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Help My Unbelief Sermon Only Caleb Baker June 19, 2022

Help My Unbelief Sermon Only
Caleb Baker June 19, 2022

Help My Unbelief Full Service Caleb Baker June 19, 2022

Help My Unbelief Full Service
Caleb Baker June 19, 2022

So I was, uh, adopted in 1958, uh, by a phenomenal, phenomenal mom and dad. I call him mom and dad because that's that that's who raised me. My dad was, uh, in the military and, uh, officer flew CORs airs in world war II and my best friend, we, we golfed. We sailed. We just, it was awesome. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1973. And while they were doing the surgery, they found his liver just laced with cancer. And, uh, they gave him about six years to live. Unfortunately, he didn't make it that long. The chemo starved his brain of oxygen and he would have these seizures and pass out, went to the hospital a couple times, uh, in the first year-ish or. Finally, he had one that was really bad. And he went to the Corona outta hospital and was unconscious this time, sometime in the middle of the night, he would regain consciousness and walked home the next morning when we woke up I'm I'm 15 years, 16 years old. And my dad's dead in the den about eight years later. My brother had found this letter called getting the green light. According to my mom, the last page of getting the green light was in the typewriter and my dad was dead at the typewriter. Well, as I started reading through this letter, I found out that my dad wasn't even a believer. He went to church cuz he needed to go to church because it was the right thing to do as a Christian. And it talks about a couple of near miss instances where, when I say near myths as in death, I would see if I can read this here verbatim. It says, I now know that my life has been spared on three occasions and the hope that I would learn to have faith in him as our. Because of our wholehearted faith in him. I have no fear in entering the hospital tomorrow in the hopes of the new and experimental drugs will arrest the growth of the cancers tumors in my liver. If they don't, I'm still a winner. As I now know, I have Christ as my ally. I'd grieved for my father. I'd been angry at God. I'd been angry at my mom for hiding a letter. And that was revived. I went through this whole process of now asking God for my forgiveness. And as soon as I asked for forgiveness, it was like, it had never even happened. I don't know whether it was a lesson. I don't know what it was, but it changed. My life. And if I could just have one 10th of the forgiveness that he had for me and my day to day activities, I try so hard to be more Christlike every day of my life. I will continue to try each and every day to be more like him, Kim. Amen. Amen. Um, you may not know this, but court is sitting right up here, court. Thank you so much for your testimony, man. We appreciate that. Um, I have had to watch that video a few times now. And each time I'm like, thanks so much for putting me right up after that. , I'm a freaking mess, man. Thank you so much for, for opening your heart to our church. And, uh, really, it gives me a really cool glimpse into who God is that, uh, we know that father's day, days, like this brings so much, uh, joy and pain and complication, and I'm thankful for a God of the complic. That when things are messy and, and nuanced and not black and white, that God meets us right in the middle of that. And so, uh, this is just another great example of that. Um, and I'm thankful for it. So, Hey, if you have a Bible, will you turn to Genesis chapter 22 Genesis 22. We're continuing our series that we're gonna spend all summer and looking at at stories from the word of God, about people on the go as they're journeying, as they're traveling and what we can learn about the heart and the nature of God, uh, because of. Who he is and how much he loves us, even when we're not home and comfortable and, and around things that we're familiar with, God still meets us wherever we are, which is really beautiful. So today's gonna be no different. We're gonna look at a story in Genesis 22 and I'm excited. Let me, uh, offer up a word of prayer and then we'll jump in together. God, thanks so much for this time. Thanks again for court's faithfulness and his heart and, uh, how it shows us your heart for us as a perfect father, as a heavenly father. And so I asked that for these next few moments that we have together in your word, God, that you would meet us here, that you would speak, uh, clearly through me, powerfully through me, God, that you would move me out of the way, move whatever distraction out of the way that we might hear clearly from you. Now, we love you. It's in Jesus name that we pray and everybody said, Amen. Genesis 22. We'll get there. Uh, in a second, I actually wanna start off our time, uh, by reading a couple verses out of Luke chapter nine, I think it's gonna help frame kind of what we want to talk about today. Luke chapter nine, these verses are really important to our church. And so if you've been around for very long, they might seem familiar to you. I'm gonna throw 'em up on the screen so that we can read. Together. This is Jesus talking to his disciples and he says this Luke 9 23. Then he said to them all, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Look at this next verse for whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me will. Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Now I know we're in church and this is a Bible verse. And oftentimes, uh, when we read Bible verses in church like this that are a little bit confusing, it's easy to just kind of be like, don't know what that means. And let's keep reading. What's Luke 9 25 say and it's easy to kind of brush over these things. But if you could think about these words, that Jesus is saying, like to truly live, to save. Selves. We have to lose our life. What on earth could you possibly be talking about? Like, that makes no sense to us. I don't wanna lose my life. Like our life is all that we have. I, I gotta look out for myself. This is a crazy world. I know, you know, that things are pretty weird out there. I know, you know that we gotta be on guard. We gotta protect ourselves. What do you mean? We gotta lose our lives. I don't want to. and then I start thinking, as I'm thinking about these verses, like what, what on earth do I know about dying? Like death is the biggest question mark we have in this life. There's nothing to Google. There's no mentors you can look to there's no, there's no Ted talk with the ins and outs of what to expect when you die. It's this, it's this massive unknowable reality. And to make it even worse. It's inevitable that a hundred percent of us are going to experience this thing that we really have no idea. Are you feeling encouraged yet? You're like sick. Uh, so there's a couple things going on in these verses. One of the things that I wanna point out to you is that this, these verses from, uh, what Jesus says are just an example of a pattern that we see time and time again in God's word that seem contradictory. There are these paradoxes that seem like they're competing ideals, but really, it just helps us to see that the things that we, that we see around us, the way that, that things are, that, that the way that things are sold to us, oftentimes aren't the way that things actually are right within the will and kingdom of God. So this is an example. If you wanna truly live, you have to die to yourself. There's another part of scripture that says, if you are suffering, count it as a privilege. Counted as a privilege. Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit. He says first shall be last. I don't know why that one was king James. It just felt right. First shall be last. Paul talks about for when I am weak, then I am strong. so a lot of the things that, that, that are just face value to us, like this is just true. This is what it is. This is how it is a lot of times the systems in our world or the guardrails or guidelines of our culture. Don't often line up with what God says is true. This is another example that I we're gonna unpack today in Genesis 22. If we want to live like really live, we have to die to ourselves. We have to be willing to give up our lives in order to live. the second thing that's going on here. It's I, I already mentioned a little bit, but sometimes we mention, we, we read these big sweeping, confusing things in God's word, and we're just like, I guess that's just another spiritual truth. I have no idea what that means. You know, we're just kind of, okay, got it. Let's keep reading. And, and I hope that during our time today, as we dive into Genesis 22, that we can find from this story, some, some practical direction on what this actually looks like. Like die to yourselves in order to live, give up your life in order to save your life. Hopefully from this story, we'll figure out how do we do that? What does that actually look like in our lives? So let's read this story together. Uh, Genesis 22, it's 15 verses long. Uh, but I believe in us, we can do this together. We're gonna read the whole story and then we'll, we'll go back and talk about why it matters. All right. Genesis 22, starting in verse. the word of the Lord says this. Sometime later, God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham, here I am. He reply. Then God said, take your son. Your only son whom you love Isaac and go to the region of Mariah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain. I will show you. early. The next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son, Isaac, when he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about on the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, stay here with the donkey while I, and the boy go over there, we will worship. And then we will come back to. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son, Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife as the two of them went on together. Isaac spoke up and said to his father, Abraham father. Yes, my son Abraham replied the fire and wood are here. Isaac said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? I always love that. He's like we're missing a pretty important piece. You'll you'll see. Verse eight, Abraham answered God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. My son and the two of them went on together. When they reached the place, God had told him about Abraham built Antar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar. On top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand, took the knife to slay his son, but the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven. Abraham Abraham, here I am here. Do not lay a hand on the boy. He said, don't do anything to him. Now. I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me. Your son, your only son, Abraham looked up and they're in a thicket. He saw Ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the Ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, the Lord will provide. And to this day it is said on the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided. This story has bothered me for a lot of my life. I grew up in the church and knew all the Bible stories. And this was always one for me that I was like, what on earth? Like, what's the win here? What's God trying to do. What's he trying to prove. I had a friend that I grew up with that was at our house a lot. And, and again, I was a pastor's kid, so we just had to go to church on Sundays. It wasn't an option. And he had to come to church with us if he stayed with us and he had no church background. So it was really interesting. Just like stand next to him during worship sets when he's like, what, what lamb are we singing about? What is happening right here? Like, why are we talking about blood so much? And so like, we would, we would get into this rhythm. Where after church, uh, he and I would go to taco bell. Where else would you go? And when you think about it and, uh, woo. Yes, . Okay. I shouldn't say that on stage anyway. So, um, look at that filter I'm growing, but anyway, so we would go to, we would go to taco bell after church and we would like debrief the service, like all the weird things that he experienced and I would do my best to try to make sense of them for him. And I remember one weekend, our, our pastor, our student pastor, uh, preached on this story and I could tell that my friend Kindle. Deeply unsettled by what he had heard. And so we go to taco bell where all revelations come true. And he was like, what on earth is happening with this story? Like, this is so confusing. And he, it really, really bothered him. He's like, this seems like God is so petty. Like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you this promise. I'm gonna give you this calling and, and the sun. I'm gonna bless you with the sun. And then now you gotta kill the sun. I'm just kidding. There's a Ram, like what is happening here? This is such a frustrating story. And I remember when he was telling me all this stuff, I was like 16, 17. I'm like, I'm not sure how to explain this one. This is a tough story. What is God doing here? We'll get there in a minute. But first let's look back on what Abraham is doing in this story and what we can learn. So in verse one, God calls out to Abraham and Abraham's response is so challenging to me. He says, here I am. Abraham is on the journey. Like we are he's on his faith journey like we are, and he's learning how to give God his faith, even when other things are unknown. He's learning how to say here I am. When he doesn't know what's gonna be on the other side of that, he he's learning how to put his trust in God. And God gives him this incredibly heartbreaking, direct. go and sacrifice the sun that I promised you go to this specific mountain that I'll show you and sacrifice your son. I mean, it's just terrible. Verse three early the next morning. I'm sure Abraham couldn't sleep. He's got a pit in his stomach. He's about to step into the worst day of his life, but that doesn't stop him from obeying. He doesn't take his time. He doesn't hesitate. He doesn't, he doesn't run the other direction. Gets up early in the morning loads, his donkey takes a couple of his servants and his son, Isaac. He cuts the wood himself and he starts off on this journey. And it's a long journey. On the third day of this travel, he sees the mountain, he sees the spot where this is going to happen. I love verse five. He says, stay here with the donkey while I, and the boy go over there, look at this. We will worship. And we will come back to you. So they head up the mountain, they have the wood, they have the supplies they need. And before too long, Isaac starts putting some things together. He's getting a little bit suspicious about this plan. Did you see in verse seven? He's like, uh, Hey dad, we're like we got, we got the wood, we got the fire, we got the knife. We're gonna go make, we're gonna go make a sacrifice, a burnt offering to God. I Isaac's like nice. And at some point in the journey he's looking around like, huh. Usually. Usually there's another thing here. That's not here, but I love Abraham's response. Verse eight, God himself will provide the lamb. God needs to show up. He's going, Isaac. I don't know the answer. I don't know how it's gonna work out, but I know that God will provide the lamb. And the two of them went on together. The Hebrew literally says the two of them went in agreement that they had agreed that they were going to do this. I don't know how you always pictured this when you've read this story. Or if this is your first time ever hearing this story, but almost all scholars agree that at this point in the narrative, Isaac is like in his twenties or thirties. He's a young adult, he's an adult male. Like I always pictured this story growing up, like, like Abraham took his like first grade son and duped him into getting up on this mountain, like, okay buddy, we're gonna, I have a lollipop here for you just getting burnt offering like, whoa, but like, that's just not what happened here. That's not the scene that Abraham is north of like a hundred years old at this point. And Isaac is in his twenties or thirties that, that they're both agreeing to do this. Both agreeing to step out in faith. The Hebrew says they went in agreement. They make it to the top of the mountain to the place where God told Abraham to go. And Abraham does what he always does. He builds Anar there. if you were with us last week, this might sound familiar to you when God called Abraham to go to a new land, Abraham goes, and once they get to the new land, the Canaanites already live there. And rather than pout, rather than come up with all the reasons why it won't work, Abraham builds Antar. We said last week that Abraham trades in his worry for worship, he doesn't, he doesn't waste his life asking how, how, how he proclaims in worship. Somehow God is going to meet me here. And even in the sad. Most heartbreaking moment in his life when the plan is falling apart, when it seems like God has pulled the promise back, all Abraham knows how to do is build Anar, man, I don't have, I have just as little answers as I ever have. I don't know how to make sense of this, but I'm gonna trust God, even now in the midst of this confusion and this pain and this heartbreak I'm gonna choose to trust. He's trying to give God the keys, even when it doesn't make sense to him at all. I want to park here for a minute. I think this is huge for us to understand. I had a professor in college Bible college. Hello. And he was talking about this very story. And, and he said something along the lines of, I think this story illustrates a major misunderstanding concerning our relationship with God. See, so often we pray and we ask God for more clarity. for clearer steps to make it known to us the plan. Like we want to ask God for clarity over and over again. And that while we have a loving God that wants to hear all of our prayers, my professor suggested that maybe in this story, Abraham didn't need more clarity. He needed more faith. He didn't need better plans. He needed to learn more how to put his trust in God. And if that was true in Genesis 22, then why wouldn't it be true for us now that all the time we spend asking God for clearer steps or what's happening, or how is this gonna work? Maybe our prayer needs to be God, you gotta help my. Faith where I don't have enough faith. You gotta help me to trust you where I have doubt. You gotta remind me of how you've already gotten rid of all my sins when I'm full of guilt and shame and damaged goods and labels and all the reasons why it can't work. God, you gotta help my, you gotta grow my faith. This is not clear to me. There's nothing that could have been said to Abraham walking up to that mountain that would've made. This made sense. He just needed to put his trust in a really big God. That's gonna meet him on the. And so if that's true for him, why wouldn't that be true for our lives? That the things that God is calling you into, the stuff that God has put in you, the relationships, the people, the new job, the move, whatever it might be, the stuff that seems scary. Maybe you don't need more clarity. You need more faith. You need to go, God, you gotta help me. You gotta make up the difference because I am a doubter. I'm reminded of how screwed up I am. I'm reminded of how much I've fallen short. I'm reminded of all the things I can't do God, but, but then I remember that all the things you can do make up for all the things I can't do, God help my faith grow. Even on this mountain where I'm about to do something unimaginably hard. even in your season of confusion or pain, even in a tragedy, even in a situation that is seemingly hopeless, it's not clear. I have no idea what you're doing God, but help me to believe, help me to have faith. It reminds me of a story in, in mark chapter four, that, that Jesus is sought out by this father who has a demons possessed son. this dad whose little boy has a spirit, a demon in him. And I've only been a dad for three and a half years or so. But man, these stories hit different. Now, when you think about, wow, just imagining your kid going through something like that, how to process that as a parent, it's heartbreaking. There's no way to make sense of this. There is no clarity and the father comes to Jesus. I wanna show you this interaction. Mark nine verse 21. Jesus asked the boy's father. how long has he been like this from childhood? He answered it. It's often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, I love that prayer. If you can do anything, Jesus take pity on us and help us look at Jesus response. If you can, everything is possible for one who believes I love this immediately. The boy's father exclaimed. I do believe. help me overcome my unbelief. You wanna talk about how to honestly pray. You wanna know how to save yourself. You wanna know how to give up your life so that you can have life pray like this, because there are things in this world. There are things in our lives that are not going to make sense. and the more we pray for clarity, I wonder if God's going, you don't need, you don't need to be clear. You need to trust me and don't get it wrong. God wants to hear all your prayers. He's a loving father. So if you're praying for clarity and that's your step into praying, then keep praying for that. I'm just thinking, and maybe God's going. You just need to learn how to trust me more. I'm a fallen sinful, broken dad. And even I have time to hear my three year old daughters like revelations on life. So God has time for you. God wants to hear from. My daughter will say, dad, dad, dad, dad. And I'm like, what, what? This is gonna be earth shattering. She's like, sometimes dogs are brown. Thank you for that. I said, wow, babe. Let's tell the presses. You're right. And I'm broken. Like how much more time does God have? So I'm not saying don't pray, but I'm just saying maybe you need to pray. God, I do believe, but help me in my unbelief. There's gonna be things that don't make sense to me. There's gonna be things that aren't clear. There's gonna be mountains that you call me to go up that do not make sense. God, and I just need to have the faith to trust you. You gotta make up the difference. I believe God, but help me overcome my unbelief. Abraham makes his way to the mountain where he is gonna have the worst day of his life. The walls are closing in all hope is lost and all he knows how to do is to worship a guy that has proven himself over and over again. You wanna save yourself on this journey as we go, as we live, pray like this live like this worship like this, God, I do believe help me overcome my unbelief. so Abraham builds this altar. He binds up his son, Isaac lays him on top of the wood dads. It is father's day. Can I challenge you for a minute? I you're doing great. You're doing great. And, and I think you're doing the best you can with what you have. That's all, any of us can do, and your families are better off for it. But how would this change your family? Your kids. If they saw you praying like this, how would this change? The spiritual temperature in your house? If your kids saw you praying like this, what might that teach them? Man, I don't know. Life seems like it's hard. Dad seems tired, but he can pray, man. He trusts God. I remember when we had our oldest Sophie like a few months in, and I haven't like slept for six months. You just feel like you're high all day. You're like, well, it's happening right now. I don't understand. Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but you know what I mean? And so, but I remember calling just gimme a break. I remember calling my dad and like, I'm like, you haven't slept a night in your life in 30 years. Have you? like, I'm just learning. And he is like, I just love you. And I'm like, that's why you're the best. But like, man, dad's tired. Dad's desperate. Dad has nowhere to turn, but wow. Dad can. Dad knows where to turn when there's no other options. What a beautiful picture of how to rely on God. If they just saw their dad praying, I believe help me to overcome my unbelief because Isaac, as a young man, doesn't get bound up. On top of Antar by his a hundred year old dad, unless he willingly chooses it. This is a story about two men, a young man and his old dad choosing to put their trust in the God that's going to provide. This is not Isaac getting drugged and like tricked into this. He's choosing to trust his dad. And most importantly, his dad's God. And so if we can model that for our kids, for our homes, I think our communities would start to look D. Maybe you've always pictured this story as Abraham and a little boy. It's not what it is. These are two men choosing to trust God, and Isaac is getting a crash course, an incredibly high stakes crash course, and God's gotta show up or else. This is gonna go really, really, really bad. I want my girls to grow up knowing that dad can pray. Like, can we just all stop this? Like macho dad has to have it all together. Garbage. Look at me. I have nothing together. Ask anyone that knows me, you know, along my check engine line has been on. It's not the point, but like, that's just one example. I'm just trying to parade it away. God will provide, I don't know. God, I need you to show up for my engine cuz I'm not going. I want my girls to see, not that I'm tough. Not that I'm big, not that I'm strong, but that man, I have my faith and a big God that wants to meet them the same way he's met me. I want my girls to see that when I'm desperate, when I have nowhere else to turn, I can just, I know how to get on my knees and ask God to meet me on the mountain, to meet me in the confusion, to meet me in the complicated times, because life gets hard. And life was gonna be hard for my two daughters. And I want them to see that when life gets hard, all dad knows how to do is to rely on God, not to rely on my strength or my intellect or my resume, or my salary or my fill in the blank. I want them to see that God, that dad relies on God. And so maybe I should L learn how to do that too. Dads. We gotta pray. God, I believe help me overcome my unbelief. A story goes on Abraham and Isaac on this mountain, Isaac's tied up about to be killed Liga verse 10. Then he reached out his hand. Abraham reached out his hand, took the knife to slay his son, but the angel of the Lord called out Abraham Abraham. Here I am here. Replied do not lay a hand on the boy. Don't do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me. Your son, your only son, Abraham looked up and there in a thicket, he saw Ram. Who was either provided by God or really in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't know I wasn't there, but caught by its horns. He went over and took the Ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son, verse 14. So Abraham called that place. The Lord will provide, and to this day it is set on the mountain of the Lord. It will be provided right down to the wire. God provides for Abraham on a buzzer beater against all odds. Abraham was right. He says, God will provide the lamb. And a lot of these verses end in 14, he names this mountain. The Lord will provide, you might know the Hebrew translation of this is Jehovah Gyra. That song that we sing. And it's not just saying that the Lord will provide, this is beautiful. Don't miss this. It's it's a name for God. It's not a characteristic. It's his name? That's not, the Lord will provide, this is the God who provides. There's not some things that he does. Sometimes this is his nature. You wanna know what type of God we have. He's the God who provides Jehovah Gyra. And this word has so much meaning in it. It can be translated, provide or to see, or to see to it, to see it through, or even to consider. you wanna save yourself? You wanna truly live. The only way is by putting your trust and the God that provides and the God that considers you and the God that sees it through Jehovah Gyra. I want to tell you today that this God who provided for Abraham on Genesis 22, you are on his mind. He considers you, he sees you, he provides for you not sometimes not. This is, this is what he does sometimes. No, this is who he is. Jehovah Gyra. How do we make sense of this crazy story? Why does God put Abraham and Isaac through this? I think it all boils down to one really simple and convicting thing. God is saying anything in your life. even a good thing that is in front of me will get in the way of you truly. Even the good things in your life that you put ahead of God will get in the way of you actually stepping into the life that you are made for. And God is willing and loving enough to work with each and every one of us to get the distractions and the idols and the lowercase G gods that are specific to us out of the way so that we can be invited into life with him. A and your idols, your stuff, your lowercase G gods might be different than mine. God knows each and every one of us enough loves each and every one of us enough to call that out in us specifically, I think about Jesus interacting with the rich young ruler in the gospels. This guy comes to Jesus and he's followed all the rules. he's like, man, I'm doing everything right. I'm checking all the boxes. I go to church every Sunday. I tithe, like I'm doing everything I can. And I love this question. He says, what must I do to be saved? In other words, he's asking Jesus, here's all the rules that I follow. Why isn't this working? Jesus. I'm so good at religion. Why isn't this working? Why do I still not feel it? If it's not this, what must I do to be saved? Do you remember what Jesus tells him? He says, give up all your possessions, all your stuff to the poor and go follow me. Jesus. Doesn't call all of us to give up all of our possessions necessarily. He calls this guy too, because he knew his stuff was in the way of him trusting Jesus. And you can't follow Jesus. If your stuff matters more, you can't follow Jesus. If your status matters more, you can't even follow Jesus. If your religion matters more. What about when Jesus talks with the woman at the, well, he breaks all these cultural rules to have this interaction with this woman. And he calls out the fact that she's had all these husbands in her past to try to save her free her from that. Because Jesus is a loving father. He's close enough to this woman to know that her past her hurt her baggage. Her labels are in the way of her putting her trust in Jesus. And he loved her enough. And that moment to say, daughter, drop the weight, drop the labels, drop the shame. you're free from that step into relationship. He doesn't call it out of her to be mean he doesn't call it out of her to put her on blast. He calls it out of her to say, give that up to step into the freedom that I'm offering you. So what about Genesis 22? I think God is calling Abraham to an intense all or nothing type of faith. And God knows that the most loving thing he can do is to help us. What we have in our lives. That's more important to us than him, because even those good things in your life, they make terrible gods. And I think God's, you know, building this nation through Abraham and he is going, are you gonna trust the blessing that I've given you more than me? Who gives the blessing? Do you just want my stuff? Do you just want my blessing? Do you just want, do you just want a relationship with me when stuff's not going well? Or do you wanna actually follow me? Do you wanna actually step into this for good? Here is a word for the American church in 2022. Are you ready to hear it? Even the very things that God has blessed us with, if we're not intentional will become the gods in our life. Even the very good things that God has given us. If we are not focused on who he is, we'll replace him in our hearts. That's convicting our jobs. Think about your job, man, such a blessing to get, to do whatever you get to do. But if we're not careful, our job can become our God. And my job is this I'm a full-time Christian 40 hours a week. And then some, you know what I mean? This is what I do for a living. and, and I'm promising you. I'm telling you. I had this conversation with God all the time. God is my job as a pastor is my job in working for the church, getting in the way of my ability to depend on you every moment of every day, even good things. If we're not careful, we'll replace God in our hearts. What about your kids? Are my kids, the incredible blessing that they are. Are they getting in the way of my dependence on God? Have they become my God? Has my marriage become my God, has my house become my God, has my school become my God, has my retirement become my God has my status. My. Safety, my comfort. My preferences has my truth. Become my God. What on earth is this story about, it's about a God, a loving father who is perfectly faithful and capable and close range calling you out of settling for alternative lowercase G God's because he loves you enough to meet you on the way up to the mountain going. I think you love this thing more than me and I'm not doing it because I'm some jealous boyfriend I'm doing it because I didn't design you to need that thing more than me. I designed you to need me. I designed you to have relationship with me and to make it even more than that, we're putting so much pressure on our jobs or our spouses or our kids like expecting them to, to replace God in our hearts and wondering why they're not doing a very good job at it. It's because even as beautiful as kids are, they make terrible gods. I don't know about your marriage. I'm sure you have a great marriage as good as your marriage is your wife. Your husband makes a terrible God. So we can't keep putting that pressure on them. when we're complaining about work, when we're complaining about our money, when we're complaining about the government, when we're complaining about culture, look at me, the government makes a terrible God. And I see a lot of things where people are going, why is the government doing X, Y, Z? Cause it's a bunch of people like you and me. We're terrible at being God. If we can take a step back and go, man, I'm gonna go up to the mountain that God is calling me on. And I'm willing to give whatever he needs from me because I trust that my life and his hands is my only chance to live. I trust that my heart and his purpose and in his will is the only chance my heart has to beat. And so I'm gonna stop trying to do this on my own. I'm gonna stop trying to put that weight on my two daughters to like fulfill me or my wife to fulfill me or my job as a pastor, God help me to fulfill me that only God gets to do that only God gets to be God. And it seems like from this story, God is willing to go to dramatic extreme measures to teach us this lesson. because you were created to need God, you were created to follow him and he loves you enough to show you the things that are in the way. Can we offer the same prayer that Abraham did in this story? We see it two different times before things hit the fan. And then right in the middle of it, Abraham says here I. Abraham's availability to God. Doesn't change based on his circumstances. He's given God a blank check. He's like I'm yours. God, I don't care how much it costs. I don't care where it leads me. I don't care what it means for my present or my future. Here's a blank check. God, take me and use me. However you see fit because I trust that you know more about this than I do. I trust that you see on top of the mountain clearer. Than I do. And so here's a blank check. God, I don't know what it's gonna cost. I don't know what it means, but I'm gonna trust you. I'll build an altar when it seems impossible. I'll build an altar when I'm heartbroken. All that makes sense is that you are the God that provides you are Jehovah, JIRA, and you provide, and you consider me and you see me and you are close range. And so here is my life. Here's my heart. Here are my kids. Here's my marriage. Here's my house. Here's my retirement. Here's my stuff. Here's my car. Seriously. God is a Jeep Patriot. You can tape it, just take it. It's all good. No worries. Push it off a cliff. You know, here's my stuff. God, here's my life. Here's a blank check. I'll put my faith in you. No matter what it costs. What is this story about? It's about God convincing Abraham and Isaac and you and me that our lives and his hands. our only chance to live. And if we could just leave this place with the prayer, God, I believe, I believe help me overcome my unbelief, fill in the gaps for me, make up the difference. I think we'll get to step into a new type of life and purpose and meaning. Let me pray for us. God. Thanks for this story. As confusing as it seems as challenging as it is. God, we know that you're a good loving, close range father. Who's designed us for relationship. Who's designed us for purpose and meaning, and we know God that we need you to do that. We need you to, to get there in our lives. And so we just ask that you'll show up for us that you'll meet us, where we. and God, whatever you're calling us into, I pray for all of my friends here. God, that you'll help us to grow our faith in you. We love you. It's a Jesus thing that we pray. Amen. Thanks guys.
✖ CLOSE

So I was, uh, adopted in 1958, uh, by a phenomenal, phenomenal mom and dad. I call him mom and dad because that's that that's who raised me. My dad was, uh, in the military and, uh, officer flew CORs airs in world war II and my best friend, we, we golfed. We sailed. We just, it was awesome. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1973. And while they were doing the surgery, they found his liver just laced with cancer. And, uh, they gave him about six years to live. Unfortunately, he didn't make it that long. The chemo starved his brain of oxygen and he would have these seizures and pass out, went to the hospital a couple times, uh, in the first year-ish or. Finally, he had one that was really bad. And he went to the Corona outta hospital and was unconscious this time, sometime in the middle of the night, he would regain consciousness and walked home the next morning when we woke up I'm I'm 15 years, 16 years old. And my dad's dead in the den about eight years later. My brother had found this letter called getting the green light. According to my mom, the last page of getting the green light was in the typewriter and my dad was dead at the typewriter. Well, as I started reading through this letter, I found out that my dad wasn't even a believer. He went to church cuz he needed to go to church because it was the right thing to do as a Christian. And it talks about a couple of near miss instances where, when I say near myths as in death, I would see if I can read this here verbatim. It says, I now know that my life has been spared on three occasions and the hope that I would learn to have faith in him as our. Because of our wholehearted faith in him. I have no fear in entering the hospital tomorrow in the hopes of the new and experimental drugs will arrest the growth of the cancers tumors in my liver. If they don't, I'm still a winner. As I now know, I have Christ as my ally. I'd grieved for my father. I'd been angry at God. I'd been angry at my mom for hiding a letter. And that was revived. I went through this whole process of now asking God for my forgiveness. And as soon as I asked for forgiveness, it was like, it had never even happened. I don't know whether it was a lesson. I don't know what it was, but it changed. My life. And if I could just have one 10th of the forgiveness that he had for me and my day to day activities, I try so hard to be more Christlike every day of my life. I will continue to try each and every day to be more like him, Kim. Amen. Amen. Um, you may not know this, but court is sitting right up here, court. Thank you so much for your testimony, man. We appreciate that. Um, I have had to watch that video a few times now. And each time I'm like, thanks so much for putting me right up after that. , I'm a freaking mess, man. Thank you so much for, for opening your heart to our church. And, uh, really, it gives me a really cool glimpse into who God is that, uh, we know that father's day, days, like this brings so much, uh, joy and pain and complication, and I'm thankful for a God of the complic. That when things are messy and, and nuanced and not black and white, that God meets us right in the middle of that. And so, uh, this is just another great example of that. Um, and I'm thankful for it. So, Hey, if you have a Bible, will you turn to Genesis chapter 22 Genesis 22. We're continuing our series that we're gonna spend all summer and looking at at stories from the word of God, about people on the go as they're journeying, as they're traveling and what we can learn about the heart and the nature of God, uh, because of. Who he is and how much he loves us, even when we're not home and comfortable and, and around things that we're familiar with, God still meets us wherever we are, which is really beautiful. So today's gonna be no different. We're gonna look at a story in Genesis 22 and I'm excited. Let me, uh, offer up a word of prayer and then we'll jump in together. God, thanks so much for this time. Thanks again for court's faithfulness and his heart and, uh, how it shows us your heart for us as a perfect father, as a heavenly father. And so I asked that for these next few moments that we have together in your word, God, that you would meet us here, that you would speak, uh, clearly through me, powerfully through me, God, that you would move me out of the way, move whatever distraction out of the way that we might hear clearly from you. Now, we love you. It's in Jesus name that we pray and everybody said, Amen. Genesis 22. We'll get there. Uh, in a second, I actually wanna start off our time, uh, by reading a couple verses out of Luke chapter nine, I think it's gonna help frame kind of what we want to talk about today. Luke chapter nine, these verses are really important to our church. And so if you've been around for very long, they might seem familiar to you. I'm gonna throw 'em up on the screen so that we can read. Together. This is Jesus talking to his disciples and he says this Luke 9 23. Then he said to them all, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Look at this next verse for whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me will. Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Now I know we're in church and this is a Bible verse. And oftentimes, uh, when we read Bible verses in church like this that are a little bit confusing, it's easy to just kind of be like, don't know what that means. And let's keep reading. What's Luke 9 25 say and it's easy to kind of brush over these things. But if you could think about these words, that Jesus is saying, like to truly live, to save. Selves. We have to lose our life. What on earth could you possibly be talking about? Like, that makes no sense to us. I don't wanna lose my life. Like our life is all that we have. I, I gotta look out for myself. This is a crazy world. I know, you know, that things are pretty weird out there. I know, you know that we gotta be on guard. We gotta protect ourselves. What do you mean? We gotta lose our lives. I don't want to. and then I start thinking, as I'm thinking about these verses, like what, what on earth do I know about dying? Like death is the biggest question mark we have in this life. There's nothing to Google. There's no mentors you can look to there's no, there's no Ted talk with the ins and outs of what to expect when you die. It's this, it's this massive unknowable reality. And to make it even worse. It's inevitable that a hundred percent of us are going to experience this thing that we really have no idea. Are you feeling encouraged yet? You're like sick. Uh, so there's a couple things going on in these verses. One of the things that I wanna point out to you is that this, these verses from, uh, what Jesus says are just an example of a pattern that we see time and time again in God's word that seem contradictory. There are these paradoxes that seem like they're competing ideals, but really, it just helps us to see that the things that we, that we see around us, the way that, that things are, that, that the way that things are sold to us, oftentimes aren't the way that things actually are right within the will and kingdom of God. So this is an example. If you wanna truly live, you have to die to yourself. There's another part of scripture that says, if you are suffering, count it as a privilege. Counted as a privilege. Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit. He says first shall be last. I don't know why that one was king James. It just felt right. First shall be last. Paul talks about for when I am weak, then I am strong. so a lot of the things that, that, that are just face value to us, like this is just true. This is what it is. This is how it is a lot of times the systems in our world or the guardrails or guidelines of our culture. Don't often line up with what God says is true. This is another example that I we're gonna unpack today in Genesis 22. If we want to live like really live, we have to die to ourselves. We have to be willing to give up our lives in order to live. the second thing that's going on here. It's I, I already mentioned a little bit, but sometimes we mention, we, we read these big sweeping, confusing things in God's word, and we're just like, I guess that's just another spiritual truth. I have no idea what that means. You know, we're just kind of, okay, got it. Let's keep reading. And, and I hope that during our time today, as we dive into Genesis 22, that we can find from this story, some, some practical direction on what this actually looks like. Like die to yourselves in order to live, give up your life in order to save your life. Hopefully from this story, we'll figure out how do we do that? What does that actually look like in our lives? So let's read this story together. Uh, Genesis 22, it's 15 verses long. Uh, but I believe in us, we can do this together. We're gonna read the whole story and then we'll, we'll go back and talk about why it matters. All right. Genesis 22, starting in verse. the word of the Lord says this. Sometime later, God tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham, here I am. He reply. Then God said, take your son. Your only son whom you love Isaac and go to the region of Mariah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain. I will show you. early. The next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son, Isaac, when he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about on the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, stay here with the donkey while I, and the boy go over there, we will worship. And then we will come back to. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son, Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife as the two of them went on together. Isaac spoke up and said to his father, Abraham father. Yes, my son Abraham replied the fire and wood are here. Isaac said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? I always love that. He's like we're missing a pretty important piece. You'll you'll see. Verse eight, Abraham answered God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. My son and the two of them went on together. When they reached the place, God had told him about Abraham built Antar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar. On top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand, took the knife to slay his son, but the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven. Abraham Abraham, here I am here. Do not lay a hand on the boy. He said, don't do anything to him. Now. I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me. Your son, your only son, Abraham looked up and they're in a thicket. He saw Ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the Ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, the Lord will provide. And to this day it is said on the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided. This story has bothered me for a lot of my life. I grew up in the church and knew all the Bible stories. And this was always one for me that I was like, what on earth? Like, what's the win here? What's God trying to do. What's he trying to prove. I had a friend that I grew up with that was at our house a lot. And, and again, I was a pastor's kid, so we just had to go to church on Sundays. It wasn't an option. And he had to come to church with us if he stayed with us and he had no church background. So it was really interesting. Just like stand next to him during worship sets when he's like, what, what lamb are we singing about? What is happening right here? Like, why are we talking about blood so much? And so like, we would, we would get into this rhythm. Where after church, uh, he and I would go to taco bell. Where else would you go? And when you think about it and, uh, woo. Yes, . Okay. I shouldn't say that on stage anyway. So, um, look at that filter I'm growing, but anyway, so we would go to, we would go to taco bell after church and we would like debrief the service, like all the weird things that he experienced and I would do my best to try to make sense of them for him. And I remember one weekend, our, our pastor, our student pastor, uh, preached on this story and I could tell that my friend Kindle. Deeply unsettled by what he had heard. And so we go to taco bell where all revelations come true. And he was like, what on earth is happening with this story? Like, this is so confusing. And he, it really, really bothered him. He's like, this seems like God is so petty. Like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you this promise. I'm gonna give you this calling and, and the sun. I'm gonna bless you with the sun. And then now you gotta kill the sun. I'm just kidding. There's a Ram, like what is happening here? This is such a frustrating story. And I remember when he was telling me all this stuff, I was like 16, 17. I'm like, I'm not sure how to explain this one. This is a tough story. What is God doing here? We'll get there in a minute. But first let's look back on what Abraham is doing in this story and what we can learn. So in verse one, God calls out to Abraham and Abraham's response is so challenging to me. He says, here I am. Abraham is on the journey. Like we are he's on his faith journey like we are, and he's learning how to give God his faith, even when other things are unknown. He's learning how to say here I am. When he doesn't know what's gonna be on the other side of that, he he's learning how to put his trust in God. And God gives him this incredibly heartbreaking, direct. go and sacrifice the sun that I promised you go to this specific mountain that I'll show you and sacrifice your son. I mean, it's just terrible. Verse three early the next morning. I'm sure Abraham couldn't sleep. He's got a pit in his stomach. He's about to step into the worst day of his life, but that doesn't stop him from obeying. He doesn't take his time. He doesn't hesitate. He doesn't, he doesn't run the other direction. Gets up early in the morning loads, his donkey takes a couple of his servants and his son, Isaac. He cuts the wood himself and he starts off on this journey. And it's a long journey. On the third day of this travel, he sees the mountain, he sees the spot where this is going to happen. I love verse five. He says, stay here with the donkey while I, and the boy go over there, look at this. We will worship. And we will come back to you. So they head up the mountain, they have the wood, they have the supplies they need. And before too long, Isaac starts putting some things together. He's getting a little bit suspicious about this plan. Did you see in verse seven? He's like, uh, Hey dad, we're like we got, we got the wood, we got the fire, we got the knife. We're gonna go make, we're gonna go make a sacrifice, a burnt offering to God. I Isaac's like nice. And at some point in the journey he's looking around like, huh. Usually. Usually there's another thing here. That's not here, but I love Abraham's response. Verse eight, God himself will provide the lamb. God needs to show up. He's going, Isaac. I don't know the answer. I don't know how it's gonna work out, but I know that God will provide the lamb. And the two of them went on together. The Hebrew literally says the two of them went in agreement that they had agreed that they were going to do this. I don't know how you always pictured this when you've read this story. Or if this is your first time ever hearing this story, but almost all scholars agree that at this point in the narrative, Isaac is like in his twenties or thirties. He's a young adult, he's an adult male. Like I always pictured this story growing up, like, like Abraham took his like first grade son and duped him into getting up on this mountain, like, okay buddy, we're gonna, I have a lollipop here for you just getting burnt offering like, whoa, but like, that's just not what happened here. That's not the scene that Abraham is north of like a hundred years old at this point. And Isaac is in his twenties or thirties that, that they're both agreeing to do this. Both agreeing to step out in faith. The Hebrew says they went in agreement. They make it to the top of the mountain to the place where God told Abraham to go. And Abraham does what he always does. He builds Anar there. if you were with us last week, this might sound familiar to you when God called Abraham to go to a new land, Abraham goes, and once they get to the new land, the Canaanites already live there. And rather than pout, rather than come up with all the reasons why it won't work, Abraham builds Antar. We said last week that Abraham trades in his worry for worship, he doesn't, he doesn't waste his life asking how, how, how he proclaims in worship. Somehow God is going to meet me here. And even in the sad. Most heartbreaking moment in his life when the plan is falling apart, when it seems like God has pulled the promise back, all Abraham knows how to do is build Anar, man, I don't have, I have just as little answers as I ever have. I don't know how to make sense of this, but I'm gonna trust God, even now in the midst of this confusion and this pain and this heartbreak I'm gonna choose to trust. He's trying to give God the keys, even when it doesn't make sense to him at all. I want to park here for a minute. I think this is huge for us to understand. I had a professor in college Bible college. Hello. And he was talking about this very story. And, and he said something along the lines of, I think this story illustrates a major misunderstanding concerning our relationship with God. See, so often we pray and we ask God for more clarity. for clearer steps to make it known to us the plan. Like we want to ask God for clarity over and over again. And that while we have a loving God that wants to hear all of our prayers, my professor suggested that maybe in this story, Abraham didn't need more clarity. He needed more faith. He didn't need better plans. He needed to learn more how to put his trust in God. And if that was true in Genesis 22, then why wouldn't it be true for us now that all the time we spend asking God for clearer steps or what's happening, or how is this gonna work? Maybe our prayer needs to be God, you gotta help my. Faith where I don't have enough faith. You gotta help me to trust you where I have doubt. You gotta remind me of how you've already gotten rid of all my sins when I'm full of guilt and shame and damaged goods and labels and all the reasons why it can't work. God, you gotta help my, you gotta grow my faith. This is not clear to me. There's nothing that could have been said to Abraham walking up to that mountain that would've made. This made sense. He just needed to put his trust in a really big God. That's gonna meet him on the. And so if that's true for him, why wouldn't that be true for our lives? That the things that God is calling you into, the stuff that God has put in you, the relationships, the people, the new job, the move, whatever it might be, the stuff that seems scary. Maybe you don't need more clarity. You need more faith. You need to go, God, you gotta help me. You gotta make up the difference because I am a doubter. I'm reminded of how screwed up I am. I'm reminded of how much I've fallen short. I'm reminded of all the things I can't do God, but, but then I remember that all the things you can do make up for all the things I can't do, God help my faith grow. Even on this mountain where I'm about to do something unimaginably hard. even in your season of confusion or pain, even in a tragedy, even in a situation that is seemingly hopeless, it's not clear. I have no idea what you're doing God, but help me to believe, help me to have faith. It reminds me of a story in, in mark chapter four, that, that Jesus is sought out by this father who has a demons possessed son. this dad whose little boy has a spirit, a demon in him. And I've only been a dad for three and a half years or so. But man, these stories hit different. Now, when you think about, wow, just imagining your kid going through something like that, how to process that as a parent, it's heartbreaking. There's no way to make sense of this. There is no clarity and the father comes to Jesus. I wanna show you this interaction. Mark nine verse 21. Jesus asked the boy's father. how long has he been like this from childhood? He answered it. It's often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, I love that prayer. If you can do anything, Jesus take pity on us and help us look at Jesus response. If you can, everything is possible for one who believes I love this immediately. The boy's father exclaimed. I do believe. help me overcome my unbelief. You wanna talk about how to honestly pray. You wanna know how to save yourself. You wanna know how to give up your life so that you can have life pray like this, because there are things in this world. There are things in our lives that are not going to make sense. and the more we pray for clarity, I wonder if God's going, you don't need, you don't need to be clear. You need to trust me and don't get it wrong. God wants to hear all your prayers. He's a loving father. So if you're praying for clarity and that's your step into praying, then keep praying for that. I'm just thinking, and maybe God's going. You just need to learn how to trust me more. I'm a fallen sinful, broken dad. And even I have time to hear my three year old daughters like revelations on life. So God has time for you. God wants to hear from. My daughter will say, dad, dad, dad, dad. And I'm like, what, what? This is gonna be earth shattering. She's like, sometimes dogs are brown. Thank you for that. I said, wow, babe. Let's tell the presses. You're right. And I'm broken. Like how much more time does God have? So I'm not saying don't pray, but I'm just saying maybe you need to pray. God, I do believe, but help me in my unbelief. There's gonna be things that don't make sense to me. There's gonna be things that aren't clear. There's gonna be mountains that you call me to go up that do not make sense. God, and I just need to have the faith to trust you. You gotta make up the difference. I believe God, but help me overcome my unbelief. Abraham makes his way to the mountain where he is gonna have the worst day of his life. The walls are closing in all hope is lost and all he knows how to do is to worship a guy that has proven himself over and over again. You wanna save yourself on this journey as we go, as we live, pray like this live like this worship like this, God, I do believe help me overcome my unbelief. so Abraham builds this altar. He binds up his son, Isaac lays him on top of the wood dads. It is father's day. Can I challenge you for a minute? I you're doing great. You're doing great. And, and I think you're doing the best you can with what you have. That's all, any of us can do, and your families are better off for it. But how would this change your family? Your kids. If they saw you praying like this, how would this change? The spiritual temperature in your house? If your kids saw you praying like this, what might that teach them? Man, I don't know. Life seems like it's hard. Dad seems tired, but he can pray, man. He trusts God. I remember when we had our oldest Sophie like a few months in, and I haven't like slept for six months. You just feel like you're high all day. You're like, well, it's happening right now. I don't understand. Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but you know what I mean? And so, but I remember calling just gimme a break. I remember calling my dad and like, I'm like, you haven't slept a night in your life in 30 years. Have you? like, I'm just learning. And he is like, I just love you. And I'm like, that's why you're the best. But like, man, dad's tired. Dad's desperate. Dad has nowhere to turn, but wow. Dad can. Dad knows where to turn when there's no other options. What a beautiful picture of how to rely on God. If they just saw their dad praying, I believe help me to overcome my unbelief because Isaac, as a young man, doesn't get bound up. On top of Antar by his a hundred year old dad, unless he willingly chooses it. This is a story about two men, a young man and his old dad choosing to put their trust in the God that's going to provide. This is not Isaac getting drugged and like tricked into this. He's choosing to trust his dad. And most importantly, his dad's God. And so if we can model that for our kids, for our homes, I think our communities would start to look D. Maybe you've always pictured this story as Abraham and a little boy. It's not what it is. These are two men choosing to trust God, and Isaac is getting a crash course, an incredibly high stakes crash course, and God's gotta show up or else. This is gonna go really, really, really bad. I want my girls to grow up knowing that dad can pray. Like, can we just all stop this? Like macho dad has to have it all together. Garbage. Look at me. I have nothing together. Ask anyone that knows me, you know, along my check engine line has been on. It's not the point, but like, that's just one example. I'm just trying to parade it away. God will provide, I don't know. God, I need you to show up for my engine cuz I'm not going. I want my girls to see, not that I'm tough. Not that I'm big, not that I'm strong, but that man, I have my faith and a big God that wants to meet them the same way he's met me. I want my girls to see that when I'm desperate, when I have nowhere else to turn, I can just, I know how to get on my knees and ask God to meet me on the mountain, to meet me in the confusion, to meet me in the complicated times, because life gets hard. And life was gonna be hard for my two daughters. And I want them to see that when life gets hard, all dad knows how to do is to rely on God, not to rely on my strength or my intellect or my resume, or my salary or my fill in the blank. I want them to see that God, that dad relies on God. And so maybe I should L learn how to do that too. Dads. We gotta pray. God, I believe help me overcome my unbelief. A story goes on Abraham and Isaac on this mountain, Isaac's tied up about to be killed Liga verse 10. Then he reached out his hand. Abraham reached out his hand, took the knife to slay his son, but the angel of the Lord called out Abraham Abraham. Here I am here. Replied do not lay a hand on the boy. Don't do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me. Your son, your only son, Abraham looked up and there in a thicket, he saw Ram. Who was either provided by God or really in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't know I wasn't there, but caught by its horns. He went over and took the Ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son, verse 14. So Abraham called that place. The Lord will provide, and to this day it is set on the mountain of the Lord. It will be provided right down to the wire. God provides for Abraham on a buzzer beater against all odds. Abraham was right. He says, God will provide the lamb. And a lot of these verses end in 14, he names this mountain. The Lord will provide, you might know the Hebrew translation of this is Jehovah Gyra. That song that we sing. And it's not just saying that the Lord will provide, this is beautiful. Don't miss this. It's it's a name for God. It's not a characteristic. It's his name? That's not, the Lord will provide, this is the God who provides. There's not some things that he does. Sometimes this is his nature. You wanna know what type of God we have. He's the God who provides Jehovah Gyra. And this word has so much meaning in it. It can be translated, provide or to see, or to see to it, to see it through, or even to consider. you wanna save yourself? You wanna truly live. The only way is by putting your trust and the God that provides and the God that considers you and the God that sees it through Jehovah Gyra. I want to tell you today that this God who provided for Abraham on Genesis 22, you are on his mind. He considers you, he sees you, he provides for you not sometimes not. This is, this is what he does sometimes. No, this is who he is. Jehovah Gyra. How do we make sense of this crazy story? Why does God put Abraham and Isaac through this? I think it all boils down to one really simple and convicting thing. God is saying anything in your life. even a good thing that is in front of me will get in the way of you truly. Even the good things in your life that you put ahead of God will get in the way of you actually stepping into the life that you are made for. And God is willing and loving enough to work with each and every one of us to get the distractions and the idols and the lowercase G gods that are specific to us out of the way so that we can be invited into life with him. A and your idols, your stuff, your lowercase G gods might be different than mine. God knows each and every one of us enough loves each and every one of us enough to call that out in us specifically, I think about Jesus interacting with the rich young ruler in the gospels. This guy comes to Jesus and he's followed all the rules. he's like, man, I'm doing everything right. I'm checking all the boxes. I go to church every Sunday. I tithe, like I'm doing everything I can. And I love this question. He says, what must I do to be saved? In other words, he's asking Jesus, here's all the rules that I follow. Why isn't this working? Jesus. I'm so good at religion. Why isn't this working? Why do I still not feel it? If it's not this, what must I do to be saved? Do you remember what Jesus tells him? He says, give up all your possessions, all your stuff to the poor and go follow me. Jesus. Doesn't call all of us to give up all of our possessions necessarily. He calls this guy too, because he knew his stuff was in the way of him trusting Jesus. And you can't follow Jesus. If your stuff matters more, you can't follow Jesus. If your status matters more, you can't even follow Jesus. If your religion matters more. What about when Jesus talks with the woman at the, well, he breaks all these cultural rules to have this interaction with this woman. And he calls out the fact that she's had all these husbands in her past to try to save her free her from that. Because Jesus is a loving father. He's close enough to this woman to know that her past her hurt her baggage. Her labels are in the way of her putting her trust in Jesus. And he loved her enough. And that moment to say, daughter, drop the weight, drop the labels, drop the shame. you're free from that step into relationship. He doesn't call it out of her to be mean he doesn't call it out of her to put her on blast. He calls it out of her to say, give that up to step into the freedom that I'm offering you. So what about Genesis 22? I think God is calling Abraham to an intense all or nothing type of faith. And God knows that the most loving thing he can do is to help us. What we have in our lives. That's more important to us than him, because even those good things in your life, they make terrible gods. And I think God's, you know, building this nation through Abraham and he is going, are you gonna trust the blessing that I've given you more than me? Who gives the blessing? Do you just want my stuff? Do you just want my blessing? Do you just want, do you just want a relationship with me when stuff's not going well? Or do you wanna actually follow me? Do you wanna actually step into this for good? Here is a word for the American church in 2022. Are you ready to hear it? Even the very things that God has blessed us with, if we're not intentional will become the gods in our life. Even the very good things that God has given us. If we are not focused on who he is, we'll replace him in our hearts. That's convicting our jobs. Think about your job, man, such a blessing to get, to do whatever you get to do. But if we're not careful, our job can become our God. And my job is this I'm a full-time Christian 40 hours a week. And then some, you know what I mean? This is what I do for a living. and, and I'm promising you. I'm telling you. I had this conversation with God all the time. God is my job as a pastor is my job in working for the church, getting in the way of my ability to depend on you every moment of every day, even good things. If we're not careful, we'll replace God in our hearts. What about your kids? Are my kids, the incredible blessing that they are. Are they getting in the way of my dependence on God? Have they become my God? Has my marriage become my God, has my house become my God, has my school become my God, has my retirement become my God has my status. My. Safety, my comfort. My preferences has my truth. Become my God. What on earth is this story about, it's about a God, a loving father who is perfectly faithful and capable and close range calling you out of settling for alternative lowercase G God's because he loves you enough to meet you on the way up to the mountain going. I think you love this thing more than me and I'm not doing it because I'm some jealous boyfriend I'm doing it because I didn't design you to need that thing more than me. I designed you to need me. I designed you to have relationship with me and to make it even more than that, we're putting so much pressure on our jobs or our spouses or our kids like expecting them to, to replace God in our hearts and wondering why they're not doing a very good job at it. It's because even as beautiful as kids are, they make terrible gods. I don't know about your marriage. I'm sure you have a great marriage as good as your marriage is your wife. Your husband makes a terrible God. So we can't keep putting that pressure on them. when we're complaining about work, when we're complaining about our money, when we're complaining about the government, when we're complaining about culture, look at me, the government makes a terrible God. And I see a lot of things where people are going, why is the government doing X, Y, Z? Cause it's a bunch of people like you and me. We're terrible at being God. If we can take a step back and go, man, I'm gonna go up to the mountain that God is calling me on. And I'm willing to give whatever he needs from me because I trust that my life and his hands is my only chance to live. I trust that my heart and his purpose and in his will is the only chance my heart has to beat. And so I'm gonna stop trying to do this on my own. I'm gonna stop trying to put that weight on my two daughters to like fulfill me or my wife to fulfill me or my job as a pastor, God help me to fulfill me that only God gets to do that only God gets to be God. And it seems like from this story, God is willing to go to dramatic extreme measures to teach us this lesson. because you were created to need God, you were created to follow him and he loves you enough to show you the things that are in the way. Can we offer the same prayer that Abraham did in this story? We see it two different times before things hit the fan. And then right in the middle of it, Abraham says here I. Abraham's availability to God. Doesn't change based on his circumstances. He's given God a blank check. He's like I'm yours. God, I don't care how much it costs. I don't care where it leads me. I don't care what it means for my present or my future. Here's a blank check. God, take me and use me. However you see fit because I trust that you know more about this than I do. I trust that you see on top of the mountain clearer. Than I do. And so here's a blank check. God, I don't know what it's gonna cost. I don't know what it means, but I'm gonna trust you. I'll build an altar when it seems impossible. I'll build an altar when I'm heartbroken. All that makes sense is that you are the God that provides you are Jehovah, JIRA, and you provide, and you consider me and you see me and you are close range. And so here is my life. Here's my heart. Here are my kids. Here's my marriage. Here's my house. Here's my retirement. Here's my stuff. Here's my car. Seriously. God is a Jeep Patriot. You can tape it, just take it. It's all good. No worries. Push it off a cliff. You know, here's my stuff. God, here's my life. Here's a blank check. I'll put my faith in you. No matter what it costs. What is this story about? It's about God convincing Abraham and Isaac and you and me that our lives and his hands. our only chance to live. And if we could just leave this place with the prayer, God, I believe, I believe help me overcome my unbelief, fill in the gaps for me, make up the difference. I think we'll get to step into a new type of life and purpose and meaning. Let me pray for us. God. Thanks for this story. As confusing as it seems as challenging as it is. God, we know that you're a good loving, close range father. Who's designed us for relationship. Who's designed us for purpose and meaning, and we know God that we need you to do that. We need you to, to get there in our lives. And so we just ask that you'll show up for us that you'll meet us, where we. and God, whatever you're calling us into, I pray for all of my friends here. God, that you'll help us to grow our faith in you. We love you. It's a Jesus thing that we pray. Amen. Thanks guys.