[00:00:00] Well, happy new year and welcome to central. My name is Tyler. I'm so excited that you're joining us today and we're going to dive right into God's word. We're going to be in the book of acts. We're gonna be in acts nine and we're going to read 20 chapters. Okay. Or 20 verses well chapters too much, but we're going to read 20 verses.
So if it was your new year's resolution to read a lot about. We got you. And we're starting that off right here right now. So this is chapter nine, verse one, all the way through 20 it's about a man name Paul. Now his name was Saul. Got changed to Paul. Maybe you've heard about him. We're going to look into his story.
It says this, meanwhile Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord's followers. So he went to the high priest and he requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus. Asking them for their cooperation in the arrest of the followers of the way he found there. He wanted to bring them both back men and women, back to Jerusalem in [00:01:00] chains.
As he was approaching Damascus on his mission, a light from heaven suddenly shown down around him. He fell to the ground and he heard a voice saying, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Who are you saw asked and the voice replied. I am Jesus. The one you are persecuting now get up and go to the city.
You will be told what you must do. The men were saw, stood speechless. They heard the sound of someone's voice, where they saw no one. So picked himself up off the ground. But when he opened his eyes, he was blind. So his companions led him by hand to the mask. Where he remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink anything.
Now, there was a believer in Damascus named in an ISDN. The Lord had spoke to him and given him a vision calling . Yes, Lord. He replied, the Lord said go over to straight [00:02:00] street to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He's praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Anna Niaz coming in Atlanta, hands on him so he can see again.
But Lord exclaim in an ISDN. I've heard many people talk about the terrible things. This man has done to the believers in Jerusalem, and he is authorized by the leading priest to arrest everyone who calls upon your name. But the Lord said, go for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles, to the Kings and to all the people of Israel.
And I will show him how much he must suffer for my namesake. So in an ISA went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, brother saw the Lord. Jesus appeared to you on the road. He has sent me so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the holy spirit verse 18 [00:03:00] instantly. Something like scales fell off of Saul's eyes and he regained his sight.
Then he got up, he was baptized after he ate some food, regained his strength saw then stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues saying he is indeed the son of. Wow, what an incredible transformation, something so new is taking place.
Let's pray. God. You're good. Thank you for who you are. Thank you for this time that we have to look into your word, change us from the inside out. Show us something new today. We love you. Jesus. You're so good. You're worthy of all the honor and all the praise. All the glory goes to you and everyone said amen.
Now a month or so ago. I went paint balling. Now, if you're a guy in your mid thirties, you [00:04:00] usually don't go paint balling, unless it's a bachelor party. That's basically the only reason, right. We just saw a lot of 15 year olds there, but anyways, I was there for a bachelor party. We went paintballing and I kid you not before I left, um, my.
It was early in the morning. My wife was like, babe, don't you think he might be a little too old for this? And I was like, whatever. And I just kept on walking. And when my car drove out, huge giant plays like the deserts of Scottsdale awesome paintballing place. And we're having a great time. And, you know, we're shooting paint balls and I'm doing pretty terrible, but I started to get the hang of it.
And towards the end of the day, like one of our last games, I said, I'm gonna go for it. Like I'm going to legitimately go for it. Like I realized the further down the course you get like the better chance you have of just like mowing people down with all these little paint balls. Okay. And so I was like, I'm going to do this and I'm going to make.
Now what you have to understand before this moment, before the, you know, the gun goes off and they [00:05:00] send us to, to go have this battle. I'm remembering a little bit, the video that we watched, because when you first get to a paintballing place, you know, you have to watch the safety video. Okay. Everyone knows that you have to watch a safety video.
So everyone sits there and you watch this video and you usually never pay attention to the video. Let's be honest, but there was this one part I felt very. And they said, if you're in danger, if there's a safety issue, if you need the game to stop for whatever reason, don't say no, no, no. Don't shoot. Don't say pause.
Don't say freeze. Don't say any of that say true. Don't just say it yell it truce. And I'm thinking who's going to be the Porsche buck to ever have to call truce during this like paint ball battle. This what that's crazy. Right. So I'm thinking that's always in my head. Cause it made me chuckle a little bit and was watching the.
But I told them, I guys, I go, guys, I'm always spray as fast as I can. When he says go, I'm going to go to that giant [00:06:00] barricade and I'm going to get there and I'm going to take her one out. I'm a witness for the team. They go, oh, I tell you guys. They're like, hit me on the back. I'm like, let's go. I'm ready.
They say, go. And I spread with everything in me. I mean, I am charging the field like I'm in true battle and I'm spreading everything I got I'm running. So. This is amazing. Like, I feel like I'm 19 right now and I'm going and I'm going, I'm going. And I'm almost at the barricade. I'm almost in safe in a safe spot, so I can start taking people out.
And I hear this pop. And I drop, I kid you not, it was the most painful experience ever. I pull. I literally, I come him back. Like what happened? I ended up tearing my hamstring. I'm shooting like crazy. I fall down face down and I'm screaming droughts. I was like, I'm in agony and people are still shooting.
They were so fired all of their balls. I'm like, no, DROS seriously. This is not a joke. This is not a test. I'm in pain. [00:07:00] Stop, whatever. And then people realize like, oh, this is a, this is a big deal. Like he's calling truths for a reason. I'm an agony. This was the worst ever could not feel my leg at all. It was not fun.
Literally got like rode out of there in an ambulance. That was always a fun ride, pretty expensive. But anyways, Amila now everything's going good. Had the MRI, you know, we're all set physical therapy, whatnot. But ultimately in that moment, I'm thinking I'm the guy that's called. Truce that's the first I probably even said truce.
Like I never even have said that before. I started thinking about this word more and more. What even is the definition of truce? This is the definition. It's an agreement between enemies or opponents to stop fighting or arguing for a certain time. I did a lot of history. I, I did some research on truce on truces and things that have taken place and whatnot.
And [00:08:00] back in world war one, this was suggested by the Pope. At the time, there was something called the Christmas truce. It's the Christmas truce of 1940. Let me read here. What was. Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops fighting in world war one, sang Christmas carols to each other, across the lines at certain points, the allied soldiers even heard brass bands, joining the Germans in their joyous.
At the first light of Dawn on Christmas day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the allied lines across no man's land calling out Merry Christmas in their enemies, native tongues. At first, the allied soldiers feared. It was a trick, but seeing the Germans were unarmed, they climbed out of their trench.
Trenches, shook hands with the enemy soldier. [00:09:00] The man exchange presence of cigarettes and plum puddings and saying Christmas carols and songs. Some Germans lit Christmas trees around the trenches, and there was even documented a case of soldiers from opposing sides, playing a good natured game of soccer.
Look at this picture.
German Lieutenant Kurt recall how marvelously wonderful yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the exact same way. Thus Christmas, the celebration of love managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time. Wow. I mean, that's. That's incredible. I absolutely love that. But while that is so amazing, [00:10:00] it couldn't last by the very definition of truths, it means it can only last for a certain time.
And unfortunately, unfortunately, just hours later, these men were shooting at each other once again in the midst of war, but for a moment, Church. What if a truce could last forever? What if a truce could continue on
C Paul and Jesus had this divine encounter that not only changed a man's name from Saul to Paul, but an entirely new life and mission was created. That honestly has changed the. Now we realize it's officially 20, 22. I don't know if you can believe it, but it's true. It's 20, 22. So as another year [00:11:00] emerges and it evokes ideas of fresh starts and clean slates and new goals and aspirations as it should.
These are all honorable desires. What if we didn't have to keep on making the same lists on our new year's resolutions with the same content over and over a year after year. What if we lean in to the newness that Jesus wants for all of us that lasts forever? Let's take a deep dive on how Paul responds to this experience that we see in scripture.
I know that we'll learn. And not only that we'll be able to tackle 20, 22, not by our own strength, but by looking to God to see what's next. Let me just share three insights for us. Firstly, trust God. We have to trust God. Now I know that might seem so basic. I understand I get it, but it's our [00:12:00] foundation.
We have to trust God. Listen to the words of God recorded by the prophet. Isaiah does Isaiah 43, 18 and 19. Remember not the former things nor consider the things of old behold. I am doing a new thing. Now. It Springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert church.
I've come to believe to my. What holds us back from what holds us back the most from the new God wants us to experience the places he wants to take us is we don't let go of our past, but we have to understand when God does something new. He leaves the old in the past. He says, don't even think about it.
Don't even get sitter. It's God, it's old. It's done. I'm doing something.[00:13:00]
But can I just be real? I do the opposite. I do this so often I do the opposite. I'm so guilty of this. I even pride myself on wealth. I've learned from my past experiences so much, so I'm now wiser. And so therefore everything that I do, it's dictated by my past. So my future is all about what I've, what I've experienced in the past and all the pain and hardships.
And so it's just going to happen, like how it happened before. I mean, we say things like, yay. Yeah. I, I don't think this diet this year is going to work out because it didn't work out last year. Right. We say things like, yeah, this new job is definitely not going to pan out. I mean the last three, didn't this new relationship it's absolutely doomed.
I mean, seriously, look at my track record where. Say hi to my new neighbors, go over and knock on their [00:14:00] door. Absolutely not because they're going to be just like my old neighbors. And when I went over there knocked on the door, they didn't even come to the door. I then left them cookies that I spent all day baking.
No thank you whatsoever. So absolutely not. I'm not going to go over there. Now. My past has told me otherwise, it's not going to work out friends. This is a true. This is the wrong way of thinking. Write this down your past experiences don't have exclusive power over your future. Looking out Jesus called Paul.
You want to talk about past track records? Like he had the worst one ever. He officially won the competition that nobody wants to win. Enacts, the only ones that were phased by Saul's conversion, where the people that knew his past, he had gone, God has called each and every one of us to this new life, [00:15:00] new possibilities, full of hope.
And instead of receiving it, we tell God all the reasons why, yeah, this ain't gonna work out. This isn't gonna work out. We see an immense amount of trust displayed in God. Bye Paul, when this encounter takes place, like we have to realize what to remember how bad Paul really was. Like, don't get it twisted.
He was on his way to go kill Christians. He got permission for this mission to kill Christians. I was like a rap line, but anyways, I'm just telling you, this is what took place. He was terrible. And he had a reputation for being this guy. He could have argued, he could completely disappeared. Everything that Jesus told him he could have just disregarded.
It was Paul changed by Jesus, absolutely 100%. But he had to make his own decision every [00:16:00] single day to be who God had called him to be. Scripture tells us that he prayed to Jesus. Soon as that encounter happened, he prayed. Because when God was talking to an ISDN, he was saying this guy's already praying to me.
And so he's preparing himself so that when you two meet up, he'll understand and know why you're there. He was praying to Jesus,
but we mess up seek because the exact same thing it's, it's true for us. It's so difficult, but we often lack trust, trust in God. We make up so many excuses, we legitimately spend more time making excuses on why we shouldn't do fill in the blank than we do actually filling in the blank, actually doing what God's called us to do.
We need to trust God he's doing something new. He knows what he's doing. We need to trust [00:17:00] in that. It doesn't matter what the past says, matter of what God is saying right here. Secondly, gotta make the truce, make the truce, just like the truth. I feel like Jesus, he skis coming to, to Paul in this moment and he's knocking him down and he's literally like, Hey, could you stop persecuting me?
Could you stop this war? Could you stop this battle? Like, this is not good. I actually knew for you. Like, can we put a pause to all of this? Can we stop this? Just like that truth is taking place. We need to make a truce with ourselves. We to stop this ongoing war within Galatians five, I'm paraphrasing here, but tells us that we're called to live in freedom to live in freedom, but we're not supposed to use that freedom to satisfy our sinful desires.
No, no, no. We're supposed to use that freedom to serve others. To serve [00:18:00] others. See this battle there there's one side. I mean, this is the flesh. Okay. The flesh side is, this is, this is the sinful nature. And then there's the holy spirit living by the spirit. That is God's nature. And I don't know if you've ever done like teach arts.
If you grew up doing teach charts. I did all the time. Like the T charts. Remember you put something over here and something over there and you list out all the pros and the cons. And then you weigh your options, figure out which side you should go with. Think of a teacher and on one side, it's everything God wants you to do.
And on the other side of the teachers, everything that the enemy wants you to do, lists that out, write out the pros and the cons. I guarantee you there's way more pros of doing what God wants you to do.
So the fighting. All the time, the flesh and the spirit, we got to call the truce. We have to call the truth. Now you can't [00:19:00] call a truce with the enemy. The enemy will not comply. You just stop. And this is exactly what Paul did. He looked at the chart, he weighed his options. He saw the pros and the cons. He could have easily listened to his flesh and said, there's no way I'm not good at.
He gonna listen to the others that did not accept him at offers this transformation or even worse. He could have said, I'm just going to go back to killing Christians, but no, he lets Jesus take control and he uses newly found freedom in Christ to serve others. The good news about this is the devil is never going to tempt.
You never get tempted you to serve others. He's only attempt to, to serve yourself. So that's when you realize I probably need to serve up. I probably need to live by the spirit. See he called the truce between himself, him and himself. He looked in the mirror. He couldn't at first cause he blind, [00:20:00] but he looked in the mirror and he said, I'm not just going to make a list of things that I want to accomplish in this new year.
No, I'm going to say I'm done with the old and I'm stepping into the. Job record in the old Testament, did something very similar making this decision, making this truce with themselves job 31 1 says I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. Can we just be real on this? It's kind of strange, right?
Like job's there and he's like, all right, REI. It's me and you. Okay. It's either me or you. It ain't going to be me. So like, let's make a truce here. Let's stop this war. Let's stop this battle. Let's let's agree. Let's make a covenant. Let's make a, a true sear. We're never going to look at a woman with lust.
We have to do the same thing. We have to make this truce no more battle. Making a truce. [00:21:00] Lastly, step into the noon. Step into the newness. Now the new isn't, what we create, this is, this is so difficult for us to understand. It's it's what God has called us to do. Cause I understand. It's so it's so tempting.
It's so convenient to just go our own way, to forge our own path, to do whatever we want to do to make our awesome lists and to make ourselves look great and just go that way and just better ourselves and just kind of disregard what God really is calling us to do, and really has opened up the door for us.
And we just say, no, I'm actually just going to do my own thing, even good thoughts. We're still serving our flesh in that dynamic. We're like, oh, I'm not really doing anything sinful. Well, you're actually just kind of focusing on yourself. Like you need to put your focus back on what God's called you to do, stepping into something new[00:22:00]
'cause I know in my life, every time I try to plan it out every time I try to write it out, every time I try to say, Hey God, man, you're going to be so impressed with what I've put together. And then it just crashes in shame. And God's like, do you want to go my route instead? Actually, it's going to trust me on that one.
It's new, but it's for you.
So let's do something different. Let's do something new. Let's do something maybe for you might be a little scary, like right here in this moment. Take out your phone. You're like, wait, what is, yeah, for real, they got your phone. Take out your phone and I'm going to do this with you. Okay. come on, you can do it.
You get it. All right. And then you're going to text someone that you haven't talked to in awhile and just text them an encouraging message. This will take you 30 seconds. Mine is going to be this. Hey, [00:23:00] it's a new year. Just wanted to say I'm grateful for you. You've had a big impact on my life. I'm praying.
God continues to use your life to bless. Others, boom and scent. Okay. It took that long. So I, I hope you were able to just look through your list. Find some, we haven't talked to in a lot, you know, in a long time and just say, Hey, I'm thinking about you. You're like, just encourage them. That's something new now that might've been super easy for you.
Some of you are like, no, like I can't do it. But I did that to show us that's something new that that's God using us to just give some encouragement to someone else and speak life over them. But that's honestly really easy. What happens when it gets really difficult, really hard. I mean, truly what happens when God calls you into something so new, it's scary.
You feel [00:24:00] like paralyzed. But by it all, like, you don't even want to take that first step because you just don't know. The unknown is so vast that you just want to stay right. Where you're at, what happens when he calls you into something like that, to love someone that that gets no love to reach out to someone that never gets her.
I mean, what happens when God calls you into this newness to change everything about you? I think of Paul, his entire reputation, all of his accolades, all, everything that he had earned and gained in his life, it was gone. He even writes later about it in the scriptures. I counted all his trash as garbage it's done.
All that I focus on now is Christ and what he's done for my life and what he can do for us. But it's scary to do that. It's scary to leave it all behind. Scary to take that step in a newness, because what ends up happening a lot of times when we get called into something so [00:25:00] new well that's, unfortunately when our trust, our trust starts to fade and the excuses they went out, that's when the truce starts to break down and the opportunity that God has given us of stepping into something new is.
Off the table, therefore, church friends, please listen to me. We got to trust God. We gotta trust him. We got to make the truce. We got to step into that newness. I know it's hard. No, it's difficult. I know this this new year. I mean, there's so many unknown. To, to be, uh, to be Frank with you when I was actually writing this message and I posted something on my Instagram story, and I just said, Hey, Ryan, new year's message.
And I just did this little poll on there. [00:26:00] And I just said, Hey, who's excited for 2022. And I gave two options. Oh yeah. And then I had, and I had another option say like maybe 20, 23, 40%. 43%. I think actually said 20, 23. I'm not even looking forward to this year. Can I just tell you, you can take the pressure off yourself.
It's not about what you have to build in this new year. It's about what Jesus has done for you. Just trust him, make the true. And step into the newness. God loves you so much. He knows what's best for you. He knows what's around the corner, even when we don't see it, even when we don't believe it, he knows it's there.
He brings us into it and it's [00:27:00] always, always for your benefit. Let's pray. God, we love. Okay, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you. That led you say put away the old don't even consider the old I'm doing something new like you did in the life of Paul. God, you can do that same thing to us.
Same thing in our hearts, help us to trust you. Help us to make the. To stop that battle within, to live by your spirit and help us to step into the newness as scary as it may be. Let us step into the newness because you're always there. We love you. Jesus. And everybody said,