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.