John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, ’If I were any better, I would be twins!’ He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, ’I don’t get it!’ ’You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?’ He replied, ’Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or...you can choose to be in a bad mood I choose to be in a good mood.’ Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or, I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or, I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life. ’Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,’ I protested. Yes, it is,’ he said. ’Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.’ I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, ’If I were any better, I’d be twins, Wanna see my scars?’ I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. ’The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,’ he replied. ’Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or, I could choose to die. I chose to live.’ ’Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?’ I asked. He continued, ‘the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ’he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.’ ’What did you do?’ I asked. ’Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,’ said John. ’She asked if I was allergic to anything ’Yes, I replied.’ The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ’Gravity’’ Over their laughter, I told them, ’I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’ He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude, I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Matthew 6:34
He fixes up my soul or He renews my soul
I want us to realize that God is here with us today and He is a giving God. I read this week that every other religion requires that you give to their god and have to perform to be right. Christianity on the other hand is from a giving God and just wants us to love Him.
Our message for today tells us that God is here present and able to help us.
1. He is here to Revive us.
When God created the world He made mankind in His image. One day as Adam and Eve were working in the garden the Devil came to tempt them to doubt the Word of God. He said, “Has God really said?” These doubts lead them to disobey God and brought death into the world. This was not just physical death but spiritual death. The Bible declares that we are al dead in our trespasses and sin. We are without hope, with out faith and with out God. We have to have a change in our lives, which Jesus addressed when He said, “you must be born again.” We present ourselves to Him in repentance but only He can give us new life. To be revived we need to expect it to happen. Do we need a revival here or not, in this church, and in this city? Do you expect to have one? Have you any reason to expect one? The only reason we do not have revival is only because you do not want one. Have you have cried out to God, "Will you revive us?”. Do you wish for a revival? Will you have one? If God should ask you this moment, by an audible voice from heaven, "Do you want a revival?" would you dare to say, Yes? "Are you willing to make the sacrifices?" would you answer, yes? "When shall it begin?" would you answer, let it begin in my heart NOW? Would you dare to say so to God, if you should hear his voice?
2. He is here to renew our strength.
Sin has marred us, broken us, defiled us, crippled us and wrecked us. When man was created he was made perfect and holy before God. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in a close union. When man disobeyed God there was a separation because sin ruined man’s relationship with God. When we come to church or have devotions with God it changes us. (Card check). The bible tells us that one day the trumpet of the Lord will sound and this corruptible body will put on an everlasting body. What sin did to us God’s grace is able forgive and give us strength for living a spiritual life.
3. He is here to Refresh our souls.
The only One that can refresh our souls is the Holy Spirit. He refreshes our souls by showers of grace, forgiveness, love, mercy and salvation. Spurgeon said, “Without the Spirit of God we can do nothing. We are as ships without wind or chariots without horses. Like branches with out sap and withered. Like coals without fire, we are useless.” Let us pray, Dear Father, please stir our hearts to reach out for all that you have promised us. Forgive our carnality, our indifference to the spiritual realities all around us and our dependence on human resources rather than on your power. Teach us to pray and wait upon you in humility and faith; send the wind and fire of your Spirit upon us. Transform us into men and women who bear powerful witness in word and deed to the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives. Do it for the sake of your kingdom. AMEN
4. He is here to quiet our souls.
We know in the heart of sinners and backsliders there is unrest, chaos, confusion, disorder, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration, conflict and desperation. There is no pill, medicine, treatment or institution that can help with this. The only cure is Jesus Christ. Listen to IS 26:3 ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You.”
5. Here is here to restore your soul. There is no doctor, carpenter, Dry Cleaner that has the power or skill to restore one’s soul. We need the Divine Healer to search out the sin sick soul and change the desires and ambitions that they may become a new Creation in Christ Jesus. As a sheep needs help from the outside and cannot fix itself so we need help. A sheep is one of the most helpless creatures. If a sheep gets lost it cannot find its way back home and so will wonder around and around Lost. The good Shepherd will go and find the sheep and bring it home. So we need the good Shepherd to lead us home to heaven. In LK 15 we read of the shepherd who left to go and search for one lost sheep until he found him. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. A sheep does not how to keep itself clean. When it gets dirt, burrs or stickers in its wool it has no way of getting it out. The good shepherd will take each sheep as it comes into the pen at night, inspect the wool, and take out anything that should not be there. If there is sin in our life it is something that only the Good Shepherd can take out of our lives. When a sheep is injured only the shepherd can provide the healing needed. When the sheep is in danger of a wild animal it is defenseless and needs the protection of the shepherd. PS 27:1-5 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
The story of Willie McLean his rap sheet with the NYPD is as long as your arm. He works as security guard for a pastor in a large church in N Y. I want to share a few things from his life to show what the power of God can do. It started in JR. HI. When he got his girlfriend pregnant this was the daughter of a N. Y. cop. They tried to keep it quiet but within the next year they did it again. He was accused of statutory rape. Elise the girl pleaded at his trial and he got off with a suspended sentence. When he was a JR. in high school he started working the numbers racket, taking bets and collecting profits. He also started stealing cars. He stole a car one night and was chased by the police and ended up crashing into a tree. The man he stole from was a friend of his fathers and the charges were dropped. At seventeen he started using drugs. He was just to sell them but soon tried Acid, Speed, Cocaine and heroin. He saw more than one person die from a hot shot which was a white power that looked like heroin but was rat poison and battery acid. Because of his bad activity he kept getting thrown in jail for 90 days and 60 days. He had 21 counts of armed robbery for which he received a ten-year sentence. He was in many jails during this time. While in Clinton he had a man give him candy, soda and cigarettes. Then one day the man said he owed him $45 for all the stuff and wanted it now. He did not have it so the man said he had until the next day. Willie stayed up all night worried about what would happen to him the next day. When the man came after him he grabbed a mop bucket and hit the man over the head making it bleed freely. For attempted murder he was given more time in jail. He was set free from prison in 1976. Elise with the two children was waiting for him and they got married. He was 27 but still out of control. He was in a fight and got his finger sliced with a knife. In the hospital Elise found out another girl was there named Renee of whom she found out that there was another baby. He did go home with Elise. When their daughter died from diabetes, he became more violent. He stole $20,000 in drugs and used it to enter the prostitution business. He could not keep up with his expensive habits and a contract was put out on his life. He was shot with two bullets in a phone booth. One hit his jaw and the other entered his shoulder from the back. As he lay in the street he prayed, “God, please don’t let me go out like this. While in the hospital, his wife came and prayed for him. He still was not ready to change. He met another girl and she bore him two more children. Her mother tried to have him killed, but Willie managed talk the gunman to leave him alone. He got selling drugs again and was sent to Rikers Island for one year and five years probation. Now 39 he finally went to church with his wife. As the singing began, his heart was opened and he started crying. When the preaching started, he felt like he knew everything about him. When the invitation was given, he went forward and prayed, “O God, I just can’t take it anymore. I can’t go on.” He was saved that night. He faced a year in jail but was a changed man. During that year, he asked God to free him from his drug habit and with help; he was clean after ten weeks. He still carries around the two bullets in his body. He is serving the Lord now. “God has turned my life inside out. He has blessed me and my family incredibly.”
Only God can restore the soul as this story shows. Where are you today with the Good Shepherd? Does your soul need a touch from God right now