Paul’s conversion meant a lot to him. He repeated this story. He established faith roots and spent time with God in quietness in Arabia and a season with Peter. This readied him for the mission he entered into. He was a grateful man who lived by the Spirit. The roots in life keep him steady. (Luke 8:13, Galatians 1:17-21; 2 Timothy 2:20-21)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller Schaller
Sermon # 12619
Date: 2023-11-22
Time: Wed 7:00pm

P. Schaller –

Okay. Good evening. Turn with me to Luke 8 for our introductory thought. Good to see so many here this
holiday season. What a beautiful holiday it is. When I lived abroad and then I would talk with
people around Thanksgiving season, they would know of Americans who would celebrate
Thanksgiving and then I would ask them, do you have a holiday like this and they would say,
well, what is it? And I’d say well we just take the day, and we just are thankful, and we
celebrate what God has given us. We have it in our history in our country and they would say
no. We don’t have any holiday like that.

And I feel it’s an honor and actually sometimes when you go to another country that’s one
thing that people might know about America. Like you have a holiday called Thanksgiving and
like you celebrate that. And like it is special and we appreciate it. Okay.

Do you have roots? Roots in yourself. This is the thought tonight, Luke 8:13. Root. Why didn’t
they have roots in themselves? Why didn’t that seed get rooted in the good soil? Why didn’t it
happen? Why weren’t there roots? That’s what I want to speak about for a few minutes.
Turn to Galatians 1. Maybe I can get the iPad up here, too. Galatians 1, Paul rehearsed his salvation
experience three times in the book of Acts and then here in Gal. 1. His conversion meant a lot.
It really meant something. Paul was converted so much that it’s repeated. The story is repeated
and here he has some detail that isn’t in the book of Acts. And it’s chapter 1 and just a very
quick breakdown.

He was in vs 13, he was an orthodox Jew. Oops! It’s not on. Okay. Let’s see. Here we go. #1. He
was an orthodox Jew against Christ, against the Christians. Vs. 13-14 we read that. That’s a
message in itself. But then vs. 15-16 is his salvation. So, we have his salvation happens and what
happens when you get saved? What happens when there’s a new birth? What happens when
you realize Jesus is real? What happens when you worship God, and you just say I was lost, and
Christ came into my life. What happens then? And this is vs. 16-17. I’ll put here this word
“Arabia.”
What happens when you get saved? It is so, it is so important that you have roots in yourself,
and this is what happened to Paul. He said I didn’t talk to people about it. That comes later in
this text, but I didn’t I didn’t confer with flesh and blood because what happened to me was so
clear in my heart, in my mind, that I went to Arabia. What does it mean? It means that I
actually, I really understand I’m in the world but actually I’m not so interested in it. I’m looking.
I know this is real. In Paul’s case, I saw Jesus Christ.

I saw him. He’s speaking to me. I know it. And I don’t need people. I need to process this in my heart. I need roots in myself. Yes, we need the Body. Yes, I know. We need the Body of Christ, but yes we need their
fellowship. Absolutely. We’re going to get there in a minute. But I really want to stay on that point. Arabia. Because you need an Arabia in your life. You need to take it seriously. You need
an Arabia where you just say wow! That Jesus saved me. Jesus came into my heart. I need some
quietness. I need some detachment. I need to like realize that this is not from men. This is from
God. What he did for me I need, I need to understand it. I want to grow in it. I want to learn
about it. And I got to take it seriously because Paul was a serious guy.

That’s point #1. This guy was so serious he would be, he was attacking the Christians to destroy them. And he was a
capable administrator, driven leader, amazingly powerful guy. And he could get it done.
But God stopped him. God stopped him and he knew that God stopped him. And when he went
to Arabia, I feel like this is sometimes what’s lacking in a new Christian’s life. They are so
saturated and kind of filled in the world, they don’t have an Arabia. They don’t have a
detachment. They don’t have roots in themselves. They haven’t processed the reality of what’s
happened to them. So, that’s a good message right there in think. Really. It’s something to think
about because we’ll get to the other point in a minute.

Look at chapter 1:18, this is #4. He went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and he abode. The word
there is “HISTOREO.” It sounds like history. And it means that they met, and they told stories.
They chatted. They kind of got together and they compared their history. They talked about it.
They visited together. He went up to Jerusalem for fifteen days and kind of put their feet up in
front of a fireplace and just talked. And they just talked about it. Paul could say to Peter, how
did it happen to you? What happened to you? You saw Jesus. Like tell me everything you know
about Jesus. Tell me the stories. Tell me what happened.

Then, Peter could say to Paul, Paul, what’s your story? What happened to you? You’re an
enemy of our faith. What happened? And Paul is there talking and chatting and fellowshipping
and interacting and comparing and embracing and realizing that they are in something that
they did not invent. It came from God to them, and they are amazed by it.

You know, fifteen days is not a long time. But Paul’s point here is he didn’t have a schooling
from those apostles that were in Jerusalem. But God had given him an understanding, but he
was relating to them and fellowshipping with them. My point mainly here is in telling the story
is that there’s roots here. That’s what we are saying.

The fifth thing in the story is the work he had to do. After he was there then he said, vs. 21.
Why did he go there? Because he had a mission. He came into that area, and he met the
Christians and had the fellowship. Vs. 22-24. Okay. I’ll put here “the work” or “the mission.” It’s
like an outline for an awesome story. And to use it for us to think that this holiday season
maybe we will be with some relatives and friends, and we’ll have an opportunity to lovingly be
with them. And to put our feet up and chat and talk perhaps. In any case, roots. Those are
precious. The seed bears fruit. The plant grows and increases because there’s roots in us.

One example and I’ll just close with this. It’s like another message, but I can’t help but share it
with you. It’s the story of David. This line is David’s life. In his early years, he was called to do
something exceptional. What did he do when he was young? He killed Goliath, and he could say
I am David. I am the giant killer. But we don’t read that. We simply read that he understood
that he was David. I am David. I am David. I’m happy with who I am. If I kill Goliath, that’s great.
If I don’t, it’s God’s work. But I am David.

You and I need to be satisfied in ourselves. You and I have this new life where we are satisfied.
This is real freedom. Real freedom is not proving yourself to be something. Real freedom is
knowing, knowing in your heart what you have and who you are. Therefore, you have gratitude.
This is a good word for David. Gratitude. Psalm 34, “bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within
me, bless his holy name.” The roots are invisible. The roots are who you are. The roots have
been processed in your quietness, in your solitude. The roots grow in your reading, in your
reflection, in your obedience. The roots grow in Arabia.

The roots grow when nobody sees it. The roots grow in what you look at, what you read, what you think about, who your friends are, what you do with your time. The roots are growing in your heart. You don’t have to kill Goliath
because you got roots in your heart. This is who you are. I am David.
Notice the last thing. The dark hour of David. What was that later in his life? He’s in his 40’s.
What is it? Bathsheba. Bathsheba. Sad day. Sad. The death of her husband. The adultery. David
goes through a terrible year. When David surfaces, what does he say? I am David. I am David. I
am not my sin. I am David. I have roots in my heart. I know who I am. God is for me not against
me. Thank you, Lord.

You have made us like yourself, and whether you have a great victory it’s really not – it is what
it is. Praise the Lord. That’s to the glory of God and those are needed. But who are you when
you don’t have the victory? Who are you when your world crumbles? Our world crumbles. Who
are we when we have our troubles in life? You can say I am David. I am thankful. I am forgiven. I
am redeemed. I am called by his name. he is for me and not against me.

This is in Paul’s words. He said, “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ
lives within me.” right? Another one, 1 Corinthians 15:10, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” This is,
this is important for you and I to have an Arabia. To know what has happened to us and to
know who we are, and this means you can live your life with gratitude.

Now, gratitude is a good word. Let’s write that down here for a second. We have gratitude. It’s
an attitude. Gratitude is an attitude. Gratefulness. This is what leads to thanksgiving. What’s
thanksgiving? It’s the expression of gratitude. It’s in our heart when the sun comes up in the
morning. In our heart when there’s a little child in your presence. In your heart when you have
a friend. In your heart. You have something precious in your heart that we can be thankful for.

And this feeds. It grows. It’s part of our spirit and our mentality. In everything, in everything
give thanks.
Let me finish my message. I guess I’m doing my whole message here. This is a story about
Abraham Lincoln whose wife was a bit – I think in today’s world they would call her bipolar. I
think so. If I can find it. Yeah. “While Abe was known for his quiet reserve and introspection,
she had a reputation for being high strung.” This is Mary Todd Lincoln. “Nervous, impulsive,
excitable.” People knew Lincoln as steady, composed, and unflappable. Mary however was
sunning all over with laughter one moment, the next crying as though her heart would break.
According to her cousin, Margaret Stewart, O. H. Browning commented she was always either
in the garret or in the cellar. No doubt, Mary’s extreme frequent mood swings placed additional
stress on their marriage.” Let me stop there for a minute.

Stress in the marriage. Problems in the marriage. Maybe disappointments in the marriage.
“Lincoln was known to endure her outbursts by emotionally withdrawing, taking the children on
long walks, or escaping to his office where he could sleep on his couch. His strategy was to
ignore her and sometimes when she experienced one of her nervous spells, he stayed away
from home for days at a time. Some historians have speculated that if his domestic situation
had been happier, he might not have been so interested in campaigning for public office with
all the travel it required.”

“On one occasion, Mary slapped a young maid across the face. To make things worse, when the
young lady’s father inquired, Mary went after him with a broom handle wildly swinging it.
When the furious man at last tracked down Lincoln to complain, Lincoln slowly shook his head
and said, “Can’t you endure this one wrong done you while I’ve had to bear it without
complaint for low these many years?” “The suddenly sympathetic man immediately dropped
the matter.”

I think gratitude helps us endure the troubles in life. I think gratitude is at the very heart of our
faith, that God loves us so much. I think gratitude is understanding what – you know, if you
always measure your life. Let’s see. You measure your life. Okay. You can measure your life
different ways. You measure your life by what you have or what you want to have, right? And if
you can always – my father used to always tell me. Maybe my sister Cynthia remembers in our
home. Sometimes my mother or my father would say I once was sad. I had no shoes. Until I met
a man who had no feet. And that’s a simple little story that maybe kind of helps us how to
relate to how to develop gratitude. You can always say I don’t have this. I don’t have that. Or
you can say I have this. I have this. And be just so thankful for it. So, I’d like P. Steve to come up
and just read that piece and then we’ll take the offering.
*****
P. Steve Andrulonis – So we just think about, you know, what the day means tomorrow. And we
know the story. You know if you grew up in the United States. You used to learn the story. I still

hope they teach the story. The story of Thanksgiving and the settlers that came to New England
with the Geneva Bible in their hands which is really kind of interesting. They were bringing this
Bible with them, and they used this Bible to help them establish a society.
And so one of the descendants of that first group of Puritan believers who sailed from Holland
to escape the persecution that was going on in England at that time – they were trying to
reform the English church and bring it back to the Bible.
So, they came here, and a woman named Sarah Hale, she was a magazine editor. And maybe
you know the poem “Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow; and everywhere
that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.” Sarah Hale wrote that, and she was also like a very
persistent person because she really thought that there should be a day set aside for
Thanksgiving.
George Washington had one. He commemorated this day when the pilgrims, when the Puritans
arrived. But you know, a couple presidents later there was another guy. Kind of an interesting
guy. Thomas Jefferson. He decided that it wasn’t such a good idea. He called it like that’s like a
kingly practice. If you know Thomas Jefferson, he had, you know, some interesting kind of
concepts about life. So, we appreciate that he helped write the Declaration of Independence,
but anyway. Trust me on that one. You know after that, Thanksgiving became sort of like a
sporadic thing that went on.
States did it but in 1828, Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and as I said the writer of that poem
began knocking on doors. She demanded audiences with the president. She was like that
widow or was it a widow? Somebody who was looking. She was persistent. Jesus used this
parable. She kept coming. I got to get this done. But she could never find the right politician to
get it done. And some of them stiff armed her and turned her away. She was not going to give
up on this.
And then as P. Schaller was talking about Abraham Lincoln, when he was president and in the
middle of the Civil War, dead in the middle of the Civil War, 1863. Right at the height of maybe
the most significant bloodiest battles, he listened to what she had to say. And he declared a day
of Thanksgiving. And he said it would be the fourth Thursday of November. He made it an
official day. So, he did that by executive order. I don’t know if you know what executive orders
are. They can be turned back by the next president.
It wasn’t until 1941 that our Congress decided that we should make it an official day, and so,
you know, this is what Thanksgiving is for. Abraham Lincoln, when you think about the man. We
heard that he had turmoil in his home. Do you know his name? How many know Hannah’s
husband’s name? Elkanah. Very good. He’s the hero of that story cause he kept taking his family
to church even when there was trouble in his home and trouble in the politics of the nation and

trouble everywhere. There was even trouble in the temple. There were evil guys in the temple.
A couple of guys like that.
So, Abraham Lincoln heard this, and he decided we have to give thanks to God. That this
country even though it’s been ripped apart by this Civil War, you know, we have to give thanks.
That God still has his hand on it. So, let’s think about giving thanks now with our offering and
our tithes and just thinking of what God does in his sovereignty. In his sovereignty, kindness,
tenderness, gentleness.
Think of the gentleness. David said the gentleness of God made me great. And when we know
the story of Bathsheba, we know, we see just how gentle God was with him and forgiving a man
of contrite heart, broken heart. Maybe tomorrow should be a brokenhearted day. We should
think about Abraham Lincoln was probably very brokenhearted over what he had to preside
over and then this little woman came to him and said we should give thanks, and it happened.
(Prayer).
*****
P. Schaller – Before we close now, we want to do like five minutes or ten minutes on the
subject of what is your Arabia. What is your Arabia? All right. So, we said in the message Paul
had, he went, he went from an enemy to being born again. And then immediately conferring
not with flesh and blood. Now, now notice something. I believe when I first, when I got saved
and I went to the church, I don’t think I was conferring with flesh and blood because the church
wasn’t doing that. There was an anointing in the church. There was like a message. There was
something in my heart and it built the roots. Built up the roots in my heart and how important
those roots are because you never know what you will go through in the future.
Like we said about David. You know, he had very high points of great victories. Then he had
very, very hard low point, but because of who he was and who he knew God was and being
established in that, he was able to finish well. He finished well.
So, the Holy Spirit does that with us. He really does. He draws us to himself. We start to have
friends that are not flesh and blood. They are spiritual people. And we fellowship and then
there are times when there are people in our life that are like flesh and blood. They are, they –
turn to 2 Tim. 2 and we can look at that as we finish. Here’s, that’s good. I got that.
So, in the church there are vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. Chapter 2:20. What is he
talking about? It’s a metaphor for people. There are different kinds of vessels in the house. We
are the house. The church is the house. There are people of honor and people of dishonor.
They’re in the same building. They’re in the same church. They’re in the same – and I think we
don’t need to be convinced of that. There can be people who are not born again or people that
are carnally relating to life and so on.

Then, there are people that are going to help us. They’re going to help us. They’re going to help
us. They’re going to encourage us in a spiritual way. So, here it says in vs. 21. Meaning when
you purge yourself from the vessels of dishonor, you’re not judging. You just are discerning and
recognizing that this is not edifying. Like a gossip who is in the church. A gossip who’s in the
church. Could I be talking, and I’m drawn to the gossip. That’s not my Arabia. That’s not the way
I should live. I should be drawn to the Spirit. Drawn to edification. Drawn to love. Drawn to
faith. That’s the meaning here.
So, what is your Arabia? And I think I said it in the message, and I just want to emphasize that
and the gratitude. When we are hurt in life, when we get hurt like Abraham Lincoln not only
had a difficult marriage, but he had a difficult job as commander-in-chief. He had never done
that. He never led an army before. He had to study military tactics. He was very hands on as
commander-in-chief. A lot of his presidency was taken up with that. And he had that large
numbers of sad, tragic destruction on the battlefield, 28,000 in one day in Antietam,
Gettysburg. Horrible. He lived with this. He lived with this.
Okay. Now, gratitude. How can I live with gratitude? If we are not careful and when we can, we
should really look to God and see the Lord develop the roots in our life, because that is what
carries us. I think of it as a quarterback in the NFL in the pocket. He’s in the pocket. He’s got to
do his job. He has amazing concentration like some of you know football. Maybe others are
bored. Sorry. But he has, he has to execute his job under pressure, under pressure. If he pays
attention to the pressure, he won’t be able to do it. He has to be beyond it. he has to know
what he’s doing. And he has to do it very quickly actually and very skillfully. And it’s like an
incredible job that he has to do.
But a Christian needs to realize the game we’re playing called life and you’re – the bitterness of
the human heart can catch you and you lose your gratitude. You stop being thankful and you
just start complaining. It goes like that. It’s like a downhill slide. Okay.
Here's my life. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving. I’m thankful. Now, I’m in trouble and the downhill
slide goes I compare myself with the world. I feel that I haven’t succeeded. There’s many things
that the mindset is worldly. The mindset is worldly. There’s no roots. I’m easily discouraged.
I’m easily derailed. I’m easily – so, then the complaining starts. And then I’ve developed a
mindset of becoming angry or bitter or frustrated. The same person. The same person.
If they could handle it and I’m talking about the quarterback in the pocket. I’m talking about like
understanding who my friends are, what I need, how to get my encouragement. I’m
understanding spiritual message. I’m processing it. I have an Arabia in my life. That’s kind of our
message. I have an Arabia. I have to process.

I’ve been killing people and imprisoning them and Stephen. Now, I’m saved and what you think
is all – I need to get my mind wrapped around what it is that I’m believing. I need to understand
this and get rooted and grounded in it, because God has called me to a mission. But before the
mission, I need an Arabia.
That’s the main point tonight, and you have it. I think if you and I could develop that, that skill
of how we think and just do not complain. Just start to be like – look at, look at what you have
in the Lord. Look at the Lord. And that this life is short. Very short. It’s very short. And we’re
putting treasure, and it has value. And your joy is contagious. Your thankful spirit is healthy.
Your heart attitude. You are thankful for so many things.
I know it's hard. I understand that. Like that’s – I understand this, but Abraham Lincoln and I
mean many heroes of ours through life we can say how they did. They do this and I would just
say that if we could be before God in humility and ask him to show us and teach us and then
what will happen. And I’m an amateur at it. I’m just learning it, but I believe it. I just believe that
thanksgiving is a huge part of the Christian life. And we just are quietly like learning to be
thankful in our hearts for what we have.
And by the way, one day it’s over and we’re going to fly away, Ps. 90:1. God is going to take us
and receive us and then there’ll be no more pain, no more suffering. There’ll be just us. There’s
things that hurt us and trouble us. It won’t be there anymore. So now, we’re called to this life of
thanksgiving and worship. Amen.