Sure Steps for Uncertain Times - Psalm 27 - Skip Heitzig
Hey, welcome to Calvary Church at Home. I'm Pastor Nate. This is Pastor Mat. We are so excited to welcome you here into our online worship venue wherever you're joining us from-- YouTube, Apple TV, Roku, or our live site. Whether you're by yourself or with a watch party, we are so excited that you're here and that we can worship together as a family.
That's right. And in times like this, we need each other more than ever. And even though we're not together here in person, you're not with us physically, you're still with us in spirit. And you know this, that the church is not a building. Isn't that right?
We are the church. You are the church. But the way that we do church is going to look a little bit different. So we want to tell you about that and what it's going to look like during this season. And we're going to be streaming all of our services during our normal service times-- Wednesday night at 6:30 PM, Saturday night at 6:30 PM, and our three Sunday morning services 8:00 AM, 9:45, and 11:30 AM. And you can join us on YouTube or Roku or Apple TV.
But we would really love to point you to our new web site live.calvarynm.church because it has the most resources for you. In fact, we have pastors and team members that are online able to chat with you right now and pray with you. In fact, there's a button in the bottom right-hand corner that says Live prayer. And we would like for you to click on that and let us know how we can be praying for you. You can also read your Bible and take notes right on that web site.
Hey, one thing we're so excited to launch as this is rapidly moving-- we want to make sure that you have enough fuel to get you through the week. And so starting Monday, we're launching a brand new weekly lineup. Every weekday, Monday through Friday, you can have quality content for your quarantine. We have kids programs, youth programs, worship, best of teaching that we've hand selected that we think can give you encouragement through this entire process.
And we're also launching a brand new program called Table Talk with Skip and Lenya. My mom and dad are going to go live every day at 2:00 PM answering your questions, talking to you, corresponding with you. They're going to be live on Instagram, live on Facebook.
And our entire weekly lineup will be at calvarynm.church/athome. So you can go to that web site, see what the weekly lineup is, and join us throughout the week so that you can get some encouragement to get you through each and every tough day that you're experiencing.
Yeah. We're also introducing something that we call watch parties. We're here in a small group. And we would encourage you, if you're healthy, to gather in groups of 10 or less. And now more than ever, we need each other. I said that earlier. And we need a certain level, I think, of human interaction, that even though we have to be kind of in our homes in smaller groups, we can still be together.
And so you can host a watch party by inviting some of your friends over, 10 or less people, and worshipping with us. Or you can join a watch party near you. And you can sign up and find out more at calvarynm.church/athome. And we also want to see how you're doing church and when you gather together. So please tag us on social media. Just tag us @calvaryabq.
We also want to be wise. And so if you are part of our at-risk population, you're sick, we just ask that you stay home. Don't show up to a watch party coughing up a lung. Also, if you're elderly, you have pre-existing conditions, we encourage you to just enjoy Calvary Church at Home in the comfort of your own home so that we can make sure to keep you safe.
We really want to make sure that we're caring for our community in this entire evolving situation. And that's why we're launching something called the Kindness Campaign. The coronavirus pandemic is literally affecting everybody across the entire globe.
And in the middle of all the panic and the fear, there is a lot of meanness that we're experienced in the world-- people fighting over toilet paper in the shopping malls and the supermarkets. And so we think the world needs a little bit of kindness in the midst of all this chaos.
Yeah, that's right. And there's three legs to that Kindness Campaign. There's three ways we're going to show our city kindness. First off, we, our pastors and our staff, are calling everyone in our fellowship. If we have your contact information, we are getting in contact with you just to check in and to pray for you and see how you are doing.
We're also collecting practical items so that we can meet real needs-- paper products, hand sanitizers, soaps, cold and flu medicine, baby formula. We've got a whole list on our web site calvarynm.church/athome.
And then you can drop those items off curbside. You don't have to get out of your car. You can drop them off curbside at our Osuna campus, our Westside campus, and our Santa Fe campus during normal business hours.
And then we're going to take those supplies. And we're going to deliver them to the people that are at risk and at home. So we're taking phone calls at 505-344-0880. We're going to find out what the needs are. And we're going to deliver those items to those people in need.
Right now, more than ever, the world needs hope. And we as a church are not slowing down. The way we're doing church is looking differently, but we are doing church. And church isn't just about a Bible study and worship. Church is about getting in the community and being the church. And though our doors are closed, we're still doing so much to bring you hope and to bring you life from God's word and hope to this city.
And so we ask that you would consider partnering with us. We can't do this on our own. We want to meet the needs of this city of our congregation, but we need your help to do it. So we want you to partner with us not just by dropping off some of these items. But you can also partner with us by giving financially. We believe that generosity multiplies capacity. And we can do a lot more in this city if you are partnered with us.
So if you're not already set up for recurring giving, or you want to give a one-time gift, you can click Give in the top right corner of the feed at live.calvarynm.church. Or you can text CALVARYABQ to 77977. Of course, you can always give on our app or by going to calvarynm.church and giving that way as well.
Hey, we know that we covered a lot of new information. So we just want to reiterate that web site one more time so you can find out all about everything we just talked about. It's calvarynm.church/athome.
But we here are now going to start worshipping. We're all going to stand up on our feet. We're going to ask that you stand up on your feet, that you sing loud. Let your neighbors know about the God that you're singing to. We are going to raise all of our voices as one voice all across our nation right now.
We're so glad you decided to join us. Fear doesn't stand a chance in the presence of the King. Amen?
(SINGING) When darkness tries to roll over my bones, when sorrow comes to steal the joy I own, when brokenness and pain is all I know, I won't be shaken. No, I won't be shaken. Sing it out. My fear. My fear,
'Cause my fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love.
Shame no longer has a place to hide. I am not a captive to the lies. I'm not afraid to leave my past behind. No, I won't be shaken. No, I won't be shaken.
'Cause my fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love.
Yeah, there's power. There's power that can break off every chain. There's power that can empty out a grave. Oh, there's resurrection power that can save. There's power in your name. There's power in your name. Oh, there's power that can break off every chain. Oh, there's power that can empty out a grave. Yes, there's resurrection power that can save. There's power in your name. There's power in your name.
'Cause my fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. Oh, no, I'm standing in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love. My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in your love.
Oh, I'm standing in your love. I'm standing on the rock. Oh, I'm standing in your love. Yeah.
Thank you, Jesus. God, just remind us in times of doubt, in fear, you're all that we need. You're still enough for us, Jesus. Jesus Christ.
(SINGING) Oh, Christ is my reward and all my devotion. Now there's nothing in this world that could ever satisfy. Through every trial, my soul will sing. No turning back. I've been set free.
Christ is enough for me. Oh, Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you. Yes, everything I need. Oh, Christ my all in all. My joy and my salvation. And this hope. And this hope will never fail. Heaven is our home. Through every storm my soul will sing. Jesus is here. To God be the glory.
Christ is enough for me. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you. Oh, everything I need. Oh. 'Cause you're enough for us. You're still enough.
I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. Because I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back.
Oh, Christ is enough. Christ is enough for me. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you. Oh, everything I need is enough. Oh, Christ is enough for me. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you. Oh, everything I need.
I've decided. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back.
Yes, God. Yes, Jesus.
Thank you, Father. We can do nothing without You, God. May You rise up inside of us, Jesus. Thank you, Father. I just give it all to Him as we sing these verses and choruses out. Trust You, Jesus.
(SINGING) The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now. The Savior knelt to wash our feet. Now at His feet we bow. The one who wore our sin and shame now robed in majesty. The radiance of perfect love now shines for all to see.
Your name, your name is victory. And all praise will rise to Christ our King. Your name, your name is victory. And all praise will rise to Christ our King. Yeah.
(SINGING) And the fear that held us now gives way to Him who is our peace. His final breath upon the cross is now alive in me. Amen. And your name, your name is victory. And all praise will rise to Christ our King. Your name, your name is victory. And all praise will rise to Christ our King. Yes.
By His spirit we will rise. Amen? By His spirit, we will overcome.
(SINGING) By your spirit, I will rise from the ashes of defeat. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. In your name, I come alive to declare your victory. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. By your spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat. The resurrected king is resurrecting me.
In your name, I come alive to declare your victory. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. By your spirit, I will rise from the ashes of defeat. Amen. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. In your name, I come alive to declare your victory. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. Is resurrecting me.
(SINGING) And death could not hold you. The veil torn before you. You silence the boat of sin and grave. The heavens are roaring the praise of your glory, for you are raised to life again. You have no rival. You have no equal. Now and forever God you reign. Yours is the kingdom. Yours is the glory. Yours is the name above all name.
Oh yes. Death could not hold you. The veil tore before you. You silence the boat of sin and grave. The heavens are roaring the praise of your glory. For you are raised to life again. Come on, sing it out. You have no rival. You have no equal. Now and forever God you reign. 'Cause yours is the kingdom. Yours is the glory. Yours is the name above all names.
By your spirit, I will rise from the ashes of defeat. And the resurrected king is resurrecting me. In your name, I come alive to declare your victory. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. By your spirit, I will rise from the ashes of defeat. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. In your name, I come alive to declare your victory. The resurrected king is resurrecting me. Yes. Is resurrecting me.
Amen, come on.
(SINGING) Oh yes.
Yes, Jesus, we are alive because of you, God. Yes, God.
(SINGING) The tomb where soldiers watched in vain was borrowed for three days. His body there would not remain. How come? Because our God has robbed the grave. Our God has robbed the grave. Oh yes, we thank you God, we thank you, God. Oh yes, king of kings, Lord of lords, yeah.
And your name, your name is victory. And all praise will rise to Christ our king. Your name, your name is victory. And all praise will rise to Christ our king. Yes. Oh, because of you. Oh, because of you, Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Father. We give you praise. And Father, we pray that our trust would be in you, that we would trust you with all of our heart, that we would not lean on our own understanding, and that in all of our ways, we would acknowledge you, God, that you would make our path straight, Jesus. We give everything to you. We surrender it all to you, and we thank you. In Jesus' name, amen. Thank you for worshipping with us.
Well, here we are. We made it once again. We're so glad you joined us for this weekend worship at Calvary. We're doing it a little bit differently, as you can tell. But I'll tell you what. Hearing these songs that we've been singing, the familiar songs, and seeing Drew and Tamara, hearing their voices just lighten my heart. Whether we're coming to you on screen or you're here publicly and we could hug you, we're just glad you joined us. And we believe and trust that God is going to lift your heart and draw you closer to him.
I've said this before, but this 2020, this year has been really strange for me, because I've been in the hospital for three surgeries, and I couldn't wait to get out and hug people that had been praying for me. And only to find out there's a coronavirus, and I can't hug people. So again, I just can't wait till we get together again. I just want you to think of that. Keep that thought in your head, in your heart, that one day this is going to be through. We're going to be getting back together, and we're going to be enjoying one another's fellowship real time once again.
Well, grab your Bible, wherever you are, in your homes, on your device, here on the platform, and turn to the book of Psalms, Psalm 27. Psalm 27. Any crisis brings anxiety. And an international crisis brings a heightened anxiety. Your life lately has not been what it normally is, and you are thinking now differently about life than you have thought in the past.
When you're talking to someone now, thoughts like, "am I far enough away from this person?" Those thoughts are dominating your mind. When a package comes to your house, you're wondering, should I clean it off? Should I disinfect it? Should I open it? You are second guessing your life like never before. You are thinking about grocery shopping, hugging your kids, family life way differently than ever before. That's called stress. That's anxiety. Those are things that we are living with now in this new normal for a while.
One counselor, one therapist, said the coronavirus anxiety is running so high that all my therapy patients want help coping. That is why when you get on Google or when you get on Instagram or whatever platform, you're noticing these little messages about precautions, coping, how to deal with it. You're always being reminded of it.
So let me just say it's normal to be afraid. It's normal to be fearful. It's natural to do that. But we're not called to natural living. As Christians, we are called to a higher plane of supernatural living. And God does want us to live there. We can address what we're dealing with, but we can move beyond it.
Well, that is why we go to the scriptures, because there is no better place to take our cues for supernatural living than the word of God. And of all the places in the word of God, I think Psalms is one of the best places, because so many of the Psalms reflect our actual experiences. Whether David or Asaph or the sons of Korah wrote that Psalm, we often resort to the Psalms because we read it and go, well, that's exactly what I'm feeling or that's exactly what I'm dealing with.
So in Psalm 27, and by the way, I'm going to be looking at this more devotionally, more applicationally, not just exegetically, though I'll go there, but not much. I really want to apply these things to our lives. Psalm 27 is a time of national crisis. We don't know exactly what is going on, but we know it's a time of national crisis, because the language in the Psalm reflects that. But it's also a time of personal crisis for the author of the Psalm, none other than David.
Now, here's where it gets a little dicey. David had so many crises in his life that it's hard to pick which one he was going through. He was hated by his family. He was hunted by Saul. He was chased down by Goliath. He was attacked by the Philistines. There was a civil crisis going on at several times during his reign. His son Absalom rebelled against him. So take your pick. It's hard to know exactly what he was going through, but he was going through something that affected him personally and his country nationally.
We know that because of some of the words in this Psalm, words like wicked, enemies, foes, the army, war, false witnesses, and breathing out violence. So there's some kind of warfare going on in David's life that he is going through, writing about. And what I find interesting as I read through the Psalm is that it's the same language that experts are using regarding the coronavirus. I hear them saying we're at war with this thing. We're going to win this war. They're talking about an invisible enemy that we have.
So Psalm 27 is very applicable to what we are all in this world right now dealing with. But here's the great news. Though the Psalm has those words in it, it has other words in it like strength, confident, beauty, sing, salvation, and goodness. So what that means is Psalm 27 gives to us what the believer's life is to be marked by in a time of crisis.
And I'm going to give to you five things that should mark your life. I hope you're taking notes, because your homework is going to be to use Psalm 27 as your own personal prayer points. We need this psalm. Because as malls are closing and stores are closing and restaurants have closed and theaters have closed, we're feeling very uncertain about the future. We need sure steps in uncertain times. And this Psalm gives it to us.
So the first step to take in uncertain times is the step of vigilance. That just simply means being alert, being aware. We observe what's going on around us. In verse 2 of this Psalm, David says, "when the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh." He's noticing this happening in real time. In verse 3, he says, "though an army may encamp against me."
So all of that to say that David was aware, not ignorant, of the threat that was going on around him. He was aware that he lived in a world filled with wickedness, wicked people, enemies, and he lived in a dangerous world. There were life threatening circumstances in David's life when he wrote this.
So here's where we find ourselves. It's not that we have a lack of information. We know what's going on around us. In fact, we've all become amateur experts the last 10 days. We know words we never heard of before and now we're talking about COVID-19 and talking about infection rates. And like, who did that before? So it's not that we lack the information. There's an overload of information. We have to be very careful where we are getting our sources from.
We do have to be aware of the potential danger. Most everybody is. And let me drill down a little bit into that. Knowing the potential danger that is ongoing, that has really shaken some people's faith to the very core. It's as if people are saying, oh yeah, I notice that this is going on around me, but I also noticed God isn't doing anything to stop it.
So the big question in many people's minds is the age old question that comes up every time something happens out of our control. How can a good and loving God allow evil like this to happen? It's the same question asked on September 11, 2001. It was the same question asked in World War II when people stood in front of Nazi concentration camps. How can God allow evil to happen? And so many conclude there must be no God. If God is all powerful and all loving, this could not happen. So where is He?
Here's the answer. Right in the middle of it. God is right in the middle of this. Not only did He see this coming and not only can he control it. He's in the middle of it. What do I mean by that? Well, Christianity is built on the life of a man who suffered and died. Think of the very worst things that could happened to any human being in terms of pain, suffering, humiliation, and Jesus went through that. In fact, we talk about that all the time.
So we live in a fallen world. Ever since that fall, the fall of man, there has been sin, there has been violence, there has been corruption, and there has been pain. And the Bible speaks about that. The Bible speaks about things like earthquakes, lightning that cause fires. It talks about destroying winds. The Bible, of course, speaks about the flood and other floods. These are a part of Biblical history as well as history in general.
So the Christian is not naive about this. We don't close our eyes to the fact that there is evil in our world. We know that Jesus said that God causes the sun and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. Job, who suffered horrible things, including the death of his family, he understood that. He said, "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
So any thinking Christian is not naive about this. Any thinking Christian knows that God doesn't automatically immune us from tragedy, doesn't always heal us miraculously. It was Chuck Colson a few years back who said it is absurd for Christians to expect a miraculous answer to every need, from curing ingrown toenails to finding parking places. This only leads to faith in miracles instead of faith in God.
So dear Christian brother or sister, does God calm storms? Yes, he does. We've seen Him do that in our own personal lives, as well as the pages of scripture. But most often, He calms us in the midst of the storm. And that's what I am praying for you. You're going through it. We're all going through it. Stay calm. In the name of Jesus, you can do this, and He can calm your nerves and give you faith.
But the Biblical perspective is one of vigilance. We are aware. We are alert. Evil is real. There are many reasons for evil that exist. But one day, one day, God is going to eradicate all evil from this world so that it will not exist perpetually into eternity. Know that. You say, what do you mean there's reasons for evil? Oh yes.
I can't answer why every evil thing happens, but I can answer why there is evil in the world. Number one, there is the activity of a super being called Satan. We have a super God, but He created a being that is a super being with a free will called Satan who wreaks havoc in this world. He rebelled at some point in the eternity past, and we are still feeling the repercussions of that today. So that's number one.
Number two, rebellion in man's heart. When Adam chose and the world fell, that is the fall of man, and God cursed this earth, by the way. God pronounced a curse on the ground, on planet Earth. Adam had choice, and we are simply replications, reproductions of Adam and Eve. So fallen people hurt other people. And that's moral evil. That happens. So there's a super being, there's fallen people who hurt other people.
But then number three, we have freedom of choice. We can choose to say yes to God. We can choose to obey. We can choose to rebel. God didn't make people robots. He allows them lots of latitude in His sovereignty and in His grace to make a lot of choices, some good, some bad.
Number four, there is natural law. And because God cursed the Earth, there are natural laws that happened. I remember when Katrina happened and people said, "how can a God of love allow Katrina to happen?" Yet the city that it destroyed was built under sea level with walls they knew couldn't protect category four storms. And the storm came. So when we defy natural laws, expect evil to happen.
If I try to defy the law of gravity by jumping off a building, it's not going to be a good outcome. If I walk in the middle of a freeway when oncoming traffic, not a good outcome. So I can't defy laws put in place. And as a Christian, I can't apply this crazy, quick fix of saying, I bind this evil in the name of Jesus. Because evil is going to happen, because we live in a fallen world. So we need vigilance. We need to be aware. We need to be alert.
Now, having said that, we certainly cannot stop with being alert. We can't stop with being vigilant. We can't stop with being aware, because if you stop at the information, the information will kill you. It'll crush you. If all you're doing is going on your Twitter feed and news feed and that's all you're doing, you're just going to give up. So the second step after vigilance is confidence.
Now, watch what David does in this Psalm. "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?" In verse three he says, "Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me," look at this language, "in this I will be confident." You see how he in the same verse talks about fear and confidence? There is fear, but I'm confident. I'm not going to be afraid.
Now, fear is the most typical emotion in a crisis. That's why soldiers are trained to harness it. That's why police and firefighters are trained to harness it. They're trained to take their fear and channel it. David does the same thing but in a theological manner. David here is being theologically logical. He's thinking through the implications of an all powerful God who is sovereign, yet he lives in a world filled with evil. So he is being theologically logical. And he's saying, since the Lord is my light and since the Lord is my salvation, that's why I'm not going to fear.
In other words, if there is a God and if that God is as the Bible declares Him to be, I need to be more afraid of Him than what's going on around me. And isn't that exactly what Jesus said? He said, do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.
So if there is any fear here, it should be, what is God going to do with my life, and what am I going to do with this God? That's what we need to be thinking of. See, I don't have to be afraid of an enemy that is unseen. I have a friend that is unseen. The Lord. He is my light and my salvation.
Now, I love the fact that David said the Lord is my light, because one thing we all know about darkness, when it gets dark, when the shadows come at night and we have to turn on the little lights in our house, darkness usually accentuates people's fear. That's when our imaginations come out of the closet and get all wonky and weird on us. We start imagining weird things. The what ifs come out at night. What if this happens? What if that happens? We're always dealing with those scenarios.
So the Lord is my light. Now, in the Bible, light physically speaks of the glory of God. Light is always pure and brilliant in quality. So it speaks of God's glory. Morally, light speaks of the holiness of God. He is always pure morally. He has a spotless character. Intellectually, light speaks of the knowledge of God. So think of all those implications. The Lord is my light. Think of it physically, morally, intellectually. God knows everything. So He is omniscient.
I love in Exodus Chapter 3, the children of Israel are facing an affliction. And God said, "I have seen the affliction of my people. I have heard their groans, and I am come down to deliver them." That's the light of God. That's the light he's speaking of. So you can't see God, but God can see you. God sees right where you're at. Because He can see you, you can live confidently.
I was reading about, the Impala, the African Impala. You can go to the zoo, probably just about any zoo, and see an Impala. What you may not know is you're looking over that little fence and looking at the Impala. That little three foot high fence that keeps that Impala in. Did you know an Impala can jump 10 feet high? And when he jumps 10 feet high, he can cover a ground of about 30 feet in that 10 foot jump. Yet a three foot fence keeps him contained.
You want to know why? It's because an Impala will not jump if he can't see where his feet are going to land. That means this creature lives completely by sight and not by faith. What does the Bible say about us creatures? We live by faith and not by sight. We can jump in the dark because God is light. That's where we can trust, because of who He is.
So the first step is vigilance. We're aware. We gotta know what's going on. We have to take precautions. But confidence. The Lord is my light. Whom shall I fear?
The third sure step in uncertain times is the step of reverence. Worship. We need to pause after realizing who God is to worship. In verse 4, he says, "One thing I have desired of the Lord and that will I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble, He shall hide me in His pavilion.
In the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me. He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. Therefore, I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tabernacle. I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, Oh Lord, when I cry with my voice. Have mercy upon me and answer me."
Here's what I love about the way David crafts this Psalm. It's as if he's saying, when trouble overwhelms me, I'm going to let God overwhelm my trouble. I'm going to bring God so near in my worship that I'm going to be overwhelmed by him and let God overwhelm my trouble.
Think of Job. We've talked about him already in this study. We all know about him. But we also know about Job's wife. She was overwhelmed by the sorrow happening to her husband and in her own family, the loss of her children. And she was so overwhelmed by it, you know what she said, curse God and die. That's was what she said to her husband. Curse God, dude, and just die. But fake news, I like that. But what I love is how Job was so overwhelmed by God because he said, it says he fell to his knees, and he worshipped God. Now, we have the same choice.
And I'm noticing how people are making choices. If I look at Twitter and I'm looking at the feeds, I get prominent Christian leaders, and I watch the hundreds of people that respond. Many of them respond to this by cursing God, while others respond by calling on God. And you can see in reading that the emotions that are behind that. So trials have a tendency to move us toward God or move us away from God.
I was making phone calls this week to people in our church, some who are elderly, some who are sick, and just to hear the words of faith, not fear was so encouraging. Some of you that I talked to, you have such a love for God and trust in Him, and you're not fearful of this. You're going to go into the future. And some are facing terminal illness.
I spoke to a young lady who has a few weeks to live. But she had such a joy in her heart, surrounded by her family, filled with faith. It so encouraged me that you can let God overwhelm your problems. That's what David does. He assesses the danger, he expresses confidence, and he worships God.
Many years ago when there was another crisis in the world called World War II and London was being bombed by the Nazis, one church hung a sign out front that said, "if your knees are knocking, kneel on them." I love that. Be moved in the right direction. Be moved in prayer.
And that's where David's at here. He says, "there's one thing I have desired of the Lord, and that I will seek. To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Notice how emphatic David is. He is so focused. He has a single minded passion of pursuing God. It's like he's looking for God in the scope of his rifle and he's going to hone in and 0 in on him alone in pursuing him alone.
We've learned one overarching truth in this trial called coronavirus, and that is life is unpredictable. It's unpredictable. No one saw this coming. Maybe a few people predicted it as an outside chance, but no one saw this coming like it came. Which means long before the crisis happens, you and I need to be prepared for it. David was prepared before the battle actually hit by his time of prayer with the Lord. Whether you were prepared or not, you can prepare quickly right now, Cliff Notes preparation, by letting your life daily be filled with worship and prayer.
Jesus said this. Men ought always to pray and not to faint. So ask yourself, and then move on from this, but ask yourself, typically in my life, has prayer been a first response or a last resort? A lot of people say it's a last resort, honestly. And maybe you're praying now like you've never prayed before. Good. And let that continue after the crisis ends.
But I want you to notice something before we move on to the next point. That is in verse 4, he talks about beholding the beauty of the Lord. One thing I've desired of the Lord, that will I seek. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
I know a lot of us are beholding a lot of ugly things happening. We're beholding the news as the death toll rises. We're beholding Netflix. Some of us are binge watching like never before. Or Amazon Prime movie channel. You need to take time honestly to behold the beauty of the Lord. Go outside on these beautiful spring days and look at the leaves turning green again and life coming back into our environment. The birds that are singing. Somebody sent me a tweet today of the birds outside singing and not worrying, based on our last lesson. Do that. Behold the beauty of the Lord.
So vigilance, confidence, reverence. The next step is obedience. Obedience. Yep. There's no excuse for not obeying God. Verse 8 tells us, "When you said, 'seek my face,' my heart said to you, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'" Look at what he prays in verse 11. "Teach me your way." That's an obedient heart. "Teach me your way, oh Lord, and lead me in a smooth path because of my enemies."
Notice how quick David's response is. As soon as you said seek my face, I said, OK, I'm going to seek your face. Now, here's a question. How did the Lord say to David, seek my face? Could be that he just audibly said, hey, David, seek my face. Or, and this is what I think, probably through the present distress he was experiencing. The enemies, the war, the vitriolic language that he heard. Being surrounded in whatever situation he was, he probably heard the Lord nudging him through the experience to seek his face.
So it's as if David, and this is what I believe is the heart here, it's as if David is saying, this crisis has amplified God's voice better than ever before. Now, think about that. Because trouble amplifies both the reality that we are in a fallen world but also amplifies our need to keep our priorities. You've all heard this, I know, many times. C.S. Lewis' famous quote. He said, God whispers to us in our pleasures. He shouts to us in our pain. Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
So what has God been shouting to us lately? Well, I can think of a few things. Number one, the brevity of life. Life is short. There's only one thing guaranteed for all living creatures. Death. We're all going to die. Could be a traffic accident. Could be a heart attack when we're 104. It could be next week. The brevity of life. And as we see the death toll rising, I think it's a good thing to be reminded of the brevity of life.
Number two, God might be shouting to us of misplaced priorities. Up until this time, this country has bragged about its great economy, bragged about its strength. We are brought to our knees. We're in a place of humility now. And another thing God may be shouting is the reality of heaven and hell. And maybe you're not really right with God. Maybe you haven't received Christ as your Lord and Savior. You need to be ready. You need to be ready.
So because of the overwhelming nature of crisis, we usually tend to be reactive rather than obedient. And we're limited into what we can do. The Bible says we should gather together. We can't do that. We can't sing together. We can't fellowship in close proximity. And so being isolated and doing church like this sort of drives some people to being paralyzed by the problem. We're glued to our TV. We're looking for information from Earth rather than transformation from heaven. We just want the information. No, let the Lord transform us individually and as a church. And maybe God is shouting out to you, hey, seek my face. And your response and mine should be, your face, Lord, will I seek.
We're faced with choices every day. And when there's a pandemic like this, we're also faced with what do we do about people around us. Because usually in a crisis, we tend to just think about ourselves and our family. John Calvin, who faced epidemics of disease as well as Martin Luther, whom I quoted last weekend, John Calvin said, duty must not be neglected, no more in an epidemic disease than in war or fire.
So times like this demonstrate our trust in God and our promises that God has made. Really, this is a time to enjoy the peace of God that passes all understanding. That's a promise. We should be enjoying that and looking out for those most vulnerable and how we can help. I hope you join this kindness campaign. We want to bless the city during a time when they feel blasted. We want to be a blessing to them. We want to be a blessing to you.
So vigilance, confidence, reverence, obedience. Those are four sure steps to take when life seems uncertain. Let me give you a final one, and that is expectant. Expectant. In verse 13, he said, "I would have lost heart. I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
I remember reading that verse as a young believer, and that impacted me. I was driving in a car. I shouldn't have been doing this, but I had my Bible open while I was driving. I was on a freeway. I was going up to give a Bible study, but I was going through a very difficult time.
And I glanced down at my seat, and I saw that verse, and I decided since I had about 30 minutes to drive, I'm going to commit that to memory. It's such a powerful verse. I would have lost heart unless, and here's why I won't lose heart, I believed, I expected that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
Now, I wonder as I read Psalm 27, is David writing this to his audience or is he speaking this to himself? I think he might have been writing this to himself. And I remember my dad used to say that he talked to himself because he'd like to hear a wise man speak. And so that was sort of his excuse to do it. David inspired by the Lord, I think, is writing this to himself.
And it's not uncommon. In the book of Psalms, he does this not infrequently. For example, in Psalm 62, David said, "my soul wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and salvation. He is my defense. I shall not be moved." So he talks to himself in both of these Psalms. And he's saying that is my expectation. Not only am I noticing what's going on around me and not only am I trusting in the Lord, but I am expecting God to do something through this. I'm expecting good things. I have a future beyond today.
So let me ask you this. Have you really entrusted this time to Him? This is historic, man. I'm not saying it's an awesome, wonderful thing, but this is something that for generations people are going to look back on. Is your expectation from Him? Are you expecting Him to do something? Do you expect to see God's goodness displayed in the midst of this chaos?
Here's my suggestion. Here's the homework assignment. Take Psalm 27. And I just barely touched on some of these truths. There are so many other ones. But use it as a prayer template. Not only this weekend, but in the coming week. Let's all decide we're going to be unified by common prayer. And all of us in this fellowship, those of you who are watching in your watch parties, we're going to take Psalm 27. And this week, we're going to pray through this Psalm. Pray through these five aspects in your group meetings this week. Call a friend and over the phone pray through these five things in your own words and give God the glory.
Nothing ticks Satan off more than people who trust God and pray to God. I want to tick Satan off. I really do. You know the old adage that says Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees? Let's get on our knees this week. Let's pray Psalm 27.
So let me recap it. Let me take all that we just said and give a few fine points on it. Number one, know there is a God, and He cares for you passionately. And the God who cares for you knows what suffering is like personally. He knows what it's like to sacrifice His Son. His Son knows what it's like to have nails driven through Him. You are speaking to a suffering God. He relates to your suffering. He was at all points tempted like we are yet without sin. So know there's a God and you're speaking to a God who has suffered.
Number two, perseverance. It's not over in a week. It's not over in two weeks. It may not be over in a month. Perseverance and prayer is better than panic. This will not last forever. When it's all done, we're going to look back and sort of figure out why God allowed this. We can answer those questions later on. But while we're going through it, be a Christian through it. Be your best self through this time. Get raised up to supernatural living. It's natural to fear, but you and I are called to supernatural living.
Third and finally, consider the claims of Christ, the personal claims of Christ. He said, I am the way, the truth, and life. He said, I am the only way to the Father. He made very exclusive claims that if you've not done it before, you need to consider the claims of Christ who not only made those claims but suffered and rose from the dead. One of the greatest proofs of the existence of God is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe He is still alive. If you doubt that, I challenge you to commit your life to Him and see if He won't meet you where you are and change you forever.
So once again, there's only one thing certain about your life, and that is you're going to die. Have you come to grips with your own mortality, and are you ready to meet God? If you're not, I want you to get ready right now, right where you are. If you've had a walk that's sort of been in and out and sort of superficially Christian, you need to come to Him. Surrender your life to Him. And if you've not done that but you're seeing this happen, know that one day, if it's not this, one day you're going to leave this Earth. Are you ready to meet God?
Here's how you can get ready. God gave a solution to the fall of humanity. He sent His Son into a fallen world broken by sin, broken by pain, broken by poverty, broken by disease to take punishment and suffering and death and then conquer death so that anybody who trusts in Him would be promised everlasting life, life beyond this life. Really a great life with no pain, no suffering, no tears. It doesn't come automatically. You have to say yes to Him. If you've never done that, I'm going to lead you in a prayer, and I want you to pray this from your heart. It's just a simple prayer of faith to Him.
So right where you are, just say, Lord, I know I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe that you sent Jesus Christ into this broken world to die for me and to rise again from the dead. I turn from my sin. I repent. I want to leave it behind. And I turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I want to follow him. I want your peace I want to experience your love. And yes, I want to experience your joy, even during this time. And so I give you my life. I make Jesus the King of my life. And I want to know what it is to follow you today and every day. In Jesus' name, amen.
Now, if you prayed that prayer, if you're on that format that we announced to you, there's going to be a pastor you can connect with. We want to send you something. We want to tell you what it's like to follow Jesus today and every day. Life can be great in the midst of what's going on that's not so great. It can be yours. And I pray you experience it. I truly do.
We're going to be praying for you this week. We want to reach out to you. We want to know what you're going through so we can connect. Even though we can't hug you personally, know that we can't wait for the day when we can. And we love you in Jesus' name. God bless you. Amen.
Would you stand and sing with us? One more time, we're going to close in an anthem of faith. You're going to sing it out. I have decided.
(SINGING) Yes, I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. The cross. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back. Amen.
Amen. What a phenomenal time we just had at Calvary Church at home. Hey, if God spoke into your life and you said that prayer and accepted Jesus Christ into your life, wherever you're watching, if you're watching on Apple TV right now, if you're watching on Roku, if you're watching on YouTube, on your cellular phone, you can go to calvarynm.church and click a button that says Know God.
And then you can submit your decision. And we're going to have one of our team members contact you this week. We want to send you a Bible in the mail. We want to get information to you. We want to make sure that you get discipled, that you begin to grow in your walk with God. So make sure to go to calvarynm.church. Click Know God and then submit your decision so we know who you are.
Also, if you're watching online at calvarynm.church right now, you can click up at the top. There's a little hamburger button and a little pop down menu. And you can look at some discussion questions. Man, we've got a lot of great meat from this message this weekend, and we think that we should discuss what God is doing within our lives. So make sure to click those discussion questions.
I know personally for me, I want to be Job this week, not Job's wife. Can I get an amen? I want to be obedient to what God is calling me to do. And one of the ways that we can be obedient in this crisis is Pastor Skip did a phenomenal job talking about that this is God's megaphone. And this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where it put feet to our faith.
It's easy to be obedient to God in the good times. It takes true faith to be obedient to God in the hard times. And maybe that step of obedience for you is giving of your financial gifts to what God has called you to do. God promises a special blessing upon the lives of those who give obediently in accordance to what God has called them to do. Again, we mentioned it before at the beginning.
But if this broadcast has ministered to you and you want to partner with us so we can keep doing this, so we can keep spreading the message of hope all across the world, so we can keep doing things kindness campaign, so we as the church can be the church in the crisis that we're facing, you can give online at calvarynm.church/give or you can text CALVARYABQ to 77977. But please partner with us financially to make the biggest impact that we can in this crisis.
Yeah, and we're looking forward to providing you with more resources, more content throughout the weekdays. And one of the things that we're providing on the weekends is for your kids. And you can go to the same website that we've been saying over and over and over as calvarynm.church/athome. And we have resources for your family so that your kids can watch a program that our kids team put together with skits and songs. And it's going to be such a great time. Again, that is calvarynm.church/athome.
And then finally, before we leave, we want to remind you of our weekly lineup. Church doesn't have to end now. It can happen every day of the week. So throughout the week, again, go to calvarynm.church/athome. You can see our weekly lineup. We've got kids programs, youth programs, a worship hour. We've got table talk live with Skip and Lenya every single weekday at 2:00 PM Mountain Standard time. So make sure to join us and get that dose of hope that you need to get through the week.
But we love you guys. We can't wait to see you this Wednesday and then again this weekend at Calvary Church At Home. God bless you guys. We hope you have a great weekend.