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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - Listen to the Right Words

Mike Novotny - Listen to the Right Words

Mike Novotny - Listen to the Right Words
TOPICS: What Was I Thinking?

Whether it's the words that come from a friend, a show we're watching, a radio program or a scroll, the words that we consume rarely stop at simply being words. It's almost like a domino effect with the words that we hear, the stuff that we see sparks these thoughts that we start to think. And often, as we talked about last week, the thoughts that we think impact the things that we do, and it shapes the kind of people that we become. If you're taking notes in your program, or taking notes at home, we can write it down this way, that we start with words but words don't end here. Words turns into what we think, which turn into what we do, which eventually shapes you. Maybe previous people have kind of said it like this, out of sight, out of mind. Right, you don't see it, you just don't think it.

But once you see it, once you hear it, once you consume it, then this domino effect starts that goes from head, to heart, to hands, to who we end up being. This is a principle that actually true for better and for worse, right. Maybe some of you, many of you have been to counseling before. You're freaking out, your mental health isn't doing well, maybe your relationship isn't great. You're like, in a bad spot, you're making bad decisions. But then the words, right, the words of your counselor it gives you hope, or kind of talks you off the ledge, or makes you think about things in a different way. And the thoughts you were thinking when you drove there are very different than the thoughts you were thinking when you left there, because words have their way with us. Or maybe it happened when you opened your email or got a text from someone at work.

You know, you're having a good day, but then a critic shows up. And it takes like one sentence of a word, and then suddenly, like the mental spiral. You've been there, right? Like, "I shouldn't have checked my email because now I'm thinking this, and I can't get away from this, and I'm kind of stuck in this". Because words, words take us somewhere. It happens in churches, it happens with friends, it even happens just with empty media. This ever happen to you? I used to be a pretty big gamer, and sometimes I'd get like, you know, stuck playing Call of Duty, or Oblivion, or Guitar Hero, and like after four hours of that, you turn the power button off, after all that exposure and I just feel restless, empty, it was something but it wasn't something of substance.

And so, whether it's aggressive words, or critical words, or encouraging words, good words, bad words, empty words, Biblical words, I want to remind you today that so much of your life and so much of your choices, so many of your thoughts come back to this first thing, words. What kind of words do you let come into your head, through your eyes, through your ears? Because words never stop at just being words, words always take you somewhere. That's why today in this message, I have just one big goal. It's pretty crazy. I'm going to say it out loud. Don't laugh because I mean it. My goal for today's message is that after it is done, you would become the kind of person that listens to the word of God, every week in church, and every day at home. Like, some of you are there, that's already your habit, if that's you, like, help us after church, alright?

My goal is that some of you would make the choice, maybe for the first time in your life, that every single Sunday, we're not going to see how things go, we're not going to see what's on the schedule, we're not going to check when the kickoff is or how busy it's been, or if this is the only day off for the week, or if there's travel plans, my hope is that after today, you would make, maybe, the life changing decision that every week would start hearing the words of the one who wants what's best for you. That's a huge thing, and in a culture where the average Christian attends church, maybe once a month, that's a huge ask. But I'm not going to stop there. As long as I'm swinging for the fences, I'm going to add to that and say, I want you to become the kind of person who soaks in the words of God, not just every Sunday, but every day.

Like starting a devotion with your family, or a quiet time before you get out of bed, getting the Bible app and checking out the verse of the day on your lunch break, however you want to do it, this is my goal. And the reason I want that goal is because of what we just wrote down. Because eventually, you're going to be some kind of person. Eventually, you're going to make some kind of choices. Eventually, you're going to think some kind of thoughts. And if it's true, that words will take you down that trajectory, I want you every single day to be filled up with the words of the one who loved you before you were even born. So, let's see what happens. As we open our Bibles, Isaiah 55 starts with an invitation. "Come... come... come... Listen, Listen to me. Give ear... Come to me... Listen..." Which I think is God trying to tell you something. Five versus, nine invitations.

It's like that annoying friend who keeps buzzing and blowing up your phone right? "Hey, hey, hey, are you there? Call me. Call me. Call me. Come on. You coming? You coming? You there? You there? You there"? Nine times. Because God knows that you're going listen to someone's words. That's why in verse 6, he goes big. The prophet Isaiah says, "Seek the Lord while he may be found, and call on him, call on the Lord while he is near". Seek, seek God. Like, with an intensity and with intentionality. Go after God because, here's what the world won't tell you, if you get God, you win. I mean, some people get the house. They don't win. And some people get the job, and the promotion, some people get the body and the bank account, some people get the followers, and the likes, the friends, the marriage, the kids, the grandkids, but if there is something in life, the reason that you are created that makes you win, it's God.

I mean, you can get through singleness, dating, marriage and divorce if you have God. You can get through the hills and the valleys, the highs, the lows, addiction, depression if you have God. You can get cut from your job, you can go through a global pandemic, if You are like this with God, you win. And so, God says, "Seek me. Call on my name". Or as Isaiah says, "Come, come, come, come, listen, listen to me, give ear, come to me. Listen, seek, call on God," And here's this really interesting phrase, "while he is near". That's kind of an odd thing to say, isn't it? "What do you mean? While God is... Isn't God everywhere? Like, I could call on him today, I could call on him tomorrow, it's not like he's in one state or country and not another. What exactly does he mean? 'Seek the Lord, while he may be found?' Can't I find him anywhere at any time"?

And I think what Isaiah is trying to say to you is, will you have a better chance of reaching out to God, of committing your schedule to him, will you have a better chance than right now? I'm being honest about that. Once I say Amen, the service is over, you stop watching at home, you go back to your cars, do you think for the rest of this week, will anyone plead with you to be close to God like this moment right now? When you get to work on Monday morning, and your buddy is going to say, "Hey, Joe, I just hope you seek God today". No. You're going to be, like, buying your coffee at the local gas station, and someone says, "Sir, I would just like to ask, are you calling on the name of Jesus"?

Like, Is there anyone for the rest of this week that will plead with you for the sake of your soul? Your forever? Your satisfaction? Your contentment? Will anyone speak to you about eternal things after the service is over? My guess is probably not. And so, this moment has arrived for you, this might just seem like an average service, an average show, another Sunday, just another day. But maybe this is a moment right now where God is so close, like he is so near, you are so... Like, you are one mental decision away from being rooted into the words, and the promises, and the love of God. Like, this moment is going to pass. Once the service is over, it's out of sight out of mind, life's going to catch you up in the river that keeps flowing.

So, before this is over, will you seek him? Will you call upon his name? Will you say the game is great, the cabin is great, life is great, friends are great, but there is something that is greater. His name is Jesus. And as Jesus once said, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these other things that you worry about will be given to you as well". Now, I want all of you to take that seriously, but I especially want to speak today to the students who are in the room. Quick show of hands, where are my students at? Grade school students, high school students, college students? Yep, got a whole bunch of you today. All right, here's what I want to say to all of you. The time is going to come really, really quickly when you get to choose. I can see a whole bunch of you sit next to mom and dad. They probably told you, "Get dressed, we're going to church". They probably didn't ask, "Would you like to sleep in today"?

Just like my mom did with me when I was little, they probably took you, they dragged you, they forced you. But the time is coming, very, very soon when you're going to get to choose. And the reality is that the vast majority of kids who are raised in Christian families, they choose to not seek God. Most don't overly deny him, most just become spiritual, and not religious. They believe, and they pray, and they talk to God, and they have their moments in the wilderness and in the woods. But they're not here, they're not opening their Bibles at home, and you are going to be very, very tempted to do the same. And I understand why. What happens in church, let's be honest, is not a cool as YouTube. We're just outnumbered, alright. The music that we play in church is awesome, but you can easily find a playlist that's ten times better.

As far as short-term things go, there are 1000 things that you could pick that are probably way more fun than church. But let me tell you something. I don't know if you'll believe me right now but I'm going to tell you. When you leave, there are so few people in this world that will talk to you about unconditional love, right. Out there, when you go to school, you have to work to get the grade. You don't work, you're out. You might get a scholarship, you're going to have to work to keep up your GPA, and if you don't work hard enough, it's gone. You're going to get your first job and your boss is going to tell you, "I need you to do all these things". And if you don't do all those things, you're done. You're going to meet someone and fall in love, and if you don't put in the effort, if you don't prioritize them, if you don't work at the relationship, it's going to be over, and the rest of your whole life will be based on how much you work.

But when you come here, when you open this book, you will find the only unconditional love in the universe. You will come, weary and broken by trying your hardest and falling short. I can guarantee you that my sermons might be a bit long, they might not always be that interesting, but there's one thing I will always tell you, I guarantee it, that God is love, and that he loves you. And the music might be great, the music might be average, but I guarantee you that our musicians will tell you every single Sunday that God is love, and that God loves you. You're about to walk into a dicey world where people come and go where things are good and then they're not, but there is this rock that I want you to be connected to for the rest of your life, his name is Jesus.

And so, I'm pleading with you like Isaiah did, seek the Lord while he may be found. Connect yourself every week and every single day to this book. God wants to speak to you. You can go out to the woods, hang out with your friends and talk to God. He wants to return the favor. So, before the world convinces you otherwise, would you today mentally say, "I'm going to seek him? I believe him"? Now, if you're on the fence, Isaiah's not done, because he wants to convince you why that might be the best choice of your life. Check out the next verses, verses 7 through 9. After saying, "Seek the Lord, call on him while he is near," he continues, "Let the wicked forsake their ways, and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on them, and to our God for he will freely pardon".

We're going to come back to that. Verse 8, "'For my thoughts," God says. "are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.' declares the Lord. 'No, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" What is God saying to us? He is saying, "If you spend this week without this book, all you'll have are human thoughts". If you just, you know, hang out at home, and pray to God, all you're praying are your thoughts. If you hang out with your friends and you all talk about spiritual things and share your experiences, all you are sharing are human thoughts. And God says, "But my thoughts are not your thoughts".

If you're taking notes, maybe you could write it down this way. Without God's thoughts, there are only our thoughts. If you disconnect from church, from this book, from a daily devotion, no doubt, tens of thousands of thoughts will fill your head, but they will be so, so, so, so far short of the way that God thinks. Now, maybe mentally you push back and say, "So? What's so bad about my life right now? I don't come to church every week. I don't read the Bible every day. I'm doing fine. Life's not perfect, but it's pretty good. Like, why would I change my ways to think the thoughts of God"? Good question. Let me give you two answers. Without the Bible, two things will happen in your head. You will be so, so, so, so, so short of God's law, and you will fall so, so, so, so, so, so short of God's love. Without a Bible teaching church, without a connection to this book, you will totally miss, totally miss God's law and God's love. Let's talk about those two things.

First of all, God's law. Without the Bible, we will slowly but surely drift away from how God wants us to live. Every culture is different, but it happens in every culture. If God doesn't refine us and sharpen our conscience, we get dulled to things that seem normal and natural to us but are not good to God. Like, I was thinking in my culture, 2020s America, do you know in my culture, church going people, even people who consider themselves Christians, they use the name of God like it's nothing? Like, God, the name above every name, the name we run to when we don't know what to do, the name where we find hope, the name of Jesus, the name that is above every single, in my culture, do you know how we use that name? "Oh, my God, it's cold outside. Oh my God, I love your sweater. Jesus, calm down, man. OMG, OMG. Oh, my God. Oh my God. Oh, my God".

And that's so normal to us. We're not shocked when a Christian kid texts that in her phone or... we're not stunned to hear that anymore. And you might say, "Well, yeah, but that's just what people say, right? It's just an expression. It's not like murdering someone or stealing something, right"? Do you know the 10 commandments? God says, in his law, before he gets to murder, or adultery, or stealing, what does he say? "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God". And we're so used to it. You close the book, and we start to do things that at first seem bad, and then they're kind of bad, and then they're normal, and then they're totally natural. And we don't flinch. God says, "If you don't keep a Bible open, this culture will dull your conscience, and you will think that you're good, and you will think that you're godly".

And one day God will look at you and he'll say, "Do I know you"? Friends, it happens in a thousand ways. And God doesn't want it to happen to you. He doesn't want your parents to make you think that you're following God when you're not. He doesn't want this culture to make you think that you're a good person when the culture's values are not the things that God values. In Isaiah's day, people thought they were very religious and very close to God, and God had to send in this prophet to say, "You are not even close".

In Isaiah 1, God said, "Your church services disgust me. I don't want your money, I don't want your prayers, I don't want your sacrifices, I want you to follow my law. You trample on the poor, you take advantage of people, and justice runs wild in the streets. And you think you're godly"? No, they needed the book, they needed the word, the needed God to speak from his high and holy place to tell them what was right and wrong, what was good or bad, because without God, they would get it all wrong. God said, "Let the wicked forsake their ways, and the unrighteous their thoughts". Right, have to think again. "Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God for he will freely pardon". Ooh. God is saying, "The wicked people, the unrighteous people," this is the most unhuman thought ever. "He has mercy on the wicked, the worst of us, the blackest sheep and the most prodigal son".

God says, "Come to me and I forgive you for all of it. For the addiction, for the weed, for the alcohol, for the porn, for the meth, whatever it was, for the anger, for the injustice, for the envy, for the jealousy, all of it. You come to me with a messed-up marriage, or broken family, the abuse you've given or endured". God says, "And I cleanse you from all of it. Go to, click on About Me, and the first line says, 'I forgive the wicked.'" Who tells you that? Like who tells you after your worst moment, "God completely forgives you of everything". Tell your buddy you messed up, tell your co-workers you strayed in marriage, tell someone that you're struggling with anxiety or despair, and they'll tell you, "It's okay. Nobody's perfect. Can I help you"?

But we open this book, and God says something that is higher than the heavens are above the earth. He says, "I forgive you completely in the name of Jesus". Because, friends, Jesus is the highest thought of all. Imagine Jesus for a second, a God who comes down to earth, he lives above the clouds, and he walks here with us. Who would have thought? And God walking here with us isn't sitting on the throne, not being carried around by slaves and having his feet washed by the lowliest of us. He is the God who bends down and washes our feet. Who would have thought? A God who knows everything wrong that you've ever did, but instead of sending, like, powerful lightning bolts to smite you, to murder you, he ends up being murdered for you.

Who would have thought? A God who comes to this earth and he spends time with a tax collector, prostitute, a woman who's caught in the act of adultery, two dudes with anger problems, a doubter named Thomas, a greedy man named Matthew, sinners, notorious sinners. He eats with them. He invites them. He loves them. Who would have thought. And a God who listens to you at the end of your worst day when you say, "Have mercy". And he responds, not with a to do list, but with a promise of what he's already done. Isaiah would say, just after or text was over, "As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so is God's word that goes out from his mouth. It will not return to him empty". God says, "It will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it". So, let me try one last time, come. Come on. Come back. Listen. Turn your ear, turn your ear to God. Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call on him while he is near. Before this moment passes you by, commit your heart to the one who committed his life for you. See you Sunday? Let's pray:

Dear God, oh, as soon as you walk out these doors, there will be a thousand other thoughts to think. We will be marketed at 10,000 times, there will be distractions, and the enemy who hates the power of your word, he'll give us so many reasons to not show up. And so, I pray God for your power, and more than that God, I pray that you would open our eyes to see how worthy Jesus is, to hear about our sins and our savior, the things we really mess up and our redeemer, there's nothing in the universe like this. And so, I pray, God, that you will us faith to believe it. If we have thoughts, small thoughts about you, about your son, about the church, or about the Bible, rid of us them. Help us to hallow his holy name, that we would love you, and seek you, and believe that you are absolutely worth it. I thank you God for this moment, and that whatever happens it will not be in vain, because your word accomplishes the purpose for which you sent it, and it achieves your goal every single time. So, I pray these things with power and with expectation because we come to you today in the holy, beautiful name of Jesus. It's in his name that we pray. And all God's people said, amen.

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