Anticipation + Participation = Expectations (Met) (Matthew 14:17-20, NKJV
- Obey Jesus.
- Jesus blesses it.
- Give it away (Share it)
- Filled, blessed, and enjoyment comes.
Important insights to Blessings:
- Right before a great blessing, God will ask you to do something that totally contradicts what you believe.
- Jesus is trying to prove to us that His way is always better than our way.
- It’s not what Jesus wants from us it’s what Jesus wants for us.
- God’s blessings come because of what we do not what we know.
- Jesus blesses us so we can be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2-3, NKJV)
- The goodness of the Lord causes us to see how sinful we are. (Romans 2:4, NKJV
- Doing things God’s way brings astonishment to us and others.
- God astonishes us to increase our faith not our fear.
- The disciples sold the fish to finance their ministry. Matthew 8:14-15, NKJV; 1 Timothy 5:8, TLB
Raise the Bar on your Blessings.
- Obey God even when your feelings contradict what God’s Word tells you.
- Remember, Jesus blesses us is where we will be a blessing.
- God brings astonishment to bless us and those closest to us.
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer – [00:01] Man, I’m so excited today because we got a message on raising the bar on blessings, but it’s also on how to go from being broke to unbelievably blessed. Man, I’ll tell you what, Trey’s gone and him and Brittany are enjoying a much-needed vacation and we miss him, but let’s hear it for Abby and the praise team. Woo-wee, they rock the house! I know over in Alexandria man, wait. Let’s welcome the Alexandria Campus! Amen. I know that Gusto and their praise team did as well. You know that Darrell has a thing about shoes, and most people say “hey, if something ever happens to you, I want this.” Darrel said the other day, “if anything ever happens to you, can I have all your shoes?”
James Greer – [00:49] Oh man, y’all know that starting this Wednesday, both campuses (Alexandria and Pineville) you need to be here at 6:30. We’re beginning our new series on why God allows suffering. You don’t want to miss that, but today we’re talking about raising the bar on blessings: how to go from being broke to unbelievably blessed. I’m so glad you’re here today because I believe God has a word for some of you. Some of you came today and you’re broken in some area of your life. Your marriage is broken, your finances are broken. Maybe you’re physically broken and there are some steps that you can take today just like Peter did, that you can go from unbelievably broke to unbelievably blessed. We’re going to learn something too. What we’re going to learn is how to trouble the troublemaker. The devil is the trouble maker, amen? So many times, where he troubles us, we get discouraged, we get defeated, and we’d give up.
James Greer – [01:49] See, I think God wants us to learn to say, when you’re troubled by the trouble maker, learn how to give him some trouble. Amen? And we’re going to learn that today. But, first, I’m going to walk through Luke 5:1-7, and then we’re going to preach about it. If they can, they will put them on the screen, and if they can’t, get your Bible. In Luke 5:1-7, and so it says, “And so it was as the multitude [That’s what y’all are, y’all are the multitude] pressed about him to hear the word of God”. I hope that’s why you came this morning. I pray you came to hear a word from God. Amen? And then He stood at the lake, and now look at this point, Jesus is standing. Sometimes when I preach, I stand. Amen, but you’re going to find He saw two boats, and they were standing by the lake, but the fishermen that had gone from them and they were washing their nets, I think they had worked all night. They caught nothing. There were cleaning their nets, but they’re also listening to Jesus teach. And Jesus, He got into one of the boats which was Simon’s, and He asked him to put it out a little bit. Now see they were over there cleaning, Jesus got into this boat and Jesus asked him can you push me out some. Now that boat belong to Simon Peter. Jesus got into the boat. I want you to remember, if you’re going to go from being broke to blessed, one of the things you got to do, [I’m going to get to my points for you], you got to get Jesus in the boat, amen? And he used not only the boat, he was allowing to use what he had, not what he doesn’t have. He taught the multitudes from the boat and He got into the boat, which was Simon’s, and He said, put it out a little from the land. And He sat down.
James Greer – [03:45] Sometimes Jesus stood. Sometimes He sat. Sometimes I stand, Sometimes I’m going to sit, but He taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking and He said to Simon, [y’all, listen, this real important]. First, He was preaching to the multitudes, that’s the whole church. Then He said to Simon Peter, now He’s personalizing it. See, when you come to church, I hope to preach to the multitude, but I hope you’ll allow God to personalize it in to your life. He said, “launch out into deep and then let down your nets for a catch”. And, Simon answered and said to Jesus, “Master, I’ve toiled all night and worked all night. I’ve cut caught nothing. He was broke.
James Greer – [04:25] He’d worked all night. He didn’t catch a thing. Now see, when you say Peter Simon had worked all night, and not caught anything it’s not like going fishing for fun, Tony. It’s not like just having a good time. He was doing it for a living. If he didn’t catch anything, he didn’t get paid. And so, he said “nevertheless at your word, I’ll let down the net.” One of the smartest things we can ever do to go from being broke to being blessed is actually just do what Jesus calls us to do, nevertheless, how we feel. Simon answered Him and said, you know, man, I’ve caught nothing but nevertheless I’ll put down my nets. Listen, you ready? Verse six, and when they had done this, when they’d done what? When they had done what Jesus said, they caught a great number of fish and their nets began to break. They were so blessed that they almost couldn’t even contain all the blessings. And then you know what they did? They signaled their partners and they said, hey man, y’all come over here and help. And they came, and they filled the boats and they began to sink. That’s a pretty big blessing. Amen. So, what is that? We’re raising the bar and the blessing. We’re going out to go from being broke now. I don’t know where you’re broke in your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you this morning. What area is it that I’m broke? Is it relationship? Is Finance? What is it? Is it my kids? Is it my school? Is it my job? Where am I broke that I need to go from being blessed? Can tell you one thing? It’s unbelievable. First, you know that we’re saved by grace. Amen. But we’re changed by the choices we make. See, I want us to learn also through this is how to trouble the troublemaker.
James Greer – [06:03] The troublemaker is Satan. In John 10:10, it says the thief came to steal, kill and destroy. In 1 Peter 5:8, he said who he thinks who he can devour. In John 8:44, the Bible says he is a liar. In Revelation 12:10, he says he is an accuser of the brother. So what Satan does in your mind and in your life, sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s spiritual. Sometimes it’s your family. Sometimes it’s on the job, so what Satan will try to do, he’ll try to discourage you and defeat you right before the greatest blessings come. See, Satan always tries to discourage us. God tries to equip us and empower us. That’s why I say the devil came to steal, kill, destroy, but Jesus came so that you could have life and have it more abundant. See, when you’re having the abundant life, you’re troubling the troublemaker. See, Simon Peter he went from being broke to being blessed because he went from listening to obeying.
James Greer – [06:38] How many times do we come on Sunday morning and we listen, but we don’t obey? Our whole new thing is you come to church, and when you leave you become the church. We want you to be the church. Amen. And that’s what happened. He had listened, but then he didn’t obey. See Simon went from…he was broke, he hadn’t caught anything and then was troubling the troublemaker. See, Satan always tries to discourage and defeat us. See, Satan, will say something like this: “Hey Brother James, it’s time to retire.” Ha! No Way, but God says, no way, it’s time to re-fire. It’s time to get going. It’s starting to get exciting. It’s time to roll. Amen? But, Satan says things like this: “poor, poor, pitiful me. Poor, pitiful pastor”.
James Greer – [07:42] No, no, no. God says, hey man, you began to praise me and you’ve become a powerful preacher. Amen? Don’t be pitiful. Be powerful. Amen? So, what if you came in here and you felt all pitiful about it? Oh, I can’t believe it’s me. I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why has all of this happened? Why is all this happened to me? Hey, it’s happening to you. Either you brought it on yourself, or Satan is just trying to discourage you to defeat you. And, God’s trying to empower you. Amen? He, often says, we’re too weak. That’s true. I know I’m too weak. But when I’m weak, He’s strong. Amen? I mean the Bible says, at 2 Corinthians 12:10, “when I am weak, you’re strong.” You ever felt like you’re so weak? You sound like you’re so weak you can’t keep going? Jesus said, okay, you’re right where I wanted you to be and now I’m going to give you a new strength.
James Greer – [08:28} See, Simon felt weak. He felt broke because he had fished all night and he had caught nothing, and now he was beginning to experience a new strength that only came from Jesus Christ. See Jesus called him to go from a broken relationship or broken financial or broken physically to unbelievably blessed. See many times you need to know that where God is trying to work in your life is where Satan’s trying to discourage you most in your life. He’ll say something like this, Hey Brother James you’re getting too old. I do not feel old. But what the Bible’s saying…Satan will say that, but Jesus said in Psalms 92:14, “Man when you’re old, you will be fruitful.” I’m more fruitful now than I ever was when I was younger. Amen?
James Greer – [09:08] So, if you really want to know where Satan wants to do a great work in your life, you ready? Listen, this is very important. Where God’s about to do a great work in your life, Satan is trying to defeat you in that area of your life. All you have to do is reverse what Satan’s trying to do, and you’ll start seeing what God’s wanting to do. So where is Satan working most in your life? You just have to reverse it. Man, I can’t man, I can’t believe I’m having all these problems with my kids. Hey, maybe that’s where God wants to work. I’m having all these financial problems. God’s got some steps to be unbelievably blessed. Yeah, it’s my marriage. You see, whatever area is just reverse it. And that’s what God wants to do. See, this whole message today goes right along with our core values. One of our core values, is you can’t out give God. Simon Peter, he let Jesus uses boat and he then he caught more fish than he could ever catch. We have another core value; it says save people, serve people. Hey, hey at the end, Jesus called him to be a fisherman of men and he went about doing life together with Jesus, and they did more damage to Satan’s kingdom that could have ever been. They saw more people get saved. So, what we got to do is we’ve got to understand, we got core values.
James Greer – [10:21] Let me give you an example of one of the ways we trouble the trouble maker. Last Sunday was a great Sunday You may not know it. I was a little troubled because I had to preach from a chair, but honestly, I’m starting to like it. I mean, Jesus did sit down. Amen? What I really liked is as many times as Jesus was sitting, the people were standing, but we won’t go there. The truth is, the truth is, last Sunday actually for this time of year was a record year. Amen. We had (between both cameras) 1,068 people come and worship with us. Amen? And, what’s really, really cool is we had five new people join here last Sunday. That made it a 109. See, if you’re not here today, you’re probably going to make it 110. We baptized 44 people already this year. Amen? And last Sunday although we had five join, we got three saved. The Say Yes Campaign jumped up to $285,000. After this Sunday it will be, I it’s going to be $290,000.
James Greer – [11:43] Listen to this. Last Sunday between both campuses we had 30 first time visitors. When I started preaching we didn’t have 30 people in the whole church. Amen? Alexandria campus, you should be so excited. You had ten first time visitors. So, Alexandria should be excited. Amen? Pineville, you had 20 first time visitors last Sunday. So, between us both we had 30 first time visitors. It’s one church with two locations. I mean the Alexandria Campus had five people join and three saved. So, between both campuses last Sunday we had 10 people join and six people get saved and all campuses said “Amen”. And see what happens is you began to trouble the trouble maker! And, what happens is you’re not careful, you don’t push through your troubles, so you get stuck and that’s what Satan wants you to do. I don’t know what area you’re stuck in. It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be spiritual, it can be financial, it can be a relationship. Satan’s goal is to get you stuck there. God’s goal is to push you through there to the blessings. Amen?
James Greer – [12:45] Alright, y’all ready? We’re going to walk through the message now. That was all the introduction. That was fun. Luke 5:1, and so it was with the multitude they pressed about to hear the word. Every single Sunday, we preach to the multitudes, but see, we don’t want you to just come in and hear the word. We don’t want you to just come to church. We want you to leave being the church. My question really in my mind every single Sunday is, “are you ready to obey the word where you can enjoy the word when you come”. Are you coming with anticipation? Are you coming and participating where you can have the expectations? See, my prayer is that not just one person, but the multitude that come can be saved. See, God sometimes He blesses the individual. Sometimes He blesses the multitude. When Jesus fed the 5,000, listen, He said, when they left, all of them ate and all of them were filled. He said, He said the whole multitude were full. Luke 5:2, Jesus saw the two boats and they were standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone from there. They were washing their nets. So, He got into one of the boats. It was Simon’s, and He asked him to put me out from land a little more, and then He sat down. You notice I emphasized Jesus sat down. Amen? And when he sat down, he taught the multitudes from the boat. The first question I’ve got to ask you is this. Jesus asked us to use what we have, not what we don’t have.
James Greer – [14:18] See so many people, they start saying, only if I had this raise, only if my wife, only if my husband, or my kid. No, no. Jesus wants to bless you with what you have, not what you don’t have. Don’t allow to miss the blessings of God because you’re not allowing Him to use what you do have. It might be your talent. It might be your money. It might be your job. It might be your hobby. It might be your house. It might be the ball team. We’ve got one guy, Brian Nichols, who said he got all the peace books, and he passed them out to all the kids and pass them out to all parents. And he said, “Hey, can we do life together? Could we once a week talk about what we’re learning”? See, he began to use what he has to follow the Kingdom of God. Amen? So, it’s not what you don’t have. Let God use what you do have, whether that’s your job, your hobby, your home, whatever it is. So, don’t miss him using what you have.
James Greer [15:12] The next insights, you’ve got to really, really understand. You’ve got to make sure you get Jesus in the boat with you before He can bless your boat. When I, when I say boat, I mean first, you’ve got to make sure you got Jesus in your life and in your heart. Amen? You’ve got to make sure if you’re really struggling, do you have Jesus in your marriage? Not that you’re both saved, but are you doing what Jesus would have you to do the way He would have you to do it? Maybe you’re in school. School starts in a couple of weeks. He can bless you at school. Maybe it’s a hobby. Maybe it’s a finance. So, what I’m trying to tell you, wherever you’re struggling the most, wherever you feel your broken the most, that’s probably where you need to get Jesus in the boat of your life in that area. That’s why I continue to say we come to church to learn, but we leave to be the church. Amen? Luke 5:4, and when he starts speaking, he said to Simon, he’s personalizing it now. “You launch out into the deep and let down your nets for the catch.” What I want you to do more than anything else is find at least one thing that Jesus is trying to personalize to you. Not that you can just learn it, but you can apply it and you can live it.
James Greer – [16:24] It was personalized because it was powerful. Jesus is trying to personalize something to you this morning. Luke 5:5, and the answer he said to him, “Master you know I’ve toiled all night and caught nothing I’m broke, but nevertheless, it’s your word. I’m going to let it down.” Do you know what he was really saying, ya’ll? He was saying, Jesus, I’m a professional fisherman. I know how to do this. You’re a good carpenter. You’re even a good speaker. I’m the fisherman. I’m know how to do this. I’m a little discouraged right now because I didn’t do too good. I’ve worked all night, hadn’t caught anything, but Jesus personalized that to him. But the truth is, Simon Peter knew when to fish, where to fish and how to fish; and now here’s this carpenter, this teacher trying to tell him how to do it. And then they’re saying man, I worked all night. I don’t have any money. I’m broke. You know I’m having one problem after another. But then he says, but nevertheless, I’m going to do what you say. There’s a lot of people in here today that need to say, but nevertheless I’m going to do it your way. It may just say, well, why not? How’s it been going the way you’ve been doing it? Most dudes say, not so good.
James Greer – [16:24] So are you ready for the insights to change your life? Number one, put Jesus in the boat where you’re having the most trouble. Number two, remember many times right before Jesus does a great blessing, a great work before he uses you to unbelievably bless you, He asks you to do something. Are you ready? Contrary to what you know, think and believe, it’s just the contrary to what you believe and what you think you know. He wants to bless you, but He wants to do something contrary to what you’ve known and believed. He (Simon) was a professional fisherman. He wasn’t having a fun weekend. He knew how, where and when the fish and now Jesus is testing him. He’s trying to think, Simon are you going to keep living like the world is, or are you going to start living like the word tells you to do? See right before Jesus really blesses you, many times you get discouraged before the blessing. Many times when He asks you to do something contrary to what you know and believe, He’s saying “Hey, what are you going to do? Are you going to live like the world, or are you going to believe the Word?” Second, Jesus did that to prove to me and to you that His way is always better than our way. See, he had tried fishing. He caught nothing. He was going to try it Jesus’ way and His way is always better. Now I want you to know whatever’s going on in your life Jesus’ way is better than my way in your way. Amen? Third, He wants to teach us that it’s not what Jesus wants from us, it’s what He wants for us. Way Too many times people come to church and they say, “Man I am at church! Jesus here I am.” And they think well Jesus wants my money. He wants my time. Jesus doesn’t need anything you’ve got. Jesus did that to Simon Peter, so He could show him, Peter it’s not what I want from you, it’s what I want for you and you’re saved by grace, but listen, you’re changed by choices.
James Greer – [19:28] See, the blessings did not come by simply what Jesus said. This is so important because people say, “well, you know, I’ve started coming to church now. I started doing this. I started reading my Bible. The blessings didn’t come by simply by what Jesus said. The blessings came by what they did. See, if you really want the blessings in your life, number one you’re got to get Jesus in the boat. Number two, you’ve got to let Him use what you have. Number three, He often asks you to do something contrary to what you know. Number four, you’ve got to do what He says, not just listen to what’s being preached. Luke Chapter 5, Verse 6, it says “and when they had done this, (when they had done what he said)”, the catch was a great number of fish and their nets were breaking. The blessing came as they obeyed. Number five, the main reason Jesus blesses us is so that we can be a blessing.
James Greer – [20:30] When we stop using the blessings of God to be a blessing, God then stops blessing us. See, Simon he started signaling and said hey man, hey partner. He didn’t say, hey, I’m going to keep this just for myself. He called his partners in. He said, listen, y’all come in, y’all fill your boats, and ya’ll got yours so full they began to sink. Genesis 12:2 says, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make our name great. I’ll bless those that bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse.” In other words, I want you to be a blessing.
James Greer – [21:00] Next, many times the goodness of God is what causes us to see our sinfulness. Many times, God’s goodness, and His blessings brings this all up in our lives so we see our true sinfulness. See if we’re not careful, we start lying to ourselves. We start looking at how good we are and how hard we work, instead of seeing all that’s God’s done for us. Simon Peter saw it. He fell at Jesus’ knees saying, depart from me, I’m a shameful man. At Romans 2:4, it says “don’t you know that the goodness of the Lord leads you to repentance?” Sometimes God has blessed you so much that He wants you to know the blessings come from Him where we see how sinful we are.
James Greer – [21:40] Many times God just wants to astonish us and astonish those people closest to us. See, they were all astonished in Luke 5:9 at the catch of fish which they had taken. You should be astonished when you see the work that God’s doing in our church and in our life. One of the reasons that God is blessing our church is because of the church, or the people.
James Greer – [22:12] When you come in see, you’re loving the people. Amen? You’re not judging the people. You’re not out there gossiping, you’re not out you’re not out back-biting, you’re not trying to have a little team here. You’re not trying to have a little team there. We come together as unity and, therefore, God can bless the body of Christ. Amen? You should be at awe every time you see whatHhe’s doing. Sometimes He just astonishes us. He astonishes, but not to bring fear, but to increase our faith.
James Greer – [22:36] He said, Simon, ‘don’t be afraid; from now on you’re going to be a catch man’, and they brought in the boats to land and they forsook all and followed him. Now let me tell you what I think. I think they left their boats. I think they sold their fish. I don’t think they had this unbelievable care. The boats were safe. I believe they brought their boats in. I believe they got all the fish. They sold the fish. I believe it was the greatest catch they had ever had, and then I believe they used the money. This is brother James. I believe they used the money to help fund their own ministry because they did have money. They had a bookkeeper, they had a treasurer, they had a person that had a money bag. When Peter had sickness in his family, they took Jesus there. In Matthew 8:14 it says when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He didn’t just forsake his family. He saw his wife’s mother laying there sick with a fever. He didn’t forsake his wife. He didn’t forsake his wife’s mother. He didn’t forsake his mother-in-law. He took Jesus there and they touched her hand, and the fever left, and she had arose to serve them. See, I don’t believe Jesus called Peter to abandon his family. I don’t think he called Jesus to abandon his wife. I believe he called Peter to follow Him, but also to provide for them. If not, in I Timothy 5:8, why would it say, ‘but anyone who doesn’t care for his own relatives, his own family, when they need help, especially for those who live with his own family, has no right to even be called a Christian’? So, that person is worse than a heathen, and the Bible says if you don’t take care of your own family, you’re worse than an infidel. God calls you to follow Him, but He doesn’t call you not to take care of your family.
James Greer – [24:28] So how can we close and apply this to our life? Number one, you ready? Would you ask Jesus, what’s the most broken part of your life? Where is it? And then in just a moment I’m going to give an invitation. And, would you invite Him into that part of your life? Would you say, hey man Jesus just like you get into the boat, and once I used my boat you blessed me unbelievably? Jesus, I know that you hadn’t been in this part of my life, my finances, my physical, whatever it is, my family, my marriage, and today. I want you to get into that part of my life. So, I think God you might be asking me to do something contrary to what I think I know, even what I’ve learned, because you’re testing me to know that you know more than I do. Maybe you’re here today and maybe you’ve never joined a church and He’s saying today is the day to join the church. Maybe you’ve had all these reasons you hadn’t and if you’re a trouble maker we won’t want you to join, and if you’re a gossip stay at that end of the church. But maybe God’s calling you to join this church and you’ve been putting it off and today’s the day. Maybe you’ve really been called to be biblically, publicly baptized. Maybe you’re young. Maybe you’re a baby. Maybe you’ve never been baptized, but today you know is the day that God’s called you to be baptized. Maybe you don’t tithe. Maybe you don’t tithe and you’re always having financial burdens, and you say God there’s no way I can start tithing. I can’t even pay my bills. That’s contrary to what you’d normally do.
James Greer – [24:28] Maybe God’s calling you to start doing life together outside the church. Maybe say when you go to work, He said, hey you want to ask the men every Monday morning for 15 minutes, can we get together? Can we bring a spiritual dimension into every part of our lives, our hobbies, our time, whatever it is? Remember, one of the reasons that God blesses us is to be a blessing. There’s all kinds of ways. First you tithe, and then you’re giving less and then say you’re giving above your tithe. That’s one way you can do it. Another way is if you go out to eat, leave a large tip. Amen? Especially if they know you’re at Journey Church. If you’re a tightwad and don’t tip, don’t tell them you come here. Amen? Leave good tips. Large tips. Ask God who He laid upon your heart, who He would have you bless. I know our next step, mine and Debbie’s next steps. I can’t wait until November. We’re going to have a, love offering to give to Haiti, and Haiti is in turmoil right now. They’re having rioting, and you know we have to pray for Haiti. Our mission that we support is doing okay right now, and if we can wait to November, we’ll have this unbelievable love offering and thanksgiving. If we can’t wait until then, we will do ahead of time. I mean, we’re going to have shoe boxes this year. I mean God’s just going to bless them. I know our next step is going to give to Haiti and give to give to our orphans, because they can’t give anything back.
James Greer – [27:34] Maybe God wants to unbelievably astonish you this morning by you simply obeying what He has and what He wants you to do. So, I don’t know where you’re broken. I don’t know where you’re astonished, but you need to come to Him and quit saying, hey, it’s my way. Got It. God it’s your way. God, I want to go from brokenness to blessed and Jesus, I want to do it today. Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? Father, you’re a great God. Yeah, we’re, teaching and we’re preaching to the multitudes, but God, I pray each person here personalizes it, that you had a message to them. We all have brokenness in our families and our jobs and our homes, and sometimes even church. God, I don’t want us to stay broken. I want us to be blessed. God, we’re raising the bar on blessings today, and we do that by getting you into the boat of our lives. So if you’re here today and you’re sure you’re not saved, you ask Him into your life. Maybe you’re saved, and now He’s asking you to do something that’s contrary to what you believe and what you know. And, you want to come, and you say, hey man, that’s, that’s, that’s what I want to do today, and God, I’m willing to do it. Nevertheless, I’m willing to do it your way, not my way. So whatever it is that God’s called you to do this morning, man, my prayer is that you’d let him have his way, his will in your life, that you can go from brokenness to unbelievably blessed, but see, it’s personally and every single person has to make that personal decision. It’s in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.