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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - Peter Stand Upon The Rock of the Gods

Bobby Schuller - Peter Stand Upon The Rock of the Gods

Bobby Schuller - Peter Stand Upon The Rock of the Gods

Bobby Schuller: This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Good morning.

Hannah Schuller: Hello from Caesarea Philippi. Thank you so much for joining us. Now let this place be a reminder that God through us can free people even from the deepest of darkest places. Every Christian has a calling. You are loved.

Bobby Schuller: Amen, today we're in Caesarea Philippi. I'm so excited to take you to one of my favorite places in the Holy Land. This is where Jesus challenges his disciples to really reach out to people for the gospel and to build their life and build his church on the rock. We're gonna talk about what I think that means. There's lots of opinions, but trust that the Lord's gonna use this to have a big impact on your life today, but it's just an amazing place. I've talked about it before but it's so great to be here in person. So come with us today to Caesarea Philippi. Let's begin with a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much that your Holy Spirit is here with us and we're asking Lord that you would fill us with courage. Courage means to live with a full heart. We ask God that we would have that today and I pray it over everyone under the sound of my voice. It's in Jesus's name, we pray, amen.

Hannah Schuller: Amen, turn to the person next to you and say God loves you and so do I.

Hannah Schuller: In preparation for the message Matthew 16:13 through 20. "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, who do people say the Son of Man is? They replied, some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. But what about you, he asked, who do you say I am? Simon Peter answered, you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. And whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah". Amen.

Bobby Schuller: Thank you for being part of our Hour of Power family. We're so glad you're worshiping with us today. Every day we receive viewer comments, prayer requests, and testimonials from viewers all around the world. Some with heartfelt prayers for my family and for the staff here and some with testimonies about how they've been touched by the Holy Spirit. A recent testimonial talked about how her connection with God was strengthened by spending time in prayer after the sudden death of her father.

Hannah Schuller: Psalm 54:2 says, "Hear my prayer, O God. Listen to the words of my mouth". To be still and sit with the Lord in silence and solitude can be so gratifying and moving. It gives us a chance to really hear from our God and seek out what he is calling us to do or not to do for that matter.

Bobby Schuller: Yeah, the Lord beckons us to lean into his presence, open our hearts before him, and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As we seek him first in our lives, his love naturally and effortlessly pours out within us and in turn through us to others.

Hannah Schuller: If you give God a little time every day, you'll be surprised how your spiritual health will shine brightly. Take a look at this special offer we have to help you get started.

Bobby Schuller: Well, Ronnie, we're so excited to be here with you in Caesarea Philippi. I know this is a special place for you. You've probably been here over 1,000 times I'm sure over your long career as a tour guide. Tell us where are we and why is this place important.

Ronnie: First of all, we're in a place we call it in Hebrew, Banias, which is remaining or preserving the name Paneas. That was the Hellenistic city that was over here. When Herod the Great died and his three sons are demanding from some land. One son, Herod Antipas, received the Galilee, Sea of Galilee area, and Herod Philip received that area, which is north of the Golan and north of the Galilee. And he wanted to establish a capitol. So he took the city of Paneas and turn it into Caesarea Philippi, which mean dedicate to the Caesar and because there was already one Caesarea, he added his name to that.

Bobby Schuller: So the city was actually originally built by Alexander the Great or his ilk and it was dedicated to Pan. In Jesus's day, the city, how far, how big was it? Was it a big city?

Ronnie: It was quite a big city. It was a capital of the north. We believe maybe 20,000 people live in the city and it was far away from the Sea of Galilee. So and it was a very interesting city. It was a very pagan city.

Bobby Schuller: We googled it this morning. It's 28 miles, which is a long way if you're walking it. And so the city would have been down there and this would be the end of the city and kind of the only way to really get here would be to probably go through the middle of the city, I'm sure, right?

Ronnie: Absolutely.

Bobby Schuller: And so what is this behind us? This is a pretty strange looking thing. You have these notches and there's this big cave. What's all this about?

Ronnie: So this is the center of paganism. This is the center of holiness or holy place for the pagan and matter of fact this is the center of paganism in whole north of Israel. Over here, we have about six, seven temples. One of them is the dedicated to Augustus, that was built by Herod the Great. And one of them is dedicated this name Pan, the god Pan, the city Paneas is named after him. And one of them is going to be for Zeus. Of course, he's the head of the gods. They had Pantheon. And of course, we have Nemesis and the holy goats and some sacred goats. I mean, six, seven temples are going to be right over here, elevated above the city. So from anywhere in the city you can look up and see the holy place of the paganism.

Bobby Schuller: And so of course, this is a special place for Christians, because Jesus brought his disciples here. We're going to talk about it in just a minute and think through that Scripture, but this is where Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah. Why is that important? Like why would that happen here? What's your thought on it? I know there's a lot of teaching.

Ronnie: What my thought is that Jesus could have come to the disciples to tell him hey, I want to in five minutes right here by Capernaum. I have to ask you a question. And no, he took them on a journey of 28 miles, all the way climbing up the hills and coming here to the center of paganism, where they got Pan and Zeus and all the fake gods are to be here. And he was standing most likely on one of the hills, looking at the fake gods. And here he said the reason why I really brought you over here is to show you who's the real God. You can pick up the paganism. They can have the real God.

Bobby Schuller: Mm-hmm. And you said you think maybe it could have been even like maybe up on that hill somewhere, maybe over there. Kind of up high looking down upon all of the craziness that was happening here. I mean pagan worship was crazy, right? It was like...

Ronnie: Absolutely, I mean first of all, Jesus wouldn't come right to the center of paganism. I mean, he's going to keep some distance because he is like a sort of on the wanted list, but he's going to see them. On the hill there are some opening area that he can really, about 30 yards from here and you can sit up there and you can see the whole level of paganism. And this where he's goin' to ask the disciples, the main questions.

Bobby Schuller: Yeah, that's awesome and that's there that Peter says and then also what in Greek, I don't know if you know, but there is this double wordplay that he uses with Peter, right? He says, 'cause Peter's before this name, his name is Simon, right? And he says, blessed are you Simon. Tell me about that. Do you know?

Ronnie: Well, first of all, his name is Shimon Keifa. Okay, the keifa means rock. So that's why the name Petros come from the word rock. And the word by the way, the reason why we called him Simon is because the Greek couldn't say the word S-H, Shimon. The shh didn't come out till they turned to Simon and Simon, but most likely the word Keifa. Somebody says they influence on the word Petros or Peter.

Bobby Schuller: So he would see Shimon Keifa and so his name changed to Peter but isn't it like you're a small rock, but now you're a big rock.

Ronnie: Absolutely, get it from the Greek translation. From the Greek it could be a little pebble or a rock.

Bobby Schuller: And then right after that Peter says no surely Lord, you don't, now he says you're a stumbling rock, right? So he just is constantly constant play on rock.

Ronnie: That's the game here.

Bobby Schuller: Well, this is such an awesome place. Thank you so much and tell us also about this grotto? What's this grotto called?

Ronnie: Is a cave that during the time of Christ was a spring that used to flow out and most likely just because the reason that water is coming out of the cave, we turned it into a holy place in the whole city of Pan is dedicated to the god Pan, was built over here and there was a tradition that in those days, you used to sacrifice your firstborn son. In Jerusalem it was for the god Molech. Over here it was just sacrificing. They used to take their little baby and throw him into the into the little pool inside. If the baby hit the rock, the offer was accepted and this was terrible and there was a belief that there was a shaft from here down to hell. And I'm sure that you're going to talk about.

Bobby Schuller: And this is called the gates of Hell, right? The gates of Hades. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. We appreciate you. Thank you, Ronnie. God bless you.

Bobby Schuller: Thank you for being part of our Hour of Power family. We're so glad you're worshiping with us today. Every day we receive viewer comments, prayer requests, and testimonials from viewers all around the world. Some with heartfelt prayers for my family and for the staff here and some with testimonies about how they've been touched by the Holy Spirit. A recent testimonial talked about how her connection with God was strengthened by spending time in prayer after the sudden death of her father.

Hannah Schuller: Psalm 54:2 says, "Hear my prayer, O God. Listen to the words of my mouth". To be still and sit with the Lord in silence and solitude can be so gratifying and moving. It gives us a chance to really hear from our God and seek out what he is calling us to do or not to do for that matter.

Bobby Schuller: Yeah, the Lord beckons us to lean into his presence, open our hearts before him, and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As we seek him first in our lives, his love naturally and effortlessly pours out within us and in turn through us to others.

Hannah Schuller: If you give God a little time every day, you'll be surprised how your spiritual health will shine brightly. Take a look at this special offer we have to help you get started.

Bobby Schuller: Well, welcome to Caesarea Philippi. It is such a joy to be here with you. This is a beautiful place in Israel. It's now a national state park. This way or so is the Golan Heights and on the other side, you can see Syria and Lebanon. You might hear a fuzzy sound beneath me. That's a big river that's flowing from this grotto cave that's behind me, which is in its day was called the Gates of Hell. We're gonna talk about that in just a little bit. But this is where Jesus brought his disciples, maybe over several days, to come here to teach them a lesson that they would all account in their Gospels and talk about. It seemed like something that had a huge impact on them and it was not long after this place that the amazing transfiguration happens.

So today I want to talk about the lesson that I think, you know, everybody has a different opinion on this but it's what I think Jesus was trying to teach his disciples in this place. And it was that as believers, we are called for a purpose and we're called to be a blessing to others. And yesterday, we were in the Dead Sea and I remember reading from some Ancient Sage that there was this comparison between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. You know the Sea of Galilee is fresh and full of life and that's because water flows in and water flows out. You know water flows in and it flows out. It's a symbol of the soul. That we receive teaching. We receive from the Spirit. We receive good gifts, but were also called to give, to share and to teach, to mentor, and when we're sort of in that nice balance, we live the vibrant kind of spiritual life as disciples that Jesus has for us.

The Dead Sea, however, water only flows in. Nothing flows out. And you see there's no life there. In fact, when we went it was fun to swim there but my face was burning because I had shaved and the salt water was so high and not a living thing is in there. And so then that's what happens sometimes in religion so often and this is maybe what was happening with the Pharisees. Lots of religion, lots of classes, lots of study, lots of posturing, but were they giving? Was anything going out? Were they loving their neighbor? Were they leaning into this call to be a blessing to the nations? And of course that is the call for God's people. It always was for Abraham. It is for us as Abraham's children.

And this is the balance that people of faith still today, and even I struggle with this, they struggle to strike. That there's this balance between loving your neighbor, reaching people that are lost, helping people that are suffering, reaching out to a pagan world, but also still being a good person, you know, being holy. And so for the Jews, this idea is, you know, this promise of you will be a blessing, but also be kadosh, be holy, be separate, separated from the world, be different. In Jesus's day, the idea of kadosh or holiness had become so important to them and there's lots of reasons, right?

They just come back 500 years before from the Babylonian exile and their understanding was we were conquered by Babylon, we went into exile because we were no longer holy. We bowed down to other idols. We became like the people who lived around us. We married into other religions and most of all, we turned our back on the poor and we engaged in these pagan practices. And so as people were coming back and the rabbinic Judaism was developing, they said never more. We're gonna be kadosh and actually the Mishnah says that when the Great Assembly was gathered together, and this is at the beginning of, they said that that there would be three things that they should do.

The first was to administer justice patiently. That's good. The second thing was to create many disciples. So we've talked a lot about what a disciple means and what it means to have disciples. Third, and this is where I think the pickle was, build a fence around the Torah. To build a fence around the Torah means that you obey the thing so much that you never violate it. Like I remember when I was in high school, you know, we followed this rule and we should have and we did. Don't have sex before marriage. But there were fences that you would, like don't, there's other things you don't do also so that you don't get close to breaking the law. And you can take that to a total extreme, right? You see that in religion today. And in Jesus's day that was also true.

You know here on the elevators for example, on Shabbat on Sabbath, you're not supposed to, the Bible doesn't say don't press elevator buttons, but somewhere in the tradition to build a hedge around not working on the Sabbath. Somehow pressing an elevator button counted as work. So now on Shabbat, Shabbat elevator stops on every floor. I don't think there's anything wrong with it but it's just an example of going as far as we can so that if we even violate, you know, this one we won't violate the real one. Does that make sense? And so in Jesus's day I think there was this huge separation between God's people and the people they were supposed to reach. And don't forget that that calling to reach the world didn't start with Jesus. It started with a covenant with Abraham.

Do you remember the Covenant of Abraham? God says to Abraham, I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you, and I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. Remember that, you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you, and the final line, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. I really think that this is God's purpose for the Jewish people. That he called them not just to bless them, but like the Sea of Galilee, that he would give them the water of life, but then they would give the water out to the world and that to be a healthy person in God's kingdom in life meant not only to receive the blessing, but to be a blessing to others. And we see that, right? As people of faith, we need to have a sense of purpose and calling.

And we see that many of the prophets and the great men and women of the Bible did this. We see even Abraham himself, who received the blessing was such a hospitable person. One of my favorite stories I was just meditating on it this morning is when Abraham meets the three men, who were God, you know or angels, or something like this. And he's sitting in a tent and I often thought that they came to the tent, but they didn't. They were sort of walking by a ways off. And Abraham seeing these three travelers runs out to them and invites them to come to his tent. And then he realizes who they are and they're probably two angels and God or maybe it's three angels or maybe it's the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We don't know but it's of God, it's of heaven. He invites these three men to his tent and what does he do?

Well he washes their feet and he gives them something to drink and then he and his family prepare a feast for them. They kill a young calf. And he talks to them and welcomes them and cares for them. And you see this is so much of we think this is in the New Testament it is but it's in the Old Testament too. Its from Leviticus that God tells the Jewish people to love your neighbor as yourself. And to welcome the alien and to reach out to the hurting and to care for the poor and to leave portions of your field unharvested so that the poor can gather. So many commands to be merciful, to be kind, to be just, to be loving, and this is the ultimate aim of God. It's not just that we're kadosh, but that in our holiness or in a desire to be good people, we also have an outward way of reaching people who are lost and who are not, you know, in God's family.

And I think that this sort of thing maybe had been a little bit lost in the First Century for many Jewish people. That it was all kadosh and no blessing to others, you know. It was like all like rules and regulations and legalism and so much of the heart to reach people had been lost because they were afraid to fall out of God's favor again. And so this is even for me and for so many believers, this is a constant struggle. How do I be kadosh? How do I be a holy person? But how do I also be in the world and reaching and helping people who are struggling that may not think the way I think or believe the way I believe or know God.

And and this is what I think Jesus was was teaching is as Jesus you know he's walking around and it's just like everybody is way more concerned about building a hedge around the Torah than they are about helping hurting people. And so Jesus is talking with his disciples and he just kinda says spontaneously beware, beware the yeast of the Pharisees. You know the Pharisees, we think of it as a bad thing. In their day it was a good thing. That would be like your favorite pastor. Your favorite, you know, preacher, teacher, priest whatever, you know. And imagine that, imagine you know someone you're following. You're like beware the yeast of Bobby Schuller, you know, or something like maybe you're like.... Beware of the yeast of your favorite religious preacher. They didn't understand what he was saying.

In fact, the Bible says that they thought maybe he was mad because they didn't bring bread with them or something. And they explain well, they were, he was trying to explain to them the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The fact that they were on the outside they looked perfect but on the inside they were dead. And he's saying beware that if all you are is rules, you have no life within you, you're not in the Kingdom of God. Don't be a whitewashed tombstone. Be full of the Spirit. Be full of life.

And think about the people out there who are hurting. Reach them for me. And so yeah, so right after that he says beware the yeast of the Pharisees and they kinda scratched their head and they don't know what. Then it seems like instantly he just, I like to think and I don't know, that he just begins this long walk north. North, where are we going? What's in north? You know they're already the furthest north in Galilee that you can be in the Jewish world. North, there's really few Jews as you go north and 28 mile journey they began. We don't know how long that took. Could be as short as a couple days. Could be as long as three days. They traveled all the way from the south of Galilee, all the way up to this northern part where the Golan Heights are, and they have no idea where they're going.

And they finally arrive here in Caesarea Philippi. My hope is that Jesus didn't tell them where they were going. That it was just like a surprise, like where are we going? Just come along with me. And remember they weren't kids, but they weren't fully grown men, I think. Looks like most of the disciples were in their late teens or early twenties. So think of a high school student, that's 10th, 11th, 12th grade or a college student. That's their first or second year of college. They're young-ish but more than that they're very straight laced, you know? Again, kadosh, they're really worried about not mixing two seeds in a field. They're really worried about not mixing two types of, you know, cloth in their clothing. They're worried about no bugs getting into their wine. They never in a million years would think about doing anything that they're about to see hear.

And in fact, if they got went up on that hill and they looked down here. All of those young men probably would've scratch their head and said, Oy gevalt, if my dad knew I was here. I should not be at a place like this. I'm going to be in so much trouble. My mom is going to beat me up with a sandal if she knew my Rabbi took me here. What are we doing here? He said it's like, no, no, place on earth would a Jew, who cares about their faith and their community and their God, ever come to a place like this. And although we got a small taste from Ronnie, let me explain to you how evil and weird this place is.

And I just want to warn you that some of this is a little rated R. But we mentioned all of the pagan gods that were here, but the centerpiece of the gods here was Pan. You know is named after Pan, Paneas, and just behind me there you can see this space. That's a part of this area called the rock of the gods. It's called that because of all of these idols are here. It's etched into the rock, simple. And there in that big notch you'll see that there was a giant statue of Pan that had a six foot long metal, what do I say Anna? Phallus. Thank you. And and it was this image of fertility. And sometimes that phallus would be removed and paraded around and worshiped. And they believed that that grotto that you see behind us, it's since fallen and it had a big temple in front of it dedicated to Caesar.

And then behind it was a deep cave that went on and on like a river going in. They believe that that was the Gates of Hades. Now in those days Sheol or Hades was a damp, watery, shadowy place in the underworld. And so a place like this, maybe it was a place where you could go in and out of Hades like a portal. And they believe that what would happen is Pan, who is also a god of like shepherds and things, he would go back to Hades during the winter. And that's why you know, maybe it was a little bit more dry. And then when spring would come, they would perform these rituals to try and arouse Pan to come back out of the cave and copulate with the nymphs which were all those little smaller things.

And that when that happened that arousal created rain. And so they they thought that if they did these ceremonies that it would cause rain to come. And just like many pagans, they had all sorts of other weird rituals, but when that disciples were there they would look down and they would see this mob of priests and sometimes pilgrims who are visiting in the center, that's sort of the capital of Pan worship, the Vatican for Pan worship. And they would just see this utter chaos. In fact, that word panic and pandemonium, they come from what's happening here. When people gets to such a height of arousal through alcohol, narcotics, and this festivities that are going on, and these orgies that when it was all happening there would be music and shouting and it would be utter chaos. And it would be the opposite of what a young Jewish man would experience in his life if he was a faithful Jew.

And so imagine that all of this is going on and your first, as a Jew in those days, your first feeling is gonna be revulsion, disgust, right? Maybe fear. I need to get the heck out of here. I cannot be even seen in a place like that. My reputation would be tarnished if my, you know, neighbors knew that I even came close to. I gotta get out of here, but it doesn't seem to be that that's Jesus opinion of this place. Rather it seems that Jesus has pity. Pity. That he sees a people that are completely empty. That he sees what we know to be true that every human being is born with a God shaped hole. And that many human beings will do anything they can to fill that hole. And that these people had not found yet what could fill that void. That void that was within them.

And I think Jesus is telling his disciples, I have given you the keys to this great question. And of course in it rabbinic dramatic way, Jesus was passionate, rabbis were so passionate. And he is one of the most passionate of all. He says to them in Matthew chapter 16. Who do people say that I am? So just picture this. If he's there and who knows if he does I think he was. He's up there and all this crazy stuff is happening. And it seems like a question out of nowhere. Who do people say that I am? Who am I? And you might even say who am I to these people? And they all kinda like sitting around scratching their head. Some people say you're John the Baptist. Some people say you're Elijah or Jeremiah. And those are all high compliments. But it's not quite what he's getting at.

He looks right at them and says, who do you say that I am? And you know Simon Peter, he's the sort of leader of the group, he sort of. Probably feels compelled to answer for the group. There's just 12 of them. And he says, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Notice the living God versus the dead gods, right? You're the Son of the living God. The only God. The God that we worship. You're his Son. And Jesus of course says, blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church. And the Gates of Hades will not overcome it. Now there's been many discussions about what Jesus means on this rock I will build my church.

Some of you might believe and maybe it's true, that on this rock means Peter himself. That Peter is meant to be the leader of the church and that Jesus is establishing a universal priesthood. I don't believe that but maybe it's true. In our tradition, we say that it's the profession that Jesus was saying because you profess Jesus as Messiah, it's on that declaration or on that knowledge, I will build my rock. I think both are kinda true, but I also don't think that. I like to think, because I'm standing here, I can see it, imagine him standing here on this rock. What if that's what he's saying? It's called the rock of the gods. What if he's saying on this rock I will build my church?

Well, what's a church, first of all? In Greek a church is an Ekklesia, it's a gathering of God's people. Just like a synagogue or like it's God's community. It's God's living family. And he has... what if he's giving a hint that it's here that I want you to go. That I don't want you to cloister and protect yourself and build three hedges, four hedges, five hedges, six hedges. Keeping everyone and everything out. What if I want you to come to places like this and help people that are hurting? Well, that's Bobby Schuller, you know, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong. But it's totally supports the heart of Jesus, who says you know in the Great Commission, go into all the world making disciples.

So what if he says on this rock I will build my church? And then Jesus begins to explain to them very soon he will need to return to Jerusalem. And there in Jerusalem, he's going to be crucified and he's gonna be raised from the dead. Remember in this last passage, he changes Peter's name from a little rock to a big rock, right? So this is like a rock theme. And then Peter says no Lord, let it never be. And Jesus says to him get behind me Satan, for you have become now there's a third rock, a stumbling rock, alright? And so, he rebukes Peter after giving them this huge compliment and he's facing them just like I'm facing you.

Imagine you're a disciple and I'm Jesus and he's facing them, giving this teaching about how he wants to build the rock here and all of this stuff is going on. Maybe those people down there can't even see them. Can't even see the disciples. Can't even see Jesus. And he turns around and the Gospel of Mark says that he says this in a loud voice. He turns and says, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Or whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be if someone gives up their life and loses it or forfeits their soul, or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? That's pretty cool. That's right. That's right.

See it's different, isn't it? He didn't just say it to them. He turns when they say don't be crucified, don't be crucified, just he turns his back on them and faces the crowd. What crowd? There's the only crowd there can be. He turns and faces the crowd and tells them anyone who would take up their cross and follow me will save their life. But anybody who tries to save their life will lose it. This is where God wants to build his church. He wants to build it where people are hurting and people are suffering, people are struggling. I don't think I said it right totally because they were cheering me on. That was pretty cool. It was nice of them to do that. The world needs the Lord. The world needs the Lord, you know?

And when you look about how the Torah and how the Bible is written, you know, all of the prophets, the big ones that we know of are considered great, except for two, Noah and Jonah are considered prophets, but the sages didn't consider them great prophets, you know why? Because when God told Noah that he was gonna destroy the earth, Noah just said okay. And when God told Jonah to prophesy against Nineveh. He said okay. And in fact, even in his heart really wanted Nineveh to die. But the other prophets like Moses, especially, stood in the gap. Father, no don't take them, what if I find 100, if I find 10, what if I find just one good man? Won't you please won't you spare them?

You see that is God's heart. God's heart, his mercy, and grace, and people of faith. How to advocate for the people that are in places like this. People of faith ought to fight for people that are stuck here. I was stuck here. Maybe you were stuck here. And someone fought for you. We also need to fight for people who are lost and don't know what that empty chasm is within them, but needs someone to fill it. I know you can do it. I know you can do it. And so the question is, you know, how do we strike the balance? How do we know when we've gone either too far in terms of always trying to be perfect about everything or not far enough and trying to help somebody.

And our youth pastor, Blaine Bartell, taught us this long time ago. I never forgot it. Really asked the question are you a thermometer or a thermostat? You know a thermometer is changed based on its environment. But a thermostat changes the environment. And you can tell when you're an environment, if you're around people, maybe that you would say are struggling or lost. If you find yourself becoming more like them, maybe it is good to be a little more kadosh and dial back. But if you find that when you're with people and you can make a difference, you can be a thermometer. I encourage you to do that.

I remember when I was a kid. And I just come to faith, I was like 15 years old and just moved to Oklahoma. I was feeling really lonely, but I was trying to make good friends and be a good person. This girl I'd met on the first day of school invited me to a party that night. I was so excited and when I went to this party I thought it was gonna be just a normal party. You know I didn't think you'd be Christian, but I didn't think it was gonna be crazy. When I got there the first guy that I saw, who's really nice, offered me some drugs. And so total disappointment, you know 'cause I was tryin' to get away from, I shrugged my shoulders. It's time for me to go home. And I felt the Spirit kind of impress on me. No, no, no, don't go home. I want you here.

So I went into the party and I walked around. And it was one of those kinds of parties. You know a lot of drugs and a lot of weird stuff going on. And I felt really uncomfortable probably like a lot of those those disciples felt when they were here in Caesarea Philippi. Until I met a girl who had been engaged in the occult, in like Satanic worship, and some other stuff. And she was really just a kid, wasn't real or serious for her and yet she had done some cutting. And you could just tell she was in a depressive place.

And I talked to her for a long time about my faith. And I prayed for her and she said I wanna come to church with you. And after I did that, I felt the freedom to leave and I did. And she started coming to our church and by the way today, well I haven't seen her in 20 years, but she eventually became a youth pastor at her Baptist Church. Isn't that great? I like to think about these these encounters that we can have with people, where we can make a huge difference in their life.

So my friend live a purposeful life. Recently I saw Mike Tyson and one of the greatest athletes of all time. And he was being interviewed and he had all of these medals and these belts that he had won. And the interviewer was saying this is amazing. What did it feel like to this? And he took the stuff me lifted up, tossed it on the table. He says it's garbage. It's all garbage. He said I killed myself, I bled for garbage. This is all garbage. Let's not be like that. Let's not live the kind of life that the world hails as great, but God thinks is garbage. That we will think is garbage. That we'll get to the end of our life and say, man, I neglected my children for this garbage.

I neglected my grandkids or I neglected hurting people or I lived such a selfish life that all I have left is golden garbage. Let's not live for golden garbage. Let's live for what God has in store for you. And maybe just in closing, I'm gonna pray and I'm gonna ask that you think of someone. Maybe it's someone close to you. Maybe it's your spouse. Maybe it's one of your kids. Maybe it's your next door neighbor who just yelled at you. Maybe it's one of your colleagues or maybe it's your boss. And you know that it's someone that needs the Lord. Let's begin to pray for them and ask that God would do something great in their life and let's just pray for them now?

So Father, we come to you in Jesus's name and we ask in your spirit that you would help us know how to reach people who are hurting and who feel empty and who feel lonely and not in a religious way, not in a way that's condescending or any of these things, but in a way that's truly loving in your Spirit, Jesus, help us to reach people who need you and maybe you need us. Help us to have eyes to see and ears to hear. And we pray it all in the strong name of Jesus, amen.

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