Beat boredom with faith choices and adventure in Christ. Put away excuses. The lusts of our flesh cannot be coddled. Serving can bring us into focus through the Spirit. The presence of God, let us consider it always. The Word is near us. (Romans 13:14; 2 Corinthians 3:2-18; 2 Corinthians 4:14-15)

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller, Paul Andrulonis
Sermon 12335
6:30 PM on 7/10/2022

P. Schaller –

Okay. Excuses. Excuses. That’s our subject tonight. Excuses. Let’s make up some excuses. Let’s talk about it,
think about it. And I’ll ask you to participate. Teenagers. Teenagers is another word. Teenagers.
Okay. Being a servant. Yes, being a servant. Okay. I’m on purpose being kind of informal on our
presentation of the subject. Excuses. Excuses. Sturge Gorham. Do you have that song? Okay.
Come on up. Do you have it with you? They’re going to do it? Okay. Sturge knows the song. This
is a light, funny, good song. You’ll get the drift. Give Sturge a hand. We don’t want to hear any
excuses!

P. Paul Andrulonis –

Good evening, church. I feel compelled to use the word “excuses” in my
message but I didn’t prepare a head of time. That’s my excuse! Let’s just pray before I share.
(Prayer).
So, if you wouldn’t mind opening your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 3. I’m going to read a little bit tonight in
relation to what I’m going to share. 2 Corinthians 3 and 4. The thought I have is one that’s been on my
mind for a few weeks. It’s been since the beginning of Convention. I don’t know if it was a
Convention message or before, but it’s this idea of focus. And the message it was from is
related to Luke 10 where Mary is seated at the feet of Jesus and Martha is serving, and she asks
Jesus, can you tell Mary to help me? I have all these people in my house. I want her to help me
serve these people. And Jesus said, she’s chosen the better part. She’s sitting at my feet.
I related that to Mary being entirely focused on Jesus at that moment and at that time. I’m
thinking about that in relation to our lives, in relation to our faith. 2 Corinthians 3 talks a little about
blindness and seeing the glory of God.

At the end of chapter 4, one of my favorite, a couple of my favorite verses we’ll get to. 2 Corinthians 3:2-8, move on to vs. 12-18, we have access. We have in the O.T. there was a veil between the people and God in the holy of holies. The high priest went into the holy of holies, into the presence of God. When Christ died on the cross, that veil was
ripped from top to bottom. We have access into the presence of God. We can see him face to
face but do we look at Jesus face to face? Do we experience the presence of God in our life or
do we lose sight of his face and look at the things around us?

2 Corinthians 4:15-18. Just like it said in the previous chapter, the glory that Moses brought down from
Mt. Sinai to the people can’t compare at all to the glory that we will experience when we see
Jesus. The things we see in this world – the blessings, the grace, the mercy – that God gives us
in this life isn’t going to be compared to the things we will see when his glory is shining and
there’s no light besides him. We have this access, but sometimes we are out of focus and we
are looking at the things around us, the things that are temporal. The circumstances in our life
that are maybe overwhelming us. And we do get overwhelmed.

Martha got overwhelmed with all the people in her house, but can we be like Mary where we
can see Jesus. Can we see beyond the glory that is experienced in this life and see Jesus behind the circumstances and the things that I’m going through. The good things and the bad things.
Yes, something happens to me but can I see God in that circumstance, in that situation where I
failed. Where I lost my job. Where something happened. Somebody in my family dies. Can I see
beyond that? We can get caught up with those circumstances in our life like I said. But when we
look at the things that are not seen, those are the things that are eternal and those are the
things that matter, right? Jesus is in front of us.

Am I focused on him in the things that I am going through? We have the cameras here that are recording and there is a knob that changes the focus to make the image sharper or to make it not clear. But we have access to God. We
can behold him. There’s nothing between us and him. There’s no veil between us.
1 Corinthians13 talks about beholding in a mirror darkly. I love the picture of that where we are
looking through a tinted window at God. We are learning about who he is and as we learn, that
tint gets less and less. We can see more and more of who he is. We have access to Jesus. We
have access to him in this life. We don’t have to go to a priest in order to get close to God. We
have access to him. We can speak to him. He is our high priest and we can experience his life
and the life that he has for us, the eternal life. We have access to something that is beyond
what is in this world. That’s just the meditation that I had about focusing. Focusing on God and
knowing that we have that closeness to him.

One of the attributes of God is that he’s omnipresent. That means that he’s everywhere. That
means that he is with me wherever I am. Not as a taskmaster or someone who is watching me
and saying, Paul, make sure you do the right thing or else or something that causes me grief or
causes me to have this shame or this guilt. But he’s with me always to encourage me and to
love me, to care for me. Do I realize he’s there with me? He’s my comforter and I love him and
he loves me. Amen.

P. Schaller –

Okay. Very good word, wasn’t it? Can you work on that for a minute and don’t
forget it? We look unto God. It’s beyond the natural. We look to the spiritual. We focus. We
concentrate. We are doing that here tonight in this room. We did it in Convention. When we
have our troubles in life, just calm down. Wait on God. Don’t look at the things you see but look
at the things not seen. So, kind of talk about it. Work it out a little bit in your words. Fit the
words in your mouth. Learn to talk. That’s a good message right there. Learn to talk. Tell your
kids to be quiet and you learn to talk. Okay. Go ahead. Okay.

Turn in your – this will be a 20-minute message maybe. Thank you for coming out tonight. The
Federal Hill group here, we’re so proud of you guys and thankful. Sam was in Riga. Is Sam here?
We want her to stand up. This young lady went to Riga, Latvia last week to evangelize. She’s
from Fed Hill. Did anyone else go with you from Fed Hill? Okay. So, you went. Isn’t that
amazing? She’s from the Fed Hill church. I’m going to Latvia. Some people they go out to get a
bottle of milk. I’m going to Latvia. Isn’t that amazing?

What P. Paul said is the basis for what I want to say. When we see Christ and we get grounded
and we see him and we touch him, we get excited about it. We do. There were 27 of us in
Richmond, Virginia yesterday. We’re excited. We’re excited about serving. We’re excited about
our faith. This verse, Romans 13:14 is a very profound verse. Take a minute and look at it. Learn to
put him on. Have you ever put on something really tight fitting? Alright. Don’t answer. A real
tight, I mean really work. It’s exhausting to put it on. I have. These wet suits that you wear.
Sometimes it’s so tight cause I need a bigger size. Obviously!

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. I think some people have a hard time putting on the Lord Jesus
Christ. I do. I don’t think they just slip it on easily. But maybe that does happen. We learn to put
on the Lord Jesus Christ. P. Paul said it that we actually – Martha, Martha, versus Mary has
listened and – vs. 14. It means you don’t have a backup. You’re not going to make your flesh;
you’re not going to give the flesh the key. Give the flesh authority. Give the flesh an open door.
Give the flesh the privilege. The flesh doesn’t have the right to govern my life. Why don’t you go
ahead. Have fun with that. Can we have a little fun tonight? You guys are pretty serious. Let’s
change it up. Turn to your neighbor and say, knock it off! Okay. Wait a minute. Okay. Here we
go. Make no provision for the flesh. Okay. Alright. Calm down in the front row! Really. Okay. Vs.
14. No, Matt. It’s good.

Make no provision for the flesh. You don’t have, the flesh doesn’t have the crack in the door.
There’s no way the flesh is going to govern and have the right. The flesh cannot make an
excuse, but the flesh is there to do it and say things and think things and govern your life by
excuses. Alright.

I’ll read this short piece. “A wealthy couple in Dallas really struggled with teaching their children
servanthood.” What couple doesn’t struggle with teaching their children servanthood? Wow.
Let’s stop there. I’m going to have fun tonight, okay? I’m going to be the way I would be just by
myself or something in front of you guys. I’m going to enjoy myself, okay? Alright. So, is it hard
to teach kids to be servants? Is it a challenge when kids have privileges and they are showered
with privileges that they start to think that the world revolves around them? What are some
things that kids should learn about life? Do they need to learn to be servants? Do they need to
be accountable to the school? Accountable to their parents? Accountable to each other?
Accountable to the church? Do they need that or is it very easy for young people to make
excuses? And of course, we know that’s the case.

For one thing, and it says, “for one thing the kids have had almost whatever they wanted for
years.” By the way, I have nobody in this room that I’m thinking about about this message
except my own life and the principle. I like the thought of it and I want to share it with you. We
were talking in the car coming from Richmond yesterday and this topic I brought it up and we
had some fun with it. So, I want to just share it with you.

“The kids had almost whatever they wanted. They became so accustomed to others meeting
their needs that the idea of serving sounded like something from the Middle Ages or Mars.”
They become accustomed to others meeting their needs. So, let’s have fun with it. Can you?
Are you getting it? I don’t know. Mom? Mom? Right? How do we, are we – P. Pete Westera
gave a great lesson at the conference about it and how to teach young people but it’s for all of
us because we make a provision for ourselves. We don’t want pain. We don’t want discomfort.
We want our sleep. We want our food. We want our clothes clean. We want a clean and neat
house but we won’t do anything to make that happen, you know.

Okay. The rest of the message will be preached by Jennifer Lynch! Wow! Okay. Alright. Could you make, have fun
with the person next to you for a second by saying let’s list five things that teenagers don’t
want to do.

Alright now. You think you’re having a good time. Is that a good time. How many sat next to
somebody that really said something good? Three people! Okay. Beautiful. Alright. Do you
know what happens when we let a young person live their life their way? They become bored.
They are selfish. They grow up with the world revolving around them. It happens to adults. This
is not for a 16-year old only. It’s for a 36-year old. It’s for all of us. If we learn to make excuses,
it’s so easy to limit ourselves. When we learn to make up a narrative without facing reality, it’s
so easy. It really happens.

So, let’s say a young man, he’s twenty years old and he’s going to a job interview, and what
does he say? I have a stomachache. I’m not going to the interview. I don’t have a suit. I don’t
want to go. I don’t feel good today. So, he makes an excuse. It’s so common with people, but
we’re not helping people if we ourselves learn how to make a provision for our flesh to get
away with it. That’s why you come to church. Okay. Pat yourself on the back. Come on. Hey,
good job. Come on. Keep going. Go to church. Go to church. People will be in your face. Go to
church. Learn to forgive. Go to church. Get your feathers ruffled. Go to church. Get disturbed.
Get upset and go to God and help us. Help us have a joyful church, a Spirit-filled church by you
being Spirit filled. And don’t make excuses. Didn’t they say in the song the sermon is too long?
Well, I’m telling you, tonight, you’ll be out of here at midnight! Okay.

He’s too loud. He’s too quiet. It’s like on and on. Okay.
That’s about church life but it’s about life in general. Why do we say this? Because we want to
go through some excuses in the Bible just not turning there but by memory we’ll hit some of
them as the message goes. We hope so. Okay. Here we go.
“The father (in that family) realized he was getting a late start, but hey, it was better than no
start at all.” He spoiled his kids. Wealthy family. They’re going on vacation he said. “A week or
so before the holidays, he said to his family, we’re going to do something different this
Thanksgiving. His teenagers sat up and listened. Usually when he said something like that it
meant something exotic like parasailing in Bermuda. But not this time.

We’re going down to the mission, he told them, and we’re going to serve Thanksgiving dinner to some poor and
homeless people. We’re going to do what? The kids said. Come on, dad. You’re kidding. Aren’t
you? Tell us your kidding. He wasn’t. They went along with it because of his firm assistance, but
no one was happy about it. For some reason, their dad had gotten weird.” Yeah, maybe that’s a
good sign. Dad has gotten weird! “And apparently it was just something he had to get out of his
system, they said. Serving in the mission.

What if their friends heard about it? No one could have predicted what had happened that day.
No one in the family could remember when they had a better time together. They hustled
around the kitchen, dished up turkey and dressing, sliced pumpkin pie, refilled countless coffee
cups. They clowned around with the kids. Listened to old folks tell stories of Thanksgiving long
ago and far away. The dad in the family was thoroughly pleased by way his kids responded, but
nothing could have prepared him for the request a few weeks later. Dad, we want to go back to
the mission and serve Christmas dinner. And they did. As the kids hoped, they met some of the
same people they became acquainted with. One needy family in particular had been on their
minds, and they all lit up when they saw them back in the chow line again.

Since that time, the family’s had several contacts. The pampered teenagers rolled up their
sleeves more than once to serve the family from one of Dallas’ poorer neighborhoods. There
was a marked but subtle change in that home. The kids didn’t seem to be taking things for
granted anymore. Their parents found them more serious, more responsible. Yes, it was a late
start but it was a start.”

Isn’t that good? That’s like where we want to go. I’m very thankful for the young people in our
church and the things we’re learning. The play. How hard it must be in a school play. You’re not
like that but you do it by faith. You have to show up. I remember in our school play, I didn’t like
it before the play, during the play or after the play. I didn’t like it at all. I just wanted to hide
from it. But sometimes we just have to learn to show up and to do what we do. School. House
chores. Suffer. Pay a price. Lose something for the sake of a family member. Lose something for
something going on for my church. Raising kids in the church is the greatest thing you could do.
Raising them in the faith. Helping them find their way. Doing not the things that they want but
teach them to live by faith and find Christ. It’s a treasure. And that’s how we live.

Then here comes some of the way it goes. And it is Moses has left the camp. He’s gone. The
people are missing Moses so they come to Aaron. Aaron makes a golden calf. When Moses
comes back in the camp, he goes what’s going on? Oh, the people they just threw this gold in
the fire and out came this calf. You’re kidding me? You are kidding me? You throw the gold in
the fire, and out came this calf? Are you the high priest? Are you the man of God? Are you
kidding me? What kind of story is that?

Gideon was asked to stand up. Come on. Take charge. Gideon. Gideon said in Judges 6:12, God
has forsaken us. God has forsaken us. That’s like in America. We could say, there are people
who say our country is turned away from God. God has forsaken us. We cannot do anything. It’s
like in the Communist world when churches say it’s Communism. There’s nothing we can do.
Not true. You can gather underground. You can have prayer meetings. You can have a man of
God with the Bible. Cause we did it. We were there in Estonia in those years, and we would go
to a church. The official meeting. After that, the word was going out we are going to meet in
another place. We have some visitors from Finland and America. And we just taught for five
hours. It’s like excuses are made easily when we want to make an excuse especially when it’s
covid time. Oh. Go ahead.

Everybody. Oh. It’s covid time. What does that mean? We cannot
meet. We cannot assemble. No, it’s over. Okay. We will obey the authorities. Then after a
while, hey! I was just in Home Depot!

I’ll never forget. This is a funny story. I hope I don’t offend anybody by saying it. It’s kind of – it’s
weird but I’ll tell it to you. It was on the news. Down in Glen Burnie – we’re closed down. They
put a sign on our door and it was closed. This facility is closing down. That’s what the health
department said. In Glen Burnie, there’s a strip club and girls are dancing without clothes on
but they got masks on. They’re down there dancing without clothes on. They got masks on and
the owner of the club is on the news saying that we’re following all the rules, the conditions.
We’re obeying the authorities.

Then, immediately the next story was Greater Grace. And I’m adding my little version. They’re
wearing clothes! Alright. So, is our world – I don’t know. I’m just having fun. Excuses. Excuses.
Okay. Let’s go to the next one.

God said in Deuterononmy 30:11, do not say the Word of God is far from you. That it’s in heaven or far off
and I don’t know it. That’s a good excuses. I can’t obey God because I don’t know what he is
saying. I don’t want to go to church, because I don’t want to hear what God is saying. And his
Word is far away from me. I stay away from the church just so that his Word will be far away
from me. If I’m dumb, I’m fat, dumb and happy, I’m good to go. That’s the way I want to live.
God said don’t say the Word is far away in heaven or in the sea, but the Word is nigh thee even
in your heart and in your mouth. Wow. Okay.

Then we have Jeremiah. I’m a child. I cannot speak. God said do not say I am a child and I
cannot speak. Have I not called you? You cannot use that excuse. You’re a child? You can speak.
I actually believe that God raises up children. Out of the mouth of babes, God has ordained his
strength to show what God can do with a child or a teenager. And say he’s not been in
seminary. He hasn’t been in Bible school. He’s not 30 years old yet and so on. Do not say that
he cannot. God is the one that can call and make the stones cry out. There are no excuses
before our Heavenly Father who says I can take water out of the rock. I can feed the Jews in the
wilderness. I can take Matt Sliva and Lisa and these precious people, Tony and Ann Marie.

You were wondering if I could get their names right! I can visit them and lead them and guide them.
I can take a man, take a boy and make him a man. I can take a young girl and make her a fine
lady cause I am God.

Okay. Two more. Moses, Exodus 4:10. He said I cannot speak. I am not eloquent. I cannot speak. I
believe it’s five times in that text. Go through and you can see Moses is pushing God. I don’t
want to do it;. I can’t do it. I can’t go to Pharaoh. I can’t speak to Pharaoh. I cannot do it.
Basically, these are my words. Moses just doesn’t want to do it. And it says God got angry with
him. Don’t say that again to me. Don’t say that. Did not I make the mouth? I can do what I want
to with your mouth. Isn’t that a good story?

I just feel and I’m in a position now like in front of you on the stage and in the Spirit of God
wanted to say with some confidence to help you and encourage you. Check your excuses.
Check them with God. Check them at the counter. Bring them to God’s counter and just say,
Lord, this is my excuse. This is my story. And let God be your counselor and follow God. And
what happens?

Last thing. Do you know why many Americans are bored? They’re bored half to death. The
highest thing they do in a week is go to Target and buy something for $14. That’s the thrill of
their life. That’s what they dream about when they go to bed. They’re bored to death. They get
a car and it’s not good enough. They got to get another one. They get a toy and they get
another one. They do all kinds of things.

I got to be careful what I say because all of it is okay with me. I don’t care about it. The thing
that I’m talking about is the boredom and the emptiness because I have not grown in that area
of finding Jesus Christ as a satisfying person who fills me and satisfies my life with everything.
Here’s a good statement. How could you – have you ever met people who say I’d love to do this
but we don’t have any money. I’d love to go here or go there or do this or do that but we don’t
have any money. I never understood that. I can go for a walk in the woods and I don’t have to
pay anybody any money. What’s wrong with a walk in the woods or a jump in the lake? Go
jump in the lake. What’s the problem? I don’t understand what money has to do with having a
good life. P. Paul said it that Christ is our life. The adventure of Christ without excuses will result
in my heart being enlarged. I’m serving dinner at a Thanksgiving dinner to a bunch of homeless
people and having the best time of my life. It’s better than parasailing in the Bahamas. That’s
the point of the story that the kids find that there’s something awesome about faith in God and
trust God.

Here’s a real adrenaline rush. Stand up in a restaurant and start talking to everybody in the
restaurant about Jesus Christ. That takes courage. That’s amazing. That’s scary. I don’t want to
do it. I don’t want to do it, but you do other crazy things that are absolutely ridiculous that people do that are extreme sports that you can lose your life. But you can’t preach Christ in a
public place in an adventure of faith because simply you don’t have the faith for it or you don’t
have the courage for it. I’m saying to you and to myself as well that wait a minute. There are no
excuses. When we are before our heavenly Father, he just wants us to show up and he can do
any number of things.

When Noah was building the ark, he wasn’t bored. He was anointed. He was on fire. I’m sure of
it. When Noah was building the ark. When the disciples were following Jesus, you can be sure
that they are following Jesus and they are having an awesome time. Is it hard? Sometimes, but
they found it. Then there’s that excuse in Luke 9 where a man said to Jesus, I will follow you. Let
me first bury my father. And Jesus basically said go bury your father. If that’s your excuse, go
bury your father. I’m saying it this way. I don’t really know what it was but I like to think bout it
this way just for our message. I could see Jesus saying, yeah. That’s fine. Go bury your father.
You want to catch up with us. You got faith.

If you want to make excuses, you can make them all day long, but if you want to find me,
forsake your mother and father, forsake your country, forsake your life, forsake your loves and
desires and your self-interest. Forsake it and follow me. And I will fill you with the Holy Spirit.
And you know what will happen probably? You’ll get everything you ever wanted anyway. I’ll be
a great American citizen. Listen. I am. I’m a great American citizen. But I didn’t go after my
country. I went after God. And God gave me and you to be part of this society as a blessing, as
light and salt. And to have a message and a ministry and to help people in our neighborhood
and in our community and have something to say that’s worthwhile. But people that make
excuses don’t go anywhere.

Mark it down. You make excuses all your life. You’re not going to –
you’re going to be cheating yourself. But God doesn’t deal with us like that. He goes, Moses, go
see Pharaoh. I don’t want to hear anymore about it. Go do it. And Moses did. And his life
exploded and he led millions of people out of Egypt miraculously. And he could say, man, wow!
That’s incredible.

Thank you God you did not hear my excuse. Thank you God that I didn’t make up a story. Thank
you God that I didn’t live in my own narrative. Thank you God that I grew up to be who you
want me to be. Isn’t that a good message? Okay. So high five each other. Love each other up.
Say, I’m glad I went to church tonight and God bless you.

 

 

Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.