Jesus is always inviting us to get back up again. You don’t have to be a victim of this season; you can be victorious in this season!
Well, hey, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek special online service. I am so glad you are here with us today wherever you are in the world. And what I want to do is I want you to do something today that we normally do when we’re in our physical campuses. You see, when we gather together physically, when we start the message, we all welcome each other in with a big celebration and a clap. And so I know it may seem silly or it may feel a little awkward to do it in your home, but it reminds us that we’re in this thing together.
So come on, will you give a big welcome to everybody that’s joining in wherever they are in the world. Come on, come on, you can do it. We are so glad that you are here with us today wherever you are in the world. And that just reminds us that we are not on our own. We are in these things together. Hope is here, everyone is welcome and Jesus changes everything. And so whether you’re watching this in your bed or maybe you’re sitting on your couch, maybe you’re out for a nice walk, or watching it on your patio or in the garage somewhere, it really doesn’t matter.
I’m grateful that we get to connect together through technology in the midst of this season because here we are, we’re still in the midst of quarantine, we’re still under shelter in place. And yet in the midst of all of those things, there is all kinds of information bombarding us every single day that if we’re honest, we’re not even sure what to do with.
It’s like every time we turn on the news, we hear something new and we’re not sure what’s opening, what’s closing. And maybe one of the hardest things of this season is the constant sense of unknown. That we’re not sure what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen or how it’s going to happen, so let me go ahead and just help you a little bit at least with Valley Creek. I can’t answer everybody else’s, but I can tell you about us. Listen, we want to get back to gathering physically at our campuses as soon as we can. And yet, I want to just settle this in your mind that we’re really looking through three criteria.
The first is when the government restrictions have lifted and we can meet the rest of the restrictions that are in place. The second thing we’re looking for is when we feel like it’s safe to go ahead and bring our staff, and our serve teams and you back into the building. And the third thing is when we can start doing ministry with excellence again. Listen, I want you back here as soon as we possibly can. And yet, we want to be people that honor the government restrictions, wait until it’s safe to bring everybody back and can do things with excellence.
And so let me just go ahead and remove one unknown from your mind. I will make sure that we tell you at least a few weeks in advance before we’re going to start gathering again and opening our buildings so you can go ahead and just settle that in your mind. You see, I know it’s not what we want, but I’m incredibly grateful for what God has been doing in these online services.
I think in this season, what Satan intended for harm, God is using for good. And He’s taking advantage of this technology to allow us to reach people we would have never been able to reach. People are connecting in ways they’ve never connected before. And maybe my favorite thing is you are using your devices to invite Jesus into your home. The same devices that we use all the time to invite the world into our home, we’re now using to invite Jesus into our home.
And so let me encourage you, as long as it takes, keep leaning into these online services. Keep letting God do a deep work inside of your life. And keep believing this is the church gathering together. We’re connected through this technology in this season. And you have some amazing spiritual leaders who are leading this church, who wake up every single day and seek God on your behalf and pray for you and your family. You see, I know this hasn’t been the easiest season.
And honestly, I think for a lot of us, this hasn’t been the easiest week. So can I just ask you a really simple question, how are you doing? Like how are you doing this week? How’s your mind and your heart, and your life, and your emotions, and your relationships? You see, when this whole thing started — I think when it started, we’re all a little confused. Nobody had ever heard of it. We weren’t sure what was happening. And then we kind of went into panic mode, and we’re like, went on runs with toilet paper and food.
And then we kind of got into like the disbelief stage, like is this really happening? And I think over these past two weeks in particular, this is when a lot of us have really hit the bottom. I’ve talked to a lot of people this week and what I’m sensing from a lot of different people is this is the week where they hit the wall. This is the week where the emotions caught up to everyone. This seems to be the week where the realities and the gravity set in, and there’s all these emotions and disappointments. And so can I just go ahead and say, it’s okay to be sad.
It’s okay to be disappointed. You see, this is a season where there is a lot of loss. And it’s okay to grieve that loss. In fact, what I’m trying to tell you, I want to give you permission to grieve the losses that are happening in your life right now. And even as I say that, I know some of you, your eyes instantly fill up with tears because there is a lot of loss. Maybe there’s a loss of a job or a loss of an opportunity. And maybe it’s a loss of a vacation or a trip, loss of sports, loss of hobby, loss of your senior year, loss of something with your family. There are all kinds of different losses in this season and it’s okay to grieve them.
In fact, it’s not only okay, you have to grieve them. You have to process your emotions with God because if you just bury them inside of here, when you bury emotions, you bury them alive, and they will come back at the least opportune time.
In fact, check this verse out. I love it. It says, “Trust only in God every moment. Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you, He will help you. And then pause in His presence.” I love this. It says, come on, pour out your heart to God. Tell Him your disappointments. Tell Him your pain. Tell Him your brokenness. Tell Him the things that maybe you’ve been trying to bury in there or you’ve been trying to be tough or be strong or weather through it or push on. He is the one that you want to tell all of the things that are in your heart too because He will help you.
And when He helps you and you tell Him, you can pause in His presence and know that He is good and He is good to you. You see, I love this next verse that says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Come on, in this season of loss and pain, He’s close. He’s close to you.
He’s close like a friend, like a father, like a counselor, like a comforter, like a guide, like an encourager, God is moved in close. And even though you feel crushed in spirit, He is healing you and putting you back together. You see, in this season we have to make sure we keep our hearts healthy. And one of the ways we keep our hearts healthy is by actually grieving the emotions, grieving the loss, dealing with the reality of the things that have been happening around us and to us.
And the other way we keep our heart healthy is by actually dealing with the things that have been brought to the surface. You see, here’s what I think it’s so interesting right now about the coronavirus. Most of us really believe the coronavirus is the main problem. That if the coronavirus would just go away, everything in our life would be good, and we would be able to go back to normal. And we think all of the other things that we’re struggling with like anxiety, and depression, and fear, and doubt, and worry, and insecurity, and relational problems, we think those are secondary issues.
That if corona would just go away, all of those other issues would go away, but that’s actually not true. You see, the coronavirus is not the main problem. All the coronavirus did was reveal all the issues that were already in all of our lives. You have to understand that it’s not about the coronavirus, it’s about all these other things that existed long before the coronavirus. All the coronavirus did was awaken them, was bring them to the surface.
Remember, we said this a few weeks ago that storms don’t create what’s inside of us, they just reveal what’s already there. And so what the coronavirus has done is it’s removed our coping mechanisms. It’s removed our ability to numb our pain. It’s removed all of the distractions that we use in life to distract ourselves from these things that exist. Listen, that anxiety, it was there before corona.
That fear, it was there before corona. That doubt, it was there before corona. The insecurity and the brokenness, and then all of those things, they were there. This has just brought them all to the surface, which means that’s actually God’s grace in your life. That God is saying, I love you enough to bring these things to the surface so that I can set you free in Jesus’ name.
And I know some of us, this is the week where we’ve kind of get to the bottom. We’re trying to flatten the curve and this is the week we feel we’ve hit the bottom of the valley. And in the midst of that, it’s really easy to sit down and give up, and just say, I just want this all to go away and just all to be over. And all the while, God is saying, no, no, no, no. He’s saying, these things that are being brought to the surface are the things that I want to set you free from. And so all I want to do today is I kind of just want to encourage you. I want to build your faith. I want to help some of you get up again and pick up your shield and pick up your sword and be ready to go back to the victory that God has for you.
And so for the next few moments, what I want to do is I want to take you back to our Face Your Giants recap. You see, last year in 2019, we did a series, a six-week series called Face Your Giants. And we talked about dealing with the things that are holding us back. Things like anxiety, and fear, and depression, and doubt, and worry, and addictions and all of those things, all the things that are coming to the surface in this season.
And if you were here, what I want you to be reminded of is that was prophetic preparation. The reason those who are planted in the house of the Lord flourish, those who are a part of a church and stay connected, that family flourish, is because God gives us prophetic preparation long before the valley seasons come.
And that whole Face Your Giant series was preparing us for what was to come in 2020. God is not surprised. He knew what was going to come. And He wanted to prepare us so that we can be free in Jesus’ name. And so for the next few moments, I want to take you back to this recap. And here’s what I want you to do, I want you to kind of open up your mind.
I want you to open up your heart. Wherever you’re sitting right now, I want you to kind of, okay, go ahead, come on, move your shoulders around, get comfortable, kind of adjust, and I’m just going to walk you back through this recap because this is a season for us to find victory in Jesus’ name. Open up your mind. Open up your heart. Come on, it’s time to get free from the things that are holding us back. Here we go.
We’re going to start a new series today called Face Your Giants. And for the next few weeks, I want to talk about the giants in our lives, the things that are holding us back, the stuff that keeps us from moving forward. And in Jesus’ name, we’re going to figure out how to face the giants that keep us from the life that God has for us.
And so we’ve said, a giant is simply anything that stands in between you and the promises of God that feels impossible to overcome. Giants are things like anxiety, shame, guilt, jealousy, anger, bitterness, control, responsibility, religion, I mean you name it.
There is no end to the limit of the giants that can exist in our lives. Your future is on the other side of the giant that you are afraid to face. Just because He hasn’t fallen yet doesn’t mean He won’t. Over the next few weeks, we’re just going to go through these lessons, a manifesto, a guidebook on how to face your giant.
First lesson is simply this, admit that there are giants in your life. Really simple, huh? You’re like, I was expecting something more than that. I know. We got to start by admitting that there are giants in our lives. It’s okay to struggle. It’s not okay to lie about it. If there is a giant in your life, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s not okay to act like it’s not there, like it’s not holding you back. You got to confess it. You got to bring it out of the darkness into the light. Don’t let the giant of shame keep you from facing the rest of the giants in your life.
Now, some of you is this side. It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way. Your giant is not your friend. Never be okay with something stealing, killing and destroying the life that God brought for you.
Lesson number two, if we’re going to face our giants, is remember who you are. You are not defined by the giants you face but by the God that you follow. And you know who you are? A beloved son or daughter, fearfully and wonderfully made, made in the image and likeness of God. You are a conqueror, you are victorious, you are an overcomer, and you’ve been empowered by Jesus to destroy the works of the devil. You don’t have to be afraid of your giant because your giant is terrified of you. The giants of darkness are just hoping that the people of God will never figure out who they really are. So stop looking at God through your giant, start looking at your giant through your God.
Lesson three, you have to get one and two to get three. And this is huge. Know that your giant has already been defeated. Every giant you ever have or ever will face has already been defeated. It’s just a matter of time until he falls. The moment Jesus said, it is finished, every giant in your life has already been defeated. See, I realize some of you are sitting here, you’re like, that all sounds really good bro, but my giant is really real. And every day he roars and he growls, and he drools, and he is ruthless, and he is relentless. You’re right.
See, your giant wants to intimidate you to make you forget that you’re already victorious. See, the story of David and Goliath is not about you. You’re not David. Jesus is David. Do you know who you are? You’re the afraid army that every day wakes up and can’t defeat its giant and turns around and runs away. So am I. It’s about Jesus. Come on, this is why 1 Samuel says, “The battle is the Lord’s.”
It’s not your battle. This series is not called Fight Your Giants. It’s called Face Your Giants. I don’t have to fight you, I don’t have to defeat you. You’re not going to fall at my name. I couldn’t do it. But you’re going to fall at the name of Jesus. My job is not to fight the giant. My job is to be focused on the hero and the champion of the story and his name is Jesus.
Lesson four, if you’re going to face the giant in your life, whatever it may be, is simply this, discover and hold on to the promises of God. If you want to prosper and succeed over the giants in your life, you’ve got to arm yourself with the word of God. And it’s really hard to experience the promises of God if you don’t know what they are. The giants have got a lot to say, but you know who else does? God. And so my question for you is, are you discovering and holding on to the roar of the giants or the whisper of God?
In this are promises for every giant you face. Every giant you face, there is a promise for it in here. And when those giants show up and start roaring lies, you got to be able to knock down the lie and hold on the truth. If you are serious about facing your giant, at some point you’re going to have to pick up the sword for yourself.
Lesson five is be aware that God is with you. Giant killers are more aware of the God who is for them than the giants who are against them. In fact, if you read the scriptures, one of the most often repeated phrases all throughout the Bible, God constantly says, “Do not be afraid for I am with you.” If God is for us, who can be against us? That’s a great question. If God is with you, it means He’s for you. And if God is for you, what giant can possibly be against you? The real question is not, is God with you? It’s are you aware that He already is.
Lesson six, worship is a warrior’s greatest weapon. You will not find one giant killer in the Bible that didn’t have a heart for God and didn’t have a heart for worship. Moses, Joshua, David, the disciples, the people in our church that find victory over their giants, they’re all worshippers. Do you know what Jesus did right before he went to the cross to face the giant of sin, death and the grave? It says, they worshipped together. Jesus worshipped before he faced the giant of death.
If he needed to worship to face his giant, how much more do we? You say, well, what’s worship? Worship is taking your heart and it’s just turning it towards God. And that’s the greatest weapon you have. Not your intellect, not your effort, not your plan. Worship if your greatest weapon against the giants in your life.
Lesson seven, if you want to face your giants, change your thinking and change your living.
And if we’re honest, our thoughts are often more influenced by our giants than they are by our God. The battle is not out there. The battle is in here. Anxiety is not out there, it’s here. Stress is not out there, it’s here. Depression is not out there, it’s here. When you believe a lie, you empower the liar, and you’re allowing him to shake your thoughts which ultimately shapes your life. He says, you have strongholds in your life. You say, what’s a stronghold? It’s anything that has a strong hold on you. What would that be?
The giant has a strong hold on you. It keeps you from moving forward and experiencing the life that God has for you. And he says, we have divine power to demolish strongholds or to defeat the giants in our life. How? By taking captive our thoughts and bringing them into submission and surrender to the finished work of Jesus. When you think of the giants or your thought life, every time you have a thought you can ask yourself these two questions.
Does this thought glorify God and is it in alignment with the finished work of Jesus. And if it’s not, you’ve got to capture it. Here’s what you got to do, you got to remove it, release it, replace it. Do your thoughts glorify God and are they in alignment with the finished work of Jesus? If not, remove, release, replace. Half the time we’re waiting for Jesus to defeat the giant in our mind when he says, no, I’d given you divine power to take him down by capturing that thought bringing it into submission to what I’ve already done out there.
It’s not just about changing your thinking, it’s actually about changing your living. We’ve got to learn to starve our giant. When you stop feeding something, eventually it dies. So stop feeding your giant and start defeating your giant in Jesus’ name.
Lesson eight, hang on with giant killers. Hang out with people who have found victory and are battle-tested and are warriors and know how to use the weapons of God and have stories to tell, and scars to show, and have a faith to move forward.
That’s who you got to hang out with. When you got a giant in your life, who do you gather around? Do you gather around people who face their giants or run from their giants? You say, where do I find them? Right here. This church is full of giant killers. But you know what that means? You’re probably going to have to get into a group, join a team, go to first step, come early, stay late. Whoever you hand out with you’re going to become like. So look at the people you hang out with, do you want to be like them?
Lesson nine is this, get up again because guess what, some days, it feels like the giant won. You may have lost that battle, but remember, Jesus has already won the war. When you get knocked down, go back to lesson three that says, know your giant has already been defeated in Jesus’ name. His mercies are new every morning. Every morning there’s a fresh mercy and a grace from God. There’s no shame, there’s no condemnation. God’s not out to get you. He’s not mad at you. He’s saying to you, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, come on, let’s get up again. Let’s do it again today. Come on, we’ve got this thing today. So even when I’m knocked down, I will get up again.
Get up again. Hey, get up again.
Bonus lesson. Deal with your giants so the generation doesn’t have to. David should have never had to fight Goliath because Goliath should have been defeated by his father’s generation. When you refuse to deal with the giants in your life, you have to understand that they multiply in your children’s life. Some of you are in this room, you’ve had to spend your entire life fighting giants that your parents should have defeated. Don’t make that same mistake for your children.
And yes, it’s going to cost you something now, but it could cost them everything later. Come on, don’t hand your kids a battle that God has empowered you to win. It’s time to face our giants, it’s time to rise up. It’s time to say, I’m tired of you squatting on my life, that is mine, it belongs to me because of the finished work of Jesus. And I’m going to take these lessons, I’m going to apply them to my life, and I’m going to be victorious in Jesus’ name.
Whether that giant falls today or at the end of my life, I don’t really care because I know I’m going to stand and endure. And I will overcome because of what Jesus has done.
So come on, it’s time to awaken, it’s time to arise, it’s time to advance and claim victory in Jesus’ name. I hope that inspired you. I hope it built your faith. I hope it encouraged you a little bit to be like, come on, this is not about the coronavirus, this is about all these giants that have been awakened and brought to the surface in my life. And in Jesus’ name, it’s time for a victory.
See, in this season, we have to take authority over the things we can control and surrender the things we cannot. In this season, we have to take authority over what we can control and surrender what we can’t. Listen, we can’t control the coronavirus.
We can’t control the economy. We can’t control when things are going to get opened. So we got to surrender all that to God. But we got to take authority over the things we can control. And you know what we can control? We can control remembering who we are in Jesus. We can control engaging in the Scriptures. We can control choosing to being a person of worship. We can control engaging online and finding other giant killers to move forward within life. We can control how we choose to spend our time, where our mind goes, and what we focus on in this season.
You see, I love what David, maybe the greatest giant killer in the Bible other than Jesus. I love what he says, he says, “My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. And I will never be shaken.” I love this. David who had to face all kinds of giants, he says, my soul finds rest in God alone.
Can I ask you a question? Is your soul at rest today? Like right now, wherever you are, is your soul at rest? And if the answer is no, then it means you are finding rest in something other than God before this whole season. Because even though we’ve lost a lot of things in this season, we’ve not lost God. He’s still right there with you. And I think if we’re honest, my soul finds rest in my work, my soul finds rest in my hobby, in my addiction, in the shopping, in the coming, in the going, in the activities. And that’s why there’s so much being brought to the surface right now.
And so what this verse reminds us is that our rest is found in Him and in Him alone. That He is our rock, our firm foundation on which we can stand. That He is our salvation. He is the one who saves us, heals us, sets us free, delivers us and makes us whole.
He is our fortress, our strong tower, our safe place, our protection. He is our warrior and our hero and our champion. And because of Him, we will never be shaken. You see, it’s so easy to say you trust God when you feel like you can control everything in your life. The question is this, do you trust God when you feel like you can’t control anything in your life? My soul finds rest in God alone, regardless of the giants that may being brought to the surface.
You see, you can’t rush what God is doing in this season. But you’re going to need what God is doing in the days to come. God is doing a deep work inside of you right now. He’s preparing you. He’s equipping you. He is doing stuff, removing the junk and the pain and the things that hold us back because guess what, on the other side of all this, God has a destiny for you.
He has a dream for you. It is a calling for you there, are new things that He’s inviting you into. And so this is the season for us to deal with the stuff that’s holding us back. So don’t lean out from it, lean into it, and let Him do everything He wants to do. This is not about getting through this season, this is about growing in the midst of this season. And God is offering you a new life in Jesus name.
You see, you may feel more bound physically than you’ve ever been, and yet there is an invitation to be more free spiritually than you’ve ever been. You don’t have to be a victim of this season, you can be victorious in this season. You say, well, how do I do that? By looking to Jesus. Come on, you may not be able to go to work, you might not be able to go to school, you might not be able to go to your hobbies, you may not be able to see family, but you know what you can do? You can face some giants in Jesus’ name.
You can deal with some of those things that have been holding you back in Jesus’ name, the things that have been holding you back for years and years and years that you bury, and numb, and cope with, and ignore, and shove all down there. In this season, they’ve all awakened, they’ve all roared, they’ve all come to the surface. And even though you can’t go anywhere, you can face your giants and find freedom in His name.
You see, let me close with this. What I love is that in Ephesians chapter 6, it tells us, to put on the armor of God. The armor of God, so that we can stand strong against the devil’s schemes and the devil’s attack against us. And here’s what it tells us to do, “To put on the belt of truth.” The belt of truth that holds you up in a world full of lies. And then it says, “Put on the breastplate of righteousness.” The righteousness, the breastplate that covers your heart. Righteousness meaning that you and God are right in Jesus’ name, that He is giving you a new heart, you’re a new creation.
You have a new identity in Him. And then, “To put on the shoes of peace.” The shoes of peace so you can stand in peace in the midst of the storm that’s raging around you. And then, “To put on the helmet of salvation.” Salvation, protecting your mind from the thoughts of condemnation, the thoughts of fear, the thoughts of depression and worry, by focusing on Jesus and what he has done. And then, “To grab the shield of faith,” so we can stop the attacks that come against. And then, “To pick up the sword of the Spirit to knock down the lies and to declare the promises of God.
And you say, well, that’s a really nice symbolic thing. No, no. Do you know what that really is? That’s just putting on Jesus. That’s just finding rest in Jesus’ alone because all those things are him. The belt of truth, Jesus is truth that holds us strong in the midst of a world full of lies. The breastplate of righteousness, Jesus is our righteousness that has made us right with God.
Put on the shoes of peace, Jesus is the prince of peace that allows us to stand strong in the storms around us. The helmet of salvation, He is our salvation and the finished work of Jesus settles our mind in his name. The shield of faith, he is the author and protector of our faith, that’s building our faith that we might come against the forces of darkness. And then picking up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, which is Jesus, to knock down the lies and hold on to the promises that we now have in him.
Come on, in Jesus’ name, it’s time to pick up your shield, pick up your sword, stand back up and say, I know this is a hard season. But I will not be a victim to it, I will be victorious in the midst of it. Let’s deal with some of those things that are holding us back. This is going to be a week of victory in Jesus’ name in your life.
So you close your eyes with me. Come on, let me just ask you that simple question.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Right now, what is He showing you? Where is He shining your light? Where is He encouraging you or inspiring you? Where is He saying, come on, let’s get up again, and let’s go take care of this giant, that’s plagued you since you are a child, that’s plagued you since you’re a teenager, that’s plagued you in your last two marriages, that’s plagued you in your last five jobs, that’s plagued you even when things are super quiet. It’s the giant that roars the loudest, that’s the giant that Jesus is saying in this season, let me bring victory and freedom and breakthrough in that area.
And so maybe in your own way, you can even see yourself getting suited up with the armor of God, the finished work of Jesus, that you might have victory over the things that are trying to hold you back in this season.
Jesus, thank you for your grace that is bringing so many things to the surface right now because you want to set us free. We are not victims, we can be victorious in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Well, hey, I am so glad that you joined us today. Today, I hope you’re inspired and encouraged and your faith was built a little bit. If we can pray for you for anything in your life, if you go on our website, there is an opportunity for you to just simple prayer request. Let us pray for you. Come on, don’t do this alone. Let us jump into that battle with you that you might find breakthrough in Jesus’ name.
For those of you that want to give, you can give right here online. Part of giving in this season is it’s a declaration that I trust Jesus regardless of what’s happening in the world around me, that is first and foremost in my life. And I want to honor him and follow him. And your generosity is blessing so many hurting people through our Next Step Center right now.
In a moment, there’s going to be some response questions. I would encourage you, just pause it, have a conversation with whoever you’re watching this with. I think that’s one of the greatest parts of our online service. But I’m believing that this is going to be a week of victory and breakthrough in Jesus’ name. I am so glad you are here with us today. God is with you, and hope is on the move. We’ll see you next week. I love you.