We have a conviction to trust in the Lord. We look full in the face of the Lord. He gives us sleep as we consider HIs love for us. By His love, we have the ability to share. (Psalm 4; Psalm 131; 1 John 4:4)

Speaker: Mark Miniciello, Jason Moore, Steve Andrulonis
Sermon 12743
Date: 2024-06-30
Time: Sun 6:30 PM

P. Steve Andrulonis –

We’ve got a great night tonight. We’re going to hear from P. Jason. We’re going to hear from P. Mark
and um but I’d like to share something with you just about P. Pete shared it this morning about
children and just about us.

I said this in the workshop that we did about having a – what is it – a mature childlikeness and
what is that? It’s in the Bible here. We see it in Psalm 131. We’ll read this quickly. Just a couple of
minutes here. We’ll read this. I’m reading in the American Standard. Vs. 1-3. And I think this is
what God is talking about when Jesus says be like a child. You need to be like a child. You need
to have but not still stuck to your mother’s breast but a weaned child.

And I think what that says to us is, you know, all right. So, I’m going to use like a strange
philosophical term. Are you ready for it? There can be a tendency in us to enter into what’s
called or to possess what’s known as a manic meta narrative. Have you heard that? It just
means that you have the only story that matters in your mind and you know it all. And we don’t
know it all. It’s like a can be a holy person. I can think like that, and when I start to know it all,
start to think that I know it all, then I miss the whole point of the Scriptures.

And the Bible – I’m going to say something and don’t throw anything at me, but the Bible is not
a book of answers. It’s not a book of answers. It does have answers but it’s not the why we
have it is not to give us all the answers. Actually, there’s more questions in the Bible. Michael
Card used to, he sang a song called Sometimes Questions Tell us More Than Answers Ever Do.
And sometimes he makes himself – we know more about his presence when we’re in his
absence.

And so, it is, you know, the questions you go to the book of Job and you see there’s question
after question after question. And Job is not patient but he’s persistent in demanding sort of an
audience with God. And then, God brings all the questions. Job cannot answer. I lay my – I lay
my hand over my mouth is what he said.

And I think like when we get, when we get to that point, that’s like I got to be very careful. I got
to be very careful when I start to think that I have it all in my mind. I know it all. I have the only
story that matters. You know, the Bible is about teaching us about the person of Jesus. That’s
what we read in that we gain like an understanding of who He is and we have, you know, when
Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, they went on a, they went on a expos, ex – I’m not going to
say the word right. They went into a process of data collection. That’s what the tree of
knowledge was about.

You’re going to know, you’re just in – he said you will die. And it’s like that. You die a death by a
hundred cuts, by a hundred web views, by, you know – I’m a person of a lot of books. I read a
lot of books. But you know, I have to keep my heart, understanding that I do not know the whole picture. I don’t know – there’s a lot of questions that I have and God does not give me all
the answers. He doesn’t give me all the answers. He’s drawing me into an intimacy. Adam and
Eve surrendered discovery and intimacy for data collection. I know so much, and this, you
know, there’s like a, there’s studies that have been done that when you start to think that you
know so much, you enter into like a level of contempt and you start to think that you know
better and you can do better and I am better. And then, you become like uh enter into disgust
sometimes. It’s really kind of interesting.

There’s a study from the University of Washington that predicts whether a marriage will last five years, 15 years, or five minutes. It’s like and they can know by just a simple discussion. Who in that relationship is feeling that they are better and that they want to do better and that they got to get better somehow.
But you know, God says the last shall be first. He does. He says that the last shall be first. And
he like brings us low to show us not to mind high things and this is where God wants us to be.
This is where God wants us to be. He calls us to quietness, confidence, and rest. He calls us to
those kind of places, to that kind of relationship with him. And he also – I’m so amazed at how
he always is so faithful to convince us of the truth that the gates of hell shall not prevail.
I’m going to close with a little story.

You can find it in a book called, “The Lost History of Christianity” by Philip Jenkins who is not a theologian by the way. He’s a historian at Penn State and he wrote this book. He said in 1650 there had been a great revival. There had been a great move, missionary move in Japan through like the 1500s into the 1600s. But then, a new ruler
came and they did all that they could. They did all that they could to erase the Christian
witness. I think there’s a movie called, “The Silence of God” or something like that. I know
there’s a book but I think the movie ends with one of the last priests, the last ministers of the
Gospel like in a burnt out kind of church and he’s the last one or so they thought.

1650. The leaders of Japan thought they had erased every vestige of Christianity. So, you fast
forward a couple centuries to 1850s, 1853 and the Americans actually sent a warship to the
harbor in Japan to open up Japan again and Japan opened up and a missionary went there.
There was a missionary was teaching there and what happened? That missionary was setting
up everything. Getting his church ready and on his door, at his door, came 15 old peasants from
a village. Fifteen. Two hundred and three years it had been since Japan had thought, the
emperor had thought he had erased Christianity. Fifteen peasants timidly came and knocked at
the door. Are you teaching about the Son? Are you teaching about God the Father? Are you
teaching about the Blessed Virgin that we have been, that we have been talking about and
thinking about for all these years?

How did it happen? Did the gates of hell prevail in that place? Fifteen villagers still had the
witness of Christ in them. See. We are a people of meaning. We are a people of fulfillment. We
are a people of peace, and we are a people of hope. ‘Cause we know what Jesus said at that moment when Peter declared that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. There’s no
other way to the Father. There’s no other way to the truth. It’s him. It’s him. And the gates of
hell cannot prevail against it. Two hundred years later, somehow they kept talking about God,
Jesus, God, the virgin story. Jesus can. You know about it? We know about it. We’ve been
waiting for someone for a while. Okay. Amen. So, let’s just pray for the offering right now. Is
that good? Pray for the offering. All right. (Prayer).

P. Jason Moore –

Hey, it’s great to see your faces. Wow. Wow. Can we take all of you with us?
Is that possible? No, honestly. I just wanted to say thank you to P. Schaller and just this has
been an amazing week. Hasn’t it been a real taste of heaven and honestly we’ve just been so
encouraged. My wife and I and my son who are here somewhere. And yeah, we’re, they’re here
somewhere. Oh, right there! Right there. Okay. All right.

But, no. Honestly, just for a few minutes I just want to just echo the theme of the Convention
and I want just to tell you a quick story. Just really enjoying it down in Houston and just really
seeing God grow the church. It’s uh really a unique time in the United States. I’m sure you’ve
seen it. People are incredibly open and just one particular family. That I’m thinking of. She’s
from Honduras and he is from Mexico and we recently baptized their whole family. Three
teenagers and the wife and the husband and just seeing them come to Christ. Seeing them just
love their Bible. And just the way he looks at the Bible and just the way he reads the Bible to his
family. It’s really amazing, isn’t it?

And when we think about that verse in 1 Corinthians 15:58, that steadfast, immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, I just think of the word “stability.” I think of the word
“integrity.” I think of just this perfect stableness that our world does not possessed. Have you
noticed that? It’s absolutely movable. People do not have answers. Tremendous crisis in
families and marriages and just in mental health.

And my brother and I are actually working for a marriage and family counseling agency. A
biblical counseling agency, and we are preaching the Gospel in counseling. And many people
have come into the church through this beautiful venue. But what a great privilege to share the
Word of God. Amen. This is the stability and his name is Christ.

And I just want to look briefly, 1 John 4:4. And I want you to just think of that word stability
with me. When Ecclesiastes talks about it in Ecclesiastes 4, it’s the threefold cord that Is not broken. And
who is that third cord? It is Christ. It is Christ.

And when we think about the ability of grace and the ability of Christ, what happens? There is
stability. There is transformation. There is permanent change. And I feel like down there in
Houston which is a very, you know, culturally Christian place, but when you start to speak about
the finished work and grace, people just look at you like a deer in headlights. That they’re like what? What are you talking about? What, what Gospel or what Bible or what religion are you
talking about? And isn’t it amazing just to share the beauty of grace and the ability of grace
because this is what happens in four forces. But you belong to God. And aren’t those beautiful
words. You belong to God.

Ever feel like sometimes you don’t? Maybe sometimes we can feel
disoriented but the truth stabilizes us and focuses us back to what Jesus has said. it focuses us
back to the ability of grace, the ability of love, the ability of mercy.
My dear children, you have already won a victory over those people because the Spirit who
lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Just thinking through this whole
conference, just this steadfast and immovability. You know, we don’t possess that. We are
moved quite easily in our flesh. Quite easily in our emotions.

You know on a daily basis, we help people work through depression. Work through anxiety, fear, shame and really we have nothing to say outside of the Bible. And we give them tools and we point them to Christ.
And you know what’s amazing? People are getting saved. People are getting rehabilitated.
Marriages are being saved. But what are we saying here? It’s Christ in you the hope of glory.
Christ in me the hope of glory in Colossians 1. It’s almost like we could say in Prov. 30 those little
beavers, right, those little animals that run into the rocks and they are weak and feeble but they
hide and they are, take their dwelling in a place that is greater than them. And that is the Rock.
That’s the great Rock, Jesus Christ.

And as we share our faith here in Baltimore or wherever it is, we have a unique time – amen –
because what the kingdom of God in you is greater than any other kingdom, any other
impossible situation. You know, it says in Hebrews 12, we have received an unshakable kingdom.
Isn’t that good? How many say “amen” to that? An unshakable kingdom and the things that
shake and those things that are shaken, what happens? They are removed. And the
unshakable in 12:28 is what remains.

Whatever is not of Christ will be shaken and it’ll create a great mess. But whatever is of Christ
will have great ability, great power and we’ll have an answer when nobody has an answer.
Aren’t you thankful tonight? In James 1:17, it says that there is no variable of change in God.
You know, just thinking about how our world is changing. The narratives change. The ideology.
Just strange things that people are embracing. And you know, we’re sharing with a young
person recently and just telling them who they are, that they belong to God and they are just
looking as though they’ve never heard that before.

You know, we have a great youth group in Houston. Very, very open and very, very attentive.
They come with their Bibles and they take notes and you just can’t wing it. They really want a
word. We had them over our house recently having a game night and pizza and such and they
didn’t care about the games. They didn’t care about the pizza. They were like give us the Bible.
And I was like oh my gosh! This is good. This is the way it’s supposed to be. Why? Because they

have received an unshakable kingdom. They are getting to know a great big God who
ultimately will never, never fail them. Amen.

Well, lastly, 1 Timothy. I love reading 1 Timothy 1:13 and 14. We know Paul’s life before he
experienced the grace of God and what was happening in his life? A lot of change. A lot of
movement. A lot of second guessing. And you know what? He gives a list of who he was before
grace. He had the revelation of grace. He was a blasphemer and so many other things that are
written there.

But then he testifies and says I am a product of the grace of God. Stability came into his life.
God held onto him. God holds onto him and just think about that in your personal life today.
The keeping power of grace. The keeping power of grace. The keeping power of grace for your
family. The keeping power of grace when fear shouts its lie in our face. Think about the keeping
power of grace where not only did God do it but he maintains it and what’s our job? What’s our
ministry? It’s yes, Lord. We believe. Help our unbelief. Yes, Lord. It looks impossible. Yes, Lord.
Addiction. Addiction is broken.

You know, I was talking with another brother in our church just as I close here. He struggled
with alcohol. And then he made a commitment to come to church. He said I’m just going to
come to church. I’m just going to learn my Bible and guess what? I spoke with him last week. He
says I don’t have a desire for alcohol anymore. And I said how’d that happen? He says I fell in
love with my Bible. I said that’s right. That’s how it is, isn’t it? And it’s the ability of grace. It’s
that ability of mercy. It’s the ability of love that really transforms lives and thank God for this
church and thank God for praying for us in Houston. Keep praying for us. How many will pray
for us? We really need it. It’s a great, great front line. It’s a great front line for the Gospel and
we thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless you.

P. Mark Minichiello –

Good evening everyone. It’s so good to see you. Wasn’t that a beautiful
word? Oh, beautiful word as well as P. Steve’s message earlier. Let’s pray. (Prayer)
Well, I have escaped from the waffle booth! Yeah, we had a great time. It was our second year
of having a family Belgian waffle, brownie Sunday, Greek salad booth. It’s kind of schizophrenic!
Salads on one end. The desserts on the other end. But it was such a blessing to serve everyone
who came and those that we got to work with. It was just so much fun. So, thank you.
Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 4.

It’s a psalm of David and I’m just going to read it through. Psalm
4:1-8, I love this psalm. Vs. 1. Hear me when I call, O God. There’s a lot in that little bit, that
portion of the verse. Hear me when I call. It implies prayer, doesn’t it? how many of us can
reflect on a moment when we have called out, cried out, screamed out a prayer to God. It’s our
prayer closet. It’s our prayer walk. It’s kneeling beside our bed. It’s falling flat on our face. I think many of us can think of many instances where we may have been in each one of those
prayer positions and God met us.

The second part is so beautiful. O God of my righteousness. If we are a believer, many of us are
in this room, it’s our default. O God of my righteousness. When we have royally messed up,
when we have gone over the edge in our thoughts or in our minds, when we feel worthless,
when everything that we expected to be doing and thinking and pursuing somehow we find
ourselves doing the opposite, and we come to that realization and there’s that moment or
temptation to condemnation.

We can run to our default which is that we have been made to be nothing less than the very
righteousness of God himself. Because that’s what he said in the very last verse of 2 Corinthians 5. “He
has made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might become the very righteousness of
God in him.” And that’s why we can cry out to our God with full confidence and full boldness at
any time we escape to him in prayer. We run to him in prayer and we make it a very high
priority in our lives. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness.

You have relived me or I believe the King James says you have enlarged me when I was in
distress. Isn’t that beautiful? Whatever brought that distress whether it’s our own shortcoming,
whether it’s a job situation where we are somehow on trial, on display in spiritual warfare. If it’s
just some attack from the outside. Whatever it is in our distress we have the privilege of having
God’s mind and responding to that distress and finding an amazing enlargement.

You have enlarged me and in that enlargement, we find relief. You have relieved me when I was
in distress. I remember a rap session years ago. I think P. Schaller was doing it over in the
Fellowship Hall and he was encouraging us in a time of great, great stress. Our prayer should be
Lord, let me be pressed up against you instead of being removed far from you or instead of
causing me to withdraw from you. And that was my prayer in my own heart a couple of years
ago. My wife and I just kept praying that. Lord, let this push us up against you instead of causing
us to withdraw from you. You have enlarged me when I was in distress. Have mercy on me.
That’s beautiful. Have mercy on me.

In the next psalm, there’s a moment when David says I will come into your house in the
multitude of your mercies. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long, oh you sons of
men, will you turn my glory into shame? My glory. That part of me we could say created in the
image of God. It’s who we’ve been created to be. Psalm 30 says you have turned my mourning into
dancing. You have taken away my sackcloth and wrapped me in gladness to the end that my
glory, so that God given part of me which exalts, which celebrates, which has a halleluiah
breakdown if you will. That part of me might sing praise to you and not keep silent.

But the world, the world system, our enemies, our very own sin nature, Stan, his minions, his
demons, what is their goal? To take that glory and to cause me to make light of it and think it’s
something less than what it is. But we have been made to be these unbelievable glorious beings
and we get a sense of that glory when we find ourselves face to face with the living God at the
throne room. We come boldly and we learn to just trust in God. How long will you turn my glory
to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood?

Seeing some friends this morning when I was at church, I looked in the audience and I saw
some friends that I worked with when I was in Bible college. Mike Plunkett, Nikki Cooper, Kathy
Corbier, Mike Tilton, Mark Linton. We all worked in it was called the Student Union. It was kind
of like our café except we had, we had like you know, servers coming to the table and taking
orders.

And sometimes I bust tables. Sometimes I was the host and it was crazy sometimes. I
remember one Convention when there was a knock on the door after we had closed and we
were all just about to go home. I mean, well, we lived on the campus. We were all just about to
go to bed. It was probably, I don’t know, 11:30, and there’s this knock on the door. And it was
P. Stevens with about a hundred people behind me and he said, we’re going to turn this place
into Dunkin’s! And then the doors open and everybody came in and we reopened. And we had
a long rap.

And I remember there was this lady sitting there. I said, you really need to move your chair.
Something about a fire code. She said, I came 500 miles for this rap and I’m not going
anywhere! It was funny, but I thought of those days in Bible college and I thought of prayers at
that time. Thinking about the future.

And now, I’m looking back at those days as many years in the past. I think the temptation in my
own heart at this point in my life would be to allow the devil to turn that glory into shame and
for him to paint a picture of my life as being something mundane and saying that those
promises and that glory and those prayers and those moments of vision and dreams are
somehow less than they really were. Has anyone ever sensed that temptation? And the devil is
taking some type of paint brush and he’s trying to put huge x’s on things that God actually did
which are the reality. But he’s trying to woo us into some type of hypnotic trance saying that
wasn’t reality. This is reality.

What’s the purpose of that? It’s to completely sap us of present fruitfulness and to really dilute
a future glory and opportunities for wondrous things that remain to be seen in heaven. Fruit of
these very moments right now. Just an encouragement for each one of us. Our spiritual life
needs to be no less than the gloriousness of our Lord and Savior at this very moment whatever
our present lot or present circumstances. God is for us. God is with us. The kingdom of God is
within us. Eternity is to be grasped and laid hold of and God is encouraging us.

So, please, just an encouragement to each one of us not to allow the devil, not to allow our
enemies to cause us to belittle anything God has shown us because God’s calling is very
different than what we may expect it to be with our natural expectations.

Vs. 3. Where does he place the godly man? Where does he place the godly woman? We learn
about it in Psalm 91. It’s the secret place of the Most High. It says later in that psalm, “ thousand
will fall at your side, 10,000 will fall at your right hand but it won’t come near you.” And then
the Amplified says because you are stable and fixed in the secret place of the Most High, we are
set apart in the cleft of the Rock like Moses was. We are set apart. Accepted in the beloved.
Accepted in the Son of his love. This is where we really sense who we are in Christ.

Vs. 4. I remember a dear friend. He was in the valley of decision about whether or not to go on
the mission field and he just, he came to the conclusion I want to have awe in my life. I don’t
want, I don’t want to miss that awe and he made a decision. Stand in awe and do not sin. Stand
in awe and do not sin. Have you ever said the devil made me do it?

I remember as a kid we used to watch Batman after school. I don’t mean the Batman movies. I
mean the old Batman. Anyone remember that one? 1960’s and very often they would fight and
the ground was always tilted. And you’d see those big words, POW! BAM! SOCKO! And then in
the end, Batman would often see the – what would you call this lady? She was like some lady
who was helping the Joker or the Riddler. She was usually pretty but kind of ditzy and you
know, he would say something like, why did you do it? And she would say something like I was
forced into a life of crime. And then the police would come and they’d put her in handcuffs and
she’d be let off and you know, Batman would kind of look and that was the end of the show.
Did the devil really make her do it? Did the Joker make her do it? She made a decision, didn’t
she? Yeah.

Romans chapter 6, you know that verse that says do you not know to whom you
present yourself slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey whether of sin
leading to death or whether of obedience leading to righteousness. Whoever we give ourselves
to at a given moment, we serve. We serve. It’s an amazing principle.

As believers, we have been given a free will and because of the grace of God and because those
chains of sin where cut when Christ died on Calvary, we’re given a choice and we’re not, we’re
not stressed out crazy people trying not to sin. But we are people zealously and fervently
serious about walking in and being filled with the Spirit and leading powerfully anointed lives
and then there is that awe in our life. And then sin just like P. Jason expressed talking about
that gentlemen no longer needing to drink, sin loses its power.

Yeah, sin loses its power. Be angry. Stand in awe. You could say be feisty. Stand in awe and sin not. Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still. Have you ever communed? Can we think of those times where we’ve been on our bed. Maybe we’ve been troubled and we’ve wanted to just
sublimate, go negative, complain. But we kind of groped for a moment in the darkness and we
laid hold of a verse. A word. Some principle of Scripture and it encouraged us. And it led us to
think a little more with God. Think a little more with God and then a bit more of that verse
maybe came and then it became a conviction and it became very real. Commune with your own
heart upon your bed and be still.

Vs. 5-6. There are many saying that these days. There are many. All of our lives, there will be
some naysayer, some mocker, scornful individual saying who’s going to show us any good? And
this prayer is so beautiful of David. Vs. 6b. Isn’t that beautiful? We know he causes his face to
shine upon us. We know we’ve been accepted in the Son of his love. We’ve been accepted in
the beloved. So, we can confidently pray that prayer. “Lord, lift up the light of your
countenance upon us.” I need to see your face right now. What I’m seeing is not edifying. It’s
not encouraging. I need to see your face. I need to see the grace and truth that comes in Jesus
Christ.

Vs. 7. I don’t know who “they” are, but I do know in my life I have often been tempted,
intimidated, stressed out by everyone else whose life seems to be so awesome. And mine
seems to be lacking in maybe some area. And wow, social media doesn’t help. Really. I’m just
trying to think of this year, 2024. We’re in this society where we are just bombarded with so
many vanity, futility, promise of fulfillment but completely empty promises of fulfillment and
you find a stressed out mentally tired, weary, ill people.

And it really is the state of this world’s system. I’m not talking about the United States
necessarily, but it’s the state of the Lord. People that are just looking for communication.
Looking for the latest tantalizing fix. That’s so funny. Oh my gosh. That was so funny but after
the millionth “that was so funny,” it’s not that funny. It leaves the seeker weary.

But Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is fulfillment. This prayer life, this life with God, the life of the
Scripture, the life of meditation, the life of edification. Choosing to speak out, reach out in love
when we naturally would not. God is in this. And we find, we find our glory in these moments.
We find who we’ve been made to be in Christ when we go beyond our natural inklings and we
enter into the life of God.

Psalms are amazing. Has anyone ever suffered from insomnia? Yeah. Maybe you need some
magnesium citrate, but maybe you need a psalm A go-to psalm when you can’t sleep is
amazing. Start thinking about it. Start thinking about it. And what happens? Verse 8 might
happen.

Vs. 8. Peace I leave with you. I think Kevin was singing part of that verse this morning. My peace
I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it

be afraid. This is our, this is our legacy. It’s our inheritance. It’s God’s gift to us. The gift is peace
and that peace is Jesus Christ himself.

 

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