Introduction to the Life of Moses with Levi Lusko

– Harvest, how we doing tonight? (crowd cheers and applauds) Awesome. It’s a real pleasure and a joy, and a privilege to be there. Come on, help me thank the worship team. Thank you guys. (congregation applauds)
Amazing. You all can be seated. It is a joy to be here
and to know it’s a launch of small groups. One of the most important things, one of the best decisions that you’ve made if you’ve come here tonight, to be a part of an intentional
approach to community. To have people in your life
asking those tough questions, they’re to be there for you and with you. And do this journey of life with you. I’m telling something, we were
not made to do this alone. The Christian life, life
on earth is all too complex and hard, and it just matters. Let me just tell you,
you’ve made a good decision. So let me encourage
you, come on you’ve done a right thing being here. It’s gonna be powerful. (congregation applauds) I speak blessings and speak life over this small group, and what this is gonna mean for you. And how it’s gonna count. I believe so much in
training for the trial you’re not yet in. And even if you go
through these next weeks of this term, or whatever it is, and you go, man I don’t know
if I got anything out of it. Let me tell you something, you can’t judge it based on that. Because what you’re doing
is you’re putting rhythms, you’re putting patterns,
you’re putting people, your putting phone
numbers into your phone, for difficult seasons to come you don’t even know are there yet. And so, I just encourage you. Even if you’re in the
group and you’re like, “I don’t know, these people are weird.” You know? (congregation laughs) Next time do a different one, right? And if you’re like, “There’s
no one weird in my group,” maybe you’re the weird person. (congregation laughs) But the reality is,
we’re all just messed up and God loves us all
and we need each other, and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful, wonderful, messy, crazy, (congregation applauds)
terrific thing to be a part of the
church, and so I love it. And I love getting to be
here and speak into this. Knowing as a house, you
all have come through a really challenging season
and moving through it. We’re right there with you in it, life’s hard and challenging, and yet God is good in
the midst of it all. And we just have to keep just
getting up and trusting Jesus and moving forward, and believing that the
best is yet to come. In all of this that this
season has represented, I just know God’s grace is on you, and so many are praying for
you, and we stand with you. The Bible says when one
part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts. And the whole body of
Christ around the world has hurt with you, and has hope with you. We get a hurt with hope together. And that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. And so we, on behalf
of my wife and myself, and our whole Fresh Life
house, we’re with you in this. And you’re not alone. You all, we get to do this
life together, so it’s a joy. My daughter’s here,
Clover, is in the front. Clover, say hi to everybody. (congregation applauds) Clover, doesn’t normally sit in. She normally goes to Fresh
Life Kids and Harvest Kids, so it’s a big step for her being here. I promise I won’t go long,
Clover, I promise that. But I can’t, ’cause you got
to go to your small groups, and do icebreaker questions, like, “What’s your favorite movie?” I don’t know, whatever they have. There’s always like one
icebreaker question, ’cause you can’t like jump into what sin are you struggling with? You got to ease it in there. (congregation laughs) You got to ease it in, baby. And so, I’ll get you to
your small groups on time, I promise you that. Wanted to also shout out
Daniel and Amber Olinger, where you guys at? Oh right over here. Daniel is the campus
pastor for our Fresh Life Salt Lake City Church. We have a campus in Salt Lake City, and these two lead that campus. So everyone give them some love. (congregation applauds) Seeing people come to Jesus in Fresh Life. They were originally a
part of the Harvest Church, and God just put it on
their hearts to move out as we were announcing the
Salt Lake City Church, who does that? They didn’t come out
to work at the church, they just came out to
serve and be a part of it. And they did that for a time. And then eventually God raised them up and Daniel’s leading that church there, and Amber’s amazing, and
we just love them so much. So grateful that they’re here. They just happened to be here tonight, just on vacation going to
church, ’cause that’s what we do. ‘Cause this isn’t a job,
it’s a calling, right? There you are. Okay, well I’ve used up all my time. So you guys have great night. (congregation laughs)
Joking. If you have Bible, I Peter
is where we’re gonna be. As a church family we’re
going through I Peter. It has been so beautiful,
and so life giving, and so I thought I would
share with you what is ministering to me in
this season of my life. I love it so much, I’m getting
so much out of I Peter. Because it’s only five
chapters and we’re taking eight weeks as a church
community to go through it, it breaks down to about
two or three verses a day. And it’s kind of cool,
because I’m like normally a Bible in a year guy. So I’m like crushing like four,
five, six chapters at a go. And so it’s been very
different in a beautiful way to slow my roll, and to just have a couple
verses and notice more. And see more of the trees in the forest. And of course there’s advantages
to both styles, right? Is it better to read a lot, or a little? I just would say it’s better to read it. And better to live it, most importantly. But I’ve been really
enjoying really getting a macro focus on this book of the Bible. And I’m gonna read to you I Peter 1:3-12. It’s gonna go up on the screen
if you didn’t bring a Bible. If you’re new to church,
or if a friend brought you, or if you were driving by
and the lights were on, and you thought it was a movie theater and you ended up in here,
and now you’re confused. If you are a guest, new, visiting, or maybe first, second,
third time at the church, could we just all say
thank you for being here, thank you for coming. Come on, let’s do that. (congregation applauds) We’re so psyched to have you with us. I Peter 1:3-12, I’m reading
out of the NIV translation. It says, “Praise be to the God and Father “of our Lord Jesus Christ. “In His great mercy He
has given us new birth “into a living hope,
through the resurrection “of Jesus Christ from the dead. “And into an inheritance
that can never perish, “spoil, or fade, “it’s kept in heaven for you. “Who through faith are
shielded by God’s power “until the coming of the salvation “that is ready to be
revealed in the last time. “In this, you greatly rejoice.” (audience member clapping) Yeah I thought I would
wait until somebody did. ‘Cause I would hate to make Peter a liar. Except you said you greatly rejoice. That was just like, mm. (congregation yells and applauds) (congregation laughs) Imagine it’s the Christmas season and you got a front row
parking spot at the Galleria. (congregation members whistle and cheer) Just pretend for a minute
like you were legit excited. The Lakers won, the Dodgers
won, the Angels won, the 91 had no traffic coming home from– (congregation cheers and applauds loudly) But the living hope kept in heaven for you that can never spoil, perish or fade gets a freaking golf clap? I see how it is.
(congregation laughs) You all are sick. (congregation laughs) You care about traffic more
than you care about heaven. (congregation laughs) Verse six. “in this you greatly rejoice. (congregation cheers and applauds loudly) “Though now for a little while “you have had to suffer
grief in all kind of trials. “These have come so that your faith, “of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though “refined by fire, may be proved genuine, “and may result in praise, glory and honor “when Jesus Christ is revealed. “Though now you have not
seen Him, you love Him. “And even though you do not see Him now, “you believe in Him, and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. “For you are receiving
the goal of your faith, “the salvation of your souls. “Concerning this salvation, “the prophets who spoke
of the grace that was “to come to you, searched intently “and with the greatest care. “Trying to find out the
time and circumstances “to which the Spirit of
Christ in them was pointing “when he predicted the
sufferings of Christ “and the glories that would follow. “It was revealed to them “that they were not serving
themselves, but you, “when they spoke of the things
that have now been told you “by those who have
preached the gospel to you “by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. “Even angels long to
look into these things.” And from these verses
I want to preach to you just a short little
message that I’m calling, Dawn is Coming, Dawn is Coming. Because just like the darkness of night that can seem to last almost forever, the cold of night that
just goes on and on, the Bible promises what
every single day attests to. And that is this, that no matter how dark, and no matter how cold,
and no matter how scary, and no matter how grief
filled the night may be, dawn is always on its way. And that’s the promise of scripture, and that’s the promise of Jesus, it’s the sun of righteousness will rise, (congregation applauds) with healing in His wings. Dawn is coming. Come on, someone shove your
neighborhood and tell them, “Dawn is coming.” Sunrise is always on its way. And this is to me, one of
the most encouraging things, because I love to watch the sun rise. I have never watched the
sun rise and regretted it. I’ve regretted some extra
episodes of Netflix, I’ve regretted some movies that I’d paid too much money to sit in and watch. I’ve regretted a lot of things in my life, but I have never gotten up in
time to watch the sun rise, I have never stood there and
watched it make it’s slow way over the horizon, and regretted that. Just yesterday I remember getting up, and I was staying at the
Marriott in downtown Riverside, and up on the top of the hotel there’s a little observation deck. And my daughter, Clover and
I, we got up super early. Well I got up early I
said, “Hey I’m gonna go get “some coffee, do you want to come?” And she said, “Yes I do.” And so we go up there quick. And we’re up there, and I’m standing with a hot cup of coffee, and she’s sitting there. She brought some Legos, as I remember it. And she’s playing with
Legos, I got the coffee. And just to watch the sun
pop over the mountains. And now all of the sudden
the golden light begins to light up the mission. It took my breath away. And it instantly transformed the city, the city had no power over the sun. And as the golden rays of the sun began to change everything they touched, once again I realized the
power of a brand new day. I’m telling you something, it doesn’t matter how dark it seems, you can always, always,
always take it to the bank every single time, the dawn is coming. Tomorrow the sun is
gonna rise on this earth, the Bible has said that God
has fixed it in the sky, and with the rising of a new
sun the Bible has promised the arrival of brand new
mercies, and brand new hope. Therefore, it’s always
too early to give up, it’s always too soon to
quit, because dawn’s coming. Come on, tomorrow’s on its way. (congregation applauds)
God’s got something in store for you. He’s got a brand new future for you. He’s got a brand new hope for you. He’s already in your tomorrow. God’s already been where you’re going. He’s already de-seeded
what you’re scared of. He’s already surrounding
what is surrounding you. And He has plans for you. He’s got works for you to walk in, He’s got things for you to discover. He has parts of Himself
that He wants to show you, so we can literally
orient our lives around the arrival of the sun. And we should. In fact, the word east that we say, north, south, east west, what is it? Never eat sour watermelon,
how’d you learn it right? Never eat soggy waffles,
anybody like that? My wife learned that,
she’s from California. I’m like, “That’s weird, honey.” Sour watermelon, right? But you know the word
east actually means dawn. And that’s because for
thousands and thousands of years we knew where we were in orientation of the sun rising in a new day. The largest compass ever built is not at Edward’s Air Force Base. It’s in the sky every
single time God causes the sun to rise. Because where does the sun rise? East. Where the sun is, dawn,
that’s the word east. You know the word north
actually means to the left. Now we are a north oriented culture. We think we’re the only America, right? We say America. North America should
just be the only America. There’s a South America,
too people, right? How do they, “Where are you from?” “America,” you’re like, “Which one?” “The only one, the north one, duh.” We’re such a north oriented culture, why? Well because that’s what
our compasses are built on. But really for almost all of history, north was just to the
left of the main event, which was east. And so to think about it this way, God wants us to live
different than the world pulls on us to live. This is a northern oriented world. How do I get above? How do I stay on top? How do I win, how do I crush? How do I conquer, how do I get dimensions? How do I get the followers? How do I get the status,
how do I get the package? How do I live the dream? How do I get a million dollars by 30? So I can just retire,
tour the national parks in an airstream, sit on a beach somewhere and drink a Corona, shoving
a lime in the top of it. Let me tell you something. What we would say is to live the dream, is something that is not
meant to be our preoccupation. We’re meant to focus on the sunrise, to focus on what Jesus is doing, to focus on His dawning of a
brand new day in your life. And all the things that
you would hope would happen in your life, those are merely things that are to the left of following Jesus. In fact, the psalmist put it this way, “As I follow the good shepard, “goodness and mercy shall follow me “all the days of my life.” I think the problem with our culture (congregation applauds)
is we’re following the things that are supposed to follow us. We’re trying to chase down the things that the good shepard, will in His timing as He knows best, choose what follows us. We shouldn’t be seeking to live the dream. We should be focused
on following the Lord, and what He seeks to follow after us will be the goodness and mercy
that He has planned for us. Come on live your life facing east. And let what the world chases
be simply to your left, at your left hand, and watch
what God does in your life. And that to me is really emblematic of what I see Peter describing. As I read the book of I Peter again, and again, and again, going through it, reading it, letting it
really seep down into the essence of my soul. I’ve been gripped by this
idea that hey, dawn is coming. The book of I Peter can be
summarized in one word, triumph. Just like I watched the
cold dark city of Riverside light on fire with the sunlight, so Peter is writing an
audience whose lives have been wrecked by trials, and it’s only going to get worse. Peter wrote this book about 62 to 64 AD, so about 30 years after
Christ ascended to heaven. It’s only about five
years before Peter himself is going to be put to death by Cesar Nero, who has already put Paul the apostle to death. And so, you have this beginning
of imperial persecution that’s about to break out
and about to get worse. And under Trajan, and Hadrian, and all these emperors who
will turn on the Christians, and turn on the followers of Jesus around the Roman Empire, he writes to an audience who
is about to suffer greatly, and is beginning to suffer trials. And he’s hoping to bolster them. He’s hoping to give them hope. He’s hoping to tell them, “Listen, triumph “is going to be the end of this story. “I know it feels bad now, I
know it seems dark right now. “But God has a plan, He’s up to something. “So let’s just worship
Him in the meantime. “Let’s just praise Him
with an inexpressible “and glorious joy, because He’s,” And they’re like, this seems pretty dark. It seems pretty bleak. But he’s seeking to show
them that’s not how it is. Things are not as they seem. That triumph is indeed how
this story is going to end. That’s what G. Campbell Morgan says. He says, and I think we
have it up on the screen. “The theme of this great letter
is at the Christian life, “is a life of triumph.” Let me show you just four quick things in the verses we just read, that are triumphant about
the life that we have. Now again, these are things you can’t see with the naked eye. You have to almost look at
your life with your eyes closed and your ears opened. Because things are seldom as they seem. But we don’t walk by sight. We walk by faith. And we have to listen with
our ears to hear God speaking. Because faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God. It will always freak you
out to look at your life. If you’re in the will of God, if you’re walking in this world you’re gonna see things. You’re like, “That’s not good.” And then you close your eyes
and listen to what God says, and not what you see. And now you can keep going another day. Let me show you four quick areas that you won’t be able to
see with your naked eye. But as you listen to God’s word you’ll be able to understand they’re true. Number one, he points out
that we have new life. New life, he says we
have a brand new birth. That’s a big deal. Does not the world long
and yearn for a new start? For a new leaf? Why does the world rally
around New Year’s Day? What is special about New Year’s Day? It’s just a brand new
opportunity to make promises to yourself that you won’t keep. But we love the possibility
of a new beginning. We love just the thought
of, I get a start over. We love the Etch-a-Sketch,
maybe, just maybe gets to be shaken and we’ll get to start again. But we have actually
been given a new birth, a brand new life! If you’re in Christ,
the old things are gone, everything’s new, you are a new creation. He goes, “I know it looks bad, (congregation applauds)
“but don’t forget “you’ve been given a new life, “through the resurrection of
Jesus Christ from the dead.” And that new life that was
issued by the resurrection of Christ from the dead has
given you a living hope, hello. It might be bad, but
there’s hope that’s coming! You have a living hope because
you have a living Lord. And if He’s not dead, you
don’t have to worry about (congregation applauds)
what’s gonna happen when you die, because He said, “I am the resurrection and the life, “and if you believe in me,
though you die, you will live.” And so we sort of get a walk around going, “It might be bad, but I’ve got a new hope. “I’ve got a new heart,
I’ve got a new life. “Hello, I’m going to live forever.” Please don’t ever stop
being psyched about that! A living hope!
(congregation applauds) I’ve encountered death,
but I got a living hope. This is hard, I have a living hope. I have a living hope, why? Because God loved me enough to die for me. Clover and I were at the beach today, and we were picking up seashells. So while Clover was mostly,
I was not as good as her, because I was rejecting
seashells on the basis of they’re broken. And she said, “Daddy the
broken ones are beautiful too.” Oh preach honey, I mean come on somebody. (congregation laughs) Anybody got some broken parts of your life that you just are grateful
that God looks at and says, “The broken ones are good too. “The broken ones are,” God’s
not rejecting any of us on the basis of our brokenness. He’s putting you in His bag, as well. He’s gonna bring you home. He sees beauty in the mess
of your life, as well. Daddy the broken ones, (congregation applauds)
the broken ones are beautiful too. They don’t have to be
perfect to be useful. Because she sees what I don’t see, there’s art that she has
planned for these pieces. And so a labor of love, she, no joke, collects 150 some seashells. At one point she counted them all, she had them all laid out. I stopped listening after 120. And then I think we got to 150 by the time we made the biggest mistake of our day. We went down to the edge of the water and she had her boogie board on, and was gonna try and catch some waves. I looked back and there was a seagull with the seashell bag in its mouth, (congregation moans)
sitting at the foot of our beach chair. Looking at me with the
smuggest look in his eye I have ever seen in a seagull in my life. And so I’m like, okay no sudden moves, and we began moving close to the seagull. And she looked, “Wait where you’re going?” I’m like, “No, no honey
it’s just gonna be okay.” And as I finally got to a
dead sprint to get to him, he took off with the
seashells in his mouth, and began flying, and
I am chasing this bird (congregation laughs)
down the beach. He’s weighted down, because
he’s got 150 seashells in this bag. I don’t know what plans he had for them. He probably thought
there was food in there. And so off he goes, and I’m chasing him. Clover’s coming, she’s having
a hard time with the dunes. And I’m dedicated, I’m committed. Now listen to me. I didn’t care about the
seashells, but my daughter did. And what is important to my
daughter is important to me. I’m gonna tell you something, don’t you ever stop praying,
because it might not seem like a big deal to God, but
if it matters to you, it matters to Him. Come on, you can ask Him
for your daily bread. (congregation applauds)
You can ask Him for your situation at work. You can ask Him for help with
your crazy sister-in-law. I’m telling you can bring your requests, bring your burdens, cast
your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. It doesn’t mean He has to care for what you’re going
through, He cares for you. If it matters to you, it matters to Him, so don’t you stop praying. So I’m chasing this bird down. I’m not gonna lie to
you, I’m from Montana. If I had access to anything
that could have helped me in this situation, (congregation laughs) you can find me in a
prison, I’d have done it right then and there. And then it got worse though, because then he got a
little bit ahead of me, and he set them down. And when he picked them up, he
picked them up from the side. So as he’s flying, they are literally pouring out of the bag. I’m chasing this bird, and they’re falling from the sky. And finally, he dropped them altogether, and I just made the loudest noise I could, and scared him off. So we got to the bag, empty. Now we are walking this path in reverse, and we’re picking up the, we’re like Hansel and
Gretel going down the beach (congregation laughs)
getting all these shells. I’m pretty sure we got
almost every single one. And as we got back to our
chairs with this bag of shells, she was clutching them. And I just realized
these bags were doubly, these shells were doubly precious to her. They were precious to her
because she collected them, and when they were taken by the enemy, she went and got them at great
cost to her and her father. (congregation applauds)
I’m gonna tell you something. You are doubly special to God. Special because He made you, and special because when you were lost, when you were taken by the enemy, what great lengths He went
to redeem you, to save you. He didn’t let anything stop Him, not hell, not death,
(congregation applauds) not the grave, not the devil! He got you for Himself, and reclaimed you, because you’re precious to Him. And, so we have new life. The second thing he
mentions in this passage that is triumphant about our lives is that we’re in the will. Come on, honey, is that not great news? We’re in the will. Everyone says, “Yes!” He says it, we have an
inheritance, verse four, that can never perish, can’t
spoil, and will never fade. What a great thing. It’s an inheritance ready to be revealed in the last time. Now this is a different
kind of inheritance than we’re used to talking about why? Well normally, when there’s an inheritance involved it takes a death for the
will to be triggered. In this case it took a resurrection for His to be unleashed. Normally, when you talk about a will, and the last will and
testament of so-and-so, what it has to do with is belongings. What did I get? Did I get the boat? Did I get the art? Did I get the lake house? Did I get the, did I
get the, did I get the? It’s all about belongings. But with the will of Jesus Christ, it’s all about belonging. Come on somebody, we belong with Him, we are loved by Him. (congregation applauds)
What was unleashed in the inheritance is
we get to belong to God, because of what Jesus did for us. Normally when you think
about a human will, and the last will and
testament of somebody, what you can be sure of is this
will’s gonna bring division. It’s gonna bring discord. But ours brought us into a family. It’s did bring a tear a family apart, it brought a family together. Jew, and gentile, slave
and free, male and female, He tore down the middle
wall of separation. He brought us together! Right here look at us
around, we’re the Church! We have things that are different. This rag tag group of
misfits and who are you? And the foolish things of this world. And where would we be wanted anywhere? Uncommon, untaught fishermen,
yet we’ve been with Jesus. And yet here we are together,
a family, the people of God. He’s brought us together. And then normally when you
think about a human will, you think about the fact that in a will, bad behavior will
get you written out of it. You know you’re kind of on
eggshells around somebody who you’re hoping to get something from. Right I want to do something,
I got to keep my grades up. Grandpa said he’ll write
me out of the will, 4.0. You’re hoping that your bad behavior won’t get you written out of the will. Not so with Jesus. Because it was His purpose before he died, that our bad behavior is what warranted us being written into His will. You can never do anything that
would make God love you less, you can never do anything
that would cause Him to stop caring about you, stop having a plan for you.
(congregation applauds) In fact, when you were at your worst, while we were dead in
sins and transgressions, enemies of God, subject
to wrath like the others, that is when He decided to die for us. The pre-determined council of God from before the foundation of the earth. He knows the worst thing you’ve ever done. Let this blow your mind. He’s not shocked by the
worst thing you ever will do. God has never been
surprised by anything ugly you’ve ever done, said,
sought, or will do, and He loves you still. He’s got your name written down (congregation applauds)
on the palm of His hand. And when God looks at you, He doesn’t think about you
the way you think about you. If you’re anything like me, it’s very difficult to think
about yourself positively, because you’ve been with
yourself your whole life. So you think about yourself. And honestly, we’re harder on ourselves than we are on almost anybody. I have to chide my wife sometimes, because she has a really
hard time on herself. She can be very hard on herself. She’ll get real down and real low and say, “I’m a terrible wife,
and I don’t feel like “I’m doing good as a mom, and
I’m barely keeping it together “just doing the laundry.” I said, “Honey, that’s for real.” That is a real thing, that laundry. I don’t even know, I don’t
even know what to do. Like when she’s gone for a little bit, it’s like, “Ah jeez,” I’m just glad I have the Taco Bell app on my phone, (congregation laughs)
in those moments. It’s like Postmates, come to Montana, that’s mostly what I’m thinking. But she can get real down on herself. And when I have to
almost encourage her in, and I’ll say to her is, “Don’t
talk about my wife that way. “Don’t you talk about my wife that way. “Because you’re talking about you, “a way you would never
talk about anybody else.” But we berate ourselves. And so we have to remember
is when God looks at you He doesn’t see your faults and flaws, He only sees His Son Jesus Christ. It’s incredible to be in Christ. Think about when you’re
at Disneyland next time and you see those people,
they’re in costume, they’re in character. What’s so mind blowing
about that Star Wars land, is they literally stay in
character the whole time. You go to that new Star
Wars land and ask somebody, “Where’s Space Mountain?” They’re gonna say, “I have no idea what you’re referring to.” If you ask them about
Fast Passes they say, “That technology has not
come to this system yet, “I don’t believe,” they’re in character. So they don’t break character,
’cause they’re in character. When you’re in Christ,
you’re always in Christ. God can’t see the flaws and faults, ’cause He only sees His son Jesus. He’s chosen to set the
righteousness of Christ, (congregation applauds)
not angels, not demons, not height, not dead, not death, nothing can separate
you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. You can’t lose through bad behavior what you didn’t earn
through good behavior. So you are settled in Christ, He’s made up His mind about you. Isn’t it great to be in the will? I mean just take a moment and thank God, if you’re grateful that you are in the will.
(congregation applauds) The third thing I see
in this passage is that we can know we’re being deepened, deepened by the hardship of life. When we face tragedy,
when we face difficulty, when we face what he says,
grief and various trials that come our way, we can
know not that the thing we’re facing is good. Don’t you ever let someone
tell you, “Well this is good. “God wants you to see this is good.” In fact, I would say just the opposite. We can definitely, dogmatically, and defiantly look at our trials and say, “This is not good.” It’s not good that I have
had to go through this, it’s not good that I’m dealing
with this health issue. It’s not good that my daughter
is strung out on drugs. It’s not good that this has happened. But what we can say,
is with this bad thing, God is going to do something good. God is going to create something good. (congregation applauds)
God is going to open up something good. God is going to, boomerang this technology
back, this hardship back, this challenging thing. He’s gonna boomerang it back. So what the enemy thought
he was gonna accomplish is gonna crash back down on his own head. That what the enemy meant for evil, God’s gonna use for good. I like to think about the
devil like a dumb person who’s never stayed at
a fancy hotel before, sees the mini-bar and
thinks I’m gonna help myself to some of this stuff. It starts getting carried away, loading some of it up into his suitcase. Putting expensive things,
and steals the bathrobe, goes ahead and takes the pillowcases. And he laughs all the way to his car not knowing that the front desk has his credit card number on file. I dare you to believe that the Lord is gonna make the enemy pay seven fold for everything he was dumb
enough to ask for permission to accomplish in your life. And yes, he has to ask for permission. Because even the devil
is the Lord’s devil. And He’s got him on a chain. And we kind of sometimes
go, well if he’s on a chain, why does He give him so much slack? He only ever gives him enough slack, so that he might hang
himself, that’s what he does. What he thinks he’s gonna accomplish in this difficult thing,
is not what is actually going to happen. And look at Joseph, and look at Jesus, and look at Esther, and
look at every other person who loved God and suffered deeply. In fact, that list is pretty similar, those who love God the most, goes through the most difficult things. And that’s because God, I think, knows that the ones who
love Him and follow Him are safe to be trusted with those trials. And I also think that those
who are trying to live for God are gonna bring persecution on themselves. The more you do, I mean gosh, they don’t double and triple
team Lebron for no reason. He’s a threat. So you want to be a threat,
you want to stand up and serve God, you want
to stand up and say, “Here am I, send me?” Just know you’re putting
a bullseye on your back. The enemy’s gonna try and take you out. He wants to neutralize your impact. If you’re not experiencing any backlash, if you’re not experiencing any persecution as you follow Christ, I
would not suggest to you that would be a good sign. Not that we’re trying to seek
it out by being annoying. We’re not gluttons for
punishment, or sadomasochists, but what we can know that
as the hardship comes, we are what? Being deepened, we’re being deepened. Trials do three things. They verify, clarify, purify. Feel the anointing of Dr.
Seuss all up in this pulpit. They verify, he said
literally that your faith may be proven to be gold. It’s verified as gold. They are able to say,
because of this trial, we’ve proven it’s gold. Think about this, about a suitcase. They’ve had weight slam on
this suitcase 20,000 times. I’m like, okay, is it
gonna hold my clothes? ‘Cause that’s really all I need. But it’s like, no no,
it’s been like tested. I watched this little video, as they were slamming weights down. I was like, “Well, if
you fly Delta, maybe.” I’m joking, I’m joking,
I’m joking, I’m joking. But you think about the
hardship of that test. Why did they do it? They didn’t do it to destroy the suitcase, they did it to prove the
worth of the suitcase, to prove the strength of the suitcase. They slammed it down on it, to prove that it was built strong. So as God allows trials into your life, part of it is to verify
the work He’s done in you. To show the robustness of faith, to show the strength of your hope that He’s put inside of you, to prove that you’re
gonna come forth strong. To prove what can happen when
someone walks with Jesus. And that’s an advertisement to the world, an advertisement to the watching world, who knows they’re gonna hurt. And as they watch you, listen to me, as they watch you suffer gloriously, suffer magnificently, the devil was so sure at any moment that Job was gonna curse God and die. And all Job would do is fall to his knees and bless God. Yeah, he cursed the day of his birth. All right he had a low moment,
he’s human what do you want? But, he didn’t curse God. You can curse the day of your
birth all you want, fine. Curse at your birthday, fine
whatever, we’ve all been there. After 30 I’m not super
psyched on them either. (congregation laughs) But Job worshiped God. And you know what? On the worst day of my life, I found Job’s words coming
out of my mouth involuntarily. Jenny and I were in the hospital, and our daughter Linea had literally just been declared dead. And we fell to our knees
and we said, like Job did, “God you give and you take away, “but thank you for the honor
of being Linea’s parents, “and we worship you, we
trust you, we love you.” (congregation applauds) Just like Job’s faith has for thousands of years inspired, look I’m blessing Job today. I’m telling you the strength
of Job’s faith today is legit. Job’s trial verified his
hope in the living God, and I’m living proof of that, as well. And as God has used even our
pain to encourage other people, I just want to tell you, He
wants to do the same in yours. He wants to do the same in yours. And whatever you’ve been through, when you don’t choose to curse Christ, but you choose to champion
Christ and to trust Christ, and love Christ, it’s
advertising to the world that our faith is real, it’s living. And you should trust Christ, too. I know it’s hard to hear this sometimes. But it’s an honor to be trusted with pain. Because it shows what God sees in you. And it shows what God
wants to bring out of you. I believe that pain is a microphone. And the more it hurts,
the louder you become. Oh you told your friends and family, you told your neighbors that Jesus is the light of the world. They saw your Crusade bumper sticker. They know you have a Christian
fish on whatever, right? Awesome, all right. Now you’ve been fired. Now you’ve been mistreated. Now there was a slip and fall injury and you have debilitating pain up and down the right side of your body. They’re leaned in now. Why? Well you told them Jesus
is the light of your world, now the power’s been cut. They want to see if you
can glow in the dark. ‘Cause they’re wanting
to see is this real? You going through pain is the
product demonstration time. We’re now at Costco, and
we’re not just looking at the product in the box. We’re getting to taste a little bit of it. Your friends and family are
watching when you suffer. That’s when it’s the most important that you choose to praise
Him, and trust Him, and cling to Him, even when
you don’t understand Him, and especially when you’re angry at Him. You can give God your anger and your worship at the same time. God I don’t understand this,
but you never called me to understand you, you just
called me to worship you. And so, you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna trust it. If I had a God small enough for my mind, he would be too small for my sin. So I’m just gonna worship
you and trust you. I’ve been on this earth for 37 years, and you don’t even have a birthday. So I assume you know a
few things I don’t know. In fact, I’m counting
on the fact that you do, right, I really hope that you do. So just because I can’t see
how you’re gonna do good here, just because I don’t
understand where you were when my daughter’s asthma attack began, just because I don’t know
why you let this happen, why you would allow that
to happen in Houston again. They just went through a hurricane, now they have to deal with a tsunami, or a tropical storm, or a
depression or an impression, or whatever the, I’m so tired
of the different storms. I can’t keep track of all of these things. But just because I don’t
understand why God would do this, or not do this, doesn’t
mean I can’t worship Him. Because He raised His Son from the dead, He never wanted sin to come to this planet in the first place, but He’s working to redeem all
things correct, all things, and bring about heaven on earth again. So let me just say, we
should just trust Him, and just worship Him and
just give Him our praise, and just give Him our pain, and just give Him our confusion,
and give Him our lives. (congregation applauds) Verified, purified, clarified. You see things differently in pain. You understand things differently, you have different senses
that are activated in pain. You know normally fire desensitizes. If you were burned badly
you can lose feeling. I’ve found the fires of suffering and pain actually do the exact opposite. They cause your spiritual
sensations to be enhanced. You see things almost differently. I remember in the months after
our daughter went to heaven that we, it was almost
like we had a new sense that was kicked into gear. Where you could almost, it was like you could almost see
heaven it was so close, and the Holy Spirit. When you’re really going
through it lean into that, lean into the fact that God’s given you a spiritual receptivity,
and that’s a gift, not only for you, but
for the body of Christ, because of what you’re gonna
experience in those seasons. Some of the greatest worship songs, some of the greatest paintings, some of the greatest inventions have been the product of pain, so lean into that. Don’t just try and get out of it, don’t just try and numb
yourself to get through it. In fact, I would say get
all you can out of it, don’t waste an ounce of your pain. God always puts to use
what He puts us through. He even collects the tears in a bottle. So you should have the same mentality to be efficient with your pain, to be productive with your pain, and not to be wasteful with it. All right, is this helping anybody? All right, I got one last, (congregation applauds)
I got one last thing. We are given new life, we’re in the will, we’re being deepened, and we’ve
been given access, access. We have access into inexpressible
glory that we can trigger. We can access a new
strength that kicks in. We can access a new revelation
that we’re gonna receive. What do I mean by that? I mean that any time we choose to believe when we feel like giving into our doubt, any time we choose to praise, even when we feel like pouting. Any time we choose to
focus on others and God, instead of just sulking
and looking into ourselves, we’re able to trigger not
just life after death, but life during life. You see, when I say dawn is coming, I don’t mean to insinuate that life sucks, but we’re going
to heaven when we die. Have a good week. (chuckles) That’s not my sermon. That’s not what Peter was trying to say. Because I believe what
so many have believed throughout history, is that
God didn’t just save you so you wouldn’t go to hell, He saved you so you would
shake the very gates of hell. He didn’t just save you so
you’d go to heaven eventually and have your own personal cloud. That’s gonna be great, yay. But so that you would
experience heaven on earth and be a part of His kingdom coming, and His will be done, here, now! That’s what God wants.
(congregation applauds) And what I’ve realized,
and what God’s really been speaking to me, and why I’m
so encouraged with this book, is that dawn is not just
a noun, it’s a verb, too. It’s not just a noun, it’s a verb. What do I mean by that? I mean this. I mean yes when you stand
there in the morning and you see the sun rise, guess what? That’s your noun, dawn. Dawn, there it is, dawn, dawn,
dawn’s coming, okay great. Jesus is coming back, great. I’m gonna die and go to
heaven, that’s great. Dawn the noun, right? Yes, we should always, we
can’t talk too much about that, we can’t be too excited for that. But dawn’s also a verb. Meaning, something can dawn upon you. It dawned on me, it dawned on me, I’m in California I
could go to In and Out. It dawned on my and so I did right? (congregation laughs)
Twice already. It dawned on me. I saw something I didn’t see before. I found something I hadn’t seen before. So, what am I trying to get you to say? See, I’m trying to get you to see that when I see dawn is coming, I’m not just talking about the dawning of a brand new day. I’m talking about the
revelation of a brand new way of being human, of approaching your life. I’m not just talking about the
event of the second coming, or the event of your arrival in heaven, whenever that will be. I’m also talking about
Christ being revealed in you, before He’s revealed in front of you. And that’s what Peter’s saying. He’s saying, there’s a day that’s coming when Christ is revealed. But that’s not just
revealed on the white horse with the sword coming out of His mouth. Because right now the goal
of our Christian lives is to be become more like Christ. And we will praise, honor and glory at the revealing of
Christ, when He’s revealed more and more inside of us. And the only way for
that to happen is for us to push into Him, and push into His love, and walk with Him, and show His love, and lean into each other, here and now. And what I’ve discovered is
that the brightest colors don’t come at sunrise,
they come before sunrise. Oh there’s a purity to the
white light of sunrise. When the sun’s up then you see
everything as you’re seeing. But before the sun rises, before
it breaks over the horizon that’s then you get the colors of sunrise. It comes ahead of it. And I believe in your life by
faith as you walk with Him now when you can’t see Him,
but you trust Him anyway, when you don’t know what He’s doing, but you still follow Him. That’s when you’re capable of experiencing the bright colors in your life, the bright flashes of His
glory and of His plan. So my encouragement to you is
to believe for dawn to come. And for you to live your
life out in light of what he wants to come in you,
over you, and through you as you walk with Him. Don’t wait until heaven to
praise Him like you should. Trigger the joy inexpressible
and full of glory, right here, right now, and believe for those colors to show up all around your life. I’m gonna close with a story. I came across, and this was heart breaking to me. This man named Stan Kafe, was in a second hand store
in Nashville, Tennessee. And over in the corner there was a bin. And the bin had rolled up posters in it, and all kind of parchment and old papers, and that sort of thing, all bound up with rubber
bands, as they are. And he purchased this, this antique replica of the
Declaration of Independence. He got it for just a couple dollars, and went home with it. Thought this was kind
of fun for my garage, to put the Declaration of
Independence right there on his wall, and it
hung there for 10 years. This guy was a pipe fitter by trade, but he also repaired
bicycles in the garage. He kind of like it, look
Declaration of Independence there on the wall, kind
of Nicholas Cage style, as he worked. Well, he found a woman to marry him, and she said, “You know
as we combine our lives, “combine our houses, you’re a pack rat. “I love you, but you’re a pack rat. “Some of this stuff needs to go. “If I’m gonna live with you,
there needs to be less here.” So they were going through the garage, going through the home and
you know pointing to things, stay or go, he pointed to the
Declaration of Independence. And he said, “Stay,” and
she said, “It’s got to go.” So he dutifully, you know
happy wife, happy life, he rolled it up and donated it to a different thrift store in Nashville. Music City Thrift Shop in Nashville, where it ended up once again
in a bin full of posters. Where another man purchased it for $2.48. And it hung in his house
somewhere, until a friend saw it, who thought, you know it
doesn’t look it was yellowed with lemon juice and a
candle, this looks serious. You should take it to one of
those Antique Road Show things. At which point they did. And they found out it was not a replica. It was in fact, one of 200 official copies of the Declaration of Independence that were issued by John Quincy Adams, in order to be sent
throughout the country, as a reminder of this
revolution that had taken place. And the new owner of it
sold it for over $400,000. At which point the
local news in Nashville, began running stories
about the man who bought the $2.00 piece of paper at
the Music City Thrift Store and sold it for over 400 grand. And there was a man named Stan Kafe watching the news one night with his wife, (congregation laughs)
only to see his Declaration of Independence that sat in his garage for a decade, being sold for almost
1/2 a million dollars. Now I do not ever want to know what took place in between him and his wife, (congregation laughs) in the moments that followed. What I am reasonably certain of is that this man will
never throw anything away for the rest of his life. (congregation laughs) Here’s the moral of the story. I don’t want to get to heaven, and find out what I had
here and now my whole life, that my whole life I just lived hoping I’d get to heaven one day
and looking forward to that, but not realizing what I had in my hands. Do you realize that what you have angels long to look into, Peter says? Do you realize that what
you have in your hands, the prophets of old
longed to get a taste of, but didn’t get to see it, ’cause they were describing the days that have come to you? Let’s make the most of
this life that Jesus died for us to have! (congregation applauds)
In His name we pray. (congregation applauds) Father we thank you. And we pray that if anyone here tonight has not given their life to you, you would call into yourself
through your Spirit. We pray that you would help
us to make sense of our pain, and to trust you, and to give our lives to you,
and every day follow you. Help us to see it’s not
just about heaven then, it’s about your plan now. Dawn, we pray, would come today. Something with dawn upon us we would see new things through your spirit. If as we’re praying,
heads bowed, eyes closed, you would say to me this message has touched me in a special
way, ’cause I’m hurting. Could I just ask you to be honest enough to raise your hand up right now? You could tell your small
group later what that is, what’s going on. But just right now raise your
hand up all across the church. If you’re in a trial right now and you need God to help
you see it differently, you need His Spirit to come upon you. Just raise your hand
up, raise your hand up, raise your hand up. Thank you Jesus for these honest saints saying they are hurting. Give them grace and
strength, bless this house, bless Pastor Greg and Cathy. Thank you for their great leadership, thank you for the team here. Thank you for Jonathon,
thank you for Brittany, thank you for this entire staff and all the dedicated volunteers. Bless each of them in great way. You can put your hands down. I want to now close with an invitation for anybody who’s never
given your life to Jesus. You’re not born again, you
don’t have a living hope. Your name’s not written in that will. You don’t have the trust that you’re being deepened by trials. ‘Cause you’ve never received new life. In fact to you I’m
describing you do have access through the name of Jesus
to all those things. But you have to trigger it by faith. Could I ask that right
now with our heads bowed and eyes closed, if you would say to me, “Levi, I want to give my life to Jesus, “I want to be born again. “I want to have new life in my heart.” Can I ask that right now
you’d raise your hand up? Right now, raise your hand up. All across the room raise your hand up, if you’d like to be saved, so that when you die you go to heaven. But so that while you
live, you live with hope. Put your hand up in the air right now. Thank you Jesus for these
responding to you now. You can put your hands down. Say this with me, Church
say it with me, as well. Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I can’t fix myself, but you can. So please do. I give my life to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. (congregation applauds)
As Casey comes on out to lead us on, God bless you Harvest, love you so much.

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