Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Our hope for a future, our hope for eternity is found in one person and it is Jesus Christ.

Let me invite you to turn to Matthew Chapter 6 this morning. Matthew Chapter 6:25-34.  This is our last sermon in a series called Love Reigns.  We started this series back on Easter Sunday where we took a look at how the Resurrection proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the King.  That, He should be sovereign over our life, that He should reign in our life and that we need to put our faith in our trust and submit our life to Him as Lord and Savior.

The second week, we looked at how love Reigns over our past.  You know, a lot of people have made decisions in their past and they feel like those decisions have separated them from God’s love and they haven’t. There is nothing in your past that will stop God from loving you. Then last week we took a look at how Love Reigns in our present situation, specifically on how we are to live our life in the present being transformed by God, as He works in us so that He can work through us.  And we’re not to conform to the world of round us.  The world is trying to squeeze this into the mold, but we are to be transformed by allowing God to work in us.

Today, if you haven’t guessed it, past present, future.  We’re going to see how God will reign and how Love Reigns over our future.  So let me ask a question.  How many of you wish you could tell the future?  Anybody?  You just wish that you could know what is going to happen?  How many of you have planned something for the future, and those plans haven’t worked out right, because you didn’t know the future?

Now this happened and I told Jennifer I was going to work it in ’cause I always tell stories about her.  I’m going to tell a story about me.  We’re still in the transition of getting to the new house.  I’m setting up the kitchen the way I want it, ’cause it’s my kitchen and nobody else’s kitchen.  I do all the cooking and I love it.  I mean, I absolutely love it.  So Friday we were going to cook our first supper.  I was going to cook our first meal in that house as a family.  So I took every utensil I could think of, my pots and my pans. I had the recipe. I had everything and more and I’m unpacking it. I’m getting it in its place ’cause I want to be able to cook and go through it and about you know 45 minutes.  I’m sitting there and I’m looking at it all beautifully spread out.  Now, again, we planned this.   I’m looking and I notice there’s something missing, the food.   We’ve been doing the HelloFresh meals and so that’s what we were going to cook.  I didn’t bring it.  I brought everything but the food.  So our future, that we thought was going to be having a nice home cooked meal, ended up being the Family House which was a Family House cooked meal.  Even though we can make plans, we don’t always know the future.  But I would love to know the future.

When I was in high school, I wanted to know what I was going to be when I grew up. Teenagers, do you want to know what you’re going to be when you grow up?  But we don’t always know how life is going to turn out.  How many of you know this is going to date me a little bit?  Have or had a magic 8 ball?  It was the ultimate future telling device, right?  It’s a toy, by the way.  Don’t misunderstand. It’s a toy.  I would ask it, this was me middle school Trent. “Will my crush date me?” I would shake it and that little blue liquid, it would always come back every time. “Don’t count on it.”  Guess what it was, right?  But I got the woman in my dreams.

I asked it one time, “Will I get better grades in the future?”  It’s response, “I better not tell you now.”  I didn’t.  High school me, 5’6”, moved up to Varsity as a sophomore.  Thought I was hot stuff. Just ignored the fact that all offensive lineman in the NFL or like 6’2”.  So 5’6” me, took my little magic 8 ball. “Am I going to be an NFL football player one day?”  “Ask me again later.”   As I grew and began to realize it wasn’t going to happen. That was a toy that was developed in the 1950s, but it was so popular and I know it was a toy. And I know it’s fun. But I think it really indicates something about our culture. We do desire to know what the future is. There is an industry of fortune tellers where people call and want to know the future.  There’s an industry in astrology.  There is this desire for us to know the future and to know what’s going to happen.

Now, I’m kind of like that because I don’t like surprises.  I’m meticulous.  I want to know.  The food thing, it kind of you know, bothered me a little bit.  I’m very meticulous.  I want to know what’s going to happen, but we don’t always know what’s going to happen.  We think we know what this afternoon is going to bring, but we don’t know the future.  We don’t know what our jobs are going to look like a year from now.   You know, two years ago, did you think we would be homeschooling and remote learning?  We didn’t know those things.  We didn’t know that most of our jobs would become virtual.  We don’t know what the future is going to hold and I think for a lot of type A personalities, like me, that creates worry because we just don’t know.

You know when I have to make decisions, you can ask Jennifer, I agonize over decisions because I don’t know the outcome, I don’t know what the result is going to be.  I worry myself sick about it because I want to do the right thing.

Now, a few weeks ago, when we were in Philippians, we gave you the answer to anxiety, which was prayer.  We go to the Lord and we pray about all of our worries and all of our stress.  We just give God all of our present and future worries.  But the Bible speaks to worry in several places and in Matthew 6 Jesus Himself speaks to this idea of worry.  A worry that consumes us.  You know, we really can’t let worry consume our whole life if we’re not careful. We can let worry just become the driving forces.

Jesus talks about it in Matthew 6, starting in verse 25, He says. ““Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?  Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?”

That’s a powerful passage of Scripture. It’s powerful words. Jesus said those words over 2,000 years ago to a crowd of people who was experiencing worry about the future. They didn’t know what was going to happen next.  Today, we don’t know what the future holds for us, but yet what I want us to see in this this passage right here, this section, is that God sees you and God cares for you.  God sees you and God cares for you.  He says, don’t worry about your life.  Don’t worry about your daily needs.  Don’t worry about your daily wants.  Why?  Because life is so much more than physical needs.  Life is so much more than physical desires.  Now, the clothing thing I’ve always found funny because we need to have clothes. That’s an important part of life, but I think what he’s saying is don’t worry about where you’re going to get them from.

You know, food, sustain, it sustains us.  We need to eat, but don’t worry about where it’s going to come from.  God is going to provide for you.  Think about you know, all the sparrows, all the mockingbirds, all the hummingbirds.  Man, it’s a beautiful time of year.  Usually what wakes me up are the chirps of all these wonderful birds around the house.  It’s so beautiful.  But you know what?  You don’t hear them like you know how are we going to get the food for our kids?   They’re not like flying around in circles, anxious about where they’re going to get it.  They just live their life.  And guess what?  There’s a worm or they dive down and there’s a bug and they go feed their kids.  They’re not worried about it because they know God is going to take care of them.

So Jesus says, look, God is going to take care of the birds.  Aren’t you more worthy or more valuable than they are?  So I want to see God sees you because you’re valuable to Him.  God doesn’t ignore you.  He loves you.  He cares for you.  If He meets the needs of the creatures, He’s going to meet the needs of those created in His image.  We are created in the very image of God.

You know, I’m studying right now, The Lord’s prayer.  And probably about the end of May or first of June, we’re going to begin a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer, and so we’ve been studying it.  And I’m just reminded of the passage in that prayer.  Give us today our daily.  How many of you need to pray that every morning when you wake up?  Give us today Our Daily Bread?  Give me today what I need to get through the day.

One writer put it this way.  He said, “you know, don’t ask God for more, although you can.  But you know when we get more when, we’re in abundance, we don’t trust God as much, do we?”  And when we have everything that we could possibly need, we just become dependent upon our stuff and ourselves.  You, but don’t ask God for too little, because if we have too little then we are tempted to take matters into our own hands.  Give us today our daily bread, asking God to give us exactly what we need for today’s circumstances, for everything that we’re going to go through today.  Clothes you know, everything.  What are we going to go through today? Today, provide for my needs.  Now, if you’re going to pray it, you better trust.  You have to trust that God is going to meet those needs.  And I know it’s hard because we don’t know the future.  I know it’s hard to say God give me today what I need. I’m not going to worry about it and then, like an hour later, you’re driving down I-85 or wherever you’re going to work and you’re like worried about it.  Or you get to the office or you get on that zoom call and you’re worried about it. Again, that’s a reminder, go to God and pray.  It’s a reminder, trust God.

I do this from time to time.  I have journals I can go back and read from my high school time, my college time I have seen how God has worked in every circumstance I’ve ever faced it.  It teaches us trust.  Remember that time we were going through this and God provided?  I didn’t think He would, but He did.  Remember that time when I was looking for a church to pastor and God provided. Remember that time you were looking for a pastor for your church and God provided?  Nine months into it now, 8 1/2 months into it, we see how we trusted God.  We see how we allowed God to work in our life and He provided for that need. So we need to worry less about the future and we need to trust God’s plans for our life, even if it’s a bad circumstance.

Many people today, many people watching are going through challenges.  They’re going through uncertain times.  The Israelites went through many uncertain times in the Bible.  One was their wandering in the wilderness.  They didn’t have any food.  God gave him manna.  It was just enough for that day and it’s sustained them.  Another time Israel was exiled.  They were kicked out of their homeland.  Remember back in September, we looked at Nehemiah and how the Israelites came back from that exile.  Years before the exile, a Prophet Jeremiah wrote this in Jeremiah 29:11.  “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  That’s Jeremiah 29:11 and most of us know that.  The context is important because Israel is getting ready to go through 70 years of really hard times.  Jeremiah is saying, hey, it’s going to be hard.  It’s going to be long.    God still has a plan for you.  God is still going to walk you through it.  God is going to give you a future and a hope.

Listen, our hope today is found in Jesus.  That’s our hope.  Our hope for a future, our hope for eternity is found in one person and it’s Jesus Christ.  It’s found in the death and resurrection of the Savior.  Have you decided to follow Him?  Have you put your faith in your trust in the Savior?  Are you allowing Him to guide your steps and become more and more like Him and everything that you do?  And that kind of leads into the next little point I want to share with you.

As we’re trusting God and as we’re following Jesus, it’s important that we learn to seek God first.  Seek God first. Jesus continues in verse 28.  “And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these.  If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith?  So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Verse 33 gives us a real huge application. Seek the Kingdom of God. Seek God first.  When I face a challenge, this is just me, maybe you’re not like me, when I face a challenge or when something happens and I’ve got to make a split-second decision, you know what I do first?  I go to a book.  I seek my own understanding.  That’s what I do more times than not.  I try to come up with a solution myself.  Maybe that’s why I worry so much when I have to make decisions.  What the Bible says instead of seeking what we want, instead of seeking what that book says, unless it’s the Bible, I’m not talking about the Bible, I’m talking about a book and less seeking what the guy on TV says or the conference speaker says, seek God first.  Instead of going to our friends first, seek God first.

Now listen, God will speak to us through our friends.  God can speak to us through those books.  God can speak to us through a conference speaker, but let’s go to God first and see where He leads us.  As a church, moving forward, we’ve got a seek God first in all that we do, in every situation that we face today, tomorrow, the next day, the future, 20 years from now.  We have to constantly be seeking the Kingdom of God and the will of God first; goes back to Philippians, through prayer, through reading the Word of God.  Listen if you have an opportunity and you’re seeking God first and I don’t know what to do, ask yourself 2 questions.  One.  Does this align with Scripture?  Does what I’m getting ready to do, align with God’s Word?  Is it sanctioned? Is it approved? Does it fit God’s plan? Because this is His plan for our life. Genesis to Revelation.  The second question you need to ask is does it make me more like Christ?  As Christians, every day we’re going through this process, seeking God, being more and more like Jesus.  Jesus is our model.  So, as we make decisions, is it going to make me more like Christ or is it gonna make me less like Christ?  If I say this to this person, is it going to make me more like Christ or less like Christ.  I can lose my temper as best as anybody?  We say things in the heat of the moment.  Before we speak and before we act.  Is it going to make me more like Christ?  Is it gonna make me less like Christ?

I think that would go a long way in solving the world problems if we would just ask ourselves what would Jesus do?  It’s a bracelet.  It’s a phrase, but you know what?  It’s absolutely true.  What would Jesus do?  So, are we seeking God first in all that we are doing?  Because here’s what I know.  Now, listen, this is important. He cares for you.  He loves you.  He sees you.  Seek Him first and He will guide you because when you are in God’s hands, you are in good hands.  Or put this way, you’re in good hands when you’re in you’re in God’s hands.  You’re in God’s hands, that means you’re in good hands.  When you’re evaluating relationships, should I be involved with this person?  Should I marry this person?  Should I be friends with this person?  Seek God and if God leads you, and if the Bible leads you this way, then it’s probably a good relationship.   It’s like, do I need to do this job?  Do I need to do this job, seek God first because God cares for you.  God loves you.

When you seek God first, no that He has a plan for you.  Know that He’s going to reveal that plan in His way.  This is important, in His time.  See, we want to know the future of like now what’s going to happen now.  What we want to know now what’s going to happen in 10 years.  God timing is so much different than our timing.  We’ve learned that.  It may not happen in our time. It’ll happen in God’s time. Doesn’t mean God loves you less.  He knows what’s best for you.  He knows what’s right for you, and He knows when you need it.  And it’s not always what we want.  Sometimes we think we know what we want and God says no, you really don’t need that, you need this.  Trust God’s plan and God timing in every circumstance in every situation.

I really did think I was going to play football in college.  I knew I wouldn’t be an NFL player, but I really did.  I prayed, a lot about playing college football.  And you know what?  I had an opportunity.  It was a small school.  I wouldn’t have played, but I could have gone and been on the team and practice, but I really thought that was what God wanted for me.  Circumstances happened my senior year and things fell through.  Just fell through.   Devastated because now I didn’t know the future.  Now I’ve told this story a little bit before, but it led me to Pfeiffer instead of Guilford.  And the first day I stepped on Pfeiffer’s campus, I met Jennifer.  I was praying and I was seeking after God’s will.  And that event, ultimately, put me here.  Because meeting her led me to part time ministry at the church we were at.  Led me to full time ministry, which ultimately led here.  It’s a beautiful story.  God’s plan, we can’t always see it unfold, but He’s got one for us.  You gotta trust Him.  You gotta trust Him.  You just have to say Jesus, it’s yours.

So here’s what I want to do as we kind of wrap up, I’m going to ask Graham and the guys come play, but I want to do something a little bit different.  As they’re playing soft music, I’m just going to ask you to bow your head and close your eyes.  I want us as a congregation, you, as an individual, to take some time and pray.  I want you as an individual, as a person, as a family, take time to pray.  Give God all your worries, all your cares, all your concerns.  You know the unknowns and the uncertainties about the future, just confess it.  Tell God you don’t know what’s gonna happen and you’re worried and you’re scared.  Be honest with God, telling you want it this way. Just give it all to God.  And then ask God to open your eyes so that you can trust His will for your life more fully.  Silent prayer, just everybody silently heads bowed, eyes closed.  Go to God with your worries with your cares, your concerns and at the end of it just say Lord I trust You.  So let’s just pray.

As you are praying, every head bowed, every eye closed, as you pray, ask God to open your heart.  Do you need to make the decision today to follow Jesus?  You’ll hear the Spirit speaking to you.  Your hands will be getting sweaty, your heart will be pounding and you’ll just know the Lord, saying, hey, today’s the day you need to step out on faith.  Seek the Lord.  Let Him draw you into His presence and just ask Him in this moment.  Today say Lord, I want to follow You.  If there’s anybody here who needs to make that decision, pray to God now just to save you, to lead you into a relationship, to forgive you of your sins.

Father, we thank You so much for the worship we’ve had today.  We thank You for Your presence being in this place.  We thank You for moving in our hearts and in our minds.  Father, we know the future is uncertain.  We don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow or this week, but You do.  Not only do You know it, You control it.  And we know that things may not happen the way we want, or the way we think, but they happen the way You have planned out.  They happen in a way that brings You honor and glory and ultimately works for our good.  Father, I pray that You would take our worries away from us.  Give us peace in our circumstances.  Give us peace with the future, whatever that may be.  And Father in every such situation, every circumstance, help us to fall to our knees and seek You and Your Kingdom first.  Let Your Word be a daily priority for our lives.  Help us to live as citizens of heaven, worthy of the Gospel that You have called us to.  Father, I pray this morning that if there’s anybody here who’s never made a decision to follow You, that You would give them the courage and the will to step out on faith and to come and make that decision.  That You would just prick their heart in such a way where they know they need to confess their sins.  They need to believe in You and they need to make that decision to surrender their life, surrender it and to follow You and to become Your disciple.  Father, we ask all this in Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.