John Gray - The Power of Thank You
"For all to Jesus, I surrender all, to thee I freely give. And I will ever love and trust him in his presence daily lived, I surrender all". Some of you young people don't know this song but, "I surrender all, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, and all to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all". That song was not in my notes but I felt the presence of the Lord and I just wanted to tell him thank you for how good he's been to me this year. I don't know about you, and I don't know what prompted you to come here this morning or why you're watching, or what prompted you to log in, but I'm very grateful and I believe that you're grateful, too.
I believe there's some people in here who know God has been better to you than you could be to yourself and if we could just give God a thank you right now, just if he's done anything for you this year, can you let him know how much you appreciate him? Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah, yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah hallelujah, I better preach 'cause if I don't I'm a shout. I'm probably gon' shout anyway.
How many people were excited about thanksgiving, you were blessed on Thursday. I'm grateful for the holiday of thanksgiving but I want you to know that thanksgiving doesn't end on Thursday. You can still have thanksgiving today, amen? Now I'm not talkin' spiritual, I'm just talkin' 'bout leftovers. Some of you real deep, ooh amen, thanksgiving is every day, thank you, Jesus! I'm talkin' 'bout that turkey sandwich. With a little bit of cranberry sauce. With a layer of macaroni and cheese with some dressing on top of that. You don't hear me. With a little bit of mayonnaise, you don't hear me, cut it triangular, cut the crust off, you don't hear me. That's a sandwich that Jesus would make.
Thanksgiving is a day that we celebrate the abundance of God, the harvest of God, the favor of God. But I believe that there's an opportunity for us to live thanksgiving every day. I just wanna thank God for the opportunity to be a part of the Lakewood family and to be a continuation of the legacy of pastor John and Dodie Osteen that is now well taken care of in the hands of pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen, along with Dr. Paul and his wife and pastor Lisa and her husband and the rest of the family and leadership, I celebrate the anointing on your life. And I felt the Holy Ghost as Dr. Paul was speaking and then later, pastor Lisa.
There's something to be said about how blessed you are. Whether you're watching online of if you're sitting in these chairs right now, you're blessed. You are blessed more than you know. And I believe today, what the word of the Lord is for you, is take time to say thank you. I know sometimes we can get busy with life and things happen, and maybe everything's not where you want it to be, maybe everything's not perfect, maybe all your prayers are not answered, but if you're still alive, you got a chance.
There are some people that would love to trade places with you right now, whether you're in the balcony or in this front row, every last one of us has something to be thankful for. And a heart of thanksgiving will go a long way. And I'm so glad that I'm a part of a church that is not so excited about this building that we don't step outside of our comfort zone to reach out and meet the needs of those who can't, for whatever reason, help themselves in this season of their lives. So thankful that we got a church that doesn't mind hangin' out on thanksgiving, taking time out to the fifth ward, makin' sure that people have food to eat, making sure that single mothers have food on the table. That's a pretty meager applause for a miracle of God.
Sometimes when we think about, when you hear, you know, fifth ward, and for those who don't know fifth ward, is a neighborhood, it's a historic neighborhood, it's fallen on hard times and a lot of the people that are there, they're pressing through to get to the place called success, or to the place called abundance, but it doesn't have anything to do with their character as referenced by the 19-year-old mother who's taking four buses to get to work. And what that blesses me to say is she's not waiting on a handout, she's working the best she can with what she has, and I wanna celebrate her, if she's listenin' or if you're in here, honey, keep goin', I know God's got your back. Single mamas, God's got your back.
As Dr. Paul said, I'm a product of a single mother, product of a divorced home, don't tell me that your situation can end in destruction, talk to me, William McDowell, pastor William McDowell, who sings withholding nothing and I give myself away, number one record in billboard, this week, that what he just sang, and he was raised by a single mother, in Cincinnati, not far from me, we grew up in the same church, and this morning, we're in the largest church in this country, withholding nothing, do you think I'ma give God an average praise? After God took me from there to here? No thank you, God I bless you, hallelujah! My circumstance does not determine my destiny. So there, devil. Every statistic says neither one of us should've made it, but here we are, both of us, love God, love our wives, love our children, preachin' the word and making the name of Jesus great in the earth. This is the legacy that is going to continue and I believe that thanks is not enough, but it's a great beginning.
Today I wanna talk to you from the subject, the power of thank you. The power of thank you. Thank you. Two simple words, thank you, can change everything. Thank you. A sign of acknowledgement, a sign of deference, a sign of appreciation. Thank you. Now, depending on how you say it, we know if you really mean it or not. Thank you. You don't mean it. But there is a thanks that can get God's attention. There is a thank you that can reach his heart. A thank you that changes everything. And in Luke chapter 17, we have a story. Verse 11, I'm reading from the new King James version and you can read along with me if you'd like. Not out loud. It's my turn.
Now it happened as he went to Jerusalem that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as he entered a certain village, there met him 10 men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, master, have mercy on us"! So when he saw them, he said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests". And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed returned, and one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned. And with a loud voice, glorified God and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not 10 cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner"? And he said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well".
Again, I wanna talk for a few minutes from the subject, the power of thank you. Now, lot of times when you read biblical stories, it's hard to put it in perspective because we're not familiar with the geography, we're not familiar with, you know, some of the terminology, and all that, but let me tell you, these men had leprosy. Now, if there's a disease you don't want, 2.000 years ago in the Middle East, this is the one. This is the one you don't want. Starts out as a rash and it gets increasingly worse.
I just learned from Dr. Paul, it's a nerve disease. But they didn't know that back then, because they didn't have Dr. Paul, we got Dr. Paul. All they knew is, somethin' wrong with my hand and it's gettin' bigger. And it wasn't a mosquito bite, 'cause I'm sick of these mosquitoes, these south side Jerusalem mosquitoes keep bitin' me and I don't have no off!, 'cause they ain't even made it yet, and there ain't no neosporin, nothin'.
And so, it starts as a small thing that gets progressively bigger, and isn't that how the enemy does? It's a small thing. You try to manage sin, you ever tried to manage your sin? I'ma just sin a little bit. Before you know it, that thing's blown out of proportion, goin' out of control. Note to you, you cannot manage sin. The blood of Jesus has to demolish sin. You can't manage it, it's unmanageable, it gets out of control, it gets out of hand. It starts small, and unless you uproot that thing and get it out of there, it will corrupt and infect.
The Bible says sin full grown gives birth to death. That means when that thing is grown up, it's gon' kill you. Catch it in its infant stages so that it does not destroy your destiny. Leprosy is the one disease you don't want, 'cause leprosy is like that thriller video. When those zombies were comin' out of the ground, stuff was fallin' off, leprosy is a disease that eats away at your body. You could be sittin' there and be like, I think I'm gon' sing a song today. Glory, glory whoops! And a hand just fall off.
I ain't lyin'. I'm tellin' you, leprosy is no joke. You could be sittin' there like, achoo! My lip, my lip. Where did my? Somebody find my lip, it's gone. Leprosy is the one you don't want. Not only was it a disease that ate away at your body, it ate away at your soul because it was believed that you could only get leprosy if you were cursed. And so you had to announce yourself, if you were going to move, or leave, or be in a public place, if there was anybody who didn't have it, you had to announce so they wouldn't get too close. Unclean! Hey, don't come, I'm dirty, I'm unclean! You see, I got leprosy, you know, I'm just sayin'.
You had to tell people that you were unworthy of affection, unworthy of touch. And how many times has the church taken it upon themselves to decide who and what is unworthy of God's love? Unworthy of God's affection? I'm so glad that I'm a part of a church that doesn't look at the fifth ward and cry, unclean, but says, I'm goin' right down there in the midst of what everybody else calls the 'hood, and I'ma give everybody food and I'ma pray and I'm ask them, do you wanna get saved? And 25 of 'em said yes, which means 25 went from unsaved to saved, from unclean to healed, forgiven, set free. That's the power of a church willing to step out of its comfort zone. The days of judgmental church are over, the days of the church deciding who gets saved, and who gets grace and who doesn't are over. Until you die on a cross, you can't tell me who can and can't get saved.
Let me tell you somethin', the blood of Jesus and the grace of God are wider and deeper and higher than anything any of us could ever imagine and don't you ever forget where the blood found you. While you're quick to judge others, remember where you were when the blood caught you, this is a season for the church to roll its sleeves up, for the church to get dirty, get your hands dirty, start reachin' out because Jesus was always around the broken, Jesus who was always around the sinners and tax collectors, people caught in adultery, people caught up with sickness and addiction and sin, he was always right there. Well why would he do that? 'Cause that's who he came for, maybe the church has forgotten what we're all about.
Nobody in here is perfect, we all have leprosy somewhere. These 10 guys are over here by themselves and clearly it wasn't just Samarians or Samaritans, because Jesus wouldn't have said, "Only the foreigner came back"? Which means there was some believers in there with some leprosy, too. There was some Jews in there who should have known who Jesus was from the prophecies. But sometimes, when you're broken, you can't see the forest for the trees. When you're in trouble, and what's funny, it ain't no racism amongst lepers. You a Jewish leper? Get away from me. You a Samaritan, we all lepers, we all, ain't no, don't nobody want none of us. You might as well stay here.
There's a level of brokenness where you don't care who comes to help you, you just need help. And so Jesus was walking amidst or amongst, between Samaria and Galilee. Samaritans that was known as sinners, Galilee, that's known for believers. He was walking between the two, didn't matter who reached out, he was just waiting for somebody to call on him. And here they go, "Jesus, master, have mercy on us"! Notice, they weren't selfish. They didn't say, have mercy on me. We all need it, we all need a miracle, all 10 of us. Heal us, my nose just fell off, heal me.
Maybe you can't understand how desperate they were, but why don't you take a look at a couple of pictures of people who have had to deal with leprosy. Put those on the screen. The hands that you see that are holding those hands are the hands of Dr. Paul, holding the hands of someone that others wouldn't touch, that others have labeled unclean. A disease that eats away at your flesh, hard to move, hard to function, paralyzed from shame, paralyzed, tryin' to figure out what you did to deserve this.
Anybody in here ever messed up so bad that you feel like you were just perpetually unclean? I'll never be able to get past this. I'll never be able to live down this bad decision. I'll never be able to get past this bad situation. I've done some things in my life there's no way God can forgive me. I want you to know there's nothing that is untouchable to God. These men said, "Jesus, please have mercy on us". Mercy.
And I love what Jesus did here. You know, a lot of times 'cause we watch movies, we think every time Jesus did a miracle, it was this big, grand, dramatic expression 'cause you've been watchin', you know, like the Ten Commandments and Moses was like, part the Red Sea. And we always think that Jesus was like real dramatic, but he wasn't, right, here he was like, "Go, show yourself to the priest". It's all good. It's all he said. He didn't go touch 'em, he didn't walk on water this time, he was just walkin', 'ey go show yourself to the priest.
He was real non-dramatic, and you gotta get this picture in your mind that Jesus is relational. Everything's not gonna be a big production, some of y'all are waitin' on Jesus to be like, I've heard thine prayer, and I have come down in physical form with my beard to heal you. Be free of all thine iniquity. He's not doin' it. "Go, show yourself to the priest". Just a word, somebody say, just a word. Just one word, like Dr. Paul said, just one word, "Go, show yourselves to the priest". There it is, go. There is an action word.
When I'm a leper, I'm not allowed to move, I can't be amongst the people, it's illegal for lepers to be amongst clean people and if clean comes near them, they gotta say, stay away! But Jesus said, "Go"! What he's sayin' is, don't stay in the place that reminds you of what I just freed you from. Some of y'all been hangin' around some people that continuously remind you of what God wants to deliver you from and has delivered you from. And they want you to keep rememberin' it, 'cause they don't wanna change.
Ahh! But today your day of deliverance is at hand and what you were, you are not now, and you're never goin' back again. By the power of Jesus does anybody believe it? Jesus says, "Go, show yourselves to the priest". Here are men that were desperate, limbs falling off, flesh eaten away, they get a word from Jesus, the master and it says that one of them noticed that as he was walking in the direction of the word that Jesus spoke, he was healed. Huh! My fingers are back! My skin is smooth.