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Frankie Mazzapica - Whether Quickly Or Not

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    Frankie Mazzapica - Whether Quickly Or Not

Thank you for tuning in today, my name's Frankie Mazzapica, the title of the message is "Whether Quickly or Not". Whether Quickly or Not. Let me lay the scriptural foundation straight away. It's in Acts chapter 26, verse 36, where the Bible says, and before I quote it let me just kind of lay the scene, the Apostle Paul was preaching in the temple and a mob began to build a riot. And they decided that they were going to grab him, and arrest him and bring him to the authorities, bring him before the king. And they were gonna ask that he be crucified, beat, whipped. Any way possible, they were asking for him to be killed. And their claim against him was that they were telling him and they were telling everyone to break the law, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Paul was telling them that the Messiah that you have been waiting for has already come. His name was Jesus, he's already come, and we're supposed to dedicate and worship him. And so, here he is in court, and the king, his name is Agrippa. Now, parents have a responsibility for naming their kids, and I've heard a lot of creative names, I have never heard anyone go, "You know what? Agrippa has a good ring". But anyway, in Acts chapter 26, Paul is defending himself, and the Bible says this, that King, "Agrippa interrupted him". And said, "Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly"? And, Paul replied, "Whether quickly or not, I," am praying, "To God that both you and everyone in," the, "Audience," would, "Become," just like me, "Except for," the, "Chains," that you have bound me with. "Whether Quickly or Not".

We are addicted to quickly, some of us are far more impatient than others, but all of us want what we desire quickly. I am on the end of the spectrum that is extremely impatient. When people tell me jokes. Don't tell me a long joke. I don't wanna hear some three-minute joke with a punchline at the end. No, thank you, I wanna hear quick ones. A horse walks into a bar, the bartender looks at the horse and says, "Why the long face"? Let's just get to the end, right? Just bring it to me. There were two clowns eating a piece of steak, and they looked at each other and they said, "Does this taste funny to you"? I don't even care if it's that funny, just get to the end. A man bought a "Cadillac," it was a brand new "Cadillac," and his mother-in-law was driving it. And he saw that she was driving off of a cliff in his own "Cadillac," and he thought, "Man, I don't know how I feel about this".

That wasn't very funny, sorry. Just get to the end. And Paul was saying this, whether you get saved, whether your heart changes quickly or not, I'm still praying for you. And so let me just dive into the first point, I have three major points. The first point is the sentence that King Agrippa said right out of the gates. He said, "Do you," believe that you, that, "You can persuade me"? When I read that, I was thinking about it a little bit more, and I feel and I believe that the enemy says the same exact thing to you and I, but often in a different context. Do you really believe that you can do anything at all to change his heart? Do you really believe that you can do anything at all to change her heart, to change your situation, quickly? Can you change his heart quickly, can you change her heart quickly, can you change your financial status quickly? You are spending more than you're making, do you think you can change that quickly? You are not in good health, you want to be, do you really think that you can do anything at all to change that quickly?

And when we have those thoughts. And quickly for us means within the next few weeks, in the next few days, sometimes, at least within the next year. This can be quickly. But the enemy'll tell you, "You aren't going to do anything quickly". The takeaway from this is we often overestimate what we are capable of doing and underestimate how willing God is to get involved. Do you agree with that? Come on, let me hear you, do you agree with that? We truly believe that if we strategize a conversation, have you ever prepared a conversation in your head? "This is what I'm gonna say when I see them, this is what I'm gonna say," and then you get up there and you forget what you were going to say, right? "This is what I'm gonna do, this is how I'm gonna do it," and you look back over the last few weeks, last few months, last couple years, nothing's changed, and then it gets depressing, especially when there's people around us that are treating us not the way that we deserve.

It's not that we're being arrogant, it's not that we're being prideful, we just want them to treat us the way we're treating them, but we are hoping that things are changing. And the thought often crosses our mind, "God, I know that you can change my situation, I know that you can change their hearts, I know that you can fix everything that concerns me. The trouble is, I don't know if you will, I don't know if you'll get involved". I've learned that God gets involved when we ask him to get involved, his very first miracle was at a wedding when he turned water into wine, his very first one. And I thought before, "Why was that the first place that he went to perform the miracle"?

And you have to ask the question, maybe it was because he was invited, maybe it was. I had a bully in the sixth grade, this guy threatened to beat me up all the time, I almost wish that we would have hurried up and got into it, just punch me already. The worst part was that he would call me certain names. Finally, my mom went to the school and talked to the counselor. And they pulled me in, and the counselor said, "Have you ever told him that you didn't want him to call you that name"? I felt so stupid, I was like, "No, that thought never crossed my mind". We have to believe that he God is actually going to get involved.

When my wife and I started Celebration Church like 18 years ago, we started with three people, three people showed up to our first service. I remember calling my dad, who's a pastor on the other side of the city, and I remember telling him, "Dad, I don't think I can do this". The church, at that time, was so small that I was aware of what everybody was going through, I was aware of everyone's problem, and I would meet with them, I would have coffee with them, I would carry their burdens, and there was less than 10 people in the church. I called my dad one time, I was like, "Dad, I don't think I'm cut out for this, especially if the church gets any bigger than 10, because I'm already about to cripple down and fold in half". I was like, "I can't, I feel like I can't help these people, I can't help them". And my father said these words to me, he goes, "Frankie, it is not your job as a pastor to help people, it is your responsibility to point them to who can help them". Come on, are you with me? Come on, do you agree?

But we overestimate what we are able to do and we underestimate what God is able to do. The second point I wanna dive into is, are those exact words? Because King Agrippa said, "Do you," really, "Think that you can persuade me," "So quickly"? And then, "Paul replied, 'Whether quickly or not.'" That's the second point, whether quickly or not. We do not like slow things, we want it quick, and what I've learned is quick and quit meet too often, if it doesn't happen quickly, we quit. I wanna say this, that we overestimate what God will do in the short term and underestimate what God will do in the long term. All of us expect God to change our trajectory, change our season, change the heart, change everything now, within the next couple weeks. We overestimate that that is going to happen. I believe, this is just me, I don't do the research because I'm busy on Sunday morning, but I believe that we have the best worship team in the country, at least.

Come on, I believe that. During the week, I get on our "YouTube" channel and I play it in my ears, I play it in my car. And I came in this morning to do a sound check with my microphone to make sure everything was working. When I came in, the worship team was practicing, and they were warming up and going over the songs, etcetera. And when I came in and I saw them, I just smiled and I thought to myself, "I thought we were going to have this worship team the very first day we started the church". Our worship team, God bless us all, we sounded like a frog in a bucket, ok? We didn't have the equipment, the microphone and the wire, they had to hold it together because it would fall out of the back, all of our equipment would fit into blue "Tupperware" tubs, but I believed that we were gonna have the best worship team ever. We didn't have the worship team that you see today until we were 10 years old, where all the worship, the drummer, the piano player, every single singer, 10 years old. But now, when preachers come while I'm gone, they always say, "You guys have the best worship team in the city".

Again, come on, put your hands together for that. Again, I know that there's churches everywhere that have wonderful worship teams, but we're one of them. And so I thought to myself this morning, "I overestimated what God would do in the short term and I underestimated what God would do in the long term". I am captivated, right now, over a college football team called Colorado University. Now, I'm a Texas A&M football fan, but, hey, I heard that, howdy. But there's a Colorado football team just got one of my favorite players as their coach, his name is Deion Sanders. Anybody know Deion Sanders? Come on, I love that guy, "Primetime" Deion Sanders. I can't do his dance, but you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, Colorado won one game last year, one game. This year, they won the first three games in a row, and then the fourth game, they played a team just two weeks ago, they beat them so bad it was embarrassing to them, it was embarrassing to me. I was like, "Oh my goodness". I can't remember, does anyone remember the score? It was like 46, 47 to 6 and, and the 6 was like in the last few minutes. They're just like, "You know what? Let these guys score, I feel bad for this, this is terrible". 47 to 6... And so they interviewed Deion Sanders after the game and Deion Sanders said, "All of you guys that wanna beat us bad, you better get us now, because this is the worst our team will ever be".

In other words, I'm not gonna underestimate who we're gonna be in the short term, I know the reality, but in the long term, you better keep an eye on me because the story is not finished yet. I wanna tell you, your story is not finished yet, you're just kind of warming up, ok? You're warming up. There will be people, when you are at low points in your life, they will criticize you, but if you continue to pray and stay faithful, there will be a day where they will tell others that they once knew you, they will tell others that they were friends with you, because your story is not finished yet, God has not completely showed off yet. The Bible says that he is faithful to those who are faithful. It doesn't mean that you're perfect, but you're keeping your chin up, you're keeping your eyes on the Lord. And the Lord says, "Watch this, I'm gonna show my strength in those who are faithful".

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, it says that his eyes go back and forth, he's looking all over the earth, to look for faithful people so that he can show his strength in their life. I wanna encourage you again, whether quickly or not, God will come through for you. Do you believe that? Come on. I wanna dive into the third point, where, at the last part of the sentence or the last part of the verse, Paul says this, "Whether quickly or not," I am praying to God for you to become just like me. Now, think about what he is saying, he's looking at people that despise the message of Jesus Christ, he's looking at people who hate him, and he's saying, "I am praying that you will love Jesus Christ as much as me".

Now, to me, this falls into the category of impossible prayers, like, this is impossible, that you are looking at people with hearts of stone. All of us have at least one friend whose heart is like stone, you can get more, you can get further along walking up to a wall and talking to the that wall about Jesus than you can with them. At least one person, just nod your head, unless you're sitting next to that one person. And to think that that person is going to become on fire for God, that feels like an impossibility, that that person will become an example of righteousness and holiness, completely free of every addiction. Think about the impossibility, a person who is sick and has been sick for years, maybe even their entire life.

See, sometimes we don't pray impossible prayers because we don't want to set ourselves up for disappointment, we don't want to live the rest of our life saying to ourself, "I believed in the Lord, but he didn't come through for me". And so, we hold back the impossible prayers and pray the simple prayers, like, "Lord Jesus, thank you for this food, bless it unto my body". We're looking at chicken fried steak, "Bless it to my body". And then we just go even a step further, "And bless the hands who made it".

You don't even know that cook back there, you don't even know who he is, you're at a restaurant, you're at an old country cafe, you're probably never gonna meet that guy or that woman. You don't know if it's a woman, if it's a man, if it's a kid, if it's someone 80 years old, just flipping that thing around, but you're blessing the hands because they made it. You don't know if that's ever gonna happen, you don't know if their hands are gonna get blessed, but you know what? You're not putting yourself out there, that's a prayer that's not gonna disappoint you. I'll tell you this, impossible prayers only happen to those who pray impossible prayers, it only happens to them. I've learned that the more I pray, the more I pray about things that God wants me to pray for.

You see, when you spend time with him, you find that you begin thinking about him, you begin acting like him, you begin believing in him. You know, my daughter, she's 18 years old, she has ratcheted her prayer life up so high that she will not speak bad of a person under any circumstances, but, all so often, she will state a situation about a person and immediately begin to see it from their perspective. Every single time she would say, and still says, "If I were them and I saw it from their perspective, I would probably do the same thing". Things like that begin to change your world, because now you're praying the way the Lord wants you to pray, and when you pray the way the Lord wants you to pray, for the things that he wants you to pray for, you will find that it's those exact prayers that God begins to answer.

I read about a story of a family who had a son who went completely out of control. If it was bad, he was doing it, he was addicted to things that were shameful, he was living without restraint, no moral standards, no righteous standards. And this was breaking his parents's heart, they were crying every night, his brothers and sisters were crying every night. He was going against everything, and he was living in their home, and they were just thinking, "This isn't the kind of home that we dreamed of". Sure enough, the young man just went too far, he was arrested and he was put into prison. He was there for several years, and he found out that his time was up and he was gonna get to be released.

He wrote a letter to his mother and father, and said, "I'm gonna be released, I don't know if I've gone too far, but if it's ok, I'd like to come home". And he said, "If I'm allowed to come home, will you wrap a yellow ribbon around the trunk of the oak tree about an acre in front of our house"? The oak tree was so big it couldn't be mistaken, and the family grew up in that house, everyone knew what oak tree it was. He got on a train and he was coming back home, they lived way out in the country. He was looking out the window trying to see the oak tree, couldn't see it. It came to a stop, and he knew that, "If I don't see a ribbon around the trunk of that tree, I'm gonna have to catch the next train".

He stepped off on the platform and started walking home, it was this old dirt road. Again, they lived out in the country. And he was looking for that tree with a yellow ribbon around the tree. He saw the tree, and there was no yellow ribbon around the tree, but every single branch on the tree had a yellow ribbon wrapped around every single branch. He could hardly see the tree, it looked like one big ribbon blowing in the wind. The father, the mother, the family, as soon as they saw him, came running out, tears were everywhere. They didn't realize what God would do in the short term, they were hoping for the short term, but it was in the long term where his heart changed. It was them backing up, saying, "Whether quickly or not, we believe that God's gonna touch his heart". I want you to know, whether quickly or not, God's gonna bless you. Come on, stand up on your feet.
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