Samuel Rodriguez - God Always Begins By Turning On The Light
Pastor, did you read my notes? Did you, like, reference? Did someone on your team... I'm not being facetious, I'm acting for real, like the integrity ti... So, they didn't give you like, seriously? 'cause you came up and your tagline at, and the mix of the whole acts 1 and then acts 2 that they waited and then they walked in it and the prophetic t-shirt and all that, what you said, and you know, and the Spirit of God came, and you referenced this, what I'm gonna quote now, this, "To be light and push back darkness". So, what the Spirit of God placed in my heart is this outpouring, this touch of the Holy Spirit, it's gonna turn on the light in your life in such a way that darkness will flee.
As a matter of fact, let me speak to you, and there's a fine line between the prophetic and the pathetic by the way. And I've been in the presence of both to very honest with you. I grew up in church, so I've been in the presence of both. So, I fear the Lord. And when I tell you something God placed in heart that doesn't come out of the womb of emotional exuberance, it comes with fear and trembling of the Holy Spirit. So, I'm here to tell you that by the time you get home today, wherever there was darkness, there will be light. Even in your loved ones, even in your circumstances, even in those that you love, even those that you've been praying for. Wherever there was darkness, there will be light. Matter of fact, while we're here right now, the Spirit of God is turning on the light. Woo! There's a shift, there is a shift.
So, here it comes. So, it's not a coincidence, it's not a coincidink that the first time the universe hears the words of God, God's voice, it wasn't to say, "Let there joy, peace, or even love," the voice of the sovereign, the divine, the glorious uttered the following, Genesis 1:3, "Let there be..." because God always begins by turning the light on. Life requires light. Faith requires light. To a great degree, metaphorically and prophetically, we live in a Genesis 1:2 moment, "And darkness prevailed upon the face of the deep".
We live in that moment. We do live in dark times. You turn on CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, Univision, Telemundo. The only way to say it. You can't say... We do live in dark times. Some argue that we live in the darkest hour. Darkened by sin, immorality, moral relativism, spiritual apathy, cultural decadence, infanticide, racism, pornography, poverty, violence, false prophets, watered down preaching, hypocrisy, unbridled consumerism, voyeurism, materialism, secular tyranny, terror, discord, bigotry, division, strife, injustice, hatred, jealousy and unbelief. We live in dark times. But... Woo! I'm not being Pollyannaish or optimistic, but me let me prophetically declare that this generation will not be defined by the darkness of a spiritual Genesis 1:2.
Matter of fact, oasis, you exist because you will, in Los Angeles, push back darkness. Because you're not a Genesis 1:2 church, you're a Genesis 1:3 movement turning on the light of grace and truth and love and mercy and forgiveness. You're a Genesis 1:3 church. Matthew 5, the voice of God, the voice of our Savior, the voice of Jesus. Verse 14, "You are the light of the world. You. And a city on hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl, instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven".
Let me share with you in the next 29 minutes and 20 seconds, be light, for when light stands next to darkness, light always wins. Let's exigent description, let's break it down in chronological order. It begins by, "You are the light of the world". That's identity. Be light by who you are. "A city on a hill cannot be hidden". One more time, be light by who you are. So, who are we? It is the quintessential query stemming from the existential womb. Who are we? We can't be light until we discover who we are. We cannot be light until we repudiate every single vestige of identity moratorium. We have an issue of identity, self identity. We, oh, boy. Who are we? There is an attempt me at the conduit of, the flooding of very ambiguous nomenclatures and descriptors for the very purpose of diluting your identity of who you are. Who are we? What defines you? Who are you? Are you defined by your past? Are you defined by your circumstances? Are you defined by what others say about you?
Here's the great news from what took place on the cross, Jesus defines you. You are not defined by what surrounds you, you are defined by God's Spirit inside of you. You are not defined by your circumstance, you are defined by his covenant. You are not defined by the hell you're going through, you're defined by the heaven you're going to. To all of my Instagram, Facebook friends, to all of my Twitter friends, you are not defined by the like, like, like, like, like, like, like, like, like, like, like. You are not defined by the likes of many, you're defined by the love of one. You're not defined by your failures, you're defined by his forgiveness. To all the religious folk in the house, you're not even defined by what you do for God, you're defined by what God already did for you.
It's the cross, baby, it's the empty tomb, it's the blood, it's the upper room. You're defined by the Father, the Son. You're defined by Galatians 2:20, "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me". You are a child of God. And there is an attempt, and I'm privy that there's no conspiracy theory in here. There's an attempt, there's an attempt from the very pit of hell to bring about ambiguity as it pertains to the collective gathering, what we call the Ecclesia, the church. So, who are we as a gathering? Who are we? Who are we as Christ followers? Are we just another institution in society? Are we another religious faith narrative competing in the marketplace of ideas? Are we a feel good apparatus for the spiritually impaired? Are we an antiquated conduit for a set of irrelevant values no longer applicable in the world of Netflix?
How this generation responds will determine whether or not, once again, light overcomes darkness. Who are we? We must respond with clarity, with conviction, with courage, and with compassion, the following, we must be clear about who we are. Because we're not just anything. Who are we? Who are we? Let me tell you who we are. We are the light of the world. We are a city on a hill. We are people of the word. We are salt and light. We are prophetic and not pathetic. We are disciples, witnesses, and Christ followers. We are evangelists, pastors and teachers. We are children of the cross, fruit of the empty tomb, and product of the upper room.
We are the redeemed of the Lord. We are the sheep of his pasture. We are forgiven, freed, and favored. We are called and chosen. We are warriors and worshippers. We are the righteousness of God. We are world changers, and we are history makers. And let me tell... Are we streaming? Are we recording this? Is anybody recording this? They are? Oh, for the record, let me tell you what we are not. We are not Google, we're not Microsoft, we're not Ford, we're Starbucks, we're not a political party. We are the church of Jesus Christ. We are the church, and the gates of hell shall not, will not, cannot, may not, now way, no how, prevail against us. We are the bride of Christ!
That's who we are. So, be light by who you are. Which means you are not first and foremost, black, white, yellow or brown, Hispanic, charismatic or automatic. We are above all, born again, blood washed, spirit empowered children of the living God. Be light by who you are, always remembering that God does not call the perfect, he calls the willing. He doesn't call the one that has it all, he calls upon those that are willing to surrender it all. For when light stands next to darkness, light always wins. Are there any questions? Be light by removing the obstacles. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and hide it. In other words, if you have it, you don't hide it, you let it shine. And our challenge is to remove the bowl of apathy, complacency, acquiescence and fear, and once again, lay claim to stand of righteousness so that we may shine before all man.
What does that mean? We have to push back the darkness by just removing the bowls that are trying, simply stated, today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity. There is no such thing as comfortable Christianity. We are what we tolerate. Let me say that one more time. We are what we tolerate. truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of political, cultural, or sexual expediency. God does not call us just to tolerate, he calls us to love one another. And while everybody, and while many people will push back and say your message of revival and light and an outpouring, it's just not applicable because Jesus is coming and this thing is going to hell in a hand basket, ladies and gentlemen, I do believe Jesus is coming, but while we are waiting for Jesus to come down, Jesus is waiting for his church to stand up.
What does that mean? There is a spiritual battle to turn off your light. From the moment you were born... Are there any questions about that? From the moment you were born, there was a spiritual battle to turn off light, turn off your God-given purpose in destiny. From the mo... There's a spiritual battle. And it's not hyperbole, it's not rhetorical hyperbole. Believe it or not, this is gonna sound a little bit weird for some, there are real demons and legions and principalities and powers of darkness out there. There's real spiritual warfare. It's not made up, it is real spiritual warfare. I've traveled around the world. This is coming from a former agnostic. This is coming from someone who went through a process to come with a living encounter, even growing up in a religious environment. So, I can tell you there's a spiritual battle. It's spiritual.
Ephesians 6:12. "We are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world". "What are you saying"? I'm saying the spirit of Jezebel, still lives prompting men and women who carry a mantle to hide in the cave of discouragement, fear, anxiety, and confusion. The spirit of Absalom still lives, dividing homes, churches, communities and relationships. The spirit of Nebuchadnezzar still lives demanding that a generation that Carries favor, even in the midst of a Babylonian captivity, bow to the lies of a false narrative that negates grace, truth and love.
The spirit of Herod still lives, killing the young in the womb and in the streets, murdering precious dreams and visions. But I've come to tell you, there's great news. The most powerful spirit alive today is not the spirit of Herod or Absalom or Nebuchadnezzar or Goliath or Saul. There is a spirit alive in Los Angeles today, more powerful than all these spirits combined. Let me say this one more time for the hearing impaired, the most powerful spirit right now in your family, in your home, in your marriage, in your ministry, in your calling, the most powerful spirit in your life, it's not Absalom, it's not Herod, it's not Pharaoh.
The most powerful Spirit in Los Angeles today, matter of fact, in California, in America today, I would even venture, the most powerful spirit in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, even in the Middle East. The most powerful spirit on the planet today is not any other spirit than the Spirit of Almighty God. The most powerful spirit on the planet is the Spirit of Almighty God. "For it's not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,' sayeth, the Lord". Zechariah 4:6. "Where that Spirit is present, there is freedom". 2 Corinthians 3:17. "There is power". Acts 1:8. Which means what? It doesn't matter what vestige of darkness rises up in your life, the Spirit of God ushers in the light that will overcome it. For every Pharaoh, there must be a Moses, and for every Goliath, there must be a David. And for every Jezebel, there must be an Elijah. And for every Nebuchadnezzar, there must be a Daniel. For every Herod, there must be a Jesus. And for every devil that dares rise up against you, there is a mightier God that will rise up for you.
So, it's time to remove the bowl. It's time to understand, to shake off whatever life or hell has placed on you. Because the attempt of the enemy, the attempt of darkness is to turn off the light. Understand this, always remember that what you can't shake off, Jesus washes off. I want you to know that if you're here tonight, and some of you shouldn't even be here right now, according to the enemy's plans, according to the commander and the prince of darkness, some of you right now, this very night, on a Friday night. Do you think the moment you were born, the prince of darkness said on that Friday night, "They're gonna be in oasis, la and the last night of the legacy conference"?
Some of you right now should be in jail. Some of you should be somewhere injecting yourself in an alleyway. Some of you should be drunk. Some of you right now should be maybe six feet under. Some of you should be in a hospital room. But guess what, it's Friday night, baby. Let me tell you where you are not, you're not in a hospital room, you're not in jail, you're not in an alley, you're not six feet under, you are in God's house lifting up the name of Jesus. Because the purpose of God is greater than the brokenness of man. You are here because every single time light stands next to darkness, light always wins. You are here. Not because you perfectly held on to God, you are here because God perfectly held on to you. You are here not because your faith is sufficient, you are here because his grace is always sufficient. You're here, you made it.
1 John 2:8, "I'm writing you a new command: its truth is seen in him and in you, darkness is passing and the true light is already shining". For when light stands next to darkness, light always wins. Be light by where you stand. Instead they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. The stand represents the facilitative platform on which we shine the light of Christ. So, where do we stand? We stand with an uncompromised and unbridled conviction. And this is completely politically incorrect. We stand on John 14:6. There are not five ways to heaven, four ways to heaven, three ways to heaven, or two ways to heaven, with great love and due deference, there's only one way to heaven, and that way is Jesus. And there is no other way. We stand on righteousness and justice.
Psalm 89:14, "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne: unfailing love and", they walk before you as we stand on a cross. I wish I had a cross. We stand on a cross. We stand on a cross that is both vertical and horizontal. It is both heaven and earth, righteousness and justice, sanctification and service, holiness and humility, truth and love, conviction, and compassion, the prophetic and the practical, missions in the marketplace, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. John 3:16 and Matthew 25, Billy Graham, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's the New Jerusalem in Los Angeles. We stand on that. It's what we stand on.
Let me give you a quick story here. I was invited some years back before I did what we did recently in the inaugural. And I was invited some years back to give something, to do a presentation. And it's because of what we do outside this, well, tangential to our calling, but in the prophetic, sort of speaking to the political cultural realm, I was invited to, there was an event, it wasn't Christian, it was secular, Washington D. C., there was a lot of people, and I mean thousands of people in the Washington mall. And I was invited by the person who's coordinating whose name you would recognize. And the person said, "Hey, pastor Sam, come and pray". And I went, "Dude, it's not a Christian event. It's not even a faith event". And I said, "Why would you have me pray"? And he said, "Why not"? Good point.
So, I took a red eye flight from San Francisco to Washington D. C.. It was a five and hour flight, it's a red eye flight, about midnight time departure, sometime around midnight, red eye flight. And I took it. And when it's a red eye flight, the majority of people wanna sleep. And so, help me, there was a child, a toddler that was crying the entire time, and the entire time, and I couldn't sleep. When we landed, I wanted to lay hands on that child, but not in the name of Jesus. So, I ran to my place of refuge, my place of just, of solace, my place of just comfort. So, I got to my Starbucks. And when I got there, at that time, I was drinking caramel macchiatos. Not anymore, I've been born again. I've been washed, transformed, the power of God set me free. I'm now into matcha green tea, frappes, no whipped cream, no simple syrup, almond milk.
Anyway, different story, another day. So, I get there, I pick up my caramel macchiato, upside down caramel macchiato by the way, technically speaking, integrity is everything. So, I picked up my caramel macchiato, I walked to the place, and it was close to a hundred thousand people there. There was a guy named Tony Suarez, Carlos Duran, Angel Nunez who all witnessed it. Tony ended up working for me because of that day. So, he's now my VP, but it started that day. So, the other people were on stage. When I get to the place, the guy is looking at me and he's telling me, the coordinator, and he says, "pastor Sam, pastor Sam, I'm going to have to talk to you".
It's about seven something in the morning. I look, I go, "Dude, man, I just, dude, I just came from San Francisco. I haven't slept". And he goes, "Modification, the program's changed". And I go, "Don't tell me I traveled all that and..." "No, no, no, no, no. People heard that you were gonna pray and that you're that type of Christian". "What do you mean that type"? "You know, an evangel... You believe in the, you believe like". I go, "Okay, what's the point"? He goes, "So they, they thought it would be like too awkward to have you to pray by yourself, so they invited other people to pray from other religions", which is really cool. I have no qualms.
Religious pluralism is the firewall against secular totalitarianism, so praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, the marketplace of ideas. So great, beautiful people. So, I went, "Dude, what does that mean"? He goes, "Well, do you wanna pray first or last"? And something inside me said... So i, you know, with great humility, I went like, "Let me pray last". So beautiful people, by the way, nice people. And this sounds like three guys go to a bar, you could ask Tony Suarez, he was there, there's books. There's books about it. There's been written books. So over here, there was a person from the Islamic faith, the muslim faith, a wonderful man.
There was a beautiful rabbi, and there was a universalist pastor, beautiful people, loving, caring people. And then I'm it, I'm the Christian guy. And so, they all prayed in their own narratives, respectfully, beautiful. I mean, from their hearts, of course. But the problem is I already had a prayer prepared. It was written. So, I'm coming up the staircase and I'm fighting with God, actually, fighting with the Holy Spirit going like, "I..." and I was praying in Spanish so people wouldn't understand it, right? True story. And I'm going, meaning I already prepared the prayer. I already have it ready.
"What am I gonna do? Do I pray in the name of love, big wind, comfort? Cause I don't wanna be offensive. I don't wanna, God, that's not me. I wanna love, I want people to love me, and I wanna love people. And I don't want people to... So how do I pray"? And the Holy Spirit told me, "Just pray like I've told you to pray. I got this". So, I went up, I greeted my friends, and these are my friends, I greeted my friends. And I greeted them. And they stood there behind their microphones. And the crowd is already upset. And they're upset because they never signed up for an ecumenical prayer service. They never signed up for anything religious. It was about something else. It was a social justice cause, and it had nothing to do, you know, it was, so they're all really, really, really up, like, "Oh God, there's one more praying".
And you could look at 'em, you could hear a pin drop and they're going like, "Oh no". So, I get the microphone, I smile around, I look at the microphone and I smile. And I did this, 'cause I had it prepared. So, I looked and I made a prayer and I said, "And I pray," due to my friends, "And with great due deference, I pray in the name that is above every other name, in the name to whom which every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess. No other name has been given unto by which salvation has come unto all mankind, but that name. The name that is a strong tower, the righteous run into it, and there, they are safe. In the name of he who saves, who delivers and heals, in the name of he who's coming back again. In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I pray. Amen".
Let me tell you what happened. Call Tony Suarez right now. Instagram his account. Ask him what happened. For the next four and a half minutes, the place erupted. And I don't mean, it wasn't a clap. No, they didn't do this. It wasn't a golf clap. It wasn't like, "Oh, isn't that special"? They shouted, like if I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, you just won one billion dollars". Matter of fact, they shouted, and I wasn't shouting, I was just, "In the name". And they shouted, they kept on shouting. A politician came in, wanted to speak after me, couldn't speak. He dropped the mic like jay-z and walked away 'cause they wouldn't let him speak. They kept on shouting. For four and a half minutes, they wouldn't stop.
So, I'm asked, "pastor Sam," even my friends, so help me, they're clapping and they're like, they're vociferously expressing affirmation of what I just said. And they're asking questions. "Hey pastor Sam, why in the world did people", and they're laughing, they're going, "Why in the world did people just respond like that"? It's real simple, there's still power in the name of Jesus. Hey, oasis, there's still power in the name of Jesus. If we lift him up, he will draw all men unto himself.