John Gray - Welcome Home
I wanna jump right into the word tonight, and I want you to get ready. I wanna encourage families tonight. I wanna speak life to some dreamers and I also wanna, I believe, declare the word of the Lord for the direction of some people that are here and also those who are watching online. I wanna see the Lord tonight. Anybody else with me wanna truly be refreshed in the presence of the Lord, in the word of the Lord?
You know, yesterday, I took my son swimming. Actually, I took him to go fall in the water and drink half the swimming pool is what he did. But it might not seem like a big deal because it's hot, and you should go swimming when it's hot, but it was a monumental moment for me as a man because I was able to take my son swimming. And my father never took me swimming. My father never took me to a lot of places.
And so, yesterday was significant in that I was able to take my son into the water. He had on his life jacket and he was on his back. And he was enjoying himself, but he kept his eyes on me, because he was in unfamiliar territory. And even though he was having a good time and he saw other little kids, they didn't bring as much comfort to him as him looking up and seeing his daddy's face. And it touched my heart that my son said, "I know this is something new. I'm not sure where I'm at, but as long as I can see you, I know I'm all right".
Now to a lot of people, that may not be a big deal. My wife will tell you, I cried, and I was just all emo... Thank you, Jesus, he's swimming. And it wasn't because he was swimming. It was because he felt safe in what could've been a very unsafe environment. And it started me thinking about where we are as a nation, where we are in the world where the very concept of family and of life is rapidly changing. People are allowed to define whatever they wish, but I still believe that the world of the Lord holds true, and I believe that God gave us the blueprint for how families should interact. He gave us the blueprint on how we should function, and I believe that is the maximum capacity that the earth can receive.
If we do things the way the Word of God outlines, then we will have maximum blessing benefit and we will leave a lasting legacy in the earth. Because of this father and son moment, I found myself thinking about my future and thinking about where we are as the body of Christ, where we are in the church, thinking about how we got to this place. I can't begin to imagine the miracle testimonies that are represented in these seats. For those who are watching online, I don't pretend to know how you came to be sitting in front of that computer right now, but I know that there's a miracle behind it.
And I want you to know that whatever your story is, it is going to be deliverance for someone else. Someone needs to hear your story. They need to be encouraged by your walk. And you may not find value in your walk, but I promise you there is somebody that can find life in what you're in right now. You might not even like where you are, but I guarantee you there are people in this earth right now that would trade places with you in a heartbeat. And you should thank the Lord that you are where you are. I believe that Christ in us is the hope of the world. He is the hope of glory. He is the hope of the nations, but we are in a very, very dangerous time, and we need to identify with our original purpose. Many of us go through life figuring out what to do, how to be.
Now the average person has four careers in a lifetime. That's after college I got my degree! You workin' six months: I hate this. And people are struggling to get identity, to get clarity, to get purpose. What am I doing? Why am I hear? What's my calling? Where am I going? Which direction do I go in? So many people lived most of their lives searching for the answers to those questions. Many of us in here right now, we do have an occupation. But do we love it? Is it the consuming passion of our heart? Or did we lay our dreams down because they seemed inconvenient or unattainable? Where is is that you are called to have impact that you may have laid down out of fear, or guilt, or shame, or insecurity? Where are you in your life right now? Are you exactly where you wanna be? Are you at the place of peace? Do you wake up every morning excited about the day?
I know that there are gonna be challenges, but, pastor, challenges, you're like, hey, if I gotta have challenges, I'll have challenges in the middle of the life I'm living because I know I'm exactly where I need to be. Or, are there places where you say, you know what, Lord, I'm really not sure which way I should go. I need some directions. Is there anybody in here that's in need of some direction, some clarity on some decisions? I wanna make sure that I'm preaching to the right church tonight. There is nothing worse than waking up and not being sure that your doing the thing you were created to do. Many people have worked.
How many retirees do we have in this room tonight? Let me see the retirees. Let's celebrate retirees, those who have worked 20, 30, 35, 40-plus years. You get the right to get up and do what you want. Wake up when you want. Drink your coffee, watch your tv shows, go out cut the grass, go fishing, go hang out at the mall. Enjoy yourself. You deserve that. But though you can retire from a job, you can't retire from the kingdom. We need your wisdom. We need your strength. We need the lessons that you've learned to teach a younger generation how to function. We're in trouble. We don't know how to be married in this generation. We don't know how to struggle in this generation.
Years ago, our grandparents, they would fight like the devil, but they wouldn't break up. "I can't stand him, go on in that other room, but you ain't leaving this house". "Grandma, why are you all staying"? "Don't you worry about why we stay in separate rooms. You just stay a child. And close my door, you're letting all my good air out". Anybody remember them days? Things used to be so simple. Kids used to enjoy the summer. We used to have fun. Two words, go outside. Now kids don't know how to go outside. They're inside playing video games all day. They don't understand the beauty of going outside and being dehydrated, sitting outside, almost having a heat stroke. Nobody knows how to have fun anymore. Nobody plays hide and seek, duck duck goose, freeze tag. We've lost the beauty and innocence of what we had. Trying to advance, trying to go after this invisible dream, climbing a corporate ladder. To what end and at what cost?
Now our children are raising themselves. And television executives in some foreign city are creating programming to feed your children because we're too busy working to raise them. We have got to get a grip on the family. Tonight, I wanna share from the subject heading, welcome home. Welcome home. I have a scripture that I'd like for you to go to, and it is found in 2 Corinthians chapter five. 2 Corinthians chapter five. Verse one. And this is what it says. "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens".
Now let me freeze because I feel like shouting right there. Because even though I'm not old, I'm starting to think about eternity more. Now that I have a son in the earth and daughter, now that God has secured for me a future and a lineage, now I'm starting to think about eternity and what it is I'm called to do to make sure that people know I represent Christ in the earth. I want people to remember as a man of God, as a man of integrity. I want it to be know that I was faithful in my marriage, that I raised my kids right, that I honored my pastors, that I was committed to the local church, that I wasn't seeking my own end. I want a legacy that lasts. I'm not looking to be a star for the world, but I'd love to be a star in my house.
Too many people suffer from what I call circumference validation syndrome where you need the people around you to celebrate you all the time. You're always measuring yourself up against your crew, but the reality is your crew is an illusion because everybody has a different calling and a different purpose, and you cannot measure your growth or development based on anyone else, because their story is not your story. Am I helping anybody on a Wednesday night? Can you give God a praise break if you don't mind? I'm not just living for now, JJ, I'm living for the future. I'm living now with the future in mind. I've got a house not made with hands. I don't even know how they did that.
I wanna speak to the construction manager. What they doing? Making my house with angel wings? What's going on? And it's eternal in the heavens. No mortgage payments. No insurance. I don't need pest control. You don't hear me. I don't have to water the grass. There's a river in the middle of the city. I'm gonna shout tonight. Y'all don't mind me. We don't talk about heaven enough. I'm not from here. I don't fit in here. I'm going somewhere. I'm going to a place promised to me. I don't just come here worshiping God because it's something popular to do. I believe in eternity. I believe there's more than this 70, or 80 years, or 90 years, or whatever the Lord blesses me with. I believed that I'm living for more than this moment. And if you know that you're living for more than this moment, you begin to have a weight of responsibility.
The second verse says, "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven. If indeed having been clothed, we shall not be found naked," or uncovered, or not connected to the thing we were originally intended to produce. "For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the spirit as a guarantee". Again, I wanna share from the subject heading, welcome home. I know that it seems like you are gonna be here a long time, and you will. You gonna live. I'm gonna go ahead and declare that right now.
I love what pastor Lisa shared about your bones being covered. My wife and I prayed that over our children. I prayed it when my son was born. I said, "Lord, I know he's gonna fall and trip and all that, but he won't have any broken bones or any issues where he can't recover fully. I understand the nature of children and all of that, but I just declare since you said about your son not one of his bones would be broken, I'm gonna repeat what you said about your son". You better know that if the father said it, you can repeat it. This scripture is talking about two very distinct places in the psyche place of humanity. You are fully human, but you are also fully divine. There was a battle on the inside. Spirit versus flesh. Corruption versus the incorruptible.
And many people, because of the slickness of the enemy, assume that when you struggle... Dang, I'm filled with sin. I'm a mess. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You're in process. You need to get that down on a piece of paper, put that in your phone. You're not a mess, you're in process. And even though you're in process, he still blesses you. But how can he bless my mess? Because he's not looking at the place of process you're in. He's looking at the finished product you'll be.
There are two dynamics working in all of us at all times. The battle for relevance here and the higher calling of eternity for which we were created. And most people fill their time trying to reconcile these two appetites. You're here tonight because there's a part of you that somehow knows there's more to your existence than the life that you are living. That's the eternal thing. I need to be fed, I need to be strengthened, I need to be encouraged, I need to be empowered. But when we leave here, you're gonna be hungry. You gotta eat. Everybody gotta eat. And then there's a need to be connected to other people. Social media, Facebook, Twitter, all of that stuff. Then you wanna watch TV, socially connected. Entertain me. Those are the things that draw us.
We're battling through all of these appetites, but one thing is gonna win out above them all. And if you can study the men and women of God who made impact, they were able to press through, reconcile their humanity while still looking towards the desired destination which is heaven. We don't talk about heaven, because we always gotta talk about heaven from a point of ain't but one way to get there. I'm not talking about that. The Bible says, "Thy kingdom come thy will be done on, as it is in...", which means if I begin to honor the principles of the word, I can have heaven on earth. I wish those folk in the back would just wave if you could hear what I'm saying. Love y'all. So honored that God has brought us together tonight.
This scripture speaks to the reality that there are two things at work, the life you're living and the life you're gonna live forever. But how do you get to this place called home. I know I'm going to heaven, that's on lock. When you get saved, heaven is a lock. Let me just says this because I'm sure there've been many of us who've gone at different churches who operate in emotional manipulation. So when you see say, "Hm, that's a shame, you sinned. You better get to this altar, sin, nasty. Get down here and make no sense". The Bible says, "Confess your sins one to another, and he is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness". If you can't get to an altar, call somebody you trust and say, "Hey, I messed up, I blew it. Can you pray with me"? And there's as much power in the altar on that phone as there is right here.
Praise break. Praise break. Do not live in emotional manipulation where people want you to approach God from their lens. God has made it clear. My son paid the price. The moment you confess it and turn from it, I forgive it. You don't have to get saved every week. Some of y'all got about 15 books on salvation from this church every week. I like to get saved again. This week, too. Messed up last night, I was at the club. I'm just saying. And you think that sin in a temporary moment in your development is a permanent state, and it's not. Salvation is a confession. Sanctification is a process. Thank you.
I think helped somebody. You're going to miss it. That's what we do, but it's the love of God that begins through the Holy Spirit to regenerate us on the inside. You can't produce goodness on your own. If I get to the altar, then I'll be saved again. No, you got saved when you confessed it. Now your job is Psalm 92. Plant it in the house of the Lord. They shall flourish in the courts of our God. You don't see trees straining to produce fruit. They just stay planted. And in the right season after the right amount of process, they produce naturally.