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Jan 03, 2021

A New Story To Tell

A New Story To Tell

Passage: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Speaker: Chip Paul

Series: A New Story To Tell

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, christ, gospel, baptist, change, new life, life change, new years resolution, hickory, burnt, new you, bhbc, a new year, 2021, burnt hickory, a new story to tell, new story

A New Story To Tell | Chip Paul | Burnt Hickory We've got to create a new narrative for this new year. In order to control that narrative, God has to be a part of it. If you walk into 2021 already defeated, there's no way that you're going to walk out of it victorious. It's going to be just like last year. And if you've already wrote the narrative, it's going to be a bad year. We must begin it knowing that we have the opportunity to change the story that we're going to tell. Because of a God that loves us, we have the opportunity to change the narrative for 2021. In Second Corinthians chapter 10, verses three through five it says this, for that we live in the world, we do not wage war, as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive, every thought, to make it obedient to Christ. Scripture tells us that that we are victorious because of Christ. Therefore the chapter and the circumstances that we're going through, no matter how good or bad, they are, they're just a chapter. They're not the end. Join us this year by making a new start for 2021 and believing in Christ and his promises that He is victorious.

What a great story that we should live by the understanding that sometimes when things don't go our way, there's always something great on the other side. As long as we look at it that way. This morning, I'm excited to get a chance to share with you Happy New Year, it's a great time to be on the stage with you. I can guarantee you this morning, this would be the best message that you've ever heard on this stage in 2021. As of this point in time, I'm not sure what next week to bring, but it will be the best as of right now. And so I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share this morning with you. I've been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks. Matt actually came to me a couple weeks back about three weeks ago, which I told him was way too much time to get me to prepare for this because I could go all day now because of that, but I won't. But I did come up with a title. And I'm not the best at titles. But I did come up with the title of just kind of a direction in which I felt like we needed to go this morning. And its this title is is a new story to tell.

Now, last week, if you were with us, whether you were online, whether you were present, whether you were traveling, whatever you if you had a chance to hear last week's message from Pastor Alan, our adult pastor here. He talked about why we trust God, which was a great transition into this new year. He talked out of Proverbs chapter three, verses five through six, and told us how important it was that we know, to put our faith in our trust and a mighty God. And to step into a new year with that understanding how important that is. So it just set up this morning, as we prepared. And as I was thinking through this morning, it last week just kind of set us up to continue to move in that direction of understanding that we have a story to tell that we have a narrative that we are to live out. Now once you to understand a narrative is a story or account of events, experiences, or the like whether true or fictitious. A life narrative defines how one has become and who he or she is, at a given moment. We all live by narrative in our life. We all live by a story that we're telling people. Now 2020 was not the greatest of years for some of us. For some of us, it's a year that we'll always look back at, because maybe we lost a loved one. And it was a tough time. We had some moments maybe where our job changed. The way that we live life has changed a little bit. And for some of us, those moments in life will live with us for quite some time. It was not the greatest of years. But for some of us are still great things that happened in 2020.

See, I need you to understand that our goal this morning is to help you understand that God has an amazing story that he wants to speak through your life. And that in order to effectively change the narrative, it is necessary to create a new one. The narrative that we lived in 2020 that some of us lived in those moments of difficulty not to take those as lightly. But to look at those and go. God has a new story for me to tell this year.

Hey, for 2020 I tried to look back over the last year and think of some things that were just really good. I tried to think about instead of thinking about the things that had gone wrong, or the bad things I thought let's think back for just a second for my family especially what were some good things to happen in 2020? What were the best things that happened in 2020? For us, we tried toilet paper we never would have tried before. Hey, we were a Sharman family, I'm just gonna let you know, it had to be Charmin it had to be like the extra fluffy kind of like the three four ply. It was important to have the Charmin at the house. But when you walked into Kroger and there's no toilet paper, you take whatever you can get right. And so we tried things that you would have never tried. We tried toilet paper you never tried. And we're like, it's not so bad. We'll try it. Let's do that. Right. So 2020 brought just that to us and newness of trying something new.

We learned that in 2020 that wearing sweatpants and a T shirt became an acceptable fashion statement. I've never been one to fashion too well. But I learned real quickly that it was acceptable for me to wear my sweatpants and my T shirt all day long. And everyone was like, Oh, yeah, that's that's like the thing is 2020, right? Like, one of the greatest days was like, just this week, when I sat down in my pajama pants and my T shirt, like all day, and just watched football. It was a great moment. I was like, and I'm fashionable right now. And it was great to have that moment.

So I look back at that, we came up with some creative ways to celebrate some really big milestones in people's lives. Like we'd never done things like this before, for example, the drive by birthday parades. Anybody else experienced one of those? I remember the first one that happened in our neighborhood, kind of freaked me out a little bit. Because I walked out of my door and there's there's just piles of cars honking the horn. I'm like, is my house on fire? What's going on? And they're driving around. They're like throwing presents out at some kid down the road. And I'm like, what's happening in my neighborhood right now? But it was a way to celebrate a birthday. To celebrate a milestone by driving, we would have never done that in the past. But in 2012, we, we became creative. We did zoom parties, like we've never done before. We had homecomings and proms on zoom. We had all kinds of get togethers, they weren't always the best. Let’s just be honest, some of us where like, that was lame. But we did it right. It was still a good thing. It happened. And we had these parties like we never would have before. We learned how to use technology like never before. Like if you'd have told me in 2019, that zoom was a thing I would have been like in that like a movie with like Tim Allen or something like that. I'm not really sure. Isn't that like when you just move really fast or something? Like No, it's this this way that you connect with people? It's the gonna be the way of life of 2020. Right? And we're like, what? No, we've learned how to use technology a little bit better. For some of us, we did it much better than others. Some of us are still struggling, we're still getting through it. But it's okay. But we learned, we learn how to just stop. And then it was okay. Just to stop going and just sit for a little.

In 2019, I remember walking up to people all the time and going, hey, what are you doing, man? What's going on? They're like, I'm just busy. Like it was a badge of honor to be busy. Like he remember that. Right? You look back and it was like everything was constantly a constant communication of I'm busy. I'm busy. And if you weren't busy, there was something wrong with you. Like if you aren't going and going and oh, I gotta get here. I gotta get there. I got a caravan these people here, I gotta go do this for my job. I gotta go to this. I'm just busy. That was like a badge of honor. That meant you were accomplishing things. But in 2020 it was acceptable, when someone asked you how are you doing? You just go I'm, I'm good. Really not doing anything. Like I've drank two pots of coffee today. I've just been sitting doing nothing. And it was okay, just to sit to do nothing to not be constantly running to constantly going now some of us yet we our jobs still kept us busy. But it's still that movement, that constant going slow down because it was a necessity.

Creativity was a necessity. You had to be creative. In 2020. You had to learn how to do things differently. Things that worked in years prior didn't work. In the ministry, we got extremely creative and ways of how to continue to do ministry. And your jobs in your life, and the way that you gather you became creative. All the norms that I'm awful at Just so you know, all the norms are like, you can't do this before this date. We are out the window, right? Like, it didn't matter. Like I'm the world's worst cuz I'm just one of those guys. It's like, I want to wear that whenever I want to wear that. Like, no, you can't wear this after this date. Or you can't do this until this day. I'm like, I just that makes me want to do it more. Right? It's like putting a wet paint sent out and telling not touch it. I want to touch it even worse. That's just me. Okay, I can't help it. But for me, it was like always the rule in our house was you really can't put a Christmas tree out until after Thanksgiving. Oh, this year, we're like July let's put up Christmas trees, right? Its the norm. Everybody's like, yes. 2020. I remember we actually didn't put them out quite that early. But we put them out like like the week before Thanksgiving, which was like a big deal for us because I'm like, let's just keep them up all year. We'll turn it into an Easter tree. We'll turn it into a Valentine's tree. I don't care. I love a Christmas tree. I'm like let's just grow those babies everywhere in my yard. I'm all about it. Right? That's me. But my wife's counting on Oh, let's wait we got to get through one holiday. A lot of us were that way. It was like looked down upon. But I was excited that when I put up my yard decorations because I go all out bro. I'm as tacky as tacky can be. If I can hang it. I'm hanging it. If I can put it into blows up. It's getting a fan and it's blowing up. That's my yard. I love it. But I was excited to note that out was not the first. I'm like trying to rush out and I'm looking around like my neighbors have all their stuff. I'm like I'm behind. right cuz the norm was not there anymore. They're like it's 2020 Why not?

But the greatest thing for me that came out of 2020was the Little Debbie Christmas tree cake. Little Debbie, if you're watching today, thank you very much for this. I'm sure you've checked in because you heard I was preaching. But you go no, no, we've had the Little Debbie Christmas tree for years. You're right. But they changed this year. And they stepped up their game this year. And they went from regular Little Debbie to big pack little Debbie's. Now you may be like, What's so important about a big pack of whatever? Well, I'm gonna be honest with you. I like some little Debbie's I get it, it shows. I like a little Debbie's there. Like the highlight of Christmas, those brownie ones, these you can't find this baby anymore. It's this is the last box on Earth right now. Okay, just so you know, this is it. I'm not selling it. I'm keeping it. I've had to, I've had to literally fight the worship team off of it all morning. Like, you gotta let me keep it till the end of the surface. Okay. But the cool part about this Little Debbie, the big pack, is this little Debbie in here is twice the size of the original. So you can eat one. And you've actually eaten two, and you don't feel as bad because you only ate one right? It's I just got down like to normally I'd pop back to anyways. Now it's like popping back four but it's awesome. And this is like the greatest creation in 2020. I'm celebrating literally Christmas tree cakes are there. Good things came from 2020. It wasn't all bad.

No, I'm not trying to belittle, or take back the things that were bad because I know there was some things that were bad. But we've got to create a new narrative. In order to control the narrative, though, God has to be a part of our narrative this year. He has to be a part of this. See, if you walk into 2021 already defeated, there's no way that you're going to walk out of it victorious.

I've already heard it. I heard it on New Year's night, like 12:30 popping on, you know, doing the social media thing telling everybody happy new year, because all you guys were up to, except for some of us. We were like waking up to get to it. And people already had written 2020, won, you know, which is like, oh, that's kind of a good play on words, right? It's kind of funny. But it's walking into it already going up. But it's going to be just like last year. And you've already wrote the narrative, that it's going to be a bad year. Versus going into it knowing that we have the opportunity to change the story that we're going to tell this year. Because of a savior, because of a God that loves us, we have the opportunity to change the narrative for 2021.

But God has to be a part of it.

So you can say that you believe in God, you can even say that he we want him as a part of our everyday narrative. But for some of us, we only, like put him in a part of our narrative on Sunday. We show up once a week and we expect that to radically change our story for the year. But that's not how it works. Every day, God has to take control of our narrative and change the way that we're communicating what's going on in our life. See, we create the narrative for life. Things may change around us. But the narrative stays the same. In the old testament there's a man by the name Joseph. Joseph was the person that could have written the most sad, upsetting narrative of all. You've got a young man who was in Genesis 37 verse three says he was the favorite of his father. And that's that's kind of a big deal, right? We all have in our family. We're like, we know who's the favorite. Right? You know, we've all had those arguments with our siblings or like, she's the favorite or no doubt he's the favorite. Right? Because they get everything or whatever. They never get in trouble. My kids say that all the time. Like, oh yeah, so and so is the favorite like, Yeah, not really. And I would never as a good father, tell them who my favorite was, because I don't have one. Really that I would tell him. But I would never tell him that but in Scripture, it's very clear. In Genesis 37 verse three and in Acts seven and verse nine. Very clearly, the father says, You're my favorite. I mean, it's written. It's like Joseph is the favorite of the Father. It's very clear.

So what does that do that created some jealousy amongst the brothers. It created this moment where the brothers were like, Are you kidding me? He literally did. The dad, the father just said that he's the favorite. And so it created this jealousy. But Joseph takes it to another level, because Joseph has this ability to like, interpret dreams. And he has this dream. And let me just tell you, sometimes you should keep your dreams to yourself. We don't really need to hear them all. But this is one of those times where Joseph probably should have had that moment of going, it's probably not the best timing for me to share this dream fathers just said that I'm the favorite. Now I'm gonna walk up to my brothers. And I'm gonna look at him and go, Hey, I had a dream. One day you're gonna bow down to me Okay, if that it happened in my household. I'm in a house all boys growing up, okay. I’d have probably got punched in the mouth. Just straight up, because that's what boys do. Boys just fight. That's what we do. I don't know why we love each other, but we're going to hit each other. It's just gonna happen. That's what makes Boys Boys, they're gonna fight they're gonna do that. It was always happening in our household.

But the reality was this had I said that it had been like a beatdown. Right. They're like, no, you're not you're bowing to me right now. And literally I would have been bowing to my brother or something. He’d have made that, but these guys, they allow their jealousy to rage, and they take it to a whole nother level. Okay, like almost like psycho level, okay, like crazy level. Now, I would expect it to get punched. They take the brother, and they sell it as a slave. Okay, I'm like, that's extreme. Glad that didn't happen when I was a kid, right? But no, I mean, I remember getting dropped off by my brother on the side of the road one time and like, you're gonna walk home and I was like, seriously, I don't have a car phone didn't have those then. But I would never would have thought that my brothers would have like, captured me throw me in a pit and sold me on to be a slave. But they did. They sold him to the Israelites who transported him to Egypt.

This brother is like completely thrown out of the family. Because the brothers are jealous. And this man by name of Potiphar, eventually, just kind of comes as an owner over him. And from there it goes on and the story continues to build and grow. And you've got this character named Joseph, whose brothers portrayed him who kidnapped him who sold him away as a slave to the point where he was even later falsely accused of raping Potiphar’s wife when he did not. He was faithful to God. He was in a foreign country, he had lost his childhood. Everything had been taken from him, yet he's still in a prison. And how easy would it have been for him to lift the narrative of wow, look at all the junk that has happened in my life? How easy would it have been for him to live in those last moments of I lost my childhood? I didn't do anything wrong, and I'm in prison. How easy would it have been for him to live that narrative outs to define himself by the lost moments, but instead, Joseph chose to find his life by saying God is with me.

No matter where he was at, when he sold the slavery, God is with me. When he's been betrayed by his brothers, God is with me. When he's thrown into prison for something he didn't do, he instead says God is with me, and speaks truth into the prison guards life. To the point that eventually, it elevates him to a completely different place. He found joy and excitement in the truth that God was with him.

Like I said earlier, to effectively change the narrative, it's necessary to create a new one. But it is also extremely necessary that God's a part of it. And Joseph made the choice to constantly go back to the fact that God is with me, no matter what the circumstances are.

See, I want this year to be different for us. And in order for us to believe like that. And there's gonna be some things that we have to do. One, we got to take captive every thought. In Second Corinthians chapter 10, verses three through five it says this, for that we live in the world, we do not wage war, as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive, every thought, to make it obedient to Christ.

See for us, when we wake up in the morning, those thoughts that are tearing us down those thoughts of fear, those thoughts of hopelessness, those thoughts that hey, things may not go the way we want. God tells us we need to take captive those thoughts. Give them to Christ. And go God, today is a day that I desire to be obedient to you. I'm giving you all my thoughts. I'm giving you everything so that my mind will not be focused on the things around me. But my mind will be focused on the fact that you are with me. Craig Groeschel says this, my life is always moving in the direction of my greatest thoughts.

Your life is always moving in the way that you're thinking. If you're thinking negatively, if you're thinking about those things in the world, you're gonna move in that direction. But daily, we need to wake up captivate our thoughts and understand that God is in control that God is with me, Steve Jobs said in his life, he said, Your time is limited, so do not waste it. Do not waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice, and most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

See, we have to captivate our thoughts daily, and place them on Christ in the obedience of Christ, because the more knowledge we have about Jesus, the more you have to worship. And the more that I understand how much he loves me, and His redeeming love has saved me. The more I understand that, the more I understand who I'm worshiping, and how to worship him greater. Because I understand his love for me. I understand the sacrifice he made for me, because my thoughts are not on things around me anymore. My thoughts from the fact that he loves me, and that he is with me, no matter what.

Philippians four, verse eight says, finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Put your thoughts on the things of Christ, because how you think determines how we live. See I need you to understand that you can't control what happens to you. But you can control the narrative that you're going to live. As long as God is a part of it.

Second thing is this. This year, we can't let the circumstances talk you out of what you're called to do. Don't let the circumstances talk you out of what's your called to do. Our current circumstances, however bad or good they are. They're not our stories. And they're just a chapter in the story. 2020 was just a chapter in the story, if we're a follower of Christ, if we've given our life to Christ, and we've we've accepted that redeeming love if we've accepted that salvation, and we've stepped into a relationship with Christ, then guess what, we have a happily ever after ending to our story.

Scripture tells us that that we are victorious because of Christ. Therefore the chapter the circumstances that we're going through, no matter how good or bad, they're, they're just a chapter. They're not the end. They're not the stories end. Instead, God says we have a happily ever after going to happen. This chapter will change. 2021 is a new chapter. It's a new opportunity for us to live out for Christ. Psalm 31, verse 24, says, be strong, and take heart, all who hope in the Lord. See, Joseph understood that God had a purpose. For every circumstance that happened in his life. He understood that no matter what was going on, that he was going to continue to live this life, that God is with me that God has a purpose, that no matter what circumstance that God has called me for our purpose.

In Genesis 45, four and eight, four through eight, it says this, Joseph says to his brothers, come close to me when they had done so he said, I am your brother, he's been gone so long. They don't even recognize and he has to say, Hey, I'm your brother, Joseph, you know, the one you sold to slavery. He says, Don't be upset, don't be angry with yourself for selling me. Because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now. There's been a famine in the land. And for the next five years, there'll be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you, to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to save your lives by great deliverance so that it was not you who sent me, but God. He says, hey, your sin, God redeemed. You selling me, God used for glory. And he said he used it for such a glory that would save your life. Joseph if understood he was called to do and that was to live for Christ no matter what My question is, what are you called to do?

In Matthew 28, it tells us, verses 18 through 20. It says, Therefore go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and then the son, the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I've commanded to you. See, I want you understand, that's what we're called to do. We're called to make disciples. We're called to carry the truth of the gospel. We’re called to tell the story that Jesus has saved us that Jesus came and died for us, we're called to go in the circumstances that were going on, cannot impact that calling. For some of us, those circumstances have held us back from living out the calling. But God says in 2021, hey, let's make disciples as while you are going as what Scripture says, while you are going because it is a command. It's not like if you get a chance, if the circumstances are okay for you to go and share the gospel, go do that if you can. No, it says, while you're going, meaning this is a command, saying, while you're supposed to be doing this, while you're doing this, go make disciples. Go tell people the truth of the gospel. Go live out your calling.
Luke writes in Acts chapter 18, when he's speaking of Paul, he says, One night Lord spoke to Paul in a vision. And he tells Paul says, Don't be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent, for I am with you. No one's going to attack you and harm you. Because I have many people in the city support staying current for a year and a half, teaching them the Word of God.

See, I need you to understand that today, I can't be quiet. I need to be louder now than ever before. Because I'm living in a world and in a nation, that is feeling hopeless. And I can't be quiet, because God is with me. And as a follower of Christ, I have a truth and I have a hope that I have been called to go and share. And I need to knock down the false narratives. And I don't need to key in on getting angry and on the circumstances and on the impact of what's going on around me. Instead, I need to focus on the calling that God has placed on me. And I need to live it out. And my narrative needs to needs to be that God is with me and every circumstance.

Third thing is this. You can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you can't do both. It's a great business model, actually. It's the understanding that that when you want to achieve something in life, you have a choice that you have to make. That choice is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. But it's also a great spiritual model. Because it helps us understand that the choice that we make daily, the choice to do something moving forward, making progress, sharing the gospel, or the choice to do nothing and standstill and make excuses can never coexist.

We either make the choice, to live for Christ, faithfully, or we make the choice to do nothing and make excuses. But the two cannot coexist.

For example, my son, eight years old, got a bike for Christmas. Prior to the neighborhood that we live in, he had a bike as a smaller bike, it was one that had training wheels on it. It’s a Star Wars bike, you turn it on, lights up, it was really cool. I loved it. I couldn't ride it. But he enjoyed it. But our neighborhood didn't have good roads for him to really ride on the road. Small people flew down them all the time, just didn't feel like a safe environment and ride. So he was he was slow to learning how to ride a bike. Finally, we moved into a new neighborhood kind of in a cul-de-sac. So I felt more comfortable with him riding and learning and truly just kind of taking off right. So he learned how to ride on this smaller bike. Now the smaller bike didn't have hand brakes, it just had the back brake, right. It's just a little foot pedal brake. And so he learned However, when he rode his knees were up here because it was a tiny bike. He was way too big for the bike. So for Christmas Santa brought him a new bike. It's a neat bike. It's got a little bit of hardware on it, some cool stuff on it, but it's got hand brakes, right. Hand brakes are important, important ways of making you stop when you're moving forward. Right? He learns that very quickly. Now I had to tell him I was like, hey, these are the hand brakes on the bike. They're going to help you stop. You don't have to push the back pedal. You can just squeeze the handbrake he's like cool. So he's learning how to ride and he's holding the handbrake as tight as he can. Why because he's found security in the handbrake because he knows that that can protect him. They can save him they can stop him. So he holds on tightly to the handbrakes and he goes to get on the bike as he's holding on to the handbrake and starts to try to pedal while holding the handbrake and I looked at him, and I said, you can't do that. You can't hold the brakes and try to pedal at the same time. You're not going to move forward, you're not going to produce the results that you want to produce. Instead, you're actually probably going to get hurt, because you're going to try to pedal and you can't bounce and you're gonna fall over. And it wasn't until he let go of the brakes, that he can finally move forward and start to ride the bike. And we have, we have just this moment of like, wow, this is a moment he's riding around, he's like whoo hoo. He's having an exciting time, he's flying down the road, I'm thinking he's probably gonna get hurt if he doesn't hold his hand brakes. But I'm saying he's going, he's letting go. He's having a great time, he's moving in a direction that he wanted to. He's riding the bike like it was designed to ride. But it wasn't until you let go of the breaks.

See, for us, we need to let go of the excuses. So that we can move forward with the gospel, so that we can carry the gospel into a world that needs it. It is important that we understand the narrative that we need to live in 2021 is not one of excuses. But it is one of progressing the gospel. It is one of carrying the gospel, the truth. Because the excuses are what are gonna hold us back from seeing life change happen. And we needed to let go. And just live in that exciting moment of carrying the gospel. Tell them the truth.

And then the fourth thing is this. You have to define your life, by God's promises. And 2021, we needed to define our life, by the promise that God has placed on us. In Genesis 15, verse 20, Joseph comes back, and he says, you intended to harm me. But God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done - the saving of many lives. See, what you may not understand or know here. Joseph was from the line of Judah. And when he was sold to slavery, and placed in a foreign country, his life had been preserved and saved. That he had gone through circumstances and situations. But because he lived on his calling, and he understood that God had a purpose for his life. He eventually got elevated to a point of basically like a prime minister, a VP, the big dog, the second in charge kind of guy. He could make decisions that could radically change nations. And when his brothers came to him, and they looked at him, he literally says, you're gonna be okay. Because what you meant for harm God meant for good, and now your lives are gonna be saved. And because of that Hebrew nation being saved, the Lion of Judah was saved from a famine that would have wiped them out. They would have starved to death. But God had a purpose. And Joseph had defined his life by God's promise, because in Hebrews chapter seven, verse 14, it says, it is evident that the Lord was descended from Judah. The Lion of Judah, the Messiah, the prophecy that the Messiah was coming came from the line of Judah that was saved from a famine. And the God that we worship, the prophecy that was proclaimed, God took the sin of some boys, and he redeemed it. And Joseph lived a life that was defined by the redeeming love of God's promise. And he didn't allow those circumstances or situations, that chapter, that year, that whatever, to change the direction that God had for him. Instead, he ended up being a bigger part of the story than he ever probably would have been.

And today, we get to be a part of the story. That God is with me. That in the midst of every situation, in the midst of every circumstance, God is with me. And I've got a truth. And I've got a story to tell. And that's the narrative I need to live this year. That's the story I need to be telling this year.

But my question to you is this Do you believe God is with you? Do you truly believe that? Do you believe that the best is yet to come? That God's got some great things in store for us? Better than the Little Debbie cake, he's got some great things in store for us. He's got some good stuff ready and prepared for us? Do you believe that God uses all things for good? Romans eight. Do you believe that he takes what we think is bad the circumstances and he can use them for His glory? Because he's with us.

See, we've got to knock down the false narratives. And we got to live out the truth of the gospel this year. That no matter what circumstances how difficult they are, there's no promise that we won't have a difficult time. There's no promise that things aren't going to go the way we want them to. That it's not going to be hard at times. But there is a promise, that no matter what God is with me,

Second Corinthians five says, for Christ's love compels us. Because we are convinced that no one, that that excuse me, we're convinced that one die for all and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves. But for him, who died for them, and was raised again.

I'm convinced, I'm convinced that God has a purpose and a plan. And he wants me to live that out in 2021. Francis Chan says in his book, forgotten God, I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the spirit’s leading on a daily basis, Christ said, it's better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like that is true. I don't want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly. I want to soar on wings like eagles. I want to soar in the hands of God this year. I don't want to sit on the ground anymore and just crawl through life. I want to be in the midst of God's hands and in His presence. I want to soar with victory. Like it tells us in Isaiah 40 I want to soar. I want to fly I want to do amazing things for God's glory, not for mine. But my narrative. I want to to represent the things of Christ. I want to live a life that truly understands the redeeming blood of Jesus is on me. That he has saved me. That I understand the truth of the gospel, and that the best is still ahead of us. Judas Smith says you are the object of God's relentless obsession. I serve a God that not only loves me, but is obsessed with me. And I want to live a life this year, that represents that I have a God that's obsessed with me. I want the narrative of my life not to be written by the world, but to be written by God's obsessive, redemptive, forgiving love for me.

And so I ask you, will you join me in living that narrative? This year, will you join me in going this is the year that I'm going to live the narrative? I'm going to have story to tell starting today, because out there needs to hear the story. Out there, needs to hear the story. They need to hear of God's love. So will you join me this year and allow God to define your narrative.

Let's pray Father, thank you. Thank you for the story of Joseph, for the truth is found in your word of how you took certain circumstances and situations that they didn't look like they would ever turn out good and you use them for your glory. God I pray that today that we would allow you to use our circumstances in our situations for Your glory. That you would allow us to live out the truth. Thank you for obsessing over me. Thank you for loving me. God, I pray for those that are in this room that they would join us in this journey. Today, those that are online with join us in this journey, today saying I today want to live out the truth this year. That God is king that he is Savior, that he is redeemed me and no matter what comes my way. God you're with me. Your name we pray. Amen.