The Waiting Game
Amen and Amen
Open your Bibles with me to the book of Psalm. The Book of Psalm, we will be in psalm 27. And when you get there let me know by saying Amen. Psalm 27.
Psalm 27: begins with David crying out to God in his situation he acknowledges who God is.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
And here is the key verse for us today the verse I want you to see, verse 14
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
I titled today’s sermon “The waiting game” Because .. it seems like we play this game a lot don’t we? We play it with each other, we play it with family members, and sometimes we think that well…God is playing it with us as well.
The first time I was introduced to it and by the way it is not Einstein’s Theory of Relativity…. you know … which is the basic idea that time travel is possible, but just the opposite waiting seems to make time go slower or time stand still.
While in basic training I was introduced to the drill sergeants theory. The Army has mastered the theory which encompassed Soldiers hurrying up to do things and then waiting. Through my 20 year career I look back sometimes and think that I spent ten of those years just waiting.
Have you ever heard that expression “Hurry up and wait”? I know the first time I experienced it in the Army I was in basic training and it was the first time we ate at the chow hall and everyone had finished eating and had went outside to get into the formation to march back to the barracks and I was the one left in there eating taking my sweat old time. Needless to say I hurried up and finished, only to get outside…. to wait.
I found over the years that waiting is just a part of life. We wait everywhere, in lines at the grocery stores, at the gas pumps at red lights, ladies wait in anticipating the birth of a child.
And I don’t know about you, but .,,,The worst for me I think is when I have to wait for the person in front of me who is buying all the lotto tickets… you know the person I am talking about, they get up to the counter and pay for their stuff first and you think they are done, then get they say put $1.00 in gas and the other $199.00 on lotto tickets and, then wonder why they don’t ever have any gas and they are broke..
We wait on a lot of things in this world, and often we become impatient, we become irritable and downright ugly about things when we don’t have the answer right there, when we want it. Amen?
But I want you to know that in this transition that we find ourselves now. We are in a time of waiting, this time of waiting is waiting on the Lord.
And that is our Big Idea today:
We are all in a time of waiting on the Lord.
What is the next step? Who will be the next pastor? How will it work? Will there be any changes? Is it God’s will that Sammuel is healed? What about the government? What about our move?
But what we do at this time as we are waiting on the answers from God, is crucial.
I have always said this and I will tell you that I try to live my life to the best of this example, what we do now in the situation that we are in will tell the world what we believe about our God.
In the situation you find yourself in right now will tell everyone around you what you believe about God.
There are people who immediately, when they heard that we were leaving and moving to Detroit to be with our sick grandson , they left the church, and you know that tells me what they believe about God.
When we pray, when we seek God for answers, when we seek Jesus to heal us or someone else in our family, we want immediate results don’t we? But often God doesn’t give us immediate results.
So When it comes to waiting for the answer we first have to know that sometimes Gods answers come later.
The Story of Israel does not escape me, as God told Abrham in Genesis 15, that his people would be slaves for 400 years, yet it wasn’t until the 430th year that God actually sent Moses to free them from the slavery of Egypt.
Sometimes the answer from God comes later than what we want.
When the church was searching for a pastor and I came to preach for the very first time some 4 ½ years ago, I was asked to stay on for 4 weeks and after that I was asked to stay on for 8 weeks. During that time there was turmoil over the leadership team, one of the leaders was absolutely against me. The leadership wanted a 100% approval for the pastoral role, I don’t care where you go I have never heard of a 100% approval anywhere. SO the odds were stacked against it, at the very beginning. The leadership team was not 100% one man stood on the way. Then another man was sent to see if he was the pastor and was placed in an elder team with me. The two men in the leadership group were trying to get rid of me and telling me that I wasn’t the person God called and they wanted me to leave.
Arguments ensued and after that day I was ready just to go back to my old church and assume the duties there. That night I was having a life group and I pick up a book from seat of my truck that had been there for two years and I never opened it, and I finally prayed God either you want me here or you don’t.. I need to know. And the place I opened this book to was titled Gods Leadership, when to listen to God.. and this book took me to John chapter 10, and God spoke to me at this point in scripture.
Here is what it says:
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
I was so excited because of what God had shared with me, That I was the one who he had picked for the job to shepherd his people right here on the corner of 12th st and victor.
This answer came after hours of praying, after months of fighting and arguing, it literally came down to I would open a door and one of the other guys would come behind me and close it, they were trying to run me out.
Although I knew that I was called here when we walked in the doors, it wasn't until almost 5 months later that I had THE ANSWER from God.
Psalm 37:7 tells us: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”
And then right after receiving that word from God, within 3 weeks both guys were gone, God moved them out of the way and I was literally the last man standing. One day I turned around and said they are gone.
What I learned was that God doesn’t answer all the prayers all the time, immediately, on the spot. And what we do next not only tells others what we believe about God, but it also tells God what we believe about Him.
So first sometimes Gods answer comes later, then we want.
Why am I telling you this because we are in a time of waiting for God to answer our prayers.
2nd , while we are in a time of waiting,
Scripture says first to wait on the Lord then second we are to be what?
To be strong.
Listen to what the word strong means: Hebrew it means to be physically powerful, great in power, to influence or ability to influence..
I want to tell that definition- reminds of this church. Physically powerful, in our ministries, from feeding people- to clothing people- to reaching those who others won’t. IN the ministry of faith fest and going out and changing the world. Reaching the all the people we reach out to in a year, it is amazing, and yet we do this while we are waiting.
As we are waiting we are to be strong in the Lord.
Just because we are waiting on Gods answer in a situation we don’t have to be in a corner, like a scared cat.
Look at this sign…Do you see this sign? This sign brought trouble..
We were advertising every month that we were having a community meal.
You know There are always people trying to cause trouble.
SO couple of our neighbors did not want us to advertise with this sign. They did not want people who were hungry to come into the neighborhood. So the city got involved and the city said we did not have an occupancy permit.
Literally when the name changed happened in the church from the Tabernacle Baptist church to the Rock Church; they did not seek a new occupancy permit. So the alder women investigated the church and we got a Ciest and desitist order, We had a hearing and we had to have an inspection. They gave us a list of things that were to me that was indescribable.
It was a list of things that we could not get accomplished, because one did not have the money and two we did not have the equipment. For example they wanted us to install a commercial hood system in the kitchen. We did not have 14,000 dollars for that.
We did not have 5,000 dollars to fix the gutter in the back.
We did not have the money to get the front tuck pointed… but God DID.
We rallied, we were strong, I even ended up in the hospital and you guys circled the wagons and got something’s taken care off before the inspections, hours of work was put in for the permit.
Strength is what got us through this situation. But it wasn’t our strength it was the Lords strength.
In the time of waiting on God’s answer we must have Strength.
That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything, it means we continue to move forward with what God has called us to do.
When we wait on the Lord it means we are depending on him, we are trusting on Him, and that is what gives us the strength.
In the KJV verse 14 reads it this way “Wait in the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart”
What this scripture doesn’t say is wait and do nothing. You see biblical waiting is not passive waiting around for something to happen that will allow us to escape the situation.
While we are in a time of waiting,
Scripture says first to wait on the Lord then second To be strong and
And then Third we are to have courage.
And I don’t know about you but, anytime I hear, or read the word courage, I think of the Lion on the Wizard of OZ.
Think about that, the Loin is the King of the beast’s. The most feared, the biggest roar, but this one needed courage.
A lack of courage comes because of fear.
The Lion did not believe in himself as the King of the beasts.
He simply did not believe.
One of the most difficult faith lessons we will ever learn is to wait upon the Lord. Maybe you are facing a critical decision and don’t know which way to go. Or perhaps you have been praying about a certain matter, but God is simply not responding.
That can lead us in a lack of faith.
Sometimes, in the midst of our trials we say; “ I can’t take it anymore, I can’t bear this for one more moment”
Listen, I certainly can’t grasp the full understanding of why our 13 month grandson has this cancerous tumor.
You may be saying “I just don’t understand why this is happening to you” I am afraid about what is going to happen”
We ask about the church:
Will the church remain devoted, we everyone still attend? Who will the next pastor be? How will it affect me?
As we have these questions we have to lean on God’s word. God’s word brings us courage. There is nothing in this life than can bring you more satisfaction, more strength or more courage than God and His word.
1 Timothy 1:7 tells us:
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control”
What this means is we should live a life of Courage because of God and how He will move in our lives.
Proverbs 28:1 says; “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a loin”
Psalm 31:34 tells us again; “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
We find that God was the strength of David’s life and David trusted in God fearlessly. And that is courage, trusting in God fearlessly, knowing without a doubt that it is Gods time not ours.
Then you receive the word from God, just like this occupancy permit, that we have right here.
Here is your occupancy permit…
God answers in his time. 2 years we have been waiting and working for this and we have it.
Prayers are answered all the time, God does miracles all the time, the very signs, wonders and miracles that has happened in this bible thousands of years ago, is happening today.
The woman who had a bleeding disorder and touched the hem of Jesus cloak. She had the sickness for 12 years before she was healed.
The paralytic man at the pool of Bethesda he was an invalid for 38 years.
Then there was the man born blind.
Lazarus was raised from the dead after four days. Lazarus sister said if you had come earlier he wouldn't have died, Lazarus had to die so that his sister would believe that Jesus was the resurrection and the life.
You see waiting is something we see all time in the scriptures. Waiting for Gods timing is essential because He teaches something.
We are to wait on the Lord and as we wait we are to be strong and to have courage.
We are all in a time of waiting.
And as David found his strength and courage in the Lord, so we must find ours.