What facts of this world do you need to replace with God’s truth?
Wherever you are and whatever’s going on in your life right now, God is good to you. He wants to bless you and He is for you. And He wants this goodness and grace to flow through your life. And so here’s what I just want to invite you to with me for a moment, would you maybe just open up your hands? Wherever you are, whatever room you’re in, wherever place you are, would you just open your hands maybe as a sign of surrender?
As a sign of being willing to receive the blessing of God in your life. And let me just pray for you right now. Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the God who is good to us. That you are with us and you are for us. And right now in the midst of the storm and the chaos of this world, your blessings are flowing into our lives. Thank you for the love of the Father. Thank you for the grace of Jesus. And thank you for the power and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Lord, thank you for your goodness and your grace that fills up our lives, our families, and our homes in Jesus’ name.
And now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord turn his face upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn his countenance to you and give you His peace. I speak peace into every home and every family in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Well, hey, everybody, welcome again to our special online service here at Valley Creek. And I am so glad that you’re here with us, wherever you are in the world today. See, we are one church that meets in multiple campuses that carries the hope of Jesus to thousands of locations. And obviously, right now, we are one church meeting online, but we still carry the hope of Jesus to thousands of locations because you see, wherever you are, that’s where we are. Valley is not a building, it’s a people. It’s always been you and me and us united together under the name of Jesus.
And so just because we can’t gather together today, it doesn’t mean we’re not a church. We are still a movement of hope for the city and beyond. And whether this is your first time with us, or maybe you haven’t been in a while, maybe you’re here with us every single weekend, it really doesn’t matter. I want to say, welcome. Hope is here, everyone is welcome, and Jesus changes everything.
You see, hope is here. Everyone is welcome. And Jesus changes everything. And I want to say to you, I miss you. I miss being together and seeing your face and gathering together as the church. It’s amazing how we take things for granted into our lives, until of a sudden they’re missing. Like it’s amazing how we take for granted the gathering of the church, but then all of a sudden we can’t gather for a few weeks and we start to realize what a gift this is on our lives.
What a gift it is to get together and gather around the presence of God and hear the word of God and minister to each other as the people of God. And I can’t wait to get together with you as soon as we’re able to gather again. But one of the amazing things that’s happening as we’re doing church online is many of you are inviting Jesus in Valley Creek into your home for the first time.
See, it’s so easy for us to compartmentalize our life and have work, and family, and school, and hobby, and Jesus over here. But all of a sudden, we’re reminded that Jesus is not a part of our life, that He is life itself. And that He is holding all things together. And what a wild season this has been. See, I don’t think any of us saw this coming a few weeks ago. In fact, many of us right now were under shelter at home or shelter in place orders. Like when was the last time that happened in your life?
And so we’re just kind of taking things week by week and day by day. And I just want to say, Valley Creek, I am so grateful for how you’re leaning into this season. I’m so grateful for the way that you’re using this online service and seeing this as a missional opportunity to invite other people into it. I’m so grateful for the ways that you’re continually being generous and trusting God with your finances. I’m so grateful for our next steps center and the teams that are already mobilizing and serving hurting people in our region. You guys have been encouraging each other and praying for each other, and taking your groups and your teams online and ministering to each other and bringing groceries to people who need them.
You are hope careers in all the spaces that you go, and all the places that you exist. And so I’m so encouraged by how you’re responding to this disruptive season. And I just want to take a minute on behalf of really all of us, all of Valley Creek and all of our region to just go ahead and say, I just want to say, thank you to our amazing healthcare workers.
Thank you for being on the frontlines and brining the healing of Jesus into our lives and into our city. I want to say thank you to all our amazing educators, teachers and administrators. Thank you for helping raise up the next generation in a really challenging and yet innovative season where you’re figuring out how to bring stuff into people’s homes and keep bringing an amazing education. Thank you to our government officials and civil servants. Thank you for using your lives to serve us to bring order and peace to the city and the region. And thank you to businesses. Thank you for doing all that you can to continue to serve us in the midst of a difficult economy and in the midst of a challenging season.
You see, there’s a lot of emotions going on right now. There’s lots of anger and anxiety and apathy and everything in between.
And while all those emotions are real, while they’re all valid, this is the season to bring Jesus back into the center of life. This is the season to take our eyes off the things of this world and bring the affection and the focus and the attention of our heart back to Jesus. You see, God is with you. And hope is still on the move.
And what I want you to remember is that God’s truth is superior to the world’s facts. This is really important and I hope this will really encourage your heart today that God’s truth is superior to the world’s facts. Truth is superior to facts. And I know some of you you’re sitting there and you’re like, wait a second, aren’t facts and truth the same thing? No, no, no, no, they’re not even close to the same. You see, a fact is something you can see, taste, smell, touch.
It’s something you can prove to yourself, it’s tangible. You can grab a hold of it. But then there’s truth. And truth is superior to facts. Truth is God’s word. Truth is God’s promises. Truth is God’s declaration. Truth is God’s kingdom. And God’s truth is superior to the facts of this world. Let me give you some examples. Like for example, if you’re sick right now, fact is you are sick. If you’re sick in your life, fact is you’re sick. You’ve got a doctor’s report. It’s confirmed there’s sickness in your body. But truth is by His stripes you’ve already been healed.
A fact is you might not be able to pay your bills right now. But truth is superior to that and truth says, God is going to meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Fact might be that you’re lonely in this season.
Truth is He will never leave you nor forsake you. Fact is your life might be a mess right now, but truth is He’s working all things together for the good. Fact is your life might feel like it’s flying out of control. Truth is He is holding all things together. Fact is this might be a disappointing season. Truth is there is always hope. Fact is there is a coronavirus storm going around all of our lives. Truth is Jesus has given you His peace.
You see, God’s truth is superior to the world’s facts. And in this season, it’s up to you and me to take the attention of our hearts off of the facts of this world and turn them to God’s truth. In fact, I love this, 2 Corinthians 5, it says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” See, facts are all about sight. Facts are what you can see and smell and taste and touch.
But as followers of Jesus, that’s not how we live. We live by faith. We live by truth. We live by God’s promises and God’s word and God’s declaration. You see, all faith is faith is believing God’s truth in the midst of the world’s facts. That’s all faith is. Faith is choosing to say, I have more belief in God’s truth than I do in the world’s facts. And just because you believe truth doesn’t mean you have to deny the facts.
This is where a lot of get in trouble. Listen. Grabbing a hold of truth doesn’t mean that you ignore the facts. It doesn’t mean that you act like it’s not happening. I mean it would be foolish right now to say there’s not a coronavirus. It would be ignorant to say that there’s not economic challenges. It would be foolish to act like there’s not a storm and crisis out there in the world right now. But it would be even more foolish to believe those facts over God’s truths.
You see, we’re not the only ones that have had to walk through something like this. I mean if you remember the story of Daniela in the Lion’s Den. Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den. And the fact was there are a whole bunch of hungry lions right there to eat Daniel. He didn’t deny that fact. But truth was God closed the mouths of those lions and was Daniel’s defender and protector.
Or how about David and Goliath. Fact was Goliath, a giant warrior was coming to kill David. But truth was that God had already given him victory.
How about Jesus. Fact was Jesus was crucified, dead, buried in the grave for three days. That was fact. But truth was He is the resurrection and the life. That He came to defeat sin, death and the grave. You see, we have to learn how to grab a hold of God’s superior truth in the midst of the world’s facts. And when we do that, the impossible becomes possible.
The supernatural becomes normal. And the kingdom of heaven comes to this earth. This is why Jesus’ main message was repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. In other words, he was saying, hey, change your mind. Stop looking at all the facts of the world. I know they’re out there. I see them too. But turn your attention to my truth. This is why I love this, 2 Corinthians 4 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, not on the facts, but on what is unseen, the truth. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Here’s what this is saying, it’s saying that facts are what we can see and they are temporary. Truth is what we believe and it’s eternal. And facts, we can see them. They’re temporary disappointments. But truth is what we believe. And it’s eternal hope. And so the question I just want to ask you today is, are you more focused on the world’s facts or God’s truth?
In this season of a storm and crisis and chaos. Are you focused more on what the world is trying to show you or what God is trying to say to you? Are you allowing the emotions and the feeling sand the perspective of your life right now to be dictated by what the news is saying or by what God is saying? See, this matters. And we have to learn to guard and our heart and fix our eyes on truth.
In fact, I love this, Proverbs 4, it says, “My child, pay attention to what I say; listen carefully to my words.” God is saying, hey, I don’t want you to be focused on the facts of this world. I want you to be focused, listen to my truth. Don’t lose sight of them, let them penetrate deep into your heart. “For they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body.” In other words, God’s truth brings life and healing to us.
And so, can I just ask you. Right now, is it about the world’s facts or God’s truth? Because the world’s facts, they’re going to bring fear and doubt and hatred into your life. God’s truth brings faith, hope and love. Maybe it’s time for us to stop empowering the facts of this world and start declaring the truth of God’s kingdom. Maybe it’s time to fill our mouth, our lives and our homes with God’s truth in Jesus’ name.
And yet, I get it for a lot of you, you kind of hear that and you’re like, that all sounds great bro, but there’s a lot of facts that are happening and they ain’t good. I know. It kind of feels in a lot of ways like right now, the earth is a giant snow globe, doesn’t it? Like someone just took it and shook it all up and it feels like everything that we knew, everything that was stable, everything that we were confident, everything just feels like it’s flying all over the place.
And yet in the midst of that God wasn’t surprised nor caught off guard. And His truth is still our firm foundation. In fact, at the end of the sermon on the mount, maybe the greatest message ever preached, Jesus tells us what it’s like when we grab a hold of his truth in the midst of a world full of facts. And he says, the person that grabs a hold of his truth and looks to his truth despite the facts is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And when the rains came and the wind blew and the flood waters rose, that house stood firm. But the foolish man who built his life upon the facts of the world, Jesus says the foolish man built his house upon the sand. And when the winds came and the rains came, and the flood waters rose, that house fell with a great crash.
And what I think is so interesting what Jesus is telling us is that the storm is going to come to all of us.
The storm is going to come to those of us who hold on to truth and those of us who look to fact. But if we build our life on truth, we’re like wise men and women, building our life on a solid, steady foundation that will not crumble. In fact that’s why in John 16, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Fact is storms will come. “But take heart for I have overcome the world.” The truth is he has given you his peace and his victory in Jesus’ name.
And so what do we do? That’s really the question, isn’t it? As the snow globe of chaos is all around us and we’re standing on God’s truth, holding on to it, what do we do in the midst of this season? Well, real quick, here’s what I want to do. I don’t want to just build your faith today, I actually want to give you some practical handles because I know that’s where some of you are right now. Looking for handles of what do I actually do right now in the midst of the chaos around me while I’m holding on to God’s truth for me? Real quick, see if you can grab this with me.
And the first thing is this. Just lean in. Lean in. Listen, this is not a season to lean out. Here’s what happens, the moment a storm comes into our life, the moment there’s a crisis, the moment that there’s chaos, the moment that there’s any type of pain or uncomfortability, we want to lean out. We push away, it’s uncomfortable. We complain, we criticize, we want to get — no, this is not a season to lean out. This is a season to lean in. You say, lean in to what? Lean it to what God is trying to do in your lean.
You see, God can do more in you in the dark valleys than He can in the green pastures. This is not about what’s happening around you. This is about what God wants to do within you. In fact, James 1 says, “Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Like hang on a second, James. I don’t know that I’m finding a lot of joy in the storm and the trial that’s happening right now.
He says, I know. But lean into it. Why? “Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish his work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” In other words, God is doing a deep work inside of you right now. You see, you have to remember that storms don’t create what’s inside of us, they just reveal what’s already there. I want you catch that. Storms don’t create what’s inside of us, they just reveal what’s already there.
Like this storm is not creating the emotions and the feelings and the perspectives, it’s just revealing what’s already there. Like think of a giant hurricane that hits the coast. When it’s all done and that storm has gone, you can go out on the beach and you’ll find like old shipwrecks. You’ll hear these stories of old shipwrecks. They’ve been there for hundreds of years.
That storm didn’t create it. That storm just removed the sand that was covering it up. And it was exposed. In fact, last week we talked about Jesus and the disciples in the boat. And when the storm comes and they panicked, Jesus says, why are you so afraid and why do you have such little faith? The storm didn’t create the fear and the doubt in their heart. The storm just revealed the fear and the doubt that was already there. So the question that I want to ask you is, what’s being exposed in your life in this season? As the storm of this world is blowing into you, what’s being exposed? Anxiety, panic, stress, anger, are you frustrated? Are you annoyed? Maybe some insecurity, some misplaced trust. I don’t know, what kind of shipwrecks are being unearth in your soul?
Maybe some of your faith had been shipwrecked. Or some of your heart had been shipwrecked and this storm, it’s just removing the things that are there. And God is removing those, exposing them so He can heal you and free you in Jesus’ name.
You see, this is really important for you to understand. God is not the one who is sending the corona sickness into this world. I need you to understand this. God is not the one who is sending sickness into this world. He’s from the kingdom of light. Sickness comes from the kingdom of darkness. And you can’t have Jesus going around healing people that the Father was making sick. That would be a divided kingdom, a divided house. And Jesus says that he came to represent the Father. That him and the Father are one. That he only does what sees the Father doing.
And so if we read about Jesus healing sick people, we can know with confidence that it’s not the Father who sends sickness into this world. No, he’s the one bringing healing from the sickness in Jesus’ name. He’s not creating it but He will use it for your good and His glory. And so what’s being exposed in you in this season?
And are you willing to lean into it so God can free you and heal you in Jesus’ name.
Second thing is simply this, let go. Let go. There are a whole lot of things that we’re holding on to right now. Some of us are holding on to emotions. Some of us are holding on to expectations. Some of us are holding on to this pressure, to make it all happen and keep it all together. Okay, it’s time to let go. Some of you, there’s so many emotions pent up in your body, right? It’s time to let go of the anxiety, and the fear, and the doubt, and the worry, to lay it at the feet of Jesus and grab a hold of his peace.
Some of you, you’ve been holding on to expectations, man. You’re holding on to the expectations of what your business should be doing, or an expectations of what your school should be doing, or what your sports should be doing, or what the economy should be doing, or the vacation your family should be on, or the financial position you should — and you’re holding on to these expectations.
And the more you hold on to them, and the more the storm rages, the more disappointed and stressed out you become. Come on, it’s time to lay those down and know that Jesus is still making a way.
And then some of us are holding on to this pressure like to make it all happen. Like to hold our family together and to pay the bills, or to keep the business going, or to make the school thing happen or figure out how to educate, to perform, to strive, to earn, to be significant and successful and to — okay, it’s time to take all those things and lay them at the feet of Jesus. I love what Psalms tells us, it says, “I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart.” Can ask you a question? Have you ever given all your stuff over to Jesus? Have you ever taken your business and say, Jesus, I give it to you? Have you ever taken your family and say, Jesus, I entrust them to you? Have you ever taken your education, your finances, your future, and your life and given it to Jesus?
You see, the things we love the most are the safest in his hands, not ours. And what this seasons is doing is it’s reminding us that we’re not in control anyways. So we may as well lay these things at his feet and entrust them to him. And maybe you have somewhere in the past, but maybe over these last season you’ve taken it back because you’re trying to control it all. And come on, it’s time to let it got and lay it at his feet in Jesus’ name.
I mean I love this, Jeremiah 17 says, “But blessed, happy, joyful, content, peaceful, is the man or woman who trusts in the Lord, who lets go and gives it over to God, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in the year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
He says the people that trusts in the Lord, that let go and give things over to Him are like a tree planted by living water, that is not afraid, that has no worries, and is always fruitful in Jesus’ name. This is not a season to try harder. This is a season to trust more. This is not about striving, this is about surrendering. This is not about you making it happen. This is about you resting in Jesus. So what do you need to let go of and lay at the feet of Jesus?
And then the last thing is simply this. Leverage this moment. Come on, I love this word. Leverage. You know what that means? It means use this for your advantage. It means take what you’ve got and use it to advance what you love. Get a maximum impact. See this as an opportunity, not an obstacle. You see, whether you realize this or not, this season is a gift in your life.
It’s a gift. And I know as I’ve said that some of you instantly, you like leaned back away from me, you’re like you have no idea, bro. You have no idea. You’re right, I don’t. I know there’s a lot of pain, and hurt, and fear, and broken — I know all that. And yet, in the midst of this season, it’s a gift from God. You say, why? Because he’s pruned back a lot of things in our life to draw our attention to Him. You see, all the activities and all the business, and all the distractions that we’re normally so consumed with, all of a sudden, all those things have been removed.
Like it’s really interesting if you think about just our area, and you walk up to somebody and you say, hey, how are you doing? Ninety percent of the time, they’re going to give you one or two answers. They’re either going to say, I’m good or I’m so busy. That’s all we say all the time. I’m so busy. I’m so — I’m so distracted. Well, guess what, I haven’t heard anybody say they’re busy in the last few weeks.
All of a sudden, all those things have been removed. And that’s a gift from God for this season. You see, Psalms tells us that, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Today, your situations and your circumstance is a day the Lord has made. And He says, rejoice and be glad in it. In other words, leverage this moment. You say, to do what? To connect with God and to connect with people. The human heart was created to love God and love people. Not be lost in activities and distractions and always overwhelmed and always stressed out. So in this pruning, this is a moment for you to connect with God.
This is a moment for you to grab on to a reading plan and read a chapter a day out of the Bible. This is a moment to learn to start praying. This is a moment to fill your house with worship music. This is a moment to get in an online group or just ask God what’s the next step to build a relationship with Him.
And not only is it a moment to connect with God, it’s a moment to connect with the people in your life. See, don’t fill this season with Netflix and news. Take some time to go for a walk, to play a game, to throw a ball, to ask questions, to lean in, listen and love. This is not about going back to normal, it’s about going to a new dimension of abundant life in Jesus’ name. And he’s given us this moment where we’re desperate enough to reach out to Him so we can connect and go further on our relationship with Him and further with our relationships with others in Jesus’ name. So don’t lose this moment. Leverage it. Take advantage of it, so you can move forward in Jesus’ name.
See John 14, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is the way out of this storm. Jesus is the truth in the midst of a world full of facts.
And Jesus is the life. He is not a part of life, He is life itself. And the truth of Jesus is superior to any and every fact of this world. You see, let me close with this. The apostle Paul is a guy you may be familiar with. He’s the guy that wrote most of the New Testament. But what you may not know is that many of the letters that Paul wrote, he wrote from prison. In other words, the guy that writes most of the New Testament wrote many of the letters that he wrote from prison.
Like Paul was under a shelter in place, a shelter at home order from the Roman government. He was imprisoned within his own home. And if you look at the facts of Paul’s life, they weren’t great at that time, man.
The fact was he was imprisoned. The fact was he was stuck. The fact was his circumstances weren’t great. The fact was there was a storm going on all around him. But the truth was that God was good to him, God was for him, and God was with him. The truth was hope was on the move. And so in that season, Paul let go of the facts and he grabbed a hold of God’s truth knowing that it was superior. And what he did was he leaned into the season. He let go of his emotions, his expectations, and his control. And he leveraged the moment to connect with God and others.
And God used that seasoned for Paul to go deeper with God and to be a hope carrier in the world around him. God worked in Paul and he worked through Paul. And I think the same is true for you. See, your facts might not be great right now.
The facts of your life as you stack them up, facts about your finances, or your health, or your situation, or your circumstances, or the storm, they might be like a snow globe, all shook up. They’re facts. You don’t have to deny them, they’re there, they’re real. But the truth that I want you to change your mind and focus on, the truth is in the midst of all those facts is that God is with you, God is for you, and God is good to you. And that hope is on the move.
In a moment, I’m going to pray for you and then as we finish this service, there’s going to be some response questions, for you to just take some time at home wherever you are. Let me encourage you, I think this is one of the best things about online church, is the opportunity to engage in these questions as soon as we’re done. For those of you that haven’t connected with us, I want to invite you to text VCC to 313131 so we can keep in touch with you about all the things that are happening. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
We want to stay current with you. I would love for you to take a picture of you and your family, wherever you are watching this from, post it online and share the link with some other people that might need this hope. Invite them into this so they can fix their eyes on the truth of Jesus. We’ve got an amazing kids’ experience for you on our kids YouTube channel. Last week, we rolled that out. It was so amazing and it had such a significant impact that if you’ve got kids or you know somebody with kids, jump over to YouTube right, about a 25-minute worship service for them. You’re going to love it.
If you’re looking for some relationships in this season, let us help you get in an online group. You can check that out on our website. And then for those of you that want to give, you can give right here online, as followers of Jesus we should be the most generous people regardless of the circumstance or the situation around us. Let’s keep trusting God so that we can keep being a movement of hope for the city and beyond.
So you close your eyes with me. Let me just pray for you. Jesus, thank you. Thank you that you are the God of truth in a midst of a world full of facts. Thank you that no matter how crazy the storm gets around us, you are the rock in which we can build our life upon. Lord, thank you that you’re doing something inside of us in this season, so give us the courage to lean in, show us what we need to let go, and help us leverage this moment to connect with you and the people in our lives in new and profound ways.
And if you’re here today and you’ve never put your faith in Jesus, today is the day to grab a hold of hope. All you need to do is cry out to him and say something like this from your heart, Jesus I invite you into life. I believe that you came and died, were buried and rose again from the grave. And Lord, I want to follow you. I want a life filled with hope in Jesus’ name.
And if that’s you, would you reach out to us and let us know that that’s the next step that you want to take? And let us help you get started on this journey with Jesus. Hey, I am so glad that you’re here with us today. As you go this week, let’s let go of the facts and look to God’s truth. And remember that God is with us. And hope is on the move.