Jim Butler was I need need me on from our church in Indiana. and Jim Butler was in his wife Bev were these deeply spiritual people that had this unique ability that when I preached or did anything on the Sunday morning, you could look out and bed had what I called peaceful eyes. She just look at you and she could piece with just like poor inside of you and Jim and Beth were praying people. I knew that I could call them up and they would immediately they had this couch right outside the kitchen and their dining room area and I could always visualize the two of them holding hands and kneeling at that couch and praying for us. And Jim Butler Finance the very first missions trip of our youth group because we talked about going on this mission trip to the inner city of Chicago and he knew that he was receiving this check. That he was supposed to get and so he told that he said when that check comes we're going to give that money to the youth group so they can go on that mission strip. And he thought the check was going to be for $75 and when he got the check was for $750 and he said I had a crisis of belief. But he gave that money and that was the majority of the money we got for that first mission trip, and he basically financed it. But one of the things that he said after watching youth group go on those missions trips for couple years, as you said, I want to go on a missions trip Pastor Jim understand that they were retired people. He had been on an Air Force Navigator and flown planes. He drove his car like it was a plane, you know, very fast and it was always kind of scary. He says we want to go to mission trip. So I made this weekend missions trip and the adults were going to go up and work in the same Center that we worked in an inner-city Chicago and Jim and Bev Lansing. It was going to be really need. In a big project was so we're going to pour a whole bunch of concrete in the basement of this place called Inner City Impact so that they can have a better place to store all the junk that people give organizations like them.
And we were getting ready to pour concrete and the phone rang. Their this would have been pre cell phones and this guy concerts one of his buildings does. Hey, I'm just working today phone's been ringing off the hook. Are you Jim? Kanak? And I said, yes, you said you need to call this number. So I called that number and it was one of Jim and Bev's children all for their children attended the church. and the phone call went like this. Jim you need to talk to Mom and Dad. Because Jonathan's been in a head-on car collision. And we don't know if he's going to make it.
I was like 26 at the time maybe 27. And I'm thinking how do you share information like this with anyone? So I went into the room and I pull gym inbev aside. And I said I have some bad news. Jonathan's been in a car accident. And they don't know how he's going to do. And the family like you to come back. and immediately without hesitation Jim Butler quoted Psalm 121
that was the default in his life. That was the place where he lived and that has become my default because it was Jim's default not because I I found it in scripture one day and You know that kind of experience it's become my default because this very Godly couple who I deeply deeply love. That was a defaulted there. Like these were the verses that he quoted. I will lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from my help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and Earth.
Yeah, there's other great gym stories and maybe they'll come out in this message. But I was just so touched by that so is Fred sat in my office and we were and you know, what was the first thing that came to my mind on 121. I will go to the hills. Where does my help come from my help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and Earth and as we're going through this really crazy experience or you can't find toilet paper anywhere in the whole world.
You know, it just it's a crazy time, isn't it?
We need to go to the mountains cuz that's where health comes from. This is an interesting song. This is a song that's a part of a series of song They're called the Psalms of ascent which were the songs that remember that several times of the year. The people of Israel were called back to the capital to Jerusalem for a festival and there would be songs that they would sing there. These would be the road trip songs and they sing these songs and they go this would be the as the ascended because whenever you talk about Israel and even if you talk about people that are Are moving there today to get back to their Homeland, they're always called the ascenders. And the reason they're called the ascenders is because it doesn't matter which direction you go from in the peninsula that that he GIF is that Israel is part of when you're going to Jerusalem no matter what direction you go. You always go up in elevation. It's kind of like going to Lake Placid no matter what direction you come from. You you go up to Lake Placid. So when he talks about I will look I will lift my eyes to the hills. He was always thinking about I'm thinking about Zion. I'm thinking about where I'm going. I'm thinking about my destination as I Ascend to that location. I lift my eyes to the hills cuz that's where my help comes from. You know, we need to lift her eyes right now, don't we because I want to tell you something really important. You're not home yet. This isn't our home. Yes, we are are trying to end this tent experience in this Exile experience of just kind of being in the world today. We realize that our home is heaven in Our Hope always has to be in heaven. I'm going to lift my eyes to heaven. Where does my help come from my help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and Earth, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do what we need to prepare. We we bought a little extra toilet paper, you know. Your own doesn't mean that we're not thinking through things. I've been working really hard at, you know, shaking people's elbows, you know, there are things that we need to think through but I think that we need to remember and we need to have a clear picture that God has to be the default of Our Lives because it isn't that sell for everyone. Where does your help come from? Well, here's a list of some people. Some people's help comes from speed dial whenever I'm in trouble. I phone a friend. It's like we're playing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire all the time. And immediately whenever they struggle they they they feel like they got a call someone I'm a very connected person several of you receive phone calls this week as we made the decisions about what we were going to do for our church. I phoned the ministry team that was one of the things on my list, but I also know that they're going to be these moments in every single one of our lives where we're going to get on that list of our favorites or whatever and nobody's going to be available in the voice of God is going to whisper and say
This is my moment.
This is one I want to be that some people that's their source of Hell Google Google. Give me about driving that's right. Now, you know. My light my sister works in the medical field and she says the scariest patient is the one who googles too much before they go to see the doctor.
But Google is a great help. There's a lot of things that Google can do it. Maybe even Siri you can talk to your phone. Hey Siri, where can I get things? You know Siri will talk back to you, you know, but that's where some people source of help is Facebook, you know. Facebook is some people source of help. That's how they make decisions based on what's trending on Facebook, you know. Other people Amazon Prime. Is there supposed to help let's face it. How can you live in the Adirondacks without Amazon Prime, right, you know, it is a discussion. Don't you I could go to Plattsburgh, they might have it but then I got to eat out and I got that it's only $10 more in Prime. I'll just pick it up that way. You know we do that. I can remember coming here and eating tires and somebody says just go to Tire rocket and have the tire shipped to your house. So I felt like I would be somehow I don't know doing something immoral to a guy that put tires on cuz this is he supposed to sell them to me, too. So I went over to the place with that works on my car and they go I need tires. He goes. Yeah, I just follow Lincoln Tire Rack and they'll drop shipping TV. It's just a different world. But Amazon Prime. Is that brother people? I'm it's a 24-hour news cycle you pick your station. They'll pick your crisis it right. You know.
And I'm very scared and very saddened as your pastor. That we live in such a divided world that are present again talked about his plan and immediately all they can talk about is why it's wrong. Everybody smarter than everybody and we're getting nothing done. But the 24-hour news it came in CNN or the bit and and now there's like 14 channels. You can watch news all day all the time and have an ulcer. You know. But every one of these things are our sources of help for people around us. They're quoting one of these things all the time, aren't they?
But where is our help come from? And how is God our help? I think the best thing to do is if you're upset about anything is to binge on Netflix and just delay it right. It's some people jump into a bottles other people drop pop pills. Some people have natural ways of taking care of these things. You know that are soon going to be legal. I was at a meeting and they said we live in a weird world war 20 years ago. If you had something in a baggie you were put in jail for that now in the baggie is legal with the baggy is illegal.
That's the world we live in if it's crazy, isn't it?
How can God help though? I think you should continue to read in the psalm. There are several things that it tells us about God and how he can be our help why he can be the default of our life why he is helpful to us and here they are. First of all, God brings stability. He will not let your foot slip. That's what scripture says God can bring stability. That doesn't mean that we need to do our part that hasn't asked us to get rid of our brain and use it. But God has asked us to partner with him much like a marriage, you know, I know that the best half of my brain is in Nancy sit. Okay, but God hasn't asked us to take our heads off in the middle of this but realize this that God is our stability many of you know, this how many times have you been distracted or something happens and you almost are in an accident and you really feel like the hand of God just kind of took care of everything. In This Moment God can bring stability because he won't let our foot stumble. He won't let us fall. So, how can God help you bring stability, but he is also available He Who Watches Over? You will not Slumber indeed. He watches over Israel. Will neither Slumber or nor sleep. Is that good to know? God does not fall asleep at the wheel. He doesn't that's not his experience. That's not how things go. God is not distracted like you and I are by the other things in life, you know. Have you ever miss something just simply because you were looking over here. It's happening over there. That's not it God is always available and people don't believe this and even Believers that time fall into fly that says, well, you know, I just don't know if God has time for my my my problem. You know, I I decided to take care of this on my own because I didn't want to bother god with it. Scary.
But we need to know that God is available so we know that he can help us because he bring civility. We know that you can help us because he's available as you read on it to the Lord watches over who the Lord is your shade at your right and the sun will not harm you by day. Now we had the opportunity to travel to Israel four years ago right about this time. And the one thing that we noticed about Israel is it was a lot like North Dakota. There are no trees there. And it's warm there and there is a sense that at times you didn't realize how wonderful shade was until you would be walking through a place like in Getty where where David ran from Saul and it would just be these open. It looked kind of like a gravel pit is what you felt like you were in and occasionally you come across a little tree or or the there would be just the way that there'd be a shade from the Sun and you'd look and naturally there's always a crowd of people in those places. Why? Because there was relief there. When they were ascending to Israel when they were ascending to Jerusalem, there would be lots of times that they would be walking through these valleys in these Canyons over these Hills and be completely unprotected. And so that's why this idea is cuz God is going to increase our endurance. You're both a little shade and also you can walk a little further, right? Will sun protection makes the whole difference in God is that protection they're going to be those times that I'll listen God steps in and we're going to have a little bit more strength than we realize and God is going to give us a little more endurance than we realized and and we'll have those conversations those honest conversations with people. Have you ever had those that they should I just don't know how much more I can handle. I know a guy that knows exactly how much you can handle but I know that sometimes what he does is he doesn't just give us relief. He gives us the ability to endure more than we ever could before.
So what do we know about how God can help? You bring stability he's available. He increases our endurance. But as you read on it said God provides protection nor the Moon by night. Now I used to jokingly say when I was younger cuz I wasn't really into sunbathing. I'd say I removed bathing because you don't have to wear sunscreen then.
But they would be unprotected at night. They would actually be more nervous when the moon was bright. Then when the moon was barely there you see if you have to sleep in an unprotected place. The last thing you want is this light shining over you so everybody can see where you are.
God provides protection sometimes when we feel incredibly exposed there going to be moments over the next couple weeks where you're going to feel very exposure. You're going to be doing your best practices and you're going to try to take care of everything and all the sudden either you're going to sneeze on someone or someone is going to sneeze on you. They're not going to mean to do it. But something's going to happen. You're going to be somewhere. You're going to think about something and you need to realize the God is in the process of protecting us.
That doesn't mean you don't need to follow the things that the CDC is saying, you know, I've seen one or two churches that says you can't forsake the gathering together. So we're not going to let the government tell us what to do while you're dumb.
Cuz we can't be foolish in this moment. God created people that understand science and we need to listen to them. This moment isn't about getting rid of this thing. It's about doing something called flattening. That's why they're making these crazy decisions. It seems like us. They're just trying to stretch this out that our systems can endure. That's what this moment is about.
But God can provide protection.
So you don't get a moon burn.
So if God brings stability guide is available increases our endurance. He provides protection. But as you read on in the passage, it says this the Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life the word watch over your coming and going with now and forever more. The thing that we all need to understand about God is this is he's not tied to certain geography like, oh you stepped outside of the protection of God, you know, you know, there is a sign that says you are now leaving God's protection. No, He's not living a geography is not limited by time. It's not like we can help you from this hour to this hour you ever had that experience and and you showed up just a little bit late and you can see the people in there, you know when you could get what you need, but they're like
did are there doing that to you? God's helps without limitation. You need to know that. Que Empresa disgrace God helps even when we don't deserve to be helped, praise God. You know, if you ever know that you're kind of like I don't know freelancing and dancing is closing. It says that that work protected in the center of his hand and you know that you're dancing on the edge of the thumb going. I want to see how far out, you know, just kind of like the kid who is told stay in this room until the stand by the doorway is closed. They can we do that in our Christian limes. The God's protection isn't based on our behavior is based on his love God helps without limitation. So How can God help? He's going to bring stability some of you are going to get anxious. Okay, the best thing you probably can do at that point is turn off the TV. Stop listening to the radio for a little bit. Pick up something else. Maybe a Bible, you know. Turn on some good Christian music. I can remember that we were kind of stressed out after Wilma and we were like 10 or 11 days something like that without power and found out the neighbor had power. Okay, and we were watching The Neighbors kids while they worked and I was starting to have a little bit of an attitude about this. So finally like on day 6 they said hey we have power would you like some power? Yes, we would so you plugged in through three very important things your refrigerator a fan. And your TV?
And I said to Nancy. I just want to find something funny. You know, that's what I wanted to watch. And all they would all the every channel was news except for the religious Channel and it had on a Billy Graham crusade and I'm like, I do not want to watch Billy Graham. I'm sorry. I love you and everything but you know, but what you started watching it was worship music and it was doing something beautiful in their souls and then their power went out. and they went off and was like God I was
but I think every one of us needs to have a playlist. That's a gym. That's what you had in his life Jim Butler the playlist so that when crisis came he had play in Psalm 121 came out. Maybe there's some scriptures you need. Are you need to build this default into your life so that God can do what he can do. So remember life is a road trip. This is an interesting part of the journey. We we never realize that this is going to be a part of the journey but every road trip needs. Music doesn't it needs a playlist until I encourage you to put together a good playlist of of information, you know, it can't just be journey and Foreigner for okay, you know, it's got to be some things that help and soothe your mind. 2121 I think it should be on your playlist. You know this most tragic moment in that church when I was there. Was the morning that I got a call from one of Jim and Bev's kids and Jim and Bev had died together in a carbon monoxide accident in their home.
And I can remember that Sunday standing at the pulpit.
And being asked to pray for that family. I look down. And the shoes I had on my feet. Jim Butler had bought me see a couple years before that. They've been Nancy had had this horrible accident and totaled car that we finally paid for. You know how that is. And we really couldn't afford another car and the church didn't realize our need and nobody asked anything about it. But Nancy's family came together and all of them gave us money so we could buy my car. So I was having a little bit of an attitude at the time and something it coming up in a Elder meeting where they were talking about how they could save money and it just plug me in so I kind of spoke a little bit harshly. that meeting in and Jim and Bev were serving with the Elder board at the time and Beth came to me afterwards that you catch in. I told Stuart little bit upset.
Is there a story you need to tell us? And I said, well, I've been trying not to say anything. Well, you said a lot Jim and so I explain the story of what it happened and they felt horrible. and so Jim Butler Came to my office and next week and he said Jim. I've been looking at your shoes. You need new shoes. Nice and why have these really wifey? I said, I think he said yeah, I know you wear those. Does he suppose I have the special magazine. He said I have a 82 and he gave me the magazine and should pick out a pair. I want to buy you a pair of shoes. And first the next couple years every six months gym would come into my office. with a new pair of shoes
And the moment that I had to pray for him, I look down. at my feet
and I was wearing shoes that love gave me. I don't know what God's going to do in the midst of this. But I truly believe that we're going to have unique opportunities to close and love. and care for people but the most important thing that we can do during this time is take care of ourselves first.
And so you need to be reminded? To lift your eyes to the Hills. To where your help comes from because your help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and Earth. Let's frame.
To God we can play out this moment.
in wonder What are you going to do? And what are you doing? And yet we cry out to you. We cry out to you and we say God.
q-dance God few people tragically Touch by this coronavirus not just in the United States but in the world Got level-headedness. Give us level-headed knit. Help us to know and discern what voices to listen to to do the wisest things. God we pray these things that scripture says that you will do. And we pray that those things would be true in our lives that you would be the one that protects us and cares for us so that we have these Assurance at this moment. It's not very easy at all that you will meet us in our time of need. I pray for my brothers and sisters in this room and maybe those listening to this podcast that struggle with fear and I pray that you would release them from Fear especially if they're your child and if they're not your child today God I pray that they would seriously consider all that you did for us on the cross.
And they would ask you to be their savior so that on the inside. As you bring this interior change to us, they would have strength and power that they've never had before. To walk and days like this. God would you please open our eyes during these days so that we can see how you are working and where you are working? And God would we say yes to the things that you call us to do as your people. We pray all of this in your name. amen