It’s All About The Heart
The condition of our heart greatly determines our actions, reactions, behavior, and joy in spite of our circumstances and situations. (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)
Hard hearts hurt others – Humble hearts help others!
If we have issues, it’s really a heart issue. Joy is greatly determined by the condition of our heart not our circumstances and situations. (Proverbs 23:15, NKJV) Wisdom helps the heart be wise. (Proverbs 4:7, TLB) When the heart is wise, it can only then choose to be clean; it’s choosing joy and happiness. (Proverbs 15:13, NKJV)
Wisdom + Clean = Joy
A happy heart changes our emotional (Proverbs 15:13, NIV) A happy heart changes our physical (Proverbs 17:22, NKJV) Our outlook is greatly determined by the condition of our heart, not the circumstances and situations we are facing. (Proverbs 15:15, TLB)
When our heart is not right everything in life will look worse than it really is. When our heart is right and our spirit is full everything will look better than it really is. (Proverbs 15:22-23, NKJV; Proverbs 15:22, MSG; Proverbs 15:23, Webster’s Bible; Proverbs 27:19, NKJV)
How do we have a clean heart? (Ecclesiastes 8:1, NCV)
We ask God for it. (Psalm 51: 10-12, NKJV) God and His Word are the cleaning agent! A clean heart is something that has to be created and maintained the rest of our life! The further away we are from God’s presence the further away we are from lasting joy; (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)
The key is learning how to stay close to God’s Presence. To have your joy restored you have to have had it, once you have it you will want it again. (Psalm 51:12, NKJV) God not only wants your joy restored He will restore it! (Romans 5:20, NKJV) Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more; confess, accept God’s forgiveness, get your priorities right where God can restore your joy!
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer: 00:00 I was so excited about healthy hearts and I wanted us to have happy hearts. In fact, I was so excited I was going to have them sing Achy breaky heart. And I was going to come out and I was going to preach with this on, you know, and I was going to say for you all, you know, most churches don’t dance. When I was going to say, man, I think the Alexander campus, they got blind dancing going with achy breaky heart. I mean, we’re very untraditional church. Amen? But something happened and, uh, this week, and we had some funerals and I’ve never seen so many really broken hearts. And my, my whole thing, and my whole message was going to be, I don’t want you to leave with a broken heart, I want you to leave with a clean, happy heart. That was going to be the whole thing. But after this weekend, when there were so many hearts that were broken, it was different.
James Greer: 00:44 So before I get to the message, I want to share my heart for just a minute. I mean, you know, we had Matt Miller’s funeral here yesterday. That was Megan Miller, that’s Terry Floyd’s daughter and that’s Michael that plays there and Justin and Jessica’s sister and Matt’s sister, Miranda Miller goes here. Mike Miller it was his nephew. It just goes on and on and on. Not counting the kids that were with them and the parents and the loved ones that were there. And there’s lots, I don’t know how the whole church was just full. The whole church had broken hearts. It just didn’t seem appropriate to get up and sing Achy breaky hearts and just, it just didn’t, uh, I know that God will see them through.
James Greer: 01:51 I know that God uses people as well. Psalms 34:18 said, the Lord is near to those who are broken hearted, and he saves, I mean, he will rescue them that have a contrite or crushed spirit. So God’s going to be with them. God’s going to save them. God’s going to rescue them. But it doesn’t happen instantaneously. It takes time. It takes prayers, it takes encouragement. It takes family. Psalms 51:17 puts it a different way, but he said the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, but a broken and contrite heart. God will in no ways despise. In other words, God’s not going to turn his back on you. He’s going to be there every moment. But so many times when we’re hurting, uh, in my case and my worst hurts, I turned my back on God. And I can always say, there’s no place to go. When you run from God, you’ll eventually run out.
James Greer: 02:42 So I can encourage you to run to God and he’ll in no ways despise you. He’s there waiting for you. Another one says, don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. He’s there for you. So, as I understand that God is with you and God is for you, and God loves you and God wants to minister to you. Also, I believe God uses people. And through all this broken hardness, I came to Matthew 5:35 which is not in your bullets or anything, but it just says that as Jesus traveled through the towns in the villages, he was teaching his synagogues and he was preaching the good news. The translation for the good news means, he was helping mend broken hearts, broken relationship and broken lives. That’s really what the ministry is all about and he, Jesus did that.
James Greer: 03:33 He was healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness, but there’s something else happened, and then he saw the crowds. That’s what I saw yesterday. I saw the crowds and I felt sorry for them. They were hurting. They were helpless. They were like sheep without a shepherd. Just all over crying. Kids crying, parents crying, loved ones crying and they were just hurting. But, when Jesus saw that, he said, there’s many people, the harvest is truly plentiful, but the workers are few. Then He goes one, He says and pray therefore that God would send forth helpers for the harvest. I think that we need to know that when the people are hurting that bad. I think our church and our staff needs to be as available as possible personally. And I think that we need to offer professional help. We do have professional help at church and of those that can’t afford it, we’ll provide the first few visits free.
James Greer: 04:34 So if you’re going through unbelievable depression, grief, sorrow, heartaches, we want you to know that we have people that want to help you. We’ll provide and pay for if we need to, some of the professional help. We don’t want you to go through it alone. I’ll be talking to a couple of people about starting a group, grief council. But the other thing that really concerned me is, I can come to church every Sunday and we can say, rah rah. I like to be excited on Sundays. It’s my favorite day of the week. but if too many people are taking their lives, that was the second one in the last 60 days and they’re in their thirties one was in their twenties and it’s almost epidemic. Then I read that 30% of all the people that thought of taking their lives goes through their mind.
James Greer: 05:21 But, if too many people are taking their lives, that was the second one in the last 60 days and they’re in their thirties one was in their twenties and it’s almost epidemic. Then I read that 30% of all the people that thought of taking their lives goes through their mind. And so we can act like nothing’s happening, I guess. But, I just want to say to you and to every service, if you feel that way at all, please, please don’t hide it. Let somebody know or let somebody try to help you. Let us try to give you the spiritual help that we can, or we will do the very best to provide the professional help that we can. Many times it’s physical help that you need. So we want to, I think I just want to be more open and I want people to feel more honest. I mean, when I was going to church, when I was young, everybody looked like they had it together, but me. I knew I was messed up. I thought the preacher was next to God. And then when I started preaching I found out He was not.
James Greer: 06:07 And then everybody else you know, they carried a bible and they smile real good. They look like their families were together and everything’s together. And my life wasn’t together. So I said, I just don’t fit in. That’s what I love about our church. You all don’t have it together. I don’t have it together, so we can all say we are all messed up. Amen? But, we want to be, I guess probably more open and honest to that, because there’s an unbelievable mental health problem along with drug problems that’s not being addressed. And we’re just acting like whether it’s here or at church or at home or the nation, that it’s not a problem. It is a big problem. Very big problem. It’s rampant. Uh, that’s why we’re being a part of a thing called ARC. And you can go to the cards, they’re in the back. and I don’t know what it says, but you can go up and sign up for it. It’s at helpmestop.org. And basically what that is going to be a nonprofit that just started out, it’s going to have information where and how to get help. But, what I see is going to happen, there’s going to be a time that there’s going to have to be some political issues addressed. Like when they take down all the beds for the people who have drug problems here to detox and nowhere and they keep taking the mental health issue and they are just crunching the money, and they’re sending it somewhere else. And I got to talk to them, why is because it’s people in central Louisiana don’t say anything. So they just say, hey, they’ll go wherever. So I don’t know, and I’m not a political person, but I am a, woo almost said the pl word.
James Greer: 07:52 My brain’s a little faster day. Ticked off, ticked off about some of the issues and I say that, you know, the church may have to get personally involved more than we’ve ever done, even beyond CR. With the mental health issue and drug issue you all, it’s very messy. It’s messy, messy, messy to deal with. But you know, we got a lot of messy people, that’s kind of like our church. Uh, I used to want it to be in one of those churches where it looked like they didn’t have messy people. I really did. I used to say, God, why don’t you send me those people that got their life together and I just found out they just dress up better. They’re still messed up. But, we’re a church that we openly admit that I mess up. You mess up. We all mess up. But, it’s okay that we’re a church that wants to help people that are messed up. And it can’t help everybody. But some of them can turn around and have a message and some of them will be a, a miracle. So it’s, it’s been a draining, draining week. I’ve never seen it so much. And so I just think that we got to get some of the things out in the open. We’ve got to talk about it and we’ve got to be a church that’s open to that. That hurting people can come and be honest.
James Greer: 08:53 Of course, there’s physical heartaches, people that are having a heart aches and real heart attacks like, Dr Jonathan did and like Tim Roberts has been down, what for a month or two and hopefully he’s going to be here today. Amen? He had open heart surgery, so he’d be back. Scott Linens, which struggled with a heart attack. Karen Dole just had open heart surgery. Of course, in the past we had Randy and Jim Adam, and Terry Mitchell. Even that, you know, I just think that the church as a family has got to say, how can we deal with that stuff better?
James Greer: 09:58 One of the ways is to help you all be better informed. Well you all know who’s hurting helpful and to do that. And one of the ways I do that, and everybody, every member should be in what’s called our data bank, CCB. We should have your information. And when we send out emails, you all read them. Amen? If you don’t get them, get in it. And then we can pray for those people and not just say, I used to have a bad habit. I’d walk by and I’d say, tell me guys how you doing? You’d say so-so. I’ll say, I’ll be praying for you. And I keep walking. Many times I didn’t do that. That’s called lying. So, then I have to confess my lie. And so when we could do that we could, we could just really pray for him. Amen? We could have other ministries, like journey groups which tried to take care of the food ministries and those people that are outside of that. We’ll have ministries to help do that.
James Greer: 10:33 So, when Jesus really felt sorry for the people that are hurting and helpless, He said, they’re like sheep without a shepherd. So, we need more shepherds and we need the sheep going to class where the shepherds are, where they can be taken care of. I’ll be working with Richie to get more unique classes. We’ll have untraditional classes. You can do a class outside the traditional class. You can have grief classes, you can have addiction classes, you can have classes with parents that are dealing with you. You have people to deal with. You could have no life. We have aerobic night, we got all kinds of stuff. So we can do them different ways. But I think the sheep need a shepherd. And I don’t think that shepherd is just brother James. I’ve got a shepherd over me, which is Christ. And then I have under shepherds that are leaders within the church.
James Greer: 11:19 I think everybody needs help. I think you’ve got to, I’m the world’s worst, because I don’t ever ask for it and don’t want it. But, I want our church to be in some kind of small group somewhere. Preferably here. Or start your own and we’ll support you. Some of you have families that are large enough, you could come to a church, we’ll give you a room, we’ll give you the material. And then after that you can come to church. And I don’t know, I just know there’s emotional broken hearts and probably here that nobody knows about. If it is at the end of service let us pray with you.
James Greer: 11:54 I know there’s physical, broken hearts. That physically hearts that are there we can pray for you. And of course there’s spiritual, broken hearts, which we’re going to try to get to in just a minute and preach about. Because it affects you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. So, as I get that off my heart, I can also tell you there’s a great piece put in there. I originally created that for men to pray for, but it’s for everybody. And it’s a good prayer to pray every day. But all life is all about your heart. Not just your physical heart, but your spiritual heart. The condition of our heart greatly determines our actions. It determines our reactions. It determines our behavior. It determines our joy in spite of the circumstances and situation. That’s why it’s so important to understand to guard your heart.
James Greer: 12:48 In fact, next Sunday I would be here because I’m going to be preaching on how do you guard your heart? It is the essence of life. A hard heart. People with hard heart, they continue to hurt people. And when people you see people, you get hurt, you know they’re mean and they’re ugly. This is because they have hard hurt hearts. Humble hearts, they want to help people. Clean hearts, they want to help people. Humble hearts, they want to help people. They care. There is Proverbs 4:23 says this, It says, keep your heart. That means guard it with all diligence, with most important thing you do because out of it brings the issues of life. Another translation said, all of life comes from the condition of your heart. By the way you act. By the way you treat others. By the way you respond. It all comes by the condition of your heart. All the issues in your life that are heart issues, your actions, your behavior, your reaction. So many times people will just say, man, I don’t understand why I act like that because somebody else knows that it’s a condition of your heart. It’s not what somebody else does to you that makes us do what we’re doing. It’s what’s in us that makes us do what we’re doing. Nobody can make us do anything.
James Greer: 14:06 So, we’ve got to learn to have a clean heart and we’ve got to learn to guard our heart where we can have a better life, a better family, better emotions. Proverbs 23:15 says this, my son, if your heart is wise, uh oh, my heart will rejoice. Indeed. I myself, he says, you know, if your heart is wise, you will rejoice. Indeed I myself. Joy is greatly determined, you all ready, by the condition of your heart. It’s not possessions, it’s the condition of your heart. We all know people that have millions and millions of dollars and they’re miserable. He said, no wait, we got joy by the hardest wisdom with all you’re getting, get wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, get wisdom. Why? Wisdom is the most important thing you can ever get in life. And with your wisdom, develop common sense. My dad use to say, man, common sense is more important than anything. I didn’t understand that it was really biblical.
James Greer: 15:11 Get wisdom with everything. Get understanding, develop common sense, get good judgement. Because see, without wisdom and without understanding, you don’t know how to choose to have a clean heart. And that’s what God’s wanting for you. When your heart is wise, you begin to choose a clean heart. When you choose a clean heart, you’re choosing joy and your choosing that. Matter of fact, if you want to do it, you can write the word wisdom, plus choose a clean heart. You can put an equal and it’ll equal joy. That’s how you have joy. There it is. Wisdom plus clean heart and you’ll have joy.
James Greer: 15:44 Matter of fact, in Proverbs 15:13 it puts it this way. It says, a merry heart makes a cheerful countenance. I mean, so your merry heart, you know what? It changes your physical, countenance, but it changes your emotional countenance, but sorrow on the heart the spirit is just broken. Did you know that your heart can chat? Have you ever seen people that walk through, they just look sad and sorrowful? This is a condition of the heart and you’ll see somebody later on, I could see it yesterday. I could see people. They were just broken and sorrowful and hurting, but when they began to get well and when they get a cheerful heart again, it likely changed their countenance again. Your condition of your heart helps control your emotions. Proverbs 17:22 says, not only does it control your emotions a merry heart does good like a what? Like a what? Medicine, but a broken spirit, dries the bones.
James Greer: 16:39 Do you understand how important it is to have a heart that is right? To have a good heart, a healthy heart? The Bible has already said that it’s going to affect you emotionally, now it’s going to affect you physically, like medicine. It affects everything in your life. In fact, Proverbs 15:15 says, when a man is gloomy, when your heart is sorrowful, everything seems to go wrong, but when it’s cheerful, everything seems to go right. In other words, it greatly determines your outlook. Now, when man my heart is right and I’m full with God, man, I just, no matter what I’m facing, I feel like it’s really going to get better. But when my heart is hurting or is not right with God, it’s just things that look bad, look even worse than they really are. But man, the same is just the opposite. My heart is right, my heart is full. Things look better than they really are.
James Greer: 17:39 But, it’s also a warning during those times that we all face during discouragement. When you’re down, depressed, going through a broken heart like that, which is an emotional broken heart. Don’t make major decisions. Don’t make them. Don’t ever make major decisions when you’re at your lowest in life. That’s why the bible says in Proverbs 15:22 without counsel, your plans will fall away. But the multitudes of counselors, they will be established. A man has joy by the answers of his mouth. In other words, when you’re at your lowest, when you’re going through a devastation, don’t make major decisions. And then when you start making them get good advice, the Bible says Proverbs 15:22 said if you refuse good advice, watch your plans fail. But you’ll take good counsel and you’ll have success.
James Greer: 18:37 So, what I’m trying to tell you is there’s going to be times that that’s going to happen in your life. You’re going to be discouraged. You’re going to be depressed, you’re going to be broken. You’re going to have heartache, you’re going to have suffering. You’re going to have people in your family that that pass away or terrible things happen to them, and don’t make major decisions during that time. But you should get good counsel. And when you looking for good counsel, don’t get counseled by somebody else who’s not successful in the same place. Whatever you’re going through. Whether it’s financial, emotional, spiritual, marriage, raising your kid. Get counseled by somebody that’s been a success in the same area. Amen?
James Greer: 19:22 Because, really your faith reflects your heart. Yeah, yeah. Proverbs 27:19 says, as the water reflects our face, a man’s heart reveals the man’s face reveals his heart. That’s why even when we come to church. We need to be sensitive to who else is at church. Maybe we need to walk a little slower. Maybe we need to be a little more careful. Maybe we need to try to minister more. I don’t know. I’d just say that we’ve got to be more aware of the condition of our heart and the condition other people’s heart. Because it greatly determines our emotional, physical, and spiritual condition of our life. Our heart controls the outlook of our life. The heart greatly controls the joy in our life. It’s not just situations and circumstances. I’m going to try to tell you how to claim a clean heart real quick, but we don’t have a lot of time so, I’m going to just go over it with you. If you’d like to have a clean heart, you’d like to have a merry heart. The Bible says, wisdom brings happiness and it makes your face shine, but the first thing you do is, you have to ask God. Say God, I’d like to have a clean heart because now I understand it affects me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Psalmist 51:10 said, create me a clean heart, oh God and renew a steadfast spirit in me.
James Greer: 20:45 I’m not going to go on and on, but number one, you need to ask God for it. Number two, you have had to have it before. He said, renew a steadfast spirit in me. You have to know what it’s like. At one time or another, to be so full of joy, so full of excitement, so full of God. When you lose it, you want to go back to having it. And if you’d never had it, ask God to have it for the first time in your life. Amen? So you’ve got to have it. You got to want it renewed in your life. If you’ve ever had at one time, you want it back again. So you ask Him. The key to that is to stay in close to God. The closer to God you are, the greater the joy you have. He said, restore the joy of my salvation. So don’t try to get way away from God. So, if you just knew what I did, if you just knew what I said, and I said, God knows it already, he wants you to come back to him. He wants you to come close.
James Greer: 21:21 I guess if I was going to sum it up, I would say the prodigal son, he found out how to do it. He became aware of his sin. He was willing to confess it to the father and to God. He was willing to accept his father’s forgiveness. So many people can’t accept their father’s forgiveness. He left the past in the past, and you need to leave your past in the past this morning. And then he did his part to get his priorities right. Did you realize that you can take those few steps and you can go out here today with a changed heart?
James Greer: 22:13 So, whether your heart today is emotionally broken, come and let us pray with you and pray for you. Maybe you lost your joy or you’ve never had it before and lost the joy of your salvation. You’ve got to have salvation in the first place. You know why salvation brings says great joy, because Jesus died for all your sins. No matter what you’ve done, your past and your present and your future sins. The blood of Jesus Christ just wipes them all away. So, if you’re not sure that you’ve ever invited Jesus Christ in your heart, you need to come and you need to do that. You need get your priorities right you. The Bible says, unless Lord build the house, you labor in vain, that’s a priority. You need to learn to fight right. You don’t fight against flesh and blood, just principalities. And then you put Matthew 6:33, seek ye first the kingdom of God and you begin to have victory. Some of you, it’s been a long time since you had victory. I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but would you stand, let me pray with you and pray for you.
James Greer: 22:54 God, you’re an awesome God. I know that you’re the God of all comfort. You’re the God of all peace. You’re the God of all joy, and lasting happiness. I pray today for those that are here today God that are hurting, I pray for their hearts. God, I pray that we would have clean hearts. I pray for those that need to have their joy restored and maybe deal with something in the past. And maybe like the prodigal son just ask God the father to forgive them. I want them to receive the forgiveness. I want them to do their part to get their priorities right and I want them to have a joy that they’ve never had before. God, if they need to join the church today because this is the family that they want to be a part of. I pray they’d just step out and say, I want to make this a home. Maybe they’ve never been biblically, publicly baptized, in the death, burial, and resurrection. Maybe they just need somebody to pray with them. Pray for them. Whatever God has laid upon your heart. I pray that you’d let him have his will, his way in your life. It’s in Christ name I pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.