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Man's Best Friend

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Morning church. You may be seated.

Got to tell you just how good it is to be back here with you. It is been. It is been I've enjoyed my time off for family night. We had a great vacation much-needed rest, but I still felt like a part of me was missing not being here until I'm so glad to be back. But can I tell you what makes me proud Church. It makes me proud to see God moving and working among you even when I'm not here. I mean, I just pleases me more than anything because it's not not about me. It's not about anyone of us. It's all about him and he still continues to work. I got to say thank you so much to not only for leading worship this morning and doing a great job, but I for preaching in my absence it it takes a lot of work to prepare a sermon to get up and say something that's coherent and actually makes sense and it will help people and Rick did that for me for 4 weeks and so Rick. Thank you so much for that. Not only did he do that, but he still did his job with all the youth events and youth lessons and everything else. Can we just let Rick know how much we appreciate him in the work if he does thank you so much, but it wasn't just this trick to see how the church came together to serve the needs of others to hear testimonies from from Kevin and I just enjoy hearing that this week and went back and listened and at Jeff heard you gave your testimony as well, which is wonderful and just so many others who have come together to serve those who built beds for the needy those who came together to help this family who is in need over in Omaha in fact, but while I'm here Sherry Stilwell asked me to let you know that the family really appreciated the beds and the clothes and the supplies and everything that you donated and gave it was just wonderful to see how this church is. Just trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus which is what he's called us to be and so I'm just so thankful. And humbled to be your minister and to be a part of a body is wonderful in the family is wonderful. Is this so can we just before we get into the lesson? Can we just have a word of prayer and thank God for all that. He's doing and continues to do through Atlas pray. Heavenly father. It's so awesome to see you working. It's so awesome to see you use imperfect People Like Us. for your kingdom and your glory and we don't deserve it. We don't deserve the love that you shown to us. We don't deserve to be used for your kingdom. We don't deserve to even be your servants in yet and you love. You love it when your people. Will not just hear your word, but do your word you love it when your people love others as you you called us to do. And I thank you so much for so many in this church who serve those who help those who continue?

To shine your light into this community. We thank you for that. We know that you're the reason for that we couldn't do this on our own. I got to just pray that you would continue to change lives through this church family. And not just through our hearts, but churches meeting around this community as we speak around this. County around this state around this country around this world father your children or meeting. Can I pray that through your spirit? the songs that we sing in the words that we say not only that you would be glorified. The guy that we wouldn't be just hearers of the word but doers of the word as well. And that your kingdom would come and your will be done here on Earth in our lives in our church family as it is in heaven. We thank you Lord, and we give you praise in Jesus name. I pray amen.

If you're familiar at all with country music you might have heard of the name Cody Jinks. A lot of people like his music. I like to listen to his music too. But I actually have the added bonus of being his brother-in-law you may not know this but I married his sister over there. And I mean, it's pretty interesting because I've known Cody since I was 14 years old and back then to me. He was just Casey's scary younger scary older, brother. I was no weird nerdy kid who is trying to date his sister? And that was that was the dynamic for a long time. He was actually in a heavy metal band back. Then you can probably believe that by looking at him but now he does country music and a lot of people make it pretty big deal out of it. In fact last weekend while it's still on vacation Casey and I had the privilege of going to hear him play his first music festival. Did he put on in Fort Worth, Texas and just to show you just how big the crowd was just look at this at this picture here. That's how many people showed up to listen to him sing. the most people who went to this Festival had to pay to get in. Most of the people who went to this Festival probably had to pay to park at the pay for any food or drinks at they got they had to use an air conditioned porta potties and it was hot. It was 101 degrees when we got there about 2, I mean it was just a long day for some people standing out in that hot sun that had ambulances and carts going back and forth trying to make sure that people stay cool and people that keep them hydrated and keep them from from having all those problems, but that was not our experience. Because I was actually invited by Cody and so I got one of these. And if you can't see this is actually a backstage pass. So this little thing meant that I could go anywhere that I wanted it meant that backstage I could have access to the food and the drinks that were provided. I had air-conditioned restrooms that I could use and if I got too hot I can go in there and I didn't have to wait out in that crowd of and we don't know how many it was maybe 9000 people one one thing that I heard but a lot of people didn't have to wait out there in the hot sun all day. Now why am I telling you this? I'm not telling you this so you'll be impressed with me. I didn't do anything to deserve this whole past that I got. And in fact, I mean, I'm more impressed by the fact that I got that beautiful woman over there to marry me then then I'm Cody Jinks brother-in-law, you know, that's that's that's that's more impressive to me. But that the real reason I'm telling you. This is tough to make a bigger point and it's a point that applies both to you and me and and I say all this to say that there are benefits. to having a friend in high places there benefits to having a friend in high places. Let me take this out. I don't think I can take it off. I'm just

their benefits having a friend in high places. You might say all that's good for you. Yeah, you didn't have to stand out of hot sauce and good for you there benefits for you. But what does that do for you?

Reality is we all have a friend in high places? We all have a friend in high places a friend who is way better than Cody Jinks. I love him to death. He's my brother-in-law way better. You have a friend who has much more clout much more power much more Authority. You have a friend who has created this very World who's created you you have a friend and God. Is it last time we were together which is a while ago. So you may not remember anything that I said, we begin looking at Psalm 23. And Psalm 23 we read the words of a man in the Bible named David now David is a very heroic figure. When here's the guy when he was a boy who slew the Giant Goliath here was the one who led saws armies. He was Victorious and pretty much anything that he did fears the man who came from being a lonely Shepherd boy and God made him the king of the entire nation of Israel. And even though he had his flaws. He was known as a man after God's Own Heart you read David story and you might think wow, you know, if there's anybody that I should emulate anybody that should try to be like it's like David because David is amazing. But it's song 23 David reflects back on his life and he reflects back on all of his success. And he says these words and I'll just read them to you now. They're not up on the screen. He says the Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in Green Pastures. He leads me beside Quiet Waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for his namesake, even though I walk through the darkest Valley. I will fear no evil for you are with me your rod and your staff. They comfort me you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies you anoint my head with oil my cup overflows surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever when David looks back on his life of success. Any ask a question. How did I get here David? How did you get to where you are? Do you want to know the answer is that I'm not the hero of my story God. It's if you look at this song and I encourage you to do it later and just look at all of the things that David says God did versus what he did. He said God is my shepherd. He's the one that Shepherd of me. I'm just the Sheep. God is my shepherd. And he says that he's the one who makes me lie down in Green Pastures. So what is David do he lies down God's the one who makes him like, he leads me beside Quiet Waters. He restores my soul who's doing the action here. It's got he leads me in Paths of righteousness for his namesake, even though I walk they just walking I'm just going through this life. You know, I walk through the darkest Valley. I will fear no evil because God you're with me your rod and your staff. They comfort me God. You're the one who protects me. and this picture of God as a Shepherd is a beautiful picture of what a relationship with God is like but when David finishes the song I love the way you finish it. It's just that that relationship is even more intimate. That God is Not Only Our Shepherd.

But God is our friend. And I say that dogs are man's best friend, but I have to disagree. Because in this song Would David finish this he's going to tell us that God is man's best friend. And just as I said earlier, there are benefits to having a friend in high places.

He says there are benefits to having a friend and God. So you may be here today and you may not feel like you have a friend in this world.

Thank God you have a friend who is out of this world? And I want to show you three benefits that David tells us we have in our relationship with him. The first benefit is this God shares his table. He shares his table look with me and verse 5. David Wright's you God prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies you anoint my head with oil my cup overflows.

How many of you have ever gone out to dinner with a friend or invited a friend to come over to your house for dinner? That's a sign of of intimacy and Trust open up your home and to share your table to share your food with someone, but it was even more so in the ancient world. You know, sometimes people get invited to certain things that you don't necessarily like. But that wasn't the case in the ancient world in the world of the Bible. In fact, you remember the story when Jesus is eating with a group of tax collectors and sinners. In the Pharisees, the religious leaders come to Jesus and they say what is your master doing eating with those kind of people, you know why they had a problem with this because in the ancient of the world you were who you ate with you were identifying with the people that you shared a table with there was no way that a religious Jewish person that Dave would associate with Sinners and tax collectors and people like that and yet Jesus was Jesus was identifying with this kind of group of people. And David says in the song that this is something that God has always been doing. He says to God got you prepare a table before me. In the presence of my enemies if you were the king is David was a king you'd have lots of enemies. And yet God continually invited David into his relationship with him into his table to share his meal to identify with David. He says that you got anoint my head with oil if you've ever seen anything about the world of the Bible, especially Israel and that area, you know that most of Israel is covered in just desert dry arid land and if you were to invite someone to your tent or your home or your table for a meal it would be customary for you to want to make them feel comfortable after being out in the hot dry desert all day or 4 days on end. Nothing would feel better and taking oil and pouring it over the head of your guest. I would give moisture to their skin you wanted to make them feel comfortable you wanted to make sure Justice, you know, you see people today if you invite somebody. Hey, are you thirsty? You hungry? You need something to bring me something to eat. Do you need seconds? Do you need this that or the other is exactly the kind of relationship that God has with us. He wants to make sure that we have what we need. In fact more than what we need. my cup overflows

God shares his table with you. and with me baby says he shared it with me.

now the question is

Is this just something that? God did for David because after all David was a king. It's really sad to think somebody who's had as much success is David in their life. Of course, they're going to say that my cup overflows. What about you and me? We look at so many things that we don't have. We often Grumble and complain to God because he hasn't given us theaters. He hasn't answered this Prairie isn't done this for us.

Why don't we see our relationship with God? the way the David ice

As a parent, I love my kids more than anybody else in the entire world. I love him crazy. I want the best for them. I spend my hard-earned money. I spend all these things and I I buy them things and I give them good things and I feed them and everything that they have comes for me. But can I tell you something there are some days when I can't stand being around them because they're so ungrateful anybody ever experienced that anybody ever experienced the sensation where your kid walks into your closet that is full of clothes. And I come out and say I don't have anything to wear.

I can get so frustrated at times because I've done everything that I can for them. And yet it seems like they don't really. Appreciate it.

But as I look at my kids, I realize it's not just them. Me too.

But everything that I have every single breath that I take is a gift from God. And sure if I were God, I would probably arrange my life a little bit differently, but I'm not.

And most of the time I spend worrying about the things that I don't have rather than being thankful for the things that I do. It might be easy to say I was somebody who's a king like David, of course, he's going to be satisfied and say that his cup would overflow but you know something I've met people who have more money than I could even imagine, and I'm not happy.

Have more blessings than I could ever imagine your not happy. I've met people in the hospital on their deathbed who are more satisfied in peaceful and happy in them.

Your amount of satisfaction with God has less to do with the stuff that you have. And more to do with the condition of your heart.

And if we were honest if we would look at our lives and start saying thank you for the things that God has given us. I think we be able to say that my cup overflows as well. Maybe just maybe we wouldn't complain when yes, our cup is overflowing we see it. But God you just didn't give me the right garnish or it's the wrong drink or it's something else this that or the other? But when we recognize that God is the one who gives us everything that we have and that my journey is not the same as your journey. And I don't have to have the same things that you do to be happy and I don't need this that or the other in order to be satisfied in him. We will begin to see our lives the way the David. so hits

but maybe just maybe. You giving into this idea that God is not that good. That maybe just maybe he can't be trusted. There were times in David's life when he did that as well. There were times in David's life when he wasn't as close to God as he shouldn't. But it was in those moments that God not only shared his table with David. Forgot also shared his heart. got shares

Why do you want click that?

pictures of heart

I want support.

The original lie the devil in the Garden of Eden was this. The serpent came to Eve and here was Eve living in Paradise.

And the devil told to her. Yeah, I know God is giving you all of these good things.

But you know that one thing that he told you not to take. fruit from that one tree You know why he doesn't want you to take that because he knows. In the moment, you would do that for your going to be like him. In the moment you eat for the fruit of that tree, you're going to experience lots of good things that God. He's just withholding from you. He's withholding the real good stuff.

When we have that mentality and attitude and all of us have been there from time to time. We begin to look at the things of God is restrictive. Oh, yeah, she got no sex outside of marriage, of course. Yeah sure or this that and the other these things that God says, they're bad. What's so wrong with that? It feels good. I want to do it. You know, I wanted one enjoy these kind of things. I want to indulge in these things got just with holding these good things from me. we run from and we go off into areas and ways of living that are harmful and dangerous to us. But in those moments even the moments when we turn our back on God, he never turns his back on us.

Do you know who your best friends are? And I'm not talking about God in this is but you know who your best friends in the world are? They're the people who are willing to be honest with you when you are wrong. There's a people who aren't willing to just write you off or agree with everything that you do if they see you hurting yourself. They love you and they care for you and they're going to confront you they're going to pursue you. They're going to try to get you back on track. And this is exactly the kind of relationship that God has with you and me, even when we turned our backs on him. He continues to pursue as look at what David says. He says this in verse 6, surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. Now. I puzzled over this for a while because after all this is the Shepherd's Song, right and Shepherds lead the Sheep Shepherds. Don't follow the Sheep. So why in the world was God following here you could translate the word that says follow in this way. Surely your goodness and love will pursue me. all the days of my life There were times when David turned his back on God. There are sections of David story where he doesn't call on God at all. There's the whole issue with Bathsheba and Uriah adultery and murder to cover it up. There are many times in David's life when he is not the most faithful and I think that if we are honest with ourselves and look at our own lies, we could say that there are probably many times in our life when we have not been as well.

But you know what?

God loves you enough.

Did not write you off. When you're running from him. Did not write you off when you're hurting yourself. He loves you enough to share his heart with you to pursue you. And to even bless you. In times when you've done things that have hurt him. Hurt yourself.

How many of us can look back in Thompson our life when we weren't necessarily is close to God?

Maybe for some of you that time is right now.

and yet God's word and his love and his Blessing still pursue you. Your why? Because he wants to bring you back into relationship with him. This morning this very sermon is him sharing his heart with you saying I love you and I care about you. Don't believe these lies that say that I just want to restrict your don't want you to have any fun or don't want you to have a good life or any of those kinds of things.

I want what is good? for you got yours is table and shares his heart. But he also shares.

Verse 26, I mean server 6, excuse me, surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I share your table. one thing But the share your home that's something that's entirely different. Sharing your table with some friends is fine for a little bit cuz then they pack up their stuff and they go home and then you have your kind of your Sanctuary you and your place if a rest has anybody ever tried to live with a group of friends for a Time. That's really when the rubber meets the road on the Friendship is it. I remember growing up. As a kid before my brother came along. And you might think that it was me my mom and my dad and that was it, but it was not there's actually another woman who lived with us name Tammy. Tammy and I called my mom this week because I was really little when all of this started as like, I've never really thought about a wide. Why was she living with us for like 2 years when I was growing up. It was just kind of I'd never questioned it because when I was growing up, it was just like she was part of the family she had her room and that's where she lives and she stated she went and did her own things that she babysat me some when I was like 2 years old and she kept me in but that was just she was just a part of the family while she was living in our house and ask my mom I said, what was the deal? She said that. Tammy's family was not the most stable. And she had become an adult and really wanted to get out of that situation. They went to church together and they were good friends. And so Mom and Dad just invited her this if we've got an extra room a place that you can stay you can come and live with us. And they gave her a chance to get out of that bad situation and to move into somewhere is much more stable much better so that she could really begin to start life.

This is what God has invited us to as well. He says I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. That's not just opening up his table. He's opening up his home now when David says dwell in the house of the Lord forever what they talking about. Please tell me about heaven.

We like to think of Heaven is a place but Heaven is really a person Heaven is wherever God is that is where Heaven.

We might like to think that someday we're going to go to heaven in a sense. That's true because why we're on this Earth. We are always going to have problems. So we're not going to experience heaven and its fullness, but when we live in relationship with God eternity in heaven begins today begins now, we begin to experience a taste of Heaven in relationship with God. that begins it just grows more and more. Until we experience the fullness of heaven and God's kingdom Sunday.

David says because of God's relationship because of his friendship because he shares his table is Park in his home with me. I know that no matter what I face, even if I'm walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I know that it will all be worth it because the destination is sure. Because I put my hope not in my own self.

But in my friendship in my relationship.

And what does that mean? for you for me

In this world, it's very easy. to feel unimportant insignificant I feel like you don't matter. Are the story several months ago about a church who decided to put on a Bible Conference at their Church? And to be one of the keynote speakers, they invited a man named d a Carson who's used to speaking at these kind of conferences to the crowds of thousands. And you might think that if thousands of people showed up to you you to hear you speak you feel really important.

Well, this preacher was the first time that they tried to put on a conference and he admits that they didn't do a great job of marketing and getting the word out. And so when it came time for Don Carson D A Carson to speak. He was standing before crowd of 152 hundred people.

And when this young Pastor realized it. This is how many people have showed up he kind of felt like he was wasting this guy's time one of his mentors one of his Heroes. And so you went up to apologize and said hey, I'm sorry, you know we dropped the ball. I really wish we could have done more so that there be more people to hear you speak and I love the way that did Carson responded. He said listen. They're 7.44 billion people in this world right now. Look that up this week. That's the Google's latest Testament. I don't think anybody knows an exact number changing all the time. 7.44 billion people in this room But every time that I get up on stage to speak. Over 7 billion people don't bother showing up.

Every time that I get on today just be over 7 billion people don't bother showing up and he was saying that this young preacher, it's okay. I'll speak to as many it shows that you don't have to feel bad on my account. But I love that response because doesn't it feel sometimes in life that you're just kind of 1 + 7.44 billion? That most of those people don't even know that you exist that you don't have any impact on their life that you don't really matter that you're not a president or a king or someone who's making policy. You're not that kind of a person maybe your sphere of influence is only a couple of people maybe your sphere of influence is just yourself. We can often feel like we don't matter in this world. Even the people who matter most to us do their actions or inactions can make us feel like we don't matter can hurt us can treat us in ways that makes us feel small and insignificant, but I'm here to tell you this morning that even though you may not feel like you matter to anybody else in this world that you matter to the one who matters most and it does not matter what you have done in your past doesn't matter any of these things it do not matter. What matters is that you matter to God and I would encourage you live like you matter. Because you do.

How do I know? How can we know? But these words aren't written just about God's relationship with David and that they actually impact your relationship and my relationship with God as well. We know. because of Jesus

there was a day. It was the day before Jesus would go to the cross. And died for our sins. The incidentally he sat around a table.

with his disciples sharing a meal

he explained to them at this meal. But he was going away. How is it going away? Because he had come to seek and save the lost without him doing this without him giving his life expressing his love sharing his heart with us. We would have been lost. Well, he was around this table. He explain to his disciples I am going. To prepare a place for you in my father's house are many rooms. He's got a room for you. for me and before they left the stable. Jesus said these words to these normal, average everyday people people just like you and me. He says this. Greater love has no one than this to lay down one's life for one's friends.

And he says to his disciples and he says to us all you are my friends if you do what I can.

What is a commander this today?

What is a command of a sphere? Is commanded us? to give our lives

Flipagram many of you have done that already through baptism. Maybe some of you have a

But to live our life for him every single day is what it's called.

the journey to live for Christ to live as his friend begins at baptism, but it doesn't stop there. It's a decision that we make every single day to live.

I want to encourage you to do that. You see you matter so much to the god of the universe that even though you probably can't get into certain circles you have access to the throne room of Heaven you have the ear of the creator of the god of the universe you go to him and you pray and he listens to you and he answers he responds for your good. He invites you to his table and we commemorate that every single Sunday when we come around this table when Jesus said Take and Eat of this this is my body that was broken for you to take Annie to drink of this. This is the cup of my blood which is poured out for you and we commemorate that until the time when we come into his kingdom and we share in that Covenant meal with him in person as he is and we see him as he is. He shares his heart with us today. He is calling out to those of you who have turned your back to do not live for him. And you know who you are. I don't I'm not trying to judge. God knows who you are. You know who you are, you know where your relationship with him is and he reaches out and says I am the best thing for you. I am what you need most come back to me. He invite you into his home. There are many benefits to having a friend in high places. The question is. Today, will you make Jesus? different

Will you accept his invitation? Because it's open.

What's the answer?

Rick's going to come up is going to lead us in one more song. If you here today, and you need prayer for anything, I encourage you to come for Damon and I will be up front to receive you. If you're here, and you don't know Jesus. You want to know more about what it means to have a relationship with him you're here and you're ready to get baptized. I encourage you to talk to somebody. Let us know we can study with you we could talk with you. We want to introduce you to this relationship that will change not only your life here, but your life forever.

I love you church, and I'm so glad to be back with you. Hope to see you all next week. May the Lord bless and keep you.

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