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Gideon: How to Start a New Year
How to Start a Brand New Year
(Judges 6:1-2, NLT2)
They had not admitted that they were part of the problem. When something important ends, we have to look back in order to move ahead. Blame sets us up for repeated failure and repeated performance.
Cry Out to the Lord.
(Judges 6:6, NLT2; Psalm 50:15, NKJV; Psalm 107:19. NCV; Psalm 91:15-16, NKJV)
Stop blaming God and start looking to God. Many times, when we’re hurt, we want to blame God and others. But until we begin to own our part and look to God instead of blaming Him, we will not get better. When we hurt, we need God’s help.
He will deliver: equip you with what you need.
He will honor: Gideon went from hiding to a hero.
He will satisfy: They went from starving to satisfied.
Begin to see yourself as God sees you.
(Judges 6:12, NLT2; Joshua 6:1-4, NKJV; Jeremiah 20:11, NKJV)
The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and saw him as he could be not as he was. God wanted Joshua to see that God already had a solution to the problem before the battle. Until you see yourself as God sees you, you will never have the brand-new year God has for you. You have to God as your Father, Protector, and Provider.
Leave the bitterness in the past.
(Judges 6:13-16, NLT2; 2 Corinthians 13:9, NKJV; Romans 8:31, NKJV)
Don’t get stuck in the past where you miss the wonderful future God has for you. God does not want us to keep trying to have a brand-new year in our own power and strength, but His. Where the Lord sends you, He will provide, empower, and protect you. It does not matter where you came from, it matters Who is with you now.
Sermon Video Transcription
A couple of things I want to really encourage you. Listen, if you have not received the new devotional book, please get one. Darrell, do we have them in the back or…? We do. So please go back and get one. If you’re not in a WhatsApp group, please get one because we’re sharing the devotion and insights, and it just helps develop community. And man, I’m telling you, if you see the shirts, we had a fantastic couples retreat. But also Darrell’s going to be teaching that material. Darrell, I’m talking to people even this morning, they said, even though they went to, through it this weekend, some of them are already signing up to go through it. It’s in February. Right? February what? February the 17th. And you can sign up right now. Not only for married couples, but if you’re engaged, we’re now going to open it up.
James Greer (00:51):
Wouldn’t it be great to get good counseling before you’re married? Amen? So you’re welcome to sign up ahead of time. You’re welcome to go through it. And also, man, we got a lot of exciting Wednesday night courses going on right now. If you don’t know it, we’ve got the Simple Book of Daniel. Nothing like going through Daniel. We have the Princess Warriors going on. We’ve got a fantastic youth, children department. So we have just a lot going on so to be a part of that. Well, we’re going to continue the Season Premiere: A Brand New Year. And if there’s anybody that needed a brand new year, it was Gideon. Gideon had been in hiding in the children Israel for seven years. But something happened in Gideon’s life. He went from hiding to a hero. He actually went kind of from a nobody to a somebody. Some of y’all have seemed like you have been in hiding.
James Greer (01:52):
The Lord doesn’t want Christians to be in hiding. Some of you need to come out of hiding. It’s not so much, lately, it seems like it’s all been about politics and about party and even presidents. See, I think it’s time for Christians, it’s not about just party, it’s not just politics, it’s not even present. It needs to be about a person, and that person needs to be Jesus Christ. Amen? And Jesus wants us to come out of hiding, and he wants us to be heroes for Christ. Amen? And when we learn to have the right position and stand up for the right person, He’ll radically change our lives. See, Gideon, he didn’t have just one bad year like us. He had at minimum seven bad years. Gideon and the children of Israel, they’d been hiding. They’d been hiding in caves and in mountains. They had almost been starving to death. The reason that Gideon and the children of Israel were hiding, the Midianites, the enemy had been very cruel to them.
James Greer (03:10):
It wasn’t that God wasn’t able to protect them, to deliver them, to provide for them. It was because they had kept sinning. So God allowed them to get into that position. I wonder sometimes if that’s why America is where we are. Why did they need a new year? Let’s look at starting in Judges 6 and let’s look what it said. The Israelites did evil. Can I tell you something? When it says that, it didn’t say they just sinned one time. That isn’t what it means. It doesn’t mean that you sinned, and all of a sudden, that you, God punished you. It meant they had developed a lifestyle of sin. God had warned them. God wanted them to turn back to God. God wanted to bless them. And God wanted the best for them. But no, no, they just continued to turn from God. It’s like so many during a time like this. You know, you start out getting out of church and then you start looking for pleasures and then you kind of turn from God and you start living your own life. And at first it seems great. Amen? You have free time. You seem like, but then something happens.
James Greer (04:33):
They did evil in the sight of the capital L-O-R-D, Lord’s sight. He’s the one that’s in control of everything. He’s the ultimate authority. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. And the Midianites, they were so cruel, the Israelites, they started hiding. Hiding in places and then the mountains and caves and strongholds. Some of y’all seem like you’ve just been in hiding. Can I tell you something? It is not natural for a Christian that’s right with God to be fearful and in hiding. If you’re living, if you’re fearful and your hiding, it’s only because you’re not in the right relationship with God. God didn’t create you that way. You’ll see that later on, He tells Gideon, why are you acting like that? You’re supposed to be a mighty man of valor. You’re supposed to be a hero, leading other people to victory. And if you’re a Christian, you’re not supposed to be living like that. You’re not supposed to be living a defeated, discouraged life.
James Greer (05:54):
The verse that Michael was going read while ago that was in 2 Chronicles 20, it says, you don’t even need to fight this fight. You don’t need to fight every fight. It means you don’t need to fight them by yourself. It said, you don’t need to fight this battle, but you do need to position yourself. You need to position yourself. Stand still where you can see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you. Do you understand that when you’re in the right position that the Lord is with you? When the Lord is with you, you don’t have to fear, you don’t have to be dismayed, you don’t have to be discouraged. Tomorrow you go out, you go out against them because the Lord is with you. I’m telling you when you understand really that God is with you and God is for you, you don’t have to be fearful, you don’t have to be afraid. Amen? I mean that’s not natural for a Christian. It’s not that God could not and would not deliver them. It’s because they would not admit they’re part of the problem. Many times when you feel like others are being cruel to you, like you’ve really been mistreated, truth is you’ve never gone back and admitted you’re part of the problem.
James Greer (07:18):
Even in broken relationships, you feel like others, maybe even God has treated you cruelly for a long period of time. You usually need to go back and accept you’re part of the problem and stop just blaming the other people. Instead of trying to simply convince yourself and others that you’ve done nothing wrong, go back and own your part. You’re part of the problem. When something ends, when there’s a breakup. It could be a relationship. It could be a job. I know I’ve only really lost one job in my life, and it was devastating. And it was really hard for me to ever see my part of it. But I had part of it. I had to go back and own up to my part of it. I had to see that I had a part in it. Some of y’all have had broken relationships, devastating relationships. Maybe somebody even walked out on you, and they shouldn’t have. Be careful. When something ends, you got to go back to what happened and make sure you own up to your part where you can move forward. That’s what had happened to the children of Israel. That’s what had happened to Gideon. Gideon couldn’t move forward because he wouldn’t go back, and the children of Israel wouldn’t own up to their part. We’re all born blamers by nature.
James Greer (09:06):
I mean we’re just naturally born blamers. I mean Adam, what’d he do? He blamed Eve and God. He blamed the serpent. So from that time on, we are naturally born blamers. Can I tell you something? You cannot blame others as a way of getting better. You can’t blame your way to getting better, but you can train your way into getting better. Amen? So that’s what we’re wanting to do. We’re trying to train your way to getting better. You train your way to transformation. You don’t try. You don’t blame. You train. Blaming sets you up for repeated failure. You repeat the same failure over and over and over. They did it for seven years. The children of Israel did it for 40 years. How many years are you going to do it? Are some of you ready to move forward in your life? Amen? In your relationship, in your job? Amen? Maybe in your Christian walk. Second, they cried out to God. They said, God, we’re ready to go forward.
James Greer (10:21):
And they did it. Judges 6:6. And so Israel was reduced to starvation. I think that happened to the prodigal son. By the Midianites. Can I ask you something? Was it really the Midianites that was the problem? No, the Midianites were just pawns in the hand of God. See, the person that’s the greatest problem in your life is not the problem. It’s not your husband. It’s not your mate. It’s not your pastor. It’s not your boss. It’s you. Oh, preach Brother James. And y’all thought it was me. You thought it was your mate. You thought it was your boss. I mean get a life. Who were they next to God? The Israelites did something you need to do and something I need to do. They cried out to the capital L-O-R-D for help.
James Greer (11:36):
They cried out to the Lord for help. They begged him. They pleaded with him. They stopped blaming God, and they looked to God. If you’re not careful, you’ll get in trouble and you’ll start blaming God and you’ll question God instead of calling out to God. See, that was a turning point in Job’s life. That was the turning point in the prodigal son’s life. And it could be the turning point in your life. Just when you’re hurting and you’ve been hurt, you often blame God instead of looking to your part. And why don’t you today, why don’t you stop blaming others? Why don’t you, why don’t you stop looking to others? Why don’t you look to God? Why don’t you call out to God? Why don’t you beg God? When you’re really hurt, He can help. The Psalmist said in 50:15, he said, call upon the name of the Lord in the day of trouble. And he said, He will deliver you. And you shall glorify me. When God starts delivering you and you do it right, you bring glory to God. The Psalmist said in 107:19, you know what he said? He said in their misery. Some of y’all are miserable. I can tell by looking at you,
James Greer (12:47):
Or do you just look like that all the time? My goodness gracious, some of your mates need to call out for help. I can see you up there. I can’t believe we’re so full, y’all are sitting up there. Hey. I love it. I’m glad I got my glasses on. Y’all know I usually can’t see y’all. I can see all the way to the back. That’s a miracle. They’re smiling up there. What’s wrong with y’all? In their misery, they cried out to the Lord. Next time your mate’s sitting at the table and you see them crying out to the Lord. I don’t know. Yeah, don’t eat the dinner. And He saved them from their trouble. He delivered them. He rescued them. See, there’s a lot of miserable people in the world. Why do you want to keep living that way? I think for a Christian to live a miserable life is a bad witness. That was never God’s intent for you to live that way. You might have seasons. You might have time. But it’s not a lifestyle. He wants you to have an abundant life. Psalms 91:15. Me, you shall call upon the Lord, Me. And I’ll answer you. I’ll be with you in trouble. You’re going to have times of trouble. I’ll deliver him and I’ll honor him. Deliver means I’m going to equip you for what you need. God’s not going to just remove the problem. I wish He would. You got a problem. I got a problem.
James Greer (14:39):
We all have problems. Amen? God said, listen, call out to me. Let me equip you. When the children of Israel, when the armies were attacking them, He said, hey, take the rod. Gideon parted the Red Sea. He equips you. God’s already given you what you need. He’s equipped you. He honors you. He said, okay, Gideon, you’ve been hiding. Now, I’m going to equip you. I’m going to take you from honoring to be a hero. When God starts giving you victory, God gets honored. God gets the glory. He said, I’m going to honor you. That brings honor to God. He’s gonna satisfy you. You went from starving to being satisfied. I mean that’s what God does. Do you know that Gideon, do you know what happened to Gideon? He was starving. He was hiding. And you know what God did for him? Gideon went from, defeated the Midianites. They had 134,000 people. Gideon and 300 men slaughtered them where God would get the honor and God would get the credit. Can I tell you something? It’s not who’s against you. It’s not even how many is against you. It’s just simply who’s with you.
James Greer (16:06):
Christians, when God’s for you, who can be against you? You got to review. Why were they, why were they starving? Why were they hiding? Because they had sinned. What did they do? They admitted their part, and they called out to God. Third, they needed to start seeing their selves as God sees them. You need to start seeing yourself like God sees you. And Judges 6:12, and the angel of the Lord. He appeared to him. He appeared to me. He appeared to you. He appeared to Journey Church. Now at this time, Gideon is hiding. He’s hiding in a wine press. He’s hiding in a cave. He’s hiding and he’s threshing. And God says, mighty hero, the Lord is with you. Now Gideon didn’t feel like that. Gideon didn’t look like that. But God saw him different than he saw his self. Can I say something?
James Greer (17:15):
You need to start seeing yourself like God sees you. God sees you as a mighty warrior for God. God sees you as a mighty hero. The problem is you try to start seeing yourself as other people have seen you. You see yourself as what you’ve done instead of who you are. You need to change the way that you see yourself. See yourself as God sees you. Even back when Joshua was going to lead the children of Israel into victory in the walls of Jericho, the Lord said, I want you to see that I’ve already given this victory to you. I want you to see it. It’s yours beforehand. God wants you to know that He’s going to give you the victory. He wants you to see beforehand. Judges 6:12, angel of the Lord, he appeared to him and me and he said, you’re a mighty hero. The Lord is with you. Do you realize when you’re positionally correct, the Lord is with you. Until you see yourself as God sees you, you’re not going to have a new year.
Speaker 3 (18:35):
Your identity has to come before your behavior. You want to change your behavior? Change your identity. You want to change how you feel about yourself? Change your identity. You want to change your fear? Change your identity. We have to see God as our Father, our protector, our provider. Jeremiah 20:11 says this. He said, but the Lord is with me. Man, I mean you need to understand that the Lord is with you. He’s mighty. He’s awesome one. God is mighty. God is awesome. Therefore, my persecutors, they’re going to stumble. Are you going to be persecuted? Amen. But guess what? I got an awesome God with me. They’re going to stumble. I’m going to prevail. They’re going to be greatly ashamed. They’re not going to prosper. There’s going to be everlasting confusion. They’re going to be ever be forgotten. That’s the kind of God you have. That’s the kind of confidence you should have. You’ve got to find your identity.
Speaker 3 (19:59):
Your past behavior does not tell who you are today. We’re who Christ says we are. We’re not what we’ve done or what others say. We’re what God says. The truth is your true identity comes before your behavior. You’re accepted. You should be secure. You’re significant. I’ve told you over and over again, you’ve got to know who you are in Christ. If you don’t have a who you are in Christ brochure, make sure you get one. We hand them out. We give them out. We mail them out. You’ve got to know who you are. You got to start feeling like you’re a mighty hero. You’re a mighty man or woman of valor. You’re a strong warrior. You’re brave. You’re fearless. You’re courageous. Only then do you start acting that way. You got to leave any bitterness in your past.
James Greer (21:01):
He calls out to God to help him. God says, you’re a mighty man of valor. You’re a hero. You got to start seeing yourself. So now Gideon, he’s starting to see his self. But he said, God, God. Judges 6:13, he wants to ask God. Gideon says, God, if the Lord, if you’re with us, why has all this happened to us? Well, the truth is because you brought it on yourself. And where are all the miracles that our ancestors told us about? What about those? Didn’t they say the Lord brought us up out of Egypt? Yeah, He did. But now the Lord, you’ve abandoned us. You’ve hand this over to the Midianites. That’s not what’s happened. Stop living in the past. Stop getting stuck there. God has a wonderful future for you. I love how God answers him. It’s like God said, would you quit it? He said, I’m tired of it. He goes on in 14. He just addresses it.
James Greer (22:13):
And the Lord turned to him and said, huh, go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I’m sending you. In other words, it’s like, hey, man, enough is enough is enough. Let’s go forward. Quit whining. Quit crying. I want to give you a miracle. I want to give you a new life. And I’m sending you. Whatever God sends you to do, do you know He can equip you to do it? Did you know that He didn’t send you to be defeated and discouraged? Do you know that He says when you’re weak, that He is strong? Did you know in 2 Corinthians 13:9, it says, I’ll be glad when I’m weak because He is strong? God is sending. When God sends you, you cannot lose. God will provide, He’ll empower, and He’ll protect. Verse 15 said, and the Lord, but Lord, Gideon replied, how can I rescue Israel? Some of y’all are thinking that. How can I be a hero? How can God use me? My clan is the weakest. We don’t understand where I came from. You don’t understand my education. You don’t understand my ability. You don’t understand my financial situation. God didn’t ask you that.
James Greer (23:32):
Matter of fact, sometimes I think God takes the least likely where he can confound the wise. I’m the least of my entire family. Amen. So am I! Big deal! God didn’t ask all that. God says, look at yourself as I see you. Answer my calling. Do what I’ve called you to do. By nature, we want to go back. We want to go back and feel defeated, fearful, discouraged. We don’t want to see ourselves as God sees us. By nature, we don’t see God as our Father. By nature, we want to go back and live a defeated, discouraged life. But we need to learn supernaturally to see ourselves as God sees us. We need to see ourselves what God says about us. We need to say, hey, I want a brand new me, I want a brand new year. Verse 16 says, and the Lord said, this is how you know. I’m going to be with you. I’ll be with you. And when the Lord says, I’ll be with you, you’re going to destroy the Midianites as if there was one person. I love that.
James Greer (24:52):
Because see, some of y’all think my battle is so big. Brother James, if you just knew what I had to, I tell you what, if I had to fight 134,000, and there was only 300 of me, that would be a pretty big battle. Amen? God said, that’s just like one person. What are y’all fighting? It’s not that kind of battle. God says there’s nothing to it. You got the Lord of hosts on your side. I got the whole angels in all of Heaven if I needed to. Three-fourths of all the angels. I could call them down if I needed them to be on your side. If God be for you, who could be against you? Nobody can win. God wants you to understand if you just simply get positioning correct, you got all the power in the world. I am so tired of Christians hiding, I don’t know what I’m going to do. We’re fixing to have a time that we’ve got to start standing up. You talking about California, they’re going to get four year olds decide whether they’re boys or girl. That’s bull.
James Greer (25:50):
I’m not cussing today. Crap. That’s not a cuss word. The other word is, and I’m not saying those anymore. Maybe. That’s bull. Amen? When it comes to stuff like that, we’ve got to make a stand. Amend? We got to come out of hiding. You know why the nation is where it is today? You know why we have the problems we have? Christians have been hiding. We’re not a minority. We’re a majority. We’re just in hiding. It’s time to quit hiding. Quit hiding on your job. Quit hiding at school. Let’s quit hiding. Amen? God’s on your side. Accept you’re part of every problem in your marriage, on your job. Just accept it. Quit blaming people. Amen? Cry out and ask God for help. Get in the right position with God. You get the right priorities. You’re get in the right position. The right position brings the right power.
James Greer (26:56):
I only have a few minutes so I’m going to zoom because you need this. I’m going to quickly tell you how to get in the right position. James 5:16 says, confess your trespasses one to another. Pray for one another that you might be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. It goes on to say, and he was a man just like me and you and he prayed and it didn’t rain for three, three and a half years. He prayed again, and it did. That’s power. Right? But what he was saying was the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man, a man that got positionally correct with God. I want you to get positionally correct. It’s really not as hard as it’s made to seem. Some of y’all are fighting really big battles. I want you to go out of here today, knowing God is with you. God is for you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 134,000, just like one person when God’s with you. Are you really right with God?
James Greer (28:07):
I’m talking about up and down positionally. You have to make sure there was a time you invited Jesus Christ in your heart absolutely. If you’re here today and you’re not sure that you’ve done that, we’re going to give an invitation in a minute. You’ve got to do that. Say I’ve done that. Is there a sin that God has convicted you of that you need to confess today? Is there something you need to stop doing or start doing? Let’s get positionally correct first of all with God. If you’re saved, you have the Holy Spirit. The more you sin and the less you confess, the more callous you get, the less power you experience, the less power you have, the less confidence you have. Deal with it today. We’re going to ask Him to show you what it is. That’s the beginning of getting positional correct with God. Gideon, he was hiding. He had to start getting right with God. He had to get right with other people. People that have hurt you. I’ve been hurt. You’ve been hurt. Got to forgive them. You just have to. I don’t care how bad you were hurt. Forgive them. Do it today.
James Greer (29:45):
Some people you’re just mad at what they did to you. Some of us deep hurt. Some of them left you. Some of them abandoned you. Some of them lied about you. Just really been hurt. And today’s the day. Nobody hurt you any worse than Christ was hurt. Those that He loved the most hurt Him the worst. Every one of them betrayed Him. Every one of them left Him. As He was dying, He said, Father, forgive them. Don’t even know what they’re doing. Some of the people that hurt you the most did not even realize how bad they would hurt you. Forgive them today. You’ve hurt some people. You need to get right with them. I didn’t say you need them back in your life. That’s not always true. There’s some people I don’t want back in my life, but I want them to forgive me. And I’ve tried to ask them to forgive me. Some of them did, some of them didn’t. I don’t want them back in my life. I don’t want a day-to-day relationship with them because they’ve hurt me and I’ve hurt them. But I just want to be right. I don’t want to go to Heaven saying I never asked them to forgive me. And I didn’t ask them to forgive me and vice versa.
James Greer (31:11):
But when you get right with God and right with others, you just start getting positionally right. It’s at that point that you can start saying, God, fill me with your Spirit, guide me, direct me, protect me, empower me. You no longer have to fear anything and anybody. You got the power of God with you and for you. He’s more powerful than any force in this world. The safest place in the world. It’s not a location. It’s a position. And today you have the opportunity to get in that position. It’s up to you. Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? God, I thank you for your Word. Man, I thank you today that, man, I love seeing the sanctuary have this type of service is full. I love to preach to people downstairs, upstairs, and online. But God what I like more is to see hearts that are right, hearts that are changed, people to see themselves as you see them, as you see them as heroes, mighty men and women of valor, people that are willing to stand up for God, men that are willing to, women that are going to battle with you on their side.
James Greer (32:51):
Cast out fear and doubts and discouragement. Fill their heart with your power and your presence. God, for those that are not sure that they’re saved, I pray today, God, that they would walk the aisle and talk to one of these people or if they need to, take a next step card. It’s okay. For those that need to join the church, that they would come or they would mark it on their next step card. Whatever that needs to be. For those that have really been discouraged and today they say, hey, I’m going to take my next step. I’m going to start walking in the faith and the power and the position of God. Maybe you just need to mark it down. Maybe you need to follow through and be biblically, publicly baptized as a way of saying, hey, I’m not ashamed of Christ. Maybe you’ve been saved, but you haven’t been baptized since you were saved. And today’s the day that you’re going to say, Hey, I’m going to be saved. Maybe you came in today and you were really discouraged. You came in, you felt defeated. Maybe you felt like this was the end. I want you to leave knowing no, this is the beginning. This is the beginning of a new life, a new behavior, a new power, a new presence. I don’t want anybody to leave the same way that they came.
James Greer (34:09):
I want you to know that God wants to be with you, He wants to be for you, and that God is in you. I want you to ask the Holy Spirit right now, God, through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, what would you have me to do? What decisions would you have me to make? What was my next step? Everybody has a next step. Maybe you’d like to start serving God. I pray that everybody here would just let you have your way in their life. It’s in the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Darrell Ingram (34:43):
On behalf of Pastor James, we’re so glad you joined us this morning. If you still want to pray with someone, we have people on standby right now, wanting to pray with you. This year we have something that is happening that is great. It’s a year of transformation, a year of growth. And we have small groups that just want to continue to meet your needs and be a part. You see, because at Journey, we know we can’t do life alone. And if you’re not part of a small group, we also have WhatsApp and we want you to come and be a part. And you can join a group with that so you don’t have to be here to be in a group. Come. Join one of our WhatsApp groups. And we’d like you to grow with us at Journey Church.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.