Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - Enjoy The Journey

Jentezen Franklin - Enjoy The Journey

Jentezen Franklin - Enjoy The Journey
Jentezen Franklin - Enjoy The Journey

I want to go to the Book of Matthew 18. I'll begin reading with Verse 1. "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' Then Jesus called a little child to Him and set him in the midst of them". "Jesus called a little child to Him and set him in the midst of them and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children,'" listen. This is important, "'you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'"

I got a little buddy that's gonna help me preach my first little introduction. Come up here. This is my grandson. This is my only grandson, and this is little Luca. I love you, buddy. And you know, Jesus was teaching his disciples, and men are interested in being great, and they said how can we be great in your kingdom, in your world? How can we be great? And Jesus did something strange. He took a little boy, and he set him in front of the 12 holy apostles, and he said, "Unless you become just like him," quit looking at yourself. Look out there. You're so cute. And the disciples, starchy, religious, jockeying for position, power, influence are staring at a little child just like him who, by the way, his shoes are on backwards. Did you notice this? I love you. And the holy disciples, the guys who would write the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, all of them are looking at a child, and Jesus says I'm telling you that unless you become like this, you will not get into the kingdom of heaven. Give him a big hand. You preached good today. You go sit down, buddy. Thank you. Thank you.

He told them that for a reason that in a lesson that you're gonna understand in just a moment. It would cost them everything: the Gospel, the ministry, the call of God. Simon Peter was crucified upside down in 66 A.D. Andrew was tied and bound and left to starve to death, and that's how history records he died. James was beheaded by Herod. John was banished to an island called Patmos and there he lived the rest of his life on a rocky island with buzzards and rocks. Philip would be crucified in 52 A.D. Bartholomew was beheaded. Matthew was crucified. Thaddeus was shot through with arrows. And on and on it goes. Every one of them would have horrible, horrible days that they would face, and yet, Jesus before He released them into their ministry said, "If you wanna be great, you've gotta be like this".

See, the little smile on his face? See the joy in his heart? You have to be converted to little children so that whatever you go through, it doesn't weigh you down. Mark Twain wrote a book about life on the Mississippi, and he became a steamboat pilot, and he was trained, and the whole book is about the training that he had to go through to be able to take that steam boat down the mighty Mississippi River on its 1,200 miles that it extends. He said that it was a 1,200 mile journey, and they had to learn every part of that river, everything about it like he had to know it all like he knew his ABCs only he said I have to reverse it also, and I have to be able to say it backwards because they would go down the river and back up and if they did not know what they were doing, it would cost them everything. He talked about major influxes of water in certain places that if you didn't position the ship right or the boat, the steamboat right that it would end up in disaster. He knew how at day or night the current would be. He knew the shallowness, the tides. He knew everything, and he had to learn every bit of the shoreline. He had to know the dangers everywhere. He said it was constant.

They were training him. He said the first time that he went as a passenger on the Mississippi he was stunned. He couldn't believe the beauty, the incredible awe of the mighty Mississippi River. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but I have. I've been there. I've seen. It is something that is inspiring and the history of it and the beauty of it. It's a beautiful place, and you see if you ever go on those, they still have them, those old steamboats. It's an amazing thing, but the trained eye doesn't see the same thing as the passenger sees. The trained eye, he said, these are not pictures at all but the gravest of reading matter, a difference between life and death, the river boat captain versus the passenger. They're both looking at the same thing, but they're seeing entirely different things, and I just want to take a moment. Everybody relax and let me read you in his own words what he's talking about.

He said, "I still keep in my mind the wonderful river boat sunset which I witnessed when steam boating was new to me. A broad expanse of river was turned to blood; and in the middle a solitary log came floating, inconspicuous down the river. In one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface of the water was broken and boiling, tumbling water seemed to come up from beneath. The ruddy flush made a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines, even so delicately traced; the shore on our left was wooded, and the shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail there shone the river like silver; and high above the forest wall was a dead tree, a single leafy bough it made, graceful curves dissolving lights of the reflection drifted steadily, every passing moment new marvels of coloring on the surface of the river. I stood like one bewitched. I drank it all in, in speechless rapture. This world was new to me. I had never seen anything like this river where I lived. But as I have said, the day came when I began to cease from noticing the glories," now listen, "the charms which the moon and the sun and the twilight had upon the river's face I no longer noticed. There came a time when I ceased altogether to note them. Then, if that sunset scene had been repeated, I would have looked upon it without rapture, and would have commented upon it, inwardly, upon this fashion".

Now, notice the difference now. At first, awe, wonder, wow, this is incredible. Now, he's done it so many times, here's his response. "The sun, the way it's hitting the water means there's going to be wind tomorrow. This floating log means the river is rising. That slanting mark in the water is a reference to reef that is dangerous. It could destroy somebody's steamboat, and it will one of these nights,. The tumbling 'boils' of water from churning from beneath the current lines and circles of the water are warning of the bank that is shallow and dangerous to my ship and my passengers. That silver streak in the shadow of the forest is a 'break' from a new snag. That tall tree with a simple branch is not going to last long, and how in the world will I navigate through without that old landmark? Now, when I mastered the language of this water and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the alphabet I had made a valuable acquisition. I could now read the river, but I had lost something as well. I had lost something that would never be restored to me again. All the grace, all the beauty, all the poetry had gone out of the majestic river. The romance and the beauty of it all had somehow vanished, and all the value that I could see in that river was its usefulness it gave me for safe passage of my steam boat. And doesn't he sometimes wonder if he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade"?

What he was saying was when I first started in this thing, I was just amazed at the gorgeous beauty and glory of this mighty, mighty river. Every time I saw the different waves and little movements of the water and the logs and things, I just soaked it in, and I enjoyed it. I was enjoying the journey. I really enjoyed the journey on the steamboat, but he said now everything has changed. Because of what I've gone through and because of what I've learned and because of what I know I don't see and enjoy the journey. This a job. I'm a professional, and I have a responsibility to get from here to there, and bless God, I'm gonna do it. And the apostles grew older. They learned how to read the river of life. They went through things. They went through setbacks. They had more than miracles. They had more than signs and wonders. They had seen the heights of the ministry and Jesus doing amazing things. They had lived with Him for three and a half years, but now ministry had turned into something else, and it was bad. It was painful. It was torturous. They were imprisoned. They were beaten. They were starved. They were going through hell.

And the question that they had to keep coming back to is do I still have the heart of a child? Am I still joyful? Do I still have the heart that can somehow balance the river of life and not get out of balance to where I'm just cynical and angry and on a journey, but I'm not enjoying the journey? And in case you don't know it yet, I'm not talking and preaching about the Mississippi River, and I'm not preaching about the apostles. I'm preaching about you and I'm preaching about me, and I'm preaching about have we lost the wonder and the awe and the blessedness of the River of Life, Jesus Christ? Are we so worried about this and that and, oh, I know what that means and this turn and this bend and oh my goodness, and oh, that's telling me that's coming, and oh my goodness, we've got another problem. What's gonna happen tomorrow? You must never ever lose the beauty of this glorious experience we have in Jesus Christ. His mercy, His grace, His goodness, His righteousness, His ever-flowing stream of Blood we ought to stand in awe of, that no matter what's going on in my life I'm alive.

I'm on the boat, and I'm going down the river. Paul put it like this in 1 Corinthians 12:20, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice or anger be like children". You know what he's saying? He's saying I want you to be in anger in concerning unforgiveness I want you to be like children, how they'll fight over a toy and hit each other in the head and two minutes later, they'll set that down and be hugging and rolling and playing and giggling and laughing, and he said I want you to be like that. It's a balancing act. Be as innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise and understanding. It's not that, yes, that is dangerous over there. Yes, you better stay away from that stuff over there. That is not good, but life is not about just what we can't do and where we can't go, but we're supposed to enjoy the journey and enjoy especially the river, and the river is Jesus.

Clap your hands and say amen. It's a balancing act. Jesus knew this about His 12 disciples. He said, "Behold, I send you," and they didn't know what He was talking about. He said it while He was alive and with them before the crucifixion, but He said, "Behold, I send you a sheep among wolves. Therefore, listen, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves". The balance. One translation said, "Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You'll be like sheep running through a wolf pack. Don't call attention to yourself. Be as cunning as a snake and indefensible as a dove". It's a high-wire act. I want you to keep this balance that you never become jaded, but you just become like that little smiling face. Look at all these people. Whatever life brings, whatever things happen to you, be like a little child. You've got the heart of a child. Look at that lightning bug. I wanna chase it. You stay adventurous. You stay alive. You enjoy the journey.

Paul said in Romans 16:19 that we are to be innocent toward evil but wise toward God. In other words, see what is right and stay clear of what is wrong. That's what we're supposed to do, but we're not to just see what is wrong and stay clear of it, but we're to enjoy what is right. Here's the leadership lesson I'm trying to get across today. God wants us to navigate the river, but God wants us to enjoy the river also. We've gotta navigate life, but we've gotta also enjoy life. If you don't watch it, you just become cynical and hardened because of stuff you've been through and stuff you've gone through, and all you see is the pain and all you see is there's a problem and there's a problem and there's a problem, and you don't even enjoy the mighty river anymore. The river of life. The river of Jesus. The river of grace.

Jesus said I came to give you life and life more abundantly. Hallelujah, and I refuse to just let my problems be the focus of my life. It's still a beautiful life. I've got stuff coming at me. There comes a log. There comes a problem. That's an ugly spot right there, but I can just scoot around it, and you've gotta learn how to just scoot around stuff and keep your joy and keep the joyful heart of a child and say, oh, I can't wait to see what we're gonna do next. I intend to enjoy the river to the last day that I live, and I'll scoot around stuff. It's not that I don't have trouble, but I'll scoot around it.

Saul, King Saul, quit enjoying the river. He was having an amazing ride. God raised him up from nobody to become the first king of Israel, but the Bible said that when David killed Goliath, it's a funny little verse. It said, "And Saul eyed David from that day forward". See, he got his eyes off the beauty of the river. Boy, look at. You know the Bible said that he would sing and dance, and he was even turned into another man and began to prophesy. That's when he was focused on the river, but when he had a little jealous spirit get a hold of him and he started eyeing David, the Bible said of Saul, "and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker," but here's David facing the same situation, but his focus and attitude is on the Lord, and he's singing. He's like a little child. He's writing songs, "How excellent is your name, oh Lord, and all the earth. Out of the mouth of babes and suckling Thou has ordained praise. I will praise you. I will look unto the hills from which cometh".

See, one is like a child. He never lost it. David had a lot of problems in his life, but when you read the Book of Psalms and all those lyrics that he wrote for songs that all these guys rip off all the time, it did not come out of a perfect life. It came out of one situation with his son where he tried to overthrow him and did. His name was Absalom, and then Absalom went on the rooftop and raped the wives of his father to humiliate his father. You think when he died, when Absalom his son, died a tragic death, have you ever read that famous verse where he's weeping, "Absalom, Absalom, my son. Absalom, he is no more. He's dead," do you not think that he could have become stoic and jaded and hardened and said I'll never write another song. I'll never sing another song. I'll never believe God for anything 'cause he let that happen to my family.

Or what about his mistake? What about David who fell into adultery and brought shame and dishonor and disgrace? He could've carried and I've just gotta get to heaven, and I can't enjoy this river because I've got so much guilt and so much shame, and I deserve nothing. I don't deserve any happiness. I don't deserve nothing. God's getting me back for everything I've ever done. He threw all that stuff off. He said I'll bless the Lord at all times. He's just like a little kid. Well, I messed up there and had that problem over there, but God's still good, and hallelujah, I'll bless the Lord. He said seven times a day I'll bless the name of the Lord. In England they take tea breaks, in America we take Starbucks breaks, but in Israel David took praise breaks and seven times a day he'd say hallelujah. Praise. Wow! God is good. He's like a little child. A joyful heart still singing, still praising, still full of optimism and joy not 'cause his life was perfect, but he decided that he would focus on the God who can change things, and the river is still good.
Are you Human?:*