In this message we remember to stay Jesus-focused, that we’re hope carriers, and that we’re a harbor of hope.
I do love you very much. So how was your week? That was — yeah. Nobody saw that one coming, did we? I had a friend that said, that was the worst snow that he’s ever seen. I agree. So wherever you’re at, whatever you face, even if you couldn’t make it in to a physical location, whatever’s going on in your life right now, Jesus is with you, he sees you, he’s for you. We’re for you, your church family is for you. So what we want to do today is just take a moment and we just want to remember again. Can you believe we’ve been in a series like this again. And we’re talking about breathing again, and believing again, and beginning again. And you’re thinking, wow, that’s so good. I’ll certainly get some momentum. We’re starting to get our feet underneath of us.
And then? And then that’s so like the way the world does it. And you’re starting to get just you see like I’m going to get two steps forward, no, three steps back, two — and then you just feel like this momentum shifting below you. And so in those moments, the critical piece of the puzzle, the invitation is to remember again. To remember that God is good even when the world is not. And God is good, but He’s not just good like out here somewhere. He’s good to you. And I think we often forget to remember. In fact, I would say that many times we think we’re moving forward and then something in the world happens like this. And we’re like, oh, and the whole thing starts to shift underneath of us, and we forget to remember the goodness of God, the faithfulness of God that’s led us all the way up into this point. And so today we’re going to choose to remember again. In fact, I want to do that by just taking a look at one story, the story in 2 Kings 6. This is a story about the Israelites and how they had faced a whole lot of hard times.
They’d had a lot of seasons in which everything that they seem to do came to a standstill. Here’s what’s going on. The people of Israel is being chased by an enemy from a different nation. And they’re getting chased into all kinds of corners. And they don’t exactly know when the next attack is going to happen. And there’s even a part in the passage that says the enemy king says, we’ll take them, we’ll follow them to such and such, and do such and such. Like it was so sporadic that they didn’t even know when they were going to be attacked. But they were led by the goodness of God in the form of the Prophet Elisha. And Elisha would warn them when the attack was going to happen. He prepared them ahead of time, so he was actually telling them to not go here and to go here, and to be protected. And so the enemy armies started to get frustrated and they tried to figure out, like, okay, how’s Israel always putting us together? How are the people of God always protected from our attack? So eventually, they figured out where Elisha is at and they decide to surround the city.
And I just want to read this over you because I believe this is a word from the Lord for all of us today because they always struggled to remember. They would forget to remember the goodness of God. God would always say to the Israelites things like, remember the Lord who is your God, that brought you out of Israel. Remember the Lord who brought you through those hard times, the God of your youth. Remember the Lord your God who’s strong, who’s compassionate, who’s kind to a thousand generations. So they ultimately struggled to remember. And so here’s what the conversation is between the servant of Elisha and Elisha. When they saw that they’re surrounded, the servant, the man of God, got up and went out early in the next morning. An army of horses and chariots surrounded the city. “Oh no, my Lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. You may have found yourself asking that exact question this week. Oh no, my Lord, what we do? There is water pouring through the ceiling, what do I do now? Oh Lord, what do I do with this situation?
What do I do with how scared I am right now? Those are real questions. Like the prayer, oh no, my Lord, what should I do? That’s a great prayer to pray because He wants to answer those questions, and he wants to show you what to do in seasons and situations just like right now. Elisha responds back, don’t be afraid the prophet answers. Those that are with us are more than those who are with them. Don’t be afraid. Those that are with you are more than those that are against you. Those that are with you right now, no matter what you’re facing are more, are bigger, are beyond whatever you are facing. That is the God that’s within you is bigger than the storms that surround you. The hope that’s in your heart can lead through hope in a hopeless situation at a level you can begin to comprehend. So I believe that’s a word for each one of us today. Those that are with us are more than those that are against us.
Can I tell you who’s for you? God. And if God is you, who or what could be against you? Can I tell you who’s for you? The kingdom of God. The angel armies and all the resources at the kingdom’s disposal are for you. Can I tell you who’s for you? The people of God. Actively praying for you and looking out for you, that got your back. They’re here to help and to take care and to provide aid. They are for you. For those who feel isolate and separated and disconnected? Those that are for you are more than those who are against you. God is for you. we are for you. And Elisha prayed, opened his eyes, Lord, that he may see — so that he may see. Then the Lord opened the servants eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Here’s just a few thoughts for you as we begin to remember again. And the first thought is this. Remember to stay Jesus-focused. In times like this, you got to stay Jesus-focused.
Open your eyes. See how Jesus is moving because whatever you stare at you steer towards. A whole bunch over the course of the last 12 months, we’ve been staring at everything else other than the very one that we should be looking at. We’ve been staring at the brokenness of the world. We’ve been staring at the things that cause anxiety and fear. We’ve been looking right down the gut of all the things that are surrounding us. And instead we must focus on the one that holds us. We must focus on the one who is in us. We must focus on the one who’s leading and guiding us. That’s why we are Jesus-focused. The Bible tells us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. I think this whole year we’ve been focused so much on what we can see with our physical eyes we fail to open our eyes and focus them on Jesus, the eyes of our hearts focused on the one in our heart.
Focused on the only one that can heal our heart. Focused on the only one that can lead us through whatever we’re facing. So remember, do not forget to remember to stay Jesus-focused. In fact, a great prayer maybe even this week would be the prayer that Elisha encouraged his servant with, open his eyes. God, will you open my eyes so that I can see what you’re doing, how you’re moving, where you’re at in these crazy situations? Will you open my eyes so I can see how you’re interweaving what your Spirit is doing in these conversations. And when I’m on the phone with that adjuster, and when I’m talking with my neighbor, and when I’m having a hard conversation with my family member, will you open my eyes to be focused on Jesus? To be focused more on the God that holds me than the storms that surround me. Lord, open our eyes. So we must remember to be Jesus-focused.
Secondly, we must remember that we are hope careers. We are hope careers. And I’ve seen so much of that play out this week. It’s amazing how much hope is being carried by the Valley Creek family. I could tell you so many stories. In fact, I’m going to tell you a few right now. So let me tell you a story about Brett and Michelle. Brett and Michelle are circle leaders. They have a sweet senior woman in their group named Erma. And they wanted to just bless her all the way on Valentine’s Day. Remember, Valentine’s was last week, that’s like when this all started. Valentine’s Day. They brought chocolates to her house, a Valentine’s blessing, and then shoveled her sidewalk and put salt down, and blessed her heart and went to her house. Why? Because that’s what we do when we’re in the circle of one another. That’s what we do when we’re the church. That’s how we truly take care of one another and provide for one another. I love that story. I could tell you a story about Chad. Chad decided to, in zero degrees, cut wood for his entire neighborhood, and just started giving that wood away to whoever needed some firewood to burn in their fireplace. Boom, hope career. That’s awesome.
I could tell you a story about my friend, Paul. Paul works in the medical field. Their office was completely shut down, the roads were horrible. Later on, their office would have an actual pipe break. But he decided to help out another Valley Creeker that who’s little girl on top of all this, sort of everything else going on, got bit in the face by a dog. Come on, man. So what’s he do? He traverses the crazy roads, he opens up the office, he invites her to come there and then he helps heal that little girl. Come on, that’s hope career. I could tell you a story about a homeless shelter in Lewisville that our Next Steps team was made aware of. What happened is the shelter also had a catastrophic break. The 12 homeless youth that were living there had to be moved to another facility, horrible time in a horrible situation. They did not have the correct bedding or blankets. So when our Next Steps Center team heard about it, jumped to the ready, went out to Wal-Mart to find all of the bedding and the blankets and the supplies that they would need.
Wal-Mart was closed. Banged on the front door. The person at the door answered, manager heard about it. Manager opened the entire Wal-Mart, personally took them shopping, got all the supplies they needed, gave them to those homeless youth so that they would be warm and have bedding. And that’s awesome.
And so the board of directors for that organization wrote to us later in the week, here we go, I honestly thank you all the church who really gets what it looks like to live like Jesus. You just continue to blow me away. I was convicted, challenged, and motivated to action by you all. You and your team are doing great kingdom work. Boom, hope career. So remember that you are a hope career. You carry a treasure chest of hope inside of you wherever you go.
Now, may the God of all hope fill you with peace so that you trust in Him, and so you can overflow with the hope, the very hope that the world needs, from the inside to the outside. The kingdom inside of you is always supposed to become the kingdom around you. The hope inside of you is always supposed to flow from the inside and flow to a lost, hurting and broken world around. You are a hope career. So don’t forget to remember to stay Jesus-focused, that you are a hope career. And as our worship team comes back out, here’s the third one. Remember that we are a harbor of hope. This is a harbor of hope. Today, you came to the very place where you can experience, receive and release the hope of Jesus, the harbor, the place where the word of God is spoken over your life, the place where the spirit of God is experienced together as we worship, as we gather together. So pray as we actually are the church. This is a harbor of hope.
And so it’s not just a harbor hope like for everybody out there, man, it’s for you. It’s for me. You know how badly I need to be with you guys today in this harbor of hope to have my own heart receive what only can happen as we gather together as the people of God. This is a harbor of hope. Don’t forget it. And don’t take it for granted. I think sometimes we miss the fact that the church, who we are when we gathered together, when we are this, when we do this, we are doing, and experiencing, and demonstrating and declaring the very thing that Jesus built, and started and died for, the church. We’re part of something that’s lasted for 2,000 years. And the gates of hell will never come against it. The gates of hell will never come against it. The brokenness of this world never come against it. The storms and the weather patterns will never come against it. The political climate will never come against it. The way people are reacting on social media won’t come against it.
The craziness of everything that surround you and your finances and your questions of tomorrow will never come against the church. This is a harbor of hope. We gather together as the people of God in a harbor of hope, with the word of God and the Spirit of God leading our hearts each and every weekend, and we never take it for granted. May we honor, may we lift up, may we value being the church. Let me finish with this. Yesterday, one of my friends said, it just feels like I keep asking myself what’s next. Like what could possibly be next? What’s next? And maybe you felt similar to that. Maybe over the course of this whole year, you almost have like this kind of tightness, this anxiousness. What’s next? What’s going to happen next? Can I just tell you what’s going to happen next? The goodness of God.
The goodness of God is going to happen next. And the grace of God is going to pour all over your life, and the blessing of God is going to surround you, the very hope of heaven is going to fill you. You know what’s next? You know what you’re going to expect, the goodness of God. Do not forget to remember again. If God is for you, who, what, when, how, what’s next can be against you? I love you, Valley Creek. Where God is leading is so much better than where we’ve been. So what’s next? The goodness of God. Let’s continue to remember it today.
So come on, all of that is true for you because of what Jesus has done. And I know there’s been so much going on in our life. And what we do at the end of every service is we declare the four core truths over our life. But today, instead of just me declaring them over your life, I want to invite you to declare them over your life. I want us to say this together regardless of where we are in the world. You may not feel like you see this, you may not even be sure you believe this, you may not feel like you’re experiencing this, but this is the core truth of life.
So come on, wherever you are, let’s just declare this together. Ready? 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, that is true of your life. So this week, may you go holding on to that truth regardless of what you see. For those of you that want to give, you can give right here online as a part of the movement of hope for the city and beyond. And if you’re a part of the online community, make sure you engage next weekend because we have a really special announcement that is just for you. And I can’t wait to share it with you.
I love you, Valley Creek. We’re praying for you. In Jesus’ name, may you go with hope.