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morning Welcome to good news in the morning. I am so glad that you have tuned
into the program today. My name is Brent Russett. I have been a pastor at
Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa for 28 years. I celebrated my last Sunday
there at the end of June. It has been a privilege to be part of such a wonderful church.
morning will be my last time on Good News in the Morning
as well. I have been a part of this ministry since 2012. It has been a real
honour to show how God’s word that was written a long time ago, connects with
our world right now.
This program is kept on the air by many faithful donors. I want to thank
this morning’s program sponsor Bruce Newman. Bruce would like to give a shout
out to Jericho Road Christian Ministries as a local registered charity, for
their outstanding service to the community.” Jericho road is a great ministry
in our area that works to see people’s lives changed. Thanks Bruce and thanks
I am stepping back from the microphone, Good News in the Morning will continue
– and it is a ministry worth supporting.
this is my last sermon on Good News in the Morning.---- I through of trying to
say something profound. Then I thought, yea Brent, good luck with that. I am
wise enough to know that trying to be profound is a recipe for syrupy
thought of the great good bye sermon that Paul preached to the Ephesian elders
in the book of Acts. He reviewed the ministry – and it is a rousing farewell
speech. Now it was even more poignant because Paul thinks he is going to die,
and he tells the people from Ephesus that he will never see them again. But at
the end of that speech everyone ends up crying. A farewell sermon like that on
the radio would just be weird.
Then I settled on this thought, why not say something helpful: Something
helpful for you and also something helpful for me. This morning I want to talk
is about change. It seems like the only constant in life is change. Life is
going to change for me, although I this point in time, I have no idea what
shape that change is going take. Life is going to change for you. We live in a
world where change is inevitable.
people embrace change. Some people hate change. Some people avoid change, but
change comes to us all whether or not we are ready for it. We – you and I- are headed into change.
thing about change is that it is not all that predictable. Some change is for
the better. Some change is for the worse. The reality is, often times you don’t
know how things are going to turn out, until you are way into the change.
here is the thing about the unknown. – It causes tension. It causes stress. It
causes anxiety. For some people it will cause excitement and exhilaration – and
that is cool – but even in that excitement we know there is risk. So this
morning I want to talk about Peace in the middle of change.
want to take you to my favourite passage of scripture when it comes to seasons
4 Rejoice in the Lord
always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be
evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about
anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which
transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
before I walk you through these verses, let me just remind you about the Word
of God. How you approach it will determine what you take from it. Some people
read the bible like they would read the Ontario Driver’s Manual. They see in
it, step by step instructions on how to live.
if you approach the bible as an operating manual for life, it will really
effect how you approach these particular verses. Here is what you will get.
subject is peace. We are going into change and I need peace. So verse 6 says, Do
not be anxious about anything. Instruction #1. - I'm going to stop
worrying. I’m not sure how you do that, but maybe if I follow the rest of the
instructions it will help.
What's next. in everything by prayer, -
Instruction #2.I guess I had better
pray. Dear God I need to stop worrying and start praying and I know that prayer
is talking to you. So here I am praying. Lord help us in the change. Ok. I met
What's next. Instruction #3. It says by prayer and petition. And I know the KJV
uses the word supplication, which means to humbly beg. Dear God I beg you to
answermy prayer. Lord help the change
to go well.
#4 - The next part of the verse says, with thanksgiving. God I praise you
for your character and for who you are.
- I have met all the conditions. I have completed the list of instructions. If
this were a car I would be driving by now. So, I should be cruising through
life.Here is the promise: The peace
of God which transcends all understanding should be mine.
You know, as a set of instructions
on life, those aren’t bad. But I don’t know about you, but I have never found
formulas really helpful in my Christian walk. God is not a vending machine
where we plug in the right actions and out pops the fulfilled promise.
God is not a puzzle to be solved. I
think we miss so much if we approach the bible as an ‘operator’s manual’.
of the things that we know about God is that he is first and foremost a
relational God. Before the world began, before anything that is, was made,
God himself lived in the community of the Trinity. There is on-going awesome
relationship between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are full
of love, and purpose and life. The bible tells us that there is this ongoing
communication between the members of the trinity.
God is first and foremost
relational. Then he created humans. And God has shown over and over again that
He wants to walk in relationship with us. The whole point of Christ’s death on
the cross, is that we were estranged from God, but God wanted to make a way
where we can have a personal relationship with him. God wants to walk in
relationship with us. God is a relational God.
He invites you into relationship
with him. The reality is that we are estranged from God. Our relationship with
him was broken because of sin. Sin does all kinds of bad things to us, the
worst of which is that it kills us. We are spiritually dead, God is fully
alive. God wants a relationship with us, but He is Spirit and he can’t have a
relationship with something that is dead.
So, what he did is make a way by
Jesus’ death on the cross for our sin to be dealt with, but not only that for
us to raised to life again. When we come to God and say Lord I know that I have
sinned and that I am spiritually dead, but your promise is that if I would give
my life to you, if I would receive you into my life and ask you to forgive me
of my sin that you would. Not only that, you would make me spiritually alive.
Lord so that is what I do ask, Lord I give my life to you, come into my life,
forgive me of my sin, I am going to follow you. If you do that trusting that
God will do what he said he would do – you are made spiritually alive.
Now back to our passage, What if, instead
of a drivers operating manual, we approached the bible like letters from our
awesome God and Father, with whom we were estranged, but have now been
reconciled to. He has made us alive, but we are kind of like spiritual
newborns. We don’t really know how to live, but we are learning to trust him.
We are learning to count on him. These letters are about learning to live in
relationship with him.
What would happen if we approached
this passage from a relational point of view.
4 Rejoice in the Lord
always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
All way through the book of
Philippians Paul has been urging the church to rejoice in the Lord. The word
rejoice, is the word that is often translated Joy. The fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy. – same word. It has this idea of deep wellbeing.
It says have this deep sense of well-being
in the Lord. Take joy in the Lord. Paul
is urging us to revel in our relationship with God. He urging us to
celebrate what the Lord has done for us. We have this great sense of well-being
knowing who we are and whose we are. We have been forgiven. We have been
brought into a relationship with God. We have been adopted into his family. Be
glad about that, take pleasure in that. Rejoice in the Lord.
Celebrate your relationship with
Jesus. I use to see this verse as primarily talking about worship. Lord I thank
you for my salvation. Lord I thank you for who you are. There certainly is an
element of that. But reveling in the Lord, is more than just word – it kind has
this wow factor.
It is like, I can’t believe how
gracious and merciful God is when I blow it. When I have sinned. It is
incredible that he wants to involve me in his plans and purpose for this world.
It is incredible that he takes the time to work with me to restore his image in
me. He has made me alive. He invites me to walk with Him -
The Bible says, I am in Christ and
Christ is in God. Therefore, I have been invited right into the heart of the
trinity. My spirit is surrounded by who God is and goodness is swirling all
around me. There is this profound relationship that goes beyond our
understanding with the God of the universe.
Again, rejoicing in the Lord is about reveling in whose you are and who you
are in Him. I would say this. Often times this is easy to do when you first
come to know Jesus because everything is so new. Everything is a fresh
After we have been walking with
Jesus for a while, we kind of just take for granted that we are part of the
family. And we will go through phases where the worship songs aren’t expressing
our heart any more. We lose the wonder of our salvation.
I have been there. But the issue is
not that we have learned everything there is to learn, and seen everything
there is to see – the issue is that we have failed to explore the fulness of
the salvation that is ours.
I am stilled wowed by what God has
done after 50 years of following him. But in those dry times, don’t get proud
and think you know it all or have seen it all- Your heart just isn’t soft
enough, or big enough to see further into the riches of your salvation. But if
you keep on pushing into it, it will come. Rejoice in the Lord always, I will
say it again rejoice.
MUSIC – May the Peace of
God – Stuart Townsend. 3:18
5 Let your gentleness be
evident to all. The Lord is near.
Let your gentleness be evident to
all. This is kind of one of those side notes. Paul is just about to tell us
what it takes to walk in peace. A few verses earlier he says this to two women
in the church.
2 I plead with Euodia and
I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
There is some drama going on between
these two women. And sometimes in the middle of circumstances where things are
changing some of us have propensity towards drama. Paul says, if you want
peace, let you gentleness be evident to all. Here is my interpretation of that.
As much as it lies within your power,
don’t be part of the drama. I could rift on this for a while, but I don’t
The verse goes onto say, “The
Lord is near.” If you are going to
understand these verses as relational, then you are going to have to understand
this The Lord is near.
I know there are times in your life
where it feels like God is far away. I know that here are in life, where I
seems like God is distant. But here is the truth – despite how it feels,
despite how it seems, the Lord is near. Will you trust God’s word instead of
If you can trust God’s word in this,
despite what you feel, or the circumstances going on in your life – it will
make a powerful difference in your life. The Lord is near.
Theologically, you know that God is
near, because he is everywhere present. Scripturally, you know that God is
near. Jesus said, just before he left this world, “Lo I am with you always,
even to the very end of the age.” Experientially, you sometime sense that God
is so close and other times not so much. But trust the word of God. – The Lord
If the Lord is near, and God is a
relational God you have what it takes to meet the challenges of the day.
Here is what we need to know. In the
changes that come – the Lord is near.
In the questions that will inevitably arise, the Lord is near. In working through complicated issues that will
inevitably present themselves, the Lord
It is out of that relationship, it
is out of the fact that God is near, that Paul writes these next words.
6 Do not be anxious about
anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
You see if approach scripture as a
rule based operating manual, then you hear the command -don’t be anxious – and
you think well that is nice – as if my anxiety is a choice. So you think, I am
going to try not to worry about it – but if you are worried you are worried.
But if this is really about
relationship, then Paul is saying, the all-powerful God of the universe is near
– so instead of anxiety – push into your relationship about everything that is
going on around you.
Pray about every situation – the
Lord is near. You are walking through life together with God. --God I’m
concerned about this. Lord I’m worried about that. Lord I see this change
coming, and I don’t know what shape the future will take.If there is an ongoing conversation between
you and God,- if you are praying about
everything, you start to get that God has got your life and the circumstances
of your life in His hands.
It says prayer and petition.
Petition is really asking God for what you want. Prayer is like, God I don’t
really know what to do in this situation. Lord would you help me. Would you do
Petition is more like specifically
asking for what you want. Lord I would like you to do this…. I would like you
to provide someone who could help me spiritually.--- Lord in the middle of
these changes, I would love to see our church be healthy so that we can reach
more people for you. Lord in the middle of these changes, would you show up
time after time as we meet for worship so that there will be no doubt that you
are at work. Petition is asking humbly for what you want.
Now that does not mean that God is
going to give you everything you ask for. But I will tell you this, he really
wants to give you as much good as you can handle. If he says no, to your
specific request now, it is only because he has bigger and better yes in your
Paul goes, onPhilippians 4:6
6 Do not be anxious about
anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
With thanksgiving. If it is about
relationship – then you can’t treat God as vending machine. Give me, Give me,
give me. It is about relationship.
Remember who you are, and what God
has done in your life – give thanks. Remember whose you are – you have been
adopted into the family of God. You have been loved by God. Remember whose you
are and give thanks. Remember what God has done in your past and give thanks.
Think about what you have to be thankful for right now.
If you do this, if you focus on the
relationship, if you pray about the stuff that is going on around you, if you
tell God what you want him to do – well, God is near. And here is what will
7 And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in
This is God’s promise to you. His
peace that goes beyond what will make sense to you – will guard your heart and
This maybe the most Canadian verse
in the bible. The idea behind guard your heart is the peace of God will
goaltend you heart. Imagine peace as a fully equipped hockey goaltender. When
life shoots difficult questions, or too much activity, or stress about the
future. The peace of God guards your heart.
The peace of God doesn’t stop the
complexities of life from happening, it just guards your heart and your mind.
It doesn’t stop difficult situations from arising. It just guards your heart
and your mind.
And here is the thing, to navigate
change well, to face the future well, you most important asset is a good heart
and a clear mind. It is when our hearts get twisted up with stress and our
minds get fogged over with overwhelming situations – that we don’t live well in
the middle of change.
But people, the lord is near. You
are in relationship to him. Talk to him. Pray to him. Ask him for what you
want. Celebrate what he has done. Why, because God is big enough to handle our
futures. God is big enough to handle our problems. God is big enough to handle
our issues. And when we learn that – the peace of God protects our hearts and
Lord, I want to thank you for your peace, that comes to
us wherever we’re at. Lord, help us to pray about everything and to remember that
you are near. Thank you, Lord, for your closeness.
Lord, we pray these things in your name. Amen.
And thank you for listening to Good
News in the morning.And thanks again
Bruce Newman and your salute to Jericho Road ministries for sponsoring today’s
ministry. This program is on the air by the grace of God and donations of many
My name is Brent Russett, and it has
been a privilege to bring you Good News in the morning.