Jesus quiets the storms of life. Get a fresh revelation of who He is and what He is doing in your life!
Hey, everybody. Welcome to our special online service here at Valley Creek. And I am so glad you’re joining in with us wherever you are in the world. And I know this has been a week full of a lot of chaos, and a lot of questions, and a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the world. And yet, in the midst of all of that, we can come together and lift up the name of Jesus over our lives.
And so for the next few moments, here’s what I want to invite you to do with us. We’re just going to worship together, and we’re just going to sing one song. And maybe you’re not used to worshipping in your house or wherever you are, that’s okay. But let me just encourage you, this is a time to lift up your voice. This is a time to turn the affection and the attention and the focus of your heart off the things of this world and on to Jesus. You see, all worship is lifting up the name of Jesus over our lives, so that his goodness and his grace rains down upon us.
And if you don’t feel comfortable singing or engaging, that’s okay. Let me just encourage you, let these words wash over your mind and your heart and draw your attention to the goodness of Jesus. You see, God is with us. And hope is on the move.
In the midst of all of the panic and the anxiety and the crisis and the chaos, in the midst of all of that, God is with us and hope is still on the move. And what I want you to do with me for a moment, I just want to invite you to just declare these truths out over your life. You see, what we believe here at Valley Creek is that these are the four core truths of the universe.
That no matter what’s happening out there, no matter what the world looks like, no matter what kind of storms may exist, these are the four core truths of the universe, the promises of God that we can hang on to no matter what’s happening in our lives. So can I just encourage you? Wherever you are, wherever you’re engaging with us from, can you just have the faith to just speak these out loud over your life, over your family, and over your situation together with me right now? Come on, will you just say this with me out loud wherever you are? God is good even when the world is not. Jesus has forgiven me, regardless of what I’ve done. I am loved for who I am, not for what I do. And everything is possible, there is always hope.
Come on, one more time. Say it with me with a little bit more passion, with a little bit more conviction, grab a hold of this. Come on, your whole family, let’s say this out together. God is good even when the world is not. Jesus has forgiven me regardless of what I’ve done. I am loved for who I am, not for what I do. And everything is possible, there is always hope in Jesus’ name.
So Jesus, right now, we thank you that no matter what is happening in the world around us, you are the God who is faithful. That you are holding true to your promises, to your character and to your word. And that no matter what is happening around us, we know that you are with us. And hope is on the move.
So I speak peace right now into every home, into every person, into every family in Jesus’ name pray. Amen.
Wee, hey, once again, I just want to welcome you to Valley Creek special online service. And I am so glad that you are here with us today. Wherever you might be joining us from, you see, obviously, this is a little bit unique or different to what we normally do. You see, we are one church that meets in multiple campuses, that carries the hope of Jesus to thousands of locations.
And today, we’re one church that’s in thousands of locations, gathering together online. You see, just because we can’t be together in our physical campuses, doesn’t mean that we’re not Valley Creek. Valley Creek has never been about buildings. It’s always been a people. It’s always been you and me and us together moving forward in the name of Jesus.
And just because we’re not at our physical campuses today doesn’t mean that that ceases to be true of who we are. And so I just want to welcome you. Maybe you’re a part of our church and you are here normally at a physical campus every week. Or maybe you’re just joining us because you’re looking for a little bit of hope or somebody told you about this and so you’re joining in. You see, I want to say what we say pretty much every single weekend, and that’s simply this. Hope is here. Everyone is welcome. And Jesus changes everything. Hope is here because Jesus is here. Everyone is welcome regardless of where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you’re welcome at Valley Creek and you’re welcome to Jesus. And Jesus changes everything. He doesn’t just change our situations or our circumstances, he actually changes us.
And so I’m so glad that you’ve come to hang out with us and join us today because we believe that even in the midst of what’s happening in the world around us, that God is good and he’s doing some amazing things.
And I realized that as we just kind of look around the world, there’s lots of different emotions that are happening right now. Some of you as you’re joining in, some of you, you have lots of anxiety, maybe you have some anger, maybe you have some apathy. And while all those emotions are real and they’re valid and they’re happening in your life, at this point in time, it’s not about which emotion is right or wrong, this is simply our opportunity to take our eyes off of the world and its chaos and its brokenness and turn the attention and the focus and the affection of our heart back to Jesus.
This is our opportunity as individuals and as families to bring Jesus back into the center of our lives. You see, I would bet that just about all of us, we weren’t expecting this just a few short weeks ago.
Like I would bet that you’ve had lots of plans and lots of things that you were thinking you were going to do. You may have been planning family activities, or vacations, or school, or athletics, or business stuff, and then all of a sudden, everything has seemed to change. And while we may have been surprised by that, God hasn’t been surprised. You see, I love this verse, Proverbs tells us that, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” I would bet that you had lots of plans going into this week. Plans for your family, plans for your business, plans for school, plans for activities, and then all of a sudden all of those plans have changed.
And what I’ve learned throughout the years is that God’s steps are always better than our plans. It doesn’t always feel like it, we don’t always understand it, but the truth is at the end of the day, wherever God is leading us, it’s always better than where we’ve been. You see, if Jesus is the good shepherd, that means sometimes he leads us through the valleys we don’t want to go through to get us to the green pastures that we need.
And a great example is the story of Jesus and his disciples. You see, one day after a lot of great ministry and a lot of activity together, Jesus and his disciples they got in a boat and they went across the sea, and Jesus fell asleep in the back of the boat. And as they were going along, everything was fine and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, this big storm develops and it comes and it begins to swamp the boat. They’re about to sink and die.
And I’m just telling you I bet before that day started the disciples had different plans than what they were currently experiencing. Like I bet they woke up that morning and they thought to themselves, you know what my plan for the day is? We’re going to go and have some great ministry, we’re going to raise the dead and heal the sick and preach some great messages. And then at the end of the day, we’ll have a bon fire and gather around some lamp chops and then get a great night sleep at the local inn.
And here they are in a boat sinking about to drown because of this giant storm that is happening around them. That’s pretty much what’s happened all of our lives with this corona virus over this last season. This storm, it’s literally come up out of nowhere and changed our plans. And I love what the disciples they do, they wake up Jesus and they say, Jesus, don’t you care that we’re about to drown? Ain’t that interesting? The moment the storm shows up in their lives, the first thing they question is his love for them. Don’t you care? And ain’t that what we do?
Storms show up in our lives seemingly out of nowhere and all of a sudden, we question God’s love for us. And we start thinking things like this, like, don’t you care about my business? Don’t you care about my finances? Don’t you care about my health? Don’t you care about my school?
Don’t you care about my sports and plans and my activities? Don’t you care? I’d just encourage you, don’t let the circumstances that are happening around you make you question the love that God has for you. In fact, 1 Peter 5 tells us, “Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you.” Take all those cares and those worries and those burdens and lay them at the feet of Jesus.
And so the disciples wake up Jesus, don’t you care? And Jesus looks at them and he says, hey guys, why are you so afraid? And why do you have such little faith? And he speaks to the storm and calms it, instantly everything is quiet. And the disciples look at each other and they say, who is this that even the winds and the waves obey his command? And just like that, they realized that God was with them and hope was on the move whether they realized it or not. And they were able to take their eyes off of the storm, put it back on Jesus and get a new and a fresh revelation of who he was and what he offered.
And I believe that that is what is happening to you and me in this season. That God is inviting us to take our eyes off of the storm around us to look back to him and remind ourselves that he is with us and that hope is still on the move. And so what I want to do today is, there are so many things we have to talk about in the weeks to come based on what’s happening in the world around us. And then aligning that with what we know about the kingdom of God and the grace of Jesus, so many things we have to talk about.
But what I want to do today real quickly is I just want to share with you the five things that I’ve been praying for you. You see, sometimes when you’re going through crisis or chaos where things are crazy around you, you just want to know that someone else cares for you. And so I just want to share with you the five things that I’ve been praying for you all week.
And I want to invite you to start praying these over your life, over your family or over your business. And so this is really simple, really fast. But let me just try to build your faith with some practical handles of how we can look to Jesus in the midst of this season of the unknown. And the first thing I’ve been praying for you is simply this, that God would use this for good. That God would use this for good. That in the midst of all the chaos and all the crisis and all the things that are happening around us, that God would use it for good.
See, you have to remember that Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. He’s come to bring chaos and the corona virus and darkness and destruction and panic and fear and anxiety. But Jesus has come to bring us abundant life. And our God is the only God who can take crisis and turn it into life. In fact, Genesis 50:20, I love this, it says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
You see, while the darkness may intend to harm you in this season, God is using it for your good. And only God can take brokenness and bring life from it. Only God could take Joseph, who is literally sold by his brothers into slavery and raise him up to be the number two man in all of Egypt. Only God could take Lazarus who’s been dead and buried in a grave for four days and raised him from the grave to show the glory and the greatness of God. Only God could take the cross, the death, and the burial of Jesus and bring a resurrection of life for all of humanity who want to put their faith in Jesus.
You see, I believe that in this season, God is going to use this for your good. And I know some of you, you sit there and you think, well, I don’t understand and how is that possible? And I can’t possibly see good in the midst of all that. Listen, this is called faith. We walk by faith, not by sight.
And what you have to remember what hope is, is hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God. Hope believes that God is good even when the world is not. And it’s in the midst of the darkness where hope shines its brightest. And so what I want to invite you to do in this season, when you start to get stressed, when you start to complain or get critical about what’s happening in the world around you, can you just stop for a moment and stop and say, God, I don’t know how you’re going to do it, I don’t know when you’re going to do it, I don’t know where you’re going to do it, but I know you are going to use this for my good in Jesus’ name. And you are going to bring life out of the brokenness and the pain of this situation and this circumstance.
You see, this is not about going back to what life was. This is not about going back to normal. It’s about moving forward to a new dimension of the abundant life in Jesus’ name.
He’s going to use this for good.
And I love that it says, “The saving of many lives.” The saving of many lives. In other words, he is going to save, heal, make whole and deliver not just people who don’t know Jesus, but also you. He’s going to use this as an opportunity to bring salvation into your life. Not just salvation someday, saving us from worldly perspectives and worldly thoughts and worldly ways of living that we become so comfortable in over this past period of life. He wants to save us from that and do good and bring us deeper into the heart of the kingdom. God’s going to use this for your good.
The second thing is simply this, I’m praying that we would rest in the finished work of Jesus. That together we would just simply be able to rest in who Jesus is and what he has done. Isaiah 54 says this, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is from me.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like this verse. The reason I don’t like this verse is what I wanted to say is there will be no weapon that comes against you. But that’s not what it says. It says, no weapon formed against you shall prosper. It says, guess what, weapons are going to come against you. Things like the corona virus, things like anxiety, things like fear, things like crisis and chaos, Satan and the kingdom of darkness and going to create weapons and send them against you.
But what this verse promises us is that they won’t prosper. They won’t succeed and have victory over your life. And when those voices of fear and anxiety and insecurity and worry and doubt start coming to you, you have the authority to condemn them and tear them down. Why? Because you have been made righteous by the finished work of Jesus.
You see, when we think about righteousness or we think about the finished work of Jesus, what we often think is really simple. We just think that as Jesus died, so he could forgive my sins so I could make it to heaven someday. And while that’s true, it’s so much more than that. The finished work of Jesus, yes, it freed you from your sin, but it also freed you from shame. It also healed you of your sicknesses and it also set you free from stress.
You see, when Jesus died on the cross, the corona virus was placed upon him. By his stripes, we have been healed. He forgives all of our sins and heals all of our diseases in Jesus’ name. And he not only frees us from our sin and our sickness, he gets rid of our shame and the stress. Jesus is our peace. He’s our protection. And he’s our provision.
You see, there’s a great story, I don’t know if you remember it, in the Old Testament about God setting the Israelites free.
After 400 years of slavery, God shows up to free the Israelites and he brings the 10 plagues upon Egypt. And while all of that is happening, the last plague is called the Passover. And the first born of every Egyptian family was about to die. And God told the Israelites, he said, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to kill a lamb and then I want you to take the blood, and I want you to put it on the doorposts of your house. And then I want you and your family to go inside and trust and rest in me.
And so each Israelite family took a lamb and killed it, took the blood, put it over the doorposts, representing the cross of Jesus, Jesus the lamb who would be slain to take away the sins of the world. And as they went inside in their house while there was darkness and death and destruction all over Egypt within each family who is resting under the finished work of Jesus. There was faith. There was hope. There was love. There was joy.
There was life. There was peace. And I speak that over you and your family in this season. That you would rest under the finished work of Jesus regardless of the death and the destruction and the darkness that’s out there. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary burdened, and I will give you rest.” If you have anxiety and stress and fear in this season, come to him and rest in the finished work of Jesus.
The third thing real quick is simply this, that we would have an awakening. I’ve been praying that you and me and that all of us, we would have an awakening in Jesus’ name. Because if we’re honest, in the midst of the normal daily routines of our lives, we are so busy, we are so distracted, we are so overwhelmed, we get so lost. And all the things that we have to do, that it’s hard to turn our eyes to Jesus. So I’ve just been praying that we would have a spiritual awakening in Jesus’ name.
In fact, look at this verse, it says, “Awake you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
This is an opportunity for all of us to awake in Jesus’ name. And you say, awake to what? Awake to who Jesus is. Awake to who you are. Awake to what you were created to do. Awake to your mission and your purpose and your destiny. And the kingdom of God and the Holy Spirit, and goodness, and grace, and life, and all of the things that God offers you in Jesus’ name. I’ve been praying that we would just simply have an awakening. Because if we’re honest, most of us live a drastically inferior life to the life that God created for us.
We talked about that first story, Jesus was asleep in the boat, but if we’re honest, we’re usually the ones who are asleep in our own life. We’re lost in the tangleness of our past or we’re worried about our future or we’re just so busy and overwhelmed in our present that we’re not living.
If we’re honest, it’s activity that keeps us from an awakening. And so in this moment when we have some social distancing, I’m praying for some spiritual awakening. That as we are creating some space and things are kind of shutting down a little bit in the world around us, and some of the activities and the things that we go and do every single day, that that social distancing would lead to a spiritual awakening in Jesus’ name. That as the world shuts down, we would spiritually start up and open our eyes and our hearts and our minds to the life that God has for us. May we awaken in Jesus’ name.
The fourth thing, real quick. And I know this is a lot. I just hope you write this down for you and know that someone is praying this for you. It’s just simply that our relationships would grow stronger. Hey, I’m just praying that in this season, we would just love one another. That as a we hang out in our homes, we can’t go to all the places and the activities.
And as all that stuff shuts down, listen to me, don’t use this time for Netflix binging and news and stress and anxiety, look at each other. Go for a walk, play a game, invest in your marriage and your children and one another, and the relationships we have in this church, FaceTime each other, text people you haven’t talked to, write a note to someone you love. Maybe this is an invitation from God for everything to slow down so you can remember what matters. The people in front of you. The people you love. And the people who love you. Maybe this is an invitation from God to spend some time focusing on one another in this season. And if we go through this season and our relationships are stronger, both in our families and in our homes in our church, on the other side of it, we can say that God did good in the midst of the world trying to bring harm.
So I’m praying for you that your relationships would be strengthened. Would you lean into that space and leverage this time in Jesus’ name.
And then the last thing is really simple, it’s just that we would be hope carriers. I’m praying that you and me and everywhere we go we would be hope carriers in Jesus’ name because the world needs hope more than ever before. I mean look at this verse, I love it, Romans 15, “Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super abundance until you radiate with hope.” Come on, that is a great verse to grab a hold of in this season.
It says, may the God of hope fill you with hope until you radiate with hope. That you literally would become radioactive in this season, charged up with energy and life and hope in the goodness of God, like a treasure chest that opens up to share it with the world around them.
And we are perfectly positioned Valley Creek for this. We’ve been talking about this for a long time that we’re hope carriers, a movement of hope and God has sent us into these spaces to bring hope. I mean just look at this graphic that we’ve talked about for a long time. The kingdom of God is a movement of hope. And it flows through the church, not a building, a people. And as we go into the areas of life, we bring hope. Come on. Are you telling me right now these areas need hope more than ever before?
Families need hope. And education and all the chaos right now needs hope. And healthcare workers and what they’re dealing with needs hope. And businesses and what they’re going through needs hope. The government needs hope. Media and sports. Technology. You know how many things are running through the internet right now, even that area needs hope. And even the church needs hope in Jesus’ name. So we’re the hope carriers. Come on, hope is more contagious than the corona virus.
And this is about you and me declaring and demonstrating the hope of Jesus in these areas. This is not a time for self-preservation. This is a time for servanthood. You’ve heard me say this for the last year as I tell you — keep telling you, hope leads. Hope influences. Whoever had hope in these areas of life, it doesn’t matter what their title is. They become the influencer. They become the leader of that space. So if we’ll just go where we go everyday with hope, we have the opportunity to impact the world maybe now more than we ever have in our generation.
Come on, bring some hope into your family. Bring some hope into education and encourage and thank the educators as they’re trying. Bring some hope to healthcare and celebrate and thank the amazing healthcare workers who are trying to help us be healthy. Come on, bring some hope in the businesses and encourage them as they’re trying to do all the things that they do so that we can have life. Bring some hope into the government.
The government needs hope. And we can celebrate and thank them for working hard to try to serve us. Media needs hope. And we can be grateful for the beauty and the encouragement that they bring, the news that they share with us. Sports needs hope. And we’re grateful for the way that sports has taught us how to be a team in hard times. Technology needs hope with all that’s happening. And even church needs hope, so we can encourage each other. This is our moment to think different, talk different, act different, live different and most importantly believe different in Jesus’ name because we have been set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God.
You see, we’re not the only ones who have gone through a hard time. If you look back throughout church history and you read the scriptures, you’re going to see story after story after story. Noah was stuck on the ark for months as the world was flooded. Joseph was imprisoned for years even though he didn’t do anything wrong.
The Israelites were enslaved for 400 years. David spent 10 years running from Saul. Jesus was in the grave for three days. The 1st Century church was persecuted. And yet when we look at all those stories, we see that God was on the move. That God was with them. And hope was on the move even though they didn’t necessarily see it at the time. And it’s his faithfulness yesterday that gives us the faith we need for today.
And so I just want to invite you, will you go ahead and will you just join me in praying this this week? I know you’re probably looking for handles for some things to do, for some hope in Jesus’ name. What if you just prayed this over your family? Over our church? Over your business or your school or the hospital that you serve in that just God would use this for good, that we would rest in the finished work of Jesus, that we would have an awakening to Jesus and our need for him.
That our relationships would grow stronger and that we would be hope carriers in Jesus’ name. You see, if you go all the way back to the story that I told you, Jesus and the disciples get in the boat. And as they’re going across this unexpected storm shows up. Jesus is sleeping. The disciples panicked, they wake up Jesus, don’t you care? He says, why do you have such little faith? Why are you afraid. And then he calms the storm. And then they get to the other side.
And in that moment, the disciples realized that God was with them and hope is on the move. In that moment, they took their eyes off of the storm and realized Jesus was still in the boat. And they were going to get to the other side.
In this season, as this unexpected storm has shown up in your life and in mine, Jesus is still in the boat. You’re going to get to the other side. This is our invitation to take our eyes off of ourselves and the storm and look to him because God is with you. And hope is on the move.
In a moment, I just want to pray for you real quick. But before I do that, when we close here in a moment, we’re going to have just a couple of questions for you at the end that I hope you can use as an experience or an opportunity for encouragement to relationally engage with whoever you’re hanging out with. Let’s use this time to move forward in Jesus’ name.
If you haven’t connected with us, I want to invite you to text VCC to 313131. Follow us on Instagram, social media, Facebook, YouTube.
We want to stay connected with you. And here’s what I want to encourage you. Take a picture of you and your family having church today and post it online and tag Valley Creek. And then invite someone in your life that needs hope, who in your life needs to hear this message. Let’s invite them in and leverage this as an opportunity, the saving of many lives. We’ve got an amazing kids worship experience on YouTube if you go to our kids YouTube channel. It talks about the corona virus and Buttons, our puppet, that the kids love. And so it’s a great 30-minute experience. You can press play for all of your kids. I hope you’ll do that.
We got some over amazing things on YouTube that can encourage your heart throughout the week, more worship music, all those different kinds of things. And for those of you what want to give, you can give right here online. Maybe you used to give in person at the building, this is a great time to move your giving over to online. Remember, giving is a response to God’s grace in our lives. And tithing is tangible trust. It’s saying, God I put you first in my life regardless of what’s happening in the world around us.
Let’s keep God first in our life no matter what is happening. Come on, Valley Creek. God is with you. And hope is on the move. Let me pray for you. Jesus, thank you so much for every family, for every person. Thank you God that as a storm has showed in the world around us, that we don’t have to be afraid. That we can have faith because you’re still in the boat. And we are going to get to the other side in Jesus’ name. So Lord, would you what only you can do in our hearts and in our lives. And may we bring you back into the center, turn the attention and the focus of our hearts off of this world back to you.
And if you’re here right now and you’ve never put your faith or your trust in Jesus, this is your moment to say, I don’t want my faith to be in the stock market.
I don’t want my faith to be in circumstances. I don’t want my faith to be in situations. I want my faith to be in a solid rock that will never change. This is your moment to reach out and say, Jesus, I need you and your goodness and your grace. I want to come under the finished work of the cross, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, that I might have peace, protection and provision in Jesus’ name. And if that’s you, we want to help you on that journey. Would you just reach out to us through one of our social media channels and let us help you take that next step because God is good, Jesus has forgiven you, you are loved and everything is possible. I love you Valley Creek. Jesus is in the boat. We’re going to get to the other side. Hope is on the move.