Summary: Opening Sermon to the "From the Heart" Series. Discusses my life verse.

Life verse

All scripture listed NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

As we are winding down the year here, I wanted to do a series of messages that to me are very important.

I believe that God call all of us to do and to teach different areas.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 talks about the body and its many parts all functioning differently and together to achieve the same mission.

We each are given different burdens and different desires of ministry. As we listen to different preachers and read different books, this is a way that God uses speakers and teachers and authors to communicate his messages to the world.

Over the next six weeks, I want to discuss with you what I find to be important. Some of the topics I believe are universally important, meaning that every preacher should put them on their list, but others I believe are flexible—they means more to me because I think God has led me in that particular way.

We are going to work through are series that I have entitled, “from the heart”. I was at home on midtour when I began to work on these messages. I was talking to my wife about what I was preaching on and what I would like to preach on. I began to realize that I was going to go the entire year without emphasizing some of the most important topics that I have on my heart. So the result is this series of messages.

As I was a little boy, my Dad was the Music Minister at a church in South Carolina. I remember one Wednesday night, he was asked to lead the midweek prayer service.

He chose that week to pass out the Bible verse for people to read on a little slip of paper. He gave me one, which I still have, which was probably first time I spoke in church. Over the years the verse took special meaning for me as I would visit the prayer garden at Ridgecrest, NC. I often reflected on this verse as it was written on a piece of board at the entrance of the garden.

The verse is

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth! (Ps 46:10, NKJV)

This became what I call my life verse; it is what I strive to do and to be. This evening we are going to take a closer look at this verse.

Jameson/The Praise Band is going to lead us in some worship songs and then I’ll come back up and begin to dissect this passage.

As we open our Bibles to Psalm 46:10, we see that this verse teaches first of all to…

1. Be Still.

The April “Best Life” magazine had an article titled “Why I need to be alone.” The author, Peter Nichols told the story of how he began to understand what it meant to be alone. He discovered this during a failed attempt to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, from England. He said in the article;

“During those weeks at sea, I don’t remember thinking deeply about who I was or my few problems in any conscious or analytical way. But a clearer—and disappointing—sense of myself emerged. I was then already in my early 30s, but I felt I had finished nothing, accomplished nothing. Looking back now, that voyage marked the beginning of resolve, beginning of finishing things I started—the beginning of real industry in my life.” (BL, APR 06)

The Psalmist writes;

Be still, and know that I am God;

(Ps 46:10a, NKJV)

It doesn’t take an attempt to sail the Atlantic to be still, but it does take willpower.

For me being still is a challenge. You could say that I have always have had “stillness” issues. I remember when I was in Church, on the second row; my Mother would frequently ask me if I had ants in my pants.

Many of us have “stillness issues”, we are always on the move. We have to be doing something, we can’t sit still. Then we find ourselves in Iraq, where nothing is ever still or quiet. There are generators. There are people talking. There are vehicles. There is even the wind.

Psalm 46:10 is a goal that I strive for. It stands as a wise guideline for how to live a Godly life. And it tells us to “Be still”.

I seek to be still in the mornings. I enjoy going into the office early when it is at its quietest and opening my Bible, my Book, and my Journal. Stillness to me, offers a time of focus and clarity.

Stillness and solitude gives me the opportunity to examine myself and discover who I am and allow God to mold me into the person he desires for me to be.

In the desert, you have a wonderful opportunity to be still before God. While you have mission requirement, you don’t have the distractions of daily life as you would in the States.

You can find the time to be still by simply getting up earlier so you have time to spend being quiet. Find a place that is away from the traffic of people and noise. That could be in your CHU, in the Chapel, or even out on the softball field. Just take your Bible, maybe your journal, and spend some time simply being still.

The second teaching in Psalm 46:10 is connected to the first. They can barely be read apart from the other.

The verse says “Be still

2. and know that I am God.”

Being still is not a prerequisite for knowing God, but it is a facilitator for knowing God.

Stillness aids in opening the door to your heart and allowing God to walk in.

The Bible says that Elijah heard God in a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:12, NKJV)

If we are to know God, we must be still, because sometimes that is how he speaks.

The Bible says that we are to “know that (He) is God.”

We are to know that, God is the creator of all things. We are to know that He is the ruler of all things. We are to know that He is the judge of all things. We are to know that He is God.

Yesterday, I went to the PX and looked at the DVDs. I like to watch the old series, so I was looking at the “Big Valley” and the “Knight Rider”, and then I saw “Fame”: Season One.

“Fame”, I remember was a big deal back in the day. I never watched it—I really never got it. What is up with a TV show about dancers anyway?

So this morning I get into my computer and check my feed reader and see that the buzz on Yahoo! Is Leg Warmers. Do you remember leg warmers? If you are old enough—you remember leg warmers. Some of you young kids may have heard of leg warmers, you may have a copy of “Fame Season one”. But unless you lived in the 80s, you don’t know leg warmers.

Knowing about something is not the same as experiencing something.

In the state of Florida, from today until June 1st, hurricane related items are tax free.

Some of these items include Flashlights, Portable radios, tarps, fuel containers, and even Portable generators (

Over the last several years, the United States has been nailed with Hurricanes.

Knowing about hurricanes is important. We can study hurricanes and track hurricanes, but if we never do anything about them, all of the knowledge is worthless.

If we live in a hurricane prone area and don’t take it seriously, we are foolish.

Likewise, knowing God is not simply knowing about God. We have got to do something about our knowledge to make it personal.

We can be experts in the scriptures and read it in the Hebrew and the Greek, but if we have never sat down to ask Jesus to come into our heart and life—we don’t know God.

When you ask Jesus into your heart, that is only the beginning of a relationship.

When I married Monica, I knew about her, but daily I learn a little more about her and our relationship grows deeper.

How do we grow in our relationship with God? The same way we grow in our relationship with others.

We are to talk to God—find ways to talk to God throughout your day.

We are to listen to God—find ways to listen to God through reading His word.

We are to spend time with God—find ways to enjoy His presence, through stillness, or worship. Some of my best prayer times have occurred while running.

We are to be still, and know that He is God,

3. and worship.

Psalm 46:10…

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth! (Ps 46:10, NKJV)

For years, I thought this verse stopped with “Be still and know that I am God.” I had memorized that portion and never felt the need to look it up.

I think when I was in seminary, I was writing a paper and ran across it to complete an assignment and I realized that to stop at “Be still and know” the verse is incomplete.

But the entire last half of the verse is about worship.

God says;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth! (Ps 46:10, NKJV)

This is His command. We are to exalt Him.

There must be worship. We were created for worship. Our purpose is worship.

But as John Piper says;

“An act of worship is in vain and futile when it does not come from the heart….The engagement of the heart in worship is the coming alive of the feelings and emotions and affections of the heart.” (Desiring God, p86)

The feelings for God come from the knowing who God is—that He is God. When we understand that—that is when we can experience true worship.

One of the biggest vices, I have assumed out here has been the Caramel Apple Pops. I typically keep them with me at all times. I first tried one during the Halloween season—you remember when we were getting all of the left over candy from the states about three weeks late? I got on the phone that first day and told my wife—do you know what I like? I like those caramel apple pops. She did send me a couple of bags for Christmas.

And I know this doesn’t compare to God at all, but the point is—when I am excited about something I tell somebody. In a sense, I am praise the wonders of the Caramel Apple Pop.

We worship God through our praise to Him. It is important that we attend Chapel to worship with others, but many times we let our worship stop there. We need to allow God’s praise to constantly flow from us. We can listen to praise music and sing songs of praise to Him. We have our Bibles that we can recite our praise to God. We have our conversation that we can express to others the praise of our wonderful God.

We also have our lives that reflect our worship in everything we do. The Bible says that whatever we do, we are to do it as to the Lord, (Col 3:23, 24). Everything we do is worship. Whether it is turning wrenches, working on paperwork, or flying an aircraft; the Bible says do it as to the Lord. It is worship.

Psalm 46:10 has become my life verse. It is a verse that I use as a guide in my spiritual life. I hope tonight that you have been able to take away something of it that can help you in your spiritual life.

But my biggest prayer is that each of you will take the opportunities in your life to come to know Christ personally.

Romans 5:1 teaches us that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

You can have peace tonight through Jesus Christ; he offers this peace freely and completely. You see, we experience disruptions in our life because of sin. The sin in our lives continues to trouble us with guilt and despair.

Sin is also a willful disobedience toward God. And the Bible says the punishment for sin is death.

Jesus died on a cross to pay that penalty for us—that we may have peace in our lives. But we must turn our lives over to him and allow Him to work with us to grow closer to Him.

You can have peace tonight, if you would just accept Him right where you are.

After the service, I am going to be down at the front and will be happy to talk to you more about finding peace with God.

Let us pray.