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2021 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - Get A Grip

Levi Lusko - Get A Grip

Levi Lusko - Get A Grip

Hey, if you have a Bible turn with me to 2 Kings chapter 6 I want to preach to you a message that I'm calling, get a grip. Get a grip. Could you help me preach my sermon? Find someone around you, it could be in your living room, even your cat if you need to, if you don't have anybody else in the house, tell them get a grip. Get a grip. But better than telling you how, better than telling you that you need to get a grip I want to show you how to get a grip. I want to show you and talk to you about what to do when you feel like you're slipping. I want to talk to you about what to do when you feel like what you're holding is too heavy and like you are cracking up. And if there's no one else who needs a sermon, I'm going to preach this entire thing just to me, but if there's maybe just one or two people in the church today who feel, or have ever felt like what you've been tasked with carrying is more than you can hold then, I hope this message encourages you in Jesus' name.

2 Kings chapter 6, I love this passage of scripture. I've preached on part of it but not the whole thing and so we're going to just see what happens. It says in verse 1, "and the sons of the prophets said to Elijah, 'see now the place where we dwell with you is too small for us'". This was a school of the prophets, we've talked a little bit about them in this pulpit. There was a school of ministry, basically. It was a training ground for people who wanted to be used to serve God. Elijah used to think he was the only one who loved God. It's easy to think that sometimes, I'm the only one, I'm the only one. And God's like fool there's so many more you don't even know about. I'm doing so much more in the world than you're even aware. And so then his padawan, Elisha, began to devote himself to training up all the other ones, all the other people who loved God. And so there's a ministry school. And this ministry school was obviously growing because the sons of the prophets were like, hey, we're not ungrateful, we just don't have any room. There's 84 of us in this three bunk bed situation here. And I love it because at one point obviously the house was sufficient. Some of us have outgrown things that used to fit us. And there's great power in recognizing when you no longer fit in something you're trying to fit in. It's not that it's bad, it's just that we've grown.

And so here they are saying we need better accommodations. And that, by the way, is one of the things in our heart, as we continue to come around our internships, and we can continue to come around our college. One of the things that God has really put into our hearts is to make dorms available. And I'm not sure what this is going to look like. My prayer is that we would somehow find the opportunity to purchase and own some lodging within walking distance to the campus that I'm preaching from so that when we have students from around the country, as we will welcome shortly here. When we have interns from around the country and even the world coming to serve God here at Fresh Life Church that we would be able to make it easy for them to have a place to live. Come on. Your with me on that dream. I'm just really believing God has a situation for us to come into. A building we did not build, a field we did not plant, but that we will get to enjoy and see God use to see a generation trained up and released to make a difference in the kingdom. And so do pray with me in that, towards that end. But these ministers they said we don't want to complain Elijah but we need more room.

So look at this, verse 2 they didn't just bring a problem they brought a solution. "Please let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell". And he answered, awesome. Isn't it great, leaders, when you have someone under you who doesn't just bring to you a problem but is also proactive and thinks out the solution. If you want to make your boss's day don't just come into his office and tell him what's wrong with the organization, do some thinking on your own time and present to him four options that could be the way forward through this difficulty. Anybody can point out the thing that's not going right. If you bring that to your overseer, your boss she may have known that for months right? The question is, what are we going to do about this problem? So be proactive. That's not my sermon but it's helpful. Verse 3, "then one said, 'please consent to go with your servants.' And he answered. 'I'll go.' So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, 'Alas, master! For it was borrowed.'"

It's not really how anybody talks anymore but it's pretty good to read isn't it? "So the man of God said, 'Where did it fall'"? And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. That's why they wanted Elijah to come with them on this field trip. He was a handy guy to have around in a pinch. Verse 7, "Therefore he said, 'pick it up for yourself.' So he reached out his hand and took it. Now the King of Syria was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servant saying, 'my camp will be in such and such a place'". In one translation of the Bible it says "My camp will be hither and thither". I love that phrase, hither and thither, I've always liked it when I come across it. "And the man of God sent to the King of Israel saying, 'beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.' And the King of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice".

So Elisha is not as good at finding access, he's also like a super predator drone. Like figuring out reconnaissance wise what the enemies are doing and reporting it to his King who could then be two steps ahead of the Syrian commander. "Therefore", verse 11, "the heart of the King of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, 'will you not show me which one of us is for the King of Israel'"? He thought he had a traitor in his midst, but he didn't. "One of his servants said, 'none my Lord'". We're all on your team. "O King; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the King of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom". He's that switched on, he's that in touch with the spirit. "So he said, 'go and see where he is, that I may send and get him'". That's code for kill him, FYI. "And it was told him, saying, 'well he's in Dothan'", which is about 12 miles away from Samaria.

"Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, Elisha's servant said, 'alas, my master! What shall we do'"? This is much bigger than an ax head, we're about to lose our heads. So verse 16, "so he answered, 'do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' and Elisha prayed, and said, 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, 'strike this people, I pray, with blindness.' and he struck him with blindness according to the word of Elisha".

And Father we thank you for these truths contained in this text. We thank you for what you're trying to speak to us through it. And we pray now, what Elijah prayed for the servant to happen to ourselves. That you would open our eyes up to see what we can't see that's right in front of us, as plain as the nose on our faces. Bless this time of Bible study now and bless every single person who has made space in their heart, their life, and their schedule for your word this Sunday, or whatever day it is this week as they're listening to this message. And I pray this in Jesus' name, Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

These two stories, they don't seem like they belong connected to each other, right? They're all in one fell swoop and I'll show you in a minute how they're connected. But it almost, like reading the one is like the ax head is such a small thing. Why would you even bother God with this? This is like, this doesn't even belong in scripture. It's like how did that accidentally, like were they worried the Bible wasn't going to be long enough? Like that does not belong in the Bible. And then, and you see the other one and it's like such a big thing. And what are we to make of all of this? I was thinking this week about how my wife and I, who have been married for 17 years, this year. How we have, Yeah it's amazing, she's the best. How we have lived in three different states, we've had five children, we have lived in five different homes. And the most recent home that we've lived in, the home that we live in today, we have lived in, this fall it'll be 10 years since we built this house and have lived in it and have put down roots.

And you think about that like, in many ways, you know we've, over the years, felt growing pains. And felt what the sons of the prophets felt like the house has gotten a little too small for us. Sometimes the walls come in. There's just, when we moved in we didn't have as many people living in it as we do now. So I mean it's just like every couple of minutes you're bumping, it's hard to go somewhere not bump into somebody. If you ever felt that this house is too small for us. But we for two reasons have never left the house and may never leave the house. And that's for, first of all, an emotional one and the second one just a really practical one. Emotionally we had a daughter who went to heaven while we lived in that house and so it's challenging for any one of us to think about living anywhere else because of the memories associated. And to have to live somewhere else where we don't have any memories. And there's a door we're like all the kids heights, and of course my daughter who's in heaven, her heart stops at the last measurement we took of her. But so you know, it's like when you lived here, you know. Like that's one reason we've never moved, we've never left that house because it's like Lena lived here. She was, she woke up here the morning that she went to be with Jesus.

And so you know it's like we might be tight, it might be, it might be but you just hold on kids you're going to be out of here. It's going to feel real good which is Jennie and I in here. You can come over and visit any time you want, bye. And so yeah Lena lived here. It's emotional right. But then the second reason, and just really practically speaking, I was thinking about is I am just too lazy to ever move again. I have PTSD from all of the moves I have ever made. I sometimes get a little twitchy tick in my eye just thinking about moving. I'll pass a moving truck and see boxes and I'm like ain't nobody got time for that. I just, the devil is a liar. Like I'll start thinking, I'm like no, I'm not moving, I'm not doing it, I'm not doing it. And I told you my wife has had five children which is impossible to believe when you see her because she looks like, doesn't look like someone who would have had five children or be someone old enough to have five children. But every one of those kids got her a get out of moving free card, right? For a whole year she didn't have to do nothing, right. I get it, right I'm not saying it's a wonderful easy thing to have a baby. I'm just saying I can't lift anything over 10 pounds, I'm so sorry. It's a wonder, it's the baby, it's the baby, it's the baby.

For nine months you can do anything and then once you know, mom's recovering, is postpartum, I still can't carry anything. So all of these moves California, from New Mexico, and New Mexico to Montana, and all the three different places we lived in Montana, right it's all fallen to me. And any friends I can muster, blackmail, bribe, swindle into helping me out. Right, that's a lovely thing like any friend you know who has a truck right. It's like just, OK can you help me? It's like I'm busy, what day is it? All of them, I'm busy all of them, all of them days. Right, you start going through the list in your head like who could I call that I've not called to help me lift this couch just move it. The other thing I should tell you about my wife is that she is a chronic furniture re-arranger. Just constantly wanting to move stuff around, like this bunk bed would be good in there.

Well you know what that means honey, that means disassembly, is what that means. And so like I have so many memories of trying to move things like with one of my tiny children's help. Like help me move this thing, like dad this is going to kill me. And then like in between babies, I'd have to schedule like hanging a TV or something in between babies. With like a one month you know window of time before I got her pregnant again. And now I can have you help with heavy things and then we can get back to procreating. But that's been our life and honesty here, and it's wonderful now because Olivia is a teenager and she's strong. And so it's like she resents ever-growing up because she's had to become like my moving friend. And she's, don't tell this to my wife, is stronger than Jennie. And so like I don't even ask Jennie to help anymore. I'm always asking Olivia to move stuff or hang stuff or hold this while I drill this in.

I have memories upon memories of Livie with the whites of her eyes showing, trying to get something upstairs, or 'dad it's slipping'. Like and I never have worked out whether it's better to put her at the bottom of the stairs or the top of the stairs going up, really there's no, there's no winning you know what I mean. And just dad it's slipping, dad it's too heavy, dad it's slipping trying to put the, The worst I can remember was the basketball hoop, putting that together. I don't know why I ever bought a basketball hoop. I don't even like basketball. I'm wearing Air Jordans but they're not for basketball. The staff bought me these for my birthday. I don't play basketball. I tried yesterday, it would just be relaxing to shoot hoops for a minute and I think like six times later one went in and I was like that's not really my thing.

And so I went back to reading a book. But I remember distinctly like putting this frame up and trying to like, Olivia's holding it and I'm trying to torque the thing down. And she's like dad it's slipping, I'm like, don't drop this thing. I don't even know where, what do I do then? What do I do then? I got to take this thing back to Costco? I know they have really good return policy, but how am I supposed to get this whole basketball thing, assembled halfway, to Costco. Anyhow, it's one thing to be holding something heavy physically and feel it slip. It's a terrible feeling when you feel it going through hands either because it's too big, it's too heavy, too slippery, or there's just not a good place to get a handhold. Like a foosball table, have you ever moved a foosball table? Jeez, right it's horrible too because as you're doing it the things are falling out, it's like hey, I should tape those down. No, I'll be fine. Always tape them down.

But what about when something's slipping through your fingers emotionally, what about when you can't get a grip on something spiritually? What about when you just feel that sensation of I'm trying my hardest it's just going through my hands, I'm losing my grip. I'm losing my edge maybe. I'm cracking up here. I feel like my grip on reality is the problem. I have found myself saying to myself more times, more variations of Levi get a grip. Where I just feel like something is more than I can bear, something. The pressure, demands, the relationships, caring enough for all the people that are attached to me in some way or another, having enough to give. How do you get a grip when you've lost one? Because sometimes even just the self-talk is not enough. Like I find myself like Kevin McCallister in the basement sometimes, it's only my imagination, it's only my imagination, it's only my, And then, nope, that furnace actually is Lucifer. It really is. Right, the situation is just too much and get a grip Levi, snap, If anybody's with me at all, just say amen so don't feel completely alone up here.

But sometimes it just feels like life and what I have to give, these two are not compatible. So what do you do when you feel like your grip on reality is slipping. What do you do when something has flown through your hands? Well we have come to the right place because this cat swinging the ax, is like me playing basketball. He was clearly not a good home builder, right? What is he doing trying to take a tree down with this loose ax head? Well we find some lessons that I think we can apply to our lives that'll help us snap out of it when we feel like things are slipping. The first thing I see this text telling us, is that little things clearly can cause big problems. And a lot of times in life it will not be the huge, disastrous, massive things that are going to actually bring you down. It's going to be the slow steady accumulation of little things. It's the pinpricks. I distinctly heard God tell me this past year, that's not the problem.

As I would naturally, in my mind, when I would look at my mental state or emotionally, finding myself at a place where I felt like I was drowning, and I would immediately think well it's got to be just like, well sure, like I mentioned a minute ago, grief, the death of my daughter. And I remember God saying, Levi, that's not the problem. Those big things you've dealt with, you've focused on, you've gotten the prayer, you've gotten the counseling, you've gotten the healing in those big things. That's not the problem. It was the little things. It was just the accumulation of demands. It was the, yes when I maybe should have prayed more before giving the eventual no that I probably should have given. It was taking the time to be quiet in prayer before going into a difficult season. Having the right mentality, God said to me Levi, not that's not the problem. You've got to look to, at times, the little things. In this situation, this guy's stressed out this guy's freaking out. It was a little thing, but it led to a big problem. Why? Because now he's got to pay for this ax head because he borrowed it. He lost an ax, so he's not only getting behind on the work project, but he's got to repay this dude's ax that he borrowed, right?

Because the law was clear, this is Exodus 22, "if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it becomes injured or dies," or he accidentally chucks it into a pond. "He shall surely make it good". So he's thinking, I got to make this thing good. And apparently loose ax heads was like a real issue in that day because there was even law given in the Old Testament scripture on what happens if you're chopping a tree down and the ax head goes flying off of the ax handle. Look at Deuteronomy 19, "when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies, he shall flee to one of these cities and live;" It's amazing God thought of everything, right? And obviously they needed some better technology on their ax handles. I think you can drive a nail into the top of it, it'll make it wider. But this guy's panicking because I got to, I got to replace the ax. And so I'm going to have to work and I'm going to have to get some money to pay for this. But then I still don't have a beam, I still haven't cut down a tree. And so he's just, it's just little things that is causing this big problem. I guess he should be grateful he didn't murder anybody, but he's still got an issue. And so little things can cause big problems.

Second thing, jot this down. Bad things can happen when you're out doing good. This text is reassuring to me because this guy wasn't here making mess. He was trying to build a house for missionaries, like this is a good thing. And now he's got this crisis, he's got this difficulty, this dilemma, and he was on the way to doing good. I think sometimes we underestimate the blow-back that will come our way when we try and do good. When we are seeking to serve God we sort of expect like that God's going to look out for us. As though God operated on karma, and you put enough good energy out there and just good things are going to come. And I have found over the years, many Christians are stunned, and surprised, and horrified even when the exact opposite happens. And as you begin to try and clean your life up, as you begin to start making better decisions, as you begin to try and, gasp, serve God. Telling somebody about Jesus, inviting someone to come to church with you, trying to encourage someone who's discouraged. You kind of like are expecting good to come back. And oftentimes it's just the opposite. And we are surprised but if we come to Jesus we'll hear him saying look if you're trying to follow me, what happened to me. The world killed me, and you're calling yourself a mini me.

So you should not be surprised when as you're doing good, bad things actually come your way. You should rejoice in those moments because blessed are you who are persecuted for righteousness sake. So far from asking the question, what did I do wrong that this hardship has happened to me. Maybe you could ask yourself the question, what did I do right that the enemy sees me as a threat. He's trying to snuff out my light. I know one thing's for sure, don't in response to that, turn it down. Turn it up. Turn it up. Turn it up. Turn it all the way up. I'm going to blaze 10 times brighter when I feel like the enemy is trying to put out my light. That's the second thing you need to know.

Third thing, jot this down. I saw this in the past, if it matters to you, it matters to Him. I don't know why, but somehow it just encourages me so much to no end that this story ended up in the Bible. Why? Because I think God wants to emphatically say to you, I care about your lost ax head, I care about your lost iPhone, I care about the Microsoft Word document you've been in hour upon hour upon hour that crashed for some reason and you saw the demonic beach ball and when you rebooted the system there was no restored, recovered file. And so now you are ready to cuss.

I'm just autobiographically talking about my week. I think God cares about the fact that you can't find your backpack and the fact that your favorite shirt has an oil stain on it because you were eating a salad because you were trying to make better eating decisions and that flipping balsamic vinaigrette now is perpetually a reminder. My wife says baking soda is the answer. All I'm saying is I just am thankful that God cares. And sometimes it's not the big stuff to me that really causes me to feel like I'm slipping and causes me to feel like I'm cracking up, it's sometimes the smallest little things. It's the fact that you go and there's no clean underwear in the drawer. And you're standing there going like, now I'm not going to have any underwear on today. And you just start to feel like, I just can't do it. I can't do it, I can't face it, no more. I'm leaving, I'm quitting, I'm going, it's just like, and I think God just goes, hey it's an ax head, I know it's a problem, I care. I care about you. I care about your week, I care about, if it's big to you, it's big to Him.

And God in the scriptures, puts a man of God about to be killed by assassin's right next door to a lost ax head. And Elisha deals with both situations with the same amount of intensity and faith. And God cares. Nothing is small to Him and nothing is big to Him. If it matters to you, it matters to Him. What did I say last week? He approaches us like a child. When comes to me with a situation, I want to listen. When Clover has a problem, it matters to me. I realize, with perspective, it's not that big of a deal honey but I don't want to belittle her or condescend her because she cares about her little fairy house, I care about her stupid fairy house. I care, because I care, it matters. So your situation isn't bothering your Father in heaven. Or you can't pray about that because God's worried about Afghanistan. Look God's not worried about anything. He sees the end from the beginning, he knows how he's going to use all these things.

So don't be afraid, don't be worried about bringing your little petty things to him. Your little scheduling thing to him, your little relational thing to him, and as you're honest with God and you don't try and sanitize your prayer life. And you don't try and always come to God speaking in the King James with like four these three thous and two thus. Like God's going to be like, whoa look at that. And you just say, God I'm really struggling with lust right now, and I'm super mad, and I almost cussed at my four-year-old. Like I'm just telling you God is going to be like, thank you I saw it too right. So you don't do that and then be like, yes thy merciful bequeaths things, like he's like that's not normal. Just to be honest with him, to cast all your cares upon Him. If it matters, to just encourage you, to you, it matters to Him. He can handle the ax head next to the disaster, he can handle Haiti alongside the fact that you're just overwhelmed. And you feel bad because you're overwhelmed because how dare you be overwhelmed while an earthquake is killing all these people in Haiti.

Guess what, they can just go right next to each other and let God sort them out in your heart. And you, it doesn't mean you're a bad person, it just means you're a human being with limits, with thresholds. And yet it is awkward to carry a foosball table down a set of stairs. It just is. All right number four, I see from this passage everything in your hands is borrowed. I love that what the servant was carrying was not his and he acknowledged that. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, "alas my master, it was borrowed". It went into the water, I can't get can't get it back and I'm thinking about the owner. I'm thinking about the fact that I got to go talk to this fool, who loaned me his ax head and be like, I am such a bad lumberjack that I lost your ax head. I am not Paul Bunyan, I am so sorry. He's immediately thinking through the lens of, what I had was a gift, what I had was borrowed and so should you.

In fact John the Baptist gives us this, he said and John 3:27, 'no one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.' So we should have the frame of reference in life, that a boat, a car, our job, our health, our citizenship, what name is on our passport, all of it, it's a gift. The air in your lungs is a gift. You're not a self-made man. You're not a self-made woman. I realize that you might have made some good decisions along the way but it's really hard to make stuff without breathing. And you didn't give yourself lungs. You didn't choose to be born in the year that you were born in, to the family that you're born in. Everything you were given is a gift. And far from being a dis-empowering thing, I think it's a wonderfully freeing thing to remember this.

First Corinthians 4:7, "what do you have that God hasn't given you? And if everything you have is from God, why would you boast as though it were not a gift"? So not only does this take us away from the place of bragging, because news flash, whatever you did, it was with what he gave to you to do those things. So it puts you into the place of going, I can't walk around like a big shot because I was given a gift and I used that gift. So that's why Jesus told the disciples, when you come back from doing ministry don't be like doing the moonwalk like you're Michael Jackson, but instead say we're just servants, we did what we were told to do. Whether I was given one talent, two talent, or five talents God just wants a return on investment. That's why, as we said last week, it's not a bad thing to seek out greatness. In fact, if you were given Olympic caliber talents it would be a travesty to flounder in the shallow pool of life. You should seek out God giving greatness in your business, you should seek out God giving greatness in your health. But you should do so not to fill up some deficiency you have on the inside because you think you're not as important as James or you're not as buff as Peter.

You should be doing so because God gave me this gift, how could I not use it? I'm not going to brag as though it weren't his, but I'm not going to think that me not using that and hiding it in the ground is somehow going to honor him. When I'm going to stand before him one day and answer the question, well, what did you do with what you were given? At the rewards ceremony that's coming, at the end of life where God wants to reward you for every talent, for your ability to work with wood, for your medical prowess, for your scientific mind, for your analytical reasoning, for your greatness with numbers, for your care for people, for your ability to make the dopest pot roast anyone's ever eaten. Didn't see that coming did you? Neither did I. Here's the thing, God has given it to you, so you got to work with, you got to work out what he put in. That's what you should do. But as you do so, you remember this is how you stay small in your own eyes. It was a gift. You can shrug your shoulders. You don't have to be that awkward Christian who's so bad at receiving a complement. Good job. It wasn't me, it was the Lord brother. It wasn't that good, it wasn't that good. There was a lot of you in that.

So don't be that awkward, Christians are the worst to give compliments to. Nice sweater. It was on sale. Awesome. And if you bought it on full price does that mean you have a 666 tattoo. Like what is, God's up in heaven like, it was on sale wonderful job brother. Don't be weird. Like 90% of life can be sorted out if you just don't make it weird. Anyhow, that's a different sermon. I should do a sermon some day called, don't be weird. That's going to be, that's going to be good. I'll have to preach it to me first, I'm a weirdo. I mean, I really am. All right so the beautiful thing, this is all me getting distracted about remembering it's a gift, so I don't have to boast, the fact that everything in our hands is borrowed, is that when something is broken or something's not working right you can go back to the one who does own it. You can go back to, like when a product, isn't it a wonderful thing to know something's covered by a warranty? And that if it doesn't work right, you get to call the company and say, this isn't working right.

And if they're doing a good job as a company, they take ownership of it and they look out for a way to make it right. As opposed to trying to get out of it. Which at times sometimes you'll find companies doing. It's so refreshing when you call a company say, hey, this that I bought from you isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing and they're like horrified and embarrassed. I remember one time we had a table that we bought, it was an outdoor table, outdoor patio furniture. And one winter covered up. It just completely just was, the finish on it was gone, it was terrible. Called the company up and they were like that's unbelievable, it should be standing up to the weather and the elements, even uncovered. A new ones on the way. It's just, isn't it refreshing when a company takes ownership over their product? And that, is as good as their word is. Well guess what, your Father in heaven is better than West Elm. So good news.

So here's the great thing, Yeah put that on your Twitter feed and send it. Like what? Doesn't even make any sense. I love the promise that this is Jesus' church. So this is just my personal example. So as a pastor who's called to lead this church when something goes wrong I get to remind him that something that he owns is broken. It's so refreshing to me. I will build my church. I go, oh amazing I work for you Jesus. So then when the church isn't doing what is supposed to be doing. I could go man, you have a heck of a problem on your hands. I'm going to be over here on Saturday, let me know how that goes. No I'm somewhat joking but I'm also not. Because the problem with this me, mine, it's all mine, I have to fight, I have to earn, I have to keep it, is that when it's broken you have no one to call. But by acknowledging his sovereign ownership over everything and having that light handed touch, you get to sleep at night even when things aren't working out because it was a gift. It was a bad gift maybe but it's a gift. He gave it to me, he owns it, it's not mine, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. So I'm going to entrust this situation to your care.

It is freeing, it is empowering, it is rejuvenating to know that everything you have in your hands is borrowed and it all goes back in the box when the game is over. That will cause you to focus your priorities and your perspectives. We don't get to stay on this Earth infinitely as it presently is. It's a timed test. So we have a set period of time to do good works that God was dreaming about for us. And whether we honor him or not is entirely up to us. But to the level and the extent that we remind ourselves that everything is his and it was for a purpose that was given to us that we will have peace and we will have purpose so long as we're still breathing.

All right number five, this passage tells me that axes don't just get lost they also get dull. This man trying to chop down this tree, had he not lost it into the water and chopped enough wood with it. Then inevitably, as happens to all axes, he would need to pause and to sharpen the blade. And maybe the owner he borrowed it from had just sharpened the blade up right before. I know that knife, knife owners, Knife owners have to sharpen their blades with stones and with oil. And there are companies that you can send knives to, to get them sharpened and it's amazing how great it feels.

Like my wife is so stupidly obsessive about a pair of scissors she keeps sharp just for cutting gifts, wrapping paper with. If any of us try and cut it with anything else, she's like don't you touch my scissors. Those are my special scissors. She like slaps my hands. I'm like, I'm trying to open a package. Especially not a package, you get tape adhesive all over the blade you idiot. She doesn't talk to me like that but that's how I hear it. And so there you have it. Ax blades get dull, is what I'm trying to get you to see. Ecclesiastes 10:10 puts it this way, "Remember the duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle". What that means to you and to me is, that we have to figure out what it takes to keep our blades sharpened. It's the most natural thing in the world when you feel like you've lost your edge. When you feel like it's slipping. To feel like something's wrong. But I don't know one high capacity person who at times doesn't feel that way. I don't know one person who's doing something significant in the world, who doesn't at times feel like, I'm at the end of my rope, I feel like I've hit a wall, I feel like I just don't have what it takes to get to the next level.

And it's the most natural thing in the world to feel like you're the only one and that something has gone wrong when that happens. But I want you to see it differently. I want you to when you feel that way go of course, because of all I've been doing. Of course I feel dull, look at all the trees I've been chopping down. Of course I feel this way, look at how much God's been doing through me. So now you'll actually begin to see it as a good thing. You're depleted, awesome. That means you've been doing something, you've been engaged, you've been serving, you've been accomplishing, you've been loving, you've been trying. Now you just need to sit down and sharpen that blade. Don't throw the scissors away, don't throw the knife away, get to a company that can sharpen the blade. Get a stone out, put some oil on it, and sharpen that thing up. Get a grip. It's a wonderfully refreshing thing to remember that you're not stuck where you are.

Number six, God can help you recover what's been lost. God can help you recover what's been lost. When you lose your ax head in the water and you go to him, like Elisha so lovingly said is that, show me where you dropped it. When you go to your father and you say this has happened, I think this is what he's gonna say, tell me about it, tell me where you lost, tell me how this happened. He's causing the man to retrace his steps now. Well I was standing over, because the man ran off right to go find the master. This is the universal sign for I dropped an ax head in water. Master. Master. Master. And he's like all right where did you lose it? Now this muddy water, he can't see so he has to retrace his steps. And sometimes you doing that will help you to realize your own conclusions of what you did wrong. Retracing my steps I can see, I was way too far from where I should have been. This was way too loose, this is, there's way too much going on. Of course I feel like I'm slipping, look at all these bad decisions I've been making.

So retracing your steps, where did you lose it? Where did you lose is? God's saying to you, when you tell him I feel like I'm losing it, he's going where did you lose it? Where did you go wrong? What was the series of events that led to this? It wasn't just one thing was it. It was this, and this, and this and now you feel like your hands are slipping. But God can help you recover what's been lost. God cares about and sees and knows your need but he can help you recover your lost confidence, he can help you recover your lost energy, he can help you recover your lost patience, he can help you recover your lost temper, he can help you recover your lost self-control. God can help you get back whatever you've lost. I'm encouraging someone today. And I'm even telling you that I'm watching God do this in real time in my life. I feel like the last couple of years has been such a marathon.

And all, as I look back on the history of our church, there came a point when it scared me, where I didn't have the same passion I've had for preaching. It scared me when I didn't have the same intensity of vision that I've always had. I've generally been a very clear and focused, here's the vision, here's where we're going. But I've hit some walls and come to a place where it's like I don't even know that I want to come up with another preaching series. I don't know that I want to brand another thing. I don't want, know that I have the desire to communicate at the same level that I've always had since I was a little boy. And I've brought that to the father and I've said, I feel like my ax head has flown. I feel like it's slipping, I've always had such a clear sense of here's what I'm here for, here's what I'm good at, here's what I'm called to, here's, But sometimes I feel like I've lost my very soul. Sometimes serving God I feel like I don't have the same level of dreams that I used to have. And so I've been pointing it to the father and I've been saying, God here's what I feel, here's what's happening.

And what's wonderful is to watch the ax head begin to float back up above the water. And to begin to watch God not belittle me and say, how dare you not care, how could you be so stupid to bring that to me, don't you know what's happening in Afghanistan. But I'm telling you before your very eyes you are watching somebody who's told the father what's been lost and Him saying I'll help you get it back. Come on, I'm just daring you to believe that the things that you've lost matter to God and He can't help you get them back. He's doing it right now. We get to watch God give us new vision, not just original vision. Sometimes we lose sight of the vision, he gives us new vision and new dreams. He can renew your strength. If it's such a weird feeling, if you've always been strong in an area, to feel weak in it. But God can renew that strength so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

Number seven, what we can see is not all that there is. We're almost done here church, what we can see is not all that there is. And this is why I believe he immediately connects getting back something that was lost to a story where someone else needs to get a grip. Gehazi, Elisha's servant goes out to get the paper. And he looks up and sees the hills are alive with people who want to kill him. Take that Von Trapp, right? He's like, oh my God we're going to die. This is the worst thing ever and this is bad. And so he goes into the house and he's like master. Master. Master. There's Navy SEALs soldiers out there and they're going to kill me and they have machine gun and they, Well Elisha is like get a grip bro. You're making me look bad in front of my friends. He's like, keep it cool. He says, God I pray you would help him to see. It's like I do see, that's the problem. I see a huge situation.

Now listen, God doesn't want you to pretend that what you're up against isn't real. It is. It's hard. It's scary, it's bad. You're not stupid for feeling stuck. You're not wrong for feeling like I just don't know how much more I can keep doing this. It's not bad that I have said, I don't know that I still want to be the pastor of Fresh Life Church sometimes. I don't know, I could go find a cabin somewhere and just send a book out by like an owl once a year and not have to deal with any of this nonsense. Not have to make decisions that are unpopular, not have to keep having enough strength and enough vision, not just for myself, but for a whole community of people. And so God says, that's not, it's not bad because what you're doing is hard. Just like he's not angry at you for feeling like you're stuck inside your career. Or if you ever felt like I just, I just, how can I raise these kids? I'm not even switched on my own self how can I take care of his little baby birds to need me to regurgitate food into their mouths every, But my point is, what you can see is real, but it's not all that there is. Open his eyes so that he might see the unseen. Help him to get a grip on real, reality. Because real, reality isn't just your problems.

Real, reality isn't just your bills. Real, reality isn't just your teenager at school and you being terrified of the decisions that they're going to make. Real, reality isn't just the stock market, isn't just the White House, isn't, Real, reality is God's kingdom, God's work, God's will, God's angels, God's power, God's plan. So Gehazi who's destabilized because he's lost his ax head here into this situation is now given the ultimate grip on reality. He doesn't have to say, it's only my imagination, it's only my imagination. He can see the soldiers but now God gives him the ability to see past the soldiers too. And above all around angels ready, angels ready to enforce, open a can on these soldiers if they so much as make the wrong move.

Angels that by the way, did not show up when Elisha prayed the prayer, angels that simply became visible when he prayed the prayer. Translation, they were always there. They were always ready to do God's bidding. They were always stationed to keep track of these two men of God just like there are angels ready to take care of you. Just like God has his spirits ready to serve you in your moment of crisis. Now what's amazing about this, and maybe will continue in this passage next week because there's a whole second half of this message that I even get to, but that God has given us what we need to get a grip. Here's the elements, God's power most important. How do we get a grip? Well we start with His power, His strength. We don't rely on our own strength or pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We rely on His spirit, His son, the worship of Him in those situations. The one who can send the Angels.

Then secondly, I believe it requires relational vulnerability, relational vulnerability. He had to own up to Elisha and he could have played it off like, how's your house coming? Awesome, great, actually I lost the ax head. Who have you told about your lost ax head? Are you in a group at our church where you can have people around you on Zoom or in person every single week going hey, here's how I lost my ax head. Yeah, that sucks, me too, let's pray for each other. Here's what God's word says. Who have you told about your crisis?

Thirdly, it takes intelligent choices, intelligent choices. We can't just pray but then also watch Netflix till 2:00 in the morning every night. You can't just ask for God's strength but then fill our hearts with the toxicity of what's on Facebook every single week. We can't not see we have a part to play in it. Elisha made the ax head rise but he then told him, reach out your hand and pick it up. God will never do for you what you can do for you. You can't make iron float but you can pick something up. You can't make iron float in water, that's not even a thing, but you can make your bed in the morning and you'll feel just a little bit better. You can spend five minutes praying and hiding some scripture in your heart before you go to work. And guess what, you pick that up and you put that in your heart, you're going to feel better. You're going to see things better. Only God can raise the dead but he calls us to unwrap the one that he resurrected. To being in church and worshipping together, making smart decisions, intelligent choices, drinking water.

And then fourthly, sometimes we need professional help. Sometimes when you feel like you're losing it, feel like your cracking up, maybe you do need some counseling. Maybe you need to go to your doctor and find out and get your blood checked and see if there's something off in what's dealing with it. There's no shame in that. You wouldn't judge me for needing contact lenses, which I have since sixth grade or an asthma inhaler. So why would we put a stigma on needing to reach out and get professional help where it's needed. And if you're doing these things, if you're making these choices guess what? God's power, relational vulnerability, intelligent choices, professional help, God will help you to get a grip. He'll do it. I'm telling you he'll help you to get the grip that you need. And you've got to do these things consistently. And what we're going to talk about next week, so I hope you'll come back, is the fact that once we have a grip we'll be able to help others get theirs. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Father we pray that you would speak to us this week about these truths that we've seen today. Continually remind us of them so we can walk in the power of them. I pray for those today who feel like they've got a lost ax head or a loose one. Feel like it's slipping, it's too heavy.

If that's to you I'm describing and there's just something in your life that's just too much for you, could you just be honest enough today to raise your hand up and say, that's happening today. I feel it's loose, I feel it's slippery, I feel it's heavy, and it's awkward, and it's clumsy.

Father thank you, because that's proof they've been out there doing something. Thank you for these who feel stressed and overwhelmed because it is the proof that we're alive. We're feeling that stress. So now God, would you flood in with your power, would you make the iron to float, would you help them to reach out and to pick it up. They're not alone, they're not bad, they're not crazy. They're your son or daughter and you care about what they're dealing with. You can put your hands down. Jesus we look to you because we know that as we choose to say, not my will be done but your will be done. There are angels ready to strengthen us. Just like the angels that showed up in these hills above Dothan. Just like the angel that showed up in the Garden of Gethsemane and comforted your son. We need your ministry. Not what man can do, we need what God can do.

We sit at, we sit at a crossroads, the choice is ours we could either give up or we could look up. And if we look up and allow our strength to be renewed, if we allow you to give us back what's been lost, restoring to us the joy of our salvation, we believe that in exchange for that disgorgement we will receive good cheer, new vision, new dream, new anointing. So Father would you do all that for us and more according to your good pleasure. Thank you for helping us to hold on when we feel like we're done. Thank you for the fact that you're breathing new spirit and new power into our lungs today. And I pray that if anyone today has come in with a heavy heart, and what they're realizing even now is that they've just been trying to do this all on their own, I pray they would see they don't need to. For you've been with them all along.

And if you're here today and you've never yet said yes to Jesus, never opened the door of your heart to him, I pray that you would. The Bible says clearly and emphatically, he loves you. But your sin separates you from him. And with that sin comes a death sentence. That's why there's fear and anger and pain in the world, because of sin. You don't have to look far to see the proof of that. But when you look to the cross, you see the remedy for that. God sent His son Jesus to die for you and he rose from the dead on the third day. And he says if you come to me, I will in no ways cast you out. He will forgive you and make you new. All it takes is praying something like, "Jesus come into my heart, forgive me, I look to you, I need you". You could pray that right now watching on YouTube, watching on Facebook, Jesus will come into your heart, sitting there in Salt Lake City, and I pray that you would. So Father your will be done, not ours. We pray in Jesus' name.
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