Unprecedented Praise | Scott Brooks | 3/22/2020
Sermon Transcript 3/22/2020
Hey, Freshwater. We’re into the second Sunday here with coronavirus. And so as a staff, we’re thinking, what do we do? Do we go back to Ezekiel? It’s not going to work. So we’re going to kind of go forward with this word “unprecedented,” and just kind of talk about different ways, different things that are unprecedented in our time, and what our response should be in the middle of something like this.
So it’s unprecedented. You’re sitting at home watching this thing with your family, and it’s just different. Church at home, second week of this. What I want to talk about is, what does the Bible say in moments like this? We talk about this as a church family, as Christians, that we go to the Word when it is times like this, to see what God says to us.
I want to tell a story of someone in the Word, in the Bible. There’s all kinds
of stories of events that were just unprecedented and how they handled them. One of the stories I want to look at today is the story of David. It starts, actually, with Saul. Saul is the very first king of Israel, and he just doesn’t do a good job at it. He just could not follow God in the middle of this thing. Just got derailed all the time. God, after years and years and years of this, is finally like, “I’m done,” and says, “That’s it.”
Unbeknownst to Saul, sends Samuel, the prophet, to go and anoint a new king. Samuel shows up at this guy, Jesse’s, house. Jesse has a lot of sons. Samuel says, “Bring
all your sons together. Let’s line them up. I’m going to pray over one. I’m going to
Doesn’t tell them what he is doing. It is kind of God and Samuel doing this thing
covertly. Samuel is like, “Is this the one?”
“Is this the one?”
Goes through seven sons, and it’s not the one. Samuel looks over at Jesse and goes, like, “Dude, you got another son?”
Jesse is like, “Yeah.”
Samuel says, “Go get him.”
Doesn’t let anybody sit down, “We’ll wait.”
Awkward moment. Runs out to the field to get David, who is watching the sheep.
David comes back, and Samuel says, “Is this the one, God?”
God says, “Yes.”
So he blesses him, anoints him. In that moment, David, really, is chosen and the mantle of the kingdom falls to David. The Scripture says the Holy Spirit came on David in that moment. Then what starts to happen is really cool. David gets pulled into the court with Saul. You have this story of David and Goliath.
Saul is sitting there as king, and he is the biggest one in the kingdom, the tallest one in the kingdom. He is the king of the kingdom, and he won’t go fight Goliath, neither will the army. David marches past all of them, indignant, irate that somebody like this Philistine will insult the God of Israel. So he goes out there, and as the story goes, he kills him.
Everybody loves David. Hero, yay. Saul, not so much. David, actually, because he kills Goliath, wins the hand of Michal, Saul’s daughter. So he and Michal become a thing, get married. Then, as the passages go on, David also becomes best friends with Jonathan, Saul’s son. David is hanging out with the royals, like, he’s in. This is great. When you talk about a great plan, this is an unbelievable plan. God is just working this whole thing out.
Then the problem is, Saul started to get jealous. Started to get jealous because everybody is praising David, and David is doing all kinds of things that are so exciting. Whatever, right? Then, pretty soon, as you read through 1 Samuel, you get to later chapters, Chapter 18, and all of a sudden, Saul starts to realize God’s with David. He does the math, because everything seems to go David’s way and not Saul’s way. That’s at least the way Saul defined it, his way, right?
What’s interesting is it changes, because he knows that God is with David. And it says that Saul now wasn’t just jealous, he was afraid of David, because he knew God was with him. That’s where it went really bad. Like, the plans just started falling apart at that point. Saul tries to kill him with his own spear. He sends a bounty out on David’s head. There are multiple plots after plots of Saul trying to kill David.
Basically, amasses the army and sends them to find David. Jonathan, Saul’s son, is the one who says, “David, you’ve got to get out of here.” He says, “My dad is going to kill you.”
David flees the country by himself, ends up in enemy territory, almost gets discovered. Actually gets found out. They realize David is there in this city, so David has to act insane to escape being killed. He’s acting — he really is acting insane, drooling and just going crazy. Ends up, the king is like, “Get him out of here,” so David crawls into a cave.
The cave is just what it is, nothing fancy. And as you look back on this, and you think about plans, as stories go of shredded, messed up, torn-up plans, this is probably one of the best ones ever. Anointed by God to be king of Israel and, now, this anointed king of Israel is in a cave.
I want you to think about something. When 2019 ended and 2020 began, what were your resolutions? What were your plans? Like, think about what you thought 2020 would be and all the plans that you had.
Spring break plans? Maybe eighth graders who are watching, you were going to go to D.C. this year. How about seniors? You’re just checking off every last thing, “I am out of here. That’s my plan,” right?
Even all the cool things and the fun things of your senior year towards the end, gone. College students, some of you are close to graduation, and now what does that look like? You’re home. You’re home with Mom and Dad, like, ah.
Other plans, parents’ plans, like, kids were supposed to be in school, not this. Now how do I adjust to this? Great, kids are home, but what do I do? How do we adjust? There’s all kinds of plans. We all are sitting here, and trust me, I didn’t have any plans — there was no plans to have me be speaking like this to a camera. It wasn’t even on my radar at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020. All our plans are destroyed.
Some of this is scary. Some of this is really scary, when you start to see where unemployment is going on. When you start to see what’s happening with health and the coronavirus and how it’s spreading. It’s not easy.
What I want to do is pick up the story where David is in the cave. I’ll invite you to turn to Psalm 57. Psalm 57. I want to ask the question, what do we do when we’re in the cave? When it’s just — everything is in pieces around us, and we’re trying to figure out what’s next? This is what David wrote when he was in the cave.
Says in Psalm 57 — we’ll just read the first three verses. It says, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of your wings I’ll take refuge until the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me. He will put to shame him who tramples on me.”
Then it’s this Hebrew word, Selah; rest, pause, stop, consider what I’ve just written.
These first three verses are raw, right? Just totally raw. God, be merciful.
God, I need you. God, shelter me in the storm. It’s this crying out. And when you think about a cave, it’s only Him. I mean, there’s no plan, right? There’s no, oh, he’s got a store of food there. He’s got light there. He doesn’t have anything. It’s rocks and him, damp cave.
And what he does is he just pours out in the beginning and says, “O God, O God.”
I don’t know whether it’s that moaning, like, “O God, be merciful. O God, be merciful. I take refuge in you.”
I think there’s something to when we’re in the cave, and when the plans are shredded, there is something about just being able to come to God and say, “O Lord. O Lord, I need you. In the shadow of your wings, I’ll take refuge.”
Our family, we’ve raised chicks from eggs. We’ve bought little chicks. I don’t know what teaches a chick to run for shelter when they’re threatened, but they just do. Even without a mom. Like, we’ll buy chicks, you know, from the store or whatever, and I’ll just walk into the room, and they all go to one side. They run. They’re looking for shelter. The mother is that shelter. When you see chicks with a hen, they run right to the hen. It’s just instinctual.
There’s something inside of us, when we have no plan, when it’s torn to pieces,
the only thing we do is, “O God.” It’s, “O God.” It’s like our soul cry, “O God.”
It’s really simple. Turn to Him. Turn to Him. Simple words, save me, right?
Protect me. Fulfill your purpose for me. That’s the plan. When you’re in the cave, what kind of plan do you get? Well, that’s the plan. That’s where it starts, that soul cry.
As the Psalm goes on, he moves on past that moment of stopping, that Selah, that rest. He says this, “God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness. My soul is in the midst of lions. I lie down amid fiery beasts. The children of man whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth. They set a net for my steps. My soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah. Stop.”
I think part of the plan in the cave is just being transparent. He just — he lays it out there, the attacks, the fear, the betrayal. Everything that was attacking his soul, he didn’t hold back. He didn’t whitewash it, like, “Oh, if you’re a really good follower of God, you downplay how bad it is. It isn’t that bad. It isn’t that bad. It could be worse.”
No, it’s a bad day. This is like a really bad day. Unprecedented. Like, everything shredded. And there’s nothing about that that lacks faith, that is wrong. There’s something in this that is part of the plan. If we can’t be transparent with God, what are we doing?
And I think part of this is he’s still tethered to God. There isn’t this rage against God. Even in the middle of it, he just says this, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth. You and me, I’m all about you. I’m all about you, but this is what’s going on. It’s so hard.”
I think part of just being in a place like this that’s so unprecedented is being able to just tell God, “God, this is what’s going on.”
We’ve had some people already who have lost their jobs at our church. You know, we’re calling people and just checking in. I hear stories of how the church is calling people, but this is hard. This is tough. And part of this whole moment right now, as it stretches out here in the weeks to come, is just being honest with God and saying, “God, this is so hard. This is so hard.”
There’s nothing wrong with that. Yet we do it tethered to Him, tied to Him.
The final movement of the Psalms is these last verses, 7 to 11. He says, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody. Awake, my glory. Awake, O harp and lyre. I will awake the dawn. I’ll give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples. I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth.”
Did you think that’s the way the Psalm was going to end? David, by himself, alone, this is hard. Like, you think we have it hard. This is hard. Like, this is hard. That’s really hard, when you’re Israel’s most wanted, on the run. What does he do?
He praises. Like, it’s unprecedented praise. Just when you think he might turn his back on God, go silent on God, whatever on God, he actually stops and he praises God. He praises Him.
Folks, 2020, how it started, that’s gone. We’re in a whole new season. Our whole world is in a whole new season. It’s unprecedented. But I think, maybe, the first plan that we could put in place in these days ahead is this, praise Him. Just praise Him.
Praise the Lord.
He says this, he’s like, “I will awake the dawn.” He says, “Awake my glory.” He’s like, “What can I give God? It’s got to wake up. I’ve got to get him something, right? I’ve got to give Him glory. Awake, O harp and lyre. I will awake the dawn. Crank it up.”
I mean, you may have teenagers and kids sleeping, so you may not want to wake them up, but crank it up, right? Praise Him. It’s what we were created to do. We were created to praise the Lord, to praise Him. I love how he says this, he says, “Your steadfast love is great to the heavens.”
It’s like, it’s to the moon and back. It’s awesome. It’s to the clouds.
We talk about at our church, and what Christ taught us, is our mission is what, to bring glory to God by connecting to Him, by being connected to Him, by worshipping Him, by
loving Him. That is our mission, right? Connected to Him, connected to the church, and connected to his mission. This first one, that’s where the plan starts, is with God. Bringing glory to Him, praising Him.
What happens in the middle of our praise is another Psalm earlier talks about that God actually lives in our praises. He
shows up. What starts to happen is His presence comes, and it’s the Lord and us in the cave, together. Our souls get hidden in Him. He pulls us into refuge. And we know we’re going to be okay. It’s Him. He’s right there. He’s in us.
So if you’re wondering what you should do next, praise Him. Praise Him.
That’s — that’s where the plan starts. Praise Him. David was most likely a late teenager/early 20-something at this point when he’s in the cave. Like, he knows what this is at a young age. Some of you guys are going through something, and you’re kind of scratching your heads like, what does this all mean? You can praise Him.
Some of you have been around, and you’ve seen some of these things, and maybe not this exact thing, been through it, but you know
what praise does. Praise Him. Bring other people into it.
Maybe you need to write a Psalm, in
the cave in Wadsworth. I mean, this is the Cave of Adullam. Maybe write a song. Maybe it’s just being authentic and transparent with God, and sending it with, what can I praise Him with? How can I praise Him? I’m telling you, it is the best plan ever. It’s where all plans start, when everything is shredded. What do you do first when you have your plans in pieces before you? It’s Him. Praise Him, and He shows up.
Let me just pray this over you as you’re there. O Lord, would you come, and
would you show up in each of these homes, and would you bring refuge and would you bring love, that steadfast love. Would you bring encouragement. And hold your people, Jesus. Hold your people. Amen.
God bless you all.
Unprecedented | Scott Brooks | 3/15/2020
Sermon Transcript 3/15/2020
Hey, Freshwater. I never imagined I'd be doing one of these kind of things for a Sunday morning service. What an unbelievable week we've had, from even last week. This thing with the coronavirus has escalated beyond, I think, what any of us really expected. So, you know, it's so funny. I was out to eat last night at Wayback Burger, and I came to my car and I had a ticket. I got a ticket in the parking lot at Wayback. I'm like, what is that? I went over to my windshield and pulled it off. As you can see, it's a ticket. It says this, "For cancelling church." My fine, I have to do 50,000 prayers. That's my ticket. It's by one of the kids in our church. Totally busting us for cancelling church. It was so funny to read that.
I think what we're looking at is something that's unprecedented. What do you
do, when you are in moments like this? I think a lot of us, over the years, if you lived, you know, back in the day, very few of us maybe grew up in World War II, right? You had thatevent, and that was this -- it was a cultural, national experience, right? It changed everything. It was a generational event that formed and framed and directed a whole culture a different direction. And the more recent we get, I would imagine, more of us could talk about, "Yeah, I lived through that."
The Korean War for some of you, Vietnam War, assassination of President Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Cold War. We had the Iraq War, right? The first one in the '90s. We had 9/11. We had ISIS, even more recently. We had the recession of '08.
Each one of these were generational events that changed the course of our nation.
Whatever you believe or don't believe about this, whatever you like or don't like, or don't agree with or agree with, what we're looking at is a generational event. There's no two ways about it. It is totally affecting our culture. It'll be something we talk about in 50 years. "I remember back when."
It's huge, right? We're seeing professional sports shut down. Planes flying from countries shut down. March Madness is canceled. College students don't go to classes, right? All kinds of things. We have our governor now restricting public gatherings. It is unprecedented. I think a lot of us would probably agree, as generational events go like this, this isn't -- we really could be thankful to God that this isn't war. This isn't famine. I think it could be so much more evil and destructive.
Yet, it still remains an unprecedented moment in our life and in our generation, and the question is, who are we in the middle of this? What do we do in the middle of this? Last week, I talked about, just at the beginning, kind of doing that reset. I want to come back real brief and talk about four things that maybe can help direct us in these days ahead.
The first one is, yes, we are God's child. We're Christians. And He is the One we
look to. He is the One we hold on to. Psalm 121 says this, it says, "I lift my eyes up to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth. He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slummer. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slummer nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper. The Lord is the shade at your right hand. The sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil, and He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
What we do, who we are, starts with God. It's such an amazing, centering promise. That He says, "Look, I got you. I have you. I'm not going to let you slip and fall." I know out of last week, I said, "Hey, we shouldn't fear. Christians don't fear," but, man, it's hard. You get on the news, and you hear crisis and panic get whipped up. It's hard not to struggle with fear and anxiety. I don't want anybody to feel guilty, like, "Oh, man, I can't believe I'm doing this," or think they're less than.
It's a real thing, right? This is big. I think what God would have us do is even if that fear is coming back, and it's just a constant struggle, is to go to Him. Lift your eyes off of what's going on in front of us. Look to Him. If some of you -- some of us maybe slip more into the cynicism, the impatience, the scorn, and that can kind of rub off because of how you're looking at all this. Maybe you're getting a bit jaded on this thing. I want to invite you to look to Him. Put your eyes on Him. Walk with Him. Let Him hold you through this.
Isaiah talks about how the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercy never comes to an end. It's new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. God has this steadfast love. He wants to hold us steady. He promises to, especially in times like this, and it is new every morning. not just for yesterday. It is going to tomorrow, exactly what we need.
It's be new this? So I would encourage us, as Freshwater, who are we in the middle of We are people who look to God. We lift our eyes off of where we are, and we look to Him.
He's the Sabbath Lord, right? The One who created it and said, "Hey, I want you to stop and be with me. Set your eyes on me." Maybe today is a day that you just, with who you are, your family, you take a moment and just look to Him.
The second thing, you know, who are we in the middle of this, when you have something that's so unprecedented? We're called to be these people that are sober-minded, wise. Not with a spirit of fear, but He's given us this ability to look with wisdom and logic, sobriety at what's going on around us.
So as I mentioned in our letter, the goal in front of us -- if you want to look
at this through that lens, of being sober-minded and wise, the goal in front of us is very clear: To join our nation, to love our neighbor, and help flatten the curve of infections, so that our health system can handle the infections as they roll out over a longer season of time, rather than just all at once. It is for a season. Just be sober-minded about it and go, "Okay, it's for a season."
I remember how bad it was after 9/11. The country shut down, and there was this sense, like, are we ever going to get back to normal? By God's grace, we eventually did. I think that's part of this. It's just to keep the sobriety going of it's for a season. It's not easy. It's a storm. I get all that. But let's be wise in this, and let's join in on this, that path of wisdom.
I know the CDC and the WHO have put out all kinds of precautions. How do we stay clean and don't have, you know -- get the infections or whatever? I'm not going to go into all those because it's out there. I would encourage you just to look at those. That's what wisdom is. Take the steps you need to to be wise. Not only just to protect yourself but to protect those who you love.
A third thing, in this time, so let's say it's, you know, three weeks. That's kind of what our governor has put out there. There's no assurance it'll end in three weeks, but it seems like that's the goal at this point. So who are we in this season of limbo, where we don't know all that's happening, and
the verdict happen with is still out on what's going to all this?
Let me ask you a question, do you to grow in your connection with and have a plan God? With the services canceled, and all the relational ministries that we have going on here canceled over these next few weeks, do you have a plan? This isn't a time for us to just take a break from our connection to God. It's going to be a brief season of quiet. I mean, think about it. No sports, no events, school is shut down, most everything is shut down. Our nation is -- has kind of cleared the deck, as it were, of activities. Our governor is telling us to stay home.
You know, it's kind of funny. I was thinking, we always talk about how busy we are, how busy we are. Now, everything is cleared. What are we going to do with this time? And as soon as I say that, I know we've got people that are, like, "Scott, you have no idea. I've got my kids home now. I'm more busy than ever. I still have to work, and I have them. What do I do?"
I realize that, too. So my question is, what does it look like for us to go forward and not lose traction in our walk with God and our connection to Him, but actually to go forward spiritually? So on the other side of this, when we come out, we're actually healthy spiritually. Like, this is called, like, self-leadership. What are the steps that you're going to take to make sure that you're doing well spirituality? I'd encourage you to think through those things, and maybe even talk about it.
Talk about it with your family, "What are we going to do? How are we going to move forward? How are we going to make sure we're still staying connected with God?"
My last thought for this morning is that, man, when crisis like this comes, we have to think beyond ourselves. Christ would have us look around and see who is in need. Matthew 25, he tells this famous story of the sheep and the goats, and how people are separated into the sheep and the goats. The goats -- everybody on both sides, either sheep or goats, encounters people that are sick, encounters people that don't have homes, encounter people that have needs, whatever the course may be, wounded, I don't know.
The goats were the people that completely missed it all. Didn't know. The sheep were the people that actually saw the people and moved towards them. Jesus said, "In as much as you have done for the least of these, you've done for me." So what does it look like for you and I to notice who is around? To actually start to look and to think through, "Well, wait a minute. We do have parents that are going to have kids home from school and, yet, the parents work. That's got to be difficult.
What can I do? How can I help?"
In as much as you do it for the least of these, you do it for Christ. We have older people in our church who are basically on lockdown to stay healthy. Some of them don't even know how to get on the internet to listen to this message. What are we going to do? Are there people you know that would say, "Yeah, they can't get out. They're in that range, 65, 70, and up, that can't be outside. How can I take care of them?"
You might have some people that get laid off. Our church might have people that
get laid off and take that financial hit. That's huge. Like, that's not easy at all. What does it look like? Acts talks about how the church rallied around those who were getting hit financially and helping them out. There's going to be people we know that are consumed with fear. Maybe part of Freshwater family, maybe not. What does it look like to just sit and listen and care?
I think the important thing is that, as we go through this, we're listening to
the Holy Spirit and saying, "Send me." Who is out there that they need a touch from you, they need your love, they need care? Is it somebody maybe in your community group? Someone that you sit with in your hood? I don't know. Someone you're in a Bible study with?
You know, we talk a lot about who God is calling us towards and sending us to that don't even believe in Him. What does it look like to bring the Gospel into this? And please don't -- I mean, unless God really makes this clear, don't -- just don't start the conversation with, "If you contracted the coronavirus and died, would you go to heaven?" Maybe start softer than that. Maybe pursue their heart. How are they doing? How are they doing emotionally, physically, job-wise? Care for them. Listen to the Spirit and what's the Spirit saying. How do you bring Jesus in? He is the cure, right? I mean, we're looking for the cure. We're looking for the anecdote. He is the cure. That could be far more effective.
People are looking for a cure from anxiety, from fear, from suffering, from sickness. Christ could be that cure. And this could be -- you want to talk about an unprecedented moment, this could be a moment of unprecedented openness for people to Christ.
Some of you, I don't know if -- if you're watching this video and you've made it
all the way through but you're not sure what you believe about God, I mean, good for you, you made it through. But Christ wants to give you something that you don't have. It's amazing comfort. It's amazing peace. He gives you something that will put your feet on solid ground, no matter what comes. The storms that come. The winds that blow, of sickness and disease. And even more than that, the things in our life that accrue over time, the sin that piles up, the decisions that we can't seem to ever shake and ever get rid of the guilt.
Christ comes along, and He's the One. He's the only One who can come into our life, through his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, and save us, from the guilt, the judgment, and also from what we're seeing in this culture. You can have that hope. You can experience that cure forever. Be held by Him. He says simply, "Believe in your heart that I am truly God, the Savior of this world." Confess that belief out loud. Tell someone. And I'm coming. I'll save ya. I'll
be there. I'll live within you. Christ can -- as we just close, I want you to think about this. What does it look like, even today, for us to lift our eyes up to Him, the One that will hold us through this entire storm no matter how hard it blows, and hold others? Send us to bring this message and to care for those. That He can be the One to trust in, to hold on to through all of this.
Let's lift our eyes up to Him. He'll take care of us. God bless you all.