More keys to focusing our lives for Christ.
We’re talking about Keys for a Focused Living. This is the message that we’re calling More Keys for Focused Living. We’re building around something that Paul said in Ephesians. I want to start with Ephesians 2. This is a great classic soaring passage. It’s a very well-known piece. It summarizes the gospel. Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul says, “For, by grace, you have been saved through faith.” Grace immediately reminds us it’s not something we can earn as a gift. Gifts can only be received. It’s for by grace God’s loving favor, undeserved kindness, unearned favor, that His love comes to us as a gift. “For by grace you have been saved, that not of yourselves.” It’s from faith. He goes on to say, “It’s the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” We don’t earn our way into heaven. We don’t merit our way into God’s favor. Paul was a man who was writing at the end of his life. He was writing young Timothy and talked about how his departure was at hand. How he was getting ready to leave this earth. He knew he was about to be executed, so he understood that his life had come to a close.
Paul looked back over the arc of his life, thinking about his conversion, and the moment when Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. He summarized it all by saying, “Everything that’s happened in my life, everything I’ve been able to do for Jesus, I am what I am because of the grace of God.” Now, that’s important because when Paul says these words at this time in this Ephesians letter, when he says, “It’s not of works, lest any man should boast.” Paul is saying his perspective of how he thought about his life with God had changed radically because of Jesus. The fact of the matter was before he met Jesus, Paul was a man who believed a couple of things. One, is that you gain favor with God by what you did and didn’t do. He had a very legal work-based mentality when it came to how one gains the favor of God. Secondly, he believed he did as well as anybody who ever lived at pleasing God. When he says in verse nine, “Lest anyone should boast,” the fact of the matter was Paul was a man who boasted a lot.
In Philippians, Paul was proud of his pedigree. He was proud of his experiences. In Philippians 3, he starts listing them down. He says, “I was and I am.” This is how he thought of himself. He said, “I’m not just anyone. I’m a descendant of Abraham.” He was proud of his heritage. I’m a true Israelite. He was proud of his tribe. “I’m from the tribe of Benjamin.” He was proud of his religious affiliation, a Pharisee. He was proud of the way he kept the law, meticulously. He was proud of his intellect. He was formidable. He was proud of what he knew, it was vast. He was proud in every respect. When he came to Jesus, he realized that all of that pedigree, the things he was most proud of, and the things he thought most impressed God, he realized it wasn’t about any of that. It was about Jesus in his life. In that sense, he came to the understanding that he could never be anywhere perfect enough to impress God. He could never be good enough to get God to love him. He had to accept that love from Jesus, from God through Christ.
That colors everything. It begs the question; if it’s all about God and not about us, then does it really matter how we live? This talk is about refocusing, aligning, adjusting, starting over, and pursuing a higher quality of life with the Lord. Seeking to be a person who doesn’t get stuck in ruts. Discovering our life themes, challenging ourselves to live a better way for the Lord. Does it really matter? Look at the end of that passage because Paul will say it does. He says, “For we are His workmanship.” I would say yes, it matters greatly. Why? Not because we can earn our way to God, but because in light of what He has done, we need to live like we’ve been impacted by that touch. We are His workmanship. He’s talking to everyone who would claim Him and has been touched by Him. We are His workmanship. We are His art. We are His poetry. We are His sculpture in process. We are His story being written. It’s uniquely you in Him. Paul says, “We were created in Christ Jesus for good works.”
Earlier, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let your light so shine before man, before people that they may see the goodness of your life and glorify, bring honor to your Father, who is in heaven.” That people would be drawn to the reality of God because of the way that we who are clearly not Him. But we who claim to know Him, love Him and have Him reside in our lives. I know we’re not all in the same place. But He says, I’m staking my reputation. People are going to either believe or disbelieve my reality. In many cases because of the way that people who claim to know Him represent me. it’s a very powerful thing. How we represent the Lord matters, it really does, and how we contend for things matters. So, when it comes to this idea of Focused Living, I would suggest that God does care greatly about it. We talked about how the Lord has a purpose for us. Part of the privilege and challenge of our life is to pursue and explore that purpose. Oftentimes, when I say that, I realize it doesn’t really connect what God’s purpose for our life is.
Every now and then, when I think long thoughts, I have found it always is a little bit better to wrestle with the question, what is His seasonal purpose? You hear me say that a lot. What is the Lord trying to do in our lives in this season of our lives? If someone was having a conversation with us and they would ask us the question, “What do you think the Lord is trying to do? What is the Lord trying to do in your life right now, in this stage of your life?” How would we answer that question? How should we think about our gifts or the things that God has entrusted us with? What does it mean to represent Him in our sphere of life with the people we’re around? Where we work? Our family or friends? What does that actually look like? What is He trying to establish inside of us? Are there things that He’s trying to plant in us? What does He want us to focus on? This is what we’ve been talking about, and in my mind, it’s a big deal.
There are many times when I think we struggle with focus. It’s one of the reasons why the Bible talks a lot about it. Remember that quote we brought up a few weeks back? We’ve actually been referring to it. ‘Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.’ Anything less than a conscious commitment to what’s important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant. What is it saying? We’re prone to drift and we don’t drift into better. That’s the truth. When we drift, many times part of the reason is that we’re a product of a dominant culture, which is the way it is. It seems like we just move with things. It’s amazing to me how we can be so touched by God in one moment and how quickly we can forget. It’s one of the reasons why the Bible keeps saying, “Remember, remember, remember. Repeat these things. Put my words near to you. Remember them. Commit them to your memory. Rehearse them.”
Why? Not to just get stuck in this religious rote kind of experience. No, because when it’s on our mind, it’s going to stay close to us and we are prone to forget. We’re prone to wander. He talks about this all the time. It’s one of the reasons He uses the analogy of a shepherd and sheep. He says, “You are my sheep. You’re the sheep of my fold.” He told His disciples that. He says, “I’m a shepherd. I’m the good shepherd. I’m the shepherd good. My sheep know my voice and another they will not follow.” The sheep always recognize the voice of the shepherd. I thought about the fact that he couldn’t have picked a more vulnerable image, a sheep.
Sheep are so vulnerable and prone to get themselves into trouble. We’re not even thinking about it. They just wander out. The next thing you know, they’re stuck in some bush somewhere, “Baa, help, help.” They got stuck. They have no protection. A lot of animals do. Some are fast. Some can give off really bad odors. Some have ferocious teeth or claws. What do sheep have? They have nothing. They’re utterly vulnerable. They’re a little bit of wool, maybe, that’s it. They’re not fast. They’re not super smart. They are just very vulnerable. They’re prey to a lot of animals. That’s why they have a shepherd. I think the Lord is not talking down to us, but He is talking in a caring way because we are prone to wander. We’re prone to get ourselves into places we shouldn’t go over. We’re prone to get off track. We’re prone to get stuck in places. We get depressed sometimes. We get hurt. Sometimes, we get worn down. It’s not that we wandered off, we jus lost our way. We’re just getting tired. We’re tired.
I was sharing earlier that sometimes it’s the same thing happening again and again and again. “Am I ever going to get out of it? Am I ever going to beat this thing? Is always going to be with me?” Some of us just hear the same lie over and over again. It comes back around. “You’re no good. You always disappoint. You’ll be abandoned. You can’t make it. You don’t look good enough.” Whatever. The lies will come around. We should never underestimate the capacity of the evil one to take that and really hurt us. God wants to help us. He will help us. It’s going to require two things. Our willingness to let Him, that’s called grace. Secondly, our willingness to put in, that’s called focus. That’s what we’re talking about.
You hear that a lot today in business circles. Especially about this concept of grit. I think what is meant by that is this idea of sticktoitiveness. It’s an old word that’s gained new coinage in the workplace or technical field vernacular these days. The idea of grit, sticktoitiveness. Not quitting, persevering, pushing ahead, trying, and keep trying. If you’re going to innovate, keep innovating. Don’t give up, you may not hit it. It’s this whole idea, having grit. I think grit is good. Grit is good, but sometimes, it’s not enough. There’ll be some times we hit a wall. We can’t get it. There is no amount of tough it out, want it to be, or dream it can happen is going to make it. I know people say, “Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever give up.” I get it, but there are some things we’re not going to grit our way through. We’re going to have to have grace to get through.
There are some things that we would have to grace our way through. It means that’s Him helping us. It’s like He is telling us, “I guess, I’m going to have to pull that chain harder. I can do this.” We might be able to. There are other ones that will not move. I don’t care how hard I try, it is not budging. I am not going to move. I can do it. I have so much grace because it may be with me, what do I do? There are some things we’re going to have to carry and God is going to have to give us grace. I do not speak negativity, nor is it my desire for any of us. But there are some things we may struggle with for our whole life and His grace is enough. Some things will be delivered. But somethings will need grace, grit, and focus, all these things we’re talking about.
Last week, we talked about four things that we could do to keep a more focused edge. I’m not going to go through them all. I just wanted to put them up so there’s continuity because I want to build off of three. The first one had to do with identifying our themes. We talked about the idea of focusing on the first things. Seeking first the Kingdom, focusing on the important. Soaring with our strengths, managing our weaknesses. We talked about those things. We talked about keeping things in perspective. Of course, ask God for a fresh touch of grace from time to time. How we need it to be refreshed. Which one of these three do you feel like God wants us to most connect with? Before we run off, what is He trying to say to us? The first one is going to be interesting. The fifth one may not make sense initially. It’s called choosing our failures. It is basically saying we need to choose some things that we’re willing to be less successful at or not successful at. I will start by saying less successful. Some things have to be less successful for some good things to happen or growth places to happen. Some things can’t grow because there’s just not enough room.
We’re going to have to decide. Is God saying this? Because if He is, and many times that voice is clarified through counsel, sitting with His Word, talking with our friends who also love Him, and praying together. But as we think about our lives and look at this plot or our field, we only have so much room. Are there things that God might be saying, “For this thing to grow here, this is going to have to get trimmed down here.” Or I may even have to use this language, “Fail, quit, or end this for this to happen.” There are times when there are certain habits, hobbies, or thrusts of our life that God wants us to reorder. In some cases, recede or bring to a close, so that other new things may emerge. Sometimes God loves us so much that He will force our hand. He loves us that much. I’m using the verse, it may not make sense to everyone, but the Bible says, “Whom God loves He chastens and disciplines every son and every daughter, whom He receives.” There’s something about a loving father and a loving mother that does not refrain itself from loving discipline. It’s the unloving parent that never disciplines in love. Having said that, many times, that’s God with us. He wants to help us choose our failure, but we’re stubborn and we won’t do it.
Sometimes, it’s obviously a bad or unhealthy thing. We need to fail at that, so this can live. Other times, it’s not a bad thing. It could be a good or a solid thing, but for this better thing to happen, we’re going to have to phase this thing back. It can also happen when the Lord is just trying to say, “Hey, you know what? You’re getting a little off track. I want you to come back this way. It’s not because it’s bad, it’s just this is the better way for you.” This is a very vibrant way to approach our life with God. Jesus articulated the principle vividly concerning Himself. In John 12 He said, “Truly or assuredly I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will abide alone. But if it does, it will bring forth much green, much fruit.” He was saying when He was going to die, a harvest would come, but it’s more than that as well. It’s a principle. Some things must die for other things to live.
In case any of us haven’t noticed, dying is hard. It’s pretty hard. It’s going to be important that we begin to think about how the Lord wants to help us die of certain things, so that other things may live in some of our lives for the very first time or live again. God’s amazing chances resurrect things. Number six and the second one for today is we get to determine to persevere. The reason that’s such a big deal is that at times we’re going to get hit with adversity. Sometimes, it’s going to be extreme adversity. Some things are going to hit us so hard that we’re going to feel dazed. We’re going to lose our focus. I don’t know if you’ve ever been hit your head. It’s really hard to focus when you’re in that place. “How can I? I can barely get my bearings?”
Sometimes we’re going to be shaken. But the truth is, it’s sometimes hard to get up and keep moving forward. I know this is true, especially when a very real part of us may want to run away or quit. It’s hard to be courageous sometimes. We’re going to have to ask God to give us courage. Some of us need courage. Courage is not being fearless. Courage requires fear to be present. Only with the presence of fear can there be courage. Having said that, there are times when God definitely wants us to move forward. That’s the tension point. Some of you may have already deduced this. “Hey, didn’t you just say earlier, grit is good?” Yes, I did. “But didn’t you just say that it’s not enough?” Yes, I did. “Now, you’re telling us we’re supposed to persevere.” Yes, that’s what I’m saying. “But wait, it’s either not enough or it is enough?” I am saying it’s both. There are going to be times when the Lord is saying, “The grit is not enough. You can’t do it on your own. You’re going to need me.” There are going to be other times when the Lord is saying, “You’re quitting too easy. You’re not putting in. You’re giving in. I want to teach you how to move through things.”
I know a lot of you may be getting tired of hearing my Rocky movie analogies. I get that and can only tell you how much grief I took. Here’s where I was surprised because of my son. Jake got me because of the movie that came out called Creed. My son got all excited about watching all the Rocky movies. I told y’all about that. I’ve watched the first three really closely. I started to feel like I was getting a lot of things spiritually for myself and I was able to apply it. I really enjoyed it. The movies, one through three are pretty good. But four through six, don’t bother with them. I didn’t realize how many Rocky fans were out there because people responded to me. “What are you talking about, Pastor? There’s good stuff in four, five, and six, too.” I said, “What?” I didn’t even know there was a six,. It’s technically not Rocky VI. It’s Rocky Balboa, just to be clear.
Having said that, I went back and skimmed through four, eh. Five, I was interested. But six was the one where all of a sudden I went, “Hmm. The Lord does have something to say to me.” I’m not joking. It was an interesting thing because there’s this moment where, okay, Rocky’s in his mid-50s. It’s a George Foreman type thing. Some freak thing happens and he wants to fight for fun. He ends up getting brought into some match with the champ. It’s interesting to get there and it required a modest leap. However, there’s an interesting dynamic that goes on in the film, and hopefully, I’m going to connect this. He has a son. His wife has died, Adrian, “Yo, Adrian?” She’s passed, gone, and is no longer there, but their son is. They have one son. It’s very interesting. The way it’s set up in the film, Rocky and his son have love but there’s tension.
The son is a younger man who’s far more sophisticated than his father. He had the benefits of the wealth. He received a good education and was trained well. He can operate in a marketplace environment. But the son also has this subtle resentment for his father because he has to live under his father’s shadow a little bit. It’s an interesting dynamic. He is partly who he is because of his father’s success. Part of him despises it because he almost feels like he’s never really himself. “Oh, you’re Rocky’s son. Oh, you’ve got this? Yeah, of course, you’re Rocky’s,” always.
He has resentment for his father. He struggles with his own identity like people often do when they’re children of others who maybe have attained more notoriety. “Who really am I?” It’s a hard thing sometimes. There’s another piece there because he also simultaneously resents his father a little bit, but he also looks down on him. Rocky is a simple man. He was never educated. He’s a Bach. He’s good. He’s kind. His love is true, but he’s not sophisticated and he knows it. They have this interesting conversation because Rocky wants his son to get behind his dream to go fight again. His son is trying to talk him out of it. There’s one moment, some of you will know what I’m talking about when Rocky and he are having this conversation. He’s just loving having this conversation with his son. He so badly wants to connect with his son and his son is talking to him. But there’s this moment when they’re talking, Rocky starts to realize, “He’s talking down to me.”
Some of you, have you ever had that happen? You were in a conversation, all of a sudden, it dawns on you, “Wow, you’re talking down to me, like I’m not that good.” That’s when this happens. I’m just going to read it. I’ll do my best. He starts out like this, he says, “You know what? You ain’t going to believe this, but you used to be able to fit right here on my hand.” He has big hands. “Right there, I’d hold you up. I hold you up and I say to your mother, ‘This kid is going to be the best kid in the world. This kid is going to be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ You grew up good and you grew up wonderful. It was great watching you. Every day was like a privilege. Then the time came for you to be your own man and take on the world and you did, but somewhere along the line, you changed, you stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. When things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know, the world ain’t sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place. I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. Listen, you, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you’re hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. Now, how much can you take and keep moving forward.”
“Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you’ve got to be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying, you ain’t where you want to be because of him or because of her or anybody. Cowards do that, and that ain’t you. You’re better than that. Look, I’m always going to love you, no matter what, no matter what happens. You’re my son, you’re my blood, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. Don’t forget to visit your mother. Okay?” That’s what he says. The reason it spoke to me is because there are going to be times in life when we are going to be hit hard. We’re going to have to keep moving forward. The difference is for those of us who have Him in our lives, it’s not just about us toughing it out. He, the shepherd walks with us. “Lo, I am with you. Look at me,” He said to His disciples. “I am with you even unto the end of the age.” The Scripture tells us, “I am a very present help in times of trouble. I will not leave you in an age of abandonment. I will not leave you. I will not forsake you. That’s the promise of the Lord.
I’m just saying that there are times when the Lord is going to remind us that He wants to help us. He sets the example of how to do it.He went to the cross. He endured the cross. He shows us how it’s done. I think it’s a literal example because Jesus couldn’t do it. He steadied himself to the cross, but he didn’t want it. He set Himself towards Jerusalem. He knew what was coming. He set his face like flint and moved towards it. He didn’t do it as God, He did it in His humanity, fully vulnerable. Even at the apex of his strength, physically speaking, for a man of his age so beaten, bloodied, and weakened that He could not carry His own cross. He falters in the streets. He can’t do it. He literally cannot do it. Think about the humility of God and the Son, He couldn’t do it. The very cross He was going to die on to give His life away that so we could live, He couldn’t carry it, but He kept going. They had to call someone out of the crowd, “You,” you know the man’s name because evidently he becomes part of the bleeding community, Simon from Cyrene, “Help him carry,” and he does.
It’s another reminder that there are some things that if it was true for Jesus, it will be true for us. There are some things we’re not meant to carry alone. There’s no shame as there’s wisdom in it sometimes. Sometimes, the key to perseverance is setting ourselves and getting a little bit done. Sometimes, we can run like the wind. Other times, it’s going to be hard just to take one little step. That’s why I say sometimes surviving is victory. I don’t want to stay there permanently, but sometimes it is. Lastly, it’s going to sound simple, but number seven, one of the keys of focused living is giving our best. We have to decide to do it. It sounds so simple. Some of you may have noticed, “Hmm. He’s been talking a long time. He’s only talked about two verses that are in the handout. But there’s this huge passage in there and when’s he going to get to that.”
Here’s why and I’m going to go fairly quickly. There’s this intense passage in the book of Malachi. What’s Malachi? The last book of the Bible. Very few times is Malachi ever quoted. There’s this intense moment in the book of Malachi. It’s God speaking through his prophet to his people. He’s saying, “You’re hurting me and I’m upset with you.” It’s because of something they were doing or we should say what they weren’t doing. He describes it. “Listen to the heart of God. As a son honors his father and a slave his master, I am your father. If I’m your father, then where is the honor that is due me? If I’m a master then where is the respect that is due me?” Says the Lord Almighty, “If you priests who show contempt for my name, it’s you, this is what you’re doing.” He’s talking to leaders because he says, “Look, you guys are, do you not understand what you’re doing? When you set up worship and treat it so poorly, you’re giving me such shoddy effort. You’re breaking my heart.”
He says, “But you asked, “How have we shown contempt for your name?” He says, “By offering defiled food on my altar.” But you asked, “How have we defiled you by saying the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong?” What they were doing when it came to giving back to God in the temple was giving the stuff that nobody wanted. The priests were cooperating with it. The animals that were going to be put out of the flock and had no value in the market were used for sacrifice. “Oh, we’ll give those to God.” The Lord says, “You think I’m not seeing this? Do you think this doesn’t matter to me? You who claim to be my people, and this is how you treat me?” He says, “When you offer blind animals for sacrifice is that not wrong? When you sacrifice the lamb, a diseased animal is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor. Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” Says the Lord Almighty.
If you had somebody coming to your house and you wanted to impress them, they have power over you. You expect them and want them to think highly of you. If you open the door and come out undressed, no shirt. Then bring out food, “Oh yeah, let me see what I have for you here. Something with mold on it. Here you go. I was going to throw it out, but y you can have it.” That’s what I’m talking about. “Let me go through this garbage again and see if I can pull something out for you. All right?” Now plead with God to be gracious to us. “With such offerings from your hands, will He accept you,” says the Lord Almighty. “That one of you would shut the temple doors that you would not light useless fires on my altar, doesn’t mean anything to me. All the stuff, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want the ritual. I want your heart. I’m not pleased with you. No, I’m not,” says the Lord Almighty.
“I will accept no offering from you. No, I will not. Not from your hands. My name will be great. Whether my people who should love me and honor me, we’ll do that. Fine. Someone will. My name will be great among the nations.” We’re doing that right now. “From where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place, incense and pure offerings will be brought to me because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty. When we serve God, one of the things we need to remember to focus on is to give Him our best, not our leftovers. Don’t give Him stuff we don’t want anyway. It’s better not to give it. Don’t tip God. He doesn’t need it. Don’t tip the church. We don’t need it.
I was reading a story about a woman who was cleaning out a freezer. She had a turkey in there that had been in there for 30 years, frozen. Yeah, I know. “What?” It caught my attention. So, here’s this woman, cleaning out her deep freeze. She finds this Butterball turkey. This turkey is there and it’s 28 years old according to the date on its side. She calls the Butterball company to see if it’s safe to eat it. The customer service person puts her on hold to consult with a supervisor. They have never had a question like that before. He comes back and says, “Ma’am, can you be sure that this turkey has been frozen for the entire 28 years?” The woman says it’s been frozen solid. I’ve never lost power. It’s never thawed.” The customer service person says, “Hmm, well then we believe the turkey is safe to eat. But just so you know, we cannot guarantee the quality of the meat. It might not taste very good.”
The woman pauses, thinking, and then says, “That’s all right. I’m just going to give it to the church anyway.” Oh, man, what is that? I can assume the woman loved her church. She is dedicated, believed in it, but she thought nothing of giving a 28-year-old turkey that she didn’t want anyway to the church. God notices how we serve them. Little, small, or big is noticed. Next week I’m going to show you the unnoticed stuff Jesus noticed. Didn’t matter. We should work as well for the Lord as we would for anything that would bring profit to us. I’m just saying that I know none of us meet that standard. I’ll finish with something Jesse Owens said. It’s interesting that there’s going to be a biopic about Jesse Owens coming out, clever name. He was a great African American athlete. He excelled in the Olympics. It is an amazing story. Hitler’s whole period. The film is called Race, which has a dual meaning.
He said, “There is something that can happen,” because it has to do about giving our best, “in an athlete, every human being has the instinct to slack off, to give in to the pain to give less than our best. The instinct to hope to win through luck or the opponents not doing their best. It’s not about us being prepared, it’s about us hoping they’re less prepared. Instead of going to the limit and past your limit where victory is always to be found.” He also said, “Defeating those instincts that are out to defeat us is the difference between winning and losing.” We face this battle every day of our lives. I couldn’t help connect back to what Jesus said, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” It’s a daily thing. A choice we make. The choices we make. Refocus daily to pursue the things that are best. Help us Jesus to do this.
Let’s pray. Lord, as we get ready to have our time of giving, I want to ask your blessing over this word that we share. I know we have stuff going on today, I get all that, and that’s okay. I ask that some of the things that we’ve sat with, pondered, and heard in our hearts would resonate, whether it’s through us writing them down, thinking about them, praying about them, or talking about them, let them settle into our hearts. Maybe one, in particular, stands out. Maybe it’s about giving our best and not giving you our leftovers. Maybe it’s about other things. I don’t know. Choosing to have more grit. Choosing to have more grace in an area where we don’t have the strategy. What is it, Lord? Are there areas you’re calling us to move forward into? To quit making our excuses which are so easy and legit at times, but you’re calling us to step past our fear. To not get anchored and stuck in fear. I ask for Your blessing as we close our time out with a song that could be construed as a love song or a friend song or a God song. But a reminder, a good final word for us. I ask for your blessing over these closing minutes, in Jesus’s name. Amen.