Get ready to be inspired and challenged as we explore the transformative power of compassion and faith in this thought-provoking message. Join us as we journey through the teachings of Jesus, diving into the depths of feeling compassion and taking action. From healing the sick to inviting others to explore their faith, Jesus sets an example that we can follow in our own lives. Jacob also discusses the importance of embracing challenges, trusting in God's purpose, and overcoming excuses. Plus, we dive into the significance of trusting Jesus, the power of prayer, and the opportunity for a fresh start. Don't miss out on this enlightening conversation that will leave you encouraged and ready to make a difference in the world.Support the show
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I want to go ahead and jump right into my message Now. I don't regularly do this, but to set in motion our conversation today, I'm going to go through my main text. It's a little lengthy though. Okay, it's a little lengthy. I'll chime in a little bit, but lean in and let's let the word of God speak to us today. Okay, matthew 14 says this, starting verse 13,. When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat, privately, to a solitary place. One thing I want to highlight very fast Jesus is a hundred percent God and a hundred percent man. He was in 50-50, he was in 25-75. He is a hundred percent God and a hundred percent human, meaning that he felt the emotions we feel. He felt pain as we felt pain. He felt grief as we feel grief. He felt pain and Jesus knows how it is to have the same struggles and the same temptations as we do. And what had happened was and the reason why he withdrew was because Jesus got word that His best friend, john, died His best friend growing up, his cousin, one of the closest people that he has died and he got news. And Jesus, once he got news of this heartbreak, withdrew by Himself, and it's interesting to me that he went to a solitary place. We see throughout Jesus' story that he goes through these solitary places, these quiet places, these silent places, not to isolate Himself, not to get away from society, not to try to hide and be by Himself. But it was in the solitary places that he was with God, that he spent time with God, that he found comfort from God, and so, in His heartbreak, he chose to find comfort in God. But here you go, even though he had His own personal pain. Check out what happens next. I want you to check this Hearing of this. The crowds followed Him on foot from the towns. Now, the crowd didn't follow Him because they wanted to cheer Him up. They didn't want to follow Him because they wanted to see if he was okay. They followed Him because they wanted something from Him. They wanted something from Him. And who in here knows that, even though we deal with pain and problems and we have ups and downs in our lives, even in moments of us trying to get away, life still happens, life still follows, problems still come. No matter how bad for all my parents in here, no matter how bad your morning is, you still got kids. You got to get ready, don't you. There's still life still requires something from you. There is no pause button. But when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd and I want you to experience the heart of Jesus here I want you to experience the heart of Jesus here and in my opinion, this is one of the most important verses in the Bible. One of the most important verses of the Bible because it gives us a deep insight to God's heart, for you, for me and for our world. Jesus, after getting this horrible news, he goes to a solitary place trying to process His grief. He's met by a crowd of people who is not giving Him the time or the space to process. When he gets to the crowd, he looks at them and this is what Jesus felt he had compassion on them. The heart of God is a heart of compassion. He had compassion on them. And then what happened? And he healed their sick Like let's not forget, jesus is in grief, jesus has pain, jesus is dealing with their problem. Yeah, he had compassion on the people and healed them, and this is what I want you to say. He was moved this is what I want you to get because he was moved with compassion, and there's two things that Jesus did that I think we need to do in our lives, two things that Jesus did in this moment that I think we need to do in our lives. Jesus, he felt and then he acted. He feels and he acts and the problem is this Sometimes we see something and it moves us. We feel it. We see an injustice and we feel it. We see a problem and we feel it. We see a felt need. We see how we can be a blessing to others. We feel it, but here's the problem Then we don't act. We don't act on it and my hope, lvc, is that every day, people who are learning how to become Jesus followers is that we fill the presence of God and then act upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. That we fill the presence of God and then act upon His leading. Let me get practical. Okay, let me get practical. I haven't even touched my main topic today. Don't worry, I'm not going to preach long. But here you go, let me get practical. I feel my kids need more intentional time. So I act and give them intentional 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted time. I mean, that's a big deal, especially you got a lot of kids. Maybe just five minutes, I feel like I want to work on my marriage, so I act upon that and I set up the counseling. I buy the book we read together to get us the help we need. I feel it, then I act upon it. I feel like I have heavy burdens, I got stressors at work, I have anxiety that's trying to ruin my time, trying to ruin my day, so I act upon spending daily time with God. I feel it, then I act upon it. James even says it like this in the Bible. He says faith. Well, faith without action, well, that's dead. It's dead. It's a dead faith. We have to do something with it. We have to move towards something. Faith should lead to action and Jesus was moved with compassion and he healed the sick. Now to my main text. As the night approach, the disciples came to him and said this is a remote place and it's already getting late. Aka, it's best to leave this place before the street lights come on. They're like Jesus, we got to get up out of here because Papa John's don't even deliver pizza at night to this neighborhood. Like we got to go. We got to go. That was funny. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food. Jesus replied they do not need to go away. You give them something to eat. We have only five loaves of bread and two fish sticks. They answered from the Gordon Fisherman. Bring them here to me, he said, and he directed the people to sit on the grass taking the five loaves and the two fish, looking up to heaven. He gave thanks, he broke their loaves, then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people and they all ate and they were satisfied and the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate were about 5,000 men, besides women and children. So you can assume roughly 15 to 20,000 people fed on a number one special from Captain DS. So today, as we conclude our three-part series Making Room at the Table, as we prepare for our church-wide small group called Alpha, starting September 13th, we are so excited. We're already hearing some great stories about people inviting their friends and their neighbors to Alpha. We're just so pumped. What is Alpha? Just in case, if you're new with us, you haven't heard us talking about, alpha is a small group curriculum that provides a safe place for people to ask the big questions about life, about faith, about the Bible, about Jesus and in a judgment-free environment, which is what we're so excited about. Our prayers at church is that we will have a 100 percent participation. After talking to people, there's some people, because of work and all that stuff, that haven't. They can't go on that Wednesday, but they're so excited for our spring-winter small group semester where they want to lead an Alpha group. So I'm so pumped from what God is doing. Well, kind of our intentional way to reach our community with Alpha is this we're actually going to meet at the smoke tree community pool not at the pool, we're not going to go swimming, that would be weird, but the building next to it and we have free childcare. We have youth activities and, like Aaron mentioned, we're going to have delicious dinner Not the macaroni salad from Food Lion, I got too much mayonnaise in it, it's too much. In how Alpha is set up, we're going to have tables with around six to eight people at each table that will kind of act as your small group during the 11 weeks of the course. So not only does the Alpha would be great for us but, like I said, alpha is a great place to invite friends that you know family, that you know coworkers, neighbors, that you know who are going through life struggles, who have questions, and it's not invited them to a church, it's invited them to a place where they can ask questions, have community and get something good to eat along the way and maybe it maybe has some of those questions answered for them. So we're so pumped. So, as we gear towards this, as we gear towards Alpha, I was very much so moved by this story of the feeding of the 5,000. In relation to helping everyday people learn how to become Jesus followers, and before we help people out there learn how to become Jesus followers, I felt like God put it on my heart to let you know three reasons why he believes in you, three reasons why we can have a risky kind of faith. So let's go back to the story I want to talk today about bread, fish and a risky kind of faith. And now here you go. This story about the 5,000, like I said, which is more probably like around 20,000, is one of those stories that is easy to forget the humanity in the story. It's easy to forget the humanity in the story. It sounds like one of those cool God things that Jesus just did. You know? Jesus walking on water. Jesus healed people. Jesus raised the dead back. Oh, jesus, it feeds 5,000 people. He does that because Jesus is God and that's why he does it. But the truth is, like I mentioned, jesus was 100% man, 100% God, and often what we see, the miracles that Jesus performed, wasn't because he was a deity, but because he listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and acted upon it, which says to you and it says to us today the same power, the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you. So miracles, miracles, aren't something that happened back then, but miracles can happen today, today. And what we understand from the beginning of this story is Jesus was moved with compassion. Jesus didn't look at the large crowd and he wasn't moved with judgment, he wasn't moved with anger, he wasn't moved with rage towards them. He was moved with compassion. And I must say to that miracles often happen from a place of compassion. Miracles will often happen from a place of compassion. God moves from a place of compassion Not just when we do the right thing, not when we just oh, if I read my Bible enough, then God is going to move when I pray the right words. When God sanctifies me and glorifies me and all defies me, then God will move. When we sing the correct worship band songs, then God will move. No, god often moves from a place of compassion, from a place we explore this metaphor for the past two weeks of Jesus telling us that people were like sheep. People are like sheep without a shepherd. And Jesus says people are like sheep without a shepherd. And what is a sheep without a shepherd? A sheep without a shepherd is a sheep that drifts away, that wanders away, that is beat up and torn up by life and that can fall off a cliff without a shepherd. And Jesus says people are kind of like that. And can't we agree today that life? Life can beat us up, life can uppercut us worse than Mike Tyson ever could. I don't want to get punched by Mike Tyson. Okay, someone does. Here you go, mike, my five-year-old. She's a kindergarten, she's in kindergarten and she's already telling me about the struggles of kindergarten. She said that all the boys are crazy there. So if she has life struggles in kindergarten, I know we got life struggles right. Life comes with it and people and you probably know these people and you're probably one of these people you feel beat up by life. Life is relentless, it doesn't stop. It keeps coming. And Jesus says I am the good shepherd and I need your help to bring people who are lost, bring people who are wondering, bring people who are struggling out there to the good shepherd. And then Jesus says not only are people like sheep, but there's also a great harvest out there, meaning that it's harvest time, that there's people who are asking the big questions to life, there's people who want to move. This is one thing I know about people. I've never met someone who just says oh, I just always want to be addicted my whole life. Oh, third marriage, I'm going for 10. You know, I just want to have financial debt up to my eyeballs. That sounds a great way to live. I never met that person. Most people want to get life right. Most people want to get it right. Most people are saying I need help and our job as a church is not to be anyone's Superman. You ain't going to see me wear those tights. That'd be weird. Today. I try to. Never mind, I try to cut or lock and it hurt my arms. Never mind, I ain't Superman, I ain't Dwayne Johnson either. I tried. Our job ain't to be Superman. Our job is to provide a safe place for people who have questions about life and connect them to the God that can answer the questions that they have burning in their hearts. See, people have dreams in their hearts. God has placed dreams in people's hearts. God has placed passions and desires in people's hearts, and it's the church's job to fan those things into reality. And so if you have a dream that is positioning your life to make a difference, that's a God-sized dream, and the church's job is to create spaces for people to understand that God wants to work with me, that God wants to use my life to make a difference with people who are making a difference by doing something that makes a difference. Let's go back into our story. Here you go, so we got to make room at the table, and I think it's safe to say that God wants to use your life to make a difference. And in order to do that, I will ask you today look for places of compassion. Look for places of compassion. Do you have compassion on your friends who are struggling with their decisions in life, or do we just kind of judge them? Do you have compassion for the next generation, or do you just choose to live only in your generation and not understand that the next generation needs to stand on your shoulders. Oh, come on, come on, we got young people who need your generation to help them, to help the future, and I'm saying we got to make a difference there. Okay, you got to look for places of compassion. Do you have compassion for your spouse? Are you just ready to quit when there is a heart of compassion? God is ready to move and our hope as a church is to see everyday people learn how to become Jesus followers. And that mission was birthed through compassion, a place of compassion, and that compassion is linked to this that people are out there struggling to find purpose, struggling to make sense of life. They're willing to handle the complexities of life, but we know a life lived for Jesus not only promises eternal life, but it promise you a life that you want to live today, a life that you want to live today. Now let's look at these disciples for a second. Okay, because it's easy to judge them. It's easy it's always easy to judge the disciples because we know how the story ends. They didn't know how the story was going to end and it's easy to be like they didn't have enough faith. Just imagine if you went to work tomorrow and your boss was like hey, smith, good job with the reports. Now I want you to go ahead and get all of our customers and feed them dinner today. You'd be like what You're like? I don't even know how to cook. Is a lunchable acceptable? Wow, that kind of rhyme. You would be mad, wouldn't you? If your boss also and there's drop something, something on you that you weren't expecting you would be mad. The disciples weren't planning on being around that many people that day. They weren't planning for Jesus to spend the entire day healing people that day. He didn't send them a Google notification. He didn't ping them that morning hey guys, we're going to heal about 20,000 people today. He didn't put that in their Google notification. That didn't come up. There is no plan for this. And I mean, if there was a plan for it, peter might have made some PB and J's. If there is a plan for it, judas may have went to the store and got some Capri's sons for the kids, even though he would have stole a couple for himself, because we just know that's how Judas rolled. But if there was a plan, they may not have been so upset, but there was no plan. And since there was no plan, there was a problem. And the problem was the disciples were ready to leave. They said we got to get out of the bad part of town before the street lights come on. And here's what I want you to get. Here's what I want you to get today. I want you to get this deep in your heart today what the disciples perceived as a problem, jesus saw as a purpose. What the disciples perceived as a problem, jesus saw as a purpose. Let's go back to the story. As night approached, the disciples came and said this is a remote place, it's already getting late, sending the crowds away so they can go to the village to buy themselves some food. And I got to say something about the demeanor of the disciples it's getting late. They approach Jesus when it's getting late. The night is coming, winter is here and they are ready to leave. And isn't this true for us in our lives? When things get dark, when we can't see clearly, when we're having vision fall, when we're not sure what our next step is, isn't it true that we want to leave? Marriage is getting dark. I'm out. Kids are driving me crazy. I'm out. Anxiety and fears are closing in on me. I'm out, I don't want to deal with this. And then to Jesus, they're like hey, man, it's getting dark. Do you even see it? Do you even notice this, jesus? Do you even care? Do you even care? Can you just send these people away so we can get going with what we want to do? And may I just say to you today, may I just say you may have been praying for God to send a problem away from you. Send that addiction away, send that pain away, send that problem or that person away. But the thing that you want to send away is the thing that God may want to use to make a way to your heart, the thing that you want to send away, maybe the thing that God wants to use to make a way to your heart. Now, I'm not saying God is allowing the problem in your life to happen, but I'm going to tell you this the problems in our lives can set us up for where God wants to take us in our lives. It can set us where God wants to take us. James says this. James 1, 2 says my fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can. For you know that when your faith is tested, it stirs you up. It stirs up in you the power of endurance. See, god wants to use those things God wants to. So I want to give you these three reasons. We're going to go through these, these three reasons why you can have some risky faith and believe in God for risky things in your life. Reason number one is this is that Jesus believes in you. Now, it is essential to know. It is essential to believe in God. It is essential to say God, I put my hope and my faith in you. But did you know? Once you start to put your faith and hope in God, one of the things that you will begin to understand is that God believes in you, that Jesus believes in you and believes in your life. Notice what Jesus says to the disciples. He said they don't need to go away. You give them something to eat. You have a part to play, you have something to bring to the table. You give them something to eat. And I think the problem that we have is we often give more power to our excuses than to our God. We often give more power to our doubt than the ability of God to move through our lives, on God, to move in our environments. See, the disciples replied. They said we here only have five loaves of bread and two fish sticks. That's what they say. Now, often when I read that story, when I read that portion of the story, I read it first as like they're informing Jesus. They're kind of like, hey, jesus, yeah, I mean, there's about 20,000 people up here. So shoot, jesus. I just checked the lunchbox. We only have like five pieces of bread and some fish. Man, if we had more Jesus, dude, we would have been on it, we would have done it, we would have been ready. That's how I kind of used to read the story. But now when I read the story, I don't think they were like trying to inform Jesus or something. I think they were more like a teenager who thinks they know better than their parents. I think they were more like Mom, don't be silly, I need my phone for big, important things. Like Jesus, we only have five loaves of bread and two fish from the Gordon Fisherman, like what. I think that was a little bit more like what was going on. And here's what makes excuses so good. Here's what makes your excuses and my excuses so good, because oftentimes excuses are true. Oftentimes our excuses are true not all the time, but most of the time. For example, my daughter, kingsley, has this habit of handing me her trash after she's done like kind of like a default, and it's kind of like a default setting. She has like a little bag of chips or something. She hands me her trash and I just by default grab it and I just go throw it away for her. And then it hit me the other day. I'm like you know, I am not a garbage man, you know, and so so, so reason, I've been like Kingsley, you know where the trash is, go throw it away. The other day we were watching TV, we were watching a show, and she handed me her trash and I was like don't your feet work? You know where the trash is. And then she said to me yeah, my feet do work, but your feet are bigger and you can get there faster than me. I'm like that's true, it's a good point. You'll be a great lawyer one day, kingsley. It's a good point, but it's still an excuse. Now I want to say to us today you may have some valid excuses on why you aren't where you want to be in life or why you are struggling with certain things, or why you haven't started that career or went out through that dream or got the help you need it. But Jesus said this to the disciples and he says this to us today. Bring them here to me, bring the excuses to me, bring the doubts to me, bring them to me, hand them over to me. Just to get practical. And, james, you can play me a little something on the keyboard. Just to get practical. Here for a second, three ways to bring yourself down Are your excuses to Jesus. Bring them through prayer and journal writing. Like, have a regular time where you spend daily time with God in the morning or your lunch break, before bed, whatever you find it. You're not going to find the time. You'll never find the time. You have to prioritize the time. You have to make it a priority and during that time, during that daily time with God, you have to pray, and pray out loud. You don't got to pray If you're by yourself, just pray out loud. If you're with your dog, skippy, pray with Skippy. Pray out loud. Spend daily time with God. The second way to bring yourself down and excuses to God is sing worship music and sing it loud. Sing it in your car, in the shower, while you're cooking dinner. Get worship music around you, because here's the truth Whatever we worship, we become like, and whatever we worship is whatever we hold up before us, and I got to let some people know today. You've been holding up your fear, you've been holding up your doubt, you've been holding up your a million reasons why you can't, you won't and you will never, and that has become your identity, because you become whatever you hold up in worship. And I'm going to tell you this, friends if you want breakthrough in your life, if you want freedom in your life, if you want the life that God has designed and destined for you, you got to start holding up the one who loves you, and his name is Jesus, and you got to start worshiping Jesus. When I don't feel like worshiping Jesus, I'm going to worship Jesus. When I rather do a hundred other things, I'm going to worship Jesus, and this is what I'm going to encourage you guys today. If you've got problems, if you've got pains, if you've got setbacks and hurts and mistakes and sin batteries that you can't get out of, if you've got problems, give your problem a problem and the problem that you want to give your problem is a problem called praise, and I'm going to praise my God through this problem. I'm going to praise my God in this hurt. I'm going to praise my God in this storm. I'm going to praise God because I don't give my problems a problem, and the problem I'm going to give them is that my God is bigger than my problem and I'm sweating up here. Don't get me like TDJs. Put a little rag on my head. Don't make me shave my hair off either. I'm going bald a little bit in the back. Pray for me. Third thing, third way In your night. I'm telling you this right now Do it tonight In your night, every night, with writing a thankfulness journal, a one sentence entry about what God did in your life today, in your night, not on what's happening in the show manifests. It's really interesting. I've been watching it, but in it for God. Thank you for doing this in my day. Reason number two. Reason number two Jesus believes in you. Reason number one. Reason number two Jesus uses us right where you are. Jesus will use you right where you are. You don't got to get dressed up. You don't got to get fixed up. You don't got to have it all together, you just got to make yourself available, and I'm convinced more and more, friends, that God does not use to qualify, but he uses the available and he will qualify the available to do the task at hand. Are you available for God? Are you available for the things that God wants you to do? And it's important in our world, especially that worship this idea of perfection. I think there's a portion of this story that is so easy to overlook, and it is a defining moment for how God wants to advance His kingdom here and now. The disciples are tired, it's getting late, there wasn't a solid plan. They have their excuses that Jesus believes in them, that he wants to use them, so much so that he takes a foundational Jewish story and brings it to reality. They give Him the bread and the fish, and the text says they get all 20,000 people in order. That just sounds like a logistical nightmare to me, but okay, so they got this incredibly large group of people to sit down and they are expecting Ruth, chris, they're expecting some dinner, and I can imagine the anxiety that the disciples are feeling in this moment, like what is Jesus about to do here we can't feed this many people and notice what Jesus does. He grabs the baguette and the baguette is good, the baguette is wonderful, the baguette is warm and he grabs it. He takes it from the disciples I like to think he took it from Judas, that's my own thought to it though. He holds it up and he blesses it, and then he breaks it. And for every Jewish person sitting in that audience today, that day not today, maybe a Jewish in here Hi Shalom, for every Jewish person in that audience. They are instantly reminded, when the Israelites are set free from slavery and God provided the manna from heaven, that every day they woke up and they had enough food for that day. And here is Jesus taking the bread. He blesses it, he breaks it and then Jesus, one by one, hands out the Wait, Wait, wait, wait. That isn't how the story goes, is it? Jesus takes the bread. He takes what the disciples give him. He's about to get me going up here today. He takes what the disciples gave him and he holds it and he blesses it and he breaks it, and then he gives it back to the disciples. And this is what I want you to get to today. I want you to get up in your soul today. This is what I want you to get in your heart today. Peter got this bread and he got one quarter of the fish stick and a basket and he's looking at. He's looking at I don't know what 12 divided by 20,000 is, but it's a lot. He's like this is my portion to feed. He's like Jesus, you gone, done it this time. And he walking and he like a nibble for you, nibble from you, kobe. And as he's breaking the bread that he gave to Jesus and Jesus gave back to him, he realizes this bread ain't getting smaller, is it? This bread is not only not getting smaller, it's multiplying, it's growing, it's increasing. And it's kind of like what it says in John 3.30, I must decrease so God can increase. And maybe it's time for me to start believing that God can take what I give him and he gives it back to me and he not only will bless me, but he will increase me, multiply me, multiply what I'm doing. And, friends and friends, we've been allowing our anxiety to multiply in our lives. We've been allowing our doubts to multiply in our lives. We've been looking at people out there and just hoping they'll be okay with some Facebook notifications and some things out there that the world is offering, while the church has been silent. But I'm telling you now, church, I'm telling you now, lbc, it's time for us to make a difference with people who wanna make a difference by doing something that makes a difference and by saying God, I'm signing up for what you're doing right here and right now and what you wanna do with my hands. I'm preaching to God right now. He wants to take the bread. He blesses the bread, he gives the bread back to them, and then there's 12 basketfuls left over. Reason number three we can have a crazy kind of faith is this because Jesus is ready to give us basketfuls of leftovers Basketfuls, after all, the people ate, they were satisfied. Imagine a world, imagine your community, imagine your friends, where people are satisfied. It's not about buying the next material thing, it's not about getting the next thing, and maybe this thing will make me happy because that thing, then it's a, this thing promises it will the people satisfied in the presence of God. And I want some people to know today, with God, with God, there is still more. There is still more. It's not over for you. You don't have to tap out yet. You don't have to throw in the white towel. Yet there is more. There is more for your dreams, there is more for your family. There is more for your purpose. There is basketfuls more what God wants to do with you, with me and in this world. So, jesus, we come to you now saying we want more of you. Jesus, help us understand that you believe in us, that you want to start right where we are, that you want to give us basketful more. That's like the Holy Spirit saying he has basketful of grace for you, love for you. Don't believe it. Whoever this is, don't believe that you are done. You're not done yet. Don't believe your healing won't come. Healing is going to come. There is more. So, jesus, like the disciples, we have doubt, we have fear. It gets dark and we want to get out, we want to get away. I feel very strongly Jesus is saying don't get away. Look at the crowd, look at what I'm doing. Come, holy Spirit. More of you, jesus, and less of us. If you're in here today and you don't know this Jesus I've been talking about, or maybe you have, but life got in the way If you want to make a decision to trust Jesus with your life again. I just want you to pray this prayer with me, right where you are. I'm not going to call you out. Have you come up front? Nothing like that, just right where you are. If you want to make a decision to trust Jesus with your life, just say Jesus, forgive me for my sins, make me new. Today, I follow you today. I trust you with my life In Jesus' name. Amen, amen. Let's give God some praise in here today.