00:00 You're listening to a live recording from Westside church in bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us.
00:06 So good to see you all my name's Steve. I'm one of the lead pastors here and, I have been waiting weeks to give this message since my sabbatical, this past summer, I was gone for about eight weeks and, and I, I felt like God kind of downloaded some things to me, but you're all gonna be glad that I, that we waited this long for me to tell you the stories because of what God did in, in the, in the meantime, after I got home, until now. And, and so I wanna tell you some stories, so really a story. so I, we had planned my sabbatical, around, a couple of different things. One of which was the six year anniversary of my oldest son's death chase. He died six years ago in a car accident on June 16th. And so I planned on being, taking a solo motorcycle ride to the grand canyon.
00:52 And on June 15th, I arrived at Bryce canyon, national park, beautiful, beautiful park. And I, camped there. And then the morning of the 16th, I got up really early, to go see the sunrise. There's a place on Bryce canyon called sunrise point. And, I was, so I was, I had so much expectation leading up to this moment, even before I went on sabbatical of God, doing something fresh, like out of nowhere, just speaking to my heart, just the deep something really deep and meaningful because of the deepness of the pain that I, that I still experience over the loss of chase. And so I was like, I just want, I just, I just knew. I knew, like I was gonna do something powerful, on the 16th of June and I was gonna be, at Bryce canyon and then the grand canyon later that night.
01:44 And so, so I got up early, to hit the sunrise, go to sunrise point and I'm, I'm standing there, you know, waiting
03:12 I was so disappointed. I really was. I I've told this story of dozen times to different people since I've been back. And I just, I, I get to this point, I'm like, I, I was so disappointed. I was like, God, why? You know, sometimes knowing God, can prevent bad things from happening. And it ex causes us to expect that he should prevent bad things from happening. And when he doesn't prevent bad things from happening, we experience disappointment, which by the way is a nice way of saying we experience anger. I was upset. I was a little bit angry. And have any of you, I imagine many of you have felt some kind of disappointment, anger, frustration, the sense of rejection, even by what God doesn't do or how you expect him do to do something. And he doesn't do that. I'm sure all of us have experienced some level of this in our lives.
04:14 And one of the things I love about the Bible is that it, it expresses, all of these different emotions and, and feelings about, about, and toward God and you know, depression, frustration, anger, all of these things are show up in the, in the, in the Psalms joy and hope as well. It's not just all, doom and gloom, right? But I, I was led to Psalm 13 where David writes these words, how long, oh Lord, will you forget me forever? How long? Oh Lord, will you forget me forever? You ever thought that? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me, consider and answer me, oh Lord, my God light up my eyes. Let I sleep the sleep of death.
05:10 Let my enemies say, I have prevailed over him. Let my pH rejoice because I am shaken. So this is kind of how I felt and how long. Oh Lord. And then, and then I was thinking about the story of Thomas. I love the story of Thomas. You, you might recognize him as doubting Thomas. That's what most of us know him by because he doubted the resurrection of Jesus. He, he, he wasn't sure all of his friends were saying, Hey, Jesus has risen from the day. He's like, eh, unless I see him, I wanna see the scars, bro. I wanna see him. I wanna see him then I'll know. And then I'll believe. And, and you know, and it's so amazing that, Jesus does that for him. I just think that's so awesome that Jesus actually shows up and to Thomas personally and shows him, tells him, Hey, put your fingers here.
05:58 And on my side, and I see my hands believe Thomas don't don't disbelieve believe. And then in verse 28, it says, Thomas answered in my Lord and my God, once he saw Jesus and Jesus said to him, have you believed because you have seen me. And then, and then he says something that's been a life verse for me actually, since I was very young, this was a verse that God gave me. I was like, I held onto this. Have you believed because you have seen me blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed that's been a life verse for me. And so what I, what I knew from a very young age is that, I wasn't gonna need signs of God's presence, a manifestation of his, of his goodness. I didn't, wasn't gonna see miracles in order to believe and I haven't, and, and that's fine, but I wanna see, I've always wanted to see, I've wanted to see the miraculous.
06:59 I wanted to see God's hand move. I wanted to see a manifestation of his presence. And so if I had shared this message with you back in August, when I got
08:01 It just means that they don't need to see in order to believe. But that doesn't mean they won't see. Why do I believe that? Because look at first 30, right after Jesus says this, John writes these words. Now Jesus did many other signs. Why did I never see this? Nobody told me in the presence of this discipl he did. He did actually work miracles after this moment with Thomas. And then, and then John says, these are there the signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you wait, may what
08:51 And that by believing you may have life in his name. Isn't God. So generous seriously. Like, I mean, it's just amazing that after this conversation with Thomas, that he goes out and doesn't be even more miracles. He is not even written in the book. I mean, we there's so much stuff that he does do for us. And yet, so often we don't have eyes to see what he's actually doing. And then I thought about this generation, you know, I've, I've read all the stats. You know, churches are in decline and, and more and more of the young people are just tapping out and they're not even gonna give church a chance and got a chance. And all of that, I've seen all the stats. And I realized something that this generation needs a sign in order to believe. And that's not somehow disparaging of this generation because we know from the Bible that this is, this is one of the primary reasons Jesus worked miracles was so that it was help people to believe that he is the son of God and this generation needs a sign. They need to see the manifestation of Jesus' presence in tangible, real ways in Jesus. And the power of the holy spirit are all that we need in order to see he is enough.
10:11 And how often do we miss what God is actually doing? Because we're distracted by what we think he should do. We're disappointed by what he didn't do that we miss what he's actually doing. Thomas, you know, Thomas was disappointed, because his view of God revolved around a nationalistic renewal of the Jewish nation. That's what he thought the Messiah Jesus would do. And when Jesus didn't do that, matter of fact got nailed on a cross. He was so disappointed. He wasn't able to see the resurrection right away. I left Bryce canyon with a simple truth from God that everything you need is available to you, but do I have eyes to see it? Everything that you need is available to you, but do you have eyes to see it now? Every time I've told this story of my sabbatical, this journey to Bryce canyon in the, in the north room of the grand canyon, I've told it a few, few times I've left out certain parts.
11:21 Not, not because I've forgotten them. but just because I didn't think they were relevant to the story
12:05 And this rescue worker came by his house and, you know, can I help you? And the guy was like, no, no, no, no, God is going to deliver me. And guy was like, okay,
13:07 It's pitch dark outside, except for the full moon shining right at me on the pathway from my campsite to sunrise point. It's like, God is like, God, if I had eyes to see, I would be like, God is going. I'm showing you something. I I've lit your path. There's more to see, keep walking. So I keep walking and I get up to sunrise point. And as I, as I'm approaching sunrise point, I hear something.
14:08 I'm like, huh, God, I really need a sign from you. I mean, seriously. I just thought that was fascinating. And that's about as far as it went,
15:53 I feel the presence of someone walk up behind me. I, I have this thought it kind of shoots through my head. Hebrews 13, two do not neglect to show hospitality, strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. It's a, it's a kind of a fleeting thought that who's behind me.
17:35 Close myself off to what God actually wanted to do all that day.
18:33 But I wanna tell you, I don't feel I'm a little embarrassed, I guess I could say, because you know of just like, bam, bam been missing so many things, but I don't feel any condemnation or shame or guilt. I don't
19:55 David finished this Psalm in Psalm 13, by writing these words. But I have trusted in your steadfast, love my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me. I am reminded that God is enough.
20:22 Jesus is enough. The spirit is enough. I'm reminded how much God loves me is patient with me is constantly working on my behalf is giving me every opportunity to experience his signs and wonders in this day. And in this generation. And God, would you give us eyes to see what you're doing? Would you remove the distractions that, that are keeping us unable to see your, the actual move of your presence? Would you help us to lay down preconceived ideas of how you're going to move in America and what it's gonna look like? Would you help me just to see what you want to do in this moment today in whatever relationships we neighbors and people that you run into strangers or not, would you give me eyes to see we're gonna take communion in just a moment. And as we do before we do, we're gonna sing a song. And as, as the song is sung over us, would you simply ask Jesus to open your eyes? To see it was hard for the disciples to see that the crucifixion was the answer to their prayers. It was a sign to them of God's love for them.
21:43 They had a hard time seeing it as for what it, what, what it was their redemption. You close your eyes with me for a moment. And if you feel comfortable doing this, would you simply put your hands on your eyes with me and pray this prayer, Jesus, open my eyes, help me to see, help me to see your goodness, help me to see your spirit, help me to see the manifestation of your presence in my life.