John Gray - As I Am
I believe that there are many people in here who have been battling intense warfare. For some reason in this season I feel like my dreams are closer which is maybe why the enemy is fighting harder. I think I have a few witnesses in here. Maybe at home I'm talking to you as well. This is not an easy season and I don't know it's like, I tell my wife it's like we have our poster somewhere you know, in the darkest places where the enemy resides they just got a poster of us like whatever you can do, do it, take them out. Does it ever feel like the enemy just picking on you?
Well be encouraged 'cause the enemy only attacks threats. If he's attacking, it's because he's scared. It's because he knows, that if you can just get past this season, nothing in your life will ever be the same. I believe there's something breaking in this church tonight. And I don't mind saying it, I just want you to have your faith and your expectations ready for the next few moments that we are together. I guess the challenge in this season for me is how can I share and preach even while I'm battling? And how do you praise through the pain? How do you worship while you're weeping? And who will celebrate you when you can't celebrate yourself? Who will cover you when you feel uncovered?
As a leader, I can't bleed in front of just anybody. Leaders can't bleed, shepherds don't bleed in front of sheep because when a sheep sees blood, they think slaughter. But as a leader you've got to be careful and I'm speaking to you as a head of your household, as a leader at your job or in your chosen profession, be very cautious who you open up the deepest parts of your heart to because everybody is not able to cover you and in fact some people will try to weaponize your brokenness. In this season my prayer is that God will surround you with people who will cover you, who will love you, who know you, who will believe in you, speak life to you and if necessary in the spirit, fight for you. And in the natural. I'm playing. Just somebody just take the earrings off what you say about my friend? Don't get dealt with, okay. But I think the fear for me is that, if I share too much, what will people think? Because with leadership comes some air of perceived invincibility or that people don't go through what you go through but the reality is I am very much just like you.
And I thank God that I'm man enough to know it. I want you to go to first Corinthians 13 verse 11, reading from the new King James version I'm going to give you some scripture tonight and I want to walk you through some things and there may be opportunities for you to say amen and wave your hand but more likely than not this is a word for you to kind of ingest and just to kind of dine on, chew on and I want you to just get this in your spirit. I believe there's some healing that needs to take place in this church tonight, is that all right? "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man".
And I wish somebody had told me Dr. Paul, when manhood comes. Man, I wish my father was there to give me the wisdom and the guidance and the nurturing and the proper processes and protocol and the procedures and the benchmarks so that I can be clear on what to expect and how to engage certain areas of my development so that I wouldn't be caught off guard right here at 41 years old, standing in front of you, still trying to figure out if I'm doing it right. "When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known".
I want you to go to Psalm 95 verse 10. And if you don't want to travel there just write it down, you can read it later, I'm going to read. It says, "For forty years", this is God speaking, "For forty years I was grieved with that generation", speaking of the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness, "and said, 'it is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know my ways. So I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest'".
Final scripture, Genesis 32, starting at the 22nd verse, Genesis 32. All right. Hope that was for Jesus. Genesis 32, the 22nd verse, "And he arose that night, took his two wives", well amen already. Focus! Stop laughing! "And he took his two boos, his two female servants, his eleven sons and crossed over the ford Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook and sent over what he had, he let everything that mattered to him go in front of him. Then Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when he saw that he did not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as he wrestled with him and he said 'let me go for the day breaks'. But he said, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me'. So he said to him, 'what is your name'? He said, 'Jacob'".
You know, life does not come with an instruction manual, when you come out of that womb. But there are 66 books, that are available to you for correction, for reproof, for development, for pruning, for processing, for the understanding of why you're here and the function of your purpose in the earth. Are there some things that you won't understand? Absolutely. But inasmuch as it is God's heart and will for you to grow and develop as a child of the king, in a kingdom culture, in a Godless time, this word can be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your pathway. And it is my prayer that as believers you will hunger for the clarity of the word so that you know who you are. Because once you know who you are you cannot unknow. And what I want to preach about, teach about tonight is from the subject as I am. As I am.
Hi, I'm John Gray, how are you? You know, I know you I was at the mall today, he goes you are so funny! And so it was interesting because if I see somebody else they'll say, you really blessed me. Or the word just really spoke to me or somebody else goes man you sure can sing. And so, depending on how I introduce myself, to three different people, I said one name but they got three different things. And here's why, people often see you how they need you. So to one person they needed laughter so they grab to that. Another person needed the song, they grabbed to that. Another needed a word and they grab to that. But it didn't change who I was, or did it? Because if I'm honest, I think some of us and I'm not the only one, that many of us are, crowd made.
And what I mean by that is, we try to live up to the expectations of those around us, to the detriment of who we actually are. And if we're ever going to live an authentic life, it's time for us to find out who we are. Church has often been a place where masks are welcome. But it is my prayer that Lakewood becomes a safe place where you can unveil yourself and no matter who you are, or what you're walking through, or what you've been through, that you can come here and find hope, and find healing and find safety in the blood of Jesus, in the cross of Calvary, in the resurrection of our Savior, that no one can disapprove of you because your king who created you has already approved you, stamped you, approved, stamped you, accepted, stamped you, beloved.
He has stamped you, put it on your forehead baby. God's in love with you so it doesn't matter what people say about you. It's Jacob man, Jacob is a, he's a deep character to study and I'm going to try to get through as much of this tonight as I can but Jacob, Jacob was that dude. Jacob, you know his story, it was already prophesied. The older will serve the younger and we understand that when Esau came out Jacob grabbed his heel, heel grabber. That's what his name means, supplanter, trickster, let me grab this dude, don't try to get away from me Esau. Later on you know there's sibling rivalry but these dudes were very different guys. Esau, he was the football dude, he was the sportsman. He was the hunter, he was the dude that would go out with the bow and arrow, he would kill the animals, cut it up, bring it home, make some stew. Jacob was more of a homebody, he'd be like mama, I just want to sit here and do some quilts. Can I make another quilt? Mama, I don't want to go outside, it's cold. I don't want to go to school, they be messing with me mama.
So we got to daddy's boy over here, you understand what I'm saying, and we got the mama's boy over here. They were growing up in the same house, two different identities and the father who could pronounce the blessing was partial to Esau. Esau that's my man, he's a warrior, he's got ashy knuckles, he's hairy, he's a dude, he watches sports and then I got this one over here wants to stay in the kitchen cooking all the time, you know you about to get the double portion. I ain't giving him no blessing. I'ma give it to you.
And so of course Jacob hears all this and so he develops and devises a scheme along with his mama and it turns out that as his father got older, he comes in the house and he has watched his older brother for so long that he was able to get his voice and maybe get some of his mannerisms, his mama and him put on a Halloween costume, an Esau costume and his father's blind, just can't see nothing just... And he walks in and he's like hey daddy, it's me, it's Esau, I made you some stew like you wanted. And he was like well, you sound like Jacob but you feel like Esau. Isn't it funny how we project one thing, when we're actually something else? How many people live in duality? How many of us in here can be honest to say that the person that we project is not the true nature in the fullness of who we are? How many people can be their authentic selves, honestly, with everyone around them?
Some people can't handle you. And you know what's funny? A lot of us, a lot of us get nervous around people who are cool with who they are. You ever seen somebody that probably should be taking medicine? You ever seen somebody, you know some people will say they're crazy, I'm not, I'm saying some people would. But you ever seen somebody, they just out there on the street just. What's up man! How you doing brother? Ha ha I'm doing good! I was watching cartoons in my hand. It's almost like there's a liberty when you lose your mind. Because you don't care what people think anymore. You in your own world, doing your own thing just, just whatever just, breaking it down by yourself.
Now I'm not telling you to lose your mind. But what I am suggesting is that maybe it's time for you to stop worrying about what people think so much. Since the Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Then why don't you be the fearful, wonderful creature that you are and display the glory of God as he created you and stop filtering who you actually are through the expectations of people that really don't matter after it's all said and done. I feel a breakthrough in here. I had to come to grips with some things, I've been married almost four years, in December it'll be four years I've been married to a most beautiful, exquisite, young lady who's blessed me with two wonderful children. But there was one morning and we were walking through just a really tough season and she said what's the plan? And I was like, what? Girl? Question me?
All of this, I have rented. I'm for real. I tried to use the macho, girl don't question me. Submit, the Bible says submit, wives submit, submit. She was like yeah I can't sub if there's no mission. Get out! After some more "Spirited dialogue" I had to look her in her face and say, I don't know what's next. Because I don't know what I'm doing. And I'm scared, because I've never been a husband before. And I've never been a father before. And sometimes when you sleep, I'm over here crying, 'cause I'm just trying to wake up the next day and figure out how to take care of you all.
And it was the most liberating moment of my life. 'Cause I didn't have to project that I had it all together. Because when you're Jacob, you have to always be what people expect. But sometimes you don't even know who you are. I see young African-American men there were times when I was on buses or if I'm walking down the street. And I see a young man and he's so angry I'm just looking at him, he's like what you lookin' at! And I'm like why are you, I'm just looking at you. Until I realize that his anger came from the question. He wasn't saying whatchu looking at like he was so sure of himself. He was saying whatchu looking at as in tell me who I am.