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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Kerry Shook » Kerry Shook - Creative Writing

Kerry Shook - Creative Writing

Kerry Shook - Creative Writing

God is a master storyteller. The Creator of the universe is the creative writer who created you, and he loves stories, and he created you to love stories. Elie Wiesel said, "God made human beings because he loves stories," and it's so true. God loves the story of you. You are his creation. I'm not talking about the fiction story of you that you'd like God and others to believe. I'm talking about the nonfiction story of your life that's real and raw, not some fairy tale where everything always works out perfectly. Your story is filled with wonderful chapters and painful chapters. It's filled with love and loss. It's filled with great successes and epic failures. It's a nonfiction story, but it doesn't have to be a non-fulfilling story.

If you give the creative writer, who created you, the pen of your life, he will redeem your pain and rewrite your story. Our key verse today is just one small verse in 2 Samuel chapter 22. Would you stand in honor of God's Word? Why don't you just read this out loud with me? "God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes". Did you get that? God, the creative writer, who created the universe and created you, when you give him the pen of your life and you open up the book of your heart to him, he rewrites the story of your life and makes it a story that is so powerful that it will last forever. You can be seated.

When you give God the pen, he writes the story of your life into a story of redemption and purpose and meaning. He also puts his spark of creative writing in your heart, and he helps you see the beauty in all the broken pages of your past. You see that every chapter has been changed by his grace, and every paragraph now has a purpose. That's what he did for Saul. You remember Saul. Saul was writing his own autobiography, and it looked like a perfect story, but like a lot of autobiographies, everything written in it was designed to make the author look good. The problem was it was all fiction. Now, the people around Saul had believed the lies. Even Saul himself had bought into the false narrative that his life was a perfect life until, one day, he was hit with writer's block as all of his story came to a sudden stop on the road to Damascus.

In Acts chapter 9, it says, "As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. And the voice replied, 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you'll be told what you must do.' The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone's voice but saw no one. Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes, he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink".

See, Saul was on a mission to stop this small group of people called Christians from writing another chapter in what he felt was a subversive story that had to be stopped. He wanted to block Christianity from spreading. But, instead, Christ blocked him from writing another destructive word and story. Saul was blinded on that road to Damascus, but the truth is he had been blind to the truth his whole life. He was blinded for his whole life. He wasn't seeing clearly what his story was really all about. He had writer's block that day, but the truth is, he had had writer's block his whole life because he was trying to write his own story, and every word was meaningless. Saul had writer's block because he was comparing himself with others, and as long as I'm comparing myself with others, my story will make no sense. My story will have no meaning.

Now, after his conversion, his name was changed from Saul to Paul, and instead of trying to write his own story, God gave him a spark of divine writing, and he wrote most of the New Testament. God wrote most of the New Testament through Paul. Paul stopped trying to write his own story, and God inspired him to write his story, and that's what history is all about, God's story. In Philippians 3:6, Paul would later say he wrote most of the New Testament, he wrote the book of Philippians, mostly from a prison cell, and in Philippians 3:6, he talked about his past life, and he said, "And sincere? Yes, so much so that I greatly persecuted the Church, and I tried to obey every Jewish rule and regulation right down to the very last point. But all those things that I once thought very worthwhile, now I've thrown them all away so that I can put my trust and hope in Christ alone".

Paul was saying, "I was writing a very religious story 'cause, when it came to religion, I was at the top of my class. I followed all the rules and all the regulations. I did it, what I thought was perfectly following religion, but it was just death. It was just meaningless words on a page. It was empty, but I did it better than anyone else". Paul said, "I was comparing myself to everyone else, and I felt really good about myself because there was no one that could compare with me, but I didn't realize I should've compared myself to the only one that matters, perfect, holy God, the creative writer of the universe who created me".

He said, "I should've compared myself to him, and I would've realized, 'Oh, I could never measure up.' I had everything backwards so much so that I persecuted the people that had it right. They weren't writing a religious story. They were writing a relationship story, a love story with their relationship with God, the creative writer, through his Son, Jesus Christ". It's not wise to compare yourself with anyone else because it makes you the main character of the story, the main focus, instead of God, and by the way, whenever you compare yourself to someone else, it's pretty ridiculous because there's no one else in the world like you. When God made you, he broke the mold.

Did you realize there's no one else who's ever lived, of all the billions of people that have walked this planet, in all of human history that has your fingerprints? Did you realize there's no one else who's walked this earth, of all the billions in human history, that have your voiceprint, that your footprint? You're uniquely made by the creative writer who created the universe and created you uniquely. There's no one else like you. So when you compare yourself to someone else, there's no comparison. There's no one else like you. When you compare yourself to someone else, many times, try to be like them rather than be who God created you to be.

Paul said, "I'm so glad that I stopped being the main character of my story. I am so glad that I stopped trying to write a religious story, and I placed all my faith and my hope in Jesus Christ alone instead of in myself. I'm no longer the main character of my story," Paul said. "It's Jesus Christ. I'm no longer the author. He's the author and finisher of my faith". After the road to Damascus, Saul gives the pen to God. God changes his name and his role in the story, and Paul lets him rewrite the story of his life, and then God sparks this true writing that comes through Paul, this divinely inspired writing that comes through Paul, and he writes most of the New Testament. And until you stop trying to be the author and the main character in your story, your story will never make sense to you, and it will never have any power to make a difference in someone else's life.

Well, how do you practically make Christ the main character of your story? How do you practically let Christ be the author and finisher of your faith? Well, he gives us a great example here with Ananias. Ananias was a believer who really had given God the pen of his life, and God was the main character of his story, and we see what happens in Acts 9:10. It says, "There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: 'Ananias.' 'Yes, Master?' he answered". I love those two words, "Yes, Master". You see, God spoke to Ananias and said, "Ananias," and Ananias's first word was "Yes". His second word was "Master".

I love that he was saying, "Yes," to whatever you're gonna say next, "because you are my Master, because you are the main character of the story. You're the Master storyteller. You are the creative writer who created me and loves me, and I trust you to write my story. I trust you to write something good and powerful and beautiful out of it". And he said, "Yes," first. That was the first thing he said, "Yes". That's really important. Can you say, "Yes"? Why don't we say, "Yes," really loud: "Yes, yes". It's kind of comin' from all different areas of this great auditorium. Let's try to do it in unison. I'll say, "Yes," first, and then you say, "Yes". Let's do that, okay? You guys are brilliant. You can do it: "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes".

Dear Lord, you have heard our answer. Now tell us what you want us to do. Some of you are goin', "Can I take back that 'Yes'"? Let that be a "Maybe". Record that as a "Maybe". Think about it for a moment. You know, I pray, "God, show me your will. You know, just show me what to do next," and a lot of times, what I really mean is "God, show me your will so I can decide if I wanna do it or not". Sometimes people come up to me, and they say, "I don't know God's will. I'm really struggling. I'm really confused. How do you know God's will for your life? How do you know what God wants you to do in a certain situation? How do you know"?

And a lot of times, it's because God has let them get in this place where they feel that confusion so they'll learn to depend on him more, to listen more clearly, to really tune into God, but there are other times when they're asking God, "Show me your will so I can look at it to see if I wanna do it," and God won't do that. You gotta say, "Yes," first, and then he shows you what he wants you to do. You've gotta say, "Yes," first, and he will show you his will. Sometimes it's a struggle that he allows you to go through that struggle to get to know him better, to trust him, that waiting time, but so many times, if you just say, "Yes, God, I trust you," "I know that you love me," "I know you know what's best for me," he's gonna tell you. He's gonna make it clear to you. He's not trying to hide his will from your life.

And so, when I say, "Yes," God reveals his will. Here's the point, until you say, "Yes," God's not gonna tell ya the next step. See, it all comes down to one thing, understanding that your story is a love story. You are not the main character of your story, but the main character is crazy in love with you. That's what you need to understand because, if you understand a little bit of how much God loves you, then you can surrender and trust him with the pen of your life. You can trust him as the main character of your story even when your story doesn't make any sense to you at the time because God knows what he's doing, and he loves you so much that he wants the best for you.

If you take the pen back from God, you'll never get God's best, and that's why Paul was able to say in Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us". Paul said, "I was goin' a totally wrong direction. You know, I was a murderer. I was so prideful, and I was destroying lives and families and thinkin' I was doin' the great thing for God. I was writing my own story, but God stopped me in my tracks, and he blinded me to show me how blinded I'd been my whole life. Why did he do that? Because he loved me that much. He loved me that much when I was still a sinner breakin' his heart and killing his people. He loved me that much? I don't understand that kind of love, but I accept it, and I trust him with my whole life that he will write the story of my life".

I love in 1 Corinthians 13, verse 8, Paul says, "Love never fails". You see, Paul began to understand and grasp God's love in such a powerful way that he wrote 1 Corinthians 13. It's called the love chapter. It's read at so many weddings, but it's all about what real love is, real love in action. It's not a feeling. It's an action. It's a commitment, what real love is, and he began to understand God's love, and God sparked that creative writing in him, and he writes out what love really is in 1 Corinthians 13, divinely inspired, and in verse 8, he says, "Love never fails".

See, your story is a love story, and when you give the pen to God, he takes all of your failures, and it's no longer a story of failure. It's a story of success because love never fails. God's not finished with you yet. He's not finished with your story yet. Your story's not over. God is still writing as long as you're still breathing, and he's writing something beautiful out of the brokenness, so hold on, wait for the Lord, and he'll renew your strength. Wait for the Lord because he's coming, and he's coming through, and even when the last word is written, and the book of your life is closed, if he's been the main character, the author and finisher of your faith, then a new book opens, the real book, the real story of you for all eternity, page one for all eternity, a book that never ends.

Well, Paul had many times where he felt like that he was forgotten, and maybe you feel like you're in a forgotten chapter right now. That's okay. It's not the end of the story. He's just not finished yet. There was a time when the people of Israel felt like God had forgotten them. In Isaiah 49:14, they said, "'The Lord has deserted us. The Lord has forgotten us.' And God answers them right away, 'Never. Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you. See, I've written your name on the palms of my hands.'"

God said, "I will never forget you. You're just in a forgotten chapter right now, but I'm gonna write somethin' new that's gonna give meaning to every sentence in that forgotten chapter, and it's going to turn into a faith chapter. You're just in the waiting room of life, and I'm buildin' your faith, and as I write this new chapter, you're gonna look back and say, 'Praise God for that chapter because that's where God worked in my life the most. I didn't know it at the time. Praise God for that chapter because now I see it more clearly.'" God says, "I can never forget you because I'm writing, and every time I'm writing a sentence, I look at my hand, and I see your name, and I smile".

I love how that, even though Paul had painful chapters and silent chapters, his story was an eternal story that would last forever, for, you see, God gave him the vision that he would go to Rome, and I'm sure, the very first of that, he imagined himself, because he was a preacher, a great preacher, he imagined himself preaching in the Colosseum in Rome, and that seemed like the most powerful thing, the most effective thing that he could do for God. He would preach the Word of God. And have you ever been to the Colosseum? I mean, even the ruins are magnificent. Can you imagine thousands of thousands of people, and there's Paul, this great preacher, preaching the good news and giving his story of how God saved him? He's preaching in the Colosseum of Rome, but that wasn't God's plan.

God told him he would go to Rome, but he went to Rome as a prisoner, and he was placed in prison for two years before God brought him home. In that prison, I wonder if Paul thought that his story would be forgotten, his story would never be told, if his story would not make any difference, wondering if his story was meaningless? No, he was there in that prison that God sparked his divine writing, his inspired writing through Paul, and Paul wrote most of the New Testament from prison, and that's why we're talkin' about Paul today, and that's why those words that he wrote, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, will change your life today and my life today.

Those words are still living. Those words are still eternal. Why? Because God was writing the story, and he didn't take the pen back. He let God write the story through him, and Jesus was the main character of the story, and Jesus wrote those chapters that changed all of the pain and the failures into purpose and faith, and that's what he wants to do for us. And in 2 Timothy 4:7, right before God closed the book on Paul's earthly life and opened up the book for eternity that was his true story, the last paragraph, Paul says this to young Timothy, who he had mentored for years, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there's in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing".

He said, "You know, I've come to the last sentence and the last paragraph on the last page of the story of my life, and the book is about to close on me, but that's okay because there's one opening where I get the crown of righteousness that I didn't deserve or earn, but I get the crown of righteousness. I get to be in heaven forever in that perfect place where there's no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, to be with Jesus forever in that place of perfect fulfillment, and the amazing thing was we can't really see to the other side. We can't even imagine exactly what it would be like. It's just we know from God's Word that it's more real than we could ever imagine. It's more beautiful, more powerful, more fulfilling we could ever imagine, all those things, but human words, you know, we use to describe something that's humanly impossible to describe, this perfect place called heaven, but Paul, because he had walked so closely with God and let God write every word of the story and Christ be the main character, when he came to the last paragraph, he could see across, and he could see the crown of righteousness that was coming. I love that because we're lookin' at it from the wrong side, and many times, we can't see it".

Corrie Ten Boom, whose family was in World War II, arrested by the Nazis, placed in a concentration camp because her devoutly Christ-following family was hiding Jews and others that the Nazis were trying to exterminate, and so they built a hiding place in their house, and they had, you know, sometimes 20, 30 packed in there and people tryin' to save their lives from the Nazi regime in Amsterdam that was occupying the Netherlands, and they found out that they were doing this, and the authorities arrested the whole Ten Boom family, but they didn't find the hiding place, and their Jewish friends were saved, and they brought the Ten Boom family to a concentration camp, and everyone in her immediate family died except for Corrie.

Even her best friend, her sister Betsie died in that awful place where Betsie kept tellin' her, "Corrie, when we get out, we're gonna share that God's light can even be in the most dark places, that God's light shines in the darkest places, the most evil places," and Corrie said, "This makes no sense though, Betsie. It doesn't make any sense why would God allow this evil"? And her sister would keep tellin' her, "It'll all make sense one day. The story will all come together, but you gotta tell the story," and that's what Corrie Ten Boom did.

When she got out, for the rest of her life, even into her 70s, she would tell the story of how God brought light in the darkest of places and brought his forgiveness and brought his grace and his power, and she would say that, even though she would pray for God to do it differently, and God didn't answer, she didn't understand it, and everything looked ugly from this side, but there's another side that God knows all about.

And she had this embroidery that was in her house, and whenever she would go speak, anywhere she went all over the world, she would take this embroidery with her, and she would hold it up and say, "Look at this," and she would hold it up from the wrong side, and it was this picture here, and it was all the frayed knots and everything, and people would think that she didn't realize she had just showed them the back side of it because maybe she's gettin' a little old and senile and doesn't know, and she would go, "Just look at this," and people go, "Uh, I think she doesn't know what she's doin' here," and she would say, "When you pray, and God doesn't answer the way you want, when you go through a time where you feel forgotten, when something doesn't make sense, think about all these frayed knots and how ugly this is".

She said, "You're just lookin' at it from the wrong side," and she would turn it around and show them this picture, which was the crown that had been embroidered in the fabric, and she said, "You just can't see the crown that's coming because God is sewing together and weaving together a story, and it's all about the crown of righteousness, and your story will never be forgotten. You're just lookin' at it from the wrong side".

I wanna tell you today, you're looking at it from the wrong side, and as I look at it from the wrong side, I see so many things that are frayed knots and are ugly, don't make sense. I don't understand what God is up to, but I know this: I'm lookin' at it from the wrong side, and one day, when the last sentence is written and the book is closed, another one will open, and it will all make sense. It will all come together because we'll experience his love and presence in complete fullness, in complete light, and all the darkness will be dispelled.
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