Philippians 4:6-9, CEV
Going from worry to a strange peace.
Many times, you won’t feel like it, but do it because you belong to God and His Word tells us to. God wants to bless us even when we don’t feel like it. One of God’s greatest blessings is peace, and it is a free gift that can only come from Him. Peace is a by-product of trusting God’s promises, purpose and plan for our life even when we don’t understand them. (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV) When we have this peace, we will not think like others think or feel. (Philippians 4: 8-9, CEV)
What to do when we Mess Up.
Confess our sins. Remember God’s mercies are new every morning; He does not want to give us what we deserve, but what we need. (Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV; NLT2) Remember your #1 purpose (your 1st calling) is being loved by God; Accept His love. (1 John 3:1, AMP) Show mercy to someone who does not deserve it. (Matthew 5:7, NCV) Give love to someone who does not deserve it. (Matthew 5:44, NKJV; Matthew 5:46, NKJV) Don’t waste the pain, let it become your biggest ministry to bring Honor and Glory to God.
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer: 00:00 I’d like to take a moment and welcome the Alexandria campus. Amen? Hey, the message is, don’t worry be happy. Yeah. I’m going to tell you what we have really loved the lion king series. Of course, today’s the last of the message of the series. Next Sunday, you all ready? We’re going to start, how to raise kids without raising your blood pressure. Catchy title. Probably a most impossible task to do. For the kids, they’re saying, why don’t we have one on how to raise your parents. Now, I’m going to tell you whether you have kids or not, it will apply. Because it’s a whole lot to do with relationships. In fact, one of the insights will be, why do parents fight about the way to raise a kid. So, you’re going to want to be here. Now, today’s message though is of course. Don’t worry, be happy, but the goal is learn two things.
James Greer: 00:52 So important, one of the goals is to learn how to have peace no matter what the situation is. The second goal is what to do when you mess up. Even as a Christian, what do you do when you mess up? Because there’s one thing I can tell you is this, I mess up. You mess up. We all mess up. The sooner we can learn what to do when we mess up, the sooner we can come back and be in that wonderful presence of God. In fact, I’m so excited about teaching this. In fact, I’ve never taught it, except for the pipeline leadership series that we just finished up. And boy, it was just such a great series and we’ll have it again back in October. So I’m looking forward to that.
James Greer: 02:07 Now when I say don’t worry, be happy. I don’t know if you can go from not worry that leads to being happy. I do know that you can go from not worrying to having a strange peace that can only come from God. Because I’ve seen that happen over and over again. And in Philippians 4, it gives us a kind of how to do that. And in Philippians 4:6, it says, don’t worry about When it says don’t worry about anything, it means you don’t have to worry about your hair. I mean, don’t worry about your hair. I’m going to tell you what you know, when I look in the mirror, all I can see this. I know that my hair is rescinding. But I did the strangest thing. I was getting ready for VBS and you know, I jumped up and I got ready and I put my shirt on and I turned around and I got the other mirror and I looked this way and I saw the back of my head. And I came running in there. I said, mother, I’m bald. She said, honey, it’s been like that. I said, but I didn’t see it. She said, well just don’t look at it. And so when it says don’t worry about anything, it means don’t worry about anything.
James Greer: 03:09 Don’t worry about your hair. Don’t worry about your health. Don’t worry about your wealth. Don’t worry about the way you look. Don’t worry about your cook. I mean, I mean, just don’t worry about anything. Amen? Don’t worry about schools until they start. I mean, I love it because it just puts it in there. It would be something if it said, don’t worry about blankety blank. Some of you all are putting somebody’s name to that, but that’s not what I’m saying. Don’t worry about anything, but then says, pray about.
James Greer: 03:17 We’re fixing to go away in a few days, and we’re sitting there last night and my wife said, are you worried about the dogs? I said, not really. She said, well, I wish we could bring them with us. I said, I’m glad we can’t. I mean, I like them. I thought, just pray about it. You want to know the real truth, you better be praying about, we’re bringing two teenagers with us. That’s what you need to pray about. Amen? And they’re not in here, so we can say that, and they’re probably not up watching online yet.
James Greer: 04:13 But, I mean say you pray about everything and you do it with a thankful heart. I am going to tell you when you have a thankful heart, man, it just empowers the presence God. And offer up your prayers and requests to God. It doesn’t really say that you’re not going to worry, because I worry, you worry, we all worry. It’s trying to give us what to do when we worry, where the peace of God can come upon our life.
James Greer: 04:16 Verse 7 says, then because, and I love that because, say then because of what? Because, you belong to Christ Jesus. Oh, I love that. Because I hear people, all the time say man, it seems like I just don’t belong. Never say that again . Because, Christ says, yes you do. You belong, and not only do you belong, you belong to the king of kings and Lord of Lords. You personally belong to Christ Jesus and God will bless you.
James Greer: 04:44 In other words, not only do you belong, you belong to Christ and that will cause. He wants to bless you. One of the greatest blessings is he wants you to bless you with peace that no one can completely understand it. And this peace will control the way that you think and the way that you feel. I love it because he’s trying to say, it’s because many times you don’t feel like it.
James Greer: 05:03 Gods word tells you anyway. It tells you because you belong to Christ, you now have somebody you belong to because God wants to bless you. Don’t matter if you feel like you’re being blessed. It doesn’t even feel like if you’re blessable. Because if there’s ever a time you need God’s blessing it’s there. Ever a time you need God’s peace, it’s when you’re worrying, it’s when you’re hurting. That’s when you need your needs met most. Because nobody else completely understands it. You can’t understand God’s peace in the midst of a myth. Let’s see, one of God’s greatest blessings, you ready? Is peace. So you can have all the wealth, you can have all your health, but without peace you don’t enjoy it.
James Greer: 05:58 And then I know people have very little wealth. Their health’s not great, and yet they still enjoy unbelievable peace. But, you see the peace I’m talking about, it can only come from God. Do you know what peace is really? Peace in the truest sense is a byproduct of trusting God’s promises, his purpose, and his plan for our life. Even when we don’t understand it. You got to trust God’s promises. You’ve got to know how to get God’s promises in your situation. You’ve got to understand God’s purpose for your life and you’ve got to understand God has a plan for your life. So when you began, and then peace is just the byproduct of that.
James Greer: 07:00 Jeremiah 29:11 says, this is one of God’s promises, it’s one of God’s plans, it’s one of God’s ways for God’s people. God knows the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord. Thoughts, thoughts of what? So one of God’s plans, one of God’s promises, one of God’s thoughts, is one of the thoughts that I have for you. One of the thoughts I have for you. If you’re a born again baptized believers. I have thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you a future, to give you a hope. And when God says to give you a hope, it’s not like I hope it rains. I hope it doesn’t rain. I hope I get into school. I hope I can pay all of my bills. That’s not the kind of hope that God gives us. God’s hope is a confident, expectation of a positive future in spite of your present circumstances. See when we had this kind of peace, we don’t think and feel like other people do.
James Greer: 07:55 See, the real truth is the way we think greatly determines the way we feel. See, if you have not, better listen here, if you have not been thinking it’s hard and takes longer. If your thinking is not right, it takes longer and harder to have godly peace. If you’re not thinking on God’s way, God’s will and God’s plan, and something happens, it’s harder to have God’s peace. If you’ve been thinking on God’s word and God’s ways it’s both. It’s not one. You got to think on God’s word, which is God’s promises. You got to think on God’s way, which is God’s will for you. God says, I know the thoughts that I think of you. You know thoughts are for peace. You got to know God’s will is. Romans 8:28, all things work together good for them that love the Lord. So, I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been thinking about God’s will. I’ve been thinking about God’s word. I’ve been thinking about God’s ways and I’ve been thinking about it. And then tragedy comes and devastation comes and it still hurts. You still have sorrow. Okay, you ready? But in the midst of the sorrow and the hurts, you have a strange peace.
James Greer: 08:56 I’m not to stand up here and tell you don’t hurt, and you don’t have sorrow because you do. But, I am here to tell you by experience and after 35, 40 years, I know people who’ve gone through the greatest tragedies in their life, and they have sorrow and they still have a strange peace at the same time. That’s why Philippians says, you can’t understand it. Because they had been thinking of God’s word. They’ve been thinking about God’s ways. They know God’s promises and when it hits, it comes. But, even if you have not been doing that, but if you’re a Christian and you’ve got the Holy Spirit in you, but you hadn’t been thinking about God’s word, you hadn’t been coming to church, you hadn’t been under the word. That’s why it’s so important. You come every single Sunday. You need to be in the word. You need to be under the word. But, say you hadn’t been in God’s word, you hadn’t been under God’s way, you can still have it. It just takes longer. The sooner you start thinking about God, you get into his word, you get under his word. You think about God’s way. You begin to have this unexplainable peace that God promises you.
James Greer: 09:57 If you could really get what I was saying, you would not only be in church every time you get to, you had taken a little of God’s word every day. Because I can tell you, life happens. You’re going to need it. I have seen that happen over and over. I’ve seen the same thing happen to two different families. One has this strange peace and the other one doesn’t, and the only difference one has been around God’s Word in God’s word, been trying to go to God’s word, God’s plan, God’s purpose. And the other one hasn’t. One falls completely away into pieces, the other one still has suffering and sorrow and they have hurts, but at the same time they have this unbelievable strange peace. What I want for Journey Church people. I want you to at least be ready to have a strange peace no matter what comes into your life.
James Greer: 10:55 And there’s no other way to have it except to be in God’s word. Believe his plan and believe his purpose. He kind of starts summing up and then he tells you how to do it. He goes into verse 8 and he says, listen, let me tell you how to do it on a day to day basis. He says, finally my brother, he’s talking about God’s peace. He says, finally, my brothers, my friends, keep your mind. He’s trying to tell you what do keep your mind on whatever is true. Start thinking a little truth. A lot of things aren’t true out there. Think on the truth. Think on things that are pure, think on things that are right. Think on things that are holy, friendly, that are proper. Uh, don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile. Uh, praiseworthy. In other words, he tells you what to think on. Keep, keep, keep thinking on good thing. The God of peace will be in. You know what it’ll do? It’ll be with you.
James Greer: 11:54 He says, listen, he wants it to. He said, I want you to do. He said, I am teaching you right now. Do you know the teachings I’m giving you? I’m giving you the teachings on how to have peace no matter what’s going on in your life. And you know what you heard me say, when I told you to do? And you saw me do it, follow the example and God who gives peace, who gives peace? God. He will be with you. In other words, he said, listen to me. The God of peace will be with you, not might be with you. He will be with you. And God wants to give it to you. Now let me tell you, I’ve seen some tragedy these last few weeks, in the last few months, these last years. I’ve seen some people really mess up. And through these huge mess ups, I’ve seen God work some miracles and I’ve seen some tragedies.
James Greer: 12:34 So, I’ve given you some simple things to follow up to do. If you want to have peace on day to day basis. What the think on and get into God’s word, and believe God’s plan and purpose for your life. But, what about when you mess up? I’m going to look at somebody give you an illustration of somebody that found some strange peace in the midst of one of the worst mess ups in their life. There’s a guy that goes to our church and they moved. His name is Jacob Gagnoran. He messed up. He went to our church and his parents go and his father in law and mother-in-law go to our church. He’s usually, Peter Cruise, he’s usually here. He’s got the long red hair. He usually sits right there where you all are at. His mother is Deborah Cruise, and we need to pray for his daughter, Jessica. They got a son-in-law whose name is Jacob.
James Greer: 13:58 He has good intentions, just like me and you. They moved to Colorado and Jacob was out drinking that night and drank more than he should, maybe something else with the drinking and didn’t come home. But on the way home, he crossed the line and he killed some people. A minimum of a father and a grandmother. He killed him. The son writes a letter. Here’s the letter. I would say, if you got drunk and killed people, you messed up. Amen? And I say that people that you killed, they needed peace. Amen?
James Greer: 14:11 I’m going to read the story. He said, I’m the second oldest of six kids that my parents had. I was raised very strict, but it was a Christian family. I learned a lot while I was growing up because we were under communism, until I was almost 14. Afterwards, my daddy moved us to the United States as a family. We started from scratch. I mean absolutely nothing. But, for over 30 years my father, he decided he had passed a Romanian Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. But, not your usual Pastor. He was an unbelievable responsible person. He wanted to be the light of the world. He believed also. He said, I’m not going to accept a salary for the church, I want to be independent. I want to give back. He had the respect of so many people that when he did die, at the funeral, Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostals, Baptists, Jews, and even Muslims came by. I was amazed at how many people wept. Some of them told me they wept more with my dad than they did their own father.
James Greer: 15:50 My mother lost her mother and her husband the same day. I can’t imagine how she must feel, but as a son I’ve learned acting out of pain in selfishness is not the answer. I’ve learned to forgive and even to forgive you and to look past your mistakes that you’ve made. Your family doesn’t have to suffer I hope like mine. You need to provide, you need to provide for your family. You don’t need to be absent from your own duties. I’m convinced that there is a greater purpose for your life. I hope. I hope that the man who my father was, maybe can become alive and in you some way. I know wholeheartedly that if the places were reversed and he was alive and my mother had passed in the crash, he would had forgiven you, and he would offer you the greatest gift of all. The gift of grace is forgiveness and you definitely do not deserve it. But that’s the kind of man he was. Jesus Christ lived in him, lived in my father. He was a great representative of God’s work. Therefore, as my family, we want you to know that we’re going to forgive you. I consider that our loss cannot compare. Listen to this, you ready? Our loss cannot compare to the glory that is to come, even though you as we love you. I suggest you choose wisely though from this path, from now on, we seek that you decided to be transformed by God’s grace. And you have been offered a life, maybe a testimony that you could live out what my father would want you to do.
James Greer: 17:00 We live with hope that we will be reunited with our father and even my grandmother. We’re going to do it in heaven at a point in time, but then the impact of this tragedy will change your life completely. I believe you can continue to be a positive influence and change the minds of many people who are struggling with alcohol and drugs. Don’t take this for granted. You might not get another chance. As a son, I’m going to ask the court with this letter to understand we’re human, that we all make mistakes. You ready? Grant him a chance for freedom, freedom to help the community in whatever area he’s called to do. I pray that he can live in peace and freedom. I pray that he understands he has a greater purpose in life. There’s nothing I want more than to know that you are near the ones who depend upon you. My father’s death, you realize how short life is now, don’t you? The price was not paid in vain. I pray you don’t even blame yourself, that you received the forgiveness that can only come from our father in heaven. Believe it or not. He loves you. He loves you right where you’re at. He loves you in spite of what you did. And remember when it gets to be your turn to forgive, you give it freely and you receive it. Pretty powerful. Amen? True Story. They both need peace.
James Greer: 18:12 So, what do you do when you mess up? Well, the first thing as Christians we do is we go to 1 John 1:9 it says, confess our sins. He’s faithful and just to forgive us. You know that one. But, there’s more steps than that. Well, what do you do? Maybe you cussed your kids out, you screamed, you hollered, you flipped somebody off. You didn’t read your Bible and maybe you killed somebody, which is what he did.
James Greer: 18:55 I think you not only confess your sin, but you remember God’s mercy. You don’t deserve God’s mercy, but you need it. Jacob did not deserve God’s mercy, but not only was God willing to give it to him, so were the man’s son. Lamentations 3:22 says, though the God’s mercies were not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness. Mercy is undeserved forgiveness, unearned kindness. But at the truest sense, this is what mercy is, it’s missing out on the punishment that we deserve and we’re pardoned from it.
James Greer: 19:37 So we say, God forgive us, but God’s mercy is new every morning. Amen? So when I mess up the night before I wake up, start saying, thank God. God, you don’t want to give me what I deserve. You want to give me mercies and I want to enjoy God’s mercies. Amen? And then I’ve got to remember, y number one calling and my number one purpose is simply to be loved by God and be accepting God’s love.
James Greer: 20:01 1 John 3:1 it says, is that an incredible quality of love that father’s given, the father has given us and shown in the stowed upon us, that we should be permitted to the name and called and counted as God’s children.
James Greer: 20:05 In other words, he said, listen, can you believe that God’s bestowed this unbelievable love on you, and you’re going to be called the child of God? Listen, what God wants you to do is not only confess your sin. Now, as we said, I want you to understand that you can have the mercy of God. He says, I want you to accept the love of God. God says, I want you to let him love you. Our ultimate purpose is be loved by God. That’s why he created you. Accept it.
James Greer: 20:47 You ready? Four, show mercy to somebody that doesn’t deserve it. It’s easy to receive mercy. It’s hard to give it. I’m studying this lesson and God’s just burden my heart, man, and I’m saying, man, this guy’s unbelievable. I can’t imagine doing this. I know a couple in our church, the family, the Floyd family. I was with them when a drunk ran over a curb and hit their mother Larieta and killed her. I saw them struggling about a year later. I know they went to court and they told the guy that killed her mother, that they forgave him. They showed mercy. It’s easy to receive mercy. You start practicing and giving mercy to somebody that deserves none. Matthew 5:7 says, those who show mercy to others, they’ll be happy, and then God will show you mercy. I’m starting this lesson, and there’s a tenant we have up in Nat, we’ve got some condos, and they tore it all up. And I mean ripped it up and thousands of dollars of damage, and the guys were calling and then the guy calls.
James Greer: 21:49 He said, man, I forgot. I left my refrigerator in there and he’s high as a kite. And he said, I want to get in and get it. And the guy that runs it said, I’m not letting you in. He called duh, duh, duh. And he said, should I let him in? I said, the guy called me and I said, you know what, I’m going to let you in because I’m studying mercy and I want to show you mercy. He said, well, if you’re going to preach to me, just tell me what you mean. I said, thank you Jesus. I said, I’ll do better than that. I’ll send you a recording. I wanted to cuss him out and put him in jail. I would’ve felt better and I normally would have, but since I’m studying this, and so I put it on video and I go through the wordless book and I’m saying, man, God wants to give you what you don’t deserve. God wants to forgive you of your sin, and I pray you accept Christ and I pray you’d find a church. I pray you’d go to rehab. And that’s really what I’d like, and you can have your refrigerator.
James Greer: 22:39 He said, thank you. I guess I’ll love you in Christ and you know what? And no more that financial stuff did not matter. What mattered is, wouldn’t it be great if he changed his life and how hard it is to show mercy and how easy it is to receive it.
James Greer: 23:13 Then the last thing is to give love to somebody that doesn’t deserve it. When you say you love your enemies, God says, Hey, you love those that hate you. Everybody here, you think there’s somebody that’s really hurt you? I have them, you have them, we all have them. Uh, I’ve had them in my family. I’ve had it with kids, grandkids. I’ve had it with other people. And, God, this man, he’s just really been breaking my heart. And he said, you know, you just got to love them anyway. And I said, well that’s so hard. And he said, yeah, it’s hard for me to love you too, James. And so I want us to just change it. I want us to have a heart reversal.
James Greer: 23:46 I want us to learn that I mess up and we all mess up. But God says, Hey, I love you anyway, no matter what you did. And, did you know the guy that had the wreck and killed the people? God still loves him. God’s still going to forgive him. Yeah, he did have to go to jail anyway, but God will be with him there. The guy that lost his father and lost his mother, that God’s still with him and God’s walking through him and he looks at it, he said, God’s going to get glory out of this. I’m hurting. I’m suffering, but God’s going to use it. And sometimes we look at the trivial things and we just miss it.
See there’s a couple of things need to be, some of you all are in here today and you need peace. And God, He wants to give you that peace. But, to have that peace, you’ve got to give God a peace in your heart. You’ve got to accept Christ as your Savior. You’ve got to follow through with the biblical public baptism of the death, the burial and resurrection. So some of you needed the peace. Some of you messed up. He hadn’t messed up any worse than anybody else or any worse than those people. God has some biblical steps for you to take and the reason that he wants you to take, he wants to show you some mercy and grace and he wants you to go out of here today freer than you’ve ever been before. That’s really what the Christian life’s about is I’m messed up and Christ frees us from our mess ups. So, you need to come and say Hey, I’ve messed up. May not been today. It might’ve been years past and you’re still living with it and today you want to get free.
James Greer: 25:14 Somebody just want to come and join the church. And you know, today’s the day. Some of you, there’s some people that are really unlovable and God just put on your heart who they are. Some of them may be in your own family and today you might say, Hey, I need to just love them. You might not to be put yourself in the same situation to get hurt, but, your heart needs to be right. You don’t need to go home the same way that you came. You need to go home with a clean heart today. You need to go home with a happy heart. Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you?
James Greer: 26:01 God, you’re an awesome God, a powerful God, a gracious God, a merciful God. God, I want our people today to go home different than they came. For those that need to have peace, God, that they would find it today. Those that need to find forgiveness God, they would find that today. So God whether it’s to join the church, whether it’s the follow through in baptism, whether it’s to find freedom, whether it’s to find peace. God, whether it’s something that he didn’t talk about that they just need somebody to pray with them, pray for them. I pray that you’d have your will and your way this morning. It’s in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.