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May 07, 2023

Enduring the Seasons

Enduring the Seasons

Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Speaker: Eli Laughlin

Series: Stand Alone Message

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: pastor, church, worship, faith, jesus, god, sermon, christian, bible, christ, gospel, hope, joy, grace, believe, inspiration, joyful, jesus christ, lord, christianity, contentment, happiness, bible study, desiring god, mental health, enduring, transformed life, dependence on god, how to be happy, do not lose heart, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, finding joy in christ, dont loose heart, feeling contentment

We celebrate our graduating class of High School Seniors today as Pastor Eli preaches on endurance in life. We learn through this bible study that in order to endure life, we must full surrender to God who has overcome, and we need to surround ourselves with Godly community. Biblical community provides accountability and guidance, collective worship and prayer, and a way to witness to the world. Second Corinthians chapter 4 tells us do not lose heart, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that will far outweigh all our troubles here on Earth. So, we should fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on the eternal. Are you finding true joyful contentment in life? Is the world weighing you down? Have you trusted that Jesus will bring you that joy that will help you endure? As always, we’d love to answer any questions and take time to pray with you. You can always take the next step by visiting

I've been a member of Burnt Hickory for the past four years and to say the least, God has blessed me tremendously with my time at Radiate. Since I started coming to Radiate, I can confidently say that it's changed my life. God has to show me the importance of the community, and I've just loved every single experience to learn about God and have been his parents' need and teach me how to live the way He intended for us. Radiate is truly like a home to me. I've met some of the best friends I could ever ask for, as well as some of the best mentors, the best leaders and best teachers who have really just encouraged me to make my faith my own and dive into God's word deeper and deeper. I am grateful for the opportunity Radiate has given me to learn more about Christ and walk with Him in my daily life. It has also shown me what a Christian community is capable of, how faith, when it's surrounded by other faith grows and expands. My faith has grown tremendously and I can definitely say I know what it means to walk of Christ now. God has proven to be my sustainer and through Him I am complete. Radiate, I love it. I made a ton of great memories there. It's really changed me in many ways. They've led me how to share my faith out in the world. You don't just have to be on a mission trip to do that. They've taught me how to be the young man of God that I hope to continue to be. When we were in Alaska, we went door to door to people's homes, inviting them to VBS and just sharing God's love and his word with them. No matter if we accepted or rejected by them, I just felt so much love, comfort and peace from the Lord. And I wanted to keep feeling that feeling forever. So when I got home, I decided to share the word with my friends and my acquaintances at school and my dance studio. And no matter if I got rejected by them or accepted by them as well. That feeling has stuck with me ever since I went to Alaska. I've just gotten some of the most awesome opportunities to have gospel conversations. I get to do service projects and just things that I'm so grateful to be able to do. I'm so grateful to have been a part of Radiate Student Ministries for all these years because it has been this constant body of believers who I've been able to relate to and take refuge in. And over the past four years, God has really taught me to be fully reliant on Him and trust in Him and everything that he does. Isaiah 41:13 says, for I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says, do not fear, I will help. And so it's been really helpful to know that God always has me in his heart and that he's going to take care. These past 4 years, Radiate has majorly impacted my life. Teaching me what it means to have a deep and intimate relationship with God. They've really gone in depth of the importance of quiet time and prayer. Without the opportunities, the people and the discipleship that Radiate has provided me, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Radiate has been such a great opportunity for me to come worship at places like DNow and Wednesday nights and things like that. I just loved every moment of being able to come and meet God's presence. Radiate has been such a great place for me to get to know my friends and get to build community and intentional relationships and connections not only with those older than me and in my class, but also younger people as well. And getting to pour into them, and it's just been such a great experience and something that I will never take for granted. It has been a place that felt good, godly friends, and been surrounded by leaders that care for me. And so it's been a kind of refuge for me to come and learn about Jesus because I have people there around me to support me. I thank Radiate for being such an amazing and welcoming home to me for the past four years.

Yeah. Come on, Church. Can we get a hand for that? Man, God never ceases to amaze me in his faithfulness, whether it's 40 kids standing up here on this stage and honoring and praising God with their life, or opening up a center in Kenya that is fully funded, that can be a bright, shining light to literally a whole slum for the Kingdom of God. And we are so blessed. My name is Eli. I'm the high school pastor here. I often get asked a lot of times, what's it like to be a high school pastor? And I say, man, it's an honor and it's a pleasure, right. Now, I also say, like, you have to be a rhino. You know, you have to have a hard horn, but you have to have tough skin. You know, the kids are behind here. And we were talking and goofing off and one of them looked over at me. I was like, man, you actually look presentable today. Like, you know what? Wow, thanks a lot, man. Love my kids. Love what we get to do. I'm so glad that your self esteem as a high school pastor just, you know, is oozing with confidence here. So welcome to Senior Sunday. So glad that you can make it. Today, we want to honor them. They're literally launching out of a season into a brand new one of life and we want to launch them well. And we know this whole thing with seasons and hear my heart and my heart for you guys over these next four years isn't that you just go off and do your own thing. My heart for you is when you launch out of these four years that you will understand the joyous content of who God is in your life, and you will live for Him. And for the rest of us, you know, oftentimes when we get older, we get married. You go through a season of being newlywed and we go through a season where we have kids and then we have two kids and then we're three and we're in over our heads. Right. And then you go through this season of discipleship where you have 18 years of all these payments and all these, and I'm just playing. All these things. And then you become a grandparent. You have a season of grandparents and you get to see all that come to fruition. But how do you endure that? Can I just be really honest? Like, life is hard. And we go through and we know that we have good seasons, we have bad seasons. We have seasons of waiting. We have all of these different things and stages of life wherever you're at. And how do we navigate those? How do we endure that for our whole lives? Right. That's why it says in Matthew Chapter seven for wide is the gate, and broad is the road that leads to destruction. And many will enter through it, but small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads a life and only if you find it. My hope for seniors and my hope for you is that you're on that very, very narrow road that leads to life in Jesus. How do you endure that road?

Life is difficult. Life is hard. It kind of reminded me about a story right out of college. I had a good buddy of mine who got engaged when his wedding was coming up, so we took a bachelor trip. There were 12 of us and we asked him what he wanted to do and his response was camping. Like, what kind of bachelor trip is camping? Right? I'm like, come on, man. Right. And here's what you know about camping. You got campers, you got glampers, you know? Then you got the people that want to be out in the woods, that want to live the rugged life, live off the land, get all the water, sleep out underneath the stars. And you got our good buddies over here that want to pull up their trailer with their air conditioning and their bed and their kitchen or their stove and their microwave and everything else. Right. And the only camping that they get is when they walk out those doors right next to a bonfire with some s'mores. Right. Well, our group was about half and half. We had some guys that can't most of their life, and then we had some guys that never did at all. Matter of fact, we were going to this place called Jackson River. It had 21 different river crossings. And I know it sounds crazy, right? It's really not because one of the river crossings like you barely got your feet wet. Right. And then there's some others that you would be in like neck deep water. Right. You'd be treading water until you get across it. And man, we brought a guy that had never been camping before. He brought three pairs of shoes. I don't know why, you know. So we asked him, what's up with the shoes? He's like, well, we're crossing the river. And I'm like, Yeah, he's like, one for hiking, one for water shoes, one for my sandals when I go to bed at night. I'm like, This is not home. We're out in the middle of the woods, right? Like there's nothing at all. We had guys that literally had three backpacks. We had a guy that brought a 12 man tent. Right. And then there's the rest of us over here where I brought my ENO, and I brought one pair of boxers and a couple pairs of shorts, and we're good to go right? Because we're nowhere to be found. So we embarked on this trip. We left on a Friday night, right, right after work. And man, you know, when you go on trips with friends like energy is high, right? I mean, we are pumped. We are amped. Here we go. Right. We pull up to the trailhead. It is pitch black, dark. So we've got two campers who have little lights on our heads. Right. And you got the glampers. You're like what are those? You have no idea. And they're walking on a dark path, right? And the first thing that we saw when we pulled up was “no hiking at night.” Awesome. Right. Here we go. And the first thing first, we're like, good doesn't apply to us, right? No, not even close.

So we hiked in, right? We lost one or two. They eventually got to the campsite. We got up in the morning. We were jazzed. Energy is pumped. It's awesome. And a couple of us have been up there before. And once you get to the very top of the 21 river crossing, sits this big, beautiful lake and there's a rock that you can jump off of, it's the most exhilarating thing ever. Just a nice good day up there. You know, by lunch time, you have a snack or two, you eat a sandwich and you're right back down. I knew we were in trouble on the first river crossing. Our buddy sat down, changed his shoes, got his water shoes out, and hiked across. He sat down, changed back into his shoes just in time for our friend to tell us that he had to go to the bathroom and wasn't number one. It was number two. And I knew right then and there, we were in deep trouble. What should have taken us two and a half hours ended up taking nine and a half hours and sunlight became dark. And I knew when we had looked around that there were defeated faces. I mean, just demoralized, like just done. Like absolute exhaustion. The endurance was no longer there, completely wiped out. I tell you that story because I think a lot of us sit in that perpetual wipe out a lot of times. I think a lot of us go through seasons where we're hurt, we're broke or in pain. And you know what it feels like when you have. My mom used to have this wisdom all the time. You can expect problems to come in threes, right? You can expect one problem and then you can expect two. And then, boom, the trifecta number three, right? We live in this place where you feel like you're living on this very, very, very fine thread. And if that thread just breaks, the whole world crumbles underneath you. I feel like a lot of times we live in those seasons and we're just we're waiting and we're hoping and we're trying the best that we possibly can. And we can't see too far ahead of us to the next season. But we're praying for it. We're hoping for it, and we hope it's a lot brighter on the other side than it is currently. And I want us to read out of Psalms 16 today because that's where David is. The only difference is, when David writes this Psalm, he writes it with a settled joy about it because of the Lord, despite the hurt, despite the seasons being hard, despite the waiting, despite all those things you can tell that David is fully and joyfully content in Christ. And in order for us to get through this life that's where we need to be. In order to endure the hardships, and the seasons, and the hurt, and the pain, and all the brokenness, we have to put ourselves at a place in our life where we have joy settled in God.

So I want you to read verse one with me and verse two. It says this Psalm 16:1-2. Preserve me. That's how we know that David's in trouble. He says, Oh, protect me, God, what do you need protection from? He says, For in you I take refuge. Or another version says, For in you I put my trust. I say to the Lord, You are my Lord. I have no good apart from you. And here's what I want you to see. The first thing that David does and he knows is to look above. And I know this is really simple. If you've been around church very often, like I know you know this, but in two verses David uses three different words for God. Verse one, preserve me or protect me oh God. Elohim, mighty one, or superior one. He says, God, you can protect me because you're over it all. Your mighty, your supreme, you're over everything because of who you are. I'll put my trust in you. And he goes on, I say to the Lord capital Lord Yahweh, God, self-proclaimed name for himself, you are my Lord. That last one is Adonai, meaning master. You know, I find often as believers we're really, really good with God Almighty. God, we want salvation, we want your love, we want your forgiveness. We want all those good things. But when it comes to my life, a different story. I'm the master, God, not you, me. The one thing that we're really good at mastering is being our own master, right? One year last year I got a little two year old girl, and Christmas is so fun. I mean, it's amazing. Love it. Like, because everything for her is brand new. And so, of course, what do you get a little two year old girl? You get her a Barbie Jeep, right? Like what else would you get a little girl? I mean, she loved it. Screamed for joy. It took her a couple of days to kind of actually figure out the pedal and the steering, but dude, once she did, the homegirl just took off, son. We graduated from the yard to the street. Right. And she eventually figured out that you didn't just go in a straight line, you go left or right. Right. And so it was this perpetual like always, like turbulent left, right, left, right, left, right, right. Until she wants to take a right into your neighbor's yard. It's got this big sign in it that says, Beware of dog, right? You're like, no, no, no, don't go over there. Right. It's like, what do you do as a parent? You're like running after her. You're try to maneuver and put your hand on the steering wheel yourself. Well, we finally got smart, right? Got tired of chasing her down the street. Like, wait a minute, doesn't this thing come with a remote control? Like, yeah. And so we went, got it. Put some batteries in it, flipped a switch. Well guess what, guess who's in control now. Right. Here's a beautiful thing about it. I love it. I love this. She got so used to that that she started to like it. And so eventually when we got in a Barbie Jeep, we didn't put the hand on the steering wheel and we didn't press the gas. She just kicked back like this and just relaxed. Right. And it didn't matter, right? Because she was on the road. She was on the path. She knew wherever she was going, she was safe. Right. Because we could direct her, we could protect her. But eventually, right, like any other good little girl, it becomes I want I want to drive. I want to turn. I want the gas. And so while we're driving, she puts her hands back on the steering wheel and she starts twisting and turning the steering wheel. But we keep going straight because we're protecting her, because we're guiding her. I think we're really good about times in our life, in the seasons of her life, where we relinquish all control to God. Right. And we and we know that's right. When it's good, it's easy. Oh, yeah. God, you're in control. Hey, it's fine. When my marriage is fine, my kids are good. We're making great grades. We're not too much trouble, right? Everything's good. But as soon as the season of waiting or some sort of problem arises, we go from the posture of just relaxing to whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. God, I liked what you were doing here, but I don't like it over here. I want to go this way. I want to start driving. I want to take that control back. I want the steering wheel. He's God and Lord. We can't just pick and choose He is God over everything. He's also Lord over our life and so many of us every single day we take back, relinquish control, relinquish control.

It says, Pick up your cross, relinquish control. And so many of us are so good at seasons where we're just like, Hey, God. You ever realize that maybe you're in a season where you have to surrender because that's exactly where God wants you to be, right? You've been in a season of your life where you try and you try and you try and you try. It's like, oh, every time I try something, it gets worse. Ever been there? It's like, no matter what I do, it just gets worse. I remember being at seasons of life and God's like, Stop trying and start relying. Man, you're trying everything. That's great. But you're not relying upon me. It's why it says this in Colossians chapter one, verse 11. Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, so that you might have great endurance and patience. Who's the one that strengthens? Elohim, the God over this universe. The reason that we can have endurance over life, and the hardships, and the weightings, and the goods, and the bads, and the uglies, and everything in between is because he's God and we're not. That's how we endure. Like if it was left to me and you, man that's a sad place to be. But like when God sets us on a trajectory and the path. It's why it says this and Isaiah 58 verse 11, the Lord, capital Lord will guide you always, always. In every season he will satisfy your needs in the sun stricken land and will strengthen your frame. Can I just tell you, we live in a community where there's not many physical needs to be met because we live in a pretty affluent community. And I think we rely upon that. But how many of us have emotional and spiritual needs that are never met? Because we just won't relinquish control. How many of us like this? You live in a sun scorched, dried, spiritual life because there's nothing there. Because it's about I'm the Master, and God's not. It says you'll be like a well-watered garden life of a spring whose water never fails. The principle in this, and I know this is so elementary, but such a truth for students and adults alike. In order to endure life, you have to fully surrender to a God that's already overcome. He's Almighty. He's all powerful. He's strengthened us. He's before us. He's behind us. He's beside us. He's everywhere. He already knows the season you're about to walk into.

He knows the season that you're in right now. You have a God that humbled himself, that came to this earth that you could pinch. He would go ouch. He hung to a cross. He wept tears. He laughed. He had emotions so he could empathize and sympathize with everything that we're going through. That's the God we serve. That's the God that walks with you daily. That's the God that we surrender our will to. God it's not about me. Students, the next four years of your life aren't about you, it's about God through you. This is not a season of waiting. This is not just a season of, Hey, I get to go do for the next four years what I want to go do. This is God using me in these next four years because you are all I want. You are all I want to glorify. Families, it's the same thing in our life, same thing in our families. God, I'm surrendering to you because let's just be honest, I've got absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I can stand up here as a father, as a husband, as a pastor, I have no idea what I'm doing. Zero. I have to rely on the presence of God because every single time I try, I try, I try, I try. I fail, I fail, I fail, I fail. God, it's gotta be you. God, I've got to surrender to you. Let's keep reading in verse three. Says this, as for the saints in this land, meaning the believers, they are the excellent ones in whom is my delight. In verse four, this is key.

Listen, the sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply. The sorrows of those who run after another god will multiply, and their drink offering a blood I will not pour out or take their name upon my lips. Did you see what David just did? Not only did he look up to God, he looked around. He looked around at who was with him. He said, I delight in the people of God. Believers, do we delight in each other? Look, I've got to ask some of the people the questions like, do you even like other believers? Do you see the attitude that you're perpetuating out of your face right now? Like, I know you're having a good time. I just need your face to notice it, you know? Do we love each other? Do we care? You were meant for community. You were meant. The number one thing that I think the enemy does in our life is try to isolate us. Parents alike. We try to isolate ourselves from our spouse. We try to isolate ourselves from other couples that have the ability to pour into our life. Why? Because we're busy. We're running around. We've got all the things all the time, all the places. And we look up and we realize that we're just trying to do this thing on our own. Do you realize why we're so big on community here? It's because you need each other. Scripture says that we are to help each other carry the burdens. It's the same depiction of Jesus literally taking your sins on his back, going to the cross, defeating him because he's overcome it all. It's the same principle. You need each other. We tell students all the time, Hey, show me your five closest friends, I'll show you your future. Adults, it's the same thing. Why does that change for us? Like men, who's really pouring into your life outside of Sunday morning? Dudes, who are pouring into you? Who has the ability to speak into your life? What is the community that you surrounded your family with? What is it? And here I want to give you a couple quick principles on why there's so many benefits to biblical community, because I just don't think we grasp it. Because if we did, man, I feel like life would be a whole lot easier to endure with other like minded people that have the same morals, beliefs and backgrounds as we do. But here's what happens, right? We get busy, we self isolate, and then we go to our kid's practice, and we surround ourselves with people and ideas and things that we probably shouldn't. And listen, hear my heart. I'm not saying create a small group in a community of just believers and never, ever, ever be around unbelievers. That's not what I'm saying at all. Matter of fact, Jesus modeled this for us. He spent 95% of his time with nine disciples, realistically like three of them. And then what did he do? They built each other. They grew each other, they molded and shaped. And guess what? Then they went and made disciples of all nations. You know what I think we do?

We cast a big circle of everybody and we don't even have a close knit nine of our own. Who's coming alongside of you that's pouring and molding and shaping you? Here's the principles. Number one, seeing Christ in others. Can I tell you how big this is? For a guy that gave his life to Christ at the age of 17-18 years old, when I heard terms like be a biblical man, I had no idea what that ever meant. Zero. Like, what does that even mean? Those are the questions I was asking. But you know what I did have. I had guys in this church that I could look at their life and go, I know that they had been with Jesus. They treat their wives differently. They treat their kids differently. They walk in a different stature, not because of who they are, but because who God is to them. You see Christ in other people around you. Number two, and I think this is the biggest one that we don't. It's for accountability and guidance. You know, I think we don't want accountability? It's because honestly, we have to let somebody in and be vulnerable and, you know, without a shadow of a doubt that your sins will be found out. Why do we not submit to actual community? It's because we really don't want accountability. We really don't want another man or another woman to look into and pour into our life and go, Hey, man, listen, because I love you. Can we talk about this for a moment? Can we have a loving conversation just for a second about some certain things that I'm seeing? Or how about the freedom to look at another believer and go, I'm not perfect. Man, I'm confessing my sin over to you because I need help. I need somebody to push me closer to Jesus. I need you to come alongside me. And hey, listen, I'm giving you full authority. If you see these patterns in my life, tell me. That's accountability. That's guidance. The reason why we have life groups is so that you can do life with those people. Do you realize, like, we're meant to live with each other outside of the four walls of this church? It's not just a Sunday program. It's not just something that we come to, that we sit in, we go to a life group. We have our small group there, and we never, ever, ever talk or see them again. This should be the most delightful place because we are a room full of fallen and broken people redeemed and made whole by God. And we need each other desperately.

I was reading this story a long time ago and I thought it was remarkable. There was a guy that ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Think about that. That is 1300 miles. I'm having a heart attack half a mile in. This dude ran 1300 miles. He had TV stations all across the nation pick it up that talked about him. They did a two and a half hour documentary on this guy because of the remarkable thing that he did. I watched the two and a half hour documentary. You know what stood out to me the most? They never took the time to talk about his wife that cooked every single meal, that drove the RV bus. They never talked about the grandparents that took time out of their life to come and live on an RV bus for months at a time in order to homeschool their children so that they would never skip a beat in their education. They also didn't talk about his best friend, who left his lucrative job to come run a nonprofit organization so that he could go and do this and have a message around it. And then they never talked about the thousands of people in every single state. When he was tired, his body was broken and he was beaten down from running. That came around him and ran with him. Everybody wants to talk about the guy. Nobody wants to talk about the community. It takes a village and not just your kids, with you, adults. With us. You need people to come around you. You need people to pour into you. You need people to speak into your life. Can I beg you to find trusted people that you can identify, they're going that person right there, is running after God? Their heart is set on God just like David's was. And can I give them full authority to speak into my life? And not just like on a Sunday, like to hang out with them to make them a part of your family. That's community. That's how we grow together. The third, prayer and worship. Everybody loves that, right? We come together and we pray and we worship. Everybody won't knock that. And the last one witness to the world. It's just like Jesus. When you grow together, when you mold and you shape each other, you strengthen each other, you pour into each other, you go out and you witness to the world and you come back. I yearn for days where we get serious about our community. We can come here, we can talk about our struggles. We can talk about our pains. You can talk about all those things and go, Yeah, but guess what? God has redeemed you. He has made you whole. Why? So that you can go and share it to the world. That's what a real biblical community looks like. Not to walk into a Sunday service every time, get a good message, walk out, do nothing with it. That's what community's meant for. That's what it is.

The principle behind that, in order to endure this life and this world would be, we must be surrounded by a Godly community. I put Godly in there for a reason. Read with me verse 5 through 11. This is where David, this is where his joy comes from. Despite the pain, despite the sorrow, in these beautiful six verses right here. Listen to what he says. He's looking ahead. He's looking ahead. He says this, The Lord is my portion, my cup. You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in a pleasant place. Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. This is so ironic that David is saying this. He comes from a lineage of many, many, many brothers. And guess what? He's the youngest. He would never have an earthly inheritance at all. His brothers would have had that. He's the last in the family. And here he is saying, I have a beautiful inheritance. That inheritance is King. Jesus, you know how we can endure this life? Knowing that this isn't our home.

So many of us live defeated because life is falling around us. But guess what? One day we get to stand in perfection of who God is and the glory and the splendor and the honor will blow you away. That's where our hope comes from. That's where our joy comes from, our beautiful inheritance of who God is. That one day we will leave this earth. We will know no pain. We'll know no suffering. We'll know, no hurt, nothing. We stand in the perfection of who God is. He's looking ahead. Now, we're not looking ahead to the next season. We're looking ahead to eternity. There's a difference. We're not temporal looking ahead. We're eternally going. I can't wait to live in that day. I can't wait to stand in the presence of God. That's the posture of how we're supposed to live this life. I love the whole book of Exodus. It's Moses, this great man that we talk about. He's taking God's people, the Israelites, out of the bondage from the Egyptians. Right? And he takes them out and they're in the desert. This is right before God says, hey, listen, I'm going to give you this big, beautiful land. It's full of milk and honey, the most glorious thing you've ever seen. I can't wait for you to go there. I'm going to drive out all the people. And then there's this amazing text in Exodus 33, where Moses and God are talking and Moses goes alone. He gets his God. He says, God, I know that you're about to take us into the Promised Land. I know it's about to be the most beautiful, amazing thing we've ever seen. But if you're not there, I don't want to go. God, don't send me if you're not going with me, I want to sit in your presence. That's how we get through life. We sit with the presence of Jesus. I don't care what you think you've got going before you, or what your past has been behind you. God cares about meeting with you daily. It's being in His presence. It's knowing that you're not alone. That he's with you. That he's never left you. He's never forsaken you. And you have a beautiful inheritance. That's why he says in verse seven, I bless the Lord who gives me counsel. It says, in the night also, my heart instructs me. The reason that he says my heart instructs me is because Scripture also tells us that David was a man after God's own heart. This wasn't his deceitful, sinful heart. This is the heart of God. He goes, even in the night when I lay my head on the pillow, my head is swirling. I'm stressed, I'm anxious. Everything around me is falling apart. God's like, I'm ministering to you. I'm counseling you, I'm guiding you. I'm with you. David said I'm blessed because of that. God, I'm joyful that despite all of that, you meet me exactly where I'm at. That's what he's saying. You say you've already gone before me. You realize that God knows tomorrow? He knows the struggles.

He knows all of it, everything. God is already there. So why would we not let the God that's already there guide us and counsel us? How arrogant is it for us to think that somehow we know better? Think about that concept for a moment. We call God splendorous, almighty, all powerful, everything. He's already before us. And yet every time, back to the wheel. No, no, no, God, I got this. Hey, thanks. Think I'm going to put a little bit more stress on my plate, but I'll be good. God's like no, it's not about that. Verse eight, he says, I have set the Lord always before me, always before me because he's at my right hand. I shall not be shaken, because God is for you. Who could be against you? If your heart is set after his, who could be against his plan and his will for your life? Will there be hardships? Yep. Will you overcome them? Absolutely. Not because of anything you did. Because of what he did. Verse nine said, Therefore, my heart is glad. In those times, in those seasons is your heart glad? He says my whole being rejoices, my flesh also dwells securely. Isn't it good to know that we have full securance in who he is? The darkest days may be before you, but be secure in the fact that you know that the price has been paid for you and I, salvation so that we can worship King Jesus through it all. Verse ten, for you will not abandon my soul or let your holy one see corruption. And he wraps it all up in verse 11 you make known to me the path of life, and in your presence there is fullness of joy at the right hand are your pleasures forever more. Students, if I could rap one verse for your life over these next four seasons. Let it be that. God, you make my path known. God, you set a trajectory for my life. God, you demand my steps. Let me follow it, God. And when your Scripture says in John 14:15, If you love me, you obey my commands. God help me. We need help with that. God wants to set your life in a straight, narrow path. But we need that help to endure. And he says, In your presence there's fullness of joy. In your presence, you have the satisfaction and joy of the King and Kings and the Lord of Lords. We have no idea what tomorrow holds, but he does. We have no idea how the situation is going to turn out, but he does. God guide me, God lead me in that path.

So for you and for your life, my prayer is that you look up, that you look around, and that you look ahead. Those are so simple to sit all the time on a Sunday morning and say, so much harder to live that out. So much harder when that life smacks you in the face, when it's right there before you. God lead. Not when it's good, not when it's great all the time, when it's bad, when it's ugly, when it's not, and when it's good. God all the time, would you set my life on a trajectory to honor and to be faithful and to glorify you? Why? Because we know, based on this, when we idolize other things in our life, it leads to more destruction than we would if we follow God. So for seniors, don't let these four years go past. God wants to use you in a powerful way. You have no idea who is set in front of you to speak his name into anybody's life. Over these next four years, listen to me, you will have freedoms. You will have things thrown at you that you've never, ever had before. And here's the thing. They may look good. If you go back to Genesis chapter three, in the garden, when Eve looked at the tree, she looked at it and said, I looked at it and saw that it looked good. Destruction always looks good for a season. Eventually it leads to death. Don't let your four years go by and waste them. Allow God to move into shape to mold your life into the greatest husband and wife and parent and member of this society that you possibly can. Adults, I hope that we set that tone. I hope that these students can look at your life and go, Oh, man, I can do it well, because it's already been modeled before me. And here's the deal. It's never too late. It's never too late to start now. It's never too late to look at your students and go, Hey, I've fallen short, but my life is set on a trajectory to honor and glorify God. Here's my faults, here's my wrongs, learn from them. I can tell you they want to learn from you. You just got to be open and honest about it. So today my hope is that if you need Jesus, today's that day, do not wait. Your future can be secure today in salvation in Jesus. Here's also my hope. That man, some of you have been living this Christian life for a while, but the steering wheel is yours. My hope today is that you just relinquish that. I know that's scary.

I know that's not normal in our society to have every single thing planned out in our lives. But here's the deal. I trust God way more than I trust myself. And so, man, I hope you do, too. I hope you can look at the evidence, not just in Scripture, but your life of the faithfulness that God has had for you. And you go, God, I got no idea what tomorrow holds, but I'm trusting in the one who does. If you would like to give your life to Jesus today, man I'm going to make it real simple. You can meet me right over here by this banner and just look at me in the face and say, I need Jesus. Or man, maybe for you, you're going through a season, you're going through a moment, and you just need somebody to pray for you. And I'd love to pray for you. Some of our deacons would love to pray for you. Let us be a Church of Action today. I get so sick sometimes of just like Christianity, when God stirs, he says, come as you are, but he never lets us leave unchanged. This morning, would you just take your hands off the wheel? Go, God, your presence is here. And God, I'm listening. Would we be a people of movement today?

Last thing I'm going to ask of you during this next song is something that we try to do every single year. If you don't feel comfortable with it, I get it. I hope you do. Would we as a church take a brief moment not just to honor and praise God, but to come over to these seniors and pray over them? To pray for protection, to pray for guidance over these next pivotal four years of your life. I don't care if you hold a hand out. I don't care if you come from all the way back to lay on hands. It's not weird. Let today be a day where you just let God move. Why? Because we need to model it for them now. We need to pray for them. We're about to launch them into the world. They have no idea what they're about to walk into. But a lot of you do. They have no idea what to pray for, but a lot of you do. And so today, during this next song, whether you need to give your life to Christ, whether you need to join this church, whether you need it, just lay hands on somebody.

Would you do that with me? Would you pray? Father, we love you. God, we're so thankful for you. We thank you for your word, God, that our security and our hope is found in you. God, let that never get old. Let that never get stale, how much you love us, how much you care for us. So much so that you sent your son Jesus. God, for the class of 2023, no matter what the next four years hold for them, God, would you let them know that you're with them, that you're already before them, and you have all the knowledge of what they're about to walk into? God, would they realize we cannot do this world alone, that we need you and that we need godly people around you. So, Father, I pray. Pray right now for every senior that's going off that they would find a church home that can take the next four years and continue to pour godly wisdom and knowledge into their life. God for this church, for people that have been running from community, would we see it not as threatening. But God, would we take delight in the community and the people that you've set in front of us. Would you allow people just to guide us and to pour into us your godly wisdom? Father, we're so thankful for today and for your word. And at this moment we aren't looking to a place, we're just here for your presence. So God, come and move. In your name we pray, Jesus.


Follow Along with the Message

Enduring the Seasons

May 7, 2023

Psalm 16:1–2
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

He looked

God (v.1) - : mighty one or supreme one

LORD (v.2) - : God’s self-proclaimed name

Lord (v.2) - : master

Colossians 1:11
Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
Isaiah 58:11
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well- watered garden, life a spring whose water never fail.

PRINCIPLE: In order to endure this life, we must be fully to the One has overcome.

Psalm 16:3–4
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.

He looked

Proverbs 12:26
The righteous choose their friends carefully.

Benefits of Biblical Community

1. Seeing Christ in

2. and guidance

3. Pray and

4. to the world

PRINCIPLE: In order to endure this world, we must be in Godly community.

Psalm 16:5–11
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

He looked

PRINCIPLE: In order to endure, we must find the joyful that King Jesus brings.

2 Corinthians 4:16–18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our fixes not on what is seen, but on what is unsee, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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