. And the first day ... the Lord didn't take a week. The first day I was walking, and I came to this passage that I had read so many times before. John the Baptist. A voice in the wilderness. And the Holy Spirit dropped in my heart, "Be a voice, not an echo." It doesn't mean I'm not going to translate. I interpreted many times. But it meant I'm to say no to this. And I remember shaking, picking up the phone and saying, "Thank you for the offer, but it will be no." And they were offended, and they thought ... and I remember the guy saying, "Boy, you just ... I don't know if you should ask counsel of somebody, because you're ruining your life."

    Claude Houde: I hung up, and I would love to tell you that the week after the blessings opened. No, the week after, I was preaching to 30 people again, and just continuing to just serve God. But three months later, that evangelist fell into immorality and became a scandal to the whole world. And I would have become the face and the voice of immorality, and of a man visiting prostitutes, and bringing shame to the gospel.

    Claude Houde: In the communion of the Holy Spirit, there will be protection. In the communion of the Holy Spirit, sometimes there will be God calling you to what no one else is seeing. There will be God looking at somebody no one else ... you think that when Nicky Cruz showed up as a young man from the streets into a Bible school somewhere in California, you think they all looked at him and said, "Oh, this young guy, he's going to go around the world, and 50 years from now he will be in the Philippines with thousands?" No, they were scared of him. There was things that God put in his heart that no one ... he couldn't see it in himself, no one could see it, but the Holy Spirit whispers it in your heart, and He puts a conviction in your heart, and you walk, and you develop.

    Claude Houde: I want to say to someone, be attentive to counsel, yes, be attentive to wisdom, yes, but you must listen to God. You must hear God. Don't seek ... that's why in this conference we're not giving you a methodology. I'm not giving you the seven steps, how we grew our church in Montreal. We grew it on our knees, calling on God, and He gave us keys, one year at a time, one blessing at a time, one ministry at a time, one devil at a time. And the key for yesterday is not even sometimes the same as the key God wants to give you today, in this generation, in this season of your life. O God, I want to see supernaturally, in Jesus' name. And all of God's people shout amen and amen.

    Congregation: Amen!

    Claude Houde: I want the musicians to come. We're not going to have a long time. Just have a moment of prayer, and then we'll have a five-minute break, and continue. But this is the beginning of the day. This is how a conference becomes change. This is how a moment becomes a movement. This is how a blessing becomes a breakthrough. This is how the glory becomes growth and fruit. This is how it's not just a conference. It could be a moment. It could be ... I'm asking you to build an altar where you are. Say, O God, I must renew my communion with you, Holy Spirit. Communion with the Father. Communion with the Son. My eyes cannot see.

    Claude Houde: I'm speaking with love to a mother and to a father in the ministry, and you say, "My eyes cannot see how the situation can turn around for my son anymore. Oh, when I look at my son, when I look at my daughter, when I look at my church, when I look at my marriage, when I look at what I'm going through right now, my eyes cannot see it. But I'm asking you, Holy Spirit, come and show me. Fill me again. The communion." And I want to call a moment of repentance this morning, and say, precious Holy Spirit, if I have been neglecting your presence, if I have been neglecting to seek you ... the satanic has been attacking your communion with the Holy Spirit. He's been distracting. He's been confusing, through sin, or through condemnation, or through busyness, or through bitterness, or anger, ungratefulness. But today, he's exposed. The enemy is exposed. And we lift our hands and we say fill us again, Holy Spirit. Oh, I'm not speaking of a denominational experience. This is for all of us. Not one of us think we have something the other doesn't have. We all just long ...

    Claude Houde: Would you begin to pray out loud? Then pray in your language, pray, and say, "Lord, I pray, fill me. Fill my eyes to see, in this season of my life." I pray for Bishop Noel. I pray for all the leaders. I pray for the Jesus marches. I pray for the fasting and prayer in this nation coming up. I pray for this vision for every believer to share their faith once a month. The potential. I pray for the month of October, 2020. I pray by faith for 500 thousand baptisms of new souls that will have come into the kingdom of God through ... and Lord, it begins with leaders. It begins and ends with us. Our church will not go further than us. Our city will not go further than we go. It all rises or falls on leadership, and we are called to be leaders. We are called to be your man, your woman, in this nation. Lord God, the church in the Philippines must not be a sleeping giant. By the Spirit awaken the giant, O God, that we would rise in unity.

    Claude Houde: Lord God, I want you to call out for unity, not at a superficial level. We are praying for miracles. Miracles of unity. Miracles of repentance. Miracles of reconciliation. Deep conviction of the Holy Spirit upon leaders that fall to their knees, fall to their knees and say, "Forgive me." Fall to their knees and say Jesus first, the people of God first, the church first. I am praying for each pastor to be on his knees and to say, "O God, I want to see. I want to see with the eyes of the Spirit. I want to see my town. I'm praying for every marriage, every couple, and I want to see my wife, I want to see my children, I want to see my husband, as you want me to see him, or her." In the name of Jesus, let me hear the heart-cry of the Filipino leadership. Let me hear the voices rising up to Jesus. Call out the name of your city. Call out the name. Call out the name.

    Claude Houde: Spirit of God, speak to your leaders. Speak to your pastor. Speak to bishops. Speak [inaudible] men and women are here, and some that are not here. Reach them by your Spirit. Awaken their hearts. Awaken their minds to your will and your purposes. We declare your purposes over the enemy's purposes for our nation. We declare justice, when there is only corruption. We declare healing, when there is only division. We declare the purposes and the power of God. O Lord Jesus, give us keys. We believe you are giving us keys. O God, give us keys. Give me keys for my city. Give me keys for my family. Give me keys for my own kids. Give me keys for my own children.

    Claude Houde: Lord Jesus, we come to you today. As this day begins, we are opening our hearts to everything you will say to us. We believe by faith that this conference will make a difference, that things are moving in the heavenlys. That darkness is pushed back. That lies are exposed. We received a vision from one of our bishops today, and we are receiving it. But now we pray, O God, that you would write your vision on our hearts. That you would write by your Holy Spirit, not on tables of stone, but on the tables of our hearts.

    Claude Houde: I pray, O God, for each man and woman of God in this place. Every island, every village, every city, every church, every ministry, every family. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, the things that God has prepared for the Philippines. They are not understandable, they are not discerned, they are not see-able humanly. But they will be revealed by the Holy Spirit and accomplished. We will see supernaturally, so we will speak supernaturally and stand supernaturally, and sow supernaturally, and shine supernaturally, in the name of Jesus. And all of God's people shout amen and amen. 

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