John Gray - Surprise Party
I am not gonna let anything take my joy. I feel God and I feel faith rising in the room already. I'm not even necessarily talking to you, but I think I'm talking to circumstances. I'm not going to let anything take my joy. Do want to let you know that we are having service. Our services, we have our Christmas eve service on Saturday night, it's going to be amazing. And we have both of our Sunday morning services. I will be sharing in all of those services. So if you want please come on Christmas eve. If you real saved come on Christmas morning.
"I ain't going to church, it's Christmas". Wait, that's what church is for. That's when you should really be there. You're like "Yeah, you're not gonna guilt trip me, I'm gonna be at my house eating cookies, opening gifts". But we are going to have service and it's going to be amazing. Our worship team is going to be there. We've got some wonderful surprises as well. We want you to participate for this is the reason for this season, amen.
If you'll do me a favor and go to Luke chapter two, Luke chapter two. Luke chapter two starting at the eighth verse. I'm reading from the new King James version. It says this, now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy".
Wait a minute, let me read it again. Don't be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of medium joy, regular joy, small joy. "Great", everybody say "Great". And don't just say great, say "Great joy". Say it again. Say it real fast. We got a church full of preachers tonight. If you watch it online, you can say it at home too. We gonna do it again. 1, 2, 3 say "Great joy". That's that excitement, that anticipation, that thing that's like, oh my goodness, God's about to do something so amazing, so out of the box, that all of the stuff that I've been crying about all year is going to wash away in a flood of God's goodness.
And so don't be afraid of your circumstance. Don't be afraid of the report you got. Don't be afraid of what you cannot control. I bring you good tidings of great joy. And guess what, it's not just for you. It's for everybody on your row. Look down your row, somebody is getting ready to get a blessing from God. And you should be excited about what God's doing for them. Not hating, not wishing you got theirs, but be excited about what's coming with your name on it. You've got a gift with your name on it. You got a gift with your name on it.
Isn't it great to under the tree, you know to see and this used to be me. I didn't care about anybody else's name tag. When I went to my grandmother's house, "Oh, look at that. That's for my cousin. Oh that's one for my auntie. Where is mine"? Anybody ever been like that? When you come around, because don't try to act saved, like you know, I don't want anything. I love God and I don't need gifts. I'm looking for my name. I want what's on my name. And if it's wrapped up, what do you do when ain't nobody looking, you pick it up? Why do we shake it? Like you gonna know what it is. Why? There's an anticipation. There's an excitement.
And God is saying I wonder if my children are as excited about what I'm bringing them as I am to give it to them? Can somebody show some excitement, some joy, some anticipation for what God wants to bring into your life. Good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people for their is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who was Christ the Lord and this will be a sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
This is very important. We're going to come back to that. And suddenly, somebody say suddenly. There was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace. Somebody say "Peace". How many people know we still need peace? With everything going on in the world, we need peace. People are driving trucks through crowds, all kinds of stuff is going on.
God, we need peace all over this world. We bind the spirit of murder and mayhem and wickedness and war. And we declare as the people of God, that a spirit of peace will overtake the earth. God, just remind all of these demons that you are still in control. Put them in their place, and let your church rise up to its finest hour. I pray that we will be so filled with joy, that nothing can stop us from loving our enemies. Nothing can stop us from blessing our neighbors. God, give us your peace and give us your joy. In Jesus' name, amen.
Everybody say amen. And on earth peace, good will towards men. I want to talk to you about what happened in this field. And I've shared it a number of times, but I got a different perspective. Because when you talk about great joy and a crowd showing up unexpectedly, something comes to my mind. So the title of my message tonight is the surprise party. The surprise party. Thank you for the six of you who wrote that down. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Here's a surprise. What if I told you that there is a gold Lakewood church sticker under a chair. And if you find it, there is a seven day six night cruise for four. For you and your family. But you have to look and you've got exactly 15 seconds to search. Some of y'all checking seats that you ain't even sitting in. It might be in a seat that's next to you that's empty. I'm just saying. Anybody... Who found it? I think it's up. Did you find it? He just lied, just lifted his head in church. Liar. He's like, me! Did he fall for it?
There's nothing under any of your chairs. Not one thing, not one sticker. You done stretched, your pants done rip. You just under there, just in there, just in there. But what if I told you there is a God, who has a gift with your name on it and it's right at the edge of your outstretched hand in worship. On the other side of your grateful heart, and an attitude of thanksgiving, even though maybe everything didn't happen the way you wanted it to, he still has a gift to present to you. And you don't have to stretch for it. All you gotta do is thank him for it. What would you do if you were one praise of thanksgiving away, one praise away from God showing up in a supernatural way.
Some of y'all caught it. Some of you are catching it. Don't let anything steal your joy. There's a gift on the way. Don't let circumstance steal your joy. There's a gift on the way. Unexpected things, places where you sowed, are getting ready to sow back into you. Things that you thought were over, are getting ready to come back around. That what you thought God could not do, not only is he going to do that, but he's gonna do seven other things that are going to blow your mind. He is positioning his people for a harvest, for those who have sown in tears, you will reap in enjoy.
Three and a half second, Christmas praise break. Three, two... It was late at night. It's close to midnight it was late. It was dark. They were all alone. Thank you. She's in the holiday spirit, isn't she? It was late, it was dark. They were alone. Shepherds in the field. And not just in the field probably, very possibly in every other area of their lives. Shepherds in a field in the Middle East, outside of Bethlehem. It was dark, don't know what the weather was like. Books, the sound of sheep, probably don't even belong to them. They were probably working for somebody.
Just out in the field just shepherds, the least respected profession in Israel, shepherds. The overlooked one, shepherds. The forgotten ones, shepherds. The talked about ones, shepherds. The ones that they DM about and send Facebook memes, laughing at them, shepherds. The ones everybody else thought they knew all that God had for them, shepherds. I'm going somewhere. Being a shepherd was a dirty business. Was looked down upon by mainstream society. It was not a profession of nobility.
There's no upwardly noble shepherds. You don't apply like, man, in three years, I'm gonna be like head shepherd. Right now I'm just working on the fries then I'm gonna be on the lettuce. Once a shepherd, always a shepherd. Ooh doesn't the enemy like to keep you where you were. He'd love to keep you where you used to be. Once a sinner, always a sinner. You go to church, but I remember when you wasn't goin' to church. Now you want to praise dance, but I remember you when you was dancing in the club. You married now, but you weren't always a wife. You weren't always a husband. You was out there in them streets, the enemy loves to keep you hostage to the worst version of yourself.
I need somebody to praise God that the enemy doesn't have the power to keep you, where you were. Is there anybody grateful? There's a few people that know who we used to be. But by the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, he started changing us from the inside out. If there anybody that's grateful that I am no longer what I used to be. Shepherds in the field, they were just out there. Just probably throwing a pity party. That's what you do when you get around people with similar broken circumstances just looking at each other, what you looking at? What you looking at?
Just out here in the fields, these ain't even my sheep! And if a lion come through here, I ain't getting up, you getting up. I ain't getting up there, I'm saying you better get up yourself, I ain't doing it. What you got in there? Give me something to drink. Because you know, when you battling depression, you try to medicate your pain. No judgment, because this is the season where people are supposed to have fake joy. Gotta act like everything's good but maybe you're grieving the loss of a loved one.
Maybe there's somebody in here and you had memories of a spouse that's no longer there. And so the holidays really don't feel good to you. So you throw yourself a pity party. Pity party, table of one. Just keep them coming, just keep them coming. I wouldn't know what you get, I've never heard of any liquor or anytime. I wouldn't know. Keep bringing the coke zeros please. They were throwing a pity party. One of them probably heard a sheep and had to walk out and manage it. Oh! It's dark. There's sheep, I done stepped in something.
Let me ask you something. Have you ever stepped into something? Stepped into a bad decision? You ever stepped into a relationship God told you not to? You ever stepped into a mindset that held you hostage? You ever stepped into something that started stinking up every other area of your life? Shepherds, lost. Just out there in them fields. The Bible says "suddenly", I'm trying to prophesy to somebody that suddenly is upon you. You believe that? Suddenly is upon you. What does that mean? While you chilling in your premium chair right now or watching at your crib right now, with your cereal in front of you, God is getting ready to suddenly surprise you. And he's not surprising you with things, he surprising you with himself.
Now if you're going to shout, that was the place. Because we always get excited about things. But there's something better than the things when the God who makes the things, says, I'm not even going to give you stuff I'm gonna bring you. When God shows up and says, "surprise, I'm here where you are"?. I didn't wait for you to get cleaned up to bring you up to where I am. I came down to you, surprise. It doesn't say that the shepherd's were rabbis. It doesn't say the shepherd's knew scripture. It just means they were in the field, lost, hurting by themselves and God showed up.
Somebody say the "Surprise party". Angels show up, start talking to men in the field. Maybe like, wait a minute. You all see what I see? What did you give me, what is in there? And the angel is like, hey, hey, hey, hey, don't be afraid. For I bring you good tidings of medium joy. See, good tidings means good news. Somebody say "Good news". See shepherds needed some good news. If there was anybody in Israel who needed good news it was shepherds. Really shepherds needed good news. Is there anybody here that needs good news?
I need, good news. I got good news of great joy. The word great, here the Greek word megas, is where we get mega, mega joy. It's a joy that cannot be contained in one place. It is a joy that is spacious, the Bible says, and expansive, it is spacious and expansive. Which means the joy that comes with the gift actually overflows into every area of your life whether you want it to or not. So any place where depression was, joy overtakes it. Any place where grief was, joy overtakes it. Anywhere where there's financial worry and concern, joy... Tell somebody you swimming in it. Tell somebody you swimming in it. I need you all to just come on. I need you to get your inner fit peace and just...
Come on. Some of y'all like, I'm crazy, I'm never coming to this church no more. What is he doing? This is how you get your joy back. And while you do this, look at somebody and smile and just... Because while you swimming, you're also moving. I need somebody to move out of depression and move out of shame and move out of guilt and move out of fear. And I need you to move, and I need you to let the enemy know you're not staying where you used to be. I need you to move with it. I need you to rock with it. I need you to let the enemy know he has no more power over your mind, your will or your emotions, because you've got great joy.