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Levi Lusko - On Your Left

Compass Rose
1. Moving The Needle
2. On Your Left
3. Camels and Needles and Spoons
4. Red In The Shed

We are in this series called Compass Rose. Compass Rose is the name of the series. And if you missed last week's message, we'd love to have you jump on YouTube, get on the podcast and check it out. We talked about why it is that no matter how much money we have, no matter what job we have, no matter what is going right, why, in our lives, there's almost like a needle that keeps pointing back to eternity. It's like, I should be happy now. Why is this needle in my heart making me think about life beyond death, immortality? Why can't I just look at the possessions and look at my hobbies and look at what I've accomplished and be happy? Why is there like a needle in my soul that's like, "Nope, you're going to point towards something else". And we explained that. And it was a message all about what's moving the needle inside the human soul. And so it was foundational for where we're going to go in this series.

So we'd love to have you catch it if you know, traveling, holidays. I get it. No drama, but love to have you get that and listen to it. This week, in installment number two in the series, if you have a Bible, we're going to be in Lamentations chapter 3. And if you don't have a Bible, or you don't know where Lamentations chapter 3 is to turn to in said Bible, don't worry. We're going to put the verses up on the screen for you, as we always do here in the church. But Lamentations 3, and the title of my message is "On Your Left". That's not where my title is, that's what my title is. "On Your Left". We said at the beginning that every week of the series, we're going to give you a word. It's a key. It's a clue. It's a powerful part of the whole thing. And so the word for the week is "sunrise". Sunrise. Jot that down. You've got to listen to all four messages to collect them all, but "sunrise" is the word for the week.

Lamentations 3. Here's what Jeremiah, I should probably tell you who he is. He's a preacher who had a rough job. Unlike me, he had a calling to preach to people who didn't want to hear the message. And I would just say one of the delights of my life is the hunger with which you, as a church, approach the word of God, and the way you guys are just ravenous to hear God speak to your life. It's a joy and an honor and a privilege to preach to you week in and week out, and it has been for 12 years. So I'm thankful for that. But Jeremiah preached to people who didn't want to hear him. And you're like, what? Did they just never re-tweet him? Did they never clap when he preached? No, no. They threw him in a hole in the ground. So, yeah. It was tough. That's why I thanked you. So you don't do that, ever, to me. I just want to cover my bases. But you thought that it was gratitude for gratitude's sake. That, and I don't want to go in a hole.

Anyhow, you can imagine that there would be a manner of feelings that would accompany such an assignment. Because God continually called him to preach to a people who didn't want to hear anything he had to say. And so, from the pit, he said, "I'm not just in a pit physically, I'm in a pit spiritually". He got depressed. He began to feel great anxiety, and wondering if he was making a mistake following God, and all of this. And this turmoil, and this loathing, and this dark night of the soul, this black, dark dog of depression set upon him. But then you see him pivot. Because he's acknowledging, "This is all real. This is all real. This is all real. This is terrible. In fact, it feels like a", and he said, if you read Lamentations 3, he's like, "I feel like an arrow pierced my liver. I feel like my teeth have been broken with gravel". He's being real with God.

And then he pivots, and you just, I love the power of the pivot when he says this. He says, "But through the Lord's mercies, we're not consumed. Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning". Even in the pit, he said, "I could see the sun rising up over the hole in the ground". Great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul. "Therefore I hope in Him". The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

And Father, we pray that the power that energized Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, who experienced the power of a sunrise even in the bottom of a pit, that you would help us to see that no matter what we're facing or walking through or fearing, that we really don't have to be afraid of the things that are making us feel fear. Because you are with us. We pray as a church, as we all move towards this significant moment on the back end of this series, on this Compass Rose series, that it would be with that heart that says, "God is good to those who trust. And God is good to those who follow him". It would be with that spirit that we set the direction of our lives towards generosity, that other people might experience your goodness. And I pray that if anyone listening to this message doesn't know you, that you would draw them to you so that they could have that kind of a faith, that kind of a peace that passes all understanding. And we ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

We live in a culture that's pretty preoccupied by the north. Everything kind of points to the north. If you look at a compass, it's all about the north. The north is the one with the weight on it. The north is the one that, once you find it, tells you everything else. And I think that, perhaps, that can at times skew the way that we see the world. Not just as people who own compasses, but also people who don't just live in America, we live in North America. And at times I think it's possible, maybe, just maybe, to look at even the Earth differently because of where we happen to live on it. Small example? Would that be OK? I remember the first time I ever saw this map right here. I was in elementary school, and the teacher pulled that map down from in front of the chalkboard. You know what I'm talking about, the one that has like 19 of them. And if she lets go of it wrong. You know, and if you ever had a short teacher, she had that stick with like the paper clip taped to it, you know, and she had to MacGyver that situation.

And this is how we first saw the world. And it was awe-inspiring to go, "Oh my gosh". And you find yourself, and it makes you feel small, because where you live is so small on it. And look at our little, cute North America. Look at all the other continents. But man, look at that big old frozen, that must be where Luke Skywalker got almost eaten by the, there's a lot of frozen stuff down there and things. This is how, well, up until 1991, in schools in this country, we saw the world. But it's possible that how we see the world isn't actually how the world is. For one thing, we know that the world's not flat. So however they got the world to be this, because this is, and then you're like, "Wait, the world's a globe"? Like, "What is this witchcraft? The world's a ball? Or the world's a map"? And they're, "No, the world's not". But they had to make it a map so we could have a map of it. And so they had to flatten stuff out.

So obviously, to turn, think about it, to turn a globe into this, something had to give. And artistic liberties had to be taken, and they did. And they drew lines up further than they went, mostly for sailing purposes, for seafaring purposes, so the latitude and longitude would be able to be followed by those who are seafarers. But it caused there to be some inaccuracies between what we see and what's actually there. For example, let me ask you this question. Take the map away. Take it away. Take it away. Take it away. We're going to put it back up, that one, in just a second. But here's the question. Which is bigger, Africa or Greenland? Don't answer it, just lock it in your head. And once you get it locked in, OK, now we're going put the map back. Hold your answer. Africa or Greenland, which one's bigger? OK, put that same map back we just looked at. Greenland, you're like, before I answer that question, could I ask you a question? Where's Greenland? OK. Fair. Greenland is that Africa-shaped thing at the top that's solid white. All right?

So it looks a lot like Africa, but it's solid white and it's up towards where Santa lives. All right? So that's Greenland. Now, how many of you said Greenland's bigger? Raise your hand up. How many of you said Africa's bigger? Raise your hand up. Well, now that you see it, does anybody want to revise your answer? No. Because what does it look like? It looks like they're the same. They're roughly the same. Now, would you believe it if I told you that in real life Africa is 14 times bigger than Greenland? 14. And in fact, if the map was accurately presented, here's what it would look like. Man, those polar ice caps are melting. No, here's, go back. They stretched it out. It caused what's at the ends to feel bigger and what's at the middle to feel smaller. So back to reality. That is actually how things are. So we in North huge America, it's actually not that big when you look at the whole thing properly.

Now here's one question I have for you, as long as I'm messing with you. Why do we look at the world, every time we see the world, it's always, always like this and not like that? Well, dummy, why would you put it upside down? And I would ask you this question. How do you know that's upside down? Well, obviously, north is up. Is it? Is it? Up from where? Relative to what? Or is, in fact, up space, which exists in every single direction, seemingly infinitely? As we here on this planet that is upside down or downside up, who's to say? But what we do know is this planet is traveling about 66,000 miles an hour around our solar system, which is itself traveling approximately 560,000 miles an hour around the center of our galaxy called the Milky Way. And we don't even know what the Milky Way is doing, whether it's moving quickly around some other part of the universe that we haven't figured out how to have access to.

So I ask you again, why is which way up and not that way down? I realize this is stone talk, but I'm not stoned. I just want you to see that what we would say is north, and that's up, because it's up on the map, and the map says so, what we see in our heads when we say north is not exactly reality. We say birds go south for the winter, right? They don't. They go to the middle for the winter. They middle for the winter. If they went south, they'd be cold. North's cold. South's cold. Middle's warm. All right? As we spin on an axis, and that's parts of the Earth, the top and the bottom, are colder periodically, but the middle is consistently warm. All right. Why do I tell you this? You're like, "I don't know, but you've given me a lot to think about. Go home and cry and call my elementary school teacher and yell at her or something".

Here's why. Long before there were compasses pointing us to north, we had cultures. And for thousands of years, people still found a way to orient themselves. Only they were not, for most of human history, like us, northern-oriented cultures. What you had instead was eastern-oriented thinking, eastern-oriented cultures. In fact, a compass rose is the star at the center of any compass with the four cardinal directions written on it, which are north and south and east and west. And of course, I started with north because I'm northern-oriented. But for most of history, it would not have been north that would have come out of their mouths first, but rather the word "east," which is itself a word that's Proto-Indio-European, they think, the word "east". And you're like, "What's Proto-Indo-European"? It is the root language of which 50% of all languages spoken on the Earth today came from.

And the Proto-Indo-European word which we get our word "east" from actually just means dawn, or a.k.a. sunrise. Because only for the last 2,000 years have we had access to magnetic compasses, but long before that people knew which way was east. Why? Because every single morning, there it is. Dawn. Eastern-oriented. Sunrise, new day. And so many cultures have placed a significance, an import, a spirituality to the dawning of a brand-new day. It's a noteworthy, significant, special event, even accompanied by colors bursting forth into the sky, however momentarily they may be. I want to give you in this talk today five things that come when you orient yourself towards the sunrise. And I'm using northern orientation this week as sort of an analogy for following our culture, following the human living, only thinking of this world. OK? So that's going to be that northern pole, to live that way.

And I want to now use the analogy of eastern-oriented thinking and living to be sort of a picture or a metaphor of the life that God has called us to live towards, where we live facing toward the sunrise. Now, I love that in the Proto-Indo-European, words that we put on those compass roses, it doesn't stop there with east. Because did you know that the word that we say, "north", north, which way's north? North is that way. Right? That word itself, when defined, actually just means to the left. So what we would start with, north, they would say, "Oh, you mean the thing that's to the left of dawn"? To the left. That's what north meant. To the left. Dawn, to the left. And west means evening twilight, and south means sun or region of the sun. Why? Because if you face the midday sun, that's south.

So it's pretty interesting to drill down on. And the first of five things we get from the sunrise is, of course, orientation. It's as simple as that. We know where we're heading so long as we don't miss the rising of the sun. Because we get each day a fantastic compass that shows up in the sky. Orientation. And where the sun sets, well, there's south. There's sun. There's region of the sun. And that's where the sun is in midday, but as the sun sets, it's west. And there's evening, evening twilight. Pretty cool, right? "The more you know". Right? So that's an NBC thing. All right. So there you have it. All right. Now, let's continue. Because there are other things that we get when we face the sunrise. Not just actual orientation, but I believe that we also receive hope. And I believe it's that which caused Jeremiah to employ this analogy of the sunrise as being the mechanism by which he was able to pull himself out of the tailspin that he sensed even within himself.

And all of these feelings, and all of this, "Ah, ah ah, ah. Sunrise, sunrise, sunrise. The dawn is coming, a brand new day. I know yesterday was tough, but it's a new day. And then great is your faithfulness. And I'm going to worship you in the midst of right what I feel right here. Hope". There's just something about the rising sun that tells you maybe today is going to be different. There's just something about the dawning of a brand-new day that causes you to feel that there's something unwritten on about this new thing that just showed up. It's a built-in reset. It's a built-in shaking of the Etch A Sketch. Here's a brand-new day. And I feel like there's just some hope that rises in you. You cannot help but feel a little bit good when you watch that sunrise, no matter what's going on.

I would encourage you, and I'm just getting practical here, just make it your goal to, as much as possible, watch the sunrise. I came to church for this? I thought you were going to, Yeah. Watch the sunrise. It's really good for your soul. It's better than a glowing screen. It's a glowing sky. I'm telling you, there's just something about, open up those blinds. Get out there. Get your brisk cup of coffee. Put a little zip-up on if it's cold out. Get your fleece on and watch that sunrise, and you just watch what God does spiritually in your heart. I found myself like Jeremiah, just feeling so much, just constricting, that it could crush me. This week we, as a family, took a little trip to the movie theaters to see Wreck-It Ralph 2 and loved it, had the best time. But we couldn't help talking about Wreck-It Ralph 1. And Wreck-It Ralph 1 was the last movie I ever had the chance to take my daughter Lenya to before she left this world to go to Heaven. And that was in 2012, and I'll never forget sitting there in the movie theater watching her watch the movie.

Now, the movie was fine. But I remember vividly watching Lenya watch Wreck-It Ralph, and watching her laugh at the things that she thought were funny. And I remember, you know, writing that down in my diary that day, and it being special and noteworthy. And so watching Wreck-It Ralph 2 now, with, watching Lennox watch it, and watching Daisy and Clover and Alivia watch it, and Jennie there, and the popcorn, and the whole, all of it. The trips to the bathroom, and every bit of it. Just loving it all, but that sadness that was attached to that, of course. And it made me just dig up in the diary, writing about the first time we watched Wreck-It Ralph without her, 38 days after she left this world, and how hard that was, and how challenging that was.

And then while I was in the journal, because this was a special journal called the Lenya lion log that I keep, and I've just written little things about her over the years. And I found myself randomly reading a journal entry that I wrote when she had hit the five-year mark in Heaven. And she had, for the first time now, five years in paradise with Jesus. And part of it, as I was preparing this talk, just grabbed me as an example of what Jeremiah did, feeling my soul hurting but watch the sunrise. Check this out. I just wanted to read a little bit of it for you. "December 20, 2017. Five years closer today. Lenya has now been in Heaven exactly as many years as she was with us on the Earth. How I have dreaded this day approaching, as it feels so cruel. But it is not heavier than the weight of glory when I consider how the vast promises of eternity".

See, If I was editing my diary I would have fixed that, because I wrote "how the vast promises of eternity". Anyhow, I don't edit my journal entries. But I should. "We went out to dinner last night as a family to celebrate her homecoming and express sadness at her absence. It is so hard not getting to see her and her sisters grow up together, and now to know Lennox will only know her on Earth through stories and pictures". Period. "The sun just rose, though". And I wrote that out. I don't remember it, but I guess as I was writing this it was early in the morning, and I was just having a hard time in the darkness fumbling with these emotions. But I wrote, "The sun just rose, though". And then I wrote, "Pink, full of fire, changing the color of everything it touched. And it's right on time".

And that moment, seeing that sunrise just caused the shadows I was feeling and the shadows I was facing to vanish away as the light of God shined on my heart, as I realized, a God that on-time with the sun is not going to mess up when it comes to my heart, and to my hurt, and to our grief, and to our family, and our journey. At the end of the day, there's only really two ways to live, facing the sunrise or not facing the sunrise. William Barclay once said, look at this: "Even on the darkest day there are blessings to count. We must remember that if we face the sun, the shadows will fall behind us. But if we turn our backs on the sun, all the shadows will be in front". And I would just encourage you, if you're finding yourself just full of things that are wrong with your life and haven't happened in ways God's worked in other people, and why is this, and all of a sudden it becomes this "Woe is me," and here's how the troubles I've seen are heavier, I just would encourage you just to ask yourself, "Wait a minute. Where's the sunrise"? Because it's going to come right on time.

Watch that sun go up in the sky. You watch the pink. You watch the orange. You watch the brightness. You watch the power. And you watch the way it chases the shadows away. And then you believe God to do exactly that inside your heart. And you tell him, "Great is your faithfulness. My soul will trust in you. I'm not just looking at this life, I'm looking into eternal life. I believe your". And when you're watching the sunrise, it's really hard to look at anything else. When you see the sun just painting the sky, it's hard to notice anything else. Until it's gone, it's like, "Wait. Hold". It's going to be gone in a, you know what I'm saying? Like, it's just like, you almost want to just drink it in. And I love that the way that when we start with God, and, you know, they say biologically even for our bodies it's good to get 20 minutes of pre-noon sunlight. Did you know that? 20 minutes of pre-noon sunlight has been, and I think probably, for many of us, is not something we experience. They say it doesn't count if it's through a window or through sunglasses, either. 20 minutes of pre-noon sunlight. What it does is it resets your body clock and it helps you on, at the appropriate time, to begin to feel tired.

Some of you, you might have, you're tossing and turning at night and you think it's a night problem. There's not enough Ambien, there's not enough ZzzQuil, there's not enough melatonin. But it may not be about what happens at night. It may be about what didn't happen when the sun was out. It may be about what didn't happen when it was daytime, that you didn't expose yourself early enough to what was telling you it's morning so your body understood it was night down the road. I'm just telling you, these are some of the little things, some of the little hacks, some of the tiny tweaks that we can make that would make an enormous difference on our faith journey. 20 minutes of pre-noon sun. So I would say, if that's true biologically, what about spiritually? In the last message, the I Declare War series, I say, "What if you just got eight minutes with Jesus before your day began"? You're like, "Well, what if I do 20"? I won't tell. You know? It's great. I'm just trying to set that bar low.

Some of us aren't getting any time with God. Eight minutes is better than nothing. 20 minutes would be better than that. Letting Him shine on you, how much better would you be going into your day? How much more would the clock of your soul be set to Heaven's time as you deal with difficulties and distresses if you've let God tell you what's up, what's down, what's here, what's valuable, what's precious, what's worth letting go, what hills to die on? I think when you watch the sunrise, you realize what's a mountain and what's a molehill, and you know the difference between the two. All right, so, hope. Hope will put blinders on your eyes. Blinders. You're like, "What's a blinder"? It's this. This is blinder right here. It's a blinder on a horse. They put them on him because horses, at some point in history, were prey. And that's why their eyes are on the side of their head. They're very nervous and suspicious of anything going around here. Ahhh. Large cats don't have eyes on the side of their head. Why? Because they do the hunting.

Oh, you want me to preach some Eyes of a Lion up in here? Don't you tempt me, all right? So horses' eyes are over here, to worry about what's around them. And so if you want to get him to focus, you've got to say, "Let's not be so perplexed. Let's just focus on pulling this little wagon here, little pal". Right? Because they know, if you're trying to pull a wagon forward, horses will be worried and they'll even catch a reflection of what they're carrying and it'll scare them. Ahhh! It's just the wagon. This is OK. "Oh. Oh, good. So we're OK. Just going to go forward". Some of us are like that. We catch sight of something that God's called us to carry and it freaks us out. Agitated by something God has given us to carry. They're not the only horses that carry blinders on their face.

Check this out. Race horses sometimes have to wear them too, because sometimes when you are a thoroughbred meant to blaze forward, you'll get distracted by stuff you see around you. And it'll keep you from running in your lane like your call to. I just came to church to tell you, if you get hope in your heart, if you get that sunrise spiritually in your life, if you orient yourself towards the dawn, I'm just telling you, everything else will be just something to the left. I'm going this way. I've got to, I've got to, what about all that? I know. It's there. It's to the left. God's got a plan. But I've got somewhere to be. I've got somewhere I've got to go. I'm going to lay, let go of all that stuff behind me, and I'm going to run towards the finish line, the upward call of God and Jesus Christ. You got a little hope, put some blinders on. It'll give you the right perspective, too. Perspective.

The whole part of the message that we began with was all a perspective problem. It was what you're focusing on, that you're magnifying, that becomes bigger. Like when you Google stuff a lot, do you notice how it follows you around? Even on someone else's computer. Ahhh. How do they know I'm interested in that? Because you logged into your email in a different browser, and the browser's like, "Tell this computer, too". Disney princesses. Right? So we've all seen Wreck-It Ralph 2, obviously. So here's the thing. Whatever you're searching for, you're going to stare at and see more of. And so your perspective can become skewed. Now, Greenland seems bigger than it really is. But when we calibrate our hearts properly towards the dawn, well, what happens?

Two things happen. Number one, we always remember we've been forgiven. We always remember we've been forgiven. What do you mean? I mean, what David said. He said, look at this: "As far as the east is from the west". I watch the sunrise. "Oh, that's right. I've been forgiven. Oh, that's right. That's not who I am anymore. Oh, that's right. I've been given a brand-new start and a brand-new heart. I've been given a future. I'm going to stop, what am I even doing here? I've been forgiven". Now my perspective changes. So he's removed us from our transgressions. So you remember, you've been forgiven. And don't forget, he who's been forgiven loves much. So the ways you were taking your pound of flesh out on people, you remember Jesus Christ, what he did for you when you didn't deserve it.

Now all of a sudden you start dropping those rocks that you were going to chuck it some people and you start having that posture of, "You forgave me much, so I can love much. I can do what Jesus did, who died using his last breath to pray for the forgiveness of those who put him there". So forgiveness sets in. That's our perspective. Our perspective is one of forgiveness. Jeremiah, he said the same thing. He said, "Your mercies are new every morning". Your mercy. What's mercy? Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Not getting what you deserve. So many of us, "I want what's mine. I want what's coming to me. I want justice". I don't want justice. Justice is me actually getting the right penalty for everything that's ever happened to me. I don't want justice. I want to orient myself towards the cross.

You know, when they finally discovered the magnetized compass, this whole thing shifted because now it's all about north. But for a while, you know what they did? This has fallen out of use, but check this out. A lot of times on compass maps, on the compass rose, they would put a fleur-de-lis on north, and you know what they would put on east? A cross. To remember which direction towards Jerusalem when you were in the Mediterranean Sea. And I wonder if you're aware of the fact that we can still be living here on Earth, needing to go north, as this world is still part of our story, and yet always have our heart set towards the cross. Always have our heart set to where we've been forgiven. And always have our heart set to where Jesus died and rose up from that dead. And have that spirit of new mercies this morning. And they don't roll over. You'll get new ones tomorrow, but if you don't go get them from his hand today, you don't get to ever use those.

Let's walk in those new mercies and never let any of them expire or lapse. Perspective. Hope. Orientation. Then there's this. We get acceleration. Acceleration. Why do you ever say, "On your left"? It's because you're passing some slow idiot in the, "On your left. You're going slow where you should be fast, so move out of my way". We say "On your left" when we think we need to take for ourselves something we deserve. We need to get ahead. And I think a lot of times the reason we don't want to orient ourselves towards the sunrise is because we think that would slow us down. But here's the beautiful reality. Jeremiah put it so well when he said in verse 24, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him". "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him".

Now, here's the beautiful thing. A lot of times we go north on our own, thinking we need to get some good thing for us, instead of going east towards that sunrise to receive that new mercy, because we feel like that's too slow. But the beautiful power of our God is that when we seek him, he causes things that we would have sought after to come seeking after us. I'm just telling you, you will never, ever, ever, ever come in last by putting God first. He's good to those who wait for Him. You'll watch him bless you. You'll watch Him use you. You watch Him lavishly pour out grace and mercy and favor upon you that you do not deserve. It's a beautiful thing to watch that acceleration kick in.

In fact, in Malachi 4, we're told this. Look at this. Malachi 4 says, "'Behold the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be will be made stubble. And the day which is coming will burn them up,' says the Lord of hosts, 'that will leave them neither root nor branch.'" So crime doesn't pay. That's basically what that means. Those who go seek it after what they think they need will have everything removed from them. But those who divest themselves of ownership of anything, say, "I have nothing. You've given me everything. I want to honor you in all things. Through Christ I can do, I'm going to orient myself towards the east". Notice what his promise is, too, in verse 2. "But to you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings. And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves".

Come on, somebody. All the fat cats in this world saying, "Gimme, gimme, gimme". That's not the way to have anything. You shall be left neither root nor branch. But to those who say, "I'm going to fear you. I'm going to honor you. I'm going to trust you. I'm going to set the compass rose towards generosity. I'm going to have that mentality of a light touch here, because Heaven is my Home," he says, "Surprise". Fat cat, surprise. Stall-fed, grass-fed beef. Come on. Blessing on your life. Not by seeking the blessing, but by seeking Jesus. Oh, and I love the casual way this promise tells us, every time the sun rises it's God's way of promising to you, Jesus is coming back. Jesus is coming back. Sun is rising? Oh, guess what. Guess who's coming back. Jesus. Jesus coming back. Casual reference, now. Jesus is coming back. Came the first time, didn't he? That's called Christmas. We're sort of living in a living countdown, culturally. None of us are able to forget when Christmas is. 12 days. Little doors. Eating chocolate. It's there. Eggnog latte.

Now that I can get excited about. But here's the thing that's funny about all these little things we celebrate and know about Christmas. All of them used to be prophecy. It's history now. Bethlehem, manger, all this. Rum pum pum pum. It's all history. It's in the dictionary. We divide time. Every time you write the date you're honoring the birth of Jesus. So it's history. Jesus is coming. Guess what. Every one of them used to be scoffed-at prophecy. Scoffed at, ludicrous, "how could that ever happen" prophecy. So right now we live in this New Testament that's full of all these promises about Jesus coming back again that are what? Prophecy. And guess what. They're going to be history. Jesus Christ is coming soon. I'm telling you, he's coming soon. And may we as his followers be ready when he comes. Now, that's the rub. How do we do that? How do we be ready?

Well, there were some people one time who quit all their jobs and waited on a hill with a sign. They were waiting on a hill, and Paul had to write them a whole book of the Bible called First Thessalonians to say, "Hey, morons. Go back to work". When he comes back, he doesn't want you waiting. He wants you working. He doesn't want you waiting. He wants you doing something he can bless, so you can be like a stall-fed calf. He wants you working with your hands, so he can watch you, blessing your efforts to love people, to fulfill the great commission how? By one normal day at a time. That's how we be ready for Jesus Christ. We honor God one ordinary, small, unheroic, unsexy, unspectacular day at a time. In a collection of essays written by the prolific writer CS Lewis, when the topic of the world's end and Apocalypse Now and the atomic age all came up, he said this. I love it so much. He said, "If the end the world is coming, let it find us praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to good music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts, not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about it".

I'm telling you something. We should have this mentality that says, "Jesus is coming soon. What's that, love-15? Cool". Come on, he's coming back. Let's enjoy our life. Let's serve the city. Let's do some good. Let's build the church. Let's go into prison. Want to throw some darts? OK. We're living lives of liberty, not bondage. Faith, not fear. It's for others, not for ourselves. We can think big, not small. Jerry Jones can spend a billion dollars on a screen for the Cowboys to play in and we can't build a church? We can't buy some real estate? Come on, let's do some good together. Let's build a church together. I'm not going to apologize for a big vision, because we got a big God. And he's coming soon. All right. Sit down, sit down. We're not supposed to get so excited in church. It's supposed to be boring and reverent and holy.

One last thing, and I think it's what we get when we focus on the sunrise like we're supposed to, we get help. And I'm going to need some help to preach this right. So this is my daughter, Clover. As you jot that down, "help," here's my help. OK, so, hi honey. Hi. Hey, show them your new tooth you just lost. Yeah, look at that. Looking good. I asked her first time she came out, I said, "What did you lose recently"? She says, "A stuffed animal". I know. I'm like, I was giving her a chance to talk about her tooth. I love that. Which stuffed animal was it? Um, it was the rainbow one. We'll find that. We'll find the rainbow one. OK. So, here's the thing. There's this verse in the psalms I wanted you guys to read with me. Look at it on the screen. It's from Psalm. David said, check this out, "The Lord's right hand is lifted high. The Lord's right hand has done mighty things. Therefore, we will live and not die, and we will proclaim all that the Lord has done".

I think sometimes, when we're living in this journey of faith, we feel like, "Where's God? Where's God now? Where's God now"? We feel so alone. Sometimes I think, like little Clover here, we feel like we're all by ourselves. And we're going like, "I'm trying to worship you in this pit. Where's God now"? And God proclaims, "I'm holding you by my mighty right hand. Over and over again in the scripture you see God holding us with his right hand. Now, let me ask you a question, Clover. When I hold your hand like this, which hand am I holding? Left. Your left hand. How do you know that? Yeah, that's an L to you. So you always know that's your left hand. Therefore, what hand am I using to hold you with? Right. My right hand.

So here's what we always have to remember. When I feel like I can't see God, when I feel like, "God, where are you"?, if he's holding us with his right hand, then he would say to you, "I'm on your left. I'm on your left. I'm on your left. I never left. I'm on your left". And what's so beautiful about that is that, in the Bible, the picture right is always strength and right is always power. Right is always dominant, right is always the best you can do. And I love that God didn't say, "I'm holding you with my mighty left hand". Because here's what that would mean, then. That would mean he's holding us by our right hand. And I think sometimes we're afraid that all we are to God is our strength.

How often we can go to church, how many verses we can know. We feel like God only wants anything to do with us if we've been good lately. If we've been bad, we don't have any stars in our chart, and so what does he even want to hear us pray for? So God says, "I'm not holding you by your right hand. I'm holding you with my right hand". What am I trying to say? I'm trying to say, He's not just interested in you for your strength. He's holding you in your weakness. He's holding you where you're weak, because He is strong. He'll never leave you. He'll never fail you. He's in love with you. In Jesus' name. He's on your left.

And Father, we pray. We pray this would sink in and settle in and settle over us. Give us that peace. Give us that strength, Jesus. Give us that hope and that help that we need in the midst of the difficulty. You're right there with us. And I pray now for anybody here today who's never given their hearts to you, who's never received that sweet power of forgiveness.

If that's you I'm describing, I want you right now, right where you are, to say to Jesus in the depths of your heart, "I need you. I need to be forgiven. I need to know your love. Change me. Give me grace. Hold me with your right hand". If that's you I'm describing and today is your day to give your heart to God, to walk in salvation, forgiveness, power, and healing, and to see new hope become blinders for you, could I ask that right now, every location, church online, you would just raise your hand up. You're saying, "Today is my day". Just raise your hand up. Raise your hand up. If you're giving your heart to Jesus, raise your hand up. Praise God for you. Anybody else? Right now. Just raise it up. Raise it up. Raise it up. Raise it up. God sees you. Church online, God sees you. Church, can we celebrate with those? You can put your hands down. Thank you, God.
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