The Spirit & The Water

Helicopter Parent

Breath Life

Order Out Of Chaos

A Counter Story

The Spirit & The Water2024-06-19T11:17:17-06:00

Guest Speaker Dr. Jeff Brodsky of JOY International


Please Note: Text is automatically produced. Errors may be present.

we looked for the statue of liberty

I did the first one I’m looking no anyway alex is slowly becoming a very very good friend we meet on a regular basis and as I do with tom and I love it here love the people you have been such an incredible blessing to join international uh more than maybe some of you even know but it’s been incred it’s amazing all that we have been able to accomplish because of the support that we receive from this church not only on a regular monthly basis is a missionary organization for you but beyond that with a new curriculum that we’re developing and the amount that the church here has given we couldn’t have done it without you so and I’m going to I’ll share that with you in a bit so I want to get rolling with this because this is this is only the second time that I’ve ever done this message I spent a lot of hours literally more than 100 hours trying to put together a new message based on the 12 years that I’ve lived barefoot which I’m going to share with you in a bit but anyway these are two of my granddaughters it’s leah and emma and the reason I have this up there is because wait I need to take a I need to take a look and look okay he’s just so young he wouldn’t it wouldn’t

okay there’s no children in here

where okay that changes things all right um I’m very cautious when I’m speaking if there’s even one child in the room it’ll change the way I share uh so even with one I’m very very sensitive to the things that I speak and I will not compromise when it comes to that so as adults you will have to read between the lines of what I’m saying to have a clear understanding of what I’m talking about joy internationals devoted to the rescue restoration reintegration and prevention of children teens young women and even boys and men that are trafficked and sold into a certain trade I don’t think I have to paint a picture for what that means when they are sold into brothels and places like that so and when I say joy international I started it just a few years ago 1981 we are now in our 41st year I I know it I know I don’t look near even you probably think I started it from birth but so why do I do this work why would I devote my life to rescuing these children teens and by the way when I say children for many many years I have I went deep undercover this was before I was barefoot I went deep undercover in india thailand cambodia belize um

so many you’ll see the number of countries I’ve personally been to 77 countries I travel quite a bit and when I say that we rescue children from brothels I have personally been in brothels where there were children as young as four years old there is no worse crime perpetrated against a child since the dawn of creation nobody can convince me of it I could share stories with you that would you would not believe some of the things the depth of depravity that goes on in our world today knows no bounds you cannot imagine things that I can’t even share publicly even if there wasn’t a child in here because of how how heinous and how nefarious some of these things are and what they do to these children I am going to share one thing about something that I learned in uganda but I’ll cover it briefly

so I do this work because I was reading the red that’s what I call it this was many years ago I was reading the red I came across this verse the least of these Jesus speak I read in the red is when I read the words of Jesus you know that um but I when I saw that I’m I’m someone that is a nut for finding out the truth um and when I saw that I thought okay wait what do you mean the least of these who’s that why weren’t you more specific and I did a search for years on who the least of these were I went uh to africa children of biafra I was in india uh working uh to look to minister in leper colonies I thought man can’t get any lower than this what happened with their lives and one thing after another until I found human trafficking and what was happening to these children my search ended this is me this is to me God spoke to me that these were the least of these for me I even wrote a book about it titled the least of these which challenges you to search for the least of these in your life Jesus came to set the captives free the spirit of the lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners in recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed and the captives free I have one goal when I rescue these girls most of them stop believing in God years ago they would plead with God to set them free from their bondage and after pleading for maybe days weeks months years they give up all belief in God I believe that God has called me to be a fivefold ministry evangelist who’s going to tell a child in a brothel

having to service 10 to 15 men a day every day seven days a week until they’re no longer desirable and they’re tossed in the street like trash if they haven’t already killed themselves or died from exposure or disease or being beaten to death because they didn’t perform properly

when I see one of these girls rescued

and put into a safe house and come to an understanding that it wasn’t God that did this and you see them have their lives turned around then you see them during a praise and worship service worshiping God with such passion that’s it for me that’s the end result that I look for

boy that would have been good to have on this tom I have a video of dozens and dozens of girls worshiping God all that were rescued that’d be good to have on this this is in the philippines this should not be happening to any child

it’s always about the one there’s 27 million you think that slavery ended in 1865 with the emancipation proclamation

there are more slaves today by the millions than there were back then back then they were in the hundreds of thousands today there’s 27 million three to four hundred thousand in america

excuse me two to three hundred thousand here in our own country

slavery did not end in 1865 it was just made illegal

so my barefoot journey july 19 2010 today’s june 26 2022 that’s 4 360 days now if you calculate it in three weeks that’ll be 12 years when I say totally barefoot yep totally barefoot I haven’t had a shoe or a sock on my feet not not even cheating in my own house when I’m alone I have not had a shoe or sock on my feet in almost 12 years july 19 2010 I was at a garbage dump this garbage dump this was in phnom penh cambodia this circle here is there’s a child up there uh that’s why I circled that they look for fresh food they live in the dunk they live there they’ll actually burrow holes in the bottom and live inside the garbage when the dump trucks come they’ll converge on it maybe they’ll get a half piece eating a chicken or a banana or an apple or something but they live in the dump I was there with a group working with joyce

and we were feeding them a bowl of rice with pieces of chicken in it and I was standing there on the side watching uh probably about a dozen or so of them eating and I noticed they were all barefoot two of them had some old flip-flops on but all the rest were all barefoot well when I went back to my room that night I took off my shoes and socks and

as I was taking them off I felt I was talking to God about my experience that day I talked to him all the time and as I was talking with him I felt that he was impressing on me to live barefoot in solidarity with impoverished and trafficked children and I know when God is speaking to me as you’ll see in a minute and I’m thinking what what you want it was almost like an abraham moment where I thought I was gonna fall on the floor laughing um you want me to do what you want me to live barefoot and I felt that he was impressing on me to live barefoot for one year and I thought how can I do that I live at 9 000 feet elevation in bailey colorado what would I do in the winter I travel extensively I’ve been to 77 countries I was in uganda last week uh not last week about a month and a half ago I was in alaska just two weeks ago I traveled quite a bit I thought what would I do in the winter so I felt God’s showing me that he would take care of me as long as I wasn’t foolish like being in alaska in the winter last year when it was 19 below zero and yes I walked around in 19 below zero weather I’ve learned how to be cautious and when my feet have reached their limit it’s actually worse walking on hot pavement in a place like indio or wherever it may be and the the hot pavements really are painful but no com I do not compromise

well anyway um I come home come out of the airport my wife is waiting by the car and she sees me walking up she said I’m wearing your shoes so I told her what happened she said what do you mean you’re going to live barefoot what are you going to do in the winter I said I’ll get cold feet I said no seriously hon what are you going to do in the winter I said I will seriously get cold feet said what about the snow I said it’ll get even colder in the snow I’ll be yeah so well anyway God gave me the perfect wife she’s out there by my table and uh when it snows she insists on doing this I told her she doesn’t have to but she does she’ll sweep a path to the car she’ll turn on the engine turn on the heater put a towel on the floorboard thank you God for gail um he gave me the perfect wife for me she’s such an incredible blessing well one year of course all my friends family they thought I was out of my mind and

one year passed july 19 2011 this grandpa that looks like santa claus was the happiest man on earth I thought oh my gosh I actually went a full year barefoot I wake up somewhere between 1 30 to 2 30 in the morning every day seven days a week no alarm clock that’s just when this brain just all of a sudden starts acting up well I had I had put a pair of white socks on my ottoman in front of my couch I woke up went to the couch I thought I just wanted to feel those socks on my feet I put my this is what happened you can choose to believe this or not this is what happened I put my left foot on the ottoman I took the sock put it on my toes went to pull it on my foot and it was as if there was a tug of war I could not get the socks past my toes as much as I pulled it was like some force was pulling the other way and I’m thinking what the heck so

so I just cried out I said God what do you want from me I just went for a whole year

and that still small voice spoke to me in a way that only God could these are the words that I heard verbatim he only had to say it once

keep going

those children are still out there

that was enough for me I

waited for my wife my wife woke up that morning and comes out she looks over my shoulder and said oh I thought you would have had your socks on by now what happened so I said well

I told her what I told her what happened and she said what are you going to do she said I said I’m going to keep going she said for how long I said until one of three things happened God speaks to me and tells me it’s time the last child is rescued

or I’m dead I said as long as my going barefoot will motivate even one person a year to action in a way that could help me to rescue even one more child a year he said I’ll go barefoot for the rest of my life and now 12 years later

when people ask me why are you barefoot I tell them just one word I’m barefoot for one word obedience

because I believe on july 19th 2010 God asked me to I’ll say well why would God ask you to do that I don’t know you’d have to ask him I just know what I heard and I had two choices it’s either yes when God asks you to do something you have just two choices yes or no the word maybe should be taken out of the dictionary it’s a non-word maybe is another way of saying no think about it uh would you do this for me well maybe so you’re saying no because if you’re not saying yes and it’s no and even the scriptures tell us let your yes be yes and you know be no you notice there’s no and let your maybe be maybe so it’s either yes or no and I said yes

to obey because people tell me all the time the reason I put this verse up here over the last 12 years you can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard how sacrificial my life is the self-sacrifice and how noble and how altruistic and how wonderful it is what I’m doing tom you think I like being barefoot you think that because I’ve been barefoot for the last 12 years that I’ve embraced the barefoot lifestyle you think because there’s thousands of barefooters all over the world that see me as their guru that I’ve been enjoy and have embraced the barefoot lifestyle I can assure you I have not I

I hate being barefoot I do you can’t imagine that the snide remarks

the dirty looks people talking behind your back

you cannot imagine

try it I dare you I challenge you one day 24 hours you wake up one day no shoes no socks until you wake up the next day no matter what you have to do bank restaurant supermarket I don’t care what you have to do driving all of it I dare you and you’ll see what I’ve experienced for 4 360 days

I do it out of obedience obedience is better than sacrifice I don’t consider what I’m doing sacrificial at all I’m doing it strictly out of obedience to what I believe God has told me to do or ask me to do even when it doesn’t make sense even when it appears to be the act of a fool because the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men I have to believe that God had a reason that he had a purpose for me to live barefoot I didn’t know what it was I thought it was just simply to make people aware of the traffic of human trafficking it’s gone so far beyond that first corinthians 4 10 we are fools for christ’s sake

God asking me to live totally barefoot was pretty foolish of him to do by our standards perhaps it was foolish of me for believing it was God who asked me I believe it was God and that he obviously had a reason beyond my finite understanding so how did I know it was really God

how did I know because for me to say yes to this I had to know that it was God asking me it had to be him or I would be there would be something really I would be emotionally disturbed

which there are some people that would probably know

it begins by listening for his voice

I am so sensitive to the voice of God if you if any of you ever got my first book stepping into adulthood I have a whole story just on that of years ago um when God spoke to me the first time how do you pray you think about this people praying so many different ways they’ll pray standing like this hands raised hands clasped on their knees laying in their bed sitting on their couch walking there’s so many different ways that you can pray now isn’t it interesting that when you pray I see this all the time you pray you petition God you give him all of the desires of your heart like he tells us to do in the scriptures give me the desires of your heart your heart and I will surely give it delight yourself in the lord and I will surely give you the desires of your heart but have you ever noticed people pray they petition God they ask him for so many different things and then at the end of the prayer they say in Jesus name in Jesus name amen at least me I and every brother that way and then immediately they go get a sandwich turn on the television get in their car do whatever they do whatever go to sleep but I wonder how many times we pray and we say in Jesus name amen then we get up and walk away and can you imagine God sitting up there going

didn’t you want an answer hello I was just about to answer you but you walked away it tells us in the scriptures to be still and know that I’m God it tells us to give ear to his voice when I finish praying when I’m alone and I’m praying and I’m petitioning God I then shut up and say okay I’m ready I’m ready I’m ready to hear you and then I’ll just be quiet sometimes five minutes ten minutes sometimes an hour and after a while when I feel that okay there’s nothing he has to say to me then I’ll go forward but you need to practice that learn to be sensitive to the possibility that God may want to talk to you his sheep follow him these are the words of Jesus she follow him because they know his voice God is the same yesterday today and forever does God really talk to people today yes he does it’s the same yesterday today and forever you know when he started talking to people when he created the first one from adam until today God has been speaking to people to his creation when God asks you to do something it’s important to know that it’s him speaking to you especially when he asks you to do something outrageous or in the eyes of man foolish

the foolishness of God remember is wiser than the wisdom of men there had to be no doubt there had to be absolutely no doubt that God was talking to me in order for me to go forward with this

so there was the process of elimination I had three choices just three it was either the enemy talking to me is it possible that satan was talking to me and trying to get me to do something so outrageous why would he do that there would be no reason for him to do that he’s not stupid he knows me he knows I’m going to do something like this I’m going to do it not to glorify and honor him I’m going to do it to glorify and honor God I’m going to do it to fight his evil ways why would he tell me to do something that I’m going to use as a tool to help destroy a stronghold that he has all over the world so it didn’t make sense that it was the enemy so next it would be was it myself well if it was myself saying to do this then I would be a lunatic it would I mean it really would be the act of a fool to say yeah hey I’m going to live barefoot with no purpose no vision why would I do something like that especially when I hate being barefoot so the only other option it had to be God has it been worth it has it been worth these last 12 years of me being barefoot it’s amazing how much has happened since july 19 2010 and the number of people we have been able to reach the number of hundreds of thousands of people who have heard about the plight of children being trafficked and human trafficking and how the resources that we have gained as a result and by the way I never never went barefoot with any thought whatsoever of it being used as a fundraiser it was a small group in a little town of coshocton ohio a group of youth who in my third year of being barefoot after I spoke there the youth pastor contacted me and said dr jeff you really motivated these young people they want to do a fundraiser for you they want to walk a mile barefoot called the barefoot mile I’m getting ahead of myself um is that okay I said well sure they said will you walk with us I said if you get just three thousand dollars in pledges I’ll fly back there well they went ten thousand dollars above that they raised thirteen thousand dollars at the first one the the best barefoot mile so far that’s raised the most was in alaska where they raised two hundred thousand dollars

and that started this

and joy international who have done six police trainings training anti-human trafficking and juvenile protections police throughout cambodia and tactical operations and firearms training as well as our swat team and they’ve also donated to individual cases that we’ve done the use of numbers this isn’t a statistic these are a thousand lives that have been transformed these were a thousand lives that were in some of the most brutal difficult situations and now they have an opportunity to live a life that’s completely different joy international came alongside with us and helped you train they’ve done multiple trainings with the cambodian national police and our swat team that has resulted in a real professionalism that leads to the success but not only that they’ve helped fund the raids themselves and that’s critical for us to be successful one of the biggest

factors conviction and imprisonment of the perpetrators so when I saw that this was what was happening with this

there’s currently been over 3 000 children teens and young women rescued in all of these different countries it’s been incredible when don brewster was talking about the training being critical critical to their success our director director of tactical operations in global police training has now trained all every police officer fighting human the anti-human trafficking juvenile protection police in the country of cambodia one training would cost joy international about fifteen thousand dollars well for several years we did about five a year so you can see the cost and the expense of doing those trainings we now do trainings all over the the world beyond cambodia

I’m going to go through these pretty quick because you can you can actually go to my website my website is very easy to remember we’re joined international just go to joy.org and you’ll see our website it’s pretty extensive with all the things that are on there and I’ll talk about these in detail about the barefoot mile walks the joy shop with things like this bracelet shirts bags and purses so many different items many other braces types of bracelets things like that all everything on the joy shop is made by the girls that have been rescued all of them are made by survivors they’d have to have a job when they come out and they have to have job training uh awareness campaigns where we train I I was just in alaska uh just several weeks ago where we did airport trainings uh and we trained in the airports there becau and all over wherever we’re invited because I don’t if you’re a set of eyes if you push a wheelchair carry luggage if you’re a gate agent if you work in a restaurant a car rental clerk whatever you do in an airport we train you with situational awareness to recognize the situation around you give you an example one man who was one of the managers for united airlines he saw something it immediately took action and as a result a nine or ten year old girl was rescued from the back of a van she was being trafficked right out of the van this is what he told the police I never would have noticed that if it wasn’t for the training I received from joy international all that makes every training that we do worth it for that one girl

I talked about the international police training advocates advocate groups you can have right here they’re teams of groups of volunteers who come alongside our partner restoration homes to strengthen and encourage their work they meet on a monthly basis to pray write notes of encouragement prepare small gifts to bless the staff and survivors christmas sponsorship is pretty self-explanatory but that’s also for survivors workers there’s so much that’s involved with the christmas sponsorship there are churches that get involved with this because it’s an incredible blessing not only to survivors and workers here in america but also overseas in places like uganda and you can again see all of this on our website uh the retreats is something that’s brand new it’s incredible what these tr retreats are doing for uh workers that these are trafficking service providers who are so abused many times the girls will physically abuse them they’ll they’ll spit on them they’ll cuss them they’ll beat them they they’re really some of the girls are really tough so sometimes these gals need training which we do self-defense training for them and then we also now have these retreats to give them a time of rest and impartation from experts in the field this we just started doing last year when I read the response of some of the gals that were ministered to I told our gal on our staff that does this I said I want to see these increased the response from these women were incred was incredible and because they’re the ones that minister to the gals that need the ministering to the survivors I really wanted to see this continue uh emergency relief fund I’m going to show you more about that resources for parents you know these predators one of the places that they that they look for teenage girls church youth groups believe it or not they train teenage boys how to pray p-r-e-y on girls in youth groups so that’s one of the areas that if you go to our website and you see the resources for parents there is a myriad there’s so much available we don’t charge for anything with that all of that is free the children’s curriculum um I’m going to show you more about that in a second the book study is just literally you could put together a small group and do a group discussion uh that has been uh developed for my book the least of these which you can get out there if you’d like um the 6-8 freedom project if it wasn’t for this church and the amount that was given we had to raise somewhere around 80 000 more than half of it was given by south fellowship and you’ll be unquestionably in the credits but besides that I cannot even begin to thank you this is a curriculum a 12-week video and workbook curriculum we were asked to do it by sunlight homeschool curriculum and it starts in september we it’s incredible this 12-week video and workbook curriculum will be teaching young people about it it was really initially based on my children’s book um why are you barefoot and now it’s been turned into this curriculum not only for uh children in elementary but we have an elementary middle and high school division for for these 12 weeks and it’s teaching them how to recognize that modern day slavery is still happening in their world today and what they can do to help fight it by becoming a modern-day abolitionist um it’s so so powerful and we’ve come to realize it’s going to have the potential of reaching anywhere from five to seven million homeschoolers here in america alone so I’ll never be able to thank south enough for what you’ve done in helping us to develop this empowering education I love this part beyond rescues this gal here anna she is now a nurse uh she is one of the gals that we’ve supported the girl next to her she is in this in this photo here she’s uh 15 she’s 15 when she was 12 she was forced to be married she’s a rescued child bride this is a whole new area that joy international has now gotten into with uh rescuing child brides and preventing child rights when she was 13 she had her first child I think her child is now four she wants to be a midwife she’s now going to school for that her sister here who fortunately is younger one year younger than her fortunately was not forced into a child marriage but she wants to be a nurse and then of course all these there’s uh 32 children here these are all girls I know that some of them may look like boys because their hair is so short but these are all girls except for the guy in the middle that looks like santa claus this gal I love her

she made this I told her her name is anna too and I told her uh that the first time I speak after coming back from africa I would wear this shirt so this is the first time that I’m wearing it in the public but uh we’re going to have a whole mess of her things on the uh website not just things like shirts but she does shirts and dresses and handbags and purses and backpacks all like this all beautifully uh colored

that says kampala international university and you can’t see it here it’s 2022 from april and there’s a young girl her name is christine this says five and a half years it’s a five and a half year uh five and a half years with 11 semesters for a young woman who was accepted into this program it doesn’t I I can’t you can’t well here it says bachelor of medicine and uh or and then for surgery she’s going to be the first female surgeon in the entire district uh in uganda where she is her name is christine five and a half years all those semesters the total not per semester the total for all those semesters is eighteen thousand dollars for her to go to uh medical school um which by the way I am in the middle of raising that I’m actually looking for female surgeons that might want to take this on as a project but we do accept funds from men

and you don’t have to be a surgeon

I’m so excited I told her that I will come back for her graduation ceremony so now uganda now this was in uganda our recent team learned something that’s happening with children who are trafficked and severely abused by witch doctors which doctors are very real and they are probably one of the most evil people that I’ve ever met anywhere in the world who kidnapped children while they walked 11 miles every day the water system in kosese uganda went down from floods and as a result the children had to walk 11 miles five and a half miles there five and a half miles back there these were empty back they were full when one this size was full it would be 40 pounds well what we learned

when I say the depths of depravity have no bounds I’m not kidding I’m going to share something it’s very rough to hear I’ll be cautious with the way I share it because of the child that’s here but you’ll understand what I’m saying when I say it what we learned was on the path while these children were getting the water they would leave at 5 30 in the morning and not get back until after sometime afternoon they did this every day seven days a week because of the water system being down they needed the water for their homes their homes would just be a hut

they had to carry up to 40 pounds of water over 5 miles

you’ll notice they’re all they’re barefoot

the witch doctors would hire young men

they would wait for the children to go on the path they would kidnap both boys and girls

the boys they would cut off a certain body part and put that body part in a jar and sell it to businessmen who thought that if they had that body part in their homes it would give them prowess in a certain area of their life

or it would give them good fortune in their business the sick thoughts of of men today the girls they would do the same thing they would cut off a certain body part so that they would receive no pleasure and then they would sell them to men in the middle east who would have them as part of their harems or just as slaves for one thing only um when I heard this I said

what if the water project what if it was fixed they said well that would probably it would help a lot I said well how much would it cost they said seventy seven hundred dollars my director of outreach and missions was actually there it’s america right now she’s in cambodia and I contacted my director my executive director gina and I said gina I’m not waiting to do a fundraiser for this I’m not sending out a letter at least not right now I need you to send seventy seven hundred dollars to pastor allison the director of operations for drawing international there immediately immediately I want to see this water project uh fixed done as soon as possible so they did it was fixed we even received a letter from the uh ugandan parliament thanking us because it helped over a thousand families but it also did this by the way when I was there these these photos were taken when I was there uh about six weeks ago

I love this


you see I’m the president of joy international come on that has to give you joy when you see something like that especially when you

especially when you know what they were going through before that was fixed the joy I received from that is indescribable

by the way when I started joy international it was a day that I was reading the red it was 1980 just before I started joy I was reading read john 15 11 Jesus speaking where he said I speak these things to you that my joy would be in you so that your joy would be complete and I found in my life if I put Jesus first other second yourself third that’s the way to experience real joy j-o-y Jesus others you here’s one simple way you can join us in the fight against child trafficking attend a barefoot mile july 23rd coming up next month now dozens of children are safe after they were rescued 82 children across the nation were rescued I remember saying to my wife that gail as long as my being barefoot will motivate even one person a year to action in a way that would help me to rescue even one more child I’ll go barefoot the rest of my life a man accused of trying to sell his four-year-old daughter on craigslist police arrested a total of six people tonight we no longer can sit by and ignore the truth about what’s happening new at five a long time soccer is now in custody tonight an anchorage man is charged with trafficking women around the state

the barefoot mile is growing in a way that I never expected it to on july 19 2010 when I uh

when I first decided to go barefoot in solidarity with uh and trafficked children I had no thought of it being used as a fundraiser it was that small church youth group in gushantin ohio that started it and from there it’s just grown and I remember just standing on the ledge there getting ready to speak and watching the crowd gather and I was fighting back the tears because to see that whole town square begin to fill up with people

taking off their shoes

I cannot tell you what it feels like to know that I’m not alone it’s when we join forces and work together and put our funds together to fight this that’s how we see success awareness is good but awareness without action is apathy if I make you aware of something and you don’t do anything about it what have I accomplished when I speak I speak to hopefully motivate people to action in a way that will help to set another child free by getting involved with the barefoot mile you can literally help set another child free with every step you take thank you

4 360 days equals about 104 650 hours that I’ve been barefoot I’m asking you for just one just one would you join me july 23rd and walk around in clement park around the lake just one uh less than an hour takes about 35-40 minutes I would love to have you as part of that and we still need help with volunteers you can get information at the table

that’s where it is saturday july 23rd clement park

awareness is good but this is my life mantra awareness without action is apathy if I make you aware of something and you choose to do nothing about it what have I accomplished nothing

this to me is the most beautiful sound on earth there’s no greater sound to me there’s no song there’s no music nothing more beautiful to me than this sound children shouldn’t have to cry themselves to sleep at night in pain from their abuse

and that was during one of our missions trips which by the way we’ve had people from here at south young people join us on our missions trips we have them to cambodia now to uganda to belize just to let you know these are my two books why are you barefoot for children the least of these for adults I cannot thank you enough for the privilege of sharing my heart here at south um this is a very special congregation to me very special friends here I consider you all family so thank you so much I’ll be at my table in the back if you have any questions thank you thank you from the depths of my heart for being a part a big part of the ministry of joy international you have helped to set thousands of children free from their bondage

Guest Speaker Dr. Jeff Brodsky of JOY International2024-06-12T14:37:45-06:00

A Prayer for the Church

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well hey good morning south oh it’s so good to be together and worship with you on this holiday weekend don’t you think I think we should thank our worship leaders for bringing us into glory I know I needed worship this morning I don’t know about you but it is so great to be together and we know that on this holiday weekend there may be a few that trickled in that are new with us and so we just want to just offer you a really special warm welcome and we would love to get to know you if you meet us in the back at that welcome center then we can tell you a little bit about who we are we’d love to find out who you are and help you get connected here you might have also noticed that there are still tents up in the lobby and plenty ways to get connected through groups specific support groups new life groups that are launching and

you can feel free to sign up in any of those today and my big announcement is really come back next week because we’ve got some fun things happening uh we are gonna have our fall festival potluck where we’re gonna have a party in the parking lot uh we’re bringing the chicken you guys bring sides or desserts to share and share some of your yummies with us and then we can enjoy one another’s homemade cooking but we also have hired a country line dance instructor and some bouncy houses for those kiddos out there and we want you to come and just party with us and get to know one another together so it’ll be a fun time but we also want to come back because we’re starting a new series next week this fall pastor alex has decided that we are going to study the book of acts so as we have looked at the life of Jesus this is the beginning of

the movement of followers of the resurrection and during this time in this season I think it’s really going to be great for our hearts to be reminded that the movement of followers of the resurrection is still powerful today so come back and and follow along with this series um yeah and then as we transition in between weeks we’re going to have pastor dan come and share from the letter to the ephesians and we want to let you know that if there’s any other information that’s coming out we do you can get our app or you can look at us online and find out more of those details but I want to transition and just pray for dan as he gets ready to share with us after all of his battle rattle this week that’s what he calls it when he studies God’s word and is preparing it to bring to you all so Jesus we thank you so much for dan and thank you for

all the battle rattle that he’s gone through many many many years for south and especially for this week and God I thank you that he has a deep deep heart for this community and this church and I just pray that you would use these words to remind us of who you are who you’ve made us to be and how we can continue to grow in strength and knowledge of who you are in Jesus name we pray amen amen hey thanks yvonne good morning everyone that’s good to hear um you know I’m I’m glad that I can preach today uh you know from ephesians chapter one this is a terrific passage and I’d just like to say those songs that aaron and jen chose were were terrific they’re right along with this passage that we’re going to look at so jan and aaron thank you very much and the whole band thank you for the the part that you played in leading us in

worship I really appreciate that and for those of you who are online uh this is the first sunday of the month even though it’s labor day a holiday but we are going to be taking communion at the end of this um at the end of this message and if you want to run and get whatever you know some elements if you don’t have any grape juice get some coke I don’t know but uh just get ready and and we’ll all take together whether you’re online or whether you’re here but we’re glad I really thank you all for coming out this morning on labor day weekend you know labor day is just one of those holidays that does not excite me um I don’t know about you it’s nice to have a day off I I agree but there’s just something about labor day it’s the end of summer uh you know when I grew up it was on the east coast and on the east coast we actually did start

school the day after labor day you know it’s different here you’ve been going for a month already but uh it was like man when labor day came yeah you we drove home from camp or wherever we had been on labor day and it was just this empty feeling oh no school starting um you know so so I thought okay we’re gonna we’re gonna preach and teach on labor day so let’s find out something about labor day so I got online you know it it started in 1895 I think it was governor uh president grover cleveland uh kind of set the day aside it was a you can imagine labor day so it’s about the laborers the workers in our country um and they were working hard for uh yeah for the rights I mean I I was amazed as I read you know they would work uh 12-hour days now I know for some of the nurses among us 12 hours that’s nothing but you know for the

rest of us 12 hours a day six days a week is a lot of work and then you have one day off sunday if you had that off and the thing that kind of tugged at my heart was that um kids were in the same boat especially children of working-class parents who who were very poor and they had to work as well six days a week 12 hours a day let me kind of jump back in time a little bit eight this picture’s around 1885 1886 or so and a few years after this picture was taken in denver this is downtown denver there was a fellow by the name of george eddy george eddie was a young man in boston and he felt kind of he felt called to to work with his working class kids who yeah worked their fingers to the bone and really their parents couldn’t afford any kind of education for them so he got on a train and he came from boston all the way out here to denver and he

started to educate these kids who work six days a week and guess what it was called it was called sunday school sunday school and on sunday he would have classes for these kids and he came and he started working in the southern part of denver at that point and had about 46 unruly uh kids you know because they didn’t want to go to school but uh their parents really made them because the parents wanted them to have a chance and they had the three r’s reading writing and religion wasn’t quite arithmetic and writing’s not exactly an r but they they kind of pushed into that and what they would do I was amazed they would read the bible they would write the bible and then he would teach the bible so you know reading writing and religion um eventually some of the parents came to this george eddy and said is there anything

for us yeah we work six days a week too and you know we’d like something so he went to the presbyterian that was in denver at that time and he said hey do you mind if I investigate starting a church down here and they said sure so he wrote a letter to his father who was back in new jersey who had been a pastor all his life and his father said yeah I’d be willing to come out there and plant a church so he came out to denver and in about 1890 uh they took the parents of the folks that were in sunday so the kids in sunday school and they started a church and that church became south presbyterian which we eventually became south fellowship out of south presbyterian I just think it’s so cool to realize the roots of what this church is and you know I still see it today I still see in many of you that that hunger to have purpose and to have

meaning and to make a difference in this world that we’re in and we’re going to be looking at ephesians chapter one because in this passage there’s a prayer that paul gives and I think it’s a dynamite prayer I think it’s a prayer that applies to us today it applies to churches all around the world this is not just for the christians in ephesus back 2000 years ago this is for the church generation after generation after generation and it’s a church it’s a prayer for us here at south so um I’d like to just look at this this prayer for the church and and see what we can learn from this today uh let me just read for you ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere I have not stopped thanking God for you I pray for you constantly asking God the glorious father of our lord Jesus Christ to give you

spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance and I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him this is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms now he’s far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything in the world to come God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church and the church is his body it is made fully and complete by Christ who fills all things everywhere with himself and I would just

add that’s the south let’s pray father I thank you for this prayer I thank you for paul I thank you for the for the hearts for the passion that he has for these people in ephesus but lord I believe I believe somehow he saw down through the ages as well I’m not sure that I know you did and I know you saw us here today while paul was writing these words and you inspired paul in his writing so that they apply just as truthfully to us I praise you I thank you and I ask you to make them come alive to us today I would love you God we love you teach us I pray this in Jesus name amen amen you know I just want to start with that first verse that we read ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere I have not stopped thanking God for you now I just want to say that’s a great way to start a

prayer you know being grateful giving thanks and and I wonder maybe let me pull this back a little bit because one of the reasons I wanted to go on this is I would love to challenge us to pray for our church and I wonder how have you prayed for south um oh lord that was a long sermon today dear God I pray that you would help the tech booth they have such a big job how do we pray for south fellowship I I love how paul starts this because of you the amazing faith you have in Jesus Christ and because of your love for all the saints I just can’t stop giving thanks for you um you know many times my context I guess I’d say or the situation which I find myself sometimes dictates how I pray I think of about a month ago I was on vacation and you think oh that’s great you probably had some great prayers on vacation well I’d like to say but I threw my

back out the first day of vacation and so I’m sitting there my prayers were mainly oh God this hurts oh lord could you please heal me uh father and I was just asking it was all about me let me tell you the context of this prayer here’s paul he’s in prison he’s under arrest now he may be in his own rented apartment we aren’t quite sure but if he was in his rental department he had guards at the door chances are he was in a prison cell chained to a guard and here he is he’s not saying hey guys don’t forget me I’m thrilled with what’s going on there but listen I’m in prison remember me no he says I give thanks for you guys I give thanks whenever I think of you and I hope that when we would launch into a prayer for south fellowship I hope that we could see just the gratefulness of what’s here um I love the the things that paul prays for you know and

says this is this is why I’m so grateful one is your strong faith in Jesus the strong faith um you know when I think of that oh we could go into a word study of what faith is you know but basically faith is faith you know it’s uh it’s trust yeah it’s it’s believing that Jesus is who he said he was it’s trust that what he did was enough that’s one of the reasons I love the songs that jen and aaron sang this morning because over and over there was that there was that message there’s nothing I can do to add to this there’s nothing we can do to make the res the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ any better it is so complete I like this statement uh there’s nothing I can do to make God love me more and there’s nothing I can do to make God love me less and I believe these ephesian christians believed that and they lived on that they set their

marker on that um yeah they had a strong faith in Jesus but it wasn’t just a strong faith in Jesus they also then went beyond that they had a love for the people around them they had a love for the saints they had a love for the other folks and and I would say hey in their context of their church and you know let’s face it sometimes we don’t always have choice of who is at our church and and sometimes yeah we would say well I don’t know if I choose that person to really sidle up next to and live a life of faith um you know what it’s okay because God’s love overcomes those things the love that God calls us to is not based upon how I feel about everybody around me it’s based upon the work of Jesus Christ and the difference that he has made in each one of our lives we are a community together I loved last week because it was

just great to see those folks that were up on the panel being interviewed by alex talking about the different ministries that they were reaching out and and you could hear in their voices there was a love and a compassion for the people that they were ministering to um hannah and neal working with refugees and just the yeah the concern that they had um the folks in the food bank cara and aaron and and you know just the words that they said I’m working on presently on an outreach team here for local outreach um and you know I’d love to take credit for this but I can’t it’s the people who are on that team who are sitting there and and every week they’re saying we want to make sure that we’re doing this right we don’t want to enable people we want to empower people we want to love them the way that God loves them and I I love

being part of that team that’s happening right here at south you know I would encourage you I’d encourage you to pray for south that that does not stop but that continues on and on and be grateful for what we have that we’ve we’ve got nuggets of that all over and I know that panel was just a small sampling of what God does in the hearts of many of you people and I love it keep doing it and let’s be grateful and thankful as we approach that but paul doesn’t just give thanks and then stop he also has some requests that he throws out there and and these requests it’s kind of a long passage but it deals with I want to say two types of knowing two types of knowing let me read this for you I pray for you constantly asking God the glorious father our lord Jesus Christ to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in

your knowledge of God I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him now if I were to ask you okay where are the two different types of knowing there I wonder what you’d say um I’ll highlight them for you so you can see them you know might grow in your knowledge of God so that you can understand the confident hope and and also so you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power those two understanding that’s the same greek word that knowledge that’s the same greek word let me kind of go to another translation which kind of gives us some of the kind of dilemma that we

sometimes face this is the translation I’m going to go to is called the new international version I don’t know if you were listening last week to alex he mentioned oh I’m going to I’m going to give you some quotes from the translation that dan uses uh that’s the new living translation which we’ve been looking at now I’m going to go to the translation that alex uses the new international version just so you can see what we sometimes face I keep asking that the God of our lord Jesus Christ the glorious father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he’s called you and when you read that you kind of say oh so I’m supposed to know both yeah but there’s a slight difference and I’m going to get a little

greeky geeky here so let me kind of throw up what the two words are the two words are epignosis and I deny now I don’t even know how to pronounce that second one I I think that’s how you pronounce it I deny but epignosis um is a word that means to know but it means you know there’s full discernment there’s first hand experiential knowing in other words for ebignosis that’s that’s the kind of knowing that happens within a relationship um the intimacy intimacy is part of this epignosis that comes out it’s a deep knowing I deny or adenae is uh you you kind of reflect upon you you you remember you you review so that you can understand you can understand it fully and therefore begin to appreciate so there’s this aspect of appreciation that comes out so let me go with this epignosis which is the first request I keep asking that the

God of our lord Jesus Christ the glorious father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better so that you may know him better I I like that it’s worded that way you know he adds a little bit so that you may know him better I think in the new living that I was using so that your knowledge will grow so he’s recognizing right off the bat they have an element of this yes but he wants it to go deeper and you know what I believe very much each one of you here each one of you here who has a faith in Jesus Christ has a part of this knowledge of this I’ll say intimacy with God but God wants us to go deeper with him um there was a fellow I was reading who kind of took this whole relational aspect of epignosis and said you know in our culture we have two types of relationships basically we have a relationship

that’s a transactional relationship and we have a relationship that is a personal relationship um so let me just illustrate like this if I go into mcdonald’s um and I go up to the counter and the nice little gal says how can I help you and I say to her well this has been a pretty rough day it started bad in the morning and you know um do you have time to listen I I could really use some help processing what’s been happening and she’d look at me and say uh you want a cheeseburger um you know it’s a transactional relationship she’s expecting I’m going to come in there with an order and hand her some money and she’s going to be able to meet that need and we we face that every day but let me tell you what’s sad I think on many churches across our country church is a transactional relationship and we enter this thing we call religion and

we think if I just do this right God’s gonna like me more if I just give a little bit more of my time uh maybe I’ll get some of that peace Jesus talks about our relationship with God is not a transaction and that’s what paul is calling us to he’s calling us to a personal relationship with the God of the universe and frankly that blows me away now if I were to carry this into the the personal relationship level and um and and I take in like if I if I go to carry my wife and I come home from work one day and kerry says boy dan you look pretty tired and I would say here I am and it seems like man right from the very get-go it just started wrong I need to really process would you mind listening here’s ten dollars she would be so offended and you know folks I think God feels the same way I think God feels the same way when when we cheapen the

relationship with him that he wants us to have and we think we can buy our way into his love those songs we sang he loves us he loves us as much as he’s ever going to love us and it’s more love than we know what to do with and regardless of what we do it’s not going to be less um you know one thing I would just share as I’m talking about this because it reminds me of something um and and that is our our church has chosen to go in a direction we’ve been talking about something called spiritual formation and we’ve decided to go into that to try to figure out what forms us more and more spiritually here in the church and pastor yvonne’s been doing a great job trying to take us more and more into that direction of spiritual formation and I know that there are some of us who have had past experience which may have been not the greatest

with that it might have even bordered in an organization that it might have seemed legalistic you know when we got into that if you do this and this and this and if you do this practice you’re going to get these results and I know that we have some people who have been in past denominations where they may have bordered on that and I want you to hear me again I will say that word there’s nothing you can do that will make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do that will make him love you you less when we talk about spiritual formation practices we’re not talking about anything that will change God’s heart toward you but let me tell you I am talking about something that will change my heart toward him and the more time that I can spend in his word it helps me get a little bit more insight into him the more time I can

go out for a walk in nature and just say wow God open my eyes that’s just that’s a practice that opens me to him the more I can fast you know we can go through all kinds of spiritual practices the goal is just what paul is praying I pray that you would have this spirit of wisdom so that so that you can know personally the God of the universe I think of adam and God walking in the garden wow can you imagine that walking with God and talking with him we can do it his spirit’s with us it’s a little bit tougher because we don’t see him but we can do it and that’s what paul’s prayer is and that’s what my prayer would be for us a south fellowship that each and every one of us would take seriously this personal intimate relationship that we’re to have with God almighty we didn’t just pray that he also has another prayer and he says I pray that the eyes of

your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you the riches of his glorious inheritance and his holy people and his incomparably great power for us who believe and when I looked at that the eyes of your heart you know I’m kind of thinking okay the eyes of my heart my heart’s kind of that’s the seat of my emotions so I bet you this knowing has something to do with the emotions coming in there um and when I went and kind of looked in there I realized oops I’m wrong you know today we look at the heart as kind of the the seed of our emotions we have valentine’s day and what do we have red hearts in the ancient greek and hebrew days they didn’t see that the seed of emotions was your stomach you know maybe it had to do what they ate the night before I’m not sure but it was it was their

stomach was the seed of their emotions splunk the heart was the seed of wisdom the heart was the seed of wisdom and here’s a great verse in proverbs proverbs chapter four guard your heart it’s the wellspring of life the wellspring of life the heart was the wellspring of life the heart was basically the place where they believed your perspective on life on living came and and what paul is praying here is I pray that your perspective on life would be enlightened and you could gain some insight into and I’m going to say three things um you know he wants us to know to understand and appreciate so that we can gain some insight into the hope the inheritance and the power that is there so let’s look at those three things in light of this thing how we can get to know it better be you know reflect upon it so that we can appreciate it more so it will

encourage us to move and the first one is that you may know the hope to which he has called you the hope to which he’s called you now this passage in the second part of ephesians chapter one is preceded by the first part of ephesians chapter one which has some tremendous insights into who you and I are into who we are in Jesus Christ our our identity um it’s a it’s a familiar passage but sometimes we don’t take the time to reflect on this like like paul is praying that we would so I want to go through some of these characteristics and I’ll tell you a story that why this is so meaningful to carrie and carrie and me carrie is my wife and carries had two bouts of cancer and the second bout uh wasn’t as severe as the first but the second bout she had to have both chemo and radiation and that radiation was 30 days in a row and we would drive

down to the hospital and and it became carrie’s pattern when she would go in there it was intimidating it was frightening to see this machine and to realize there was a beam that was going right through and burning and so she it didn’t last long it was it was somewhat quick but she kind of made a point to say okay I’m going to reflect on these points every time that beam comes on and I’m going to review them and here’s this list let me just read this passage before while you look at this this list of these things that we are in Christ all praise to God the father of our lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ I don’t even know how to get my arms around that one every spiritual blessing is ours wow even before he made the world God loved

us and chose us in Christ to be holy without fault in his eyes you were loved you were loved long before you ever were you were chosen long before you ever walked this earth you were loved and chosen and and God doesn’t see a fault in you isn’t that wild to think wow God decided in advance number three to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ this is what he did and it gave him great pleasure he welcomed us into a family we are not alone we’re in a family so we praise God for the glorious grace he’s poured out on us who belonged to his dear son he is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his son that’s that word he redeemed us he purchased us he purchased our freedom we are no longer enslaved to what we were enslaved to before but

now we are free and it’s all because of Jesus Christ um and then going on in that verse and he forgave our sins he forgave our sins he wiped clean the whole slate everything that we could not get rid of he got rid of he has showered his kindness on us along with all wisdom and understanding his grace is just all over us this is who we are in Christ because of the work of Jesus on the cross because of the conquering of death and the grave we can now submit our lives into his hands and these things are true of us I skipped down to verse verse 13 now um he’s talking about the the plan of God’s purpose and and how the the jews would be the first to trust in Christ and then the gentiles uh and he says this and you gentiles have heard the truth the good news that God saves you and when you believed in Christ he identified you as his own

by giving you the holy spirit who we promised long ago we’re saved and the holy spirit anchors us in that and the spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised wow now I share that with you so that you go home and read it over and over and over and reflect on it just like paul is praying that we would reflect on it and the reason we reflect on this so that we’d come to a point of really appreciate it and be encouraged and who we are in Jesus and I look at a room full of you who are these characteristics that’s something to thank God for and to walk with him um let’s just kind of take a little bit of a break and I want you to listen to this so okay now that took place a few years ago and granted it’s kind of a little grainy film because there was a hidden camera to catch all this um the interesting thing the interesting thing was

this is a concert violinist this isn’t just your typical busker this guy donned a baseball cap he put on an old sweatshirt and he went down to the train station in washington dc and he put on a concert for 45 minutes and during that time 45 minutes hundreds of people walked by him heads down uh some people listened a little bit stopped through a few coins in his violin case um you see this person this woman who’s just kind of watching him she was the only one who stopped and stood there kind of transfixed and when he was all done 45 minutes she went up to him and you could hear it on the tape she said you know you’re joshua bell aren’t you I heard you a couple months ago when you put on your concert at the library of congress with the washington symphony and I want you to know I paid over 200 bucks for that ticket and here

were hundreds of people walking by who hardly took notice he got 37 and 10 cents in his violin case that day 20 bucks came from her um but I think so often it’s just like the church God is weaving on an amazing symphony an amazing masterpiece in us in his people and sometimes we walk with our heads down because we’re so busy because we’re so concerned about our lives that we fail to look around and see what God is doing in us and through us and who he has made us and he wants us to take notice that’s paul’s prayer stop walking so hurriedly stop and focus and think about these things let me just go through again every spiritual blessing I’m not sure what all that is but you know what that’s where I kind of rest on paul’s prayer I pray for enlightenment and I I think it’s great to meditate on these things to pray for the enlightenment

that God would let you know who you are in Christ um yeah we’re loved and chosen to be holy and guess what realizing that God’s love will never change being holy is not an obligation it’s an opportunity to respond to the love of God and realize if he really loves me then his call of purity on my life is the best thing for me he’s made me for purity it’s not going to be hard I’m adopted into God’s family and many times we might feel lonely in our walk with the lord you are not alone look around you but don’t just look around you look around the world you know we’re hearing all kinds of stories from afghanistan I was amazed to hear and I haven’t really checked this out but I heard that the church in afghanistan is the second rapidly growing church I don’t mean the second largest but the second rapidly growing church in the world isn’t that

something we’re not alone we’re part of his forever family we’re redeemed and forgiven we’re redeemed and forgiven it’s wiped clean it’s time to give up the shame the enemy keeps reminding us of the mistakes of the past the enemy keeps reminding us that there’s obstacles between you and God and guess what there aren’t and it’s time we let those go and come into that walk with Jesus that he made everything possible uh his grace is poured out on us you know yeah when I when I read that I need to take some time to stop and look for it because sometimes I get so preoccupied with what I think is right that I failed to realize the grace that God is pouring out all over and getting his perspective um and we can go on just the fact that his holy spirit is with us uh we have someone to walk with someone to talk with someone who

can counsel us yeah we could go on and I would just encourage you reflect on these things reflect on them so that you can appreciate them stronger and stronger of who you are in Christ and why do I say that well let’s look at the next prayer request that paul has he says that you may know the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people now I’ve read that one kind of fast in the past and remember the one of the last things we had down where is is our inheritance that we have in God this is a little different this is saying the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people wow there’s something amazingly wonderful that God sees in us I don’t know what it is and to tell you the truth I’m not sure he’s getting a great deal but he thinks so maybe just a little bit of background and I’ll just share these verses quick

deuteronomy chapter 4 in deuteronomy chapter 4 you have moses who the the people of israel have just wandered for 40 years they’re at the at the gateway to the promised land and moses is reminding them of all they’ve gone through and he says this to them remember the lord rescue you from the iron smelting furnace of egypt in order to make you his very own people and his special possession which is what you are today and many translations will say instead of a special possession they’ll say his his generous inheritance the people of israel were his inheritance and and you wonder what does that mean what can they give to him well let’s go to the new testament now and let’s go to a letter that peter wrote and let’s read some similar language but it’s written to the church it’s written to us on this side of the cross and he says for

you are a chosen people you are a royal priest you are a holy nation you are God’s very own possession and that’s that word God’s very own inheritance and what does God get from us as a result you can show others the goodness of God for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light each and every one of us when we go through those amazing characteristics of who we are in Christ we get to tell other people about the goodness of God we get to be able to go and I guess another way of putting it is to be his hands and feet in this world people see us do they see the goodness of God in us because that’s what paul is praying that we would begin to appreciate the fact that we are his inheritance to be able to take his goodness to the world and sometimes we do that in words trying to explain things I would think that most of the time

we do that in deeds in goodness in love trying to be the example of Jesus Christ with skin on and that’s what paul is praying here there’s a third prayer request that that paul puts out and uh it’s an it’s an interesting one and I’ll just add it that you may know his incomparably great power for us who believe and I believe the reason paul puts that in there is because when we realize that Jesus wants us to be his hands and feet in this world we can oftentimes get cold hands and feet and we can oftentimes feel inadequate to do the job that God is calling us to do and paul is saying I don’t want you to forget there is an incomparably great power that is enabling you to go out and be my ministers and he goes on to say this power is found in Jesus Christ when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and this power was found with Jesus Christ was raised up into

the heavens and seated at the right hand of God and this power is found when Jesus Christ was given authority over everything everything and this power is fine when found when Jesus Christ is called to be the head of the church that’s us south fellowship Christ is the head it’s a great prayer request a great prayer that paul gives for the church of Jesus Christ and I would ask each and every one of you to pray this I I think back 130 years ago to george eddie getting on that train in boston and I wonder what he felt like I wonder what he felt like four weeks later when he had 40 or 50 rambunctious kids and probably started thinking is this the right thing you were telling me to do I would love to know the names of some of those kids because I’d love to trace their lives but we don’t have any of that but you know what we do have we have us we’re here

and we’re a result of his obedience leaving boston to go out there I wonder what will come from our obedience I wonder what will come from the answers to prayer when we start having prayers like this I wonder what yeah I can just see the day when we’ve got so many volunteers at the food bank the people that run it don’t know what to do you know I don’t know how many of you saw the video from hannah levers that came out this week in which she’s just honestly saying you know guys I don’t know what the future’s going to be but denver is among four destination cities for afghan refugees and we’re going to start having afghan families coming who don’t begin to understand our culture and are going through such trauma of being uprooted I wonder if God would use us some way to minister to families like that I don’t know I

just throw that outbut one of the things I want to encourage is each to believe and to realize what happens here in the church is not incidental it’s not something that’s just happening on a sunday I believe it’s something that’s so crucial to our society and God has planted us here for a purpose I want to just close with a paraphrase and a paraphrase is just another kind of translation except with a lot of interpretation thrown in but this is from eugene peterson he writes all this energy issues from Christ God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven in charge of running the universe everything from galaxies to governments no name no power exempt from his rule and not just for the time being but forever he’s in charge of it all he has the final word on everything listen to this at the center of all this Christ rules the

church the church you see is not peripheral to the world the world is peripheral to the church the church is Christ’s body in which he speaks and acts by which he fills everything with his presence

A Prayer for the Church2024-06-19T11:15:42-06:00

Living Room Liturgy 2020

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good morning south friends welcome to this uh time in between christmas and new year it’s this time this sunday where we just celebrate the fact that we can give some time off to our incredibly hard-working staffer incredibly hard-working volunteers you guys you you rocked through six christmas eve services with all of the details going on with all of the things happening and and we saw people come come back to church for the first time maybe since the the pandemic began saw new people come in and all those different things and so it was just just a time of joy and now we move into this season uh that’s in between christmas and new year that has always just fascinated me I’ve always found it intriguing so it’s this one other time where you still get to wear christmas sweaters and no one will look at you weird if you do

that on the 1st of july people will be angry trust me I’ve tried it so I’m still rocking my bob ross christmas sweater and it’s this season where you maybe lose track of time uh I just found some just wonderful like just thoughts on this on the internet the place where we get everything good just first to 26th of december is is festive it’s this joy it’s this excitement and then you get this weird period 27th december to the 31st of december where you’re confused this guy’s apparently full of cheese and he doesn’t even know what day of the week it is it’s it’s the time between christmas and new year’s and it’s the finding nemo fish it’s like well now what do we do it’s just it just feels a little strange and someone drew a calendar and you’ve got just like everything in between christmas and new year it’s just this blur until new year’s eve that the

dates don’t always make sense the weirdest five days of the year are the five days between christmas day and new year’s eve like what day is it do I have to work is school in session should I pour a drink at 10 a.m is it new years yet like what the what it just is this season where we can feel just the space now I’m always intrigued by how that works for different people so one of the theories I have about christmas is it’s what you might call a force multiplayer uh if the season for you if the year for you has been great then christmas comes along and it makes everything even better if it’s been tough uh then christmas comes along and it magnifies a lot of the toughness now this is a year like unlike any other hopefully and so all of that comes into play but I want you before we jump into some of this teaching we’re going to look at the idea of

space in the bible I’d love you just to use your imagination with me for a second just picture yourself for a second you’re sat on a chair in a room with a blanket over your knees and a drink in your hand now only you can tell me whether that is a good sort of imaginative imaginatory experience or a bad one maybe in your imagination you’re sat in a cozy chair with a warm cup of tea and just resting with a blanket and there’s nobody else around and that for you is like this joy maybe you sat by yourself in a cold apartment you haven’t bothered to turn the heat on and that’s why you have a blanket and the drink is is it’s a hard drink it’s something that you use maybe just to get through the day and that isn’t to criticize either but just depending on our experience our interpretation of that sort of picture it can just be way different maybe you’re a

busy parent that has just managed to get through the christmas season and now the space and you’ve got this imaginary imaginatory moment of being alone you’re like oh thank goodness I’m alone thank goodness the family are now out of town thank goodness everybody’s left I have been climbing out from under a pile of dishes for days and in this moment I’m just like ah nobody bother me to you this experience is just it’s just joyful maybe for some of the rest of us there’s that experience of ah someone invited me over on christmas day but now there’s nothing people are doing family things or they’re taking rest and and now there’s just this season that feels a little bit empty depending on where you’ve been depending on your journey depending on your experience of life this next few days is either a space to just rest or it’s a

space that just feels like there’s something missing in that imaginatory experience are you alone or are you lonely those are two very different very different things and so we wanted to take some time and just imagine or just think through some of the ways that the bible writers talk about the experience of space so we’re going to start with this passage in a book called malachi malachi is the last book of the old testament this group of people israel they have had God speaking to them for years and they’ve followed this sort of broad cycle they’ve done things well and then it’s gone badly because of their behavior and God has sent a prophet to either judah the one nation or israel the other nation and he’s come and the prophets made a difference the people have changed their behavior at least for a while and then malachi is the

last one and this is the last passage of the old testament see I will send the prophet elijah to you before the great and dreadful day of the lord comes he will turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the hearts of the children to their parents or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction and that’s the end if you have a paper copy of the bible in front of you you might look at that page malachi chapter 4 and then there’s just another page that says new testament and that’s when the Jesus story begins there’s this weird space of of 400 years where God doesn’t speak it’s it almost reminds me of that moment if you if you’ve had kids or you remember back to being a child where you were told by your parents you’ve got one more chance and you never quite believe them because they keep saying it and keep saying it and

keep saying it and there’s always another chance until there isn’t and this is this moment in the old testament the prophets have spoken these men have come and said this behavior doesn’t work God is not pleased this will this will go badly for you and then in this moment this is the moment of silence it’s it’s a gap a gap of 400 years where there is no voice of God that sounds quite a scary thing this to them was an entirely negative experience there was this sense of where has God gone in the midst of this it reminds me of uh just a couple of a couple of illustrations uh in the london underground system the subway in london the oldest one in the world you get these signs painted everywhere that say please mind the gap it’s that gap in between the train and the platform it’s a throwback to when they would have actual people

standing there saying to each person that came off gen sir please mind the gap madam please mind the gap and they realized after a while it was far easier to just record the message than to have hundreds of people just repeating this message over and over again but in this situation the gap it’s entirely negative it is a bad thing you if you’ve walked on a platform with kids you’re terrified about them getting into this gap in between train and platform like in this situation the gap is negative second one there’s this this incredibly unique area of the universe that scientists have found that has no stars it’s just a space it’s it’s not a gap it’s a it’s a void it’s empty of everything these two sort of like illustrations they they’re entirely negative right they’re they’re about absence they’re about you don’t want to end up in between these two somethings at the

idea of a cosmic void I actually find creepy and terrifying and again walking on a platform I’m always nervous about this weird gap and and these remind me of this moment in malachi or at the end of malachi at least where suddenly God is silent he’s suddenly not around anymore and if your imagination of being alone in this season when we so talked about sabbath been sat in a chair with nobody about if that was negative for you then maybe it reminds you a little bit of one of these two things maybe it feels like God is absent and space can do that space can make us feel like where where am I and where is God samuel beckett the writer has this story about two men waiting for a character called gutto and the idea is it’s supposed to be an allegory about waiting for garden at one point after sitting and having a conversation one of the two

men looks at the other and he says it’s terrible we sit here and nobody ever comes nobody arrives we just keep on waiting and maybe this space maybe that resonates with you a little bit but there’s other ways that space is explored by the biblical writers and I think one maybe even if you’ve had a negative experience this season one of them can actually be really helpful to us so we’re going to take a little while just to look at this wonderful word in the bible that’s mysterious this word selah it’s kind of like a space of its own in between sentences here’s a few examples this is from psalm 37 you are my hiding place you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance selah that’s the actual there’s a translation of the hebrew word it’s the way that they would have said it as well and in many of your bibles again if

you have a paper copy you might find that the the people that put it together just decided to leave this word out because it is mysterious because we’re not entirely sure what it means but but one of my favorite understandings of this word is this it simply means take a moment to consider that step back for a second let that kick you in the butt let that phrase grab hold of you let that moment be caught up in the space and let it let it say something different to you here’s a few other places that these people that put together this wonderful poetry and psalms found a place for salah this is psalm 24 who is he this king of glory the lord almighty he is the king of glory selah psalm chapter 3 but you o lord are a shield around me you are my glory the one who holds my head high be angry and do not sin this is psalm chapter four ponder in your own

hearts on your beds and be silent every one of these moments is this invitation to just experience space but in a good way realize that God is not absent he’s actually there in the middle of it with you which is wonderful news but do you notice something about each or not each one of these things but about these four examples they’re all different we looked at one from psalm 24 where it’s a celebration he is the king of glory the lord almighty he is the king of glory seller this person writing feels like he’s in God’s very presence he is excited he’s taking a moment to to pause and think about the wonder of this guard he worships but the one before it is one is a someone who’s talking about the need to be protected from trouble he needs a song of deliverance he’s looking for somewhere to hide he’s in a moment of stress in a moment

of struggle you are a shield around me you are my glory the one who lifts my head high salah this is the expression of someone who’s downcast there’s a God who comes alongside him and lifts his spirits up who brings him up to a better place this does all of these things going on in this experience and wherever you are you are invited I think my question for us this season would be what seller moment do you need you may have felt like God is absent right now and the truth is maybe he’s actually just silent or maybe we actually need space to listen maybe he’s been speaking all along but we actually haven’t been able to create the space and maybe this tension around this time of year for you it’s in order to get you to a place where you can listen maybe you like me are some would think like the character martha in the new testament

there’s mary and marth are two friends of Jesus and is great at sitting and listening and martha is one who’s always busy always has something to do and finds it just easy to get on with something I find myself like that I find it harder to sit and wait and listen for God than I do to write a sermon where I’m supposed to be talking about God or something like that it for me it just requires this just uh I have to force myself to do it at times maybe this season where suddenly there’s not the things to be busy about it creates an opportunity for you to listen and experience God’s presence again but whether christmas and this season have been negative for you or whether they’ve just been incredibly positive God has this moment of self for you it’s just a decision just to lean into it that’s an incredible invitation but something else that I think

connects with me in this with this idea of space and gaps I love the moment in the bible before a new idea is revealed when it transitions from something old to something new like some information is about to change and we’re about to get an opportunity to grasp that the world is different and this is ephesians chapter 2 verse 3. all of us lived among them at one time gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts like the rest we were by nature deserving of wrath it’s this idea that people are broken you and I consistently go our own way and maybe you’re not someone who’s connected with this Jesus story you don’t see a need for it because you see a world where everybody’s a mess and it is true we are but in this verse here there’s about to be an invitation to something brand new the whole story is about to

change and it almost like it just hovers in silence for a little while and I almost feel that the longer you wait in the gap between this last word and the next word the better the next part becomes we were by nature deserving of wrath but because of his great love for us God who is rich in mercy made us alive with christ even when we were dead in transgressions it is by grace you have been saved this wonderful pause this wonderful gap this wonderful void in between these two sentences leads from an old truth that we are by nature children of wrath into an incredible new truth that God is entirely interested in your deliverance and my deliverance he has made a way where there is no way before with all of the noise of christmas whether joy or whether the absence of joy for you at christmas there is regardless this invitation into this Jesus

story you may never have encountered it before you may have looked at it in the past and said no that’s not for me it doesn’t work and yet this Jesus person who transcends time and history who we still talk about in a present tense we don’t talk about how Jesus was people all over the world talk about Jesus is it’s like he’s still present because he is even though you may not know it it’s an invitation into that story and he’s constantly inviting inviting inviting constantly holding out a hand to you there’s this moment where the bible has a gap because it’s a new beginning I’m going to end up with a daft illustration because it doesn’t compare to the wonder of this Jesus story but my fantasy football team is finally out of the running in its competition and I’m a genius fantasy football player I’m wonderful at it and sure some of you are as well and if you

want to join a league with me next year then invite me away because I have endless energy for this thing but my main sort of thing that I main league that I play with my friends it’s it’s over for me it’s done and now I’m waiting for a new thing to begin I’m like oh there’s got to be something new and that’s a ridiculous example because it doesn’t compare to some of the experiences you guys are having that may be a negative at this time of year and yet Jesus specializes in doing new things he’s constantly inviting us into new things so whatever is going on for you this verse speaks of newness there’s this butt moment where God changes the narrative changes the story so in amongst this space we’d love to just give you time to experience him to know that he is present even if he feels absent to know that he speaks even

if he seems silent to know that he cares even if you’re not convinced that that’s true this season God loves you this morning we did just want to give you a moment to sit in that in between space and the song very much embodies what that is all about so as this song plays it just just acknowledge the presence of God wherever you are and that in between space in between christmas and new year and between a hard season and a maybe good season in between a good season and any other season to sit in this moment oh God as we enter new seasons as we think about what transitions are like as we think about what it is to start a new year God thank you that you are with us in that process when we’re a little bit nervous when we’re uncertain you are with us when we’re excited joyful moving forward and can hardly keep our excitement

down to a minimum you’re with us in each and every season you’re with us for our friends that are in winter you’re with us for our friends that feel like it’s summer and everything’s good you’re with us thank you amen thanks for joining us friends it was so good to have you here for living room liturgy it’s just a joy to just spend part of this season with you I’ve miraculously changed to a different sweater you’ll have to figure out how I did all that it was the magic of camera work this week coming up on the 3rd of january we’ve got a new season starting this new series starting that we’re super excited about it’s this series hindsight is 2020. we’re going to look back at this crazy year that was 2020 and we’re going to try and learn some lessons ask some questions about how we might live a different quality of life in 2021 to do that we’re

going to read this ancient letter to a church in philippi it’s a letter known as philippians it’s a letter from paul an apostle an important person in the church to a church that he’s started he’s planted and he has just some great life advice for them so we’re going to tap into that we’re going to learn to live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus together which is just something we as a community are always trying to do now we’re going to have a different service times for our in-person services starting from this coming week we’re going to move back to two services because some of the regulations have changed again so we now can have a hundred people in this space with 25 available out in overflow so our services are going to head back to their normal nine o’clock and 10 45 time you do still need to register we’re very excited about

our plan to have kids ministry restart on january 17th we’re still looking for volunteers to help with that so if you can jump in and fill that spot we would love you to do that but exciting news two services nine and 10 45 new series hindsight is 20 20 starting on january 3rd looking forward to seeing you there

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Living Room Liturgy 20202024-06-19T09:28:32-06:00
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