Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Dennis White
8:00 PM on 12/31/2018
What a song that was. That was awesome. This is a thanksgiving service. This is our praise to God for the year. We just started learning how to write 2018 and now 2019 and it will be summer and winter and 2020. It goes and we go. Where do we go? We go up. We’re going up. Praise the Lord.
In Luke 16, when the poor man died, what happened? Two angels came and took him.
Psalm 90:10 we fly away.
James 2 the body when it has no spirit, the body is dead. I remember reading about a young man who died in a hospital, he left his body and went up into the sky and came back into his body and told the doctors, there’s a pair of sneakers on the roof of the hospital! It’s real. We’re going to fly away.
2018 was not in vain. There was value in 2018 because of Christ.
I was in the barber shop today, and the barber finished with me and a man took my place. The barber said thank you, pastor. Have a good year. I had a moment to say something. I said Christ is the answer for people and this gentlemen here in the chair, Christ is the answer. He said what do you mean? What’s Christmas mean? The barber said Christ was born. The man said what does that mean? He’s 100% God and 100% man and came because our biggest problem is death. I don’t know the last time he ever heard that, but it felt good to say it.
I got going a little bit more. Man’s greatest problem is death and his next greatest problem is himself and Christ is the answer. We are here tonight to thank God for a lot of things.
I want to look at Psalm 145. I want to draw it this way. This is the world. Tonight is thanksgiving for a lot of great folks that have done so much. Unsung heroes. People of faith. All the drummers in the bands. All the drummers come up on stage. We got one. We got another one. Thank you. (He’s naming them). We just want to thank you. There’s Ed. He doesn’t want to fight his way up. Guitar players, stand up. Piano players, stand up. We want to thank you. Do you know how much work that is to come in here through the week and practice and play? How many services in a week? Four of them and we’re thinking of doubling it!! You know how much work that is to practice and do all this music. Julius and Pastor Hadley. How about if you are a soloist, a choir member, singing group. You gave us a great year. Thank the Lord. What is this? The world. What’s this? Baltimore. From the very inside, the hearts, people have gone out on buses to bring people in for services. We have three buses running. We hardly ever hear about it but the bus drivers, we wear them thin! They even have to pay their own gas! Diesel Bob is one of them and Gerry Roberge, halleluiah! Kathy Ryan, on the sixth shift. Get out of the way! Kathy is coming through with the bus! I think I missed Mike Williams. Pastor Williams, do you drive? Pastor Williams is a bus driver. Past, present, and future bus driver. If you want to be one. That did not go over! How much prayer happened in 2018? We heard that song, the enemies of Christ. How did the line go? The enemies have to flee. The enemies of Christ, the demons have to flee. What is the ministry? We have a world held together by God.
The whole universe is held together by God in Col 1. He is not only Creator or sustainer but he is the knowable God. This is shocking to me that we can know him. If we could draw some kind of picture of God. God is infinite. He’s way beyond.
Psalm 145. The word is incomprehensible. His thoughts are beyond ours. His infinite nature cannot be known fully. Many of the things about God we do not know but we know him. Maybe getting a bucket of ocean water and putting it on stage and saying this is ocean water. It’s from the ocean. The ocean is much greater than this bucket. The chemistry is the same. When God became a man, he was in a human body expressing himself to us. He gave us the equipment so we can know him. I want you to know God, my Father. I reveal my Father to you. We will send the Holy Spirit and you will know the truth and the truth will be your new life. Praise is comely for the upright. We get loose and free when we think of worshipping God in the spirit of holiness. This is a new word many don’t think about. It’s about righteousness, holiness. These are not words for New Year’s Eve. What are you going to do tonight? Get out and get drunk? Hang around with a bunch of people and watch a ball go up and say Happy New Year? I’m not looking down or cynical but how sad the human race is without God. When we have touched his holiness, you don’t forget it.
Ps 145 some of what I have said so far is in this psalm. This great name. Thank you, Lord, for this great name. We sang about it.
vs. 1. This is David’s premiere thanksgiving psalm. David is out of his mind about praising God. He really got a hold of it in his life. Maybe later in life, you realize after all kinds of religious things fall away and you lived a rock solid life. We can say it that way somehow. None of us are rock solid. On the other hand, when we get to know he is incomprehensible but he is knowable. This is a paradox. Not really. He cannot be fully known. Can you fully know God, the infinite God? He cannot be fully known. We read that here in a minute. This is eternal life.
It’s to know him. John 17:2. I came so you would know the Father, Jn 17. Father, I have revealed your name to them. The name. I love it when God is not just in our small world. I want to be exercised in that this coming year. I don’t want to have God in my small, religious world. Religion creeps into our heart somehow. Forsake not the assembly. Do it all the more. Why in America have they stopped Sunday night and Wed. night services? Why do evangelical churches lose members? Why do we lose people and why is there a falling away of the apostolic teaching and the doctrine and fervency and love and peace and resolution for my heart. Why? Sad. That is what it is. On the other hand, when the Lord does it and visits us, it’s – smack your lips everyone. What happens? You get a taste for it. Taste it. You enjoy it. Sometimes you go to a church to look to be offended a little bit. Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them. On the other hand, people are easily offended. They get socially comfortable with a group of people and also the fellowship with the God that David is talking about in this psalm. I said to my wife, Lisa, I’m concerned we are not being called a cult anymore. That’s a bad sign. Means we are doing nothing. If you do something, the devil will call you a cult. I have to hear more of that going on in a good way.
Second thought! Ps 145:1-2, Did David believe he had eternal life? Yes, he had eternal life and he said it. I will bless the Lord forever and ever.
vs. 3. That’s like this picture. There is something about God that is unsearchable. It is incomprehensible.
His ways are past finding out in Rom. 11:33. We must always calculate that I don’t know so much. I really don’t know so much. Because we are teachers and have this amazing book and in it is revealed God. In it the Spirit uses the book and I believe there are things about God we go from the natural understanding to…the firmament reveals his glory. It’s a language everyone understands. It’s a universal language of grace. When I eat a strawberry or go for a run or look at my wife or friend or sit in peace, I see the grace of God is everywhere. The earth is filled with his goodness.
Paul’s message in Acts 14 was about this. God makes us glad with food. Gladness, the rain and the sun.
I was in Ireland and saw a calf kick up its heels. The mother was there. And it was skirting around so happy. Happy as a clam at high tide. It was so spunky and made an impression on me. There is so much in this life that is so awesome. So many things in 2018. We can sit here with generally healthy bodies and ears and eyes that work and friends and food and peace and liberty and a country that gives us these freedoms. And a Bible and a church and a mission. Here is Baltimore (diagram). God sent Paul Nye, Britain’s best to the United States to work for us. Britain’s best. Running all this IT stuff and technology to get the message of Christ in our particular way that God has given to us to go into the world and for people to hear messages and come here and go to Bible school. Then I was thinking of Philippe and Francoise. God sent us France’s best and Switzerland’s best to run our Bible school. They run our Bible school and have done an amazing job with our classes and literature, our publications. The program we have. We had Zane Turk go to India. Brigita. Emma just went to India. Matt Gehret to Malawi. We have these servants from our Bible college and people exercising faith because of the Holy Spirit doing that. Don’t you think so? I’m not done. Pirjo and Ulla, Finland’s best and Sweden’s best came here to work for us in our missions department. They know languages. Probably Pirjo is up there translating into Swahili and knows people from decades of mission work. God has given us the best. You know what I’m saying. God has built up our church. Home grown unsung heroes of many kinds. Yesterday praying and thinking of these people that serve in ways nobody knows.
Jer. 13:17 I wept in secret places. Remember that verse? People that take up the cross.
vs. 4. If you are between 12 and 30 years of age, can you come up on stage? As they come up, read the verse. I think we need a bigger stage.
P. Dennis White
Church, this is your next generation. This is amazing because I was thinking of this word “charge.” Nowadays we use it for our bank card. Charge it, swipe our phone and put it on the credit card. In the Bible, there is a charge against us and for us. I’m thinking of us in our lives and many things people want to say about us and how we are growing up. It’s always been that way. Someone has always said about a generation. There’s been something against it.
Acts 7:60, this is Stephen being stoned. He’s ready to take his last breath and he says don’t charge them. Don’t charge them. Forgive them. They don’t know what they are saying. Don’t put anything against their charge.
If you go to 1 Tim. 1:18, the Apostle Paul says to Timothy, I charge you. Meaning there is a charge against sin but another charge given to us by God. One is to condemn and the other is to edify. We are so used to receiving these charges against us but how about receiving a charge from God. Wouldn’t it be amazing to receive something from God?
Chapter 4 he says let no man despise your youth. Let nobody charge your youth against you. You are young and some want to charge that against you. Yes, we don’t know what we are doing but does anyone know what they are doing? We were in China and came back and had issues. I said to P. Scibelli, you know what you are doing. Can you help us out? He said, I don’t know what I’m doing! Paul said let no man charge this against you but you are to be an example. You are a young person or young man or woman and are to be an example of the church. People that have been here for decades and decades and we continue to look to them. In another way, we are an example. Something has been deeply impressed upon us, beaten inside of us. Stephen has been beaten, stoned because he has something to say about the word. The Holy Spirit is real in his life. He has been stoned, beaten, impressed with stones but he is an example to the people standing before him. I can imagine and we say that Paul was probably there and we can imagine the impression Paul had standing there and Stephen dying and his last few words. Pain leaves an impression but we leave an impression, too. We are an example to our church in our words, our deeds, in the way we walk in love, in our spirit. Where our church started from and where it is today with you guys and us here. It is the same spirit because something has been impressed on us that can’t be touched by man. Here it comes, 2019, and let us be impressionable by this church and the word of God. Let us give an impression of our church to others. We are examples. People are looking at us and saying that is something amazing. I see love, I see the Spirit of God. I see someone who preaches something but they live what they preach. That is not too far for us to reach because the Holy Spirit is living inside of us. There is a generation that praises God and they have stories and we love to listen to them. We are going to praise God and go to many places in the world and go to many people and share love.
Amen. Let’s pray.
Doesn’t that give us something to think and pray about? The next generation.
vs. 4. We came out of Egypt and God brought us out. That’s beautiful. Thanks, pastor, it was beautiful.
vs. 5-6. When demons are cast out of a person, maybe you never saw that happen. I have seen it a few times. It’s very real. There are such things as demons. I didn’t really believe it or know it but now I have seen it. The person collapsed on the floor and the demons were gone. It took five hours. That was an amazing experience for me. I’ll never forget that. When Jesus came and moved in this world, he knew there were demos. He saw the weakness of the human heart. He saw young people who have their future ahead of them. This is what young people do. They start to think ….we have one good word. P. Dennis said it. Trust in the Lord. This God, the living God, he’s bigger than Greater Grace and the Baptists and the Pentecostals and any organization rooted with people. We are not God. We are pointing to God. Our message is beautiful because it’s all about God. I remember being a young man tempted with women. I remember that struggle in my heart, sexually and other ways. I had a simple formula. It was trust in the Lord with all your heart. Though imperfect and a sinner indeed. The plan is to know God. When we find God, there is this kind of thing that happens. Declare him to the next generation. Tell him what you know about victory in your personal life. About struggles in relationships. Fears and insecurities. This is what he is saying in this psalm. Men shall speak of the might of your terrible acts. I will declare your greatness.
vs. 7-8. Have you ever sinned and you thought maybe the hammer would fall? I have sinned. The hammer will fall. But there it says he is slow humanly speaking. He is very patient. It’s his gentleness that draws you. It’s his forgiveness that you begin to trust him. I can trust him. He’s not on my case. He’s not out to destroy me. I can learn about him and know him and find out who he is. I can become something like him conformed to his image, changed on the inside. Declare this to the next generation. We are blessed because we are in the middle of something more than 50 years old. It’s the quality we care about. The little dot in the circle. The heart of the believer, that heart of service that moves mountains and makes a church a place of love, patience, forgiveness. A good home base. People are in another part of the world and might say I have an anchor. We have a Bible school. We have our theology sorted through. We have 500 booklets by the founder. We have video and MBC&S and people that do conferences. When you are with those people, it’s not a big thing like a big organization, but a spiritual fellowship that we are pointing to the God we are praising forever and ever.
vs. 9-11. When Jesus was here, you could say two things the ordinary and the mundane and the dirt and the sandals, the clothes and the world he was in. It was ordinary and then he would say have you seen the glory of the kingdom? I am in the kingdom. I am the kingdom. Have you seen the glory of the kingdom? It’s like us. We have the ordinary life, ordinary church, parking lot, activities but have we seen the glory, the glory of God? Sometimes the veil was pulled back. Lazarus come forth. Did I not tell you if you believed, you would see the glory of God, Martha and Mary? Thank you, Father, you have not revealed these things to the wise and prudent but to these children, these disciples you gave. They have seen the dead raised, demons cast out but don’t just rejoice in that. Rejoice that your names are in the book of life. That’s even greater. Is there such a thing as the book of life? Are we going to heaven? Is this a pilgrimage, a journey? Is this – we all have our own stories. Isn’t he the author and you have a story and he is the finisher of the story. We have seen brothers and sisters pass and go to the other side of the river this year. I’m sure this coming year. I have not found any better place to be than a place to hear our heavenly Father and prepare us for our future whatever that may mean. We are the saints of God. We have God, big God, incomprehensible God.
The God that took care of some of us in Maine. I’ve told the story many times. Dr. Stevens had a vision for a Bible college. David Bennett was in California and God told him to drive to Maine. Scott Robinson was in Oklahoma. My wife was in Washington, D.C., 17 years old and got out a map and decided to go to Maine. It was God that brought us together. Little things but if God is in it, it means a lot. Little decisions. Little things. Trusting him with all our hearts and he will direct our paths. Praise him. This is why David is saying so much in this psalm. The whole thing is packed with this.
vs. 12-13. Ever had your world crumble? Ever crumble with it? Some of us here I think I have high respect for so many people because I know your lives. I’ve seen your world crumble. I’ve seen the foreclosures, bankruptcies, suicide in families, heartbroken people, and broken relationships. I’ve seen people, trouble, and people at the grave like we have seen together. What does it mean? When we fall down with our collapsed life, we fall down with it. We are buried in it. He – listen to this – he upholds us. Wow. Somehow I’ll cry. Somehow I’m heart broken. Somehow I disappear. Somehow I’m gone. I’m deeply hurt and just can’t believe it. No matter how much we prepare for our future, it seems we can never be prepared but he, – isn’t that the point, – he is upholding us. He, not me. Not our preparation. He upholds us. He will carry us. He will comfort us. Remember the Sunday morning message everywhere and in all things I have learned. I have been instructed. We must learn and if we know this God of ours and the Holy Spirit is faithful and in our services through the year. Go back about the point of assembling together. We should do it more as the days approach. There is a very confusing, troubled world with a lot of information but do we have what is needed. I know we have but I’m saying yes, Lord, this is needed for us. I should look forward to 2019 with some kind of heart vision. A little speck in this world and in that dot in Baltimore is you and me. I have something in my heart I believe God could help me understand and believe. I want to believe that not only am I part of this church and able to receive but also able to learn how I can serve. What kind of vision God can give me as a young person. How I can stand in the gap for others. I’m not a victim of my circumstances but God leads me in my troubles and life. We have a vision. Bible studies. Crossroads Magazine in Lenox published the number of Bible studies we had in one week. 121 Bible studies every week in New England.
I would say could you put it in our heart, the young men and women to get in cars and do Bible studies in homes and pray for the sick and raise the dead and anything you want to do. We pile back in the car singing a song and having fellowship. More Bible studies from New York City and P. Sterling and the whole city is ours. All the way down to Culpepper with P. Tom and his family (He’s naming them). Bible studies, 30 of them. Bible college students – how many do we have? 173 Bible college students and an increase in the full time students. GGLC, 60 of them. GGCA, 205 in our school. The best high school basketball coach in the entire world is working for us. Shirley Lynch’s best that works for us at Greater Grace! Our budget 5.7 million dollars for the year. $1.5 million in missions giving. We put food on the table for people. That people have jobs and ministries. The world doesn’t hire us to preach the gospel so we do it ourselves. Give us more money, Lord.
What is our vision for this coming year as a family? If God holds the universe together, he can keep your family together. I don’t accuse anyone for the trouble we have. God is a God of grace and he is bigger than our pain and trouble. There are things we can learn to keep our families together. There are things we can learn about our tongues, our heart, our spirit, our recreation, our children, our friends, who to be with.
Living in a difficult time with a living God who says it’s a piece of cake. We are not afraid of the world we live in. We have an authority of love and a peace of God in our heart. I love having fellowship in truth with divine content. I am so hungry for God’s reality.
One founder of a conservative organization said a neo- conservative is a liberal who got mugged by reality. Reality has a way of mugging you. Slapping you around and saying hello, where is your God? We can get slapped by reality and say our God is right here. I have learned in whatever state I’m in to be content. We are here solidly planted and rooted in the truth.
I asked the folks to get some flowers for some people. We have some flower runners. Some guys be flower runners for us. I need more guys. Move. Chop chop! I don’t want to sound mechanical doing it like this but it does sound that way. In my heart, these are people we have thought about. These are precious ladies. A wise spectrums of ladies. I don’t like unsung heroes but maybe they are not the ones that we talk about a lot. Sue Carr, would you stand up? I’m going through these names. Mariah Carrick, Robin Occolini, Geri, Barbara Densmore, Pirjo, Diane Garbrecht, Debbie Pazda, Sidone Boyier, Valerie Szabo, Sharon Bogardes, Blessing, Allison Merkle, and anyone else who wants a flower, stand up.
Amen. It’s awesome.
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