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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - Our Weakness, God's Strength

Craig Smith - Our Weakness, God's Strength

Craig Smith - Our Weakness, God's Strength
TOPICS: Explicit, Grace, Weaknesses

Well, hey, welcome to this year’s Grassroots Weekend. It looks a little bit different, but it’s been really fun to be out here in God’s creation worshiping God. I’m so glad you’re able to join us. You know, this is the 4th of July weekend. 4th of July obviously in America we celebrate our independence. We also celebrate our strength, which we love to do, right? It’s not just Americans. I think all people love to celebrate their strength and minimize their weaknesses. The danger of that though, the danger of celebrating our strengths always and never really paying attention to the fact that we have our weaknesses or always trying to sort of kind of sweep those under the carpet.

The danger of that is that it can create in us a false sense of self-sufficiency. And as Reza taught us last week, self-sufficiency is a dangerous lie that we cannot afford to believe. And so I thought it might be kind of fun this weekend to take a look at a story from the Bible where God gave his people freedom. He gave his people independence but not through a strength. In fact, it was through a weakness. If you wanna follow along, we’re gonna be in the book of Judges this weekend, Judges chapter 3, kind of an interesting story. You may be familiar with it. If you’re kind of new to the Bible, pretty good chance you’ve never heard this story. You might even be shocked to find out that it’s in here. This story begins. This is Judges chapter 3, verse 12.

“Now, again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil, the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel.” Now, in this passage, we’re not told exactly what the evil was, but notice that it says, “Again, the Israelites did evil.” In other words, this was a repeat offense. This wasn’t just something they did one time. This was a sin. This was an evil they kept falling into time and time again. And if we go back a little bit in the Book of Judges to Judges chapter 2, I actually think we get a pretty clear description of what this repeat offense was. Judges chapter 2, verse 11 says this, “And then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and they served the Baals.” That’s a name in sort of the region’s dialect for false gods or false lords. And so they forsook the Lord, the true Lord, the true God, the God of their ancestors who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and they worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.

So basically, what’s happened is pretty straightforward. The people of God had stopped following God, and they’ve started following false gods, false lords. Now, this is some really complicated theology, but we gotta go down this rabbit trail. Okay? And I know this is probably gonna hurt your brain, but just try to stick with me. I’ll make it as simple as I can. Here’s the thing. The Lord, the true Lord God is the source of all blessing and protection. Okay? So God is the source of all blessing and protection, which means that if you follow God, you get to experience blessing and protection. Here’s where it’s gonna get really tricky. But if you stop following God, you stop experiencing his blessing and his protection, right? If you stop following God, you stop experiencing the blessing and the protection that come from him, right? So that’s what’s happened. That’s the reason that God has allowed them to be conquered by a foreign king. It’s because they’ve stopped following him, and so they’ve stopped experiencing his blessing and his protection.

Now, I just wanna be really clear. Just because you are following the Lord doesn’t mean you’re not gonna have some hardships in life. Just because you are sticking close to Jesus doesn’t mean you’re just gonna live on easy street. Okay? Jesus himself said that in this life you will have trouble. Okay? So sticking close to God, sticking close to Jesus isn’t an automatic path to get you out of all kinds of difficulty, but here’s the thing. There’s a huge difference between experiencing difficulty in this life with the blessing and the protection of God versus experiencing the difficulty in this life without the blessing and protection of God. That’s why we have to stick close to God, but the Israelites aren’t doing that. They have peeled off, and so they’ve lost the blessing and the protection of God. And for that reason, they have experienced a conquering by a foreign king named Eglon.

Now, verse 13 says this, “Getting the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and he attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.” It’s kind of an interesting statement there. The City of Palms was a, it was a phrase that was sometimes used to describe the City of Jericho, which is a city in the Nation of Israel. And they called it the City of Palms a little bit like we sometimes called New York the Big Apple. Okay? But the City of Palms basically meant the City of Peace, because the palm tree was a symbol of peace, and so the City of Palms was the City of Peace. And so now because they peeled off from God, they’re not following God anymore, they’re not experiencing his blessing and protection, they’ve lost peace, right? They’ve lost the City of Peace. They’ve lost all peace because that’s what happens. In the presence of God, we have peace. When we’re living our lives apart from the presence of God, we don’t have peace. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. Okay? You might be in great circumstances. You can have peace. But if you’re with God, you can be in really difficult circumstances and still have peace, but without God, there’s no peace. Okay?

Here’s the thing. It reminds me a little bit, and this is a little bit cheesy, I know, but it reminds me a little bit of a bumper sticker I’ve seen. I’ve even seen it on the t-shirts. It says, you know, “Know God, know peace. No God, no peace.” Okay? We’ll put that there on the lower third so you’ll see it. But Know God, meaning, if you know God, if you’re close to God, then you will know and experience peace, but if you have no God in your life, then you will have no peace in your life. That’s what’s happening. They’ve lost the City of Peace because when we’re not with God, we lose the peace that is only from God. Okay? The Bible actually says that with God, we can experience something called a peace that passes understanding, meaning it doesn’t make sense given our circumstances. Our circumstances are not peaceful, but we experience peace because we’re with God from whom all peace flows.

It says this, verse 14, “The Israelites were subject to Eglon, King of Moab for 18 years. And then, again, the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer.” I love that. Again, the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer. Some of you, honestly, some of us, maybe even me today, we’re here today because we need to hear that more than anything else. Okay? Remember we saw, again, they did evil, but then we see is, again, they cried out to the Lord. Again, they came to their senses. They realized they were sinning. They fixed their eyes on God, and they repented of their sin, and they cried out to him. And what God did in response to that was he sent them a deliverer. And that’s so, so important. This is so important that we all understand this.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself in a place where I just feel like I keep falling into the same old sins time and time again, that I keep falling short, that I just keep coming up short in being the man God’s called me to be, being the husband, the father, the leader, the pastor. And sometimes there’s just…you know what? Sometimes I’m grumpy and sometimes…especially during this pandemic, I’ve been short-tempered with my family, with other people, and I keep, you know, realizing that it’s happening. Then I’m like, “Oh, God, I’m so sorry,” and I apologize to people that I’ve done that to. And then I’m like, “I’m not gonna do that again,” and then honestly, the next day, I feel like I’m back in that same place. And maybe you understand exactly what that’s like. You just feel like you’re caught in this loop where you keep coming back to the same sins time and time again, and maybe you’re wondering if God’s grace is ever gonna run out. If you’re gonna do it one more time and God’s gonna go, “That’s it. I’m done, no more forgiveness for you.” And what that verse says is that’s never gonna happen. Again the Israelites did evil, but again the moment they turn their eyes to God, he gave them forgiveness. And he sent them a deliverer, and you just need to hear that. Okay?

I love one of the followers of Jesus, a man named John said, he said, “If we confess our sins…” this is 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he’s faithful and just, and he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” And he’ll do that every single time. I need you to hear. No matter how many times you feel like you’ve messed up, God’s grace is never gonna run out. If you will repent, if you will turn back to him and ask for forgiveness, you will receive it. Every time we repent, God hits the reset button in our lives, and I need to know that, and my guess is some of you out there need desperately to know that. There’s no end to God’s grace. You repent, God hits reset. Okay?

So, they came to their senses, they realized what was happening, they turned back, and God sent them a man named Ehud. That’s what it says. It says, “Again, the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer, Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera, the Benjamite.” And that’s kind of an interesting description, right? A left-handed man. Why would we be given that particular detail? Well, actually, in the original Hebrew that that was written, it doesn’t actually say a left-handed man. What it actually says is a man bound or restricted as to his right hand. Okay? And some people have read that and thought, “Oh, that means that his right hand was somehow deformed or something like that,” and I don’t think that’s true because this seems to be the way throughout the Bible that left-handed people are described, somebody who can’t use their right hand well. Okay? In other words, it kind of defaults to the understanding that it’s a right-handed world, and if you’re a left-handed, you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? My actually my youngest daughter is left-handed, and I’ve realized it’s a right-handed world. If you can’t use your right hand as effectively, you actually have some struggles in life. And I’ve watched my daughter struggle to learn how to write and use a cursor and even scissors, right? Crazy stuff like that. Okay? Because it’s a right-handed world.

Well, it was definitely a right-handed world back then, and so if you were better with your left hand, if you were left-handed, then you were kind of considered to be at a disadvantage. You actually had a little weakness and especially that was true if you were a warrior. Okay? Right-handed swordsmen really worked the thing, and here’s the reason, right? Okay. So you got your army, and they’re about to go out into battle, you know. And so the general gets out in front, and he does the big braveheart speech, and he gets him all riled up. And he’s like, “Are you ready?” And they’re like, “Yeah, we’re ready.” He’s like, “Charge.” And so everybody reaches down, and they go like this, right, with their swords and they’re out. And that’s great if everybody does that, but if there’s a couple people on the lines that are like, “Yeah, like, oh, sorry about that. Oh, medic, medic. We need a medic over here.” It just doesn’t work. Okay? And so there really there just weren’t left-handed swordsmen. They were allowed to fight in battles if they were left-handed but as usually as they used slings. Okay? They weren’t in the lineup. Okay? So there’s no really left-handed swordsmen. In other words, this is a weakness at least from the world’s perspective, maybe even a disability from the world’s perspective. Not the kind of person you would expect God to raise up to deliver his people because he’s got this apparent weakness, so interesting. He raised up this left-handed man.

And we’re told this, “Now, the Israelite sent him with tribute,” in other words with money, “to Eglon the King of Moab. Now, Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.” Now, a cubit is a unit of measurement in the ancient world, it was basically from the tip of your elbow to the tip of your fingers. Most people, it’s about 18 inches. Okay? So he made a basically an 18-inch sword. And it says this, “He strapped it to his right thigh.” My guess is probably to the inside of his right thigh. And the point is he was putting it in a place that a right-handed person wouldn’t be able to really make quick use of it, meaning probably that people wouldn’t be looking to that part of his body if they were searching and when he came into the presence of the king. So he probably strapped this sword under his right thigh, but as a left-handed person, he could get to it pretty easily. But they wouldn’t be looking for that because he’s a left-hander, and they probably don’t even think of him as a warrior anyway since they’re gonna recognize that he’s left-handed real quick. Okay? So that’s what he does. He straps it under there, you can kind of see what’s coming, right? Now, we’re told this, “They presented, or he presented the tribute to Eglon King of Moab, who was a very fat man,” which is another interesting physical description, right? He was a very fat man and actually really kind of funny. In the original Hebrew, the word they used for fat isn’t a word that you normally use to talk about human beings. Okay? It’s actually a word that you would use to talk about cattle, and there maybe even a little kind of a joke going on here in the original Hebrew.

Eglon wasn’t Hebrew, he was a Moabite, and I don’t know what the name Eglon meant in Moabite language whatever the Moabite language is. But in Hebrew, Eglon sounds a lot like the Hebrew word for calf for cattle like for a young cattle. So what they’re basically being told is he’s a fat calf, and I think there’s a little bit of a joke there. And there’s something else going on, and that is that Eglon isn’t a warrior at this point, but he was previously, right? He didn’t send people to conquer Israel 18 years ago. He led the charge himself. He was a warrior, but since then, he’s grown complacent and he’s grown fat. His success has gone to his head, and it’s become a weakness in him. This is kind of a little bit of a bonus truth, but I find myself often thinking about this thing that I’ve come to realize and we see it illustrated there that sometimes our greatest sort of obstacle to future success is our past success. It’s the things that we’ve done really well at in the past so much so that we just kind of get complacent, and it sets us up for a fall later on. You know, maybe you’ve had a struggle with a sin, but then you’ve experienced tremendous just freedom in that victory over. The Holy Spirit’s giving you the ability to kind of break out of that cycle of sin, and because of your victory, you’re like, “I’m not in danger of that sin again,” and yet if you get complacent you could find yourself going back into a place where you allow that temptation to get a lot closer than it should because you don’t think that you’re weak in that area anymore, but you might be. Okay?

Sometimes our past success becomes our greatest obstacle to future success, and I think we see that in him. His past success has made him complacent. He can’t imagine for a moment that anybody is gonna be able to challenge him this great king, right? But he’s resting on his past success, and he’s not taking the precautions he needs to to continue to have present and future success. Okay. He presented the tribute to Eglon King of Moab. He was a very fat man. “And after Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it,” which is kind of a strange scene, right? What’s happening is that, you know, Ehud has gotten there, and they’ve given all this money. And I don’t know exactly what the original plan was, but my suspicion is the plan was, when he was in the presence of the king to take him out, right? It’s interesting to me that, you know, the tribute has been presented, and now Ehud has told the rest of his team, “Hey, you guys can head on home.” And Ehud is actually on his way, but he’s not traveling with them. And it’s kind of a strange thing. Why wouldn’t he be traveling with them? Here’s what I wonder what was happening. I wonder if he kind of sent the team off, and he trailed along behind him because he was ashamed, and he was feeling pretty low and pretty bad because he’s like, “I didn’t do it. I had my chance. I was there. I got the sword, and they didn’t even search. They didn’t think I was a danger, right? I had it there. I had everything I needed to do, and I chickened out. Maybe there were just too many people around, and I got scared. I just didn’t feel like the right moment. I don’t know what it was, but I didn’t.”

And so now he sent his team home, and he’s kind of walking along after them, and he’s thinking, “Man, what made me think that God could use me? I’m not strong. I’m not a warrior. I’m weak. Those guys are right. They’re right not to fear me. I’m too weak to be feared.” So he’s got this kind of sad walk going on. He’s easing his way home sad, maybe down. And then we’re told this. This is verse 19, “But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal, he himself went back to Eglon.” On reaching the stone images near Gilgal, he himself went back to Eglon. In other words, he’s going along, he’s trailing behind after his team, but he’s headed home. Maybe he’s down in the dumps. He’s thinking of how weak he is. And at some point, he kind of looks up and he realized he’s come near something called the stone images of Gilgal. You know, well, what is that? We have to go back to the Book of Joshua to understand what those were.

Joshua was the leader of the Israelite people after Israel was set free by God from their slavery in Egypt. Maybe you know some of the stories, right? God came with power, and he brought plagues on Egypt, and eventually, they got out. And they got to the edge of the Red Sea and got part of the Red Sea while Moses was leading. They got to the other side of the Red Sea. He led them through the desert. He led them to the Promised Land. And now Joshua is the new leader of the Jewish people, and as he leads them into the Promised Land, they cross over the River Jordan. And this is what Joshua chapter 4, verse 21 says, “Joshua said to the Israelites…” I’m sorry, I’m gonna back up. This is Joshua 4:20, “And Joshua set up at Gilgal twelve stones that they had taken out of the Jordan.”

So as they were crossing the Jordan, they took twelve stones out of the river, and they brought them over. And they set them down on the side that they had crossed to. “And he said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground for the Lord your God dried up the Jordan until you had crossed over and the Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.'” And he did this, this is so important. Listen to this, “He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” So on their way across this river, right? On their way across this river, they picked up some of these rocks. I think they’re probably big rocks. Part of my team grabbed a few. So, they picked up. They’re probably bigger than these. There’s probably a bigger mound than this, maybe even bigger stones.

But when they got to the other side, they piled them up. They built this thing these stones of Gilgal. They were stones of remembrance, and the idea was that every time people looked at these stones, they’re like, “Why are there stones?” “Oh, yeah, that’s to remember, is to remind us that the hand of the Lord is powerful,” so they would never forget that. So here comes Ehud, right? And he’s feeling weak, and he’s walking back up towards his home. And he’s feeling down, and he looks up, and he sees these stones. And suddenly a light will go. He remembers the hand of the Lord is powerful. And what I imagined happened the moment he went, “You know what? Maybe I am weak, but who cares. It doesn’t matter if I am weak. I have a God who’s not, right? I don’t have to be strong when I trust in a God who is.” And so he went back. He turned back, and he went back by himself, right? He didn’t have his team, which is interesting because, you know, if he carried out the assassination or the attack when he had his whole team, pretty unlikely he’s gonna get out of there. But at least with the team, there was a chance. Without a team, no chance.

But do you understand what he’s doing? He’s going, “I don’t need the team. I just need the Lord. It doesn’t matter how weak I am or how few resources I have as long as I have a trust in a God who was great and powerful.” And so he went back by himself. “When reaching the stone images near Gilgal, he himself went back to Eglon, and he said, ‘Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.” Check this out. This is crazy, right? He said, “I have a secret message for you. And the king said to his attendants, ‘Leave us,’ and they all left,'” which is crazy, right? I mean, that makes absolutely no sense at all. Why would he do that? I mean, this is a little bit like somebody from al-Qaeda visiting our president and saying, “Hey, I wanna talk to you privately,” and so the President is like, “Hey, Secret Service, you guys just get out of here. Leave me alone with this guy.” Like that’s just not done. It makes absolutely no sense. You can’t do that, right? Why would he do that? And I think the only way to understand it is that Eglon doesn’t see this man as a threat. He’s probably recognized. So he’s, oh, left-handed, right? He’s not gonna be a warrior. He’s not worried. He sees in this man a weakness, so he fears nothing about him. “And Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone at the upper throne of his palace, and he said, ‘I have a message from God for you.’ And as the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh, and plunged it into the king’s belly.” Remember this is the explicit series. “Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged.” Now, that’s gross. Okay? It’s actually gonna be really important in a second.

“Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.” So he’s a pretty big man, right? This 18-inch blade goes in, fat closes over. His bowels release. He dies. “And then Ehud went out to the porch. He shut the doors of the upper room behind him, and he locked them. And after he’d gone, the servants came and they found the doors of the upper room locked, and they said, ‘Well, he must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace,'” right? This is explicit stuff, right? You might be surprised to find this in the Bible, right? They go they find the doors locked and they’re like, “I don’t wanna go in there. He’s clearly going to the bathroom, right?” Here’s a bonus question for you, right? Why do you think they thought he was going to the bathroom? Why do you think that was where they went in their assumption? If you’re with somebody, make your best guess. Tell the person next to you why you think that they thought that he was probably going to the bathroom in there. Did you get it? It’s because they could smell it. Remember his bowels discharged. The smell is coming out. It’s gross. But that’s the reason they thought he was relieving himself, and because that was happening, check this out, “They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key, and they unlocked them. And there they saw their lord fallen to the floor dead. And while they waited, Ehud had got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah.” Second mention of those stones, right?

I’m trying to imagine Ehud. And Ehud is like he’s running, he’s like, “I can’t believe I got away with that. I cannot believe that happened. And I can’t believe that nobody’s come after me, but they’re gonna be here after me any second,” right? He’s probably looking back over his shoulder constantly waiting for the army, waiting for the cavalry to run him down. He didn’t have a weapon at this point, right? It’s still back in the king’s belly, right? He’s got nothing to defend himself. He’s just running, “I can’t believe nobody’s come,” and eventually, he kind of slows down. He’s like, “Man, nobody’s coming after me.” And I think right about that moment he looks up. And what does he see? He sees the stone images of Gilgal, the stones that were set there to remind them that the hand of the Lord is powerful, he went, “Yes, it is. Yes, it is.”

And he thought, “I didn’t win because I was strong. I didn’t win because of my cleverness, or my great strategy, or my boldness. No, I won because the hand of the Lord is powerful.” He’s reminder that when he saw those stones. And when he arrived there back at Seirah where he went, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills with him leading them. “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the Lord has given Moab your enemy into your hands.” And so they followed him down and they took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab, and they allowed no one to cross over. And at that time, they struck down about 10,000 Moabites, all vigorous and strong, not one escaped.” Because they were good? No, because the hand of the Lord is powerful. “And that day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for 80 years.” Why? Because how clever they were? Because how powerful they were? Because how bold they were? Because of the strength of their armies and their men? No, no, no, no, because the hand of the Lord is powerful. He defeated their enemies, not with their strength ultimately, because really the deathblow had already been dealt. With the king gone, they were demoralized, and the decisive victory was won not by any of their strength, but honestly, by what everybody else would have considered a weakness. But see, that’s God, right? That’s God. He is powerful, which means we don’t have to be, and that’s really good news, right?

Listen, it’s a weird story, but it’s an incredibly, incredibly important truth. We don’t have to be strong when we trust in a God who is. I just got a question for you on this 4th of July weekend as we celebrate independence, as we celebrate strength, can I ask you this question, church? Where do you feel weakest right now? I think it’s important to recognize our weakness because unless we recognize our weakness, we won’t remember to put it in God’s hands. And even our weaknesses in the hands of a powerful God can become a strength like we could never imagine, but if we don’t recognize our weaknesses, we’ll never remember to put them in God’s hands. So where do you feel weakest right now? I’ll be honest with you. For me, it’s in my leadership. I’m a kind of guy. I’ve got a plan and a strategy and a vision for just about everything but navigating this pandemic has made me feel incredibly weak as a leader. I’m gonna be honest with you and hope this doesn’t cause you to lose respect for me, but I just wanna say this because I think a lot of you probably feel the same way. And I want you to know that, you know, we’re all in this together. I find myself constantly saying, “I don’t know what to do.” If you find yourself saying that as a husband, as a wife, as a father or a mother, leading in your company or just working in a company or trying to figure out how you’re gonna provide for your family or take care of yourself when you’ve lost your job or how you’re gonna make the decision to lay off people as the economy is sort of not doing great or do you hold on to people and burn through your ca…

Like, I know all those questions. I’m wrestling through all of those things too, and I often find myself going, “I just don’t know what to do. I don’t.” I mean, let’s just talk something really simple right now, right? I’m trying to figure out, when will we reopen? When will we reopen our physical campuses? It’s not just me. I’ve got a great executive team. I have a great staff, an amazing elder team. We’re just wrestling with, you know, “When do we do it?” I mean, does it make sense? See right now the government restrictions in Colorado allow us to do up to 175 people on a campus. That sounds great, but here’s the thing, we’ve done our study. We did a survey, and we got some information. We’ve talked to a lot other churches around the country who are reopening right now. What we found out honestly is that you need to be ready for about 50% of your pre-COVID attendance to be ready to come back as soon you reopen, 50%. Well, for us, that’s over 2,000 people. Okay? We usually have more than 4,000 on our physical campus on a weekend. So 50% is 2,000. So we wanna be ready to bring in 2,000 people, but with 175-person cap, that’s like 13 services. I can’t do 13 services. Our serve teams can’t do guest services for 13. We just can’t do that. Okay? So what do we do? Do we keep waiting until we get a higher number, knowing that it could be weeks or months before we get that right, or do we go ahead and reopen at 175 and do a reasonable number of services knowing that for a lot of people who wanna come back that means they’re not gonna get their reservation made because we’re gonna have to use a reservation to make sure we’re not overcrowding, so we’re not ignoring the social distance requirements?

So a lot of people, if we only do five or six services or even seven or eight, they’re not gonna be able to get in, right? So what’s better? Is it better to, you know, wait till we get, you know, a big enough number we can do enough services? Is it better to go ahead and open up so at least some people can come back even though some people won’t be able to get in? Like there’s advantages and disadvantages, and I just find myself going, “I just don’t know. I just don’t know.” We’re working through it. We’re coming up with plans. We’re not just giving up, but, man, I just feel weak right now as a leader. And if you know what that’s like, if you know what it’s like to feel weak for whatever reason, you need to understand, you don’t have to be strong when you trust in a God who is. And for me, that’s an incredibly important message. I gotta grab hold of that. I keep letting it slip through my fingers every day, but I’m gonna hold onto it tighter. Okay? So where are you feeling weakest right now? You need to recognize it so that you can remember to put even that weakness in his hands and trust in a God who’s strong. And then I’m gonna ask you this question because I think it’s so important. What are your stones of Gilgal, right? What are those reminders that you’ve put in your life to cause you to remember that you don’t have to be strong when your trust is in a God who is?

I’ve got a few in my life, and maybe you wanna do one of these in your life if you don’t have. And we actually had some actual stones, some rocks. If you go to my house, and I live in the suburbs, so this might be a little bit strange, but in the corner of my property, I actually have kind of pile of rocks there. My family has put those rocks up there, and we’ve talked about what each one symbolizes, the signs of God’s power in our lives so that we can remember that our God’s powerful, so we don’t have to be, right? They’re there. You can see them if you come by my house. At the church, you may have heard us up with this. There’s an opportunity to do that at the Littleton campus, there’s a pile of rocks and another pile of rocks. You can go and get a pile from sort of the messy pile, and you can write on it some sign that God has been powerful in your life. And you can put it on the neater pile, the Stones of Remembrance pile, the Stones of Gilgal pile, so to speak. And if you wanna do that, we’d love to have you come and do that, but maybe you need something like that in your life, or maybe, honestly, all you need to do is you just need to get a piece of paper, and you just need to write down 10 things from your past where you’ve seen the powerful hand of God at work.

Actually, you know what? This would be fun. Do this. Get a piece of paper. Maybe do this as a family. And you’re gonna write down those 10 things, but you’re not gonna write them with your strong hand. Okay? If you’re right-handed, you’re gonna write them down with your left hand. Okay? And if you’re left-handed, you’re gonna write them down with your right hand. Okay? You’re gonna write them with your non-dominant hand, and it’s gonna be messy, right? It’s gonna be a disaster. Like, my handwriting is awful when I’m using my right hand. When I use my left hand, like it’s completely illegible. Okay? But use your non-dominant hand. And even the messiness of it, every time you look at it, you’re gonna remember it’s okay to be weak. You don’t have to be strong when your trust is in a God who is. Hey, church, we got some plans in motion. We think we’re gonna be able to open fairly soon. We’re trying to work through all those details as I told you. So, my hope and my prayer is we’re gonna be able to see you in person real, real soon, but in the meantime, please hold on to this truth. No matter how weak you feel for whatever reasons you feel weak, you don’t have to be strong when your trust is in a God who is. Would you pray with me?

That God we just thank you so much that you are strong. You’re strong when we’re weak. You’re strong when we’re strong. And our strength pales in comparison to yours, and so we just need to trust your strength, Lord. On behalf of your people everywhere, we pray for the remembrance, the ability to keep calling to mind that it’s okay to be weak. We don’t have to just celebrate our strength. We can celebrate a God who is strong, so strong in fact, that he can bring victory out of our weakness. But, Lord, we so often forget that, and so we’re ashamed of our weakness. We’re afraid to acknowledge it and to admit it. And when we don’t do that, Lord, we can’t put it in your hands, and so, Lord, at this moment, all of us we just acknowledge the weaknesses that we feel, and the ones that we don’t or we’re not even aware of, we put them in your hands, and we put our trust in you. We grab a hold of this truth that we don’t have to be strong when we trust in a God who is.

If you’re a follower of Jesus right now, if you’ve trusted in his strength for your salvation, would you do something for me? Would you begin praying right now for the people around the world watching who don’t have that relationship? And I wanna speak to you right now if that’s you. If you’re tuned in to this, but you would say, “I’m not a follower of Jesus. I don’t have a relationship with this God that you’re talking about.” I wanna tell you real quickly about this amazing thing called the Gospel. The Gospel is a demonstration of God’s strength, again, through weakness.

God’s own Son came. He lived a perfect life. He didn’t have any sin that had to be paid for. He didn’t have any wrongdoing that had to be kind of taken care of between him and God. And because he was the perfect person with no sin to pay for, he was able to take our sin, my sin, your sin, put it on his shoulders, and then you know what he did? He died. That’s as weak as you get, right? He went to the cross willingly as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. He died. They buried him, and they thought it was over. Three days later, he rose from the dead. The power of God lifted him out of the grave, and with him, we receive salvation. When we put our trust in Jesus, we receive salvation, not because we try harder, not because we get better, but because we trust in the only one who can rescue us, Jesus Christ through his death and his resurrection. And if you’ve never put yourself in his hands into his strong hands, but you’re ready to do that right now, here’s how you do it. You’re just gonna have a conversation with him. It goes like this. Just say this in your heart to God:

God, I’ve done wrong. I’m not strong enough to be good enough for you. I see that. I’m so sorry. Sorry for all the wrong I’ve done. Jesus, thank you for dying to pay for my sin. Thank you for demonstrating your strength in that moment of weakness for my sake. I believe you rose from the dead, and I understand that you’re offering me salvation just by putting my trust in you, Jesus. So, Jesus, I’m saying yes to following you. I put my faith in you. I’m yours for now and forever. In Jesus name, Amen.

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