A life of righteousness, peace, and joy is always at hand – we just have to reach out and take it by faith. The busyness of life doesn’t cause our worry or anxiety, it reveals what is already in our hearts so Jesus can heal those areas.
Alright, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. We are so glad that you are here, whatever campus you’re at, Denton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, the venue or watching online, somewhere in the world, come on, let’s give it up for each other.
Oh, come on, you can do better than that. Come on, give it up like you’re actually glad. Come on, we are glad that you are here. We are glad that Jesus is here. We are a movement of hope for the city and beyond, and we believe hope is here because Jesus is here. And so whatever is going on in your life today, we believe that God has a fresh encounter and touch for you. And I hope — excuse me, you and your family had been having a great summer. Thank you for allowing me and my family to take the few weeks off to just kind of rest and catch our breath. And every summer, we slow down a little in our family and just kind of catch our breath and reflect on what God has been doing, see God for what’s to come. And one of the things we say around here a lot is we want to do this a long time together.
And so part of doing it a long time together is doing it in a sustainable way. So sometimes, we just got to stop and take a breath. And while we were resting our family, what an amazing Valley Creek summer that we’ve had here, like I think our teaching team did an incredible job with one another series pointing us to Jesus. Kids’ summer has been amazing as our kids have had fun and discovered more about Jesus. We had maybe the best hub camp that we have ever had. We had a young adults retreat that was incredible. We had fun elements for you to hang out every week and you guys served the city by bringing more than 3,000 pairs of shoes for the school district that asked us for help. And so well done for all kinds of amazing things, probably all kinds of stuff that I forgot, but we are a family on mission, which means we are beloved sons and daughters living with our father, trying to help bring his lost children home.
And so for every person that served, or gave, or participated, or engaged or invited somebody to come, I just want to say thank you. Thanks for being Valley Creek Church. Thanks no matter whether it’s winter, or summer, or spring or fall, we believe that God is here and God is moving and we want to be a part of His redemptive purposes on this earth. That we are not a church that is interested in entertainment or just gathering for some information, we are a people, a mission with God to shape the landscape of the city. And when you forget what Jesus has done for you, you don’t really care what he wants to do for anybody else. But when you remember how he has changed your life, you can’t wait to share that with the world around you and that’s who we are as a church. So I got to re-teach you how to clap and get excited about all the things that God is doing because when we gather, we gather around the living God of the universe.
You see, it’s been a great summer and most of us if we’re honest, we love summer. Do you like yourself some summer? Come on, we like summer. And what is it that we like about summer? We like the summer as a time of resting, about reflections, relationships, it’s a time of like fun and parties and engagement and peace and everything is like vibrant. And I was thinking about it. I was thinking all the things we love about summer are simple are reflection of the kingdom of God.
If you’ve ever said like what is the kingdom of God? What does it really look like? You know what it looks like? It looks like a never-ending summer. That’s the kingdom of God. I mean look at this, this first verse. It says, “For the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in.” Come on, doesn’t that sound like the summer?
It’s in the summer when things feel right and there’s peace and there’s joy in my life.
It’s in the summer where things are vibrant and fresh and flourishing, all the things you love about the summer. Long walks, cool breezes, going for swimming, barbecues, hanging out with your friends or your family, do you understand? That is the picture of the kingdom of God.
All the things your heart loves about this summer is really what the kingdom of God is all about because of what Jesus has done. So we love summer because our heart craves the kingdom of God. And then fall shows up, and it hits like a train. And all of a sudden that treadmill that you’re on, somebody came and they turned it up until full speed and they click that incline to all the way, maxed it out and all of a sudden fall shows up and you can’t even catch your breath. You know what I’m talking about? Come on, busyness, activities, events, gatherings, things you got to do, work, back to school, sports, all kinds of, all the sign, you’re like I can’t even keep up.
And it’s amazing how fast life starts to go and what I’ve discovered is that if the devil can’t stop you, he’ll get behind you and start pushing. He’ll make you go so fast that you can’t even catch your breath and eventually, you fall off that thing and just kind of crash and fall apart. And so I have a major confession for some of you. If you’ve been with us for years, we talk about this stuff a lot and for years, I like don’t understand. I’m like why is everybody in our town get all stressed out by back to school and all crazy and it’s so busy and they can’t keep themselves. Okay. I now officially have a middle schooler and so I have to repent because the amount of activities and forms and events and gatherings and orientations is overwhelming in Jesus’ name. So I officially confess and repent to some of you, okay? But here is what I want to do today is I want to start a new series called Unhurried for two weeks. How to have a summer life in the midst of a fall calendar?
How do we have a summer life, a kingdom of God life in the midst of a busy and chaotic world? How do we have a life of peace in the midst of the stress of this world? How do we have a kingdom life in a world that is constantly overwhelming?
You see, most of us we sit there and we think, “Yeah, but that’s not possible.” Why is it not possible is the question I would ask you? I mean, we’re the people of the kingdom of God. We’re not supposed to live like everyone else in this world. We’re called to live — we have a different citizenship and if the kingdom looks like summer, then why is the summer life not possible in the midst of all the activities that you got coming up over the next few months? I mean, Matthew 4:17 says, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” At hand, do you know what that means? That means that a summer life is always within reach.
That a life of righteousness, peace and joy is always within your grasp. You just have to buy faith, reach out and take a hold of it in Jesus’ name. You see, what I discovered about myself this summer is just having a kind of reflecting and thinking through some things is I like the summer me a whole lot more than the fall me. Anybody else feel the same way? Come on, are you all with me today? Come on, I like the summer me a whole lot better. I think I’m kinder, I’m more patient, I’m more fun to be around, I’m more present, I think my kids like the summer me, my wife likes the summer me, I think my friends like the summer me, I think even you would like the summer me better than the fall me. And it’s amazing how when all of a sudden all these activities and events and busyness and chaos in our life shows up and all the anxiety and the stress and the depression and the worry comes with it because you all know all that stuff shows up with it.
What’s interesting is we start to think all that stuff causes it, the truth is that stuff just reveals all the junk that’s already in here. It’s not the events and the activities that make you angry and anxious. It’s not school and practice and work that makes you depressed and overwhelmed. It’s not the places you have to go and the things that you have to do that make you worry and afraid. No. It’s the brokenness inside of us that God uses those seasons to expose so he can heal in Jesus’ name. Come on, look at some of these verses. Look at Ecclesiastes, like do you ever feel like this in the fall? “So I hated life.” That’s in the bible, man. “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Do you ever feel like that? Like you’re just chasing the wind, running from here to there, like you have no control over your life, it’s take care of you.
Or how about the next one that says, “You are slaves to the one you obey.” Do you ever feel like you are slave to your calendar? You have to obey it. Your life is now living. You, you’re no longer living your life. Come on, man. That is dysfunctional. How about the next one? “For God so love the world that he gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It’s amazing how we trust in God for eternal life some day, but we feel like we’re perishing today. Any gospel that offers eternal life some day and perishing today is not the gospel because Jesus came to give us eternal life some day and abundant life today. Come on, we got to learn to be unhurried a little bit. If you think about Jesus, he was never in a hurry. If you read the gospels, maybe the most shocking thing if you pull it all the way back is that Jesus had three years to change the world and he was never in a hurry.
I’m just saying, if I got three years to change the world, you do not want to be around me ever. I am going to be so busy and so overwhelmed and so chaotic and yet, Jesus was never busy, he never hurried and he did more than any of us will ever do in our entire lives. So if he was never in a rush, then why are we? If he’s the picture of what life is now supposed to look like, if he came to show us what humanity with God was all about, then why are we okay allowing our lives to be so drastically different than the life Jesus modeled for us? This is why in Matthew 11 he says, “Are you tired and worn out? Are you burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”
How to live a summer life in a fall calendar. “Walk with me and I’ll — and work with me, watch how I do it and learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” That is a great invitation from Jesus.
He says if you’ll just come to me, I’ll teach you how to live a summer life in the midst of a busy world and I will show you how to live the unforced rhythms of grace in a world that wants to force the routine of stress upon us. And so what I want to do for these two weeks is just set us up so we can have a successful fall in our lives and as a church, not getting lost in the tyranny of the busyness and the activities and all the things that drown us because you might be cruising in here today and be like it’s still summer, I feel like summer. And then in about two weeks, you’re going to be like I can’t handle my life.
That’s the number one thing that everyone talks about in our town. Wouldn’t you agree with that? How busy and overwhelming, it’s ridiculous. So in Jesus’ name, let’s do something different. How about that? So this is like preemptive. If you’re like I don’t feel like that today, awesome. You probably will in two weeks, let me help you out so you know exactly what to do before you get there. And in our year of pioneering, I want you to think two things in this. For some of us, this is the most ground we need to take this year. If this is about taking new ground and going to the unknown and embracing the unknown for some of us, we have to break the cycle of living a hurried life. This is what God is inviting you to pioneer. And then for others of us, when we hear the word pioneer, anxiety strikes in our lives because we think my life is already too busy, I can’t go any faster. And we assume that pioneering needs to speed up, but why do we assume that? Galatians 5 says, “If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.”
Not run, not sprint, not even jog, walk. Pioneering is about walking with God into unknown places that we’ve never been before to discover new things with Him. So pioneering doesn’t mean a hurried life. Pioneering means walking with God to a place I’ve never been before in Jesus’ name. And I would bet that most of us have not been to a place of living an unhurried life all the way through a fall. Do you agree with that? Come on. Would you agree with that?
Alright. So five thoughts, we got to go through fast. I’ve been a couple weeks off so I’m blazing, so you got to catch up with me. Don’t make me hurry in the message called unhurried. Five things and I’m telling myself this stuff before the fall starts, five ways to have an unhurried life, a never-ending summer in the midst of a busy world. First thing is this, seek God first.
So basic and yet, so hard to do. As soon as life starts picking up and the speed starts going, what happens? All of a sudden God is our number one priority, he drops a little bit lower and a little bit lower and all of a sudden, He’s at the bottom of the list. And no longer is He our first priority, He’s like one of a whole bunch of things somewhere way down here and we even forget about him and then one day, we’re like, “Oh yeah, I forgot. I got to seek God.” And we miss the whole thing. I mean, have you ever heard of the story of Mary and Martha? These two sisters and one day, Jesus goes to their house for a meal and Mary sits at Jesus’ feet while He’s teaching and she’s just soaking up everything that he offers. She’s receiving all the grace of his life, listening to everything that He has to say, just sitting, enjoying His presence. She’s seeking Jesus first and all the while that’s happening, her sister Martha is preparing the meal, trying to get everything ready. And as this is going on, she’s getting more anxious and more frustrated and more hurried by all the things that have to be done on her calendar.
And in Luke Chapter 10, it says, “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. So she came to Jesus and asked Him, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.'” She’s so stressed out by all the activity on her life that she unloads on Jesus. When you get stressed out by the busyness in your life, you unload on someone. The questions is who are you unloading on and what kind of damage does it do? Are you unloading on your kids, your spouse, your friends, your coworkers? Because when we get that anxious and overwhelmed and stressed out about all the things we got to do, we unload on somebody. Jesus isn’t a great person to unload on, but neither are the people in your life. And so he says, “‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.'”
I love it. Jesus says, “Martha, you’re all stressed out.” You’re all worried and upset. You’re anxious and afraid. There’re all kinds of things happening in your heart, but you know what, Martha? You only need one thing. He says let me make this real clear to you. I am the one thing. I am not one of many things. I am your one thing. And when you make me your one thing, I will take care of your many things. But when you make me one of many things, all of your things will be struggling and they will overwhelm you and you will be full of frustration and anxiety and anger and resentment and all that stuff will start building up. He says you got to make me your one thing. Before the sports and the activities and the school and the events and the work and the travel and the business and the house and all of those, I got to be your one thing. And I love what he says. Mary has chosen what is better. Mary has made me her one thing and it will not be taken away from her.
You know what that means? When Jesus is your one thing, nothing else can take it away from you. When Jesus is your one thing, school, and work, and sports, and all of the events can’t take away your summer living in Jesus’ name because He’s your one thing. And what I love about what this passage is teaching us is that if we’ll just sit at Jesus’ feet, we start to receive His grace. And His grace comes into our life and His grace supplies all that we need and His grace empowers us to go live the life that God has for us. This is why His grace is sufficient for us. This is why His power is made perfect in our weakness, like if you would just sit at the feet of Jesus, you will seek Him first. He gives us all the grace for all the things that you got to do. See, a lot of times when we preach this passage, we act like Martha should’ve just sat at Jesus; feet and then he would’ve just magically done this and the meal would’ve appeared. I don’t think so.
I think he wanted Martha to sit at his feet first and then she would’ve had the grace to get up and serve everybody the meal. Because if you’ll make Jesus first, He will give you the grace to raise your kids, to go to school, to be a part of that team, to travel for work, to go live your life and do all the things that start to overwhelm us. When Jesus becomes our one thing, He gives us the grace for the many things in our lives. But when he’s not our one thing, we don’t have grace for anything and everything becomes frustrating and overwhelming. Are you with me on that?
This is why Luke 6 says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” This is why — or Matthew 6, “Seek first His righteous — His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you. Make God first and He will take care of everything else.” And our calling in life is to make sure we keep Him the one thing among the many things that compete for our attention. So what would it look like for you to seek God first?
Second thing is this, worship when you start to worry. Come on, let’s be honest. The faster life gets the more we start to worry. Do you agree with that? I mean, ain’t it amazing how easy — how worry is natural and worship is intentional? Worry is just natural, it just like happens. All of a sudden life gets busy, it gets overwhelming and the attention and the affection and the focus of our hearts goes to all of the what ifs. What about this? What about that and how are we going to do this and how is this going to happen and oh my goodness, six months from now, we got to do this and I’m already stressed out about it today? That’s just natural. Worship takes intentionality. It takes intentionality to take our attention and our focus and our affection and turn it to Jesus. And here is what I need you to understand is worship or worry speeds up your life. If you already feel like it’s going too fast, do you know what worry does?
It makes it even faster. Why? Because you’re taking all of the worries and cares of tomorrow and you’re bringing them into today and now, you got to go even faster to get through it all. It steals your present and it makes you afraid of your future, but worship slows your life down because now, I can have peace in the moment. This is why Jesus says, “Therefore I tell, you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body and what you will wear. Is life not more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” He says, “Has worry ever helped you out in any way?” Has worry ever changed anything of the future? The answer is no. “So therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus tells us twice, do not worry. Very rarely does Jesus ever say the same thing twice if you ever read through it. So He’s saying like, “Hey, I need you to get this.” And he goes on to say, “Look at the flowers, look at the grass, look at the birds, look at your Father takes care of all of them. Don’t you think He’s going to take care of you too?” You see, the human heart was not created to worry. That’s why it wreaks so much damage in our lives. What Jesus is really saying in this moment is He’s saying, “Hey, I didn’t create you with the capacity to live in regret of the past or worry of the future.” He said, “I created you with a capacity to live in freedom from your past with hope for a future fully present in the now.” “And this is what I offer you,” He says. See, you can worry or you can worship, but you can’t do both.
You can worry or you can worship, but you can’t do both. You say what? Because they’re the same thing. Worry and worship is the same thing, like if you know how to worry, you already are a gifted worshiper in Jesus’ name. You know how to do it. Why? Because what is worry? It’s sitting there and taking your attention, your affection and your focus in sitting there on the what if, what about, how will we, I don’t know, how are we going to. All this stuff and you start thinking about it and spinning on it and meditating on it and focusing, it gets all your attention. So the worship is instead of thinking about what if, worship is taking about He is and focusing on the goodness of God. See, all worry is, is worry is the worship of the unknown. It’s what it is. Worry is worshiping the unknown of the future. I don’t know what it is and when I worry, what I’m doing is I’m lifting worry up over my life and when I lift up the unknown of the future, you know what rains down?
Fear, depression, anxiety, stress, being overwhelmed, darkness, brokenness, hopelessness, despair. If I lift up worry, which is rooted in the kingdom of darkness, all of the qualities of darkness rain into my life. But when I worship and lift up the name of Jesus, all of the qualities of the kingdom of God like righteousness, peace and joy, faith, hope and love, they begin raining down on my life.
You see, I think for a lot of us, we get into this place and we’re so full of worry that we can’t worship. We got all the worries and cares of tomorrow, we were holding on to them and that’s what we’re focused on. What are we going to do with our kids, and are we going to have enough money? Are we going to be able to get this done, and how are we going to make this calendar, and how are we going to work this out as a family, and what about this, and what about that, and what if I lose the job, and what if I don’t make the team, we got all of these worries. All these things, the worries and cares of tomorrow, we pull them in and we’re holding on to them because we think we control them by thinking about them all the time.
By focusing on them, by giving them our affection and our attention. Well, while you’re holding all this worry, you can’t really worship. And God is saying, “Hey, I want you to worship me.” You’re like, “But my hands are full. I can’t.” He says, “I know, you can’t do both at the same time.” So He says, “So I invite you lay down the worries and cares at my feet and raise up your hands and surrender to me.”
Lay down. Come on, lay down the worries and cares of your life and the brokenness and the future and all those, lay it down because you can’t do both. Lay it down and lift up the name of Jesus over your life. Come on, everybody, just whatever campus you’re at. Just raise up your hands for a second, like just okay, there, like that’s it, like just stop. Okay. Hold them up for a second, just stop. Guess what?
When you’re lifting your hands up and surrender and lifting up in the name of Jesus over your life, darkness and stress and hurry and fear and anxiety and brokenness, it has no authority. It’s now under the feet of Jesus. It has to bow in Jesus’ name. That calendar you’re stressed out with, that activity of the future, the thing for school, that business, all that stuff that — guess what? When you do this in Jesus’ name, it has to bow to Him because you are lifting Him up and the bible tells us that every me will bow to the name of Jesus including that anxiety and that hurry and that stress. This is why we worship. See, your life is too busy not to worship. You think your life is too busy that you’re worried all the time and I don’t have time to worship. Your life is too busy not to worship.
Worry is rooted in unbelief. When I’m worried it’s a sign that I’m living a life of unbelief. I don’t believe that God is good, that Jesus has forgiven, that I am loved and everything is possible, so I’m trying to make it happen. Worship is rooted in faith. It says even though I can’t see it right now, I am choosing to lift up the name of Jesus over my calendar and my life and my activities and my future and my world and I believe he is going to do something in the midst of that in Jesus’ name. You’re too busy not to worship. This is why matters. So now, when you come to church and you think why are these people raising their hands, because they’re setting down their worries of life and they’re lifting up the name of Jesus and saying if it’s just for these few moments, I’m not letting that thing control me.
And I’m going to walk out of here a different person with a little bit more freedom. Are you with me on that? Okay. Stay in that space because it transitions right into the third one. Man, it’s hot in here today, whoa. Okay. And it’s this, honor the Sabbath. Honor the Sabbath. Now, this is really interesting and just see if you can track with me on this. This is one of the Ten Commandments and it’s probably the one we’re like not sure what to do with like the least. We get don’t lie and don’t kill somebody, don’t have an affair and don’t steal and all that, like we get all those. We’re like, “Yeah,” we’re like, “Don’t do that stuff, that’s bad.” But then, the bible tells us, one of the Ten Commandments, go to the next verse is remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. This is one of the Ten Commandments. And we’re like do you want to do that? I don’t want to do that. So we just push it over here, we’re not really sure what to do. You say what is the Sabbath? The Sabbath is every six day, on the seventh day God invites His people to rest. It’s all this.
On the seventh day, He just wants you to rest. Once a week, He wants you to rest. And if we’ve grown up with any level of what the Sabbath is, you probably have two camps. One is its all rules and regulations. If you grew up with this, you probably grew up in a legalistic environment that was all about what you can do and what you can’t do, which makes the Sabbath miserable. It’s like the worst day of the week. We swung so far over, here is the people that we just started to act like the Sabbath means do whatever you want. Go to football and go hunting, go shopping, go to the pool, hang out and while all that stuff is good, what we’ve missed is that the Sabbath is about resting in God’s presence. That the Sabbath isn’t just rest, it’s resting in God’s presence. God is all about you playing football and having fun and hanging out and going hunting, but he wants to make sure you rest in his presence because if Jesus is the prince of peace, there is no rest apart from Him.
Sabbath is not just a day off with no engagement with God. It’s a resting in His presence. And I would submit to you that in our culture today, the Sabbath in a lot of ways is this. What we’re doing right now. Coming in is the people of God to rest in His presence for a few moments and allowing him to be what only he can be. The Sabbath is about coming in and encountering the presence of God, meeting with the people of God, hearing the word of God and experiencing the spirit of God, like this right now, what you’re doing, this is part of the unhurried life in Jesus’ name. The Sabbath is not a religious obligation. It’s God’s gift to free us from the bondage of a hurried life. This is what we’ve missed and we get all like confused about it. Its God saying, “Hey, I’ve got a solution for the hurried world that you live in,” and it’s this.
Every six days I want you to stop and I want you to rest in my presence. Because if you’ll rest in my presence every six days, you will never be able to get up to speed to be going so fast that you’re stuck in the bondage of a hurried life. And the problem for a lot of is, is this is where it requires faith, because we actually have to believe that God can do more in six days than I can do in seven. That’s faith. Do you believe that God can do more in six days than you can do in seven? Do you believe that God is worthy of an hour of your week as a primary focus to rest in His presence in Jesus name? The problem is for a lot of us is life starts getting faster, go to the next verse please, is it says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” It’s like the faster life gets, the more optional this all becomes. The faster it gets, the busier you are, the more you got to do, all of a sudden, this becomes optional and we start missing, and a week turns into two, and two turns into four, and four turns into eight.
And then all of a sudden, we start saying things like, “I’m just so exhausted. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so like just spent and poured out.” There’s a reason, because we’re not coming back to rest in His presence the way He invites us to. See, what you have to understand is God’s presence resets your perspective and expands your capacity. That’s what it does. When you honor God and get in His presence like this, it resets your perspective. It takes your perspective off the chaos, the worries and terrors, the brokenness, the confusion of your life, and it puts it back on Him, and it expands your capacity. His grace expands your ability to go back out into the next week and walk in victory, in courage, in boldness. His grace gives you all that you need to go live the week that He’s got in store for you. And if you look all through the bible, you’ll find that when these guys get in His presence, it changes everything.
Moses gets in the presence of God, he goes from being a shepherd to leading two million people to freedom. David goes from being a shepherd boy to killing Goliath. Joshua goes from being an assistant to leading a nation to take the Promised Land. How about Jesus? There is one time in the bible that we’re told that Jesus is overwhelmed, when He’s about to go to the cross. Do you know what He does? He gets Peter, James, and John, and He says, “Hey guys, will come you have church with me? Come and pray with me?” And He pulls them aside and they have a moment together, and they encounter the presence of God. And when that whole thing is done, Jesus stands up and He says, “Father, not my will but yours, be done.” And He gets up and He walks out, and He fulfills His destiny. That shows us that there’s power in the presence of God, that when we gather together, it resets our perspectives and expands our capacity. This is not an obligation.
It’s an invitation. Like hear me. For somebody, this would be the most freeing thing you’ve ever heard in church, you don’t have to be here. You’re like, “Oh no.” Okay. Seriously, you don’t have to be here. This is not an obligation. This is an invitation. And if you don’t want to come, God is not mad at you. He’s not going to get you. He’s not going to punish you. He’s not going to make your life harder, but you’re going to miss out on the fullness of the rest that He offers you. Because if Jesus is Prince of Peace, there’s no rest apart from Him. The people I know that are living the biggest lives, that are fulfilling their destiny, that are doing all the things that God has in store for them, they make this their first priority. They say, “My life is too full to not be here and honor what God has asked me to do, and even though I don’t always get it, I got to believe by faith that he’s doing something in the midst of it.”
I believe God can do more in six days than I can do in seven, and I’m not saying you come here for an hour and you don’t have to do anything the rest of the day, no. You can live your life. What God is saying is, “Come in and rest in my presence.” And so my question for you is just simply this, like is this sacred to you? Do you honor this? Do you see this as a moment where you get to meet with the God of the universe who says, “I’m here to give you hope. I’m here to give you love. I’m here to speak to your heart and free your mind, and heal your body, and give you strength for the future, and give you grace for the assignment that I have for you.” You come into this place and understand the gravity of what is actually happening. Like when you come here, is this your first and your best or is it your leftovers? And I know you’re like, “I know, but listen, this is why we live a hurried life.”
The Sabbath is part of God’s design to break us free and we’ve gotten to this American Christianity that we think the gathering is optional. We think the gathering of God’s people is when I have time and when it’s convenient, and when it’s comfortable. Listen, just I would submit this to you. If you treated the gathering of the people of God the same way or if you treated your work, your school or your team the same way you treated the people of the gathering of the people of God, how would that go? Probably not well, and if you’re sitting here and you’re like, “Whoa bro, lay off the conviction.” I’m not trying to convict you. I’m trying to free you. I don’t want to be here every week.
But I want to follow Jesus. And at some point, I got to believe that He can do more than six days than I can do in seven, and if He asks me to do something, it’s got to be for my good.
So maybe it’s because we come in with a perspective where it’s our leftovers, and we’re waiting for something to wow us instead of coming in and saying, “Lord, my life is so busy, I need you. Reset my perspective. Expand my capacity.” Gathering as the church is how we live in unhurried life in a hurried world. The Sabbath matters. The gathering matters. Okay. The next one because I’m pretty much done here and I’m out of time, oh no, go to the next thing, fourth point. Fourth one, let me just say this really fast, just invite God into your calendar. If you look at how Jesus never lived a busy life, it’s because He only did what He heard the Father doing and saw the Father doing. In other words, everyone demanded something from Jesus but He only did what the Father asked Him to do. Here is my question. As you get ready for the fall, have you invited God into your calendar? Does He have administrative rights? Does He get to make the call on where you’re going and what you’re doing, and what you’re committing to?
See, I’m convinced a lot of the businesses and the hurry, and the chaos, and the whining that we — let’s just be honest. We’re pretty whinny. About October, like look at each other and we’ll be like, “Bro, you’re pretty whinny.” Like it’s true. You know it. I think it’s self-induced. I think we bring all of these things into our calendar, never run them by God, all of a sudden we get overwhelmed, and then we look at our calendar and we start to have what I call calendar dread, where you wake up and you look at what you got to do that day, and you’re trying to figure out every reason, every way how to not have to do that thing. You know what I’m talking about? Okay. In the paradigm, it says you’re like, “But you picked that thing and brought it into your calendar without ever asking God.” I think sometimes we just got to stop and acknowledge there is not time for everything. There is always enough time for the right things. And when you invite God into your calendar, you invite God to lead the way in your life. This is why Jeremiah 29 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Okay. Here’s my question, you probably got this on a knick knack somewhere in your house, but do you believe it? Come on. It’s on a pillow or a picture frame, or a journal, somewhere in your house, it’s on a knick knack, at bed. But do you believe it? Do you believe that He knows the plans that He has for you and those plans are to prosper you? And that those plans are going to give you a hope and a future? Do you believe it? If you do, then why don’t you want to give Him authority over your calendar? Because when I let Him make the plans, my future is always full of hope. When I make the plans, my future is rarely full of hope. And so sometimes I got to stop and say, “God, I invite you into my calendar, you make the call.”
You’re like, “But how do I do that?” Ask Him. “Lord, what do you think about this? What do you want me to do?” And He will speak. He has something great to say because He doesn’t want you to live a hurried life. Are you with me so far in this? Let me warp it all up on this last thing, and there’s a bunch that we’re missing. No, skip that. Go to Isaiah verse for me. Okay. This, let me pull the whole thing together on this. “This is what the sovereign Lord says, the holy one of Israel.” This is what God wants to say, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” God says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation,” and I will repent and rest in Jesus name. That’s where my salvation comes, and in quietness, and in trust. That’s where my strength is. But the very next verse says, “But you would have none of it. You said, ‘No,. we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee.
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.'” We can outrun it. “Therefore your pursuers will be swift.” So see if you can catch this. God says to the people, He says, “Hey, I’m giving you the solution for a restful life, with summer life that doesn’t have to end. It’s in repentance, in rest. It’s in quietness and strength, but you said, “Nah, I’m going to do it like everybody else,” because there’s too much stuff going on around here, and you know it’s a doggy dog world, and I got to make it happen and get to the next place. And so I’m going to run my life and I’m going to start doing this thing. And God says, “Okay.” And the treadmill starts getting really fast and the incline starts going up. And all of a sudden, we start getting overwhelmed, and we think we can outrun it. It’s like lunacy to me. Every year, we get back to the fall and we’re all convinced, “Well, I’m not going to let what happened last fall happen again.” And then October, we’re all whinny. Come on, you got to agree with me. It’s ridiculous. Like everybody would be on Facebook, “Look, my life is so busy.” You’re like, “Okay.” Because running, and guess what?
He says it’s going to chase you down. He says, “Go ahead. You’re going to run. It’s going to be so fast you won’t be able to outrun it.” And as you’re trying to run through that life, the worries, the terrors, the anxiety, the stress, the chaos, the confusion, the despair, the brokenness, the anger, the disillusionment with life, it is chasing you down and you hear the pounding of the horse’s feet coming after you faster and faster, and faster, and you think I can’t do it, and you can’t. You can’t, is His point. So what do you do? You stop and you turn around and you look at it, and say, “In Jesus name, stop it. In Jesus name, I’m seeking God first. In Jesus name, I’m choosing the worship and drop my worries. In Jesus name, I’m honoring the Sabbath, and I’m gathering with the people of God, around the presence of God, and in Jesus name, He gets to make the call on what we do from this point forward.”
And every one of those things that are chasing you down die, in Jesus name. That’s how we do it. Some of you are here today and this is where you are. Yeah, it’s all chasing you, but you can’t even breathe. Stop. And rest in repentance and quietness, in strength. It’s there. Some of you, you’re like, “I’m actually in a good place today.” Okay. When you get to October and it starts chasing it, this is equipping you. Stop and turn around and look at it all, and say, “In Jesus name, I’m stopping it all right now.” Seek God first. Drop your worries and start to worship. Choose to honor one of the 10 commandments that He says keeps you in posture of health, and let Him make the call on your calendar. It’s amazing what He can do.
You were created to live a summer life all year long, because righteousness, peace, and joy is always at hand in Jesus name. We just have to choose to repent and rest, and quite ourselves, and trust in the goodness of Jesus. Listen, come on, think about this. What comes after summer? Fall. And what do we harvest in the fall? Fruit. So if you will live a summer life, you will experience a fruitful life, and the world will come, the harvest, the fruit of the kingdom of God in your life. You want to be a hope carrier this fall? The greatest thing you could do is be a person that lives with righteousness, peace, and joy in the midst of the crazy of our town. Because people are going to look at you and they’re going to say, “I’m dying on this treadmill of life over here and you’re like hanging out on the lazy river, like what is the deal with that?” And you’re going to be like, “Hey, man, let me tell you about this guy named Jesus and what He did for me and what He can do for you.”
Hear me. I’m not saying this is easy. I’m preaching to myself today, but the kingdom of heaven is at hand. You can live a summer life in the midst of a foul world. It’s just making about Jesus before we may get about work and school, sports and activities, and events and gatherings, all the things we got to do, and all the places we got to go, it’s about Jesus. He’s our one thing. We have grace for many things, and we get to do them effortlessly, and they become fruitful in His name. So Jesus, thank you so much that you are the God who offers us a life of rest, restoration, that you have come so that don’t have to live a hurried life, so we don’t have to be busy and overwhelmed. And so right now Lord, we even come to you and we just choose to surrender.
In fact, can you even take a deep breath in like just maybe breathe in deep? And just say, “Lord, I want a summer life. I invite your kingdom where things are right and peaceful, and joyful into my world. And Lord, I’m already overwhelmed with all the decisions that have to be made and the things I have to do, and the places I have to go, but in your name, would you help me slow it all down? Would you help me seek you first? And when I start to worry, drop it all and choose to worship, would you help the number one thing that I calendar on my calendar this fall is the Sabbath and gathering together, and a posture of rest with the people of God around the Prince of Peace?
And would you just go ahead and show me what you want my calendar to look like? I invite you in.” There’s something special when the people of God choose to honor the presence of God and gather around that brings salvation and strength to our soul. May you leave this place today with strength and salvation, with the spirit of summer, the spirit of the kingdom of God guiding your way into the days to come. We love you Jesus, in your name we pray, amen.