We can carry too much weight upon ourselves. Let us understand that God has a crown for us. Look to Him. Shift to the life of faith. Laughter can set us free in thankfulness. (Psalm 104; 1 Peter 5:4-5)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 1/1/2023
P. Schaller –
Well, blessed New Year! Happy New Year! Praise the Lord we made it through the year with abundance and praise
to God. Halleluiah! Huh. Is it a good time? Hey, beautiful.
Turn to Psalm 104 for an introductory meditation. I wonder how many have made New Year’s
resolutions last night? Psalm 104, I love this psalm because it removes me from myself and puts
my attention on the universe; on God, and the universe that he created. Have you ever walked
along the beach and it ministered to you when you looked at the ocean and the long beach.
Looking up in the sky and the clouds and then you look at the birds. Maybe you see a fish and
the dolphins out at Bethany Beach. And that ministers to us. Lift up my eyes unto the hills. My
help comes from where is it? Psalm 120. Let’s get it right there. It comes from the Lord. Psalm 121:1,
wait a minute.
My help comes from the hills? “I will lift up my eyes to the hills.” From there
comes my help. I thought my help comes from God? Look at the next verse. vs. 2. You have two
things there. I lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the
Lord. But the hills ministers to me. Nature ministers to me. What does nature say to you? How
does the nature minister to you? This is Psalm 104.
The reason – last night we had a fantastic time here. Honestly. It was such a precious time. Best
program I think we’ve ever done on New Year’s. We were not in a bar room like some of you!
We were not in a bar room last night. We were here. And we had a fantastic – you can see it
online. It was a precious time, and we heard answered prayer. That was our theme last night.
What happened through the years and the answered prayers from around the world, really.
From India, from Africa, Turkey, and so on. Also, thanks for the help. Paul and Kimmy and the
young people. We had more than 100 young people here on the campus. Some down in the
gym, the family center, the nursery. We had a beautiful time.
And the theme was my starting point in my life. Where do I start from? My starting point in life.
Because of the new birth, we have in us Christ. Christ is in us. And this is a new capacity we
didn’t have before. We are more intelligent. We are emotionally healthy. We are emotional and
emotionally healthy. We are subject our willingness to be obedient. We have changed. We have
inherited by the birth, the new birth. We have a capacity to live in a different way and our starting
point is different from many people.
Let’s think of a few things here. Our starting point. I’m going to lose some weight this year. Make
a resolution. I’m going to have more quiet time. I’m going to put my phone down more. I’m going
to be kinder. I’m going to be and so on. Many ways we can think of improving our life and
reflecting, self- reflection, which isn’t a bad thing. But my starting point in life has to be outside
of me. My starting point has to be God. God is in us through Christ. Praise God! Wow! What
that means. We come to church because we want to hear about that. I want to hear about
something different from me, my burdens and my pain and my troubled self. I want to lift up my
eyes and I want to see something more.
So, let’s start here, Psalm 104, just for our observations in the psalm. I’m not going to go through
the whole psalm, but I want to point some things out to you. vs. 1. That’s a great starting point.
These qualities that appeal to us: honor, majesty, greatness of God is where the psalmist begins
his meditation. vs. 2. We have the cosmos. By the way, when you study astronomy, and I don’t,
but the cosmos and its fascinating elements about it. Someone told me last night the Earth
travels around in its orbit at 67,000 miles an hour. I don’t feel that. But that’s how fast we are
flying through space. We are turning on our axis at about 1,000 miles an hour. And just think of
how those changes would alter life here on the earth by either cooking, burning up, or freezing
but look at what God has done. He put us here and he stretched out the heavens like a curtain.
What is our starting point in life? Often it is ourselves.
So last night we drew this picture with me and my life and my experiences in life. This is where
people live. It’s almost like a box. My life. My self. My future. My money. My relationships. My
weakness. My sin. My bad habits. My fears. My anxieties. Are you ever sick of it? Like could we change the picture? And this is why the Holy Spirit has been sent into the world that we would
actually change. We would get a different perspective in life. The Holy Spirit empowers us and
teaches us, John 14:17. We are anointed. I felt the anointing so strong last night and actually
often if not always amongst us. The anointing of the Spirit wanting to teach us and help us with
our world so that we would actually have an understanding where we would have a different
starting point. Not us but him. God. We wouldn’t start with me. Let me look out into the heavens.
What has he done? Let me learn about the planets and the solar systems and the cosmos and
let me understand who is God that has made this incredible universe and put us here so we
would enjoy, know him, and recognize what he has done.
There’s a long list of things that should be – let’s go to Psalm 104 and I’ll just mention here a few things here.
vs. 3. Good stiff wind in your face and you might say the name of God. You feel it. God. A
thunderstorm. You say God how great you are. The ocean. The crashing waves. vs. 4. And I’ll
just go very quickly. Angels. vs. 6. waters. vs. 8. Mountains. Mountains. Mountains are beautiful,
aren’t they? The greatness of God. Mountains. His power. His immovability. The mountains.
The shore line is vs. 9. Why is the shore line where it is? Why isn’t the shore line in a different
location. God set the shore line in vs. 9. vs. 11. Animals. vs. 12. Birds. The ecosystem, vs. 13.
The earth is satisfied with the – the earth is satisfied. The earth is satisfied. Notice something
about the psalm. It hasn’t said anything yet about you and me. This psalm is not about you and
me. It’s about him and his work in nature. In nature.
The bacteria. The insects. The fish that swim down the rivers of Oregon and the fish swim to Japan and back in one year. And they do it four times. Then they go up the same river they came down when they were this big. They go
back up the river and they’re this big. They’re salmon. How do they navigate in the ocean? What
has God done with the birds? Who is God? What has he done? Praise Him! God. What you
have done. You see what we are saying here?
Praise and worship is a big part of your new life. It is. Praise and worship but to be honest it’s
hard to get out of this box. It’s stubborn. It’s stubborn cause I can’t pay a bill or my girlfriend left
me or I’m in trouble at work. Yes. Yes. Yes. This is life for us. But it’s all in a balance. There’s
nothing too much that you cannot endure for he gives you a way of escape. He has given you
something else for your life and mine.
Let’s finish this psalm. It says grass, herbs in vs. 14. Wine, oil and bread. vs. 16, there’s sap in
the trees. Look at the sap running in the trees. How does it go up? The pressure in a tree to
bring water to the very top at the leaf, the very top of the tree. There’s studies in the physics of
that. For water to go up that far to that leaf is an incredible system. Just like your eyeball is an
incredible system and your ears and your disgestive tract. And our feet, our legs moving and our
hands and our thoughts. What about our tongue and our brain and our feelings and our
I remember Charles Spurgeon saying in a message, at the same time he was preaching, he
was thinking of eight different things. He counted them. How many different things he was
thinking of during his message. He had his message and he was thinking the ushers should
open the windows and thinking about somebody in the congregation. He could think of so many
different things at the same time. What human beings do that and also more importantly, your
capacity in life is a lot greater than what you realize. Animals are nothing compared to us. We
are incredible. We are made in God’s image. God dwells in us. Jesus Christ dwells in us. We’ve
been given something incredibly precious. We haven’t even started to talk about our
redemption. We’re in Psalm 104 talking about Creation. Let the trees clap their hands, huh? In
Okay. I’m excited about it. Happy New Year! Oh, I am. I’m excited about it. I’m telling you
something today that I want you to develop and grow in this and understand when you come to
church, you get a piece of spiritual understanding that you tuck away in your little spiritual
pocketbook in your heart. You carry it with you all your life. Isn’t that amazing? It’s true. That
good thing that Mary has done will not be taken away from her.
Okay, vs. 19. The moon and then we got animals in vs. 20. The sun in vs. 22. A whole study on
the sun. Then man goes to work in vs. 23. We’re not even talking about saved man. Just talk
about man. Man. What a marvel. Building a civilization like this. Let me say one thing about this.
Do you know that beavers ever since they’ve been made, created by God, beavers, they build
beaver dams and they haven’t improved their method. They’re still building the same damn
dam! They haven’t changed. How about birds and their nests and how about chipanzees in the
jungle. And how about the snakes.
But man. But man. We lived in a little wood hut or an Indian tipi and now have we learned
anything. We’ve learned how to build houses. We’ve learned things about the cosmos,
microbiology, medical science, theoretical physics. Abstract thoughts. We are learning. We are
different. Man is different. Man is amazing. Man is lost and we all know and we understand this
in every service. There’s not a question about it but come on! Paul said to them in Acts 14,
remember? He said to the heathen, the pagan, that God has made us. We are his offspring. He
gives us food every day for our families. He’s talking to pagan people that understand that this
universe is not an accident. This is a work of God. He is our starting point in life. To fear him and
respect him and bow before him.
Look at vs. 24. No, vs. 23-24. I’m saying that his new year I would like to say I don’t need a new
year’s resolution. This is not from the new year introspection or something like this. This is just
doctrinal, eternal truth that is able to build us up and make our life different from other people.
It’s a different starting point.
I drew a little picture like this and I’ll finish with this one. When a person starts with themselves,
it’s kind of like a pyramid upside down. This is him. He starts here with himself. And do you
know, he starts with me. I start with myself. I end up carrying the weight of my trouble. I don’t
have solutions. And you can put in there any number of stories that you see on TV or you read
about in people’s lives. It’s like the weight is more than I can handle. You are not made for that
pressure. You are not made to start with yourself and carry the stuff. Our sins. Our failures. Our
disappointments. Our life. Our troubled selves. It’s tough. It’s tough.
But when you start with God and you think your life is the result of – this is God. God’s grace,
God’s goodness, God’s care for you. Then you end up worshipping and life is easier. The
burden is light. God will uphold you. God will encourage you. God will heal you. God is your
Father. You can ask God. Start with God in your life. I know it’s hard.
By the way, I understand it. I mean there are times when I’m in pain and I’m suffering and I can’t
help it. I can’t help it. I’m in an emergency room in a sad setting. A sad thing has happened to
me. There’s no automatic, mechanical answer. It’s just you and I should understand slow down.
Quiet down. And understand that God will carry you. God will help you.
You know, Teddy Roosevelt was one of our presidents. I told the story many times but it touched
me a lot. I like the story. He married a beautiful woman up in New York state. He was from New
York. And he was very gifted man and very promising politically. Conservative. Big family.
Roosevelt family in Brooklyn. A high aristocratic kind of family but believers. And he married this
woman and when she gave birth to the baby, she died. I think 24 year’s old. He was devastated.
And he just was devastated. So, he just left politics. He left the scene. He went to North Dakota,
South Dakota to become a cowboy. He got away with his pain.
He would look up at the stars. These are my words. I look unto the hills and from whence comes
my help? My help comes from the Lord. So, he said he said he would stare up in the sky until he
got real small and God got real big. Two years later he came back. He becomes governor of
New York state and then finally president of the United States. He said he would do the same
thing when he was in the White House. He would go outside and look up in the sky and just
stare up in the cosmos until he got real small and God got real big. That’s what we are saying
If you want to start your year with something fresh and new, and something encouraging you
that you can build your life on, then it’s this one. Exercise yourself as much as possible in
relating to God because he is awesome. And he’s the one that really cares for you. There’s
nothing that you could ever do that would separate you from his love. There’s nothing that could
ever happen in your life where he wouldn’t have a healing balm for your heart. There’ s nothing
you could ever go through that he wouldn’t say I’m here. I’ll never leave you. I’ll never forsake
you. I got you. I’ve got you. I’ll take care of you. I’ll carry you. Yeah. Okay. Amen. Would you
pray with me. (Prayer).
Okay. We’re going to do our communion in a few minutes. P. Eugene is going to lead us in that.
Would you stand with me and express your happiness about the new year and just say “Happy
New Year!” God bless you. P. Jason, could you come down here for a minute? Okay, you may
be seated. Yes, you may be seated.
Turn to – five minutes or so. Seven minutes maybe. Turn to 1 Peter 5. Last night we had some
folks come from Indiana, Virginia, New York. We had the second part of the service was Jay
Esterbrook and James Bryson and Dennis White and Tom Smith from Culpepper. Beautiful. We
had up on the stage a number of men, men of God and of course behind them their wives and
families. We just have a lot to be thankful for today. A lot about what we have been learning and
also what we go through also. What we go through in life. Everything is narrowly calculated.
Everything is – there aren’t accidents. All of it is subject to Almighty God who is sovereing. We
had a bit of a lesson on that last night also. Something fantastic thoughts about foreknowledge.
It was so good. I’m stirred up. I was thinking about it in my sleep last night. Just this rolling
around in my mind, in my subconscious mind. Thinking about what we are saying today. I just
want to repeat it.
If my starting point is myself, I carry a lot of weight. Without a lot of answers. I have a lot of
questions. I remember Larry King interviewed a Christain pastor and said, do you think you will
go to heaven? And the pastor said, yeah, I’m sure about it. Are you afraid of death? And Larry
King said to him, are you afraid of death? No, I’m not. How can you not be afraid of death?
There was that kind of an interview. Larry King said I wish I had that. I wish I had your faith.
The faith grows. Your faith increases as God ministers to your heart and leads you. You are the
result of much that happens in life. Let’s do the pyramid this way. Many things in life that you
have benefited from. I’ll just put down here a couple of things. We got the Jews in the
Scriptures, we got Abraham. We got government in Europe. Universities.
Medicine. We recognize biology. The laws of physics. Good decision making. Finances. We can put here
“economy.” How about any of you tired? Any of you getting a social security check? Yeah, come
on. That’s amazing. Where is that coming from? That’s a system that we have in our society.
Are you thankful for it? If your car runs and you came here to church without breaking down, are
you thankful for that? How about the tires? I always marvel at tires. Tires are amazing. How can
they last so long? Why, how have we learned to do that? How is it that we have a phone?
How about anybody here understand electricity? I can never, I have no idea how does that
work. And how about in our bodies? The little electrical impulses. The chemicals.
The hormones. Come on. What is this? This is all the systems of God that we’ve been given. We can
live here. The world is way too negative. The people are so negative. I’m even negative talking
about the negative people. Come on. Connect with someone who’s got a sense of humor. You
should laugh every day. You should laugh outloud every day. You should laugh at least once.
I had something weird happen. There was a box under my bed and I couldn’t reach it. And I
don’t know why. I was by myself. And there’s dust, dust balls under there, too. I go, I got to have
a talk with my wife! So, you know, I go to reach for the box. I’m kind of crunched up. You know
how you are a little stiff. I just started laughing about it. I go, wow! I’m really laughing about this
and I’m by myself. That’s fantastic. That’s a good thing.
You know, this verse, 1 Peter 5 is what we will close with. It is beautiful. The chief shepherd will
appear one day in verse 4 and we will receive a crown of glory that does not fade away. Wow!
Ever find your high school the little awards that you got? The ribbons. The trophies and so on up
in the attic or your carry them around. They’re all I got. They’re all I got.
One time we had a Deeper Life Footsteps here and we gave out diplomas and this man said
this is the first diploma I’ve ever got in my whole life. Huh? Isn’t that amazing. My little trophies. I
keep them, you know! How about you? I was in third grade. That’s all I got. Don’t take away
from me all that I got. But imagine a crown that does not fade away. Imagine. Something eternal
vs. 5. Do you know how up on our screen, do you know what you got to do to get over here?
You got to be humble. Really. Pride is all about me. But shift. Like forget about that. And just
have a life of faith. And you need the Body. You need brothers and sisters. You need help.
I remember one Jewish – the marriages. We asked a rabbi or read about it. I’m sorry that
exactly how I learned this. But the rabbi said we have this guy. He’s a funny guy in our
congregation. When a marriage has trouble, we send him over to have dinner with the troubled
couple and they just laugh all night. They just kind of get released. Tension is gone and humor
does good like medicine. To be light hearted in life. I need some comedian in my life. I need
somebody who is going to be light hearted. Somebody who is going to be thankful. We need
humble people who are going to say, hey. I got beat up in life, too, but it’s okay. God is good and
we are having a good time. We decided to have a good time as much as possible because God
gives grace to the humble, doesn’t he? He’s going to lighten your load. He’s going to give grace
to the humble.
vs. 6. In due time. vs. 7. Take this reality here up on the screen. Take this. We’re not making fun
of it. It’s not a joke. It’s real stuff. But can you just for a while even talk to yourself and say I got
to cast it. Now, the word “cast” is like a rifling it. It’s not just kind of taking it here and putting it
aside and then looking at it. If I put it here, it’s at hand and that’s the anxiety and the cares of
life. It’s not rifled away. But it’s got to be rifled away. I’m not going to have it in my heart and
mind. I got to get rid of the anxiety and stuff. I got to rifle it away because he cares for me. He
can take care of that. He’s going to help me. He’s going to carry my load. He’s going to help me
and take care of me.
The point of our message this morning and this part is not only is it a good starting point but it’s
a great place to life. And if you could say, who is Abraham? Let me start thinking about
Abraham and read his story. It relaxes you. Abraham’s life relaxes me. It does. Every time I read
it. God is in history. He took care of Abraham. Thank you, Jesus. Read your Bible. Be in the
Body of Christ. Walk by faith. Humble yourself before God. Learn the doctrine. Learn to
meditate. Relate to that which is outside of you and God will take care of you. Amen.
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.