On Sunday, July 26, 2009, while we were IN church, unbeknownst to me and my family, on the same road that I travel twice a day daily, while we were carrying on in the HOLY SPIRIT, there was something happening in the SPIRIT realm. Diane Schuler, drunk and stoned, drove 1.7 miles in the WRONG direction into on-coming Highway traffic and killed 8 people including her! NOW I understand the words uttered by that great Minister of the Gospel & martyr, John Bradford, who said while watching from his prison cell, “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford”. This utterance later became common in the variance you may be more familiar… “There but by the grace of God go I”.
I think this is a good place to pause & reflect of just how GOOD God REALLY is. All of the WRONG way living we have done. All of the things we have done to destroy our bodies, God’s temple. All of the cigarettes we smoked. All of the alcohol we consumed. All of the drugs we IN-jected, IN-gested and IN-haled. All of the food, the salt, the sugar, the cholesterol that resides in our bodies even NOW due to poor dieting. All of the tattoos, piercings and chemicals we’ve put on our skin. All of the weird, nasty and freaky things we’ve done behind closed doors and NOT-SO-CLOSED doors when we thought nobody was looking and when we didn’t care who was looking. All of the people we slept with who slept with God knows how many OTHER people. God I wish I had somebody in this church that would just take a LOOK back over their lives and say like John Bradford… “THERE BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD GO I!” I was going the WRONG way…BUT GOD…
Our text, our text….our text, gives us a snapshot into the ministry of Jesus and His disciples through the eyes of John the Evangelist who is also known as John the Beloved. John writes this Gospel with evangelical emphasis to simply prove that Jesus was indeed flesh, not just a spirit, but God Himself and is used as a point of entry for new converts to Christianity. John differs from the rest of the Gospels, as it talks primarily about JESUS himself, not so much of his miracles and his Public ministry. Jesus’ mission to bring the Word or Logos to his own disciples comes to the for-front in Chapters 13 through 20 as his Public ministry takes a back-seat. It deals with The Word being intimate with those He left the WORD to by sharing HIMSELF, THE WORD. Are you following me? No parables, no exorcisms, no Second Coming…just simply THE WORD! Chapters 13-20 are the backdrop of what we call the Passion Narrative which paints the Passion, Crucifixion and the appearance to His disciples AFTER the Resurrection.
Here in Chapter 14, during the Last Supper & after the Foot Washing of the disciple’s feet by Jesus, He continues what would be his Farewell Address that would go all the way through Chapter 17. In order for you to understand “Let not your heart be troubled” in verse John 14:1, you have to go back to over John 13, after Jesus tells His disciples that one of them would betray him. He tells them that he is about to leave them and that they can’t go where he is going. Peter, the one with the mouth wanted to know…WHERE ARE YOU GOING…THAT WE CAN’T GO!? Jesus tells Peter that where He is going, Peter can’t follow him NOW…Jesus has to go first, THEN we shall follow afterwards. Peter said Lord; I’m not trying to hear all of that right now. I’m not them! My name isn’t John, or Matthew, or Andrew, or James the son of Zebedee, or Philip, or Bartholomew, or Thomas, or James the son of Alphaeus, or Thaddaeus, or Simon the Canaanite, & it sure isn’t Judas Iscariot. It’s ME…PETER! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I WOULD DIE FOR YOU! Jesus’ response to this put’s a nail, right in Peter’s heart! Come on Peter…stop! You’re going to lay down YOUR life, for MY sake? Yeah, right! I promise you, you will deny me THREE times before cock crows to announce a new morning! The Bible doesn’t say it but how would YOU feel. I’m not Peter, but I’d be hurt, I’d be distraught, I might be mad. I might want to quit and GO FISHING! So we see Jesus, in verse one of Chapter 14 telling Peter and the Peter in ALL of us and the Peter spirit that resided in His disciples: 1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
How many of us have ever been lost? Not being able to disseminate where you are? How did you get here? Where is HERE? How do I get back to familiar road? I’ve lost my bearings! Some of us will continue going in the WRONG direction for miles & hours, hoping that the road we are on leads back to THE WAY we know or THE WAY somebody told us to go! Sometimes TELLING me to go THE WAY YOU know may not work FOR ME! Sometimes YOU telling me does me NO GOOD! Sometimes you may have to SHOW me THE WAY! I AM THE WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE!
Sometimes we are so accustomed to living OUR life, not JESUS’ life that we LOSE our way and we LOSE sight of the TRUTH! My brothers and sisters, the TRUTH is, whether we want to admit it or not, we to some degree are JUST like Diane Schuler! Fix your face…I said it! AND WHAT!?? We travel the same road for years, until it becomes TOO familiar with us. We know every bump…every pot hole, every winding curve, how your car will shift, where there’s ice, where there’s poor traction….so we think. But every now and again, there’s something NEW to the road. There’s a NEW bump that we didn’t notice before that jolts our lives (unemployment, etc.). There’s a NEW pothole that shakes our very foundation & causes us to need realignment (death of a loved one, etc.) There’s a new road pattern, winding curve or detour that you must take that wasn’t there YESTERDAY and you don’t know WHERE it leads you (marriage, baby, ministry, and our comfort zones). There’s ice where there you didn’t see it & you end up in an adulterous relationship and end up SLIPPPPPPING & SPINNING out of control! You go to put your life into 4 WHEEL DRIVE or ALL WHEEL DRIVE and the wheels are turning & spinning but you’re just not getting anywhere FAST or maybe not at all due to NO TRACTION!
But here we go….the weight of the world on our shoulders, depressed, spiritually schizoid, manic or maniacal depressed! We’ve got ISSUES! We’ve got DRAMA! Yeah, we got a GREAT job that pays NICE, but that’s not THE WAY to Jesus! Yeah, we’ve got a husband or a wife. Yeah, the world says I’m married, but that’s not THE WAY to Jesus. Yeah, we’ve got children that are beautiful and angelic who have NO CLUE how cold and hard life REALLY is, but our CHILDREN are not THE WAY TO JESUS! Even with all those things that should make us & keep us happy, NOBODY KNOWS the HELL YOU REALLY GO THROUGH! NOBODY KNOWS HOW YOU’VE TRIED TO KILL YOURSELF! NOBODY KNOWS HOW YOU LEFT THE GAS ON PURPOSELY, CLOSED THE GARAGE DOOR WITH THE CAR RUNNING, TOOK A BUNCH OF PILLS TO GO TO SLEEP, TRIED TO OVERDOSE ON SOME DRUGS, AND PULLED THE TRIGGER OF A GUN AIMED AT YA TEMPLE! NOBODY KNOWS HOW YOU DROVE AROUND THE CURB AT 100 MILES AN HOUR…JUST SO YOU CAN END IT! MAYBE IF I DIE, THEN THEY WILL HEAR ME. MAYBE IF I DIE, THEY WILL RESPECT ME! MAYBE IF I DIE, MAYBE THEY WILL APPRECIATE ME! MAYBE IF I DIE, MAYBE THEY’LL LOVE ME! MAYBE IF I DIE, I WON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH MY DEMONS! MAYBE IF I DIE, MY KIDS WILL BE BETTER OFF! MAYBE IF I DIE, MY WIFE OR HUSBAND CAN MOVE ON AND FIND SOMEBODY THAT CAN GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT AND LOVE THEM IN A WAY THAT I AM INCAPABLE OF! I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE! I DON’T WANT TO PUT UP WITH THIS ANYMORE! I CAN’T DO IT!
But, just like Diane Schuler….we forget…that IT’S NOT ABOUT US! There are PEOPLE who RELY on us! There are people we are responsible to & people we are responsible FOR! When we begin to travel down a ROAD of destruction…just like DIANE SCHULER, we take our families with us & friends with us! They become our CO-dependants and our CO-addicts. They become accessories to our own suicide. Everybody knows about our problem but just like the elephant sitting in the room, everybody ignores it is even there. Nobody talks about it! The subject is TABOO! Until one day, something happens and then the GUILT sets in. WE now feel RESPONSIBLE for YOUR mess!
In the end, she drove the WRONG way (drunk and high) on a WRONG ROAD, in the WRONG direction & had HER children and her BROTHER’S children with her! In the end they said that 8 to 12 people saw her driving the wrong way and they DESPERATELY tried to call 911. But really, at that point, by the time the call went through & they got the location and dispatched the troopers….BY THAT POINT, it was ALREADY TOO LATE! The end of YOUR road is the END of your road. Did her employer know she had a problem and looked passed it because she was a GOOD employee? Did her family ignore the signs because she was a GOOD MOTHER, a GOOD wife, a GOOD sister, a GOOD daughter? Did her parishioners & Pastor see something in the spirit realm or natural realm but thought it was none of their business? Did the teachers of those 2 children THINK something was amiss, but didn’t report it when they THOUGHT IT?
How many of us SEE people, strangers, family, friends, OURSELVES going in the WRONG direction and either do NOTHING OR LEAVE IT TO SOMEBODY ELSE TO DO! What could the TROOPERS have done at that point? BLOCK THE ROAD, RISK THEIR OWN LIVES? SHOOT HER TIRES OUT? Yeah, risk their OWN lives, but I’m not risking my own! If she didn’t hit an SUV and kill 3 innocent people who simply were going to have dinner….WHO ELSE might she have killed on that road? IF WE LEFT CHURCH ON TIME THAT SUNDAY….IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ME AND MY FAMILY SHE HIT! WHY, because NOBODY stopped her or knew HOW to stop her or intervene, stage an intervention to get her from DRIVING the WRONG WAY!
She drove 90 miles from Liberty, New York, on the Thruway, tailgating, honking her horn, flashing her lights, driving on the shoulder to get around people, 1.5 hours prior to her getting sick and NOBODY on the THRUWAY called 911. Have become so numb to things that are IRRATIC that it’s NORMAL? ALTHOUGH our actions are CRYING OUT for help, we do nothing! So she calls her brother, not her husband, but fine, her brother! Men have we gotten that far away from our responsibilities that our wives call ANOTHER man to do what we are SUPPOSED to be doing? Are we THAT irresponsible? Are we THAT busy? Story says that she told him she was disoriented and felt sick. Yeah eating McDonald’s breakfast, and Super Sizing it with a liter of vodka, some good weed (remember she was a Cable Network Executive who lived in Long Island & camped UPSTATE and they had 2 VEHICHLES) on a HOT summer day before NOON on a Sunday would make ANYBODY SICK to their stomach & disoriented. So the call goes out for help & some how or another, she drops, leaves or THROWS OUT THE WINDOW her cell phone after calling her brother!
I’m so glad that I know THE WAY TO JESUS is NOT alcohol. I’m SO glad that I know THE WAY TO JESUS IS NOT WEED! I’m so glad that I know the way to JESUS is not through a MAN. It’s not through your husband. It’s not through your wife! It’s not through the Ministers and it’s not through the Pastors! It’s not through BUDDHA! It’s not through Mohammed! It’s not through ALLAH! It’s not through the Rabbi! It’s not through Saint Mary! It’s not through the Pope! It’s not through Tom Cruise! It’s not through John Travolta! It’s not through Scientology or Dianetics! It’s not through Watchtower & Mary Eddy Baker! It’s not through Oprah or the Oprah Winfrey Show. It’s not through Barack Obama! It’s not through TD Jakes or Juanita Bynum. There’s not 50-eleven different ways to God! There’s only ONE way! He’s so HIGH, that you can go above Him! He’s so low that you can’t go beneath Him! He’s so wide, that you can’t go around Him! You must come in @ the door! He said I am the Door, I am the Good Shepherd! I am the Fairest of ten thousands! I am the Lily of the Valley. I am the Bright and the Morning Start! I am the Root offspring of David! I am the GREAT I am! I am Mary’s baby! I am the Rose of Sharon! I am the True Vine! I am the Resurrection. I am the Great Company Keeper! I am Elohim. I was there when they created the heavens and the earth! I am Addonai! I am your Lord and Master! I am El Shaddaih, I am the sufficient one! I am Jehovah Shalom, I am your peace! I am Jehovah Jireh, I am you’re provider. I am Jehovah Shamma, I am your shield. I am Jehovah Rophe, I am your healing! I am, Jehovah Nissi, I am your banner, I am your victory. I am Jehovah Tsidkinu; I am the God of Righteousness.
When you know who HE is and He knows who YOU are, you can be in a RIGHT standard with GOD! He is our Justifier! He is our REEDEMER! We can only attain RIGHTEOUSNESS through JESUS CHRIST! He is the ONLY way! One Friday afternoon, He took on the sin of the world as our sin sacrifice. He died on a cross so that we wouldn’t have to die! But because He was God Himself, He rose with ALL power in his hand! But because he is the way, the truth and the life, he’s coming back again! So because of that, I don’t have to drive on the wrong way anymore! I can plug in my GPS, HEAVEN! YOUR GPS might tell you to drive 500 ft. YOUR GPS might tell you to drive 500 miles. YOUR GPS might tell you that it’s going to take a few hours, a few days, a few months, or a few years, but it doesn’t matter. As long you get there! I WANNA BE THERE! IF I DON’T GET THERE, I WANT YOU WALK AROUND HEAVEN FOR ME! IF YOU DON’T GET THERE I’LL WALK AROUND HEAVEN FOR YOU. I DON’T WANT TO SEE PETER; I DON’T WANT TO SEE PAUL, BECAUSE I DON’T NEED THEM AT ALL. AS LONG AS JESUS IS THERE! EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT! THEY TELL ME, THAT THE STREETS ARE PAVED WITH GOLD! THAT’S THE ROAD I WANT TO BE ON! PUT ME ON GOLD STREET, RIGHT IN HEAVEN’S SQUARE!
IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY…PULL OVER! GATHER YOUR BEARINGS. Make a RIGHT turn on STRAIGHT STREET! There you’ll find our Lord. Ask Him to set you STRAIGHT on STRAIGHT Street! He’ll change your name and you will know that HE is God! Then you will know that HE IS THE WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE!
Remember, watch for the Signs on the Highway of Life! They will either lead us to a road of Redemption or down a Road of Destruction. Redemption is the RIGHT WAY, Destruction is the WRONG way! Don’t get caught going the Wrong Way on a WRONG Road!