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Nov 29, 2020

Stay Positive

Stay Positive

Passage: Philippians 4:4-7

Speaker: Eli Laughlin

Series: Stay Positive

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: joy, peace, life change, positive, positive thinking, stay positive

Stay Positive | Eli Laughlin | Burnt Hickory How quickly can we become negative in our outlook and attitude, even when we are in a positive situation? Pastor Eli walks us through what it means to not just try to be positive, but to find true joy and why that glorifies God. When we see Paul locked in jail in his letter to the Philippians, his circumstances look very bad. He’s been beaten, abused, hungry, and isolated in a jail cell. Even in this, God places an opportunity for good, for life change, and a way to find joy. Paul continually preached the gospel and remained steadfast in the truth, and through this, everyone around him knew what he stood for. Then later, we see his beliefs in action when the door of the cell falls off its hinges, and he doesn’t run from the situation, taking the easy way out. John MacArthur says this, "The real challenge of the Christian life is not to eliminate every unpleasant circumstance, it is to trust in the good purpose of our infinite holy, sovereign, powerful God in every difficulty. Those who honor Him by trusting Him will experience a blessing of his perfect peace." There are opportunities around us everyday where we could speak the truth in love and find joy and contentment in misery as a witness to God’s glory. How are you finding peace in your social media posts, your relationships, through position at work, and in your family? What’s the next step for you to trust in God’s good purpose and find joy in Him?

I wish you guys could do the student events, and not just Sunday morning. Good morning church. I'm not the Reverend Matt Petty. My name is Eli. I'm the high school pastor here. As you can tell us some of our high school students on the front row, lead worship strong. Hey, it's a pleasure to be with you guys this morning. Last time I was able to take the stage, was in May. Now speaking of that camera right there, let me tell you how awesome it is just to be able to stand in here and see faces. And you guys, it's such a blessing to be a part of worship this morning. And I'm really excited for this morning. So like Carrie said, I really hope you guys had a good Thanksgiving break. I know in my house, I ate til I couldn't eat anymore. And then I told my wife that we were gonna get back on track and we were gonna do a diet until last night when I Uber Eats Chinese at 10:30 last night and ate every single bit of the orange chicken. So, there's none left. So sorry, Babe. So, we are rolling. We're gonna be fat and sassy during this season. We're gonna love every minute of it. So, we hope you guys are there as well. Man church, can I just be honest, a little bit with you this morning. Um, I really struggled through knowing when I was going to be able to speak on this topic because I knew God had kind of given me a message. And I knew a lot of it kind of had it for me as well. I knew as I was working through this God was speaking to me through this and um, if you know anything about me, um, some coworkers would say that I'm not negative. I'm just sarcastic. Anybody else like that? You know, I'm saying like, when you walk into a meeting, and you have something like really good. There's a thing called like playing the devil's advocate, man, I love doing that. I don't know why, like, I just love it. And like, half the time, it's like, you know what, I don't even know what I'm saying here. But I'm gonna roll with it, stir the pot a little bit and see where this thing goes. Right? And so, I just am and, um, as I was thinking through this, and I really didn't want to talk about this, but walking into 2020, and so on and so forth. Um, I'm just being honest as your pastor like, something that is really bothering me, it's just the negativity of just everything going on right now.

I didn't want to talk about COVID, and I didn't want to talk about election and politics and everything else. But over the last year, can I just tell you that I've struggled with it myself, of just being negative. I'm like, even when something positive happens, right? Like I can find the negative in it. Like I had a little baby girl about a month and a half ago. She's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful love her until like, 3am. And then she's awful, right? But I was having this child and I found the negative in it. Like, I was having a blessing, a beautiful baby girl and then I found myself going, you know what, I can't go into a doctor's appointment. I can't see her heartbeat. I can't see the ultrasound monitor. I can't see any of that. And I had this like, negative attitude towards everything. And I think that's where a lot of us sit. And if you think back to this season of 2020, and where we're kind of going, and so on and so forth. I think a lot of us are there too. And here's what I mean. The other night, I was sitting at home and I thought you know what, maybe I'm the only one. Maybe God's just speaking to me about this. And maybe I actually don't need to speak on this. And so, I got on Instagram and put up a question. And I said if you could describe 2020 in one word, how would you describe it? And I want you to hear some of these words. First and foremost, stupidity, illogical, challenging, insane, intense. Somebody said dumpster fire. If anybody can tell me what that actually is. I would love to know, because I don't know what that is. But it sounds negative. So, I'm gonna use it right? Dumpster fire. Somebody said emotional and one said horrible. Somebody put the poop emoji, which I'm pretty sure they mean like a bad word that they can't say in church. So, they just put the poop emoji anyways. Right? Funky, unprecedented, confusing, bad, painful, mentally draining, which my response was that's two words not one, but I'll use it anyways. Tragic. And then my favorite love this one, somebody in all caps drawn out just went, AHHHHHHHHHHH! Right?

Like, I feel like that's all of us a little bit, right? There's like this negative towards 2020 and everything that's going on. And even one step further. And I was like, well, what puts everybody in a negative attitude, right? Like if you've ever sat and thought about that with yourself? Like what puts you just in a raunchy mood right? And I love some of these responses. And like I weeded out all the kid’s ones that were like, hey, we'll put you in a negative mood, like your face or like your mom, you know? Like, these are all yeah, I forgot those. So uh, but these are the serious ones that I love. It says this, what puts you in a negative attitude? I love this one because this is so mean. when something doesn't go exactly how it's expected. To go right, then a little bit of that perfectionist comes up inside of me, right when you have planned and you've purposed and planned, and then something drastically happens that you just didn't expect. That goes all wrong and you're just negative and in a downfall. I got 20 replies of politics. Amen. Right? So, when somebody else has a negative attitude, there's some of you out there that is somebody negative towards you. So, you're like, I'm gonna be negative back, right? Like, that's our first initial reaction being stressed out, right? This year, but it's all entailed and what it has brought COVID judgmental. This one is one that I thought was really good for us. It says this, when I strive to be better, but I always fail, right? Just put you in a down casted attitude towards. And look, I know, this is a little heavy, a little weighty this morning. But I'm just gonna be honest, it's like a pastor walking into 2021. I wanted to flip the script. Because here's what I mean. I'm, like, every year you hear, it's like New Year, new me, right? It's like, no, it's never a new year, and this never knew you. It's like you're the same person, like, you may just be better at hiding it for a couple extra months. But you're still negative. Like, you're just it comes out a little bit later. And so I wanted, I wanted us to talk about this this morning. Because as we move into 2021, just being honest, the atmosphere is not gonna change. Like, the COVID thing is still gonna be real, the political unrest is still gonna be real, all the negative issues, and maybe your family is falling apart right now. Or maybe you just got done through that season, and maybe some difficult battles that you're facing, I just talked to a family at 930 that their mother in law unexpectedly passed away on Thanksgiving Day, right. And these are circumstances, they have a lot of negative connotation towards it that aren't going to go away.

And instead of just sitting around acting like it is, I'd rather just completely flip the script and go, let's look at some scripture today. And see how we can have more of a positive outlook in 2021. And where God's gonna bring us. And so, if you have some scripture, today, we are going to be camping out in Philippians chapter 4. A little caveat; if you are just looking for some reading, of just Paul talking to the church and what God has got for the church, I would really encourage you over this next season. As we're walking into to read this, it's four chapters, literally four chapters, it's not very long, but it's rich. And I wish I had time this morning to sit and break down every single chapter because there's so much here for us. And so, during this little break of this little season, if you have some time read that. But Philippians 4:4-7 I'm gonna read it and then we're going to break it down. It says this, "Rejoice in the Lord always." And then Paul follows it up, he says, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." So, this morning for us to flip the script to have more of a positive outlook into 2021. And where our families are out where we're going. First thing we need to know, number one, it's easy, Rejoice in the Lord. Look at verse 4. Rejoice in the Lord. always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Now for a lot of you, you've heard that in here before you've read this scripture, you know these verses, right? But a lot of us don't understand this rejoicing factor in always. I don't know about you, but there's like when bad things happen in my life, my first initial reaction isn't just to go, whoo, Praise God, right? You know, like, I don't know about you. So, I learned this when I was a kid. Um, man, when I was a little boy, my mom and my dad would ship me up to Illinois because I was a lot right, like I had like borderline ADHD and a ADD right, you know, I was a lot.

And so my family would let me go to Illinois to stay with my extended family up there. I remember this one year when I was really young. My aunt wanted to take us to Six Flags. And all summer like we did chores when I say we did chores. Like we didn't really do chores, right? Like, we just kind of did something to say like here, I'm gonna give you money. So we can go to Six Flags and have a fun time, right? And so we did that. And I remember the day that we left, my aunt had this little blue minivan that she put like 200,000 miles on right. And she would take the middle seat out, and she lay out this blanket had all my toys out there for me to play. And like don't judge me. I was little. We left that morning, and like it was one of the first times I realized like weather down here and weather up there in the north is just completely different, right? And we started this trek and we started this journey. I mean, the sky literally looked like Hades. I mean, it was like death. The wind was whipping to the point where the car was moving, it may have just been the bald tires on my aunt's car. I don't know. But like, I felt like we were rocking back and forth. I mean, winds crashing down the rains coming in heavy. So I grabbed the blanket and I throw it over my head. Okay, again, I'm little, get off me. Okay, I was scared. And all I remember right at one point; the car just went haywire. I mean, we ran off the road. I think we did a flip. Not really. But we spun. And I'm like, I'm thinking it's a twister, right? Like, I'm thinking we're in a real live tornado. This is happening. Here we go. Right? Come to find out the tire on the car actually just popped. Right. But my aunt, right, is calm, cool and collected and I'll never forget this. When we came to a complete stop. I'm shivering, I'm shaking through my boots, and my aunt's in the front seat going, whooo, Praise Jesus! And I'm like, What? I'm thinking like my eight-year-old little self, I'm going, why is that your reaction, right? And here's what I didn't realize. And what Paul's trying to say to us right here is why my aunt was praising was because in my little mind, I couldn't understand and grasp that God was actually protecting us, right? We could have hit another car, we're on an interstate doing 75. We could have hit a rail; we could have flipped. We could have done all these other things, but God is sitting here protecting us in this book of Philippians. In the first four chapters, Paul talks about this and he refers to joy or rejoicing twenty different times. He's looking at us. And I want to put this in a little context for you. He's writing to this church. But here's Paul writing about rejoicing and always while Paul's currently in a jail cell in Rome. Now, I don't know if you studied much on what prison looked like back then. Right? But it's not like prisons today. Most of their prisons, especially in Rome, are underneath the ground. So your jail cell was a dark hole under the ground, right? Had no windows, had no ventilation system, had no AC, no heat, no nothing. There is no sanitation, no sewage. Matter of fact like for fun; the guards would come around a beat and flog you just to make fun of you. Right. And if you weren't a Roman citizen, you were locked in Roman Jail, how you ate was by the grace of God, somebody would come give you food from outside the jail. Like they didn't feed you three meals a day. And they're like, oh, you're good now. This is like Paul's chained up to a wall. Both his hands and his feet are probably swollen and cut. He's chained up to a wall going Praise Jesus always. And that should be humbling to us here in the church. Like none of us are chained to a wall. None of us are under that type of affliction. And pause. Look at us going, hey, your first reaction should always be Praise God. If you're anything like me, I'm like, all right, come on, Paul. Right? Why? Like, I don't understand, you are in this problem. You're in the situation? Well, look, you have every right to be negative. Like your outlook on this, you have every right in your suffering and your pain and go “this stinks”, right? You have every right. And then Paul talks about this in Romans, 8:28, you should know this, and I love this, it says this. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Here's what that means for us in our situations.

Even in a negative situation or circumstance, it still has the potential to produce a positive purpose for God's honor and glory. Now, I want to say that one more time, because we hear that a lot, right? Like our whole life story, it is the gospel how God takes a really bad situation and turns it good for His honor and for His glory. It's like almost second nature in church, where we just kind of expect it, but yet we don't praise and honor Him for it. Like it's almost like something happens that we sit back and like we prop our feet up a little bit and go, alright, God, I'm ready for you to do your work for my good. It's like that's how that works, right? And Paul's looking and saying, hey, the reason that I'm in this jail cell right now is because of the gospel. If you go back to chapter 1 of Philippians, it says in verse 13, and what I love and the reason he can say, hey, praise and honor God, even in a bad situation, he can use it because if you read in Philippians 1:13, matter of fact that Paul had such a reputation that he made a name for him around the Royal Guard. Now, the Royal Guard was about 10,000 people strong, okay? And so, they weren't just like your typical guard, they guarded like the Emperor, the important people, the time, the jails and all this other system. Here's what happens. Paul had such emphasis on a gospel praise life, that everybody around him knew who he stood for. Even in this negative, awful, gross, disgusting situation, where Paul doesn't even know he's like, look, I'm facing a death sentence, the closest people around him know who he's standing for. The people that he would interact every single day with, to the point where it made to the whole 10,000 people in through the actual palace, that this is a guy that stands for Jesus. And we're sitting here going, how can we praise and honor God in this negative circumstance? It's because God works for those good and for His purpose. And so for a lot of you in here this morning, you need the reminder that even though your situation with your family or whatever you got going on, may look dire, may look desperate, God can still work and use you through that. I was talking with this family this morning at 9:30. And she was saying I really needed this word today. Because my mom passed away on Thanksgiving. And she said, we buried her yesterday and she said I got up the next morning and I didn't want to get up. I just wanted to lay there. I didn't want to go to a funeral or anything of that nature. And she said I sat in bed, and I prayed for God just to give me the strength to get up. And she said you know what happened? He did. And He gave me so much strength that I went to her funeral, I praised and worshiped and a danced because my mom is with Jesus in heaven. And your dire situation doesn't matter what you're going through. God's still working through it.

My family and you know me, you know my story. Um, right out of high school into college, my family went through a pretty gross divorce. And I had a lot of people that time loving on me and caring for me and saying, just awesome things. And, hey, I'm praying for you and taking care of you. And I tell people all the time, it's the best, worst thing that's ever happened to me. Because even though there was so much pain, and scars and hurt and brokenness, over years, I watched God heal those. Even though there were broken relationships with my family, I still watched God mend those back together, for his honor for His glory, not ours. Every situation that we go through even the situation that we're facing in our world today is not at a loss. It's a gain for God's glory. So, number one, we rejoice in the Lord always and number two, we respond in gentleness. Look at, Philippians 4:5 with me. It says, "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." And I love that, "The Lord is near." That's a call to action. Paul's calling action to the church to say your gentleness needs to be evident to all. Church, can I just be honest this morning in the most loving possible way I can. Some of the most negative people are the ones that sit right here on Sunday morning. Like, can I just be like, I'm not saying that to be mean, or hurtful. But like, I'm just trying to be honest. Like some of the most negative people sit in churches, I'm not talking to just this church, I'm talking about on the whole. And Paul's talking to other believers. And he points it out and says, let your gentleness be evident to all; Philippians talks about this in chapter 2:3-5. It says, "Do nothing," absolutely nothing, "out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit. Rather in humility, value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interest of Each of you shouldn't look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of the others." And then he kind of puts a little dagger back right here in verse 5 he says, "have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." He's saying your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. And like we hear that a lot. Right? And we talk about becoming more like Christ every single day of our life and surrendering Him. But my question is why do we walk outside the church and then like that goes out the window? It's like it's really good to come into church and talk about how to become more like Jesus and then you get into situations where like you're not gentle right? Like I talked about this a little bit ago. I just had a sweet little girl and I'm like gentle all day every day, right? Like every time I rock her, you know a good 45 minutes getting that strong bicep burn. You know, you hold your child and man I'm telling you what, biceps burn like crazy, right? And you're just bobbing and weaving all day long like this, right? Trying to get her to sleep right and you're rocking and you're rocking and gentle all day long. And I'm sitting there trying to soothe her to sleep and we're doing all these weird wacko things and like, just get her to stay asleep a little bit and not cry. And it's like three in the morning hits and that gentleness is out the window, right? You're just like, why don't you sleep, you know, like, you're just like you lose it right? And isn't that our attitude like today, it's like we have like limits on that. We're, like gentle, we're gentle, we're gentle. And it's like something happens, the floodgate breaks or like, gloves are off, I'm swinging here we go right, with the rest of the world can I be honest with you? It's the gentleness of grace that this world is trying to see. And here's what I want to say to us as believers, we will accept that gentle grace and our relationship with Jesus all the time, right? Because not one of us here are gonna say like, no, I don't, I'm not gonna rob God of that. I want that grace in my life. And then here we go, and we walk out, and we'll take all the grace, we'll take all of that. And then when we turn, and when it's our turn to extend that grace to somebody that doesn't deserve it. What do we do, right? More times than not, that grace is retracted back to us. And instead we push negativity and our attitude towards them, right? We'll accept that grace, that gentleness from God all day long. And then when we walk out of this place, it's like something where we don't want to reciprocate it from, right?

And Paul's looking at the church and saying, hey, in these remarkably awful times that we have right now, the way they're going to see me is through your gentleness and your grace that you give everybody else. Not through your Facebook posts, not through walking into Target or Walmart just ripping someone a new one, right? It's through the gentle grace that God has given us that we reciprocate that to everybody else. It's God through us, through Paul this morning. He's looking at us, and he's going, Hey, real quick, for a moment. I think you need to check yourself. How much of that gentle grace are you giving versus how much are you receiving this morning? Now, look, there's grace upon grace upon grace, theological, but at some point, that's got to be reciprocated back to this world. Paul knows that. So two things that we're saying this morning. We have to rejoice always in the Lord. We respond with gentleness. And we request with gratitude. Can I just be honest with you? Something that just irks me, right? Since we're being honest, this morning, something that just really gets me in a bad attitude, right? Like one of the kids in a youth and we're like on a mission trip and they're like, hey, give me that. I'm like, what? Right? Like, you're like, you're not gonna ask nicely, right? Like, you're not gonna like, hey, thank you, man. I have that right? Like, and God's looking at us. Look at verse 6. He says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition," listen to this, "with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." 1 Peter, 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." Right? Here's what God's saying through Peter right here. He's looking at the church, and saying, the reason that we can go to God and be thankful with a request is because he's gracious enough, in those times of depression, of hurt, of pain, of suffering of discomfort. He gives us everything that we need.

Church, how many times have you; now look, I know we won't say this to God. I know we won't pray this. But how many times have we thought, like, you know, a guy like, I'm reading my Bible. I'm going to church on Sunday. I'm doing everything I need to, but I feel like this situation, you're putting me in, I just don't deserve that right now. Right? But have you ever thought about that in your own life? Where like, something's come up, and it's completely derailed you? You're like, God, why me? Right? Man, I used to ask my mom this all the time, in the neighborhood, I had a buddy and like I love the Lord. My buddy didn't love the Lord. And like, he'd be getting all these cool new toys. I'm like, Mom, why does that kid get all the cool new toys? And I don't, I love Jesus? I prayed all the time. Like, why don't I get that kind of stuff? I feel like that's us a lot. Again, we won't verbalize that. We won't pray that. But it's almost like we have this arrogant notion that if we can kind of clean ourselves up good enough in the sight of the Lord, then maybe just maybe like we can run from the bad stuff in this world, right? Like we kind of have that that a little bit in our life here. When Paul's looking at us and going, hey, come to God with a grateful attitude. It's something so key for our relationship with God. I don't know about you. Anytime I hear like, requests from God. It kind of brings me back to like my middle school and like high school days. And like youth group, when like your youth pastor, says something like hey, be careful what you wish for, right? Because everybody back then was like scared of the prosperity gospel right, like back then. That's kind of TV evangelists. And like, if you do this, if you do that, God will bless you. And you have all these things. I remember that vividly. Right? Because I remember in middle school, right, like my relationship with God, I would pray at night and be like, hey, Lord, I would really like for you to bring a pretty lady along the way and her to be my girlfriend's, like, I can look cool. All my friends, right? You know, and then it kind of morphed in high school, right? Where it goes, hey, Lord, I really want to go to a good school to get a good job. So, I can make bank and drive a Land Rover, right, you know? And that's not what Paul's saying here. Right? Paul's talking about some deep, intimate issues and things that are going on in our life that God actually cares to deal with about you. That's the God that we serve. That's the God that looking at Paul and going, hey, the reason you're praising him, is because I'm working through you. He's saying, literally, to us, when you come to me request with gratitude, request a gratitude kit, that word gratitude grabbed me this week. And can I be honest with you? A lot of us aren't grateful. Can I just be real? Paul talks about this in chapter 4, if you ever get there, because we aren't content with our life. Like just being honest, right? A lot of negativity, a lot of just attitude that we have towards everything is because deep down, just being real, we aren't content with what God's got for us. Just being honest. In Philippians chapter 4, Paul literally looks at everybody and goes, I've found the secret and being content. Like, wouldn't that perk you up a little bit like, oh, man, I should listen a little bit. He's like, when I'm not strong, God is for me. When I'm weak, when I'm in over my head, when it's way too much for me to bear, I don't have to bear it. For a lot of us, in here, we're really trying to bear that pain, that suffering, that hurt, that the problem, the situation that we're in, and Paul's looking at us and saying you don't have to bear that. Which leads me to my next point. For today, we need to rest in the one who guards our heart and can be honest, again? There's a lot of us in here that are really restless, you know, because we're not content, right? A lot of us, when we have a little negative attitude or something comes up and man, we're just downcast our spirit. It's because we're not resting in the Lord. It's because we can't find it. Look at what he says right here in verse 7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts, and your minds, in Christ Jesus." I love that verbiage, which transcends all understanding, can I tell you some church, when we walk into a hectic and crazy and broken world, and we walk in it with the peace of God, it stops everybody in their tracks and go, wait a minute, why aren't you responding the way we are. That's what this world is looking for right now. Our worlds in a crazy, hectic position, something that we've never seen before. And yet, we have the peace and the remedy of God and we choose to act like the rest of the world.

John MacArthur says it like this he puts a little bit more eloquently than I could. He says this, "The real challenge of the Christian life is not to eliminate every unpleasant circumstance," but that would be nice, wouldn't it right? "It is to trust in the good purpose of our infinite holy, sovereign, powerful God in every difficulty. Those who honor Him by trusting Him will experience a blessing of his perfect peace." Right now, in our current position, our job is to honor Him by trusting that God is going to work through everything. Like a lot of times when we're restless, is because we look at a dire situation and say it's too much and we wouldn't say it, but it's even to the point of like, it's too much for God to handle. And like He said, He's like, hey, trust Me, the God of the universe that knows what's happening tomorrow, knows what's happening down the road and in the past, in the present and in the future. Trust me that I've got a plan for this. The reason that we can have rest is knowing that fact. The reason that we can walk through this life and look crazy to everybody else, is because we have a peace that transcends all understanding. Because it's not based off our circumstances. It's based off of who God is. And some of us in here this morning, have kind of forgotten that. We get lost. I mean, look, it's easy, right? In life, it’s like one thing, the next thing after the next thing, after the next thing hits and piles, it's almost like you're trying to speed to catch up. And like we get to this place in our life, where we forget who's over all of it. And like, I get kids that ask me this all the time, like, in this crazy time, where's God? Where is He? He's right in the middle of everything. He's sovereign over it all. He can take the really bad, and turn it into good for His glory, and for His honor for His purpose. And some of us in here today, have just forgotten about that. Like we're walking through this life with this attitude. Because, honestly, we've put ourselves up on the pedestal and not God. That's where we're at. That's where we've been. And maybe today, God's asking you to pluck yourself off and put Him back in His rightful position where He belongs. Some of us have relied upon ourselves for way too long and our attitudes are reflecting it. That's where a lot of this hostility and its negative attitudes coming from is because we just can't handle it anymore. And can I just be honest with you, a little bit of that has been me too. Like, I'm gonna put myself in that category. Because man this year has been wild, beyond all circumstances. And it's been hard for me to walk into a notion to go man, God, I'm gonna stay positive. And walking into 2020 knowing God, I don't know what we're walking into? The Father you do puts it in a completely different perspective, when we hang our hats and our hopes of who God is, versus our hats, and our hopes, of who everybody else, is a completely different story. So for today, there's like four takeaways that I've given you. They all start with an R. And I love this. Walking in, how can we walk forward? How can we move? How can we go? First thing we've got to do is rejoice in our salvation. Church, can I ask you when was the last time you just rejoiced because you've been saved by Jesus? Do you know where that joy comes from? It's knowing that you don't deserve it, like we talked about earlier. When's the last time? We sing in here all the time, we're talking about rejoicing and praising God. You want to know what my hope today is and for this last song? It's that for some of you, for a long time, have just like, been kind of crass to the fact that we're saved, right? Like some of us just need to praise and honor God for the fact that we have salvation. And so often, we take that for granted. Right? Then we walk in here every Sunday, just like, yep, we're saved. And it should blow our mind how good God is and how much he loves us. So, we rejoice in our salvation. And based off of that we respond with a life that consists of gratitude. How can we be grateful for everything that we possibly do? We find contentment in who God is with us. Man, we talked about this earlier, a lot of us in here aren't content. Because we're not content with what God has for our life. Some of us are angry or upset, feeling fearful over it and God's saying, I need you to be content with where I've got you.

And that's exactly where I want you. So, we rejoice and respond with greatness. And in those times, when there's hurt when there's trouble when it's too much, we request from God with a grateful heart. Man, I cannot express this enough of going to God, and over abundantly thanking him for working in our life. I think we need a reminder to that. And when that happens, we can rest and the satisfying piece of who God is for our life. This morning, church, that's my prayer. That's my prayer, walking into 2021, as my prayer walking into next week, is that for some of you? You've never ever found rest in who God is for your life. Can I ask you to do something? I'm gonna throw up a screen up here. It's called our next steps. And it's one of my favorite things to do every Monday morning. So, I get an email of people that text in on these next steps and what this does is for maybe for you here this morning that don't know anything about the Lord or man, you're just struggling. You don't know who Jesus is. If you just text that number, one of the pastors will get with you. It warms my heart every Monday or Tuesday to see people respond to who God is, and to give them a call and to hear what God is doing. Right? And we don't take it for granted because here's the thing, we just had a baptism in a pandemic. We want to praise and honor and worship God for that. A still life change. So, I don't know where you're at today. I don't know where you fit in all this category. But I do know that God wants us to respond. For some of you that needs to be response of salvation, of giving your life to Jesus. And for a lot of us in here, our response needs to be doing this next song to praise and to honor and to worship God like we never have before. And just to confess to him this morning, that it's overdue.

Will you pray with me? Father, we thank you this morning for your word. God, we thank you for the hope that you give us that even though we don't necessarily know what tomorrow holds, or the day after that, or even next year, but you do. God, I pray for this congregation as we walk into that; that the peace of God will bring a calmness over life in a hectic world right now. Father allow this church to be the church outside of these four walls when we walk out here. When chaos is going around us. Father let us be the peace that you have for us. For this week, for anybody in here that's just hurting that their world is falling apart around them. Father when they have no hope that they put their trust in you this week? Father, we want to give you all the honor, and we want to give you all the glory that you deserve here today. In your name, we pray amen.